Leadership: How to Influence People and Outcomes

Sandra Dillon: January 25, 2018


leadership is influenceThere’s a reason why Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People has been in print for over 80 years. Its longevity owes itself to the timeless understanding of what drives human behavior. With leadership synonymous with influence, leaders should embrace Carnegie’s (1964) principles in how to (1) handle people, (2) make people like you, and (3) win people to your way of thinking.

In my experience, 20% of business success can be attributed to knowledge with the balance to a person’s skill in implementing Carnegie’s techniques—meaning 80% of business success comes from how you lead yourself and engage with others. Many of these learnings come from Carnegie asking himself three questions after every encounter:

  1. What mistakes did I make?
  2. What did I do that was right, and in what way could I have improved?
  3. What lessons can I learn and apply in the future?

If you’re able to master Carnegie’s key principles, you’ll likely find yourself in the top 5% of those who can influence people and their circumstances. Below is my winning summary of Carnegie’s best.

Successful Techniques in How to Handle People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. Instead try to understand people and why they do what they do. Humans naturally have prejudices and are motivated by pride and occasionally vanity in their words and actions. Criticism only puts a person on the defensive, incurs resentment, and causes him* to justify himself.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. A strong human need is the desire to feel important which is why people crave appreciation, especially from their superiors and those whom they respect. Be careful with flattery—otherwise known as counterfeit appreciation—which comes across as insincere.
  3. Focus on what the other person wants and show him how to get it. Unselfishly serving others brings enormous advantages to the relationship.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people as opposed to trying to get people interested in you. Help others in ways that require your time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.
  2. Smile, smile, and smile. Your smile is a messenger of what’s inside you, and it has the power to brighten someone’s life by conveying “I like you” or “I’m glad to see you.”
  3. Remember a person’s name. A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to him. Use it generously, and spell it correctly.
  4. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask people a lot of questions and validate the stories and words they share in conversation.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Talk about the things the other person treasures most.
  6. Make the other person feel important. When people believe you sincerely think of them as important and appreciate them, they will respond positively to you. Reflect on something you can genuinely admire and then recognize them for it.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. Avoid an argument. You can’t win an argument, because if you lose it, you lost it, and if you win it, you lost it. Why? Because someone who has lost an argument feels inferior, has his pride hurt, and will ultimately resent the triumph. The only successful way to change someone’s mind is to help him come to that conclusion himself. It’s better to manage a disagreement by trying to see the other person’s viewpoint, look for areas of agreement, and encourage him to think over your ideas.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions and never tell them, “You’re wrong. You cannot change opinions when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings.  When you hurt someone, they’re not receptive in listening to anything you have to say.
  3. If you’re wrong, admit it clearly and quickly. Stating those words clears the air of defensiveness and helps solve problems.
  4. Begin any controversial conversation in a friendly way. As the old saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
  5. Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately. Begin a conversation by emphasizing the things in which you agree. Several initial “yes” responses keep the listener moving in an affirmative direction.
  6. Let the other person do most of the talking. Think the 80/20 rule—the other person talks 80% of the time and you only 20%. Let them talk themselves into what you want them to do. [Note: This one is difficult for the extrovert.]
  7. Let others feel that the idea is theirs. Suggest, suggest, and suggest. Then let the other person think about it so much that he thinks it’s his idea.
  8. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view even if the other person is wrong and doesn’t think so. By validating the other person’s viewpoint, he will likely have a open mind to hear your ideas. [Note: Validating is not agreeing.]
  9. Be sympathetic to the other person’s desires. Validating someone even if you don’t agree will go a long way in keeping emotions in check and leaving them with a positive feeling towards you.
  10. Assume the other person operates with noble motives. People will react favorably toward you when they believe you consider them honest, upright and fair.
  11. Dramatize your ideas. Stating the simple truth may not be good enough. You may have to make the truth vivid, interesting, and dramatic in order to get the other person’s attention.
  12. Throw down a challenge. People have a competitive spirit. If you want to get things done, stimulate some competition and tap into to people’s desire to excel and prove their worth.

