Blog Archives

How to Build Up Your Confidence in Presentations

How to Build Up Your Confidence in Presentations

Confidence is the main component of a successful presentation. This premise is easy to state and accept—it is not so easy to work out how to build up your confidence. However, it is worth a try.

  • Knowledge. Know your material thoroughly and take time to check the facts and verify source. Do not agree to present subjects you only half know about, no matter how tempting and persuasive others are. Be clear about the one big issue you are going to present. Get the scope right so you are not sidetracked and go off on aimless tangents when researching and compiling likely material to support your ideas. It is not just knowledge, it’s ‘knowledge of what exactly?’ that you should be asking yourself at the outset.
  • Time. Put enough time into the task of preparing your material—“It always takes longer than you expect’ (Hofstadter’s Law)—and aim to complete your rough script/slides with a couple of days to spare. You need time to ‘sit on it’ without doing anything, to let it sink into your mind naturally. Remember how you used to cram for exams right up to the last minute and how you later felt?
  • Congruity. Make sure your words, tone of voice and body language are congruent, particularly if taking a strong position and expressing your own feelings and attitudes. According to Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, people rely more on the combination of what they see and hear than on any text alone. They look at slides, so do not read your slides—the audience does that—refer them to the point you are making and talk them through it. Always aim for simple structures so listeners find it easy to follow. Reiterate points in a different form of words to reinforce your message.
  • 'How to Speak with Confidence in Public' by Edie Lush (ISBN 1509814531) Practice. Take an example from theatre actors who learn their lines and rehearse their actions. Although you don’t memories your lines, practicing them out loud nevertheless builds a familiarity, not only with the words and ideas themselves, but also with how each part links with the next. Good linking controls the pace of your performance. This constant working through also helps you measure the timing of the presentation—and being aware of these invisible clues leads you seamlessly through your mental script. Only Icarus was dumb enough to “wing it on the day.”
  • Attitude. You are not going out there to fail. You are not there by chance and you have not left anything to chance. Everyone in the audience wants to hear a good presentation, to be entertained and stimulated. Start from that premise and believe in your ability to deliver it. You have agreed to present in order to demonstrate that you can communicate your ideas clearly to others—allow this simple idea to lodge in your mind.
Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

In the military, officer candidates are drilled on the power and practice of the manner of a leader-focused, attentive, and engaged. Command presence is not about control, it is about connection; it is not about power, it is about partnership. Leaders with command presence convey character.

Davy Crockett had command presence. “Crockett seemed to be the leading spirit. He was everywhere,” wrote Enrique Esparza, eyewitness to the Alamo, in a newspaper article following the legendary siege. Great leaders are all about spirit-being, not just doing. They focus on being there, everywhere, not in absentia. And, when they are there, they are all there-focused, attentive, engaged.

Great leaders hunt for genuine encounters. They upset the pristine and proper by inviting vocal customers to boardroom meetings. They spend time in the field and on the floor where the action is lively, not in carefully contrived meetings where the action is limp. They thrive on keeping things genuine and vibrant.

Leadership is being (Spirit)

Leadership is the act of influencing another to achieve important goals. It is not about rank or authority. Authority is the last resort of the inept. Leadership is about being-the conveyance of spirit. “You don’t have to know that Susan is the leader,” a manager said of his leader, “You can feel it the second she walks into the room. A warm connection reaches out of who she is and pulls you in. Some people might call it charisma, I call it caring.”

Spirit-full leaders let go of proving who they are in exchange for being who they are. They are givers whose curious interest in others drives them to be completely absorbed in whoever is on the other end of their conversations. They are patient listeners eager to learn, not anxious to make a point.

Great leaders are passion givers. They embrace the concept embedded in the word and pass it on to others. They show their excitement in the moment and optimism for the future, regardless of how much sleep they got the evening before or their worry over hiccups in the balance sheet. Great leaders are pathfinders who light the way with their positive faith. They would rather facilitate than challenge. They cultivate confidence rather than breed caution.

