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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Whose Ways Are The Best Ways?

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Wisdom comes from good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from mistakes. Mistakes come from bad judgment. ~Chinese proverb
A young student sternly resisted coaching that emphasized him improving his discipline. Stereotypicaly, the youth smugly proclaimed that the old ways do not work anymore. The hilarious irony is that preceding generations said the exact same thing! The best practices of any particular generation over another generation are irrelevant. Maturity emphasizes wisdom. Youth worships innovation. Both perspectives are right, and self-serving. Wisdom is slow and innovation is reckless. Unfortunately, the two perspectives rarely align. Nevertheless, progress continues. Yet, how do these opposites manage to coexist?

Wisdom
Maturity brings a sense of deliberation. A student boastfully tells his teacher that his programmable calculator can solve the math problem. The teacher emphasizes the importance of thinking. The student’s priority is the right answer. The teacher wants students to understand the principle because students will need to apply earlier principles to learn new ones. The student wants to get his A so that he can he can enjoy his rewards for good grades. Regardless of which approach prevails, the point is to align goals. Wisdom is an accumulation of knowledge and experiences. It involves success and struggle. Each generation endures struggle. Developing the tools to engage and overcome struggle is essential to growth. Shortcuts are great until someone needs a bridge to go farther.

Innovation
However, innovation creates bridges. Applying tools and experiences that result in unprecedented thinking solves future problems. Most certainly, the past clearly teaches that the future presents new problems. However, innovation results from making mistakes and correcting them. It rewards taking established knowledge and improving it. No one gets an iPhone without someone first having a Palm Pilot. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Judgment can only be developed through trial error. Innovation provides new advancements, yet fundamentally they produce new problems that must be solved. Recklessly pursuing progress without embracing the obstacles along the way leads to ignoring the lessons that set the foundation. Skyscrapers are not built from the top down.

Takeaways
Ultimately, learn the rules and then break them! Mistakes are opportunities to do it better. Upon making enough mistakes, the result can be a better opportunity. Viagra was a failed attempt for a better drug in treating high blood pressure and a certain heart condition. But, the pursuit of perfection could have easily stopped Viagara’s other benefits from ever being realized. Nevertheless, pursue the right answer. Also, pursue the knowledge that accompanies it. Accept the wisdom of earlier lessons, and their mistakes. Embrace the new knowledge that results, as well as the pain of failure. Coaching facilitates this purpose. The old ways may or may not be best, but they provide the path to using experience for the greater good. Learn. Fail. Grow. Repeat.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

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November 15, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Broke It Better

Miles & Herbie

“I played something that was technically wrong…” as shared by legendary jazz pianist, Herbie Hancock, referencing a performance with mercurial jazz giant, Miles Davis. Hancock continued “… I thought I had just destroyed everything. Miles played some notes and he made my chord right. I judged what I had played; Miles didn’t.” Despite his immense talent, Hancock was upset after making a musical mistake despite the piece’s complexity. Equally, he was concerned about the error’s consequences in front of a notoriously exacting taskmaster. But Davis methodically approached Hancock in the middle of the song, before an enormous crowd, then used his horn and moved the music back on track. The outcome was better. This is pure leadership!

Reason for Being Here
Every contributor has a specific purpose. Whether overseeing a complex international operation, or being that guy where “You had one job to do!”, acknowledge the reason for the selection. Sometimes the reason is simply availability. Then, be available. Other times, it is specific set of skills the very few people possess. Nevertheless, embrace the fact that additional gifts can be applied to the most basic responsibility. If the role involves managing others to achieve specific goals, then enforce the processes. If the role includes leading other leaders, then articulate strategy and expected outcomes.

In all situations, specify necessary skills to accomplish the assignment, then permit unique imagination. Leaders prepare for unexpected contingencies by being alert and receptive to innovating for better outcomes. Embrace unforseen possibilities in pursuing goals. Mistakes happen. Creativity corrects them. Value all contributions and deploy them with a singular focus on success.

