Judith Glaser needs no introduction. As one of the most innovative and respected executive coaches in the consulting industry, Glaser can be regularly spotted on CBS, NBC and Fox, discussing conversation intelligence, WE-centric leadership and more.
The Distracted Executive is proud to include Glaser in our ongoing Influencer Series, where we talk to her about measuring results, how she stays organized (a unique coding system!) and the biggest challenge in her business today.
The Distracted Executive: As an author, entrepreneur and overall rock star, what is the greatest challenge in your business today, and what are you doing to address it?
Judith Glaser: My new book, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, has brought me many, many new opportunities, new challenges, and new partnerships, which opened the door for me to think differently. The greatest challenge was: “How to bring C-IQ to people globally?” So we put our heads together and built our first conversational app called WE-IQ®. It’s a platform that facilitates and elevates conversational intelligence. It’s designed for peers, peer coaches and teams to work together virtually to keep track of priorities with each other in a more collaborative, effective and productive way, which leads to creating a more productive and more innovative workplace. Staying connected is the key to success, and WE-IQ is that platform. WE launch it in January 2015.
TDE: What would you say is your biggest distraction when you are working these days?
JG: After my new book, Conversational Intelligence, was published – we started to get calls from around the globe to bring this work to different countries. This is a wonderful new addition to our growth. However, it creates challenges. We are working to the max already on existing projects. Every project has a multiplier – even when we detail out the work that needs to get done there is always another layer of engagement needed. When the new work comes, we need to take our eyes off of what we have planned and carve out a way to focus on building out the new business. It’s both exciting and challenging – and for people like me that need some sense of order and predictability – it opens up challenges.
TDE: What has become your greatest challenge around managing time?
JG: Now that we have decided to work with our new partners in different countries, we have expanded our attention to developing the partnerships with our new colleagues. It’s invigorating and challenging. With each new relationship we have an array of new things to focus on… and we need to work out how to have our conversations even when the time zones are so far apart. With India, for example, we need to talk at night or very early in the morning. Also with Australia – their best time is our dinnertime. Singapore is after dinner and before sleep. We all have ‘time clocks in our heads,’ and disrupting our natural flow is often a big adjustment.
TDE: What is your very best practice for being as efficient as you are?
JG: I have developed ways to create better organizational systems. I am using coding systems now. Since I am getting so many documents and emails from each person, and retrieving them is critical, I have created filing systems that are not all alphabetical – I am now using ‘years’ or ‘months’ to find them easily. This way I am enabling myself to cluster projects that are current from those that are not. I am also organizing my visual calendars with to-dos on the top of each day so they are also present visually.
TDE: Everything seems important or urgent these days. How do you efficiently navigate your to-do list without hindering your success?
JG: The daily to-dos on my calendar are really helpful. I can see what to-dos connect to meetings coming up on the calendar, which helps me get things ready for when I need them.
TDE: You manage people and work with some people who are all over the place. How do you deal with someone who is very distracted and not giving you what you need in a timely manner?
JG: Sometimes I need to have difficult conversations with people – especially those who work closely with me. Since timing of projects and coordinating projects is really, really important – getting off track is really, really disruptive. So at times I need to sit down with these people and elevate the importance of coordinating better with them. We talk about why this is important and how it has a negative impact on our work when we are not aligned. This helps – and sometimes you need to do it more than once!
TDE: How are you impacted by interruptions during the day? What is your #1 tip for dealing with them?
JG: Some days feel like one long run-on sentence! When disruptions happen on top of this, the day becomes chaos. Here are two powerful tips that come from my book, Conversational Intelligence. Tip one is called "Reframing." When you label something as a disruption – you are actually activating the lower brain or Amygdala, which is built for protection. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is released, and it creates more stress by closing down the Executive brain. When you "reframe" a disruption from something that bothers you (stress producing) to something important to take care of to grow my business (dopamine producing), it activates the prefrontal cortex, which is where the functions of strategizing, innovating, thinking clearly and also down-regulating stress reside. Reframing reduces stress and opens up the capacity for handling the stress. Tip two: write down all of the interruptions. See what the patterns are. Some are to-dos you can do; others are patterns you can eliminate. This puts them under your control.