Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: The KEY to Productivity, Job Satisfaction and Retention

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Com-mu-ni-ca-tion:

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Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: The KEY to Productivity, Satisfaction and Retention

Why is this not task completed?

How come you aren’t you getting MORE done?

Why am I a crappy manager? Oops, scratch that one!

The many benefits of my decades in corporate America and now as a professional speaker are the lessons I learn from leaders. This includes what TO do and what NOT to do with regards to great communications with your staff.

Surprisingly and appreciated by yours truly were men and women at several recent conferences I presented at who had admitted to me that they strive to communicate better but either don’t know how or don’t have the time.

Here are Scott’s 7 tips to better communications with everyone. Please remember that when used properly, great stuff happens. The stuff I’m referring to includes, but is not limited to the title above.

  • Listen- Your staff has things to share. Things you need to know. But if you’re TOO busy then…
  • Access- What do they need, how can you assist? What else can I do to move them forward?
  • Open that door- I am honored that folks share so many professional and personal stories with me because I learn and grow. I have learned that some staff/employees feel that you’re difficult to approach or that you will yell at them. So, they don’t bother and productivity suffers.
  • Two Minute Drill- Listen and help your staff understand how and why what they’re doing matters, who it affects and the outcomes it will produce. Or, as one C-level put it-“I need to shut the hell up and let them talk. Then, my words are more helpful; I can assist in some way and reassure them that they are heading in the right direction.”
  • Big Pic- Employees (especially Millennials) want to understand the big picture, how they are involved and what the desired outcomes are. The days of holding back information have passed. It’s sharing time!
  • Dampening ones enthusiasm- Or DOE lowers productivity, lowers retention and more. Today’s workplace currency is great communications! Spread it and watch the positive growth in your department, your workplace and your world.
  • Want to make a bet? If you think the six tips above are lame, don’t work or are “above” you, then please ask yourself this one question.

How do I want those in my professional and personal life to communicate with me?

 

Yeah, I thought so. You get it!

 

Scott Lesnick is a Professional speaker and author

Learn more at www.scott lesnick.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Saying Yes All the Time. Workplace Strife!

Monday, November 14th, 2016

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Thank so much for asking me to do more at work. I appreciate you’re trust in me, but my plate is 12” in diameter and you’re giving me three plates filled with crap!”

 

Okay, last week’s conference keynote ended with applause, mostly smiles and brisk book sales. It’s an honor to get paid to speak, but the real honor for me is the people I get to connect with. The workplace staff who do the heavy lifting.

They share some pretty deep things with me in confidence which we speakers are used to. We share on stage and some feel compelled to share with use in the back of the ballroom, hallway or in this case on my way to the restroom.

My bladder was full of water and I was ready let nature take its course.

Not so fast!

Rounding the corner I spotted the “Men” sign and quietly smiled as relief was literally in sight.

But, between me and the sign was the women’s bathroom. Out came three attendees who quickly stopped me, formed a half circle and began to tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation and actionable takeaways.

I was once again honored. And, I continued to give proper eye contact to each as my bladder reached Defcon 3!

Kasha was the ‘leader’ of this passionate threesome.

Them- Why doesn’t management understand how busy we are? Why do they continue to shove more work in our face as if we are multiple people?

Me- Well…

Them- And, How in the world are we suppose to say NO! It’s not permitted. It’s a sign of laziness.

Me- I see… (trying to respond and bursting from within)

Them- We love our jobs, but our managers are all over us all the time and we’ve about had it!

Me- Wow! I can see that you’re upset and I have a couple of thoughts. May I share them with you?

Them- Share away-‘cause we need to say NO sometimes and are frightened of losing our jobs. We can’t afford that, Scott!

Me (smiling and reaching Defcon 4!) Managers often don’t realize how busy you are. They shove more work your way and have a few plates of their own they are sifting through.

Have you tried sitting down in your 1-1 meeting and showing-not telling them what you’re up against? This can work really well!

Them- Yeah, they will tell us that everyone is busy and we all have to “pitch in.”