Leadership is Being There

Leaders are present. They don’t just lead by wandering around; they lead by staying engaged. They don’t just know the facts and figures; they know the stories and struggles. Because they make it their business to do their homework on customers and associates, they can affirm on sight without benefit of cue card or staff whispers. They call associates at home to congratulate them on something important to the associate. They thank customers for their business with sincerity and obvious gratitude. They hold meetings on other’s turf.

Great leaders bring perpetual energy and intensity to encounters. They are always wide awake. When it comes to their role, they are never lazy, disinterested, or indifferent. They care enough to bring their best. They show up in life with completed staff work.

At the annual managers meeting, Macy’s Director of Stores, Randy Scalise, gave out 15 awards to outstanding performers in the Northeast region. On the outside, the awards ceremony looked normal-applause, handshakes, an award presentation, and photos. What was unique was how many stories Randy told about his personal experiences with the award winners. He was an important customer for many of them—he had been there, up close and personal.

Great leaders are passion givers

Leadership is Being All There

The myth of leadership is that of a knight in shining armor without warts or clay feet rushing in to charismatically compel people to greatness through the sheer power of his persona. Real leaders are superior and inadequate, strong, and weak.

“He gives us so much courage,” a senior leader said of Doug Borror, CEO of Dominion Homes, and a large home-builder in Dublin, Ohio. “Doug is not perfect. But, he works hard to be the best he can be. When he makes a mistake, he owns it; he forgives himself so to speak. And he is willing to confess in public. That encourages us to reach for higher goals, knowing that if we fall short reaching for the moon, we’ll still end up among the stars.

Real leaders are real role models-not “be perfect like me” models. They are open about their struggles and invite followers to enlist. Positioning leaders as perfect models is unfair to leaders and disempowers associates. Real leaders stumble and blunder, just like normal people. Greatness comes through self-forgiveness as you “get back on the horse.” Real leaders serve as role models best when they reveal their vulnerability and demonstrate their humanity. When leaders own their mistakes, they signal to all that concealment and CYA antics are deviations from corporate custom.

Davy Crockett held no official position at the Battle of the Alamo. His command was expressed solely through his presence-one that cultivated confidence and promoted passion. Coronal Jim Bowie wrote, “David Crockett has been animating the men to do their duty.” Command presence is the embodiment of animation. And animation is what separates maintenance managers from truly great leaders.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Building Rapport Using the Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication

For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak

Building Rapport Using the Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication In customer service, is it more important to be a good sender of information or receiver? For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak. Is there an art to being a good listener? Yes. Does it come naturally? I think not. In fact, research indicates that we hear half of what is said, listen to half of what we hear, understand half of it, believe half of that, and remember only half of that.

That means in an eight-hour workday, you spend about 4 hours listening. You hear about 2 hours worth. You listen to 1 hour’s worth. You understand 30 minutes of that hour. You believe only 15 minutes worth. In addition, you remember just under 8 minutes worth.

How important are the nonverbal aspects compared to the actual words we use when communicating? Your words are about 7 percent of your communication, tone of voice 38 percent, and body language about 55 percent, and yet, most communication training centers on the use of words.

Often we fake attention because our thought-to-speech ratio. We can think five times faster than the other person talking can. Now you can do something productive with that extra lag time in your thought-to-speech ratio.

Leadership consultant Tom Peters notes: “Good listeners get out from behind their desk to where the customers are.” Do you give your full attention to the people who talk to you? If not, learn a powerful, technique that will improve your listening and help you gain rapport with anyone you meet. This technique comes from the science of neuro-linguistics programming (NLP,) developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. By incorporating NLP into the way we work with people, we can “read” people more sensitively, establish a positive relationship more quickly, and respond to them more effectively.

Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person’s Behavior

Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person's Behavior Mirroring, one of several NLP techniques, is the art of copying another person’s behavior to create a relaxed communication situation. We tend to like people who are like us. If we look like someone (and 93 percent of who that person is, is nonverbal), they will subconsciously say to themselves, “I like this person. They are just like me.” In addition, if we like someone, we trust him or her and want to do business with him or her. Think about the potential this has for promotions, building business, and building relationships and friendships.

