UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Head Down, Eyes Up

Head Down Eyes Up

Too many young people use images to inflict pain and despair. Furthermore, institutions often perpetuate images that discourage overcoming such crippling emotions. Imagine a young man of color with his head buried on a desk. He could easily be reflecting his manhood’s institutionalized destruction. However, the same image could easily be illustrating the convergence of great purpose connecting to great outcomes. Specifically, this gratifying image reveals a young man preparing for his SAT Exam approximately four weeks before accepting a full basketball scholarship which became available upon receiving his final score.

Know Your History
His academics were questionable largely because his environment and expectations were stereotypically assigned to him. He possessed exceptional athletic talent. Still, that narrative fit a convenient stereotype. However, when his basketball coach boldly approached a special tutor with a proprietary SAT preparation program, stereotypical walls were threatened. The coach knew of the tutor’s success in increasing SAT performance with high school students. The coach also believed in the player’s heart that wanted to decimate stereotypes of academically underperforming athletes. The coach needed to facilitate an environment that illuminated that stereotype’s foolishness.

In arguably the coach’s greatest recruitment job, he explained to the tutor why he would deliver a seven-week program in three weeks and achieve significant results. First, the coach dismissed other unflattering labels that had been assigned to the kid. He emphasized the player’s unyielding tenacity. The coach then assured the tutor that he had the singular voice who could reach and teach this student-athlete. So, when other “authority figures” explained to the kid that boys from his part of town do not go to college, the tutor simply moved his mindset to a different location! The student was no longer home; he was on the road to college basketball! The tutor’s Social Emotional Learning experience interceded to challenge the young athlete to grab new tools to make constructive decisions for better outcomes in a new psychological environment.

Make A Solution
Coach G! SAT Training program clearly had the academic tools available for a successful outcome. However, building trust as the right authority figure to guide the youth in the right direction was more challenging. But again, Social Emotional Learning skills provided a path to encourage confidence and competence. Where slow academic progress created sympathy, the new learning environment embraced empathy. Creating conversations about the feelings of academic success quickly led to sharing a common desire to succeed. The goal was less about academic success and more about achieving a goal of a better life.

As the academic learning continued, his emotional strength grew. The student’s concern of sacrificing his present for an unknown future disappeared as his comprehensive learning embraced new realities featuring life-affirming outcomes. As the student further acknowledged an encouraging ear, he became more intentional in sharing what he knew and what else he intended to learn. His new learning community emphasized accomplishment, instead of judgment. Most importantly, as the test date drew closer, he equated his success with better life choices. He encountered an authority figure who cared how he felt and supported his choice for an improved self-image.

Takeaway
The student realized that his college aspirations required more perseverance than intellect. Athletically, he brought a strong sense of tenacity and desire with him. He then channeled those attributes to help close the knowledge gap with new peers. By building skills based on tenacity, outcomes and self-worth, the young man learned to set personal goals pointing to positive outcomes which he personally desired. He envisioned, embraced, and engaged his future, while owning the outcomes with the support of wise counsel. In short, the image of the jock with his head down transformed to reflect purpose with emotional maturity. More importantly when his head rises up, he sees a future where he possesses tools and maturity to create achievement as he sees fit.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more about social emotional learning (and even donate) go to TYRS.org (link)

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October 19, 2018 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Problems? I Have Puzzles

Quincy Jones Diverse Humble Band

Legendary music producer and epically cool dude, Quincy Jones, once quoted, “I don’t have problems. I have puzzles.” Considering the 27 Grammy awards he has earned over his 50+ year music career across genres, personalities and time periods, he has solved a lot of puzzles. Formal education did not give him the ability to solve problems or puzzles; he has no earned degrees. Yet, his unceasing approach toward education and innovation clearly reveals his enormous learning capacity. So, how does a young overachiever replicate any portion of Jones’ success? What tools are available to equip the next legend to promote selfless collaboration and excellence?

