Define "Integrity" and Activate Your Company Values

These videos — the first in our Kicker and Shifter series — will help you take your company values off the wall and put them to work in the day-to-day operations of your business.


non-verbal Micro-responses

Non-Verbal Matters

non-verbal Micro-responses

Today I’m thinking about the unconscious communications we all make. Someone says or does something in our presence. Then, quick as a flash, we give them a non-verbal micro-response. It might be a sound, a gesture, a facial expression. These non-verbals go by so quickly, we may not even know they happened. Like it or not, other people notice. Some of these non-verbals serve to build relationships. Some serve to destroy them. Really, if you’ll pardon the double negative, none of them have no impact at all.

AN ILLUSTRATION

The other day at a store, I said to the clerk, “Hey, I’m hoping you can help me with something.” Before responding to me, she closed her eyes, lowered her head, and let out a quick breath through her nose. The whole gesture took less than two seconds. Then she looked at me and said, “Sure. How can I help you?”

Before she spoke, I already wished I hadn’t gone into that store.

NON-VERBAL MATTERS

I expect that if you were to ask her how she responded to my request for help, she’d tell you, “I said, ‘Sure. How can I help you?’” But that wasn’t her first response. While it was the first thing she said, her gesture, her body language, was the first response. And it was also therefore my first impression. And it was the communication I believed.

There’s a principle of Adeptability we teach our clients. We humans are, “meaning making machines.” Every bit of information we take in, we make meaning of. We tell ourselves a story to make sense of the information. We fit every gesture and sound, every non-verbal expression, into the story we’re telling ourselves.

I’m a meaning making machine. So, I told myself a story to interpret her non-verbal response — right or wrong — and then I believed my story. To me it meant, “I don’t want to help you. Don’t bother me.” That response and the meaning I took from it had a more profound effect on my experience than her second/spoken response, “Sure. How can I help you.” I may have been mistaken. It’s possible I was wrong.

To the store I was in, however, it doesn’t matter whether my interpretation was correct or not. As a result of her unconscious communication to me, I felt unwelcome. So, I probably won’t go back. I got what I came for, and left as quickly as possible. She likely affected others in the same fashion.

In business, non-verbals are a major part of our brand. They’re a big part of our company culture. Micro-responses play a significant role in everyone’s sense of well-being, belonging, and motivation. Non-verbal communication drives productivity and results or it puts on the brakes.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

There’s another principle of Adeptability that informs where our attention belongs in order to have the impact in the world and our businesses that we’re looking to have.

It’s never about the thing. It’s always about the relationship.

The store clerk was willing to help me. In fact, she did help me. And even so, with her initial micro-response, she tore down the relationship with me.

Non-verbal micro-responses can tear down the relationship, and they can also build it up. How often do you smile at the people you work with when you encounter them? How often do you approach their requests with an attitude of “yes”?

Micro-responses that tear down relationships:

  • Sighs
  • “Oh no”
  • Frowning
  • Head shaking
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Eye-rolling
  • Etc.

Micro-responses that build up relationships:

  • Smiles
  • Nodding
  • “Uh-huh”
  • Eye-contact
  • Slightly raised eyebrows
  • Etc.

THE CHALLENGE

The non-verbal micro-responses we’ve been talking about are pre-conscious and reflect the thoughts you have about the situation (or person) presenting itself. You can’t necessarily control micro-responses in the moment because they come before you know it. You can, however, notice them in retrospect. Often, if you train yourself, you can recognize them even as they come. And you can instruct yourself in how you want to respond in like circumstances in the future.

And if you notice you’ve made a destructive micro-response, you can apologize for your impulsive reaction. An apology, when it’s called for and offered without prompting, is a powerful relationship builder.

You can ask those around you to give you feedback specifically about your pre-conscious micro-responses and enlist them in your effort to improve your collaborative ability.

And you can give yourself instruction and deliberately apply your awareness in advance of the situations where potentially destructive micro-responses come up.  

You know you best. Make an inventory of the places you’re most likely to sneer, roll your eyes, groan, sigh, slump your shoulders, etc.

Here’s a start:

  • When someone makes a request of you
  • When someone comes unannounced to your work space
  • When you encounter someone when walking through the office
  • When someone gives you feedback — corrective or congratulatory
  • When someone asks you for a status report
  • When someone tells you about their personal life, or asks you about yours

Keep track of these triggers. Prepare to build relationships. When you catch yourself tearing down the relationship, make a quick apology, offer a remedy, and move on.

Additionally, if you’ve got a feedback culture (and if you don’t, get to work right away to build one), give and ask for feedback on non-verbal behaviors.

