Things Won’t Get Better Until You Do

secret 4Life – your life is not about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself. It’s about learning how to live the life you imagined for yourself. Are you happy being you? Would you rather be doing something else then what you are doing right now? The only person who can change your current situation is you. If you’re waiting for someone else to come along to improve your lot in life you are going to be waiting a very, very long time. Miracles are great, but they are so hard to come by. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. Life, your life, is a planned event.

What is getting in the way of you accomplishing those things that seem to be out of your reach? What skills will it take for you to realize your full potential? I believe we are born a certain style which influences how we communicate and interact with others, how we manage our time and deal with stress. And how we solve problems and resolve conflict. I also believe we aren’t born knowing what we need to know to accomplish those things that are most important to us. But I also believe we have the capacity to learn how. When you change the habit you change the result. All you have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another. And if you do it often enough – it will become you.

You can learn to manage your time more effectively, cope with the daily stressors in your life and deal with difficult people and challenging situations better. The only person getting in your way of accomplishing those things that are most important to you – is you. You just need to learn how to get out of your own way. It starts with you believing in you. It starts with you believing you can. Once you believe in yourself the rest will fall into line. I know I’m making this sound pretty simple. But it really is. We just make it seem impossible. If you can dream it you can do it. Success and being successful is a learned behaviour. It’s time you got busy and start doing what needs to be done. Nothing will get better until you do.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker or workshop facilitator who can inform and entertain on a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian today. He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

Lost in Translation

Positive Feeback“You cannot love a person into creativity, although you can avoid their dissatisfaction with the way you treat them” – Frederick Herzberg. Words are powerful. The words you choose and how you say them have the power to build people up or tear them down. Drawing attention to a person’s mistakes is not going to be received well. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t take “constructive criticism” personally. According to Collins Dictionary “construct” means to build while “criticism” means to pass judgement on someone. How can you build someone up while passing judgement on them?

You have a choice to make. You can either dwell on what they’ve done wrong or congratulate them on what they’ve done well – and what they need to do to improve. It can be as simple as replacing the word “but” with “and”. You can either dwell on the fact that they have made a mistake – or you can get past it by accepting the fact that everyone makes mistakes and move on from there. What is – is. What happened – happened. Change your mindset in a positive way by thinking about the mistakes people make as teachable moments. Use the opportunity to praise them for what they’ve done well and teach them what they need to do the next time , so they don’t keep repeating what went wrong.

Creating a teachable moment is an opportunity for both of you to grow. You’ll grow as a teacher and they’ll grow as a person by learning a new skill that will help them perform better in the future. The next time you have an opportunity to create a teachable moment use the sandwich technique. “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise” – Mary Kay Ash. It’s a great way to keep your emotions in check and to turn the situation into a positive experience for both of you. You don’t want to change them – you just want to change what went wrong.

Step One: Start the conversation off by saying something positive about them or what they’ve done. Or how they contribute to the overall success of the team, department, organization, etc.. Remember – You are not looking to change them – you just want to change what they are doing that’s not getting the results you are looking for.

Step Two: Let them know the negative impact their actions are having and what problems they are creating. Let them know you are there to help them succeed. Ask some good open-ended questions to drill down and find out why these mistakes are happening. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Get their input on what needs to be done to fix it. Agree on a plan of action. You need to get buy-in so be sure to include their ideas in the plan.

Step Three: Let them know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following up with them to make sure that the plan you’ve agreed on is getting the desired results. If not – you need to agree on a new plan. People do what you inspect not what you expect. Follow up, follow-up and then follow-up some more. You need to change the habit to change the result.

 Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or planning an in-house training session? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out what Brian can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

Pick Your Battles – Some Just Aren’t Worth Winning 2

Conflict Resolution 2Are you the type of person that has to be right all the time? The need to always be right must be sooooo exhausting. I’ve been there, done that, and have the tee-shirt to prove it. Trust me, I’m a recovering “Control Freak” so I know how tiring it can be. Perhaps it comes with age or experience, but I’ve come to realize that it’s a total waste of my time and energy to try to convince someone else that I’m right and they’re wrong. In most situations I chose not to go there now. Creative problem solving and conflict resolution starts and ends with you. You can decide if you want to be right or agree to disagree and move on.

Here are five things you can do to try to resolve conflict:

1 – Provide as much information as you can to make discussions productive rather than contentious. Lack of information, or not enough of the right information, could be the reason behind the conflict. If others understand the “why” they are more likely to agree with your decision.

2 – Ask for solutions. I never let anyone bring me a problem without offering a solution. If their solution sounds plausible – go with it and see what happens. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just plausible. Always try to create a win-win. You won because you got the end result you where looking for and they won because they got to do it their way.

3 – A sense of humor is a great way to defuse a difficult situation and get people to step back for a moment and realize – in the big scheme of things – it’s not worth getting upset over it.

4 – Do not force a consensus. If the plan fails you’ll be to blame. Get them involved in the planning. If they have a personal state in the process they are more likely to make it work. Remember – it doesn’t have to be just your way. All you should be concerned about are the end result.

5 – Be prepared to make a decision that you can live with. Realize that not everyone is going to agree with the decision you make. But don’t let that stop you from making a decision. Leadership is about making tough decisions  for the good of everyone involved. If leading was easy everyone would want to do it.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. May not be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics including communication, team building or dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian. He will work with you to insure your event is a success. http://briansmithpld.com

I Could Be Wrong But Maybe It’s Time To Thin The Herd

images (2)Forest Gump said it best – “Stupid is what stupid does”. Some say you can’t fix stupid. If that’s the case then maybe it’s time to thin the herd. There might be something to be said for the survival of the fittest. Now I’m not really advocating that we start rounding people up but you must admit that some people say and do the dumbest things. Their elevator isn’t going all the way to the top. If we were counting bricks they’d be a few short. I’m not talking about those that have a medical condition or are mentally challenged. I’m talking about people who are smart enough to know better. It’s time to start thinking people or put on a dunce cap and go sit in the corner. For most of us being stupid is a choice – so stop playing dumb.

 

Here’s a partial list of my pet peeves. They appear here in no particular order. Feel free to add yours to this list.

1 – People that state the obvious. (Excuse me do you work here?) I guess wearing a company uniform wasn’t a big enough clue for them.

2 – People that walk into a store and stop at the front entrance to have a conversation or look around – blocking everyone else from getting in or getting out.

3 – People that maintain the speed limit in the passing lane, oblivious to the miles of traffic behind them.

4 – Truck drivers passing other trucks on the highway. One driver is doing 60 – trying to pass a truck that’s doing 59 miles an hour.

5 – People who wait until the cashier has rung in all their purchases and bagged the items before they start looking for the money to pay for them.

6 – People who hold up the line looking for exact change to pay for their purchase – usually all in coins.

7 – Sales people who say “no problem” instead of “my pleasure” when I thank them for helping me. I know it’s not a problem – that’s why you’re there.

8 – People who haven’t figured out yet why popular fast food restaurants post their menu over top of the order taker. They wait until it’s their turn to order before looking over the board and deciding what they want.

9 – People who ask a question and then appear not to be interested in the answer. They seem to be paying attention to everyone else in the room but you.

10 – People who bring a cell phone onto the golf course and hold everyone else up while they take a call. (It usually rings in the middle of your back swing)

11 – People who carry on a cell phone conversation loud enough so everyone in the restaurant can hear.

12. People who haven’t figured out yet what turn signals are for or they know but decide not to use them.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you or someone you know looking for a speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics including communication, time management or dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com – You’ll be glad you did.