60-Day Review – How is 2020 Working Out For You?

The best way to make things happen is to clearly define them and ensure you constantly track them.

As we approach the first 60 days of a new year, challenge yourself to stop and notice how things are going. Ask yourself:

  • Did you clearly define what you want to do, achieve or be in 2020?
  • What’s working in your actions to achieve what you want for 2020?
  • What’s not working in your actions to achieve what you want for 2020?

Each month can serve as a great review point to help you assess your progress. When things seem to be going well, take the time to applaud yourself for your successes. When things feel stuck or not moving as fast as you’d like, take the time to make any realignments or changes necessary to achieve your goals.

Let’s look at an example to see how you can apply this to your specific goals and actions.

Let’s say that your focus for the first 60 days of 2020 was to listen more effectively to your employees.  Your specific goal was to look at the people you work with when they talk to you to get better at comprehending the information they are sharing while also improving your connection with them. You want to increase your attention by looking at them instead of trying to do several things at once. Good goal.

60 days into this goal, how are you doing?

Before you can confidently state that you’re doing well or not, create a list of what’s working and what’s not working.

Review what is working in the way you are listening. List the changes or improvements you are making and the impact on your communication with others. Why are they working? How will you keep these going?

Then, review what is not working in the way you are listening. Select something from this list and brainstorm ways to improve it. You may consider leaving a note on your computer that reminds you to stop working and look at your employee. You may consider sharing with employees that you want them to remind you when they see you are not present and listening. You may consider making it a requirement to repeat back or paraphrase what employees say to you as means to force yourself to pay closer attention. From this list of options, select one, build a plan and go implement it.

Then use the next month end (or sooner if your goal is more urgent) to review your progress.

Use this approach to check-in on yourself for any goal you identify. If you decided it was important enough to create a goal in 2020, it is important enough to create a review process to assess your progress.

Most of the time, we miss our goals is because our old habits take over. Interrupt your habits by creating a stronger and shorter review process so you are clearer about your progress and faster in your review to be able to do more of what is working or to realign if necessary.

Take Action
Create a goal follow-up process to be sure you are making progress. Celebrate successes. Brainstorm new approaches to missed goals. Know your progress and you will rock your goals in 2020, whether personal or professional.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading You Can’t Improve on Something You Don’t Measure

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Don’t Just Capture the Moment. Be in the Moment

Technology – it is like a Dickens novel; it is the best of times and the worst of times. It can do so many great things for us while simultaneously turning us into zombies who move through life capturing where we are but never really experiencing it.

We have all become chroniclers – more ready to tell and show people what we are doing and experiencing instead of actually doing and experiencing. We rush to post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter without realizing we’re only sharing part of what really happened.

Before you say, “That’s not me!” think about it. Go to any great party, national monument or famous place. Eat at an amazing restaurant. Stand on the shores of a great beach. Fly over the mountains. See your son or daughter take their first steps. See a famous painting or sculpture. See something really unusual or unique. In all of these, do you reach for your phone to document what is going on so you can share it?

We spend so much time trying to record the moment that we forget to be in the moment, to really experience it. All of the emotions, sensations and observations.

Memories come from experiences. Sure, we can look back at a picture, but it would be better to spend less time trying to get the perfect shot in favor of being fully present to what the moment, location and experience is giving you. Smell the aromas. Taste the environment. Connect with the people. Feel the wind, the breeze, the rain, the sun, the snow or whatever else is part of the moment. Each of these make the moment. Each of these contribute to the memory. These are the things a picture or video can’t give back.

Just for a moment, presume you don’t have access to your phone or tablet. You have no way to document this exact moment other than to be fully present to it – to notice every detail using all of your senses. Take a breath and take it all in. This exact moment is making a great recording in your mind that will show up many times in your life. Moreover, this moment will feel full – exciting – joyful. You see more, feel more and experience more than if you act as if you are on the tour bus trying to get the best shot of the Eiffel Tower or a Dutch windmill. More will happen in this moment than you can capture in an image. Be in the moment to gather all it has for you.

