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“If you want something done right….

You have to do it yourself.” I hear this all the time. It is a common complaint. Another version is, “It’s just easier to do it myself than to explain it to someone.”

These statements are either given as an excuse not to delegate or as a put down of another person, i.e., the other person is not capable of doing it the right way.

Truly, it’s an indication that there is a communication problem. If you can’t describe to another person what you want done in a way that makes sense to them and makes it clear how you want it done, clearly you need to work on your communication.

Most people respond by saying, “It’s not me; it’s them!”  No, it’s you. You are responsible for your communication. You are not just responsible for what you say, you are also responsible for how the other person hears or interprets what you are saying. 

You can get your message across clearly and have the other person “get it” (and actually have them take the action you want them to take). It is possible. It is not rocket science; it’s communication.

Most people do not know how to communicate this way, which is why it occurs as “easier to just do it yourself.” But in the long run it is not easier. In fact, it makes your job far more difficult. For one thing, you end up doing far too much which creates an enormous amount of stress and frustration. Another reason is that you make the people around you feel inadequate and talked down to. This does not lead to anything good. If you are a manager and not delegating then you are robbing your people of the chance to learn new skills to grow as an employee.

If you have heard yourself say some version of “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” then I highly recommend working on your communication. There are simple, yet powerful strategies that I can teach you to enhance your communication effectiveness. Contact me for a free strategy session or invest in one of my products.

Don’t wait until you are completely burned out from doing too much.

Ugh!! These Kids Today…

How to Resolve Intergenerational Communication Issues in the Workplace With Ease

The key to resolving Intergenerational Communication Issues is to first discover what are your underlying attitudes and beliefs about the other generations at your workplace?

Do you ever think any of these thoughts or have any of these beliefs:

  • These “kids” think they know everything
  • This younger generation has a sense of entitlement
  • “They” don’t listen
  • The older people in the office don’t respect me and discount my opinion
  • They shouldn’t be texting, on their cell phone, tweeting, on FaceBook, etc.
  • Young people don’t have a good work ethic and aren’t invested in the company
  • The boomer generation thinks just because they have been here a long time they know the best way to get things done

If you said yes to even one of these (or something like it) it is negatively impacting your ability to communicate effectively with your colleagues from different generations.

I know you think “they” are the problem. Consider it is your attitude and beliefs that are really the problem. When you lump people into categories and start communicating with them as if your attitudes and beliefs are true, then your communication comes across as condescending, dismissive, arrogant and disrespectful.

You act as if you already know which doesn’t give you a chance to learn.  By categorizing people you strip them of their uniqueness and prevent them from surprising you.

Many of you are thinking, your situation is different; the people you work with really are the way you say they are. You have proof and agreement from your co-workers, blah, blah, blah.  That’s the same thinking that keeps every stereotype and prejudice in existence.

Ask yourself:

  • How do you like being judged by other’s standards?
  • Do you like being lumped into a category and then treated like everyone else?
  • Are you happy when others assume things about you rather than ask?

That’s what you are doing to other people when you come to a conclusion about them.  Human beings are complex and rarely fit into a single category.

Look, there are real differences between the generations. Life has changed significantly over the last 50-60 years and this has influenced each generations’ perspective. Priorities have changed; attitudes about work/life balance have changed. Don’t let the differences be a problem.

The thing most people forget is that each generation has created the one that follows it AND we created it out of a strong desire to make things better for them. We wanted life (and the workplace) to be better for our children.  WE ALL CREATED THEM! 

If you saw the differences as an opportunity rather than as a barrier, you might just be surprised at how easy it is to communicate regardless of the generation. Get curious about what has each person operate at his or her best.  ASK QUESTIONS so that you learn about them rather than think you already know.

Get rid of your “shoulds” and recognize your opinions are just one possible way of looking at it. Perhaps a different perspective might make your work experience more satisfying?

If you would like a workshop or training program at your organization on this topic, contact Lisa Giruzzi

The Hidden Cost of Maybe

Maybe often seems like the sensible answer, neither yes nor no.  It’s a safe answer, isn’t it?  Maybe can take many forms. Statements such as “I’ll think about it,” “I have to check my calendar,” “I don’t want to commit then disappoint,” “I don’t want to make a mistake,” I’ll wait and see,” keep us from choosing either yes or no. These statements all seem reasonable.

That’s the point.  “Maybe” puts the reasons of your life in charge of the outcome. In other words, the hidden cost of maybe is that it takes YOU out of the driver’s seat of your life and you become a passenger along for the ride.

This is not a little cost. This is BIG.  Consider that each time you say “maybe,” or fail to choose, you weaken yourself.  It is one more time when the circumstances of your life win. One more time the reasons – no matter how good – are more powerful than you are.  Alas, you couldn’t do what you wanted because _________ (fill in the blank).

