Four years ago, I walked into a massive ballroom at the Orlando World Center Marriott for an afternoon teaching with John Maxwell. It was right after lunch and the enormous meeting room was freezing cold. I was clinging to a paper coffee cup to keep warm - and to fend off an afternoon nap. Thinking back on it now, I certainly didn't know that the lessons Maxwell shared in the next hour would stick with me for years to come.
Before we get to the specific advice, think back on a big decision you made in the last year. Maybe a few examples come to mind. Perhaps someone else's decision comes to mind - a decision handed down from leadership, or a decision made by your favorite sports franchise to trade a player, change systems, or fire a coach. Think back to how you felt in the days leading up to that decision, and remember what came next. Remember the feelings that followed the decision, and the steps that you or someone else...
Breaking News: Work sucks.
Okay, so maybe that's not exactly breaking news, and allow me to apologize for starting off on such a cheeky note. The truth is, this is a tough time for employees and employers alike. But, of course, you already know this. You've seen the headlines. Layoffs abound. Quiet Quitting. The Great Resignation.
We can unpack the causes behind each of these at another time, but the effects have been unmistakable. Employees are stressed out, and with good reason. Inflation has reduced the value of their paycheck, and childcare is harder to find than ever before. Layoffs and turnover have stripped teams of years' worth of institutional knowledge and left fewer, newer hands to do the same amount of work. In some cases, the work has even increased. Scope creep, or "quiet hiring," is becoming more and more common as managers ask their top employees to fill gaps by taking on more responsibilities without any...
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...
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;...
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?
It's a simple word, but it can be a complex question. Let's ask the same question a few different ways:
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...
Reflecting on 2020, by Ryan Hansen
2020. What a year it has been. They called it "challenging," "uncertain," and "unprecedented." No matter your preferred descriptors, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.
2020 certainly changed Alloy in many ways. COVID-19 was a significant challenge for our business, as it was for millions of others. Looking back on it now, with the benefit of hindsight (insert joke about 20/20 vision here), it's refreshing to recall the lessons and successes amidst the obstacles and surprises.
The Things We Figured Out in 2020
Virtual Options are Here to Stay
Looking back, it's kind of funny to remember how many times Jamie and I went back and forth on taking our training to the digital space. In March, we decided to start sharing daily live videos on our Facebook page, to share some tips and insights for our online community - and we actually got pretty comfortable with it by around the time summer rolled around! We followed that up with a virtual leader forum,...
You know those moments where you hear something and it immediately changes the way you think? That wave of clarity crashes over you, and suddenly it all makes sense! I call these instances "lightbulb moments," and they have marked some important realizations throughout my life.
Two years ago, I had a lightbulb moment I'll never forget.
As I was sitting in a hotel conference room in Orlando, Florida, a trainer caught my attention with this line: "Today, I am going to instantly improve your communication skills with just two questions."
Looking back, I think I rolled my eyes. Okay dude, sure you are, I thought. Let's see you impress this room of trainers...
Then the trainer explained the two questions, and my lightbulb went on.
Human Behavior is Predictable.
People are funny. There are billions of us, from hundreds of countries, cultures, races, and religions, and yet, in many ways, we're all the same.
Two months ago, how many of us knew the best spot in our house for a video call? How many of us knew how to share our screens or choose a virtual background? How many of us had ever attended a "virtual happy hour," or even heard of such a thing?
The last few weeks have been unusual, to say the least, and it appears that we're in the early stages of returning to something that resembles business as usual. So as the homeschooling winds down and video calls begin to dwindle, you might consider: Are there any components of this time that I want to continue?
That question might have sounded crazy in March, when everything was unfamiliar territory. Weeks later, though, some of us have started to find a new routine. We've adopted new schedules, picked up new habits, even tried to learn new skills. Surely some of those are worth keeping, right? Let's take a look at some of the common themes from this period of isolation.
5 Tips for Building the Culture You Want, by Ryan Hansen
How do you feel about workplace culture? Does anything come to mind when you see those words together? Maybe you're thinking about bean bags and ping-pong tables. Some leaders managers will literally roll their eyes when you mention it (That's not a joke - I've seen it!) On the other end of the spectrum, some leaders value their workplace culture, hold it close, monitor it, and actively work to protect it. These are the organizations that I want to spend time with.
If it's not abundantly clear, Alloy Solutions believes in creating cultures where high-performing team members want to work and succeed. A great culture should bring the best out of the people that work in it. A strong culture is a competitive advantage for the organization: LinkedIn says that companies with strong cultures can cut their hiring costs by half, and Gallup says that companies with strong cultures see a 10%...
How Leaders Use Resilience to Sustain Excellence, by Ryan Hansen
This week marks the first full week of a brand-new decade! I hope that this week finds you full of excitement, optimism, and amazing plans for big things to come in the new year.
As we kick off the new year, it seems that a single topic is getting the most attention: Habits. My inbox and social media feeds have been filled to the brim with suggestions from every expert, influencer, and thought leader on the habits that made them successful. Frankly, every article seems to suggest the same few things. Wake up at 5 AM. Establish a morning routine. Budget your time. Get daily exercise.
Without a doubt, these are good suggestions. I won't disagree with any of them - in fact, I have incorporated many of them into my personal life. However, in everything I have read, one piece is missing: What happens when circumstances interrupt our habits? How do we sustain our positive momentum?
Even with all the planning...