Practice Makes Perfect

A leader’s job often includes setting people up for success by helping them change their attitudes and behaviors. Carnegie’s (1964) suggestions to accomplish this are simply stated:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  5. Let the other person save face
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
  7. Compliment the very trait in a person that you want him to live up to
  8. Use encouragement and make any fault seems easy to correct
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

With over 30 recommended behaviors, a person may feel overwhelmed on where to start. I would suggest rating yourself on a scale of 1-10 on how well you perform on each behavior. Select three behaviors that you are committed to improve upon and brainstorm specific approaches or words that will produce a more favorable outcome. Changing behaviors can be difficult at first, but repetitiveness turns new behaviors into old habits.

In my opinion one of the most impactful behavioral changes you can make is to remove one word from your vocabulary. What word? The word “but.” “But” negates everything that was said before it and closes down the conversation. If you replace “but” with the word “and,” you’ll see a dramatic difference in where the conversation goes. Don’t be discouraged when you realize how difficult it can be to remove that conjunction from your sentence structure. New habits are right around the corner.

Reference

Carnegie, D. (1964). How to Win Friends & Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success. New York, NY: Gallery Books.

*He and him also refers to she and her. He is used as opposed to he or she to make it easier for the reader.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

How to Build Customer Connections Through Fun and Service

Sandra Dillon: January 19, 2018


mission trip

In 2001 Convergint Technologies (www.convergint.com) was founded upon 10 driving values and beliefs. Last but not least was “We promote fun and laughter on a daily basis,” and they mean it by giving every employee a $100 and a paid day off each year to go have fun. Additionally, this company closes all of its branches across the globe on its founding birthday, so its employees can go out into their respective communities and serve others who are less fortunate. They also invite their vendors, customers, plus family members to come along and help. They have given paid time off for employee teams to serve in disaster relief efforts both in the United States and abroad. I share these stories not to pat Convergint on the back for doing good, but for stepping out in innovative ways that make great business sense while benefitting everyone involved. They truly have built customer and employee connections through fun and service. How well is your company strengthening these same connections?

The internet has thousands of articles that recommend how to strengthen customer relationships and build stronger teams. From my business and professional experience, the most powerful way to build connection is through shared activities that involve fun and service. Not only does the experience create an immediate connection but the ongoing memories solidify the bond. If you include spouses and other family members as part of the activity, don’t be surprised if you become part of the extended family, likely brought up in conversation around the dinner table.

If you think the concept has merit and you’re searching for ideas, below are a few you might consider:

  1. Serve at a local charity (food bank, boys & girls club)
  2. Take a class together (cooking, pottery, woodworking) with hands on participation
  3. Host a unique experience (skydiving) or competition (go-kart racing)
  4. Rent out an Improv studio and have teams compete (remember “Whose Line Is It Anyway?)
  5. Host a talent contest
  6. Have an employee cook-off (chili, soup, dessert, BBQ) and have vendors and customers be the blind judges
  7. Organize a field day or carnival with games and fun for the whole family

My personal favorite that builds a lifetime bond—organize and lead a mission trip of co-workers, customers, and vendors. Having taken teams to Honduras and El Salvador many times to drill a water well at a local school or rural community, I can honestly say that my business colleagues, turned mission mates, and I bonded at a level that words cannot adequately described. We worked alongside each other, got dirty and sweated together, shared rooms and meals, struggled with the local language, and had our hearts united with the locals. If you want to get sticky with your customers, take them on a mission trip.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

People Operations: Are Your Work Rules Benefitting Your Bottom Line?

Sandra Dillon: January 17, 2018


What would happen in your company if tomorrow the Human Resource Department was replaced with a People Operations Department? One answer: leadership might be taking the first step in transforming the culture by changing the labels and the rules by which it hires and engages its employees. It might be taking on some of the be

Work Rules

st people practices that Google has innovated and field tested within in its own company.

Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations, takes you on a journey of failures, successes, and celebrations within Google, as leadership tried to attract the best talent and ensure all its employees succeeded. The results? Hundreds of accolades including #1 Best Company to Work for in the United States and in 16 other countries. If you lead a business or any organization, you’ll want to study and learn from Google who delivers the latest research blending human psychology with behavioral economics.

Bock (2015) shares the people strategies and tactics that leadership can use to lead their employees and teams to higher engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and reward. Google’s stated mission is to organize the world’s information, and in this case, they decide to design, collect, organize, and interpret data using its own 55,000 employees spread over more than 70 countries. Several of the more well-known business conclusions Google was able to prove:

  • You can learn from both your best as well as your worst employees,
  • You should only hire people who are smarter than you in some way, no matter how long it takes to find them,
  • You shouldn’t rely on your gut but use data to predict (Some may consider this one controversial).

The three Google lessons that are not mainstream business thinking but may make a difference in how well your company performs include:

  • Taking away managers’ power over their employees: Hiring, firing, promotions, and salary actions should be done by a committee using transparent data with managers only held responsible for coaching their direct reports to succeed in their work.
  • Paying unfairly because it’s the fair thing to do: Employee performance typically does not follow a bell curve, but a power curve. Your best employees should be rewarded multiples over your average producing employees.
  • Giving your employees more freedom than you’re comfortable with: Trust your employees more.

You might be saying, “These concepts would never be put into practice in my company.” That may or may not be true, but the challenge for all leadership is to be thoughtful enough to make the hard decisions that can champion change and spur their employees to collectively produce at the next level. You’ve likely heard the old saying that idiocrasy is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. How does your organization need to change in how it leads people to get better results?

Is now the time to learn from actual field results and try to see how these concepts can work in your organization? I encourage every employee, supervisor, manager, and leader to pick up this book and find one or two concepts, rooted in research, that can be applied in life and in business to engage others more.  It’s easier and cheaper to learn from the successes of others who have paved the way.

Reference

Bock, L. (2015). Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You live and Lead. New York, NY: Twelve Books.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Change Your Life By Changing Your Relationship with Money

Sandra Dillon: January 8, 2018


 

money-mindset_OMTimes_bigstock-Young-Woman-Thinking-About-Mon-47826215

Your Money Relationship

Money can be a difficult topic to discuss because of our emotionally complex relationship with it and how we use it to create meaning in our lives. We need money for the necessities of life such as food, water, clothing, and shelter, but we also use money to achieve status, security, enjoyment, and control over our world.  How would you describe your relationship with money?

We typically have dreams involving our lifestyle, career/job, relationships, community, and faith. These areas of life are all connected and usually supported by a financial plan that prioritizes and balances income, spending, and savings. Two big questions we should all be answering for ourselves are: (1) What budget do I need to implement to help me achieve my goals, and (2) What financially based behavioral changes do I need to make to create the life I want? If you haven’t seriously thought about these questions in the past, answering them could be an intimidating task.

What is Financial Coaching?

If you need help creating a financial path out of the woods, a coach can be the partner who helps you to see the forest through the trees. Financial coaching is a partnership where clients learn financial skills, increase financial savviness, set goals, shape a financial strategy, and execute an earning/spending plan that helps them achieve both their short- and long-goals. A coach and client co-create the plan and brainstorm ways a client can successfully execute it.

Coaches also support their clients by identifying and fostering behavioral changes that will result in sustainable performance. The client’s money habits and goals need to be aligned and working in concert. Financial coaches keep their clients focused on positive financial behaviors while making allowances for missteps as these new money habits take form.

How Can a Financial Coach Help Me?

You will likely find yourself sharing the financial details of your life under a confidentiality agreement. Your coach will need an accurate picture of your financial situation and an understanding of your current behaviors/thinking that will either support or undermine you from reaching your goals.  You will co-create strategies to address risks that may disrupt your plan.

Financial CoachingCoaches monitor your progress, provide feedback, and make referrals as needed. Your financial coach will teach, encourage, support, and challenge you as you strengthen your financial stewardship.

