The Passion Test –would you pass?

A book I'd recommend to anyone wanting clarity on what they want in their life – in terms of career, work and life out of work, is The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood (2007; Publishers: Hachette Australia). It's full of thought provoking questions and observations; and The Passion Test itself.  A very worthwhile read.

Jargon speak irritating, management coach admits

I've been in several meetings of late when the many participants filled the air with much corporate or jargon speak. The two most popular phrases used (I lost count of how many times it was used within 15 minutes) were '…give you a quick heads up' and 'so going forward….' I find jargon phrase overkill all a bit much really and I find my mind drifting off completely, wondering what other phrases will surface to be bashed to death around the meeting table. I wonder how much information participants actually retain after they've been jargoned at for an hour or more….

Meetings easily run off rails, coach believes

Have you ever wondered why so many meetings are a complete waste of time and money and do little but irritate the participants? There are a number of ways meetings waste resources and drive people to despair because: they may not start or finish on time; they may not follow a set agenda; too much time is spent on minor issues and little on the major ones; attendees haven't come prepared so time is spent recapping issues; discussions aren't directed to a clear finish point; discussions aren't summarised succinctly; some personalities may dominate so not all participants get to be heard; there is ineffective chairing; extensive minutes are taken and often fail to clearly capture the decisions made, the people responsible for the actions and the deadlines to do things in. Meetings are easily derailed – yet some very simple strategies, applied consistently, can make all the difference.

Positive thinking and intentional actions critical, says management coach

I’ve almost reached the point where I don't want to read the newspapers or watch the television news anymore. I was in Vietnam recently for a few weeks and without access to any mass media channels. I discovered that being free of a daily diet of economic doom and gloom stories and the relentless coverage of violence and mayhem was bliss. In coming back into that daily diet, I've been reminded of the negativity that surrounds us on a daily basis and how it can easily influence people's mood, attitude to these challenging times and their beliefs about surviving through them. The challenge for us all is to be positive in the face of adversity; creative in the face of change and purposeful in our intentions to adjust, adapt and thrive.

First impressions – accurate or not?

Just recently I was part of a small new group that had come together for a specific, time limited purpose. It was interesting to meet the people at the initial group meeting and get a sense of who they were and what they would be like to work with over the following weeks. As it happened, some but not all of my initial first impressions were accurate, which made me think about how conscious we may or not be, of the first impressions we give to people when we meet them for the first time; and how easy it is to be misinterpreted, when judgements are made on very little information or time. Research in selection processes have shown that many interview panellists make initial decisions about candidates in an astonishingly short time – about a minute – which sounds alarming but it happens – we all do it when we meet people, and we do it without thinking about what we are doing. The problem with this is that often first impressions can be inaccurate because we can misinterpret information; we can make huge assumptions based on previous experiences or little information; or people may not reveal much about themselves, for good reason.

Growth or stagnation is a choice

I read in a card recently that "Life is change, Growth is optional. Choose wisely". I've been reflecting on it for weeks and identifying the opportunities I've had over the years and the choices I've made to either grow or stagnate accordingly.

*What have your choices been, when faced with change?

*What areas have you allowed yourself to grow and develop in?

*What areas might you be stagnating in?

*What are the benefits and costs of not growing and developing?

Listen to your inner voice for guidance

Have you ever been in a situation where you "felt" something wasn't quite right for you but you ignored the feeling, proceeded on and then discovered later that it wasn't right for you for good reason and you wished you had listened to your inner voice? If you have done this, you are in very good company. Many of us function fully at a head level using our rational minds and dismiss or ignore what the rest of our bodies tell us ­ our inner or intuitive self speaking. Jasbindar Singh, www.sqconsulting.co.nz in speaking about developing spiritual intelligence, says "Listen to the voice of those fleeting whispers; it is your intuition and higher consciousness speaking."

* Where do you function from most ­ in your head, in your heart or in your head and heart combined?

* What has happened in the past when you have ignored fleeting whispers or a sense that something isn't quite right for you?

* What can you do to integrate your inner guidance system (your intuition) with your rational mind and thinking processes?

Slow down pre-­holiday season, personal management trainer suggests

The lead up to the Christmas holiday season gets many people into hyper drive as they try to finish things up at work so they can come back to a clear desk after the holidays. That, plus making holiday plans, gift shopping and attending end of year functions etc means a great deal of additional stress can be created on top of the normal everyday activities. Instead of getting into hyper drive, an alternative is to deliberately slow down and plan for what needs to be done; to be realistic in what can usefully be achieved work wise (and personally) and what can safely be left for another time; to reschedule some invitations for pre-Christmas catch ups until the New Year, when things are quieter; and to say no to any obligations that have a should attached to them that you don't want to do. We have choices to make here ­ – get super busy and super stressed or slow down and be discerning where we put our energy.

Head first a great way to fly, management coach believes

Have you ever noticed how often people say things like "I'll need to get my head around that" or "it's going round and round in my head" as a way of saying they're trying to understand something or make a decision about something? I love these phrases because they signal where the beginning point is for change, albeit to our thinking, our actions or what we may say about ourselves and others ­ our minds. Changing our thinking and mindsets can change our language, behaviours and desired outcomes, so any change begins in our heads ­ head first is a great way to go!