Archive for September, 2008

In the News: Tips for Performance Reviews

September 17, 2008

The Globe and Mail recently invited me to respond to a reader’s query for its Mentor Minute column — which they published in today’s Career Section. The topic is related to performance reviews. If you are a leader responsible for direct reports – you may want to read this:

See here for the online version  at the Globe and Mail (but not sure how long it will be accessible).

Or here for a PDF of the article right here.

As always, feedback and questions welcome!

To a TGIM Worklife!


Ask the Coach: Bored at work? Time for a new goal…

September 8, 2008

September is a great time to recharge your work ‘mojo’ by taking on a new goal or two. That’s the theme of one of my recent articles published in my column “Ask a Coach” in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) online newsletter CareerVision.  Thought you might be interested in reading it…..

Q. I recently finished a large project at work that I had been involved with for months. It was extremely busy with a tremendous amount of effort, but I enjoyed the challenge and it resulted in a huge success. Now that it’s over, the pace has slowed down and I’m feeling a little bored with not enough to do. Any tips?


Your question is interesting because it raises a different issue in the work-life balance equation. Often we assume that it’s always about having too much work. But a recent survey conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence revealed that not having enough work can be more of a negative issue than too much work. According to the research, only 44 per cent of employees who said they didn’t have enough work were satisfied with their jobs; in comparison 69 per cent of those with too much work said they were satisfied with their jobs.   With respect to your situation, it sounds like you enjoy being challenged and busy and may need a new project or goal to sink your teeth into! Creating and committing to meaningful goals are integral to having fulfillment at work and life — they can give us a sense of purpose. Goals can also provide a context to create ‘sub-goals’ along the way which helps us focus, manage time and celebrate success along the way.

Often we find ourselves focusing our attention on getting to the ‘destination’ — the end result. It feels good when we’ve achieved success, but that feeling can be fleeting if you don’t have meaningful goals for the road ahead. Indeed, this underscores the value of the journey along the way.



Questions for Reflection

If ‘what’s next’ is on your mind, there are different types of goals to consider. They don’t always have to be big goals — sometimes smaller ones will do just as well. Here are some questions to prompt your reflection:

: What skills would you like to develop further? Is there a course, book or project that you can engage in to support this development?

Courses and credentials
: When your workload is a little lighter, consider this an opportune time to engage in continuing education. Have you thought of advancing your credentials or pursuing other related designations? Or simply take a course that interests you and/or will advance your professional skills and knowledge?

Work projects in and out of your regular duties
: Is there an opportunity to participate in or initiate a project at work that may not yet be on your radar? Think in terms of both your specific job-related duties as well as other possibilities, such as helping to organize a corporate volunteer initiative, a company social event, or a learning event.

Personal/professional development
: Have you considered professional development pursuits that are focused on intrinsic competencies vs. content driven? For instance, what about a new skill within areas of leadership development, communications, or organization skills?  

Expand your business and/or social network
: How’s your network? Might this be a time to set goals around expanding your professional and personal network?

Stretch goals
: Is there an opportunity to truly stretch yourself in your work life? Perhaps attempt a task that is a little outside your comfort zone and current experience.

Stepping stone goals
: Is there a bigger goal that might prompt some smaller, ‘stepping stone’ goals that can help you get there?

Just for fun and joy goals?
A little boost in the fun factor outside of work can never hurt.  Perhaps there’s a passion or hobby you’d like to reconnect with? Or an opportunity to try something new? Engaging in meaningful activities outside of work can also benefit your overall attitude at work.

Once you come up with a goal or two that resonates with you, write up some meaningful commitments and actions to get you started, and think about sub-goals along the way. Most of all, remember that the journey is as important as the end result. So enjoy, celebrate, and acknowledge your efforts along the way.
To a TGIM worklife!


Labour Day: Back so soon?!

September 1, 2008

It’s Labour Day. How’d that happen so fast? Wasn’t it just here yesterday??? Hmmm….somehow I don’t really feel like labouring today. How about you?

Actually, I’ve got some conflicting feelings. Part of me wants to get going, get focused and roar into the new season with gusto. At the same time, a substantial part of me is still resisting. I’m not ready to let go of the summer just yet. Too many ‘summer-like’ things I still want to enjoy. And, I’ve geared down a bit this summer and not 100% sure I’m ready to gear back up.

Or maybe I am.

I just took a few minutes to do a “Labour Day” reflection in my journal. The idea was to rev up my “work-life mojo”. I asked myself three questions:

1) What do I want to celebrate and remember about Summer ’08 (work, personal, other)?

2) What am I looking forward to in the coming season (work, personal, other)?

3) What do I need to do to keep my work mojo alive and energized as I say goodbye to summer and hello to the fall?

A lot came up for me with that reflection. I realized that I had a fantabulous summer — it’s energizing in itself to remember the good times rather than dwell on the fact that it’s coming to an end. I also remembered that I have fantastic opportunities ahead — and lots to look forward to both in my work life and personally. I’m still reflecting on that third question. For me it’s going to be something about structures to maintain the balance — so that I don’t get too carried away in the rush of the season and forget to build in those ‘gear-down’ times that I so enjoyed this summer.

Focusing my attention this way has already helped shift my mindset and how I feel about completing summer and heading into the next season. By intentionally paying attention and celebrating the joys I’ve had and remembering the meaningful opportunities ahead of me, I’ve given my work-life mojo a  boost. Not complicated stuff. Sometimes it’s just about how we choose to focus — what we choose to pay attention to. It’s very ‘EQ’ish wouldn’t you say?

In the spirit of Labour Day, here are a few past posts that you might enjoy as you get ready for the new season:

1) Beat the “Back to Work September Blues”

2) Hello September: Random thoughts from others in answer to: How do you feel about September coming

3) Is Your Work a Job, Career or Calling? Food for thought if you are in the mood to reflect on what work means to you.

How about you? I’d love to hear from you — about your thoughts, strategies and ideas as you head into this new season and get ready to bid summer ’08 adieu!

Happy Labour Day and to a TGIM Work-life!