Specifically, this is how you mirror: First, match the other person’s voice tone or tempo. If they talk fast, you talk fast. If they talk slowly, you talk slowly. When I speak in New York, I cannot speak quickly enough. If I am in southern Texas, I slow my pace down to match their pace. One way to help you match the other person’s tempo is to match the other person’s breathing rate. Pace yourself to it. Match the other person’s body movements, posture, and gestures. If the person you’re mirroring crosses his or her legs, you cross your legs. If the other person gestures, you gesture. Of course, subtlety is everything. You may want to wait several seconds before moving.

The process of mirroring is natural. You do it naturally with people you like and have built rapport with.

Morton Kelsey said it well when he said, “Listening is being silent in an active way.” If you think of it, if you rearrange the letters in the word listen, it is equivalent to silent. We would be more effective in customer service if we would listen more and talk less.

I hope that this listening technique will help you gain much wisdom and that as a result, you will have to repent very little.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

How to Be More Creative and Capable in Creating Meetings That are More Effective

The greatest myth that exists about meetings is that they are inherently bad, unavoidably painful, unproductive, and necessary evils. Bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders. Worse, they take a devastating toll on a company’s success.

Fortunately, for those leaders who challenge the notion that meetings are unfixable, it is possible to transform what is now tedious and debilitating into something productive, focused, and energizing. The key to improving meetings, however, has nothing to do with better preparation, or agendas.

Creating Meetings That are More Effective

Better Meetings

The first step in transforming meetings is to understand why they are so bad. There are two basic problems. First, meetings lack drama, meaning they are boring. Second, most meetings lack context and purpose. They are a confusing mix of administrivia, tactics, strategy, and review. This creates unfocused, meandering conferences, with little resolution or clarity.

  • Produce drama. The key to making meetings more engaging (less boring) lies in nurturing the natural conflict. The best place to learn how to do this is Hollywood. Directors and screenwriters know that movies need conflict to be interesting. Viewers need to believe that there are high stakes, and feel the tension the characters feel. They realize if they do not nurture that drama in the first 10 minutes of a movie, audiences will disengage. Leaders of meetings need to put the right issues (often the most controversial ones) on the table at the beginning. By demanding that their people wrestle with those issues until resolution has been achieved, they can create genuine, compelling drama.
  • Create context and purpose. Drama will not matter if leaders do not create the right context for their meetings and make it clear to team members why the meeting is occurring and what is expected of them. To create context, leaders must differentiate between different meetings. Too often, however, they throw every possible conversation into one long meeting. This creates confusion and frustration among team members who struggle to shift back and forth between tactical and strategic conversations, with little or no resolution of issues.

Nevertheless, be warned, by creating context, leaders might have more meetings. They may spend less time in meetings, but have different types of meetings.

Time for Meetings

Teams should ideally be having four distinct meetings regularly:

  • Daily Check-in is a schedule-oriented, administrative meeting that lasts 10 minutes. The purpose is to keep team members aligned and provide a forum for activity updates and scheduling.
  • Weekly Tactical is what most people know as staff meetings. These should be about one hour in length, give or take 20 minutes, and should focus on the discussion and resolution of issues that affect near-term objectives. Ironically, these work best if there is no pre-set agenda. Instead, the team should quickly review one another’s priorities and the team’s scorecard, and then decide on what to discuss. This will help them avoid wasting time on trivial issues, focus on issues that are relevant and critical, and postpone the discussion of more strategic topics.
  • Monthly Strategic is the most interesting meeting for leaders, and the most important indicator of strategic aptitude. It is the place for big topics that have a long-term impact. These issues require more time and a different setting-one in which participants can brainstorm, debate, present ideas, and wrestle with one another in pursuit of the optimal long-term solution. Each strategic meeting should include just one or two topics, with two hours for each topic.
  • Quarterly Off-Site Review is a chance for team members to reassess issues: the interpersonal performance of the team, the strategy, the performance of employees, morale, competitive threats, and industry trends. These can last one or two days each quarter.