  • When you roll your eyes, I’m left thinking you’re not ready for a project like this.
  • Thank you for nodding throughout my presentation. I knew I had you with me, and I felt encouraged.
  • When you shake your head while a customer is talking to you about a problem, they won’t feel supported. We’ll lose business.
  • When you occasionally say, “uh-huh,” when I’m telling the team about this new initiative, people know I have your support. It helps smooth the transition and get everyone on board.

Even subtle and unconscious behavior affects the team, the customers, and the business results. So it’s part of performance and deserving of feedback — both congratulatory and corrective.

WHY BOTHER

The greatest benefit of the awareness and discipline I’m suggesting… You can change your own attitude through this practice. Our attitudes surely affect our behaviors. It works in reverse too. Discipline yourself to constructive behaviors and your attitudes will shift.

You’ll improve your own outlook, morale, and value in your organization.

Meanwhile, you’ll also affect the impression others have of you. You’ll upgrade the way they think of you, upgrade the way they feel being around you, upgrade the opportunities that come your way, and upgrade the results you get in the many negotiations we all engage in every day.

Whatever your work, this will fuel your career and increase your sense of fulfillment. It’ll drive results for you, for your team, and for your company.

 

_______________

Imagine your team operating with high-level EQ. Trouble is, reading an article doesn’t often change behavior. That’s why we created Adeptability Training for your team for a communication and collaboration culture as a matter of habit and mindset. Want an Adeptable team?

Book a call today.


Five Cent Company Culture Upgrade

With just 5 cents, you can make a major upgrade to your company culture. And are you ready for the kicker? You don’t even have to spend the five cents. You can keep your money and still get the upgrade. Look in the sofa cushions, grab five pennies, and read on.

COMPANY CULTURE

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of company culture. There’s not a lot of clarity about what company culture means. At The Yes Works, we have a useful definition of culture:

A company’s culture is the set of contagious tendencies of behavior, language, and values common to the people working there.

Want to know the secret to this five-cent/free company culture upgrade? Thank you. No, I am not thanking you for your interest (although, thank you for your interest). That’s the secret. “Thank you,” is the secret.

Thank you is a behavior that reflects the attitude of the thanker and affects the attitudes and the behavior of the thanked and of everyone who overhears the thanks. In an environment of recognition and gratitude, people are engaged.

A so-called leader I once spoke to said, “Why would I say, ‘Thank you,’ to my employees for doing their job. I pay them. Their paycheck is my thanks.” He wondered why he had to constantly police people to insure they spent their time on task, and why there seemed to be a problem of petty theft at the office. He didn’t believe in a connection. “That’s how people are.”

Whenever I hear, “That’s how people are,” I know that’s a team that could benefit from a shot of Adeptability.

Another employer I met recently complained that her executive assistant said she’d like more feedback. “I don’t know if I’m doing a good job.” This employer bragged, “I told her, ‘You’re still here, aren’t you? I haven’t fired you. That’s how you know that you’re doing well.’” She added, “You can’t coddle people.”

You may find these exchanges cartoonish. The sad truth is, they’re painfully common.

You’re here, reading The Yes Works blog, so your culture and your leadership are doubtless light-years ahead of that. Let’s take it to the next level. Introduce or turn up the volume on a “Thank You” Culture.

“Thank You” Culture

The research shows that if you want performance, you should be thanking people. Non stop. Thank the people who work for you. Thank your customers. Thank your vendors. Thank the people you work for, and those whom you work with. Cultivate a company culture of thanks.

Why bother?

THE THANK YOU ROI

The reasons are simple:

  1. It’s polite. Don’t get a reputation as a self-centered boor.
  2. It’s good for relationships, and as you may have heard me say before, “It’s never about the thing. It’s always about the relationship.”
  3. We crave it. One of the top complaints people have about work, “My contribution is not recognized or appreciated.”
  4. It’s contagious. When we’re thanked, we thank. Thank a lot, and the thanks are going to propagate all over your company.
  5. It reinforces the behavior you want. Behavior recognized and rewarded is behavior repeated. Thanks encourage performance.
  6. Use it or lose it. Behavior not specifically recognized and rewarded fades away. It’s not because people are peevish. It’s the way our brains are wired. Thanks reward the centers of the brain that crave belonging — and those centers are powerful indeed. “Thank you” is the best kind of peer-pressure.

A management truism is, you reliably get what you measure. That’s true of ourselves as well as those we supervise, so we’ve got a tool for you. It’ll help you drive your “thank you” performance.

Five-Cent Thank Yous

Here’s the five-cent tool you don’t have to pay a dime for. It’s an easy and contagious company culture upgrade.

  1. Put five pennies in your left pocket.

  2. Every time you thank someone for something they’ve done, move one penny from your left pocket to your right pocket.

  3. Every single day, make sure you’ve completed the transfer of funds from left to right. That’s 5 thanks a day. Better than an apple for company health.