Building Blocks
Foundationally, Jones is a lifelong learner who seizes learning opportunities everywhere. He travels globally. And, he refuses to define himself into any genre or stereotype. To benefit from assorted experiences, Jones constantly embraces interactions with enormous empathy and curiosity. He sees other emotional viewpoints. Through constantly embracing diverse interactions, an inquisitive nature, and ongoing practice, Jones builds enduring relationships and curiosity which contributes to his leadership and innovation.

To apply this skill to youth, first establish a culture that encourages interactions with people outside immediate social circles, ethnic backgrounds, or demographic profiles. Create environments where social tensions and conflicts can be intentionally discussed without forcing resolution. Support listening to other perspectives with the expectation of understanding instead of winning arguments. Advance these practices within an environment of empathy and mature guidance. Help create a community of collaborators, not alpha dogs. Emphasizing commonalities through open discussion and shared experiences provides the final building block.

Building Leaders
Another essential component of Jones’ broad success is his ability to nurture leaders. In the studio, he is known for empowering, corralling and liberating talent. By not entering the studio acting entitled to the alpha role, Jones approaches the environment collaboratively, and then persuades other alpha dogs to follow him. Leadership is much more powerful when followers select the head. Dominant personalities still maintain their dignity as leaders and essential contributors. Yet, Jones’ skill includes persuasion to use superior talent to strengthen the group deliberately. If this developed skill can win over prima donnas like Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra, it can work in any community.

In building leaders, the most necessary skill is to value followers. In community building, that priority means influencers need to develop skills to listen empathetically, as well as to communicate prioritized team goals. Furthermore, adult leaders who demonstrate an “I know better because I am older” attitude will eventually recognize that approach worked poorly in their generation, and most likely in the generation before theirs. Sharing responsibilities, in conjunction with opportunities to succeed and fail, builds strength and resilience in adversity. At that point, youth are equipped to solve puzzles. Also, big problem gets managed because smaller tasks that initially created the monster are resolved.

Takeaways
Building skills that emphasize empathy, values and legacy encourage human development by rewarding individuals in ways that they specifically own. Listening to the team’s desires and personal objectives helps leaders identify proper rewards for contributors to the communal good. That skill requires listening with hearts, as well as ears. The resulting legacy relies on learners accepting that today’s decisions will impact tomorrow’s results. All these moving parts result in complex puzzles. But, when communally valued tools and reduced egos drive each step, using heads and hearts to solve puzzles becomes much easier than solving bigger problems birthed from uncontrollable egos. This approach has worked in Quincy Jones’ orchestras. It will work in developing nearby communities.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more – and even contribute/ donate – go to www.TYRS.org

August 9, 2018 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Your Value?

UA1 Community Center Value - 4

Finding people and organizations to pour into needy children and their communities is easy. Delivering meaningful progress in improving communities is much, much harder. Too many social initiatives proclaim to save underserved communities! Upon securing enough attention, these advocates shout louder about creating environments to improve everything that is ruining that community. Once the audience gets large enough, then references about returning to days-gone-by to build a better community overwhelms the emotions of any baby boomer with selective memories. Nevertheless, for building better communities, start with functional communities comprised of respectful people. But, what does that even look like?

Faith
Common beliefs regarding right and wrong is a logical starting place. While faith discussions quickly deteriorate into religious differences, constructive alternatives focus on observing faith as belief in a common set of ideals. Before religious conversion, common understanding is required. Otherwise, it is called a crusade and people die! Regardless, communication facilitates faith. In building a functional community, common values emerge to lead to agreement on the fundamentals for a better environment. Results require a structure that equips young and old with tools to reach common beliefs to benefit the community.

