Mentoring Our Future Leaders by Cindy Stradling CSP,CPC

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As a business leader, there’s no doubt that you understand the importance of giving back to your community. There are many ways you can use your experience and expertise to help out, but likely none is more important than mentoring. images

Mentoring helps ensure that our communities grow business leaders for the future. Too often, young people come out of school with an education but little practical experience and few resources to help them develop into their careers. As a mentor, you can provide this additional resource for young business people to help them develop into community pillars like yourself.

There are many different ways you can become a mentor. The easiest is to hire some young people in your business, and commit to helping them learn as they earn. This allows you to mentor them on a daily basis, and allows them to see a business leader in action regularly. It also makes it easier for you to fit mentoring into your schedule. Take the time to talk with your young employees about their goals and interests so that you can provide targeted help. Once they realize you are offering to be more than a boss, they’ll begin to come to you for advice and help in planning their future.

Another option for mentoring young people is by signing up for a mentoring program through your local high school or college. These programs pair business leaders with students who show an interest in a similar career. As you mentor these young people, you’ll be able to share your experience and provide advice on job interviewing, education and help teach them learn what’s expected in the business world. Your experience can help better prepare them for their first job and can provide them a resource to help when they have questions or need to make important decisions about their future.

Mentoring is a great way to help ensure there will be leaders like yourself in the future of business. Putting time into your community by helping young people achieve their business goals ensures you leave a legacy that will impact your area long after you’ve retired.

Everyday Leadership by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Leadership is a twenty-four hour a day job. Too often, we focus on big moments as our time to display our leadership skills. While, these are important, our everyday interactions as a leader are just as important, and maybe even more important.images2

Everyday leadership focuses on how we interact with employees and how we behave on a day to day basis. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your everyday leadership skills are congruent with your big leadership moments.

  1. Walk the walk. Behave the way you expect your employees to behave. For example, you can’t constantly show up late to the office while hammering others for being late. Be transparent in your actions, so that others can readily see that you practice what you preach.
  1. Be approachable. You can learn a lot from your employees about problems and opportunities for improvement in your business. However, to get this education, you must be someone they want to talk to. Take the time to interact with them regularly, and make it clear that they can talk to you any time.
  1. Stretch yourself. For your business to thrive, everyone needs to stretch themselves developmentally. Your employees will be more likely to do so if they see you do it. Take classes, work in your community and be willing to try new things in your business. This will inspire your employees to try new things for themselves, bringing rewards for both of you. As they grow and develop, they will be even more beneficial to your team.
  1. Be a mentor. Take the time to learn your employees’ goals, and maybe even help them to set these goals. Then, work with them to help them see how to reach these goals. Mentoring your employees to help them reach their potential pays off for everyone, and creates loyalty within your organization.
  1. Take risks. Risk is important in business, but sometimes it’s hard for people to know which risks are the right ones to take. When you take calculated risks in your business, and share the information about these with your employees, you help them to develop good decision making skills about risks and rewards.

Practicing everyday leadership is beneficial for your employees, and for you, as well. As you work to ensure you’re being a good leader every day, you will grow in your role, and you’ll help others to grow in theirs, as well.

4 Tips for Building a Strong Team by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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One of the most critical components of building a successful business is assembling a team of professionals who can support you in your endeavors. When you have the right team of people, the journey is easier, more successful and more fun. Here are four tips for finding the right people. index2

  1. Look for a common character trait. Consider the trait you believe is most important for success in the business in which you’re working. Is it tenacity, perseverance, communication skills? Choose the trait you consider non-negotiable, and ensure everyone on your team possesses this trait.
  1. Look for diversity. Once you’ve determined the non-negotiable skill, look for people who are different from each other in other ways. A diverse team will challenge each other and bring different skills to the table. When you have a diverse group of people, there will be debate and healthy discussion. This helps ensure your team is always looking for the best way to do things, and that members are always learning from each other.
  1. Choose people who are looking for growth. Growth comes in many fashions. Some members of your team may be young, and looking to climb the corporate ladder. Others may be a bit older and looking to grow in a more personal way by challenging themselves to do something new. Choosing people who believe they have something to learn and who want to learn something new ensures members of your team will always be striving to do more.
  1. Look for people you can trust. Being able to trust your team is critical, and entails several different aspects. You, of course, want to be able to trust them to be honest with your company’s customers and money. However, you also want to be able to trust them to tell you bad news, when required. Hire people that you believe will have your back, and that of your business.

