How to Build a Relationship With Just About Anyone

Conflict Resolution 2Practice the 3 R’s – to establish trust and build relationships with the people you work with and interact with. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Yuck – what a dink?”. (I don’t mean Double Income No Kids). There is just something about them that you don’t like. For what ever reason they rub you the wrong way. The truth of the matter is sometimes you have to work with – or interact with – people you don’t like. Even if you don’t like them – you still need to find a way to work with them. I have a solution for you. Think of someone who you work with that for what ever reason, you are having difficulty getting along with them. I want you to try this little experiment and see if it helps repair that relationship or a least make it bearable. I call it the 3 Rs to building relationships and establishing mutual trust with just about everyone and anyone.

Rapport: Start a conversation and find out something about them that you can talk about. What are their hobbies? Do they have children, play sports or read books? What do they love to do in their spare time? You can’t build a relationship with anyone that you haven’t established a rapport with first. Get them talking about themselves or what they love to do, and you are on your way to the next step. You are on your way to likeability.

Relationship: People like to hang around with, and interact with people they like. The more conversations you can have with that person or persons, the more likely it is that you are breaking down those barriers and are becoming more likable. Soft-skills – the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others is a necessary skill in building relationships. Building a relationship is key to getting along with people – even the ones you don’t like.

Respect:  You don’t respect anyone you haven’t built a relationship with first. Out of a relationship comes mutual respect. You might not agree with everything they have said or done – but because you have built a relationship with them, you will respect the fact that they have a right to their own opinion and a right to live their lives as they see fit. We tend to agree to disagree with people we respect.

If you have navigated the three-step process successfully you will be able to establish trust in your relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You never trust anyone you don’t respect first. As friends, parents, managers, leaders, and coaches sometimes you need people to take a leap of faith. Sometimes you don’t have all the answers and need them to trust you. If you have established mutual respect in your relationships, then they will trust you. They will take that leap of faith knowing that you would never set them up for failure. They’ll know you have their best interest in mind.

Copyright (c) 2017. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Suck It Up Butter Cup and Keep Moving Forward

Loser 1Nothing ever goes exactly the way it’s planned, so get over it. It’s called life – and life is full of surprises. This thing we call life is a work in progress. There will always be mountains to climb, valleys to trudge through and a number of detours to navigate around along the way. You can’t change what was – so there’s no sense wasting your valuable time or energy in trying to do something that can’t be done. If you aren’t happy with the hand you’ve been dealt , then it’s time to suck it up butter cup and keep moving forward. You don’t have to be held hostage by your past if you cut the chains that are you holding you back and chart a new course.

#Worth Remembering … Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

The only person getting in your way, of you truly being happy and leading the kind of life you envisioned for yourself – is you. Once you decide to make a change in your life, you’re already half way there. Once you decide you want more out of life – you will find a way. You already have what it takes to be the champion of your life. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. You don’t need any other stimulus to help you accomplish your goals. All you need is to believe in yourself, that you are capable of doing what ever you set out to do. All you have to do is believe.

#Worth Remembering … Don’t let the concept of change scare you as much as the prospect of remaining unhappy. – Timber Hawkeye

Take a moment and write down three (3) things you’d like to change. Three things that you believe would make you truly happy. Take a look at the three things you’ve written down and decide which one is most important to you. Which one will give you the most satisfaction? I want you to write it out in big bold letters and post it on your bathroom mirror. I want you to read it out loud every morning while you are getting ready to take on the day. Do something every day, no matter how small, that will help you reach that goal. You will stumble – everyone does. You will get down on yourself because things aren’t moving as quickly as you hoped. That’s life’s way of testing you, to make sure it’s what you really want to do. Hang in there. Be patient and just keep plodding along. You will eventually make the kinds of changes necessary to live the life you envisioned for yourself.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith – #Reformed Control Freak. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Do You Have What It Takes?

entrepreneurshipAre you thinking of taking the big plunge and going into business for yourself? Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? I was recently contacted by a first year business student who had to go out and interview three entrepreneurs as part of a class assignment. He had to ask them three questions. If you are looking to go into business for yourself I thought you might be interested in my answers. I have had the good fortune of being self-employed since 1998. Starting and running your own small business is not for the faint of heart. Matter of fact – in a recent Industry Canada study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business, York University and Rebecca Reuber, Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses won’t survive longer than two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of the reasons for those failures are out of your control, but most are because of the bad decisions you will make. Lack of management or financial skills are in the top five.

