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So you are facing a problem in your organization, and you assign a team to resolve that problem. The team will do its work and then report back to you.

In these settings, you get to do what I call “Talent Observation” on the people assigned to fix the problem. Watch the video below to learn more.

Let’s say this team consists of three people assigned the task of fixing the music problem. Every week they will come back and report, “We tried this. We talked more about that. And we are considering these solutions.”

At that point, as the leader, you can start to assess the problem-solving capabilities of the three people on that team. This is a wonderful leadership development opportunity for you.

Maybe there are two sleepy people on the team, but there is one person who is really taking this seriously and coming up with a lot of creative ideas. You should make a mental note: “This person is creative, determined and has relational intelligence. This is impressive.”

And if that team comes up with a solution that actually solves the music problem, consider calling on that sharp person to be on your problem-solving team the next time there is noise in another part of the organization.

Did you like this video?  Download GLSnext to gain access to a leadership library with hundreds of short videos from leadership experts right from your mobile device.   

Bill Hybels is the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, a church of more than 25,000 people across eight Chicago-area congregations. He founded The Global Leadership Summit with a commitment to develop and mentor leaders worldwide, now impacting 400,000+ leaders in 128+ countries. Hybels is the best-selling author of more than 20 books, including the video curriculum, Leading from Here to There: 5 Essential Skills.

The post How I Assess Talent—Bill Hybels appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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I needed to hire a new salesperson, and one resume stood out like a sore thumb. The applicant, Ari, was a math major and built robots in his spare time—clearly not the right skill set for sales. But my boss thought Ari looked interesting, so I called him in for an interview. Sure enough, he bombed it.

I reported back to my president that although Ari seemed like a nice guy, during the 45-minute interview, he didn’t make any eye contact. It was obvious that he lacked the social skills to build relationships with clients.

I knew I was in trouble when my president started laughing. “Who cares about eye contact? This is a phone sales job.”

We invited Ari back for a second round. Instead of interviewing him, a colleague recommended a different approach, which made it clear that he would be a star. I hired Ari, and he ended up being the best salesperson on my team. I walked away with a completely new way of evaluating talent. Ever since, I’ve been working with organizations on rethinking their selection and hiring processes.

Interviews are terrible predictors of job performance. Consider a rigorous, comprehensive analysis of hundreds of studies of more than 32,000 job applicants over an 85-year period by Frank Schmidt and Jack Hunter. They covered more than 500 different jobs—including salespeople, managers, engineers, teachers, lawyers, accountants, mechanics, reporters, farmers, pharmacists, electricians and musicians—and compared information gathered about applicants to the objective performance that they achieved in the job.

After obtaining basic information about candidates’ abilities, standard interviews only accounted for 8% of the differences in performance and productivity. Think about it this way: imagine that you interviewed 100 candidates, ranked them in order from best to worst, and then measured their actual performance in the job. You’d be lucky if you put more than eight in the right spot.

Interviewer biases are one major culprit. When I dismissed Ari, I fell victim to two common traps: confirmation bias and similarity bias.

Confirmation bias is what leads us to see what we expect to see—we look for cues that validate our preconceived notions while discounting or overlooking cues that don’t match our expectations. Since I had already concluded that Ari wasn’t cut out for sales, I zeroed in on his lack of eye contact as a signal that I was right. It didn’t occur to me that eye contact was irrelevant for a phone sales job—and I didn’t notice his talents in building rapport, asking questions and thinking creatively. Once we expect a candidate to be strong or weak, we ask confirming questions and pay attention to confirming answers, which prevents us from gauging the candidate’s actual potential.

Why did I form this expectation in the first place? Similarity bias.

Extensive research shows that interviewers try to hire themselves: we naturally favor candidates with personalities, attitudes, values and backgrounds to our own. I was a psychology major with hobbies of springboard diving, performing magic and playing word games, and I had done the sales job the previous year. Ari was a robot-building math major, so he didn’t fit my mental model of a salesperson. He wasn’t Mini-Me.

