Posts tagged with ‘more confidence at work’

04 apr

Corporate Breakup Rule #2: Don’t Get Caught Like a Deer in the Headlights

Kerrigan2Life is about change. Corporate life is about more change.

The more grounded you are in your ability to navigate change, the more confident you will be.

So, here’s corporate breakup rule #2: Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights when change—especially unwanted change, like getting laid off—hits.

Be comfortable with change. Expect it. Prepare for it. Keep your network alive and well.

Most people get complacent once they have a job. They stop networking. They think “Why bother?”

Don’t be one of them. Even if it’s just a quick phone call or cup of coffee, keep those relationship lines open and active at all times.

Remember:

There is no such thing as job security anymore. Change is now rapid and constant.

In this world of change, who doesn’t need more friends for support?

More companies are hiring based on recommendations. (it’s like one big facebook out there!)

Business development is about relationship building–-so start building.

Ask yourself, “If the unexpected happens, do I really want to look like a deer caught in the headlights?”

So—Prepare for change. Stay connected. And be reciprocal. Networking is always a 2-way street.

How do you handle change? How do you stay connected?


Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in significantly improved performance and productivity. Michelle is also currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 4th, 2013 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

02 apr

Workplace Confidence: The Power of Faith in Leadership

MichelleKerriganLike many people around the globe, I watched as the new pope, Francis I, came out onto the Vatican balcony to address the world for the first time.

What struck me more than anything else was the view from the camera as it slowly panned around the faces in the crowd. I watched all those eyes and saw that look—a look I have seen many times before. I’ve seen it when presidents have addressed this nation and when great visionaries have shared their dreams.

I have also seen it on a much smaller, yet still powerful platform: at conference room tables and in corporate meetings.

The look is one of faith, and it is unmistakable. It shows a commitment of confidence that is a shared experience. There is nothing like it. Large organizations can appear more open and personal when a leader can evoke that brand of trust.

Just as the pope embodies the teachings of the church, so must a corporate leader represent the vision of a company. It’s what senior executives often can’t seem to grasp, and what is sorely missing in the workplace and marketplace today.

Faith is one of the greatest innovators because it drives us forward in spite of our fears. And, in this world of accelerating change, where nothing is certain, faith is the one thing that is absolute.

To invoke the power of faith—of trust—leaders must have a core set of values and a sense of identity that is consistent with their organizations’ brand. A leader needs to be the exemplary team player, with the same qualities expected from employees: respect, willingness, reliability, accessibility, patience, and empathy. Accordingly, customers respond favorably to such characteristics. The great thing about the shared experience of faith is that you inspire the behavior you exhibit.

While the business world has changed a great deal over the years, one thing hasn’t: employees and customers still want to have confidence that leaders will respond to their needs. That’s not fundamental in most of the corporate world today. And it needs to be.

One great example of a successful leader is Tony Hsieh. Hsieh built up an online shoe company, Zappos, based on his belief in superior customer service. His commitment was so strong, he made service the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.

And it shows.

If you’ve ever ordered shoes from Zappos, you know what I mean. The staff is faithful to service excellence. There are no barriers—every interaction is easy. I love that they have open communication with customers by phone, with clarity, cheerfulness, no up-sell, time constraints, or scripts. Hsieh saw every contact as an investment in building lasting relationships with his customers—the same way he believed in building lasting relationships with his employees. He even wrote a New York Times bestseller, aptly entitled Delivering Happiness.

This is potent stuff. And it doesn’t stop here.

Zappos went on to earn over $1 billion in sales and made Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For.

You see, the power of faith in leadership creates followers: repeat and word-of-mouth customers, as well as the retention of top-tier talent in an organization.

It even converts non-believers. Trust me—I’m one of them. I never thought I could enjoy shoe-shopping online!

Faith gives meaning to business—it’s why we sign on and stay. It has the power to ignite high performance and productivity, and is the motivational fuel that can carry companies to success.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in more effective leadership, increased productivity and revenue growth. Michelle also writes and speaks about achieving success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about self esteem and workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 2nd, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 mar

Workplace Confidence: Does Age Matter?

MichelleKerrigan“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain was a very wise man. And yet, age often causes such a chasm in the workplace, affecting teamwork, performance and innovation. Why?

A lot of it comes from perceptions driven by the media: seniors are slow and technology challenged; gen y is self absorbed with a sense of entitlement; and baby boomers are stuck in the past and glory days. Sound about right?

While many of these thoughts don’t originate with us, once we adopt them, they turn inwards, and we run the risk of putting ourselves in age boxes (18-24, 25-33, 34-45, 46-55). Like most things in life, it’s the stories we tell ourselves that get in our way.

Case in point: When asked to speak at Hunter College about navigating change, I was nervous about addressing a room full of students in their early 20s. In my 50s, I found myself thinking not like Mark Twain, but like Will McAvoy, the anchorman character in the hit show The Newsroom, who has that awful fear known as ”Am I still relevant?”

As I help people address issues with confidence, it’s odd that I even think of this, but that’s exactly why I think of it. If you let it, negative perceptions can shake your confidence to its very core.

So, as I arrived in the classroom, I kept trying to talk myself through it: “It will be alright…just 20-30 minutes, and I’m done and out of here, before they start yawning…..loudly.” See? We can really get fluent in ‘crazy’ when facing fear and doubt.

90 minutes later—yes, 90 minutes–I was in a deep Q and A with the students. I kept looking over to the professor, wondering when to sit down, and she mouthed—“as long as their hands are up, keep going.”

