Category Archives: Newsletters

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

The Career Accelerator Podcast: Pre-Launch Announcement

I am pleased to announce the launch of “The Career Accelerator” podcast on May 13, 2020.

If any of the following challenges resonate with you, I encourage you to pre-subscribe to “The Career Accelerator” podcast:

  1. Are you a corporate manager whose direct reports are not capable of achieving their performance goals without your frequent involvement?
  2. Is it hard for you to trust some of the people you interact with at work?
  3. Have you been able to enlist your boss to help you achieve your work priorities?

Each week in my podcast, you will hear tips and tools to deliver results through others—and in the process, accelerate your career advancement opportunities.

How? By adopting a mindset of service, where you always focus on “what’s in it for them,” them being the people within your organization with whom you interact the most: your direct reports, your peers from other departments, and even your boss.

In “The Career Accelerator” podcast, you will benefit from what I have learned (and continue to learn) from my four decades of experience in the corporate world, first as an executive in three multinational companies and now as a professional coach and consultant.

Stay tuned for more details about “The Career Accelerator” podcast!

Percy M. Cannon
www.cannon.consulting

PS: Click here if you want to be notified when “The Career Accelerator” podcast is officially released.

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
www.cannon.consulting

Do You Want to Become a Better Corporate Manager in 2020-part 2?

In the previous video, we covered how you, as a corporate manager, can choose to accelerate your career growth by learning how to deliver results through your peers.

If coaching and developing the strengths of your Direct Reports is one of your priorities for 2020, please watch this video: 

Percy M. Cannon

www.cannon.consulting

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Do You Want to Become a Better Corporate Manager in 2020?

Happy New Year!

In the previous two articles, we covered how you, as a corporate manager, can choose to accelerate your career growth by learning how to deliver results through others.

An important choice to make is to let go of the mindset of an individual contributor, where you had to rely mostly on yourself to deliver your goals. Instead, seek to achieve results through others. Adopt a mindset of service, where you always focus on “What’s in it for them”, them being the people within your organization with whom you interact the most: Your direct reports, your peers from other departments and your boss.


Please watch this video for Tip #3: Find creative ways to determine “what’s in it for your peers.”

Percy M. Cannon

www.cannon.consulting

Schedule a free call to discuss your needs.

Subscribe to my free newsletters.

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Do You Want to Become a Better Corporate Manager? Part 2

Being a manager in a corporation is not easy. You likely face a litany of challenges and are expected to rise to the occasion with little help. You are expected to deliver your performance objectives with limited resources, work with colleagues you may not necessarily trust, or deal with lackluster direct reports. Do any of these problems sound familiar?

If challenges like these are not addressed promptly, you could miss your performance objectives and hurt your advancement opportunities. So, you have two choices: Do more of what you have been doing or elevate your game as a manager by learning how to deliver results through others.

In this and future articles, I will share tips to help you become a better corporate manager. I will build on the lessons learned during my 25 years as a manager for three large corporations (P&G, IBM, and Microsoft), as well as my seven years as an executive coach for over 200 professionals. If you missed the first article in this series, please click here.

Tip #2: Enlist your boss to help you deliver your performance objectives.

As a corporate employee, I quickly realized how important it was for my manager and the senior executives to see me as somebody who was adding value to the business and giving my best at work.

In one case, I had a review scheduled with an executive a few levels above mine, from whom I required approval to expand an important project I was working on.

My manager at that time helped me develop my presentation. He insisted on the importance of eliciting a “wow” from the big boss, meaning that at some point during the presentation, he should be pleasantly surprised to find that the work we were doing exceeded his expectations. He said this would reassure him that we were on the right path and that approval for the expansion would be granted. It worked. The presentation went well, there were (literally) a couple of “wows,” and I received approval for my expansion.

In another situation, I had a different manager give me excellent advice about how to develop a good relationship with his boss. He recommended that I remember to “feed the lion,” meaning that it’s important to provide frequent updates to our managers on the work we were doing. They want to be reassured that we are generating the kind of plans and results they expect from us.

