8 Ways To Put Anyone At Ease | Fast Company

8-ways-to-put-anyone-at-ease

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]

Explain Your Work Capacity To Your Boss

future-proofing-your-design-team-Calculate-your-capacity-by-David-Lesue_791x437We are all expected to do more. Do you struggle to explain to your boss what you are doing and how much capacity you have for those last minute, must do tasks?

Here is a simple model to explain your capacity to your those assigning you work. It is from a video presentation called “Future-Proofing Your Design Team: Three Lessons from an Overnight Rebrand (S5285)” by David Lesue at the Adobe Max conference in October 2015.

How Much Work Can You Do?

Do the math to calculate your capacity.  The formula is,

  1. number of team members
    x
  2. the number of hours planned worked per work per team member
    x
  3. focus percentage

The first part is easy and is the size of your team.  In our example, we assume 3 people.

The second part represents the number of hour per week you can realistically work on planned stuff.  Over time you get better at estimating how much extra work you have to do each week that is unplanned.  You want this as low as possible but be realistic for your situation. In our example, we assume 30 hours of planned work and 10 hours of work that is dropped on us that we must get done this week.

The third part represent the focus or quality percentage.  This means what else is going on that week – is there a holiday or event, or something else (Blue Jays’ playoff run) that could impact the team?  In our example, we assume a 90% focus.

The capacity of the team is 3 people x 30 hours planned x 90% focus = 81 hours planned work.

Overtime we get better a estimating the time it takes to do our work. Now you can use your estimates to layout what you are working on, across all assignments.  As your estimates of planned work improves, you can have more confidence showing how the next big, must do, unexpected task requires something else to slip.  Something has to give.

You will likely experience push back on your estimates and approach but persevere – it will be well worth it.

The entire video can be see on the Adobe Max site in the Sessions on Demand section.

Win the Pitch: Tips from MasterCard’s “Priceless” Pitchman

MasterCard-Logo-Font-400x220Understanding your customers motivation to buy is tricky.  Kevin Allen does a great job making it easier to understand by looking at a commercial we all know – the MasterCard “Priceless” ad.

He says winning pitches need three things:

  1. You need to understand that behind every decision lies a hidden agenda.
  2. Your need to do your emotional homework to find the hidden agenda.
  3. You need to connect yourself to the hidden agenda.
    1. Real Ambition: our intention to create something good where nothing existed before.
    2. Your Core Abilities: the special abilities you possess at the core of your being that separate you from others.
    3. Your Credo: the values and belief system to which you subscribe, and/or a shared behaviour or code of ethics that you’re working within.

Now you know what to say, now Deliver like a litigator: You can create your argument, gathering all your facts and supporting evidence around the hidden agenda, which should be placed squarely at the centre of your “case.”  Then, you can create an exciting tale where your audiences attains their deepest desire, not via business-speak, but with good old-fashioned storytelling to convincingly convey your pitch.

Kevin does a great job explaining the process of understanding why your customers buy from you and it is not because you twisted someone’s arm. People want to be understood,  and with that understanding you can tap in “their heart’s desire.”

Read the entire article, Win the Pitch: Tips from MasterCard’s “Priceless” Pitchman – Kevin Allen – Harvard Business Review.

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]