Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the tag “culture”

1 way how to turn a bad conversation into a positive one


1 way how to turn a bad conversation into a positive one 

Most conversations go awry when one person starts to use an accusatory tone. This can sound like this: “You always ignore me”, “You never consider my opinion”, or “Can you ever plan ahead?”

This kind of lingo can start a downward spiral of events. For one using “you” in this context typically is like poking your finger in the other person’s chest. Always, never, ever, etc, are rather strong words and most likely were not meant literally. Once offended the other person may start fighting back. And why not? After all, “always”, “never”, “ever” are very rarely true in the literal sense. The moment the other person also starts throwing similar sentences the other way, a battle of the minds will typically ensue. Even worse are those people of us who say such things to intentionally hurt and drawing pleasure from putting their friends, family, co-workers, employees, etc. down.

So, how can you turn this situation around? A way out is using the expression of feelings rather than using accusatory statements. If you can express how certain behaviors hurt you and how they make you feel, it is typically much easier for the other party to understand what has led to the issue in the first place. Also, the other person’s mental shutters and personal defense system are not engaged and a much more sincere and genuine conversation can happen.

So what could the sentences above sound like? Let’s try this: “When you do not pay attention to me while I am speaking with you makes me feel sad and undervalued.”, “Sometimes I feel like my opinion is not valued at all; it makes me feel ignored”, “Whenever you do not plan ahead I feel like you do not value my time and my day ends up in chaos”.

See the difference? Emphasis lies in expression how a certain behavior makes you feel and how it affects you. This is the way how to keep the conversation at a really professional and factual level. It does not offend and is not intended to make you get even with the other person. A much more fruitful discussion can result. Have fun trying it out.

Ralf

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Discover the toughest thing for entrepreneurs to let go of


Discover the toughest thing for entrepreneurs to let go of 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

It comes down to adapting to change and letting go of what you knew worked best when you started up your company. I have observed in many a friendly business and even I have been resistant from time to time abandoning a success recipe. After all, that is what got you this far. Challenge is that a business has stages very similar to human life. When maturity hits and we need to hire more people and build up a lot of infrastructure it is tough letting go of the figment our imagination that we call control. We should be hiring people that are much smarter and better equipped than us. We should be delegating and letting middle management take over control over most if not all important parts of our businesses. The one thing that keeps us from moving on is fear.

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we have. Take for instance the fear of loss. No one wants to lose anything that we have an emotional attachment to. That applies to things, relationships, feelings, etc. Very often we may not even necessarily know if what we are attached to is good for us. What if letting go is the best thing that could happen to us? In this particular case we are afraid to lose our business if we changed the tried and true original business model. Don’t take my word for it. Here is a link to a fabulous book by friend Craig Hughes “The Self-Driving Company: How Getting Out of the Way Enabled My Business to Thrive”. This is the book to read when your start up business is stalling, you have employee turn over issues, you find yourself totally exhausted because you feel like you have to do everything, etc.

A good analogy to being held back by your old beliefs and the things that you are intensely focused on is the way how some monkeys are being caught in Africa. Food or other similarly interest sparking materials are being placed in a space the monkey is surely going to notice. That is typical a hole dug into the ground or an existing cavity in rock formations. When the monkey reaches into the hole grabbing the “bait” his hand no longer fits through the opening of the cavity. The catcher now fast approaches the monkey with the intention to scare him. The monkey stays caught because he does not want to lose the precious things he is holding in his hand (Discover this in action). The more he panics, the tighter he holds on to the loot.

Isn’t that a little like our entrepreneurial situation? The tighter we hold on, the more we get stuck and we get caught. So here is my call to action: Whenever you feel you have run out of options and you do not want to lose what you are attached to, please let mentally go of this attachment. Watch how liberating a feeling it is to look AT your situation and not FROM the middle of it. Ponder if letting go of the old isn’t the best thing that you should do.

Ralf

 

Find out who is making a greater difference in your life


Find out who is making a greater difference in your life 

What is more important: success or significance? Most societies put a lot of peer pressure on people when it comes to careers, education, and personal / societal status. The pressure is on all of us to succeed. Succeed in what though? What does success look like? How does significance fit into this scenario? Feeling a little confused yourself?

The following 2 different mental approaches may help guide you towards more clarity where you want to draw the fine thin line. It also helps finding out who is having the greatest positive impact on your life.

Let’s take a quick look at 5 brief questions/ scenarios that will get us started pondering “success”:

  1. Who were the last 5 recipients of a Nobel prize (name any that come to mind)?
  2. Who were last year’s 5 top earners in the United States?
  3. Name 5 Emmy winners from last year?
  4. How about 5 Oscar winners for the same time period (your choice of any category)?
  5. Name the last 5 Heisman trophy winners?

