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Posts tagged ‘SMART Goals’

Questions, Questions and more Questions

Leadership naturally requires you to be a curious individual and the more curious you are, the more successful you and your Team will be!! During Coaching interactions with your Team, ask many questions to help your Team Member arrive at the root issues of performance and production limitations. Too often as a Leader we are tempted to talk more than listen when dealing with Team Members. Time is too valuable to expend by droning on with your own assumptions and theories about possible issues and problems the Team Member might be facing or having.

Listed below are questions that any Leader can use to dig deeper into the  success well during any Coaching interaction:

* “What one thing could I do to make you more effective in your role?”

* What roadblocks are holding you back? (or preventing your projects from moving ahead?)

* What’s the most important issue you are dealing with in your life right now?

* What does the competition do better than us?

* What do we do better than our competition?

* If you were the President of this Company, what’s the first thing you would change and why?

* What do we/you do better than anyone else?

* Looking at your personal productivity, what two things do we need to work on to improve your productivity?

* What are the two key behaviors you need to keep doing to remain successful?

* What one thing can we do to make our weekly meeting more effective?

* What are your top three goals for this/next month?

* What one thing can you do today that will have the greatest impact on you reaching your goals?

* If I could do just one thing for you as a result of this discussion, what would it be?


If you incorporate a few of these questions into your coaching interactions and then follow the path they lead you on, you will be well on your way to moving your Team and yourself to victory!!

Until next time, keep asking questions!



Levels of Commitment

The 6 Levels of Commitment

       Commitment is a verbal signature of a heart and head process. Lying at the heart of the coaching process, commitment is designed to stir up excitement about possibilities and potential.


The two kinds of Commitment:

  1. Relationship Commitment- A willingness to work with the other person.
  2. Outcome Commitment- A willingness to work on a plan of action


The 6 Levels:


A highly committed person is an “activist” –someone who wants the plan or agreement to succeed. Activists will do whatever is required to make things happen in order to, “pull it off.” Caution needs to be observed as many activists have a tendency to take things too far and actually ruin the synergy of the Team


People who are enrolled are advocates to a degree. They want to achieve the plan, and work very hard to see that it is accomplished. In short, they will be low profile champions.


          Sponsors are supportive; they accept the challenge of the task, and they can visualize the benefits of doing so. They may not spend a lot of extra time and energy on the task, but they will meet the basic expectations and are valued by the group.


Actors go through the motions and make it appear as though they support the plan. Often times, the actor will give “lip service” to the task, but real action and commitment are not yet established.



Resistors don’t test at all; they don’t even want to try. Something is holding them back- apathy, lack of interest, low energy, lack of reward, fear of failure or they feel overloaded and are unable to prioritize. They likely won’t work on the plan at first, and they may take the position that no one can make them. Generally these people work under the “victim” mentality.


These are people who have no commitment or interest in seeing that the plan succeeds and may in fact work contrary to the consensus of the group. The rebel has a very clear and strong identity. They usually are proud of this identity and want to protect and uphold it at all costs.


Real lasting and deep commitment does take time to solidify and is not going to appear overnight. Just as a farmer must plant the seeds and water them, as well as allow the warmth of the sun’s ray to do their part; so too must the Coach, plant, nourish, and provide the supporting “rays” to your partner in coaching. Developing this mindset is a very satisfying process and sets a coach-minded person up for repeated success in all of their coaching relationships.

Until next time,


Common Leadership Mistakes, part 2

6. Misunderstanding Motivation

Do you know what truly motivates your team? Here’s a hint: chances are, it’s not just money!

Many leaders make the mistake of assuming that their team is only working for monetary reward. However, it’s unlikely that this will be the only thing that motivates them.

For example, people seeking a greater work/life balance might be motivated by telecommuting days or flexible working. Others will be motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise, or a sense of camaraderie. A great tool to help figure this out is an Extended DISC Profile! Contact us today to learn more!!

7. Hurrying Recruitment

When your team has a large workload, it’s important to have a full team. But filling a vacant role too quickly can be a disastrous mistake.

Hurrying recruitment can lead to recruiting the wrong people for your team: people who are uncooperative, ineffective or unproductive. They might also require additional training, and slow down others on your team. With the wrong person, you’ll have wasted valuable time and resources if things don’t work out and they leave. What’s worse, other team members will be stressed and frustrated by having to “carry” the under-performer.

You can avoid this mistake by learning how to recruit effectively, and by being particularly picky about the people you bring into your team.

8. Not “Walking the Walk”

If you make personal telephone calls during work time, or speak negatively about your CEO, can you expect people on your team not to do this too? Probably not!

As a leader, you need to be a role model for your team. This means that if they need to stay late, you should also stay late to help them. Or, if your organization has a rule that no one eats at their desk, then set the example and head to the break room every day for lunch. The same goes for your attitude – if you’re negative some of the time, you can’t expect your people not to be negative.

