Consistency and Trust

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you say."

ConsistencyThat line was spoken by an associate to a speaker at a recent business business event we attended. The interaction between the speaker and the audience was totally out of sync with what he was professing. The result: Great words, no credibility. A few attendees even referred to him later as a "liar."

Not good for his business.

Consistency

We communicate through our actions, not just our words. Which policies you decide to enforce or ignore, what you say and don't say, what you reward and what you punish, what you fund and what you don't fund--all tell the truth of your heart. Every instance of consistency builds credibility; a single instance of inconsistency can begin to build doubt about your trustworthiness. 

It's a lot more difficult to regain trust than it is to build it. 

Where will you show consistency today?

Coaching Your People?: Manage Risks

We all want to stretch the capabilities of our team members. At the same time, think about minimizing failure when someone has a "stretch" goal with high risk attached. Any high risk goal can damage your reputation, your staff member, and even the organization. 

RiskManagement__300x285 (1) Manage risks by discussing the actions your person plans to implement. Then, monitor the results and agree on frequent reviews to catch anything that needs adjusting before things get "off track." Stretch goals are great confidence builders for everyone involved; they also require more follow up conversations than low risk goals. 

Speaking of low or lower risk activities: it usually works well to have the person you're coaching act first, then report back and discuss how things went and what was learned.

Important point: Solid coaching agreements include mutual responsibility. Show loyalty to your staff even if something goes wrong, then help them pinpoint lessons learned for the future.

How to Boost Excitement About Creativity

This Post appeared earlier and was requested by a long-time subscriber.

 

You want to be creative and breed creativity in your workplace, right?Images7

Do you consider yourself to be "creative?"

Creative_baby
I was just talking with my cousin, Len, a long-time public school teacher and Principal. Len is also a master coach  He noted that if you ask first-graders how many of them are "creative," pretty much all of the hands in the class go up. They smile. They show their colorful drawings and finger painting and maybe even compose a song along the way.

What happens when the same question is asked of the same kids a few years later? The responses drop to nearly zero. And the kids are still in elementary school.

Fast forward to your business meeting. Someone says "Let's get creative about how to grow the market in Asia. We've got until 5 o'clock."

Are you and I seeing the same thing here?

We've got little kids who are convinced they are creative. Then we've got bigger little kids who don't think so anymore. Now we've got adults who are sure they aren't creative being asked to create--and with a deadline.

This post is a call for thought, not a rant. (Well, a little one). It seems to me that we have taken an entire population of creative youngsters, tell them to color inside the box (or else!), and now tell them to "think outside the box"--(or else!).

Nine things to encourage creativity

Silvano Arieti  wrote a book in 1976 called Creativity: The Magic Synthesis (you can get a used copy through amazon.com). Here are his nine conditions and the reasons why:

1. Aloneness. Being alone allows the person to make contact with the self and be open to new kinds of inspiration.

2. Inactivity. Periods of time are needed to focus on inner resources and to be removed from the constraints of routine activities.

3. Daydreaming. Allows exploration of one's fantasy life and venturing into new avenues for growth.

4. Free thinking. Allows the mind to wander in any direction without restriction and permits the similarities among remote topics or concepts to emerge.

5. State of readiness to catch similarities
. One must practice recognizing similarities and resemblances across to perceptual of cognitive domains.

6. Gullibility. A willingness to suspend judgment allows one to be open to possibilities without treating them as nonsense.

7. Remembering & replaying past traumatic conflicts. Conflict can be transformed into more stable creative products.

8. Alertness. A state of awareness that permits the person to grasp the relevance of seemingly insignificant similarities.

9. Discipline. A devotion to the techniques, logic, and repetition that permit creative ideas to be realized.

So now we go to our boss and say "I'd like to have some extended alone time for inactivity and daydreaming so I can come up with a creative idea for your strategy."

(Please let me know how that conversation goes).

You can act to create creativity

Then next time you have charge of a meeting or idea session, how about using some of the above items to lay a foundation for creativity.

  • Build in "alone time" by having people think about the task well in advance.
  • Suspend judgment and encourage the craziest ideas in the room, because
  • Alertness (number 8) will connect the "crazy" dots

I hope you'll use these to be intentional about creativity. It sounds almost like an oxymoron--"intentional creativity"--but according to number 9 it isn't.

Intentional Creativity--that's a lot easier to sell to your boss than some alone time.

