I’ve played golf since I was nine years old. I was pretty good, playing in the State Championships at 16. But my chipping was atrocious. My short game was my achilles heel. I could out drive most people off the tee but around the green, a catastrophe. I decided to get a lesson.
The coach asked me, “What have you tried so far?”
“I’ve watched a lot of videos, read a few books…”
He looked at me flatly and said, “There comes a time, son, when you actually have to hit the ball!”
So what do you need to do to get you to the point where you starting “hitting the ball?”
What is stopping you?
What is the next step you know you need to take to start, or continue, your journey?
There is some suffering we need to experience! And learning a new skill can require a lot of suffering. Even my golf coach told me my next few attempts at chipping may not be all that great!
Let’s take my touch typing ordeal!
I wrote about it here, espousing how this was the time. This time it would work. I still can’t touch type. 😞 Don’t judge me. We all have our own “touch typing” stories.
So what went wrong?
It’s simple! I didn’t do the work! I didn’t practice. I didn’t suffer the pain of learning. Learning to touch type is too slow. Anyway, I have a workaroudn … which is type as fast as. i can and then corect all the moistakes.
Let’s try that again: I have a workaround, which is type as fast as I can, then correct all the mistakes.
Yes, it’s twice the work but it’s less frustrating than t y p i n g r e a l l y s l ow l y … until it is more frustrating from all the mistakes I make.
How painful does your current reality need to be in order for you to take the steps to change?
Do the Work, Start Now, Enjoy the Suffering
The only way to grow … is to do!
Do the work, plan the practice, feel the suffering of not being quite there … and persevere.
Then, all of a sudden, you will find (I will find) you can “touch type”, or write every day, or ride a motorbike or what ever it is you are passionate about accomplishing.
What do you need to do today that will get you where you want to be tomorrow?
What “suffering” are you prepared to endure in order to accomplish something worthwhile?
Is the goal more important? Or are you too comfortable where you are?
Stop watching YouTube videos on how to make YouTube videos and startmaking YouTube videos.
Stop reading books on how to take notes and start taking notes.
Stop reading about how to write, write!
Stop watching videos on how to coach someone, start coaching someone!
Yes, you’ll suffer some pain, indignity and possibly some embarrassment … but you will LEARN & GROW!
I have no issue with people reading eleventy hundred books in a year. I’ve tried that in the past (and failed if you need to know). I think anyone who takes up the reading habit is on to something.
I remember when my kids were young, if they did one thing in life, they would be readers and learners. They both are. Job done!
This year I’m reading … just seven books … over and over!
I’ve read so many books in the past and have learned a lot from most of them. I know the learnings are there, in my mind … somewhere … but they are not benefiting me.
In life, we don’t forget anything, we simply fail to remember.
This year I’m going to slow down a bit, reflect, take notes and learn to my benefit. I want the information from these books to be ingrained. (Links below are affiliate links but if you are keen to read them I don’t care how you access them.)
Atomic Habits (James Clear) – I’ve read this book a couple of times and the process is worth keeping top of mind. I want to quickly flick into good habits when things get out of sorts, as they inevitably will in life. We have one life, building constructive habits is essential.
Smart Talk (Lou Tice) – before neuroscience became popular, there was Lou and The Pacific Institute (there were others, of course). Lou talks through how our self talk can improve with timeless truths and tactics. We are so ingrained with the thoughts and beliefs of others we took on as we grew up that do not serve our well. There are ways to take control and enjoy time in our minds. Lou gives us step by step guidance.
The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle) – took me years to buy this after knowing about it. I had no idea what it was really. Finally bit the bullet and got it after a manager recommended it to me. Read it once, then again and then again. Took notes, looking forward to a couple more reads this year.
The Art of Possibility (Rosamund and Ben Zander) – the best personal development book I have ever read (and I have read many). This was my give away book a few years ago. Bought ten copies, gave them away to friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, I lent my original copy full of personal notes and ideas to someone who then lost it.