Our technology gives us amazing abilities. But just like with anything, there are often challenges that come from too much good. In this case, too much technology can rob us from our personal connections with others (face-to-face conversations) and the things we experience in the moments of our lives. Wouldn’t it be better to share a story of all that you fully experienced instead of quickly showing a photo? Others will experience more of what you experienced as you fill in the details of the more robust experience. Help them feel what you felt. Help them experience what you experienced. That can only happen if you choose to experience it instead of focusing on recording it.

Take Action
Challenge yourself to put your phone down for a set amount of time during the day. Maybe you start by saying no phones at the dinner table. Maybe it’s for one hour after dinner while you read, do something around the house or pursue a hobby. Each day, add 5 minutes to that time. You’ll find in just a few weeks that your phone is a piece of technology you value and appreciate instead of lean on. You’ll find you have a greater sense of self and your relationships will benefit by putting the phone away. You’ll find you have greater memories of each moment you got back that week.

Give it a try. Tell us how it goes.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Your Check Engine Light

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Create a Thankless Day Celebration

Holidays are great. They serve as reminders of the important things that interrupt our busy schedules. But when you take a deeper look at most holidays, they really suggest a different perspective for the entire year, not just on the specific holiday. Look at Thanksgiving, for example.

Once a year, we force ourselves to remember to be grateful for how much we have, a departure from most of the other days when we dwell on what we don’t have, what is missing, what is wrong or what is disappointing about life. But on Thanksgiving, that one special day every year, we refocus on what is going right, who in our lives are amazing and, overall, how blessed and fortunate we are.

So, here is an idea. What if we had one day to celebrate everything that is wrong with our lives, our relationships, our work and our choices. Just one day. And then for the remaining 364 days, we focused on what about work and life was good, upbeat, successful and engaging. I know that for those who implemented this and did it with intention find they could start their day off with a list of the things they are grateful for, to see past the negative and focus on the positive.

So mark you day on the calendar – your Thankless Day. Celebrate it any way you want. Complain. Cry. Vent. Scream. Get it all out.

But when it is over, it is over for 364 more days. Committing to a Thankless Day, and to do it with intention, would allow us to not just look at the people in our lives, but to really see them, to see how they add value and make life better. We would look at the things we have and notice how much we have, not what is lacking. We would see others for their potential and not for their flaws. We would notice the remarkable quality and choice of food we have instead of complaining about what we don’t have.

Over time, with both practice and intention, you won’t see the need for a Thankless Day. You’ll start to see life as neutral; that it just happens and is not out to get us. You’ll start to see past the aggravations, frustrations and irritations that mark most of our days and instead see all the good.

Take Action
Make it your intention to adopt a thankful mentality for every day of the year. Start small; make it an intentional effort for the first few days of the New Year, bringing your thankful mentality with you after the holidays are done. See how you feel. Notice how others around you are impacted and respond.

Commit to seeing the value, greatness and possibility in your life. Don’t make the thankful days the exception; make thankful days the norm and make the thankless days the exception. Over time, you will not find the need to have a Thankless Day.

By Jay Forte

This article originally appeared on Thrive Global on February 3, 2020: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/create-a-thankless-day-celebration/.

Consider reading Your Check Engine Light

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You May Be the Reason Your Employees are Job-Hunting

I know managers and leaders work hard. The number of important decisions that need to happen in a day are staggering. But I firmly believe that there are few decisions more important than those relating to your people (i.e. your talent).

It is your people who make the important connections with your customers, improve your processes, invent new services and do most everything the organization needs to thrive. What are you doing to ensure you are building a strong and supportive relationship with each? If you’re not making this a priority, the truth is that your top talent is likely job-hunting.

