ATTENTION ALL MANAGERS AND HR PROFESSIONALS!Have I got news for you.

ATTENTION ALL MANAGERS AND HR PROFESSIONALS!Have I got news for you.

I want to tell you a story about someone named John. John has an impressive résumé. He graduated from Michigan in 2011 and finished business school at Wharton in 2013. Since then, he’s worked in two different divisions of a Fortune 500 company and enjoyed a modicum of success.

Everyone agrees: the guy is super smart, experienced, business-savvy and brings loads of energy and enthusiasm to the table.

But somehow, John is just not living up to his potential.

In fact, if John doesn’t get his act together and start producing better results, you may have to think about letting him go. The problems are increasing and you are getting really frustrated.

ADHD Friendly Bosses...Do they really exist? 7 Tips from a Pro That Survived

As an adult living with ADHD and a veteran broadcasting professional of twenty plus years, the subject of bosses who are sensitive to the behaviors and needs of someone with ADHD is close to my heart. ADHD or not, anyone who has ever spent time in the workplace has good boss / bad boss stories. My bosses each had a profound impact on me. It wasn’t until well after I was diagnosed that I began to understand that they were all "good" even if it didn’t always feel that way. Looking back, I realize that they each taught me something I needed to learn. In the end, it is about a collaborative partnership (or not). As overwhelmed adults, we face predictable and complex challenges in the workplace. Some of us are hypersensitive, some of us have time management issues and for some, it might be impulsivity or our distractible nature. Realistically, however, we have an opportunity and responsibility to speak up and educate those around us so that they are better able to support us.

ADHD-Friendly-Bosses-Do-they-really-exist-7-Tips-from-a-Pro-That-Survived
ADHD-Friendly-Bosses-Do-they-really-exist-7-Tips-from-a-Pro-That-Survived

What I didn’t know until well into a very successful career was that there actually were work environments and bosses who could be responsive to my needs. Even more importantly, I became aware that I deserved to find them versus trying to adapt to situations and people who were just not healthy for me!

In television media sales, my job went something like this: I was selling commercial time for 18-20 television stations and had to report to four levels of management at once. There were constant interrogations from someone or other, twenty five or more demanding, often hostile media buyers working on unreasonably tight deadlines with lots of money to spend, phones ringing off the hook all day, people screaming at each other from their desks, 50 emails with more threats and demands (such as if I don’t have what I need from you within the next 15 minutes, you are shut out of the buy) every two hours and on and on. Talk about learning how to manage distraction! Over time, what I came to realize was that, although this type of work and I were a "match made in ADD heaven," when my alignment with management was off, it went from bearable and often fun to excruciatingly unbearable. Since by nature I am overly sensitive, when I am not in an environment that is supportive, I have real challenges around sustaining ongoing success and fulfillment.

When it comes to bosses, it’s pretty simple. There are two distinct types; those who get it, are open minded and willing to understand and accommodate those of us who may be struggling and those who don’t and won’t. My ADHD friendly bosses all had similar profiles and so did I when I worked for them.

Christina, one of my sales managers, was a great example of the "good" boss. She was very consistent - even tempered, patient, non judgmental, and supportive. She would often say "Come in. I’ll help you. Don’t worry." She didn’t judge or dismiss me when I ran into her office all excited about this or that even when I was overreacting (who me??) . We laughed about it. She was kind, communicative, tolerant and interested. When my assistant left, she made sure that I got a very experienced new assistant. It wasn’t a casual decision as I had often expressed how essential my assistant was to my job effectiveness. She respected me for the competent professional I was (sometimes more than I respected myself). I felt empowered, safe and connected. I was a part of rather than apart from.

As a result, I was highly productive, engaged and very happy. Sales increased and I eventually developed a Mentoring Program at that company which became an integral part of their training platform.

