Your Core Values: How They Show Up at Work

Our core values, whether we realize it or not, drive how we feel, what we think, and more importantly what we do. If companies operate by a standard set of values, stated or not, how do your core values align with your employer’s? Where do they complement, co-exist, or rub each other the wrong way?

Most people haven’t intentionally thought of identifying and unpacking their core values. However, when they do take the time, my clients have light bulb moments: “Ah-ha, that explains it.” The opportunity to express core values is a significant contributor toward your feelings of fulfillment and ultimate success at work, and on the flipside, the suppression of your core values can produce feelings of dread when you think about another day of work.  

We all have triggers that let us know something’s not right. Perhaps mine are like yours. When I can jump out of bed early on weekend mornings but need 3 or 4 hits of the snooze bar during the work week, that’s my signal I need a core value check and possible adjustment.

Wearing my hat as a life coach, clients ask me for help in changing careers. Our first step is to separate work from the company. For instance, one of my clients wanted to get out of sales, because it was too frustrating. After we unpacked his current situation, he concluded that he loved sales, building relationships, and the thrill of the hunt. What he also realized was how his employer tied his hands, dictated his process, and his current boss knew only how to supervise account managers but had no skill in leading business development.   

Once my client clearly understood that three of his top five core values were leadership, creativity, and independence, he agreed that sales/business development was the right career for him. He just needed to find a company whose values aligned with his, so he could perform at his best. Instead of switching careers, he switched companies by learning how to interview for the right company culture and boss for a win-win.

If you don’t know what your top core values are and how to unpack them in a meaningful way for future decision-making, reach out for a coaching 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

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

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 to Create Your 10-Year Vision

matt-noble-BpTMNN9JSmQ-unsplashWhat’s your thought when someone says, “I have a 10-year vision?” Would it be (1) Wow! (2) How do you do that? (3) Not for me, or perhaps (4) I wouldn’t know where to start. The truth is that if you don’t have a vision on where you’re headed, the current of daily life will take you wherever it meanders. Where will that be? Who knows? Yet, many people regret not being more intentional with their lives as evidenced by many deathbeds regrets.

Don’t let regret be a major theme of your later years. Set a vision toward where you want to go or what you want to do. Know that the daily pressures of life will at times push you off your path. That’s to be expected, but when you know the direction you’re headed, you can pivot and get back on the path. A vision doesn’t have to be accomplished in 1 year or even 5 years. Some visions can take 10 years or longer to achieve.

Below is my recipe for how to step forward into a 10-year vision. I give a name to each year which represents the focus for that year. Replace it with a word of your own if it has more meaning for you. The name is there to remind and motivate you until you reach your destination. Twenty-twenty is the perfect year to start your 10-year vision. Think of Vision 2020 as the decade challenge in achieving something bigger than you ever imagined.

Year 1: EXPERIMENT and say “yes” to the new

This is the year to say “yes” to meeting new people, trying new things, having different conversations, and creating new experiences. Be open to new world perspectives and thinking. Challenge your long-held beliefs and assumptions that might be holding you back from achieving more and walking in your purpose.

Year 2: Define and describe your VISION

With consideration of your last year of experiments and new experiences, write down a vision of where you want to be in 10 years. What are you doing? Describe the world around you. Write down a strategy, tactical plans, and a budget to get there. Break your vision into 3 big moves or steps. Each step may include one or multiple activities.

Year 3: Forge PARTNERSHIPS

Most people can’t reach their 10-year vision without some help from others. You may need expertise, financial backing, additional hands/feet on the ground, or emotional support. Identify and build relationships that will help you reach your vision.

Year 4: PREPARE yourself

What do you need to do to prepare yourself for a big move? Do you need to improve your health, land a certain job, reconcile certain relationships, or live within a budget? Get ready to move and press forward.

Year 5: Step FORWARD into your first big move

Big, big move! Press into the vision. Does that mean relocating, downsizing, or buying something? This is where fear and cold feet can enter the picture. Up until this point, visioning was more a paper exercise or fit into your daily life. Don’t stop now. You are making change toward something you’ve dreamed about.

Year 6: SOLIDIFY the foundation

Operate and settle into the new platform on which you are standing. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because there will be more of it. You’re building resilience.

Year 7: REST

Review all that has happened. Has anything changed with regards to your vision? What adjustments do you need to make? Recharge your batteries, because it’s time to press on.

Year 8: ONWARD

Take a second big step toward your vision. It’s getting real. This second step should feel uncomfortable again. You have the confidence from your first successful move to know that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Year 9: PUSH

Push forward. Take another step onward. By now putting one foot in front of the other is feeling more comfortable. You should have reached your vision.

Year 10: CELEBRATE

Take time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve grown, and start dreaming of your next big vision.

clark-tibbs-oqStl2L5oxI-unsplashSome might say that taking 10 years to reach a vision is too long. Others may think 10 years is too short. Work the steps at the pace you feel comfortable. These steps are just a way to take the concept of visioning and making it more manageable and less intimidating for those who become overwhelmed with the thought of visioning.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers 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

What’s Your Listening Score?

mimi-thian-lp1AKIUV3yo-unsplashListening is a powerful communication skill that affects your leadership influence and relationships. When you listen well, people notice. Why? Because most people don’t practice good listening. Instead, they typically focus on being heard.

Ribbers and Waringa (2015) define seven levels of listening which are:

  1. Continually interrupts people, impatient when listening, wants to hear him- or herself talk, doesn’t get to the point easily
  2. Restrains him- or herself enough to listen but with visible signs of impatience, prefers to talk about own experiences
  3. Listens to others, polite and observes standard conversational etiquette, reactive conversational partner, doesn’t actively draw out others to talk
  4. Lets others talk, asks for clarifications, prefers to keep conversations about business
  5. Always takes the time to willingly listen, comes across as interested in the other person, gives appropriate feedback
  6. Gets people talking, exchanges information, listens well to others while giving natural responses, asks questions to get to the heart of the subject
  7. Expresses sensitivity to the needs of others, makes time for people, asks questions to clarify, gives feedback, shows involvement

We can’t always listen at a level seven, and frankly, not all conversations require a seven. However, we should be holistically aware of where we tend to operate and decide whether we need to focus on improving our listening skill. These listening definitions can also help us identify which conversations require which level of listening in order to improve the outcome for both speaker and listener. With a defined scale as reference, it’s easier to target and measure improvement.

Reference

Ribbers, A., & Waringa, A. (2015). E-Coaching: Theory and Practice for a New Online Approach to Coaching. New York, NY: Routledge.


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 visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com