#766 The Big Lebowski

Posted by frank June - 19 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Right isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and wrong isn’t always wrong. Great leaders know this.
In The Big Lebowski, after John Goodman makes a scene in a bowling alley about strictly following bowling rules, he and Jeff Bridges head to their car. They’re talking about the rule infraction and Goodman’s over reaction when Goodman says repeatedly, “Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Am I wrong?” Jeff Bridges replies, “You’re not wrong Walter, you’re just an asshole.”
It is classic. You know people like Walter. People who think right and wrong is all that matters; people who see no creative solutions.
It takes a lot of time, patience, understanding, and empathy to see beyond right and wrong.
When my mom was teaching me to drive there was an intersection at the end of our block where a stop sign had recently been erected. These were small streets in a residential neighborhood. We had the right of way and the intersecting street had the stop sign. My Mom used to make me slow to a virtual stop as I approached that intersection. I complained, “But Mom! They have the stop sign and I have the right of way!” Her reply has stuck with me for life. She said, “Yes you’re right, but right or wrong you’re just as dead.”
In your position of leadership, take the time to slow down and understand the situations you are presented with. Rules don’t manage people; people manage people. I do understand that rules are not mere suggestions, and I don’t want anarchy. I am only suggesting that you understand the people affected by the rules as you apply them.
2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#765 Balance

Posted by frank June - 12 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I ran in to a guy this week that I haven’t seen for a few months. When I asked him how he’d been since last we’d spoken he said “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that my son finally asked his girl to marry him and she said yes. The bad news is that my friend Bobby died. Frankie, I’ve learned to expect this in life. Whenever something good happens, I keep my eyes open because I know something bad is about to come. It all has to balance out.”
I believe in Karma. I believe in cause and effect but I don’t believe that the universe looks like lady justice, holding her scales with an eye on my good fortune.
I believe this “good and bad balancing” is my friend’s way of making sense
of things that have happened to him but it breaks my heart to know that
every time he experiences something good, essentially, he cringes.
I also recognize that there will always be good and bad things happening to and around me. My recipe is simple; I try to really appreciate and revel in the good times and just allow the bad times to pass.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

More Rapport #764

Posted by frank June - 5 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Rapport is the basis for everything in life. Without it, life will be a struggle for you. From contentious interactions during innocuous transactions to hollow relationships with friends and family, lack of rapport equals a lack of peace and happiness.
A business manager once said to me “If I don’t piss off a few people a day, I’m probably doing a bad job.” Maybe that makes sense to him but pissing people off all day, in my mind, equals being a lazy manager.
It may be easier to shout orders and make demands than it is to gain rapport, trust and understanding but in my experience the latter produces better long term results.
Rapport to me is mostly about empathy. It’s mostly about listening and understanding.
In the workplace rapport is often what makes people continue to do a good job even when no one is looking. I don’t equate kindness and weakness. The difference between a firm request and a despotic demand is a rapport based subtlety in the delivery and the long term results are anything but subtle.
In daily interactions with store clerks, coworkers, family and friends building rapport sets the weather of your day. Shouting, demanding and insisting become squalls and storms while smiles, openness and understanding feel like sunshine and a warm breeze. The most amazing part about this is how many people believe it happens to them rather than through them. I set the temperature of my day. I understand that that I control 99% of my outcomes. My response is my choice and when I choose well, rapport develops and I live on the sunny side of the street.
2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes.

#763 Raising Healthy Tomatoes

Posted by frank May - 30 - 2017 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

When my tomato plants droop and sag I pick them up and tie them to the support stake. I tried hoping that they’d finally stand up on their own, without my support, but it didn’t work. When they look dry I give them water. I tried just waiting for rain but it’s unreliable and I lost some plants while I waited. If the green coloring of the leaves appears less than vibrant I give the plants some food. I hoped they’d get all they need from the soil and I could save money on fertilizer but I’ve found that when I feed them they thrive and when I don’t they struggle. Sometimes they’re bothered by worms. The worms eat at them. I know this because I can see small signs of the worms; a half-eaten leaf here or a bare stem there. I have to look the individual plants over carefully (the worms are not always easy to find) and remove the worms. I’ve tried leaving them alone or just giving them a cursory look as I go by and removing the obvious worms but that helps only for a moment and when I come back again I find more eaten leaves and bare stems.
What I have learned is that producing good tomatoes takes training, nurturing, support individual attention, and my time and commitment.
The parallels are numerous and obvious. Apply this where you will.
2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes.

#762 Rapport

Posted by frank May - 22 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Rapport precedes so many positive things. Being in rapport with the ticket agent can get you a better seat on your flight. Being in rapport with the store clerk allows you to make a return at 35 days when the policy says 30 days. Being in rapport lets you make easier and more effective corrections with employees and of course, it is essential to making the sale.
The biggest rapport mistakes I see are going too fast and trying too hard.
You’re familiar with the term “Acting out”, yes? This sort of thing happens in adult life too. When a person tries too hard or moves to fast they are often rejected. The rejection may be subtle, but the they feel it. So what do they do? They try harder and go faster as they sense their loss of rapport which, of course, only takes them further out of rapport. The “Acting out” is simply a lack of understanding. They are playing the one card they have and trying to force the rapport rather than slowing down and allowing it to happen.
The fast talking salesman is an archetype that is constantly revisited in movies and literature. People (potential clients) are laying in wait for salespeople to go too fast and try too hard. So much so that we have to be more conscious of, and pay closer attention to, the subtle signs of rapport.
Remember; No one ever said “I hate that guy! All he ever does is listen to me!”

