Category Archives: Balance

What’s Your Report Card for the First Semester of 2020?

In the last 4 to 6 months, all of us have gone—and are still going—through what has likely been the most challenging period in our lives. We did not plan for it, but we have had to make several adjustments to our professional and personal roles.

The question I want to pose is: How would you rate your response to the Covid-19 crisis?

Here are three steps to consider for assessing your professional and personal performance in the last six months:

  1. Do you feel 100 percent accountable for the decisions you made (and did not make) in your life? Don’t feel bad if your first reaction is to blame Covid-19 for the events that didn’t go well in the first semester. This initial reaction is probably OK, if you resolve to move past this stage and take personal accountability for what you want to make of your life, starting today.
  2. When looking at both your professional and personal roles, what was your biggest accomplishment in the first semester? What are you most proud of? What did you do well that led to this accomplishment?
  3. What was your biggest mistake in the last six months? What are you least proud of? Did you make the right adjustments to your work? Did you neglect an important relationship? Were you able to take good care of your health?

The outcome of this simple but powerful exercise is to place you in the right frame of mind to plan for a much better second half of 2020. Covid-19 is likely to stay with us for a while, so I suggest exploring the improvements you want to make in both your professional and personal roles:

  1. Given your current work situation, what opportunities are there to grow in the second half? If you were fortunate to maintain your job, how can you add more value to your current employer? Perhaps become more proficient in delivering results through others? Or become a better team player?
    If you lost your job, what are you good at that can be valuable to employers? What are the technical and people skills that you can polish to increase your market value?
  2. What are the important relationships in your life that you will focus on in the next six months? Are you eating well, exercising (within available conditions), and sleeping properly?

There is a Chinese proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.” Contact me if you want to discuss how I can help you address any of your growth needs.

Percy M. Cannon

How to Become a Better Team Player?

The question about what it takes to be a good team player keeps coming up in my coaching practice with executives and leadership teams. I think this largely reflects the fact that you, as well as the majority of corporate employees, likely belong to one or more teams.

Out of the large amount of literature available on this subject, I continue to leverage the three qualities outlined in The Ideal Team Player book by Patrick Lencioni, explained by him in a recent TEDx talk. They resonate well with my own observations both as a coach and, before that, as a corporate executive.

  1. Be humble. I find team members struggle the most with this quality. It’s hard for them to admit their mistakes, ask for help, and give praise to others. Corporate cultures tend to reward individual over collective accomplishments, which makes it hard to show your vulnerabilities. However, being humble is a choice you can make and, for those of you who lead teams, you can role model.
  2. Be hungry. I find elements of this virtue in most successful executives. They are willing to go the extra mile to deliver results above expectations. However, the challenge I see is how to demonstrate this passion and personal responsibility not only for their individual objectives, but also for the greater good of the team.  
  3. Be people-smart. This is about active listening and showing empathy for other team members. It’s also about treating others the way they want to be treated.

As an executive, team leader or member, you have a choice to make when working within a team: Operate as an individual, or truly work as a team player. If it’s the latter, consider role-modeling these three qualities. You will deliver better results and your team will likely follow suit.

Let me know if you would like to schedule a free consultation call to discuss how I can coach you or your employees to achieve better team results or to improve other leadership and management skills.

Percy M. Cannon

How to Improve Your Direct Reports’ Performance Through Coaching

How can you deliver top-flight results through your direct reports—and accelerate your career growth?

Try coaching. Coaching is not restricted to outside professional coaches. As a corporate manager, consider adopting elements of coaching as a key strategy to develop the strengths and capabilities of your direct reports.

If you enjoy learning from books, like I do, let me recommend an excellent one I recently read: Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore. It’s like a textbook on how professional coaches and corporate managers can increase the performance level of their coachees and direct reports, respectively, through coaching.

Here are my top three take-aways from Whitmore’s book, complemented by my own experience as an executive coach:

  1. Ask questions, listen attentively, and keep asking questions to raise your direct reports’ awareness and responsibility. Help them arrive at a conclusion versus prescribing a course of action for them. Aim to grow the relationship toward interdependence between the two of you. They need you to help them grow and achieve their performance goals. You need them to deliver the results that your boss will hold you accountable for.
  2. View coaching as helping your direct reports develop and practice their Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Whitmore describes EQ as “…interpersonal intelligence or, even more simply, as personal and social skills.” It can be explained through a four-part model:
    • Self-awareness: Understanding why we do what we do
    • Social awareness: Identifying people’s strengths, interferences, and motivations
    • Self-management: Being authentic, flexible, and positive
    • Relationship management: Trusting, partnering, supporting, and challenging others so your direct reports are equipped to contribute toward a high-performing organization.