Another way that maybe weakens you is that it splits you in two. You have reasons for and against and you don’t choose, the reasons do.  You are not powerfully committed to either camp.  Your actions are hesitant; you tread lightly, waiting to see. When actions are tentative, results are too.

Lack of confidence, insecurity, not wanting to make mistakes, be wrong, look foolish, fail, hurt someone’s feelings, etc. are all expressions of fear.  Fear is generally at the root of maybe. Conquering this fear with decisive action empowers you and allows you to be in charge of your life.  You become stronger, build confidence, and learn to trust your resourcefulness.  You stop fearing the outcome because you know that you are well equipped to handle whatever happens.

And yes, sometimes you’ll fail but even that has freedom in it.  When you can own that you did it, not the economy, not the weather, not the myriad of circumstances in your life, it was you… the one in charge.

Do you have difficulty choosing? Do you get stuck in maybe? If so, you are a good candidate for Lisa’s coaching program. Contact her today to schedule your free strategy session.

To Ask or Not Ask

“You’ve got to ask. Asking is, in my opinion, the world’s most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness.” ~ Percy Ross, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

Somewhere along the way, being a “lone ranger” became revered. Going solo became the ideal. The irony is, it is virtually impossible to accomplish anything alone. There is always someone who contributed to the accomplishment.

Additionally, truly successful people ask for help. Ever watch an awards show? The winners stand at the microphone and thank everyone who helped them achieve their successes. You never hear anyone stand up there and say, “I did it all by myself.”

Being free to ask for what you need or want is powerful. Most people love having the opportunity to say yes to helping or contributing to someone’s success. Don’t you love it when you can help someone? When you know you made a difference in someone’s life? Doesn’t it feel awesome? Why would you want to rob someone of that feeling? Let people contribute to you and everyone wins.*

I wrote the above in 2009 for my book 31 Days to Transform Your Life and to this day it intrigues me to see how much people resist asking for help or support. It’s as if there is some prize at the end of our life for having done it alone.

I have found this especially true in the workplace. The fear of looking bad or incompetent seems to supersede the ability to ask for help.  I mean, I get it. I have dealt with this my whole life too. As I stated above, this is a cultural message we get from birth, “Be strong and self-sufficient,” “Don’t let anybody see you sweat.”

It’s weird though because as the latest neuroscience research is showing, human beings have a real need to connect and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Not asking for support or help goes along with our upbringing but against our nature.

I have been experimenting with asking for the last 10 years or so since I started my business. It is amazing how many yes’s I have gotten. I have had people mentor me, give me advice, discounts and all kinds of things simply by asking. That’s not to say, I haven’t gotten no’s, I have. However, I have noticed I feel more empowered and energized when I ask then when I don’t regardless of the answer.

Remember:  “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” Nora Roberts, Author

If you find you are a “Do it all myself and suffer” person and want to see what else is possible, contact me for a free strategy session. I have an opening in my coaching practice.

*Excerpt from 31 Days to Transform Your Life, Written by Lisa Giruzzi, Published 2009

 

Where are YOU shut down?

Here in the US we just experienced a federal government shut down and it is easy to point fingers, “Those people in Congress don’t know what they’re doing,” “Why can’t they come to an agreement?” or some version of that.

I think it is more valuable to look inside your own life and ask, “Where am I shut down?”  By “shut down” I mean not open to a conversation for a new point of view, not willing to consider that your perspective is wrong or not working. Or said another way, so sure you are right that you have stopped listening to others. All you hear is blah, blah, blah when anyone with a different perspective speaks and you’re just waiting for your turn to talk (by the way, it’s likely that all your opposition hears is blah, blah, blah when you speak too).

If you are like the hundreds of people I have worked with over the past 25 plus years, you probably are thinking, “Not me. I know other people like that but me, I am open minded.” And you probably are in lots of places however, I promise you, in the places where you are not producing the results you want, not experiencing satisfaction and fulfillment, not free to be, YOU ARE SHUT DOWN.

We all have those places in our lives. The things we are so sure about. The things we would bet our lives on. I recommend examining those areas. You do not necessarily have to give up your point of view if it is working, i.e., your point of view is producing the results you want in your life.

If you are like most people you are likely unwilling to examine those areas. Why? It’s how you know yourself and giving up the deeply held belief would be a threat to your identity.  I’d like you to consider the key to breakthrough results in your personal and professional results is letting go of the beliefs you are most unwilling to. It’s what is holding you back.

You may not know how to stop believing it. For you, it IS a certain way. First, you have to be willing to let it go. Then it is helpful to have an objective individual (like a coach) work with you to discover the impact of the belief on your life and then to create a new way to look at it. This is not positive thinking or as I like to say, “Putting frosting on dog food.” It requires an authentic discovery about what your shut down is costing you.

