Truth without compassion is brutal and blunt.

We have all withnessed someone who disclosed an important sensitive message without compassion and it was just a brutal and blunt.

The virtue that comes along with being transparent is only a virtuous thing to do when it is done through good intention and in good taste.

Your Intention is felt with the words you choose and the way you present what you are saying.

The truth can be morally correct to tell someone or it can be evil and hurtful. The difference will be felt in your delivery which will always reveal the reasons why you felt the truth should be told.

Telling the truth is not what makes someone respectable. The truth is the truth and telling it flat does not carry respect by default.

The when, where, how, why and the way it is done- it all matters.

Compassion and virtue can only be claimed as the purpose for telling the truth when you deliver it with empathy.

When you deliver a message that will hurt someone or disrupt something and you don’t go about it empathetically then you are just weaponizing the truth and you are kidding yourself if you do that and call yourself moral.

And some people even blurt out things on purpose to inflict pain.

Either way it’s wrong to do it without compassion and everybody will know it’s wrong because of the way it was done.

If you use the truth as an excuse to hurt somebody else be it personal or business because your feelings got hurt along your path and you decide to use that as an excuse to be compassionless- that’s called revenge.

It is reckless and inappropriate and it will end up hurting people.

That makes the truth behind the intent worse than a lier who lies for the sake of compassion.

If you ever chose to not take special care when delivering important messages you can’t expect your message to be respected.

There are consequences to everything.

Even (and especially) when telling the truth.

A good conversation

A good conversation is one that allows the people involved in the discussion to come to a conclusion where there is an understanding of what both people want out of the conversation.

An mutually agreeable understanding is what motivates an amicable decision to be made.

The decision that is made out of that understanding often precludes the desired action (and reason for the conversation) to take place.

The action part comes as a result and rarely as an immediate request or a demand.

An action is the resolve of the understanding that was gained by the two people respecting and accepting where the other is coming from. Two things that are impossible to show you have for someone when your into to a conversation is a flat immediate request.

The understanding piece of a conversation is only possible because of the way the two people listen to and acknowledge each other’s perspective in the situation.

Acknowledgement happens when points are delivered and received by everyone in the conversation through language that lets the other person know they were heard which makes them more willing to hear you out in return than any other motivating factor.

The attempt must be made to listen to and acknowledge the other persons perspective if you want to get anything resolved without conflict and delay.

People want to be heard and feel understood. How you listen and respond to people is how you let them know that you have done both.

It’s the way we say things and what we say that matters but most importantly it’s about when we take our turn to speak and how we prove that we have heard the other persons feelings through their words that makes it the most possible to get what we want out of the conversations we have.

The turns taken to speak and the turns taken listening to each other with the other in mind prior to speaking out our requests and rather speaking in response to what was said by the other person first and then saying what we want.

To have conversation that leads to an actionable resolution means you will have to adapt and respond to what you hear a person telling you rather than reacting to how you feel about what they are saying.

The only way to keep from emotionally reacting during a conversation is to not assume what someone will tell you before you actually give them the opportunity to tell you what they have to say and express why they feel that way. Once you have that information you can then respond.

Knowing how they feel let’s you know what you have to overcome when you speak.

When we speak first and the only words we use are requests we are shooting that request in the dark at a person who has their own thoughts going on in that moment about everything but us and our request and expecting them to care.

They won’t care.

How do I know?

Because when someone comes up to you with something on their mind it has never been the same thing or came from the same perspective that is going on in your mind at that exact moment. It is humanly impossible. Due to that fact, your response to a request that is irrelevant to the current things on your mind will have a lower chance of willingly giving a productive response than if the person had started the conversation with an approach with some regard to your state of mind being naturally on something different than theirs. People need to assess your perspective on a topic to discover where you are mentally since they are the one engaging you with something on their before asking you a bunch of questions or making a demand if they want a decent response from you.

It’s human nature to want to be acknowledged and provided context and reasons before someone asks something of you.

So why is it also human nature for us to want to resolve problems with people by telling them what we want them to do as the intro to a conversation?

Because what we want them to do is something that impacts us.

But without providing the same approach we would want to be approached with how can we expect them to want to give us the time of day when we wouldn’t if the tables were turned?

