January 20, 2013
Recently, I’ve been working with a lot of organizations who are wrestling with major changes. One of the biggest challenges is learning to be credible in implementing the changes while also building, maintaining, or even in some cases, rebuilding trust. Trust is one of those things that’s difficult to establish, challenging to maintain, and nearly impossible to rebuild once lost. Sadly, we all blow it at times and our actions reduce our trustworthiness.
If you’ve ever wrestled with the dilemma of reestablishing lost trust, consider the following 5 steps to begin rebuilding:
- Be Competent. Perform your duties and obligations competently. Individuals should continuously strive to demonstrate proficiency in carrying out their obligations. As others contemplate how much to trust you, they will assess your qualifications and ability to perform.
- Be Consistent and Predictable. We can enhance the degree to which others will regard us as trustworthy when we behave in consistent and predictable ways. Every effort should be made to ensure that our words are congruent with our subsequent actions and that we honor pledged commitments. Our integrity is reinforced to the extent that we Do What We Say We Will Do.
- Be a Great Communicator. We can improve trust by improving our communication. The message we give should be accurate and understandable – at face value and “between the lines” to all in our department. This helps the other party calculate our trustworthiness accurately, because we are willing to act transparently and to be monitored for compliance. It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
- Be a Person of Action, Not Just Words. Trust often needs to be given for it to be returned. There is symbolic value in soliciting input and sharing decision control with others Likewise, when such control is hoarded and others feel that they are not trusted (such as with monitoring and surveillance systems), they may be more likely to act out against this with behaviors that reinforce a distrustful image.
- Be Concerned and Care for Others. People are emotional beings. They must be managed on an emotional level too. The trust others have in you will grow when you show sensitivity to their needs, desires, and interests. Acting in a way that respects and protects other people, and refraining from engaging in self-interested pursuits to the detriment of others will also contribute greatly to the trust others place in you. When you violate someone’s trust, they deem that you are acting in your own self-interest. Accordingly, their attention will be diverted to their own self-interest and self-preservation. Learn to listen and re-frame statements to gather more information.
So that’s it, simple, but not simplistic. If you’re facing a situation where trust is lost, don’t sit there like a dummy and hope it improves! Get busy and work to rebuild it! Not easy, but certainly worth the effort.
October 22, 2012
Last week I had the road trip from hell. Left on Sunday and flew to California – way out in the sticks – a place called Grass Valley.
Spent Monday through Wednesday there and then drove to the San Francisco Airport to catch a red-eye flight to Hartford via Detroit. I had to deliver another workshop on Thursday morning so I was on a very tight schedule. It all turned out just fine and I made my connections, but I learned something about life in First Class.
My assistant Amy was able to talk my client into letting me fly that red-eye in First Class because #1 they wouldn’t have to spring for a hotel room for me and #2, my arthritic hip wouldn’t survive that long sitting in the middle seat on an overnight flight. Since I normally fly Southwest Airlines everywhere, I have no loyalty points on other airlines which means I’m usually relegated to Coach.
I’ve always heard that the people who fly in First Class are a nicer grade of people. Some flight attendants have admitted this to me. Now I know why.
From the moment I stepped into the First Class cabin, I was greeted with a big smile and friendly greeting. My butt barely hit the seat and I was offered a drink, pillow, and blanket. The flight attendant offered to hang up my coat. I was treated like royalty. After all that, how could you be anything BUT nice to the flight attendant. I’m sure they all though I was a nice guy too. But as the REST of the passengers boarded, I saw them hurriedly rushed to the back of the plane. No offers of pillow or a whole lot of smiles. For some reason, those Coach passengers seemed really grumpy and mean. I wonder why?
The longer I live, the more I realize that we all get back what we first give. We align very nicely with the Pygmalion Effect, the phenomenon that happens when others are led to believe that we are nice, intelligent people. In 1968, educators Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson studied the Pygmalion Effect in the classroom. Their study showed that if teachers were led to expect enhanced performance from some children, then the children did indeed show that enhancement. The purpose of the experiment was to support the hypothesis that reality can be influenced by the expectations of others. Rosenthal found that biased expectancies can essentially affect reality and create self-fulfilling prophecies as a result.
What does this mean for us? Think about the following:
- You give a passenger friendly service and they reciprocate with a kind demeanor.
- You give a passenger “attitude” and they respond back with “attitude”
- As managers we treat our direct reports with empathy and respect and they respond with great performance.
- We see our direct reports and lazy and disengaged and they fulfill our low expectations.
- Our kids are told they are important and talented and they take on bigger challenges and become successful.
