Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Marcia Reynolds, president of Covisioning LLC.
When I teach coaching skills to leaders, someone always asks what to do if a person cries. They usually want to do something that would make the person feel worse for crying. Here are tips for effectively handling emotions that could come up during difficult conversations.
Note: Take the Rate Your Zone of Discomfort quiz to judge your ability to deal with uncomfortable situations.
What if the person cries?
Allow people to take a moment as you calmly wait for them to signal they are ready to move on.
Crying is a natural physiological response when someone feels hurt, sad, or had expectations that weren’t met. Their reaction could result from stress or a buildup of disappointments. Generally, if you tell the person to take her time and calmly sit in silence, she will let you know when she is ready to move on (I say “she” but men cry too). If you have a tissue available, offer it. If the crying is uncontrollable, ask if they would like to reschedule the meeting but only do this as a last resort. It is always better to give the crying person a moment to recoup than to make her feel wrong for crying.
How do you react when someone gets angry?
If you stay calm and listen, their anger usually subsides.
When you sense someone’s anger, you might instantly defend yourself, getting angry in return, or you shut down. If you feel you are at risk of being harmed, you should find a way to remove yourself as soon as possible. If not, give the person a chance to vent to release the steam. Then when he starts to calm down, ask what has made him so angry and sort out what is true from speculation. Then maybe you can find some ways of dealing with the situation so he regains even a small sense of control.
What if a person or a group of people are confused or afraid?
Dig deep to find what they are afraid of losing.
Do not try to diffuse or soften their emotions; better to tell them you would like to understand what is causing the fear so you can help them move forward. What do they feel they have lost or afraid they will lose? Listen to their stories so you can discover what is holding them back. Is the loss real or speculation? What do they need so they can take one step forward? Listen first, then seek to find what will restore their confidence and feeling of significance.
Avoid judging people for their reactions. Respectfully hold them in high regard during a difficult conversation. Recall what you believe they are capable of achieving. From this perspective, you have a chance at holding an amazing conversation that could surprise both of you.
To hear more about effective ways to handle difficult conversations, join us for our Soundview Live webinar with Marcia Reynolds on May 28th: Turning Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs.
In today’s corporate world, 87 percent of companies fail to successfully execute the strategy they set for a given year. CEO mentor and coach Dan Prosser shows you how to make your company one of the other 13 percent — a Thirteener. In the process, he explains that the true challenge of building a great company — one that consistently executes its strategy — is understanding the real nature of human interaction and the key to success: connectedness.
Whether you’re a successful CEO, business owner, entrepreneur or leader, or whether you’re struggling to build the business you’ve always wanted, Thirteeners will help you transform your organization’s internal connectedness so you can achieve the next level of performance you’re looking for, create a workplace environment that supports your vision and assures participation by every team member, and produce breakthrough results.
With a focus on business as a network of interrelated conversations and through groundbreaking “Best Place To Work’’ company research, Prosser demonstrates what you need to do to transform the way your employees think and act, to achieve unprecedented levels of performance for your company.
IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• Why conversations control everything in your business.
• The 10 conversations that create a connected organization.
• How the Execution Virus can infect your business and how the vaccine of truth can heal it.
• Key concepts of the Breakthrough Solutions Framework.
Meetings are at the heart of effective organizations. Each meeting is an opportunity to clarify issues, set direction, sharpen focus, create alignment, and move ambitions forward. We have to change the way we think about meetings, the way we design and lead them, and, most importantly, how we manage what happens between meetings.
Paul Axtell offers eight powerful strategies for fixing our meeting problems, and within each strategy, he provides concrete advice you can put into action immediately such as limiting participants, being vigilant about what gets on the agenda, designing the conversation for each agenda item, and managing the experience for everyone in the room so people leave feeling heard and appreciated.
Here are the eight strategies:
- Choose the perspective: This Matters.
- Master effective conversations.
- Create supportive relationships.
- Decide what matters and who cares.
- Design each conversation.
- Lead meetings for three outcomes.
- Participate in meetings to add impact.