Guide to the Good Life (William B Irvine) – As this was first published in 2009, it was the OG Stoic book to Ryan Holiday’s series. Have read it once and taken notes and highlights. Will read again and do the same. One thing I noticed in the first read was that even though we choose whatever lifestyle we want, others won’t comply and we need to work through that.
The Coaching Habit (Michael Bungay Stanier) – I think it was Seth Giodin who called this the best coaching book ever written. Whoever it was, it was high praise. Eminently practical where coaching or influencing others at work and in relationship (helpfully, not manipulatively) this will be a great “workbook” for me this year.
On the Shortness of Life (Seneca) – this is my “bathroom book”. Shorts reads on a daily basis but there is a passage starting on page 74 that had quite the impact. Will take it out of the bathroom this year and make it a deeper study.
Let me know what books you are reading this year … and for what purpose if you like.
A good friend of mine left work this week and it is going to be difficult to replace her.
She was a great mentor and leader. She displayed behaviours about what a great leader can be. The whole team looked to her as a leader, a friend and someone they could rely on for her technical expertise.
She didn’t see herself this way but…
… it is the team who defines who and what a great leader is, not the leader!
This made me start thinking about leaders and leadership, as I often do, and comparing a good leader with a lesser leader. And whilst there are many variations of leadership within the business world, and within the world in general, I’ve come down to two distinctions between leaders and their effectiveness within the context of the teams they work with:
Selfish Leaders versus Self-ish Leaders
A selfish leader is leading purely for themselves, for their own growth, development, recognition, and ego.
The self-ish leader also wants to succeed, very much so, but works with and through the team and relationships rather than just being “the Boss!”
The Self-ish Leader
A Self-ish Leader achieves their goals through the results of their team.
They will work on their team’s skills, knowledge and attitudes to help their people achieve their goals, seemingly at the cost of working on themselves and affecting their personal results.
However, this is not completely true. It isn’t all about the team. The leader needs to develop their communication, coaching and difficult conversation skills as well as an ongoing list of other skills in order to develop their team. This may be letting people go, ongoing performance management and engaging with difficult team members and difficult customers.
The leader is constantly developing.
Simply by helping their team succeed, they will be developing themselves as a leader and achieving the results required.
In addition, by developing their team, they will, on average, have a better retention rate. A better retention rate means less recruitment, greater productivity and better morale as the team gets to know and learn from each other. Upwards and onwards…
Signs of Self-ish Leaders. Team members will:
Willingly follow their Self-ish Leaders, not just because they are the Boss
Provide greater discretionary effort — their efforts are appreciated and acknoweldged, performance gaps are coached
Have a bias towards action – they want to succeed and have an innate sense of not wanting to let the team, or the Leader, down.
The Selfish Leader
A selfish leader, focusing on themselves, approaches things differently. It’s about how good they can look. The team’s results are a reflection on them personally (this is true) but they take it personally. People aren’t “pulling their weight”, people need to be brought into line, and, “If only they did as I told them.”
Lack of results means people are lazy or, as one leader I have worked with put it, “taking the piss”.
In the Selfish Leader world, the leader and the team are “enemies”. Leaders in this realm are there to invoke their version of “world domination”. I heard one newly promoted Team Leader state, “Great, now I can tell people what to do.” There is a semblance of seeing people as colleagues and valuing them but, as time goes on, it becomes “do it my way leadership”.
As this happens, people close up, offer less suggestions and ideas for improvement because the leader “will do it their way anyway.” The irony being, as people shut down, the leader has to do it all themself because no-one is offering better or at the least, other suggestions. All the while the self absorbed, Selfish Leader is oblivious to what is happening.
Signs of Selfish Leaders :
Lower productivity: staff will be second guessing themselves as to what the leader wants. Because the leader is insecure about their success or progress, what they want might change regularly.
Lessening results: results will fluctuate. There will be good days, weeks and months. But as per the next point, they won’t reach their potential because the rules are always changing, with turnover, team members will be changing, affecting long term results.
Higher than industry average turnover: People will put up with a lot but only to a point. Some will stick it out for various reasons (see below), others will make a quick exit while others will wait around and potentially become poorer performers until something comes along, or they hope the situation will improve.
