Know Your Strengths And Lead With Them

“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.” – Albert Einstein

This classic quote from Einstein reveals an important lesson in both business and life: everybody has different strengths, and in order for all of us to perform our best and excel, we must recognize and utilize our strengths. Gary Vaynerchuk, serial entrepreneur and host of the Daily Vee on YouTube, is also known for his forthright comments on the importance of understanding strengths:

“Bet on your strengths and don’t give a fuck about your weaknesses. You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”

At Launchbox, we tell all our clients: “In order to know how to build, sustain, and maintain great relationships, we must understand the strengths of ourselves and others and how to leverage them effectively. Focus on your strengths—not weaknesses!”

Ok, so you get it now: knowing your strengths is super important. But the reality is most people don’t stop and take a moment to identify their best strengths. Do you know yours? If so, take a moment and write down your top five strengths. There are great online assessments that can help you identify your strengths. (Gallup’s groundbreaking Clifton Strengthsfinder is one that I’ve used and highly recommend. Based on decades of research and experience, Strengthsfinder is an inexpensive yet highly evolved tool for helping people discover their unique combination of strengths.)

If you don’t feel like taking the online test, a great way to find out is to ask the five people closest to you. Text or call them and ask if they’ll tell you what your top five strengths are. Make sure to ask them individually, so they aren’t influenced by each other’s answers.

While my strengths have evolved over the years, when I recently took the Strengths finder assessment, these were my top strengths:

  1. Activator: I make things happen by turning thoughts into action.
  2. Communication: I find it easy to put thoughts into words and am a good conversationalist and presenter.
  3. Strategic: I create alternate ways to succeed and find relevant patterns and issues in any scenario.
  4. Significance: I want to be very important and recognized in the eyes of others as making a difference.
  5. Command: I have presence and want to take control and make decisions.

Once you understand your strengths, you can be conscious of them and make the choice to lead with them. This is how you kick ass. This is how you deliver value to yourself and others in a way that makes a real, quantifiable difference to everyone you interact with. Here are three questions you can ask yourself to leverage your strengths as much as possible:

  1. Where do I kick ass?
  2. I could kick more ass if . . .
  3. Where do I wish I kicked ass?

It’s important to get comfortable with your strengths so you are not going against your true nature. If you kick ass at filming and editing and love it, but you feel like you “should” be good at engineering because that’s what “everyone else is doing,” stop and do some self-reflection. Remember what Einstein said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” You are more valuable to your peers, a company, and the marketplace doing video and editing. Why? Because you excel at it and enjoy doing it.

Naturally, people prosper in areas they enjoy (a.k.a their strengths.) Don’t judge yourself based on anyone else’s Instagram or Snapchat or what seems cool. If you are a fish, stick to swimming. If you are a squirrel, stick to climbing trees. Look within yourself, identify what you enjoy and excel at, and lead with those strengths. Not only will your peers benefit, but you will feel much more passionate and motivated about work you enjoy doing.

Curious to know more about discovering and leading from your strengths? Stay tuned for the next article in this series, geared to help you kick ass in work and life. In the meantime, you can check out Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace

Could Good Old-fashioned Parenting Techniques Pave the New Way to Coach Millennial Employees?

The most recent viral millennial video that resonated with us on Facebook was from none other than the master, Simon Sinek, best selling author and motivational speaker. He amassed over 57 million views in a matter of days. The good news is Sinek succinctly describes and analyzes millennials in the workplace. Moreover, his rational for understanding them is a window into how they grew up and were parented with (some more often than not) “failed parenting strategies.”

What does he mean by “failed parenting strategies?”

Millennials’ parents birthed the term and enslaved a generation with “helicopter parents.” The parents of the millennial generation paid extremely close attention to their children’s lives and their problems, and still do. They micromanaged, told their millennials they were special, gave them trophies for participating, and believed and embedded the entitlement theme that their children deserved the best, simply for showing up. If you ask HR Professionals, 30% percent of them will admit to having some type of altercation with a millennial parent and I can tell you I get calls from over zealous parents daily.

