Be a Noticer

One of the podcasts I enjoy listening to on my morning walks is “The Professional Noticer” by Andy Andrews. Andy’s podcast is “built around Common Sense, Wisdom, and Laughter.” Andy calls himself a Professional Noticer – someone who pays attention to the great individuals and ideas all around him and then shares that with the rest of us.

This morning on my walk, I was thinking about this. How am I a noticer in life? How can I be a noticer who can bring out the best in others and even myself? What will I “catch” when I begin to notice more. How will my eyes be open to things I haven’t noticed before? How can I notice more of the positive people and things all around me? I certainly don’t need to focus on the negative. And neither do you.

Would you like to be able to “tune” your awareness and mind on the positive life around you? You can do it. In fact, I bet you already have done it before.

When you’ve shopped for and then bought a new car, didn’t you start noticing that car model all around you? Prior to your search and then sale, you probably didn’t pay much attention to that as you drove back and forth to work or to the store. But now that you’re in your new car, you see them everywhere.

There is something at work. It’s called the Baader-Meinof effect. This happens “when your awareness of something increases. This leads you to believe it’s actually happening more, even if that’s not the case.”

Years ago, I challenged a group of managers at work to start noticing yellow cars on the road. For weeks after this challenge, they reported “suddenly” seeing yellow cars. But did those yellow cars really, suddenly appear? No! But their awareness of seeing yellow cars increased and they started noticing them. I then challenged them to notice what our customers were saying in conversations so we could help them save money, make money, save time, and protect their assets better. And my managers did!

So how can we apply the Baader-Meinof effect in our day-to-day lives? How can we become, as Andy Andrews calls it, professional noticers? Try some of these ideas on:

The Team You Lead

Are you focused more on assigning tasks to your team vs noticing how they approach their work, how their family life affects their work life, how their health either helps them or hurts them etc.? Have you noticed subtle comments in a coaching session that gives you a peek into how they feel about themselves, their work, their impact?

Take time in your next coaching session (even it is virtual) to notice something differently than you have in the past. If you are virtual right now, tune up your listening skills. Don’t be afraid to ask, “tell me more about that” if you hear something that you notice might help you help them move forward in their development. Notice personal changes such as a death in the family, moving into a new home, changes in relationships, kids graduating, etc. You can celebrate and understand your team far better when you pay attention to what may seem like the “little” things.

Notice their results and celebrate their wins. Ask them if they noticed how they accomplished their goals. Coach them to see those opportunities and actions that got them there.

Community Leaders

As you network in your community (again, even if it is virtually), notice what is happening in the lives of your community leaders. I find the best tool to use is LinkedIn. If a connection (or even a 2nd or 3rd level connection) has accomplished a milestone, engage with them to share a congratulatory comment. This tells them you noticed!

Read their content. Share their content if you feel it is appropriate. Promote their business. Noticers do more than merely notice. They take action. Action that adds value to the other person.

Strangers

Years ago when my kids were in the middle of their elementary years, we were eating at a local restaurant. I noticed an elderly couple sitting a few tables away from us. I called over their waitress and asked that she allow me to pay for their meal and to keep it anonymous. My daughter, I think she was a 4th grader, seemed appalled by this. “Dad, do you know them?!” I said I did not. “You can’t do that!”

“I certainly can. What I’m doing is a random act of kindness. You guys know what that is, right?” They both said they had talked about that in school. I then asked how do they think the couple will feel when they know that someone paid for their meal that day. My son said, “I’d feel great.” “Now you know why I’m doing this,” I said.

It is amazing what we can do for others when we notice others around us. The sales person at Best Buy who just got yelled at by an unreasonable customer. The Downs Syndrome bagger at Krogers who does his job with an ever-present smile on his face. The barista who always remembers your drink even though you don’t remember her name. The young man who helps an elderly woman who just dropped something and she is now embarrassed.

