That’s enough about ME. Let’s talk about YOU…. What do YOU think of ME?
I’ve just sat through a sales pitch from a software company that wanted to sell me the latest thing in …errr… software. Don’t get me wrong. I invited them in because I am interested in the type of software they offer.
Instead of finding out what I needed, the company in question spent almost the entire meeting telling me why I should use them, who they had worked for before and in what capacity.
Hello..if a potential client has invited you in, they already know this stuff. That’s why you’re there. What you need to do is find out about them.
How many times have you been stuck with a terminal bore at a party? What made them boring? Yes, they talked about themselves all night.
And how many times have you met someone and just clicked? Why? Because the other person made an effort to find out about YOU. To listen to YOU.
This is such a simple concept that it still amazes me that salesmen choose to ignore it.
Okay, so you’ve had a simply fabulous idea. It will revolutionise the way the company works, will cost next to nothing and will need hardly any resource to implement.
You’re an ‘extrovert’ in Myers-Briggs® terms so you’ve just got to tell someone. You excitedly share your idea with the people around you, get them to trial it and now they’re hooked too. You are a genius, if you say so yourself.
You bound off to see your ‘introvert’ boss. You’ve got to get this idea off the ground and you’ve gotta do it NOW!
Your boss is busy. You know he’s snowed under with work and you can see he looks stressed. You ignore this because, well, you have an idea that will revolutionise the way the company works and will cost next to nothing to implement and …yada yada. more…
Do you have a team that does not always play to win? Do you feel more like a referee in a fighting ring, some days than a manager?
Don’t worry if you do, the good news is that people are not designed to work in team. Think ‘survival of the fittest’ we have a natural instinct to be competitive in order to survive…so it is completely normal for things to kick off a little!!
At Think, we believe that, whilst rivalry and competitiveness is healthy, you should never excel at another persons loss or expense. To help you unite your team to work together to achieve common goals why not try our Team Skills course.
Some people regard their glass as half full, some half empty. In my case, if I were to sum up my week, I’d say that someone had downed the rest of my wine and made off with the glass afterwards.
Unlike last week, however, where you’ll have noticed my mood was dark; this week I have decided to view the theft of my proverbial glass as a good thing because:
1.) drinking too much is bad for you and;
2.) it gives me an excuse to loiter in the Waterford Crystal department in John Lewis next weekend.
As Francois Lelord says in his wonderful book, ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’, “Happiness is a way of looking at things”.
I have spent the week overseeing the implementation of a new computer based sales system for a client; with set-back after set-back as the system would not play ball (a bit like the England football team except that we eventually won).
Whilst I could look back at the week, exhausted, with a sense of utter frustration, I am choosing only to see the good in what happened. more…
I have just finished reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a colossal novel depicting the rise of the charismatic and omnicompetent Thomas Cromwell.
I’m sure I should have something profound and intellectual to say about this magnificent piece of literature but to be honest, my over-riding thought when I’d finished was:
“ Bloody hell, HR law was so much less complicated in the days of Henry VIII”.
Coaching? Informal Counselling? Disciplinary processes? Appeals? No, don’t bother with all that; just cut off their heads.
Granted, things are much fairer these days but I bet some people would have a lot more motivation to do their jobs well if the alternative was an appointment with a drunken executioner and a rusty old axe.
As you may gather, I am not in the best of moods. more…
So said a less than satisfied caller as she slammed the phone down on a lovely Helpline assistant that I worked with this week. The Helpline assistant had been politely and patiently trying to explain that the caller would not be entitled to receive a payout from her late ex-husband’s insurance policy.
It’s hard not to react when another person attacks. We’re hard-wired with a ‘fight or flight’ trigger when we come under fire.
There are, however some basic things to remember, when dealing with ‘difficult’ customers:
There is no such thing as a ‘difficult customer’ – only a customer who is in a difficult situation.
We have all been someone else’s difficult customer at some point – it doesn’t mean we’re not nice people the rest of the time – someone, somewhere loves us!
