June 28, 2018

How Does That Work?

We live in a plug-in-play world. The gadget comes with an instructional manual but few of us take the time to read it. Our collective impatience is too strong. We want to open the box and start using it. If there’s a problem, we’ll call someone or research the answer online. But what do we do when we can’t figure out how people work?

There is no owner’s manual with human interaction and relationships. Decades of experience can only give us a guide but each person is wired and motivated differently. We can’t simply apply one rule for all yet often the business world tries to do just that.

People are Complex

You hear claims such as; “millennials behave this way” or “women 25-49 don’t like that” which are a generalizations. Marketing companies try and predict habits and companies attempt to guide behavior. No two people in history are identical.

If you have kids, you may have taught them how to ride a bike. At first, you put on training wheels, and then over time you raised them off the ground so your child could slowly learn how to balance.

Then the day came when the training wheels were removed. You may have stood nervously as they started to pedal off without your help or the help of two extra wheels. That’s trust in them, the system, and yourself. You gave them the tools but eventually had to let them find their way. Take time to find their motivation

Or you may never know how the gadget works.
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June 23, 2018

You Want the Best – Now What?

The foundation of your business is people. That’s not some fluffy nice to have statement, it has been scientifically proven. If you have good relationships in your business, your chances of success will exponentially improve. If you view that human stuff as a waste of time, or a job for someone else, your company will be built on sand.

If you asked any business leader if they would like to have the most talented people on their team, it’s fairly safe to say you would get a positive response from one hundred percent of them. Who doesn't want the best?

People are People

But if you were to subsequently ask them what specific daily steps are they personally making to ensure that happens, the answers could become a bit vaguer. I'm not referring to the employee handbook or some slick delegation process someone else oversees – steps they do themselves.

Now ask yourself those same two questions. You want the best, of course you do, but what are you doing today – not monthly or in your weekly wrap-up meetings or some all-staff email – but today, to help your team be the best?
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June 18, 2018

Believing Falsehoods

These have been published in numerous psychology articles and on various websites over the years and are worth considering when we're facing life's issues.

Unwanted moments are to be avoided at all costs. You are only as valuable, or worthless, as other people agree that you are.

You are responsible for the happiness or unhappiness that others feel. You must learn to tolerate friends and family who have agreed to live with and justify negative states.

You can change what happened yesterday by revisiting and reliving it today. Feeling deeply stressed proves you really care about whatever you’re suffering over.

Do you believe any of these? If so, feel free to stop.
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June 12, 2018

Fits Like a Glove

I'm an extrovert introvert who enjoys collaborating in team and group environments but also needs and enjoys some chill time on my own to recharge. I’m an ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) which means I focus on intuition and external connections. But there is a strong internal piece which is key to process how I feel about things and how they fit into my value system.

I live in the world of possibilities – which can trip me up on follow through – but I see life as a gift and literally wake up every day looking forward to the possibilities. I have my share of down times and self-doubt which again is typical of someone driven by emotion and connection.

Up Downside

When I look at the 20 or so people I spend the most time with, it’s a mix, which is typical of an ENFP as I get energy from others and the varied traits they bring. And some of the closest people in my life are actually introverts. If you know one or are one, you know the label isn't completely accurate. The ones in my life are incredibly personable, engaging, and funny. Introvert means shy and withdrawn and I disagree with those broad labels.

I have a colleague who is an introvert and prefers to solve issues at work one-on-one in plain language through conversation and collaboration while her boss wants every report in triplicate to outline the effectiveness of the analysis of the plan. One gets energy from relationships while the other can’t operate without reports and structure.

P2P

One of my best friends – who is definitely an extrovert – is a very successful investment adviser who does most of his work on the phone or with clients rather than sitting in his office doing paperwork. His energy comes from being with and helping people and he does it all day long.

So if you have someone on your team who isn't like you, celebrate that, celebrate them, and get to know their way, their perspective, and their view on the world. We can talk about the multi-generational workplace another time.

Labels are good for clothing not people.
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June 7, 2018

Trustworthy Respect

In a work environment, everyone is under a lot of stress. Words are spoken. Blame is heaved. Accusations lobbed. If we step away for even a few minutes, we can remember the relationship – work, life, wherever – is built on respect and trust and can withstand those types of interactions.

Respect and trust are earned but can’t be expected. Something to think about with your business. Great service is what we want yet we're blown away when we get it. But we can't expect if we're not prepared to give it.

The Gift of Being Honest

This is especially critical in personal relationships. If you want her to trust you, be trustworthy. If he is dishonest, especially without remorse, it's probably time you exclude him from your life. You deserve honest people in your life if you are prepared to be honest with them. If they don't hold up their end, get rid of them.

Does this mean trust and respect are only present when it's convenient? Can one argument tarnish a relationship like a bad experience with a plumber? I’d like to think we try our level best to remember why we have the people in our lives that we do and earn their trust and respect.

That's the bedrock of any relationship.
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June 2, 2018

Mentors Wanted

I've been fortunate to have had a couple of excellent mentors in my career and been even more fortunate to be a mentor. It's a special relationship that can't be mandated by any company initiative. It just happens over time and in many important patient steps and it's vastly different than training or taking a course.

Teacher

There must be trust. Your mentor has to care about you and your success not simply put their theories and goals on you. My most influential mentor was my boss Stewart. In just five years, I learned more about leadership and myself than I could have in twenty. He was a student of human behavior and not only understood we were different but accepted and embraced it.

He said leadership was 10% about the work and 90% about life, relationships, and people. It's important to do good work but without human connection, company culture won't be strong and your business will struggle. Stewart knew this and created it in our organization. And he's still doing it today.

Student

Stew understood human systems, team dynamics, and the importance of pushing people to be their best. His biggest gift as my mentor was to find those moments to explain how he did what he did and allow me space to find my own style and process. Oh, and if you know him, don't tell him I wrote this, he isn't the look-at-me type.

I connected with his ability to set the course but also explain how he arrived at the plan and how I could find my own way to lead my team, and years later, even bigger teams. He gave me another view of how to find my own way. I didn't realize at the time, but he gave me the foundation for my work today.

Graduate

Mentors are priceless yet the relationship is often not evident at first. You don't see "mentor" on an org chart or job board. It happens when it happens and can't be forced. But as the mentor relationship develops, it will garner immeasurable results.

If you've been fortunate to be a mentor, are one now, or become one in the future, cherish the opportunity to help someone find their way.

Enjoy the relationship.
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© 2018 Kneale Mann | knealemann@gmail.com | people + priority = profit
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