Some clients may be financially savvy on the mechanics and skills of budgeting and long-term planning but only lack discipline.  In this case, a financial coach can still provide value by helping the client: (1) determine underlying sabotaging practices and their causes, (2) identify positive long-term financial behaviors, (3) practice new behaviors until they become more comfortable.

Your Next Decision

No matter what stage of life or age, it’s never too late to pause and decide to live out a new financial plan that excites you and gives you long-term peace of mind.  As someone once shared with me, “It’s ok to be old, and it’s ok to be broke, but it’s a terrible thing to be both old and broke.”  Don’t let lack of financial planning have you regretting your earlier choices.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, life coaching, marriage, and finances.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best version of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her websites at www.shinecrossings.com and www.shinecrossingsministry.com

What Movie Best Describes Your Sales Team’s Performance?

Sales GraphBringing some humor to the topic, what movie best describes your sales team’s performance this past year? Does He’s Just Not That Into You characterize your primary customer relationships–those who buy from you until a better offer comes along? What about the movie Titanic? You’ve invested heavily in sales salaries, training, and tools. The sales ship has sailed, and revenue seems to have hit an iceberg and is sinking against expectations. Or is your team acting out one of the Rocky movies? With seven title releases, you may be asking, “Which one?” Is your sales team the underdog who diligently works the plan to become your customers’ major supplier, or the team who was once a sales champion and now finds itself working to reclaim that title?

Every sales team is filming its own movie. Whether the sales team will make an awarding winning film will be heavily influenced by several factors:

  • acting skill [sales people skills, experience, and competencies]
  • quality of the script [sales strategy and execution plan]
  • script appeal [quality of products and service]
  • passion of the actors [emotional engagement of the sales team]
  • director’s skill [sales leadership ability]

If all five elements of the movie are strong, you’re likely to produce a film that will draw a large audience [customers]. With the kick-off of a new year, I would encourage businesses/sales organizations to rate themselves on the above five factors using a scale of 1-10? Which area is weakest and how could you move that rating higher? What movie would you hope to have your sales organization reflect?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

When to Use a Coaching Facilitator to Achieve Business Breakthrough?

Group Coaching 2Some businesses struggle with developing strategy, implementing a plan, or even determining the best way of addressing an issue. With the pressure of delivering quarterly results, some companies operate in a continual fire-fighting mode. An ingrained fire-fighting culture can make it difficult for a company to think strategically or focus on the long-term. Skills that are not practiced become dull. When a business realizes it has lost its sharp edge and decides to tweak or change course, engaging a coach may be the best tool to pull out of the business toolkit.

If you are wrestling with a business issue or deliverable and having difficulty getting started or completing it, you may want to contract a coaching facilitator. Coaching facilitators can be used to help companies:

  • create high functioning business or functional teams
  • develop business, strategic, and execution plans
  • solve pressing problems
  • build effective processes

Coaching facilitators are typically professional coaches skilled in business, facilitation, human behavior, and strategic thinking. They will help facilitate the journey of the team through team development, problem solving, decision-making, planning, and goal achievement. A coaching facilitator embodies the best attributes of coaching and facilitation and leads the group through a process to identify the issue, bring forward all the information, brainstorm and vet all ideas, decide on a course of action, assign responsibilities, and hold people accountable.

What can you expect from a coaching facilitator? Look for one that will:

  • Work with the team leader to define the issue and team composition
  • Provide administrative support and facilitate the meeting as well as manage the overall process
  • Uncover the team members’ feelings and gut level reactions to an issue
  • Draw out the facts and focus the attention of the team on the issue
  • Help the team to collect data and brainstorm ideas and solutions
  • Ensure full participation of the group members
  • Draw out meaningful dialogue to broaden perspective
  • Challenge and provide feedback to “group think” behaviors
  • Get team to decide on a course of action
  • Help team to frame SMART goals
  • Motivate and encourage the team
  • Help the leader hold the team accountable

Over time a coaching facilitator should help the team operate more effectively on their own, based on the team working through the same general process. The process will become a practiced way of approaching strategy, business plans, and problem-solving. A coaching facilitator can also train selected employees to serve as coaching facilitators for a company’s future endeavors.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.