How much “pitching in can we do before we crack or look for another job? ( All three nodding in unison.)

Me- My guess is not much longer. So, how about trying this once.

Ask your manager for 20 minutes. You’ll only need 10. SHOW them what you have going on for the next 30-60 days and the amount of hours it will take per week to complete. If it’s too much they’ll know right away.

You’re not saying no, you’re saying I need your help. I need your guidance and support. My experience is that they will assist in prioritizing, give you breathing room and even take away some less important projects.

Them- Hmm. Never tried that approach. That could work. Seems possible.

Me- Let’s chat about this some more. I just have to run to the men’s room and I meet you at the reception to continue our conversation.

Disaster averted by 1 Defcon!

The cocktail reception was great and our conversations turned to family, vacations and food!

The workplace is like many other places. It is delicate, filled with talent and emotion and in need of constant communication to grow knowledge, empower employees and increase retention.

 

To learn more visit- www.scottlesnick.com

 

Red Licorice and Work

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

downloadIn an effort to stay in shape I run, lift weights and practice yoga. Yes, I watch what I eat too and it’s FAR from easy. The temptations are everywhere and my “say no” toughness to unhealthy foods is average at best. But, I try.

That’s all I want you to do-try.  We’re so quick to brag about being the best, being your best and besting the rest. It’s simply too much. Hay, I’m not advocating a transformation from human to 3-toed Sloth. I am suggesting that we often don’t try at all and in doing so we often miss the target. The good news- there are plenty of targets to aim for in life and many are closer than we realize!

Losing weight, getting a promotion at work or starting a walking regimen that you stick for 12 months a year takes just plain hard. But, trying gets results and we all like results.

What to do?

As a self diagnosed candy junkie in his 50’s, I had to make a concerted effort to stop eating the stuff. Okay, in all honesty it took every ounce of strength I had to kick the sweet habit. If you’re one of  my 77 approved candies or sweets I’m gunna eat you.

So, I switched to red and black licorice! They’re low fat sure, but sadly plenty of carbohydrates, sugar and other crap. I had to find a way to eliminate this delicious, I could eat a bag of Twizzlers, snack.

All this and work too?!

From time to time works has forced me to take action as well. We’re all faced with decisions from “bossholes” to a crummy coworker and more. Working for a company that often times makes good decisions is wonderful. Working for a company that doesn’t get IT can be frustrating at best. Thankfully, my company was pretty darn good, my team rocked and I always emphasized the power of trying. They got it. They understood how this one word could affect their lives both professionally and personally.

I’m no Einstein, I’m just me.  However, I remember learning the lesson myself from someone and passed it on when I could.

The simple act of walking away from a good paying corporate job to peruse speaking professionally took guts. The looks sometimes we get when we confide in others our dreams, goals and aspirations is somewhat similar to glares we might get if we told someone we used crystal meth 3-5 times a week.

Life is demanding. Working is demanding. People are demanding. I’d like you to consider trying. Whatever it is you’re holding on to inside that few if any know is important to you.

Try. Go for it. And, please don’t be afraid.

I’ve seen so many times how this small act can change a dream to a wonderful reality. The glass suddenly overflows with possibilities and you may have to make some difficult, yet awesome decisions .You deserve this and it contagious. Others will take notice. You’ll sometimes fall, but don’t get discouraged. You’ll bounce back like never before because you understand that it’s all about trying.

Lastly, would you be so kind as to please pass me one-no two pieces of licorice. Hey, trying doesn’t mean perfection!

 

BREAKING SAD! Leadership done right.

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

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Those of us in the speaking business are fortunate. We get to travel, stay in hotels and present to people from many walks of life. Oh yeah, we get paid too. The hours, weeks and months of creating and preparation plus rehearsal and fresh topics are expected by those who hire us.

My peers understand “the biz” and the difficulty in obtaining gigs. The not so secret- secret that motivates the crap out of us comes from a source we rarely discuss outside of our industry.

YOU!

That right. We do what we do because you like what we have to offer. The programs, keynotes, breakout sessions, books, consulting and more are what connect us at first. However, as presenters we understand that the real payoff is the connections we make.