If you are someone who is genuinely up to the task of examining what doesn’t work and ready to produce outstanding results, contact me for a free consultation. I work with a select few individuals each year. Let me know if you want to apply to be one of them.

Are you talking to me or your phone?

I went to a conference last week, which featured a business expo with about one hundred organizations participating. There were elaborate table displays with everything from free drawings to promotional items and literature. Each booth had one or two people representing the organization.

It was shocking to me the large number of people working the booths that were “busy” on their phones or on laptops and not making eye contact with the conference attendees. It was very off-putting even for me, a confirmed extravert who can (and does) talk with anyone.

It confirmed for me how much we communicate without even opening our mouths.  I am not looking to be critical of the folks who were on their laptops and phones.  I am sure they had perfectly good reasons for their behavior and I am pretty sure that they were not aware of the impact of their actions.

I watched many attendees walk by the booths where people were “busy” looking at their phones and not know what to do. It was such a mixed message. On one hand, they are there with items to attract attendees to the table but their body language and demeanor was unwelcoming.  When I approached the “busy” individuals and interrupted them with a question, most were receptive and kind but I still felt I was bothering them and I tried to be brief.

Even though I paid to attend the conference and one of the reasons I went was to get leads from this business expo, I still was hesitant to intrude. I did it anyway because I was on a mission but I know numerous people did not. I spoke with many attendees who expressed disappointment and frustration at their experience. The attendees were convinced that the “busy” people staffing the booths were uncaring and inconsiderate.

Where are you giving mixed signals and communicating in ways you don’t mean to? For example, if you are spending time with your family and checking email, texts, Facebook, etc., what does that communicate?  If you are meeting with an employee and you answer a call or check your text, how might that get interpreted?

Your intentions are not what gets communicated. Your actions send a message that is going to be interpreted louder than your words. I recommend you stop and think about that. Ask yourself if your words and actions are in alignment or whether you are sending mixed signals.

I’ll bet if we interviewed some of those “busy” people from the business expo, they would deny that their actions (being on the phone or laptop) negatively impacted the attendees. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what they think. What matters is what the attendees thought. So, if you don’t think your being on the phone or texting, etc. has a negative impact, who cares? Ask the people around you if it does. Then LISTEN to what they say. That’s what matters!

Are you connecting the dots?

What dots, you ask?  The “dots” between what you said and the other person’s interpretation of what you said. 

If you’re like most people you walk around with an underlying belief that most people think like you do. Another way of saying it is, you assume everyone has the same frame of reference as you do. And you would be right about certain things. For example, if you say the word “car,” it’s likely that the person you are speaking with understands what you mean. But even though the concept “car” (4-wheeled motor vehicle) is the same, the type, model, color, etc. will likely be different depending on each person’s experience with a car.

Now imagine instead of the concept “car” you are talking about teamwork or leadership or communication or customer service or any other popular workplace concept.  Each person’s experience will determine how he or she “connects the dots” or, said another way, interprets the word’s meaning, e.g., how a football team operates is very different from how a baseball team or a tennis team or a crew team operates.

Unfortunately, when we are talking with another we don’t inquire into their understanding of the word or concept. Instead, we just speak as if there is only one concept and we both have it. There is so much assuming going on it’s a miracle effective communication ever occurs.

This doesn’t just happen with broad concepts. It happens in virtually all communications, from telling your child to clean his or her room to asking an employee to complete a task to asking for assistance from a colleague.  You assume they know what you meant and therefore you don’t clarify it.  You don’t ask, “What is your understanding of what I said?” 

If you want to avoid the frustration, stress and costly breakdowns of miscommunication, start making sure you “connect the dots” for people. Take the extra step of clarifying what you meant and what they heard. It will save you headaches as well as money.

Sign up for a free strategy session today to discover how one or two new strategies will make a huge difference in your results.

Why You Don’t Need Buy-In

Often times when I am providing training to managers or employees of an organization someone will pipe up and say, “In order for this to work, we need buy-in from the top”. And I always respond the same way, “Why?” Why is buy-in from anyone necessary for change to happen?

“We need buy-in” is one of those things we think, say and believe without questioning whether or not it is true. I mean come on… everyone knows you need buy in, right?

Well, what if it isn’t true? What if to cause real lasting change you don’t need “buy in”? (Is your head about to blow off with all the reasons I am wrong about this? Good.)

Saying, “buy in” is needed is a convenient way of avoiding responsibility.  It puts the blame on those people who aren’t buying in rather than on you for not causing them to see/understand what’s needed.

Gandhi caused massive change without getting buy-in from the top. He was one guy who took a stand and said, “This shall be.”  Then he took actions consistent with his commitment. One of his most famous quotes illustrates my point, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

If you want change in your workplace, stop looking for others to do it for you. Stop pointing the finger at the reasons why not and start being and acting differently. If you want to be included more in decisions, be inclusive. If you want more collaboration, be collaborative. If you want better communication make it your business to communicate better.