People in difficult situations do not always behave in the way we’d prefer – they make the best choice they can at the time – which might not be the choice we’d make in the same situation.
There is always an underlying reason for the way a person behaves. Even if we can’t accept their behaviour, we can usually empathise with the cause (in this case; shock, confusion, grief and mourning – the lady’s ex-husband had tragically been murdered abroad).
Dealing with difficult customer situations on the telephone requires skill and resilience and I greatly admire those who do this well. more…
So you have to give a presentation and even though it’s three weeks away, you’re already having palpitations.
It’s okay. You’re not alone. The stress that many people feel when they have to speak in public is right up there with bereavement and divorce. Even the most accomplished managers and leaders can break out in a cold sweat when faced with a row of expectant faces.
Think Training & Development believe that to give a great presentation, you simply need to remember one thing the majority of communication is non-verbal. more…
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” – L P Hartley
Executive Coaching is often used by people who are already on the up, but want to be the best they can be. Usually, however, we find that there is something holding them back. This was never more the case than when I conducted one of my first coaching sessions, twenty years ago.
A young girl had spotted a job opportunity that interested her. She approached me for advice.
“I’m too young”, she said as an opener. True, if she got the job, she’d be the youngest in the team by about ten years. I asked what experience she could bring to the role.
“None” she replied. “I’ve no qualifications”. It turned out she had not gone to university as it wasn’t affordable and neither could she afford to take the exams required to get this job. “I’ve no money” she shrugged. I asked why not.
5 things that could cause a girl’s motivation level to slip from marvellous to miserable when travelling around the country, running training courses:
• Waking in the early hours to discover an intruder at the end of your hotel bed…which, on closer inspection turns out to be life sized cardboard cut-out of Lenny Henry, which you hadn’t noticed when you’d wearily slumped into bed at midnight on arrival.
• Washing your hair in ‘soft’ water when you’re used to the hard water of the south – leaving you looking like Toyah in the 80s.
• Trying to tame said hair using a hairdryer attached to a desk with a cord which does not allow you to stand anywhere near a mirror.
• Discovering there is no iron or ironing board in the room and that ‘all the boards are out’ when you call reception.
• Realising that you’ve left your new boots at home and that the only footwear you have to accompany your smart black suit are gold FitFlops or your brown Uggs.
Thought for the week: Everything that is achieved on earth is first conceived in the mind.
In March, my business partner Gavin sat down to watch TV, opened a beer and waited to be entertained by one of his all-time comedy heroes; Eddie Izzard. The programme, which was the first of 3 episodes which ran on BBC3, turned out to be a documentary, charting Eddie’s progress as he ran 43 marathons over 51 days. 5 weeks training and off he went. The programme reduced Gavin to tears. Bewildered, confused and utterly inspired. How could anyone achieve such an amazing feat? Especially a guy that is more at home in stilettos than running shoes?
So, it wasn’t exactly a surprise when Gavin announced a few weeks ago that he was going to train for his first ever triathlon, involving a 750m river swim, 20k bike ride and a 5k run to finish.
I have an idea for a new reality TV show in which I would, of course, be prepared to feature. Take six very different, independent women from various walks of life and plonk them all on a foreign island somewhere for a week together and see what happens. So committed am I to this idea that I have just tried it out. The ‘team’ in question consisted of me and 5 other women, 3 of whom I did not know before my holiday. And we interacted exactly as one might expect.
How do I know what one might expect? Because team development usually follows a very similar pattern. Bruce Tuckman first described the four stages of team development in 1965 as;
Form, Storm, Norm, Perform.
When holidaying abroad it is a really good idea not to fall asleep in the sun, get sunstroke and spend the next few days consigned to the villa bathroom.
That said, should you sustain said sunstroke, it’s wise to ensure that your fellow villa dwellers are marvellously compassionate beings who think nothing of cancelling evenings out to keep you company; hold your hair back while you throw up…(again) and lend you their sunglasses / head scarves / fake tan to a.) prevent a recurrence and b.) make you look like you’ve been lying on a beach for days rather than bent double over the loo.