After writing Blink, Malcolm Gladwell became so concerned about his own biases that he removed himself from the processing of interviewing assistants altogether. And even if we take steps to reduce interviewer bias, there’s no guarantee that applicants will share information that accurately forecasts their performance.

One challenge is impression management: candidates want to put their best foot forward, so they tend to give the answers that are socially desirable rather than honest.

Another challenge is self-deception: candidates are notoriously inaccurate about their own capabilities. Consider these data points summarized by psychologist David Dunning and colleagues:

(1) High school seniors: 70% report having “above average” leadership skills, compared with 2% “below average,” and when rating their abilities to get along with others, 25% believe they were in the top 1% and 60% put themselves in the top 10%.

(2) College professors: 94% think they do above-average work.

(3) Engineers: in two different companies, 32% and 42% believe their performance was in the top 5% in their companies.

(4) Doctors, nurses, and surgeons: for treating thyroid disorders, handling basic life support tasks and performing surgery, there is no correlation between what healthcare professionals say they know and what they actually know.

Overall, Dunning and colleagues estimate that employees’ self-ratings only capture about 8% of their objective performance. Also, the data show that the most unskilled candidates are the least aware of their own incompetence. The less you know in a given domain, the less qualified you are to judge excellence in that domain. The punch line: candidates are not reliable sources of information about their talents. As Timothy Wilson concludes in Strangers to Ourselves, “people often do not know themselves very well.”

The good news is that interviews can be improved.

Want to learn more? Read the rest of the article on medium.com.


Adam Grant is a Wharton professor and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. His excellent free monthly newsletter on work and psychology can be found at www.adamgrant.net and this post originally appeared on medium.com.

The post What’s Wrong with Job Interviews, and How to Fix Them—Adam Grant appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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Every leader knows that looking for emerging talent is a crucial leadership competency. But most leaders also believe their plates are simply too full to add talent-scouting into their busy roles.

At the 2017 Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels offered a way any leader can become a master talent scout. He called it creating “Table 18” moments.

In his talk, Bill described an encounter he experienced with a waitress at a hotel restaurant in India. Almost every day during his stay, Bill took his meals in the same restaurant, and was hosted by this same server, at the same table—Table 18.

Through their interactions, Bill identified in her some remarkable leadership potential, and he made a point to encourage her in her development. Later this young woman gave him a thank-you note in which she expressed profound gratitude for his encouragement, adding that, “She would remember Table 18 for the rest of her life.” (You can hear more about this story in GLS Podcast Episode 019.)

Bill challenged everyone at the Summit always to look for these Table 18 opportunities.

Here are five ways you can practically look for Table 18 moments:

  1. Keep Your Radar on “Full Alert” for Leadership Talent
    No matter what you are doing, or where you are, maintain a “talent-observation mindset.”
  1. Be Aware That Talent Can Appear in the Most Unlikely of Places
    Although professional headhunters might only comb the executive corridors of Fortune 500 companies, Table 18 moments can take place just about anywhere.
  1. Don’t Just Notice; Respond
    It’s important to notice talent, but don’t stop there. Let the person know that you have noticed their potential. A little encouragement goes a long way.
  1. Remember that Table 18 Moments Are Not Just About Recruitment
    It’s not just about building your own team. Table 18 moments are also about furthering the development of leadership talent regardless of where that talent goes.
  1. Be Open to Follow-Up Opportunities
    Bill made a point of deciding to stay in that hotel in the future, in part with the hope to follow up with this talented young person. Sometimes follow up can be as simple as sending an email of encouragement six months later. Don’t create co-dependency; just be prepared to find out where the story is leading.

Every leader is busy. Every leader feels their time is at a premium. But that doesn’t mean the important role of spotting emerging talent has to be put on the back-burner.

It simply requires a fresh approach.

And weaving Table 18 moments into your day can be a great way to start.

To learn more, check out the most recent episode of the GLS Podcast Episode 019 to hear more from Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley and Jeff Lockyer on talent observation and the “Table 18 conversation.”


