Achieve Your Potential
News and Notes

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just Do It! And Other Motivations

A recent New York Times article, "The Secret of Effective Motivation" by Amy Wrzesniewski, associate professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management and Barry Schwartz, professor of psychology at Swarthmore College has some very interesting findings.

Wrzesniewski and Schwartz started by dividing motivations into internal and instrumental.

Internal motivations examples:
- To learn how to perform CPR
- To become a better driver

Instrumental motivations examples:
- Become a medic (a requirement is to learn CPR)
- Get a driver's license (a requirement is to be a driver that meets a standard)

Their goal was to find out which motivation created better outcomes (e.g. drivers). Their research study focused on nine classes of entering cadets to West Point academy (over 11,000 individuals). What they found was that those with internal motives were more successful than those with instrumental motives.

It is a must read for anyone seeking to chart a personal path to more success and especially important for leaders within organizations with significant investment in people (which is just about every organization these days!).

Based on my experience I would distill this article and the underlying research into a few key questions.

1. What motivates you?

2. Why do you engage in a specific activity?

3. What activities you engage in today will build a future for you?

For example, you may desire to become a better leader. You choose to take a course in leadership. This represents an internal motive and therefore would suggest that you would be successful based on the report.

However, you may be seeking to attain a better job within your organization (an instrumental motivation) so you take a leadership course. The research suggests that you may end up less successful because of your motivation even though you did the exact same thing.

Let's take this thought one step further. What is the core difference? One path is more centered in the "now" while the other is focused on the "future."

What can we learn? Perhaps we need to work more in the moment. Experience the things that are happening now. Add a new motivation later and so on. The report pointed out that better officers and success in the future was the result for cadets that identified internal motives.

We all know people that seem to be in constant motion but never really achieve their potential. Why? It may be that they are not being authentic. Authenticity is a crucial element to achieving potential. This is a concept I develop in my book, The Promise of Potential. Be sure and read the New York Times article and if you want to develop more expertise take a look at my book--but only if your motives are internal!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Newsletter: Time for a Job Change?

Read the latest from JD Coaching & Consulting in our May Achieve Your Potential newsletter. Topics include:

- Who was your last coach?
- How to grow your talented team
- Did you know? (how to be more effective, more often)

In the sage words of Margaret Atwood from her tome Cat's Life, "Potential has a shelf life." We hope you enjoy the latest edition and find a few gems to help you move forward in your career. As always, we're here to help. Just send us a note!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Did You Know?

JD Coaching & Consulting works with salespeople and sales teams to improve their effectiveness. Everyone has good and bad days. We also have stories about experiences when everything went well (and examples of when it didn’t). What often is missed in sharing these “war stories” is how to learn from them and how to incorporate wisdom into all your future opportunities. Contact us today to learn how!

Eager to read more? Check out this article on organizational development.

Photo Credit: John Morgan

Friday, May 16, 2014

Achieve Your Potential with a Coach

No sports team has won a championship without a coach. We’re in the season of NBA playoffs and the Stanley Cup finals. Notice all the cut-away images of the coaches? The players (clients) are at their work, but the coaches are pushing the players to their peak performance.

In the non-sporting world, the International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” In my book, The Promise of Potential, I highlight that coaches are your partners in power. This means that coaches harness and amplify your own power. Coaching is a partnership where clients define the goals and the coach guides them through the process of achievement. It's a power alliance by design.

There are many different types: executive, performance, career, business, entrepreneurial, skills and personal life coaching. The foundation of each coach-client partnership is in the value placed on the individual’s life experience and goals. It is a very integrated process. At its best, the client sets the agenda and the coach facilitates attainment.

Individual coaching differs from sports coaching a sports coach is the undisputed leader. The one being coached is often distant in knowledge and experience. Individual coaching, however, "fields" coaches that are more likely to have less specific talent, knowledge and experience in their client’s focus area—but the individual coach is an expert in getting coached individuals to their goals. No matter what the specific goals are, the client and the coach need to be working closely together.

Some ask, “Why do people hire coaches?” Especially when they see an individual with a supportive family, great friends, strong manager or talented mentor. A coach is different from this list of supporters. Coaches use specific techniques to help the client find the answers, resolve the issues and attain the goals. Coaches are trained in reflective listening and in using deep inquiry to gain personal insights. These skills lead to their success in helping their client move forward toward set goals. The coach has the questions. The client has the answers.

