How to Build a Relationship With Just About Anyone

Conflict Resolution 2Practice the 3 R’s – to establish trust and build relationships with the people you work with and interact with. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Yuck – what a dink?”. (I don’t mean Double Income No Kids). There is just something about them that you don’t like. For what ever reason they rub you the wrong way. The truth of the matter is sometimes you have to work with – or interact with – people you don’t like. Even if you don’t like them – you still need to find a way to work with them. I have a solution for you. Think of someone who you work with that for what ever reason, you are having difficulty getting along with them. I want you to try this little experiment and see if it helps repair that relationship or a least make it bearable. I call it the 3 Rs to building relationships and establishing mutual trust with just about everyone and anyone.

Rapport: Start a conversation and find out something about them that you can talk about. What are their hobbies? Do they have children, play sports or read books? What do they love to do in their spare time? You can’t build a relationship with anyone that you haven’t established a rapport with first. Get them talking about themselves or what they love to do, and you are on your way to the next step. You are on your way to likeability.

Relationship: People like to hang around with, and interact with people they like. The more conversations you can have with that person or persons, the more likely it is that you are breaking down those barriers and are becoming more likable. Soft-skills – the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others is a necessary skill in building relationships. Building a relationship is key to getting along with people – even the ones you don’t like.

Respect:  You don’t respect anyone you haven’t built a relationship with first. Out of a relationship comes mutual respect. You might not agree with everything they have said or done – but because you have built a relationship with them, you will respect the fact that they have a right to their own opinion and a right to live their lives as they see fit. We tend to agree to disagree with people we respect.

If you have navigated the three-step process successfully you will be able to establish trust in your relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You never trust anyone you don’t respect first. As friends, parents, managers, leaders, and coaches sometimes you need people to take a leap of faith. Sometimes you don’t have all the answers and need them to trust you. If you have established mutual respect in your relationships, then they will trust you. They will take that leap of faith knowing that you would never set them up for failure. They’ll know you have their best interest in mind.

Copyright (c) 2017. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

If They Could See Me Now

Choices 2Who Knew? Who knew that a high school drop out would become an award-winning entrepreneur, college professor, published author and a successful motivational speaker.   Certainly, not me – and likely not most of my friends and family. I was never a very good student. I was the class clown, always going for the laugh. I went to school to play sports, and when they took that away from me because my grades weren’t good enough – I quit – and got a job working retail. It was the sixties, life was easy. I was ok with hanging out in the slow lane, in no particular rush to get anywhere in a hurry. If you asked me back then what I wanted to do with my life I would have told you I wanted to be a musician or truck driver. I still think being a truck driver would be pretty cool.
#WorthRemembering … Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future if you change the here and now
If you aren’t happy with where you are – doing what you are doing – you have the power within you to change it. I truly believe that. For the most part, I am just like you. I don’t have super powers – I don’t have a magic wand to wave. I’m not any smarter than most. The only difference that might set me apart from you, is my desire to succeed at whatever the cost. I’m prepared to do whatever I need to do – to accomplish the goal. I believe that if it is worth doing – it is worth doing to excess. I think I inherited that gene from my Dad. He never did anything half-way.  He never let the lack of a formal education get in the way of achieving what he set out to do.
#WorthRemembering … Think it, Act it, Become it. When you change the habit you’ll change the result
What things are you doing right now that are getting in the way of you doing what you’d rather be doing? What do you need to start doing to get to where you want to be? What are you willing to give up to accomplish what you want to accomplish? If what you’re doing isn’t working for you – then you need to make changes. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. As Pete Drucker would say “Miracles are great, but they are so hard to come by.” Change is never easy.  Stepping outside your comfort zone is taking a leap of faith. Most people would rather back into the future. Most people aren’t comfortable flying without a net. If you are happy where you are – stay there. If not – it’s time for you to get busy. I guarantee you – you’ll amaze yourself.
Copyright (c) 2017. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced with permission.

Why Do Good People Do Dumb Ass Things? 6

Ethics 2Lance Armstrong, Canadian Senator Mike Duffy and the City of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford – you can replace those names with any number of people  but, the question remains the same. What where they thinking? Why do good people do dumb ass things? Do they do it because they can? Is it because they think no one is watching or do they do it out of a sense of entitlement? They’ve worked incredibly hard, sacrificed much and worked long hours to further their career – and then in one dumb ass move they’ve thrown it all away. Any credibility they had  is gone – wiped out in a heart beat. Some will get back into the public’s good graces but most won’t.

It is better to be defeated on principle then to win on lies.  – Arthur Caldwell 

The first course I ever taught at Algonquin College’s School of Business was a “Business Ethics” course written by one of my personal hero’s, the late Professor Ron Knowles. He wrote it for first year business students in the College’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) program. One of the neat things about the course was that I got to work with first year business students to help them write their own personal code of conduct, their own ethical decision-making model that they could use when faced with an ethical dilemma. (A situation where there is no clear right or wrong answer) When you are confronted with an ethical dilemma what series of questions do you ask yourself to help you make a decision that you can live with?

Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate.  – Dr. Nathaniel Branden 

Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behavior for a person or group. Some people suggest that there is a difference between business and personal ethics. But, to my way of thinking there is just one. You are either ethical or you’re not. How can you behave one way at work and then behave a different way at home and still be true to yourself and what you believe in? The truth of the matter is – if you have to ask whether it is ethical or not – you already know the answer.

A moral compass – your personal code of conduct.  

What do you hold to be true? What are your enduring principles? What are you not willing to compromise – no matter the situation or the outcome? What isn’t for sale – no matter the price? If you had to sit down and write your personal code of conduct, what kinds of things would you include on that list? Ethics is a process. It is a continuous effort of studying our own beliefs and conduct and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are solidly based. What series of questions will you ask yourself to solve your ethical dilemmas? Do you believe – I mean really believe in honesty, integrity and treating others fairly?  Is it OK to win at all costs? Does the end result justify the means? I wonder knowing what they know now would Lance, Mike or Rob act any differently? Unfortunately they may not get a second chance.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced or copied without permission. Brian is available for speaking engagements, seminars and workshops. Find out what Brian can do for you and your organization by visiting http://briansmithpld.com

Enduring Principals – Your Personal Code of Conduct 4

What does it say about the World we live in when we question the honesty and integrity of the people in leadership positions – both in government and the clergy? Public trust in our lawyers, teachers, and financial institutions are at an all time low.

Worth Remembering …

“Leaders walk their talk; in true leaders there is no gap between the theories they espouse and their practice” – Warren Bennis

What is ethical or unethical behaviour? Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right or wrong behaviour for a person or a group. Some people suggest that there is a difference between business ethics and personal ethics. But, to my way of thinking – I believe you’re either ethical or you’re not. There is only one kind of ethics. You either believe in being honest – to act with integrity – to be guided by a strong sense of values and fair play – or not. How can you behave one way at work and then behave a different way at home and still be true to  yourself – still be true to your own personal code of conduct – your own set of enduring principles?

The first course I ever taught at Algonquin College’s School of Business was a “Business Ethics” course developed by one of my hero’s Professor Ron Knowles. Professor Knowles developed the course for first year business students in our SME program (Small, Medium, Enterprises). One of the neat things about that course was I got to work with first year business students to help them develop their own personal code of conduct – their own ethical decision making model that they could use to help them make the right decision when faced with an ethical dilemma. (An ethical dilemma is when you’re confronted with a situation where there is no clear right or wrong answer. No clear right or wrong way to behave.)

Worth Remembering …

“Be more concerned with your character then your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is what others think you are.” – Dale Carnegie

What do you hold to be true? What are your enduring principles? What are you not willing to compromise – no matter the situation – no matter the personal price you’ll have to pay?What series of questions do you ask yourself to solve your ethical dilemmas? If you where to sit down and script your personal code of conduct what kinds of things would you include? Do you believe in honestly? Acting with integrity? Do you believe in treating people fairly, consistently and with respect?

I’ve been put into positions in the past where I had to compromise my own set of values. I’ve done some things that in hindsight I should have handled differently because I ended up not being true to myself. What I did was not illegal but, it still bothers me to this day. And because I’m still bothered by it – I know it was the wrong thing to do. I should have acted differently no matter the cost. When we behave in ways that conflict with our own judgment of what is right, we lose face in ourselves. You may not always make the right decision – regardless of what ethical decision-making model you use. But you will make a decision that you can live with no matter the outcome because you where true to yourself.

Worth Remembering …

“The depths and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.” – Leon Trotsky

The Josephson Institute of Ethics, a non-profit training and consulting organization based in Los Angeles California advocates principled decision-making based on six common values they call “The Six Pillars of Character”. The Institute contends that these six pillars are the basis of ethically defensible decisions and the foundation of well-lived lives.

  1. Trustworthiness: Honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty
  2. Respect: Civility, courtesy, tolerance, acceptance
  3. Responsibility: Accountability, pursuit of excellence, self-restraint
  4. Fairness: Process, impartiality, equity
  5. Caring: Empathy, compassion, a sense of duty
  6. Good Citizenship: A sense of fair play, giving back, giving a hand up.

What we say to ourselves and our actions must be congruent. The words and our behaviour must match. There are people whom we trust and those we do not. And if we ask ourselves the reason why – most likely it’s because we trust congruency and are suspicious of incongruence. Results of a Society for Human Resources Management survey found that only 27% of the employees feel that their organizations leadership was ethical. At the end of the day – you have to be true to yourself. The bottom line is – If you have to ask yourself if you acted ethically or not? – you already know the answer.