Sound simple? It is. Still, it can be quite a challenge. We all like to think we’re gracious bosses and colleagues. Fact is, when the pressure is on, when we’re feeling busy and pressed for time, gracious may go right out the window. Saying, “thank you,” it’s only going to count — only going to deliver the benefits — if you’re received as genuine.

There’s a skill to finding and delivering a thank you that’s genuine even when you’re stressed, even when under duress. We’ve got some suggestions.

Here are a few guidelines from our Adeptability program:

  1. BE SPECIFIC. “Thank you,” even, “Thank you for your work,” is nice but gets limited ROI. Specific is far more powerful. “Thank you for double-checking my work to ensure we’re error free on this report.” That’s specific. That’s powerful. “Thank you for consistently turning your work in ahead of schedule. That keeps us on target for our clients and ensures we have a reputation for value.”
  2. TALK ABOUT BEHAVIOR. It’s not useful to thank people for generalities or for your interpretation of  their attitude — “Thank you for being friendly. Thanks for being awesome.” Thank people instead for behavior. “Thank you for smiling at me this morning.” Thanking someone for being, “helpful,” is fine. Thanking someone for, “giving me a heads-up before the meeting that Greg might need the Klein Numbers,” is better. Not only does that make the behavior easier to repeat. It’s also more gratifying to hear. I know you mean it.
  3. CULTIVATE GRATITUDE. Nothing is too small to be worthy of thanks. Thanks for holding the door. Thanks for the paper clip. Thanks for hearing me out. Thank you for coming early to the meeting so we could start on time. Thank you for always doing what you said, or communicating in advance if there’s trouble. (Gratitude, by the way, is good for you — physically and psychologically.)
  4. DEBT ACCUMULATES. CREDIT DOESN’T. Did you miss all your thank yous yesterday? Get ten in today. Did you get ten in yesterday? You still owe five today. (Need proof that this idea that credit doesn’t accumulate is a practical principle of real truth? If you get a bonus this week, is it okay with you if your employer doesn’t pay you next week?)
  5. SPREAD THE LOVE. Don’t focus all your gratitude on your close-in teammates. Spread some gratitude to others in the group, and also to those outside your department. Together with your teammates, become the “Thank you” department. Build a department reputation for gratitude. Watch how easy it becomes to get things done across silos that used to be like pulling teeth.

BONUS

Are you crushing your thank you numbers? Here are a couple of suggestions for upping your game.

ADVANCED SKILLS:

  1. FORGET 5 CENTS. Go for 10. Go for 15. When you’ve cultivated your gratitude capacity, you begin to notice oodles of opportunities. It becomes an unstoppable habit. Spread this culture contagion even wider.
  2. TALK RESULTS. You’ll notice that some of the examples above don’t end with thanks for the behavior. They go on to name the result of the behavior. “Thank you for checking my work,” names a behavior. The likely result, “We turn in an error free product.” You can also build an Accountability Culture on this behavior-results type of feedback. Actually, you can’t separate the two. “Thank you for pointing out where I was failing to deliver.” Behavior. “I’m beginning to notice a tendency I have to gloss over that area of my work, and I’m taking actions to insure I remain attentive.” Result.
  3. PLANT AND FERTILIZE. Sometimes people hold back the behavior you’re looking for. Maybe they’re not sure you really want it. Maybe they’re uncertain their efforts will be recognized and received. Only getting a shadow of what you’re after? Try thanking people for the whole thing, even if you’re getting only the barest hint. “Thank you for your quality control attention on the whole project like that.” Even if they’ve only been scratching the surface, you’ll watch the behavior grow under a nurturing thanks. Thanking someone for their effort in building a new skill will drive and motivate more effort and faster improvement.

Gratitude is an Adeptability Culture skill. It’s contagious. It’s productive. It’s not the only way to get exceptional results. It is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to drive ever improving performance and productivity.

And it does a body good. Pass it on.

 

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Communication and collaboration are some of the hardest things to get right in any company culture, and the difficulty increases exponentially as you add more people to the team. Adeptability Training gets teams communicating and collaborating effectively as a matter of habit and mindset. Book a call today.


Month End Sales: Boom or Bust

It’s Month End Sales time.

Sales Leaders and Sales Pros… As we near the end of the month, you may be feeling pressure. Maybe it’s self-imposed. Maybe it’s coming from above. Maybe both. Pressure to hit your numbers. Especially now as we head into Q4. Don’t turn month end sales into relationship-end sales.

Remember, your numbers for this month are a part of quarterly goals which in turn are a function of annual goals. Do you want to hit those numbers? Of course. I want you to hit them too.

