Pick Your Battles – Some Just Aren’t Worth Winning 2

Conflict Resolution 2Are you the type of person that has to be right all the time? The need to always be right must be sooooo exhausting. I’ve been there, done that, and have the tee-shirt to prove it. Trust me, I’m a recovering “Control Freak” so I know how tiring it can be. Perhaps it comes with age or experience, but I’ve come to realize that it’s a total waste of my time and energy to try to convince someone else that I’m right and they’re wrong. In most situations I chose not to go there now. Creative problem solving and conflict resolution starts and ends with you. You can decide if you want to be right or agree to disagree and move on.

Here are five things you can do to try to resolve conflict:

1 – Provide as much information as you can to make discussions productive rather than contentious. Lack of information, or not enough of the right information, could be the reason behind the conflict. If others understand the “why” they are more likely to agree with your decision.

2 – Ask for solutions. I never let anyone bring me a problem without offering a solution. If their solution sounds plausible – go with it and see what happens. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just plausible. Always try to create a win-win. You won because you got the end result you where looking for and they won because they got to do it their way.

3 – A sense of humor is a great way to defuse a difficult situation and get people to step back for a moment and realize – in the big scheme of things – it’s not worth getting upset over it.

4 – Do not force a consensus. If the plan fails you’ll be to blame. Get them involved in the planning. If they have a personal state in the process they are more likely to make it work. Remember – it doesn’t have to be just your way. All you should be concerned about are the end result.

5 – Be prepared to make a decision that you can live with. Realize that not everyone is going to agree with the decision you make. But don’t let that stop you from making a decision. Leadership is about making tough decisions  for the good of everyone involved. If leading was easy everyone would want to do it.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. May not be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics including communication, team building or dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian. He will work with you to insure your event is a success. 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

Staff Disengagement – Top Trends and Remedies to Re-energize Your Workforce 2

Do you feel at times that your staff have tuned-out or have turned-off? Absenteeism on the rise? Is it getting more difficult to motivate others? Are you finding it more challenging to retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a survey conducted by Towers Perrin revealed that the number of staff who reported being highly engaged at work was only 17%. Fifty-Nine percent of those surveyed indicated that they were moderately engaged at best; and 24% said they were actively disengaged. And worse yet – those disengaged employees were busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what the engaged co-workers were trying to accomplish.

What can you do to reverse this trend? 

What can managers and business leaders do to engage the hearts and minds of their employees? According to Dr. David Vik – author of, “The Culture Secret” it starts at the top. Every organization has an identity – a culture – that is best defined as the values, beliefs and attitudes that are shared by all members of the organization. Think of your organizations culture as the rudder that keeps the ship on course. Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zappos believes “If you get the culture right, then a lot of really amazing things happen on their own”. Without a solid foundation you stand little chance of retaining or attracting new talent.  Your mission or value statements should be more than a catchy phrase or sound bite. Every decision you make should be a reflection of those values or you shouldn’t do it. All too often there is a disconnect between what we say we are going to do – and what we actually do. All too often we send out mixed messages and lose sight of why we do what we do and for whom.

Have you given them enough reasons to want to stay?   

Everyone is competing for the same talent. Why would they want to work for your company instead of your competitors? What can you offer them that your competition can’t offer? How much fun are you to be around? If you want to attract new talent or more importantly – keep the talent you have – you need to give them a reason to want to stay. And trust me – it’s rarely about how much money you pay them. Yes – money is important – but it sits at about number four or five on the list of what motivates people. Based on the results of exit interviews conducted by the Saratoga Institute workers left because they felt devalued and unrecognized – there was a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders – there was too little feedback and coaching or there was too few growth and advancement opportunities. Promote from within based on merit not seniority.

What are you prepared to do about it? 

“The real impediment to producing a higher quality product more efficiently aren’t the workers, union or non-union, it’s management” ( Kenneth Iverson). Change comes from the top down – never the bottom up. Nothing happens by chance. It takes a concerted effort on your part to insure everyone on your team is successful.  If you are looking to re-energize your workforce and attract new talent –  then it’s time to get FOCUSED(C) on what matters most – your people.

F – Friendly: Smile – build collaborative teams. Make everyone feel important.   

O – Observant: Reach out to those in need and teach them what they need to know. But, resist the urge to micro-manage.

C – Consistent: Treat everyone the same. Company policy and procedures are for everyone – specially your super stars.

U – Understanding: Be empathetic – See it from their point of view.

S – Sincere: If you truly want others to be successful it will show in the way that you treat them.

E – Energized: Be enthusiastic – lead by example. Be your team’s biggest cheerleader

D – Dependable: What ever you say you’re going to do – do it. They must be able to trust you.  Your word must be your bond.

Copyright 2013 – Brian Smith. May not be reproduced without permission.  Questions or comments? Please contact Brian directly. 🙂

Change The Habit – Change The Result – What New Habit Are You Working On? 4

When you change the habit – you change the result. Sounds simple enough – right?  Just stop doing one thing and start doing another – and if you do it often enough – it will become you. (Behaviorists suggest that if you do something 21 times in a row – you’ve developed a new habit) Everything we chose to do alters our brain and it fundamentally changes who we are, a process that continues until we die. Dr. Richard Restak – author of “Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential” believes that the human brain has the ability to reprogram itself and that most adults have the capacity to learn new things. If you could only pick one thing – that would benefit you the most – what would it be? What one thing is getting in the way of you being more successful at what you do?

Anytime is a good time for a new beginning. So why not start now. Why not make the CHANGE. You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. Do you want to learn how to manage your time more effectively? Problem solve or deal with difficult people and challenging situations better? Do you want to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively with others? You just need to decide what it is you want to improve upon. What one thing do you want to get better at?

C – Commit to a new beginning. If you aren’t willing to give it your all – then don’t bother. No sense wasting valuable time on trying to accomplish something that you aren’t 100% committed to doing.

H – Habit – Stop doing one thing and start doing another. What new habit or habits will you need to learn to accomplish what you’ve set out to do?

A – Action. Start now. Have a plan and then work your plan. Commit your action plan to writing. That way you can refer back to it often to make sure you are still on track.

N – Never ever give up. There will be times that you will revert back to the familiar. It’s human nature. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just keep going.

G – Goal orientated. Visualize the end result. See yourself in the winners circle. Keep reminding yourself about how much you are going to benefit by making the change.

E – Evaluate your plan and reward yourself. Celebrate small victories along the way. If you aren’t getting the kinds of results that you hoped. Not to worry – time to put a new plan together and start again.

Think it, Act it, Become it. Make this year your best year yet. Commit to a new beginning – make that change.