The Power of Focus – Expand Insight into Action

By Paul David Walker

Each insight is a flash of seeing into the true nature of things, and leads to another, providing you act on the first, if you don’t the spark dies, and an opportunity is missed. Being in “the zone,” simply described is one insight after another, acted upon in the flow of cause and effect. It is like dancing in perfect harmony with a band. Dancing to the rhythm and flow of the moment brings out our souls’ calling, and our natural genius, both of which have yearned to be expressed most of our lives.

As insight expands it can create momentum and turn into a compelling vortex that draws energy like a giant storm draws air. There is an attraction that brings in all manner of opportunities as the worlds, near and far, see a familiar intent and join an energy field that feels like their tribe; like going home again.

The key to creating a chain response of insights is our ability to act in the moment before the flash of insight fades. A professional athlete has the muscle memory from years of practice in a given sport to respond in this manner. But can business teams do the same? Why not, most have years of experience in their business. It is a matter of practicing the art of connecting insight to action as a basketball player responding during the flow of the game. A team of athletes has to practice so that when opportunity presents itself it is ready to act as a team in a fast break. Likewise a business team needs to do the same.

Knowing The Difference

An insight is a combination of two or more ideas merging to create a reality previously unknown. It has an expansive, curious, and inclusive feeling, even if stimulated by reading a poem, or seeing a painting. The observer and the observed becoming one to uncover new realities, paths, and understandings.

When ideas come from stored memory they seem to be cloaked with a “need to be right,” which prevents merging and expansion. It is like pulling the answer out of the internet or our past, the feeling lacks wonder, unlike a true insight. Only with practice do we learn the difference, but do not underestimate the tricks our egos can play on us.

First We Become a Team

The first step is becoming a team committed to each others success that knows each person’s strengths, weaknesses and potential. Each member of the team is committed to helping unleash each team player’s potential, the potential of the team, and business. This creates a safe field for innovation and exploration. Each understands and have expertise in their roles, and those roles synchronize to form a team ready to build on insight and act upon opportunities uncovered. This is a healthy high performance team.

Stimulate Insight

Once you have a strong team, as described above, it is time to stimulate insight and action. To do this the leader and the team has to question the status quo, and collaborate to understand new realities, then act on solutions that lead to manifestation. One of the CEO’s I work with, Celso Pierre CEO of Goodridge Americas, developed the following values for his team.

We Work Together To …

•  Bring a sense of possibility beyond the status quo
•  Examine possibilities until solutions emerge
•  Align our intentions to drive solutions

As this example illustrates, a clear compelling picture of the desired state is important. It is an aspirational statement that provides an understanding and a draw towards the ideal. A picture of the goal creates insight as we succeed or fail that is self-correcting in a positive manner. Insights that uncover hidden realities that are successfully acted upon create engagement. The purpose is for you and/or your team, as observer of the ideal, to become one with it, then create a new ideal.

The assumption that fuels insight, is understanding that there is no limit to what we can create together. As an individual I find that if I capture insights as they occur, not letting them fade, and take action, even deeper insights emerge. To facilitate this I always have my journal at hand to capture, understand and expand insights before the clarity fades. I allow time in my schedule to reflect. Likewise a team should have time as individuals and a team to reflect with the purpose of discovering “possibility beyond the status quo.” Business leaders who make this a priority tend to lead their sectors.

The Habit of Reflection

After a success it is easy for us to fall back into old patterns, as individuals and teams. So it is important that personal, professional and business growth is the default setting. Insight into the true nature of things followed by action invents futures that provide strategic advantage. To win consistently we have to teach each other, and those that follow us how to create a state of mind around insight that is similar to athletes “in the zone.” Each time I learn something my state of mind is lifted and I become committed to new levels of action. The same is true with teams. When creating insight is a natural habit, higher states of mind will drive intent and performance at all levels.

“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.”  — John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2019

Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include Star Kist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the best selling books, Unleashing Genius and Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century. You can reach Paul at paul@pauldavidwalker.com or call him at 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

Dealing with Loss & Change in Your Life

By Ellen Borowka

We face loss and change frequently in our lives whether it is a death in the family, losing a job or change in life cycle like retiring or moving out on one’s own. Loss comes in many shapes and forms, and in a way, change is a loss. When we get a new job or have a child or get married, we lose a familiar way of life. Even when the change is good and welcomed, it creates feelings of anxiety for we face something different, something unknown. Here are some ideas of how to handle things when change and loss come into our lives.

mountain vista

Take time to say good-bye

Take some time and in your own manner, say goodbye to the familiar way of life, or to the person or object that has left your life. It’s important to deal with the feelings and not to dismiss or judge these feelings as silly, stupid or insignificant. And it’s important to give yourself space to deal with the loss and change, to mourn and grieve, and to acknowledge and accept feelings of pain, hurt, fear, anger, sorrow, … in your own time.

Reach out to others

Support is strongly needed during periods of loss and change. Those who reach out to others find they can better handle difficult situations. They feel heard and cared about, which strengthens and nurtures them. Reaching out to family, friends, self-help or support groups, counselors or clergy can provide the warmth and support that one needs during these difficult times.

Taking care of yourself

This is one of the most important ways to deal with loss or change. When dealing with difficult situations, be sure to take care of yourself. Eat well or have someone help you to eat by ordering or bringing in food to you or reminding you to eat. Take care of your body with warm baths or saunas; provide yourself with enough sleeping and resting times; and get enough exercise or hikes or even just walks around the block. Walking along the beach or on some nature trails can be very comforting and peaceful. Plus, these walks can be helpful towards finding any needed answers to the hard questions one finds within. Sometimes during hard or fearful times, we forget to attend to our needs or think of them as unimportant. It’s important to understand that feelings brought up by loss causes wear and tear on your body so you need to provide the nurturing and care your body needs.

Caring for your mind and spirit is important too during times of change and loss. Journaling, writing poetry, drawing or creating a collage are helpful ways to work through painful feelings and gaining an emotional release. I have found drawing in which I simply put colors, shapes and lines down on paper with crayons or colored pencils to be very helpful during stressful or difficult moments. Research has also shown that writing can help not only your mental well being, but also your physical health as well. Writing helps to explore feelings and situations in more depth. Other things that can help to nurture the spirit is mediation or visualization, spending time with a pet, prayer, reading poetry or an inspirational book, giving & getting hugs, listening to music or watching a favorite movie. During difficult times, it may be hard to care for yourself, but this is a crucial time to love yourself. If you need help doing this then be sure to reach out for help.

Life Finds A Way

By Berkeley Hall School’s 1995 Graduating Class

John-Michael Hayward, Katherine Lewis,
Christina McComas, Bonnie Paul & Andrew Wyly
Soil washes off the hill;
A seed is left close behind.
A breeze picks up speed,
Carries the lonely seed,
And leaves it on the rock… confined.bridge
And the light shines upon the rock
Out from the sky’s misty gray.
As it passes every day,
Life finds a way.
The seed knows it must take root.
Life will not be mocked!
The power within the tree
Becomes the unlocking key,
And the tree stands firm with the rock.
And the light shines upon the tree
Out from the sky’s misty gray.
As it passes every day,
Life finds a way.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2018 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

 

Healthy High Performance Teams vs. Silos

By Paul David Walker, author of Invent Your Future: Starting With Your Calling

One of my clients shared her experience in her spinning classes. She said,

“The authentic commitment and energy of the leader starts up the class. As the energy builds each members commitment and energy syncs with the others. The class feeds off each other and reaches a level they could not have achieved individually.”Spinning class

She was glowing as she told me this story. The classes have transformed her energy and improved her health dramatically. Imagine a business team that feeds off each other’s energy. We are working together to build each of her facilities into healthy high performance teams. Her story and experience will be key to this work.

Ask yourself, do the teams you are leading look like her experience in the spinning classes? Most do not, and many feel it is impossible to achieve this kind of synergy for a business team. Of course, with this attitude, it would be impossible. I have experienced many leadership teams who started out feeling stuck with the level of teamwork they had, and like my client in her spinning classes, achieved what I call a Healthy High Performance Team.

Authentic Inspiration

The first step is knowing and experiencing the possibility, like my client who experienced it in her spinning class. Once you know something is possible, your words become alive with authentic inspiration and commitment, which provides an experience for those who follow you.