#761 Maximum Wage

Posted by frank May - 15 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The following is an actual conversation I heard on the subway. Two young men were standing next to me talking about their jobs.
Person A: “For $11.00 an hour you can’t tell me to trim my beard. Maybe for $17.70 but not for no $11.00.”
Person B: “I know. I’m just making a damn sandwich. I ain’t doing surgery or nothing.”
Person A: “I just show up do what I gotta do, put in the time, and get paid. I don’t need nobody telling me about my hair or my beard or my dress code.”
Person B: “Yeah. I get there on time and do the work. Like, what do you want from me?”

The marketplace is, largely self-regulating. It is not infallible; it makes mistakes and over or under pays some people but let’s remember the concept. You don’t get paid $11.00 for an hour. You get paid $11.00 for the value you bring to that hour. The marketplace places value on skills and results and the availability or scarcity of those people who possess the skills and can produce the results. Not everyone can install a toilet for me but most people can make me a sandwich that’s why the plumber gets $200/hour and the sandwich shop guy gets $11.00.
In the end you don’t simply demand more money per hour or believe, like my two young subway riders, that if you were paid more you’d do more. What you do is make yourself more valuable to the marketplace and the marketplace will eventually reward that value.
Remember this old saying: “If you do more than you get paid for eventually you will get paid more for what you do.”
2017 motto: Daily disciplines create desired ou

#760 A Present

Posted by frank May - 8 - 2017 - Monday 1 COMMENT

Being present is a difficult proposition. I witness this all the time. When I am riding the train and we are pulling in to the station people get up and move toward the doors. If the train bogs down for a minute, the phones come out. It’s like we can’t be alone with ourselves for five seconds.
Love and attention is the same thing. Giving yourself over to someone completely; what we call “Up Time” in NLP, denotes love. Now before you think I’m getting all yoga’d up on you let me explain why I used the word love.
When talking to a loved one love means love but let’s use it further. Let’s use love interchangeably with respect, consideration, kindness and goodness. If I’m talking to a coworker, an employee, a store clerk or the mailman, attention means all of those words.
When I am with my two year old grandson he wants ALL of my attention and he chirps and touches me to be sure he has it.
Our phones are like that. So are the ubiquitous TV’s that invade us in the doctors waiting room, the gym, restaurants etc. They try to take us away from our conversations or thoughts. They try to steal our present.
Present requires focus but it’s worth it. My memories of great hunts, great books, and great moments with my family all come from being entirely present and they are what I will remember for life long after I have forgotten the tweet, the text, the newscast or the email icon flashing across my screen insisting, like a two year old, that I stop what I’m doing and pay attention to them.

2017 motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes.

#759 I’m in charge here!

Posted by frank May - 1 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Fred never could figure it out. He thought that authority meant authoritarian.
It was a difference he could not grasp. As a newly minted manager Fred assumed he could tell people what to do and they would do it. He never considered that people follow people who lead not people who are in charge.

It takes time to be empathetic and sincerely concerned with others. It does not take time to bark an order.

Fred would turn up his nose whenever he’d hear a manager cajoling an employee into doing a particular task rather than demanding they do it. I remember once calling a dispatcher in our company and asking her to send a technician to a client as his very next call. Fred overheard me asking and said, “You’re the boss! What’s with all the small talk? Just tell her what to do.”

You can be the best and the brightest but people don’t care what you know until they know you care.

Last I heard, Fred is treading water in his career. He manages to get jobs in small middle management roles and looks at those above him with disdain, wondering why he never seems to get there.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#758 Action is Eloquent

Posted by frank April - 24 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Here is the test. It is only 5 questions, 20 points each. If you don’t get 100%, as David Spade said in Tommy Boy, “Hit yourself in the head with a ballpeen hammer.”

1. Is getting enough sleep good for you?
2. Is smoking cigarettes bad for you?
3. Does regular exercise help to improve your health?
4. Should fast food be the staple of your diet?
5. Should you save any money for retirement?

Grading Key (Duh)
1. Yes!
2. Yes!
3. Yes!
4. No!
5. Yes!

The point is that we know what all know what to do. The issue lies between the knowing and the doing.

“ACTION is Eloquent”. Shakespeare

“I don’t feel like it”, or “Maybe tomorrow” is the ruination of many a plan and is what is in between the knowing and the doing.

We know what to do. We just allow feelings to get in the way. As Dr. Rob says, “It is the start that stops most people.”

Here is what I’ve learned; Start the action and the feelings will follow. Most folks don’t feel like exercising until they are actually exercising for a few minutes. It’s that way with most things. If you wait to feel like it I am afraid you will be right where you are now wondering why you can’t make a change.

2017 Motto “Daily disciplines create desired outcomes”

#757 The World is a Mirror

Posted by frank April - 17 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

How people respond to you is a strong indication of your own attitude.  Long before we had language we were already in packs communicating through facial expressions and posturing.  We still do that today.
I remember a great example of this.  Many years ago a coworker told me that I looked angry when he came to work in the morning.  I wasn’t angry but when I thought about it, I realized that because I was in early, I was already in “work mode” when people came in and my face had a big “do not disturb” look on it.
The problem wasn’t that I felt unwelcoming but my posture and attitude were way out in front of my feelings pushing people away.
I made a conscious adjustment to open up my face and my stance and it worked.
A few years ago I had a motto that said, the world is a big mirror reflecting back the face you bring it every day.  It is an amazing truth.
2017 Motto…Daily disciplines create desired outcomes