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Improve, not Fix

by Kim Miller | November 14th, 2013

I coach senior managers and executives. Often I am asked if and how I “fix” them. The answer of course is that I do not, at least do not often, fix them. I improve them through the coaching process.

I am in the fortunate position of being able to work with talented and successful people. I do not regularly work with people who are early in their career. So my clients have already achieved much, and in many cases a great deal in their careers. They come to me to get better. To improve. To build on the strong business skills, activity and behaviour that got them where they are.

They want to continue the process of applying themselves to their work. They need to adapt; to new business challenges, to new people, and to new responsibilities. True success is the ability to keep it going. To improve as needed, not fix.

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Ego and Insecurity

by Kim Miller | August 7th, 2013

If you are successful in business, you have both – Ego and Insecurity – probably in substantial amounts. I am not postulating here, merely observing. I coach leaders of organizations. They all have healthy egos. They also all have significant insecurities.

Another way this is manifest is in the very human NEED to achieve, and the equally human FEAR of failure.

It is easy to confuse one with the other because they both provide motivation. But the former – let me call it “Achievement Ego” – is more likely to lead to action. for this reason, most of us in the business world would say that Achievement Ego is better than “Insecurity Fear”. Action is better than inaction, right? You can’t win if you don’t try, right? Generally, but not always.

If you take action with a high degree of competence, you are more likely to succeed. If you don’t know what you are doing – or if others simply do it much better – you are less likely to succeed. Your Insecurity Fear may be the thing to tell you when to hold off, even when your Achievement Ego is saying, “Go, go, go!”

By aware of – and use – both. Listen to your ego, and respect your insecurity.

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It may be Apples and Oranges, but it’s still Fruit

by Kim Miller | May 1st, 2013

I often find myself challenged by a client who believes they are different. They believe that their particular situation is unique and calls for extraordinary action. Sometimes they are right, then we must get creative to solve the problem(s). Sometimes they are (half) right, but the differences are really not that great.

It is important for me and the work I do to identify when the differences in a situation are important and when they are not. Most problems in running a business have occurred to other businesses and perhaps to the same organization in the past. This then calls for reviewing proven solutions for application. The key is assessing the situation carefully, and deciding whether the situation warrants extraordinary effort. Experience counts here, combined with a healthy dose of solid judgment.

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When the Boss Says Good-bye

by Kim Miller | March 13th, 2013

I do outplacement for senior managers and executives. Outplacement is the euphemism often used for the process of assisting a terminated employee in a job search. I am usually paid by the former employer – my services forming part of a negotiated severance package.

This type of situation is full of both good news and bad news. The good news: opportunity, freedom, time. Most senior people embrace the positive and get on with finding a job in an orderly way.

The bad news: rejection, uncertainty, urgency. These things can slow down and even paralyze strong capable people. My job is to understand the pressure of these negative things and help overcome them. All the activity – networking, job search, interviewing – depends upon this.

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Decision Making: Know Thy Boat; Know Thyself

by Kim Miller | February 28th, 2013

I am a boater. And like many boaters, I have owned several boats over the years; every one bigger, nicer and more expensive than the previous one.

When will it stop? I think now.

Why? Because the current boat was acquired only after a detailed specification, analysis and decision process was completed. A list of ten “must have” boat features was developed and each potential acquisition was evaluated against this list. The boat therefore was selected objectively and with less emotion. There was some subjectivity – one of the specifications was: “nice lines” – but most of the process was quite straightforward.

This decision process is one that I have used many times with my clients. When faced with with complex decisions in life and in business, it pays to invest time and effort in a comprehensive decision process.

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