With regards to turnover I was interviewing a Leader about this recently and they smiled and said it was “good turnover’, meaning bad apples were leaving. A couple of points he was oblivious to were:
He hired these people — so maybe the hiring process (and he) needs a review
Regardless of good v bad apples, 50% turnover over an extended period of time (2+ years) is not good for any organization, either from a cost, production perspective but even worse from a customer perspective. A 50% turn over means that, on average, customers are dealing with representatives who know little to nothing about the product they are discussing. This becomes worse when the product is complex. (think insurance, lending, leasing etc).
Another example of a Selfish Leader versus a Self-ish Leader is in daily interactions. I know a few leaders who, as soon as they get into the office, go for a walk to say hello to those who are already there. One leader has people hiding from them, telling others “she is on her way, look busy”. While the other leader has staff wanting to stop and have a pleasant chat.
Signs of a Selfish Leader:
People who follow Selfish Leaders do so because they are “the Boss”, they have power over them simply due to their role, not their relationship.
There is less discretionary effort — if effort is not genuinely appreciated (staff can tell) the discretionary effort drops off.
A bias towards inaction. Selfish Leader will need to come up with “motivators” for staff to take on extra tasks. This is both challenging and energy sapping. Many mature staff members see this is being treated like children.
One last thing
With all the above being from my observations and worth reflecting on, there is one element that is frequently overlooked: the Leader’s Leader.
While we can and should look at Selfish Leaders versus Self-ish Leaders, a lot of it will depend on that Leader’s leader.
If a selfish leader is allowed to continue in their role, their leader is asleep at the wheel. They are not paying attention to the underlying issues of ongoing problems like turnover, constant requests for more staff to deal with customer service issues and suffering metrics.
And that could be because the Leader’s leader is also a selfish leader and not a self-ish leader.
What do you think?
Have you worked for a selfish leader?
What strategies have you used to manage these environments?
What are the benefits of working for a selfish leader?
I’ve had this app on my phone forever. It has got progressively better with each iteration so that now, it can pretty much replace my typing.
I’ve never used it in this way before, but it just dawned on me that it was possible and it relieves so much resistance to sitting down and typing!
When the need arises, the tool appears*.
I’ve recently started a YouTube channel and I need to write scripts and ideas for the channel. Not being much of a touch typist, this was a real barrier. So much so, that I am learning to touch type, and will continue to learn, even with this app.
I was going to type this article about a tool that saves you from typing. 🙄
The app is Apple Notes! Its dictation skills have improved out of sight that it can now record me for as long as I am talking, which for me, is a lot!
The Blank Page
When I stare at a blank page, I can get myself to just start typing but it is often a bunch of words that can’t seem to get coherently from my mind to the page. So it starts as a draft and ends as a (very short) draft.
So many drafts! 😞
This then, is the game changer for me. I can see my words on the page, and I can talk for as long as I like. I can go off on tangents as ideas hit me from all sides. I can explore analogies and arguments that I find worth considering. It can all come pouring out and I find I self-edit far less, if at all.
The blank page dilamma becomes a thing of the past.
That doesn’t mean everything I transcribe is worth publishing. But keeping the information and occasionally going back to review my ramblings can trigger an idea worth pursuing.
As my wife came home last night, I was finishing off some dictation. She asked me, “Who was that?”, thinking I was on a call. I find that as I dictate, I relax and it becomes conversational. I can let the thoughts roam free. Again, little to no self-editing. I capture everything and can then edit from a vast resource later.
The other benefit, especially for me, is that dictating assumes elocution. The text on the page/app clearly shows how well I am pronouncing my words lets me know if my elocution is poor. It helps me think more about the words and how to enunciate them which will help, I hope, in my presentations on YouTube.
Starting from Square Two
This lowers my barrier to entry. It gives me a head start.
Where typing was the barrier as I know I would have to type and correct, type and correct, this makes the process quicker, allowing me to be more creative and expansive in my thoughts.
