As a leader, you have three basic responsibilities to your people — if you get them right and stick to only these three, you will be hitting home runs all season long.
You work hard and so does your team. Sometimes, a mis-alignment of communication, interpretation, or expectations occurs. It happens. It’s not a bad thing even if it happens once in awhile. But when it becomes a frequent occurrence, you begin to question your team’s ability to execute or your ability to communicate.
Every year, I go back and track my website analytics to uncover what articles really resonated with my readers. Here are my top ten for 2014 to get you ready for 2015!
Acknowledge and feel gratitude for all the special things in your life.
Last night, I was invited to attend a gala event at the prominent investment firm in NYC. Here are some key techniques that I used to make the night a fruitful and productive one.
Lately, I’ve been reading about the healthy aspects of standing desks and learned about all the attributes of standing: better posture, more active, easy to reach items, etc.
I grew up with Jack LaLanne. I used to watch him every morning on TV. Jack taught me a lot of things about life — especially to stay positive all the time.
Some Shiny Objects are good. Some are bad. Let’s talk about the BAD Shiny Objects.
Here are my top 30 hacks to make you a better leader.
10a. You’re Not Charging Enough For Your Services - Part One
10b. How To Charge More For Your Services. - Part Two
I received a huge response from readers who requested a number of techniques to help them raise their pricing. It became a two-part article. Enjoy!
If you truly want to change your life, career, or business this year. Check out my complimentary Test Drive.
It's quite simple - unfortunately, there are many critics, books, and know-it-all's out there trying to 'complexify' (my word) the basic responsibilities of a CEO or C-Level executive.
Good To Great. An incredible book by Jim Collins — relates how certain companies overcame their obstacles and pushed themselves from being just good companies to the stars of their industry. How they made the leap, what they did, and what they didn't do. How can you make the leadership leap with your team and go from just being a good leader (and that isn't bad at all) to a great leader? Here are some basic qualities most leaders use and how to kick each one up a notch to great:
Shhh. It's a secret. Don't tell anyone.
If you pare down your job or business — and take away all the extraneous stuff you do — the most important part is COMMUNICATION. Simple, two-way and CLEAR communication. I give you information and I get your response. You tell me to do something and I tell you when I can get it done. I explain the merits of my products and services and you buy. And on and on and on.
Here's the simple fact — it's not as easy as it looks. In fact, some people tend to screw it up most of the time and wonder why they are being listened to or why their people or clients are not doing what they've been told. Do you find yourself saying:
- "They just aren't listening!"
- "Why are my clients checking out?"
- "Why do I tell my team one thing and they do another?"
If you catch yourself saying these and other choice phrases — you might need to tighten up your communication style.
Communication is a very complex process. When you communicate, you need to keep a sharp eye on the person you are communicating to. Why? There are so many signals where you need to modulate your communication to ensure they are understanding what you're saying.
Communication is made up of two competing spheres:
- Facts & Information (F&I) - this is the 'what' of the conversation. And usually where you do a good job of transmitting.
- Emotions & Feelings (E&F) - this is the 'why' of the conversation. And usually where you do a bad job of transmitting.
To communicate effectively, you need to better balance the two. Most of the time, we spend 80-90% of our efforts in F&I and 10-20% in E&F. Unfortunately, in certain situations, you need to increase your E&F — but you don't — and this is where communication breaks down.
Why does this happen? Because communicating facts and information are easy — you just blabber away. Emotions and feelings take a certain amount of restrain — you have to ask questions, listen, and react to the other person's feelings and emotions. And that's hard for most people. It's the EQ (emotional quotient) of the conversation.
The bottom line — if you take the E&F into account and speak to it — your communication success will increase exponentially.
But how do you bridge that gap? Three steps:
1. Bring Them In.
Bring them into the conversation. If you find you are doing all or most of the talking, STOP. Start asking them questions, get their side of the conversation, issue, or situation. Then paraphrase what they said to ensure you are listening correctly, and then ask more questions. We tend to blabber on without a care about the person we are speaking with. One of my favorite phrases to use is "Tell Me More". If that fails . . .
2. Ask Them A Permission Question.
Pause and then ask one of these permission questions:
- May I offer a suggestion . . . ?
- Can we further explore . . . ?
- Would it be alright if . . . ?
- With your permission, can we . . . ?
These permission questions immediately stop the conversation, reverse it, and allow you to better understand what's going on in the head of the person you're speaking with. If that fails . . .
