Everyone You Meet is Somebody’s Somebody

secret 5Every Friday night is date night with my 5-year-old grandchild. It’s our time to hang out and do what ever she wants to do. We usually start out at her favorite eatery and end up at the local toy store. I cherish the time we get to spend together. We where enjoying a fun moment when she playfully grabbed my hat and put it on. “Hey Poppa” she said – “I’m you and you are Mr. No Buddy”. It came as a shock to me because I’d never heard her say that before. I knew she was just repeating what she had heard at school. She didn’t realize how hurtful that saying can be.

Children are sponges. They soak up everything they see and hear. They are a reflection of the environment around them. Adults, especially parents, need to be mindful of the lessons they are teaching their children. Children aren’t born bullies. They learn that from others. Children aren’t born haters. They learn that from others. Children aren’t born racists. They learn that from others. You are the greatest influence in your child’s life. They take their lead from you.

What lessons are you teaching your child? Are you teaching them to be tolerant, compassionate and respectful of others?  Do they know what it means to be a good citizen, to be kind to others and lead by example? Do they know that everyone you meet is somebody’s somebody? You have a very important job to do. I hope you are up for the task. The next generation of parents are counting on you.

Copyright (c) 2015. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission.  Brian is available for key note speeches or conducting workshops on a variety of soft-skills topics. 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

What Legacy Will You Leave Behind? 9

A hero, a teacher, a mentor, a coach – both on and off the field. A good father – a father who loved his six children unconditionally and was proud of the adults they had become. He loved his grand children and his great-grandchildren. A man who adored his wife – and for the 66+ years that they were married he did everything he could to make her the centre of his world.

A go getter. An achiever. Someone who was all in no matter what he was doing. He figured if you are going to put in the effort – you might as well give it your all – because you just never know how far it will take you or where you’ll end up.

He was a kind man who reached out to his friends when ever he could.  He was fun to be around and hang out with. He was a story-teller. He was not a saint or a sinner. He believed in God but didn’t force his beliefs on others. He was a proud Canadian who wore his colours on his sleeve and fought to defend our rights and freedoms.

He was my Dad. He passed away yesterday on his terms – quietly and at peace. I will miss him dearly. I have a lifetime of memories to keep me company until we meet again. Bye Dad – I love you – but you already knew that. 🙂