The ‘Selfie-360’ – Unleashing the Power of Feedback

Over the past several months, I have helped many corporate leaders to make meaningful and positive changes, based on candid feedback from others. The most effective leaders today possess a strong combination of good self-awareness and good self-management. Honest feedback is a cornerstone for building these capacities. Why? Because we humans are notoriously poor at really knowing how others see us. Sure, we all believe we know the impact we make, but how really accurate are these unquestioned assumptions? (Alas, “not-very,” according to research.) A common workplace feedback tool for leaders is the “multi-rater” assessment, or the so-called “360” because they solicit mostly anonymous feedback from all around an individual (i.e. 360-degrees) – bosses, peers, direct reports, customers, and others around an individual’s circle of influence. How the 360 feedback is received can be a mix of reactions – affirming, confirming, surprising, or even a sobering “wake-up call” for the most extreme perception gaps between self and others. ‘Selfie 360’ Through Kincaid Associates Coaching & Consulting, we can provide clients with a range of sophisticated, well-tested 360 assessments. Each has its unique strengths and focus. The cost to administer and debrief a 360 varies by the instrument (please contact me if you want to learn more). But did you know that you can gather very useful feedback for yourself by creating your own multi-rater assessment? I call it the Selfie 360, and it can provide very useful insights into how people around your circle of influence actually experience you, and at little or no cost. There are different approaches to conducting your own multi-rater. For example, you can create...

Maybe you need a new dream?

Dreams come true. We enjoy them. And then it’s time for a new dream (rinse, repeat). This cycle goes on throughout life, but seems to really come up for many between 40 and 50. It doesn’t mean the old dream isn’t still wonderful, just that it is completed (you got the t-shirt). That’s what it felt like for me back in 2008, when I decided to take an early retirement package. I was leaving a great corporate job that for me that had truly been a dream come true when I began 16 years prior. Yes, I still liked working there, doing interesting work, with great people. But, gradually, I realized I wasn’t really learning anything new, and admitted to myself that didn’t really want to climb the corporate ladder any longer. The days had a “same-ness” to them and the dream job wasn’t as fulfilling as before. It was a still a great job; it just didn’t feel like it was my job any more. Many of my coaching clients who are 40+ years of age have those same stirrings of unrest, feeling like something is missing. Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedIn They know a change is in order, but are frustrated by not knowing what is wanted instead. They need a new dream. While there is discomfort in that place of mild discontent, it can be a great pivot point toward something new. William Bridges writes in Transition, his classic book on change process, that every beginning starts with an ending. For me, the discontent with the “dream job”...

Mid-Life Reinvention: You 2.0

Jason is a 40-year old quality improvement manager at a huge conglomerate where he’s spent his entire career. He is successful, earns good money, and has a really nice life going. But there’s a gnawing feeling that there is something more life. Joyce, 52, felt stuck in her upper-middle management communications role at a major corporation. With her two great kids in college, a burgeoning healthy relationship with her fiancé, and a wide circle of friends, she too felt uneasy about her professional life. By most measures, both Jason and Joyce are successful in their lives and careers, enjoy good health, relative comfort financially, and express general gratitude for what they have accomplished and acquired. And yet, they are experiencing discontent, a stirring that what they’ve worked toward so far in life isn’t satisfying. Joyce and Jason, composites of many of my coaching clients, are experiencing what Dr. Wayne Dyer describes in his excellent book The Shift: Taking Your Life from Ambition to Meaning. There are many life-stages theories, explaining various phases of our lives; I really resonate with Wayne’s “shift from ambition to meaning” model. From childhood to between 40-50 years of age, most all of us notice that there are more years in the “year-view” mirror than ahead in the windshield. We’ve worked ambitiously to achieve many goals we set forth in careers, in building families and lives, and acquiring a lot of the “stuff” that are trappings of success in our culture. What’s more, we are living longer than any other time in human history, and yet all those extra years need not be simply extension...

Better Together: Who’s on your Team for Success?

A few years ago, a tax preparation company used “You’ve got people!” as a tagline. Their TV commercials showed a satisfied client bragging “I’ve got people,” confident and at ease that they had a trusted tax experts in their corner. This really resonated with me, having just retired from corporate life to launch an “encore career” of coaching, change management consulting, and teaching. It became quickly clear to me that going solo doesn’t mean going it alone. We ALL need help from others. Corporate life offers infrastructure that is often taken for granted – office space, structure, steady work flow, and a regular paycheck with benefits. Support for payroll, accounting, IT, and HR are all taken care of by the “mother ship” employer. Replacing all those benefits and services required me to either do it myself or “outsource” (ask for help). Outsourcing those things I don’t know how to do, am not good at, or are outside my core business focus led to creation of my professional “Team for Success.” I sought and engaged professional help from a CPA, a web designer, a financial advisor and (of course) a coach. A sense of relief comes from knowing “I’ve got people!” A Team for Success can be much more than just tactical, transactional vendor-client relationships. The Team for Success should also be of strategic importance, by partnering with trusted colleagues who do similar or complementary work for brainstorming, collaboration, and especially for referrals. And, this means you also are on the other’s Team for Success, too, adding value for everyone by strengthening and extending networks. You probably have a Team...