- You treat your kids like they’re a failure and they simply become that self-fulfilling prophecy.
Each day all of us have opportunities to treat people and situations with optimism and respect. I firmly believe that we get back what we give. This week, think about how you see the people around you? Maybe this is the week nice guys and gals should start finishing first.
What do you think?
October 1, 2012
Any headline offering advice about finding a job in a tough economy mentions networking as the best way to find a job.
Career coaches, speakers, consultants and other experts all tout the value of networking.
I’m in total agreement. Being a leader means you’re the person who can get things AND get things done. The best way to be effective as a leader? Networking of course.
And yet, nobody ever tells you HOW to do it!
That’s where this post comes in. Here are the three best ways to become a great networker.
You can also view my video on this topic HERE.
3 Strategies to Be a Better Networker
1. Realize its value
Networking is the only credible way to find a job in this economy. Employers are inundated with resumes. Most will take a referral from a network over an unsolicited resume any time. People trust the word of a trusted source.
2. Know how to do it
Use modern tools
LinkedIn is the “Facebook” for professional people. It’s a must if you want to be an effective network but pay attention to the following:
- Keep your profile current/updated
- Use a current professional photo
- Participate in discussions
- Spend time each day looking for “People You May Know”
Blogs are a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. The key is to blog on meaningful topics and develop relevant content to your area of expertise. Opinions are fine, just be sure to back them up with data and facts.
Networking is something you do all the time, not just when you need something. Part of building rapport with your network is to feed it with information. Troll the web daily for relevant articles on major sites that some of your contacts will find interesting. As an added touch, use HootSuite to queue up articles to ping your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn connections.
Use Old-School tools
Face to Face
When attending meetings and events, introduce yourself and rather than talk about yourself, ask “How can I help you?” Ditch the “elevator speech” and replace with dialog. Make it all about them, not about you. If you have business cards, then master the art of the card exchange. Don’t shove yours in their face, but ask permission to have their card.
Phone – Yes most smartphones contain a feature that enables you to actually make a phone call to someone. Try it rather than a text or email and see what happens. E-mail, letters, and postcards work well too. Find an excuse to reach out reach out to people by recognizing major events and accomplishments.
Read up on it
Here are some of the best books I’ve found to give you the knowledge and skills around networking:
- Networking is a Contact Sport – Joe Sweeney
- Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi
- Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others – Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas
3. Make it a priority
Adopt the 10/15 program which means sending 10 pieces of correspondence and making 15 phone calls to “ping” your network.
Networking is difficult which is why so few people do it consistently or well. Considering it’s the key to success in business and in job hunting, you can’t afford NOT to do it. Try out some of these tips and let me know how it works for you!
August 27, 2012
Book #21 of 52
Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides.
Who Should Read This Book
This is a book that will appeal to management development and organizational development consultants. It may not appeal to Lencioni’s typical audiences as it’s not written in fable format.
My Final Thoughts
Pretty good book. Certainly some good suggestions for planning meetings and strategy in organizations.
June 4, 2012
Book #14 of 52
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking written by Susan Cain is a book that caught my eye in an airport book store. I’m a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) practitioner so I was immediately intrigued.
Cain is an introvert and writes this book from her own personal experience both in her career and also as a researcher (even going so far as to sign up for a Tony Robbins seminar). She demonstrates that while introverts aren’t necessarily comfortable mixing it up in an extraverted world, they in fact have much to offer.
Who Should Read This Book
This book is great for any MBTI practitioners and for anyone who is introverted or is extroverted and shares a life with introverts.
My Final Thoughts
This is a great, powerful book. After reading it, I realized that while I’m usually identified in my MBTI as an extravert, in fact, I’m an introvert that has been practicing the Free Trait Theory for the past 11 years. It feels good to be in my own skin now!
April 16, 2012
Friday night I got home late from a business trip and was met instantly by my 13-year-old daughter who had a proposition for me: Could I get her tickets to see her favorite band One Direction? Now I’ve only heard one song by this band but according to Allison, they are absolutely the best. She has photos of them and tells me all sorts of important stuff, like which one of the members is left-handed and which are right handed.
Since the special VIP tickets were $250.00 each and included a backstage pass, that was the preferred option, however for just $40.00 each she could still get good seats. I gave her the standard “let me think about it” response to which she reminded me that tickets went on sale Saturday morning at 10AM and would sell out fast.