Keep these four ideas in mind as you interview potential team members. Consider not only how the new team members will work with you, but also how they’ll work with others already on the team. Once you’ve made a few good hiring choices, you’ll have an even better handle on the type of people you need to continue building a thriving and successful team.

Making a Difference by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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As business leaders, we solve problems every day. But, sometimes solving problems becomes a rote action – one we do without really considering what we could do with the opportunity before us. index2

In many business opportunities, we have the chance to not only solve a problem, but make a true difference for someone, whether it’s our own business, the life of a customer, an employee, or someone who simply needs our help. Taking a few extra minutes to look for the opportunity in each problem we encounter can make a big difference in our business or in someone else’s life.

For example, consider filling an open position in your office. When you look at applicants, do you ever consider who needs the job the most? Most of us do not. Instead, we consider who has the most experience, the best education. We look at who will fit in our office environment best, and whose salary requirement is lowest. These are all important considerations. However, if you add who needs the job most, or who will appreciate it most to the list of considerations, you might have an entirely different hiring decision.

Sometimes, when we take an extra moment to consider the impact of our decisions on others, we find ways to make a difference that we never imagined. And, this impact affects us, as well.

One of my colleagues recanted to me one of the best decisions she ever made. She took a job in a business that had just had a serious accident, resulting in the death of an employee. The owner, who had run a successful business for 26 years, without so much as person with a paper cut, had suddenly had a death and serious injury from a single accident. He was devastated and needed someone to come in and evaluate his processes, deal with regulatory authorities and help him make changes. The money wasn’t great, but the need was extraordinary. She made a lot of changes, she made a lot of friends and she kept a business from going under because of regulatory fines. She made a difference.

What can you do to make a difference in someone’s life or someone’s business?  Once you evaluate a few decisions based on the difference you can make, you’ll never look at situations the same way again.

The Power of Persistence by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge

Many of us are idea people. We are great with coming up with grand schemes and getting started on them with enormous enthusiasm. Yet we often persistence3fail to see these projects through, becoming bored, pessimistic or defeated because of stumbles in the road or little failures along the way.

It’s critical to learn to get past these little stumbles so that we don’t give up. When we give up, how do we know that success wasn’t just around the corner? Have you ever wondered how many pursuits you were “this close” to accomplishing when you gave up?

The key to persistence lies in two traits. The first is commitment. Too often we start a project without a real commitment to see it through. When it gets hard, we want to quit because we never were all that committed to it anyway. Take a look back at the hard things you’ve accomplished in your life. Maybe you have a long, successful marriage. I’m sure there were hard times during that marriage that made you want to give up. The reason you didn’t was that you had a true commitment to your partner and the promises you made each other. Pursue projects with true commitment, and you’ll have the strength to be persistent.

The second key to persistence is celebration. We often give up because we only look at the things that have gone wrong during the process. The mistakes and failures take a toll on. These failures take less of a toll when we spend more time thinking about the successes. In each big endeavor, we have those stumbles in the road, but we also have achievements and learning experiences. The problem is that we spend more time mourning the failures than we do celebrating the successes. Over time, the project looks like a series of failures to us, so we lose the will to keep trying.

Success is about persistence. Persistence is about mindset. Make a genuine commitment to all you do, and don’t forget to celebrate how well you’re doing it.