Contribute Unique Gifts
After accepting an assignment and launching its execution, prepare to deploy all available assets in accomplishing the task. Expect to manage contingencies. A business task force may require a marketing expert. Instead of grabbing the nearest MBA, identify a proven problem solver. Effective leaders identify the most effective option for specific tasks. A proven problem solver with marketing experience, and an MBA should do the trick.

Bring them on board with clear expectations of maximizing their gifts. The most obscure life experiences have value. Great leaders inspire followers to exceed their individual expectations. Transcendent experiences result when every contributor brings all their attributes and is ready to contribute them. According to Shakespeare, “Some people are born great, other people have greatness thrust upon them.” Don’t be that guy who is unprepared to deliver when greatness is thrust upon him.

Conclusion
Returning to Miles Davis’ intervention, his correction produced a more innovative and musically interesting results. Hancock was relieved and Davis seized another opportunity to demonstrate his immense genius. Davis affirmed Hancock’s reason for being there while simultaneously validating his enormous talent.

Too often, in the eagerness to contribute, the journey’s purpose gets lost. While the destination is important, identify other benefits within the mission. Pursue goals with intense focus and attention, yet seize growth opportunities. Unexpected detours occur. Still, pay attention to the journey. The experience is equally important as the accomplishment. Embrace errors. Then, learn from and build upon the genius of innovative solutions. The result invariably leads to improved processes benefitting future accomplishments. But first, break it better!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Train Up A Teen

SEL Child

Mark Twain said, “When a child turns 12, he should be kept in a barrel and fed through the knot hole, until he reaches 16…at which time you plug the hole.” The Old Testament raises the issue of disobedient children. And, today because we have the internet and artificial intelligence, children are supposed to know better and be more obedient. Regardless, where the blame lies across generations for children, teens and young adults are still reluctant to accept advice and wisdom from their elders. Instead of yelling louder, perhaps authority figures should listen more. Equally important, they should listen earlier. And, that listening from authority figures begins with parents, teachers, and youth leaders. By modeling listening behaviors, young people will be more likely to apply listening skills. Too often, youth cannot hear words from adults because their actions are too loud.

Engage
Dialogue by definition is bilateral. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a tactic that develops young people by cultivating specific communication tools. This tactic delivers tools to young people to articulate their pain. A straightforward example is the focus on bullying. SEL provides tools to help process the blizzard of emotions and destructive behaviors associated with youth aggression. Power, control, frustration are all elements of bullying. By engaging youngsters they have opportunities to begin processing root causes of these activities. Furthermore, they gain insight to their consequences.

To promote growth, authority figures must acknowledge and accept the privilege to teach, guide and mentor young people. Too often teachers assume they are right because they have spoken. Through emotionally connecting with young learners, teachers forge a path for truth to emerge. They earn the privilege to be right upon achieving awareness that students received the information. Fundamentally, engagement establishes an emotional connection that results in communicating information to a listener equipped to process it.

Respond
Assuming authority figures know best is a slippery slope, especially when interacting with young learners. Responding with right answers is too simplistic. Assuming away the learners’ emotional state because rational facts are presented is a disservice. Treating academic facts as irrefutable truths compounds the problem. Instructors ignore their learners’ emotional filters at their own peril. Students cannot accept facts if they do not trust their source. More importantly, they cannot respond properly to new information without an emotional connection to the facts. If the communication filter is clogged with learners’ confusion, pain, insecurity and hopelessness, then the facts never reach their understanding.

Pressures to understanding, embedded in young people, have changed dramatically in the last generation. Today’s adult parents of school age children are too old to have been cyber-bullied in elementary school. The argument that bullying is bullying is the equivalent of saying that a library’s card catalog has the same research capacity as Google. Sensitivity to the differences in acquiring and processing information is essential to communicating and educating. Teachers who exercise insight to students’ social-emotional needs have a tremendous advantage in conveying information. Developing and exercising abilities to identify and respond to felt needs is an advantage resulting in better learners.

