- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘communication skills’
I went to my 6am spin class this morning. I do my best to show up every Monday. We have two fans in the spin room- one in front and one in back. Many people love working out with the fan right on them to cool them down. Many of us (me included) don’t like the cold wind/breeze on us. It dries out my eyes and I can’t catch my breath as I ride.
So many instructors have a rule: if you want the fan on you, then go sit in the back part of the room because the fan in the front of the room does not get turned on. Those of us who don’t want the fan on us, sit up front.
Today there was a new person in class. He sat right next to me up front. Ten minutes into class, he got up and turned on…the front fan! You got it, that’s a no-no.
However, this particular instructor does NOT have a “fan rule” for her class. Every once in a while an argument flares up- like this morning- over whether the fan should be on or not. If she just had a fan rule, then the students wouldn’t have to be making one up for her. It’s not our job, or our right, to do so.
What does all this have to do with your impact at work and in your entire life?
Courageous brands win. Having courage means being able to increase your level of “confront” and set rules and boundaries. Having courage means looking me in the eye with kindness and a sheer sense of calm and peace and stating your opinion and needs and….fan rules.
In so many corporations when this level of courageous confront does NOT happen, what happens is chaos.
I’ve seen so many managers not be able to set boundaries or rules. Nor do they enforce them. It’s natural for us to all want to be loved and accepted. The problem is the result is often not love. When we don’t increase our confront, it leads to confusion and poor communication in the workplace. The result is low productivity and low revenues.
Believe it or not, people like rules. We just don’t like it when the rules are shoved down our throat. So courageous brands also communicate in a 1) kind and 1) direct manner. Communicating without kindness, and just being direct, is being brash. No one loves a brash brand.
So stop and ask yourself:
- How do you communicate at work? Is it kind and direct?
- How do you work to ensure your level of confront is high enough so that you have quality boundaries such that you are allowing you and your colleagues to be productive, happy and in excellent communication at work?
I have the same conversation at least once a week with a client. It goes something like this: they tell me they met a wonderful potential client OR they tell me that they got a great new client. Fantastic, right?!
So I always ask them what they did to get that client, i.e., how did the referral come to them? Why do I ask them this basic question? I often find that folks don’t stop and really think and assess how they retained business. All they care about is that they got new business or met a “hot lead”. While it may seem to make sense to focus on the final outcome and move on with business, it’s really not ok.
Why? Because you need to figure out how the client came to be. You shouldn’t be hoping and praying each time you meet someone who can possibly be a client. You must have a plan and thus, be in control of the outcome – and your brand. There is absolutely no sense in recreating the wheel each and every time a new lead or referral pops up in front of you. When I say ‘have a plan’, I mean a branding plan where you know who you are, what you do and how you can tell them all this about you in a compelling way.
In my world, knowing who you are is key because if you don’t know yourself and your brand well enough, then how can you tie it well into what you do? If you can’t get that far, there’s no way you can tell a referral or lead all this about yourself and “how” you can be of service to them- at least not in any compelling way for them to remember you and want to get to know you better and then hire you.
So next time you get a client or connect with a great referral, stop and think what about:
- Who you are is clear and concise?
- What you do is tied into who you are in a compelling, rational manner?
- What about your overall brand is communicated well and with emotion to move me to get to know you and hire you?
Ever stop to think about how much your thoughts shape your world? Most of us tend to never even stop and think about our thoughts. We are too busy doing our “thing” in life.
Consider the fact that on the Internet I read we have anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. How in control of your thoughts are you? Do you think it matters to the overall scheme of your life- to make money, get rich, retire wealthy and then finally “be happy”?
In this post, I ask you to consider that your thoughts impact your everyday behavior and interactions with others. As such, your thoughts impact your personal brand tremendously.
