Millennials, possibly more than any generation before them, crave high touch leaders; mentors and dare I say friends as bosses who are willing to have deep, meaningful conversations with them. They are sincerely interested in us sharing our wisdom and perspective, especially when we take the time to do so in a way that meets them where they are. In my conversations with them, I find myself focusing on three simple things to help them live a life of meaning and purpose:
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I believe in mindfulness. Mindfulness practices have been around since the dawn of time. I am interested in an energized workplace. I also believe in keeping things simple. So, let us focus on mindfulness at work. And let’s render the mystical simple and practical.
If you watch Switch and Shift TV, you already know my favorite hobby: I collect fascinating people! I’ve been doing it my whole life, though since my first tweet in 2009… let’s just say, social has been like kerosene poured on the flame of this great hobby of mine.
Because I’ve gathered so many fascinating people by now, I’ve picked up a thing or two that makes many of these folks so worth knowing. Without further ado, here are five things that come quickly to mind about how anyone can become fascinating themselves.
My colleague, Eric Marterella, who is as passionate a fan of the Marriott brand as you will find anywhere, gave it to me and even got it signed. The book is great, in the sense that it is both simple and profound and from a man who built a global hotel empire that is, by virtue of its corporate-wide “spirit to serve,” truly social, at scale. As Bill writes, “My dad, J. Willard Marriott, deserves a lot of the credit for creating a culture that empowers our associates to gives 100 percent day in, day out, year in, year out.”
And that culture is still thriving.
It’s difficult to understate the importance of interpersonal communication in almost every aspect of our lives. Communication builds relationships – and relationships form the basis of any successful collaboration, be it business or personal.
Why then, aren’t we better at it?
Like me, you’ve probably encountered many different teachings on the topic of effective communication over the course of your career. Most of these correctly identify listening as the process where most communication breaks down, and therefore focus on techniques designed to help us improve our ability to listen effectively. However, the following operating rule from the Improvisational Theater community more succinctly captures the essential element of true listening than anything I have ever come across in a traditional training:
Remember when the ‘water cooler conversation’ used to mean sidebar conversations in the break room? The grapevine was the extracurricular that could surely be tamed with more frequent communication.
Today, the grapevine can no longer be “managed”. It grows based on word of mouth via technology or in person. You can influence and contribute to it, but it can’t be programmed or planned from the top down. Word of mouth grows based on the decisions and interest of individuals and their willingness to recommend and engage.
Have you tried having a conversation where you intentionally remove the underbrush while speaking with the intention of helping the other person? Have you intentionally structured the way you communicate to bring in the listener without dramatic flair? Imagine how much more commanding your presence would be. Upon analyzing Karé’s communication patterns, I realized that she has found a way to connect with people in a powerful way. That we could all learn from such purposeful communication patterns would be an understatement. Let me tease out three underused tactics I learned from my conversation with Karé.
Is conflict creating problems, nip conflict and communication problems in the bud so they do not bite you back. Here are are seven simple and powerful steps you can use to turn conflict and communication problems around before they erode the relationships you need to succeed!
We cannot rely on our past successes as a determination of future successes. We must be willing to volunteer...
And so it goes with organizations striving to progress from the “As Is” to the “To Be”. Struggling to align the goal with the motivation, the vision to the reality. Herein lies the true value of communication, ensuring each teammate shares the experience of knowing where they are going. In Leadership from A to Z, James O’Toole shared that you, as the leader, must “…communicate clearly and repeatedly the organization’s vision…all with the intent of helping every person involved understand what work needs to be done and why, and what part the individual plays in the overall effort.” As the leader, you hold the cue-card and are artist-in-charge of painting a vivid picture that both inspires and clarifies the destination. Here are some simple tips to ensure you keep the destination in clear view:
You may run into a few people of any age that will tell you they’re following their dreams and their passions, but the majority of the working population will tell you that they work for the paycheck. Money is the object.
Now ask the same people if they believe that they are paid fairly compared to their employers’ pay and profits. Here’s the problem with this question: in most companies, people don’t know what the C-level managers and the boss are paid. They don’t know or understand how profits are derived, or how their own pay is represented in the big picture. What they will tell you is that they believe their own pay is not a fair slice.
We’ve all agonized over just the right words for that oh-so-important communication. Spent hours crafting the perfect email, letter or speech notes.
What if I told you the words really didn’t matter? At least, not as much as you’ve been taught. Don’t panic, most of what we’ve all been taught about communication is true.
The problem is that what we’ve been taught covers less than 10% of how communication really works.
In organizations, there is the truth of what is happening, and then there are the stories we tell ourselves (and each other) about what is happening. In powerful organizations, the truth and the stories are closely aligned. In weaker ones, there is a disconnect, or a gap. And yes—you guessed it—having your employees making up stuff, rather than you telling them, is a sure-fire way to expand that gap.
Communication is a lot like electricity in that it needs a medium or conduit through which it can flow. In business these media have been summarily dubbed “channels”. Over the past 20 years, the channels have changed a bit. We have seen the rise of email, intranets, forums, video conferencing calls and even chat applets. The more traditional channels are still in use as well, such as: meetings, one-on-one conversations and the occasional hand-written note.
The point of all of all of these channels is to find as many ways to move the same communication in order to reinforce the message. The greater and more diverse the channels, the better chance you have at your message being heard in the manner in which you need/want it to be heard. There is another channel that is not always viewed – or at least treated – as a communication channel. It carries more influence than all of the previously mentioned channels and has multiple touch-points for stakeholders. Culture.
Editors Note: Be sure you read the entire article before you disregard in misjudgment.
Conflicts and clashes are as common at most workplaces as black coffee on Monday morning. If you’re looking to axe communication completely though, try ramping up curmudgeonese and then watch its magic spin.
Bickering is usually where curmudgeons nail their hottest acts. Get to water coolers early to …
Every story needs conflict. Fiction writers in every medium know this well. No conflict, no audience interest. But in real life? Especially in business? There are enough conflicts to deal with from outside sources, be they competitors, market upheavals, or freak snowstorms that sever the last 10 miles of our supply chain. Do we really need to leave things unsaid or poorly said among the folks we’re working with, too?
Once upon a time, NYFM (Not-Your-Father’s-Manufacturer), a very old, established company, decided they needed to drastically change in order to grow and be around many more decades. So, they created a highly disruptive ‘bet-your-career’ strategic plan. And they lived happily ever after.
Really? How many stories like this have that happy ending?
High performance, success, and achievement require exemplary communication skills. Unfortunately, the world has fallen in love with a mode of communication that more often than not facilitates mediocrity. Meet civility: being cordial, nice, congenial, kind. BUT, the type of communication that is required for excellence in organizational life and beyond is in fact often shunned. Meet candor: straight-talk, being a little curt, blunt, to the point. Candor is about saying what needs to be said. It’s about keeping it real. Here’s the million-dollar question: Which one is more important?