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What If??

2022 jamie hansen what if Feb 20, 2022

What If?? by Jamie Hansen

One of the things I find most magical about movies is that every once in a while, one comes along with a concept that stretches our thinking and makes us ask, "What If?" Whether it's a drama, romance, comedy, or action film -- the genre doesn't really matter to me -- I find myself captivated with the ability of these movies to help us see things that we didn't notice before, or envision things that haven't yet come to be. From a psychological perspective, I'm a true believer in, "once you see something, you can't un-see it." As for horror movies, they may have us seeing things we don't ever want to see or experience, so let's count that category out for the sake of discussion. Rather, it's those movies that take us on a two- to three-hour journey and leave us asking questions we've never asked before, or envisioning things we've never seen before, that I find particularly compelling.

One movie that comes to mind (especially this month) with this captivating...

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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth. As 2021 draws to a close, I think of these three words as so much more than a phrase scripted across a beautiful holiday card. With all that's going on in the world, it's a more thought-provoking phrase for many than it was even a few years ago. Peace is certainly something our world could use much more of, and maybe even our own corners of the world. Many people are saying 2021 presented surprisingly more challenges than 2020. Here at Alloy, requests for support on the topics of resilience, healthy management of conflict, leading through change, and understanding the mental health impacts of a crisis were at an all-time high, and it doesn't appear that will be abating soon. Here we offer three year-end exercises to glean everything you need from 2021 to look forward to a more peaceful 2022 -- at least in your corner of the world:

Make Peace with Your Past Year. I have long loved to use the photos on my phone at the end of the year to make calendars, notecards,...

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Finding the Sacred Amidst the Crazy

Happy Fall, Y'all! How has yours been so far? For that matter, how was your summer? When I look back on mine, and when I inquire of friends and colleagues about theirs, the word that routinely comes up is, "Crazy." Unpredictable. Protracted. Exhausting. Demanding. Confusing. Irrational. Tentative. Mad. Unbalanced. Erratic. Just a few synonyms for this frequently used word. As I heard one commentator say recently, "Wow, this two weeks of shut down sure has felt like an eternity." Tounge in cheek, of course, but can't we all relate?

So how do you stay positive, energized, find the good, and lead well when it feels like you don't know what's coming next? Or where it's coming from? John Maxwell has a great teaching on how to maximize a positive situation. A meeting with a mentor, an opportunity, a new venture, or any situation that you want to make the most of. And in his simple but profound style, he exhorts us to 1) Prepare thoroughly before the event, and 2) Reflect deeply afterward....

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Now Hiring: Joyful Leaders

cindy braun joy leaders Aug 31, 2021

Now Hiring: Joyful Leaders, by Cindy Braun

Have you noticed how many "Now Hiring" signs are popping up these days? Across the country, businesses are looking for help and struggling to find it. America finds itself with a bevy of open positions and a shortage of labor to fill them. So, what's missing?

As I look back on my interactions with professionals over the last year and a half, I see more fear and less joy in the workplace. This certainly makes sense given the changes and uncertainty that the pandemic has brought. Looking ahead, I believe leaders who intentionally bring joy to the workplace can make a difference for their companies and their team members. I hope these thoughts will encourage you to take a risk and see what high joy can do for you.

Joy is a funny thing. It strengthens our relationships, reduces our stress, improves our immune system, protects our resiliency after setbacks, and spreads from person to person to transforms lives.

As leaders, we can focus on...

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Three Steps to Finding the Right Coach for You

Three Steps to Finding the Right Coach for You, by Ryan Hansen

These days, more and more professionals are turning to an executive coach to sustain their growth and help them perform at their best. Previous posts on this site have already covered why you should consider a professional coach, and how to get the most out of a coaching relationship, but that first step - finding the right coach - is the most important of all. Here are a few keys to finding the right coach for you:

1. Know Your Purpose

To find a great coach, start with the end in mind. What would you like to accomplish through this coaching experience? Identify your goals so you can identify the type of coaching you need. The more specific you can be in your quest to find a coach, the bigger the impact of the coaching relationship. Do you need a career coach to help you take the next step in your professional life? Do you need a business coach to help you grow your side hustle into a full-time gig? Maybe you...

