Anna Soo Wildermuth

Welcome to Personal Images, Inc.!

Here I'll give you up to date tips on developing your personal and professional image to ensure your first impression will be your best impression. Also I will blog about current image and communication blunders. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments, and stay updated by subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting my blog. – Anna

Change One Thing is a superb book that gives excellent advice to help jumpstart your engine." Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Archive: Leadership

Holiday career destroyers

voiceA potential landmine during the season of cheer is the company or client holiday party. This is a time meant to build relationships not destroy or put them on life support.

It is a time not to drink or talk too much. Always remember to smile and refrain from discussing politics or religion. Avoid pouring your heart out or telling secrets to your boss or a colleague. Just build relationships.

Letting go of a bad boss

haircut disasterGetting over a bad boss is difficult. A bad situation, managed poorly by a toxic boss, can also be a good learning opportunity to help raise awareness and increase sensitivity during future strained situations.

Understanding our communication style

coaching 2We all have very individualized thinking and communicating processes. In everyday situations, we manage to engage in pleasantries. However, it is in those difficult conversations that we go to our natural internal communication style.

It is critical to know what your style is so it can be effective and not work against us. A way to know your communication style is to mentally keep a log of when stress makes an appearance because that indicates the end of effective communications.

The origin of resilience

24Past studies suggest individuals that grew up in difficult environment are more likely to be resilient in the journey of life. Oprah is one of the examples frequently mentioned. Another critical component is perseverance. Never giving up, using your failures as a learning example and preparing for the next time a similar situation arises will help you be successful in tough circumstances.

How to give constructive feedback

a winnerUsing the three to one rule will help you give constructive, inclusive feedback. Feedback must always be given in private unless agreed upon in a group setting. Feedback is never intrusive and is only given with the intent of future growth and forward movement.

The three to one rule works by starting with three things the person does well and one item they can do better. This approach softens the criticism and empowers the giver and receiver of the feedback.

How to give a reality check

1206574733930851359Ryan_Taylor_Green_Tick_svg_medTo ensure a successful event, a sound foundation in reality is needed to apply to these key components:

• Assigning the right people in the roles
• Creating a realistic timeline
• Establishing accountability by setting due dates
• Scheduling status meetings

Properly handling these components will result in a successfully completed project.

Failure is an option for success

haircut disasterI recently heard Seth Godin give a talk about “Engagement – Do the Work You Love”. One of the elements of the talk stressed the importance of failure and the lessons learned from it. As we begin to grow and become more proficient in a subject, I believe we continue to strive for success and we work diligently to not fail. What that occurs, I think our growth ceases.

Folks I work with try and learn from situations that did not work out. An important failure I had early in my career was that my son told me to get out when making a pitch that suddenly heads south. I did not follow his advice.

In my presentation (the RFP was 50 pages), the interview was scheduled with two folks. Instead it turned out to be a team of five! I was terrible but instead of getting out of the interview, I forged ahead with my struggling presentation. It took me a year to get over it.

A few years later, I was asked by another company to put on a year program for 300 with 30 at a time in one day. I went into the interview with five people, performed well and won the project. This first failure was painful but it was the lesson that keeps giving.

How to disagree – gracefully

award cup.magesDisagreements are normal when working on a project, vision or strategy. I have always felt a successful end game needs to have different points of view to achieve a positive outcome. Now, that does not mean to always handle disagreements with kid gloves or bare fists. The main goal is to focus on the result. Four key items to remember are:

• Respect the person or persons
• Stay with the facts
• Honor the opposing side
• Leave the door open to revisit

Asking the question for clarity

26447en_USI_QuestionMarkRecently, a client suggested that asking questions shows ignorance.  Smart people ask questions for clarity and to connect to the issue. I like starting the question with a how or a what. The why question only works when you are establishing a reason for the issue. The challenge with beginning with why is that the conversation could go down a rabbit hole or the weeds which may be unproductive.

Lessons from successful folks

targetA recent Chicago Tribune business section piece about critical lessons from successful entrepreneurs brought to mind how relevant the lessons also are for everyone working for an organization. These are the lessons:

• Persistence – Rejection is Normal – Lessons Learned – Recovery is Necessary – Never Give Up.
This reminds me of my first rejection. It took a year for the nightmares to stop but it still stands as a good lesson learned. Now when I get rejected on a project I do not take it personally but rather as a business situation.

• Think Long Term – What is your vision and what are you installing to keep it in the forefront? Add a new skill to keep it moving forward or review what is needed to ensure you are headed in the right direction.

• Take Risks with Growth in Mind – Take on a new project with a new dimension to expand your brand. Exposure is necessary for growth.

• Stay True to Your Core Brand – What is that you stand for? What are you doing to help it grow in a direction of expansion not dilution. Work on projects that not only enhance your core brand but bring a new critical element to it.