Casey Sheahan, Former President and CEO of Patagonia, said this to me during his interview for my book, Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling:

“Inspiration has to start with you. If you don’t believe that you can affect positive change, then it won’t happen. But if you can inspire people, as opposed to motivating them with fear, then you know there is a better outcome possible … I think you can really light people up. You can light your customers up, and you can light your manufacturers up too. When people are inspired, you get a better result, working conditions, and high-quality products. It is a priority for us.”

When you know the possibility from your experience, people can feel it and become inspired, and motivated by your presence. Your presence is 93% of any communication. It has been proven that the content is only 7% of communication. Your tone, body language, and the energy that comes out of you tells the story. If it is inconsistent with the content of your message people know, and will question what you say. If it is consistent, people are inspired because they are caught up in your experience.

It Starts With You

If the leader of a spinning class was out of shape, and had to take breaks while the class was peddling their hearts out, soon there would be no class. The same is true with leaders of teams in business or public service. It is often said, “Who you are speaks louder than what you say.” The most successful leaders are living examples of their vision. This is something you cannot fake, and takes courage.

We cannot create something we cannot conceive. So how do you get those following you to conceive a possibility they have not experienced? It starts with the stories you tell about times when you experienced a high performance team. Along with a compelling picture of the future state, the stories you tell about your experience become a living example. Told effectively they are an experience for a team or individual to feel.

Silos and Workarounds

The opposite of a high performance team is silos within organizations. Groups of people who are doing workarounds to avoid accountability, or at best be part of a small team that they can control. When you try to inspire teams to exceed their own expectation most people say, “Easier said than done, or you don’t understand what we are dealing with.” This complicates getting things done and creates suspicion, backbiting and a slowing of the growth of the organization. Multiple silos lead to a bureaucratic effect.

synapsesExperience and Habit

Many say life’s greatest teacher is experience, but if this is the case why do many who are experienced people repeat the same mistakes. From research on brain chemistry it is clear that bad or traumatic experiences form neuropathways that harden and create fears that seem real. People will go into a form of “fight or flight” that once protected them when similar situations present themselves. Silos are a form of protection, and if they have created safety for people in the past, they will default to them. Only more compelling experiences will mitigate these defense systems. People will still have the fear that is presented, but after a number of positive team experiences they will default to teamwork.

Teams Committed to Each Other

If people feel part of a team that is committed to each other’s success and the success of the business or organization they will feel safe participating in new behaviors. They will still experience fear, but with leadership that reinforces team commitment and illustrates the dangers of the opposite with authentic stories that create an experience, they will change. The team becomes a sanctuary of safety and inspiration. As the success of the team and the business grows, they will become more committed.

Success Stories

Prior to success it is important to find experiences in each individual’s life when they were part of a good team, or have seen one, while watching sports. An experienced leader finds ways for them to recall times when they experienced high levels of teamwork so they are inspired to let go of old safe habits that form silos. Breaking this natural human tendency requires that they can see, feel and hear a better way.

Creating off-sites for a team that creates an experience of a healthy high performance team is effective. You can do white water rafting or other similar outdoor experiences, but it is critical each experience is related to the organizational or business challenges. What is even more effective is dealing with difficult business or organizational challenges while creating the experience of teamwork directly relevant to work. Well- facilitated, these off-sites create a living example of the possibility for the team, and create success stories.

As individual and team success occurs, it is important to tell success stories as part of the organizational day-to-day process. These stories reward people and carry the wisdom forward, creating an organizational mythology. Each story should embody the feeling of success and the strategy that created that success.

Like the spinning class, there is no denying the value of a high performance team experience and the feeling of power and pride it embodies. The more you and your team can Invent Your Future by PD Walkerexperience the power of a team, the sooner it will become an organizational reality. It will not happen overnight, but as it is achieved, the performance and wellbeing of the organization will grow rapidly. Once healthy high-performance teams are woven into the fabric of your business or organization, it will retain and attract the best talent, produce performance beyond your expectations and provide a powerful barrier of entry against completion. It is not easy to create, but what of real value is easy.

“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.”
-John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership

Permission is needed from Paul David Walker to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016

Paul David Walker, CEO and Founder of Genius Stone Partners, is one of the early innovators of leadership consulting and coaching at the executive level. For more than thirty years, he has successfully guided the CEOs and senior executive teams of such Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies as New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Chase GIS, Finance One, VONS Grocery, Pacific Mutual, Rockwell International, Conexant Systems, Harrods, Anne Klein, Union Pacific, StarKist, The City of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Department, Culver Studios, Shout Factory, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, NTS, Archstone Foundation, The Queen Mary and many other thriving organizations. He is author of Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling and Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams, and Corporations. He specializes in building teams of leaders committed to each other’s success and the success of the business. Feel free to contact Paul by email pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or his cell 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement. To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code, Cracking the Business Code and Cracking the High-Performance Team Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information, visit http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

It’s Ok To Be Imperfect

By Ellen and Dana Borowka

So many times we don’t allow ourselves to be imperfect. We hold ourselves up to impossible standards, then criticize ourselves for not meeting those standards. We graciously accept for others the same flaws we berate ourselves for. So, how do we challenge this issue? Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs had an idea that he called “the courage to be imperfect”. When you have the courage to be imperfect, you can begin to let go of the past and focus on your talents today.girl with flower

You can:

♦ Constantly encourage yourself through positive self-talk, and don’t expect perfection. Positive self-talk is giving yourself encouragement rather than discouragement or criticism. Some examples could be, “I know I can do this”; “I am capable and effective in my work”; “I believe in myself”; and “I like who I am”.

♦ Monitor discouraging self-talk that may begin with absolutes like, I must, I should, I have to or I always and I never. These place judgment and are often unrealistic expectations.

♦ Challenge discouraging thoughts by asking yourself questions like, “Is this realistic and reasonable?”; “Why am I thinking this way about myself?”; and “What is really true about myself?”

♦ See mistakes as part of the learning process, not failures since everyone makes mistakes.

♦ Strive to express your talents and qualities fully, rather than to be better than others.

♦ Do what you can, and say no when you need to.

♦ Accept and value your efforts and yourself.

♦ View tough situations as challenges, rather than problems to overcome.

♦ Explore and love your imperfections as well as your strengths and good qualities.

I discovered a wonderful story that I think says it all:

“A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him. Finally, he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question: “What shall I do now?” In due course, the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

– Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird

plant twinLike the dandelions, we need to learn how to love ourselves with our imperfections, and not let the flaws take importance and attention away from our strengths. After all, perfection is all relative and is based on a perception of what we behold as being “perfect”. When you find yourself striving towards that model of perfection you may want to ask yourself several questions like , “Why am I holding out this model as being better than my current “self”?; What are the underlying reasons for wanting to change?; and “What small steps can I make in order to revise this goal to be more realistic?”.

Remember, life is filled with opportunities for learning and growing. The first step is to appreciate yourself right here and now with all your “imperfections”. The more you explore and challenge negative beliefs, the stronger you will feel. Then your courage will grow, and you’ll find that it’s ok to be imperfect.

For a long time it had seemed to me 

that life was about to begin – – real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way.

Something to be got through first,
some unfinished business;
time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin.

At last it dawned on me that
these obstacles were my life.

Bette Howland: Life in the Snake Pit, 7/90

This article contains some modified concepts from the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting Program, developed by Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Gary D. McKay and Don Dinkmeyer, Jr.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

The Masks We Wear

By Ellen Borowka, MA

Masks have long been a part of daily life. From the past when tribal dancers wore them to worship their gods, to the present where children wear them for special holidays like Halloween. Our ancestors used masks for a variety of reasons. Some were worn to portray spirits, gods or animals; and others were used to protect and guard against misfortune and disease. There were masks to maintain contact with the dead through burial rituals or in ancestor worship; tomask2 represent characters in theater; and to celebrate the change of seasons and festivals.

Masks in Everyday Life

We use masks in everyday life too. Usually not made of wood, clay or stone as in primitive times, but one that seems invisible though it too conceals our true nature. This mask is the image or facade we present to others. It is our false self that was developed in response to an unsafe and demanding environment. We have different reasons for using this type of mask. We may want to protect ourselves from getting hurt or rejected by others. We may want to become what others want us to be, in order to be accepted by them. Perhaps we feel no one would like or love who we truly are, so we hide our true self. Or we might not like ourselves so we try to pretend to be like someone else.

Yet, I think the core issue is not feeling loved by others and ourselves. This seems to fuel our insecurities and we may find ourselves willing to do anything to be loved by others. Even denying our true self – who we are – our beliefs, our values, our desires, our needs. If we don’t love ourselves, then we depend on others to provide that love and make us feel worthwhile. Yet, they may look to us to provide the same thing! That makes for a very unstable foundation for our relationships as well as for our psyche.