Creating More Effective Meetings

The key to making this four-pronged meeting structure work is to overcome the objection: “How am I going to get my work done if I’m spending all of my time in meetings?” There are two ways to answer this. First, these meetings require about 20 percent of a leader’s time. Most leaders spend even more time on meetings anyway. Second, leaders need to ask: “What is more important than meetings?” If they say “sales” or “e-mail” or “product design,” they should reconsider their roles as leaders. A leader who hates meetings is like a symphony conductor who hates concerts. Meetings are what leaders do. The solution to bad meetings is not to eliminate them, but to transform them into meaningful, engaging, and relevant activities.

'Meetings Matter' by Paul Axtell (ISBN 0943097142) Leaders need to cascade communication. Members of an executive team should leave each meeting having agreed on a set of messages that they will communicate to their respective staffs within 24 hours. Then, members of their staffs communicate those same messages to their staffs. This forces executives to get clear about what they have agreed upon and what actions they will take. Employees in different departments hear the same messages from their respective leaders. This gives employees confidence and allows them to pursue their work without doubts and distractions. Cascading communication also allows people to implement decisions quickly and promotes action and buy-in.

Because of its personal nature, cascading communication evokes more trust. There is no substitute for personal, interactive communication when it comes to inspiring people to act. Therefore, take 10 minutes at the end of their meetings to get clear about what has been decided and what needs to be communicated to turn decisions into actions.

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Seven Principles for Meeting Deadlines

Seven Principles for Meeting Deadlines In meeting deadlines, top performers apply seven key principles. This change management is not intended simply to permit the company to endure a few more years—it is proposed to set the company on a path to greater success and thus virtuous jobs for those who remain.

Another is that a blindly optimistic self-explanatory style of deadlines might actually promote a reduction in effort as we might not try as hard if we believe our ability eliminates the need. For the following reasons, I consider this behavior neither compassionate nor moral.

Principle #1 for Meeting Deadlines: Schedules are Sacrosanct

Task teams express a reverence for “the schedule” as the single most important deadline management tool, even though people search for more colorful, personality-driven keys to victory. But it is precisely its implacability that makes a schedule so stable, incorruptible, and enforceable. Amendments to schedule can’t be made capriciously. Changes should be rare, even agonizing, since each adjustment threatens to compress the final stages. Schedules become impersonal enforcement tools, because they do not respond to appeal. The manager can say, “It’s not me—it’s the schedule that’s pushing us all, and we need to keep pace.”

Schedules are not dreamed up by distant executives who then hand them down to task teams, along with deadline dates. All long-term projects are guided by realistic, believable, timelines that benefit from the insight and input of those doing the work. Schedules codify the ambition and enable synergy.

Within each timeline, milestones are set—and celebrated as they are met. These mini-deadlines make the program more manageable, attainable, and comprehensible those who are focused on their part. When milestones are in jeopardy of not being met, alarm bells go off in the minds of project managers and team leaders. All are affected by slippage along the critical path. A milestone won’t be “bumped” unless, and until, the team knows why it is in jeopardy. Allowing more time won’t necessarily correct the process. Margins of time and budget are factored into each schedule and managed by the teams.

Principle #2 for Meeting Deadlines: Partnering

Deadlines involving major, long-term projects are met jointly; the distance between customer and those who serve are bridged in the interest of expediency. Leaders see that their races against time must be run in unison.

While companies discover many rewards in the closer relationships and find that the doors of communication, once opened, are difficult to close, their original motivation is often to save time. “Business as usual” won’t suffice under the conditions of a major deadline. Competitive companies need each other to win. Deadlines are often joint ventures, since few organizations can go it alone. Even global industrial leaders depend on the unstinting cooperation of customers and suppliers to bring their projects in on time. Conversely, much is expected of them. Reciprocation is possible by modifying billing and payment practices, or by waving long-standing bureaucratic requirements, or by re-routing time-consuming communication paths, or by modeling teams to reflect those of the partner. Customers and contractors like feeling part of the delivery process.