  3. Follow the GROW model in each coaching interaction. Although I was already using a somewhat similar model in my coaching sessions, I liked the structure and simplicity of Whitmore’s model, which is applicable to both external and corporate-manager coaching situations. It builds on asking questions, as indicated in point #1 above:
    • Goal: What does the coachee want to accomplish?
    • Reality: Where is the coachee now? What’s their current situation?
    • Options: What could the coachee do? What are the alternative courses of action?
    • Will: What will the coachee commit to do, how truly committed are they, and by when?

I hope you see yourself as a manager who can deliver much better results through your direct reports by coaching them, rather than by the “command and control” style practiced by too many leaders. This, in turn, should carry an additional benefit for you: Accelerate your career growth.

Contact me if you wish to adopt a coaching style to develop the strengths and capabilities of your direct reports.

Percy M. Cannon

8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.


Excellent reminder to take care of yourself every morning before you start your professional activities. My favorite tip is #1: Get 7+ hours of sleep. I know that if I come out short with my sleep the night before, I won’t be at my best during the day. Care to share your favorite tip?


How I Measure My Life


The attached article offers an interesting approach for measuring success in your life. No, it’s not necessarily about your financial net worth…

Check out the three areas where the author suggests to place your focus and continuous improvement efforts: Energy, Work and Relationships.

Any reactions to this article?



Creating a Culture of Excellence The Go-Giver Way, Part 4

This is the fourth article of a five-part series where I provide suggestions that you can start adopting right away to promote excellence within and outside your organization. If you missed any of the previous ones, please click here.

I will build on the content from “The Go-Giver book series written by Bob Burg and John David Mann, as well as my nearly four decades of international corporate experience, first as an executive and now as a coach.

Today, we will cover the fourth principle, The Law of Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.  

Authenticity is something you can’t fake, at least not for the long term. People can smell falsehood a mile away, so show up as yourself. All the skills in the world (sales, technical, people, etc.), as important as they are, are all useless if you don’t come at it from your true, authentic core.

What can you do to discover and live from your authentic core? In a previous article, I outlined the steps I took to redefine mine when I was approaching 50. However, you don’t need to wait until you turn 50 or any age to discover and define your authentic core or, as it was in my case, to redefine it.

The concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic value can help you in this process. We, as individuals, have two types of value:

  1. Intrinsic or internal value: We automatically have this by virtue of being born.
  2. Extrinsic or market value: This is your strengths, traits, talents, and characteristics that allow you to add value to others, your organization, the marketplace, and the world, in a way that you get compensated for it.

One thing I learned early in my corporate career was to deal differently with strengths and weaknesses:

  • Drive your strengths as hard and proactively as possible. This is what will shape your market value.
  • Manage your weaknesses. Unless they are severe, your value proposition will probably not be driven by devoting time and energy into attempting to turn them into strengths.

My advice to you: Focus on your assets of value. Become a professional student by:

  • Reading books and participating in training programs to grow your skills.
  • Learning from others: Search for role models and adapt what is applicable to you.
  • Using coaching and mentoring to accelerate your professional growth.

Remember: “A critical skill in your business is your capacity to be authentic—to make a connection.”

Contact me if you wish to discover or adjust your authentic core, as a step toward adopting a culture of excellence The Go-Giver Way and enjoying extraordinary results.

Percy M. Cannon

20 Work-Life Balance Tips and Secrets From CEOs


Work-Life Balance is a personal decision. These 20 CEOs offer good tips from which you can pick and choose those which you think could apply to you.

If you want to go deeper into this subject, I want to suggest a 3-step process for your consideration, outlined in my book The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve Your Mission in Life:


Step1: Become 100 percent accountable for the decisions you make (and not make) in your life.


Step 2: Develop and record in writing your personal mission statement.


Step 3: Live your mission 24/7.


Any thoughts you would like to share on this topic?           



The Assumptions Employees Make When They Don’t Get Feedback


If you manage people and do not give them regular feedback, this article is for you. In the absence of such feedback, your team members will try to guess the reasons for this. Why keep them in the dark?


And if you do give regular feedback, congratulations! This article is also for you, as it may give you some tips to get better at this important responsibility as a manager.