If typing is your kryptonite and you haven’t tried dictation, I’d seriously consider giving it a go. Apple Notes has come along in leaps and bounds and comes with every iPhone (who knew? 🤷♂️). 😂
If you are after something different, there is also Just Press Record. I have this as well but with the new Apple Notes functions, I’m not sure I will use it as much. I’ll have to run a comparison.
What about you?
Do you use Apple Notes or Just Press Record to dictate your articles?
What problems does it solve for you?
Is there another, better app, I need to know about?
It’s a cynical view of consultants that they’ll tell you what you want to hear! Not necessarily, what you need to hear.
But what if they are right? What time do you want it to be?
Consider this: the future is literally made up!
Every invention we have today started as a thought, a concept, an idea. Nothing more.
Edison may have been credited with inventing the light bulb but today, the question isn’t, “What light bulbs do you have?” It’s, “What light bulb do you want?”
When I offer to buy someone a coffee, the second question is: “What coffee do you want?” Not everyone wants a long back with cream! 🤷♂️
So, what kind of day do you want? If that’s too long term, what would a good hour look like? (Half hour? Moment?)
The point is, going back to the consultant question …
What do you want?
The real challenge for the consultant, and for us, is whether we have the efficacy to bring the goal to pass?
Efficacy: the ability to produce a desired or intended result.
It’s one thing to want a thing. It’s another thing to bring it about.
I would suggest though, that most of us, have that ability.
Want a new car? Do you have the ability to save?
Want to have a good day? Do you have the ability to plan and stick to a schedule you plan?
Want a peaceful demeanour? Do you have the ability to block out calamity?
I’d suggest we all have the abilities. Most of it comes to a choice. To do or not to do. (I seriously didn’t mean to channel Yoda! 🙄)
A lot of this comes down to moments. What will we do in the moment? What is our choice?
My current moment
I’m sitting here having a coffee (long black with cream, if you’re following along) and sourdough! I shouldn’t be having the sourdough for health reasons. Some can, I can’t! But it is so delicious. But there was a moment where I could have decided not to indulge. I chose to do so.
I’ll have the opportunity to choose again tomorrow. One moment at a time.
Back to the beginning Imagine I am your consultant. You’ve come to me looking for some clarity, some guidance on where t from here.
You ask: “Who and what am I?” My response: “Who and what do you want to be?”
My “who and what”
I have a list of items I read every day. These are my affirmations. They cover who and what I want to be. They are not true at the moment. They are my goals.
Reading them every day imprints them in my mind. It’s a subtle mechanism to re-orient how I see myself. Maybe that sounds woo-woo. Except it’s based on how the mind works.
Everything we believe about ourselves to be currently true has occurred the same way, either consciously, or subconsciously. The constant imprinting of a belief that becomes true!
James Clear writes about it this way (if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe James! 😉)
In Atomic Habits, he mentions a situation with two smokers (note they are both currently smoking).
They are each offered a cigarette.
One responds with, “No thank you, I’m trying to quit.”
The other? “No thanks, I don’t smoke!”
And so …
The question isn’t, “Who are you?” The question is, “Who do you want to be?”
And then, like every human invention in history: you make it up!
Years ago I was in a church where there was the discipline of morning prayer. You could do this at home but, if you were a “disciple”, it was better to be seen at the church building praying, anywhere from 6am to 8am.
The discipline of a morning meditation* was really good. The need to be seen? Not so much. In fact, if you missed attending for a couple of days you got the “didn’t see you at morning prayer, brother!” So there was this expectation and, as young me, there was always the pursuit of trying to be better. Again, nothing wrong with that.
One day, I overheard a friend say he got up at 4am to pray. Holy prayer mats, Batman!
Not to be outdone, I also got up at 4am to pray.
This was hard! Partly because of another church custom: fellowship.
This was coffee and food after church to be friendly to others, encourage each other and build relationships. Another plus for church and similar communities.
But going to bed after 10:30 and getting up at 4am was a tough gig. Not to be deterred, I stuck it out for a couple of weeks. But in the end, it was too much. I had to pack the 4am starts in and try and be a normal person.
A month or so after that, feeling like a failure in my prayer habits and clearly a very unspiritual disciple, I mentioned my efforts to my friend.
