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Improving productivity and profitability through Assessment, Teambuilding, and Consulting.

"There are employees, and there are teams. Employees have a boss, teams have leaders. Teams make dreams a reality."

Brian Jones, ATC CEO

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Goal Achieving vs. Goal Setting

What are the main reasons “Goal Setters” do not become “Goal Achievers”?
1.       They try to achieve multiple goals at the same time.
2.       No written action plan of steps to take on a daily basis.
3.       They have no one to hold them accountable to completing the daily tasks.
Well, it’s almost the end of January.  How are you doing on the goals you set just a few weeks ago? Are you achieving them?
Michelle A. Jones, MBA

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take Action Using the 80/20 Rule

Many of my clients ask me about time management and how to get more done during the day.  Of course, not many people enjoy getting up at 5am like I do, but you don't have to!  The key to getting more done is to spend 20% of your time planning and 80% of your time taking action and often times it's the opposite.  At the end of the day make a plan for the following day, putting the most dreaded and most procrastinated tasks FIRST on your list.  Stay focused on your tasks without allowing outside interference.  A technique passed on to me in my Mindful Business Action Alliance group is the Pomodoro Technique which helps you stay on task.  The Pomodoro Technique® is a way to get the most out of time management(http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/).  The timer to use while applying this technique is at http://mytomatoes.com/.  If you apply this to your day I guarantee you will get a lot more accomplished!  Email and let me know how you do.

Michelle A. Jones, MBA
Executive Vice President
Adventure Training Concepts
Phone: 239.285.9142
Fax: 239.220.5138

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

With every New Year comes a set of new goals and resolutions.  I do not personally set resolutions but I’m always setting new goals for myself.  Some of us accomplish our goals and some do not. 
What makes the difference between the two?  You guessed it, ACTION!
The number one reason people do not accomplish their goals is because they fail to take the necessary action and when things get too difficult they quit.  Action steps have to be very clear.  We often times just state a goal with no real clarity around how we will accomplish it.  This sets us up for failure from the beginning.  When things get too difficult we revert back to the old “more comfortable” behavior.
To finally reach your goals this year TAKE ACTION:
1.       What is the goal?
How will you feel if you accomplish this goal?  What are the challenges if you don’t accomplish this goal?  Write all of this down on paper.
2.        Show gratitude for where you are now.
3.       Action Steps to reach this goal.  Focus on 90 day increments-not a whole year.  Be very specific and clear, make action steps measureable and make sure there is a timeline. 
For example:
1.       My goal is to read 12 leadership books this year.
2.       I’m thankful that I have the ability to read, have money to buy books, and access to a nice library.
3.       I will read. one book per month. (3 books per 90 day period = 12 books this year)  Every day at 7:00 am I will read for at least 15 minutes.

When things get difficult, that is the time to push through the resistance and keep taking action.  If it were easy we wouldn’t have to set new goals.  Get out of your comfort zone and reach new levels in 2012! 
Happy New Year,

Michelle A. Jones, MBA
Executive Vice President
Adventure Training Concepts
Phone: 239.285.9142
Fax: 239.220.5138

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

This week I just want to share an inspiring moment I had at the Apple store a few days ago.  As I waited for my appointment I witnessed a tech working with a woman who was definitely over 85 years old.  She had her laptop on the table and she was showing the tech her photo presentation from a recent Christmas event.  She used iPhoto to put them all together in a presentation, she added music, and there were words streaming through the presentation as well.  I thought to myself, “WOW! What an inspiration this woman is.”  I don’t even know how to do what she was doing.  She was there learning more and more, building on her current skills. 
As I waited I wondered how uncomfortable she may have been when she first started using the computer and building these skills.  No doubt she must have been adventurous, but maybe not.  There is a good possibility that she really had to step outside of her comfort zone to become better at something that she was initially afraid of.
What do you want to do that seems so far out of reach and/or causes you fear?
What would it feel like to work through that fear?   
What can be done to overcome that fear?
Think about it and then WRITE IT DOWN.  Then write down the action steps you will take to overcome it.  Make sure the action steps are:
Successful people are results oriented and they TAKE ACTION!  We either succeed or we fail but it is up to us!  And of course, we have to be thankful and show gratitude for where we are today and now.
Merry Christmas to all of you,
Michelle Jones
“People never fail, they just stop trying.” -unknown

Monday, December 12, 2011

How Are You Leading Yourself?