How Do We Cope?

Coping mechanisms, like pleasing others, are based in these insecurities. We seem to develop our mask as a way to handle our fear of rejection and other painful feelings. Those who wear masks on Halloween are in disguise – pretending to be another person or creature. If we are conscious of our masks then we know we are not what we pretend to be. Many are not aware of the mask they present to others. Like the tribal dancer, we can in some ways become the mask we present. The facade can take over where we may feel we have little control over our lives. Whereas our ancestors may have believed that one’s religious or magical powers are released by changing identity and becoming another being, we actually lose our power when we allow our mask or false self to take over our lives. If we can’t be true to ourselves then we deny our expression, our soul, and we deny the light we bring to this world. I believe that each of us is here to not only discover and accept our unique qualities, but also to share them with others. That is the healing process when we touch heart to heart.

What’s Our Mask?

So, what kind of masks do we wear? I would say that our mask changes to meet the demands of the environment. In other words, our mask or false self depends on our external world whereas our real self relies on our internal world. Our mask reacts to the demands of our environment and our true self responds to our needs and desires. There are many different masks or coping mechanisms we take on. We may push ourselves to be perfect in how we look and/or how we act. We may deny our feelings of sadness or anger or fear, because we may have learned these feelings are “bad” or unimportant. We may feel we must always be right or good or knowledgeable. We may feel we have to care for everyone else to be loved and needed. Or perhaps we think we exist only to make others happy. These are just some of the masks we wear.
mask1What kind of mask do you wear? What are some expectations you put on yourself or false concepts you have of yourself? Do you think you “have to” or “should” or “must” do or say or be a certain way to be loved and accepted by others? If so, that might be part of your mask. A good exercise to learn more about your mask is to create a mask that represents the qualities of your false self. You can draw with markers or crayons and/or use parts of magazine pictures and words to create a life-size mask. Clay or paper mache with acrylic paints is also a good medium, and symbols are helpful to give your mask depth. Or you could write about it.
One might think it is necessary to get rid of the mask to allow the true self to be seen. Yet, actually we need both to live in this world and as our world becomes safer then we may need our mask less and less. George Washington once advised, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” So, we need our mask to protect our inner self. What is also needed is to have a balance between the two – allowing our inner light to shine out to others, while protecting it from those that cannot appreciate it. Our masks are not bad, but it just comes down to choice. The real self has choices of how to be, but the false self depends on others for how it should be.

Finding Balance

How do you find a balance? Some ways are to explore your inner world, and learn more about your true and false self. Begin to distinguish between the two, and discover all you can about yourself – not only your good qualities, but also your “bad” qualities or what Jung would call your shadow. The shadow contains our dark side and it’s important to explore the darkness and find healthy ways to express it. Work to appreciate and accept your qualities, your style, your strengths and your weaknesses. Support your realness to come to the surface while still acknowledging the need for your protective mask.faces

Being Real

Allowing your inner self to come forth is scary as it risks rejection, so you might want to take small steps in your risktaking to feel safer. Some may have so much pain and anger from past rejections or betrayals that assistance may be needed. When the past needs to be healed first, I suggest turning to a counselor or clergy for help. Norman Cousins once said, “The great tragedy of life is not death, but what dies within us while we live.” Don’t let your mask suffocate your inner light, but rather use it to create safety and security so your light burns brightly to the world.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

What Does It Take to Bring More Peace Into Your Life and Others?

By Larry Cassidy, Bob Dabic, Tom Drucker, Ken Keller, Gary Lockwood, Don Pierro, Boaz Rauchwerger, George Walker, Paul David Walker and Lighthouse

By Petr Kratochvil

By Petr Kratochvil

With the many local/national/global events that we are constantly confronted with, we thought we would ask some well respected business and thought leaders the following question, What Does It Take to Bring More Peace Into Your Life and Others?  I think you will find their responses to be very interesting, thought provoking and helpful. We’d love to hear from you as to what your thoughts are on this subject, so please email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com. We have also included some ideas at the end of the article on stress management, preparing your thought for the day and mindfulness/meditation.

What does peace mean to you?

Larry Cassidy: When I am at peace, what I am doing, how I am acting and who I am are all aligned with my core values: Be yourself, be trustworthy, do what is right, do your best, never quit, build bridges for others, be kind, love without getting tired and have faith. When I am uneasy, uncomfortable out-of-sorts, it is most often because I am not in sync with my core values. The question which keeps me centered is: In this situation, who will I be?

And when I am at peace, I am in harmony with my circumstances and with others in my life. I am less concerned with a “balanced life” – which implies a constant struggle to rebalance – and more committed to being in harmony.

Bob Dabic: Living as stress free as possible.

Tom Drucker: For years I’ve thought of peace in my life as a state of being. Some call this “inner peace”. I first learned meditation when I was undergraduate at UCLA. About the same time, I learned to control migraine headaches through bio-feedback training. The biggest challenge I have is to remember to keep the experience of gratitude in the foreground and sit still 4-5 times a day. Noticing my breathing helps a lot as well. I’ve learned how to bring “the experience of being peaceful” into my life even when I’m in amidst of an environment that is not necessarily peaceful or calm. It is important to distinguish this state of being for others so I’m not perceived as being disinterested or disconnected from the circumstances around me. I find when I use “this practice” I have a different reaction to the circumstances. I often see more creative options and I come at solving problems in a way I might have not noticed previously. At other times being peaceful just helps me become a better listener because I filter out most of my pre-conceived perceptions.

By Devanath (pixabay)

By Devanath (pixabay)

Ken Keller: Knowing that your loved ones are secure, healthy and happy.

Gary Lockwood: For me, it means a calmness in my head and heart that is not interrupted (much) by negative imagination (worry).

Don Pierro: What peace means to me is appreciating the good things.

Boaz Rauchwerger: Peace to me means doing what we can to make those we love and care about feel important and safe on a regular basis.

George Walker: Peace starts with the absence of conflict but goes beyond that to a quiet certainty that everything happens for the best in the long run.

Paul David Walker: Peace beyond anything I can say exists in the present moment. When we let go of all the frameworks we set-up to protect ourselves, a child-like joy fills our hearts. This joy comes from our essence, which can be covered, but never lost. Once we rediscover this, and let the Life Force enliven our true essence every step is peace. We walk through the world in a deeply authentic manner seeing things as they are, instead of what we think they are.

What do you do to bring peace into your life and others?

Larry Cassidy: For myself, I test what I am doing and who I am being against my values, and adjust. As much as possible, I try to be “in the moment,” to be curious, to listen and to ask rather than tell.

My commitment to others is to offer them respect, to tell them the truth, to believe in and support their hopes and dreams, to love them for who they are and, by being a part of their life, help them to be an even better version of themselves.

By ADARIFLIMAT (pixabay)

By ADARIFLIMAT (pixabay)

Bob Dabic: In addition to praying, I do mini-meditations during the day when I feel stressed (these are 10-second timeouts where I visualize my “peaceful place” and then tell myself my one-sentence affirmation statement (this was learned from a Vistage speaker, Steven Snyder).

Tom Drucker: I’m fortunate that my work of coaching leaders and their teams often allows me to bring order, clarity, meaning, and purpose into the lives of others. I learned early in my life when I was studying with Viktor Frankl that when a person found meaning in their life, they were often at peace. I find this to be as true today as I ever did. This connection with people also brings me inner peace and fulfillment. I’m also fortunate to live with a woman I deeply love. Relationships, while they do take intentionality and effort, bring me a deep source of inner peace and fulfillment. The greatest peace I find is when we are making a contribution to others, so that our relationship and what we do in the world is in some small way making a difference to others and the world that is in need.

Ken Keller: For me, it’s the small things in life that show you care and have listened.

For my wife, it is bringing home a cup of coffee after our long day. I also leave her quarters so she has something to tip her friends at Starbucks in the morning. It means emptying the dishwasher in the morning after I have started the coffee, and making the bed.

For my son and daughter-in-law, it means being available to them when they ask for our help and knowing they are strong for each other and not interfering with their life together.

For our two granddaughters, it means being an example for them and showing unconditional love and support, which can be anything from taking them to IHOP for pancakes, reading a book with them or taking them for a drive for ice cream, laughing all the way.