Saturday morning she came downstairs early and reminded me that this I needed to decide soon since 10AM was just a few hours away. Since she knew I wanted to go to the gym and had some errands to run, she said she was perfectly willing to be online at 10 sharp with my credit card so that I wouldn’t have to put my day on hold. Oh, did I mention that I would have to accompany her to see One Direction? So that meant we needed two tickets. I finally agreed. She asked me if I was agreeing to the $250.00 VIP tickets or the standard $40.00 ones. It goes without saying that the $250.00 passes were out of the question but she was still grateful. She texted me at 10:05 to tell me we got the tickets.
How did she pull it off? Assertiveness and persistence.
Yes, she’s my daughter and yes my daughters know how to get me to do pretty much whatever they want, but she did it this time like a pro.
What’s the opposite of assertiveness and persistence? Aggressiveness and demanding. One works and the other doesn’t. Do one and you’ll get taken seriously, do the other and you’ll be laughed at.
Assertiveness is stating what you want in a respectful, but no-nonsense tone. Assertiveness doesn’t demand, it states strongly. Aggressiveness demands emotionally with an implied threat if demands aren’t met. It certainly works, but usually with damage done. Be aggressive long enough and you’ll be avoided at all cost.
Persistence is the act of sticking with a request by using different approaches to achieve the desired end-state. There is a fine balance between persistence and annoyance. Persistence is a series of gentle reminders. Done with the right tone and variety, they will achieve their goal. Demanding has the subtlety of a jackhammer. It often works (just as you’d do most anything to shut the noise of a jackhammer off) but results are short-lived and pretty much guarantees that it’s a one-time victory.
People who are aggressive and demanding get what they want, but will never be taken seriously. Using a tactful mix of assertiveness and persistence is the strategy of any successful salesperson or business person. The tools take less emotion, use less fear, and build up confidence. Learned early enough, they are your ticket to success in school, relationships, and in the beginning stages of work life. Applied consistently, they are the building blocks of successful careers. Ultimately, they’ll send the message that your mature and should be taken seriously. I’ve used them to win business, build networks, and get important people to take my calls and meeting requests.
So I’m going to see One Direction, Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and the rest of the lads. The assertiveness and persistence won. But rest assured it doesn’t work with me every time. I turned down her lengthy proposal (with PowerPoint presentation) for an iPhone a few months ago. I don’t say “yes” all the time!
What will you do this week to be more assertive and persistent?
March 27, 2012
The more I travel, the more I realize that in many cases, a lot of folks don’t really carry a lot of credibility. With that in mind, I thought I’d offer up some suggestions on how to be taken seriously. This might be helpful advice if you’re trying to influence someone and might be very beneficial to young people who are trying to find their place in the world. Since the book I just read on The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs suggests using groups of three, I’ll do these over a few weeks, just three at a time.
- Be Current on Current Events. I know most folks don’t care much for the news. Frankly, with all of the UNFAIR and UNBALANCED views of ALL TV news (yes, this includes FOX news), I can’t blame them. Regardless, having a knowledge of current events gives you something to reference when you talk to people. If you read my post on 5 Great Ways to Start Your Day, you know I recommend spending some time each day reading the news. When teaching workshops, I always try to tie in a current event and relate it to the topic. It really gives whatever you do a very fresh look.
- Be Reliable. More and more, I’m impressed with people, events, and services that actually start on time. When someone I book an appointment with shows up on time, it’s more of the anomaly and not the norm. I’m typically shocked when a flight I’m booked on actually leaves on time. Mediocrity seems to be the standard and anything slightly above seems amazing. To be taken seriously, be EARLY and ready to go at the appointed time. I guarantee you’ll make a great impression.
- Be Assertive. Assertive is not to be confused with aggressive. Assertive means that you take the lead in any type of interaction. Introduce yourself rather than wait to be introduced. Offer a firm handshake instead of accepting one. Ask others their name and ask them questions about what they do rather than ask for a favor first. Be an extravert in an introverted world and you’ll be taken seriously. On another note though, if you’re already assertive, be prepared to tone it down if you typically intimidate and annoy others. Assertiveness needs to be practiced with the right amount of balance.
So that’s the first three. Work on these and you’ll have a much better chance of being taken seriously. The standards, sadly, are pretty low. It won’t take much to stand out in a positive way.
March 21, 2012
Book #9 of 52
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience written by Carmine Gallo was a book that caught my attention while browsing at a Barnes & Noble bookstore late last year.
After thumbing through it, I put it on my reading list and purchased it on my Kindle. I do quite a few presentations and thought this would give me some new techniques. The book did not disappoint.
Gallo spends most of his time debriefing Steve Jobs’ presentations, outlining his techniques. He also talks about the amount of preparation that goes into them. Some of the best lessons learned were:
- Use slides sparingly and even then, with few words and more graphics. The slides should enhance what you say, not be the focal point.
