Don’t Keep Us In The Dark

Don’t Keep Us In The Dark

There is a ‘leadership’ mindset out there which always leaves me flummoxed. I cannot understand why anybody, much less a leader of an organization hoping to be successful, would adhere to it. And yet, it is a mindset nearly as ubiquitous as any other: the unwillingness of leaders to articulate and explain what they do, the decisions they make, and why they they made them. This bad habit leaves everyone in the dark, fearful and speculating about the whys and what might happen next — rather than practically and effectively preparing for what will happen next. It’s happening everywhere, and it’s driving organizations insane. Leaders will make big changes without telling their employees why. Rather than address these stressful issues, leaders just remain silent. This is not real leadership. This is cowardly, a fear of transparency. Real leadership is about lifting people up to a higher possibility; it’s not about creating a culture of confusion that leaves your team wondering and speculating about what they think you mean, without the clarity and understanding of what you actually mean. This behavior is the antithesis of leadership. If you’re going to build an organization of highly motivated, deeply engaged, collaborative, communicative, willing to go above and beyond team — you can’t keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit. Take, for instance, when someone is let go: it creates fear, doubt, and worry in those left behind. Put simply, their safety is at risk. They are left in survival mode, which effectively means not-working-well mode. It fosters rumors, distraction, and hostility that could easily be eliminated by a simple act of communication, clarification, and articulation of intention! Trust your team; be willing to be vulnerable,...
Negotiation Is Not About Winning

Negotiation Is Not About Winning

Since we’re on a streak with posts on “negotiation,” I thought it essential to point out a lesson I learned in one of the titular books on the subject, “Getting To Yes,” written in the 80’s by two Harvard professors. This is the most powerful lesson I took away from their wisdom: If you want to succeed at negotiation, you’ve got to be able to state your opponent’s position better than your opponent. Not only does this strategy give us a leg up rhetorically, it actually gets to the heart of what negotiation is all about: finding common ground. Finding something you can both agree on. Using this strategy, you can actually understand where your ‘opponent’ is coming from, and move forward with empathy — rather than simply a dogged determination to ‘win.’ All of us feel the same way: “That the other person just can’t see it the way I see it. If they only knew, they wouldn’t argue like this.” Incumbent upon us is the responsibility to do that research for the opponent, to actually reach that level of understanding of their position, not in order to out-argue them — but in order to more deeply understand and empathize with them. If you go into that level of learning with the mindset of undermining their perspective, you’re missing the point entirely. Nelson Mandela said, “If you speak to a person in a language they understand, you speak to their head. But if you speak to a person in their language, you speak to their heart.” If you want to find common ground in negotiation, you have to speak to their heart. You have to actually see things the way they see them....
Negotiation Means Defining Your Measurements

Negotiation Means Defining Your Measurements

Like we saw a few weeks ago, there inevitably will come a time in your career when you’ll have to convince someone else — to change their mind. This is sales; this is, essentially, negotiation. When my client wanted to convince her boss to hire a co-leader team, instead of just one leader, she had to negotiate. And what she learned is that negotiation will always go more smoothly if you can define your own measurements. When her boss said, “Co-leadership doesn’t work,” part of what he was saying was, I have no evidence and I don’t know how to measure it. Not only does she have to explain why it could work — she had to design the measurements to define what ‘working’ really meant. How would they know this new method was successful? What metrics would they use? Less turnover? Higher profit? Employee satisfaction? And over what period of time? How long was long enough? The same goes for any negotiation, really. If you want a pay raise, define your measurements of success. How have you contributed to the company? What metrics show your own growth and that of your team? This is what negotiating is: not trying to convince someone you’re right, but showing them with clear evidence the measurements that prove you’re right. The unfortunate truth, as Anias Nin taught us, is that we don’t see the world as it is — we see the world as we are. Therefore, they may be looking west for an answer when it’s standing a few yards behind them jumping up and down — but they haven’t turned east to see it. They may be simply missing a new dawn coming over the horizon, and it’s...
Sales, Sales, Everything is Sales — Including Leadership

Sales, Sales, Everything is Sales — Including Leadership

If you see sales as manipulation, the title of this article may make you bristle.However, if you see sales as service, it will make perfect sense. Rather than the art of convincing people to do things they don’t want to do, real sales is the art of matching product with need. In order to do that, an effective sales person must first understand the need — perhaps better than the prospect — and if that need can’t be met, great sales people build a relationship and help the prospect figure out their options. Oversimplified? Perhaps, but accurate nonetheless. Last week, we talked about how one woman wanted to change her superior’s mind. One thing I noticed from our conversation was that, when I suggested this was a ‘sales’ problem,’ it really put her on her heels. She did public service work and most definitely did not see herself as a salesperson, and therefore did not see this as a sales problem. But as you will recall, that’s exactly what it was. Her superior had a problem: how to put the right leader in the organization in a manner that would succeed. She had the perfect solution, but the prospect couldn’t make the connection — until she “sold” it. Here’s the thing we want to remember about leadership, at all levels: leading means taking on different roles. Leading means filling different shoes. Leading means being what you need to be when people need you to be it. And sometimes that can feel jarring or uncomfortable, especially if it goes against the identity we hold for ourselves. If you don’t come from a sales background, it can be challenging to see yourself as such, but notice...
6 Ways To Change Someone’s Mind

6 Ways To Change Someone’s Mind

What do you do when you feel a need to change someone’s mind and they’re resistant?  After all, people don’t change — right?  Meghan was in just this predicament.  Real and significant change was needed and no one was willing to see it. As an interim director she was asked to right a ship gone askew when the previous Director was, shall we say, “made available to industry.”  To Meghan it was clear the traditional top-down hierarchy failed to serve both the organization as a whole, and the person in the top position. In fact, the current hierarchical structure had literally never been successful, and yet, here they were, about to do what they had always done, setting themselves up to get what they always got — failure. The board liaison, even though he was generally a reasonable guy, was afraid to take the risk of change. “There’s no evidence your way will work,” he said.  “Perhaps,” She replied (though he’s not wholly accurate) “but there’s ample evidence the old way won’t.”    “Hmmm.  You’ve got 48 hours to put together your best case.” So she and I sat down to layout her options.   Dale Carnegie taught us ‘A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still,’  Real buy-in changes the heart, the head and the actions of an individual, and we wanted all three. We wanted this man to buy in willingly — because mere acquiescence has no buy-in, no commitment, and causes them to step aside waiting for failure rather than engaging to assure success. We wanted success, buy-in and active engagement.  So I asked her, “Has this guy ever changed his mind in the past, about other...