Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stepping Through Change

"Change can either challenge or threaten us...Your beliefs pave your way to success or block you."
~ Marsha Sinetar

Stepping Through Change

Considering I am participating in a Change Management webinar in September, I think it is fitting to preview some of the ideas here…

Whether it is a large or small, impactful or seemingly slight alteration of plans or routine, we process these actions (or lack of them) as change. Change is not to be taken lightly, for while change is not regularly the issue, how it is presented is what we take to task, change itself has merit for discussion.

Any change is a loss of sorts, and so be it quick or slow, the process is similar to that for true grieving of a significant loss including the steps:
1. Denial. (No, that’s not true – it really isn’t happening, right?!?)
2. Anger. (I cannot believe “they” are doing this – someone should have asked me!)
3. Negotiating Often called Barganing. (Would if we put it off – couldn’t we compromise? This seems drastic!)
4. Doubt/Disappointment. Often called Depression. (This probably won’t work. It might, but it is going to be tougher the way it was handled!)
5. Acceptance. (It is not changing, and I am moving forward. Okay, even if I don’t like it, I am not going to fight it.)

Keep these things in mind and resist “springing” change on your partners and/or team members. Bringing up something as a discussion/consideration allows people to process through these steps in a healthy fashion rather than being put in a position where they seem like they have reached Acceptance, but they are back in Anger. Imagine the difference in allowing for processing with questions and interface over the get over it approach that we may sometime unwittingly use without the intent of a rush, but still the impact. Let’s go for appreciating each of us, some tremendously fast, go through this process with change, and allow the change to take hold instead of being overlaid at the risk of the repercussions!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Assert Yourself

" The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well being of others." ~ Sharon Anthony

Assert Yourself!

Can you be assertive without being considered wimpy or aggressive?
Of course…but how?

The difference between being assertive (standing up for yourself and/or others to get things accomplished professionally) and being overly aggressive is simply the difference of not badgering or insisting to the point of being rude. You can be assertive and consider others and/or the lasting impact of your actions without being antagonistic or labeled aggressive.

The difference between being assertive and being wimpy is often the difference in being direct and not being direct. Often people who do not stick with a thought or direction are perceived as wimpy.

Words, body language, positioning and tone all play a part in whether or not you are perceived as wimpy, assertive or aggressive. You can share ideas and be passionate while considering and hearing other without being seen as too wimpy (weak) or aggressive (forceful).

Let’s say you are in a restaurant or club ordering a meal, which is aggressive, and what is not?

A. I’ll have the blackened salmon with asparagus and a side salad with vinaigrette dressing, please.
B. I’ll take the salmon…how do you recommend it be cooked? Is the asparagus any good? Do you think a side salad will be too much with that? Will the vinaigrette be too tangy?
C. I'm having the salmon – make sure it’s blackened, and don't overcook it. And I'll have firm asparagus on the side, with a side salad with dressing on the side, if you can remember that.
D. Would you mind bringing me some salmon, please if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you and asparagus or something else with it will be fine.

A= Assertive, right?
B=Boy, oh boy, could you possibly remember the waiter/waitress does not know you, your likes, and dislikes, your capacity for food, etc.?
C=Caustic. Enough said, yet many handle things this way.
D=Dump all over me whenever you like…

You don’t have to go from wimpy to aggressive or vice versa. It's like when there is a hole in your driveway, and each time you drive through it, your car bottoms out a bit (the driveway integrity is wimpy), filling it with too much cement doesn’t solve the problem, it only changes it…it will still be a bumpy jolt on you and the car now, just in the opposite direction (like aggression). The true fix to the drive is an approach, a plan, a solution (assertive).

Sure steps to being assertive over wimpy or aggressive:
Think first, feel second.
Let things go.
Be inclusive. Solicit input in a way that is about “ask and incorporate”, vs. “ask and defend”.
Stay the course when decision is made.
Stop apologizing more than once.
Leave ego at the door.
Expect collaboration. Be prepared for competition.
Be consistent.
Share in the efforts and share in the wins.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Basic: AAA Social Media

"Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it." – Erin Bury, Sprouter Community Manager

AAA Social Media for B2B & B2C

For “Triple A” engagement and outcomes for your social media efforts in the realm of Business-to-Business(B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C), consider the following A’s:

ASSIST – Think in terms of assisting your followers, readers, subscribers, and onlookers. How are you a resource to offer ideas, people and other resources. This is not the realm to sell, sell, sell! This is the area to offer, show, share and connect. The business will follow where appropriate. Be seen as the expert who offers freely without expectation, and when the time is right, others will engage in your services and/or products.

ACT – Interface with others on the sites and media you use (LinkedIn, Facebook, Names, Blogs, Twitter, Plaxo, etc.). Take action by posting, commenting and sharing where appropriate. Resist being a know-it-all, rather share questions or thoughts like “have you considered XYZ?” so that you are acting in their interest by sharing your information/ideas.

APPRECIATE – Show thanks to those who assist you, act on your posts and/or offer criticism or other ideas for your approach and/or your business. Even a bad review is welcomed, as it gives you free feedback that you can address and might not have known before. No matter what is posted, thank the person for the idea, taking the time, etc. Appreciation shows you care and does not present you in a defensive way.

If you are unsure about Social Media, jump in, have fun, and remember, it is one aspect of your business approach and marketing, so commit to it, do it on minimally twice a week, be consistent in your approach, and enjoy the opportunities...and the learning!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Basic #2: The Thank You Note

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
~G.B. Stern

The Power of Written Appreciation

Fast paced days filled with meeting, appointment, activities and people can become a blur…and yet without the human interaction, kindness, collaboration and interactions, we would be alone…and likely far less productive!

Basic #2: The Thank You Note

It is not a lost art, it is not a lost art, it is not a lost art! At least that is what I keep telling myself as it relates to thank you notes. These personal, hand-written scribbles of appreciation not only make the recipient’s day, but it will make the sender take a look back on a full day and share gratitude in a way that few people do nowadays.

Whether it is for making time for you, going out of their way, or doing something else that you recognized as something of value, it is worthwhile to make time for that person, shift your focus off yourself and your tasks/stress, and allow someone else’ life and efforts come into view. It’s one thing to see/observe something, and it is another to act on it.

Time to take action with a simple concept – the thank you card/note. Whether you use custom notes or generic cards, the sentiment is what is most important. Date your card, people often keep these seemingly rare finds, and address the card with the person’s name followed by something about them (not you with “I” to start the note). Let the person know what s/he did, said or didn’t do or say that you appreciated. Tell that person it did not go unnoticed and close with something to reinforce your relationship. Send it within 24 hours ideally, and within the week of something happening (on the outset).

It is a 90-second process that costs less than $1, and yet the payoff for your sense of human kindness, and possibly even your business, will likely be priceless.

Thank you for being a client and/or follower!