Part of being a great leader is constantly looking in the mirror and seeking self-improvement, both personally and professionally.  As we approach the end of the year and quickly move into the New Year it’s a perfect opportunity to look at our lives and see where we are congruent and where we could improve our congruency.
What is congruency?
Congruency is when your thoughts, words, and actions are in total alignment.
To become more congruent you must set intentions that are realistic, show gratitude, and set action steps that are specific, measureable, and have a timeline.  It’s best to set intentions for 90 day time periods. For Example, if you want to lose 20 pounds within 90 days being congruent may look like this:
1)      Set an intention  (I AM 125 pounds)
2)      Show gratitude (I AM so grateful that I am healthy, my body is nourished, and I’m able to walk and conduct physical activity)
3)      Action Steps – Remember, action steps have to be specific, measurable, and have a timeline and at first will be uncomfortable. (I commit to working out at 6:00 am 5 days a week for at least 20 minutes)
You MUST write it down and DO IT! Basically, walk to walk you talk.  We all know this is the most important action leaders can take.
Life happens and sometimes we lose sight of ourselves and what’s important to us.  I challenge each and every one of you to pick ONE THING that’s important to you and determine whether you are making it a priority and staying congruent.
Some of my favorite people and websites I continue to use are:
At www.Shiftand WakeUp.com Mir Lynne Pietrzyk provides so much valuable information about personal and professional self improvement and keeping yourself accountable!  Check it out…
One of my favorite books ever is Slow Down, The Fastest Way to Get Everything You Want, by David Essel.  It helps me Slow Down and remember what’s important to me and helps in my own congruency so that I’m better able to embrace all that my life has to offer, regardless of the circumstances or how busy I am! You can find this book at www.DavidEssel.com
Remember to lead yourself first so you can better lead others!
Until next time,
Michelle A. Jones, MBA
Executive Vice President
Adventure Training Concepts
Phone: 239.285.9142 /Fax: 239.220.5138

Monday, November 8, 2010

Leading From the Front

It's no secret that teambuilding is a very complex endeavor.  It takes commitment that begins at the top of the corporation-what I have termed "leading from the front." 

As a basic foundation, if you are a leader you must follow these principles:

1) Have a published Values Statement
2) Live by that Values Statement
3) Give the team the confidence to take calculated risks, make decisions, and drive towards the goals that you, as the leader, have clearly defined. 
4) As a leader you must realize the strengths of every team member, and have the ability to communicate the need for every team member to exercise those strengths. 

Every step in the leadership challenge starts with these principles; and by following them, the leader immediately sees a great team form. 

When the team understands your values, ethics, and clearly understands the goals and vision, you will witness one of the most rewarding experiences that life can offer. 
-- Brian Jones, CEO

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top 10 Leadership Mistakes to Avoid

Leadership is the fundamental element in every endeavor. It comes with responsibility and you have to own it in good and bad situations. Here are the top 10 mistakes that leaders make: 

1.   Failure to Take Charge on Day 1. When you are assigned to a leadership position, whether it’s a promotion or from outside the organization, you must take charge. Hold a meeting with your direct reports and introduce yourself. Describe your leadership style. Explain how your monthly performance-counseling program will work. In addition, talk about a mentorship program.

2.      Failure to Conduct Productive Meetings. Most people walk away from meetings wondering why they were there and why there was a meeting in the first place. You should prepare for a meeting by notifying attendees in advance. Be sure to announce the purpose of the meeting and let each attendee know what they are responsible for discussing. As a rule of thumb, meetings should never exceed one hour.

3.      Failure to Realize Perception. Leaders have a tendency to believe they are perceived as “great” and everything is well within the team. It may not be. Awareness of how your team perceives you as a leader is the key to becoming a real “great” leader. Perceptions can be changed given the right tools and the right attitude.

4.      Failure to Realize Strengths and Weaknesses Within a Team. Knowing the true strengths and weaknesses within a team allows a leader to place people in the right role. Knowing the intensity levels of the personality traits of each individual is a good first step.

5.      Failure to Mentor. A great leader is never content with the level he or she is at. We want to move forward. Professional development is instrumental in developing your direct reports. A good leader includes development in monthly counseling. This is your opportunity to prepare them to take your place as you move to a higher level of leadership.

6.      Failure to “Lead from the front,” Leading from the front is essential to every leader. It means setting the example, doing the right things, and taking responsibility for your actions. Leading from the front earns respect, not only from direct reports, but from those you report to as well.

7.      Failure to Hold Accountability. Great leaders hold accountability. The pitfall is that leaders tend to hold their direct reports accountable, but then it stops there. Hold yourself accountable, hold your peers accountable, and make sure your peers hold you accountable.

8.      Failure to Act in Fairness. Here is a difficult one. All of your team members may have a different idea of what fair is in every situation. When you have to make a call (and you will), on a situation take time to understand what happened. Get perspectives from your team members about the situation. Don’t act out of anger. Take your time. The most important thing to remember is that the final decision is yours. Do what is best for your organization first and what is best for your team second. Every team in your organization has the same vision and mission.

9.      Failure to Make Good and Timely Decisions. The decision making process is one of the most important attributes of a leader. Their decisions have to be good and timely. Decisions are the measuring stick of a leader. You must know how to reach a decision before you make one. Start with a quick analysis. Involve your direct reports and peers. Let them have ownership in it. Next, create three courses of action and choose the best one.

10.    Failure to Be Dependable. Great leaders are always on time, but that is just a start. Great leaders are always the first ones there and the last ones to leave. When ATC conducts a Team Training event, there is a lot of work to do before and after. I make it a point of being the first one at the site. After the event, when everything is recovered and put away, I watch every trainer depart, and then I check the perimeter. Leadership at the top can be lonely, but those moments alone are priceless. Before I depart, I whisper to myself “all clear”.

Written by Brian Jones, CEO, Adventure Training Concepts

 Brian Jones is a decorated war veteran who served in the most elite forces of the U.S. Army for over 20 years.  He has led and trained thousands of teams and leaders around the World.  He is the founder of the ATC Leadership Development Program and continues to help executive level leaders reach their full potential every day.  To learn more about Brian read his full bio at http://www.adventuretrainingconcepts.com/