On the other hand, there were others that I would call the non -ADD or the "bad" boss variety. Take Paul, for example. Paul and I inherited each other. It was soon clear that our styles and values were not aligned. My personality and highly verbal, non linear approach to problem solving drove him nuts and he in turn drove me nuts by micromanaging, criticizing me publicly and questioning and dismissing every single move I made. You can only imagine how effective that strategy was! Most of my efforts to communicate with him fell on deaf ears and that alone was pretty scary and humiliating. He looked for shortcomings and believe me ... he found them! The more he looked, the more he found!

As a result, I found myself beginning to gossip as a way of feeling connected and belonging. I became paranoid. It was like Murphy’s law; anything that could go wrong did. I spent more time trying to cover my tracks than selling (not a great strategy for ROI). The constant negativity was draining and even I couldn’t stand to hear myself complaining anymore. Although it was never what I would call a satisfying working relationship, we were able to tolerate one another until I found another job.

The point is this. I learned that I too have a responsibility to educate and communicate effectively with those around me in order to eliminate the "bad boss" situations. Living with ADHD, whether boss or being bossed, is not a "picnic" for anyone. We have a great opportunity in the workplace today to help ourselves by helping others. It is a win-win on all fronts and even more importantly, the return on investment is guaranteed to be substantial!

7 Strategies For Success: Tips from a pro that survived!

  • Identify and write down what you need to maximize your effectiveness at your job and be willing to articulate it clearly to your boss so you can develop strategies together
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for small accommodations that might enable you to make big changes
  • Advocate for yourself: If you are suddenly flooded with too much information, don’t hesitate to ask the person to please repeat what they said. I learned to say "Would you please repeat that. I’m a slow thinker." No one has ever refused or laughed at me for asking!
  • Follow through: If you say you are going to do something, do it or let your boss know why you aren’t doing it. This minimizes frustration on his part and paranoia on yours.
  • Write everything down 24/7 and review it incessantly. Some might call it compulsive…for me it is freedom! Fall in love with your calendar and refer to it constantly.
  • Clarify, clarify, clarify when you feel confused at all. Take the risk even if you think that you "already asked once." You’ll be glad you did.
  • Accept yourself – Become willing to put away the old hammer and replace it with a beautiful feather. It’s time.

Well ... now I have said it! My hope is that by my sharing part of my personal story, you will identify and be empowered to advocate for yourself as well. If I could do it, so can you.

It's all about living in solutions, not problems. That's what we coaches are all about.

Feel free to contact me for a no-obligation conversation if you are stuck in struggle and motivated to change.

Have a very productive day! Coach Nancy

Are You A Distracted Executive? 5 questions you can ask yourself to see how focused you are at work these days

This blog is for executives. I will define executives as any business professional actively involved in working today. Unless you're living on a desert island, you’re living the reality of the distraction of modern life while trying to complete the work that’s required of you. Take one of my clients, Adam, successful, savvy VP of a five million dollar Internet startup. His career is going brilliantly. He’s risen quickly through the ranks of his company. People respect and admire him.

Are You A Distracted Executive?<br /> 5 questions you can ask yourself to see how focused you are at work these days

But under the surface, Adam is today's quintessential distracted executive. He is anxiety ridden much of the time. He sleeps with his phone and wakes several times a night; checking his email afraid that something has fallen through the cracks. His voicemail piles up incessantly, and he can hardly bear listening to his messages for fear of adding more to his already untenable to-do list.

Another challenge to Adam’s productivity is the amount of meetings he must sit through each day. After speaking with him for the first time, I quickly calculated the number of hours he spent away from his desk, and came to the conclusion that a startling 70% of his day is taken up by non-negotiable meetings. True story! These meetings are often surprisingly vital and exciting and produce amazing ideas. But when 70% of Adam’s time is taken up by meetings, it means that he has 30% of his time leftover to execute on 100%. And while Adam is at the meetings, demands are piling up. Emails, voice mails and questions from his assistant ... you get the idea. He never quite feels complete or caught up no matter how many hours he logs in. It’s easy to understand why he feels out of whack much of the time.