We can’t expect answers to direct questions (and often demands) to be warm and fuzzy when they are ask without any emotional intelligence or awareness about how a demand sounds when give .5 second after the word hello.

However, we all have this tendency to start conversations with questions rather than not and as a result we will hear a lot more no’s than yes’s.

Our brains work like this in conversations because our brains also spend all day looking out for #1 so we don’t run through stop signs and burn ourselves while ironing clothes. We are auto-piloted for self preservation and it’s been that way since we were early humans trying to escape tigers and bears thousands of years ago.

The thing is that for communication to get you what you really want out of it you have to outsmart your instincts and change the way your conversations flow.

Once you do that you will hear a lot more yes than no.

A Story About Perfect

About 18 months ago I did something I won’t do again. I decided to change my process for planning. I started using Slack to automate my organization. Here was the problem-my process wasn’t broken. Yet, I felt I had to fix “it” to stay on trend. I have never stayed on “trend” with anything. I am more of a Buffettologist by nature. I only see a reason to go with a trend if it actually is necessary. So what happened with the decision to change my process? Did the marketing for the Slack platform really work on me? I sat back and put my marketer hat on. From a macro view, Marketers are getting pushy again. This happens when the consumer attention starts to get more expensive in the marketplace. Eventually if the marketplace gets too pushy then the consumer will put their attention somewhere that isn’t as crowded or spammy. But for now, social media advertising has our attention and we are still paying attention. It forces marketers to try harder to make the promise of something perfect outweigh the current good enough. I felt I should change when I should have thought about it instead. Perfect is never the answer over good enough. It bottle necks efficiency. It is a human desire and not a requirement for business. If your good enough is better than what other people brag about being perfect then whatever you do don’t spend any more time on perfecting the thing you already to better than everyone else. Focus your attention on something else…literally anything else is a better use of time.

Here are things to do instead of perfecting the thing you all ready do good enough:

  1. Tell more people about what you do.
  2. Ship more of your product.
  3. Deliver more of your service
  4. Do what you do for people who have more money to spend on you.

Lesson: Change is only necessary when it needs to happen. We are living through a time where we will see many things change. It is good to be ready to change when you have too. It is even more important to know when not to change something. The person who can make wise decisions about change will always be good for the company they work for. The first thing I put at the top of my agenda now is- “Don’t make perfect the enemy of good enough.” #todolist #organizationalpsychology #organizationdevelopment#lists #marketers #attention #agenda #goodenough #mentor #fix

Here is a great post on the topic  “To Do Lists” By Olivia Goldhill

#StrikeaMatch

If you build it, they will come

“If you build it, they will come.”

This is how business worked in America for a long time.

A store would go up, and people would go to the store.

There were fewer choices of stores to shop and spend money in.

There were also fewer products to choose from.

Customer service did not have to be a priority because customers had fewer places to take their money.

The tables have turned over the past 50 years.

Today you can go to millions of stores without leaving your couch.

It is your choice, any and everything you could possibly want to buy is at your fingertips because of the Internet.

This is a massive marketing challenge for even major name brands.

So where does that leave the contractor/agent/freelancer?

How can you compete with everyone else in a sea of consumer choices?

How will you get prospect/clients to find you, much less pick you?

Relying on “If you build it, they will come” does not work anymore.

The rules that applied 100 years ago do not exist any more but it is still possible to be the go to person in your field of work.

The new rules for success require you to do more than build a good presentation.

You have to connect first.

Find people and engage with them.

Connect with people.

Before you ask for a sale, start a conversation.

People can get anyone to sell them a service.

It is harder for consumers to find people who care about how outcomes will impact them and their family.

People refer people to service providers who make them feel taken care of and safe.

That is how people decide now.

Passive Aggression

Passive aggression is sugar-coated anger.

It is a cover-up.

A sneak attack.

A covert way of getting someone back.

Some people turn it into a behavioral art form they become so good at it.

But passive aggression is a no-win power struggle.

A no-win means no productivity, and there is usually some form of pain involved.

Passive aggressive people satisfy their own anger by pushing another person to publicly displaying anger.