Principle #3 for Meeting Deadlines: Willingness to Accept Risk

Meeting Deadlines: Willingness to Accept Risk Deadlines involve risk. The risks inherent in these projects are not accepted by swashbucklers who revel in danger but by serious professionals who seek ways to reduce the risk—by preparing backup plans, brainstorming creative solutions, and even taking out insurance policies. The risk is accepted, then reduced, to improve the odds to succeed, to make a profit, or to reduce casualties. The willingness to take a chance defines an organization in ways a thousand ads cannot. Word gets around. Companies and individuals who take on risk, and prevail, develop reputations as giant killers.

Something in the nature of “risky” operations binds teammates together. The “sink or swim” mentality of great teams is responsible for innovations that bring their projects in on time. Participating in these deadlines is not simply another day at the office for those involved; these are adventures. Those who pass through the whitewater of a serous deadline can look back on the “nervous time” with a nostalgic pride. “Risk” creates common cause, even more than “reward.” Lackadaisical groups will suddenly become focused and serous once risk is introduced.

Principle #4 for Meeting Deadlines: Company Men and Women

Challenging deadlines are met most successfully by “company men and women” whose most obvious credential is tenure (average of 25 years of service). No one looks forward to retirement (in fact, they seem to dread the day), and all seem to thrive on the formidable tasks assigned to them. While those people are ambitious, success seems to be measured less by personal recognition and more by participation on a job well done. None of them are coy about their futures with the company. “I love it here,” and other expressions of affection and loyalty are heard frequently. Company men and women are usually portrayed as obstacles to bold, forward-thinking newcomers, but they are precisely the people you want tasked with a significant deadline. They are less likely to look on a project as a feather in their caps and more likely to factor in the long-term interests of the company and of the customer (which are complementary).

If you don’t have tried-and-true employees with years of service, entrust deadlines to employees who are sincerely interested in a career with the company. Team players who distinguish themselves by helping others are prime candidates, as are those who demonstrate a real concern for customer satisfaction. Managers must take an active role with a team of fresh faces and lead by example, in creating a sense of mission so compelling that the team will be carried in their wake.

Wise managers assume that peak performers are always being courted by the competition, and could, without proper attention, be gone in the blink of an eye.

Principle #5 for Meeting Deadlines: Family Outreach

The popular stereotype of an executive who sacrifices family for career is somewhat of a contradiction, because, clearly, business success is not sustainable without a strong emotional base. A hard-driving executive plagued by personal problems, distracted by divorce proceedings or custody battles, can’t focus on the job at hand—and may even exacerbate his or her situation by finding a comfort of sorts in alcohol or drugs.

The wise manager recognizes the importance of family and finds ways to involve the “other half” of the deadline team and to enlist their support in the pursuit of the deadline.

When George H. Bush announced the beginning of the first Gulf War in 1990 a cheer was reported at a professional basketball game, and it was to enter into it with anything other than a heavy heart. I know now why that cheer went up, though. The spirit of abstraction.

Leverage the tasks you want to do by withholding them until your more odious tasks are completed first. That way, desirable tasks become a motivating reward.

Principle #6 for Meeting Deadlines: Making it Easy for the Customer

Legal and human resources constrictions counteract names from being released until the selection is complete and the official communications and severance packages are ready. Employees know the moment is coming, but little else.

Meeting Deadlines: Making it Easy for the Customer Thinking in terms of the customer’s deadline and of ways to facilitate the up-line obligations to yet another level of customers or end users is characteristic of great companies. Great organizations never lose sight of the big picture, which includes the customer meeting its own deadline. Great conversations are like anything. Success is usually not an accident. It’s planned. Each company has a reputation as a dependable azlly who will not let the customer fail. That’s true, but letting people go is far easier from a legal standpoint if you’ve established and documented a strong case for why a particular employee doesn’t fit with your culture—and exactly what that means.