Takeaway
Training young people to learn and apply their knowledge productively is an old priority. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”, is a lesson from Proverbs 22:6 (English Standard Version). Communicate, listen, respond, listen some more. Listening is not the pause while waiting for the next turn to talk. Empower students to process information that they receive, not just accept the authority’s experience as the only option. Even if the authority’s path is best, it does not necessarily reflect the individual youngster’s reality. Teaching is empowering learning to occur; it is not spewing knowledge. Learning socially, emotionally and intellectually requires delivering knowledge using proper tools so that intelligence transfers. The youngsters’ ability to progress and function depends on it.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ABO: Attitude Behaviors Outcomes

Bootcamp Obstacle Teamwork

Getting teenagers to achieve meaningful changes for their future benefit is an enormous task. Young people routinely alter their life trajectory every ten, social media – driven, seconds. Nevertheless, creating positive change happens. Goals and timelines are established. The journey begins. However, progress is impossible without a strong foundation. Regardless of age, obstacle, or circumstance, significant achievement only occurs with a strong foundation. Three cornerstones establish the structure to change teenagers, parents, professionals, or anyone else interested in progress.

Attitude
Considering young people, if “attitude” and “change” are seen together, the word, “bad”, is nearby. However, attitude is simply, “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” Most importantly, attitudes can change. Individuals must want or be incented to change. Nevertheless, change is possible. To improve, it is necessary. By creating a positively accountable group, peer pressure can help facilitate growth-oriented change. Daily reinforcement of group benefits and goals gives the team permission to police itself. When “it’s all about us kids”, they own the improvement. They own the results. Their attitude ignites their winning drive! The leader merely points it in the desired direction.

Behavior
“If you can believe, you can achieve” is a clever quote. The achievement part requires work. Changing behavior requires work. Establishing structured activities is essential to creating a framework where that work happens. Different habits are introduced. The habits do not necessarily have to be new. But, they must be different than previously ineffective habits. Simple actions like choosing a different seat, selecting the first activity, picking their own nickname qualify. Individual ownership within the group framework instills ownership of progress. When every individual inside the group owns a decision that leads to group success, individual behavior matters. Furthermore, members become eager to exercise their new power so that their next behavior matters. Personally, each contributing individual can own the results.

Outcome
The foundation’s final piece features consistent focus on the ultimate result. Each individual must know their contribution matters. Everyone must share a stake with their teammates. This mindset only develops through consistent reinforcement that is established early and communicated often. Measurable goals work best. While individual goals create ownership, emphasizing cooperative benefits encourages teamwork. The rewards do not have to be equivalent. They must be individually meaningful. And, the rewards must be celebrated! Established outcomes are essential to successfully executing this process. Leaders who mutually serve the individual and the team reap the greatest benefits.

Takeaways
This process works for kids. It works for adults. Communal success and ownership of results is culturally hard-wired. Leaders do not need to dictate the result. Effective leaders are secure in knowing that they drove the result. They also know that their followers are ultimately responsible for executing the result. The purpose is success, not credit. Attitude, behaviors, outcomes represent the foundation. Reinforcing this foundation builds a stronger structure. If young people can be successful with this framework, imagine the success available to them when the stakes are higher!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compassionate Leadership Starts Early

Diverse Teen Leaders Group

A recent Mastermind Group meeting of civic-minded business leaders took an unexpected turn. A sidebar conversation turned toward social emotional learning. Ironically, the conversation started between two members who shared a common background with an organization identifying more with manhood, than anti-bullying. They surprisingly discovered that they also shared a passion in equipping youth with tools to build self-esteem and coping skills. Together they explored how their resources could jointly leverage greater contributions to healthier student communities. How do you inspire youth communities to build a more cooperative foundation? Start with developing leaders who understand how to respectfully engage their community!

