Take Covey’s Advice – It’s 100% in Your Control 3

I know that I can’t control everything that goes on around me. I know most outcomes are out of my hands. But I do know that I can control how I choose to react in any given situation. I know that in that space between stimulus and response that Dr. Covey talked about – and what Dr. Viktor Frankl knew to be true from his own life experiences – that I must learn to react in a way that will get me what I want. Everything you do in life is a matter of choice. You may not like the choices that you have to choose from – but it is a choice.

“If you change the way you look at things. The things you look at will change” – Unknown

Having a relationship with my son was and still is very important to me. (I was not his most favorite person when his mother and I were going through our divorce) But I knew that if I wanted to have a good relationship with my son I had to have a good relationship with his mother. I had a choice to make. The divorce could be adversarial or not. I could choose to be confrontational and drag out the divorce proceedings, or I could choose to be open and receptive and negotiate a settlement that his mother and I could agree on. I knew that if I wanted what I wanted – which was a relationship with my son – then I needed to react in a way that was going to accomplish that. My ex-wife will always be my sons mother and my granddaughters grandmother whether we were married or not. Nothing I could do would ever change that. It is what it is – it would make no never mind.

“Everything can be taken away from man but one thing – to choose – one’s own attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

I’m happy to say that my ex-wife and I have a great relationship. She is one of my very best friends. I know that I can turn to her for help when I need it and she knows she can count on me if and when she needs my help. (That’s what friends do) That’s a conscious choice I made.

Attitude really is everything. I’m talking about yours, not the people you work with and interact with on a daily basis. If you think about it – your attitude is the only thing you can control 100% of the time. Only you get to decide how you want to react to any given situation. Yes it’s true – other people or events may be the motivating factor that got you to react a certain way – but only you can mentally or physically do it. No one else can do it for you. You are the only one who can give that kind of power over you away. Take Covey’s advice. In that space between stimulus and response think about what you want to accomplish and then respond in a way that will get you what you want. Remember – It’s 100% in your control. – Cheers, 🙂

Managing for Results – The Art of Managing & Leading in the 21st Century

What kind of training are you providing your managers and potential leaders? Mark September 11 & 12th down on your calendar and have them attend this high-intensity, very interactive 2-day skills development workshop. You won’t be sorry you did. The traditional role of the manager has changed. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and the next decade. Make a commitment. Don’t put their career or your organization at risk – have them learn how to manage the 21st Century way.

Managing for Results – The Art of Managing & Leading in the 21st Century.

If You Think They’re Listening – Think Again

How often have you been in a conversation with someone and their body language is telling you that they aren’t interested in you – or what you have to say – simply by the non-verbal messages they are sending you? (Scooping the room to see if there is someone more interesting to talk too, looking down at their watch, retrieving messages on their smart phone or being easily distracted by people walking by) If it looks like they aren’t interested – trust me – they aren’t interested.  Think about that the next time you are having an important conversation with someone. If you want others to be interested in you – you must demonstrate that you are interested in them. And to do that you have to learn how to “Actively” listen.

Dr. Ralph Nichols – a communication’s expert – suggests that we communicate 40% of the time by listening.  A recent survey revealed that individuals listen about 25% of the time; most people recall only 50% of what they hear, and 70% of all misunderstandings happen because people do not listen to each other. (Two monologues do not make a dialogue) According to Dr. Nichols grade school aged children listen to their teacher just 25% of the time. By the time young people graduate from high school they are listening to the teacher just 17% of the time. And by the time they graduate college they are listening to the professor just 12% of the time. How much do you think they are listening by the time they go out into the workforce or meet up with you at a networking event?

We are not born good listeners – but we can learn how. The next time you have an opportunity to listen to someone try to be actively involved in the conversation by developing/demonstrating these five active listening skills:

1. – Try restating and summarizing what the speaker said by saying it back to them. (So what you are saying is …..)

2. – Paraphrase what the speaker said by repeating it as accurately as you can using your own words. It goes beyond restating and summarizing because you are giving the speaker your interpretation of what you heard them say.