This up-close-and-personal, hyper involved, do it for them, and never let them fail parenting style has largely resulted from both the economic cycle of our country combined with the rise and prevalence of technology. Cellphones and social media allowed parents to have instant contact with their kids 24/7…. And information, products, services, answers and solutions anywhere, anytime, with the click of a button and little effort has made us softer. The idea of parents constantly checking in on their children to ensure safety and security may sound like good parenting as well as having everything on demand and at the moment. The intention was pure, and technology amazing. However, it backfired in many ways.

Millennials, dubbed the “anxious generation,” feel a need for frequent and immediate feedback, and have difficulty coping with failure and disappointment and the wrong or hard answer. Why? Because technology has allowed their parents more often than not to solve any challenges at anytime. The strategy of parents of millennials was to “cure,” and now many millennials are grown up, yet still struggle to figure out how they can solve their own problems.

As a millennial coach, you can see this as a pain-in-the-ass dilemma, or an opportunity to be embraced. At launchbox, I’ve worked with thousands of millennials and see that they want, need to, and will excel and grow—they just need your mentorship—or a “new or better” level of real and authentic kickass parenting—to get them there. Not kick your ass, but kick-ass, in the “dang good we get this” way. More specifically, our success in training millennial employees really works both to serve the workplace by creating engagement, retention and revenue, and millennials at the same time by teaching them they are responsible and accountable for their career and job satisfaction. In the workplace, you can lead your millennial employees to performance and engagement with these simple techniques.

First Care Enough to Tell It to Millennials Like It Is

Sinek explains that millennials are struggling in the workplace because their parents “gave them medals for coming in last.” As a millennial coach, it’s up to you to set the tone of what’s expected and tolerated within your company and culture and why “last place” does not work for the organization. Further describe how the key to success is making it about others and teach them to figure out how to change their language, communication, and mindset to do so. (Hint: use their strengths, values and passions to guide them…they are innately smart and purpose driven.)

If your millennial workers are barely “showing up,” putting in minimal effort, and walking through the motions, will you let it slide under the table and tolerate it? Or, like a great parent, will you address the problem head on? The parents who raised strong, self-reliant millennials gave tough love, taught self-respect, integrity, and consequences, and also focused on “earning” as a course of conduct, are the ones you want to emulate. As a leader in the workplace, you must do the same.

Coach them in a caring way. Sit down with your millennial and be transparent. Explain where the pitfall occurred and why it happened. Emphasize that it’s up to the millennial to take responsibility for their work and actions. If they are confused, teach them to be resourceful and find a way to gain clarity. If you’re good at this, they will listen and shift. Guaranteed.

Create the Space for Failure—They Need it

Many helicopter parents were there to clean up the mess when millennials screwed up. As a result, many millennials don’t know how to handle failure. As a millennial mentor and leader, become the tough parent in the workplace and teach them how to fail and pick themselves up. The challenge is we don’t have the time or money to do this and we would rather do the work ourselves. The problem with that is millennials need and want to be taught and learn how to do things. It is the number one thing they want in the workplace, almost neck and neck with that authenticity thing from above.

Well here is the news, make the time and invest or they will leave you because you have not engaged them. 89% of millennials in the workplace feel engaged when they feel their boss cares. Do you care and can you demonstrate that to them?

So don’t BS your millennials and allow their mistakes and poor performance to slide under the radar. Be real with them and let them know when they fail. Be proactive, like a good parent, and empower them to create a solution so they can learn and do better in the future. By being clear that you’re there to help millennials grow and succeed, they will appreciate your tough love. They will see failure not as an “end all,” but as a learning experience and growth opportunity. They will see that your firmness is not because you’re mean, but because you care.

By empowering your millennials to take responsibility for their actions, they learn self reliance, coping skills, and the ability to problem solve. What parent wouldn’t want that for their children? And what leader in the workplace wouldn’t want that for their millennial employees, or for that matter, any employee? Right, Simon? Of course he would agree.

Focus on Patience and Satisfaction From Work

In his viral video, Sinek explains how social media has created a culture of instant gratification, where millennials have fostered a sense of entitlement and expectation.

