5 Principles for Designing Effective Workshops

 you-x-ventures-vbxyFxlgpjM-unsplashThe internet has a wealth of information available to anyone at the click of a mouse. You can read articles, view webinars, and watch videos on how to do just about everything. It seems like everyone is giving away their content for free. If there’s so much free information available on the web, why do businesses continue to invest in employee training? Why do people still hire coaches? Because training and coaching, if designed right, can provide a radically different experience that is more meaningful and has a greater likelihood of retention and being put into practice.

If you are designing a workshop, there a several principles to keep in mind that will produce a more impactful training session.

  1. Collaborate with the leader to plan, deliver, and execute the content. People will be more engaged when they have some control over the what, when, and how they learn.
  2. Make sure the information is applicable to the audience now. What are the challenges in the work environment today? What practical information can be put into practice immediately to improve outcomes? Information designed for future circumstances will easily be forgotten within 2 weeks.
  3. Draw out the audience’s past experiences into the learning process. When people can analyze and process information against previous failures and successes, the workshop content comes alive. The audience can make new connections, sees possibilities, and draw new conclusions.
  4. Have the group use reasoning and solve problems in the workshop. Most people hate or at best are bored with learning facts and figures. When people engage their minds with the material, they are more apt to retain the information and be excited to put it to use in their job.
  5. Use storytelling to bring the material alive. Storytelling has been used to pass along information and concepts since before pen and paper were invented. The human mind is programmed to learn through storytelling, share meaningful stories that drive home important points.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Core Values: the Link Between Life and Business Coaching

lee-vue-Ik5V3W8y96Q-unsplashWhen I life coach, invariably my clients will complete a core values assessment. Why? Because whether they are aware of it or not, core values drive personal meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. And I want to help my clients understand why they make certain decisions, choose to act in specific ways, and feel joy as well as frustration. Discovering your core values will help you understand certain dynamics in your life and empower you to choose a new course for your future.

Businesses, like life coaching clients, also set visions and define missions. If you work for any size company, you’ve likely noticed vision and mission statements nicely framed and hung in conference rooms. Perhaps the leadership has gone so far as to laminate them on a business card for their employees to carry around. In most cases, however, there’s likely no values to complement the vision and mission.

I find that many businesses skip values and rush straight to developing their strategy. Wait! Values are an incredible part of defining who the company is when it grows up. Values shape culture, provide operating guidelines, and attract people who have a shared passion for the vision and mission. People tend to resonate more with values than they do with vision and mission statements. Current and future employees want to know what a company stands as they make a judgment on whether this is the place for them to work.

If you’re a business leader and your company hasn’t defined its values, I can help your team as a coaching facilitator. If you’re an individual who would like to learn more about what makes you tick, reach out for a conversation.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Core Values for Your Business Mission

Vision and mission, a staple of life coaching, have easily translated into business. Almost all companies of any size have some sort of vision and mission statement. They serve as a legitimizing tool, so when a company doesn’t have an answer to, “What’s your vision and mission,” it’s almost as if the leadership doesn’t know what the company wants to be when it grows up.

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In my experience, vision and mission statements range from a check-the-box activity such as creating a website to serving as the foundation for strategy and critical decision-making. And identifying the company’s values that underlie the vision and mission becomes the fuel for business growth and hiring decisions.

When I life coach, I help clients identify their core values, because whether clients know theirs or not, they are trying to live them out in their behaviors and decisions. I’ve had many clients have light bulb moments and say, “That explains it,” as they work through struggle and roadblocks.

The concept of core values defines who you are, what you stand for, and provides predictability. This applies to an individual’s life and even more so for a business. If leveraged appropriately, a company’s values help define culture and help leadership provide the how of work for their employees. Values are also important in the hiring process, because they provide clarity to prospective employees on what they would be signing up for when they join the team.

If you’d like to learn more about the power of core values and/or go through a core values coaching session(s) for you or your business, reach out for a conversation.

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About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can engage her as your coach by reaching out to coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or learn more by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

The Power of And, But, and Because

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Some words pack a powerful punch in how they affect the message from all the other words strung together before or after them. What are these words? They’re usually the conjunctions like and, but, and or. For Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers who grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, you probably have a little song playing in your head right now.