Getting Back on Track by Cindy Stradling by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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January always seems to be a month when many of us have to “hit the reset button”. The holidays often seem to get us off track, but we meet the new year with new confidence and goals, but may wonder how to practically get ourselves back on track. Here are some tips you can use any time of the images3year.

  1. Pull out those goals and review. When we’ve gotten off track, we’ve likely stopped thinking about our goals on a daily basis. Reviewing your goals can help bring these back to the forefront of your mind, and help you renew your commitment to meeting them.
  1. Outline the tasks. Each goal has a specific set of tasks required to get you to the finish line. Writing down these tasks helps you create a plan. Once you’re finished, put your goals and tasks where you can see them every day.
  1. Use your calendar. Schedule your tasks just like you would any business appointment. This ensures you have time in your schedule, and makes you more likely to follow through. If you have to cancel a task at the originally scheduled time, move it to another time rather than removing it altogether.
  1. Be accountable. If you have trouble holding yourself accountable for doing what you need to do, get a buddy who will make you accountable. This little push is often all we need to ensure we don’t let important tasks slide. For example, many personal trainers recommend having an exercise buddy. You’re less likely to cancel your workout if you know someone else is counting on you to be there.
  1. Measure progress. It’s easier to stay motivated when we see progress. Don’t forget to have measurable goals and to take the time to see how far you’ve come.
  1. Set small goals so that you can have regular victories. Then, celebrate those victories as a way of keeping yourself motivated to do more.

Getting off track during the holidays is normal, and we all need some down time. To ensure you’re meeting your goals, however, it’s important to get right back on track when the fun is over.

The Importance of Metrics by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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It’s that time of year! Everyone is back at the gym, and making all sorts of resolutions about how they’re going to change their life in 2017. Resolutions are great, and a new year does offer all of us the chance to hit the “reset” button by setting some new goals and making some much needed changes.

However, we’ve all seen resolutions broken and new plans abandoned sometime in February or March. One of the best ways to help ensure your goals for the year don’t get thrown by the wayside is to measure and track your forward movement. We often get discouraged about meeting our goals because we don’t see progress. Here are some ways setting up metrics can help you.index

  • Metrics let you know where you started. In order to track your progress on any goal, you must make note of your starting point. When you feel discouraged about your progress, look back at where you’ve started for reassurance.
  • Metrics help you set intermittent goals. Small goals that add up to big goals can help you stay focused and prevent burnout. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, set milestones of 10 pounds, for example. When you reach each ten pound goal, you feel energized to keep going.
  • Metrics pull you back on track. If you set goals and appropriate measurements to follow, you’ll see when your efforts are not where you expected them to be. By taking an honest look at the metrics, you can see how to get back on track.
  • Metrics give you reason to celebrate. How can you know when you’ve done well if you don’t measure your efforts? Metrics let you know when you have reason to celebrate, helping you stay motivated and ensuring you feel good about your efforts.

So, as you’re busy setting goals for the New Year, remember to set up some ways to measure your progress against those goals. Don’t forget, as well, to set some reminders so that you remember to take regular measurements. Tracking your progress as you move toward your goals is the easiest and most effective way to keep yourself on track as you work to meet your 2017 goals.

New Year, New Goals, Renewed Focus by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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 The New Year is the time when we traditionally hit a little “reset” button on our lives. The symbolic tradition of making New Year’s resolutions and having an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality may be steeped in tradition, but it can be very good for us, as well. 2017-athena

Each of us needs a “mental reset” from time to time. Such a reset allows us to forgive ourselves for past failures and move forward with renewed enthusiasm.  This can happen any time we choose to make it happen, but many of us find it easier to do so in the company of others at this traditional time of year.

So, while everyone else is busy making their list of New Year’s Resolutions; make yours, as well. Focus on three things:

  • Letting go of habits or goals that are proving unproductive
  • Setting brand new goals
  • Resetting goals that fell by the wayside last year

You can benefit from evaluating all areas of your life and outlining changes you’d like to make in each area. However, at the end of the decision making process, it’s a good idea to end up with no more than three major goals for the next year.