And if you’re feeling a ton of pressure, I hope you can chill out so your sales don’t. Some pressure can motivate and drive performance. Too much pressure cools sales performance.

Because pressure will always find an outlet. Too often, your best prospects may be that outlet.

 

TOO COMMON MONTH END SALES BLUNDER

When the pressure is mild or moderate, you remember you’re here to provide value to your clients. Same with your team of sales pros. When the pressure mounts, however, you and your sales pros go into self-preservation mode. That’s how your brain is wired. Survival is job number one. And heavy pressure feels like a threat to survival. It makes us tone-deaf.

Many people in sales start calling people to talk about the end of the month. “I need to finish the month strong. Let’s do this.” Or, “Because we’re nearing the end of the month, we’re offering a great deal — limited time.” Maybe, “It’s that time again… I need to close out the month with a bang. Do you have any referrals for me?”

There’s a problem with this approach. When you make it about you, your prospects run away. They know you’re no longer there to help them. You’re there to help you.

 

A BETTER WAY TO CLOSE MONTH END-SALES

I want you and your team to close out the month strong. Bring home the fruits of your labors. Make it about the client — just like you have been since your first call. Don’t let the end of the month pressure sour the relationship you’ve worked so hard to build. Build the relationships further.

Keep thinking and talking about your clients’ and prospects’ needs and goals — not your numbers. How does the end of the month affect them? How does the arrival of Q4 affect them? How can you help?

Remember, it’s not their job to help you hit your numbers. It’s your job to hit your numbers by providing value to them.

If you and your team have been cultivating relationships and providing value, keep it up. Make the end of the month a great time to ask for the business, if the relationship is ripe and the qualification and alignment complete. If not, keep moving the relationship forward. Close the next step.

If you’re feeling the pressure of Month-End, turn up the intensity of your activity adding value to your contacts and prospects.

There’s an important and relevant principle of Adeptability at play here: It’s never about the thing. It’s always about the relationship.

When folks put “the thing” — the sale, the outcome, the goal — ahead of the relationship, they sometimes get what they’re after. When you put “the relationship” — value, good will, understanding, communication, alignment, affinity, support — first, you’ve got something that will add value today, tomorrow, next year… a decade from now.

Relationships first. Sales come from that. So do referrals. And long-term clients. And enduring trust.

 

BONUS

When you ramp up your efforts to add value to the lives of your prospects at the end of the month, you can see just how fun it is to be out there adding value. You can see just how fun it is to operate at the top of your game. You’ll get into a flow state, and grow your capacity to perform. You’ll feel alive.

And you can make that your new normal. That’s a rewarding mode of operation.

 

https://instagram.com/p/BTSH5ppl5RL/

_________

If you’re interested in Adeptability Training to boost sales on your team, read more here.


MGW #20 - “Dream Big. Perform Big” with Dan Ralphs



GUEST: Dan Ralphs

www.thedreamblog.com

Twitter: @dreamtolead

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-ralphs/

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR CONVERSATION:

 

You can’t teach another person anything they don’t want to learn. They have to choose to learn it. If you can’t motivate people to choose to learn and grow, you won’t be very successful as a teacher? or as a leader.

 

There’s a magic lever you can use to awaken that intrinsic motivation. It’s the question, “What’s the future for you? I’m an advocate for you.” Give them ownership of their future.

 

We’re afraid of letting our people define success for themselves. We can trust our employees a lot more than we do to define an ambitious success outcome.

 

People can and will be able to create a balance and synthesis of self-interest and company-interest. They can comprehend the interdependence.

 

As a leader, ask yourself? Do I diminish or increase those who report to me? Do you think of them as being as capable, well-intentioned, and hard-working as you are? If not, how does your communication to and about them reflect those beliefs?

 

Every company should have a dream manager. That may sound like a silly idea. It’s mutually transformative.

 

OUr brains are designed to help us survive. We’re programed to seek sameness and to resist change. So we get into routines, and then into stasis. We resist change and growth.

 

Dreams are those things that we want and that lie outside our comfort zone and that can be expressed in language.

 

Try this: Make a list of 100 Dreams. Then choose one you could accomplish in 12-18 months. And commit to that dream. Make it happen. Get someone to hold you accountable. Watch yourself expand and grow to make that accomplishment a reality.

 

Dreaming and executing on those dreams grow a capacity to perform that an employer benefits from.

 

Intense side-hustling employees are higher performers than those with no side hustle.

 

At Infusionsoft, the word “Dreamer” is akin to “Entrepreneur.” It’s someone with vision who brings vision into the world as reality.

 

Managers hold people accountable to their dreams and to the steps it takes to achieve them. We invite managers and team members to dream together. That amplified the results.