Here are my answers to his three questions. I hope it will give you some valuable insight into what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur.

1 – What made you decide to own your own small business? I had managed other people’s businesses for a number of years, with the idea that I wanted to own and operate my own small business some day. Being my own boss appealed to me. It proved to be a great training ground for me. I got to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The best part was I got to make those mistakes on someone else’s dime. I recommend that to anyone looking to start their own small business. Work for someone else until you’ve learned enough to start your own.

2 – What are five key characteristics that you feel are important to have to be a successful entrepreneur? I believe there are a number of key characteristics you need to be successful. Some you will do well, others you will need to learn. Here are my top five. I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  • Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things you don’t like to do. We tend to spend our time on things that we enjoy doing or that we are good at. Be disciplined enough to complete your “A” item before you work on your “B” or “C”.
  • Open Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could hurt you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and be smart enough to take it. That’s how we learn.
  • Empathetic: Be able to see things from another person’s point of view. People make mistakes. The important thing is how you react to them.
  • Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both by the written word and verbally, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  • Goal Setting: Being successful is a planned event. Put a plan together to accomplish your goals. Great plans start with the end in mind. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan, if it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal.

3 –  If you could start your business over again, what one thing would you do differently? That’s a tough question because struggles are part of the learning process. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t learning anything new. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes you make. The one thing I would do over again is to be more disciplined in managing the money side of the business. That old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. But you have to make the money before you spend the money. I would put together a realistic budget and then stick to it. Projections are just that – projections. They are a best guess. However, projections don’t pay the bills or more importantly, they don’t pay you.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is a former Professor at Algonquin College’s School of Business, Top 100 Leadership Expert, Author and Speaker. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Delegation 101: Assume Nothing

DelegationRule number one when working with others is to assume nothing because it may make an ass out of u and me. But mostly me because I took you at your word, that you understood what needed to be done and how I wanted you to go about doing it. People aren’t born knowing what they need to know. Always keep in mind that if you haven’t taught someone the way you want it done – don’t assume they will know how.

Worth Remembering … In the digital age you need to make knowledge workers out of every employee possible. – Bill Gates 

You may not be able to delegate all the tasks that you do, but you should be able to delegate most of them. I know you can come up with a 1001 excuses why you shouldn’t delegate, but think of it this way. If you don’t delegate some of your tasks you are robbing someone of their opportunity to grow. Do you hire stupid people or do they just get stupid after working for you? Your role as a manager or business leader is to teach others what you know. Your role is not to create followers but to create other leaders. And you can’t do that if you aren’t delegating some of your tasks.

Worth Remembering ... You establish some objectives for them, provide some incentive, and try not to direct the detailed way in which they do their work. – David Packard

Here are 8 easy steps to delegating more effectively:

1 – Decide what you want to delegate: You need to be very clear on what task they are going to do and make sure you give them all the tools they’ll need to be able to perform that task.

2 – Decide who you are going to delegate to: Who is capable, and more importantly, who is willing to take on more responsibility?

3 – Create a “Teachable Moment”: Demonstrate the task – then have them perform the task while you observe – and once you think they can do the task satisfactorily – have them do it one more time for good measure.

4 – Ask questions to ensure that learning has taken place: You need to ask some good open-ended and closed questions to make sure they know what needs to be done. Be sure to give them the opportunity to ask questions too.

5 – Monitor their performance: Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Make it a point to check-in on the person shortly after leaving them on their own, just to make sure they are performing the task satisfactorily.

6 – Keep the lines of communication open: Let them know you are there to help – if and when – they want it. Resist the urge to micro-manage.

7 – Hold the person accountable for the results: Standards, like quality, are not open for debate. You must hold people accountable for the results and not accept anything that doesn’t meet your standard. If they think they can get away with less than satisfactory work – then they will.

8 – Praise performance: Recognize what has been accomplished and be quick to offer praise for a job done well.

It’s important that you show trust and confidence in your people. The best way to do that is to get out of their way and let them do it. Results are what’s important, not how they go about doing it. Allow them to put their own personal stamp on it.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com