“Social media has, however, created an incredibly impatient generation who want everything immediately. What’s more, millennials don’t stick at anything for long enough, according to Sinek, whether a job or a relationship.” – The Independent

This quote above explains why millennials may be  “job-hoppers.” They are impatient, because they expect instant success and satisfaction at work. When they don’t feel or get those things, they leave in hopes of getting it somewhere else. As a matter of fact we coach 3,000 millennial each year and they are super impatient…but teaching them how to communicate, what they have left to learn, and how to find out whether their boss cares usually results in them staying and not leaving their boss, at least for a year or so longer.

Acting as a coach for your millennial leaders, you can teach your millennials the importance of doing great work and finding fulfillment in the process. The classic adage “patience is a virtue” is one that many millennial kids have heard, but not really grasped.

Create incentives so your millennials can learn the importance of being patient. True satisfaction, as Sinek pointed out, stems from the process of doing long-term work, and doing it well with 100% effort. Like a great parent, create intrinsically motivating benchmarks for them so they can create self-motivation and feel their progress.

Be the Best Parent You Can Be

In today’s workplace, to be the best millennial coach requires treating millennials as if you are their parents. Yes, most of my clients say, “I don’t want to or shouldn’t have to be a parent at work, they’re not my kids, it’s too exhausting, and that is why they call it a job and they get paid, so tough.” Oh yeah, well what happens with that mindset? I’ll tell ya…nothing happens except a revolving door. Instead, shift the mindset to really care and be invested in their success and progress. Show tough love and be firm in your approach. The more clear you are about what you want out of your millennials, the more they will understood what’s required of them to become the best version of themselves.

Allocate responsibilities to your millennials and give them the opportunity to fail. Yes, you read that correctly. Allow them to fail. They need to learn how to cope with failure, develop self-esteem, and learn from their mistakes. As a millennial coach (and parent), this gives you the chance to empower them with the tools they need in the real world—to grow and become reliant.

Instill the importance of doing great work and teach your millennials patience. Explain that nothing worth having comes easy. Set goals along the way so they learn to enjoy the process, while growing simultaneously.

When you show up authentically for your millennials, they will show up for you and your company. The new way of coaching millennials is like great parenting. Are you up for the challenge? If you are we can help teach you.

Looking to bridge the generational divide in the workplace and engage your millennials? Check out the recent Launchbox article “4 Ways to Coach Millennials to Drive Results and Engagement.”

How to Help Millennials Succeed in the Workplace

This is a guest post written by Arman Sadeghi of Titanium Success.

Millennials could make up close to 40% of the total workforce by the year 2020, according to the results of a research study conducted by the Association for Talent Development. Businesses are increasingly hiring this fresh source of talent and skills for their operations. However, companies often find that these young people have different methods of working with a distinct ideology from their predecessors. This factor changes the office dynamics completely.

Business owners need to help their millennial workforce assimilate into the company to make full use of their potential. To do this, they need to take several steps that can help reduce employee turnover. Here’s where a business coach comes in. Businesses often choose to hire such personnel to help them understand the strategies they need to adopt. These methods will help millennials succeed in the workplace.

Understand Their Expectations

A few years ago, employees were content to join a good company and work for an extended time, all the while steadily moving up the corporate ladder. Millennials, on the other hand, often have aspirations about wanting to become entrepreneurs. They would prefer to work in managerial positions of leadership. Considering the many young role models they have, millenials feel inspired to follow paths that can lead them to grow and succeed.

Many millennials do continue to work with enterprises for a long period of time, but only so long as their needs are met. If they feel they’re not getting enough opportunities, they’re very likely to move on to setups where other options are available. To work with such young people, you need to adjust the culture of your company. Work with your peak performance coach to create an atmosphere that is conducive to growth, while also being beneficial for your company.

Offer Them Better Orientation and Training

Schools and colleges do give students academic training. However, post-graduation, these students need practical skills that can help them perform in an actual workplace. These skills are often not taught in a traditional college environment. If you offer the proper training, millenials will learn the necessary skills to become independent, reliable and talented leaders in your company. Among the critical aptitudes they need is the ability to think and solve problems, work on and deliver presentations, analyze situations and adapt to the ever changing market. It is also essential to teach them time management, communication, effective listening skills, and most important, working as a part of the team.

