New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Always Work, But This Does

This inspiring alternative to resolutions gets results

Here’s an inspiring alternative to New Year’s resolutions that we’ve been getting great results from year after year. If the word “resolutions” makes you think of struggle and obligation, but you still want a fresh start in the new year…

…take the time to do this exercise, ditch your mindset of resolutions, and see the results that follow. Here’s to your best year yet!

1. Decide on a Theme for the New Year

Your theme is your focus for the year. It can be anything from business growth to personal rejuvenation to smart financial decision-making to being known for a special talent that you want to demonstrate or that you’d like to acquire.

Themes sound like this: “This is the year of… “ or “This is the year for…” You can also use a more personalized statement, such as: “This is my year for…” Here are a few examples: This is my year for “…going where I’ve never gone before.” “…being deliberate.” “…being smart about money.” “…adding joy to my everyday life.” “…taking center stage.” “…family and fun.” “…getting my life in order.” “…making a difference in my community.” “…moving up in my career.” “…taking the stress out of life.” 

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This Strategy Helped Me Jump 3 Job Levels in 3 Years — Twice

If you aren't doing this one thing, you are missing a crucial opportunity

I was teaching Influence to a group of technology industry VPs, directors, and managers last week and I heard a familiar concern voiced by several leaders in the group: I don’t want to have to promote my accomplishments or myself in order to be influential. I don’t want to brag or be viewed as a suck-up. 

They were responding to a strategy we introduce people to when we teach influence – it’s a practical tool we call the sound-bite strategy for getting your work noticed. This tool is not the core of the influence process we teach, but it is a useful add-on; simply put, it’s a formula for generating a short summary of your current projects that you can strategically share in casual settings with leaders above you.

Here’s what I’m talking about: Within the past month, have you had casual run-ins with leaders above you who’ve asked something like, “How are things going?” or “What’s happening?” And your standard response was your version of “Pretty good” or “I am really busy – there is lots going on,” and then you moved on? Or maybe your response was to rattle off everything you have on your plate.

In either case, you’re missing an opportunity. When leaders above you ask how things are going, it’s your opportunity to answer them in a meaningful way that conveys your value and updates them on key projects that matter to the business. It’s your chance to become “sticky,” as in, being more top of mind with senior leadership – and this comes in handy when building your brand, which in turn helps you increase your influence.

Here’s How It Works

Situation: You’re grabbing a snack in the kitchen and Senior Leader X (at your boss’s level or higher) is getting a drink. 

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Quit Solving Your Team’s Problems for Them

How I used 3 words to empower my team & free up my time to lead

Don’t you feel good when you solve a problem at work? Doesn’t it make you feel smart, useful, and valuable? I venture to say that many of us got to our leadership positions because we’re so good at solving problems.

But if you’re going to grow in your career and manage a highly effective team, you can’t spend your time solving all the problems. It will stop you from focusing on the strategic part of your role, and it won’t allow your employees to develop, either.

I’m Already Good at Delegating…

As leaders many of us have mastered the art of delegation when it comes to tasks and projects. But it can be much harder to delegate problem solving, especially when a direct report comes to you with a problem and specifically asks you to solve it. It is especially hard when time is precious, deadlines loom, and complications have arisen.

In those instances, it is tempting to solve the problem yourself. But guess what my advice is? Don’t do it. Do this instead…

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Why Betsy is Such a Confident Negotiator

Negotiating — and teaching negotiation skills to others — are two of my colleague Betsy Flanagan’s favorite things to do. Betsy was teaching negotiation to a group last week and was going through the 6 points of failure in negotiation, and something important emerged in the class. Betsy and I were discussing it and I wanted to share it with our wider community.

Ugh… Conflict…

Here’s what it is: While some people are comfortable with conflict to varying degrees, many people are truly uncomfortable with conflict and are failing at negotiation for this reason. Betsy addressed this in the class by helping to shift the perspective on what conflict is and by reviewing again what negotiation is. And of course by using a basketball analogy (Betsy is a huge Golden State Warriors fan). 

First of All, What is Negotiation?

A negotiation is a discussion for the purpose of reaching agreement when those involved have conflicting goals and vested interests that they are actively protecting or promoting. In a negotiation, the conflict lies in the different interests and goals of the parties involved, not in personalities.

When our goals and interests conflict, it doesn’t have to mean we are in a conflict

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Lisa Duerre Joins LeaderXpress as Managing Partner

We are thrilled to announce that Lisa Duerre has joined the team at LeaderXpress as a Managing Partner. Lisa comes to us from Synopsys, Inc., where she built her expertise in leadership development during her 20 years as a leader in technology talent development and customer success.

Lisa will be blogging here at LeadershipYourWay on the topics of influence, leadership, and talent development.

Lisa DuerreLisa’s life-changing experiences in programs led by Denise Brouillette and LeaderXpress contributed significantly to her leadership success, and she is called to “pay it forward” by bringing the LX leadership principles and programs to as many leaders as possible. Lisa served on the LeaderXpress Advisory Board during the past year, and in her new role she’ll be coaching and training leaders in the areas of influence, leadership, and talent development, as well as focusing her efforts on business development and operations as we expand.

In her most recent position as Senior Director of Marketing for Customer Support Programs & Internal Technical Development programs at Synopsys, Lisa designed and led programs and events that connected over 10,000 customers and increased the skills of over 2,000 engineers annually.

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4 Reasons Leaders Meditate

It was reported last week that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is now using meditation to help him make better decisions. He might not be at the top of your list of leadership role models, considering the amount of commentary about the room he reportedly uses for meditating at work as well as the ongoing reports of problematic behavior and practices at his company.

But his example is the latest in a growing list of business leaders who are looking to meditation to improve their effectiveness — a list which includes execs at Salesforce, Medtronic, and Google. 

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Your Future Self?

Do you know how to order up your future self with the same ease and assurance with which you order food from a restaurant menu? My friend Amy does and she proved it to me recently.

Amy Buck at Wisdom Ridge Ranch

Amy wrote a vision of her future self several years ago as a participant in a program led by Denise Brouillette. This week Amy was looking at past program materials and unearthed her vision for her future self and emailed it to me. I was gobsmacked when I read it because it’s pretty much EXACTLY what Amy’s life is now, and has been for over 5 years, and not at all what her life was like when she wrote it.

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Denise Brouillette’s Legacy

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mother and me. We took it in October 2015 at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. An ussie.

Many of you know that LeaderXpress founder Denise Brouillette (photo, right) passed away in February of this year after contending with an aggressive form of cancer for over two years. Denise was my mother and we worked together at LeaderXpress for the better part of two decades. Here at LeadershipYourWay.com, and previously at DeniseBrouillette.com, Denise blogged regularly, sharing tips and insights on influence and leadership that people could put into action right away.

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Scrap Your New Year’s Resolutions and Do This Instead

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

No more New Year's resolutions

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I blog about this each year at this time. I don’t set resolutions because they put me in a mindset of struggle and hardship and they rarely work. At the Intentions Event that I’ve been leading in Silicon Valley for 16 years, we do an inspiring process as an alternative to resolutions, and it gets great results. Here it is:

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3 Things You Can Do Right Now to be More Influential

Have you tried to influence someone lately only to walk away not getting what you went in for?

3 Influence Tips

I was talking about influence with a group of educational consultants last week and I was hearing the same story I’ve heard many more times than I can count: You have a specific request, the person you’re influencing can’t or won’t honor that request, and you walk away frustrated and with nothing.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If this has happened to you recently, there are three things you can do right now as an influencer that will significantly increase your rate of success. All it takes is a little bit of planning – either in your head or on paper. 

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