The Difference is Why

May 3rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

“Average companies give their people something to work on. The most innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.”

—Simon Sinek

Why does your organization exist?

Clarity about your organization’s purpose is critical to success. If you want your employees to care, you need to have a compelling reason for them to do so. Simply making money isn’t sufficient.

Most of us long to make a difference. We want to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves and allows us to make a meaningful contribution. As an organization and a team, you must differentiate yourself so your staff is clear about the difference they make.

Discuss why your product or service is important to your customer. How does it make their life simpler? What would happen if you weren’t hear to provide your product or service? How does what you have to offer standout from your competitors?

Once you’ve helped your team understand what sets your organization apart, link each of your employees to this purpose. Help them see how their role plays a part in the overall organization fulfilling its purpose. Ask them to what would happen if they weren’t there to complete their role.

Additionally, when assigning a task, take time to discuss how the task impacts the larger purpose. Don’t assume they understand the connection. The more you reinforce the importance of your purpose, the more meaningful it will become.

Success in today’s business world is contingent upon a workforce that is excited to come to work each day. In order to get your team excited to bring their best to work everyday devote time to helping them connect what they are doing to a purpose that is meaningful and important. When you do, sales and profits will be a natural by-product.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Clearly define the purpose your organization and team serves.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Embrace Abnormal

April 19th, 2015 § 6 comments § permalink

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” —Maya Angelou

Are you hiding behind normality?

You have a choice to make. Either you can decide to play it safe and follow the crowd. Or, you can choose to embrace what makes you unique and the gifts you have to offer. Normality is a myth and success depends upon your willingness to affirm who you are and what you have to offer.

It takes courage to be true to yourself. As you step out and let the real you shine through, there’s always a risk that others aren’t going to like you. Even those closest to you might not agree with your beliefs or approach. However, no matter what you do there will always be someone that doesn’t care for you. The greater risk is living a life of mediocrity.

A seed of potential exists within every one of us.  Unless we’re willing to take the necessary steps to cultivate our potential it will never blossom. The first step is to become clear about who you are.  Discover your passions, values, and strengths so you understand the impact you want to make.

Once you have this foundation of self-awareness in place you can begin to develop your potential. Actively look for opportunities to use your strengths. Start sharing your desires with close family, friends, and colleagues to see what ideas they might offer for practicing your strengths. The more you experiment the more clarity you will have about what is a best fit for you. Additionally, you will continue to refine your strengths.

Accept that it’s okay not to be normal. The concept of being normal is a myth and only exists when people continue to feed the belief that we have to fit in to some popularly accepted norm. No body is normal. We are each unique with our own set of strengths, challenges, desires, and fears. Recognize that these are the things that make you amazing and embrace who you truly are. Then you can begin the path to happiness, success, and fulfillment.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify three strengths you possess and share one of them with someone.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

 

 

Inspire with Mission

March 29th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

—Jack Welch

 How inspiring is your mission?

Most people prefer to have meaningful work. It’s natural to want to make a positive impact in some way. In order for your team or organization to be successful, you must help your staff focus on something bigger. Otherwise they will view it as simply a job and only due the minimum necessary.

Your organization’s success is dependent upon the engagement and commitment of your employees. You need them to bring their hearts and minds through the door each morning, not just their bodies. When your employees are fully engaged their critical thinking will improve as well as their ability to identify innovative solutions to the challenges they encounter.

On the flip side, when you have a team that is simply going through the motions, they won’t step out to take chances or solve problems. Instead they’ll simply drop their challenges in your lap and wait for you to solve them. If you create a team that blindly follows your direction and seeks your permission every step of the way, you’ll find your organization is incapable of keeping pace and your competitors will begin to pass you by.

An engaged workforce begins with a clear and compelling mission. You need to articulate the main purpose of your organization. Clearly identify how your services or products make life better or simpler for your customers. Don’t focus first and foremost on improving the bottom line. While critical to your organization’s sustainability, it isn’t your reason for being nor will it motivate your team.

