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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.
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10 Reasons Smiling Is More Than Lip Service

Hi, Diane Eblin here. I’m very excited to start contributing to the Next Level Blog. As a certified health coach, I have worked firsthand with overworked and overwhelmed professionals, coaches and homemakers to help them discover and make the best choices for themselves. Here I will share those simple and practical insights that helped them and could help you too.

Have you ever had one of those days where everyone you walk past looks like they’re in a bad mood? Furrowed brows, a blank stare into space, a frown or all of the above – you know what I’m talking about.

But wait, maybe they’re just holding up a mirror and reflecting what they see. Maybe it’s you who isn’t smiling.  If you have kids then you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are perfect little mirrors of what we’re expressing. But for those who spend a lot of time out of the home, your co-workers and the people you commute with can become your mirrors too.

Now picture yourself walking past someone who is smiling. I bet you can’t look for too long without smiling too. I bet you can ...

Solving the Time Management Dilemma

This month for me is all about the big push to finish the manuscript for my book that’s coming out this fall from Wiley, Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative. As the title implies, my premise is that being somewhat more mindful in your approach to work and life is an effective alternative to being overworked and overwhelmed.

The chapter I’ve been working on for the past couple of days is the distillation of 10 lessons learned about mindful time management from more than 45 leaders I’ve interviewed for the book. One of those lessons is to acknowledge reality.

The reality is that each of us has 168 hours each week. The research I’m reading tells us that the average smartphone enabled executive, manager or professional (most of them in the United States, in other words) is connected to their work an average 72 hours a week. Let’s assume that those same people spend about eight hours a day on sleeping, bathing and personal grooming. That’s another 56 hours a week. All of you math majors have figured out by now that that leaves just 40 hours a week for everything else—taking care ...

Why You Need to Learn to Lead Positive

If you are a leader struggling with keeping your team and yourself focused on the positive, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, functional MRI research shows that the neurocircuitry of the human brain is programmed so that two-thirds of initial neural activity is set to scan for what’s wrong rather than what’s right.

If you or a leader you know resembles that remark, you will want to check out my chat with this week’s podcast guest, Kathy Cramer. Kathy is a business consultant and psychologist who has worked with clients such as DuPont, Starbucks and Microsoft, as well as many educational and nonprofit groups.

Kathy has just released a new book, Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say and DoIn the book, she describes how “asset-based thinking” can reorient a leader and their organization by helping them steer clear of the “deficit zone” and stay focused on leveraging versus fixing. In the podcast, she also shares with us her one best piece of advice for leaders who want to lead positive.

Please join us for this brief and informative conversation.

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(Image via Santhosh Kumar/Shutterstock.com)

5 Ways to Optimize Your Operating Rhythm

From the department of real life experience, here’s a quick post on how to optimize your operating rhythm. As I work on a new book while maintaining a pretty full plate of work with clients, I’ve found that tuning into my operating rhythm is vital to getting anything done.

What, you might ask, is an operating rhythm? I’m sure there are lots of definitions out there. Mine is paying attention to what kind of work matches up best with what times of the day and week. The other big thing I need to pay attention to is when I need breaks. All work and no play not only makes me dull, it makes the work a whole lot harder than it should be.

So, with that little bit of preamble, here are five operating principles for optimizing your operating rhythm. They work for me and just might work for you too.

1.     Know Your Body Clock. Pay attention to what kind of work your body and brain want to do at different times of the day. Are you more creative in the mornings? Then do your writing, planning and creating then. Need some stimulation in the afternoon ...

What Any Leader Can Learn from Common Executive Succession Planning Mistakes

Ever wonder how smart people make bad decisions? That can happen in lots of situations including conversations around the board of directors table about who the next CEO is going to be.

In a recent conversation with Scott Saslow of the Institute of Executive Development, I got an inside look at some of the common mistakes boards of directors make on executive succession planning. In partnership with the Rock Center of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Scott’s organization has released a new study on best (and worst) succession planning practices. (You can get a copy of the study here.)

In talking with Scott, it struck me that some of the big succession planning mistakes that board members make show up in lots of other leadership situations at any level of an organization. Here are my top three takeaways on that front:

  • Being overly optimistic about the challenges you’re facing and thinking that external trends don’t apply to your situation.
  • Looking in the rearview mirror instead of the windshield when making big decisions.
  • Not having clear accountability and ownership for big decisions.

Any of that sound familiar? If so, you’ll want to listen to this brief ...