Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Top/Down Hubris: Bottom/Up Winfrey

According to a Business Week survey of 2,000 executives ...

1. Are you one of the top 10% of performers in your company?

2. Which person would you most like to be your direct boss?

These answers are just too much! And with 97% of all executives surveyed believing that they're in the top 10% of performers in their company, no wonder why so many people would rather work for Oprah - as least she admits her show has commercial breaks!


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Doubting Loop and the Confidence Radial

In thinking about confidence, many people get discouraged because of a non-supportive doubting loop they have that has them circle in and around not feeling particularly confident, trying again anyway, but messing things up ... again ... which only strengthens the I-don't-feel-so-confident part all the more. the Doubting Loop

Can anything be done about this?

Well, you can certainly try to not try as much! But, if it's your turn to step to the plate, more likely than not, you really can't say, "Sorry, I'd rather not." If you can, though, it might be a nice temporary respite for you every now and then.

More likely, though, when it's your turn, it's your turn, and there's no getting away from it.

Enter the Confidence Radial©.

Developed several years ago by yours truly, the Confidence Radial recognizes the circularity inherent in the confidence dynamic, but puts it to better use, as the following diagram shows:
the Confidence RadialIt all starts with acting like you already have the power. But this simple notion goes beyond just trying. It speaks to trying ... again ... with the expectation that you can, indeed, succeed. In order to succeed, though, you need to "know what you know." And to do that, some research is required.

Then, armed with that research, you can begin to interact with others on that topic - not so much to show off what you know, but to find out what they know. And, because you'll likely understand what they're saying, they'll be likely to help you expand the conversation by referring you to other knowledgeable/interested contacts (if you ask).

From there, you network with them on the same topic, which will help them get to know who you are and how you think. And from there, you now have several new connections who can help you feel more confident as you talk about this, and other topics of interest to those you do and don't know. (I'm defining contacts, here, as people you know, and connections as people who know you.)

So the key to jumping out of that Doubting Loop? Jump in to the Confidence Radial. All you need is something you're interested in knowing more about.

For more on the Confidence Radial:

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Friday Afternoon, Idealized

sleepy meeting
Courtesy of Bark Magazine, October 2007


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Which is really harder?
  • To be creative enough to create a hit song out of thin air, or to take that song on the road and play it consistently and passionately, night-after-night-after night?
  • To do what it takes to drive a high-profile project through to its successful completion or to seamlessly operationalize the significant changes likely resultant from that project's completion?
  • To lose 20 pounds, or to not regain them?
  • To get a new job when you're unemployed, or to stay positive when you're unemployed and not getting any job offers?
  • To significantly improve your performance or to ably sustain those improvements over time?

There's a tendency in business -and in life - to judge others by what they do, or don't, do particularly well. Prematurely. Repeatedly. Unfairly.

Given that you're, quite probably, already familiar with what it feels like when others - prematurely, repeatedly, and unfairly - judge what you do, how might you actually be prematurely, repeatedly, and unfairly judging others and what they do or don't do?

Remember, what goes around, comes around.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Creative Listening, redux

Back in March of 2005 I wrote a post titled, "How are you at Creative Listening?" I mention it here, again, because, just today, the idea that employees might not communicate as clearly as we might hope came up - not just once, but twice. Here, then, is an expert from that post:

"People are always telling us things. And more times than they probably realize, WHAT they tell us doesn't always make sense - at least not at first. One way to deal with that is to ignore whatever doesn't make sense. But that's a lesser strategy.

"The stronger approach is to become a Creative Listener, listening not just to what IS said, but to what might be MEANT by what is said, as well. This is particularly important when the subject matter is emotionally-charged."

So the next time that someone says something to you that doesn't quite make sense, give them the benefit of the doubt. Be patient. Ask questions. Say back what you're hearing to see if it's correct. Assume that there is an excellent nugget that's just too important to miss buried somewhere in their words.

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that there actually is.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

And what will YOU be doing over the Labor Day weekend?!

messy desk