Principle #7 for Meeting Deadlines: Willingness to Ramp Up

Most teams have to ramp up to meet their deadlines. It isn’t as if they can meet their challenges the way they are. The challenges they accept are complicated by the steps that need to be taken to meet each deadline—and yet they are not intimidated by the deadlines, nor by the requirements to meet them.

Definitely, we can imagine naysayers. But, the decisions of senior management to accept the challenges have positive repercussions. Organizations are transformed by the requirements to meet the challenges they willingly accept.

Authorize them to communicate and lead, not to just passively watch their departments be clipped without a rationale.

Conclusion: Seven Principles for Meeting Deadlines

Meeting deadlines strongly influences our ability to be happy Those involved in setting the deadline feel driven by the schedule, but they are not emotionally overwhelmed. That’s not strong enough, and it’s not quantifiable. By most quantitative standards, the employee is doing great work. In fact, enforced schsedules offer a sense of relief: You then know exactly what must be done daily to be victorious, and even when “off schedule,” you know what must be done to get back on track. Deadline busters willingly bow to the Schedule God, obeying the truest guide to victory in the race against time.

What it is, therefore, matters a great deal, for studies show that what we choose to meet deadlines strongly influences our ability to be happy. Pursuing meeting deadlines, for example, actually tends to decrease our happiness in the long run. Pursuing altruistic goals, on the other hand, is one of the few things that actually increases it.

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity Management and Leadership

Seek Benefits for Both Sides in Negotiating Deals

Seek Benefits for Both Sides in Negotiating Deals

What is a reasonable goal in negotiation? Can both parties walk away from the table with even more value than they expected? Many professional negotiators prefer to aim towards what is known as a Win-Win solution. This involves looking for resolutions that allow both sides to gain.

Think about this as a possible goal: to create joint value and divide it give11 concerns for fairness in fhe relationship.

You may say to us, “Get real! My clients don’t do business that way!” or “Buyers are not interested in creating value, much less in being fair!” Or as the top salesperson for one of our Japanese clients once said: “You don’t understand; the Japanese buyer dictates what we do—and all he cares about is price! We don’t have any say.” So, if that’s what you’re thinking, we are not surprised.

However, we have convinced many top selling and purchasing organizations to adopt the reasonable goal in their negotiations. We’ve done this for one good reason: it works. Both sides benefit when you create joint value and divide it given concerns for fairness in the ongoing relationship. For example, if you’re trying to sell your product to a customer whose main concern is price, the customer can look at this negotiation in one of two ways. He can say, “My goal is to get the product for less,” and simply demand a lower price. If you, as the salesperson, accede to his demands, he’ll be happy because he’ll get what he wants, but you’ll be less happy because you won’t be making as much money as you had hoped or expected to make.

What if, however, the customer considers his goal to be “to create joint value and divide it given concerns for fairness in the ongoing relationship?” If he’s thinking along those lines, he may still suggest that you give him a deeper discount than you’re offering, but in return he might agree to a longer commitment or higher volume or provide you with access to other divisions of his company—options that would cost him nothing. In this situation, you are more likely to offer a better discount because you are getting more of his business. In fact, you would both come out of the negotiation with more than you anticipated going into it. The best win-win agreements often spring from presenting multiple offers rather than a single, lone offer or proposal. And, you would establish a positive relationship that is likely to bring you even more business in the future.

