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13 4 sept-2011-10-winning

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  • 1. Enjoying your work, branding yourself, and more »BY KAREN RICHARDSON M otivational speaker Mike Lipkin, President of Environics/Lipkin, a global research and motivation company with the Environics Research Group, had many entertaining and inspiring words for attendees of our recent Your Workplace Conference. According to Lipkin, it’s about seizing the moment, and deciding whether our limits become boundaries that constrain us or turning points that redefine us. He talked on the latest “10 Winning People Trends” — successful trends that have been adopted by successful leaders and inspired people, and that are swooping across successful organizations. Phrases such as, “Magnetize yourself through your story”, “Assume a Gen-Y state of mind” and “Be a partner” were just some words of wisdom he passed on to attendees. He challenged delegates to “stretch” themselves — to think about possibilities, re-evaluate the role they play at work, confront their anxieties and change their thinking patterns to be continually inspired and innovative. Lipkin, also author of the recent book One Life, One Meaning, challenged delegates to think about the question, “Who’s responsible for keeping your flame burning brightly?” and to find ways to sustain a daily level of motivation and to be inspired.“When the fire dies down the predators appear,” he said. TREND #1: Enjoy Your Work Enjoying your work or the “fun-factor” is the latest trend and the “anecdote to the post-traumatic stress following the meltdown in 2008 and 2009”, accord- ing to Lipkin. “There’s never been as much focus on the bottom line as now,” he told delegates. “People are finding ways to be creative and get enjoyment out of work, irrespective of or independent of the context in which they work.” He also pointed out that there is a direct correlation between the stress and YOUR WORKPLACE | SEPTEMBER 2011    15
  • 2. TREND #3: Thrive on Austerity In times where “cheaper, leaner, faster” has become the norm in workplaces, Lipkin challenged delegates to think about how they are demonstrating their ability to deliver a lot more for a lot less. Can you deliver “amazing” every day? Lipkin asked attendees. In a world where excellence has become the new norm and has been commoditized, the consumer is focused on getting the best deal as a matter of course. People have come to “expect the amazing”. Would you ever see Tim Horton’s advertising “Sometimes Fresh”, rather than their usual “Always Fresh” slogan? he asked. Taking your work one step beyond excellence to “amazing” defies our beliefs. “Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that can make it amazing.” It is common for it to be a challenge to take initiative, to stretch ourselves and put ourselves out there. Canadians have a particularly hard time with this, said Lipkin.“Canadians have an innate modesty, which can serve us on one hand, but inhibit us on the other hand.” But being “amazing” also comes from being innovative and creative. When it comes to doing this, think of the infancy stages of an organization, or young, new employees, said Lipkin. “The most innovative, the most motivated, most creative, are the rookies — the people who have just joined, because they don’t know it cannot be done. They are not married to past and are not trying to protect a legacy.” People also need to learn from failure, he said.“Embrace failure, but not the kind of failure that’s the result of negligence, or not caring. The kind of failure that’s a result of pushing it as far as you can.” Lipkin suggested that we are often more scared of the consequences of failure, rather than failure itself.And while the fear of embarrassment can often be strong, it is better to have tried at some- thing because, as Lipkin claims: “regret is more painful than embarrassment.” Like Star Trek, where the slogan is “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, Lipkin said it’s important not to hesitate.“When you are having a con- versation with your stakeholders, have it boldly.” TREND #2: Be Inspired This trend is the “emotional engine that drives superior performance,” according to Lipkin.We all know that if you’re miserable you can’t be at your best. Gen-Ys are particularly known for their ability to take responsibility for their own happiness and being inspired, and are a good model to follow, according to Lipkin.“If you’re not being account- able and not taking ownership of your own happiness and joy, then nothing else is possible,” says Lipkin. Part of being inspired is about choosing your meaning in your anxieties we experience at work and our personal health. “If employees can find a way to enjoy what they do it has a massive physical impact.” Lipkin drew an analogy to our overall cholesterol level. Similar to good cholesterol, there is “good stress” associated with a challenge or a stretch. “That’s the kind of stress we want to create in the workplace because it is inherently enjoyable.” In any workplace there is also distress that brings the nega- tive anxiety, but the good stress can outweigh the bad and contribute to innovation. Similar to measuring cholesterol, Lipkin said it’s important that leaders assess the physical health of their employees. “One of the fundamentals of business is you cannot manage what you have not measured.” Another important principle of enjoying your work is realizing that “people who want to” will always outperform “people who have to”. Do others work with you because they have to? He shared with del- egates, “If you want to get the most out of people, you and I need to be ‘want-to’ kind of people.” Make the space around you a great place to work, he advised. “Think about whether people are attracted to the space around you, and the kind of energy that you are bringing every day. In your meetings, how often do you hear the sound of laugh- ter? How often do you see smiles? Customers are attracted to great energy and that begins with the individual and cascades out.” work and daily life. “Are you just laying rocks, or cutting logs, or are you building a cathedral?” Lipkin asked attendees. “What’s the ‘why’ that’s informing you on any given day?” This is part of the challenge leaders face — to help people understand the role that they play, or how the role they play contributes to the end goal, or the ultimate benefit its company delivers.“How are you helping people to see the cathedral, as opposed to just being blind-sighted by the rocks?” he asked. Lipkin alluded to his work with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.When Lipkin had the chance to meet with Mandela he asked him how he suffered for 27 years. Mandela responded that he didn’t suffer, but rather:“I prepared to live my life every day so that when I was released I would transform my nation into the kind of nation that I’ve dreamt of it becoming.” Being inspired is about believing in the possibilities, Lipkin told attendees. 16    SEPTEMBER 2011 | YOUR WORKPLACE
