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

Managing Your Boss and Living to Tell About It 2

images (36)The key to managing your boss is to manage them in a style they like. One thing you need to know for certain is you are not going to change them. They’ve been successful managing a certain way so why would they want to do it any differently? If you want to learn how to manage your boss and live to tell about it then you must change your style to be more in tune with theirs. Everyone has a natural style of behaving. A natural way of communicating and interacting with others. Everyone likes to manage and be managed a certain way. Learn to mirror their behavior.

Different strokes for different folks. I believe we are born one of four styles of behaving. (Dominate, Interactive, Steadiness and Conscientious. The theory of DISC was developed by Dr. William Marston.) Take time to discover your bosses style and then communicate and interact with them that way.

D Style: (Dominant) They walk fast, talk fast and do everything fast. Make communication brief and to the point. Don’t muddy the water by using graphs, charts and volumes of data. Respect their need for autonomy. Be prepared for blunt, demanding approaches. They lack empathy and are uncomfortable with social interaction so they see no need for idle chit-chat.

I Style: (Interactive / Interpersonal) Don’t be in a hurry. They prefer a relaxed and social environment. Let them verbalize their thoughts and feelings. They are great communicators so be prepared for someone who will attempt to persuade and influence others. Provide them with the information they’ll need to make the right decisions. They like being the center of attention.

S Style: (Steadiness) Be logical and systematic in your approach. They have a natural resistance to change. They prefer to know how things will be done ahead of time – preferably in writing. They have a difficult time identifying priorities and meeting deadlines. Teach them how to say no nicely because they usually say yes to everything. They are the ultimate team player never wanting to let anyone down.

C Style: (Conscientious) They value high standards – they strive to be perfect. Be prepared – know what you know. They have very little patience for vague generalizations. Chances are they will double-check your work so let them know what you don’t know but assure them that you’ll go and find out. Don’t make stuff up. They are all about detail. They love pie charts and graphs.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator? Give Brian a call. He’ll work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. Visit http://briansmithpld.com

Going Along to Get Along – The Art of Working With People You Don’t Like 1

grumpy ladyYou may not like some of the people you work with – but the truth is – you need to learn how to get along with them. Think of a job that you could do in your life time that didn’t involve working with people. You’d be hard pressed to come up with one.  Dealing with difficult people and challenging situations is a learned behavior. You just need to decide if it’s worth it. But trust me – If you are looking for a career in sales, owning and operating a business some day or managing and leading others then it’s not open for debate – the ability to get along with others is a must have.

Think of someone you are having difficulty connecting with. You don’t know why but there is something about them that drives you crazy. There is something about them that makes you want to pick up a heavy object and smack them across the side of the head. Before you do something that might get you arrested give this 3-step process a try. Remember – you don’t have to like them you just need to learn how to work with them. The 3 R’s will teach you how.

Rapport: Find out something about them that you could use to strike up a conversation. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children or grand children? What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they like to hunt, fish, play golf or read books? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them on a subject that they like. You need to get them talking. Idle chit-chat is important to establish rapport. And you need to establish rapport to move to the next level. You can’t develop a relationship with someone until you’ve established rapport first.

Relationship: Successful sales people understand the value of developing a relationship with their clients. People like to do business with and buy products or services from people they like. You need to develop a relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You need to develop a relationship with the people you’re going to manage or lead. No one wants to let a friend down. If they like you they will go to great lengths so they don’t disappoint you. You need to develop a relationship before you can move on to the final step – respect.

Respect: The final step in this 3-step process is respect. If you have established a rapport and developed a relationship with the people you work with and interact with, then chances are they will respect you for you. They may not like what you said or what you did but, they will respect you and will most likely forgive you. However, keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. You must give it to get it. You can’t demand it. People respect people that they have developed a relationship with.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft-skills topics including; communication, time management, coping with stress and dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com

Team Work Sucks! – In Defence of Introverts Everywhere 8

Gen Y 2I`ll try not to be too cynical here – but give me a break. Do teams really work? I know dolphins do it, whales do it, and even orcas, lions, and wolves do it too but, do we really accomplish more working in teams? I know teams and team work makes for a great sound bite. But in the real world – your world – does it really make that much of a difference? Research conducted by Susan Cain and published in her New York Times – best-selling book “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” paints a different picture. According to her research not everyone performs up to their full potential in a group setting. I know in a perfect world together everyone achieves more but after reading her book you may change your mind.

Worth Remembering … ” A strength over – used or used in the wrong situation, can become a weakness” – Unknown 

Generally speaking extroverts tend to be assertive, dominate, direct and decisive. They make quick decisions when others on the team cannot. They will confront tough issues or situations, accept change as a personal challenge and keep the team focused on the task at hand. Extroverts work well in a team environment as long as they are in a position to influence the direction the team is headed. They like to be in charge and lead the charge. They may come across to others as being unapproachable and insensitive to the needs of team members. (It’s their way or no way)  However, in a team environment their very vocal – in your face  – out-going and gregarious personality could stifle creativity. Listening to a difference of opinion is not their strong suit. They are comfortable with conflict.

On the other hand introverts – according to Carl Jung – are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling. They tend to listen more than they talk, think before they speak and work more slowly and deliberately – tackling one problem at a time. Other team members may see limitations because they act aloof , appear to be shy and prefer to work alone. They dislike conflict and would rather sit quietly in a corner – not offering an opinion for fear of making waves and getting noticed. They prefer to maintain status-quo and fly under the radar. They need a quiet space  to contemplate and reflect. They aren’t comfortable making quick decisions. They make decisions based on fact not emotion. The course of action taken must be logical and correct as they see it.

Worth Remembering …  “The task of an executive is not to change human beings. The task is to multiply performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, whatever health, whatever aspiration there is in individuals” – Peter F. Drucker. 

The tide may be turning. Team work and working in teams may not be all it’s been cracked up to be. Recent studies suggest that the open office concept made popular in the late 90’s and early 20’s is reverting back to the cubicle. Studies conducted by the likes of Marvin Dunnette, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister have shown that performance gets worse as group sizes increase. (Too many cooks spoil the broth) The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is of the highest priority” says the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham.

Can extroverts and introverts work together on the same team and accomplish more? That will depend on the team leader – a team leader who understands the strengths of everyone on the team and gives everyone the opportunity to do what they do well. You can’t put a group of people together, call them a team and expect them to perform without teaching them what it means to be part of a team and how to be a good team player.

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith – May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission. briansmithpld@gmail.com