Stop and notice how you interact and treat your people. If you are doing any of the following, there is a good chance your best employees are job-hunting:

  • Not treating your employees as people, but instead as resources used to achieve your goals.
  • Forgetting to applaud exceptional work and instead only finding fault and highlighting shortcomings.
  • Losing your cool instead of managing your emotions.
  • Telling, controlling and directing instead of asking, guiding and coaching.
  • Not taking the time to know who your employees are – what they are good at, interested in and what matters to them – and using that information to build better and more authentic relationships with them.
  • Not providing supportive or corrective feedback in a way that helps your employees do more great things and improve and grow where and when needed.

The greatest resource an organization has is its people – their knowledge, passion, experience and commitment. It is a requirement of all leaders and managers to look in the mirror and assess what is working and not working in the way they connect with and activate their employees. If it is ineffective, they are likely encouraging their employees to leave.

Remember: people quit people before they quit companies. In a low unemployment workplace, organizations are poaching great talent from average companies. Managers and leaders who don’t build and sustain strong relationships with their employees become victims of poaching. 

Take Action
Spend time with three of your best employees. Get their fair assessment of the way you manage, lead, engage, activate and inspire them. Don’t refute their comments; simply appreciate the feedback and improve what needs improving. Without this exercise done periodically throughout the year, you will find yourself spending your time hiring their replacements.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How to Get The People Thing Right for Your Business

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Own It

I recently caught up on Schitt’s Creek. For those of you who haven’t seen it (and I highly recommend you do!), here’s a quick summary: a very wealthy family loses everything due to [intentional] errors from their business manager. They move to a small town called Schitt’s Creek that they bought as a joke years before. They experience a variety of quirky events and learn how to be a family.

One of the greatest storylines that I honestly feel is underplayed is the relationship between David and Alexis (siblings). Though they argue and tease, their appreciation for each other runs deep. In one scene in particular, David calls out Alexis, claiming that her whole life has been easy, saying that she just “skates through life.”

She responds, “No I don’t. I walk through life in great shoes.”

This whole interaction was amazing. Not only was it incredibly funny and touching, but it also served as a great reminder of the impact a single person can have on you.

Look at David’s statement: “you skate through life.” In his mind, his sister had it easy. She never had to work hard, never had to figure things out for herself to make a situation better. He felt the responsibility was always on him. He represents the external view – what others see and think of us.

Alexis’ response is a very strong and productive internal view. She is so confident and sure of who she is that she knows how life really is for her and owns it. She takes what comes her way and does what she needs to with it to continue living her life according to her terms. She knows how to make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons. And perhaps the most important part of this exchange? She was not swayed by his comments. She answered him confidently and moved on.

Just imagine if we could be this way with ourselves. Unphased by what others think of us. Unphased by who the world tells us we need to be, how we need to think, how we should live. Imagine if you could confidently own your life. I like the phrase “personal philosophy” that Psychologist Michael Gervais wrote about in Harvard Business Review. He explained, “Most of us go through life with a general sense of who we are, and, in a lot of circumstances, that’s enough. We get by. But if you want to be your best while being less fearful of people’s opinions, you need to develop a stronger and much deeper sense of who you are.”

Take Action
Our mission in 2020 is to gain clarity about who we are and what we want our life to be like. Take some time this week to really challenge yourself to define who you are. What are your greatest likes? Dislikes? What is one thing you are most confident doing? Why?

Start to build a clearer picture of who you are. Get to know the real you. And own it.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading The Year to Get Clear

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3 Ways A Coach Can Help You Succeed

We all have a lot on our plates. Work, life, relationships – the responsibilities never end. Even on good days, our responsibilities can leave us with little time to think, plan or achieve beyond the bare minimum. We get stopped by challenges and obstacles. We get overwhelmed by commitments. We get blindsided by the unplanned or inconvenient. And every night, we fall into bed wondering what happened, and how did we get here.

Does this sound like you?

Life comes at you fast. That isn’t going to change – in fact, it will likely get faster. What can change, however, is how you get ready to be in this game of life – to live it like it matters, to achieve your goals and live to your potential.

The good news is you have an ally in this game to help you implement this change: a professional coach.