“It sounds all right in theory,” you say, “but does it really work in practice?” Yes, it does. Aiming to create joint value and divide it given concerns for fairness in the ongoing relationship changes the nature of the negotiation in positive ways. It helps you create and negotiate larger deals because it leads to tactics that are more likely to yield larger deals. As a result, even if it doesn’t work every time, in the end you make more money because the individual deals are larger. To guide these win-win perceptions, give your negotiation counterpart a voice in the decision process. Even when you are in a position of power, be sure to acknowledge your counterpart’s perspective and invite him to express his views, to suggest alternatives, and to react to initial proposals. Another benefit is the positive effect on the climate and tone of the negotiation as a result of sharing the goal with your customers. Of course, they tend to be very skeptical at first. But once you prove that you mean what you’re offering over the course of several negotiations, your sincerity not only makes individual negotiations easier and more productive but has a positive impact on the ongoing relationship.

Whatever the circumstances, in order for the situation to be a true win-win, both sides should feel comfortable with the final outcome.

Recommended Books on Negotiation

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

How to Enhance Your Power

How to Enhance Your Power

Here are four ways to enhance our ability to use power wisely:

  1. Teach others to use power wisely and transform them into partners. Teach them to ask the questions, who, what, when, where, and why to evaluate problems. Review problems from an intellectual and emotional standpoint. As you motivate and inspire people to action, you create a partnership because you share power.
  2. Go where the people are. Communicate directly with people. Ensure that others are not intimidated or punished when they express honest opinions. Don’t hide behind titles, office doors, financial successes, or an autocratic demeanor. Be accessible.
  3. Share knowledge. Knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied. When you share knowledge, you empower people to act on their own. Shared knowledge enables people to take a risk, expand an idea, and venture to a new horizon.
  4. Seek opposites. Don’t surround yourself with people who resemble you, who have similar beliefs and biases. Seek contrasts—people who have the skills and abilities you need, not just those who duplicate your talents.

You must use different kinds of power for different people and situations. Learn to be flexible, fair, ethical, and judicious. To be a leader who makes a difference, you must use your power wisely.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

How to Prepare Yourself for Future Opportunities

How to Prepare Yourself for Future Opportunities

Chance favors the prepared mind. “The prepared mind” is the characteristic of leaders who are outstanding in their talent to perceive, make sense, decide and act across a complex set of conditions. We also believe that “the prepared mind” is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of intentional preparation that requires developing eight mental skills regardless of your role.

How will you prepare for your tomorrow?

  1. You need the skill of observing because your world is more competitive. Execution-driven leaders often become so consumed by the pressures of running their projects and their organizations that they never pause to take a look at what’s going on around them. You may have mastered the core capabilities of your profession, and yet new technology might make these capabilities obsolete. List the capabilities you need to develop. Find a meaningful unifying purpose.
  2. You need the skill of reasoning because you need to reevaluate your assumptions. Data are useless without the skills to analyze them, reason, and make meaning of them. For example, are you thinking big enough? Take your situation and think bigger. Reasoning can complement problem-solving skills that you already have with a methodical approach to use with moral, ethical, organizational, or technical problems.
  3. You need the skill of imagining because you need alternatives to keep yourself sharp. Imagination is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It’s a skill. Be curious about everything—the world is full of amazing wonders for you to learn about. Creativity is at the heart of innovation. To improve this skill, list three combinations that would create something new and useful for you. Name one thing that you think you are too old to start. Are you really too old?
  4. You need the skill of challenging because expertise breeds conservatism. Challenging a group’s willingness to go with the first right answer can be major barrier to unleashing full creative potential. To improve the skill of challenging, list the constraints imposed on you. Who has already dealt with them? What did they do? What could you do?
  5. You need the skill of learning because new opportunities abound. Improved learning skills—concentrating, reading, and listening, remembering, using time, and more—are directly useful and will continue to pay dividends for a long time. What don’t you know that you should? List technologies, practices, or events that might provide insight. Learn about the future by studying some history. Also, list some mistakes or failures from your past. What did you learn from them?
  6. You need the skill of deciding because every decision has consequences, and no decision is a decision. Every solution brings about its own set of new problems. No leader knows enough about the future to make the most favorable decision every time, but it’s better to set a clear direction today and confront problems that crop up tomorrow. It’s not being afraid to fail; and if you do, identify it quickly and more ahead fast so no momentum is lost.
  7. You need the skill of enabling because all of us are smarter than any one of us, and “they” need the knowledge, means, and opportunity to help you reach your goals. Who needs your help, and how can they help you? Provide opportunities—delegate. Ensure that outcomes, actions and questions are properly recorded and actioned, and appropriately dealt with afterwards.
  8. You need the skill of reflecting because you learn more from understanding the reasons for your success and failure than you do from studying someone else’s best practices. Take a current problem and list possible answers. Now think like a beginner by asking dumb questions. Reflect on those questions and answers. The greatest strength of reflective leaders is their thoughtful and attentive nature, which means tremendous persistence to listen and take in information, the ability to connect the dots and garner eye-opening insights, and deep trust in their instinct, creativity, and thinking process.