See if you identify:

  1. Do you always know that there are many things you have to do today, but you find yourself fumbling from one to the other instead of having a plan of action?
  2. Do you feel that things are constantly flying in all directions, and you have no clue how you'll have the time to focus and prepare for your next meeting?
  3. Do you find that it is really hard to get back on track once you are interrupted or distracted from the task you are working on?
  4. Do you avoid making to-do lists because you don't know where or when to write them?
  5. Does managing everyday tasks - returning emails, calls, preparing for meetings - feel like it is going to push you over the edge some days?

If you do, there is a way out! We have to stop worrying about how overwhelmed we feel, how busy we are, and how we can’t seem to find the magic potion that will add an extra hour to our workday. We have to PAUSE and consider our priorities, our struggles, and ultimately, our potential. We have to admit that we are facing challenges, and we have to harness our own strengths to meet those challenges. It is each of our responsibility individually to do something about it. Our very life depends on it.

I am committed to helping people who feel just like you!

Please reach out for a free 10 minute consultation if you are ready to not live like this anymore.

There are solutions and simple strategies that really work! Ironic as it is, sometimes pain is the best motivator of all.

Have a productive day! Coach Nancy

ASK THE EXPERT: Are You Impulsive? Do you interrupt constantly? Practical Strategies That Actually Work, ADHD or Not!

Following are two case studies of clients I have worked with: their challenges and solutions. See which one you identify with more closely ... if at all. A common theme: I WANT to be more successful at work, but my impulsivity is really getting in the way these days. I am constantly at odds with my co-workers and routinely get sidetracked when we attempt to manage projects together. Help!

ASK THE EXPERT Are You Impulsive? Do you interrupt constantly? Here are some practical strategies that actually work, ADHD or not!

What do I do about being impulsive, interrupting constantly and getting sidetracked?

You are not alone! One of the hallmarks of adult ADHD is impulsivity which by definition is the lack of the brain's self-inhibiting function. In today's work environment, it is exceedingly necessary to be thorough, focused, organized and interpersonally skilled. The answer is to recognize your individual challenge, accept yourself and all that is good about you, and then decide what you are going to do about it. Ultimately, of course, the less impulsive you are, the better. Easier said than done sometimes for sure.

One great strategy is to hit the PAUSE button. Stop. Literally take a breath. Think through the issue and get your facts straight before jumping in impulsively; whether it be in a meeting or in a one-on-one conversation with a co-worker.

Venture Capitalist Jack's Personal Challenge: Jack was always talking before thinking things through thoroughly...like starting a journey without knowing the destination. As a result he occasionally took his co-workers on 'rabbit hole' routes of conversation; which was becoming increasingly more challenging as part of his job was to work collaboratively with his team on presentations. He would very quickly lose their attention as they were unable to identify which of the seven ideas he mentioned was truly the most important. He struggled constantly attempting to communicate his great ideas and was clueless as far as how to advocate for himself and get what he needed.

Jack's SOLUTION: Before going into an important meeting or conversation he would set aside ten minutes to stop and ask himself: "What do I want to achieve?" Once he could pinpoint his desired outcome (the destination) he was better able to outline the ideas and points that support the desired outcome (the path to the destination). Then, when in meetings and conversations he would have both clear mental notes (and a physical sheet of paper) to use as a guide.

The Strategy: Part of his new strategy to complete the cycle where he may have been impulsive was to pause after a meeting and think about what had happened. Occasionally he felt that he either hadn't understood others or (perhaps) hadn't communicated his own points well enough. He would make a couple of notes and then ask the person for clarification. He would say something like: "I was thinking about our meeting yesterday, and realize that I don't know that I was able to convey my idea/intention effectively." This opens the door to another conversation and a chance to communicate powerfully.