It is nothing more than a coping mechanism.

Displaced anger stemmed from a long time of being directly ignored.

Before you label a colleague, client or partner as passive aggressive and throw your hands up feeding the negativity with more negativity…

Try assertive communication.

Call a spade a spade.

Talk about the elephant in the room, and resist any urge to do this with sarcasm—passive aggression’s evil twin.

The reality is that a person who is passive aggressive is not being heard and acknowledged like they deserve by someone in their life.

They may never admit it.

But it hurts them.

Badly.

They may never feel like they can say what they want to say in the moment.

And eventually, all that bottling up becomes too much.

They tried being heard and were ignored.

Again…and again…and again.

A person can only take so much; so one day they stop asking for people to listen.

They make people listen by taking their cooperation away.

Although this may be frustrating, talk to them.

Talk to them assertively.

Make it known that you want to make a collaborative effort to achieve the same goal.

Above all, mean it when you say it.

Be willing to connect on a genuine level.

The situation won’t get worse if you try this approach.

It might even get better.

I work so hard

“Does this client not know how hard I worked for them?

I spent countless hours keeping this deal together and they “changed their mind”? 

They had the nerve, after all my hard work to go and work with someone else after I did most of the work for the person who replaced me.

How could they not understand all the time I sacrificed on their behalf?

Do they just not care?!”

Basically.

We expect our effort, our sweat, and our time to count for something.

The reality is your time and your effort will never mean as much to other people as it means to you.

When it comes to legwork and the physical labor of your work, no one is going to understand the sacrifice in the same way you do.

Remember the saying that lasted a really long time: “Don’t work hard! Work Smart!”

You could pick in the past.

You could make a decent living working really hard or working really smart.

In the past.

People have endless choices for who they can work with today.

That is why working only hard or only smart does not set you apart from your competition.

It isn’t that the people you serve do not care about you.

They just care about themselves more.

Hard work and smart work are not things that directly impact clients.

Those things are required to do a good job.

Emotional labor, on the other hand, is quite different.

It is different because it is the one thing that you can do with your effort that means more to someone else than it means to you.

The following is a motto I wrote down. I hope you like it, but more importantly, I hope you find it works for you.



Work hard.

In every aspect of your life.

Being average is not good enough for you.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Being phenomenal means doing what you do well, and pushing your own limits.

Work hard for you, because that’s who cares most about the toll of physical work.

Work smart.

Not to get out of working hard, but because thoughts become things.

Do emotional labor.

Be willing to connect with people.

Listen and acknowledge people.

Comfort and calm people.

Guide and give your attention to people.

People care about the way you make them feel.

People work with people who make them feel good and safe with decisions.

People are loyal to other people based on feelings.

Not if you only contribute sweat.

Not if you only contribute intellect.

Work with intent to contribute to people’s dreams.

And one day, you will wake up in your own.

Did my client disappear?

If your primary job is to provide people with a personal service, you have likely experienced a disappearing client.

Sometimes no communication is worse than unpleasant communication.

At least with unpleasant communication, you know where everyone stands which gives you a sense of direction.

Assumptions most often occur when no one is talking, leaving you as your only point of reference.

Assumptions create distance.

Distance does not help productivity.

Productivity is a fundamental necessity for success, especially in service industries.

With trust, it is likely that a person is untrusting of you not because of you but something else making them uneasy.

Discover what makes them uneasy.

Did something happen to them in the past that the current situation reminds them of?

Tell them you sense distance.

Remind them you are their partner and tell them again what being a partner means to you.

If you have an agreement with a client and they disappear it is natural to assume you may be the problem.

It must be your fault since they have stopped talking to you right?

Doubt it.

Most of the time if someone vanishes out of thin air, fear is the culprit.

Something has scared them.

You need to find out why they are scared.

You cannot do much with just knowing fear is the reason everything stopped.

That would lead to more assuming: “oh! You are afraid? Well don’t be afraid to buy now it’s a great time”

That isn’t a horrible thing to say, but what if that’s not what they are scared of?

You have to play detective when communication stops.

Not just to find out a general reason… to find a specific reason.

More importantly, you have to make it ok for them to be afraid and still move forward.

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