If You Think They’re Listening – Best Think Again

Do you feel at times that your staff are turned off and have tuned out? Are you finding it difficult to motivate others? How challenging is it for you to attract or retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a semi-annual employment engagement index published by the Gallup Management Journal suggested that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed admitted that they where not engaged – while 17% said that they where actively disengaged. These disengaged employees where busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what their engaged co-workers where trying to accomplish.

In his book , “Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty” author Tim Rutledge explains that an engaged employee is an employee who is willing to invest their time and energy to insure that the organization succeeds. He surmised that truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work. They are loyal to each other – committed to doing what ever it takes to accomplish individual and team goals. Engaged employees understand that if the company wins – they all win.

Worth Remembering … “Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the World on your shoulders. The World would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself too seriously” – Norman Vincent Peale

Meaningful change is top down never bottom up. If you want to engage your employee’s heads, hearts and hands it must start with you. You need to invert the triangle and put your people at the top. The phrase “Our employees are our most important asset” must mean something. People hear what they see – not what  you say. You can start the process by applying the three “C’s”

Connect: Managers must show they value their employees. Trust and respect don’t come automatically just because you’ve been given the title of manager. You need to earn both – one employee at a time. Get to know your people for more than the work that they do. You need to establish rapport – in order to build a relationship – that eventually leads to mutual respect. People like to work with people they like. How much fun are you to be around? Would you work for you?

Contribute: Employees want to know that their input matters. That what they are doing is contributing to the organizations success in a meaningful way. You and I both know that there is a number of ways to accomplish the same thing. Solicit their input. People like to put their own personal stamp on things. It doesn’t have to be just your way to get the same result. Resist the urge to micro-manage. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You must give up control to get control.

Collaborate: Great managers and leaders are team builders. Together Everyone Achieves More is not just a fancy sound bite.  Studies show that those teams that are committed to each other out perform individuals and teams who are not.  Good teams don’t happen by chance. You can’t expect to throw people together – call them a team – and expect them to perform that way. Let everyone know what is expected of them. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing – so tear down those cyloe’s , eliminate the individual sandboxes and build collaborative teams – one team player at a time.

For the first time in our life time we have the potential of working with four different generations in the same workplace. Each generation communicates and interacts differently. Each generation have their own set of values and are motivated differently. But the one thing that will never change is that people are people – and they all want to be treated as people. EQ (Emotional Intelligence) – often referred to as soft-skills – is now considered a more valuable commodity than IQ. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be the most successful manager or business leader in the room.  You just need to get everyone on side. Applying the 3 C’s is a great start.

Building Bridges Across The Generational Divide

Our increasingly diverse society is reflected in our growing workforce. For the first time in our lifetime we have the potential of working with four different generations in the same workplace. Each generation communicates, interacts with others and is motivated by a different set of values. As this dramatic shift continues, organizations large and small must continue to strive to help all employees embrace and capitalize on their differences. They need to view diversity as an organizational strength not a weakness.

“Building Bridges Across The Generational Divide – How to Develop a Collaborative & Cohesive Diverse Team” – November 21 – Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce. In this session – led by behaviorist Brian Smith – a leading authority on soft-skills training and leadership development – you will explore ideas and innovation to help tackle those differences, and create healthy and productive interactions in the workplace. This presentation provides valuable insight into how to build a collaborative and cohesive diverse team.

If you or members of your team are wanting to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively with others, resolve conflict , solve problems and deal with difficult people and challenging situations – then this workshop is for you. Contact Lorraine MacKenzie, CSP to register for this event. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. UOV Chamber 613.732.1492 – Email: manager@uovchamber.com – I hope to see you there 🙂

Life Lessons – Selling Yourself is a Contact Sport

Everybody sells. We are always selling something.  Selling involves one person communicating with an individual or group to make a sale – to persuade a client to buy something  – a product, a service, a good idea or something that satisfies your needs or their needs on a personal level , or on a business level when an individual is purchasing for a company. David Ogilvy, one of the fathers of modern advertising, said it best: “We sell or else.” If you don’t ask – you don’t get. But to get – you’ve got to learn to ask for what you want the right way.

When you think about it – your life is a series of sales presentations. Children develop selling skills early on in life to get what they want. When you want something or someone to do something, you use your selling skills. When you attempt to get a date, ask for a pay raise, provide cost-effective solutions to solve a clients problem or deal with customer service representatives, you are using your personal selling skills. (Mind you some are better at it than others)

Selling is about making a personal “Connection” with your perspective client. Selling is about building a relationship with the person you want to do business with. Selling is a contact sport. If people aren’t buying what you’re selling – than you need to re-evaluate your sales approach. You need to figure out how to get people to like you. (People do  business or hang around with people they like)

Successful salespeople are no longer adversaries who manipulate others for personal gain. Successful salespeople are consultants, partners and problem solvers. A successful salesperson’s goal is to build a long-term relationship with their clients. The most important characteristic for establishing a lasting relationship with a client is a salesperson’s willingness to provide service. Your only competitive advantage to separate yourself from your competition is the level of customer service you provide. It’s not your products, (Everybody is selling a comparable product) – it’s not your price (Someone is always willing to sell theirs for less)  – its service. Customer loyalty is established over a long period of time. Your clients must believe that you truly care about them and their welfare. Clients must believe that you have their best interest in mind.

