Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I didn't tell anyone ahead of time that I was doing this, but the director of the mission was amazed at the perspective I presented in the radio commercials that I wrote and produced afterward, so I shared with him what I did.
There are other ways to have empathy as suggested in this from the DLM Blog:
Posted: 14 Jul 2010 06:55 AM PDT
You’ve probably heard the saying “Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” It’s a reminder that we can never know what it’s like to be that person: perhaps they’re struggling with problems which we’ve never seen, or never guessed at.
Other people’s behavior can be frustrating, irritating, and hard to understand. In many situations, though – whether in your professional or personal life – it’s hugely important to be able to empathize with others.
You can develop the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to see a situation from their perspective. This has huge benefits for you: it could mean no more arguments with your spouse, or twice as many clients because you anticipate and deal with probable objections.
Here are a few tricks to use.
Give yourself time to do this thoughtfully – it might take an hour, but that could be the best hour you spend this month.
Whose behavior are you struggling to understand? Maybe it’s your teenage son. Maybe it’s those prospective clients who seem to need your product, but never buy it. Here's how to write your way tpo understanding someone:
- Day in the Life
Write about a typical day in their life. You won’t know everything, but use your imagination. Add in emotions, too. How do they feel about their usual routine? Bored? Stifled? Stressed?
- Thoughts on a Situation
Another way to use writing is to pick a specific situation (e.g. you want your teenage son to do his chores; you want your potential customer to buy something) – and write down the thoughts which you imagine going through that person’s head.
- Letter to You
If someone is in conflict with you – perhaps you’re constantly having arguments or stonewalling one another – then try writing a letter from their perspective, to you. Again, you won’t know exactly what they’re thinking, but you can make sensible guesses. This can really help highlight aspects of your behavior which you might want to change.
This won’t work for every person in your life, but if your problem is in the workplace, how about shadowing someone through their day? Perhaps you’re the manager of a team who just can’t seem to get their act together – they won’t follow simple instructions, and work often has to be redone.
By setting aside a few hours to spend just watching people go about their typical routine, you can learn a huge amount. Maybe the system for processing an order is far too complex. Perhaps staff have no idea of the impact of their actions further down the line – they can’t see the big picture.
If work shadowing isn’t practical, how about simply asking people to step you through their typical day? Pay close attention to the emotions which they describe.
Reading Similar Accounts
Whatever situation your colleague, friend or relative is going through, it’s a safe bet that someone else will have been through the same thing.
Perhaps you’ve discovered that one of your friends is an alcoholic, and it’s a huge shock. You can’t believe how she could put drinking above her family or her work. By reading accounts from recovering alcoholics, you can gain more insight.
Look for books or blogs on a particular topic, ideally written by people with personal experience of a similar situation. Even if you can never see yourself in your friend’s place, you’ll have a clearer idea of what his anorexia or her self-harm is about. You may find yourself feeling more sympathetic, and you’ll probably pick up some ideas for how best to talk to your friend when s/he is going through a difficult time.
Most of us empathize naturally with others, particularly when we see someone in pain or upset. Occasionally, though, we do need to do some extra work to conquer feelings of frustration or irritation at another person: and this can preserve friendships, solve workplace problems, and even make you a significant help in someone else’s life.
What are your own tips for empathizing more fully?
|Written on 7/14/2010 by Ali Hale. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.||Photo Credit: photos8.com|
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Harvey Mackay is one of my favorite mentors. He wrote this a couple weeks ago:
Kroc's assistant had scheduled a 15-minute meeting, but it turned into a 2 1/2-hour mutual admiration session. Kroc peppered Monaghan with questions about his operation and impressed Monaghan with how quickly he caught on. "In no time at all he understood Domino's as well as anyone except me," Monaghan said.
Finally, Kroc leaned forward in his chair. "I'm going to give you some advice," he said. "You have it made now. You can do anything you want; make all the money you can possibly spend. So what I think you should do now is slow down. Take it easy. Open a few stores every year, but be careful. Don't make any new deals that could get you into trouble. Play it safe."
Such conservatism was the last thing Monaghan expected to hear from his hero. After a moment of indecision he blurted out, "But that wouldn't be any fun!"
Kroc broke into a huge grin and shook Monaghan's hand. "That's just what I hoped you'd say!"
CEOs should appreciate the value of fun at work -- and they shouldn't reserve it just for themselves. The smart ones recognize the importance of a positive work environment which encourages fun.
For example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates was asked if he were graduating from college at that point, would he go to work for Microsoft or start his own company. After reminding the audience that he never graduated from college, Harvard's most famous dropout pointed out how incredibly important it is for companies to make work "as fun and interesting" as possible for employees.
When a management research company asked the employees at Southwest Airlines what mattered most about their jobs, they discovered that "having fun at work" was at the top of the list. More predictable items followed: "manage in the good times for the bad times, keep a warrior spirit, informal is comfortable, minimize paperwork, dare to be different and do whatever it takes."