Many leaders seem so besieged with their current workload that telling they prepare for the future may seem unreasonable. By preparing today to meet tomorrow’s challenges, they can set in motion a new leadership paradigm, one that will help leaders better cope with today.

Prepare your mind and then use your mind wisely. Leaders who focus on those eight basics will be prepared to encounter the unknowable challenges that lie ahead.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity Management and Leadership

Save Yourself from Multitasking

Save Yourself from Multitasking

Most folks lack the self-discipline to focus on one thing at a time and stick closely to their plans. The younger generation has grown up multitasking wholly and especially knows how to do their physics homework, exchange messages on Facebook, download music on their iPods and IM each other all at once.

Multitasking is a myth. We overestimate our ability to do many things at the same time. Our brain is simply not engineered in a way that lets it perform multiple tasks simultaneously. While we may think we are multitasking, we are actually doing nothing more than just speedily switching between tasks, often at the cost of productivity, quality, and good sense.

Strangely enough, multitasking takes more time. It makes solving tough problems challenging. Activity is not the same as productivity. Therefore, multitasking is not efficient at all. That we feel we are multitasking is an illusion. In its place, we are hurriedly switching our focus back and forth between different tasks. We shift our attention from one task to the next in rapid succession.

Frequent multi-taskers have trouble switching between tasks. The helplessness to sift out the immediately previous task before taking on another activity causes multi-taskers to be slower than those not multitasking.

  • Systematize your thinking and try to focus on jobs. If you do not organize your thinking and your time, you can end up focusing on the urgent rather than the important.
  • Do not drive and talk on the phone — even if you are using a handsfree device. One academic study found that people using cellphones drive no better than drunks.
  • Reduce or do away with the notifications that take away your concentration. Configure your email program to stop checking for new email every five minutes. Each chime declaring a new email sidetracks you from other work, and is likely to move less important tasks to the top of your plans.

Divest yourself of all distractions and make significant progress on challenging projects. Better yet, reduce your stress levels. After all, multitasking is not just inefficient, it is stressful too.

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Gifts are Crucial Marketing Tools

Gifts are crucial marketing tools. They can help your customers remember you throughout the year.

'101 Marketing Essentials Every Camp Needs to Know' by Jodi Rudick (ISBN 1585180394) Marketing consultant Jodi Rudick suggests five occasions when business gifts can help solidify relationships with your customers and build your business. Jodi Rudick is the author of 101 Marketing Essentials Every Camp Needs to Know.

  • After the sale: Saying thank-you does more than complete the sale. It helps build the relationship.
  • After receiving referrals: The biggest compliment a sales person can receive is a referral. Send a thank-you immediately after receiving a referral.
  • Anniversaries: Celebrate the day you signed your first contract with a customer, making it a special date to salute each year.
  • Birthdays: Send your customers some birthday cheer, but not just a card. Be creative — send an entire party kit, complete with customized cakes, candles, hat, etc. All the excitement can make them feel special.
  • Holidays: Thinking beyond the traditional can make you stand out. Send a card or a gift on Halloween. Send a decorative jar of candles for Valentine’s Day, then each month send a refill along with product information, or an article that would interest the customer.
Tagged
Posted in Business and Strategy Life Hacks and Productivity