One on one or in small groups we learn from you. You teach us. We listen (which isn’t always easy for a speaker) and we grow as people, you and I. That’s the pay off!

Leaders make or break a company and its staff as I found out again at a recent conference.

Jean came up to me after a presentation in tears. Her friend was consoling her. She’s a strong leader and I hit a nerve, her friend explained. I suggested that the three of us meet later in the lobby to chat.

Me- “So Jean, you’re looking better. I mean…,”she stopped me.

Jean- “I’m so sorry, but my boss at work is driving me crazy. I’m sad, so sad because I love what I do. I’m been there 12 years and am thinking about leaving.”

Me- “Can you elaborate? What’s he/she doing that sucks so much? Let’s break you of this SAD.”

Jean- “IT DOES SUCK!!! She’s not responsive to emails, slow as molasses to move on anything and takes FOREVER to make a decision. I have a staff of 25 that this directly affects.”

Me- “You’ve talked to her about this-yes?”

Jean- “Ad nauseam, Scott. Look, I understand you can’t fix this. I was hoping that you had another perspective like you mentioned in our general session.”

Me- “Thank you for stating the obvious (we all gave a much needed chuckle) I’m no expert, but I’ve seen and heard of difficult situations like the one you’re in.  Who can you confide in that you wouldn’t think to approach? They don’t have to be in the same department as you. Someone who does not pop into your mind right away may be the key.”

Jean- “Dan in Accounting is sharp, has a dry sense of humor and at my same management level. Plus he’s heard about some of the difficulties my department has been facing from others. I suppose we could have lunch off site.”

Me- “Low key and hush-hush.”

Jean- “Yep.”

Two months later I received an email from Jean which said:

Scott, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Dan and I did have lunch and he suggested that I involve the senior VP before things got worse. Reluctantly, I did. Remembering what you said about facing fear head on helped. My manager had some upper level discussions and things are better. Not perfect, but I’m not thinking about leaving!

I was honored to assist her in my small way. Jean did all of the heavy lifting.

Leadership form and style is a personal thing. Keeping good employees is critical for company and staff. Losing them costs money and time. Plus, if one person leaves it can cause others to do the same.

Active dialogue between employees is important. Management should strive to keep communication open, honest and productive. Motivating and encouraging retains good employees!

Breaking sad is a must!

 

Saying NO to Get to YES!

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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Since birth we’ve been taught that no means no. So ingrained into our psyche, we hear the word and often back down. Yes, there are absolutely times when no is NO!

As adults, we adjust realizing that no can have many meanings. In sales it can mean not now. In leadership and management the same holds true. And, it spans all generations.

However, saying no can bring you to yes because it is an attention getter and has been our entire life. It can also give you time, space and freedom. That’s a YES!

As I speak around the country, people will confide that they’re afraid of saying no while others, state with pride, that they say no too much.

Going off the basic premise that we all like to receive yes’s try these techniques to turn your no’s into yes!

I have had many people contact me with stories of how this has changed their life, increased productivity and captured back some of their precious time. This idea is not new, but we need to be reminded of its power to enable us to gain back control in our hectic lives.

  • Eliminate fear. Not easy to do, but the results are often better than you realize. The issue is that we often convince ourselves of a horrific outcome before we try. Thankfully, we are often wrong. Saying no challenges others to come up with a different, better approach or leave you the heck alone. Win-win!
  • Practice makes When you begin to embrace the power that comes with saying no, you’ll notice that you have more time. That’s true at work, home and relationships that bring you down. Understanding that we balance when we say no with our needs, wants and desires.
  • Yes’s naturally grow in frequency because as stated above we are wired to want to hear yes. This is much more than an experiment, it works. To increase your chances of receiving a yes try following your NO with the word however or but.

It sounds like this:

I understand that you’d like me to work on this project however I have three that I am working on right now that have strict deadlines. Which one would you like me delay so that I can work on this for you? Or, Sue has asked me to complete these projects but if you’d like to ask her to choose which of these I should stop, I’d certainly work on this for you. Chances are the person(s) asking you have no idea what is on your plate. You just told them without being nasty and often will not have more piled on your desk.

