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I Love Monday's

Why I love Mondays

Why I love Monday’s Monday’s are the best day of the week. I have had this belief for at least the last 15 years. Why, you may ask, are you MAD I see a few of you muttering. Let me take you back to around 15ish years ago, it was a time when I hated Monday’s, I hated getting up for work, I hated work, in fact I hated the whole day. Nothing ever went right on a Monday, I would be chewed out by my line manager more on a Monday than any other day of the week. I would have more customer complaints, more staffing issues; you get the idea, sounds familiar? For me the need to change my mind-set became apparent and with some urgency when my wife asked me “why are you so grumpy? My reply went along the lines of how I hated Monday’s and spouted all of the above to her, to which she replied “I know, you have always hated Monday’s but, today is Sunday, we should be enjoying the day” not feeling resentful or depressed that the following day was Monday. I had transferred the Monday blues to a Sunday, my day of rest, day of fun with the family, I decided at that point that something had to change and that change would have to around my beliefs of what a Monday should be. I started off by creating a mantra that I would recite every Sunday night and Monday morning, “I love Monday’s, this day will be my most favourite and best day of the week”, did this work? NO it did not, I found that I was still to dragging myself out of bed every Monday morning. I then started to think of how my perfect day at work would look, feel and sound like. As soon as I had this in mind I would use this with my mantra every Sunday night and Monday morning and my attitude and behaviour started to change, I still hated Monday’s but something was changing. My final part of the jigsaw, to love Monday’s was to plan fun activities around this day at work, I would save some of the tasks that I really liked completing and do on a Monday (for me it was usually people development) I also started going to the GYM before work on Mondays only, raise my serotonin levels. I implemented a no complaining rule for this day, it was called a “solution only day” none of the team were allowed to present issues or problems without having at least 2 solutions. After a period of time, I didn’t think of Monday’s as a chore, it became a fun day, a day that I looked forward to because I changed my beliefs, my attitude, my language and most importantly my behaviour. When I initially started telling my peers that I loved Monday’s, that it was “the start of new possibilities” I was looked at as if I was MAD. Within a short period of time I would receive Monday morning calls from a couple of peers asking me to motivate them, unknowingly I had become the “Monday man” The best thing to happen to me by loving this day of the week was I was able to claim my Sunday back; I started having fun with the family again. 15 years later I didn’t need the mantras, I didn’t need to plan a great day on Monday, as every day has become a Monday. Am I saying that everything goes right every Monday? NO, but I still manage to have fun and enjoy the start of the working week, every week. My journey to enjoy this was not an easy one, but I knew I had to change and that was the key, the change had to come from me, as soon as I started I realised that this process was about my behaviour and my attitude. Change your behaviour, change you life

The Most Powerful Word in Leadership

Does this scene sound familiar, you are in your office and you hear a knock on the door, several thoughts go through your mind at the same time. 1. I don’t have time for this intrusion 2. I have a busy workload today 3. I have several reports to finish off for my boss 4. Why did I tell everyone I have an open door policy? 5. They ask for 5 minutes but take 20 As always, you ask the visitor to come in and there it is, the dreaded question, “Hi, do you have a spare 5 minutes, I need to run something by you”. You’re normal reply, “of course I do, COME IN” (bloody open door policy, back to haunt me again) 20 to 30 minutes later your visitor leaves happy that you have given them great advice and your valuable time, now it’s time to work at warp factor 9 (sorry for the Star Trek reference) to catch up and achieve your timescales for your reports. The magic word that you should have used and should use more is NO, it’s OK to use this word, really it is, even with an open door policy you can still tell your employees NO “at the moment I don’t have 5 minutes to spare”. You can back that up with agreeing a suitable time that fits into your schedule when you are less busy. This way you still give them the quality time they ask for but its now on your terms at a time and date that suits you. I worked in transport and logistics for 25 years and at one particular company I was leading and managing a very large site, I was on 9 different projects teams and part of 3 feasibility studies at the same time. I had a review meeting with my then line manager who was not happy with the current performance of my site compliance, costs and service had taken a dip in the past month and he wanted to explore my recovery actions. At this session I told him that I had spent only 6 days in the past 2 months on site due to the plethora of projects he asked me to be on. During this same meeting he asked me to represent him on another two projects and take his place on the senior management daily conference call (which was another one hour preparation each day at least). When I say he asked me, this was the exact words “I need you to represent me on two projects as I don’t have the time and also for you to take my place on the daily senior managers conference call, it will be really good for your profile” There it was, that word “PROFILE” I had been seduced by the thought of being thought of as the go to guy, the next best thing in the region and company, was I being played? During our meeting I negotiated myself out of 8 of the 9 projects, I plucked up the courage to say NO to the other 2 he wanted me on and also said NO to the daily conference call, My first time saying NO was hard, it was nerve wracking and challenging but I felt relieved and proud of myself for using this very powerful small word. As soon I used this once, the gloves were off. I had unleashed the NO monster inside me. I was always very polite and professional when turning down opportunities and projects, but I had the confidence to look at each request and see if I thought it add value to me and if it would affect my day job. Did this affect my profile, NO, it had the opposite affect, I was still seen as the go to guy but was not seen as a manager that could be dumped upon. The language of my line manager changed towards me, he started asking “Do you have time in your schedule to represent me at this project or meeting” WOW. I had taken control of the relationship at last and all it took was putting two letters together. N and O. Now, the best part, you too have it within you to take control of your career, work-life and your relationship with your boss. Like me I bet most of the time you say out load to yourself; “There is not enough hours in the day to get everything done” There is, you just need to be a little selfish with your time, here are 5 tips on how to claim back valuable time. 1. Put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on your office door and communicate the meaning to everyone 2. If you have a deadline that is either past due or nearly due, give your mobile (Cell) phone to someone you trust and ask them to take messages until you are finished 3. If you are working on a project and the deadline is imminent, put your out of office message on your email or turn it off until you are finished 4. Read “eat that frog by Brian Tracy”, never put off your projects to the last minute, take ownership of them and get them done with time to spare. 5. Work from a calendar or a daily TO – DO list, this will help you plan your time more effectively OK, so the most powerful word you have in your leadership arsenal from today onwards is the word NO, use it to your advantage, use it to reschedule meeting with your team (always reschedule, never ignore), use it to create a different relationship and conversation with your line manager. I promise you this, if you respect this word and use it properly it will change your life forever and will aid your career progression not hinder it. I am a personal branding coach, I work with managers from all levels and across various industries working on their skills, their confidence and their performance. I have introduced this word into so many managers language and watched their career soar from that day onwards. “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” Josh Billings Check out my new book: Brand You New – You’re Hired SWS Coaching Ltd

