Manufacture Your Day by CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE

If you follow me for a while, you should know that I am all about people and simple daily improvements. 

It’s the little things that matter most. Connecting with the people around you is one of them. 

I find it disheartening that so many people in organizations rather work against each other than with each other. In my mind, “internal war” in organizations is not the most strategic way to beat the competition. 

Whatever you want to achieve at work and in life, you can’t do it alone. Why not look for some allies along the way? 

Here are a few things that you must master if you would like to be a “connector”:

  • Be interested in the people around you instead of trying to be interesting
  • Learn and remember people’s names and use them as often as you can
  • Ask open-ended questions 
  • Listen, listen, listen with the intent to understand what the other person has to say
  • Have the courage to be vulnerable – it makes you relatable 
  • Say “hello, please and thank you” – going back to basics
  • Get up from your desk to speak to the person sitting next to you instead of sending an email 
  • Think positive thoughts when you speak to a person – that’s the energy you create in a conversation
  • Pick up the phone instead of sending a text or WhatsApp message
  • Be open and honest – people will feel it if you have a hidden agenda
  • Show that you care and people will care to support you and your cause

Keep learning and improving! 

It’s never too late to become a game changer. I know that the manufacturing industry could use a few more. 😉

Manufacture Your Day by GETTING A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON MOTIVATION

Lately a lot of people have asked me about a good strategy on how to motivate people. 

External motivation (carrot and stick) is a method that used to work well during the industrial age. Motivation by fear (i.e. threatening them) or by desire (i.e. paying more money or promising them a new/higher position) won’t be effective in the long run. 

In short, “You don’t have to motivate your team members, just make sure that you don’t demotivate them.

If you lead a group of people, here are some action steps for you:

  • Create a motivating environment – make sure the people have all the tools they need to do a good job and that they feel to be a part of what you’re trying to achieve
  • Be friendly and respectful (so basic but powerful)
  • Observe your own energy that you bring to work – the energy you see in your team members is a reflection of your own
  • Be clear what you expect and communicate your expectations on a regular basis
  • Get your team-members involved in the goal-setting process – Help them understand the “Why?” and WIIFM (what’s in it for me)
  • Provide regular constructive feedback – what they do well and how they can do better (people will be as motivated as you are willing to spend time with them to help them build their skills – avoid micromanaging, judging and criticizing)
  • Allow them to use their own “thinking power” – the mind is like a muscle; if they never use it, they lose it
  • Expect the best from your team members – you will get what you expect

What would it be like if the people around you would do what you want them to do? 

Manufacture Your Day by EVALUATING YOUR DAILY HABITS

Happy Friday!

People in manufacturing companies live a fast paced and often stressful life, and this can create bad habits.

I have the highest respect for the people who work in this industry and I love serving them by bringing a positive perspective into their personal and professional life.

My “Manufacture Your Day” list is growing and this week someone approached me and asked if I had ever thought about monetizing these messages.

I smiled and answered, “No, these messages are free for anyone who would like to read them, and this won’t change. Not everything you do that adds value to other people’s life has to make money. Even if someone will never be a client of mine, I sincerely hope that these messages will assist to create better thought processes, more positive attitudes, better stress management, increased mental strength, improved habits, better emotional stability and more respect in our work environments overall.” 

Bad habits such the ones mentioned above are so common but I want to tell you about another “energy drainer”. 

People who come to meetings with their cell phones. They tell me that it is an expectation from top management that they are available 24/7. Can this be the truth? 

I would like to make you aware that this is a productivity killer. If we ask people to stay on top of everything, it will eventually wear them out. I observe people who desperately try to multitask, stay on top of 100s of emails and that’s how they lose focus, become distracted, overwhelmed and frustrated. 

My humble piece of advice for creating a new habit: 

  • Ban cell phones from the meeting room

If people are at the meeting early, they should rather learn to connect with one another than staring at their phone. It has been said that “a lot of problems would disappear if we talked to each other instead of about each other”.

Rather than strategizing, should we maybe pay more attention to humanizing? 

Manufacture Your Day by REFLECTING ON YOUR OWN BEHAVIOUR

Did you know that we judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intentions? 