 

And that’s just at work. Saying no in your personal life has rewards too. The biggest, being more time for you to do that which means the most. Saying no increases your time allotment that is to be guarded tightly.

 

Remember, like any form of exercise this takes practice. Start off small with those you trust and build.

Ninja Leaders Accomplish More With Less

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

I’m used to going against the grain.  Always have. They guy who managed himself and others in a non-traditional manner was often questioned when it came to this method. Not so much though when it came to results.

Since childhood, I drove my parents crazy with questions and teachers with ‘non-typical’ classroom behavior like just getting up and wandering around.

I realized at an early age that my mind, sprit and body wandered. I embraced it, moved with it and got in plenty of trouble. Sure, I understood that it was better for your health to look both ways before crossing the street, but it didn’t mean that you have to wait for the crosswalk to flash WALK.

I self-diagnosed myself with ADD in my early thirties, had already learned to embrace it without meds and took this with me into the corporate world. And, I’m not alone by a long shot! I know a lot of women and men with the same “outside the box-ADD enriched” ways of getting things done. Often high achievers, these folks look at life, work and getting from A to B in a different way than you might. They have no choice.

It’s not the job as much as the style of leader that motivates inspires and brings a team together. Parents, teachers, police, business and more require us to lead others. Ninja leaders understand that their role is less hands on and more mentoring/teaching and those that ultimately answer to this type of leader tend to perform at a high level.

Ya see, trust isn’t implied, it’s a given. Freedom to be who you are as long as you get the work completed ain’t just a method. It’s survival when we discuss leading different generations and cultures. Millennials are the number one population at work and on the street.

They too look for leaders who understand their ways of working, playing and views of life. Understand this and you’re ability to move effortlessly in meetings, with tasks and one on ones with your staff increase. Job satisfaction and employee retention grows. People climb the ladder at a faster pace. Your non-stiff, on point, less is more meetings are in vogue. If you’re not moving gracefully like a ninja and allowing your folks to show you what they can do with less direction and more actual support than you might be missing the opportunity to lead more productively.

My meetings were notoriously open, loose and free of a tight agenda. The results were often a staff that contributed more, feared less and produced more than their peers. Upper management would scold me and warn that I was not LEADING my people. Instead of telling them that their methods were outdated, somewhat draconian and boring, I let the results do the talking for me. The results were often good.

Your family, coworkers and any team that you lead need some structure, I get that. However, they also appreciate a leader who allows them be involved, feel appreciated and set free to exceed expectations. Isn’t that the way you like to be treated? Ya, thought so. Me too!

A great leader allows other to flourish though praise, stated confidence in their abilities and positive direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Reasons Why I Left Corporate America

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

1-      After 28 years with the same company I had to ask myself; why are you still doing the same thing you did when you were 25 years old?

2-      Every week they want you to face in a new direction. New policies, good and bad managers. It was time to manage myself without a “bottom-line” mentality.

3-      ‘Cause I can!

4-      ‘Cause the ride is over and I’m ready to jump off.

5-      ‘Cause my horoscope said that today was the day to make that BIG change in my life. I hope they weren’t referring to my deodorant!

6-      No more reports. No more reports. No more reports.

7-      Ties, procedure, core values, egos and business dinners-yuck!

8-      Back stabbers, gossip, more egos and those darn ties.

9-      My desire to listen to one more person give their opinion about politics, religion, how to better run the company and those damn tie’s.

10-  My passion changed from the glamorous world of floor covering to the fantastic worlds of writing and professional speaking.

11-  I spoke with my wife and she said I could.

12-  I spoke to my dog and I think I saw him blink his left eye in approval.

13-   Our kids are done with college so we don’t need another trillion dollars to pay for tuition and books.

14-  ‘Cause I want to.

15-   Burnt out-sure. Done working-hell no.

16-  Professionally, I’ve accomplished more than I ever dreamed of. I leave behind a strong legacy and many beautifully decorated homes.

                     

Until next time………………