Positive Attitude

Begin With The Bright Spots

When leaders and organizations begin to work with us, it is often because they have a problem they need to solve.  Something is wrong, and that wrong thing is consuming an awful lot of time.

That is where we come in:  through conversations, carefully crafted experiences that change the climate, and a creative approach to processes and people, we equip our clients to solve problems and do things with more purpose, passion and focus.

When we are asked to solve problems for organizations, the first question I ask is this:

What do you want?

This simple question, repeatedly asked, uncovers many things:

·        Resistance: “What do I want?  Let me tell you what I don’t want…” and out pours the                   frustration.

·        The absence of vision.  “I don’t know what I want.”

·        A change in focus, “When I started this it was so clear, now I am not really sure.”

Over time, the answer begins to shift, and what begins to emerge is vision.  Common purpose. Passionate commitment.  Energy.  The challenge then becomes harnessing and deploying that energy effectively.

Sometimes our question, “What do you want?” shows leaders where the broken places are:

·        “I don’t know what the end game is.  It isn’t clear to me what we are trying to accomplish in the big picture, so I don’t know what I want because I don’t know what will contribute.”

·        “What I want is to be able to do my job well and execute effectively the work we are charged to accomplish.”

·        “I want us all to be on the same page.”

Whatever “it” is, asking this simple question begins to reveal what is working and what isn’t in the organization.  It also uncovers something about the people in the room:  their current level of willingness and abilities begin to emerge. We have a place to start.

The place I like to begin any engagement is with the Bright Spots.

Ø  What is working?

Ø  What is going well?

Ø  Where is the strength and energy?

It is from this place that people can begin to see what is possible. What can be created.

When we begin a conversation from a place of strength and success, people are more able to tap into creative solutions to the issues and obstacles before them.  Success begins with a success mindset:  we map our way from here to there with the guideposts of what is working, where our strengths lie, and how we can solve the problems before us with the assets, learning and lessons we are gathering today.

A destination can begin to be charted.

To begin to map your next moves around the challenges that are arising in your organization start by asking:

Ø  What do we want?

Ø  What is working?

Ø  What is going well?

Ø  Where is the strength and energy?

With this inventory of what you have, you will be more aware of what and how to harness and deploy your best abilities and tools as you move toward your destination.

Mapping our successes and our desired outcomes builds something essential into the climate of our teams.  It builds trust and resilience.

The problems and pitfalls that lie before us are best solved with our collective creativity and a common resolve.  “What do you want?” is the place to begin.  It creates the space for the deeper, tougher, more challenging questions that follow.

What do you want?  What do you really want?

How can the choices and challenges before you lead you there?

Love the One You’re With

I am borrowing the song title from the Stephen Stills famous hit from 1970—here is the link in case you want to sing along with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH3ruuml-R4

I got the idea for the blog listening to an interview on NPR’s Marketplace recently. Host, Kai Ryssdal, asked Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, to discuss a recent mistake that he had made. Nadella paused and then said he sometimes gets distracted by shiny bright objects and forgets about the needs of his current customers. He gets excited about potential new products and forgets that these new features might impact the current customers who have been loyal to Microsoft. He went on to say that he has stopped short of making the mistake, but not before nearly forgetting about the current customers.

What about you? Do you get distracted by the potential new customer and forget about the needs of your current customers? I know I have made this mistake. A couple of years ago, I landed some new customers that took me out of town a good bit, and made it hard for others to reach me for live meetings. The work with the new customers was lucrative, but were short term projects.  My current customers missed the extra touch that I normally gave them, and it was harder to renew work the next time around. If I had spent more time with my current customers, I might have gotten new work and I know I would have had greater loyalty if I had stayed connected. Thus, love the one you’re with! What are you doing to retain your top customers? Do they know how much you value them? What can you proactively do to amaze them?

 

I think this same concept can apply to our employees. It can be easy to look at our current team as good but not always great. We go to a conference and we meet someone and think they can be amazing for our team. This might be true, and I am not saying to not look for new talent. However, are you taking the time to truly develop your current team that is loyal to you? It is a lot easier to keep a team member that believes in your mission, understands your leadership, and is a cultural match. Instead of loving our current team members, we often covet other people. We tend to see the weaknesses of our team members and forget about their current strengths. I have one client that was loyal to his organization for years. He would receive feedback that he needed to be more direct. He would do this and then he would get feedback that he was too direct. He then would be told he was almost ready for a promotion and then they would bring someone in from the outside. He recently left and is a superstar in the new company. His old company called me and asked if I knew anyone like my coaching client because they said he was a superstar. If they had told him that while he was there and given him more positive feedback, he would never have looked for another role.

Take time this week to re-recruit one of the superstars on your team. Tell them why you love what they do for your organization. Call one of your customers and tell them why you enjoy working with them so much. Let me know how the conversation goes and in the meantime, “Love the One You’re With!”

THE POWER OF SMILES

Smile at somebody and watch what happens!


Chances are they smile back.  People tend to mirror behavior and smiling is the quickest way to establish instant rapport.  (And it’s free!)  Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.  When people look cross or sad and carry that message on their face, it tends to put people off.  This is obvious, right?  Sometimes I am not so sure by the sour puss look people choose to put on their faces.

So smile at somebody and watch what happens!

In 1971, UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian published a book, Silent Messages, in which he discussed his research on non-verbal communication.  This became known as the 7%-38%-55% Rule.  He theorized that communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal.  The non-verbal component was made up of body language (55 percent) and tone of voice (38 percent.).

 While some disagree with Mehrabian’s findings and claim that they are often misused, it remains a basic framework for examining just how much human communication is non-verbal. For discussions’ sake, if 55% is body language and 38% tone of voice, it stands to reason that a pleasant smile and a sincere, “Hello”, have a greater than 9 in 10 chance of hitting their mark.

 

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Tell Your Face

According to recent NIH studies, smiling helps reduce stress of mind and body, almost similar to getting good sleep.  Smiling also helps to generate more positive emotions within you.  That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more.  On average, children smile 400 times a day.  Happy adults smile an average of 40-50 times a day.  The average adult smiles only 20 times a day (and who wants to be average?).

 Here are some quotations from famous people who agree, if you’re happy and you know it- tell your face.

 “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”  (Mother Teresa)

 “Smile in the mirror every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life.” (Yoko Ono)

 “When I look out at the people and they look at me and they're smiling, then I know that I'm loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems.” (Etta James)

 “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.” (Maya Angelou)

 “You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” (Charlie Chaplin)

 “Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.” (Greta Garbo)

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” (Leo Buscaglia)