Graphic Source: www.bhmpics.com

How To Measure Relationships

“It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away.”
 --Maurice, Robin, & Barry Gibb, The Bee Gees: “Words”


Listen to the Lyrics

Do you want to know a way to check the depth of how someone is relating to you at a given moment? Just listen and check out their language. You’ll be fascinated at how revealing it will be. Here’s what I mean:

  • When people operate at a surface level, they often share catch-phrases or clichés: “Well, the new design isn’t moving along too fast. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’ll hang in and hunker down; it’s all about ‘getting more efficient and effective’.”Bee_gees_words
  • Move a step deeper and folks will offer some facts: “I want to improve the quality by 10%.” “Jessica said she’ll give us three people from her team when the software project gets approval.”
  • More intimate: You’ll notice that you hear people offer personal judgments, opinions, and thoughts: “I’ve been watching your progress and I think you could use some help with the engineering. We’ve been getting some comments from the design folks who are concerned about the execution. Let’s see if we can get to the heart of this and make sure you get the results you want.”  “If the new talent development program isn’t in full swing by November, I believe we’re going to lose some people to our main competitor. They’re hiring.”
  • Most intimate: Listen for people to actually express how they feel. “I’m fed up with trying to launch this program. It’s been a drain on me since I’m not getting the financial support we need. I’m even sorry that I took it on. Even my friends tell me my demeanor has changed. I need some help about what to do next.”


One more thought. You’ll be able to tell, over time, when others view their relationship with you more deeply. They’ll start using first-person pronouns more frequently: I, You, We, Us.

What cues have you become conscious of over the years?

photo attribution: Picture Sleeve and Album Art Museum 

What kinds of other cues do people send at work and what is "acceptable?" 

Four Ways You Can Impact Learning

More and more, job candidates are asking the question, "What will I learn here?"

If they don't like the answer they may keep looking.

For leaders, managers, and heads of projects, helping people learn is a critical contribution to individual and organizational success.

So, here are Four Ways to Impact Learning that will serve you well.

Training02_small

 



Impact on Curiosity:
For every action there's a reaction. When we say or do something, people want time to react to it, talk about it, and understand what it means to them.

Practical Application: Allow  time for questions and answers. The give-and-take after you speak is where people actually learn and where they begin to develop an affinity for, and commitment to, the topic. Even if you're an expert, the learning takes place as a result of people wrestling with the information or idea rather than being the recipients of a data dump--no matter how eloquent you may be.

Impact on self confidence: How you deliver and discuss the information impacts how people feel about learning it. People with position power--managers, supervisors, team leaders--all have the ability to build confidence in the learners or create a defensive atmosphere.

Practical Application: Tell the group at the outset that you value their questions and that you hope they'll jump in when they experience an "Aha!" or a "Help me, I don't get it." When someone asks a question, throw it back out to the group to give someone else a chance to form an answer that may be framed in a way different than your own. Thank people whenever they ask a question or offer an answer.

Impact on motivation: Even as youngsters, we knew who the teachers were who made learning exciting, interesting, and engaging. Why not be the "managerial version" of your best teacher. And remember this: Managers Are The Mediators of Motivation.

Practical Application: Take some time to develop questions and break people into groups to address them; if you're talking about a new marketing approach, give people a block of time to do a concept and present it to the group. You know the content. The time you spend designing the right approach will pay off in engaged learners and, ultimately, effective learning.

Impact on Creativity: Unless you're involved in safety procedures, accounting rules, or a regulatory issue, people want to be able to offer their own "variation on a theme." One of the reasons to bring people together is to capitalize on the collective creativity and varying viewpoints in the room.

Practical Application: Give people latitude to take the discussion in directions that you never thought of. Remember, you're in charge--but to try to be in control will shut down the kind of learning that the group--and you--have an opportunity to experience.

Bonus: When the noise level goes up and people start debating, discussing, and delving into the topic, you've been successful. Let it go until the energy begins to die down. Then, capture the points that they were making with their co-workers and discuss next steps. When learners sit passively, you may feel more relaxed because you feel in control not having to respond to questions or manage the group. What it may really mean is that they aren't engaged, aren't learning, and are waiting "until the bell rings" so they can go back to their workspace.

What are your unique methods for impacting learning?

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Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder
The Steve Roesler Group
Office: 609.654.7376
Mobile: 856.275.4002

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