Making a Difference in 2013

Remember, the first principle of management is said to be ‘ Not only must we be good, but we must be seen to be good’. In essence, we must make the effort to stand out. In the midst of pressure and difficulties, the only people who thrive are those who are relentless, in making that effort that yields a visible difference. Michael Jordan in his words said ‘I can accept defeat, but what I can’t accept is not trying”.

Mediocrity is a sweet melody only to the ears of those who are unwilling to try or make an extra effort. You cannot afford to keep being conventional in the way you write that report or build that PowerPoint Presentation. Adopting a predecessor’s style is admirable, but how about devising your own style to create that visible difference? Stop wearing other people’s shoes because it will limit your potential destination to their own history. Why not reach for the sky?

A prominent scholar once wrote “I owe myself a debt to make such a difference that all who knew me will count themselves privileged. You can stand out and be amongst the very few that your company worries about losing. Let your competence come to full glare by reason of the constant innovation you bring to the table.

Your self worth and career can only appreciate by the visible differences you make……..Today!

Bigger than bias

Remember,bias is an inclination to a partial perspective, while disregarding other alternatives. It is largely one sided and does not allow for a full consideration of other options.

According to research, we are all guilty of some sort of bias. Every moment we have lived and every experience we have had has in some way contributed to our own bias. This is reflected in our dispositions, actions and opinions.
Too many times, we are quick to conclude and at other times, we resist new information because we fear it will counter what we strongly hold unto, what we are already comfortable with.

We are all vulnerable to bias, as long as we have functional minds, however, with awareness, we should be able to strongly manage it. It is not enough to know we each have a built in bias, we must adjust our thinking accordingly so that we will not be misdirected whilst clinging to our many biases.
Let us always open our minds to questions, alternatives, evidences, various options and opportunities, that way, we become bigger than bias…….Today!

Let us be not quick to judge nor swift to conclude so that we can achieve neutral and clearly defined results… …

The Second CV

Remember, there is a life CV that makes us distinct in our chosen career. This CV remains far more effective than the first CV that got us into our various organizations and job positions. It is known as Competence and Visibility.

It is not enough to be good at what we do, we must also always be seen to be good. The rule of Competence and Visibility states that not only must you deliver on every opportunity, but further,you must seek ways to make your performance visible.

A young entrepreneur who had stage fright had some really brilliant points to give at a seminar. He had drafted the points on a sheet but grew cold feet during the seminar. During the lunch break, he forgot the sheet on the table and went for lunch. An enthusiastic Analyst saw the sheet and realizing how good the points were,built on them and presented them as his ideas when the session resumed. This drew him admiration and even job offers from various renowned CEO’s in the room. The young entrepreneur went home and wept bitterly. He had lost a life time opportunity to a more visible person.

People cannot determine how good you are until you show them. Competence makes
you capable and Visibility takes that competence to the top.

Your first CV has gotten you into your role, use your second CV to move towards your destination………Today!

The GAP/ETP framework

Remember, quite often we find it difficult to express our position in a way that is easily understood and articulated by the listener.
This is because we typically try to explain what we are trying to say before ending up with the conclusion. The GAP/ETP model allows you to achieve conciseness and therefore better understanding by reversing this approach.

It helps you to first Give a Position (GAP) and then Explain the Position (ETP).This simple rule means that information is given, creating a flow of understanding as every word that is being said is buttressing a point that has already been appreciated by the listener. This drives understanding and also allows you to give a more concise position and explanation of the position you are trying to advocate.

Use the GAP/ETP model to achieve clarity, conciseness and understanding today!…….

Regarding Interpretations

Remember, fact and information is always open to interpretation. An old adage says “figures lie and liars figure”. We must use the clarity and irrefutability of facts to help drive home the specifics of any message. Further, when we present our information, it should be as clearly and concisely as possible, to eliminate the danger of being misunderstood.

Let’s look at an example:
A certain candidate was being interviewed for a management position and at the end of the interview, he was asked what he felt made him stand out from other candidates. He responded that he was a “thoughtful” man. He wasn’t given the job!

A few months later he met one of the men who sat on the interview panel and the disappointed candidate asked why he was overlooked for the job. The man told him that “thoughtful” had weighed heavily against him. The interpretation that had been made was that he was a person who would be slow to action and possibly indecisive. The bewildered candidate explained that by “thoughtful” he meant, he had a great deal of thought to the decisions the job required. The misinterpretation cost him a job.

Oftentimes, what is intended is lost in interpretation. Seek for clarity by using words and expressions that are familiar and specific, thereby ensuring that all listeners take the same meaning from the same expression.

