When I talk with business leaders about the importance of effective communication, I stress how critical it is to choose the best context and setting for the message. If you want to praise someone for a job well done, you want as many ears as possible to hear it so that you are communicating to a wider audience that this is the kind of work you value. Conversely, if you need to correct someone’s work, you need to do so in a setting that allows for them to question your feedback, respond to it, and take notes about what they will do differently next time. (more…)
Last week I participated in a fun and informative yoga workshop called The Art of Sequencing. In yoga, sequencing refers to the order in which you do yoga poses, going from simple stretches to more complicated poses. When one has a yoga session properly sequenced, the physical effort builds up slowly toward the final, most challenging pose.
Did you know that certain watercolor paints do not stain the paper and can be lifted by rewetting and blotting? The paper returns to its original white and you can start over and try again. Just like erasing a bad pencil line, your muddy mess disappears as if it never happened. But the type of watercolor paint matters; you must use non-staining colors to be able to completely erase their presence. Staining watercolor paints cannot be fully lifted and leave a dull under shadow when removed.
“How did your week at art camp go? Did you finish a painting that you like? Did you create a work of art?” These were some of the questions I heard from friends and colleagues when I returned from my week of watercolors in North Carolina. My favorite summer vacation is to attend painting classes taught at residential art schools. Two years ago I attended Penland School and wrote about the experience in my August 2011 newsletter. This June, I went to the southern highlands of North Carolina and visited the John C. Campbell Folk School (www.folkschool.org) to learn plein aire watercolor.
Every Sunday, I phone family and friends to chat and catch up on their lives. Connecting to loved ones on Sundays is challenging. If weather permits, they are outdoors. Some are attending church, others doing errands or weeding the garden. So I leave messages and try later. You would think calling folks on a week night would make more sense.
Last night I sank into my reading chair and opened a murder mystery classic: The Butcher Boy by Thomas Perry. This is Perry’s first novel and one that earned him many accolades and awards. The book has an introduction by Michael Connelly, another master of the mystery genre. One statement Connelly made in his introduction stuck in my brain as good advice to us blog-writers. Connelly lauded the craftsmanship of Perry’s writing by stating: “Writing comes from experience, curiosity and knowledge.”
Sometimes a casual conversation makes me stop and scratch my head. This happened to me the other day as I chatted with a colleague and friend. She was telling me how she had returned to school to earn a Master’s degree. What gave me pause was that I had heard the same update from another friend just the day before. Both of these individuals are senior level professionals, comfortable with their current situation, not looking for advancement or career change.
I had a client meeting the other day and stopped by a Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee. Grab? More like queue up and shuffle. The place was mobbed and due to the complexity of some of the beverage orders (!) it took me nearly 15 minutes to get my humble cuppa joe.
No one wants to be micro-managed. No manager wants to be dubbed a micro-manager. So if this term is universally considered a bad appellation, why do we have so many examples of this poor management practice in our workplaces? The biggest problem with this thing we call micro-management is that it exists in the mind of the beholder. The appropriate level of guidance and supervision is relative, not absolute. For one person, weekly check-ins with the boss is great, for another, it feels like oppressive interference.
Slow down. Breathe. Think. Relax. Keep repeating these words from now until year end. December is for many of us, the most challenging time of the year. December has what I call, the Trifecta of Trauma. First, the Center for Disease Control announces that the flu season has officially started. Second, the colder weather forces us indoors, windows shut, sharing germs. Third, year-end brings unrealistic expectation both at work and at home.