Much of the country is hooked on the TV show, “This Is US” which chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their adult kids - Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) - searching for love and fulfillment in the present day. This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.
The show uses the power of flashback, present day and flashforward to show the impact decisions make in life, good or bad. We are all familiar with shows in the present day and flashbacks have been a common way to show the viewers what contributed to the character’s situation. Flashforward gives the users a peek into that will be and what the future has instore for the characters. The technique to tell a story was made famous by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” where Ebenezer Scrooge had the opportunity to see the past, present and future all in one night.
What if you could see your “future self” and how would you use this information in your present life? As a career and leadership coach, I often use an activity I call “Your Future Self” I ask the client to close their eyes an envision their lives the future. I will then ask them questions for a specific year (i.e 2035) and they are to answer the questions as if it were that year. I would ask them about their career, family, achievements and contributions they made thus far. We will discuss the choices they made and any impact of current day decisions is having on the future. The goal is to get the client to ‘see’ what their life could be in the future and what needs to be accomplished to get there. By seeing the future the client can make a plan to achieve their goals.
Without a vision it is difficult to see where you want to go. How will you know if you are on track and how will you know what is important and unimportant in your life? As in “This Is Us”, the smallest decision could have the greatest impact on your life.
As a software development manager, the way I manage my development team is influenced by the game of baseball. A baseball team is a collection of players asked to function as a unit to compete against their competitors. Sounds like a mission in a development team doesn’t it? The baseball manager’s job is to assemble the best players who offer the greatest chance of success. So how is managing a baseball team like managing a development team?
A baseball team must consist of talented and versatile athletes to be successful. Development managers need to assemble employees with the needed technical skills. A baseball scout travels from city to city in search of top prospects. The development manager seeks the most talented employees by recruiting from the best colleges and universities.
On a baseball team, it is important to have a combination of veteran and rookie players. This creates an environment where rookies can learn from the seasoned players. The same is true in the development organization. Managers hire recently graduated students with sought after skills and the ability to learn from experienced employees.
The baseball manager needs to assemble a team with diverse talents to meet the requirements of the various positions on the field. Having a team of all catchers is not practical and will not result in a successful season. The same holds true for a development manager. A manager may not need 18 programmers on your team but a mix of programmers, project managers, IT specialists and analysts.
Both the development and baseball teams need members that put the needs of the team over individual results. The atmosphere in the clubhouse is critical to the success of a baseball team. It allows the team to unite on a common goal. The morale of a development team is critical to be able to deliver a product or service on time and with quality.
The role of the baseball manager is to consider what is best for the team over the long season. The manager needs a 'bench' of available players poised to relieve starting players at a moments notice due to overwork or injury. Baseball mangers must know when to substitute a replacement pitcher from the bullpen to preserve his starter. Development managers must also be careful not to over work his employees resulting in burnout. The manager needs to allow employees time off to preserve their mental and physical health.
In baseball, managers compensate the top players for their potential and past contributions. The same is true for the development team. Managers must compensate the top technical employees for their contributions and potential. This will help avoid employees leaving to a competing company.
The baseball player belongs to the community in which they play. Baseball players often reach out to the community for charity and public relation purposes. As an employee, they too need to represent the company for which they work in a good light on and off the ‘field’.
Finally, it may be necessary to cut a player who is not living up to a manager’s expectation. The same is true for employees who are not performing at a level necessary to help the organization reach their business goals.
In baseball and business, the manager needs to put the best team on the field. The manager needs to assemble the finest, most talented set of individuals and treat them with respect.
-Coach Dan (Sapphire Coaching)
As I wrote in my post last week, Say Good-bye to Resolutions and Hello to Goals for 2019, I highlighted the importance of creating good quality goals for 2019.
But what is a quality goal? I mentioned using the SMART method to create solid goals but how do you decide which goals to pursue? As a career coach, I get asked this question often. Clients understand the mechanics of creating a quality goals, but struggle with selecting the areas of their life that needs attention. I devised a simple diagram to help foster a conversation. The result is the client's awareness of where to make a change. I call this the Goal Pyramid.
· The base section of the pyramid contains the client's Values and Beliefs. They represent the core of who we are and identifies what is important in our life. Our values and beliefs influence our attitudes and therefore our behaviors.