Offer Flexible Work Hours

Millennials today have different priorities as compared to the employees before them. They prefer to maintain the perfect work-life balance and want to make time for leisure, entertainment, family, and friends. This is why they prefer jobs in companies where they are free to work at the times that suit them best. One of the pointers your peak performance coach is likely to give you is to allow for flexible working hours. Give your people the go-ahead to use digital technology and work remotely from home if they need to. You’ll also want to allow them to work on weekends and out of office hours if they want to. This way, you’ll encourage productivity and ensure employee satisfaction.

Ensure Manager-Employee Interaction

Young workers prefer flexible working hours and are tech savvy. They are comfortable using gadgets and apps to receive instructions, submit work and stay in touch with their teams. As your peak performance coach will likely point out, they also appreciate the opportunity to interact personally with their colleagues and managers. Institute an open-door policy as your company culture. Instruct your managers to welcome new and innovative ideas. Make sure your millennial workers receive constructive feedback on their performance and that they are allowed to communicate freely with their managers and superiors.

Offer Opportunities to Learn and Grow

Millennials are eager to learn and advance their skills. They are always looking for opportunities to excel by taking on challenging tasks. They thrive on the excitement of working on new assignments. If they see stagnation, they’re likely to move to setups where they can learn and grow. Offer your people training programs and adopt policies where your younger workforce can develop their talents.

For instance, consider the task rotation strategy. Your peak performance coach can show you how to move employees to other lateral positions in the company. Allow them to work in a new role for a preset time period so they can learn to manage other responsibilities and develop new skills. Assigning new projects is another way to challenge their creative abilities. Millennials respect and enjoy a work environment where they are pushed out of their comfort zone. Help them develop their flexibility and ingenuity to aid the success of your company. With that being said, make sure the new tasks aren’t so tough that it leads to discontent.

Work Out a Competitive Salary Structure

In today’s times where remote hiring has made great strides, the job market has gone global. Millennials now find that there is a demand for their talents and skills on an international scale. Hence, they are exposed to better opportunities and salary structures. To retain the skills you need for the growth of your enterprise, your peak performance coach will advise that you need to change your perspective about the remunerations you’re offering. The younger workforce is more focused on the salaries they can earn. You’ll also find that better positions and promotions are no longer enough to stay with a company. Remember, they can get those at other setups also. This is why you’ll need to pay competitive salaries to keep your employees.

These are just some of the factors you need to keep in mind when hiring and working with a team of millennial employees. Given that the work environment is evolving rapidly, it’s advantageous to have a peak performance coach on board to help you direct your team, and help millennials succeed in the workplace.

 

References:

  1. http://www.cio.com/article/2883906/careers-staffing/how-to-help-millennials-shine-in-the-workplace.html

 

 

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Make sure to get your hands on Dan Negroni’s new book,  Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

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4 Reasons to Get a Coach

As a talented, experienced professional, there’s a lot that you can do on your own. From overcoming challenges and obstacles to expanding your skills, you have a lot to offer your company, your coworkers and your team. However, growing on your own can only take you so far. You probably don’t push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, or you may not ask some of the tough questions that need to be asked.

That’s where a professional coach comes in. An experienced coach can challenge you to improve yourself in ways you didn’t think were possible. From practical skills to real world wisdom, a coach can accelerate your personal and professional development and allow you to reach your true potential.

Here are 4 reasons why you should get a professional coach:

1. A coach can help you tackle the BIG goals.

Maybe you want to go for a big promotion or start your own business, but you get stuck thinking about how to make it happen. A professional coach can help you break down your BIG goals into smaller, bite-sized steps so that they don’t seem so daunting. A coach can help you create an action plan and then will push you and hold you accountable to help you accomplish those larger goals now.

2. A coach can help you figure out what’s working.

We don’t often take the time to figure out if our careers are on track, or more importantly, if we are living the life we want. Coaching provides the perfect opportunity to take stock of what’s working for you and what isn’t. A coach will help you figure out what you really want, determine if you are headed in the right direction and help you take any necessary actions to get you back on track.

