Monthly Archives: January 2017

A FORMULA FOR RESPONDING

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When dealing with a hostile audience, business people are likely to face questions that challenge their credibility as well as those that question facts. The underlying message of a credibility question asks “Why should we trust you?” or otherwise indicates that the speaker’s CODE score is wavering. Greenberger’s formula for answering such questions is the “CAN Response.” The speaker must be caring, answer the question, and discuss the next steps, in that order:

*Caring. The speaker must establish empathy to be seen as trustworthy. A personal story is the best way to break through to people.

*Answer. This is where the speaker gets the message across. The message should be short, simple, and positive. In the case of a factory leak, for example, the message might be as simple as, “Everything is safe.” After giving that message, the speaker should provide two supporting facts. It is best if one of the facts is from an independent, third party. After the facts, the speaker should repeat the message.

*Next steps. The speaker should explain what is going to be done to rectify the situation. It helps to provide the audience with a source for more information, such as by handing out business cards or offering to answer questions to establish that the executive is dedicated to fixing the situation.

An executive can acquire and improve all the skills needed to communicate in tough situations through preparation and practice. In today’s environment, with the 24-hour news cycle and Internet access allowing any story to go global in an instant, executives must always be prepared.

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HOW TO BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE

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SELF-CONFIDENCE TOOLS AND STRATEGIES

Success in the workplace is tied to self-confidence, which is a key competency in the self-awareness cluster of Emotional Intelligence. According to the author, “a confident leader exudes a strong self-presentation and expresses him or herself in an assured, impressive, and unhesitant manner.”

Henry Fisker, the CEO of the luxury car company Fisker Coachbuild LLC and one of the leading automotive designers, is a Star Performer full of confidence. He is profiled in detail, and shares his 10 Secrets & Current Practices that make him a successful, top performer:

1. Take Private Time. Fisker takes one hour and a half each day at lunchtime to exercise and contemplate problems. He explores different angles and solutions until he gets a “feeling” and decides the best course of action.

2. Get Third Opinions. He believes it is valuable to solicit and get others’ viewpoints even if he is confident in what he thinks.

3. Evaluate Capacities. Fisker makes it a regular practice to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his team. He then understands individual capacities and when he needs to make a decision he is able to delegate tasks based on strengths.

4. Shoot From The Hip. Fisker believes that employees do not like to be over-managed, and want to feel motivated. He therefore prefers the perception of quick and firm decisions like ‘shooting from the hip.’ His decision making process is in fact more calculated and he relies on the first three secrets to base his decisions and empower his team.

5. Go With That Gut Feeling. Fisker advocates this visceral approach as it allows for quick decision-making and is more accurate than logical thinking. All experiences have an emotional component.

6. Take Initiative. Taking initiative defines a Star Performance based in confidence. After the ‘gut feeling,’ Fisker evaluates the risks associated with it and if deemed appropriate takes action.

7. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Leaders should be cognizant of their weaknesses. He defines weaknesses as “things you could do, but don’t like to do.” Preferring to lead with his strengths and excel, he delegates to others things he likes to do the least. This keeps him “energized, creative, and competent.”

8. Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes. Fisker promotes leaders being honest with themselves and admitting to their mistakes in order to learn and grow. Being responsible for one’s actions leads to clarity and less problems down the road.

9. Reinforce People. Fisker is adept at motivating his team members. He asks questions to stay abreast of what they think and do. By engaging them, he is able to recognize and support their hard work.

10. Be Willing To Make Decisions That Are Exceptions To The Rule. Being successful at times means not following the rules and procedures. Fisker asserts that a leader needs to weigh the consequences of a decision, decide if it is worth the risk, and then act on it.

To emphasize, Nadler offers ten proven strategies to try and further improve self-confidence:

* Being On Your Case Vs. Being On Your Side. Many leaders have defective evaluation systems, are overcritical of their own performance, and rarely satisfied with their own success. “Being On Your Own Case” leads to erosion in self-confidence, unhappiness, and unintentional treatment of others in the same way. A faulty evaluation system can be changed by reframing it to “Being On Your Side” and will result in improved confidence and greater awareness of how an individual evaluate their self and others.

* Reflections on Thinking. It is common to have an internal dialogue. According to the author, the issue is the type of internal questions that are asked. Negative questions such as “Why didn’t I say something smart at the meeting?” produce negative answers, which heavily erode confidence. Paying more attention to the internal questions will help to take control of negative self-talk.

* Busting Perfection: Creating Realistic Expectations. Perfectionism is a form of self-evaluation that stunts performance and sets leaders up for failure and frustration. There is a ‘perfection loop’ where unrealistic expectations are set without critical thinking that creates an unconscious pattern of failure. One must become aware of the unproductive pattern, understand the steps that cause it, and know how to break the cycle. The goal is to set realistic and attainable expectations.

* Success Rules: Who Is Running You? Many leaders are living by rules for being successful that are outdated, rigid, and over-generalized. This unconscious behavior can be re-programmed to enhance self-confidence otherwise there will be feelings of dissatisfaction and failure. Writing down and becoming aware of the rules that drive performance is an important first step.

* Success Log. Nadler advocates writing a success log chronologically with age brackets. The goal is to get a clear picture of many successes in life which are sometimes forgotten or minimized. Reviewing the list builds confidence.