· The middle section contains our Priorities. Priorities represent our actions we exhibit on a day to day basis. This exercise allows us to see if our priorities in life are aligned with our values. If they are not, this is a good place to consider goals for 2019.
· The top of the Pyramid represents our Goals. Based on our values and priorities, it is now time to determine what changes or adjustments we want to make in our life. What are the focus areas in your life for 2019? Visualize how your life would be if you were to achieve your goals (big or small). How does it look? Setting the right goals is critical to achieving your vision of the future.
When creating goals, define goals that will result in a major impact on your life. Include goals that help address smaller ambitions as well. Set checkpoints every one or two months to track your progress and tweak if necessary for over zealous projections or incorrect assumptions.
Make 2019 the year your vision comes more in focus. Good luck.
It is almost that time of year again. The setting of the dreaded New Year's Resolutions. We hate them yet we create them each year. Only to have them broken before the holiday decorations have returned to the attic. When we break a resolution, we associate that with failing and return to our old habits that caused us to create the resolution in the first place. This year let's try something different. Let's set 2019 goals instead. A goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed. Sounds better then a resolution already.
By setting goals, we now have something to work towards. When setting goals use the SMART method.
As an example: I will lose 30 lbs in 6 months to improve my health. Now we have something to work with. By setting a goal, you are now making it a priority in your life and you should treat as such. You must also be accountable to your goals. Visit your goals weekly and track how you are doing towards the goal. It is easy to get off track but if it remains a priority in your life, get right back on.
If this were a resolution, the first time you slip it would be over. But in a goal, you will have good days and bad days but the goal is not changing. If you slip, dust yourself off and refocus. The best way to stay focused is to hire a coach. A coach will work with you set help set goals and hold you accountable. By hiring a coach, you will reach your goals faster and with greater clarity.
So, at this year's New Year's Eve party when someone asks you if you have any New Year Resolutions? Say "No, but I have a couple of solid goals that will improve my life in 2019"
Good luck, Dan - Sapphire Coaching. www.sapphirecoaching.net
It has been said that no one requires coaching but everyone needs coaching. First let me describe what coaching is and what it is not. The relationship between a coach and client is co-creative, meaning that they are equals yet each with a distinctive role. A well trained coach will have excellent listening skills and and will respond with questions for the client that will allow them to expand and look deeper into their issue. The coach is trained to notice something in the clients voice or a repetitive theme that may spark an intuitive thought that may bring about a major shift and big results. It is important that the client come to each session with a specific agenda item and be open-minded to new approaches. What coaching is not is therapy, counseling or even consulting. A trained coach uses honed communication skills and together with the client can effect meaningful change to take dynamic actions towards their goal.
The best way for me to describe coaching to someone is to use this analogy (I came up with). My wife and daughter frequently come to me with a chain or necklace that has somehow formed a knot of major proportions. I have a process where I put the tangled piece of jewelry on the granite counter and with 2 very sharp and pointed paring knives, slowly and methodically tug and gently probe the knot. Often times I will move multiple chain sections to expose the real knot and even turn the necklace over to expose the cause of the tangled situation. Only then can I begin to work with the chain to uncover the underlying cause of the knot. With the proper techniques and patience the knot can be untangled and freed. There was no cutting the chain to remove the knot but only careful understanding of the how the knot was formed and then taking the appropriate steps to improve the situation. Coaches approach client issues in a similar fashion. They will tug at the issues and probe deeper and even get the client to look at the situation from a different angle to give it a different perspective. After clearly seeing the issue, the coach and client work together to resolve the problem or conflict.
OK, it is not exactly how coaching works but I think you get the point. One thing to understand is that coaching is a process and although you may see results very quickly, some issues may take sometime to resolve in order to get to the underling problem. The important thing is that the client and coach continue to work together in a co-creative relationship.
So is coaching right for you? The answer is yes if you are willing to address your concerns and are committed to making changes in your life to work towards your goals. You must also be willing look at your situation introspectively and be prepared to take action. The client must also be willing to make the sessions a priority and to come to each session with a specific agenda, complete the tasks that agreed to by you and your coach, and willing to change your beliefs and patterns if they no longer serve you anymore. Some clients expect the coach to do all the heavy lifting because they are the 'ones being paid.' Actually, it is quite the opposite, the majority of the work falls on the client's lap with guidance and structure from the coach. If you understand theses conditions, then coaching is for you and an investment in your future that can provided dividends for a lifetime.