8 Ways To Put Anyone At Ease | Fast Company


Eight strategies for being more approachable and fine-tuning your communication skills. The 8 ways are:

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Adapt Your Style
  3. Be Empathetic
  4. Use Their Names
  5. Be Careful Using A Common Phrase
  6. Dig Deeper, But Not Too Deep
  7. Disclose Something About Yourself
  8. Avoid Going Overboard

Read the article for the details and see if any of these are a blind spot for you.

Source: 8 Ways To Put Anyone At Ease | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

[Photo: Flickr user WOCinTech Chat]

10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do

Flickr Adam Jones PhD - going to lunch, happy people

Being a good boss is hard. Being an amazing boss is even harder.  Kevin Daum’s lists of 10 things amazing bosses do in his article in Inc magazine.   He invites you to see how you measure up.

1. Good Bosses maintain control and get things done.

Amazing Bosses know efficiency can be the enemy of efficacy in the long run and so they work to create an atmosphere of expansive thinking. They empower their team with time, resources and techniques, to solve big issues with big ideas instead of Band-Aids and checklists.

2. Good Bosses foster a sense of community, making room for everyone.

Amazing Bosses form an internal culture by design rather than default, making sure they attract the right people to get on the bus and then get them in the right seats. They also make sure that the wrong people never get on the bus, or if they do, they get off quickly.

3. Good Bosses invite creative thinking.

Amazing Bosses know how to integrate creativity into daily conversation and procedures so that every employee feels natural about being creative and facilitating productive creativity when interacting with others in the company.

4. Good Bosses create an open environment for voicing concern and frustration.

Amazing Bosses create an environment where people are empowered to make change on their own to improve product, process, and procedures. They integrate open communication to the point where the expression of honest concerns is expected, required, and desired by everyone involved to achieve the highest levels of team performance.

5. Good Bosses encourage career development for their employees.

Amazing Bosses integrate individual learning and development into every job description so that personal growth is required and rewarded. They know companies that do this thrive thanks to new leaders rising from the inside. They make sure the company apportions time and dollars toward personal growth so that everyone shares reasonable expectations of commitment and success.

6. Good Bosses run effective and efficient meetings.

Amazing Bosses make sure that everyone on the team understands the difference between a valuable meeting and a waste of time and resources. They educate the team on facilitation techniques and give each person consistent practice at structuring and leading effective meetings with postmortem feedback.

7. Good Bosses build trust so people feel safe.

Amazing Bosses encourage constant interaction and high performance within the team so they succeed or fail together, creating tight bonds of loyalty to the company and each other. Successes are met with equal high praise and rewards, while failures are met with encouraging acceptance and postmortem learning discussions yielding next-step improvements. (Of course amazing bosses know how to make sure people and teams fail safely in the first place.)

8. Good Bosses generate happiness in the workplace.

Amazing Bosses constantly seek and execute ways to help employees gain deep personal satisfaction from their responsibilities so they are inspired and excited to come to work and perform well every day.

9. Good Bosses make sure people are responsible for their roles and actions.

Amazing Bosses promote personal accountability by providing clear communication and buy-in as to the culture, vision, and goals for the company. They know how to effectively and efficiently align the team, communicate in rhythm, and measure progress so they can adjust quickly with minimal risk.

10. Good Bosses know how to praise and show gratitude.

Amazing Bosses know how to instill a deep sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment in individual team members. They help employees develop a strong sense of self-confidence and self-praise that outweighs any pat-on-the-back or award provided.

Read the entire article at 10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do | Inc.com.

[Image via Flickr: Adam Jones PhD]

Three Requirements for Consulting Success

Helping Hand - wikimedia.org

Photo credit: Wikipedia

In this article in Forbes, Jim Moffatt, CEO of Deloitte Consulting says, “To be successful as a consultant, you must be different; you must be strong; and you must be committed.”

The first requirement is key – be different.  You must answer two questions:

1) What do you do? 2) How is that different than others doing the same thing?

Answering these question gets you started and makes you focus on meeting a need in the market. You have to know this to ensure you don’t end up “competing for consulting work on price.”

You need to know how you can translate your difference into solving a client’s problem in an elegant way.  You need to consider your interpersonal skills.  In “What Got You Here Won’t Get You ThereMarshall Goldsmith reminds us that successful people sometimes have blind spots about a part of our personality that is preventing us from getting to the next level.  Work on this as well, and watch what happens.

Second, to be strong build a team through a partner or ally and together you can grow.  Build a team that is flexible to work under changing conditions, are results oriented enough to figure out the right actions to take and then act.

Third, be committed to customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, and business development.  You need to understand why what you deliver is vital and how it add value; to keep sharpening the saw or you will become obsolete; and let your passion for solving problems be your calling card.

ChangeThis.com – A Website For Ideas

This site has the download of Seth Godin’s book “The Bootstrapper’s Bible” which I saw a story about on “Your Business” on MSNBC. This site, ChangeThis.com has some thought provoking e-books and some are free.  It is

Another free book is called “The Secret to Self-Discipline” by Rory Vaden.  See what he says about the difference between cows and buffalos.  The book is short, direct, and actionable.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

Cure THe (Self-Inflicted) Chaos First by Karen MartinIn Karen Martin’s book,”Cure the (Self-Inflicted) Chaos First“, she does a great job explaining the “fundamental behaviours that are vital for outstanding performance in any endeavour – clarity, focus, discipline, and engagement.”  This is a warm-up for her book “The Outstanding Organization.”  Really easy to read, it makes sense, and is actionable.

Here are the recent popular, what they call “manifestos”, on the site:

5   Rework

ChangeThis.com – We’re on a mission to spread important ideas and change minds.

You Know What You Should Do, But Why Don’t You Do It?

Back in 2000, Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer wrote a book called “The Knowing-Doing Gap:How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action.”

An article in Fast Company magazine called “Why Can’t We Get Anything Done?” by Alan M. Webber, list the 16 rules that explain why so little gets done and what you can do about it.

My favourites from the article are:

8. Talk ain’t cheap. It’s expensive — and destructive.

Companies often confuse talking with doing. They think that talking about doing something is the same thing as doing it! That planning is the same as doing. That giving presentations is the same as doing. That making reports is the same as doing. Or even that making a decision to do something is the same as doing it. All of those errors occur with alarming regularity in companies today.

Mistaking talk for action is worse than just a simple error: Talk can actually drive out action. Studies about the way that meetings actually work demonstrate that negative people are perceived as being smarter than positive people — that is, being critical is interpreted as a sign of intelligence. You see this attitude in business all the time: The fastest way for me to seem smart is to cut you down. So you come up with an idea, and I come up with a thousand different reasons why that idea won’t work. Now everyone sees you as dumb and me as smart — and we’ve created an environment where no one wants to come up with ideas.

13. Sure, it’s a measurement — but is it important?

Here’s another measurement problem: You can measure the wrong things. General Motors is a perfect example of this; it’s measurement central. GM can tell you about everything having to do with a car’s outcome: how much of every kind of material went into a car’s manufacture, how many defects it has, how many hours of labor went into making it. The company has about 1,000 measures of outcome. But what GM doesn’t have (yet) are process measures. And without process measures, you don’t know where to intervene to change outcomes. Measurement can, in fact, be crucial to achieving the right kinds of action — but you must do the right measurements.

16. Make knowing and doing the same thing.

The challenge for companies — and for individuals inside those companies — is to build a culture of action. The best description of the knowing-doing gap that I’ve ever heard came from a woman in one of my executive programs. She said, “Benchmarking is very popular today — but companies benchmark the wrong thing. They benchmark what other companies do, when they should be benchmarking how those companies think.”

In the retail world, companies benchmark the Men’s Wearhouse. The Men’s Wearhouse pays people on commission. And if employees sell more than $500 at one time, the company pays them a bigger commission. Other companies have adopted that system.

But what other companies don’t do is look at the underlying thinking that drives that system. Founder and CEO George Zimmer had a great insight that is the key to the success of the Men’s Wearhouse. He started with a question: Where is the power in retail? Most people think that the power in retail is in buying the merchandise — that if you want to rise to the top of retail, you need to be in buying. But Zimmer had a blinding grasp of the obvious: You don’t make money when you buy the merchandise — you make money when you sell the merchandise! If you adopt that idea as the basis for how you run your company, what do you do differently? You put more emphasis on store operations. You put more emphasis on training your salespeople. If you look at everything that Zimmer does at the Men’s Wearhouse, you’ll see that it all connects back to one fundamental idea: that in retail, selling is the key to success.

Here’s another example. Southwest Airlines is premised on another blinding grasp of the obvious: People do not pay to sit in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. People pay to get from once place to another. It sounds simple, but it’s very hard to get people to have the courage, the wisdom, and the insight to see beyond what everybody else is doing — and to take notice of the obvious, unexamined, and unacted-upon truths.

One final insight: For successful companies, there is no knowing-doing gap. There is no difference between how they think, who they are, and what they do.

[Image: Flickr user cameronparkins]