- Build remarkable groups.
If you’re struggling with making your meetings productive and powerful, then join us on April 28th for our Soundview Live webinar with Paul Axtell: Eight Powerful Strategies to Fix Your Meetings. Bring your team together for the webinar and post your questions for Paul during the session.
The time in which we live is unique in that this is the first time that four generations are working side-by-side in the workplace: the Traditionalists (born before 1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964), Gen X (born 1965-1980), and the Millennials (born 1981-2001). This is due in part to increased longevity and in part to people not wanting or being able to afford to retire.
Haydn Shaw, in his book Sticking Points, describes the 12 sticking points between the generations that must be worked through in order for inter-generational cooperation to take place:
Decision Making Meetings
Dress Code Policies
Fun at Work Training
Knowledge Transfer Work Ethic
As younger workers seek to advance in their careers, they will need to learn how to work with those of older generations, and those at the top of companies will be more and more dependent on these younger workers for their success.
This coming week we have the pleasure of hosting two Soundview Live webinars relating to these issues. The first How to Climb Your Way to the Next Level of Your Career with Debra Benton, and then How to Get 4 Generations Working Together with Haydn Shaw.
In this Soundview Live webinar, Debra Benton gives you the insight and tools to make subtle changes in your presentation, attitude, and leadership style that will dramatically increase your leadership effectiveness – and, consequently, help you enjoy work and life.
At this Soundview Live webinar, Haydn Shaw shows you how to help the different generations at work or home stick together instead of come apart, and will help you move beyond these sticking points and get productive again.
Both of these conversations will be helpful for anyone seeking to move up in their career. So please plan to join us on June 17th and 19th and invite your colleagues as well.
Customers don’t want to hear sales pitches, so why do salespeople rely on them? In Ditch the Pitch, Steve Yastrow advocates, “Tear up your sales pitch, and, instead improvise persuasive communications.”
Here is a humorous book trailer by Yastrow that explains the value of persuasive conversations.
Ditch the Pitch gives essential recommendations to salespeople, business managers, and anyone who wants to persuade those around us. Steve believes that to be persuasive we need most of all to engage in fresh and spontaneous conversations. By learning his six habits and the easy practices for each habit, we can quickly discover what makes every customer unique. We can then effortlessly navigate a persuasive conversation specifically created for each person – to give the right message to the right customer at the right time.
These are Yastrow’s six habits:
#1 Think input before output.
#2 Size up the scene.
#3 Create a series of “yeses”.
#4 Explore and heighten.
#5 Focus the conversation on your customer.
#6 Don’t rush the story.
Join us on June 10th for our Soundview Live webinar The Art of Improvised Persuasion and hear from Steve directly on how to apply these habits to your conversations, sales or otherwise. And if you’re in sales, invite your whole sales team to the webinar.
It used to be that if you were selling consumer goods your field of play was limited to the shelf space immediately to the right and left of your item. People could compare packaging, price and quantity to determine if your item was worth their money and attention. In Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information, Stanford professor Itamar Simonson and best-selling author and executive Emanuel Rosen discuss what is causing the shift from relative to absolute value and how your company can make an impact. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.
Simonson and Rosen do an excellent job of compressing and presenting a mountain of research into concepts executives can absorb in a timely manner. The pair begin by presenting the new patterns in consumer decision making. One particular point of interest is the authors’ suggestion that there is a decline in the belief that marketers can cause buyers to act in “irrational” ways. As the pair write, “The relevance of these influence tactics has diminished in a world where people can easily assess quality. On average, better decisions are being made based on the information that’s available.”
Absolute Value then takes readers into a new framework for influence. Executives will want to spend a portion of time considering the ideas presented in a section on the Influence Mix. Simonson and Rosen write that three sources can impact a person’s decision to buy: prior experiences, preferences and beliefs, other people/information, and marketers. One of the most beneficial sections in the book pertains to matching your communication method to the customer’s influence mix. In a book filled with forward-looking insights, the authors’ advice will help guide marketing professionals into the next shift in commerce.