Working with a coach gives you access to getting clear on what you want most in life. Through a guided, thought-provoking conversation, you start to better understand yourself – your strengths, passions, liabilities and triggers – and understand how to overcome any obstacles that may be stopping you from getting whatever it is you’ve identified as what you want most in life. Whether it’s a small goal or navigating a big life change, whether it’s something at work or in life, a coach can help you get clear and stay focused on what you really want. But the really big differentiator of hiring a coach is that they hold you accountable to your actions so you can reach your goals.

Working with a Forte Factor coach takes this a step further by giving you access to the only tools you’ll ever need to navigate real life: awareness and confidence. Forte Factor coaches are trained to help you discover, develop and live your potential by expanding your self-knowledge, self-belief and self-confidence. These help you become more aware of yourself, your world and how to connect the two for your greatest impact.

So what does this really mean? And what does this look like?

Here are three ways a coach can help you succeed:

  1. A coach helps you see things clearly.
    • Develop your awareness and self-awareness to more accurately see and understand your world and yourself, and more wisely connect them to achieve your goals.
    • Identify and focus on what’s important and meaningful to you personally and professionally.
    • Clearly define and state what you want (your goals) and honestly review your current performance (what’s working and not working) so you can build a practical plan to close the gap between the two.
    • See and understand your strengths and talents to know what to lead with to achieve your goals.
    • See and understand your challenges, triggers and blind spots that get in your way from achieving your goals so you can manage them.
    • See the limits you impose on yourself to empower you to move past them.
  2. A coach encourages expansive thinking.
    • Imagine and see what is possible instead of just what is.
    • Discuss potential and possibilities instead of doing enough to get by.
    • Understand limits you impose on yourself and what life and work without limits could look like.
  3. A coach holds you accountable.
    • Create meaningful and realistic performance expectations and the commitments needed to achieve the expectations.
    • Create clear performance metrics and measurements to assess progress and performance that come from knowing you well.
    • Communicates candidly, clearly and directly about achieving defined expectations.

Life is difficult. There is so much coming at you from every direction that it is easy to get overwhelmed, distracted or to even feel like giving up. By working with a coach, you can get the guidance to keep things in perspective, learn how to be confident in a noisy and distracting world and achieve the things that really matter to you.

Take Action
Start a conversation with a Forte Factor coach to learn how our coaching approach can help you develop greater awareness of you, your goals and your current situation, and guide you to moving yourself to the areas that will make work and life successful for you.

Read our case studies and client testimonials.

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Great Job Candidates Won’t Wait

The best job candidates won’t wait for your slow hiring process. Sure, it makes sense for your hiring process to be thorough and methodical. After all, you are adding talent to your organization and talent is key to your ability to drive performance and achieve goals.

However, today’s fast-paced world demands that your hiring process be both effective and efficient; it must move quickly because the best talent rarely stays available for long.

Here are 4 steps to increase the speed of your hiring process without sacrificing the quality of your new hires.

  1. Build a performance profile on every role in the organization. A performance profile clearly defines the tasks and expectations of the role, as well as the attributes required to do the role well (talents, skills, education, experience). Having the performance profiles completed means you’ll always be ready to source talent for an open role and be clear about what is required to be successful in the role. In short, you will know what the role does and who fits.
  2. Create the interview structure for each job. Using the performance profile as your starting point, define the attributes you want and need to assess to determine a candidate’s fit for the role in your organization. Build an interview using segments, where each segment defines what will be assessed, by whom and for how long. In the segments that use questions, create the questions to ask. In the interview segments that use activities, define the specific activity. Defining and preparing these in advance gives you the ability to quickly activate them when a strong candidate appears.
  3. Train the interview team. Yes, everyone is busy with their regular work, but your employees are key players in accurately assessing job candidates. Help your team understand the impact of hiring quality talent and train them how to do their specific part (i.e. segment) of the interview process. Pro tip: splitting up the interview segments encourages employee interviewers to make time when they are needed because one person or role is not leaned on too heavily. They have clear guidance in what to ask or do, and what specific attributes to be aware of or assess for. Dividing the interview into segments and limiting employee participation to a segment or two, encourages a faster (and more dynamic) response.  
  4. Share the hiring process with your candidate. Be up front and clear about your process and the components the candidate will participate in. Stay in constant touch with the candidate. Keep them informed of schedules. Value their time by keeping your interview to its scheduled time. Live to your word. Be sure your hiring process models your workplace culture in the way you connect and interact with the candidate. Document your full candidate hiring process and the time the hiring team will meet to share their comments about each candidate. Urgency and transparency matters.