Scott Cochrane serves as the Vice President of International at Willow Creek Association. An insightful and genuine leader, he travels the globe mentoring international teams, often alongside Bill Hybels. Prior to joining WCA, he was the executive pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, British Columbia and provided leadership to WCA Canada.

The post 5 Ways Busy Leaders Can Be Full-time Talent Scouts—Scott Cochrane appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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Leaders aren’t meant to be alone.

Leadership is about influencing others toward a common mission together. It requires more than simply working together toward a common goal—a common purpose. Rather, great leaders align people and resources in order to accomplish these goals.

Many leaders mistakenly believe financial resources are the most critical tool required to achieve their vision.

However, a leader’s greatest asset is people.

Their value does not lie in their number or their current capabilities. The value of your people lies in the capacity of their leadership potential. In order to leverage your greatest resource, you must help them grow this leadership capacity from burgeoning potential to high effectiveness.

John Maxwell wrote, Leaders create and inspire new leaders by instilling faith in their leadership ability and helping them develop and hone leadership skills they don’t know they possess.

Who was a leader who took an interest in you and helped inspire you to grow and develop as a leader?

What were some of the things they did to bring out your leadership potential?

Each of us can look at those who influenced and inspired us to grow in our leadership, to identify the ways they invested that most helped us improve and develop. Growing leaders is not achieved by infusing them with a checklist of leadership qualities. Rather, leadership is developed when we provide environments and experiences that cultivate and nurture leadership potential.

When organizations embrace the following propositions, they experience significant impact from their investment in new and emerging leaders:

1) Leadership development is a journey.

It is not a single event. Leaders are not developed in a day, but daily. Growth strategies for emerging leaders are being planned with a longer view and time frame that goes beyond a singular event. The Global Leadership Summit is a catalyst for year-round growth experiences designed to help leaders increase their influence and effectiveness. Some of the year-round growth resource tools we provide include GLSnext, the GLS Podcast and GrowthTracks.

2) Leadership skills can be taught.

Many people are intimidated by leadership, viewing those who lead as, “born leaders.” Giving emerging leaders skills for vision casting, team building, conflict resolution and more can help build leadership confidence and increase the leadership impact in your organization. Identifying and cultivating skill development in new and emerging leaders can help transform your organization into a greater leadership-learning environment.

3) Emerging leaders need a safe place for change.

Providing a safe place that allows leaders the opportunity to test and experiment in leadership roles, offers space for learning and trust-building. It also helps emerging leaders to make the internal and external changes necessary in order to grow their influence.

4) Leadership learning provides both engagement and experience.

Effective learning environments must include information, action and evaluation. Emerging leaders need the benefit of knowledge acquisition, application through action and evaluation through honest, constructive and positive feedback. Both knowing and doing produce greater understanding and impact.

5) Character counts.

Leadership is more than knowing and doing. Rather, it flows out of our being; out of who we are. Leadership-equipping systems must care as much about the heart and integrity of a leader as the actions of a leader. It is out of the leader’s inner life that they influence and interact with employees, make consistent and honorable decisions on behalf of a company or organization and have relational interaction with clients, customers and colleagues.

The key to greater effectiveness and success as a business or organization, as a leader over a small team or as a CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company comes through your investment in the people capital you have been entrusted with.

Increasing the capacity of those you work and journey with will multiply your collective impact and bring greater joy and fulfillment.

Don’t lead alone.

Remember those who invested in you and pass it on.

Tom De Vries, President of Willow Creek Association, has been a church planter, multi-site pastor, and global movement leader. He is a 20-year attender of The Global Leadership Summit, and believes in the mission of the local church as expressed in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, as well as an ever-increasing need for greater leadership skills for all who influence others.

The post 5 Steps on the Journey to Developing Leaders—Tom De Vries appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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We all know that identifying and deploying talented people is an essential skill for any leader. But knowing how to spot talent can also be a challenge.

