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E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome)

What response will lead to more solutions with something I’m dealing with now?

Quote: “Don’t get bitter, get better!” Kelli S. Vrla, CSP

You have complete control only over your own responses. Stack the deck more in your favor by tempering your responses accordingly. An angry person may be a huge event in person or via telephone. Your response will affect his or her response. You can pour gasoline on a raging fire, or you can outsmart the fire with strategies designed to go with the flow. Your choice. When you adopt a flexible response, you stand a much stronger chance of influencing a better outcome.


Put on Your Big-Girl Pants and Deal with It

Ask Yourself: Which difficult person can I amuse myself with regularly? (Is there anything I need to get over and get on with it?)

Quote: One of my favorite bumper stickers reminds me of a great speech: “Get in, sit down, shut up, hang on!”
By Kelli S. Vrla, CSP

Just deal with it. Get over it. Let it ride. As we used to say, “Don’t git yore pants in a wad over this!” Do you realize most of us spend 80–90% of our time and energy trying to excuse, rationalize, or prove our point of view to people who aren’t buying anyway? Adopt a hobby of being amused by difficult people. This will provide you hours of free entertainment, as well as added stress relief.


Mind the Gap

Quote: “Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will.” –Norman Vincent Peale

In London stations, arriving trains may be taller or shorter than the platform. If you don’t “Mind the gap!” you may slip through the cracks. When we expect things to go a certain way and they don’t, there’s a gap between what we want and what really happens. The more we’re married to the result, the wider the gap. Put your energy into closing the gaps. The size of the gap can cause huge stress in your world. Accepting gaps is the first step to closing them.


Intent versus Impact

How closely does my IMPACT match my INTENT?

“When you turn your I-knew-that’s into I-do-that’s, your To-Do’s become Ta-Dah’s!” By Kelli S. Vrla, CSP

Imagine you are in a movie, and you turn down the sound. Now watch yourself act. How much action are you doing versus what you have said you would do? Our “To-Do” list is our intention; our “Ta-Dah” list is our impact. We may desire an intended result, but the real outcome is our actual impact. Playing phone tag with a client does not have the same impact as connecting with the client. If you say you made 50 calls today, what was your impact per call?


Dressed for Success?

I have a question for you – and anyone can answer this. When you’re traveling during what’s commonly known as standard business hours, does attire during travel matter?

What are your thoughts on “business casual” during travel? Or if you’re in a position where standard business attire is common – should you wear that when traveling for business? Would “travel attire” affect your perception of the person wearing it?

Please share your thoughts here – thanks!


Discipline versus Damage Control

You’ve seen the signs that say “Plan Ahead” and the d is dropping off the end? Do you feel that most of your tasks fail in the planning ahead stage?

If so – what do you think you might do to change that? Do you practice self-discipline? Do you give disclaimers in your projects or tasks? For example, you might know that a project would take you 5 days, but do you tell that? If you practice self-discipline and do some up-front damage control, you naturally learn to build in some cushion just in case something happens – like an electrical outage that disables your system for 2 days, or unforeseen family emergencies. If you know something will take 5 days, give yourself a little extra time. When it does only take 5 days – the person you’re handing it over to will be thrilled that you gave it to them sooner.

Good discipline up front enables great damage control later.

Question to ponder: What upfront discipline can I do this week to fend off possible brush fires?


Behavior Rewarded is Repeated

Do you feel you’re tugged in a bunch of different directions all the time? Stop – before you answer that, think about this: Do you ALLOW yourself to be tugged in a bunch of different directions?

People will treat you exactly as you allow them to. If you find yourself starting something, then when the next issue comes up, you stop and fix whatever problem it is that pulled you away in the first place.

When you reward good behavior, that will come full circle back to you. Reinforce good behavior in others and you’ll soon find yourself not having to allow bad behavior in your life.

For today, ask yourself: “What behaviors do I want to reward and reinforce in others?”


Let The Coffee Stir The Cream

My Uncle Johnny always put cream and sugar in his cup before pouring his coffee. He let the coffee do the work; he worked smart—not hard. He owned over 50 big-name pizza restaurants (he was my favorite uncle…). He let this theory trickle over into everything he did. Uncle Johnny let the coffee stir the cream because he stopped to think about the result before the process.