The low unemployment rate has the workplace back in a war for talent. So, when a passive job candidate becomes an active job candidate, it is important that your hiring process isn’t the reason you lose good candidates. Remember, most great candidates are already interacting with other organizations.

Take Action
Commit to a sound and efficient process that lets you connect with candidates, efficiently gather information, and accurately assess abilities, respond to questions and make decisions quickly. Great people don’t wait. Be sure your hiring process is effective AND efficient to be responsive to today’s workplace.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Win in the War for Talent

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This article first appeared on Vistage’s Talent Strategies Network on January 21, 2020.

Kindness Spoken Here

In places where multiple cultures are prevalent, or if it’s a frequent vacation destination, it is not unusual to see signs that say si parla Italiano, se habla Espanol, or even English spoken here. It is a welcome sign when you are in a place that does not speak your language. You know this is a place where you will be understood.

This had me thinking. What if in every household, workplace and commercial location, there was a sign posted, Kindness Spoken Here. Here, we watch, listen, care and respond with kindness, concern and respect.

Imagine how things would be different.

I travel during many weeks every year, so many weeks that Southwest Airlines and Marriott really like me. But it’s not the reward points that I review at the end of each trip, it’s the behaviors of those around me. In all of my trips speaking to groups, organizations, parents and CEOs, I routinely have the opportunity to witness how we interact and communicate with each other. Most of us are moving through life on a mission – head down and pushing ahead or looking at a phone walking in a way that would not pass a sobriety test. We are unaware of others, bumping into them, racing to beat them to a line, ensuring that we get what we want before assessing or responding to what they want. Rarely do we watch for the places to help others, let alone even acknowledge them. If one of the most important things we can do in life is to notice, encourage and support the greatness in others, it can’t happen if we aren’t aware of and committed to kindness in our interactions. Kindness is the key to the door to connection and relationship.

How do you develop the Kindness Spoken Here mindset? Here are three ideas.

  1. Don’t be cheap with a smile. This is the best and most inexpensive value builder on the planet. When you smile, you positively affect the moods of others. It is called emotional contagion. When you smile, you subconsciously invite others to join you in a positive and supportive emotion. As you smile and receive one back, you are also benefited from your action. And another benefit: it has the power to relax or undo a negative emotion in someone else.
  2. Don’t be cheap with a greeting or kind word. After a simple smile, offer a kind word. Express interest in them by asking how they are, how their day is, or, my favorite, what is the best thing that has happened to you today? Silent smiles are good, but smiles accompanied by a kind greeting are better. Connecting through actions and words improves the quality of connection with others, whether friends or strangers.
  3. Don’t be cheap with a simple act of kindness. Hold the door for someone. Let someone in ahead of you in traffic. Help someone with a bag, box or suitcase. Chat with them while waiting in whatever line you find yourself in. Express an interest in the lives of others and you will notice how similar we all are: looking to do our best in world that moves fast and can be impersonal.

With a focus on kindness, it’s more likely that you will see the greatness surface in others. As they respond, you are changed for good.

Take Action
Post Kindness Spoken Here at your home, office, car or school. Use the sign as a reminder to always watch and focus on how you speak, connect and interact with others. Lead with kindness.

This week, make a commitment to smile more, use kind and supportive words (instead of critical words), and do things to help others. It will be appreciated and will be paid forward. Great things always start small and catch on because they are great. Kindness can start small and grow into a family, company, school, town or even country that leaves others and ourselves better.