He laughed: “You obviously didn’t hear the whole conversation!”
“Oh?”, I responded, wondering what I had missed.
“Yeah, what I was saying was I had got up at 4am one time to try and it was hopeless. It was stupid. I get up at 6:30 every day!”
Needless to say we both had a good laugh!
It’s obvious to say we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others but we tend to do this without thinking.
Here are some things to consider next time you’re scrolling Social Media:
What is their background? What do they bring to the situation you don’t know about?
What do they not say? This isn’t the sin of intentional omission, it could simply be they have information, skills, knowledge they take for granted they wouldn’t even think to share. For example a blogger with experience in journalism.
What effort do they put in that we can’t see? We only get to see the end product in many cases. I like it when people on YouTube give us a behind the scenes look at their set up. It brings a whole lot of context.
Don’t be a literalist. This is taking everything at face value. It becomes a binary argument: this OR that. Rarely is that the case. There are so many shades of grey! (More than 50, I’d say!)
What to do:
What do you admire about the person? Admiration is great, we need role models. What attributes do you see that you would like for yourself. Write them down.
Allow space for yourself. You are not, and cannot, be them. You can be you. What does that mean? Write it down.
What are your goals in this area? Have you defined them clearly? Write them down.
What tasks need to be addressed for you to fulfil #2? (you be you)
What actions can you take to start completing those tasks? When can you do the first of those tasks?
Another erroneous comparison I have made.
I follow Yiannis Christodoulou, on Twitter (@Yiannis_83). With 83 being in his profile I assume he is 20 years younger than me. He is quite the accomplished triathlete in his age group. But I assumed he had been doing this since he was a kid. I assumed he’s been brought up swimming, running and riding for decades!
If I compare myself to him, I probably can’t emulate his feats.
Read his tweet of 4 days ago:
He only started swimming 10 years ago! And he started to run! And yet he has achieved so much!
We can be very fickle.
We see people who have made it and we think we can do exactly the same, without knowing their background.
We also see people who are accomplished and we think we can’t emulate them, without knowing their background.
If that isn’t an endorsement for you be you, I don’t on know what is.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Admire their feats, sure and now start where you are.
*Funny that back then we referred to meditation as new age woo-woo! (Maybe they still do!) 🙄
Also, thanks to Yiannis for allowing me to mention him and his success in his journey!
We had the family over for a Spanish style meal (paella, which my Spanish friend, Gonzalo, will only allow me to call “Rice with Stuff” because it’s not true paella. Tastes good but! 😉)
Today’s post about a really cool idea I discovered while doing research about beliefs and how they impact our lives as well as a deep dive into stress, particularly the good stress, Eu-stress. More articles to come on those topics soon.
Oh, and if you’ve eaten too much over the weekend, #dontstress, just start again! (That’s what I’m doing! 😬)
On with the show!
Today’s newsletter is a link to an article by David Hoang. David writes the newsletter “Proof of Concept”. The article, Your Career Hype Doc, is from December 2020 but it is too good not to share.
David talks about having a Hype Document, kind of like a brag book of all your accomplishments. David got the idea from a 2019 post by Jessica Ivins where she writes about a Career Management Document.
My contribution is to encourage you to take the time to investigate this and write down your accomplishments. I hear so many times from so many people who look at their work and shrug it off as if it was nothing.
Write Stuff Down
I have noticed that I encourage people to write things down … a lot. This means taking time to think through the thoughts that pop into your head while you’re reading these posts or others you come across. Sometimes that can feel like a waste of time when we have so many other things to do. And if the information is important “I’m sure I’ll remember it!”
“The palest ink is better than the best memory.” – Chinese proverb
This isn’t to give you homework! 😉 It is to provide you with a structure to make the most of your readings. So, for your benefit, take the time to note down your accomplishments. Pick a time frame, whether that be weekly or monthly, like David. And review how well you have done.
You may not be where you want to be … but you won’t be where you were!
Most importantly, you’ll realise all of the things you do well. Which for some people, who tend to beat themselves up, will be a nice change. This really is an important activity.