I love this quote from motivational speaker Jody Urquhart. She says there are three ways to motivate people to work harder, faster and smarter: threaten them, pay them lots of money or make their work fun. She quickly eliminates the first two options as ineffective. But making their work fun, she says, "has a track record of effecting real change." Why? "Creativity, intuition and flexibility are key to successful operation of organizations today. In stimulating environments, employees enjoy their time at work and they will also excel at work. Attracting customers is easier in an environment of hospitality. A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people and profits."
First among Urquhart's thirteen steps to creating a fun workplace is "Give up the notion that professionalism means being serious all the time."
Because I am first and foremost a salesman, I understand the importance of being able to relate to my customers. They all appreciate a good (clean) joke or story, which I make sure to have ready before I call.
Also on the list is "Define what fun is in your workplace and what it is not." Clear guidelines will ensure that employees know where to draw the line.
Another recommendation is "Encourage staff to leave work behind them at the end of the day." A sensible suggestion, I believe, because employees should be able to have time to have fun away from work too.
For years at our company, our motto has been "TGIM" -- Thank God It's Monday. We want our employees to look forward to coming to work as much as I do. That starts with hiring. After integrity, I am most impressed with a good sense of humor during interviews, an indication that the person can communicate comfortably and get along with co-workers and customers.
We will always take our work seriously, and our customers' needs seriously, but what we do isn't brain surgery.
So have you heard about the anesthesiologist who sings to his patients before surgery? It relaxes them and also makes his job fun -- and patients ask for the "singing anesthesiologist" all the time. I wonder if he takes requests!
Mackay's Moral: Work should be fun, but fun shouldn't be work.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This tip may only apply to a small percentage of you, but it was really bugging me and then I found out others were having the same problem with email.
I use my laptop for everything. Business, pleasure, side business, everything!
I work for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana that has a domain, servers and all the regular stuff that I really don't try and understand the technical side of. So please forgive me, (and correct me too) if I don't quite use the proper terms.
Most of us read our Radio Station Email by using Microsoft Outlook.
Last year we switched our company wireless to a Verizon FIOS connection instead of Comcast.
Many people in Fort Wayne switched their internet connections to Verizon at home and work last year.
But I discovered a problem with our email service and Verizon FIOS. Whenever I have my laptop at a coffee shop, or place of business that has Verizon FIOS, I can receive my new emails, but I can't send them.
As a work-around, I have my SummitCityradio.com email forwarded to a Gmail account automatically, and there is free service that you can log onto http://mail2web.com/ that allows you to check for and respond to emails that are still on the server.
But this is a pain and not a real solution.
Yesterday I found a solution. It was right on the Verizon website:
Your Attention Needed: Re-configure Your Email Settings to Send Email
If you are having trouble sending or receiving email using your email software (Windows Vista Mail, Outlook, or Outlook Express), you might try switching your outbound port to 587.
Most common email viruses are sent using port 25 to infect computers. Often times the user never knows their computer has been infected. In order to protect our customers, Verizon has turned off the ability to send email using port 25 for all users other than those using a @verizon.net email address.
If you want immediate step-by-step instructions, visit change my port settings to 587 now.
Go here for the Verizon web page: http://www22.verizon.com/residentialhelp/highspeed/general+support/top+questions/questionsone/124274.htm
I forwarded this info to our business manager who is looking into this so perhaps we can get this problem solved once and for all!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I find myself not fitting many of the personality style stereo types.
I'm not an engineering type, but again, I have those elements in me. I'm not the creative type, but I have those elements in me too.
I am a good puzzle solver and I like to simplify things and I like to look at both the details along with the big picture. And I get bored easily.
So maybe I am creative, maybe I am the engineering type, it's just not mutually exclusive.
And that's what allows me to work with a variety of people and circumstances.
Seth Godin wrote about combining these too elements:
Here's a way to get more strategic.
Instead of arguing for a course of action based on the status quo or your emotional gut, describe the theory of the case.
A is true.
B is true.
If we do C, then A and B should permit us to get D.
The method of this strategic analysis is that you expose your assumptions, you describe your actions and your posit the results. This permits your teammates to supply facts that might change your analysis.
Wait, A isn't true.
Wait, we're not capable of doing C.
Wait, if we did C, it's not clear we would get D. Tell us how that would work...
This is far more useful than saying, "I hate you, you're an idiot." By making your assumptions and logic clear, you allow a more productive conversation to take place at the same time get buy in from your teammates who might be coming from a different worldview than you do.
Even better, you can then weave the case into a story, a vivid one that resonates.
If any of your steps involve doing something that's never been done before, you'll know where you need to focus your energy.
Too often, people fixate on a result they want and presume that if they just try really hard (with good intent) then maybe it'll happen.
PS if one of the steps is, "and then a miracle happens," you probably need to work on your case a bit.