3. A coach can help you recognize and leverage your strengths.

A big part of our coaching at launchbox is understanding your strengths and how to leverage them to add value to others. A coach can help you identify what you’re good at and give you the opportunity to push your limits to determine the areas in which you truly shine. You’ll also gain an understanding of which areas may need further development, and with a little work, could be transformed into one of your most valuable skills.

4. A coach can help you shift to a positive mindset.

We all have fears, insecurities and “rock issues” that get in our way from achieving our potential. More than anything else, a coach will help you maintain a positive attitude, push through the obstacles and give you the confidence and support to achieve your dreams.

So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of our holiday special and sign up for a free 30-minute one-on-one session with one of our experienced coaches. Let’s launch you into the New Year!

Are You Operating From Your Strengths? 3 Ways to Know

Whether you’re looking to land the perfect job or advance your current career, understanding and leveraging your strengths is one of the most important things you can do. When you operate from your strengths, you’ll have less stress, higher satisfaction, and greater productivity—and most importantly, you will be in complete alignment with yourself.

On the other hand, if you’re working against your strengths, your performance will suffer, your stress levels will increase, and you’ll find yourself stuck in your career and your life.

A strength is any ability you have that you are naturally inclined to do well, a natural talent …it’s where you perform at your highest and best. But how do you know what your strengths truly are?

To effectively leverage your strengths, you need to understand them beyond generic statements like “I’m good with people” or “I’m a fast learner.” Here are three ways you can determine your own strengths and put them to work for you to achieve bold success.

CONSIDER YOUR CORE VALUES

What’s important to you, both personally and professionally? Your values and your passions can help point you toward your strengths—people spend more time and energy on what’s important to them, and as a result, skills based on your values tend to improve at a faster rate.

Some common personal and professional values include:

  • Work-life balance
  • Physical and/or mental health and wellbeing
  • Job security
  • Financial gain
  • Respect and/or recognition
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Continuous learning / ongoing education
  • Helping others / giving back
  • Collaboration/ team environments
  • Creativity / innovation

 

LISTEN TO YOUR EMOTIONAL CUES

You will often know where your strengths lie on a subconscious level , but you may not have paid attention to how you feel when you’re performing certain activities so you can pinpoint them. Listen to your internal cues as you work and play to learn which activities bring you happiness and satisfaction. Do you feel confident and accomplished when you’re in a leadership position? Does it thrill you when you solve a complex problem? Do you enjoy brainstorming or taking a class?

 

GET A SECOND OPINION

Another way to identify your strengths is through the lens of other people. So ask them directly. Sit down with someone who knows you well, and ask them what they feel are your greatest strengths. The answers may surprise you.

You can also consider other people’s responses to your efforts. For example, if you enjoy organizing events, do you typically have a lot of people show up? Do they enjoy the events, and come back for others you organize? Positive actions are a strong confirmation of your strengths.

Finally, if you’re unable to identify any of your strengths innately, try adding new activities to your work or personal life. Choose something that aligns with your natural passions—and you may discover strengths you never expected to find, that could lead you in exciting new directions.

 

DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS

At launchbox, we use Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0 book and online assessment. It’s a great tool that helps you identify your strengths, from 34 different themes, and gives you strategies for applying them to your life. Get Strengths Finder now and start living from your strengths.

Let Executive Coaching Strengthen Your Leadership

Everywhere professionals are turning to executive coaches—whether they’re looking to hit the ground running with a new leadership position, reinvigorate a struggling career, or drive changes in their business. As a training tool, executive coaching helps leaders succeed through personal behavior-oriented guidance and one-on-one attention. They provide tools and sustainability tips to help change bad habits and build new, more productive ones.

If you or your company is considering or currently using executive coaching, here’s what you should know to maximize this valuable tool and strengthen your company’s leadership team.