See, Say, Do the Positive
For veteran consultant Kathryn Cramer, author of Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do, the best way to inspire followers is to focus on the positive. Cramer developed a methodology called Asset-Based Thinking (ABT) based on this message of positive thinking, and describes in her book how leaders:
- See the positive in the past, present and future;
- Say the positive with communications with substance, sizzle and soul;
- Do the positive by responding with intention (not reacting), leveraging their qualities, and driving positive change over the long term.
These questions will give the leader and his or her team a clear memory of how they leveraged positive “situational forces” and overcame negative ones to achieve success. Cramer’s force field analysis is both informational and inspirational.
One of the recurring approaches in Cramer’s ABT methodology is the Self-Others-Situation framework, in which leaders take into account themselves, others and the situation in question. For example, to help leaders “see” the positive in the present, Cramer writes that they need to consider what makes them feel strong and capable (self), how they develop meaningful connections with other people (others), and what gives them a sense of progress or achievement (situation).
Techniques and Strategies
The see-say-do framework is at the heart of Cramer’s Asset-Based Thinking methodology, which offers a comprehensive framework for leaders to respond to a wide variety of challenges and situations. In Lead Positive, Cramer describes a range of ABT techniques and guidelines for applying the framework. The “force field analysis,” for example, is a technique used to learn from a past situation that successfully worked, and is built around four questions or sets of questions:
- “What forces were working for us?” With this question, you should identify five positive, accelerating forces, Cramer writes.
- “What forces were working against us?” This question should lead to one or two negative forces.
- What did we do to leverage the accelerating forces and eliminate or sidestep the negative forces?”
- “What behavior do we want to repeat and knowledge do we want to carry forward? Which situational assets do we want to recreate, and which situational pitfalls must we avoid?”
The Message of St. Andrews
Cramer reinforces the lessons of ABT with real-world examples. One such real-world example involved St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System, an organization that provides a range of services for seniors, including affordable retirement housing and in-home health care. St. Andrew’s was looking to become more financially secure and a regional leader in its field. The organization looked to Cramer to help them create a vision for the future.
The first step was to develop a vision message of substance, which used an ABT structure that included what needed to be accomplished, what the executives needed to make the employees and staff understand, the call to action for employees and staff, and the benefits for all. To add sizzle to the vision message, Cramer helped Chief Operating Officer Diane Meatheany to use a narrative structure called the Hero’s Journey, based on the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell. The Hero’s Journey narrative follows a series of steps: the call, the resistance, the threshold crossing, the journey, the supreme ordeal and the return home. Meatheany crafted a story about the future of St Andrew’s and her role in it structured on the Hero’s Journey. The soul of the communication from Meatheany and the rest of the team — the all-important meaning of what is happening — was incorporated into the message through a series of answers to key “why” questions: why this is important to the bigger picture, our values and beliefs, and our organization; why it is important to me and my commitment; and why we need you involved.
The author of nine books and the founder of a consultancy that works with companies such as DuPont, Starbucks and Microsoft, Cramer knows that the deceptively simple message of positivity can belie the complexity of leading a diverse group of people in a constantly changing environment. Lead Positive transforms the principles of ABT into a practical workbook for leaders.
If there’s one certainty in business today, it’s this: Change is coming your way. You have no choice in the matter. The choice you do have is either to embrace it or bury your head in the sand.
What is necessary in order for real change to happen in your organization? Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy, authors of Choosing Change, suggest you follow the 4 D’s:
Disruption: An experience or event that triggers a conscious choice to change
Desire: Committing to goals and deciding upon the change necessary to meet them
Discipline: Consistently taking steps that build the momentum required for sustainable change
Determination: Developing the resilience to focus and deliver even when faced with setbacks
Development: Establishing a system for continuous improvement, feedback, and ongoing learning
If you ‘d like to learn more about how to make change part of your business’s DNA, then please join us on May 15th for our Soundview Live webinar with McFarland and Goldsworthy, Driving Results One Person at a Time. You can also submit questions throughout the presentation.