Eliminate all possible misinterpretations by using the right words ……Today

The rules of feedback and coaching

Remember, to make the right leadership intervention in a given situation, it is important to use the right tool.
So when does one use the feedback tool and when does one use the coaching tool? These are not one and the same and the wrong usage will create a poor result for both the manager and the recipient.

The feedback tool is used when there is an opportunity for performance improvement that the beneficiary is unaware of.
Conversely, the coaching tool is used when the recipient is aware of a situation he/she would like to improve but is not sure how to go about it. For this reason, it is important to ensure that feedback is solicited and not imposed.
Conversely we find that coaching is always solicited, typically with a request for guidance on how to address a situation.

Use the right tool to get the right results……………today!

Easy reading,less trouble

Remember, when something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. Good writers face the challenge of using plain language to express clear meaning. They write in simple styles and constantly use words that are familiar to the reader. We cannot conclude that words are simple because they have few letters, they must be familiar as well.

A young enthusiastic, investment analyst wrote a report to his marketing colleagues using the word “dogmatic”. He waited for 5 weeks to get a feedback and there was none. Upon contacting his colleagues, they told him of their decision to severe business ties with him because he had called them ‘dogs in his report”. A more familiar word could have saved him that trouble.

Simple words do not just blend into all forms of writing but they are easy and meaningful to the reader. The desire to impress our readers via our choice of words often result in a cosmetic formation of complex words.

The singular objective of business writing is to promote consistent understanding across all readers. Use familiar words to improve the readability of your writing……..Today!

The bigger pay back

Remember, you are a truly inspiring leader when you coach your team, towards becoming future leaders.
A group of senior managers were asked to give their definition of leadership. The majority of them defined leadership as “showing others a direction to tow, so as to achieve defined results and gain sustained followership”. This definition is true of “leadership” but not true of “inspiring leadership”. Inspiring leaders coach their teams and thereby achieve inspiring standards. This is reflected in the words of Steve Jobs when he said, “Inspiration is getting people to do things they never thought they could”. The inspiring leader avails them of tools that will grow them into results oriented problem solvers.
An inspiring leader will not give up the development and growth of his team in the sole pursuit of achieving results only. It is true that even inspiring leaders are keen on seeing their traits reflected in their team but the surest way to replicate yourself in your team is by coaching them.
Coaching, simply put, is equipping people with the ability to solve their problems by themselves. Coaching does take a lot of effort; however leaders who coach know that there is a bigger payback in the time that is freed up, when working with individuals who ask less questions and rather, provide more answers.
With a coaching habit, you can create transformational leadership in your team and earn a bigger results payback from Today……….!

Active listening: Hard work and Dividends

Remember, though listening is hearing, it doesn’t guarantee understanding. Understanding comes from active listening because it seeks to Understand, Interpret and Evaluate what is heard. Most of us were fortunate to be born with hearing, but listening is a skill, that must be learned, practiced and perfected, before it can be deployed successfully.
Research has confirmed that good listeners make good managers. Active listening ranks amongst the most crucial management skills.
Here are four tips to grow your listening ability and take out learning’s even from the most lengthy conversations:
• Always listen for names and subjects.
• Look up and listen with interest, so that you can focus and generate encouraging body language.
• Get rid of your assumptions and bias and you will achieve true understanding of the real message.
• Listen for what isn’t said by looking out for body language.

Active listening gives you very great benefits. Not only do you learn facts and observations you might not otherwise have known, you are also showing value for the speaker. Active listening might be a lot of hard work, but it will pay you rich dividends today………………..

Choosing a Winning Attitude

Remember,the most important aspect of attitude is that it is a choice! What exactly is attitude? Attitude is the physical manifestation of the way in which we have chosen to manage our emotions. We cannot run away from emotion,rather, we can take the time to put the right interpretation on the emotion to ensure that we continue in a positive direction. Henry Ford said a long time ago that “whether you think you can or whether you think you cant, you are right!” How many times do we arrive at a challenged place because we have seen this as the most likely outcome? In coining his Expectancy Theory, Victor Vroom advocates that research has shown that the more you expect something to happen, then the more likely it is to happen!

Do you find yourself unhappy because of your situation? Do you realise that your situation has most likely arisen due to your consistent unhappy mood? In the work place a positive attitude wins you friends, gives you momentum, provides enthusiastic thinking and promotes passionate actions….yes, and thereby delivering results! Your negative attitude has removed all these advantages and yet the pressure for results remains!

Choose the right attitude and boost your workplace performance….…Today!