Once you have clearly articulated an inspiring vision, help each member of your organization connect it to his or her role. Don’t assume they understand the connection. Help them understand how the mission would be impacted if they weren’t their to play their part.

Finally, make it a habit to discuss your mission on a regular basis. Don’t just frame it on the Board room wall never to be thought about again. Share stories about how employees have made decisions and took actions that exemplify the mission, reward those who take risks in service of the mission, and any time a decision has to be made ask how the potential solutions support the mission.

Your organization’s mission or purpose is critical to your overall success. Don’t blow off this important piece of your foundation. The more time and attention you devote to defining and discussing your mission the stronger your foundation will become. On top of this strong foundation you can build a successful organization full of energized and engaged individuals excited to do whatever they can to fulfill your mission each and every day.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Define the positive impact your service or product makes.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Don’t Let Life Pass You By

May 18th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

 

“Lots of people let life go by and never accomplish what they want. I wanted to see what I could do.” Edwin C. Moses

What action are you taking to accomplish your goals?

Life is short and you have a finite amount of time to make a difference. Your life is your responsibility. If you choose not to make an effort to achieve what you want out of life, you can’t make excuses or blame anyone else.

The older I get the faster it seems time slips away. It’s easy to allow yourself to be swept along by the currents of life while telling yourself that you have plenty of time to achieve your dreams. In reality, before you know it you’ll wake up one day and wonder how you arrived where you are. You’ll find it heartbreaking as you try to comprehend where the time went and the opportunities you have missed.

It’s never to late to choose to achieve your goals and design the life you want. However, the sooner you begin the quicker you can experience the fulfillment that comes from living a life of purpose. Don’t wait until you have all the answers before getting started or you’ll find your self permanently stuck in fear. Recognize that life is a journey and that your goals and dreams will evolve along the way. The most important part is to be an active participant in your life while remaining open to opportunities to learn and grow.

As Stephen Covey stated in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s important to “begin with the end in mind”. Imagine you’re retiring and are being given an award. What do you hope people say about you? How do you want them to remember you? What difference do you hope to have made in the lives of others? How will your community, industry, and the world be better off because of you?

You are the captain of your own life. It’s up to you to decide what you want to accomplish with the life you have been given. The rest of the world is waiting for you to share your gifts and strengths. Don’t deprive yourself of the fulfillment you deserve!

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one step you can take to begin achieving your dreams.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

 

 

 

 

Process Over Outcomes

March 2nd, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

“Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

Is your goal helping or hurting you?

Possessing a goal for yourself can sometimes be a double edged sword. While a goal can often provide motivation and keep you moving forward you have to be careful not to become consumed by the desire to achieve a specific outcome. The challenge is to leverage the benefits goals have to offer without becoming too rigid in the process.

The best goals are built on a foundation of purpose and passion. Rather than concentrating on simply starting a business or going back to school, you need to maintain your focus on the greater purpose behind your goal. Remind yourself daily about the service or product you want to offer and the difference you hope to make.  Maintaining your perspective about why you want to be in business, or go back to school, will motivate you to persevere through the ups and downs as well as remain open to opportunities to fulfill your purpose you might otherwise miss.

Start by creating a personal vision for how life will look and feel like when you accomplish your goal. What does a perfect day in your business or new career look like? Who are you helping? What are you doing for them? Take a few moments at the beginning of each day to think about your vision and visualize your perfect day. As you go throughout your day, watch for moments in which you feel the same sense of fulfillment you get when thinking about your perfect day. Notice what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with.

Finally, at the end of each day reflect on those moments in which you felt fulfillment and identify potential themes. As you consider the ways in which you are already living your vision you may discover that your desired outcomes have changed. By choosing to consciously consider the purpose of your goal each day you will find yourself motivated and fulfilled on a daily basis. You’ll also remain flexible to new opportunities for fulfilling your goal that present themselves.