Gary Lockwood: The way I try to achieve this is: 1) Decide each morning that I’m going to be happy today and that today is going to be a good day. 2) Look for the positive in all situations and in all people.

Don Pierro: What I do to bring Peace is to forgive and send and receive love.

Boaz Rauchwerger: To bring peace into my life I make sure that I have some quiet time on a daily basis. I also like to read biographies, which help take me out of my world and teach me how others have achieved greatness in their lives. I make an effort to bring peace to others by being genuinely interested in them and being a very good listener.

George Walker: Find time for quiet introspection [could be called meditation or prayer]. Be a calm reassuring presence when others are in turmoil – just be there for them.

Paul David Walker: This understanding is the first phase in my work with leaders and individuals. We must know ourselves first, as many prophets and wise people have said over the centuries.

By John Hain

By John Hain

We hope you have gained some wonderful ideas for finding and expanding peace in your life. I have been learning about meditation and mindfulness to focus on the moment – to be fully present. Recently, I saw a segment about Andy Whitfield who had a difficult and heart breaking battle with cancer. One way that he and his wife came to terms with his situation is to get tattoos that said, “Be Here Now”. I find those words to be so helpful. Whenever I’m doing something – whether a walk, folding laundry, etc. I try to stay in the moment with those words and focusing completely on the sensations, the moment, the breath of whatever I’m doing. It is so easy to let the mind wander off and we can’t really appreciate all that is happening in the moment. If I get off track… I say those words to myself: Be Here Now.

– Ellen Borowka, MA, Lighthouse Consulting Services

Here are some other ways to find and expand your peace:

Stress management ideas
http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/managing-stress/
http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/feeling-burdened/

Preparing Your Thought for the Day by Paul David Walker
http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/preparing-your-thought-for-the-day/

MARC (UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center)
Great ideas for guided meditation/mindfulness – be sure to check out their video for introduction to meditation
http://marc.ucla.edu/default.cfm?id=1

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Larry Cassidy has been a Group Chair with Vistage International (formerly TEC International) for over 28 years. He works monthly with more than 40 Southern California executives, in two chief executive groups and one group of key executives. Larry has facilitated over 1400 executive advisory group meetings, and has participated with chief executives in over 13,000 coaching discussions regarding all aspects of their businesses. Larry has received recognition for his work as a Group Chair, including multiple Chair Excellence Awards, the Star Award, designation as a Master Chair, and the Don Cope Award, the highest recognition given to active Chairs. You can contact Larry by phone (714) 424-9443 (work) or email larry.cassidy@vistagechair.com.

Bob Dabic is a “Master Chair” (business/life coach) of Vistage Chief Executive & Key Executive Groups in the California Counties of Orange, Los Angeles & Riverside, a “Best Practice Chair” responsible for chairs & members in the Los Angeles area, & a Lead Trainer of new & existing chairs. In addition, Bob is CEO (Coaching Excellence Officer) of DabiCoaching, a multi-purpose coaching/training/consulting company. In this role, Bob will also do coaching of clients, as well as conduct numerous workshops on the topics of: vision/mission/values creation, strategic planning, goal setting, leadership, communication, delegation, finance, selling, process improvement (TQM), and career development planning. Prior to taking on the above roles, Bob was a successful owner, president & CEO of several airport and aerospace equipment design & manufacturing companies over a 30-year period. For the last 6½ years in the day-to-day operating role, he was a member of a Vistage CEO group. Bob was also director of marketing for an alarm manufacturer and worked in a sales role with Xerox Corporation right after graduating from California State University at Long Beach with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration/ Marketing. Please feel free to contact Bob at (949) 376-8600 or bob.dabic@vistagechair.com.

Tom Drucker is President of Consultants in Corporate Innovation and Vice President of Transitioning to Green. He is unique because he integrates the principles of positive psychology and advances in Mindfulness with best practices of global business, including Sustainability and Innovation. Today he serves as a trusted advisor on Innovation, Sustainability, Leadership and Governance to owners and leaders of every type and size of business: helping them grow profits, solve people and business problems, bringing new ideas to market by designing off sites and strategic planning sessions or having really powerful conversations. He began his business career working directly for the Chairman of Xerox Corporation (the only person who could keep Tom away from the beach for 15 years). During that time, he ran a global division focused on developing strategies and designing new leadership models for the corporation that Xerox is today. Tom received his first graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from UCLA while working with and being mentored by Viktor Frankl in Vienna and then by Abraham Maslow, who Tom says, pushed him to go to UCLA’s business school. There he pursued a PhD studying Change Management, his dissertation was on which leadership style was best to sustain long-term organizational change. You can contact Tom by email tom@corporateinnovation.com or phone 310-306-2066.

Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Feel free to email Ken at kenkeller@sbcglobal.net or call or text at 661-645-7086.

Gary Lockwood specializes in helping Chief Executives, entrepreneurs and business professionals achieve breakthroughs in their business. Contact Gary at 951-642-9576 or Gary@BizSuccess.com.

Don Pierro has been coaching and consulting to leaders and teams in businesses and non-profits for more than thirty years. He was the owner and president of three private companies in three different industries all of which were successfully developed and acquired by larger firms. In 2004, Don founded Empower Lab Coaching Group to fully engage his passion for catalyzing leaders to create a strategic vision and inspiring them to accomplish it. Don is a Chair with Vistage International providing mentoring and facilitation for peer advisory groups of CEO’s and business owners. He has been successful across a variety of industries and professions facilitating change and leadership development. Don is a board certified coach with the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE), and a certified transformational trainer with the Leadership Training and Development Group (LTDG). His education includes a Masters Degree in Leadership from Azusa Pacific University, a Coro Fellowship in Public Sector Leadership, and a BA in economics from UCLA. You can contact Don by phone 626-385-7155 or email don.pierro@vistagechair.com.

Boaz Rauchwerger is an internationally-known speaker, author, consultant and author. A former television producer, newscaster, and advertising executive, he is the Speaker of the Year for Vistage International, the world’s largest organization of CEOs. Feel free to contact Boaz by phone 619-723-3007 or email BoazPower@aol.com.

George Walker, Vistage Chair [Coach for Business Owners and Executives] with extensive experience as an operations manager [oil refining] and a corporate executive [health environment safety and public policy for Fortune 500 Integrated Oil Company] Specialties: Working with business owners to take their businesses to the next level, Dealing with diverse stakeholders on environmental issues, organizational design, hiring the right people, setting goals collaboratively to maximize success of the enterprise. An engineer by education, George had a 36 year career with Unocal. He spent 24 years in the refining division followed by 12 years as a corporate officer. He retired from Unocal as Vice President for Public Policy, Health, Environment & Safety. After retirement from Unocal, George had consulting assignments with the Nature Conservancy and Pacific Gas & Electric. Now, he devotes his time and energy to coaching business owners – helping them to grow their businesses and find work/life balance. He uses the Vistage model that involves Group Meetings as well as individual coaching sessions. You can contact George by phone (310) 990-9003 or email george.walker@vistagechair.com.

Paul David Walker, CEO and Founder of Genius Stone Partners, is one of the early innovators of leadership consulting and coaching at the executive level. For more than thirty years, he has successfully guided the CEOs and senior executive teams of such Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies as New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Chase GIS, Finance One, VONS Grocery, Pacific Mutual, Rockwell International, Conexant Systems, Harrods, Anne Klein, Union Pacific, StarKist, The City of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Department, Culver Studios, Shout Factory, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, NTS, Archstone Foundation, The Queen Mary and many other thriving organizations. He is author of Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling and Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams, and Corporations. He specializes in building teams of leaders committed to each other’s success and the success of the business. Feel free to contact Paul by email pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or his cell 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

Resolving Conflict Successfully

By Ellen and Dana Borowka, MA, Excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code

Ever notice that no matter what you do, you can’t avoid conflict! It’s everywhere – at work, at home, at that special social gathering or even at the supermarket. Whether you are discussing the dirty dishes with your spouse, that difficult project with a co-worker, or your barking dog with the Conflictnext door neighbor – conflict is hard to manage well. And since we can’t ignore it, we might as well handle it the best possible way. In this article, we’re going to explore what makes up conflict, how we usually (and unsuccessfully) handle it, and ways to manage it better.