Below is my progress for April. I’ve added a second page to my process.
The left had side is bullet points as I think of them throughout the month. I don’t edit them. I write as I think.
The right hand side is for looking for themes and summarising. I’ll do that at month’s end. That will help me encapsulate what I have done/achieved and I expect it will suggest next actions and directions to take.
Additional benefit: This would be a really good coaching tool for someone you’re working with. Ask them to take note of their daily or weekly wins. The have them review them with you when you catch up and, using there right hand side, ask them to articulate what this means for them! Could be quite powerful.
One last thing.
I’ve joined a gym, Flow Performance, here in Perth. If you’re in Perth, and can get to Balcatta, highly recommended! The community they have built over the past few years is amazing. And to that end I bought some Nike Metcon shoes, which seem to be quite popular in gyms. I also took the time to customise them a little. 😉
This was going to be a short one but it got away from me. I hope you find it useful. Feedback is such a powerful tool … when used for good and not for evil!
Join the conversation in the comments and pass on to someone you feel may get some benefit from it. The more the merrier! 🥳
The Steel Shavings Incident!
Growing up in Albany, Western Australia, we often existed shoeless. In the house, backyard, beach. Shoes were not the norm. Church? Yes, we wore shoes in church! And we’d visit my dad at the engineering business he owned for over 40 years. I would have been 6 or 7 at the time of the “incident”. I’d be so keen to see all the big machines (lathes, drill presses, metal saws and other stuff). I didn’t see the steel shavings on the floor around the lathes. These were curled up pieces of metal that flew off the lathes. Sharp as razor wire to the bare foot of a 6 year old, or any-year-old for that matter.
Imagine stepping on something that cuts into you and you jump from the pain of the cut and then have to land, and, in that instant (less than a second), have to decide where to land so you don’t get cut again!
I can remember still, the cotton wool … and the blood! So. Much. Blood. 🩸
So, without any fear or favour, my dad would yell, “Next time put some bloody shoes on!” Not one for showing sympathy, the old man! Feedback was great though! 👍
Feedback is one of those topics that gets a bad rap! Mainly because when we think of feedback, we think “negative”, or the more politically correct “constructive” feedback.
Perhaps it’s also because it is uncomfortable to give negative feedback. What if they disagree? What if they don’t accept it? What if they challenge me? All awkward situations for sure.
But, like a good joke, it’s all in the delivery!
Little and Often
The key to giving better feedback is to make it like it’s almost nothing. (Almost!)
If you leave feedback for a “later time”, it loses all effect. If we delay feedback, it’s certainly easier to be challenged with “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” For which we need to have a really good answer! Which we won’t, but we’ll try. At this point I’d suggest putting the shovel down and stop digging the hole you’re in!
But if it’s little (meaning small) and often, this doesn’t happen.
Think of a situation where you need to give feedback, think of something small and not inflammatory for now. Maybe late to a meeting, late to work, forgot something.
Keep it small and follow these guidelines*:
Ask permission: hey can I give you some feedback? [Sure]
Describe the facts: when you’re late to the meeting
Describe a consequence: we need to stop and catch you up. That’s not great!
Ask for a change: can you fix that next time? [Okay]
Say thanks: Thanks! 😉
That’s it! Takes less than 10 seconds and, because it’s factual, it’s hard to challenge. It also leaves the person with the autonomy of how they’re going to fix it. Have you noticed adults don’t like being told what to do? Who knew?
Why so negative?
Some of you reading this will think, people do good things too. Do we not give them feedback?
Absolutely! (See the “Homework” below.)
The same steps apply.
Ask permission: hey can I give you some feedback? [Sure]
Describe the facts: when you’re prepared for the meeting like you were
Describe a consequence: it makes the process so much better and we achieve a lot more in the meeting! That’s awesome!
Ask for a continuance: You’re leading by example. Keep it up! [Okay]
Say thanks: Thanks! 🙌
Note: be specific with positive feedback as well. “Good job!” doesn’t cut it! Be observant, what did they do that was good? ← That’s what you tell them!
Here’s the problem
When we don’t provide feedback, we let it fester. Time goes by and after a time, it’s too late to give the feedback about the thing. Even if it’s good feedback.
When that happens, as a leader or manager, I make the decision that the problem is now me, not them! I need to be better! (You may decide differently.)
We need to acknowledge that people tend to doubt themselves. Without feedback, they may decide what they did was not good enough or incorrect and change their behaviour … because you didn’t give them the feedback! 🤯
The … “Homework”
Even with such a simple process, giving feedback can be difficult.
Start off by looking for what people do right and provide that feedback. No negative/constructive feedback, unless of course it’s mission critical. That’s your call.
Look for something good each day. Because it’s positive you can leave out the “ask permission” step but I’d advise you to use it. When you get to providing negative/constructive feedback, it’ll roll off the tongue.
Being positive consistently generates better behaviour in other areas. People like being liked and accepted. When positive feedback comes, it generates a perspective of acceptance, so other behaviours adjust to this. It’s like someone not wanting to let their boss down. It’s not 100% failsafe, people still screw up, but you may be surprised how well this works.
In the Human Synergistics Circumplex** tool, research suggests that by building one component, say Humanistic-Encouraging (1 on the circumplex), the opposite behaviour, Oppositional (7), a negative behaviour, will lessen. The opposite is also true! 😬
Determine to give feedback little and often. Look for ways to provide positive feedback. Be specific. What is it you liked? Become comfortable with giving feedback. So many times I heard people say, “The only time I get feedback is when I’ve done something wrong!” We can change that! Today!
And hey, if you do mess it up occasionally, remember … #dontstress! Go again!
*The team I sourced this from are Mark Horstman and Michael Auzenne from Manager Tools. Easily the best business podcast and website. Simple but effective, and great value for money if you’re wanting to dig into all the tools they offer, which are many.
**I am not a qualified consultant of Human Synergistics. I was involved with their work in a company that engaged them for their expertise. Hence my knowledge of the tool.
If you’ve read this far, you’re in for a treat! Personal feedback!
Yes, you can apply this to yourself! How good is that? 🙌
Rather than beat yourself up when you make a mistake, and we all know we are our own worst critic, here’s a practice you can use to break that habit.
“Next time …“
Using the feedback steps above, add these steps to your self talk.
Hey, I was late to a meeting.
When I’m late to meetings, it puts the team off, slows us all down and I am playing catch up! And stressed!
Next time … I’ll [and now add what you’ll do next time to prevent being late to meetings!]
Take notice of areas you want to improve. Use this method to bring your automatic behaviours to your conscious attention and make changes to readjust your automatic behaviours.
Personal example: I’m working on my health and part of that is getting a better night’s sleep. Sometimes a glass of wine can disrupt that. So, when I’m thinking of having a wine, here’s my “Next time …”:
Fact (for me, you do you): Hey, when I drink wine at night …
Consequence … It disrupts my sleep …
Next time … I think of having a wine at night, I’ll grab a glass of water instead.
A new SCARF based staff development/coaching template is now available on the Resources page here.
The template uses the SCARF Model to help leaders determine where their staff are in relation to the five factors in the model. The template uses a rating scale of 1 through 10. This allows a leader to determine granular levels of each factor. You can also use an either/or approach. This means you can assess whether a team member is in threat mode or reward mode.
Look for Trends
It is important to have data to support your views or you may be off on a wild goose chase. Also note, people can have bad days and weeks, so also look for trends over time. A quieter day in the team may simply mean they’ve had an argument with their spouse.
Another aspect is to go a little deeper than outward appearances only. This takes a little more care but you don’t need to be a psychologist. This might be what is referred to as “Will vs Skill”. If a person has the skills to complete a task but doesn’t, then it may be a “will” issue. There may be something internally preventing them.
Will vs Skill
A simple example I have come across many times is sales. People join organisations for a purpose and then sales comes into the role. (Or perhaps it was there all long and they have avoided it). Regardless, they now need to jump on the sales train.
Some people are averse to this approach with customers and avoid it. Leaders will consider all sorts of strategies to win them over.