So remember, your team is watching you all the time. If you want to shape their behavior, start with your own. They’ll follow suit.

9. Not Delegating

Some managers don’t delegate, because they feel that no-one apart from themselves can do key jobs properly. This can cause huge problems as work bottlenecks around them, and as they become stressed and burned out.

Delegation does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly. But unless you delegate tasks, you’re never going to have time to focus on the “broader-view” that most leaders and managers are responsible for. What’s more, you’ll fail to develop your people so that they can take the pressure off you.

10. Misunderstanding Your Role

Once you become a leader or manager, your responsibilities are very different from those you had before.

However, it’s easy to forget that your job has changed, and that you now have to use a different set of skills to be effective. This leads to you not doing what you’ve been hired to do – leading and managing.

Key Points

We all make mistakes, and there are some mistakes that leaders and managers make in particular. These include, not giving good feedback, being too “hands-off,” not delegating effectively, and misunderstanding your role.

It’s true that making a mistake can be a learning opportunity. But, taking the time to learn how to recognize and avoid common mistakes can help you become productive and successful, and highly respected by your team!

Until next time, Lead on!!!


Common Leadership Mistakes

Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
– Oscar Wilde

It’s often said that mistakes provide great learning opportunities. However, it’s much better not to make mistakes in the first place!

In this blog, we’re looking at the first 5 of 10 of the most common leadership mistakes, and highlighting what you can do to avoid them.  Contact Ascend Business Strategies to learn effective ways to avoid these costly mistakes!!

1. Lack of Feedback

Sarah is a talented sales representative, but she has a habit of answering the phone in an unprofessional manner. Her boss is aware of this, but he’s waiting for her performance review to tell her where she’s going wrong. Unfortunately, until she’s been alerted to the problem, she’ll continue putting off potential customers.

According to 1,400 executives polled by The Ken Blanchard Companies, failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make. When you don’t provide prompt feedback to your people, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.

To avoid this mistake, learn how to provide regular feedback to your team.

2. Not Making Time for Your Team

When you’re a manager or leader, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don’t make yourself available to your team.

Yes, you have projects that you need to deliver. But your people must come first – without you being available when they need you, your people won’t know what to do, and they won’t have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives.

Avoid this mistake by blocking out time in your schedule specifically for your people, and by learning how to listen actively to your team. Develop your emotional intelligence so that you can be more aware of your team and their needs, and have a regular time when “your door is always open”, so that your people know when they can get your help. You can also use a 5 min morning rally combined with spot coaching throughout the day to stay in touch with your team.

Once you’re in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first – this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about!

3. Being Too “Hands-Off”

One of your Team Members has just completed an important project. The problem is that he misunderstood the project’s specification, and you didn’t stay in touch with him as he was working on it. Now, he’s completed the project in the wrong way, and you’re faced with explaining this to an angry client Many leaders want to avoid micromanagement. But going to the opposite extreme (with a hand-offs management style) isn’t a good idea either – you need to get the balance right.

4. Being Too Friendly

Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable to people in our team. After all, people are happier working for a manager that they get along with. However, you’ll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with your people. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss.

5. Failing to Define Goals

When your people don’t have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can’t be productive if they have no idea what they’re working for, or what their work means. They also can’t prioritize their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order.

Avoid this mistake by learning how to set SMART Goals for your team. Chart your course to specify where your team is going, and detail the resources it can draw upon.

Tomorrow we will look at the nest 5 common mistakes.

Until then, keep moving forward!


An Odd but True Equation

Success, often an elusive, far off land for some of us, seems so far off sometimes that we just give up and stop our pursuit of the destination we once treasured. Thomas Edison once said, ” Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”, how very true! We often let visible and invisible barriers stand in our way and then just feel like we can’t go on. Today I want to share a little equation, that if used during our life journey, will help ensure success in most everything we do. The equation is a simple one, 1+1+1= SUCCESS. Here is how it works:

1 Goal- If you start of with one well-defined Goal no matter whether in your life or work landscape, you have something to aim for. You will need to make the Goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound for it to have any true results. (See previous Blogs on S.M.A.R.T. Goals) To be successful in life we must have a Goal or targeted direction we are moving towards. Without this, life just happens and nothing lasting and impactful for the good ever really occurs. Then we look back and wonder why things didn’t work out better for us. The answer is simple, often, we just never set a Goal and followed through on it.

1 Moment- We need to realize that every moment of our lives is valuable and the decisions we make in those moments pattern our life direction. If we have laid the Goal of our life down and used the S.M.A.R.T. process to do this, it becomes much easier for us to make good, productive and progressive decisions in the moments of our lives. We begin to look at each decision with the question of, “Is this in line with my Goal or life purpose?” if it is, we move forward, if it isn’t we must be very careful not to deviate from our preset Goal or direction. Yes, one moment can make a difference! Think how many lives have been changed by an action done in just a fleeting moment, both for the good and the bad.

