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

The Secret to Success is Between Your Ears 1

secret 3Think it, act it and eventually you’ll become it. The secret to your success is between your ears. However, just thinking about success isn’t good enough. You actually have to go out and apply yourself. That’s the difference between successful people and the not so successful people. Successful people work at it. Successful people get up off the couch and get after it. Successful people hit the ground running.

What would you rather be doing with your life then what you are doing right now? I want you to think about that for a moment. What does the ideal career look like to you? If you wanted to start your own small business, what kind of business would it be? If you want to take on a leadership position in your organization, what role would that be? Life – your life – is a planned event – wishing hoping won’t make it so. Put a plan together and then work your plan.

Good habits = good results. We are adults and we can develop new habits. What new habits will you need to develop to open your own small business? What new habits will you need to learn to get promoted? I know it’s easier said then done – but it can be done. Do you need to learn how to be more patient, open-minded or a better communicator and listener? Will you need to be better at planning and managing your time more effectively?

When you change the habit – you change the result. All you need to do is just stop doing one thing and start doing another. And once you’ve done it often enough it will become you. You will have developed a new habit. Once you’ve made up your mind what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, eventually everything will fall into place.

Copyright (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you or someone you know looking for a keynote speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or organizing an event? Brian can deliver an informative and entertaining presentation on a variety of soft-skills topics. Contact Brian today – He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is a success. http://briansmithpld.com

Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work 14

fortune-telling It’s that time of year again when we sit down and reflect on the year that was and start making plans for the year ahead. Are you great at making New Year Resolutions but somehow manage to fall short of actually accomplishing them? You are not alone. According to a recent study, only 10% of those who make a list of resolutions manage to see it through.

Perhaps it’s time to stop doing what doesn’t work and try something different for 2014. Like most of us I was in that 90% group until I read a blog post by Chris Brogan. Chris suggested that I pick 3 action words that best describes the things that I wanted to accomplish for the coming year. So with nothing to lose and much to gain I picked Ask, Health and Networking. I decided that everything I set out to do in 2013 had to be a reflection of those 3-action words or I wasn’t going to do it. I gotta tell you – it works – it forced me to do things that I normally wouldn’t bother doing. Even though I knew I should.

ASK: I use to sit back and wait to be asked – not now – I ask for what I want. If you don’t ask you don’t get. You have to ask for what you want out of life because chances are no one else is going to offer it to you. You have to ask for that raise, ask for that promotion or ask to go out on a date with that special someone. I sent out more proposals this year then I ever have and they are paying dividends. 

HEALTH: I rarely ate breakfast or lunch. I would go all day without eating until I sat down at the end of my day for dinner. I knew it wasn’t the right way to go about taking care of my health but I never felt like taking the time to cook myself a meal. I now religiously eat breakfast, lunch and dinner – regardless of whether I feel like it or not.

NETWORK: In spite of what some people may think I’m actually a pretty shy guy and rarely go out of my way to meet and greet new people. I’ve gone to more events and meet-ups this year then I ever have. Which in my line of work is a good thing. I realized that the only way to expand my circle of influence was to get actively involved. I attended my first networking event and MC’d a fashion showcase this year.

Thinking of trying something different this year? Think of 3 action words that will help motivate you to accomplish your goals in 2014. Here’s the thing. Every time you go to do something – if it isn’t a reflection of your action words – then you shouldn’t do it. If it’s not going to move you a step closer to achieving your goals – then why bother? My 3 actions words for 2014 are No, Yes and Exercise. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can inform as well as entertain on a variety of soft-skills topics? Are you planning a leadership development training session? Give Brian a call. Visit http://briansmithpld.com

Life Lessons: Learning To Let Things Go Undone 11

7-ways-your-wasting-time“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of eliminating the non-essentials”. I love that Chinese Proverb – It’s a great reminder that we all have just 168 hours in the course of a week. No more or no less. We all have the same amount of time. Do you have enough time to accomplish those things that are most important to you? Time is not a renewable resource. How wisely are you spending yours? Here are two things that you can do to help utilize your time more effectively. 

Learn to set priorities

Think carefully about what priorities mean to you and about how you decide what is really important. Remember – You will never have enough time in the course of a day, week or month to accomplish everything on your to-do list but, you do have time to decide what to do first. Most people start with the easy stuff. I want you to start with the urgent stuff. Take a look at your list and decide what absolutely  needs to be accomplished today. What is due today? Mark those items as “A” items. Anything that can wait two or three days mark those items as “B” items. Anything left on your list are “C” items. Make a rule with yourself that you can never, ever work on a “B” item until all the days “A” items have been completed.

Learn to say no 

The essence of good time management is good life management. Just like the essence of healthy living is a healthy lifestyle. We all seek balance in our lives. Balance between life at work and life at home. If I was to ask you to write down the three most important things in your life. What would you write down on that paper? Out of the 168 hours you have in the course of a week how much time are you spending on those three things? I hope you put yourself at the top of that list. How much “Me” time do you spend on yourself each week? What do you do to help you recharge your batteries? Do you like to read, take walks, bake or meet up with friends for coffee or tea? It’s important to your health that you spend time on you without feeling guilty about it. You are the only you that you’ve got. Learn to say no to others so you can say yes to yourself.

Copyright (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker or planning a training session on a variety of soft-skills topics? Give Brian a call. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com