Conjunction Junction, what’s their function?
I got “and”, “but”, and “or”,
They’ll get you pretty far.

Although our body language and tone of voice are major influencers in how we communicate, choices in simple words can change the message. You should be sensitive to use the right one for the right intent. My favorite conjunctions are and, but, and because, and each provides a very different message.

And is the connector that keeps the conversation going and the ideas building. You’ll see the masters of improv exclusively use this word to allow the following person to continue with the next idea. If frequency were an indication of people’s favorite conjuntion, I would guess it would be but. “I hear what you’re saying, but…..” or “I like your idea, but…” But is the perfect word to negate everything that was said before it. Sometimes I don’t think people even realize what that one little word does to the previous speaker. And then there’s the conjunction because.

Whereas and keeps the conversation going, and but invalidates the idea before it, because blends the power of the and with an assumption of action. What are your thoughts of each message?

  1. “I like your idea about forming a small task force to address the problems with the manufacturing process, but I think it’ll take too long to get all the people who have expertise in the same room at the same time.”
  2. “I like your idea about forming a small task force to address the problems with the manufacturing process, and we’ll need to consider how long it will take to get all the people who have expertise in the same room at the same time.”
  3. “I like your idea about forming a small task force to address the problems with the manufacturing process, because we have the expertise. We’ll need to get all these people in the same room at the same time.”

Most people don’t pay much attention to their conjunctions. How about you? Hopefully, you might be more selective in your next conversation.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Diversity & Inclusion: Which Comes First?

christina-wocintechchat-com-eS72kLFS6s0-unsplashOne of the hot topics in today’s business world is Diversity and Inclusion or more commonly known under its acronym D&I. Most would likely agree that the purpose of D&I is to (1) afford equal opportunities and a working environment for all people to succeed and (2) leverage the positive effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage. However, the big question we should be discussing and deciding is whether diversity (numbers) comes before inclusion (behaviors) or whether inclusion drives diversity. Diversity and inclusion: which comes first?

When businesses focus on diversity first, they can and some of them do, end up with silos built around ethnic and gender lines and never achieve the win-win for both employees and employers. I believe diversity does not necessarily create inclusion, but inclusion always supports diversity, so why not focus first on inclusion. When companies focus their efforts on creating cultures that value and reward inclusive behaviors, diversity will be a natural outcome.

What can businesses do that will help promote inclusive behaviors with the staff they already have on board?

  1. Seek input from more employees across more functional and hierarchical lines
  2. Listen to colleagues who are speaking until they feel understood
  3. Ask lots of questions
  4. Identify misunderstandings and resolve conflict
  5. Seek to understand each person’s value and contribution
  6. Examine your assumptions about people

How well is your company practicing inclusive behaviors with the employees it has now? The truth is that many companies haven’t achieved any inclusive milestones even with a concerted effort to hire and retain a diverse workforce. The question of whether diversity or inclusion should come first is similar to the age-old question of whether the chicken or egg came first. Where will you decide to focus your efforts?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Post-COVID: How Much Risk Will You Design into Your Life?

edwin-hooper-Q8m8cLkryeo-unsplashThe first wave of COVID-19 is crashing toward shore. If, and how many more, waves will follow during the coming years is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: the freedoms we once enjoyed may be changed forever. What will be the new normal? What will a virus-phobic world society look and feel like? I imagine we’ll make it up as we go based on our comfort levels.

Before we go further down the path, we need to answer an important question, because it will influence every decision that shapes the new normal. The question: how much risk are we willing to live with for the quality of life and freedoms we desire? If we don’t decide this up front, I’d bet we will make decisions, pass laws, and enact guidelines that drive us toward 100% safety and zero risk policies. And who doesn’t want total safety; it’s a feel-good place to be. But what’s the cost in quality of life, suppression of personal freedoms, sacrifice of privacy, and financial livelihoods?