Growth
Community growth is a reasonable outcome for community improvements. Beyond wishes for prosperity, growth works well as a stepping stone to better communities. Additionally, economic development and education are often reasonable indicators for growth. But, those attributes also imply finite resources. In a community where numerous people will ultimately co-exist, not everyone will have equal access to resources. Too many communities and their residents believe, “I can only have more, if someone else has less.” To contradict such limiting beliefs, adults must demonstrate the ability and capacity to share to establish an example for the younger people. While advocating communal sharing of resources is most likely unreasonable, creating environments and safe spaces for people to exchange ideas and common experiences starts the path to trust. And best of all, when common experiences start to be shared in the spirit of having more, it is a short leap for shared trust to manifest additional community resources. Then, sharing objects logically results in sharing emotional well-being aspirations.

Legacy
As these first two legs establish a foundation of beliefs and common experiences, the third leg secures the community’s mutual improvement through background and attitudes. Spending one Saturday afternoon with a neighbor to check the box for community activity is clearly counterproductive. However, start connecting with hello. Then, have two adults from different families actually observe their children together sharing positive experiences. Parents can even set the example. The kids can keep their own toys, just acknowledge their time together. In this case, legacy can mean transferring knowledge from one generation to the next, or simply transferring examples from one grade to the next inside the same family. Socially, children learn from their siblings and immediate environment, as much as from their parents. A focus on growth through legacy allows for youngsters to benefit deliberately from their elders.

So, what is your value? Start with creating capacity and structure to continue important work in building better people inside communities. Consequently, these better people will be equipped to demonstrate faith, growth and legacy so that the community progresses toward delivering a vibrant, compassionate and enduring culture leading to better livelihoods in the future. Specifically, value is not necessarily an amount in this context, it is interpersonal assets building better people and communities. Teach tools, like empathy, to improve emotional character which results in improving the community’s quality of life. Then, despite communities’ previous perceptions, residents benefit from owning their individual self-improvement.

By Glenn W Hunter, Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Resource Services
To learn more (and even donate) go to TYRS.org

July 22, 2018 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What You Think You See

Demonstration against G8 Summit in Le Havre

“What you think you see is not really what you see!” is a personal favorite quote from the Los Angeles Riots. A juror first uttered the words following the verdict, and the words dramatically resurfaced after the actual rioting began. For this purpose, the idea is not political, racial, or legal. The quote focuses on mindset! What a juror first said to justify her de-sensitized perspective of police brutality, morphed to articulate an individualized, alternate set of facts. A looter re-introduced the statement to explain her participation in the ensuing devastation. She clearly presented her personal interpretation of facts. She owned her narrative!

Perception
Amazingly, different people can experience the exact same event, at the exact same time and leave with completely different interpretations of what happened. Whether it is a physical vantage point, a cultural lens, or personal history that filters information, every individual singularly experiences any given event. This revelation becomes particularly important when birthing a movement to launch change.

Facts matter, but interpretation and coinciding actions drives activity. Consequently, to facilitate effective change, events must impact perception. What people say is important, but what people hear is more important! Consequently, to create lasting impact in any given situation, the narrative must benefit listeners. Effective speakers coordinate their own best interest to persuade understanding of their broad audience. Everyone receives a slightly distinctive message. But, aligning aggregate received messages with the speakers’ vision facilitates change.

Influence
Creating social movements require delivering a narrative in which others will subscribe. Foundationally, a singular, communal truth relies on aligning individual perspectives toward the desired message. Progress results from conveying a viewpoint that empowers different perspectives to arrive at a similar conclusion. Consider two travelers on a road trip approaching a gas station late at night. The driver suggests filling up the tank. That traveler sees a chance to swap drivers so that she can rest. The other traveler sees the opportunity to load up on snacks because they still have more driving to do. In one stop, they both gladly meet their fundamental needs. The result is a trip that continues on time and with reduced anxiety.

Aligning points of view impacts goalsetting, as well as the ability to achieve results. A point of view also dictates how success is measured. Consequently, upon understanding various perspectives and their stake in the outcome, crafting a message that appeals to multiple parties gets easier. Effective narratives successfully rally followers to make their individual contributions as part of a greater good. Essentially, each individual works toward what they really want to see. And, these individuals purse their agenda under the covering of communal and aligned efforts.