Speak the language of kindness and you will change yourself and your world.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How Your Memories of Childhood Can Improve Your Future

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The Year to Get Clear

If you don’t enter a destination, your GPS is of little service. If you don’t create a goal, you don’t know where or how to focus your energy and activity. If you don’t have a purpose, you get pushed to-and-fro at the whim of the world around you.

With 2020 now here and its reminder of good vision, this is your year to get clear.

Where do you start to get clear? By deciding what you want to have happen this year – what outcome, success or achievement – would make this a good year?  

No one else can define this for you, but it is a necessary first step to help you get clear about you. From there, you can more confidently work on getting clear about what you want, what fits you and what makes life good for you. When you figure that out, you can determine where you are and what you need to do or make happen so you can move to where you want to be.

To help you get started, consider an approach that  I routinely share with my coaching clients. It goes like this: Imagine it is December 31, 2020. The entire year has gone by. You take a moment and realize what a great year this has been.

Now ask yourself: what happened to make it a great year? What were you clear about that helped you to make wise and sound decisions? What were you clear about to help you make progress on meaningful personal and professional goals? How did you grow, improve and make progress to be the best you or to be the person you want to be?

Think Personally

Complete a mental 360-degree walk around your life using the prompts below. Reflect on your response to each of the prompts. Consider recording your thoughts to help you see a more complete picture.

What do you want to happen this year in your life…

  • With your health?
  • With your family?
  • With your friends and / or colleagues?
  • With your finances?
  • With your school, college or other educational focus?
  • With your leisure time?
  • With your career direction?
  • With your sense of life purpose?

Think Professionally

Complete a mental 360-degree walk around your professional life using the prompts below. Reflect on your response to each of the prompts. Consider recording your thoughts to help you see a more complete picture.

What do you want to happen this year in your work…

  • With your career path?
  • With your salary or compensation?
  • With your relationship with the organization and management?
  • With your impact?
  • With your skill development?
  • With your interactions with colleagues?
  • With your retirement?

Take Action
It is your choice. Don’t let others take control of this for you. Make the time to get clear to boldly and confidently define your directions. With this, you dramatically improve the ability to achieve what you want so when you get to December 31, 2020, you can reflect on the year and confidently state that you had a most amazing year.

Need help getting started? Learn more about 2020 Vision and contact us to schedule your first discovery coaching call.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 2020 Vision – The Year to Get Clear About The Things that Matter

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Your Check Engine Light

We don’t come equipped with a user’s manual that gives us the information we need to develop our natural strengths and talents. We don’t come with insight into cheat codes, telling us how to advance to the next level faster and better prepared. We don’t come with warning lights or alarms telling us we’re going in the wrong direction or that we’re pushing ourselves too hard, burning the candle at both ends, as they say.

But something we do come equipped with is a “check engine light.” Feeling out of place? It’s your check engine light telling you the fit isn’t right. Feeling run down and tired? It’s your check engine light reminding you of the importance of self-care. Feeling empowered and excited about something? It’s your check engine light telling you you’ve found your passion, your strength, the area where you’ll thrive. 

Learn to recognize when your check engine light comes on. This is what we call the Stop and Notice moment. It’s a moment when something happens that brings your attention to how you’re thinking or feeling about a situation or event.

The check engine light isn’t always a bad thing. It is just a reminder, an interruption that asks you to pay attention. Stop and Notice what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what’s happening around you. Consider why you think or feel this way. Consider how it could be better or how you can take advantage of a good situation. Then choose – with intention – how to move forward, how to make the next moment the best it can be with all the information you have. Learn from a challenge or uncomfortable feeling. Celebrate a success or opportunity.

Take Action
Pay attention to what your emotions, thoughts and feelings are telling you. Feeling good? Why? Not feeling good, balanced or happy? Why?

How does your check engine light appear to you? Challenge yourself to identify how your check engine light appears to you. Once you see it, it’s hard to miss.

The check engine light is your signal, your reminder to pay attention to what moves you forward. Without some regular maintenance, you just might break down.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Here’s Your Permission Slip

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