WHAT COACHING IS – AND WHAT IT ISN’T
Many people believe coaching and consulting are interchangeable, but there are important differences. Consultants will come in to analyze a situation and tell clients what to do in order to solve the problems. A coach’s role is more personal and direct—executive coaches are just that… coaches who support and enable their clients to analyze themselves and their working styles, and draw their own transformational conclusions about how to solve problems. Most consultants create recommendations and conclusions without really looking within the individual. Coaches train, push, mentor and help their clients transform themselves with direct, authentic “no nonsense” counsel.

However, a coach is not a miracle worker. People need to want to transform. There needs to be a desire to change habits and performance. So, avoid enlisting an executive coach in a last-ditch attempt to save a member of your leadership team who has serious performance issues and does not know it or want to know it. These leaders will often resist or completely reject coaching, which clearly wastes company resources and drastically reduces the chance of success.

WHO SHOULD BE COACHED?
Typically, HR reviews the available budget for executive coaching and decides which leaders should receive coaching. The majority of executive coaching clients, according to the International Coach Federation, are between 36 and 45 years old and hold a post-graduate degree. Additionally, 65 percent of coaching clients are female, and the top three reasons among all clients for seeking coaching are self-confidence, career opportunities, and improving work/life balance.

Coaching is most effective for executives who are:

  • Getting ready for a promotion
  • Transitioning into a new role
  • Providing value but stuck in their growth and development

HOW TO CREATE AN EXECUTIVE COACHING PROGRAM
In order to develop a successful executive coaching program, you need to design a contract that addresses different aspects of the coaching work, including confidentiality, duration, medium, and cost. In addition, you’ll need to decide whether to work with internal coaches, external coaches, or both. The best programs teach you how to create internal coaches and mentors to sustain positive results.

  • Confidentiality: Make sure the coach understands what information should be shared with whom, and what should remain confidential. For example, feedback gathered from colleagues, co-workers, and stakeholders about the coaching candidate should be kept confidential to facilitate honesty—but the development plan based on that feedback should be shared with the providers.
  • Duration: The length of the coaching engagement can vary, depending on the objectives, but in general most executive coaching goals can be reached through bi-monthly meetings over six to nine months.
  • Medium: Coaches and clients may meet in person, or communicate via phone, email, or video calls. The majority of coaches prefer to work face-to-face, but many will supplement with phone or video calls when in-person meetings are difficult to arrange.
  • Cost: The average rate for executive coaching is $350 per hour, with a range of $200, to $3,000 an hour. While this can represent a costly investment, coaching is often a good value compared to other leadership development options—particularly since the process develops relationships with ongoing support.
  • Internal vs. external coaching: There are benefits and drawbacks to each side of this debate. Internal coaches are typically less expensive, and have a more thorough understanding of a particular company’s industry, culture, and operation. However, confidentiality can be difficult to maintain with an internal arrangement, and senior executives often prefer working with an external coach rather than revealing their vulnerabilities to someone within the organization.


EXECUTIVE COACHING PITFALLS

While coaching can be a highly effective tool for leadership development, watch for these pitfalls to ensure an effective program.

Finding the right fit: First and foremost make sure the coach is a fit for your organization. Their personality must match the success-driven results you seek. For example, if you are looking for sales help, make sure you get a coach that understands how to sell.

Failure to prioritize: “Busy” and “executive” are practically synonymous. Especially for emerging leaders, executives may not realize the value of making time for coaching—and if they don’t prioritize the coaching process, they won’t gain the benefits.

Over-reliance: On the flip side, some executives may come to depend on their coaches for too much—or you may see a higher demand rate for coaching than your budget allows. When assigning executive coaching, be sure it’s the right solution for a given situation.
Giving the wrong impression: If your organization has used remedial coaching in the past, your executives may feel their positions are in jeopardy if they’re approached about receiving coaching. Make it clear that you’re providing executive coaching as a tool for personal growth, not as a “test” that executives must pass if they want to keep their jobs.


READY FOR COACHING?

When implemented strategically, an executive coaching program will deliver a high return on investment, resulting in permanent “habit” changes for your leadership team and a strengthened organization.

At launchbox, we have our own brand of coaching – it’s direct, in-your-face and focused on achieving bold results. Ready to get started?