March 2, 2015

It’s a Dirty Job and We All Have to Do It

It was a plain beige room with uncomfortable chairs. My grade school guidance counselor sat behind his desk looking through piles of paper to find my file. He looked up, cleared his throat, and launched into a diatribe I remember to this day.

His point was that I was not to close any doors or hold myself back. I was 13! All I wanted to do was play hockey. I had no clue what I wanted to do for a career and this guy was laying all this heavy stuff on me. I didn’t get it then, but got it many times over the decades after that chat.

Follow Your Passion?

I’ve done a lot of reflecting lately – about work, passion, relationships, careers, and life. The conversations with friends and colleagues have been rich with these topics and my guidance counselor was right – we shouldn’t limit ourselves or close doors.

But there’s one critical element missing. And that is to understand what limits mean. I have spent decades on this planet thinking they mean reach, stretch, and go for more. Mike Rowe – host of Dirty Jobs – lends a wider perspective that we need to heed in his TEDTalk from a few years ago.

The first part may be tough to watch but keep watching. Mike makes some outstanding points about work, life, following our passion, and most of all, respecting each other.

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Progress

TED | Mike Rowe

February 26, 2015

Is No The Appropriate Response?

As a leader, how often do you race to the “no” before looking closer at the situation? Conversely, how often do you say “yes” by rote? I often ask business and community leaders what their organizations do and stand for, then dig deeper to find what they won’t stand for which garners some interesting responses.

For example; Will you do anything for revenue? Would you risk your company’s reputation by lying to a customer? Could you sleep soundly at night knowing your products harm people?

Closer to a Yes?

If you’re in sales, you know the infinite pain of a prospect who won’t get past maybe. Some may think maybe is closer to yes but it’s actually closer to avoidance which dies a painful death on its way to no. Often they don’t know how to say no so they hope it just goes away. Often a fast no is far better than a long maybe.

No could be suitable if it comprises your business principles while it might be premature if you encourage new and fresh ideas from your team. Sometimes no is easier than explaining why. Sometimes no can be an appropriate response and is a complete sentence, but are we using it properly?

That’s the real question.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Progress

February 23, 2015

Not-So-Common Sense of Communication

I seem to be having a lot of conversations about communication these days. We have devices glued to our hands and laptops within reach so it gives us the impression we are connected but how well are we communicating?

I’ve been studying the concept of processing verses quick responses and though it is new learning for me, it’s quite effective. Taking a breath before hitting send, walking away for an hour to re-think the response, calling them back after some deliberation, all seem to be quite helpful.

That's not what I meant!

We know text and email are the worst possible ways we can communicate. Tone and intent are lost, people (me included) respond too quickly, and we have created an instant no patience society where we are expected to fire back ideas and responses with very little time to think.

The key to any relationship, team, company, or venture, is communication yet we are getting worse at it. Look at the last 10 emails you sent or received. Think back to the last time (probably within the last few days) you had to explain what you meant or re-send another note to clarify through electronic media.

Hang on a sec!

I am awful at taking time to think before sending. So here's what I'm going to try this week,  you may want to as well. Take another thirty seconds – which will feel like an eternity – before you send any text or email responses for one day. It’s like changing your diet or breaking a bad habit, it will take some practice.

If your entire team tries it for a week, imagine how better you will communicate.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Progress
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