For instance, if you are running around like crazy because you have so much on your “to-do” list, the odds are you have random (and maybe not so random) thoughts flying through your head. If you never stop to assess the situation here’s what we likely see- a frantic, out of control, less-than credible person running around trying to get their life in control. On top of it all, odds are you are likely cranky or unhappy- with friends, family, colleagues, with yourself and with the world.
So try this challenge on for size: For an entire day try to be as aware as you can of every thought you have. Then quickly assess: if you met someone who didn’t know you, would they want to get to know you and then hire you based on your thoughts? Put yourself in our shoes and try to imagine what we all see when you are “thinking” and running around. Is it a personal brand you want to own?
For more on this topic, stay tuned for my interview with Byron Katie on June 19, 2014.
As the years go by in my personal branding work with people and organizations, I see some very common mistakes people make. Below are the top three mistakes I see very regularly. These mistakes are a sure way to have an ineffective personal brand and thus, lead to an ineffective business brand. Both lead to you having less recall value for others, a less robust client and prospect pool and– less happiness.
“People come to me because of my expertise”- All too often (just yesterday), I hear my brilliant clients argue with me that their personal brand is just fine because people come to them based on their expertise. This happens less when I am working with musicians and artists because they have a better tendency to appreciate the “entire package” philosophy.
We are all conditioned to believe that our education and our substantive work are superior to anything else in life. I’m a big believer in education and providing quality substantive work. However, don’t believe for a minute that your education and your substantive know-how is what your personal brand is all about. People first notice you and your uniqueness, not your expertise and substance. Your emotional value for people has nothing to do with expertise, necessarily.
“I’m too busy” – Time becomes more and more precious in our society, it seems. We are all running around juggling work, family, parents, etc. Time is also a very good excuse for us to avoid focusing on our personal brands- figuring out our uniqueness, passion and contribution to society as a person. It’s much easier to focus on our substantive work (see #1 above) because it is safer and within our comfort zone. We have less chance for failure and less opportunity to find out about ourselves and fix things that don’t serve us well. Find time or else pay the price later.
Ignore the ‘signs’ and feedback– It is so difficult for us to accept criticism or be willing to look at ourselves and see what we are doing not so well. It takes serious guts and a desire to succeed to be willing to explore yourself and your personal brand. I have deep respect for every client of mine for this reason. I often get comments stating that personal branding is “fluff” and irrelevant. These comments often come from those who are afraid to be better- better people, better leaders, better employees and better service providers. To have an effective personal brand, you’ve got to be willing to stop and assess what the world has to say about you and your brand,- the good, the bad and the ugly. How else will you improve, excel and be happier in life?
The post is a corollary to a blog post from last year regarding leadership and your brand. I feel compelled to write this follow-up to clarify a common issue (and mistake) I often see and hear with respect to leadership styles.
I am not a leadership coach. Let’s make that perfectly clear. However, in personal brand development we are always in a position to cultivate solid leadership abilities for our clients. You cannot have an effective personal brand if you do not “own” and portray being a creative thought leader.
Too often I hear people explaining that their leadership style is “direct”. Given that I have seen many of such leaders in action, the one attribute they have in common, as leaders, is in fact not being direct- and thus effective. In fact, the one trait they have in common is being harsh, leading by fear and arbitrary rules that have not been vetted or considered for long-term impact. Often, these same “direct” leaders are making these wrong decisions because they are emotionally driven, rather than driven from the perspective of what is best for the overall group or organization which they lead.
Being a “direct” leader is not your dance card to act like a bully. Telling people what to do and chastising people does not make you direct. That’s a tyrant. Don’t fool yourself. It makes you an ineffective leader with a poor personal brand.
Being a direct leader means you KINDLY and COMPASSIONATELY communicate your views and assistance to those you lead. You take your followers’ into account at all times and look out for the greater good of the organization and group you lead.
Being a direct leader means you lead with ease and grace and communicate in an active manner. This ensures you have an effective personal brand- memorable, creative, credible and respected.
WHAT IS YOUR CHALLENGE WITH LEADING DIRECTLY, YET PRESERVING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?