Savvy leaders know that every person you hire impacts the culture of your organization. A good hire can have exponentially positive effects on your momentum. A poor hire can cost you significant time and resources for lost productivity and team morale…not to mention your sanity!

You’ve likely heard the mantra, “Hire slow, fire fast.” This quip exists for good reason. Building and developing your team is the most important work you’ll do as a leader. However, this work requires the discipline of intentionality to observe great talent and effectively recruit and empower it.

When you are able to pair the gifts of an individual with the needs of the organization, I believe something divinely beautiful happens. It’s an art form in which you’ve become the master. While from the outside looking in, it may appear like magic, talent scouting is far from a mysterious process. And extraordinary leaders know the key: being able to identify potential.

Great leaders see potential.

Potential by definition means you see possibility. You see what isn’t proven yet. This is perhaps the scariest of human resource gambles for us as leaders. When we hire on potential, we’re hiring on what we believe could be true about an employee. We’re claiming to see what others don’t see…oftentimes seeing something in the employee that they don’t even see in themselves. This requires high belief but it’s undergirded by keen discernment.

And lest you be concerned with relying solely on your intuition to identify potential, a Harvard Business Review piece defined potential as encompassing five key qualities: motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement and determination.

Here are the essential questions I have used to assess these five qualities in people.

1) Motivation 

Does the candidate demonstrate a drive and commitment to get things done? Are they a self-starter? Do they show initiative for new projects or a willingness to take on more responsibility? Are they committed to their own personal growth and development? Do they seek out opportunities for continued education (formal or informal)?

2) Curiosity

Do they ask questions and request feedback? Are they eager to find new solutions to recurring problems? Do they show interest in others? Do they seek to understand the bigger picture? Are they quick to judge or are they interested in understanding someone else’s perspective?

3) Insight

Do they have good instincts? Can they see alternative solutions? Are they able to anticipate needs and adapt to change? Do they offer ideas and support to their peers? Are they aware of how they are perceived by others? Do they have a healthy perspective on their strengths while comfortably acknowledging their weaknesses? Do they own their responsibility in outcomes, both good and bad? Do they know how to build trust and foster relationships?

4) Engagement 

Are they all in? Are they committed to the mission and vision of the organization? Are they dedicated to their team? Do they actively participate in conversations and step up to leadership opportunities when they arise? Are they respected by their peers for their ability to work together and learn from others? Do they work cooperatively with others and seek to understand the perspective of other team members?

5) Determination

Are they resilient? Can they rebound from a setback? Do they bring energy and optimism to team meetings? Do they engage a solution mindset to problem solving? Do they see roadblocks or just obstacles they have to find a way over?

Spotting potential, developing it and watching it flourish are some of my greatest joys as a leader. In my experience, the technical competency of an individual is secondary to the core elements of potential. Give me someone who has potential and I’ll invest the time and resources to teach them the competencies they need to succeed.

Potential is your secret weapon. Not only are you finding that proverbial “diamond in the rough,” but also by believing in someone’s potential you are planting seeds of belief and commitment that may lead to long-term dedication to you and the organization.

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker and leadership expert committed to helping others lead from their extraordinary best. A leader who loves “putting feet to vision,” she has served on the executive leadership teams of Menlo Church in Menlo Park, CA and Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. Outreach Magazine has recognized Jenni as one of the 30 emerging influencers reshaping church leadership. She is the author of several books, including her latest The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.

The post Ask These Questions to Identify Potential in People—Jenni Catron appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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In our fast-paced world, we often find ourselves in sprint mode: moving from meeting to meeting – and from project to project – without taking time to pause or even take a breath. Sound familiar?

Juliet Funt says,The pause has been squeezed out by the tyranny of the urgent.”

Her WhiteSpace concept encourages leaders to take a strategic pause between activities. And the pause does not need to be long. Even stopping for just five minutes can be enough to recharge.

What happens during the pause? Based on neuroscience research, these kinds of  pauses allow the mind to recuperate. They create space for reflection and restoration. And they can even become fertile soil for creativity and innovation. Surprisingly, these short moments of pause often allow for flashes of clarity where solutions to our current problems come into focus.

