- Who & Why?
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone and they seem to send very different messages within the same communication? I know I go nuts just trying to follow the conversation. Heck, sometimes I’m actually the one with the messy communication, where my message and my brand are garbled.
Just the other day, a client asked how their law firm could tell if their message was consistent enough. Good question.
There are 2 ways to tell:
1) Are people listening to you and engaging with you? Are they even noticing you? If so, you can take that as a good sign that your message is consistent. If your message wasn’t consistent then you would be confusing your audience so they wouldn’t even stop and notice you, much less listen to your message.
2) What do your formal and informal survey and feedback suggest? Your organization must survey and get feedback from people asking them if they:
a) understand your message; and,
b) find it compelling enough to:
i) stop and listen; and,
ii) take action and connect with you and your company.
In essence, you are asking your audience if they trust you. If your message is consistent, then your audience will feel safe with you (they hear and see the same thing each and every time so they know what to expect) and thus, trust you.
Once your audience trusts you, then you’re almost home free. Trust grows over time, so you must make sure you are authentic in your resonance with your audience. So every bit of what we just discussed here rides on each and every person within your organization, band, and/or business having a solid and authentic personal brand.
The other day I had to tell a colleague that I didn’t agree with one of their actions. I sat and thought about it for a very long time. How should I say it? Should I say it? When should I say it?
Sometimes it is so hard to have certain conversations with others. It literally feels painful. That’s just human nature.
Now take that same difficult conversation and make it about business. It’s even worse, right? Now you have your job on the line possibly, if the conversation doesn’t go well.
A client last week was dreading having this conversation with a subordinate who wasn’t performing well. She just couldn’t figure out how to make the conversation easier. I asked her why she was really having this conversation with her staff member. She replied that she wanted him to enjoy his job and be a contribution to the company. All of a sudden, the conversation didn’t seem so bad. Why?
Here’s what I’ve found helps. You just have to change your mentality. What do I mean?
What if you choose to see the conversation as a way for you to be a good leader? Set a goal to have these conversations be about you inspiring your staff. If you look at it in this way, then you can also see how these tough conversations are also a way for your staff to inspire you to be a better leader.
What does this mean for you? Next time you have to have a tough conversation with someone at work, ask yourself:
- what do you really want to achieve from that conversation? If it’s just to be “right”, then rethink whether you really should have the conversation at all.
- How can you look at the conversation as a positive, instead of dreading it? Look to the outcome you want to achieve to set your mood.
Let’s face it. We all have moments when we “hate” or “strongly dislike” someone or something. I suppose we can call it a natural human tendency.
Why does it really happen? I think it is because we tend to not like ourselves in those moments. Instead of hating/disliking ourselves though, we tend to project our hate/dislike on others. I call this mis-directed self-hate.
You know what I’m talking about. You have a bad day at work because you dropped the ball on a project and missed a deadline. Your boss called you on it. Now you are mad and hurt. You are really mad at yourself for missing the deadline. It’s way easier to blame your boss for being “mean” to you. How dare your boss call you on your mistake! That’s not nice. Besides, it really wasn’t your fault. One of your colleagues kept talking to you while you were trying to work. That’s why you missed the deadline. So it is your colleague’s fault and your boss’ fault. Not yours. That’s why you are mad at your boss and colleague.
Here’s what happens if we don’t catch ourselves though, and keep mis-directing our self-hate. It will come back to haunt us. How? We start to show up as “cranky” and mean a lot in our life. Pretty soon everyone is the victim of our mis-directed self-hate. People start running away from us at that point. That’s a bad brand for us.
I tend to believe this mis-directed self-hate is a habit, and way of thinking, that we choose. So we can always choose to see things differently, if we want it enough and have enough self-awareness to know when it is happening for us.
So what does this mean for you? Be brave and ask yourself:
- where in your life do you mis-direct your own self-hate/dislike towards others?
- How often does this happen?
- What’s the impact of this behavior on your brand? Do others like you for it? Be honest.
- How can you be more self-aware that it is happening and choose differently?
I was most recently blessed enough to travel to Alaska for work. About 18 years ago, I visited Alaska on a cruise. So I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for again.
Boy, was I wrong.
They say that the world looks different for each individual based on where we each are currently in our lives. I totally believe this theory.
Alaska was an experience I will forever remember. I often run out of words to describe Alaska. The best I can do is to say that seeing Alaska was magnificent, majestic and awe-inspiring. My soul was singing. Words do it so little justice.
I’m even comparing Alaska to other parts of the world I’ve seen, like the Swiss and Austrian Alps and Prague and Vienna and Italy. Nothing compares, in my book, to the peace and grace Alaska’s scenic charm has to shower on a person.
It may be that compared to my last Alaska trip 18 years ago, I’ve changed careers and started to see the world very differently. I have a newfound appreciation for the simplicity and grandeur of life and nature. I’ve come to realize that nothing has to be complicated unless I choose to make it complicated. I’ve come to appreciate how much more alike we are as humans, choosing to let go of the negative thoughts that separate me from others. Life is good. Life can be magnificent, if I let it be.
Choosing to see the world from this perspective allows me to authentically live my brand- to project my values and my business and my career goals out to the world. The result is clear. The more authentic I am, the stronger my brand. The stronger my brand, the more I can be a contribution to others. The more I’m a contribution to others, the more successful my company becomes.
All of this is simple and yet not so easy to “be” and “do”.
So what does this mean for you? You don’t have to travel to Alaska necessarily. To enhance and evolve your brand for more success, just ask yourself:
- Where is the place that brings you peace and lets your soul sing? Go there as often as possible. Do it intentionally.
- How can you choose to see your world, and those in your world, differently?
- Where can you appreciate the simplicity of things in your life? Step back and look at what you make complicated in your life. How can you choose to see it differently?
In business, I’ve been referred to as, “too kind”. It’s always been by the opposite sex and I always chuckle. The conversation always goes something like this:
“Katy, I just have to tell you, you are too kind in running this business. It’s gonna hurt you somewhere”. To which, I always reply, “Thanks for looking out for me. I appreciate you. I don’t think I’m too kind. What’s too kind, anyways?”
My response and inquiry always stops the conversation. Why? Because it is a stumper. What does it really mean to be “too kind” in business? It’s such a subjective and judgment filled answer. Right?
In business, I’ve found our brands (we) show up in two ways: 1) either we don’t have well established boundaries and colleagues and clients just run right over us, leaving us angry and frustrated OR 2) we are very aggressive and competitive, leaving everyone around us angry and frustrated. Neither one of these scenarios makes for a great brand.
So the tip for today is to develop a brand for yourself that has harmony. What does that look like? Harmony dictates your brand is comprised of kindness AND a good ability to set boundaries. I call your boundary-setting ability your level of “confront”.
Being kind does NOT mean being a push-over or sappy. Being kind means having empathy and compassion for your direct reports, colleagues and superiors.
Having a high level of “confront” means holding firm to your ideals and beliefs and values while respecting others. It means taking action when you must and backing off when you can. What it does NOT mean is shoving your views down others’ throat nor treating them as you would not want to be treated.
This harmony will lead you to have a great brand AND lead to your team having a great starting point for brand culture development.
Remember, everything we recommend here is simple, but not easy. However, taking that first step is just choosing to see things differently for yourself and then for your team and organization. You can’t fail.
So stop and think to yourself, what is the first step you can take today to make this harmony happen?