Letter from the Editor
Very recently I returned from a week long trip to Southern California where Susan and I spent time with all 3 of our children, Susan’s mom, and other extended family members. We had a fabulous time being with each other, and what I realized is how much we miss when we rely solely on electronics to keep us connected. Yes, living in Montana and with our family spread out in other places, electronics allow us to have a connection that wouldn’t exist otherwise, and for that I am very thankful! However, nothing compares to really being with those we love. Whether it is hearing their voice or seeing their faces or being able to have more than a “virtual” hug.
We miss out on so much when we text instead of picking up the phone and actually speaking to someone. We receive only partial truths when we rely on status updates through Facebook to tell us what is going on in the lives of those we care about. We miss out on learning something or making a difference when we sit in the park and check Twitter, instead of getting a real, live update from the person sitting next to us. We have become so attached to the technology available to us, that we miss out on connecting in a much more meaningful way!
So, my challenge to us all is to put down your phone, shut off your computer, look up at the world around you, and really BE with those you are with, and when electronics are the only option you have for connecting with someone, absolutely do reach out, but do so in the most meaningful way possible!
Our lives are filled with moments of time that we can never regain. So, use them wisely and don’t allow the technology that has invaded our lives to filter and diminish the relationships you have with others.
Clay S. Nelson
Change Does Not Equal Challenge
Change is something every person deals with on a regular basis, and I’m not talking about the stuff that jingles in your pocket. I’m talking about those things that happen each and every moment of the day that effects absolutely everything you do from your relationships to the amount of sleep you get to how stressed you feel and the amount of fun you have. So, if change is a major constant in life, why not address it head on rather than making a fruitless attempt to hide in hopes of change passing you by?
Tips to prepare for and manage change:
Tip #1: Acknowledge Change!
If you turn a blind eye to all of things you have going on in your life, change will come as a surprise, and often it isn’t the kind of surprise we enjoy! Prepare for whatever change you may be facing by thinking through all of your commitments, writing them down on paper, and creating a timeline of what needs to be done, by-when in order to manage it all! (It is called a plan!) In doing so, you are choosing to be an emissary of change instead of a victim of it! Make the choice to be in action vs. reaction. When it comes to change, the most effective place to be is in action.
Tip #2: Have a plan!
It is much easier to not become overwhelmed when you have a plan that clearly defines your priorities, and the moves you have to make in order to meet the commitments you already have!
Without a plan and a clear picture of what you have to do and by-when, it is very easy to get overcommitted! With a plan and a clear picture of what you have to do and by-when, you know what you have to do, and you can even share it with others!
Which leads me to the next tip…
Tip #3: Give up the Only I Can Do It Syndrome!
ASK FOR THE HELP YOU NEED! Remember: If you could get to where you are going by yourself, you’d be there already.
Change comes at us from all different places. Whether it is a change in the season, which brings with it a change in activities, or a change in your relationships, where you live, or the job you perform, change doesn’t have to equal Challenge. If you plan for the changes you know are on the horizon, and choose to be in action instead of reaction, change becomes your friend instead of your foe!
Think about the changes that are ahead in your life. Ask yourself:
- What changes are coming up for me personally?
- Is there a change in my business that I need to prepare for (more travel, change in responsibilities, etc.)?
- What changes are coming up for my children or other family members that I need to be prepared for?
Then write down what those changes are and how you are going to manage them, what you need to do/what actions you need to take, and what help you need to ask for!
With finger-tip access to the Internet, instant messaging, email, voice calls, computer games, Skype, Face Time, and everything in between, the distractions we have at work aren’t limited to office gossip that takes place around the coffee maker on Monday mornings! More and more team leaders are finding their team members wasting their day away, instead of being focused on their responsibilities to the team and the company they work for.
Whether you manage a “virtual” team or your team is all in one location, the key to keeping everyone focused, on track, and not daydreaming is the same… communication!
First, management and supervisory team members should have regular meetings (daily or weekly, depending on the size of the team) to review the list of tasks for what has to be done by-when and by-whom, which leaves no room for assumptions or uncertainty about what is expected and by-when.
Second, during the meetings each team member should be given the opportunity to say whatever they need to say before their day/week is off and running, including asking for help, getting clarity on a specific task, etc. It is called full and complete communication!
Third, train your team that it is okay to ask questions, and that it’s NOT okay to just drift off because they don’t want to do something, they are done early, or they are bored with what they are doing! The truth is that everyone gets to one of these places at one time or another, but if your team members believe they will be reprimanded for being human, they will be more apt to waste their time (and ultimately yours) than to speak up and ask for the help they need to get going again!
Finally, management should openly acknowledge those that do hang in and do what they need to do on-time and/or ahead of time. It sets those who don’t waste time apart from those who do and gives those with a habit of wasting time incentive to get on the ball.