Recently, we explored the WhiteSpace concept on our GLS platforms. Click the links below to gain different perspectives about WhiteSpace from leadership experts in the GLS movement.

1) GLS Podcast: Episode 018: Juliet Funt with Bill Hybels and Jeff Lockyer

 This episode of the GLS Podcast features a conversation between Bill Hybels and Jeff Lockyer on the importance of WhiteSpace—the “strategic pause” between activities that enables recuperation for the mind and greater productivity.

2) Blog Post: The Six-Week Illusion—Juliet Funt

The Six-Week Illusion is a trick our minds play on us as they downplay the potential busyness of a future time, which is just a little bit down the road. We tend to believe that a future time will be calmer and easier than the hectic present. Inevitably, this turns out to be an illusion.

3) Blog Post: The Lost Art of Simplicity—Patrick Lencioni

Making a case for the power of simplicity is no easy task. And yet, more than ever, I’m convinced that simplicity is the scarcest commodity among leaders, and probably the most important.

4) Blog Post: The Unexpected Paradox of WhiteSpace—Tim Parsons

 WhiteSpace yields an unexpected paradox all of us must consider—the constant treadmill of “doing” ultimately leads to hazardous dead ends. And embracing WhiteSpace leads to more efficient doing, more precise action and more profitable results.

5) Blog Post: Why We Need WhiteSpace—Dr. Henry Cloud

 We all know the experience of being overwhelmed by information, work load, emails, response-time expectations and the like. It just never stops. With constant bombardment for attention, your brain gets tweaked…literally.

6) Blog Post: 3 Ways To Reload Your Leadership—Tommy Bowman

 2018 is upon us and, by now, you’re probably knee deep into the thick of it all: meetings, tasks, projects…oh, and your inbox. And, in case you didn’t do this over your Christmas break, take a minute and ask yourself, “How satisfied you are with your amount of reload time in 2017?”

7) Blog Post: 5 Simple Ways to Add WhiteSpace to a Too-Busy Life—Susan DeLay

 I am a big fan of lists—to-do lists, prayer lists, goal lists, grocery lists, even lists that track what I eat every day. Never ever have I added a pause that refreshes to my to-do list in order to give me what Juliet Funt calls WhiteSpace.

8) The Juliet Funt/WhiteSpace GrowthTrack

When we perform complex, intensive tasks without giving our brains time to recuperate, we experience cognitative fatigue. This depletes our brain’s limited resources and negatively impacts performance. According to productivity expert Juliet Funt, the solution is WhiteSpace—the strategic pause taken between activities.

When leaders prioritize WhiteSpace in their lives, vision becomes clearer, work becomes better and passion becomes stronger.

Invest in your WhiteSpace. Invite your team to invest in their WhiteSpace. And, as you create space for the strategic pause, watch your organizations, churches and families transform from the inside out.

The post 8 Tools to Build WhiteSpace into Your Daily Routine appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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I am a big fan of lists—to-do lists, prayer lists, goal lists, grocery lists, even lists that track what I eat every day. Never, ever have I added “a pause that refreshes” to my to-do list in order to give me what Juliet Funt calls WhiteSpace.

Until after the 2017 Global Leadership Summit.

Juliet Funt described the importance of adding WhiteSpace to our days, or taking strategic breaks in order to recharge our mind and body. I listened to the revolutionary idea that taking a pause could deepen introspection and spark creativity.

As a writer, deadlines drive my days—often sending me careening around corners at breakneck speed and screeching to a halt across the work finish line, sweaty and out of breath. I arrived at my deadlines just in time to jump onto the treadmill of the next looming deadline.

Finishing a project with minutes to spare gave me a temporary adrenaline rush, but it sucked the life out of my creativity.

 There is a better way.

Graphic designers intentionally add white space to a page because they understand its importance. Adding blank, empty space to a page makes everything easier to read and absorb. I had to become as intentional as a graphic designer about adding WhiteSpace to my life.

The week after the Summit, I set out to incorporate WhiteSpace into my life.

And I started small.

There is no perfect method to adding WhiteSpace, just as there is no perfect way to manage time (or better…protect time). It’s a matter of finding what works.

Here are 5 WhiteSpace additions that are working for me.

  1. Block digital distractions.

I have been guilty of responding to emails as soon as they ping my inbox. And I’m embarrassed by how easily I can get sucked into the internet. I venture into the World Wide Web to verify a fact and 30 minutes later, I’m shopping for shoes on Amazon. There are several good apps that can block distractions like these. I use one called SelfControl that allows me to set my own restrictions.

  1. Schedule WhiteSpace into my daily routine.

I schedule my prayer time with God. Why not schedule a bit of downtime? I started by writing down everything on my schedule, then squeezing in the WhiteSpace. That worked okay, but what works better is putting in the big calendar events, then scheduling the WhiteSpace before adding all the pesky, but necessary tasks on my to-do list.

  1. Add breathing space between meetings.

If I received an invitation to a 10 a.m. meeting and I already had a 9 a.m. meeting, there was a good chance those meetings would overlap. I accepted the 9 a.m. meeting with a condition—I had to leave at 9:45. Sharp. I closed my eyes and waited for the fall out, and was pleasantly surprised when frequently, the originator of the meeting either adjusted the time or said, “No problem.” It only gave me a few minutes, but I arrived on time and unstressed.

  1. What can I let go of?

I can’t do it all. No one can. The trick is deciding what I must do and what I can let go of. I removed my Wonder Woman bracelets and became more realistic about my capabilities. After I generate my to-do list, I take a close look. There are things I don’t need to do. I can delegate. I can reschedule. I can say no. (Those bracelets never really worked for me anyway.)

  1. Protect my time—and be brutal.

Adding WhiteSpace has made me more accessible and available. Quite frankly, it has made me a better friend.

Protecting my time means saying no to some things so I can say yes to things that are a priority. It isn’t easy, especially when it means saying no to good things. I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to get a handle on this, but I’m better at it than I was a few months ago.

The intentional addition of WhiteSpace to my life has given me better sleep, more clarity, focus, breathing room and more creative energy.

It’s worth it.

How do you add WhiteSpace to your life?

 

 

Susan DeLay is a freelance writer, editor and the author of the newspaper column  DeLayed Reaction. She co-authors the blog 3 Writers in a Café on the Chicago Tribune’s “Chicago Now” website and handles media relations and PR for Willow Creek Association. Susan’s first novel Saving Jesus publishes in March 2018.

The post 5 Simple Ways to Add WhiteSpace to a Too-Busy Life appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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When confronted with too many good options, it’s easy to get paralyzed. The complaint is that we don’t know what to do next because we’re pulled in many good directions—and doing one thing with focus means not doing something else.

This is a common way to get stuck.

After all, if you’re at this crossroads, where more consideration means more possibility, while more action merely means walking away from a potentially better choice, it’s easy to settle for the apparently safe path, which is more study.

No one can blame you for careful consideration. More careful consideration seems to insulate you from the criticism that follows taking action.

But getting stuck helps no one.

Here’s an alternative:

Write up a one-pager on each of the five best alternatives you are considering. Use the document to sell each idea as hard as you can, highlighting the benefits for you and those you seek to serve.

Then, hand the proposals to your trusted advisors. They vote (without you in the room) and you commit to doing whatever it is they choose. Not thinking about it, but doing it.

Merely agreeing to this scenario is usually enough incentive to pick on your own and get to work. 

 

Seth Godin (GLS 2011) is a writer, a speaker and an agent of change. This post originally was posted on his blog here.

The post Stuck on What’s Next—Seth Godin appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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Nothing sabotages your productivity quite like bad habits.

They are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even notice the damage they’re causing.

Bad habits slow you down, decrease your accuracy, make you less creative, and stifle your performance. Getting control of your bad habits is critical, and not just for productivity’s sake. A University of Minnesota study found that people who exercise a high degree of self-control tend to be much happier than those who don’t, both in the moment and in the long run.

By constant self-discipline and self-control, you can develop greatness of character.

 –Grenville Kleiser

Some bad habits cause more trouble than others, and the nine that follow are the worst offenders. Shedding these habits will increase your productivity and allow you to enjoy the positive mood that comes with increased self-control.

1) Impulsively surfing the internet.

It takes you 15 consecutive minutes of focus before you can fully engage in a task. Once you do, you fall into a euphoric state of increased productivity called flow. Research shows that people in a flow state are five times more productive than they otherwise would be.

When you click out of your work because you get an itch to check the news, Facebook, a sport’s score, or what have you, this pulls you out of flow. This means you have to go through another 15 minutes of continuous focus to reenter the flow state. Click in and out of your work enough times, and you can go through an entire day without experiencing flow.

2) Perfectionism.

Most writers spend countless hours brainstorming characters and plot, and they even write page after page that they know they’ll never include in the book.

They do this because they know ideas need time to develop. We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and what we produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve?

Author Jodi Picoult summarized the importance of avoiding perfectionism perfectly: “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.”

3) Meetings.

Meetings gobble up your precious time like no other. Ultra-productive people avoid meetings as much as humanly possible. They know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so when they must have a meeting they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule.

This sets a clear limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

4) Responding to emails as they arrive.

Productive people don’t allow their email to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking their email on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender.

They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point in their work. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their email again.

5) Hitting the snooze button.

When you sleep, your brain moves through an elaborate series of cycles, the last of which prepares you to be alert at your wake-up time. This is why you’ll sometimes wake up right before your alarm clock goes off—your brain knows it’s time to wake up and it’s ready to do so.

When you hit the snooze button and fall back asleep, you lose this alertness and wake up later, tired and groggy. Worst of all, this grogginess can take hours to wear off. So no matter how tired you think you are when your alarm clock goes off, force yourself out of bed if you want to have a productive morning.

6) Multitasking.

Multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time.

The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking?

The Stanford researchers compared groups of people, based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitasked a lot and felt that it boosted their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who liked to do a single thing at a time.

The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch!

7) Putting off tough tasks.

We have a limited amount of mental energy, and as we exhaust this energy, our decision-making and productivity decline rapidly. This is called decision fatigue. When you put off tough tasks until late in the day because they’re intimidating, you save them for when you’re at your worst.

To beat decision fatigue, you must tackle complex tasks in the morning when your mind is fresh.

8) Using your phone, tablet or computer in bed.

This is a big one that most people don’t even realize harms their sleep and productivity. Short-wavelength blue light plays an important role in your mood, energy level and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light.

When your eyes are exposed to it directly, the blue light halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and start making you sleepy.

By the evening, your brain doesn’t expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it. Most of our favorite evening devices—laptops, tablets, televisions and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light, and in the case of your laptop, tablet and phone, they do so brightly and right in your face.

This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep as well as with the quality of your sleep once you do nod off. As we’ve all experienced, a poor night’s sleep has disastrous effects upon productivity. The best thing you can do is to avoid these devices after dinner. (Television is OK for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set).

9) Eating too much sugar.

Glucose functions as the “gas pedal” for energy in the brain. You need glucose to concentrate on challenging tasks. With too little glucose, you feel tired, unfocused and slow; too much glucose leaves you jittery and unable to concentrate. Research has shown that the sweet spot is about 25 grams of glucose.

The tricky thing is that you can get these 25 grams of glucose any way you want, and you’ll feel the same—at least initially. The difference lies in how long the productivity lasts.

Donuts, soda and other forms of refined sugar lead to an energy boost that lasts a mere 20 minutes, while oatmeal, brown rice and other foods containing complex carbohydrates release their energy slowly, which enables you to sustain your focus.

Bringing it all together.

Some of these habits may seem minor, but they add up. Most amount to a personal choice between immediate pleasures and lasting ones. After all, the worst habit is losing track of what really matters to you.

