Friday, December 27, 2019

3 Ways to Use EQ for Goal Setting

As we wind down this year (and this decade) it’s natural to look ahead and think about what we want to accomplish in the coming year. If you are a New Year’s Resolution maker, consider using these pointers that leverage EQ to help you be more successful in reaching them. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for being part of Shirkani's Musings readership, we appreciate your willingness to allow us to share our experiences with you and we wish you much good health and prosperity in 2020!

As you know, the stick rate of new year’s resolutions is pretty low so here are some emotionally intelligent things that can be done to improve the odds:
  • Be realistic – using the first R in EQ “Recognize” leverages the insights of self-awareness to pick goals that are within our reach. If you have never been a runner, don’t set a goal to run 5 miles a day. Start small and set a goal to run or even walk 1 mile a day. Or don’t say you will lose 20 pounds. Instead, commit to losing one pound per month.
  • Build in accountability – the second part of EQ is “Reading” as in reading others and situations accurately. Using situational awareness, pick times to articulate your goals to others who can both challenge you if they see you backsliding and support you when you need it to follow through
  • Celebrate success – a big part of resiliency comes from our ability to “Respond”, using our self-control to stay consistent in our behavior when faced with headwinds. When feeling weary or tempted to quit, focus on what you have accomplished, not what you haven’t. Use that positive emotion to give yourself credit and fuel confidence to keep pursuing your goals.
Another characteristic of EQ is self-actualization. As defined by Maslow, “…the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” Therefore, goal setting and personal growth are built into daily habits for those with high emotional intelligence.  

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Feedback After Failure

Obviously, no one wants to make a bad decision or make a mistake. Yet if we consider the things in life that have shaped us the most, there are likely more than a few failures and tough lessons on the list.  However, we rarely allow employees the benefit of this "fail forward" environment; the freedom to feel fully empowered to experiment and take risks.

Most leaders have difficulty letting go because of trust issues, image management motives, and/or a need to protect people from the deflating failure experience. However, to be a fully effective leader we are required to delegate and trust employees to take responsibility and accountability for their own decisions.  This is a significant distinguisher between management and leadership.  Are you directing or developing?

Rest assured that if you have an engaged employee who fails, no one will feel worse about it than they will, so your feedback through it will be vital. A borderline employee will need the post-mortem to collaboratively sift through the experience to find the valuable lessons they can leverage to improve their performance.  A poor performer will tire of the consistent communication, expectations, and accountability, and will likely pick up their anchor and move on. 

After all the recovery plans have been created and implemented, it is time to schedule the meeting to do a debrief. Here are some ideas:
  • Let them talk.  Think coaching, not instructing.  Ask questions that allow them to process what happened and self-discover any warning signs they may have missed.  A lesson learned personally has far greater power to change than accepting someone else's truth.
  • Don't play the blame game - and stop them from playing it too. If it really was their decision that led to failure they must own it, but you also need to ease up on your urge to lecture or say I told you so. If others truly were involved in the mistake or poor decision, allow this fact to be acknowledged on one condition. They must also acknowledge what they personally could have done to influence other's behavior to have achieved better results. How can they be more successful working with and through others going forward? 
  • What lessons have been learned - what can you both take away from the experience? 
  • Moving forward - how can you help them re-establish credibility or trust? Identify what resources may be missing to assist them. 
  • Remind them of past success - you don't want to make them fearful of risking again. Build their confidence. Remember that they will beat themselves up worse than you ever will. You can verbally communicate a safe environment, but if your actions at any point contradict this message, there will be no growth in performance or personal ownership. 
  • Check-in intermittently with your staff to ask how effective you are being in delivering a consistent message of safety in risk-taking.
The only way to delegate more is to trust more. The only way to build trust is to give people room to prove themselves, including the risk of failing.

Keep the conversation objective, make it safe for them to try new things and grow, and if things don't go as planned, ask what contingency plans he/she would have put in place knowing what they know now. How can you both use that information for the next time? Don't stop providing autonomy because of failure; be there to give them what they need, just when they need it. Someone somewhere gave you an important chance to learn and grow. Be that someone for your team.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Cure for Constant Disappointment

I was working with an organization one time and the business owner shared with me that he was struggling with his sales leader.

“He is very good at account maintenance but weak at prospecting (hunting) skills. I really need him to be more aggressive at getting new business. It’s creating a lot of frustration for me.”

“Have you shared this with him?” I asked.

“Yes. Since the day he started.”

“How long has he worked for you?”

“Ten years.” He replied.

“Over the ten years he has been with you, have you ever seen him be a strong prospector?”


This sums up the dynamic that plays out in relationships every day. We do it with family, friends, and spouses. We want to see some new behavior in someone...give them the feedback...and every time they don’t change we get frustrated and annoyed.

Now, I am a firm believer that people can change and new behaviors can be implemented. But they are often gradual changes and don’t require a wholesale change in temperament, personality or values:  those things are pretty fixed. So most of the time, what you get is what you get. And there are always those who choose not to change, they are comfortable being comfortable and expect everyone to adjust to them.

I have a friend who is unhappy with her husband. And although he has some good traits, he drinks too much, doesn’t keep a job, prioritizes himself above the family, and is a chronic liar. It has been this way for 20 years. But instead of seeing it for what it is, she wakes up every day thinking, “Today is the day he will be responsible, honest and selfless.” And every day, when he doesn’t do those things she is heartbroken and furious. I love her optimism, but you can see how delusional it is. Instead of seeing him for who he is, she sees him how she desperately wants him to be. And every day he doesn’t live up to it, she hates him for it.

My advice? Lower your expectations. It’s really unfair to expect someone to be a person they have never been and then resent them for it when they aren’t. At some point, you have to accept the person for who they are and the behaviors they are choosing, then decide if you can live with that. Trust me, it usually lowers your stress level to let go of the negative cycle of hoping, judging and continual disappointment. 

And there is one huge upside: if your expectations are low enough, the person just might pleasantly surprise you. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Month in a Minute

Facilitating Choose Resilience Workshop CALA;
Left, Paula Hertel, Board Member CALA;
Right; Steve and me with Deb Meogrossi,
Governor of CMLA
November gave us an opportunity to get together in Palm Springs California to participate in the California Assisted Living Association Fall Conference and speak on Choose Resilience. It was a reunion for me to see so many old friends and colleagues. I have done a lot of work with CALA over the years, in fact, the first association keynote I ever gave was at one of their annual conferences back in 2003. It is a very well-run and robust state senior living organization and if you work in assisted living in California and haven’t joined or participated in CALA, I highly recommend that you do.
We also visited Denver and spoke to the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association on ways to use EQ to increase influence with others. CMLA provides ongoing high-quality learning events and resources for those in the mortgage industry along with some great networking opportunities. If you are in the Colorado real estate industry, check them out!
Wishing all of our readers a safe and happy holiday this month!