The Take-Away: Before you have an important conversation or go to a meeting, stop and ask yourself “What do I want to have happen as a result of having this conversation/meeting?” Once you are clear on what your goal is ( i.e. what you want to accomplish), you can then think about what you need to say and/or ask for in order to get what you want out of it. Aside from that, give yourself permission to go back, communicate and get clarification after the fact.

Attorney/Partner Anne's Personal Challenge: Anne would often get so excited about her own ideas and plans that she would frequently interrupt her co-workers when they were speaking. They felt she didn't value their contributions to the conversation ( which couldn't be farther from the truth) and would often get annoyed and aggravated with her. This was making her feel less than professional and paranoid sometimes.

Anne's SOLUTION: Reality is, as we said, Anne would get very excited to share her ideas and often wasn't aware that interrupting might be annoying to other people who are trying to speak to her.

We started by developing a bit of a script for her to use at the beginning of conversations or meetings with her coworkers as a way of advocating for herself: "I know that I have a tendency to interrupt, and it is never my intention to be rude. Reality is that I really want to hear what you have to say, and sometimes I have a hard time processing the information as quickly as I am hearing it." Anne has found that people are generally very responsive to this approach. Her working relationships began to improve as she was honest.

The Strategy: Additionally, she began making a conscious effort to allow other people to finish their sentences and ideas. She would watch their mouth and eyes until they finished speaking and then count to three (1 - 2 - 3) before she would speak. Simple solution for a potentially big and chronic problem.

The Take-Away: Make a conscious effort to let other people finish their sentences before you start speaking. Be a good listener, be honest and remember that most of the time you will get your chance to speak in the end.

Here is the question - do you see yourself in Jack or Anne? If so, there are solutions for you too.

Productivity coaching is a collaborative and ongoing partnership focused on YOU and your ability to achieve measurable and quantifiable results; by having the tools, structure and accountability you need to get unblocked, "unfrustrated," totally focused and on track.

Do contact me if you are interested in a free 10 minute strategy session and are seriously motivated to make changes, ready to make an investment in yourself and have a clear idea of what you want to get from coaching.

Have a productive day!

Warmly, Coach Nancy

Think You Might Be ADD? 6 QUESTIONS THAT MIGHT GIVE YOU A CLUE

A comprehensive study conducted at Harvard Medical School found that individuals screening positive on what they called the ASRSv1.1 ( Adult Self Report Scale Version 1.1 to be specific) had a 93% chance of actually having ADHD. Think You Might Be ADD? 6 QUESTIONS THAT MIGHT GIVE YOU A CLUE

As you may or may not know, there is no blood test or brain scan we can take to confirm a diagnosis of adult ADHD. It is based on chronic, pervasive and persistent behavioral challenges that exist both at home and at work.

I think that this screener is particularly interesting. Why? Because it is very simple.

6 Questions That Might Give a Clue You Have ADD:

(You need to answer with NEVER, RARELY, SOMETIMES, OFTEN, VERY OFTEN in terms of what best describes how you have felt and conducted yourself over the past 6 months).

  1. How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
  2. How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?
  3. How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
  4. When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
  5. How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit for a long time?
  6. How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?

So ... if (4) or more of your answers are a combination of SOMETIMES, OFTEN OR VERY OFTEN, it might indicate that your behaviors are consistent with adult ADHD and beneficial for you to talk with your healthcare provider about an evaluation.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

What we do know is that 4-5% of the US adult population (conservatively 12-15 million people) are ADHD and to date 80% of them are undiagnosed and untreated. Of course, ADD has become like a household word today...even sometimes a "joke." The deal is that it isn't necessarily about having a diagnosis; it is about dealing with the behavioral challenges around distraction, overwhelm, FOCUS, disorganization and once and for all, doing something about it if it bothers you.

No stigma necessary!

Have a productive day, and be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions.

I can help you with proven tools and strategies that really work once and for all.

Coach Nancy