Goals are wonderful motivational tools that keep us from becoming complacent. Without a meaningful goal in life, your chance of realizing fulfillment is significantly decreased. However, it’s important to keep your goals in proper perspective. Rather than becoming consumed by the outcome you believe you should achieve, staying focused on the deeper purpose of your goal will ensure that the journey is rewarding regardless of the outcome.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify the deeper purpose behind a personal goal and pay attention to how you’re fulfilling that purpose each day.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

The Art of Leadership

February 16th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” —Dwight Eisenhower

Is your staff compliant or committed?

Leadership is a complicated endeavor. Success is dependent upon your ability to build a team that is committed to your vision as well as the aims of the organization. Leaders don’t simply give orders and enforce compliance; they inspire commitment within each member of the team.

Effective leaders understand that the key to influencing their staff is to make it personal. They recognize that each member of the team has a unique set of motivations and that money is not their highest priority. Additionally, they understand that each individual wants to master a task, which will enable them to make a positive contribution.

Your responsibility as a leader is to understand your employees’ values, passions and strengths. In order to foster commitment within them, it’s important to help them understand how they can utilize their unique talents and passions to make a difference for the team, organization, customers, and community as a whole.

Once your staff understands and appreciates the impact they can make, provide the autonomy they need to make it happen. Encourage them to collaborate with the rest of the team to identify strategies for utilizing their strengths, which they may not recognize. Finally, when they encounter challenges along the way help them consider various approaches to overcome the barriers they face.

There are no shortcuts to success as a leader. Simply giving orders won’t work. If you want to be successful as a leader, you must invest the time and energy necessary to build the commitment within your team. Once you do, you will have created a team full of enthusiastic and energetic individuals that are inspired to achieve the shared vision.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Make time to talk with each of your staff about their passions, values, and strengths.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Define Yourself

January 19th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.”

—Virginia Satir

Are you proactively defining yourself?

Everyone’s perception is limited. We all believe our perception is reality, but it’s actually only one piece of a bigger puzzle. Each of our individual perceptions are based upon our unique set of experiences and are therefore biased.

You’re the best judge of what’s right for you. Nobody else, your family, friends, or manager are in a better position to accurately assess what you need to do. Others have a valid perspective to offer and you may benefit from learning from their vantage point. However, you need to recognize the limitations of these various perspectives. Ultimately what is right for one person may not be what is best for you.

In any given situation, you’re the one that must decide which route to take. Take time to consider how the various options align with your strengths and values. Also consider which option excites or energizes you. Although having a steady job with an established company may be the best approach for a close friend or family member, maybe starting your own business or going back to school to change careers is what is most consistent with the real you.

You only have one life to live! It’s your life and you’re responsible for making the most of it. Fulfillment comes from refusing to live a second rate version of your ideal life. Make the decision to take your dreams seriously. Start today to define and claim the life you want to live.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Write about how your dream day would look if you made the decision to embrace the life that is right for you.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker M.Ed., LLC

 

 

 

Embrace Your Dream!

December 15th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“In each of us there is a private hope and dream, which fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone.” —John F. Kennedy

 

What dream do you hold inside?

We all have a dream. Each of us has something we long to accomplish. Unfortunately most of us keep our dream hidden deep inside. Whether we’re afraid of failure or embarrassed about what others might think, we never give our dreams a chance to become reality.

The world needs you to embrace your dream. You have something unique to offer. You’re meant to make an impact in a way that only you can.  However, if you never let your dream shine you’ll never know how successful you could be. You’ll never fully comprehend the positive impact you could make on the world.

Life is too short not to follow your dreams. Don’t allow your dream to wither and die within you. This will only lead to a life of regrets. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and give your dream a chance. Although you can’t know for sure if you will ultimately be successful, I can assure you that failure isn’t as demoralizing as regret.

Make the decision today to make 2014 your year! Choose to take your dream seriously and allow it to see the light of day. All that is required is a commitment to take a few simple steps to explore the possibilities of your dream and see what you might uncover.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify 3 steps you can take in 2014 to embrace your dream.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Be True to Yourself

September 15th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure which is: try to please everyone.” – Herbert Swope

 

Whose life are you living?