Why did I start with this story? Simple – to get you to think how to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter involves thought process before action. Working smarter means rewards are sweeter when you consider smart time invested.

Remember this, though: working smarter instead of harder does not necessarily mean that you have great luck. In fact, Thomas Jefferson is credited with the quote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” I know this sounds contradictory of working smarter, not harder, but it’s really not.

When you work smarter, you are working hard. You’re working hard at being the smartest at what you’re doing.

For this week, think about this and share your thoughts: How can I work smart instead of just hard?


Employee Engagement: Making Your Staff Rock Stars is Critical to Client Care & Bottom Line!

No doubt it’s been a few tough years for many. Organizations are asking staffs to do more with less. It is also a tall order to steadfastly recognize, measure and uphold employee engagement. Hard working professionals are especially vulnerable to burnout and disengagement, making it difficult to improve client satisfaction and care quality. In fact daily stress, compassion fatigue, overachiever personality types, long hours, and lots of changes are hallmarks of industry standards today.

Based on HR Solutions’ International Normative Database, only 27 percent of employees are ‘Actively Engaged.’ The remaining 73 percent is divided between ‘Ambivalent’ employees (60 percent) and ‘Actively Disengaged’ employees (13 percent).

Benefits of engagement far outweigh the downsides when you take into account tangible results reported. If you are not yet a devotee to the Employee Engagement movement, I hope you will consider the wonderful benefits ramping up your EE factors can do for your organization and clients.

Let’s jump in and answer a few of the most popular EE questions:

What exactly is Employee Engagement?

Although there is not one agreed-upon definition, a few Employee Engagement Network authors described it on their terms:

Encourage open, honest conversations in which staff feel heard and also feel they are an important part of the organization. Susan J. Meyerott, M.S.

When the heart, mind, spirit and desire to do is synergized and in harmony with the vision and mission. Rudolf Peter Lanc

Employers need to get creative to create and promote a culture where employees feel valued, believe they are making a difference and are having fun. Jason M. Beauford

Build a sense of achievement by linking head (strategy and outcomes) to heart (authentic communication). Jo Manchester

S. Max Brown’s take simply summed it up by saying, “Engagement is caring about how you show up.” Consider how you define engagement for your organization. Is it a blend of some of the above?

Are we already doing it?
As they say…if you have to ask…you may not be doing an effective dose of it.

If so, are we doing it right?  Are we doing it enough?

One thing is clear: assessing your employees is not the same as engaging them.  A common malady happens when we put an engagement survey out there, let our employees fill them out and then not do anything differently…or worse, engage them all with a cookie
cutter mold.

Years ago—before EE was a buzz word–I used to suspect my management did not read any of our Suggestion Box ideas.  Even worse, I secretly suspected the slot we fed our suggestions into led right into a paper shredder.  Not only was I disengaged, I didn’t think anyone really cared what we thought about improving the organization.  Even though I was their top salesperson, I left shortly thereafter. The moral of the story: we want to be heard and valued for our ideas—that’s what drives us.

What if we’re not doing it at all?

In a Human Resource Executive magazine survey, two huge concerns for HR professionals were Employee Engagement and Retention.  In fact, legendary GE leader Jack Welch said “If you’re running a business, though, whether it’s a corner store or a multi-product multinational, we would say there are three key indicators that really work: employee engagement, (end user) satisfaction, and cash flow.”

He goes on to say, “Employee engagement first.  It goes without saying that no organization, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.  That’s why you need to take the measure of employee engagement at least once a year through anonymous surveys in which people feel completely…safe to speak their minds.”

If you have not yet done so, now would be a good time to embrace and enhance the EE wave.

How on earth do you measure EE? I mean how do we see tangible signs of it doing any good?

The votes are in:  Employee engagement is scientifically linked to improved business performance in the following areas:

Increased End User Satisfaction, Increased Employee Retention, Increased Operating Margin Increased Profitability, Reduction in Safety incidents, Reduction in Absenteeism

These areas can be your barometers to gauge your EE effectiveness.
When I think of EE, “Kaisen” comes to mind; it is the Japanese word for “continuous improvement.”  I also am reminded of the bonsai tree:  you may water and prune it for many years before you see what appear to be sudden blossoming branches.  In truth, constant and small changes lead big impacts; such can be true with on-going employee engagement programs.

What exactly can we do to get on the EE Train?

Communicate – Clarify and let them know what’s going on, so they can innovate and create solutions that make sense.  Trust them to have all the information they need to make informed decisions and solutions.  Do annual surveys and candid focus groups.

Involve – Clarify & update to help employees understand what’s going on.  Knowledge is power only when we use it.

Benefit – Help them connect the dots by asking first before telling.  Let them tell you what the benefit is to them for engaging while serving up the organization’s vision/mission.

Enable Career – Developing Opportunities  -prepare them for cross training and a thorough understanding of all the working parts of “how we make money here.”

Individualize – Connection makes room for correction.  You must treat each employee as an individual and learn what makes him/her tick and what ticks him/her off.   This customized appreciation will prove a huge ROI on your time and energy invested.

Kelli V’s COOL Bonus Tool!
Simplify Individualized Engagement by finding out what drives them. As my Greek grandfather used to say, “You gotta know what makes them tick and what ticks them off!” Here’s my handy Team Engagement Blueprint Kelli V’s Team Engagement Blueprint to use as your blueprint for Engagement Excellence.

Brian Tracy, Personal Development Expert, says this individualized motivation is all about the A’s: appreciation, approval, admiration, and attention.  As he suggests, “Imagine that every person in your organization is wearing a sign around his or her neck all day long that says ‘Make me feel important.’”

“Listen to your employees and understand what gets them excited about coming to work.“ Kathy Fitzpatrick

Observe the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert, and don’t be him.  Rev. James Rosselli

What are some TOP FUTURE EE Trends to Watch for?

1.)  Since the recession helped increase disengagement levels, there’s work to be done to recapture engagement ground.  Organizations will use the most Actively Engaged employees to mentor, motivate and re-energize the disengaged.

2.)  The good news is that the economy is on the upswing. Corporations will capitalize on this with Employee Engagement Surveys, department meetings and focus groups.

3.)  HR professionals will invest more money and time developing strategic retention plans and learning what key retention elements are within their respective organizations.

4.)  Social media will be used more and more to engage and recruit employees.

One final quote sums it all up nicely by Deb Holton, EE Network Author, “Engagement empowers every employee to maximize his or her connectedness, contribution, collaboration, creativity, and celebration of success.”

It’s up to you now to enlist an Engagement Culture of Staff Rock Stars with your actions, not platitudes. This strategy can help your organization truly have them after “Hello.”

woman speaking at podium

GRAB-BAG Q & A: Quick Answers to Often-Asked Questions on a Variety of Topics: Speaking Tips

Always happy to answer any and all questions!  Simply ask in the comment section of the KelliGram or jot an email to me :       Re: KelliGram Question on _______________ (topic goes here for quick reference). Thanks!

Today’s Question: “Thank you for the awesome talk. Please kindly send me the notes.  “What are 3 ways to better one’s speaking skills?”

Quick answer to your questions: Practice, Practice, Practice :0)

Now the real answer:

Seriously, 1) Speak often (to any group who will listen. Volunteer to recap 5-minutes from conference notes. Always try to ask a question in public gatherings for practice speaking in front of groups.

2) Using notes is okay–just remember to not sound like you’re reading: Read with your head down (mouth closed) THEN Speak with your head UP. Pause, check notes, look up and deliver more info, rinse , repeat…

3) Cut out the “Ah, Mmmm, Uhh” by keeping mouth closed in between sentences.
4) Pause more to let them soak the info in.
5) Care more about getting the message across than how you look when delivering!
6) Remember there are always 3 presentations when you speak:
1. The one you planned
2. The one you did
3. The one they take away (ideas and messeges) –Always tell them what you want them to KNOW/DO/FEEL when they leave; tell them this early (right up front) and tell them mid way through, then tell them again just before they leave.

Whey! How’s that for overdelivering on your request! I believe that’s actually about 10 things! Now go try some of these tips  and email me to report how it goes! THX–enjoy the journey! Kelli V.

Kelli Vrla, CSP*
“ENGAGE people, ENHANCE skills & EXPLODE productivity!”
Author, Solutions Finder,& Workshop Leader
Worldwide Toll Free: 888.434.HaHa (4242)
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