 

To create change, we need a community of people to believe in us even when maybe we don’t believe in ourselves.

 

There are two parts of dream making: Imagining. And, Executing. These are fundamental business skills. Most people are much stronger in one than in the other. And the capacity in the other can be learned and grown.

 

There’s great power in imagining possibilities — and in aligning resources to support a desired possibility.

 

If this improbable thing were possible, then what would it take for us to get there?

 

Theoretically, it’s possible historically has turned into in actuality, it exists.

 

Having a Dream Manager is a recruiting draw. The greatest benefit to Infusionsoft, though, is the growth of our employees.

 

We want to see leaders recognize that part of their opportunity is to help those that they lead to aspire to bigger things, believe they’re capable of bigger things, and to put plans and actions into place to accomplish bigger things.

 

We can magnify those whom we lead.

 

Believe in people. When we believe in people, they are magnified and they accomplish more than they coul dhave without your belief buoying them up.

 

Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/schmookler/

 

And, we’re The Yes Works — Helping to make work good for people, and make people good for work.

 

www.TheYesWorks.com

 

Resources mentioned in today’s show:

 

Liz Wiseman’s book, Multipliers

Matthew Kelly’s book, The Dream Manager

www.learn.infusionsoft.com

www.Infusionsoft.com

www.thedreamblog.com and Dream School

Check out this episode!


You're Doing Conflict Wrong

(Like this content about workplace conflict, but want to hear about it instead of reading about it? Here’s the companion podcast episode.)

If you’ve got two people who interact, sooner or later, they’re going to come into conflict. It’s a fact of human relationships.

This article is about transforming conflict and using it to your advantage. If conflict seems like something to avoid… If it seems like something you can win… Then, you’re doing it wrong.

When people come to workplace conflict hoping and striving to win, then it’s only conflict itself that wins. (Did that sound cheesy?)

What’s wrong?

Some people are conflict avoidant. Some people are conflict seeking. Whatever our conflict tendency, the vast majority of us are doing it wrong the majority of the time.

When we find ourselves in a disagreement, many of us do one of two things.

  1. Some of us widen our eyes, straighten up, and start arguing our case to win the argument. I call this the Stand and Fight.
  2. Others of us lower our eyes, shrug our shoulders, walk away, and resign ourselves to the certain outcome that things won’t go our way. I call this the Slump and Slink.

Most of us do each of these things at different times and in different circumstances. Avoiders sometimes go on the attack, and fighters sometimes flee.

It doesn’t mean we’re bad people — the fact the we do conflict wrong. It makes sense we’d respond this way. Our brains are wired by ages of evolution to preserve our lives. Being a jerk at work is a survival reflex. You’ve heard of “fight or flight.” Here it is. Argue = fight. Resign yourself = flight.

Your more primitive brain regions see disagreement with a colleague, anticipate conflict, and categorize that conflict as a threat to life and limb. Rationally, you know that threat isn’t real. Rational mind, though, has been nearly shut off. Primitive brain regions have coopted the rational mind.

What’s it cost to get workplace conflict wrong?

If it’s my brain acting on instinct, my response to conflict is nature. Why fight “fight or flight?” Why not let nature do its thing?

Well, combat and hiding both have costs.

  1. Combat deteriorates relationships in ways we’re all aware of. Combative posturing leads to mistrust and resentment. So does hiding — in more subtle ways. We pick up on the subtle signals when people disagree but acquiesce anyway. We see them hiding their disapproval like a kid in class who thinks they’re adeptly passing notes unnoticed. It feels manipulative. We’re uncertain where we stand, and so the relationship is full of uncertainty and discomfort. Without candor, there’s no trust.
  2. Even though the points of disagreement loom large, there’s usually more common ground than there is difference. When we enter combat mode, that common ground gets lost. Team cohesion suffers, and adversarial stances prevent good information from being heard. The points of disagreement are almost always relatively small. In the scheme of things, the common ground you share outweighs the difference 100 fold. It’s the difference that gets all the attention, and the context of affinity gets lost.
  3. When we avoid workplace conflict, valid concerns that could benefit the relationship and the organization don’t get the attention they deserve. Disasters (large or small) may result from the lack of information sharing. Same thing when you voice your concerns at the top of your lungs. You’re telling everyone why you disagree. And you may have very important points. If you’re on the offensive, however, instead of calmly sharing your concerns, people get defensive in response. They stop listening. You may be right, but by behaving aggressively, you insure that you’re not heard.
  4. People say quietly to themselves, “I knew it. Saw that coming.” People feel distanced from each other, and judge others as unwise, and pushy. “If only they’d asked me, I could have told them.” Team cohesion suffers. Resentment builds in all directions. 