Life is short and you only get one chance to make it count. Choosing not to live your best life simply wastes the gift you’ve been given. In order to look back on your life with satisfaction, you need to blaze your own trail and not allow yourself to be influenced by the desires others have for you.

You’re here in this moment in history for a specific reason. Success will be yours once you gain clarity about, and embrace, your purpose. When you embrace who you are and what you have to offer you’ll be an inspiration to others. Not only will you make an impact in the way only you can, you’ll also demonstrate to others the fulfillment that comes from being true to who you are.

This doesn’t mean everyone is going to like you. You will come across plenty of people in your life that disagree with your choices. They may be strangers, co-workers, friends, or even family members. Sometimes it’s simply a difference of opinion and you won’t agree with their choices either. In other instances, they may actually be jealous and threatened by your confidence.

Regardless of why people disagree with you, don’t let this deter you from following the path that is right for you. There is only one you! If you don’t live the life you were designed to live, nobody will. Not only will you miss out on a fulfilling life, the world will never have the opportunity to benefit from what you have to offer.

One of my favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. While some may find it cheesy, I believe the story does a wonderful job of showcasing how important every one of our lives are. Don’t waste any more time living someone else’s life. For the benefit of yourself, and all of us, embrace everything you have to offer and start living your best life.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one change you want to make to embrace the life that is right for you.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Fulfillment Matters

September 8th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“To love what you do & feel it matters – how could anything be more fun?”

—Katherine Graham

 

How fulfilling is your career?

Feeling fulfilled in life is important. We all have a natural desire to make a positive difference with our life. Although your career doesn’t have to be the only source of fulfillment in your life, since you spend approximately half your waking hours at work it’s critical to enjoy what you do.

Every job serves a purpose. What matters is whether that purpose feels meaningful to you. Every career has high points and low points but your fulfillment is largely dependent upon how you view the overall purpose of your role. For example, you could be a teacher who struggles to be patient with the kids. In this case, you’re not likely to find being a teacher very meaningful even though it’s a very important role.

In order to feel fulfilled in your role, you need to focus on the greater purpose it serves. I encourage you to step back and consider why your current role is important. What would happen if no one were around to fulfill your role?

Consider the story about two different masons who were asked about what they were building. The first mason responded that he was building a wall while the second stated he was building a cathedral. Rather than allowing yourself to become stuck in what you’re doing in the moment, it’s your ability to envision the end product you’re creating that will increase your sense of fulfillment.

Once you’re clear about the ultimate purpose of your role, it’s possible you still won’t find it fulfilling. At this point it’s important to begin thinking about other areas of your life in which you feel like you’re making an impact.

Think about times when you felt you were in a flow state and time slipped away. You may have even experienced this in your job at various times. Step back and reflect on what you were doing in those moments. What issues were you addressing? What skills did you use? What did you find energizing about those moments?

Next, begin to look for opportunities to do more of these tasks. Start where you are and consider how you might bring more of these skills into your current role. For example, say you determine you like to train people. Look for opportunities within your department to provide training on new processes or technology. Once you’re clear about your interests, you may be surprised about the opportunities that magically appear.

If you can’t find the opportunities you’re looking for in your current role or company, begin to explore other possibilities. Consider who can benefit from what you have to offer and how you can demonstrate your ability to help. Returning to the training example, you can offer your services to local non-profit organizations to help train their volunteers. This is a great way to develop your skills as well as network with a diverse group of people. Regardless of whether this leads to a new career in the short-term, you’re bound to feel more fulfilled.

Life’s too short not to feel fulfilled. You will inevitably have good moments and bad moments, but at the end of the day you want to be able to say that you’ve made a difference in some way. Don’t waste any more time and resolve to discover what it will take for you to be fulfilled.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify your current role’s purpose and determine if it can provide a sense of fulfillment.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC