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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five Terms for 2012

Lowell Aplebaum over on Association 141+ wrote about Five Terms for 2012. He was inspired by an idea from Shelly Alcorn and after reading both of their posts, I'm either inspired or copycatting - reader's choice. (In all fairness, he did ask others for their five so I'm not a complete copycat.)

The five terms concept replaces traditional New Year's resolutions (because we all know how well those work). Use them as a mantra, write them on your white board, create a posted note frame for your monitor, whatever works for you to keep those ideas present in the forefront of your mind. This is what I've come up with:

1. Don't get hung up on what wasn't done. Being a working mom, this one's huge and probably the hardest. I never dwell on what I'm doing right only what could've been done better.

2. Stop allowing my inner twelve year-old to judge me. This one goes along with number one (and as you can tell from my first two terms, I am my hardest critic), I have to stop measuring my success by what preteen me thought I would be, do, say or think as an adult. So I haven't written that novel YET, Twelve year-old Christina, go play with your Barbies.

3. Be observant. I was tempted to write the over-used "be present in the moment" but what I really want to do is pay more attention to the magic of everyday life. Stop looking at life as a relay race sprint and more like a stroll.

4. Learn every day and apply that learning. Learning is essential to my happiness in any job I have but what is more stimulating is taking that knowledge and applying it to my daily processes. Am I doing things the most efficiently? Am I connecting in a way that's real? Am I getting closer to my goals or am I getting derailed by the project butterflies?

5. Get a smart phone. But then again I'm kind of attached to my sat. phone in a shoulder bag. (Okay, I'm not that bad but when you touch the screen of my cell phone all you get is dirty fingerprints.)

Now it's time to show me yours. What terms are you planning on posting?

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Cost of Silence

Obvious statement of the century in 3, 2, 1...Whether you run a company, a department or a household you know the importance of communication. Without communication people are lost, misdirected and unable to obtain their goals. But there is a far more dangerous side of "not communicating" with the people who rely on you than mere lack of information.

It is impossible "not to communicate." Even when you say nothing, you're communicating. Humans read into messages of body language, avoidance and silence. We assign an emotion to these silent messages. When you fail to communicate (or refuse to set aside time to do so), the message you are sending is that this person is not important to you. Whether it's a child or an employee, silence is not golden. Errors in communication (forgetting to include someone on an email or failure to notify them of a cancellation of a meeting) may seem like an oversight to you but if that is the only form of communication they receive (or don't receive) from you, it will carry a far deeper and more loudly heard message. The less you communicate with someone on a regular basis, the more an "oversight" will look like a shun. The amount of negativity perceived in your lack of communication is directly related to the amount of communication you have with that individual on a regular basis. The rarer your communication, the more your "neglect" will appear intentional.

The best remedy for a communication gaff is not ignoring it. The person already feels ignored. You are compounding the problem if you choose to say nothing. Failure to communicate is fixed simply by communicating.  Initiate conversation, apologize for the oversight. Do not mention you are busy or your head has been elsewhere that serves to exacerbate their feelings of alienation. Apologize and engage. Keep the apology short and move onto something about them.