I realize that most of us are legends in our own minds. However, even legends have room for improvement. 😉

I would like to share with you a 360 feedback that I received in my last year working at Magna. I cannot remember my score but it was pretty bad in the following areas:

  • Maintain self-control even in difficult or emotional circumstances
  • Be more sensitive to people’s feelings
  • Be more considerate when communicating

Today I teach leadership and communication because I have recognized that our daily interactions with others are critical for our personal and professional life experience. This definitely proves the point that you can teach best what you have to learn most. 

I am still not perfect and I am still improving – just ask my husband. 😊

I am never shy to speak about my own imperfections because I don’t want others to think that I have it all figured out. Having said this, my goal is to inspire as many people as possible to take the path towards self-improvement. This is not the right way to go, it’s the only way. 

The point is that I am so much better than I was in back in 2006, and I know that I will be a little bit better tomorrow than I was yesterday. It’s all about progress!

What are you doing to ensure that you get better?

There is a reason why you read this message today.

Manufacture Your Day by DISPLAYING INTEGRITY

Having integrity means that who you are on the inside matches everything you do on a daily basis. 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines Integrity as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change”.

I work with people at all levels – top management, department managers, supervisors and the workforce. The insights I receive are often very enlightening.

I have learned that everyone has their own unique challenges but very often people don’t take the time to understand each other’s world. The secret about working with people is that it is all about people. Integrity plays an important part in our interactions with others.

Integrity comes in so many different forms but here are a few good examples:

  • Show respect for people.
  • Say “hello, please and thank you” to the people around you. 
  • Apologize if you made a mistake and be sincere.
  • Stand up against bullies. If you lose your job because of this, so be it. Courage always gets rewarded with something bigger and better around the corner. 
  • Stay true to yourself.
  • If you are a manager, always highlight your team members’ accomplishments. 
  • Own up to your mistakes. Don’t let others down.
  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Keep your co-workers and/or employees in the loop about what’s going on and make sure to explain “WHY” things are happening.
  • Make sure that the credit goes to the person who had an idea or did an outstanding job.
  • Build trust by helping and supporting the people around you.
  • Be curious about other people’s way of looking at things.
  • Have the courage to say no. If you can’t make it work, say it.
  • Make sure you work for an ethical company. If you are expected to lie and to cheat, refuse it. You are better off to look for another job. 
  • If you miss a deadline, own it. 
  • Inspire people, don’t manipulate them. 
  • Office supplies are not for your personal use. 
  • If you want to develop trust within your team, don’t hide things from your team members.
  • If you treat people like children, don’t expect them to behave like adults. 

Isn’t it good to receive a little reminder every once in a while? 

How are you doing when you look at this list? 

Manufacture Your Day by CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Psychologist Carl Jung used to say that “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”

Sometimes I question my ability to help people in manufacturing industry to shift their perspective but then I pivot my thought process and say to myself, “If not me, who?”

I guess I have trained myself well to be an unwavering optimist. 🙂

It pains me when people feel so trapped in their current reality that they don’t realize that they have the power to create a new one.

How?

You have 2 options and both of them require work: 

  1. Change your life = Close the gap between where you are and where you want to be by taking massive action.
  2. If you can’t change your life, change your perspective = Start telling yourself a new and more positive story about the things you experience on a daily basis. When you change the way you look at things, things you look at start to change. 

Your reality is what it is. YOUR reality. 

You are in charge. Are you ready to create a new one? 

Manufacture Your Day by FOCUSING ON PROGRESS

Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes unexpected twists happen and for these situations you have to have a strategy. This strategy involves developing mental strength and emotional stability.

Here are 3 things on how to get started: 

  1. Know what you want and keep your focus on your long-term goals: It is so easy to feel down about “little distractions” along the way. It is never about the situation, it is about how you respond to it. Breathe – think – choose your response! So much better than giving knee jerk reactions. 
  2. Turn negative energy into a positive one: Allow yourself to be frustrated but don’t get into a pity party with yourself for weeks, months, sometimes even years. The fastest way to get rid of your frustrations is with physical activity (run, go to the gym, work physically on a home project, get a boxing bag for your basement and punch it until you get tired, juggle, try jumping jacks, skipping with a rope, team sports, tennis). Emotion is created by motion. Don’t allow yourself to get bitter. Get better instead. 
  3. Keep things in perspective at all times: There is nothing bad where you can’t spot something good – if you look for it. Worst case scenario is that you learn and grow. How awesome it that? 