So, if our primitive brains lead us to this kind of behavior, what can we do about it?

Slow Down

Your primitive brain, and the fight or flight response is powerful, but it’s not the only game in town. You can teach yourself to override it.

1.  Breathe: Try something called box breathing. Practice it anytime you feel a bit anxious or angry.

  • Breathe in for a count of four.
  • Hold your breath for four.
  • Breathe out on a count of four.
  • Hold for four.
  • Breathe in for four.
  • Repeat.

This may not be practical during an argument, but it’s great before initiating a conversation that you anticipate may be stressful. And, even during the interaction, bringing your attention to your breath, and doing this box breathing as much as possible is a powerful fight or flight defuser. Just ask a Navy Seal. This is a technique they use in actual battle.

2.  Look for common ground. Whether your impulse is to fight or to hide from the conflict at hand, you’re focused on the differences between you. And either way, your brain is racing. It’s going a mile a minute. Your primitive brain has given your rational mind an assignment, “Identify all threats and all weapons to counter those threats and all means of hiding from those threats.” Your rational mind is good at that, but it’s now using that talent for assessment in an irrational fashion. It’s operating from the conclusion, and finding support. That’s backwards. Here’s an opportunity to practice the principle derived from the system of improvisation — YES, AND. Prompt yourself with phrases like:

  • “Here’s what I like about this…”
  • “I think we agree on X, Y, and Z.”
  • “I can see we’re not on the same page about some stuff. Before we get into that, let’s work together for a moment to find all the areas of common ground.”

3.  Puzzle it. Now that you’re calm, and standing on a wide swath of common ground, you and your collaborator can look at your points of distance and debate them. Investigate them. Try on each other’s perspective and see how it fits. Distance yourself from your ideas. You’re looking together at a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find the solution. Your pieces aren’t better or worse. They’re not even yours. Theirs neither. They’re not your ideas or their ideas. All ideas are joint property. They’re all just puzzle pieces. And they either fit, or they don’t.

4.  Murder the unchosen alternatives. When the decision is made about which direction to go down — yours, theirs, a third unrelated one or a hybrid of the two — put your doubts to rest. You may not be able to quash them, but don’t feed them. Instruct yourself, “We’ve made a decision. Whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant. That ship has sailed, and my job is to back this plan of action to the hilt.” Every plan of action but the one that was chosen is done. Burn your boats. Don’t dwell. And if it’s your plan that’s in action, don’t gloat.

Reap the benefits

By following this approach to difference and workplace conflict, you’ll reap rewards. Your relationships will thrive. Your blood pressure will improve. Your organization’s decision making will be more effective. Your results will be better.

If you want, you can think of this as the “BLIMP” method. If you look above, you’ll see the steps… BLPM. Ok. BLIMP is a stretch. I just know people like acronyms.


Know anyone who’d benefit from this article? Please feel free to share it or it’s companion podcast episode far and wide.


MGW #19 - You’re Doing Conflict Wrong



There’s a lot out there about how to reduce conflict at work. A lot of the stuff out there is very good.

 

This episode is about transforming conflict, and using it to your advantage. If conflict seems like something to avoid? If it seems like something you can win? Then, you’re doing it wrong.

 

We’ve got a companion blog post you can read. For those of you who don’t have time for well thought out articles, here’s your Mighty Good Work ADEPTability Skills Checklist:

 

Slow Down

 

Your primitive brain, and the fight or flight response is powerful, but it’s not the only game in town. You can teach yourself to override it.

 

  1. Breathe: Try something called box breathing. Practice it anytime you feel a bit anxious or angry. Breathe in for a count of four. Hold your breath for four. Breathe out on a count of four. Hold for four. Breathe in for four. Repeat. This may not be practical during an argument, but it’s great before initiating a conversation that you anticipate may be stressful. And, even during the interaction, bringing your attention to your breath, and doing this box breathing as much as possible is a powerful fight or flight defuser. Just ask a Navy Seal. This is a technique they use in actual battle.
  2. Look for common ground. Actually take a moment with your collaborator, your employee, your negotiating partner, whomever. Name the things you agree on in detail — breadth and depth. Notice how much common ground you have that surrounds the points of contention. It’ll put the disagreement in perspective and remind you of how aligned you truly are.
  3. Puzzle it. Sit on the same side of the table — literally or figuratively — and investigate the problem. You’re looking together at a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find the solution. Your pieces aren’t better or worse, or even yours. Theirs neither. They’re not your ideas or their ideas. All ideas are joint property. They’re all just puzzle pieces. And they either fit, or they don’t.
  4. Murder the unchosen alternatives. When the decision is made about which direction to go down — yours, theirs, a third unrelated one or a hybrid of the two — put your doubts to rest. You may not be able to quash them, but don’t feed them. Instruct yourself, “We’ve made a decision. Whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant. That ship has sailed, and my job is to back this plan of action to the hilt.” Every plan of action but the one that was chosen is done. Burn your boats. Don’t dwell. And if it’s your plan that’s in action, don’t gloat.