3. – Use non-words and simple gestures to show the speaker that you are listening.  Nod your head, smile and use non-words like ah …, yeah, hmmmm, oh …. work great.

4 – Supporting statements like – “Go on, tell me more” or “then what happened? and “I see what you mean” are another way to verbally acknowledge the other person.

5 – Always keep in mind that non-verbal messages must be congruent with your verbal messages. Most adults believe the non-verbal as being more accurate. You communicate 38% of the time by the tone of your voice and an astounding 55% of the time by body language alone.  (Rolling your eyes, looking down at your watch, yawning or tapping the floor with your toe is telling the other person what you really think.

Active listening is as important to communication as effective speaking. To really listen requires mental focus, verbal paraphrasing and attention to non-verbal cues like tones, gestures, and facial expressions. The more that you can dial into the other person’s am radio station – MMFIAM (Make Me Feel Important And More) – the more likely they’ll “tune” into you. – Cheers, 🙂

Adults Can Learn New Things – It Just Might Take Some Longer

Suppose for a moment that we are born a certain style – a certain way of behaving. And suppose for a moment that – that style dictates the way that we communicate, and interact with others. And suppose for a moment that there were four distinct styles of behaving and that, generally speaking, we “fit” into one of those four styles. If that were true, would there be any value in understanding your style and the styles of the people you work with and interact with? Would others be more receptive to what you where saying if you communicated with them in a style that they liked? Would they be more likely to learn if you taught them in the way they preferred?

The one thing we know for certain is that adults can learn new things – it just might take some a little longer than others – but eventually everyone can learn. You just need to create an environment that is conducive to learning. Great teaching – like great coaching – has more to do about attitude than aptitude. You don’t have to be the smartest teacher or coach in the room to be the most effective teacher or coach in the room. You just need to take the time to get to know the person you are working with – how they like to receive information, what learning style works best for them – and then modify your approach to be more in “tune” with the way they like to be taught. One teaching and coaching style does not fit all.

DISC – Four Distinct Styles of Behaving.

The next time you have an opportunity to teach or coach someone – take a moment and try to assess their style of behaving. I use an assessment tool based on the language of DISC – which was first developed by Dr. William Marston. Each of the four distinct styles prefer a certain way of communicating and interacting. Once I’ve identified the type of person I’m working with – I simply modify my  teaching style to be more in tune with their style.  There are no dumb students – only dumb teachers who don’t use all the tools available to them to insure the student learns. One style does not fit all.

Dominate persons tend to think on their feet and make quick decisions. They are not big on detail. However, they are task focused and enjoy a challenge. Make communication brief and to the point. Respect their need for autonomy. Be clear about rules and expectations and then get out of their way and let them to do. At all cost, resist the urge to micro-manage them. Be prepared for blunt, demanding approaches. They lack empathy for others.

Interactive persons love to be around people. They enjoy the social interaction that work affords them. They are great at bringing people together and building collaborative teams. Be relaxed and sociable. Let them verablize thoughts and feelings. Provide instructions but keep the conversation light  and use humour. Be prepared for them to try to oversell their ideas. They have a need for the spotlight.

Steadiness persons show up to work on time, are very loyal and like to maintain the status-quo. Provide a consistent and secure environment. Be logical and systematic in your approach  and let them adapt slowly to change. Be prepared for a resistance to change. They may have difficulty in identifying priorities and delivering their work on time.

Conscientious persons are your very best planners. Their strength is knowledge based. They know what they know and they know it very well. They are perfectionists. Be sure to give clear expectations , but more importantly be very clear on deadlines. Allow precedent to be your guide. Be prepared for a resistance to vague or general information. They have little need for social interaction and would prefer to work alone.

Remember everyone has peak performance potential. You just need to know where they are coming from and meet them there. One style does not fit all so modify your approach so that you are  more in tune with the person you are working with and I guarantee you – that even old dogs like me can learn new tricks. Have fun 🙂