Compassion
Compassion is not typically connected with leadership initially. However, for effective leaders to move followers toward results, they need to connect emotionally. Obeying because the leader said so, is a dangerous tactic. Empires fall when leaders demand blind faith and receive it. But connecting emotionally with a team is essential to gaining clarity for achieving the group’s vision. Emotional connection establishes followers who buy into group goals. High performance results because the group believes, not because they are compelled.

To establish such trust, communicating is vital. Effective listening is essential. Social emotional skills cultivate individuals to express their honest needs and expectations. Toxic leadership traps like groupthink are exposed and neutralized by honestly sharing ideas and priorities. Effective leaders can then embrace their groups’ needs, and benefit from their input and contribution. The best leaders understand the importance of intently listening before forming strategies. Imagine building communities based on fulfilling the growth of its members, rather than egos of its leaders.

Strength
“A leader without followers is just someone out taking a walk.” Effective leadership is truly strength with compassion. It involves vision. It focuses on service. By definition, a leader must have followers. For influencers in any particular community, identifying power brokers with a following is a common tactic. So is discerning where to locate available funding. Networking among ambitious changemakers often follows that path. However, connecting with pockets of influence that share an emotional bond also wields power. To harness strength in numbers, create alliances with the strongest bonds.

Nevertheless, to sustain strength, communal needs must be met. Communal needs prioritize the needs of the many, not just the powerful. Long-term strategies seek to cultivate the masses in advance of any rise to power. Therefore strategically, give future leaders the skills that they need to maximize their community’s potential. That community’s future resides in civil communication, then building emotional bonds. Teaching tools to communicate intellectually, as well as emotionally, creates leaders that cultivate engaged followers by serving their innate priorities. Subsequently, their strength results from aligning them with their broader good.

Takeaway
Functional and compassionate youth have a higher likelihood to become functional and compassionate adults. By giving leadership opportunities earlier in the youths’ development, communities improve the likelihood of growing through a spirit of cooperation, rather than fear. The local high school’s quarterback who also trains as a youth group leader acquires the capacity to develop skills to listen and lead into future service. The neighboring school’s chess champion and lead cheerleader can easily channel her developed skills in strategy, leadership, and enthusiasm into a path leading to legislative greatness. The social emotional tools are available for delivery. For those unconvinced of the importance of developing these skills, try not holding your belongings closer, or confirming that your weapon is accessible, the next time a group of raucous teenagers walk toward you at night.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intense Fellowship

Intense fellowship

Two people entrenched in a relationship with a strong faith-based foundation always achieve peaceful resolutions. Their love for each other and their commitment to their spiritual connection prevents anger and aggression. Then, their human emotions get involved and their faith-based engagement turns into an ugly argument! While the opening story plays very well on Sunday morning, make no mistake this is an argument. So, how did their personal, compassionate foundation escalate to the point that their relationship to each other and their higher power became compromised?

Argument
In the spirit of professed morality, intense fellowship is a wonderful euphemism. Highly charged disagreements may stem from any number of issues that attack couples. Friction results from carnal, financial, or social disconnection. Regardless, of professed faith-based commitments, communication breakdowns occur. Even beloved children’s behavior can ignite relationship explosions.

Nevertheless, disagreements must be addressed. Ignoring core issues or burying them under a cloak of religious doctrine only nourishes the seeds of destruction. Neither party feels better. The conflict simply festers and begins to attack other parts of the relationship. A social problem that is treated with retail therapy evolves into a financial problem. Intense fellowship only works when that approach is taken literally. Both parties honestly engage the conflict with raw emotions and expectations for common ground. Specific reasons may escalate the intensity. Still, identify the core issue and engage it. The ultimate goal focuses on preserving the relationship’s dignity.

Relationship
By keeping the relationship at the forefront, navigating intense fellowship has hope. Equally important, a path to resolution can surface. Removing the emotion from the equation, is a simple solution, Unfortunately, it is minimally effective. The emotion is what brings meaning to the relationship. Whether it is love of money, love of family, love of self, or even a common enemy, emotion cannot be assumed away. Whether managing the conflict requires reconciling faith, values, or matters of conscience, embrace the necessity of emotion. It is not leaving. Do not pretend that it will.

