31 Mar

Leadership Behaviors – Bad Habits That Hold You Back

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06 Feb

8 Good Habits For 2015

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Change habits

Change = changing habits

If you want to change anything about yourself, it will require changing one or more habits, and since developing or stopping or changing a habit is so darn difficult, it’s best to focus on one particular habit at a time. Since it is so hard to do this, you will need the proper tool in place. Luckily, that’s just half a sheet of paper.


Pick the easiest habit that you want to improve upon and apply to as many things you can for 30 days.
Print out the label below, cut off the piece you don’t need, then fold and place on a flat service in front of you. Make a new one for each good habit.
Schedule this exercise for the first work-day of each month in your calendar.
Repeat with the next.

Most readers will see familiar faces here. The idea of this exercise is not to nod in agreement that these would be good habits to form; it is to help you choose one habit to work on for an extneded period of time so that you master it and can move on. If you don’t like the idea of taking one month to complete the formation of a habit, you can try two months before going to the next one instead. Even if you focus on just one for three or four months you can’t go wrong. On the other hand, going too quickly increases the risk of not locking in the habit. It’s about retention, not velocity.

1. Avoid “white” or seemingly harmless lies.
You don’t have to tell your wife the truth when she asks you if she looks fat in that dress because our opinions should not always be trusted since they sometimes change over time; but late to an appointment? Don’t blame it on “traffic”. Instead, just apologize. You don’t have to give details. I planned poorly is a hundred times better than risking your integrity by inanely blaming traffic, which will be interpreted by the offended person as poor planning anyway. It’s not about being caught; it’s about the small lies overburdening you over time. Conversely, eliminating white lies incrementally builds up your self-confidence. This is first on the list because it has amazing impact on everything else.

2. Clean up after yourself.
In every way and every situation. Leave the room better than when you found it – always. Keep your desk clean, car, your closet. Perform a Kaizen (change for the better) in your stock room, your kitchen or in one room of the house every month.

3. Finish what you start.
Or at least fully complete parts of it that are usable, and keep track of the rest. That also means not starting things that you can’t finish.

4. Swallow the frog early in the day.
Do the most difficult things of your day in the beginning when you have the most will-power. Research shows that will power is like a muscle. It tires from use, but can also be strengthened.

5. Avoid speaking negatively and avoid others who have the same bad habit.
Complaining is the complete opposite of solving. Stay away from people who nag. After a while it becomes contageous.

6. Do what you promise.
Especially arriving on time. Integrity is the bond you have with all of those within your sphere of influence. Break it and people lose trust and faith in you, which, over time, is very hard to mend. Respect your promises to others and, most importantly, to yourself. If you have too much on your plate, you are breaking promises to yourself. Intervene in advance of failure.

7. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Think about how they will perceive what you are communicating or doing. Without understanding context and perspective we run the risk of losing objectivity; creating problems rather than solving them; and appearing blunt and unsympathetic.

8. Create lots of systems that help you navigate on auto-pilot and give you overview.
There more autopilot best practices you have, the fewer mistakes and stress you will have. These can include calendaring, tasks, projects, shopping, etc. Anything to help you forecast what is around the corner. Don’t worry that it can seem nerdy. No one will ever know unless you have a few too many and gush about all your systems. I didn’t add “Stop drinking too much” to this list, but if the latter occurs…

Three tips to facilitate change:
1. Be consistent: Consistency is the mother of habit. The brain needs consistency in order to carve out those neuro-pathways that build in your ability to go on auto-pilot. The more consistent you are, the less you have to think and try.

2. Small is always better than big when starting a new habit: Get good at filtering out all your dreams and desires and go for things that are easily achievable until you build a consistent track record.

3. Simplify, simplify, simplify. ‘nuff said.

Remember that the objective here is to go slow. Pick just one to start with and keep the reminder on your desk, refrigerator or your bathroom mirror – or make several copies and post them for everyone to see them. Who won’t benefit from that?
I honestly don’t expect everyone to print out the reminders; only the ones who are ready for the challenge. But I can nearly guarantee that if you don’t actually print out the reminders, this will have been a slightly interesting and thoroughly forgotten exercise in just moments. A lost opportunity.
Print it now!