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Leadership Lessons from a Newborn Baby

Leadership Lessons from a Newborn Baby, by Haley Hansen

Just a few short weeks ago, our family got a little bit bigger as we welcomed Mackenzie Hansen into the world. We were blessed with a healthy, happy little girl who has brought great joy to our home. Two months later, it amazes me how much this tiny little human can teach me. Here are just a few leadership principles Mackenzie has helped me realize in her first few weeks on the job:

1. Rest is Refueling

Any parent can relate to this. If you have ever cared for an over-tired child, you know how they can reach new levels of emotional distress. And the more upset they become, the more they resist the call of sleep. This cycle can be hard to break, and an absolute nightmare for anyone around when it is happening. While it's easier to spot in an infant, I found that the same principle holds true for me. Even though I don't always need to be sleeping to get some rest, taking time for myself can offer similar relief. Already, I have...

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Fire-Fighting is Killing Your Team. Here's How to Quit.

Fire-Fighting is Killing Your Team. Here's How to Quit. by Ryan Hansen

Have you ever had one of those managers who just can't seem to stop? It's not that they don't seem to stop - it's as if they can't. For them, the day consists of bouncing from one project to another, from one problem to another, of answering questions and sorting out issues before they become crises. They don't have a minute to talk - or perhaps they have precisely one minute while they're walking from one meeting to the next. Sure, they start the day with an agenda, but other priorities crop up and demand attention.

You can spot this manager in their natural habitat. You'll see him or her hustling from one meeting room to the next, or half-jogging to a bathroom between conference calls. Their team members say things like "Have you seen Sarah?" and "Hey, if you talk to Chris would you ask him to get back to me about that proposal?" Reschedules are a fact of life for these managers;...

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Stay Constructive with Communication

Stay Constructive with Communication, by Cindy Braun

Two years ago, I worked with a company selling new construction homes. This was a significant learning curve for me, as I was working in sales in a completely new industry. Each project was a massive undertaking to pull together a diverse group of subcontractors and laborers to complete a beautiful masterpiece. I always had great respect for all of the hands and feet that worked together to achieve the end goal of a move-in-ready home.

As I worked in this role, it became clear to me that efficient communication was very important. Three different groups - the construction manager, the sales team, and the client - had to work together and agree on clear timelines to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. The stakes are sky-high when you're working on million-dollar homes, and the client is emotionally invested in the end result.

Perhaps you have managed a project with lots of moving parts and seen the need to set...

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Work-Life Balance: Mountaintop or Moving Target?

Work-Life Balance: Mountaintop or Moving Target? by Jamie Hansen

This post was originally part of our Finish Strong Challenge, which emphasized components of modern resilience to help participants finish the year on a high note and build positive momentum for 2021. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest on future challenges and updates from Alloy!

When I think about work/life balance, I’m reminded of the message license plate of a friend of mine whose husband has had multiple cross-country relocations with his company:  It reads, “HERE4NOW”. I was taken aback when I first saw that because it felt a little bleak – too brief, too short term. But there’s wisdom in the brevity of its sentiment:  acknowledging the present moment and that it won’t last forever can lead to a sense of clarity in making the most of the time we have. I know we may not be in this place for long, but we’re going to have the best time while we...

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Connecting Purpose and Resilience

Connecting Purpose and Resilience, by Ryan Hansen

This post was originally part of our Finish Strong Challenge, which emphasized components of modern resilience to help participants finish the year on a high note and build positive momentum for 2021. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest on future challenges and updates from Alloy!

How many times do you think about why you do what you do?

Why?

It's a simple word, but it can be a complex question. Let's ask the same question a few different ways:

  • Why does my work matter?
  • How does my work help other people (on my team, in my company, or in society at large)?
  • What would happen if my role did not exist?
  • Who am I serving?
  • Who benefits from the work I do?
  • Who is counting on me to do my job?

Many of us get so caught up in the day-to-day grind of our work that we eventually stop focusing on the overarching purpose that makes our work important and necessary.

As we take a closer look at Finding Your...

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