Upon establishing the emotional foundation, then address the intensity. Honor the other sides’ passion. Identify the non-negotiables. Understand what is really wrong on each side. Is there ignorance concerning key elements of the issue? Or, is apathy concerning the other side’s perspective the battleground. Genuinely explore the ignorance or apathy question, because “I don’t know and I don’t care” is not a helpful attitude! Prioritize the connection and the morals that hold it together.

Takeaway
When intense fellowship properly runs its course, the intensity subsides. The fellowship endures. Maintaining relationship is the foremost goal. Once the relationship collapses under the argument’s weight, the only two choices are abandon or rebuild. Truly consider whether the point that led to the intense fellowship is the final battleground. Regardless of specific beliefs, intense fellowship tests both sides’ positions and values. Before winning arguments at all costs be sure of the willingness to collect the broken pieces. Beware of scorched earth victories. Winning the war means rebuilding the defeated lands. With regards to individuals or community, reconciliation reinforces the priority of fellowship in the first place.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

September 6, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll Make the Call

Business Storytelling

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” Pathetic talking heads spew this cliché to advocate the virtues of networking! Supporting this madness are countless “thinkers” increasing social media contacts to justify claims of being connectors. Professionals seeking help need more “doers” and fewer “thinkers”. Networking means serving, and consequently human contact. Serving another person’s needs demands contact with other people. It eventually requires people exchanging ideas. Fundamentally, doing a favor, performing a service, or connecting colleagues, depends on establishing communication. Simply, someone must make the call.

I Know A Guy
Continuing with mindless clichés, claims to know someone who can solve someone else ’s problem have become laughable. Nowadays, knowing a guy can mean having attended a prestigious kindergarten with Ms. CEO, or just started following this individual on Instagram upon seeing their “sick pics in Vegas” after they spoke at last week’s conference. Regardless, the implication screams “shallow relationship”. Knowledge is good, but genuine relationship is better.

Someone with a need, whether a referral or a recommendation, truly requires connectivity. The request implies personal closeness. “I know a guy” only suggests awareness. Awareness does not solve problems any more than driving past Krispy Kreme (and that cursed red light) delivers weight loss! To serve a colleague’s need, understand the specific request. Probe for the pain’s core and the desired remedy. Then, seek a solution through personal connectivity. Profiles, handles and email addresses are irrelevant. Leveraging an established relationship to propel another one initiates the process.

The Guy Knows Me
To maximize the ability to help another, the connection should be selfless. Bragging about the depth and breadth of a network typically minimizes the ability to serve and solve. Possessing a network that features influencers and problem solvers who want to help, maximizes value. “The Guy Knows Me” communcates that the network has willing individuals who accomplish goals. Such relationship’s foundation features a history of trustworthy performance that benefitted both parties. “The Guy” has tremendous incentive to cooperate. They already know the benefits resulting from helping. It has happened before.

At the core, networking represents accumulated social capital from investing in favors and generating strong returns based on execution. Generating such returns require active and personal effort. Connecting a colleague with a need to a professional with a personal incentive to help, leads to a genuine effort for success. Beyond having lots of followers, is having the right followers. Ask favors from someone who can deliver results, and who wants to deliver results for the person asking. Productive professional relationships commonly have this dynamic.

Takeaway
Actually, the initial, pathetic talking head is not absolutely wrong. The speaker simply finished their slightly disjointed thought too quickly. “It is not what you know; it is not who you know; it is who knows you!” When requesting a referral or favor, be sure to ask the professional who knows someone significant that wants to help. Such networking contacts are in demand because they deliver. These relationships drive results. Value these relationships and actively look to reciprocate. All contacts are not created equal. It truly matters “who knows you.”