Mental strength isn’t something that comes from school or with a degree. It’s about training yourself to see things through and knowing that a tough day is what it is – a tough day.

The best things will come when you are mentally strong enough to work through difficult situations while expecting a positive outcome.

The question is, how you will you start applying this message to your life?

You got this!

Manufacture Your Day by OPTIMIZING BEHAVIOUR

Why do we seem to focus so much on other people’s faults?

It is true. Most people, myself included are pretty good in zooming in on other people’s faults, weaknesses and insecurities. I am sure this is a “master strategy” that helps us to feel better about ourselves and our own shortcomings.

Having said this, making people feel bad about themselves should of course never be the goal.

However, what if this is a person you truly care about?

What if you want to help and support this person to reach his/her full potential?

I suggest my “designed to improve” shock absorber approach: 

  • Be prepared and speak from the heart
  • Be honest when you share your observations – even if he/she doesn’t like it, it will definitely make him/her think (fingers crossed)
  • Help him/her to develop a higher level of commitment – do what you say, say what you do
  • Support him/her in the accountability process – if there is no goal (short-term, mid-term, long-term), it’s pretty difficult to know what to aim for 
  • Make him/her assume responsibility for his/her actions and/or life – if you don’t make a plan, you are not in control (victim mode)

If the first shock is gone, it’s time to get out of the rut. More often than not it is good to hear what we don’t want to hear in order to get better. 

That’s what caring managers, compassionate co-workers, loving partners and best friends are for. 

Don’t criticize, help optimize instead. 

Manufacture Your Day by KNOWING YOUR VALUE

The self-worth of a person is in direct correlation with the net worth of the company. If more managers and business owners would understand that, they would pay closer attention to how they communicate with their employees.

There are so many people who never feel “good enough”. 

Unhealthy ways to measure your “worthiness” are comparing yourself to others, taking harsh criticism too much to heart, your appearance, your income and material possessions.

Many people, especially men, define their worth by their career. Your self-worth shouldn’t never be tied to your job title. Your job title shows what you do but not who you are as a person.

You choose the way you feel about yourself. Nobody else does. You determine your worth, not other people.

Eleanor Roosevelt used to say, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Here is what you can do:

  • Be observant of your inner dialogue – what are you telling yourself about yourself? Your brain is like a computer and the input is your choice.
  • Establish pride for your contribution at home and at work.
  • Keep learning new things every day – this definitely increases your value.
  • Focus on what is within your control – your attitude is.
  • Smile – smile a lot.
  • Love yourself – nobody is perfect.

If you stop to measure your self-worth by the opinion of others, it will positively impact the quality of your life. 

You are worth it. 

Manufacture Your Day by FINDING A WAY

Lately I have found myself more committed than ever to become the best person I can be.

Excuses are always available. It is just so easy to give an explanation why you can’t do something. Many people live in “excucity”. No passion for life but tons of excuses.

I admit that it is tough to work on living and breathing your commitments. Life gets in the way and it can be tough.

As you may already know, at the moment I train for the Toronto Marathon. People keep asking me, “Karin, how do you train in this cold weather?”, “Did you really run in this wind?”, “How do you manage to get your runs in during the week?”, “How can you get up at 5am?”, or my favourite “Didn’t you run 30 km on the weekend and now you have to run again?”

Yes, that’s what you have to do when you train for a marathon. I started to train in January and up until now I ran 640 km as part of my training in 2018. Nothing great comes easy.

This is character building. This is how I develop mental strength. Doing the things that very few people do. Doing the things that you don’t feel like doing but doing them anyways. Training your mind to get through difficult times no matter what.

Of course you don’t have to train for a marathon (even though it would change your life) but here is how you can start dropping some of your excuses at home and/or at work:

  • Set a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goal that is important to YOU
  • Make an action plan
  • Follow your action plan
  • Record your data
  • Fuel yourself with good thoughts, good food and enough water throughout the day
  • Be active and surround yourself with positive people (stress management)
  • Hold yourself accountable (or find an accountability partner)
  • Keep working towards your goal

Difficult? Absolutely.

Possible? 100%.

Side effects may include increased happiness, improved health and well-being. 

Effort? www.worthit.com 

Are you ready to move away from “excucity”? I welcome you into my world.