I found that the students were just as nervous as I, if not more so. They were concerned about all the changes they were facing—definitely at a much faster pace than I’ve ever experienced.

They were also frightened of entering the workforce, and being considered too young, too inexperienced, too inferior. In essence, give or take 30 years, they felt just like me.

They were so relieved when I told them that everyone has fears—no one’s immune. It’s what you do with your fear that matters. You can let it stop you by worrying about the future or getting stuck in the past. Or you can get in the here-and-now, and ask “What’s the next positive step I can take to move myself forward and who can help me?”

It was then that I realized the most relevant lesson of all: No one succeeds alone—no one. The success we felt in that Hunter classroom was a team effort—timeless and transcending all barriers. We can all learn from each other, and we should.

In the workplace, embrace this practice of working together, and there’s nowhere you can’t go. Performance, productivity, and innovation are driven by collaboration and must be unencumbered by preconceptions because they limit us and everyone we touch.

We all have something of value to bring to the table—our different strengths and experiences.

Age, like fear, doesn’t matter. It’s the confidence to move forward together that does.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in more effective management and leadership, increased productivity and growth. Michelle also writes and speaks about achieving success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about self esteem and workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on March 25th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, Personal Stories | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

14 mar

Workplace Confidence: Corporate Breakup Rule #1: Deal…. Don’t Dwell

MichelleKerriganGetting laid off is a big change. Often, a painful and unwanted change. When we are faced with a major change, the natural tendency is to dwell on the past, worry about the future, doubt ourselves and get stuck.

All these emotions are natural reactions, so don’t beat yourself up over them. But when you dwell too much on the negative, it becomes problem generating.

When we dwell, we go over the same ground again and again: “Why did this happen to me?,” ” What did I do wrong?,” “Will I ever be able to find another job?”

Have you ever done this? Gone over the same ground again and again, and come out at the same place?

When you deal instead of dwell, you focus in the present moment and take control over how you think and act. You become a problem solver. You think empowering thoughts, ask better questions and take action. It can sound like this: —“OK—I might not be comfortable with job hunting, but I’m not going to let that stop me. First I’m going to educate myself about the companies I like. Then I’m going to decide: How can I move forward?” and “Who can help me?”

You need to be able to acknowledge your fears and doubts, then turn them into planning and action. Remember—you choose your thoughts and actions. You choose what’s next.

When faced with change, always ask yourself: “What’s the next positive step I can take to move myself forward?” Then, do it.

How about you––do you deal or dwell?

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Michelle also writes and speaks about the roles confidence and self esteem play in high performance and productivity, and is currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.MichelleKerriganInc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on March 14th, 2013 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

12 mar

Workplace Confidence: The Perfection Addiction

MichelleKerriganFrom 1976-1986, I was the sole copy editor for every piece of printed product for Columbia Records. We’re talking album covers, inner sleeves, cassettes, 8-tracks (yes, I said 8-tracks), record labels—you name it. I worked for artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Tony Bennett.

This was a time before digital production, when we worked with manuscripts, typesetting, mechanical boards and film—all mostly manual, labor intensive and very, very expensive.

At that time, one mistake by me could cost the company millions in reprint costs. It could also cost me my job. I made it a point to never make mistakes. What a pressure it was to always be dead-on accurate. This was one place where perfectionism really counted, because the costs were so high.

Perfectionism has its place, but it can get out of hand and affect everything you do.

When the digital revolution happened in the music business, having technology at our fingertips made it much easier for perfection addiction to spread. First, art directors finessed their designs to the nth degree. Sometimes, we had to literally pry the projects out of their hands as we rushed past deadline dates. Then, the label heads got into the act, and more excruciating tweaking began.

Here’s the double-edged sword: The wonderful thing about technology is that you can make changes easily. The terrible thing about technology is that you can make changes easily.

When we are addicted to perfection, we tend to over-think, over-analyze and over-finesse just about everything. We exhaust ourselves. We’re always looking for that solid armor of security that blocks any criticism. When we spend too much time perfecting one thing, other tasks that need our attention suffer. Then we begin to feel overwhelmed and depressed.

We get a limited amount of energy every day—just so many hours. My advice is to be very selective about which projects you want to refine to perfection. Avoid being counterproductive by being a stickler about everything.

Some ways to kick the perfectionism habit:

Focus: begin with the end in mind. Envision the big picture—what’s the true value of the project you’re working on? Does it merit all the extra hours of striving for perfection?

Set a timer: a deadline can be a wonderful thing.

Step away: taking a breather can often give you a fresh perspective.

Collaborate: getting input from a colleague whom you respect may give you a whole other viewpoint (and may silence your inner critic).

Put up a stop sign: Know when enough is enough. Perfectionists always tend to over-deliver. “It’s not good enough” is definitely something many of us have learned somewhere along the way. (Maybe a parent who always expected A’s.)

You don’t have to hit a bull’s eye every time. No one does.

Even when you think you haven’t hit the bull’s eye, often others will think you have. I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought I’ve done a so-so job, and have received more praise than I ever expected. We already have too much work now, and there’s more ahead of us.

Giving yourself permission to be imperfect is giving yourself permission to be human. And that’s a great thing. We’re all vulnerable in one way or another, and it’s at these moments that people relate to us. And that’s better than perfect—that’s life.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients surpass goals and achieve success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their workplace confidence, performance and productivity. Michelle also writes, speaks, and is currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.MichelleKerriganInc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on March 12th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,