Conflict vs. Resolution

First, I’d like to define what conflict is, so we know what we are working with. The first definition is war; and the second is a clash between hostile or opposing ideas, interests or persons. War! That’s a big word! Some might think that their conflicts don’t rate up with war. Yet, just because we don’t pull out guns and bombs, doesn’t mean that we don’t have some casualties in our battles. Many people can go for the kill when they feel hurt and angry, especially in our intimate relationships. Other definitions include, an earnest struggle for superiority or victory; and the state of those who disagree and lack harmony. How many times in conflict do we struggle to be superior to, and have victory over the another, especially when they are acting rude? I think the key phase for conflict is that we lack harmony, and that is not a fun place to be at.

So, what is our alternative? Conflict resolution! It’s a way to settle disagreements peacefully by getting to the root of problems and finding lasting solutions. Why is conflict resolution so important? Knowing how to handle conflict in a constructive manner can help you in relating with others, like your spouse, children and co-workers. Conflict resolution assists by promoting new ideas, encouraging greater understanding, strengthening personal relationships and keeping people safe from violent conflict escalating out of control. It helps us to work through our issues to find harmony and unity with others.

The Three Components of Conflict

What do you need to have conflict erupt? It takes very little to create conflict. In fact, you need only three components to have conflict flare up. As they say in commercials, “It’s as easy as 1,2,3!” The first is people. Conflict can occur between individuals, between groups or among members of the same group. Anywhere where you have people, you can have conflict. The second is different points of view. When each person or group sees a situation in a different way, wants a different outcome or has different plans of what to do then you can have conflict. An example that comes to my mind is the family reunion where conflict can start easily, even over where to go for dinner. The third component is strong emotions. Individuals or groups may have strong feelings about the problem or situation. They may feel a variety of emotions, like anger, fear, disappointment, betrayal, hurt, and so on. Strong feelings can set the stage for a potential war.

Mapping Out Conflict

Yet, conflict is a normal part of life. As I said before, wherever we go we might run into it – misunderstandings with a co-worker, dealing with a difficult client, or a changing relationship with a spouse or friend. So, what can we do about it? Something that seems to be very helpful is an exercise called the Relationship Web, which maps out the status of your relationships. Drawing a relationship web is very easy. First, on a piece of regular size paper, draw a circle in the middle and put your name in it. Then draw other circles around yours and put names of those people that have an impact on your life. You then connect your circle to each of your other circles with a variety of lines. A straight line signifies a peaceful and calm relationship; a slightly wavy line is a relationship that has occasional ups and down; a very wavy line denotes a relationship with many ups and downs; and a jagged line is a stormy relationship. The lines of your web might look like spokes on a wheel that attach to your center circle. When you are done with your web, you might want to consider the following questions for your relationships: Why do you think you have conflict with this person? And if you could change some of these wavy and jagged lines, which ones would you change and why? Now that you have explored the conflict in your relationships, it might be helpful to look how you handle conflict.

Common Conflict Styles

The following are some ways that we commonly deal with conflict:

  1. Avoid or runaway from the conflict. An example of this could be when someone refuses to address a problem with a spouse or co-worker.jumping hoops
  2. Pretend the conflict doesn’t exist. This is when we deny that there is even a problem to address!
  3. Give in or go along with the other person. When we give in or go along, we deny our own needs and build resentment towards the other person.
  4. Attack or try to win through force or power with criticism, insults, manipulation, name-calling or violence, which is a very destructive method to deal with conflict.

As you might imagine, none of these styles resolve our problems. Rather, they worsen the situation – allowing conflict to fester and explode out of control. So, how do you handle conflict? Do you have a conflict style that you use in difficult situations? Let’s look at some ways that we can deal with conflict in a healthier manner. Since good communication is the key to successful conflict resolution, we’ll start there.

Elements of Successful Communication

  1. Have respect for the other person’s feelings and point of view, even though you don’t agree. The goal to successful communication is to have empathy – to understand why someone is doing what they are doing and feeling what they are feeling. We feel that empathy is the glue in all relationships. If you don’t have empathy, you don’t have anything.
  2. Don’t take the conflict personally, don’t let it under your skin. Let the other person blow off steam, and be patient. Many people say things in anger that they don’t mean.
  3. Be a good listener! To be a good listener, you need to avoid interrupting the other person, and ask questions when they are finished speaking. Also, watch body language to be aware of what is going on with the other person, and to look for mixed messages. Mixed messages are when someone says one thing, yet their body language is saying the opposite. There is an old saying, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Unknown
  4. State what you’re hearing. Use active listening, which is to paraphase what you think the other person is saying. This tells them that you understand what they are saying, and gives them the chance to explain, if you didn’t understand. This is an extremely effective tool in managing conflict and avoiding miscommunication.
  5. Use “I Statements” when discussing hot subjects. An example of an I statement is “I feel really hurt when you snap at me, because it makes me feel like you don’t respect me.” An I statement is composed of three elements. The “I” helps us to maintain our responsibility for our feelings or observations; the “when” gives a specific example for the other person; and the “because” provides our reason for why we are bothered by the situation. I statements helps us to avoid being vague and accusatory with others.
  6. State your feelings clearly – express what you think without attacking the other person. Don’t be hostile or use name-calling, criticism or insults – that will only make things worse.
  7. Focus on the problem, not the person. Look for common ground – a shared need – something you both want or can agree on. This will strengthen teamwork between the both of you.
  8. Are there any hidden agendas? Is there something that is bothering the other person that he or she is not talking about, that might be feeding into the problem. Asking questions is a good way to uncover hidden agendas, like: Is something else bothering you? Is there something else going on? You look like you have something more to say?
  9. Take timeouts to keep conflict from escalating. When things get too hot, take some time to cool down – at least an hour or 24 hours. Be sure to schedule a follow-up time to resolve the issue.

The Problem Solving Process

After you have had a full discussion about the conflict then you may want to brainstorm with the other person to find some ways to resolve the problem. First, set an agenda on workgrpwhat you both want to focus on in the situation. Next, brainstorm for different ideas to solve the problem. One of you should write down the ideas, and don’t evaluate the ideas during the brainstorming process. Sort through the ideas and implement a specific action plan. Consider every idea and think about the consequences. Then arrange a follow-up date to check in on the progress of the action plan. If the plan is not working then recycle through the problem solving process again.

Successful Conflict Resolution Takes Practice!

These are some tips to manage conflict in a structured and positive format. It takes practice – so don’t throw it out, just because it takes some extra effort. Conflict resolution is not, by any means, the easiest thing to do. Yet, when we don’t deal with our conflicts, they fester and grow worse. It’s like when we feel sick and throw up. Noone likes it, but it cleans out the system and we feel much better. Successful conflict resolution takes practice, patience and respect. There’s an old saying, “Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is Success!” How you handle conflict will determine its outcome!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016 

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

Honoring Mistakes

By Larry Wilson, Author of Play to Win, Excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code

How do people’s mistakes play out in the world of work, and what has this to do with leadership? A number of years ago I found myself following the speech of the then CEO of AT&T. His speech to his top 500 leaders focused on a single message, “Do it right the first time.”

men going up and down stairsHis forceful words never allowed for any exceptions to his mantra that “Do it right the first time” perfection was the only outcome any leader should expect; from themselves or from the folks they were leading.

As he left the podium (having received nothing close to a standing ovation or even a slightly warm crowd response), it was then my turn to face this confused, unenthusiastic and potentially hostile audience.

So, I took a risk. First, I acknowledged the CEO’s passion for wanting people to perform at their best, and then tried to do my best to reduce the communication confusion by saying, “Of course, he meant after you’ve learned to do something perfectly, then for certain continue to do it perfectly every time. It goes without saying no one can do anything perfectly the first time they try something they’ve never done before.”

It may have only been a coincidence that I was never asked to speak again at AT&T, or you might say that I had made a big mistake by trying to “clear up” the CEO’s message.

But this is not about me. I know about the many mistakes I’ve made. Our subject is about valuing, actually honoring, mistakes as the best and fastest way for anyone to learn anything. This message is particularly essential to those in a leader role.

The fact is everyone is in a leadership role, minimally, as each of us has the role and responsibility of leading our lives to achieve the best life that is possible. How well we’re able to lead our life is surely the best predictor of how effective we’ll be in leading others to do the same.

Here’s the gist of this honoring mistakes subject: People who lead the best possible lives are those people who have made the most and varied types of mistakes, and learned fastest from those mistakes.

I co-authored a book with my oldest son, Hersch entitled, Play to Win, Choosing Growth Over Fear in Work and in Life. We defined the opportunity to choose between two opposite responses to the things life brings to us. One primary response we call Play to Win. The other, and most opposite, we call Playing Not to Lose.