 

Reap the benefits

 

By following this approach to difference and conflict, you’ll reap rewards. Your relationships will thrive. Your blood pressure will improve. Your organization’s decision making will be more effective. Your results will be better.

 

If you want, you can think of this as the “BLIMP” method. If you look above, you’ll see the steps? BLPM. Ok. BLIMP is a stretch. I just know people like acronyms.

 

_______

 

Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/schmookler/

 

And, we’re The Yes Works — Helping to make work good for people, and make people good for work.

 

www.TheYesWorks.com

Check out this episode!


MGW #18 - Culture for Recruiting



Today’s show is about a powerful multi-tool. It slices. It dices. It motivates performance and leads to retention of customers and employees alike.


And? It’s a recruiting juggernaut.

 

Today, we’re talking Company Culture as a major recruiting unfair advantage.

 

We’ve got a companion blog post you can read. For those of you who don’t have time for well thought out articles, here’s your Mighty Good Work Checklist:

 

 

  • Play the long game. It takes time and deliberate action to build a lasting culture to your design specs. It’s an investment, and it pays dividends.
  • Start Now. Don’t put off starting the long process to shape the culture you want to work in and that others want to work in. It’s not true that every day you wait to start is another day until you have the results you want. Every day you wait, the culture you’ve got (which is imperfect no matter how good it is) gets stronger.
  • Focus on your people and make work work for them. Your best recruiters are the people who work for you. Want more people like them? Make sure they’re fulfilled by their work and would be proud to bring their friends into the fold.
  • Broaden your KPI focus for yourself as a leader. You’re responsible for results, yes. You’re also responsible for the relationships with the people who attain those results for you. Their experience is a leading indicator of your long term and ongoing results.
  • Ask your people to recruit NOW. Dig your well before you’re thirsty. Build your bench before you need people. Ask your people to help you grow your network of people you’d like to work with in the future. Have an ace up your sleeve. (Mix as many metaphors as you can.)
  • Only hire a sure-fire fit. Don’t hire to fill a seat. You can struggle on understaffed far better than you can carry dead weight. Hire for culture fit (diverse culture fit) and skill, both. If you hire someone who undermines the culture you’re working to build, everything, everything gets harder.

 

 

In this episode, I referenced a few companies who are killing it in this department and past podcast episodes where they share the secrets in their culture sauce. Here they are for your reference.

 

 

_______

 

Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/schmookler/

 

And, we’re The Yes Works — Helping to make work good for people, and make people good for work.

 

www.TheYesWorks.com

 

Check out this episode!


Culture: Recruiting Juggernaut

Culture is a powerful multi-tool. It slices. It dices. It motivates performance and leads to retention of customers and employees alike.


And… It’s a recruiting juggernaut. Company Culture is a major recruiting unfair advantage.

Recruiting in Two Parts

One aspect of recruiting is getting your openings in front of the right applicants – the perennial need-based marketing problem. That’s what Monster and ziprecruiter and oodles of other jobsites are out there to help with. It’s a tricky problem, a tough problem, and ultimately a simple problem. And that’s not my bailiwick. Part 1: Find people.

The second side of the problem is being a place that’s attractive to top talent. Part 2: Attract people. 

How do you create a company that people want to work for? How do you draw people in, so they’re on the lookout for your postings, and sending you resumes even when you’re not actively recruiting so you can have a full bench? That problem can also be divided in two.

One half of the problem is essentially compensation. Salary, benefits, bonuses, signing bonuses, moving allowances, food in the break-room, and other perks. That’s not my area of expertise either. (Notice I’ve put food in the “compensation” bucket. I’d put time-off, education stipends, and other such things in the same bucket. Most people I read and talk to categorize that stuff as culture. I see it as a result of culture, but not culture itself.)

That leads me to my area of expertise, and the second category of attractiveness – CULTURE. This is the powerhouse of attractiveness. This is where the little guy can compete with the giants in any given industry. The little guy may not be able to compete on salary or benefits. The little guy can compete on fulfillment.

Unfair Advantage in Recruiting

Most companies can’t rely on salary as their recruiting advantage. If that’s you, don’t worry. There’s hope.

At the end of the day, we all want to have a life that’s worth living. Salary can help us get there. It’s tough to live without being able to afford a decent home, put food on the table, etc. So, salary indirectly affects and contributes to a life worth living. I bring in $X dollars/month isn’t the evidence most people point to when it comes to satisfaction or fulfillment. It’s a proxy.