What’s Your Money Story?

Money is a powerful concept. Just think of all the ways in which most of us give our attention to money – how we earn it, manage it, account for it, save it, spend it, worry about it, and even give it away. Not surprisingly, many of us have unquestioned limiting beliefs about money. We may even hold judgments about the relationships others have with their money – rich or poor, lavish spenders, or overly frugal. In The Energy of Money, author Dr. Maria Nemeth challenges readers to create a personal “money autobiography” by writing a description of our lifelong experience of money, from earliest memories to now. She suggests that what we observed and learned about money from our earliest memories informs our money beliefs as adults. What a sobering exercise! My money autobiography showed me how my own Money Story – my current beliefs about money – was very much shaped by my parents’ beliefs about money. My folks were members of “The Greatest Generation.” They were kids during the depths of the Great Depression and were young adults during WWII. (Keywords: Lack, Scarcity, Limitation, Rationing, Distrust, Secrecy, Hardship, Doing-without.) Understandably, they saw the world as generally an unfriendly place; money was hard to come by and to be protected at all costs. For them, the glass often looked half full. I acknowledge that I didn’t experience the hugely challenging times they endured growing up. Different life experience means different worldview, so I see and experience the world differently – as a generally friendly place of abundance that is full of choices and opportunities. For me, the...

Receiving Help as an Act of Generosity

Asking For Help I’m changing my mind about asking for or accepting help, when I need it. What I learned growing up was be needless/wantless, be self-sufficient, be self-reliant, and never be beholden to anyone. I equated asking for or receiving help as freeloading, a sign of weakness, or of poverty. “Who are you to have needs, with so many other people in the world in much worse need?” That’s how it landed for me, anyway. After 50+ years of living with those rules, I decided it was time to find a better feeling perspective. So, working with my coach (yep, I have a coach too!), I discovered there is another more satisfying perspective for me to explore about asking for and receiving help.  We all can use some help sometimes. She asked me “how do you feel when you are asked for help by someone else?”  Hmmm.  “Well, generally, I really like being asked to help, sometimes even honored,” I replied. “It feels good to be able to assist someone.”  (BTW, neuroscience calls it the “helper’s high” – actually a chemical buzz from showing kindness or compassion to another.)  Then my coach asked me, “So, doesn’t it follow that if someone offers help I need or if I ask someone for help they, too, might feel good by my allowing and accepting their help?” Great point! A Coach’s Skillful Guidance With a coach’s skillful guidance, my new understanding of my assumptions about offering and receiving help is three-fold. First, I feel rebuffed when I offer help and it is declined or ignored, so maybe they do too?  Second,...

Take Imperfect Action

Thorough and Cautious? Or Scared… Okay, I admit it. Sometimes, when I’ve got something in front of me that is new, or I don’t have ALL the answers, or have an ABSOLUTELY assured good outcome, I slip into a habit of delay.  For me, it looks like analyzing and digging for data and running through endless scary “what if” scenarios.  I tell myself that I’m just being thorough and cautious. Thanks to coaching – both as a client and as a coach myself – I’ve discovered over time that I’m stalling because I’m kinda’ scared.  Scared of what, you ask?  Of failure. Of looking bad. Of making a mess. Of not doing something perfectly. The endless loop of indecisiveness was my preferred strategy to for playing it safe, but it was also keeping me in the “Land of Stuck-ness.”  Busted.  Now I know better. Maybe this sounds familiar? I’ve discovered for me, and for many of my clients grappling with this delay tactic, is that there are more satisfying alternatives to feeling stuck.  Here’s one that I find works well for me — Take Imperfect Action. Take Imperfect Action means pushing past the scary unknowns and just moving ahead.  This isn’t about being reckless or impulsive. It means doing reasonable due diligence, gathering adequate data, discerning, and then choosing a course of action.  And then taking mindful — if imperfect – action, informed by my current understanding and resources. And something happens that is quite remarkable. Taking action, albeit imperfect, tends to create spaciousness for new things to emerge – people, resources, opportunities, and ideas. Stuff seems to show...

Be Bad!

“Be Bad!” That’s what comedian Kate Clinton wrote when she autographed a photo for me a few years ago. Be Bad really landed for me, as a good departure point – not from being “good” or “kind.” No, the departure point was from being “nice.” I spent way too many years living in ways that catered to others comfort and wishes at the expense of my own wants and needs. Maybe you can relate? With the help of my coach, I learned that I often saw rules where there weren’t any. I unconsciously opted out of many things in life based on unquestioned assumptions I made, informed by rules that I made up or that others imposed that were unacceptable. Moments of clarity like that are powerful outcomes from working with a coach. So, I took Kate’s admonition to heart. I made a commitment! If living life with dignity, integrity, personal power, speaking up, playing bigger, with joy and kindness is somehow bad, then okay – I choose to Be Bad. If this resonates, I invite you to consider some coach-like questions for yourself: Where do you see rules that aren’t there? What would it feel like to come out of the “nice” closet and Be Bad? What might happen if you said “no” to one unreasonable request today? How will you know when you will be ready to make a change and Be Bad?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps we can explore coaching together? (Go on, Be Bad!) Contact Tim...