We defined Play to Win as: Going as far as I can with all that I’ve got, and learning from whatever happens. This response is saying, “I’m seeking a life of growth, adventure, joy, and to make a difference in my world. I’m willing to step out and take reasonable risks to lead my greatest life.”

We define Playing Not to Lose as: Avoiding anything or anyone that might in any way hurt, embarrass, or make us uncomfortable. This response is saying, “I’m staying in my comfort zone by avoiding the risks of being wrong, rejected, failing, or being emotionally upset. I’m seeking a secure life of basic survival, comfort, and relief. I don’t make many mistakes butman planting flag at least I’m safe.”

Which of these opposite attitudes has the best chance of someone leading their best life, meaning a life with more successes and more fulfillments? Which attitude would make the best leader others would be more willing to follow? Which attitude would make the best followers for any leader?

The answers to those questions are clearly obvious – if – we’re willing to be obviously objective.

And if it’s all this obvious, you may be asking what stops leaders from willingly choosing growth over fear by Playing to Win? Glad you asked!

The answer is in the question; they have already chosen fear over growth.

And what is it that’s their greatest fear? More often than not, they’re more fearful of what it is they have to lose, rather than what it is they have to win. The fact is this is a choice most of us learned, and have forgotten, while being conditioned to avoid risks in our early childhood, a process sometimes called “no, no” training.

So this brings us to the core of today’s subject. It’s the fear of making mistakes, and the high cost of not making them.

The fact is that businesses can no longer afford the high cost of people doing only what their told to do. We firmly believe that people who are only doing their job are not doing their job. In today’s changing world, it is everyone’s job to continuously improve their job, (think Toyota), starting with leaders, because leaders go first. This is leadership.

The first change that leaders have to make is a “mindset change” from commanding people to “do what your told” to asking people to “do what’s right.” The old control and command fear based system of leadership has to be replaced by a new trust-based “Developmental Leader” system. A Developmental Leader passionately believes that people are the organization’s competitive advantage and ultimate differentiation.

Therefore, this new leadership style is asking their people to bring all of their unique talents, creativity, commitment, and potential to their work. Let’s use an example. Developmental leaders understand that the people closest to their job have the best opportunity to improve their job. This is where making mistakes comes into play.

In this scenario of asking people to improve their job, we’re asking people to do, or try to do, something that they haven’t done before. Yet we can’t expect them to “do it right the first time”. Here is a fact of life. The only thing anyone can do right the first time is to make a mistake! Yet, as a conditioned fallible human being, we fear making a mistake because it’s a “no, no” and has almost always had a real or perceived negative consequence.

bizpeople on ladder bldgsIt’s the leader’s job to change that thinking so they can support their followers to do the same. Try this for size. The best way to validate the necessity of making mistakes is to celebrate those mistakes. Go back to the Play to Win attitude and remember the part that said, “I’m willing to step out and take reasonable risks to lead my greatest life”.

As a leader that goes first, take the reasonable risk of sharing your mistakes, and what you learned from them, in a way that teaches others that learning something new or different requires a number of “takes” before you get it right.

As a leader, create a positive culture that sends a message that you as a leader trust them, and that you trust each of them to bring their best self to the party of life every day. Remind them that we’re all fallible human beings that will always make mistakes. Yet we can all be winners if we learn from those mistakes and especially if we’re courageous enough to share with each other what we’ve learned.

As a leader in a changing world, let your mantra be heard: Fail fast, learn fast, and grow fast.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2015 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Larry Wilson was an internationally recognized pioneer in change management, leadership development and strategic thinking, and is the co-author of The One-Minute Sales Person and Play to Win. He founded two companies, Wilson Learning Corp. and Pecos River Learning. Larry worked with companies to help them “create the organization that, if it existed, would put them out of business.” Larry passed on in 2009 and will be greatly missed, yet cherished through his books and articles for years to come. One of the things that Larry used to say was “Love your customers so much that they want to refer business to you since who can resist love?”

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

The Fog of Uncertainty: Ideas for Dealing with Uncertainty to Reach your Destination

By Dana Borowka – Excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code

The idea for this article came while driving up the coast towards Malibu, California. The morning sun was rising and I noticed a fog bank several miles off the coast. It was interesting to see it from this perspective. The wall of fog stood before the magnificent coast line with many miles of visibility mountainsin both directions. As the sun continued to rise, the top of the fog bank was whisking around which made for a beautiful scene. As I headed up into the mountains to get to my destination, I kept looking back to see how it was progressing. As I ascended in elevation, I could clearly see the fog was covering the ocean as far as the eye could see. The fog was progressing towards the shore and in just a matter of a few minutes what was clear visibility along the coast was now completely obscured.

Have you ever had this experience in either your business or personal life? You have a course, a plan, a direction and then… the fog rolls in. What do you do? I’d like to share an experience. Then we’ll jump into some specific steps that you can consider and talk over with your team members as we move into the new year.

I have been an avid sailor and that usually leads to getting bigger boats over time. We traveled to San Diego, California to purchase our next boat that was 28 feet in length. We needed to get the boat to Marina del Rey, California which is an 100+ mile journey. We had planned on bringing it up over a two day period. Our plans included having all the appropriate tools – a navigational chart, GPS, fog horn, radar deflector mounted on the mast but we had no radar. When we woke up in the early morning hours to set sail on our sailboatjourney and opened the hatch we could barely see the boat next to us – the fog was so thick that visibility was only 15-20 feet at best. We waited a bit for the fog to clear but we had a schedule to keep. So with charts and GPS in hand we set out and made our way through the harbor very carefully. Our charting was spot on but we had a spotter/listener on the bow to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Things were going well until we hear the sound of waves crashing – we were off course and fortunately we had our spotter on the bow. We adjusted our course immediately and made it out to sea. The fog cleared and we had porpoises swimming all around us with clear sailing and visibility. On the final leg home, we hit fog again. This time we made it to the breakwater which appeared right in front of us by only 100 feet or so. It was just where we thought it would be thanks to the planning.

Uncertainty can seem to be a constant theme. Yet if we have a plan and remain flexible with our goals then we can make it through the fog and reach our destination safe and sound. By using the ideas we are about to share you’ll know if your organization is heading towards the rocks, the open sea or on a clear course towards your destination.

Think for a moment about the various components of a boat that are needed in order to keep it afloat and heading in the intended direction. Observe how they compare to your organization.

Components of a Vessel

Hull – Need to have a structure that can endure and thrive in the elements.
Fuel – The energy needed to move the vessel forward and towards its destination.
Crew – The crew will either make sure the ship reaches its destination in a timely manner or cause it to go off course or cause an incident that could result in loss of resources.

oceanThe Changing Environment

Water is the most unstable surface on our planet. No matter how much planning a business does a rogue wave can come along and cause havoc. This might be changes in the market, unhappy clients, distribution channels, technology, financial, etc. Preparation can only go so far yet if your organization has one key ingredient you’ll be able to survive and thrive beyond your wildest dreams.

Key Ingredient to Thrive

The answer always comes back to having the right crew on board. It all begins with the selection process, mentoring and staff development. If this is done correctly or you have the right people with potential for growth, you’ll not only make it through to 2011… you’ll also be ready to ride the wave of 2012 and beyond! Let’s take a look at how this works.

By having the right crew on board, you’ll have:

♦ Contributors – That will help the ship reach its course through innovation, ingenuity, timely fulfillment of tasks, follow through, etc.
♦ Happy customers – They’ll keep coming back due to the outstanding service and quality of the product.
♦ Happy employees – They’ll go the extra mile for the organization and its customers. This also leads to positive word of mouth that can attract top talent.
♦ Open Minded Culture – Problem solving is the key to anticipate needs, deal with weather changes, being open to adapting to the environment.
♦ Profitability – You’ll meet your organization’s goal and objective where everyone is rewarded for doing a great job and your organization will be able to continue to provide services and products with the opportunity to visit other destinations in the future.

An organization can build a sturdy ship but without the right people behind the scenes it won’t leave port. All this starts with the captain of the ship and with its officers. If they select the correct crew up front, they know the job will get done correctly, in a timely manner and the work can be trusted. Can you trust that your crew will do their job not only correctly but in a timely manner? Do they also contribute ideas for further improvement so you can get the maximum value from each individual?

If the answer is “I’m not sure” then your answer may be reflective of the future survival of your vessel. Every organization must have all hands on deck with crew members that are excited and grateful to be aboard and have the ability to perform the best they can.

