Friday 28 September 2012

I Will Be Brief

This week, I completed my first proposal to speak about Change with Confidence at a conference.  It required me to briefly describe what I would say and why it would be of value to the attendees. Not an easy task, especially with a strict limit on word count; being  succinct and passionate at the same time is a challenge.  

Like most struggles, it was a great exercise that required laser focus. It reminded me of the "elevator speech" concept where you provide a gripping topic summary in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. There is no time to meander when you have two minutes to make your point. 

Here are a couple of excerpts from my proposal:

Proposal Abstract (100-150 word limit):

Leaders of change need the most help when they are confronted with questions they can’t answer based on their experience. Most become fearful of being seen as a poor leader, losing respect, failing and not being in charge. What they need is practical advice on making the right choices that are best for their organization and aligned with its values. New and experienced change managers will learn practical how-to approaches to help leaders manage every-day realities of change based on the critical leadership questions that must be answered well to develop and grow organizations. They will also learn different ways to provide support given the circumstances and needs of their leaders. (110 words)

Learning Objectives
  • Know the questions leaders need to answer to successfully manage a big change initiative.
  • Identify practical people-focused approaches to support leaders through change.
  • Learn how to apply the approaches to build leaders’ confidence to manage change-related challenges they must face to be successful.

I am keen to take Change with Confidence on the road and share its practical advice with groups around the world. It's hard to be brief and passionate at the same time, but if that's what it takes, great.


Friday 21 September 2012

The Eagle Has Landed!

We did it! Last Tuesday, I met with my executive editor and editorial assistant to sign a global rights contract with Wiley for Change with Confidence. From their website: "Wiley has evolved into one of the world's more respected publishing and information services companies. We strongly believe in the enduring value of collaborative relationships, built in a solid foundation of trust and integrity." Perfect fit.

My book with be under the Jossey-Bass imprint. 
"Jossey-Bass publishes books, periodicals, and other media to inform and inspire those interested in developing themselves, their organizations and their communities." Another perfect fit!

Change with Confidence will be available worldwide in 6 x 9 trim size hardcover (and e-book) in March, 2013. I couldn't be more thrilled!

My new team members were very gracious and understanding about my excitement. I laughed when my executive editor said that in her twenty-seven year career, I was the first author to request a picture of the contract signing. Hilarious!

As I left the office, I was overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for everyone who has helped me along the way, including those who have read this blog (you!). The intensity of appreciation is hard to capture in words. Perhaps it is best just to say "Thank-you from the bottom of my heart."

A new phase of my journey has kicked-off and I have a lot to do. Firstly, I need to read my manuscript one last time before I hand it over to the Wiley team on Monday. There are a few insights I have learned during my recent consulting assignments that I am keen to share with my readers.  The heat is on!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Things Are Going Well

This week, I noticed a change in how I was updating friends on my progress. After listing my accomplishments I qualified them by saying things like "Nothing is certain until the ink is dry." This is true but saying it changes my focus from steps gained to the steps to go. What an energy drainer. Why do we do things like this to ourselves?

Dan Sullivan discussed this phenomenon in his book The Gap. He said that people who measure their achievements against the ideal "will always come up short. You will always feel deficient. (Contrarily) when we measure our achievements by where we have come from, we always have a sense of progress. There is an overall experience of increasing capability and confidence. With each new success, there is a heightened sense of optimism because the future has always turned out to be better than the past."

Claude Bristol, in his book The Magic of Believing, shared a similar insight. He said, "Our thoughts determine our carriage, our facial expressions, our conversation, for what we are outwardly comes as a result of what we think habitually. Whatever you fix your thoughts upon or steadily focus your imagination upon, that is what you attract." Yikes! By qualifying my achievements, I have been sapping the energy I need to earn new ones. 

This is unacceptable and I am stopping it now. From now on I am going to celebrate little wins. Did I mention that recently I had a promising conversation with a publisher? 


Friday 7 September 2012

Looking for Connections

I was reminded the other day of a guest post I had written at Pivot Communication's blog site about my habit of saying hello to strangers as I pass them. This practice extends to waving at fellow runners. No matter how many times I have done this, I haven't been able to correlate the responses I received − smile, minimal acknowledgement, no expression at all or frown - based on traits of the people I was waving at − age, gender, etc. Why did some people respond positively and others not?

A few weeks after I wrote the post, Seth Godin wrote a blog post entitled Waving to Myself  where he suggests that when waving at people similar to ourselves, "we are not waving at the person. We're waving to ourselves." As an enthusiastic waver to fellow runners, I disagreed with his insight: I wave  to acknowledge their efforts and give them encouragement. After a few long runs and many waves, I realized that Seth was partially right. I was waving at people like me because we have something in common and that is what I was acknowledging. 

My first experience of acknowledging connections was on a trip to Florida when I was sixteen.  I was walking across a parking lot by the beach when I heard the song Roundabout, by Yes, playing on a car stereo. I was a huge fan of the band and excitedly approached the two guys in the car, saying "What a great song, aren't they great?" They looked up at me for a second and resumed their conversation. As I made my retreat I heard the DJ announcing the song and realized that they hadn't chosen to play it. Maybe they didn't even like Yes. I was excited by my perceived connection. 

Last Sunday, I continued my 'wave at every runner' pattern when a guy passed me. He was waving at every runner too and received the same random responses. I thought, "He would appreciate the gesture from me." Maybe my readers will feel that way too.