Takeaways
To achieve communal goals, articulate clearly the desired results that benefit individuals. Furthermore, individuals must contribute individual narratives which will align with the framework that delivers desired results. Goals do not have to be admirable, conventional, or reasonable. They have to be perceived as attainable! Individuals perceive relevance to the extent that their contribution advances their individual agenda. Unfortunately, that mindset opens the door to manipulation by someone with a grander vision and a more convincing narrative. Essentially, “Anyone can get what they want as long as they help enough other people get what they want.” The risk is succumbing to another’s agenda. To contribute to a bigger cause, own your narrative. Be ready to live with the results.

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

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whose Ways Are The Best Ways?

istock_000010339765large

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

 

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

Three D’s For a 4.0

A Plus Kid

What is the result of achieving A’s in every class? Any school community recognizes a 4.0 grade point average as the pinnacle of achievement. This academic goal is typically treated with reverence and awe. It implies perfection in that student’s performance that far surpasses ordinary classmates. So, how does a D impact a perfect report card. Furthermore, how can three D’s result in a 4.0 grade point average?

Desire
The three D’s specifically point to essential characteristics that result in excellence! High performance is a process. The process’s first step simply is a desire for excellence. Articulating a goal precedes achieving it. But real progress requires passionately pursuing it. Desire is the foundation. From an academic perspective an unyielding fixation on maximum performance creates the necessary mindset for top grades. Competition is always at every winner’s heels. Because great results require great efforts, desire ultimately fuels the intense focus to achieve any goal. Unyielding desire sets the foundation to prepare for every assignment, every test, and every milestone that moves toward individual victory. Regardless of the contest, the will to win paves the road toward achieving the highest performance levels.

Determination
Beyond desire, establishing the prescribed steps for superior performance requires another D. Determination involves the necessary work. Beyond wanting an A, executing the process of earning an A requires a higher level of commitment. Each step must be identified and constantly re-evaluated. Determination means fully embracing the established plan. Exceptional performance takes high-achieving principles and puts them into action. A straight A student must study, then execute when tested. Like all competitors, straight A students have options, temptations, and other priorities. Nevertheless, their determination keeps their priorities fixated on the identified goals. Beyond the dream is the work that must be performed while awake. Determination ensures that the work gets done to earn the targeted results.

Discipline
While determination manifests itself in execution, discipline equates to consistency. For high performers, a good grade is only a data point. Excellence reflects repeated behaviors. However, top performance demands excellence and longevity. Winning habits creates great performers. Furthermore, repeated excellence delivers top champions. The 4.0 student repetitively achieves top results. Discipline empowers the individual to pursue, accomplish and repeat top results at every occasion. Ultimately, discipline is the repetition of successful tactics that result in achieving the desired goals.

According to Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.” The three D’s that lead to a 4.0 reflect habitual excellence. It starts in the mind and manifests through intentional action. Grades are often mistakenly seen as the product of excellence. In reality, grades reflect the excellence which produced the result. Grades merely are the score. But, the process of earning them is the habit that transforms individuals. And by transforming individuals, high performance can empower opportunities, practices, personalities, and communities. Aspire for excellence. Then, deliver results. Unleash excellence that will transform an enlarged community!

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

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

Building Relationship Is For Them

 

Hall Crowd

Who doesn’t want to be loved? Some people seem to attract strangers who are willing to share their life stories. Whether they have an empathetic ear or a trusting face, these lucky listeners have people approach them with personal details. The best of these folks embrace their abundant relationship trait. Patience is often a common characteristic. An electric smile emerges as a sure sign in other cases. Nevertheless, recently two friends laughed over really good coffee about how they manage the unusual attraction of people who willingly over-share.

Music
Friend One is a musician who has a full dose of the relationship trait. As a working musician, he finds himself in assorted halls, theaters, and churches where he encounters diverse fans. Invariably, after a set, fans and listeners are inclined to pull up a chair to share. Friend One believes his highly evolved ear makes him a gifted listener.