You’ve witnessed scenes like this, I’m sure. Noticers notice. But noticers can take it one step further. Say something. Walk up to that sales person and assure them that not everyone will be cranky today and that they handled themselves with dignity. Tell that grocery bagger you appreciate them. Look your barista in the eyes and say “thank you” and use their name (I bet they are wearing a name tag). Walk up to that young man and let them you know you noticed his kindness.

For me, I’ve taken in a step further. My wife started a fun little game for us that I’ve expanded on. She created an engaging way to tell me she loves me. You can read about that here (https://smilyspreadlove.com/home/). I have created “coins” that I carry with me. If I notice someone doing a random act of kindness or someone needing a lift in their day, I give them one of the coins. I’ve paid for someone’s McDonald’s in the drive-thru and asked the cashier to give the coin to the driver behind me. I want to encourage them to either spread some love to someone else or know in that moment that they matter.

People love noticers. It validates them. It makes their hearts visible to the world. It makes them – for that moment – believe they matter – and they do!

As we wrap up this crazy year, determine to be a noticer in 2021 and beyond. Tune your mind to become of aware of the great people and things around you. Build someone up. Add value to someone. Spread love.

Confidence Can Be Learned

Below is a portion of an article was published in 2014 by Melissa Stephenson on Fulfillment Daily

What happens if a team member is not confident in their job?

  • Work is produced at a slower pace
  • Quality of work could suffer
  • Results could be lacking the detail needed
  • Your team member’s growth & development could stall out
  • and more…

Read Melissa’s post below to learn how to build confidence. Use this in an upcoming coaching session. Wait…what?…you are lacking confidence? This article will then help you! And be sure to click on the link at the end to read the entire article. There’s more insights from Melissa there.

Research on brain plasticity shows that our brains physically change in response to new experiences, thought patterns, and behaviors. This means that we can train ourselves to think differently about challenging situations—and, in turn, respond more confidently to them.

 

We can cultivate confidence by practicing thoughts and behaviors that increase our own self-belief. Try these:

1. Seek opportunities to practice success

Research shows that successfully mastering a challenging task strengthens our belief that we can achieve the same success in the future. A common example of this is public speaking: Although many people shy away from it, those who practice public speaking regularly get better at it, become more comfortable with it, and become more confident in it, too. Accumulating examples of success increases our confidence in a given area

2. Watch and learn from successful examples

Witnessing others succeed increases our belief that we, too, have the ability to succeed in a similar way. For example, the more we watch our friends run marathons, the more we begin to believe that we could also accomplish such a feat someday.

3. Build a positive support network

Social persuasion is a powerful tool for combating self-doubt. Encouragement from people we trust helps convince us that we have what it takes to succeed. So, when you’re facing a challenge, surround yourself with people who believe in you—their belief will help build your own awareness in your skills and abilities.

4. Recognize and redirect your unconfident feelings

How we perceive the way we feel about a challenging situation greatly influences how we feel about the challenge itself. For example, when we feel “butterflies in the stomach” before a presentation or performance, do we interpret the feeling as excitement or nervousness? This interpretation has a profound effect on how confident we feel in performing.

With these strategies to enhance self-belief, we can increase our power to confidently achieve our goals and overcome our challenges.”

Follow Melissa’s blog at: https://fourwellness.co/about

Keys to Being Focused by Jim Johnson

I came across these notes I wrote over 2 years ago.  I thought I would share them here.

keys

KEYS TO BEING FOCUSED:

  • Understand your goals – what is needed to make your company successful?
  • Align your activity around those goals.
  • Make sure your team understands the corporate goals.
  • Filter – if a project, activity, or attitude doesn’t move you, your team, or the company forward, ditch it.  You don’t have time to waste.

 

Does Your Team Know What Your Team Does? by Jim Johnson

I’ve been working on a little project here at work.  I lead 4 different, unique divisions.  We are all on the same floor.  There is a lot of collaboration between the teams.  But I discovered something.  The team still doesn’t always know what the team (overall) does.