* Current Success Log. The next strategy is to keep a current log of daily or weekly achievements and successes, and after a few months to analyze it to define personal strengths.

* The Five Pivotal People In Your Life. Another useful tool to build confidence comes from Dr. Phil McGraw. He believes that each of us have five pivotal people who represent a positive force, and contribute to a sense of self-confidence and worth. It is useful to write these people down, and reflect on their influence.

* Visualization. Regularly visualizing and mastering the most challenging situations as leaders will improve confidence. This practice creates neural pathways that make the actual performance more natural.

* Decisiveness. Strong leaders act as consensus builders. It is better for leaders to delay sharing their opinions early in the decision-making process and take the role of facilitator with the group. Their views can come out at the end of the process, bringing all the information together, resulting in a better decision. Decisiveness then requires a timetable and action.

* Thin-Slicing. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, coined the term ‘thin-slicing’. He defines it as “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on narrow slices of experience.” Very successful executives are adept at utilizing intuition when reaching decisions, and it is a skill, argues Gladwell that can be cultivated by others.

TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION TOOLS AND STRATEGIES

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According to Nadler, the main reason that executives fail in their leadership role is due to their inability to properly build and lead a team. To illustrate this point,  sharing 10 Secrets & Current Practices:

1. Start the Day with “An Attitude of Gratitude.” Jones suggests making a mental list of everything that an individual is grateful for and doing this in the morning. Then, arrive at work feeling uplifted.

2. Focused Greeting of People. Jones always greets people by making them feel she is glad to see them and views them as important.

3. Communication. Everyone on her teams is aware of goals and has accurate and up-to-date information at all times. This creates an atmosphere of ownership and common vision.

4. Red Flag Meetings. All team members attend these short meetings daily. Red flags are identified and resources are quickly allocated to address the concerns.

5. Revenue Gap Meetings. These meetings are meant to identify the current revenue for each customer, the individual customer forecast for that month, and any specific actions needed to close the ‘gap’.

6. BAT Team Meetings (Business Acquisition Teams). Each team of four or five members from different departments is assigned a major strategic account and charged with creating a comprehensive profile and specific actions. The intent is give team members who usually do not deal with sales a sense of ownership and a beneficial learning experience.

7. Team Meetings. These meetings are mandatory for all team members and are held twice monthly to foster collaboration and new learning experiences outside the realm of daily work demands.

8. Continual Process Review. Processes across the company and within departments are documented and subject to continual review and refinement. Teams of employees dealing with a particular process are established when a problem is identified and adjustments are needed.

9. Valuing Staff. Jones believes “in the value of each individual on the team.” She makes it a habit to check in with each member of the team on a regular basis to reinforce the fact that she cares and values each member’s efforts.

10. Humor. Humor relieves stress and creates group cohesiveness.

Building teams takes a dedicated leader along with discipline, planning, and practice.

COMMUNICATION AND EMPATHY TOOLS AND STRATEGIES

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Communication and empathy are the basis of all social and relationship skills, and a core competency of emotional intelligence. Nadler states that the communication competency includes listening with an open mind, sending convincing and clear messages, and cultivating an empathetic give-and-take. The empathy competency includes understanding other people and being actively interested in other people’s concerns, thoughts, and feelings.

prism-philosophy-1John Davies 11 Secrets & Current Practices are shared:

1. Touch The Heart. Davies believes the key to effective communication is to arouse emotions in people. Emotions are more important than logic.

2. Understand What People Want. He places client’s needs and their vision of success above his own capabilities and asks pertinent questions to be sure there is a good fit and his services can add bone fide value for a client.

3. Find Your Passion. A person who is passionate communicates in a convincing, persuasive, and genuine manner. Davies defines passion as “being your best without any compromise or change.”

4. Find Your Uniqueness. Giving voice to people’s strengths and unique abilities increases self- expression and enhances communication.

5. Read People. Engaging an audience involves being able to read non-verbal communication and discern what listeners are feeling and thinking. The ability to read people and their cues allows leaders to connect with their employees.

6. Acknowledge/Do Not Offend. Davies is cognizant that people need to know that they are being heard and their ideas are being taken into account. When conducting meetings, he never offends or threatens people and creates a safe environment to discuss ideas. Communication cannot be fostered in a divergent environment.

7. Summarize And Integrate. An effective communication strategy to is summarize what someone is saying and feed it back to him or her. After that is accomplished, it is possible to integrate new strategies and information to move forward.

8. Be Prepared. A “Star Communicator” in Davies’ opinion is always prepared. This includes reviewing client goals, researching pertinent information, prepping staff for what they need to know, and preparing for rebuttals.

9. Training And Personal Growth. Offsite retreats with staff several times a year allows staff “practice time” without the stresses of the work environment. Leadership, teamwork, communication, and project management are some of the skills that are fostered.

10. Quality In All. Davies mentors his staff to ensure that all products are of the highest quality. His expectation for his people is that they are accountable, proactive, and responsible for delivering superb work to clients.

11. Finding The “Needle In The Haystack.” The “Needle In the Haystack” is a means to be successful by uncovering what is often overlooked. Davies uses such practices as change strategies, psychology, crisis communication, and influence and persuasion theories.

Leaders need the ability to be highly effective communicators to get their point across and drive team behavior. Coupled with that, leaders need to know how to be empathetic.