He receives their input by listening intently. Too often, people do not really want someone to solve their problems; they want someone to listen to them. They equate listening with caring. Because Friend One listens well, his audience believes he cares well. Consequently, they share well and in turn, experience relationship. Friend One’s gift is establishing connectivity with people who need it. The music is simply a vehicle.

Lecture
Friend Two on the other hand, is a lecturer. Whether teaching, presenting, or consulting, he dispenses knowledge for listeners to apply. Establishing rapport is a skill he has developed over time. But in order to personalize information, he has to understand his audience in as much detail as possible. His primary skill is questioning.

Great lecturers do not necessarily create knowledge. But realize that knowledge is more readily available now than at any time in history. A great lecturer personalizes the knowledge. They present information in ways that multiple individuals in the audience want to receive it. Consequently, asking the right questions, while sharing information to ensure understanding, is an exceptionally valuable attribute. And, as the audience responds, either by individual or as a crowd, the connection becomes more firmly established. And, whether the bold learners address him during Q & A, or the extremely bold learners approach as he packs his materials to leave, Friend Two reinforces connection by exchanging more information individually.

Fundamentally, connecting with people happens at an emotional level. President Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The conversation is just the foundation. The listening and connecting is where the value happens. Relationship is the foundation of human and commercial value. Would you buy your morning coffee from someone if you do not believe it is going to be good (or at least dark & hot)? Whether the power comes from listening or questioning, it is the personalized dialogue that expresses caring. And caring is the foundation of relationship.

So, in building relationship, how do you express caring? When are you most receptive to connecting?

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow Means You Can Do It

yellow-traffic-light

Never has running a yellow light been so hazardous! As more people migrate to Tennessee for the great cost of living, good quality of life, and beautiful changes of seasons, they all bring their native driving habits. Particularly, Californians who move to Tennessee have to adjust to a dramatically different driving culture. Tennessee’s driving culture sees yellow lights as a warning that the light will turn red, so let’s stop. In the hustle, bustle and unfathomable traffic of California, their drivers interpret yellow traffic lights to mean to go faster: “You can do it!” Same traffic light, but different cultures, results in multiple collisions.

Can Do Attitude
Regardless of which culture is right, the resulting accident is bad. But, the crashing of the two cultures still intersect at a common understanding. The yellow light literally means caution, but a pervading attitude is “you can do it.” People relocate for a better life, regardless of any number of factors that ultimately drive the decision. That sense of optimism generates hope and opportunity. By setting goals, the mindset assumes a perspective that a better existence results from achieving the stated goal. Whether it is a healthier lifestyle, a better career, or educational accomplishments, acknowledging that “you can do it”, is an essential first step. Naysayers and failure are often around the corner. All the same, see the caution, then go for it anyway!

Still Pay Attention
Despite the decision to seize opportunity, the yellow light still means caution. Risk remains. Not every entrepreneurial venture is a roaring success. Some ideas never take flight. Effective planning helps mitigate some risks. Better information and creative alternatives provide options to the original plan. Inner confidence contributes an even heightened priority because people who want to squash progress and achievement everywhere. Sometimes they are part of the journey. The line between being concerned for someone and selfishly wanting to hold them back is often indistinguishable. Be wise. Be alert. Be courageous.

Yellow lights are not a license to speed, nor permission to enter a congested intersection, regardless of what Californians say. But, they are right when they believe that the caution signal means “You can do it.” Find an intersection. Life is full of crossroads. Drive through it. Don’t let your old ways, prevent you or anyone else from advancing. Recognize the risk. Perform the necessary internal calculations. Then, seize the moment. Take the chance. Set an ambitious goal. Accomplish it. Or, fail at it. But either way, take the experience, then speed to the next intersection. The road leads to more opportunities. Recognize the caution. Then, proceed to get somewhere new. You can do it!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment