Tag Archives: accountability

Ready to Get IT Done? Collaborate!

What is IT for you? Is it a messy, disorganized office or closet? You know, the kind that slows you down every day because you have to search for things.

photo by Alan Cleaver

Or perhaps you’ve resolved, once again, to get your taxes done before April! Or you need to make sales calls or write blog posts. Most of us have an IT and whatever IT is, you’re more likely to complete it if you are accountable to others.

If you’d like to join me in this effort, set aside Friday March 18 and/or Saturday March 19 from 10 AM to 3 PM MST (or whatever portion of that time that works for you). Each hour we’ll check in by phone and announce our desired goal for the next hour as well as our progress during the previous hour. Just send an email to Coach at ExnerAssociates.com,  commit to a window of time and mark it on your calendar.

photo by Joseph Erlewein

Think you can do it on your own rather than give up a Friday or Saturday? Terrific! You have almost 3 weeks to prove it to yourself.

Either way, here’s a great article on Using Enjoyment as a Tool to Reach Goals that will help us to increase our success. I discovered LucReid.com while searching for research to correct the oft-repeated, but incorrect, claim that “it takes 21 (or 28) days to make a habit.” It would be nice but unfortunately it’s not true. Happily, I found what I was looking for along with a treasure trove of articles on self-motivation. Enjoy!

Advertisements

How to Write Your Book (or Next Book) Before You Retire

If you are here in Phoenix, I hope you’ll consider attending the National Speaker’s Association meeting on Saturday. Gwyn Nichols and I will be presenting on the success of me winning her services at a silent auction (see past posts Collaborating with an Expert and Life Transformations through Silent Auctions for details of how Maddie and I have worked with Gwyn)

Here’s the information about our part of the meeting:

At an NSA-Arizona Silent Auction, Debra bid on Gwyn’s donation of manuscript editing — about a week after she and her co-presenter Maddie Hunter first considered writing a book. That bold commitment and Gwyn’s consultant support moved them from thinking about a book to thoroughly researching and beginning it.

Learn how the three of them worked together to get this book moving fast. See how you can apply these perspectives and strategies to advance your own project.

Gwyn Nichols, a book editor and ghostwriter, recently founded Blue Monarch Press. Gwyn trained at an academic journal where she was known for translating articles written by PhDs into readable English. At the time, she suffered from such an incapacitating writing block of her own, she considered changing her major from English to chemistry. Eventually, Gwyn learned to write fluently any time, anywhere, and she went on to complete a master’s degree in English. She now writes poetry and fiction, and edits nonfiction, combining language expertise with healing encouragement as she works with authors or leads writing retreats.

Debra Exner helps her clients connect, communicate, and collaborate. She and her co-author, Maddie Hunter of New Jersey, first led a cancer support organization together, and then went on to research and teach effective collaboration. They lead workshops for corporations and associations, and are being invited to speak at international conferences.

In addition to speaking and training, Debra is a Professional Certified Coach and president of the Phoenix chapter of the International Coach Federation.

Come hear this outstanding program!
To register online visit http://nsa-arizona.org/meetings/mar-13/
or by email, send name, company and number of attendees to Gwen@nsa-arizona.org or call (480) 968-7443.


Register

NSA-Arizona Program March 13, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m.; networking 8:00 a.m.
Business Building Session: 12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location: NSA Conference Center, 1500 S. Priest Dr., Tempe, AZ
Early Registration (by 5 p.m. Wed. Mar. 10): $30/members, $45/guests
Late Registration: $40/members, $55/guests
No refunds after 5 p.m. Mar. 10, 2010.
For directions, visit Mapquest.com
Please notify us if you have any special needs for the meeting.

Debbie

Collaborating With an Expert

Here are some of the ways that Gwyn Nichols has helped with our book writing project.

by psd on flickr creative commons

Gwyn’s belief in us and excitement about our topic and kept us connected with our goal until we were able to set aside time to work on it more concretely.

She took our Collaborability assessment and created an online survey so that we could collect more data as well as demographic information. The survey included write-in comments about what participants would like to learn about collaboration and traits they thought were important for effective collaboration.

Gwyn facilitated our writer’s retreat in Chicago virtually. Together we planned our approach and she suggested multiple check-in calls. During those calls we talked about our progress, where we were stuck and our next steps. Gwyn typed up notes and emailed them to us.

The check-in calls kept us focused. Comments like “You guys have a dozen books to write. Which one do you want to start with?” helped us understand why things seemed like a jumble at times and to see a way to get clear.

One of our goals for the retreat was to start a blog. Maddie wrote the “Our Story” blog post and Gwyn edited it for us. She also commented on our blog posts and quoted them in her own blog. How encouraging!

Gwyn gave us tips on how to write when there’s no time. My favorite is the one about rewarding yourself which I wrote about in a previous post.

Who has served as a catalyst in your life or work? What have they done that has been helpful?

The Blogathon Ends

Today marks the end of our blogathon. I have enjoyed getting to know my fellow National Speaker Association members better through their writing. It’s a fabulous way to help members of a professional association connect and support each other.

I have learned more about blogging from my buddies’ examples and through tips from our fearless leader Jackie Dishner. Because of our increased focus on blogging and connecting, it became natural to ask any blogger for ideas (thanks Paula Shoup for telling me about great pictures at flickr.com using advanced search selecting the “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” option).

Best of all, we have developed a more regular writing habit which will really help as we shift to writing more on our book on collaboration.

Several of our participants had major life events that got in the way of their participation and Jackie has said she will coordinate another event in a few months. I will definitely do this again!

Thanks Jackie and all of our blogathon buddies!

Debbie

Pressed Into Collaborative Service

Be forewarned! If you go out to dinner with me on a day when I didn’t get to write, you may be pressed into collaborative service. Such was the fate of my husband and friends last night.

by Angela Rutherford on flickr creative commons

Writing – blog posts and book pages – is my top priority from now until March and I am applying reward incentives to keep myself focused. One of those is “No wine until I write two!” The two is two blog posts (to stay ahead of the game), two pages (on the book) or two genuine hours of writing (even if it doesn’t yield a finished product).

Yesterday got away from me before I could write my quota. With me at dinner were my husband George, and friends Mike and Diane. We’d already ordered the wine so I had to act quickly. I asked, “Can someone give me two examples of how collaboration worked for you this week?” Both Mike and Diane came up with an answer. I’ll save Diane’s collaboration example for another day.

Mike talked about finding a problem with the way a customer’s data was showing up on reports that his company produces. He got his team together to solve the issue, considering whether the data was coming in incorrectly, what happened to the data next, finding the source of the problem, deciding if it applied to other customers and estimating the cost of fixing it. The point of the story was that the team collaboration helped to resolve the issue quickly.

Much to Mike’s dismay, Diane and George started asking him a whole lot of questions, attempting to collaboratively solve the issue all over again! My glass of wine was perched at my place-setting waiting for me to take my first sip so I asked Mike if he needed any help and he said “No everything is being handled.” Yahoo!

The moral is: If you’re out to dinner with me and supply an example be sure to start by stating what help, if any, you need. Hmmm…that’s a tip that might work in other situations too.

How do you motivate yourself to stay focused on your priorities?

Debbie

Collaboration, Commitment, Renewal, Habit and Accountability

Sometimes collaboration alone is not enough to get something done. For example, to get our blog started, Maddie and I collaborated. We posted twice and then 2 months went by.  Hmmm… that wasn’ t working.

We made a commitment to blog twice a week — I’d take the beginning of  the week and Maddie would take the end. Gwyn Nichols also weighed in with ideas and encouragement. We were going along well for awhile and then life got busier. We had 8-day, 13-day and 11-day gaps. Then no posts in December. Yikes!

Thanks to Rob Cottingham for permission to use his terrific cartoon. Check out http://robcottingham.ca/cartoon

So when Jackie Dishner offered the National Speakers Association AZ Chapter Blogathon we jumped on board. We committed to posting and visiting regularly, daily if possible. Now we had Jackie cheering us on and offering ideas as well as our blogathon buddies visiting and posting comments. How encouraging!

Even then, it took awhile to establish a habit. The accountability to others helped us to stick with it long enough and I’m happy to say that we’ve now accomplished 8 days in a row! We’re still committed to writing daily though we may focus on our book and not post quite as often.

What habit do you want to establish? How can collaboration, commitment, renewal, and accountability get you through to the habit?

Debbie

15 things I love about collaboration

Here are 15 things I love about collaboration.

  1. I get to feel surprise when my collaborators offer new twists on a thought.  I feel so alive when I’m surprised!
  2. Collaboration is often lots of fun.
  3. It heightens my sense of belonging.  I get to matter to someone else.  Collaboration can be an antidote for loneliness!
  4. Collaborating increases my sense of accountability to get things done.  I am motivated to not let others down.
  5. Collaboration brings talents and skills my way that really help to offset where I’m not particulary motivated or strong.
  6. Things can be messy in a collaboration as ideas expand and build.  Messiness is a path to creativity for me. I enjoy the time of not knowing  -when the mix of ideas is swimming around – before a sure path emerges. Check out Keith Sawyer’s book called Group Genius to read more on what power there is in this mess!
  7. Collaboration reminds me that my way to do things isn’t the only one.  I get new lenses to look through by collaborating.
  8. It is a source of efficiency. I can get more done than when I’m on my own.  I think there is something about shared accountability for a success that increases my productivity.
  9. It increases the opportunity for acknowledgment.  There is never too much affirmation these days.  Being validated helps to build energy and creativity.
  10. When I collaborate the times of being stuck are few and far between.  Collaborators often say when something is uncertain or stalled, add another person in the mix.  That often re-engages momentum!
  11. It’s like a non-stop laboratory for cooking up new things.  The atmosphere of testing and trying out new perspectives is so rich!
  12. Work seems so much easier and less effortful in a collaboration that really works.
  13. When I’m in a successful collaboration,  my faith in the generosity of spirit of people gets renewed.
  14. Collaboration gives me an opportunity to offer my ideas and thoughts to someone else.  Giving things away is such a satisfying experience!
  15. And I’ve saved the best for last…Collaboration led me to Debbie Exner – I love this woman – an expert collaborator!

Maddie