Branding is not just for cattle

Personal Branding When you hear the word branding what’s the first thing you think of? Some will think it’s a method used to mark cattle and take ownership, others think of large companies and the image they use to be noticed in the marketplace. Either one is accurate but both have relevance as to why we should usethis in our search for employment in an ever – competitive job market. We are all too aware of how hard the current economic climate is with the bellows of austerity being citied by our politicians and every newspaper and programme highlighting the struggles of a generation. Zero hour contracts have offered little financial security and low-income earners are now turning to food banks to feed their families. The ONS (office for national statistics) has just released figures of unemployment running at 1.91 million. So with so many challenges facing us today is it little wonder that people are ill prepared for the fierce recruitment process. As a personal branding coach and author of new book “Brand You New –You’re Hired”, I will over the next few months share my knowledge and give you the essential tools to enable you to stay ahead of the competition and get that job. But let’s start at why branding is as important to you as an individual as it is to large organizations like Apple and coca cola. Branding is all about defining who you are and what you stand for. It allows you to identify yourself as being unique and memorable, which is true whether you are one person or a huge corporation but ultimately it’s about becoming the candidate that just has to be hired. Jeff Bezo, the founder of Amazon once said “ Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. In the interview process you want to be the one that they are talking about for all the right reasons. As we have just seen with the end of another Celebrity Big Brother, Perez (love him or hate him will be remembered) and talked about for maybe not the right reasons. So when we think about being memorable, consider your personality/ brand carefully. When you think about how to brand yourself, always start by creating a U.S.P (unique selling point). To do this think about what skills, attributes and abilities you have that will not only look great on your CV but can be used to give you confidence at your interviews. Often people are unsure about how or why they are unique, it’s just not the British way to gush and tell everyone how brilliant we think we are. But we need to adopt our American counterparts bravado and develop the inner strength to almost shout out how great we are and how many wonderful skills/qualities we have. When many of my clients struggle on this area I discuss the following points to help them break it down and come up with a plan: If you feel unsure on what attributes and abilities you possess, think about someone who inspires you, what traits do they have and work towards adopting similar ones. Think of all your skills and experience and then add to it what makes you unique and memorable. In an increasingly saturated market, hiring companies are looking to reduce their time by scanning and discarding poorly presented and content lacking CV’s. Make yours count. A saxophone-playing accountant is more memorable to a potential interviewer after the hundreds read. If you feel you are weaker in certain areas, look to strengthen them. Consider trying out new possibilities, like volunteering, this can help you gain a multitude of skills and organizations will see this in a positive light. Start a course if this will help you secure a role you want or ask somebody who has the position or skills you desire to mentor you. One of the exercises I give to my clients is to consider everything above and write a personal statement taking into account your skills and personal achievements/qualities. Over time this statement will change as you learn more and take on new roles and activities but for now write based on your current knowledge. Ask friends/family or work colleagues to look it over to see if there is anything missing and when you feel you have honed the piece to truly represent you, rehearse it like the words of a play. The reason behind this exercise is that it develops not only the knowledge of your experience but it gives confidence to use this with ease at any interviews you attend. Part of creating your brand is to understand who you are and what makes you special, desirable and the only person for the job and being able to execute delivery at an interview with confidence. So try this out for yourself, if you are weak in any areas, as in you feel you need to retrain, then look at this as a goal. For now write it with what you have, taking your hobbies and life skills into account. You will be amazed at how well you look on paper and practice reading this to anyone prepared to listen. “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. – Walt Disney