Money allows time for family and friends. It allows for experience like travel, art, sky-diving. Those things directly impact a live worth living. Experience is the key. Experience of relationships, of spacious time, of novelty and diversity. Even for those of us who are more money focused, it’s the experience of status and of wealth (a state of mind). Compensation provides an experience of being valued and being ahead in the game.

Culture is the key.

What’s culture? Culture is the contagious beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors shared in a specific group. And in a company, culture is either deliberately shaped and reinforced, or it happens by chance. Chance culture will usually trend to the baser natures of the people in leadership. It trends toward the lowest common denominator. Deliberate culture takes care and feeding. What’s measured and rewarded is reinforced.

What’s the day-to-day experience of work? That’s the job satisfaction juggernaut. And it’s becoming more so, as the social culture around us focuses more and more on company culture. People are coming to insist that work should be good. Glassdoor.com exists because of this shift. It’s intended to help people identify where their day-to-day experience will be fulfilling. Company culture, perhaps more than compensation, contributes to a day full of fulfillment and a life worth living.

In a strong culture, people have meaningful relationships with others – whether they ‘like’ each other or not – because they’re collaborating to achieve a shared goal. Their contributions are valued. Their personal lives are given credence and weight and they’re permitted to pursue a balanced life.

Soap Box Aside:

Work-life balance is a fallacy. If you’re trying to find work-life balance, you’ve already lost because you can’t balance one against the other. It’s a false dichotomy. Work isn’t difference from life. Work is a part of life. Strive for a balanced life, and you’ll be more valuable outside of work and at work both because you’ll take a wider view that permits greater relevance to the situation. You’ll put more time in at work when a deadline looms. You’ll put more time in at home when you’ve got a new baby. You can give weight to different events and circumstances instead of keeping an accounting of hours spent and effort given.

By building a culture that reinforces collaboration, communication, recognition, personal growth, community, high performance and achievement, humane choices, constant feedback, relationships of mutual interest and respect… A company’s leadership can create an environment that’s attractive, even if the compensation package is less than competitive. Reputations are built on culture, for better or for worse. Your top producers will be fulfilled, and will talk about their experience with their friends, and share about their experience on social media. The old adage is true – Word of mouth marketing is the best marketing. And top performers’ friends are far more likely to be top-performers as well. Like follows like.

You can’t Surpass Your Culture

Culture is also far more transparent than most of us are generally aware of. Those who are even the slightest bit culture aware will sense any incongruence between the values on the wall, and the contagious habits of those whom they meet and speak to during the recruiting process.

And remember, recruiting by the best begins long before you post a position. Recruiting begins when you open your doors and start to do work. Every interaction your people have with one another, with clients, with vendors reflects your culture and builds your reputation in the marketplace.

And nature loves integrity. Not integrity as in, “Do the right thing.” Integrity meaning, “Of a muchness – cut from the same cloth.” Your sales culture reflects your service culture reflects your collaborative team culture reflects your management culture reflects your leadership culture.

Choose and shape your culture with as much care as you choose and shape your business model and business plan. Recruit powerfully.

What to do today

Here’s your Mighty Good Work Checklist:

  1. Play the long game. It takes time and deliberate action to build a lasting culture to your design specs. It’s an investment, and it pays dividends.
  2. Start Now. Don’t put off starting the long process to shape the culture you want to work in and that others want to work in. It’s not true that every day you wait to start is another day until you have the results you want. Every day you wait, the culture you’ve got (which is imperfect no matter how good it is) gets stronger.
  3. Focus on your people and make work work for them. Your best recruiters are the people who work for you. Want more people like them? Make sure they’re fulfilled by their work and would be proud to bring their friends into the fold.
  4. Broaden your KPI focus for yourself as a leader. You’re responsible for results, yes. You’re also responsible for the relationships with the people who attain those results for you. Their experience is a leading indicator of your long term and ongoing results.
  5. Ask your people to recruit NOW. Dig your well before you’re thirsty. Build your bench before you need people. Ask your people to help you grow your network of people you’d like to work with in the future. Have an ace up your sleeve. (Mix as many metaphors as you can.)
  6. Only hire a sure-fire fit. Don’t hire to fill a seat. You can struggle on understaffed far better than you can carry dead weight. Hire for culture fit (diverse culture fit) and skill, both. If you hire someone who undermines the culture you’re working to build, everything, everything gets harder.

Other resources:

In the podcast episode that’s a companion to this blog post, I mention a few companies who are killing it in this department and past podcast episodes where they share the secrets in their culture sauce. Here they are for your reference.