You may have gathered that I am less than well, as I write from my holiday villa.
From my vantage point on the sofa, however, I have been able to watch my two friends, whose Myers-Briggs® personality types are ENFP and ESFP at close hand.
On the face of it, their profiles are quite similar.
Both prefer Extraversion (E) – i.e. they like to talk, get energy from being with other people and from experiencing new things. Conversation has not been in short supply as we’ve sat on the patio late into the night sharing a bottle of wine.
There, I’ve said it. And now I’ve said it, I guess I’m technically not a closet ISTJ at all. I am out of the closet and, frankly, quite chuffed with my new status.
Of course, I’ll always be an ENTP at heart. Having just spent 2 days holed up in an office on my own, no-one to talk to, poring over statistics; writing detailed reports; researching articles and completing a VAT reconciliation…I can’t deny that I’m now tempted to throw a party, learn to sky dive, invent something amazing and dismantle the radiator to see if I can put it back together again (all at the same time) …but hey; 48 hours as an ISTJ. Not bad.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, I am referring to 2 of the 16 Myers-Briggs® Personality Types. more…
Driving home from an appointment late last Wednesday, I felt somewhat harassed as a young man in a souped up Ford Escort came up behind me on a dual carriageway at speed. He began swerving from side to side and flashing his headlights.
As I surveyed him in the mirror, I could see that he was shouting and gesticulating for me to get out of his way. This continued for several minutes and I became increasingly agitated as the traffic in the inside lane was too heavy for me to safely pull in.
Eventually a gap appeared and I indicated to move over. He beat me to it, nearly taking my bumper off as he did so. He then cut in front of me, once he’d passed, causing me to brake hard. I was less than amused. more…
If you’d like to explore how Think Training & Development can help you with your own influencing skills or the general communication within your company, we’ll be waiting in the green box, to listen to what you need. Give us a call or drop us an email.
When discussing Team Performance Management the other day, I was reminded of a lovely story I heard when training as a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).
Once upon a time there was a huge steam ship that had run out of steam. It had come to a grinding halt, out at sea, and the engineers on board were unable to get it going again. They called on the finest specialists in the land, who came on board with their sophisticated equipment and computer technology and tried many different ways to get the ship started but to no avail. more…
I watched a man die on stage the other day. Not literally. Just in terms of audience reaction. At first I wondered if someone had played a hideous April Fool’s trick on him; told him the audience was illiterate or something. Why else would he have spent 20 minutes stoically reading PowerPoint slides to us, never once looking up to see if we were still there?
Without speaking to any of the people concerned last week, I learned that:
• My brother had lost his last 35,000 bhats in an ill-judged midnight swim in Kho Samui
• My cousin had eaten bran flakes for breakfast all week
• My friend had given birth to a baby grill
This is all well and good.
• I mean, I was delighted to know that Billy had chosen me to bail him out (or ‘Birry’ as he now refers to himself on Facebook, on account of being in Thailand);
• I’m glad my cousin is getting some daily fibre, it’s important;
• And although I suspect my friend’s husband might have meant girl, I’ll take her some steak when I visit, just on the off chance… more…
Went shopping at the weekend, in preparation for a holiday I have just booked. Suncream? Shades? Sandals? No, what I wanted was ….a netbook.
It could be argued that I don’t need any more computers in my life but my iMac won’t fit in my suitcase (I’ve tried) and a girl needs to know what’s going on back home when she is away. Even if it is only for a week. Besides…they’re really dinky, they do them in all sorts of lovely colours these days and you can get cute little bags to put them in. I know. I am such a techie! more…
If you don’t believe me, try locking yourself in a room with a load of miserable people for a few hours. See if this prompts a burning desire to skip, whoop with joy and / or turn cartwheels. I’m guessing…no.
If you’re a manager, staff motivation is not hard to achieve, but it starts with you – not them.
Some people radiate natural positive energy; just standing next to them makes you feel warm and sunny. Others seem to exist solely to drain the life out of you (you know who they are). more…