How do you get someone to like you? The first thing you do is run out and buy a copy of Dale Carnegie‘s  book ” How to Win Friends and Influence People” What was true back in 1936 when he wrote the book – still holds true today. Treat people with respect and they will respond in kind. Keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. It’s not something that you can demand. It is something that you earn. You’ve got to give it first before you get it back.

Keys to Developing Personal and Professional Relationships Built on Mutual Respect and Trust

  • Different is just that – different. Just because others go about doing things differently than you – it doesn’t make it wrong. Embrace and celebrate the differences in people.
  • Listen to the other person’s point of view and don’t interrupt. (I listen to understand not necessarily to agree)
  • Be open-minded. Try to see things from the other persons point of view.
  • Be flexible. Does it have to be your way or no way? Will their way of doing it get the same results? Resist the urge to micro-manage.
  • Don’t argue – don’t try to bully the other person into agreeing with you. You are adults. You can agree to disagree.
  • Don’t be condescending or talk down to the other person. You are dealing with an Adult – treat them that way.
  • Don’t resort to name calling and putting the other person down – especially behind their back.
  • Don’t verbally or physically attack the other person.
  • Treat the other person the way you want to be treated.
  • Respect the fact that they have an opinion and they have a right to express that opinion – even if you don’t agree with it.
  • Effective communication takes two – the sender and the receiver. Make sure you are communicating with the other person in a style that they like.

One more thought worth thinking about. You communicate 93% of the time non-verbally. (38% by the tone of your voice and 55% of the time by your body language alone) Your words and actions must be as one or the other person will believe the non-verbal to be more accurate.  If you are sincere and truly want to build relationships with others that last – then it will be reflected in the way that you treat them. If what you are currently doing isn’t accomplishing that – then you need to change what you’re doing and try something else. Trust me – they don’t need to change – you do.  – Cheers. 🙂

Think it, Act it – You’ll Eventually Become It. You Can Have The Life You Want

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a difference result. You have to change the input to change the output. You’ve got to develop new habits. A good habit is a good result – plain and simple. (Of course the opposite is also true – bad habits produce bad results) We are adults and we can develop new habits. All we have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another – and if we do it often enough – it will become us. Behaviorist’s suggest that if you do something twenty-one times in a row – you’ll have developed a new habit. I think for the most part that we are born with a blank slate. And that we learn to behave a certain way to get a certain result. Now if that’s true – then the way we act is a learned behavior. And if you agree that it’s a learned behavior – then that means we can unlearn it and replace it with something else.

Think it …

I’m not going to get too deep here – but your internal dialogue (What you say to yourself) has everything to do with how you react and act externally. If you feel sad – you’ll look sad. If you feel happy – you’ll look happy. Attitude – Your attitude is everything! You are whoever you think you are – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can or can’t – you’re absolutely right. If you think you can’t – then you are beat before you start. David knew he could defeat Goliath. He had faith in his own ability to pull it off. You need to believe in yourself. You need to believe that you are capable of doing whatever you set out to do. You need to believe that you can have the life you want.

Act it …

You need to start acting in a way that is going to get you what you want. What new habits do you have develop to get the kinds of results you need? What do you have to stop doing and start doing to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you need to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively – manage your time – cope with stress – solve problems, deal with difficult people and challenging situations or expand your circle of influence? If you are going to change the habit to change the result then you need to decide what new habit you need to develop. Once you’ve decided what you need to learn – then all you need to do is start doing it. It’s never easy to change – but you can change if you truly believe that you need to – that you need to change in order to have the life you want.

You’ll eventually become it …

Practice, practice, practice. Be patient – it takes time. But, the more you do it – the better you’ll get at it – and the better you get at it – the more you’ll do it without thinking about it. It will become ingrained in you – it will become part of you. Everything we choose to do alters our brain and it fundamentally changes who we are. Dr. Richard Restak, neuropsychiatrist and clinical professor of neurology at George Washington University believes it’s a process that continues until we die. The human brain has the ability to reprogram itself. All of the new research on the brain suggests that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to change your brain for the better. Your brain doesn’t break down over time. The brain has a lifetime capacity for learning new things.

You can have the life you want …

You don’t have to settle. You can have the life you want – the life you imagined for yourself. If you are mentally and physically capable of doing and becoming who you really want to be – then the only thing standing in your way is you. All you have to do is learn how to get out of your own way. Stop doing one thing – and start doing another – and if you do it often enough – it will become you. Remember – You may have developed a certain way of behaving at a very young age but it doesn’t have to dictate where you end up or who you become. – Cheers. 🙂

* (C) Copyright 2012 – Brian Smith. Think it, Act it, You’ll Eventually Become it – You Can Have The Life You Want – is the title of my soon to be published self-help / personal development book. Stay tuned