Author Archive for: ‘Leslie Phillips, Chief Executive Officer’
To say we could all use a pep talk, or pick-me-up is a monumental understatement.
The truth is, that might work if the challenge was short and familiar, but attempts at it feel phony when you’re dealing with a global pandemic, millions out of work, people losing loved ones. No matter how old you are, what language you speak, what you believe, you’ve been affected by the events of 2020.
But, the sun gets out of bed and shows up every day and so must we. What might have been a pep talk under different circumstances becomes an opportunity to really connect. Yes, we can find comfort or a sense of solidarity in hearing what each other is dealing with. But we can also find ways to support one another even if it’s just by listening with a deep sense of care. Whether I’m interacting via zoom or outside more than 6 feet apart, or alone with my own thoughts, here are some focal points that help me stop wasting time and energy on my own fears:
- This will not last forever. Really.
- Stop judging your feelings. If you’re afraid, feel it, and explore where it’s coming from. Can you do anything about the sources? If you can, go do it. If you can’t, make a choice: continue being afraid of what you can’t control, or….see #3 on this list.
- Keep moving. Mentally and Physically. Take a walk or run or ride somewhere new.
- Reflect on the things you do that bring you peace and good vibes. Do those things more, crowding out the habits or things that keep you stirred up or unsettled.
- Ask others how they are doing and want to know the answer. We are not the same. Be curious about how we’re different. You might learn something.
I did not say these practices are easy. I struggle with every single one of them. Maybe I should pick one a day and practice. (Oh wait, am I judging myself again?)
The Super Bowl came and went a few days ago. As a football viewer, I’ll say it was a decent game. Close until the very end, swings in leads, eye-popping half-time show, better than usual commercial content, etc. San Francisco had a great season. Jimmy Garoppolo could say he played quarterback all season and they ended up on the biggest stage. But they came up short. Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes will wear the crown for the next year.
And then came Monday morning. And with that, the criticism. Jimmy G is a fourth tier quarterback, he’s too old to be developed (he’s 28…), he’s overpaid, he panics under pressure. To clarify, my team is not San Francisco and Jimmy G is not “my” quarterback, but…really?!?
In foodservices we know, all too well, how fleeting fabulous can be. Jimmy G should call us. Any one of us could help him dust himself off, and try again. We’d say, “Learn, grow, improve, man.” Yes. We take disappointment, honest mistakes, circumstances beyond our control…any and all of that…and we try again. Even when we win the Super Bowl we always remember, tomorrow is another game!
So good, nobody notices. When I saw this article title, the voice in my head said: “stop the bus.” Not because I disagreed. But because I felt like it was reading my mind or eavesdropping on recent conversations. I’ve had the chance to get out and see some other operators lately. This is enlightening on many levels, but…as relates to this…I am amazed at what others “get away with,” from the food to the presentation to the customer service. I have said in my head and even privately to others: “if we looked like this at ______ (insert nearly any MG location) for one meal we’d be fired.” We do so many things to make MG dining special…perhaps so consistently special that…it goes unnoticed. But consider for a sec what might happen if we didn’t?
Incremental excellence will never be as sexy as the thrill of the new because the better you get the less noticeable the difference may be. But it can be every bit as valuable.
Some people love fall. Some struggle with it (I know I do). Days are shorter, colors are fading… and, eventually, the landscape will turn to gray. Yes, Mother Nature enters hibernation mode from the bugs to the grass. But work keeps going… and now… without as much daylight! It’s so common to struggle with this that they’ve given it a name: SAD (seasonal adjustment disorder). The change in seasons, holidays, and anticipation of a “new year” can also surface thoughts about where we are in our lives. Sometimes questioning is it too late to do _________. As well, in an operations business like ours, we are always pushing to be better, stronger, more efficient, more effective. We are challenged to change habits, routines, tools, “to start” doing ________. But, is it too late to try? I saw this meme the other day and it stuck with me. Maybe you’ll like it too.