A Whale of a Tale for Teamwork

A manager once had an outstanding team but always told everyone what to do. This person didn’t listen, didn’t ask questions, demanded a higher level of volume without asking if the organization could handle it and created a closed environment. Over time things started to slip through the cracks, customers were not getting the attention they needed, whalesales slipped, people started to leave and the organization began to develop a bad reputation where recruitment became a problem. Upper management stepped in and started to ask the team members for their feedback. It turned out that the manager was not a good fit for that position and was transitioned into another department. When the new manager was selected, it was based not only on experience but also the ability to work with others. They learned that it is vital to understand a person’s work style and how they interact with others in order to have a high performing team. If just one person isn’t “playing well in the sandbox” the effects can ruin a brand and effect sales and future growth of an organization.

A Checklist for Success

♦ When selecting the crew – have a clear understanding of the ideal crew member and have a system and process to assure you have selected the correct crew members. This can be done through interviewing and asking questions for specific examples and compare those answers to what an ideal crew member would do. Gather as much data as possible from reference and background checks as well as provide an in-depth work style and personality assessment with Lighthouse Consulting Services. The information should be used to validate the interview responses, background and reference checks.
♦ Ask each current crew member for feedback on where they think that the team and themselves could be more efficient in the market place within the next 30-60-90 days. This means that everyone on your ship needs to have their eyes and ears open to seeing where it might be possible to improve and enhance processes, structure, services, customer service, etc.
♦ Captains and officers need to listen to everyone and create a truly open environment. Come up with three things that you can do that will make that happen.
♦ Define what the ideal crew member would possess in skills, work style and personality and make it measurable.
♦ Assist the current crew to fulfill that role. Make sure you have an in-depth work style and personality assessment of your crew members so you’ll have the insight on how to help everyone thrive and to get the best performance from each team member. Through in-depth assessments you will discover how your staff solves problems, deals with stress, makes decisions, processes information, creates and follows up on leads, etc. This will help to ensure that you have the right person in the correct position so they can perform to the best of their ability. Contact us at reception@lighthouseconsulting.com to get started.

lighthouse and boatsIf you have the right team in place, your organization will be able to deal with the many challenges that will come along during the voyage. The key is to hire right the first time and to assist those on board to be the best that they can be. This will lead to happy customers, happy employees, innovation for the future, efficiency for delivery of the product or service and of course, a profitable bottom line.

To take a leadership assessment to see if you have what it takes to help your organization sail well into the future, please click on here. You can gather additional ideas for working with your current and future crew members by reading our books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, go to: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2015

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

 

How to Manage Difficult People: Handling the Difficult without Difficulty

By Dana Borowka – excerpt from Cracking the Personality Code

As a manager, you must deal with a wide range of personalities. Thanks to proper hiring assessments, most of your direct reports should be productive and biz tug of warreasonable workers. But what about those who slip through the process, employees you inherit, or co-workers who are extremely difficult to work with or even be around? You know the types. These are the folks focused on their own agenda and needs, who cause conflicts wherever they go, and command a great deal of a manager’s time and attention. The difficult ones don’t get diseases like ulcers and heart attacks. They seem to induce them in others!

During our workshops on managing difficult people, we always express a debt of gratitude to a pair of doctors named Rick: Rick Brinkman and Rick Kirschner, authors of two great reads, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand and their latest, Dealing with Difficult People. They became friends while med-students, but their friendship blossomed when a surgeon from an area hospital became their mentor. With his guidance and encouragement, they studied health from an attitudinal point of view. In 1982, a mental-health organization asked the two Ricks to create a program on how to deal with difficult people. That marked the official beginning of a research project that has continued for more than twenty-five years.

Another author who is an important voice on this subject is psychologist Jay Carter, whose book Nasty People calls upon decades of practice and observation to offer proven strategies for avoiding toxic relationships (www.jaycarter.net). With psychology that makes sense, Dr. Carter offers tremendous insights on how to protect your sanity and confront emotional bullies. The process begins by identifying the “invalidators” in your work life. (The following excerpts are used with permission of the author and the McGraw-Hill Companies, publishers of Nasty People by Dr. Jay Carter, copyright 2003—second edition.)

Taking on Invalidation

In the words of Leo Buscaglia, “Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” Have you been hurt, betrayed, or degraded by bizman cut offa difficult employee, co-worker, or boss? Whoever that person is, according to Dr. Carter, he or she is an invalidator who feeds upon your self-esteem, mental anguish, and unhappiness. But you can stop this cycle of abuse and put an end to sneak attacks, without stooping to their level. “Invalidation is a general term for a person injuring or trying to injure another,” says Dr. Carter. “An invalidation can range anywhere from a shot in the back to a ‘tsk, tsk.’ A rolling of the eyeballs can be an invalidation and so can a punch in the nose. It is usually the sneaky verbal or non-verbal invalidations that cause the most damage. A punch in the nose is obvious, and it heals. However, an attack on self esteem … at the right moment … and in the right way … can last a lifetime.”

The major reason invalidation occurs so often in the workplace is that it seems to work. The sneaky invalidation works because a punch in the nose is obvious and will get the troublemaker terminated (if not sued), while the mental attack may go unnoticed and unpunished, while it injures its victim.

According to Dr. Carter, invalidation is propagated in our society by about 20 percent of the population. “About 1 percent intentionally spread this misery, while the other 19 percent do it unconsciously. Invalidation can be found to greater and lesser degrees in various societies. Happier individuals evolve from societies in which invalidation is at a minimum. Unfortunately, in the US, it seems to be part of the American way.”

For a manager it may be problematic to identify invalidation, as the methods used to invalidate are often very subtle. When people invalidate, it is because they feel inferior to others. To compensate, they attack and undermine the self-esteem of others. Invalidating behavior ranges from very obvious to covert. Where does invalidation come from? People express invalidating behavior either consciously or subconsciously. Most people slip into this behavior subconsciously by reacting to subtle triggers in the environment and have learned this from others, like a family member. This behavior is passed from one person to another through being invalidated.

Common Methods of Invalidation

Forewarned is forearmed, as the old adage goes. Be on the watch for these low blows and cheap shots.big biz feet

Building You Up, Cutting You Down
When an individual showers you with compliments, then tears you apart.

Cutting You Off
When someone cuts off communication in the middle. He or she may ask you a question, then cuts you off or walks off before you are finished answering.

Projection
A psychological mechanism, where the individual takes his/her own feelings and puts the responsibility for them onto someone else, as if these feelings originated within the other person.

Generalization
When a person uses generalizations that are simply exaggerations of small truths. The more truth there is in the generalization, the more it can be exaggerated. “Always” and “never” are commonly used in generalizations.

Double Message
This method uses opposite messages to confuse and put down the other person.

The Double Bind
When you are set up in a situation where you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

How to Handle Invalidation

When you recognize the tactics of the difficult people, then you can have a counter strategy. Here are a few tips and techniques to counter their assaults.

bizman in target“Just the Facts”
Sticking to and firmly repeating the facts is a powerful way to destroy invalidation.

“What Did You Say?”
Asking the person to repeat the invalidation will, at times, defuse it, especially if it was a sneak attack.

Tell It Like It Is
Most invalidations are insinuations, voice inflections, and double messages that can be handled with the simple truth. Tell the truth by looking at your feelings. “I feel angry when you speak to me in that manner.”

Don’t Let It Slide
Invalidation only gets worse as time goes on. It’s important to talk about it. Exploring the intent is helpful to reduce invalidation, by asking, “When you say that, what are you really trying to say?”

Maintain Boundaries
Saying no, putting down limits, and describing what you can do is helpful when dealing with someone who is using pressure, demands, or manipulation to get what they want.

Five Other Types of Difficult Behavior

Invalidators are not the only challenge for a manager. At best, the following types of difficult behavior make work life tense, stressful and unpleasant. At worst, they can keep a manager from achieving important goals. We all know what happens to managers who don’t achieve their goals. But through knowledge and practice, you can obtain the power to bring out the best behavior in direct reports and co-workers who are at their worst.

According to Drs. Brinkman and Kirschner, there are many different types of difficult behavior at work, and behavior can change from one type to another as conditions change. You have the advantage when you are pre-pared with a variety of responses when dealing with any particular difficult behavior. Here are five types of difficult behavior and suggestions on how to deal with them. (The following excerpts are used with permission of the authors and the McGraw-Hill Companies, publishers of Dealing With Difficult People: 24 Lessons for Bringing Out the Best in Everyone by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner, copyright 2003—first edition.)