You will be absolutely blown away at the changes that happen around you when you stop relying on “buy-in” and start relying on yourself.

One client I worked with who wanted more positivity at her office simply started asking for employees to share high point experiences with one another at the beginning of each weekly staff meeting. The culture shifted from negative to positive in a matter of weeks. No “buy-in” was required. All my client did was decide what she wanted and began taking actions consistent with her commitment.

What change do you want most in your workplace? What can you do differently starting today to cause the change you want?  Need help figuring it out? Contact me to schedule a free strategy session.

 

They never listen!!

Have you ever heard that or even said that? Perhaps you were talking about your employees or maybe even your children?

If you have ever been exasperated because you felt ignored, dismissed, misinterpreted or not heard, you are not alone.  The reason it is so frustrating is because you probably think there is nothing you can do about it. After all, it is the other person’s listening that is the problem. What can you do?  Actually, there is a lot you can do to impact the listening of others

If you want people to listen to you (and truly hear you) you have to give them a reason and just because you are talking is NOT a good enough reason.  You may have the thought, “They should listen to me; I’m their boss (or mother or whatever).” Except people rarely do what we think they should do. People do what they do. If you are not getting the result you want, i.e., someone not listening to you, it is YOUR JOB to change that.

There are two main components to getting people listen to you. The first is understanding that people listen to find out why they should care. In other words, “Is what I am hearing relevant or important to me?” We are inundated with information on a daily basis. There is only so much we can give our attention to. Our brains filter through the information looking for what’s most pertinent to our concerns.

Secondly, you have to get curious about what’s important to the person or people you are speaking to. Not why YOU think they should care about what you are saying. Ask them what’s important to them. Find out their perspective. Then help them to connect the dots between what you are communicating and their concerns.

For example, if you have an employee who is frequently late to meetings and you want to change their behavior so they are on time, you must first think about why their being on time would be important to them. If you approach them only from your perspective, i.e., let’s say, you think it’s disruptive when someone enters the meeting late, it won’t necessarily change their behavior over the long term. Instead, find out what they care about. Do they care about the impression they are making? Are they interested in moving up in the company? Are they considerate of others and perhaps unaware of the impact being late has on the team?

Once you know what the employee’s concerns are you can easily frame your communication so you are heard. For example, saying something like, “Joe, I remember you telling me that you hope to be promoted to a management position, is that still true? I just wanted to give you some feedback. When you are late to meetings it creates a negative impression that could be detrimental to your being promoted. How can I support you in being on time to meetings?”

Effective communication begins and ends with you.  If you want to be heard, you have to learn how to communicate in a way that’s worth hearing.

Want help? Contact me. My programs get to the heart of the matter and cause lasting positive change.

Why we can’t get along

The reason we can’t get along is because people like being right more than almost anything. And when I say people I mean you. I also mean me. I mean EVERYONE.

I know what you are saying to yourself right now, “Not me! Sure, I know people who are like that but not me!”  That is you being right about what I am saying (and deciding I am wrong).

Look, we all have opinions about everything. That’s not the problem. The problem is we think everyone should share the same opinion we have. If they don’t that means they are obviously wrong.  Because if they aren’t wrong then I must be wrong and that’s not possible.

It is ridiculous but it is the way you think.  Case in point. Think of one person you struggle to get along with. It could be a co-worker, boss, employee, relative, child, etc.  If you want to resolve the issue, make your life easier and have better results, let them be right.

You read that correctly. Let them be right. Operate from the point of view that they are right and you are wrong. If every ounce of you is freaking out, good! That proves my point. It is in your own self-interest to get along with this person, your life would be easier, less stressful and you will have better results and still you won’t let go of being right.

What if there was another option? What if instead of looking at it from a right/wrong standpoint you viewed it as both opinions were valid?  They are you know. In my workshops and trainings I do an exercise where I hold up a blank legal pad with the lined pages facing the audience. I ask for a volunteer to describe to me what they see. Invariably, the volunteer will say something like “a lined blank piece of paper”. I tell them they are wrong, and try a different volunteer. This happens a number of times until everyone is frustrated and thinks I am delusional. Then I show them what I could see, the cardboard back of the pad.

I then ask them, “Who was right?” The answer, we both were, depending on the perspective you were looking from.  The people you struggle with the most can’t see it your way because their perspective only allows them one way to see it.  When you view opinions like they are valid (vs. right or wrong) it allows you the opportunity to get curious about the other opinion, inquire into it and engage with it authentically without becoming defensive or worried about being wrong. Once you do that, then it is far more likely that you will come to a shared understanding and get along.

The programs and workshops I provide get to the heart of communication breakdowns and produce outstanding results. Want to learn more? Contact me for a free strategy session by clicking here.

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