The coach is also trained to hold the client accountable. Not surprisingly, when individuals pay money for a coach, there is often an increased perceived value in their own goals. Individuals are more likely to do their homework to avoid throwing money away.

There is a symmetry to coaching—a sense of balance and appreciation for work and life. In reality, we pursue and achieve our goals in the midst of relationships, work environments, personal challenges and professional demands.

In my work with senior executives, we often draw upon personal situations to solve a career goal. Personal goals are likewise advanced when we draw upon their work situation.

To be clear, coaching is not therapy. Coaches may use assessments to help formulate ideas for their clients, but these are not psychological instruments. Coaching focuses on individual needs within the context of the entire game of life. In this way, personal coaching is actually more synonymous with its sports coach counterparts.

So if you want more for your life—more achievement and fulfillment—get a coach! They are your partners in power and can help you to achieve your potential.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Can You Retain Key Talent as Economy Recovers?

Organizations have been adding to their payroll since January 2010. While it hasn’t been a dramatic rebound the talent pool on the sidelines has been reduced (unemployment is at its lowest point in over five years). You may notice that more applicants are dropping out of the process because they are getting an offer before you make them an offer.

In addition, there are more job openings than at any point since January 2008. So, more jobs and fewer unemployed people make the hiring manager’s job more difficult.

These changes can be frustrating to human resources leaders who are trying to grow their team. In turn many are failing to retain top talent. What can help?

Ask yourself:

  • Do your key employees have a clear path to progress?
  • Have your leaders defined company goals well and are they supporting these goals?
  • Are you applying old retention techniques to a changed workforce?

Jack Welch is a business guru extraordinaire who made an (in)famous statement about nurturing your top 20 percent while weeding out the bottom 10 percent. Do your key employees know where they fit on this sort of ranking? Even if you don’t use such a stark ranking system, your key employees should be nurtured in such a way that they sense their value and worth to the organization.

Leaders in the organization need to convey the strategy that the organization is implementing and show how they are supporting this strategy. It is easy for anyone in the organization to see how strategy is not being supported, so the support needs to be shown in obvious ways. If your senior team isn’t sharing the organization’s strategy, then expect to lose key employees. As employees cycle through learning-implementing-leading phases of their employment, unclear strategy causes them to disengage quickly in the implementing phase.

The recession started in 2008; it’s 2014, so nearly seven years have passed. Seven years of retirements, seven years of graduating college students. That means that the workforce of today is a different generation than just a few years ago. The demographic shift from boomers to millennials is in full effect. Read up on what makes this younger generation tick. While many motivators are the same from generation to generation, each group also has subtle differences that—if mastered—will make your job much easier!

Want to learn more about retaining and hiring top talent? Contact us today!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is Your Board Working?

JD Coaching & Consulting produced a benchmark study regarding nonprofit board performance. The results formed a framework that helps boards attain high performance.

Since then numerous boards have worked with us to analyze performance. The result? Their boards are now better able to safeguard the mission, vision and assets of the organizations they serve.

Interested in assessing your board's performance? After some initial consulting, here's how one aspect of the assessment works:

1. Your board takes the survey and the results are compared to the benchmark study.

2. We analyze the results to uncover your board's strengths and weaknesses.

3. We report customized details of what is—and isn’t—working for your board.

4. We present the results to your board.

5. We recommend targeted solutions.

Ultimately, your board can focus on improving key areas. Your board gets stronger, and the nonprofit organization benefits.

An interesting fact discovered in the study is that 98 percent of respondents thought their board had the potential to improve its performance. Can your board be improved?

Interested in reading our benchmark study? Request your copy today. For help on improving your board’s performance, contact Jodi Davis.

The Culture of Innovation

New ideas are critical to your organization’s success. Innovation sets you apart from your competition—allowing you to acquire and retain new customers—and helps you retain your top talent. Creating innovative products and ideas is smart business in our fast-paced, ever-changing marketplace.

Recently, the editors at Fast Company unveiled “The World’s Most Innovative Companies”, an annual list of 50 exceptionally innovative companies around the globe. Any guess who made the list?

According to Fast Company’s Robert Safian, the future looks bright. “The culture of innovation across the globe is more robust than ever,” he said.

How does your company generate innovative ideas? Share your thoughts with JD Coaching & Consulting in the comments section or on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!