If we decide how much risk we’re willing to live with, it will make it much easier to make important decisions in work and leisure. Some of the questions that businesses are wrestling with include:

  • How many people will be allowed on an elevator at one time?
  • Who, when, and how should employees be screened before entering the office? And what about visitors?
  • Will the much-dreaded cubicle concept finally be taken out by COVID as opposed to the research which showed how it cost businesses much more than it saved?
  • How much sanitation is enough to protect employers from employee lawsuits claiming the company was negligent in providing a safe work environment?
  • Where, when, and for how long will face masks be mandatory? Will we be required to wear them so much, they become fashion apparel much like a men’s necktie or women’s jewelry?
  • How many people will be allowed to congregate in the break room or have lunch together?
  • How will these policies be enforced?
  • What’s the repercussions for violators to policies?

Some of these may seem like tongue-in-cheek questions, but are they really? If COVID-19 is not one-and-done, but a virus we live with and have to mitigate as part of our world fabric, we need to get serious in asking ourselves the tough question. How much are we willing to give up in our lives and for what level of protection?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

Do You Have a 100% Responsibility Mindset?

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Responsibility is a term we use frequently throughout our home, work, and leisure lives. Generally speaking, responsible means to have or accept the duty to deal with something or someone. I would assume no one would disagree that we shouldn’t be responsible, and some would probably agree they could act more responsible. Yet, how do you know how responsible you really are?

I like to measure responsibility on a continuum, because as with any attribute or behavior, we don’t have enough focus and energy to be hitting on all cylinders all of the time. Most people struggle with the responsibility they have, yet haven’t thought about what it means to have a responsibility mindset—taking full responsibility for their life and results. Depending on what the world has thrown into their lives that day, people move back and forth on a responsibility mindset continuum.

luis-villasmil-mlVbMbxfWI4-unsplashHowever, it’s important to understand what a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 might look like if you were to achieve a 100% responsibility mindset. You wouldn’t blame, criticize, or even complain. Why? Because when you do, you’re ultimately saying there’s something you know is better that you’re not willing to go after.

Some people incessantly complain about their job but don’t make an effort to even update their resume and look for another one. Spouses complain about their other half but won’t even suggest marriage counseling. Still others complain about their mother-in-law, and yet never take a constructive step to work on the relationship.

When you have a 100% responsibility mindset, you don’t blame, criticize, or complain, because you know you’ve done everything within your control to influence or go get it, and there’s nothing more left for you to do. You then release it as your burden.

You’re probably thinking now of the last thing you criticized or person you blamed. Let the concept sink in. Awareness is the first step in moving towards a 100% responsibility mindset. If you’re unhappy with a relationship or situation, ask yourself, “How am I creating it, promoting it, or allowing it to continue.” Answering this question will give you greater insight into how you might adopt a 100% responsibility mindset, improve your circumstances, and eventually move toward emotional freedom.

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About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Resilience: Adopt a Squirrel Mindset

toimetaja-tolkeburoo-qyt0cPByJjs-unsplashIf your personal resilience could be characterized by an animal, what animal would you be? Would you’d be the stereotypical male lion, who waits for his pride to bring him what he needs and would likely starve to death, if not for the hunting skills of the lionesses. Or perhaps you’re more like a gecko, who detaches its tail when grabbed by a predator, runs, and then grows it back within weeks. I’d like to think that my personal resilience is more like the common backyard animal—the squirrel.

Think of a world of humans having the personal resilience of squirrel. Their mindsets should be admired, because squirrels routinely demonstrate the following behaviors:

  1. Plan for Adversity: How many times have you watched a squirrel from your window digging hole after hole after hole in your yard? He’s digging and burying nuts for winter. Adversity will come when the snow covers the ground, and the food supply disappears. He can’t necessarily count on the goodwill of humans to fill those bird feeders in the winter. And speaking of bird feeders…
  2. Never Give Up: If you’ve had the time, you’ve likely watched a squirrel tirelessly try to get bird seed out of a feeder that was booby-trapped with all types of supposed squirrel-proof gadgets. Having watched dozens of videos of human inventors proved wrong, I don’t think there’s a truly squirrel proof bird feeder yet.
  3. Don’t Complain: Paired with the never-give-up attitude, you don’t hear squirrels complaining when the game gets rough and goes on and on. They adopt a 100% responsibility mindset: 100% responsible for getting that seed. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t seek the help of their friends. In fact, once a winning formula is discovered, squirrels share the good news.
  4. Tap into Creativity: Have you seen some of the contorted positions squirrels eat from as they hang onto the bird feeders? If not, google photos. It makes extreme yoga look like the Special Olympics.
  5. Refrain from Discouragement: Discouragement doesn’t appear to be in a squirrel’s vocabulary. After applying the “never give up” resilience approach, they’re usually able to crack the code and come away with a full belly. When people say no to the squirrel and up their design, the squirrel responds, “Not now.”

