On Saturday night I went with some friends to see Michael Franti & Spearhead play at Pier Six in Baltimore. Before the concert one friend extolled Franti’s gifts and promised it would be an uplifting experience. Really? A concert? I expect concerts to be good fun and entertaining but uplifting? Hmmm…
He was right. Franti’s paints his blend of reggae, hip hop, world music on a larger canvas. Throughout the show he brought people of all ages, shapes and sizes onto the stage to dance and play with him. He danced and sang his way to the back reaches of the venue. Each band member shared time in the spotlight and their wireless instruments enabled them to dance their ways into the crowds too. They exuded such energy and joy I knew that they were having a blast playing for us.
Enrolled is the word that came to mind. And explains the perceptible difference in my experience of the talented, energetic opening act and the fabulously engaging Franti and band. It got me to thinking of how this could be translated into a work experience. How can we enroll others in what we do? How can we ‘go out into the audience’ and bring the experience we want others to have to them?
Some strategies based on what I saw from Franti:
– Engage: Understand the audience and meet them in your delivery
– Work on a larger canvas: Get rid of artificial boundaries
– Dance & Play: Build fun into the experience
And keep adding to the list to make the experience you deliver uniquely yours.
So I fell off the blogging wagon…after only two days!! Last week I had some fabulous ideas and then when I could grab a few minutes to write, only drivel spewed painfully forth. My entire week was like that. Every goal I set took inexplicable hours to complete instead of the mere minutes I had allotted to them. My list grew ominously large and dark…my personal demons raged: How can you be successful if you cannot keep your own goals moving forward???? Look at your list…you are way behind on so many items and you still have the pile of paperwork to wend through to get your accountant going on your taxes…you call yourself a businesswoman?
And then I stopped them.
I asked how else I might look at my week and what I could learn from it.
And I did. I followed the path Marilee Adams calls the learner path. She suggests that in considering how something impacts us we have the choice between the learner path and the judger path. The learner asks questions like:
– How else can I think of this?
– What else is possible?
– What can I learn from this?
– What are the next action steps I should take?
So I did.
I acknowledged that I had been productive and prolific in my client work early in the week. I listed the things I did get done. I realized that perhaps my time goals on some of my objectives were perhaps a bit unrealistic.
I noticed that those days I had identified very specific goals went more smoothly than those for which I more or less winged it with a vague idea of on what I wanted to make progress. I determined that the next action steps should include planning in my every day. Making sure I follow the sensible path of Ready…Aim…Fire. Because when I get trigger happy and just fire, much of what comes out is drivel.
This morning as I was pondering my day, this thought popped into my head: Begin with the end in mind. I recognized that this pithy and perfectly formed mandate was unlikely to have come from my brain first. In fact, I was sure it had come from one of my standard go-to books, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People yet a quick review of Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book proved me wrong. Google gently reminded me that it is one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits. Number two in fact.
In transitions, beginning with the end in mind can have a profound effect. As a filter, a planning tool and a driver of everything you need to do.
Here are some thought questions to identify the end you have in mind, or to consider while determining just what that end should be:
- What am I known for?/What do I want to be known for?
- What do I know about what I’m looking for?
- Can I articulate what I’m looking for in 30 seconds or less? (think: positioning statement, value proposition, brand articulation)
- Do I have the time and resources to hold out for my ideal or do I need a two-pronged strategy?
Don’t fret too much if you don’t have all the answers. If you start to worry, take a suggestion from my friend Dale: Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.