1 Small Repeated Step- This is the part that snags some of the people who made it through the other steps. Often it is taking that first step that causes us to miss success. Many things hamper that first step: fear, procrastination, smaller things that get in the way and sometimes peer pressure will cause us to back down. However, if we will take that first positive step in moving towards our Goal, we will find that obstacles mentioned above begin to appear smaller than they once did. We have to remember that at the base of most reasons why we don’t take that first step sits some type of fear. Also remember that fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real! Never be afraid to take that first step, just kind in mind that after that follows the second step. If you continue, you WILL find success!

Until next time, keep adding up to success!



If you are interested in how successes and successful people are made, I am here to help! I believe that the journey of success has 4 general ingredients that make the journey possible. The first letter of each of the four words make the acronym, M.A.D.E., see below:

M-Mindset. To be successful in anything one must first have the mindset to think big and out of the box. Success calls for exploring all avenues to reach your goals, no matter how unconventional they may seem. It is important to be open minded and ready to try new things as no one has a lock on total intelligence and creativity! Without an open mind, your success will be limited!

A-Attitude. Nothing can replace having a positive, can-do attitude! However, obtaining this type of attitude is often difficult for most people. Due to the negative slant the World we live in has, combined with the fact that, for what ever reason it is, we often find it our second nature to jump to a negative thought before we do a positive one. Negativity is so ingrained in our mind that studies show it takes 5 or more positive inputs to erase just 1 negative input. Astounding! So why not start today to retrain yourself, and apply a can do, positive attitude to all you attempt during your day!

D-Direction. It is always best to know where you are going, that way you will know when you have arrived! When setting out in life or on a project it is valuable to begin with the end result in mind and then you have a direction that you can follow right to the doorstep of success! Think about it this way: If you are going on a journey to a destination, which is more useful to have, a compass or a clock? You may make really good time, but it that won’t matter if you never arrive at where you originally wanted to go. Seek the compass and let it guide your footsteps to success! NEVER discount direction in your life.

E-Effort. This seems like a no brainer, but is often the area people lose footing in. Many a great idea has stalled out because someone was afraid to make the effort towards that first step. We can blame all kinds of things for why something doesn’t happen, or why we were unable to be successful in a certain area, but, blame is lame. This is exactly why effort is so crucial in the journey to success. Effort means taking the first step but also taking the second, third, forth and so on. Effort means when a roadblock comes up and it seems there is no way around, you don’t let that stop you. Successful people find ways around, over and through roadblocks. NOTHING will keep them from their goal! They recalculate, reformulate, rethink and reboot to a new and different strategy. We to need to never be deterred on our journey to success!

Until next time, apply this acronym to your life and soon see what a difference it has M.A.D.E.


In the Green Room

As I sit here watching the NFL Draft I am reminded of the amazing abilities that the human mind and body can accomplish! Some of the top picks in this years draft were assembled in the Green Room prior to their selection by a Team. In the Green Room the camera would show the player with their families receiving the call of a life time. They would be picked by a Team and then be informed of it by a personal phone call. After this the player would go on the stage and be given his team cap and his new team jersey. Once the fanfare was done, the commentators would begin talking about the players strengths and his areas of needed improvement.

I guess what was driven home to me was the fact that these men, who were the TOP in their positions, powerful in what they do and a force to be reckoned with, STILL need tremendous Coaching and work! Could it possibly mean that no matter how well a person does in their job, no matter how many records they may break, they could still benefit from targeted Coaching and challenging Goals?  Many times we look at our top performers and think that they have done all they need to do, or can do. This is NOT true! It is important to remember that human nature is to relax once we have reached the top and enjoy it. It is the job of the Leader to redirect the Team Member to continued progress. Indeed the Team Member needs the accolades they deserve but don’t forget to continue to challenge and encourage them to keep reaching higher.

The Players picked in the season’s draft have no doubt done great things, but now it is a new life for them in the days to come. If you are a Leader reading this I have a question for you, “Are you continually challenging, encouraging and coaching your top performers to keep achieving new Goals?”. If you are a Team Member reading this, I have a question for you, “Are you open to continued coaching, believing that indeed, no matter how well you have done or how long you have been around, you still have things to learn and goals to accomplish?”. I hope that which ever question pertained to you, you answered yes. In the world we operate in today, we have to continue to move forward and never rest on our heels. Jobs are too hard to come by and there is a pool of talent to choose from in the event your position needs to be filled. Don’t worry about that though. Just continue to grow and never look back except to learn from your experience! See you at the Top!!!

Until next time, strive to be in the Green Room with the Top Draft Picks!!