The point about going deeper is to understand the aversion to sales itself. This may comes down to beliefs, attitudes and habits around the concept of selling. There could be many reasons for this:
family background is adverse to sales people
have been scammed before vowed to never do that to others
don’t want to be seen as a salesperson in the worst sense (many people use the “used car salesperson” metaphor)
Won’t people see me as pushy?
What if people say no? We all hates rejection.
In relation to the SCARF model, this might be seen as a threat and so they may use common behaviours to deal with the threat:
Fight – push back (e.g. why do I have to sell?)
Flight – avoid “selling” and describe is as better customer service (without the required results)
Freeze – reduction in contact with customers (in a contact centre this may look like shortened call times, hanging up on customers)
Flinch – using most of the process with out closing the sale (aka asking for the order)
The point is to assess where your individual team members are on the scale and work towards supporting them to the more beneficial side of the equation.
When we think of personal development, we think in terms of taking new things on: taking on new skills, taking on new behaviours, as well as new attitudes and beliefs. This can be scary and take us well out of our comfort zone.
This is because, when we start to take on these new attributes, we’re rarely competent … at first. We get to (re)learn about the competency ladder.
Unconsciously incompetent – we did know that we didn’t know!
Conscious incompetent – we now know what we don’t know!
Consciously competent – we focus and become better at our new skills
Unconsciously competent – we do it without even thinking about it!
Acting as if …
In his commencement speech at the University of the Arts 2012, Neil Gaiman finishes off a great speech by suggesting people be wise. “But”, he says, “If you don’t know how to be wise, think of someone who is wise and just pretend to be like them.”
“Acting as if” leads to acting, or behaving and thinking, like the character trait you want to be competent in.
According to the site, Ranker, Daniel Day Lewis is known for staying in character off camera. Reportedly, he would send text messages as “Commander in Chief” and talk on the phone as Abraham Lincoln when he was filming Lincoln.
He was acting as if he was Lincoln!
What skill or behaviour are you looking to develop?
An actor will take the time to research their character. Particularly if it is based on true events, they will go to great lengths to find out about their character, as stated by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of Tom Hanks.
And yet, here is how Hanks describes the situation:
When we are looking to lead people, or influence others, what traits do we need to take on in order to be successful in the role or the situation? Think about someone you know who has the attributes you are seeking. Have a conversation with them, taking note of how they approach a situation. Then reflect on how you might adopt that skill.
Imagine for a moment, you get triggered very easily by certain situations or certain people. Perhaps a leader in your organisation is unethical but keeps getting accolades and acknowledgments. Each time you interact with them you find yourself thinking about their flaws and it can distract you from the task at hand.
Speak to someone you know and trust. Ask them how they deal with difficult personalities. (I suggest NOT mentioning your trigger person). Hear your colleague out and imagine yourself managing the situation the same way. What skills and attributes would you need to take on? Write them down.
Now “act as if” you had those skills. Can you do this for a few seconds? A few minutes? A whole meeting?
This is different from “faking it till you make it”. Faking it calls out the fact you are faking it. Therefore, it could mean you’re being duplicitous with yourself. And there is no need to be.
An analogy in two parts
When we learn to drive a car on the road, we’re learning at the same time as doing. You’re not faking it.
Sitting in a lounge chair, making car noises with hands on an imaginary steering wheel is faking it!
It’s the same when dealing with new and challenging situations. You’re actually “driving the car” no matter how nervously or how you feel inwardly or how many mistakes you make … you’re driving! 🙌
Truth be told, the person you went to for guidance, at one time, “acted as if” as well. Maybe they still are! 😧
We do this every day! We act as if every day of our lives. We do it subconsciously to fit in, deal with a difficult client, even drive to a brand new location because just getting there can be stressful.
Now the skill is to do it consciously, on purpose, with an expected result. If you don’t get it exactly right first time, you go again. You can’t be version 2.0 of yourself within being a Version 1.0! Not even Apple, Microsoft and Google can do that.
Develop your character they you want it to be! To benefit you and those you work with.