Dr. Travis Bradberry (GLS 2016) is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His best-selling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Harvard Business Review. This white paper originally appeared in the TalentSmart newsletter.

The post 9 Bad Habits You Must Break To Be More Productive—Dr. Travis Bradberry appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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2018 is upon us and, by now, you’re probably knee deep into the thick of it all: meetings, tasks, projects…oh, and your inbox.

And, in case you didn’t do this over your Christmas break, take a minute and ask yourself, “How satisfied am I with my amount of reload time in 2017?”

Reload? Let me explain.

Think of the reload as WhiteSpace, think space, active rest, reflection, etc.

Pastor Jon Peacock, senior pastor of Mission Church, says, “It is one thing to relax and another thing to reload.”

I want to share three principles I live by in order to reload effectively and continue to live and work with greater purpose year after year.

1) Avoid Creative Inversion

Creative Inversion is a concept I heard from author Todd Henry in his book, Die EmptyCreative Inversion happens when ideas flow out of us at a higher rate than we allow inspiration to flow into us. As leaders, we are constantly on the hook for new and fresh ideas and creative solutions to urgent problems. How are you doing at keeping your well of ideas and solutions filled?

Maybe it’s a blog or podcast a day. Perhaps it’s a book a month. And especially one leadership conference such as The Global Leadership Summit every year.

What will you put into place in 2018 to avoid creative inversion?

2) Prioritize Rhythm Over Balance

Life balance is not only a myth, it’s uninspiring. When life balance is the goal, all we achieve is life balance. However, when rhythm is the goal, we achieve growth.

Jim Loehr’s The Power of Full Engagement changed how I approach all domains of my life with the following phrase: Stress is not the enemy in our lives. Paradoxically, it is the key to growth.

I have come to follow the blueprint of stress, rest and repeat in every part of my life. In my relational, vocational, physical, emotional and spiritual life, I intentionally move toward stress that shapes and grows these areas of my life. I then immediately follow up this stress with intentional rest before engaging in stress at the next level. This is how I believe growth is achieved.

We’ve always lived by principles such as, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” And while I don’t disagree, we tend to plan only for growth in the stress that acts on us. We fail to lean intentionally into stress in ways that shape us and form us into healthier leaders.

Perhaps it’s counseling for yourself or your marriage. Maybe it’s hiring a personal trainer for your physical life. Or maybe you serve and sacrifice in a way that forms you spiritually. The key in all of this is to follow with rest and reflection before re-engaging higher levels of intentional stress. This is living a life in rhythm.

3) Trust Is Required

The idea of pausing our work for WhiteSpace, reflection and rest requires trust.

I have found there are three ways trust is required to reload effectively.

First, we must trust our team. When we get away to reload, our lines of communication and understanding with our teammates must be clear. We also need to have a healthy plan in place to delegate work when it’s necessary to take time away to reload. Trust in both directions with our team must be in place to reload effectively.

Second, we need to trust our work. We need to believe the work we’ve already executed is sufficient enough to move on, and we also need to believe our work ahead of us will benefit from our time away to reload.

Finally, we must trust our God. I believe our Sabbath rhythm must rest the parts of ourselves that command us to love God with: our heart, soul, mind and strength. You have to trust enough to stand up, shut off the office light and say, “God, you got this. I’m going home.”

So, are you ready for a reload in 2018?

What is the state of your creative inversion?

Does your life aim for balance or rhythm?

And, is the necessary trust in place for you?

Here’s my hope for you and the people you lead this year: make 2018 the year of the reload.

 

Tommy Bowman is the Executive Pastor of Mission Church in Roselle, Illinois, a GLS host site and a growing community in Chicagoland. He has a contagious passion for the local church and is enthusiastic about helping church leaders reach their full potential. To find out more about Tommy and the services he provides church leaders through his visionary training, visit www.tommybowman.com.

The post 3 Ways to Reload Your Leadership—Tommy Bowman appeared first on Follow The GLS.

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