These individuals truly embody success. How many did you remember? In pondering all 5 categories myself, I had some significant issues coming up with even a few names.

Now reflect upon the next list of scenarios and take some time to write the results down. By the end of the exercise you will know why.

  1. Name 5 people that you really enjoy spending time with.
  2. List 3 to 5 teachers that have impacted your life the most.
  3. Think of at least 3 friends who have helped you through tough times.
  4. How many people can you think of that changed your life forever?
  5. Name 3 folks for whom you would give your life, because they are so special to you.

Which list affected you the most? The former list certainly is in a league of its own and no one will argue that any of the people you came up with are extremely successful. One thing that probably struck you is how fast the world of the successful passes us right by: Isn’t it amazing how few of them we remember even though their achievements have been very recent.

Wouldn’t you agree that the second list of people is the one that captures significance best? Take a good hard look at the people whose names you wrote on a piece of paper. Some of them will be in your thoughts (and prayers) for as long as you live.

There are two things I would like for you to do. How many of these folks are alive today? If they are alive, do they know how much they mean to you? Please go out of your way telling them this right away. Secondly, ponder what kind of a legacy you want to be known for. Here is an exercise you can use to get there.

How did this mental jogging work for you? Remember that you hold your own life’s snow globe in your hands. Give it a good shake. Do not hold back and start becoming your better self today.

Ralf

Getting away from micro managers – learn about the antidote


Getting away from micro managers – learn about the antidote 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

There are five key elements to trust: They are sincerity, authenticity, competence, reliability and timely communication. Micro-management is very much at the opposite spectrum of these attributes. Micro managers have the hardest time with especially authenticity and sincerity. But trust is the omnipotent ingredient to leadership. Without trust there cannot be any leadership. Leading people is much more a process than a final result. Trust can only occur when a relationship has been slowly nurtured into existence by long term planning. “Trust is not deserved, it is earned” is what sales consultant and expert Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about trust in his book “Little Teal Book of Trust”. No manager can expect to be trusted just based on a title alone. On the other hand, the manager must trust learn trusting his employees first – only then his direct reports will show the propensity showing trust in a manager.

This process of learning to let go of control and therefore trusting the employee to do a great job takes time and most of all planning on the side of the manager. It is a recurring theme that runs through leadership like a fine red thread: If you want to see a change in others, you must first be willing to change yourself. This is especially true when a micro manager wants for his employees to achieve and learn new skills. It takes ample time to change people and first the manager must first make the commitment to learning just as much and to be patient with his people who probably need some time to achieve these goals. Impatience kills trust in an instant as does not trusting employees enough for placing them on a pro-active training and goal setting time table.

One certain way out of micro managing is to focus on becoming a master communicator. Mistrust leads to issues in the flow of information, because most managers with trust issues would rather keep the information to themselves and not delegate any work either. This is all poison to any organization. It takes a great sense of organizing skills for a manager to find a way out of the downward micro management spiral. Once the manager trusts himself enough to trust others weekly and perhaps even daily scheduled or impromptu meetings with staff helps breaking the mold. Organizing information should automatically trigger the thought of delegating as many day-to-day tasks to employees who either have the skill set or the responsibility to doing them anyway. This shows trust to the employee and can now reciprocate this with the manager who will be able to tend to more managerial tasks – imagine that, more time for organizing things.

Being able to lead people may be something that comes easy to some people. That does not mean average managers or even micro managers cannot improve because they were not born with these skills. Achieving the first step of trusting yourself is most important as it is the jumping board for being able to genuinely apologize for any bad decisions, which in turns provides the necessary feedback to the employees that it is ok to make mistakes. By not including team members in the cause and effect cycle, the managers will most likely promote long term distrust and thus disengage them from team and company goals. The reversal of this issue is just as easy: When making the mistake of not having involved the team in the process, apologize genuinely and timely. It will re-engage people almost in the short and long term.

Finally there is a solid case for developing a sense and company culture of trust. It comes down to the almighty financial rock bottom Dollar. In a recent Gallup poll the cost for lost productivity and employee disengagement has been around $300 billion in the United States of America alone.   Controlling people is all but impossible, but that is not true for controlling the cost and reviewing and managing the engagement and communication with them.

So the simplest way in which to create a trusting work environment is making a list of the worst traits of micro managers you know or experienced. Then start compiling strategies letting you do the opposite of that.

Ralf

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