- Keep to the “10 Minute Rule” which means talk for no more than 10 minutes, then shift to a video, introduce a new speaker, use a prop, etc. According to Gallo, the brain can only digest about 10 minutes worth of information before tuning out. Keep the audience engaged.
- Hold to the “Rule of Three” meaning that your presentation should only give three principles. People have an easier time remember “just three things.”
- Use Twitter-friendly headlines. Keep it to 140 characters and keep the main points simple but also buzz-word friendly. It lets the press introduce your stuff just the way you want the customers to see it.
Who Should Read This Book
This is a good book if you do a lot of presentations and have important products or services to promote. It won’t make a novice speaker less nervous but will help anyone prepare better and hopefully stay away from “Death by PowerPoint” style presentations.
My Final Thoughts
I loved everything about this book except where Gallo interjects his own client success stories (He coaches speakers). I don’t really care what he does, only what Jobs does. That part of the book is the best.
March 19, 2012
Last Friday night I was surfing the channels looking for something interesting to watch on TV. My favorite 8PM show Kitchen Nightmares was a rerun (they now refer to these as “encore presentations”) and March Madness preempted the CBS shows I enjoy (I must be the only man in America that absolutely detests basketball) so I tuned into ABC to watch Shark Tank.
If you’ve never seen the show before, entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a group of wealthy business people hoping to trade a small percentage of equity in their company for some cash. Ideas range from Rent-A-Granny services to cake mix specially formulated for dogs. Most of the time the ideas are rejected but some do get interest and cash from the “sharks.”
While most of us may never pitch ideas to millionaire “sharks” like the contestants do, we’ll all, at some point, have to get support for an idea we have. In that case, the best practices from successful contestants on Shark Tank might just work for us too. Here are the best practices I’ve observed.
Make sure your idea solves a current problem or decreases someone’s “pain.” The most attractive ideas that are pitched on Shark Tank solve a current annoying problem (untrustworthy babysitters, unsavory wine, unhealthy dog treats, sagging skin, difficulty learning to play an instrument, etc.) If your idea at work solves a nagging, chronic problem either now or in the near future, you have a good chance of getting it taken seriously.
Make sure your idea has an audience or a customer. The ideas that get funded on the show prove to have enough potential to serve a current customer base or attract a new one. If you’re pitching an idea at work, make sure it enhances what’s already working and shows potential to expand to a new audience.
Make sure you’re credible. The contestants on Shark Tank are grilled with questions that demand instant answers based on research. The ones who fail to get funded typically hem-haw on the answers or appear to be flat-out lying. If you’ve never proven your credibility at work by actually mastering your regular job or by behaving poorly, don’t expect anyone to take your idea seriously. Be sure to do your homework and maybe even role-play answering potential, tough questions.
Make sure you’re enthusiastic. Ultimately, the contestants on Shark Tank have to sell. The most successful salespeople are enthusiastic about their product. After all, who would invest in something that customers wouldn’t be excited to buy? If the creator’s not excited, it’s not going excite a customer, so the investor will bow out too. Take a look at your idea. If you aren’t genuinely excited, either have someone else pitch it or table your idea for another day.
I know much of the drama on Shark Tank is scripted but it’s all for real when you pitch your idea. The techniques for success on the show will work for you too. I’ve used similar ones when I’ve pitched to a client or promoted to a potential partner. This week, identify your next big idea and take it to your own Shark Tank!
January 17, 2012
Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing it written by Peggy Klaus is a book that I think was given to me a few years ago from the contractor I was working with teaching a career transition course but never read.
The premise of the book is that while people say many Americans are arrogant and like to talk about themselves, more people are too timid to share anything about their accomplishments.
Peggy Klaus has a very interesting background that took her from working in Hollywood in the entertainment business to now working as a business coaching helping people talk more effectively about themselves. Bragging, but not the boastful kind of bragging.
Some of the key learning I took away were:
- It’s better to brag by telling stories to get your audience’s attention
- Never pass up an opportunity to tell your story
- Self-deprecation is fine to a point
- Every time you have human contact is an opportunity to brag
- Have a nice “brag bag” of stories and accomplishments you can use.
Who Should Read This Book?
This is a great book that seems at first to be written for women, but has information that will help anyone. If you’re looking for a job and want to better answer the question “tell me a little bit about yourself” then this is a must-read.
My Final Thoughts
This was a good and entertaining book. I’ll be able to use it as I coach individuals through career transition. I’ll certainly be thinking of better ways to brag about myself as a result of reading this book.