Nobody said it was going to be easy… to get through school, to find that first job, to finish that race, to deal with disappointment, to lose a loved one. It is anything but easy. And, yet, as we experience (or maybe better put, survive) these life events, we are growing: up, older, wiser, and perhaps more at peace with the unending number of things we cannot control. Life and even survival, physically and emotionally, call on us to keep moving.
“One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
Who doesn’t love to hear a guest say, “that was a perfect meal”? But, how many times have you heard that from one guest, only to have another say “that meal was meh.” This happens all the time because food is personal. Some like spicy, some not so much. Some like steak, some not so much. So to preserve our inner peace, we have to lose this idea that we and our food must be perfect. Perfection, like beauty, rests in the eye of the beholder. And, there are some downsides to chasing it:
- Creating anything without flaw or defect (if it’s even possible) takes more time, doing and redoing. Most people don’t recognize perfection making those redos a waste of valuable energy and resources.
- It’s a “breeding ground for my way or the highway thinking which is a death knell for diversity of thought, opinion, and perspective.” It reduces playfulness and willingness to take risk. Even worse, it can leave people feeling inferior and unappreciated.
- It will make you sick: perfectionists are at greater risk for depression, high blood pressure, anxiety.
So let’s do our very best, treat everyone with unrelenting kindness, accept good enough, and rejoice that tomorrow is…another meal!
I’m a big fan of The 5 Chairs (and Louise Evans). The second chair is self-doubt (the hedgehog), and so this article caught my eye: what to do when you doubt yourself as a leader. As leaders, we’re all human and we all suffer from self-doubt from time to time. It’s what you do in those situations that matters most. The article offers some tips for managing this common feeling:
Breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs. Sometimes you need to get to a low point to make the adjustments you need to move to the next level in your personal development.
Ride the Wave. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious. Self-doubt is natural, common, and often a sign of humility. Probe what you’re feeling. When am I doubtful? Who am I with when I feel it most? In what situations?
Share with someone you trust. Sharing allows you to process out loud and to hear outside perspective.
If you can’t change a situation, you have to change yourself. Practice focus and discipline in your work and try to do at least one thing every day to fuel your sense of accomplishment. Over time, it will boost your self-confidence.
- Share your intent up-front
- Pause to consider the impact of your messages – look for cues that you may have been misunderstood and talk about it
- If your impact was not as intended, don’t over-explain your intent, start empathizing. “I can see how my message came across that way.”
- Remember this: we read emails and texts in a tone of voice, and imagining the other party’s facial expression. These assumptions can be very wrong. Don’t let them carry you away.
- Alternative tools are great, but….keep your “pick up the phone” radar turned on and listen to it!
What? Niksen is Dutch for “nothing,” and it appears in this article, The Case for Doing Nothing. Being busy gets confused with being important and it’s causing us all issues, some of them major like burnout (especially for millennials), anxiety disorders, and stress-related diseases.
Daydreaming — an inevitable effect of idleness — literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving…more productive.
Tips to help you stop and be:
- Make time for doing nothing, and do it with purpose
- Be unapologetic that you are doing…nothing
- Sitting still might be uncomfortable at first, practice
- Create the right place – devices out of reach, a perching spot you like (at home, at work, in a park…)
Get busy niksening.
“Success doesn’t come from playing to your strengths. It comes from playing your strengths in the right situations.”
This article references a study where co-workers rated their managers in four leadership areas: taking charge, empowering others, creating a vision and executing. They used the Goldilocks question: did the managers do too little, too much, or the right amount of each behavior. More than half were overdoing at least one behavior. Guess which one? Their strength.
Ambitious managers? Overdid decisiveness and underdid empowerment. Sensitive managers? The reverse: they were too encouraging and not assertive enough. Inquisitive managers overemphasized innovation and underemphasized results. And conscientious managers also did the reverse: they were so busy trimming the weeds that they paid too little attention to the big picture.
“Often our greatest weaknesses are the other side of our strengths…if you’re a spellbinding storyteller, you need to ask whether a dinner party is an ideal time to perform!”
More areas to practice self-awareness and self-management. Day by day, we are humbled by all the opportunities to learn, grow and improve.