Leadership Updateis a free electronic monthly newsletter. In it, you’ll find strategies for helping you realize your full professional potential.
- Quotable: The Pundits Speak
- Are You Managing Stress, Or Is Stress Managing You?
- Hiring 101: Everything Means Something
- Communication and Presentation Skills Workshops
- Readers’ Forum: Your Observations
- Subscription Information
QUOTABLE: THE PUNDITS SPEAK
“Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity – but it was the man who invented the meter who made the money.” – Earl Wilson
“Shortly after the great aerialist Karl Wallenda fell to his death in 1978 while doing his most dangerous walk, his wife, also an aerialist, said, ‘All Karl thought about for months before was falling. It was the first time he’d ever thought about that, and it seemed to me that he put all his energies into not falling rather than walking the tightrope.’ If we think more about failing at what we’re doing than about doing it, we will not succeed.” – Warren Bennis, in On Becoming A Leader
ARE YOU MANAGING STRESS, OR IS STRESS MANAGING YOU?
A recent article in the online edition of Fast Company magazine describes a special center at the famous Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona, where overstressed executives, doctors, lawyers and other highly successful people pay more than $3,000 a week (during the peak season) to seek a greater sense of control and meaning in their lives.
The harried high-achievers who seek guidance through the Life Enhancement Center have accomplished great professional success at the cost of their personal fulfillment. And the same experiences that compel some to search for their souls in the middle of the desert are similar to those of professionals across the country. Professional success in almost any field requires drive, determination and boundless energy.
But when people focus solely on their careers, they may reach a point where they begin to ask questions like, “If things are going so well professionally, why don’t I feel happier?” Or “If I have so much more money, why can’t I find the time to enjoy it?” Unfortunately, the pressure for continued success and professional growth stops many from answering these important and difficult questions. Until a health or other crisis intervenes to force a confrontation with what one’s true priorities are.
How do you know if you’re overstressed? Ask yourself these questions: Do you rush in a panic to work every morning? Eat lunch at your desk to get as much work done as possible? Too exhausted at the end of the day to enjoy activities at night? Ruminating as you try to fall asleep about what needs to be done tomorrow? Dreaming about work? Putting off vacations because you’re too busy to take them? If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, stress is probably affecting your life more than you realize.
And it’s not uncommon for overstressed people to either ignore or fail to recognize the signs that they’re over-committed to their work. But the physical and emotional consequences of working as hard and as fast as you can every day are serious, and include increased risk of a heart attack, decreased resistance to infections, anxiety and more.
How about some good news? Fortunately, the process of redesigning an overstressed life can be relatively straightforward, and includes an assessment of stressors, resources, commitments and opportunities for identifying personal and professional goals and values.
Even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed right now by your professional life, take time to stop and examine your goals and values periodically to make sure that your professional development is unfolding in a way that’s consistent with your most deeply held beliefs.
HIRING 101: EVERYTHING MEANS SOMETHING
The July-August issue of the Harvard Business Review reports that between 30% and 50% of executive-level hires end in firings or resignations. And other sources suggest that nearly half of new hires, executive or not, do not meet supervisors’ expectations.
What gives? According to the HBR article (and consistent with common sense), effective hiring is a strategy that must be well planned long before the applicant walks through the door for an interview. Make sure that you’ve assessed your company’s needs, and confirm that those needs are a fit with the open position description. Don’t have a job description? Create one. Hiring without a concrete job description is like trying to build a house without blueprints.
Also, keep in mind that the assessment of a potential applicant begins long before they actually walk in the door. Everything they do is relevant, from how they send you their resume to how available they are to come in for an interview appointment. Watch for warning signs like:
- poorly organized resumes
- mistakes on resumes and cover letters
- failure to provide information requested in help wanted ads, like salary requirements or work samples
- delays in returning your phone calls
Also, take note of how applicants behave in the waiting area prior to the interview. Are they busy reviewing their own resume or reading material you provided to them about your company? That’s good. Are they distracting your receptionist with questions about how long employees get for lunch? That’s bad. There are many other ways to evaluate the subtle clues applicants unwittingly provide to you about themselves. Contact me for more ideas about how to tighten up your assessment process.
COMMUNICATION AND PRESENTATION SKILLS WORKSHOP
Ever wondered how the very best speakers mastered their craft? How can you change the phrasing of requests to get others to do what you want more often? What are the best ways to handle objections from an audience or individuals? If you’re looking for ways to improve your ability to communicate and persuade employees, peers, clients and others, register for “The Language of Leadership: Communications and Presentation Skills” by Success Technologies, Inc.
The full-day workshop will be offered on Thursday, October 21, 1999 at Penn State, Great Valley Campus, and on Tuesday, November 23, 1999 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tuition is $195. Call (610) 935-7494 for more information.
READERS’ FORUM: YOUR OBSERVATIONS
“I have a time-saver for stressed out people. Put iced coffee in your breakfast cereal instead of milk. You get your breakfast and coffee at the same time!” – Rabbi Max Weiman, St. Louis, MO
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Copyright 1999-2004 by Dr. David A. Weiman. All rights reserved.