So I addressed it.

With the help of my leadership team, I created a document (12 pages long) that highlights each of my divisions, the work they do, and the up-to-date results they are getting.  In each of their sections, I also shared the company awards they’ve received over the past couple of years (it’s always good to be reminded of this!).  Each team member was listed and all of their photos were included.

Teams can do the work day in and day out.  We all are busy.  My team is full of flawed, human beings – myself included!  We are not perfect.  But we do a lot to move our company forward.  We work hard to serve our customers (members) to our best ability.  We care about each other inside and outside of work.

I created this document to be sure my team understands all that goes on.  I want them to appreciate their own efforts and results.  I want them to appreciate the efforts of those working on the other side of the room.  Together, we are making a positive impact.

I challenge you to do something similar with your team.  This exercise helped me focus on the positive strengths this team has.  I think it will help my team focus on that, too.

winning teams

Why Coach? by Jim Johnson

I recently read some interesting/sobering facts:

  • Nearly half of managers spend less than 10% of their time coaching their teams.
  • In 2016, 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important.
  • In 2016, only 37% of employees indicated they were “very satisfied” with their jobs.  51% said they were “somewhat satisfied” with their jobs.

So if this is true, how are you becoming better at coaching your team?  They desire effective coaching from you.  They really want to be “very satisfied” with their jobs.  They do!

Someone once said the following:

                                ” Coaching is helping our team members to think.                                                                                    To help them become conscious                                                                                                      of what they are unconscious.                                                                                                         Our default is to give advice.                                                                                                           We must teach people to think.”

More on this later…

To coach effectively, you also need to prepare to be an effective coach.

Where are you on this continuum?

developing

Becoming an effective coach starts with YOU, the coach.  How can you develop yourself?

  • Expose yourself to materials that will help you grow as a leader (books, blogs, podcasts, articles, conferences, one-on-one meetings with community leaders).
  • Network in your community.  Use resources such as LinkedIn to meet, connect with, and learn from other coaches/leaders. You can be exposed to great content that will help you grow.
  • Add value to those around you everyday.  Put what you are learning into practice.
  • Help your team become better by becoming a better leader.

Becoming a better coach means you applying your EXPERIENCE in order to demonstrate EXPERTISE.  I know a lot of experienced coaches/managers.  I know far fewer leaders who demonstrate expertise in coaching people.  Note:  expertise does not equal perfection.  No one on earth is perfect, so rid yourself of that goal.  But any of us – all of us – can become better and become experts.

As a coach, you want to move your team from the ranks of the experienced to those who embody expertise.  Think about this:  what would your results be if your team was populated with experts vs those with merely with experience?  How would this impact your customers?  Your colleagues?  Your bottom line?

John Maxwell has said that “the growth and development of people is the highest calling of a leader.”  

I encourage you to answer this calling.  Become better.  Influence your team to become better.  Improve your coaching sessions (or maybe start having them?).

In an upcoming post, I’ll be sharing some great questions you can begin using in coaching sessions that will enable your team to really think.  They will help you have more meaningful conversations.

Thank you for visiting Go, Leader, Grow!

What Do You Do in a Coaching Session? by Jim Johnson

My leadership team and I will soon be discussing how we can improve upon our coaching sessions.  In preparation of this, I would like to solicit YOUR feedback.  I would appreciate your responses in the Comment section on the following:

  1. What makes an effective coaching session with a team member?
  2. How often do you coach a team member?  Once a month?  Twice a month?
  3. What is the difference between a team member who has experience vs one who demonstrates expertise?  How does a team member move from experienced to expertise?
  4. How should talk the most in a coaching session – the coach or the team member?

You may respond to any or all of the above.  Just make a note of the question you are answering by typing the corresponding number and then your answer.

Thank you in advance for your participation.  No matter what part of the world you are in or what your occupation is, please share your thoughts!  We can all learn from each other.

when leaders become beter