3. Tell Them A Story.
One of the best ways to bridge the gap between Facts & Information and Emotions & Feelings is to tell a related story, example or scenario. It adds weight to the conversation and allows the person to visualize and mentally illustrate what you're talking about.
Each of these steps allows the speaker — YOU — to better communicate, bring the client or team member into the conversation, and hopefully deliver better, faster and more clear communication to whatever you do.
The secret prescription to success is no longer a secret.
Don't waste people's time.
In Napoleon Hill's bestselling book, Think & Grow Rich, he introduces a practice called The Master Mind Group. As an executive who wants to succeed, you should regularly assemble a grouping of professionals who will help you learn, understand and grow.
Last week, I covered why communication is so important to business. Speaking with your clients, team, peers and boss are all critical to your success and are usually the nexus of problems when things go awry. See Part One here. If you break down the structure of communication, it really is the transmission of information. You say something, I respond. I say something, you respond.
It's a 'Give & Take' relationship, but sometimes the signal lines can be bad. The wires are compromised. Emotions get in the way.
And this can happen in a millisecond. It's probably happened to you — you are speaking with someone and suddenly — they shut down, they get an angry look on their face, or they bite back with venom. It's all happened to all of us — we chose the wrong word, or focused on the wrong example — and BAM! We get hit right in the nose. And it hurts.
Especially when communicating information. When selling to a prospect, instructing a team member, or speaking with a superior, one needs to be SO careful — here is the architecture of the conversation.
On one end is IDU — I Don't Understand. On the other is YDU — You Don't Understand.
IDU is the state where the person begins to shut down because you are speaking about a subject they don't know or understand. You are talking OVER their head. When it happens, the person starts to feel inferior or incompetent and they shut down.
YDU is the state where the person begins to get angry because YOU don't know or understand their situation. You are talking PAST them. When it happens, the person starts to feel angry or contempt for you — they begin to interrupt or sit and stew with anger.
IDU is on one end of the spectrum and YDU is on the other end. Your job is to remain in the middle with your communication, giving them info while ensuring you don't venture in IDU or YDU territory.
And the way to ensure this doesn't happen is to:
- Watch for physical signals. They might start looking away or looking angry or impatient. They might not respond immediately or come back with a response that sounds frustrated or angry. On the phone, listen for typing or clicking — they are not listening, they are multi-tasking.
- Ask questions along the way. Like: "Are you with me so far?" or "Am I speaking too quickly?" or " Do you want me to review any aspect of what I just covered?" or "Do you know this already?" This gives the receiver a chance to better understand the information and will quickly take you out of the IDU/YDU area.
- Paraphrase their response. When they do respond, paraphrase what you just heard. This will quickly take you out of the YDU end of the spectrum.
Communication is so critical for your success — make sure it is TWO-WAY!
Okay — the title might be a little misleading. If you just robbed a bank and are evading the authorities, this post will probably not work for you (Sorry). But for most business and career problems — this will do just fine.
It happened to you again. It's happened to me. It's happened to all of us at one time or another. We blame other people, circumstances, luck, your parents, your family, and ultimately the finger always points back at YOU.
Only you can change your situation. But we sometimes are afraid of what might happen. We start making up elaborate stories about what 'will' happen. We get caught up with a lack of inspiration, confidence, focus, energy, and my favorite persistence. How don't you get derailed?
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
I get a lot of business cues from watching Mad Men, a tv series based in an ad agency in the 1960's. During the last episode, the main character, Don Draper is frustrated at the firm's new win — Jaguar and Dunlop Tires. He states, " These are piddly-little companies — I want Chevy and Firestone. Forget Lucky Strike, I want Dow Chemical." His partner instantly retorts back, "This is the old Don Draper, I've missed him." And subsequently makes the Dow Chemical meeting happen.
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
Right now — what's the one thing you would do to make your career, your job, your business BETTER?
Who would you call? What would you do? What can you affect?
Here's the secret: Just Do It. Make It Happen.
Wonder why you don't get certain things accomplished? Why you hit the same obstacles every time?
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Which one is your favorite?
It's hard to say NO.
"All coaching is, is taking a player where he can't take himself." - Bill McCartney When executives coach, they commonly make the mistake of downplaying their role as the boss. Confusion occurs with the associate and coaching fails.
To be clear, a boss is the one who holds people accountable for results. A coach helps people increase their skills to achieve the results.