Download your sheet


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25 Oct

Atrendia Friday Video 21 – Tony’s Philosophy – 3. Unlock What’s Stopping You

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Love him or hate him (It’s not easy to be in the middle with Tony Robbins), this three-minute clip is one of the best of Tony Robbins’ video out-takes. He travels very quickly through some monumentally important themes, so it’s a good idea to spend another three minutes contemplating the pillars of self-understanding.

Duration: 3:03 (+3:00 to ponder)

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Happy Friday!

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12 Jul

Atrendia Friday Video 20 – John Kotter: The Heart of Change

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In this Youtube video, Dr. Kotter talks about how to win over both hearts and minds in his book The Heart of Change. Within Dr Kotter’s 8 Step Process winning hearts and minds is an important part of business thinking and a way to change behavior in an organizational or a cultural change.

John Kotter

If you are not familiar with John Kotter, he is one of the most important change management experts of our time.

Duration: 5:19

Find out more about our Executive Leadership Coaching Program

Click HERE to watch the video.

Happy Friday!

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22 Mar

Atrendia Friday Video 16 – Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

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This TED video is a fun quickie.  Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

The trick is to decide what you’re 30-day challenge is right after you view the video.  DO IT!

In case you’re wondering, my next 30-day challenge is: to study Spanish for 30 minutes every day including weekends for the next 30 days.  Let’s see how that goes.

Matt Cutts

Click here to enjoy the video

Duration: 3:29

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Happy Friday!

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15 Mar

Atrendia Friday Video 15 – Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile

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When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.

In this TED video, ChiChip Conley debates not the act of measuring but what we measure.  The intangible or “soft” areas are, it seems from the large number of TED videos that broach this subject, taking the limelight in contemporary leadership.

So much time is spent on the bottom denominator without enough attention to the numerator.

The Happiness Equation

Chip ends the video with an important message: “We count numbers.  We count on people. What really counts is actually when we use our numbers to truly take into account our people.”

Click here to enjoy the video

Duration: 17:40

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Happy Friday!

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15 Feb

Atrendia Friday Video 11 – Itay Talgam – Lead like the great conductors

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I LOVE this Ted video.  Many of you know that before becoming a consultant I conducted symphony orchestras, and it is from this musical tradition that I received most of my leadership skills and philosophy.  Itay Talgam perfectly captures the various ways that conductors lead musicians (employees) and he deftly illustrates how different forms of leadership impact the orchestra (your business).

Carlos Kleiber, in my estimation the greatest conductor who ever mounted a podium, is featured; as is Leonard Bernstein.  I had the great pleasure of meeting Maestro Bernstein once, but not in a way you might expect.  I brought him room service (working as a waiter while in graduate school) the year before he died.  Black coffee and cinnamon toast before his concert. I was actually a waiter in the main dining hall, so I had to bribe the room service waiter with five dollars.  I still have the order with Bernstein’s signature.

Itay Talgam

Duration: 20:52

Click here to enjoy the video

Find out more about our Executive Leadership Coaching Program

Happy Friday!

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01 Feb

Atrendia Friday Video 9 – Dr. Patrick Dixon – Leadership and motivation at work

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In this youtube video, Dr Patrick Dixon speaks about leading by leading by helping people connect with their passion.

We’ve all heard this message before in various books and speeches, so it is not that I hope to introduce something new but to inspire you to continue on this path and to rejuvenate your commitment to helping your employees find or maintain their passions in and outside your business.  In the end it is passion which drives us – not our paycheck and not the threat of negative consequences.

Dr. Patrick Dixon

From Wikipedia: Dr Patrick Dixon is an author and business consultant, often described as a futurist. In 2005 he was ranked as one of the 20 most influential business thinkers alive according to the Thinkers 50 (a private survey printed in The Times). He is Chairman of the trends forecasting company Global Change Ltd,founder of the international AIDS agency ACET, and Chairman of the ACET International Alliance. Dixon was included in the Independent on Sundays 2010 “Happy List“, with reference to ACET and his other work tackling the stigma of AIDS.

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Duration: 3:20

Link to the Atrendia Executive Leadership Coaching Program

Happy Friday!

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11 Jan

Atrendia Friday Video 6 – Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action – on TED

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In this TED video Simon Sinek explains why people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”  His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers.

Duration: 18:05

Click here to start the video

Happy Friday!

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