  • 3. TREND #6: Brand Yourself Fabulously It’s one thing to maximize your value, it’s another to communicate it fabulously, Lipkin says.The winners understand that perception is reality.Winners know that they are defined by their words and actions. Lipkin’s own “UVP” involves exciting people into making the actions that make them successful, taking it one extra step that could make all the differ- ence. “It’s about being memorable,” he said. Consider how others feel about you after they have had a meeting with you. “If your focus is how to make the other person feel good about themselves inside their meeting with you, they will see you as their anchor for emotional positivity and want to spend more time with you,” he said. Story-telling is another key trend of successful people. Due to other intersect- ing trends of fatigue, people being overwhelmed and anxious, telling a relevant story that is likely to move people has a different kind of power.“All of us need to unleash our own Natalie Portman, or our own Christian Bale.We’re all onstage, and telling a story.” Consider your story, what sets you apart from everyone else in your space, and why would the best performers want to partner with you? TREND #5: Maximize Your Personal Value What is the benefit you deliver on any given day that makes you priceless to your organization? Are you maximizing your personal value, or are you underestimating what you can deliver? Lipkin told delegates to appreciate their power and play to your sweet spot. In addition, think about the value that you bring to your organi- zation. Lipkin described this as a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). “Your ability to communicate the what to your organization is critical.”This involves not being boastful, but rather communicat- ing the unique value you bring so people know what they should ask you for and what they should expect from you. It also involves coaching the folks around you to communicate their unique value proposition. “Make it personal – put your thumbprint on the organization,” says Lipkin. TREND #4: Matrix Yourself “Hierarchy is so boomer,” Lipkin claims on his web site. “The new reality is about heterarchy – where leaders and followers are interchangeable, depending on circumstances. Informal power and formal struc- tures overlap. Titles are inevitable, and they’re even respected, but they’re merely a credential.” Lipkin told attendees the ideal “heterarchy” forms more of a pattern of a “matrix”, and this structure is common at Environics-Lipkin. It’s important to be interchangeable, he said, because getting comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty is “going to deter- mine the level of your well-being and your ability to thrive in the future.” Most importantly, be a partner, he advised. “My question to you is, ‘are you in a dance with the folks around you, or are you in some kind of stressful struggle, and how interchangeable are you?’” Great leaders today can talk to everyone and realize each person’s contribution to the organization’s success. “Your ability to connect with anyone in the organi- zation, seeing everyone as that potential source of breakthrough, will determine your level of success… We’re living at a time when the battles will not be won from the air.They will be won on the ground, one person, one conversation, one engagement at a time.” “Hierarchy is so boomer,” . . . “The new reality is about heterarchy – where leaders and followers are interchangeable . . . Informal power and formal structures overlap. . . Titles are inevitable, and they’re even respected, but they’re merely a credential.” ~ Mike Lipkin YOUR WORKPLACE | SEPTEMBER 2011    17
  • 4. 18    SEPTEMBER 2011 | YOUR WORKPLACE TREND #7: Cross the Generational Divide The most successful organizations are characterized by a mutual admiration for the other generation, with mentoring flowing both ways, according to Lipkin. “Age has its advantages but youth has technology.” Drawing from Michael Adams’s (Co-founder and President of the Environics Research Group) book Staying Alive, Lipkin says teams that have members of both generations will outperform any team that doesn’t.“It’s about being generous. Reach out to the generation around you. Embrace them, rather than be ticked off by them.” Consider how supportive you are to the genera- tions around you. Are you reaching out or shutting down? In addition, assume a Gen-Y state of mind. “Gen-Ys believe they can change the world, have a concern for the planet, a sense of entitlement, and a sense that the world can really be a special place.” TREND #9: Build your social graph It’s important to be connected on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but networking also means talking to people in person and reaching out to give them more than they expect, says Lipkin. “Develop your social reciprocity. Earn your media. Once you develop a reputation as someone who’s developing thought leadership, people will come to your blog. It’s about being a thought leader and building passionate promoters. TREND #10: Train to Win Everybody loves to win but only a few love to train. It’s impor- tant to have a regimented training plan, so that you are not held captive to the urgent. Yet most of us don’t have a plan. “The urgent things are so pressing that we don’t find time for the things that are really powerful,” said Lipkin.“It’s not about time-management. It’s about priority management.” In an age of uncertainty, it’s important to ritualize with discipline. As an example Lipkin referred to Simon Whitfield, Canadian gold and silver medalist in triathlon.Whitfield trains according to the principle of “deliberate practice”.When he trains for his marathons, every step and every stroke every pedal is done deliberately, and he can pace himself to the second. “It’s that kind of deliberate practice we need, rather than mindless rep- etition that some folks go through. . . On both a corporate and an individual level, the winners find the time for what counts. They expand their capacity to be remarkable so they achieve more without doing more.” The 10Winning PeopleTrends are designed to enrich your perspec- tive and energize you to be more than you are. In closing he asked delegates,“So how are you training to win?What is your plan?And howdisciplinedareyouinexecutingit?”Healsoremindedthemthat “there are so many people counting on you to be your best.As you step up,you take them all with you.” YW TREND #8: Master the Rules Champions treat compliance and constraint like gravity, says Lipkin.“They operate within it, and are creative in the space open to them.They don’t allow the administrative to excuse them for not excelling. . . It’s as much about doing things right as it is about doing the right things.” Consider if you have mastered the rules of your game, and whether you have let compliance set you free.The more constrained this industry is, the more creative you have to be. But in order to be creative you have to be knowledgeable.

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