The Authority: “I know it all”

A person behaving this way has a low tolerance for correction or contradiction, and easily blames others when things go wrong. According to Brinkman and Kirschner, here is your goal: To open their mind to new ideas and information.authority figure

How to handle them:

  1. Be prepared and know the flaws and shortcomings of your ideas. Be able to explain them in a brief, precise, and clear manner.
  2. Use active listening to help the person know you are listening to them, and be sure to show interest and respect.
  3. Acknowledge and address the problems and doubts, by paraphrasing the concern back with information to address it.
  4. Present your ideas indirectly by using softening words (like, “perhaps,” “what do you suppose”) to sound hypothetical rather than challenging. Use plural pronouns like “we” or “us” to convey that you are both on the same team. Ask questions to help the individual to accept new information, like, “I was wondering, what do you sup-pose would happen if we were to try [new information] in certain areas?”
  5. Use them as resources by letting them know that you recognize them as an expert and are willing to learn from them. They will spend more time teaching you than obstructing you.

The Fake: “Look at me!”

Faking involves acting or pretending that we’re something we’re not for approval, attention and/or importance. In the business world, this behavior can be theater stageespecially destructive when people act as experts and give out misinformation and opinions as facts.

People behaving this way combine a small amount of information with exaggeration and generalizations to get attention. When confronted, these individuals can get very aggressive to maintain their facade. This is driven by a strong people focus since people are the source of the attention and appreciation they crave.

Here are some recommendations on how to handle them:

  1. Give them a little attention by: Repeating back their comments with enthusiasm; Acknowledging their positive intent rather than wasting time debating their content. Example: “Thanks for contributing to this discussion.” You don’t have to agree with their remarks to provide some attention or positive projection.
  2. Ask some revealing questions to clarify for specifics. Fakes usually talk in generalizations, so ask questions to get specifics. For example, when they use “always,” ask “when specifically?” Ask your questions with curiosity and respect, and not to embarrass the individual.
  3. Tell it like it is and redirect the conversation back to reality and facts. Speak about the situation or problem from your point of view and use “I” statements to keep your remarks as non-threatening as possible.
  4. Give them a break to reduce the chance of them becoming defensive. When providing evidence, you can say, “But maybe you haven’t heard of this yet…” You can also act as if their misinformation has reminded you of your subject and express appreciation for their efforts.
  5. Notice when the individual is doing something right and give credit where credit is due.

The No Person: “No! No! No!!!”

The “no person” constantly says no to everything and strives to defeat ideas and fights for despair and hopelessness. (This person is the close cousin of the “no, but” person.)pig fly

Kirschner and Brinkman advise that you handle them like this:

  1. Go with the flow. Allow the individual to be as negative as they want to be. Don’t try to convince them that things are not so bad. That will only motivate them to convince you that things are even worse.
  2. Use them as a detector for potential problems and discovering fatal flaws in a project or situation.
  3. Give them time. “No people” tend to operate in a different time reality than other people. The more you push them to make a decision, the more they will dig in their heels.
  4. Be realistic by acknowledging the flaws or problems, and invite them to help you in finding a solution.
  5. Acknowledge their positive intent by acting as if the negative feedback is meant to be helpful. Appreciate them for having high standards, being willing to speak up, and being concerned about details. When a successful project is completed, remember to include them in the celebration.

The Whiner: “Oh, woe is me!”

This person feels helpless and overwhelmed by an unfair world. They set their standard at perfection and nothing measures up to it. They constantly rain cloudscomplain about everything and search out an audience to listen to their tale of woe.

Kirschner and Brinkman offer these suggestions for dealing with whiners:

  1. Do’s and Don’ts:

• Don’t agree with them. That just encourages them to continue complaining.
• Don’t disagree with them, as they’ll feel the need to repeat their woes.
• Don’t try to solve their problems—you can’t.
• Do have patience with their unrealistic standards and endless negativity.
• Do have compassion for them as their lives seem to be beyond their control.
• Do have commitment to the process of getting them to focus on solutions.

2. Listen for and write down the main points in their complaints. This helps you to clarify the situation to prepare for the last step of this process.

3. Interrupt and be specific by asking clarification questions.

4. Whiners often complain in cascading generalizations and don’t stand still with any one problem long enough to even start problem solving. It’s important to stop them and get specific.

5. Shift the focus to solutions. As you get specific about each complaint, ask them, “What do you want?” They may not know, in which case tell them to make something up. Or if they do know, what is it?

6. Others may be unrealistic in their solutions, so help them be more practical by telling them like it is and saying, “Based on these facts, what do you want?”

7. Involve them in the problem solving process by having them track and document the problem in writing, and request solutions and recommendations for the problem. This helps them to see that problems can be solved.

8. If these steps have not created even a minor change with the individual, then you must politely but firmly draw the line. To draw the line:

• Each time the person begins to complain, you must take charge of the situation and bring it assertively to a close, by standing up and walking to the door.
• Say calmly, “Since your complaints seem to have no solutions, talking about them isn’t going to accomplish anything. If you happen to think of any solutions, please let me know.”
• Do not allow them to draw you back into their cycle of complaining. Simply repeat the same statement over and over.

The Yes Person: “I just can’t say no!”

This individual constantly tries to please others and avoid confrontation by saying yes to everyone. They have trouble thinking things through and consistently overextend themselves. They react to the latest requests and demands, fail to follow through, and end up feeling resentful towards others.

Kirschner and Brinkman offer these suggestions on how to handle them:Juggling

1. Make it safe to discuss anger and fear in a calm manner. The key to maintaining safety is using active listening and verbal reassurance.

2. Talk honestly without getting defensive. Ask them questions to clarify and express your appreciation for their honesty, like, “Please help me to understand what happened last week. What stopped you from having the information on time? Did you ask anyone for help?”

3. Help them learn to plan. This is an opportunity to change and learn how to keep commitments.

• Start with stating the consequence of breaking one’s promises. Example: “One of the most important parts of being a team is knowing that my team can count on me and I can count on my team. Just think how it would affect our ability to be a team and work together if we couldn’t keep our commitments to each other.”
• Help them to look at different options and make changes. Ask questions like, “What got in the way and what could have been done differently? How else could the situation have been handled?” Example: “Instead of saying yes right away when someone asks you to do something, perhaps you can train yourself to say, ‘Let me look at my schedule and get back to you.’”
• Help the individual focus on specific action steps to accomplish the task.

4. Ensure commitment by:

• Seeking a deeper level of commitment by asking for their “word of honor.”
• Asking them to summarize their commitment by having them tell you what they will do. Example: “I want to make sure that you and I both understand how this will be done. Could you describe to me what you will do and when?”
• Having them write it down, which will make the information easier to remember.
• Being very clear about the deadlines and describing negative consequences in terms of how a broken commitment will affect others. Example: “If this doesn’t get completed, how do you think that is going to impact those who are depending on you?”
• Keeping in touch to help the person overcome any obstacles and ensure follow through.

5. Strengthen the relationship by acknowledging when the individual is honest about their doubts and concerns; dealing with broken promises with great care; and making an event out of every completed commitment.

How to deal with broken promises:

• Tell them what they did by specifically describing the facts of the situation, but not your opinion of the situation. Example: “You made a commitment to finish this project.”
• Explain how others were affected in a factual manner. Tell them how you feel about it. Don’t exaggerate, but be honest. Example: “Quite honestly, I’m disappointed and frustrated over this.”
• Project positive intent, like, “I know you care about doing great work and you are capable of doing what you say.”
• Tell them, “That’s not like you,” even if it is. People will strive to fulfill positive projections.
• Ask them what they learned from the experience and how they would handle it differently. This helps to change negative situations into learning experiences.

You Are in Control of You

Managers are influential, but the only person you can control is you. So keep a positive attitude about dealing with negative people. As Betty Sachelli put it, all in one boat“Two thoughts cannot occupy the mind at the same time, so the choice is ours as to whether our thoughts will be constructive or destructive.”

Difficult employees are a fact of life. They blame, intimidate, whine, run away, or explode without notice. The more you try to work with them, the more they seem to work to disrupt your plans. But there’s no reason to let difficult employees get in the way of your performance in the workplace. With the help of these effective approaches to understanding and circumventing disruptive and annoying behavior, you can get past the roadblocks posed by difficult people in the workplace.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2015 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.