When you have more than three important items, it can make it more difficult to actually reach any of the goals, as you are likely to get distracted. Many people choose to set one goal in each major area of life. For example, set one business goal, one goal for yourself personally, and one goal for a relationship or a hobby.

The New Year’s reset can be a great thing for your mind, allowing you to stop worrying about the things you didn’t do in 2106 and instead focus on what you will do in 2017.

Here’s to new beginnings in our personal lives and our business endeavors! Never underestimate the power of hitting the reset button at just the right time. This simple act can help you to move forward in all the areas where you’re ready to see more success.

 

 

Pause………..and Celebrate!!! by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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The holidays can be a busy time of year. There are so many “extra” duties on our plates that it can be a bit overwhelming. As you’re ticking things off your “to do” list, don’t forget the reason we are buying all those presents, cooking for all those dinners and attending all those parties. December is a time when we celebrate, but we are often so focused on preparing for those celebrations that we fail to actually celebrate. celebrate-athena

So, this year, make it a point to celebrate in ways you haven’t in the past. By celebrating, I don’t just mean opening packages and eating big meals with your family. I mean taking the time to reflect on the successes of the past year and give yourself and those who worked with you a pat on the back.

Of course, not everything you’ve attempted has been successful this year; at least not in the way you were measuring its success. However, each endeavor has brought growth and lessons, even when it failed by traditional standards. Those lessons should be celebrated right along with the projects that were giant successes by any measurement.

Celebrating Can Mean Many Things

Celebrating your successes might not mean a celebration in the most traditional sense- not every celebration is equipped with a party and a gift. But, every celebration is important, even if that celebration is just taking a moment to list all the great things you accomplished and all the lessons you learned as the year progressed.

Celebrating your life is more than having a party or other tangible event. It’s about learning to recognize good things as they come along. It’s about never taking your own hard work or your good fortune for granted. It’s about not forgetting to enjoy those things you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

So, check all those items off your “to do” list, if you must. But leave time to linger over dinner, have a second glass of wine, and play with the new toys that will enter your home this December. As the saying goes, “Don’t be so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life”.

Creating a Spirit of Gratitude by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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The holiday season is often a time of reflection and when we pause to count our blessings. While it is traditional and important to give pause to be grateful at this time of year, it is even more important to create an overriding spirit of gratitude throughout the year. gratitude-athena

During the course of our normal lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of life and fail to notice the little moments and the little blessings that make us realize how much we have to be grateful for. Here are some ways to increase your spirit of gratitude throughout the year.

  1. Take focus off the “stuff”. It’s easy to focus our lives around having the latest gadgets, the newest cars or eating at the trendiest new restaurant. Even when we have plenty of money to do these things, the gratification they bring fades very quickly. When we base our sense of appreciation on having these things, we fall into a dangerous trap, because we feel very deprived without them. So, this year, begin focusing on experiences with the people you love, rather than things that cost money. Until you’ve made a conscious choice to take the focus off the “stuff” you can’t appreciate the value of two hours spent talking or watching a movie on the couch with someone you love.
  1. Serve. An easy way to remind ourselves of how much we have to be grateful for is to serve in our communities. We gain a new perspective on our own blessings and we learn to appreciate how others live. In addition, serving in our communities gives us a purpose and pride that we can’t get anywhere else.
  1. Tell others what you appreciate about them. The act of putting our appreciation into words can bring that appreciation into focus for us. When we begin to reflect on what to say to let others know we love them, we experience that love in full force, reminding ourselves of the people who make our lives special.

Practicing these three principles throughout the year can help ensure that you have a full time spirit of gratitude. Regularly taking the time to appreciate what you have and to express that appreciation to others is guaranteed to make your life richer and happier.