I encourage you to consider using these lessons as well. Generating wows and feeding the lion will help you capture upper management’s support, get your proposals accepted, achieve your objectives, and generate good personal branding, all of which will be work in your favor when advancement opportunities arise.

Contact me if you need help developing the skills and capabilities to significantly increase your business results through your boss and, as a result, accelerate your career growth.

Percy M. Cannon

Helps you make the rest of your life…the best of your life

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Do You Want to Become a Better Corporate Manager?

Being a manager in a corporation is not easy. You likely face a litany of challenges and are expected to rise to the occasion with little help. You are expected to deliver your performance objectives with limited resources, work with colleagues you may not necessarily trust, or deal with lackluster direct reports. Do any of these problems sound familiar?

If challenges like these are not addressed promptly, you could miss your performance objectives and hurt your advancement opportunities. So, you have two choices: Do more of what you have been doing or elevate your game as a manager by learning how to deliver results through others.

In this and future articles, I will share tips to help you become a better corporate manager. I will build on the lessons learned during my 25 years as a manager for three large corporations (P&G, IBM, and Microsoft), as well as my seven years as an executive coach for over 200 professionals. 

Tip #1: Become a coach to your direct reports.Think about the best manager you’ve had in your life. What made them such a good manager? In my case, early in my corporate career I had a manager who regularly called me to his office to brainstorm potential solutions to business challenges. One of these challenges was to address the low brand awareness of a recently launched product. We held several

brainstorming sessions, covering such topics as defining the problem, reviewing the data available, searching for best practices, developing potential solutions, finding alternative ways to enlist other internal areas for feedback and support, developing a plan, seeking approval and funding, and executing the plan.

Throughout the entire process, my manager coached me, mostly one-on-one. At the end, he empowered me to lead the execution of the plan: making our product the exclusive sponsor of a game show in a highly rated TV time slot. This and other actions resulted in significant improvements in brand awareness, sales, and market share.      

My manager not only coached me on how to analyze and address business challenges, but he also taught me how to coach direct reports. I paid it forward when I became a corporate manager myself and aimed to follow his coaching best practices with my new direct reports.

Contact me if you need help developing the skills and capabilities to become a better coach, significantly increase your business results through your direct reports (and peers and even your boss) and, as a result, accelerate your career growth.

Percy M. Cannon
www.cannon.consulting

Creating a Culture of Excellence The Go-Giver Way, Part 5

This is the last 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 continue to 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 fifth principle, The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. They work best in tandem. It’s like breathing out and breathing in, like exhaling and inhaling. They work together. Giving is possible because there is somebody else who will receive. If you don’t allow yourself to receive, you stop the flow. Giving earns you the right, not the entitlement, to receive.

Initially, I had some reservations about this law, perhaps tied to negative experiences with “Give-to-Get” practices. Time has proved me wrong.

As part of my executive coaching practice, at the beginning of each engagement, I regularly include an exercise called 360 feedback. It is a process where the coach gathers feedback on the executive from bosses, peers, and direct reports. In one case, the executive was a CEO of a joint venture. He reported to a board with representatives of the two shareholder groups. I had phone calls with most of the board members.

Something interesting—and out of left field—happened in one of these calls. It was with the senior member of one of the shareholders, whom I did not know before the call. After giving me his feedback on the CEO, he asked me questions about my coaching practice and experience. Several months later, and within a few days apart, this group referred me to two executives from different companies. Of course, I gladly accepted the referrals and thanked them for their generosity.

The Law of Receptivity and its complementary Law of Left Field (the greatest gifts will come to you at moments and from places you least expect) were probably the most difficult ones for me to grasp…until the referrals started arriving…out of left field.

When an organization truly exhibits a culture of excellence, we see greater collaboration and productivity, increased innovation, and improved satisfaction for both internal and external customers. Living with a giving spirit creates a rising tide that raises all ships, including the one belonging to the generator of this tide. Create a culture of excellence, and you will reap the rewards of excellence.

Contact me if you wish to adopt a culture of excellence The Go-Giver Way and enjoy extraordinary results.

Percy M. Cannon
www.cannon.consulting