anthony-intraversato-pT_wQgZAIU8-unsplashPeople can learn from the behaviors of squirrels. They have an incredible amount of resilience which probably explains why we see more than we care to in our own yards. What mindset area could you work on improving that would help you become more resilient?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

COVID-19: What have you learned? What will you change? How can I help?

damir-spanic-cMe5lwooOig-unsplashCOVID-19 has been a kick in the butt for many businesses. Some are not sure if they will make it. Others have tightened down the hatches and believe they can ride out the storm. Others are actively pursuing new opportunities to thrive on the other side. Remember the old saying: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Whether it’s survive or thrive, every company should ask where they rank on the continuum of flexible versus agile. What’s the difference? Flexibility means adapting to circumstances beyond your control. On the other hand, companies who are agile proactively change to take advantage of opportunities on the other side.  Where is your company on the continuum of flexible versus agile?

If you’re not sure, I have a few questions that can start the conversation:

  1. Describe what the new normal looks like on the other side of COVID for your industry and market?
  2. Based on your answer to the first question, what changes do you need to make now to set you up for success for the new normal?

As an example, some businesses believe virtual meetings will be a greater part of the new normal. How well do your people communicate in the virtual realm? Communicating virtually has specific nuances you need to be aware of and manage to ensure that it’s as powerful in person as it is across a computer connection. Communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% words. How you set up your environment for a visual call can also makes a huge difference in how you’re perceived. Do your people know what changes they need to make to shine?

Leadership coaching and consulting can help prepare your team to be the best version of themselves for the new normal. Let’s have a conversation on what post-COVID might look like for your business, so we can set you and your team up for success.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

How Leadership “Addiction” Impacts Team Performance Through a Crisis

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When most people hear of addiction in the workplace, they think of drugs, alcohol, and maybe the overuse of technology where employees can’t seem to separate from their iPhones. Outside of work, people have addictions to shopping, love, food, and gambling. Regardless of the addiction, they have one thing in common—all provide a hit of one or more of the feel-good chemicals of serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins, and dopamine.

Our decisions in how to seek out these pleasure chemicals have a profound effect on what our leadership looks and feels like, not only to us, but to the teams we lead. Each chemical is triggered and released into our bloodstream in a different way. Some are self-serving and others selfless, and the balance we seek as leaders will shape company culture and how we lead out of a crisis. As a leader, what pleasure chemicals are you addicted to?

Sinek (2017) discusses how endorphins are the survival chemicals that help mask pain and keep us going even when we think we can’t go any farther. In this high-stress, performance-driven business world, endorphins have a powerful influence in mitigating cortisol. The dopamine high is the reward we receive after accomplishing an important task—it motivates us to keep trying to achieve a defined goal. Dopamine and endorphins are chemical highs that don’t require interaction with others.

On the opposite end of the pleasure-seeking continuum are the selfless chemicals that make us feel valued and keep teams feeling they’re in the Circle of Safety (Sinek, 2017). Serotonin is also known as the leadership chemical—making us feel strong and confident knowing someone likes or respects us based on our decisions and behaviors. Oxytocin, more commonly thought of as the “love” chemical, increases our empathy, makes us social, and expands our generosity, which in turn creates bonds of trust and friendship.

Where leaders choose to get their chemical fix influences company culture, their effectiveness, and how their teams ultimately feel about them. During a business crisis, it’s highly unlikely that a leader can single-handedly lead a company through it. It takes a dedicated team, who feels part of the Circle of Safety, to work tirelessly for their leader as they successfully pull through the crisis. Those leaders, who inspire that level of commitment, are likely those with a significant level of serotonin and oxytocin running through their veins.

Which chemicals are you addicted to? What re-balancing do you need to make? How will you lead differently?

Reference

Sinek, S. (2017). Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Penguin Group: New York, NY


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com