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming Labels

Lady Label

Ice cream is smooth, creamy and delicious because of milk fat. The more the better; but only to a certain limit! To ice cream fanatics is 10% the right amount? Is 20% too much? Great ice cream is a taste of Heaven. However, clogging your arteries produces a different type of Heavenly experience. Labels tell you how much fat is in a particular ice cream serving. Yet, they tend to be confusing and do not necessarily contribute to better decisions. Labels allow people to be lazy and simplistic in interpreting the world around them. And, if simple product labels mislead people from positive outcomes, imagine how far off track labels lead when involving people and all their complexity.

Be Unique
According to highly-acclaimed motivational speaker, Les Brown, “If you hold on to your limitations, you get to keep them.” Once people allow themselves to accept labels that others impose on them, that person has embraced limits. In their efforts to fit in, they have allowed others to categorize them. Individual contributors reveal strength through their personal attributes. Succumbing to an imposed label results in forfeiting their individuality. They have accepted and owned others’ generic limitations.

However, by claiming their individuality anyone can declare their personhood. They can project uniqueness and complexity. The smart child aspires to become a doctor, because loving parents convince them that smart kids grow up to be doctors. But in the child’s uniqueness, she gravitates toward groundbreaking research in impoverished communities. Damn the comforts of a conventional practice. Furthermore, the doctor develops her personal passion as a jazz guitarist. She now gets to perform on weekends! No labels, no limits!

Be Remarkable
Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden proclaimed, “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do!” His no-nonsense, folksy approach turned an intellectually interesting university on the edge of the country into an unprecedented powerhouse. By sticking to his obsessive principles and routines, this rural Indiana native became a Los Angeles luminary without changing his character one bit. Coach Wooden developed and inspired award-winning NBA all-stars, authors, actors, orthopedists, attorneys, and entrepreneurs… so much for dumb jocks!

Excellence is specifically a byproduct of results. Individuals who stand tall on their own convictions make the masses uncomfortable. However, the masses by definition disdain distinction. They exist inside of standard labels. Champions on the other hand are singular. A new champion is crowned after every season or event. They ascend above conformity. Being remarkable defies labels. Champions literally outperform the masses.

Takeaway
Labels are designed to categorize items. Labels are placed on products specifically to identify and group them distinctly from other products. A favorite consumer brand may transcend generations within a family because of comfort and familiarity. Conversely, new and exciting consumer experiences happen daily as people experiment with new ideas and products. Unique styles and remarkable appearances encourage trial and error; which in turn results in breakthroughs. Enjoy pursuing personal success by being true to an inner compass that avoids the tried and true. Experiment and innovate. Overcome imposed labels. Embrace personal greatness.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Naughty Manager

Old School Manager

Bad managers aren’t born. They are made. Unfortunately, they are often made very early in life. Unlike genuine leaders who continuously evolve and grow, immature managers get some authority and park. It is not really the managers’ fault that they were made that way. It is totally their fault that they refused to acquire skills and evolve to the point they develop team members. Consequently, they fail to deliver sustainable results. Their small mindedness is evident in their behavior, motivation and lackluster productivity. Leaders take responsibility for their teams’ results. Mangers should aspire to assume responsibility for others, as opposed to barking about their authority and whining about their lack of respect.

Old School Guy
“I’m just an old school guy. That is how I came up in the business.” is a common statement by stagnant managers. What that really means is that they are old and lazy. You don’t want to work to improve. You don’t want to be held accountable for progress. Progress requires learning skills. It also requires accepting responsibility for better communications. Old School Guy complains that no one listens. He is oblivious to demonstrating respect or earning it with people skills.

When results become a problem, discipline is the default. Teams do not produce for Old School Guy because they do not like him! While this manager quickly points to his 20 years experience in the business, his more mature superiors regretfully recognize that he really had one year’s experience 20 times! But like any naughty child, opportunities to learn to improve happen. If only he grasped the opportunities to learn. If only….

New School Results
Communication, inclusion, dialogue are not fads. Results emerge by getting colleagues to buy into both vision and goals, then working hard toward metrics. Being the boss is not most important. Delivering results is. Communication requires listening first. As a leader, authority means having the last word. Is the first one necessary, too? For leaders who listen poorly, practice using phrases like: why do you think that?; what have you seen work in this situation?; how would your idea impact your direct reports? The magic happens when the leader embraces the silence after the question and listens!

Better questions yield better answers. Honest dialogue cultivates better solutions. Ask any child, the threat of pain promotes additional lying. Remove the pain through open, pre-emptive dialogue and more honesty results. Subordinates tend to respond better when they are genuinely heard. As a leader, make the decision. Also, consider other perspectives. Disregard the team’s input long enough and leaders will have no followers. And, a parade leader without a marching band is just someone with a stick taking a walk.

Ironically, the beauty of team success is that when it happens, enough credit is available to share. This by no means suggests rewards are distributed equally. It means the team wins. Nevertheless, mistakes happen. All knowledge does not reside in the masses. Bad decisions occur. Naughty managers start blaming everyone else in those times. However, according to leadership expert, John Maxwell, “Leadership is taking responsibility while others are making excuses.” Leaders stand tall with integrity in tough times when that attribute is most valuable. No excuses. No threats. Just clear direction and accountability. Seize opportunity to lead. Or, just pout alone with no other toys to abuse!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcommunicate

Dysfunction Overcommunicate workplace-bullying-1

How many relationships turn for the worse because someone else does not communicate enough? Organizationally, romantically, relationship dynamics work the same. A listener checks out, then the speaker overcompensates. The opposite of overcommunicate is not under-communicate. Overcommunication’s opposite is disinterest! Considering that Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s legendary research states that up to 93% of emotional communication is non-verbal, overcommunicating requires two parties to be over-exposed to language, tone, and visual cues in a conversation. Consequently, in the time for a listener to roll their eyes, communication has smashed into a roadblock. One gas-face, or daydream, during a discussion and communication suffers. Overcommunication? How about at the beginning paying attention explicitly and implicitly to what is said?

Lack of Respect
Across groups and organizations too often co-workers suffer from self-absorption. Typical they feel that they are under-challenged and definitely under-paid. They do not respect their role, or their superiors in too many instances. According to comedian George Carlin, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” Purpose is an afterthought.

Overcommunication typically occurs after the lack of communication has created an impasse. Lack of respect precedes the lack of communication. Regardless of the relationship’s structure, people pay attention to people whom they respect. No respect leads to minimal communication. Lips move. The other party nods during pauses. The verbal affirmation, meaningful response, or insightful questions that are signs that communication transpired is missing. Consequently, understanding is absent. Communication does not occur and respect is doomed!

Lack of Care
Unwillingness to care creates a similar dysfunction. Communication fails, then overcommunication seeks to fill the gap. The classic story of the aloof teenager being scolded in high school illustrates this point. The teacher accurately, but poorly worded, berates the disengaged teenager for not paying attention. “Child, what is wrong with you? Are you ignorant, or apathetic?” Then, the teenager makes eye contact with the teacher long enough to respond: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Not caring has deeper ramifications than lack of respect. Without respect, acknowledgment can still occur. Not caring creates an emotional vacuum. Overcoming the emotional void that leads to overcommunication is nearly impossible. Overcommunication results from an overcompensating mechanism from a prior lack of communication. Without caring, an individual will not even fake a relationship. Consequently, communication fails to launch. Overcompensation to enforce the point results. Overcommunication starts. It does not matter.

When poor communication fundamentals invade any relationship’s or organization’s culture, accountability falters and performance erodes. The following office sign summarizes this phenomenon: “Helen Waite takes care of such problems. If you have a problem go to Hell-En Wait!” But, to save this environment, communication has to be prioritized at every level of interaction. Fundamentals, like listening, seeking clarification, and acknowledging common understanding, have to be practiced repeatedly and routinely. Communication starts with respect and accelerates with caring. So, when does overcommunicating intercede? It does not! Overcommunication is a compensating behavior. Get it right the first time. Listen and seek understanding! Then cooperate. That is how functional people operate.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments