A Tap on the Glass

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A Tap on the Glass - 77 - Getting up to Speed

If you examine the Corporate body count over the last couple of years, you’ll find that “slow” kills companies.

And THAT, of course, means the death of many a career.

To survive today – certainly to gain any type of competitive advantage – your organization must travel light and cover a lot of ground quickly. That drives the decision to decentralize, to delegate decision-making power. That’s why it’s more and more important to erase some of the boundaries between different parts of the organization, so work can flow seamlessly and quicker. Frankly, we don’t have much choice. Organizations are all working hard right now to eliminate excess baggage….abandon lethargic bureaucratic practices….and shrink, dramatically, the time it takes to get things done!

So many of the changes you’re seeing today are designed to help organizations pick up needed speed. They’re not casual or random moves made up by a bored heartless top exec. What you’re seeing is raw survival instincts at work. Today, organizations either accelerate, or die.

Let’s face it, we live in a very impatient world with fierce competition and limited fleeting opportunities. The Organization that’s lean, agile, and quick to respond clearly has the edge. But an organization can only go as fast as their slowest employee.

So, you need to operate with a strong sense of urgency today. Acceleration in all aspects of your work, even if it means a few more ragged edges. Emphasize ACTION. Today’s market demands that you don’t bog down in endless prep work trying to make things perfect before you move.

Sure, high quality is important, but it has to come quickly. You cannot sacrifice speed. Learn to fail fast, fix it and move on.

Take no part in resistance to change. If your organization decides to turn on a dime, follow it like a trailer. Corner quickly. Turn for turn. The organization can’t wait for employees to go through some slow adjustment process. It can’t afford to gear down and wait while people decide whether or not they’re going to get on board.

Consider this: New hires join up ready and willing to help drive the organization in new directions and push. They’re eager to prove themselves and make their mark in the organization. You’d be exactly the same way if you left your job today and hired on somewhere else. So, why not take that approach right where you are?

Now.

Instead of giving reasons why something won’t work and being a drag on change initiatives – one of the resistors who causes delay – develop a reputation as one who pushes the change process along. Make yourself MORE valuable…and help create a high-velocity operation.

What we must decide is perhaps how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.
F. Scott Fitgerald (1896-1940)

 

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A Tap on the Glass - 76 - Tach-ing into the Wind

What makes you want to do what you do when you do it? That's the mystery of motivation.

Motivation is the drive that impels a person to take action. It is an internal need that is satisfied by an external expression.

When you experience something and you want to get some "MO" -- that is "MO"-tivation!
The truly motivated person wants to take action to either get what he wants, or to avoid what he doesn't want.

There are three ways people can become motivated. The first is the K.I.T.A. Method of motivation. (K.I.T.A. Stands for "kick in the anatomy (we'll keep this politically correct).") It is based on the fear of punishment.
The K.I.T.A. Method motivates people to move away from something painful or distasteful. It pushes them into action. An example of K.I.T.A. Motivation is when the boss threatens to fire you unless you stop showing up late for work.

The second motivation technique is the 4P's Principle. It uses praise, prestige, promotion, or paycheck to motivate people. The 4P's pull people toward something by promising a reward for taking action. An example of the 4P's Principle: "Bill, you are too good an employee to be late for work all the time. And when you show up on time for an entire month, I am going to give you a promotion and a raise. And I will announce it in the company newsletter!"

The K.I.T.A. And the 4P's Principle methods of motivation both work, but they are not as effective as the third method. There is no special name for this one. It is just plain ole self-motivation. It involves finding a personal reason, deep inside yourself, to take action.    
Most people go through life being pushed or pulled by outward circumstances. They do what they do in response to what happens to them.
Like a billiard ball, they are bouncing off the rails of life or falling into the pockets -- all in response to the positive or negative cues of their outward environment!

An effectively motivated person, however, is self-motivated! He or she is not like a wheelbarrow (being pushed) or a wagon (being pulled).
Instead, a dynamically motivated person is like an automobile -- he is driven by his own power source from within!
 
Wishing you high RPM's today!

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A Tap on the Glass - 75 - Change for the Betterment of You

There is a little poem that reads, "Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud; the other saw stars."

The moral: You can improve your ability to deal with change by focusing your attention on the future and by seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

We certainly hear a lot about change these days. A critical issue in dealing with change is the subject of control. Most of your stress and unhappiness comes as a result of feeling out of control in a particular area of your life. If you think about the times or places where you felt the very best about yourself, you will realize that you had a high degree of control in those places. One of the reasons why you like to get home after a trip is that, after you walk through your front door, you feel completely in control of your environment. You know where everything is. You don't have to answer to anyone. You can relax completely. You are back in control.

Psychologists call this the difference between an "internal locus of control" and an "external locus of control." Your locus of control is where you feel the control is located for a particular part of your life. People with an external locus of control feel they are controlled by outside forces, their bills, their relationships, their childhood experiences, or their external environment. When a person has an external locus of control, he or she feels a high degree of stress. And with an external locus of control, a person is very tense and uneasy about change of any kind.

Any type of change represents a threat that may leave the individual worse off than before.

On the other hand, people with an internal locus of control possess a high level of self-determination. They feel that they are very much in charge of their life. They plan their work and work their plan. They accept a high level of responsibility, and they believe that everything happens for a reason and that they are the primary creative force in their life.

Since the only thing over which you have complete control is the content of your conscious mind, you begin to deal with change by taking full, complete control over the things you think. As Aldous Huxley said, "Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you." Since change is inevitable and continuous, it is how you think about what is happening to you that is most important in determining how change affects you — and whether you use it to your advantage or let it work to your disadvantage.

In his book Celebrations of Life, Rene Dubos wrote that we fear change more today than ever before, and for less reason.

The reason we fear change is because we are afraid that we will be worse off as a result. No one fears change that implies improvement. For example, if you learned that you were going to have to change your lifestyle because you had just won the lottery, this is not the kind of change that you would avoid or anticipate with dread. It is change that implies unpleasant surprises that you fear and become anxious about, because it causes you to feel that you have lost a certain amount of control in that part of your life.

Your aim is to become a "change master," to embrace change, to welcome change, to ride the tides of change, and to move toward the improvements you desire.

Boat builders know that the deeper the keel of a sailing vessel, the more stable it will be in storms, squalls, and gusts of wind. The same holds true for you. The deeper your keel — or stabilizing factors in your life — the less likely it is that you will be blown over or off course when unexpected change occurs.

You can deepen your keel and increase your stability by setting big goals for yourself and making clear, written plans for their accomplishment. Goals enable you to control the direction of change. With goals, change becomes planned and deliberate, instead of random and haphazard. Goals assure that the changes that take place in your life are primarily self-determined and self-directed. With clear, specific goals, the changes that take place will tend to be positive and move you toward something that you want to achieve rather than blow you off course.

It’s inevitable that you’ll experience an almost continuous series of large and small disappointments and setbacks in your life. That is the nature of the game. They are unavoidable. Some things work out, and some things don't. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. In spite of your best efforts, unexpected and unpredictable events will derail your best-laid plans. This endless process of change and setbacks begins when you first enter the workforce, and it continues for the rest of your career. Problems and changes in your work are like the rain — they just happen. But if you set clear goals for your work, as well as for your family life and for your personal development, then no matter what happens, you can concentrate your thinking on your goals and take a long-term view of your current circumstances. You can, in effect, rise above the challenges of the moment and keep your eyes on the guiding stars of your life and your most cherished dreams.

With clear goals, you will become a multidimensional person rather than one-dimensional. A setback or disappointment in any one part of your work will be quickly offset by the fact that you are busy in other areas, and you simply won't allow yourself to invest too much emotional energy in one particular thing that doesn't work out to plan.

Now I'd like to share with you a four-step method of dealing with change:

The first step is simply to accept the change as a reality. Acceptance is the opposite of rejection or resistance. Acceptance keeps your mind calm and positive. As William James said, "The starting point in dealing with any difficulty is to be willing to have it so." The minute you accept that a change has occurred and that you can't cry over spilled milk, you become more capable of dealing with the change and turning it to your advantage.

One of the best ways to deal with the worry that is often generated by unexpected change is to sit down and answer, on paper, the question: "What exactly am I worrying about?"

In medicine, it’s said that accurate diagnosis is half the cure. When you sit down and define a worrisome situation clearly on paper, it suddenly becomes less stressful to you, and it will often resolve itself. In any case, when it is clearly defined, you have diagnosed it, and you now can do something about it.

The second step is to ask yourself, "What is the worst possible thing that can happen as a result of this change?" Much worry and stress comes from the refusal to face what might happen as a result of a difficult problem. When you clearly define the worst possible outcome and write it down next to the definition of the problem, chances are you will find that, whatever it is, you can handle it. Often, your worries will begin to evaporate after you have determined the worst that might happen as a result.

Now decide to accept the worst possible outcome should it occur. Mentally resolve that, even if the worst possible consequence ensues from this situation, it will not be the end of the world for you. You will accept it and carry on. The very act of accepting the worst possible outcome helps to eliminate the stress and anxiety associated with the situation.

The third step in dealing with change is adjusting your behaviors and actions to the new situation. Ask yourself, "What are all the things I can do to make sure that the worst does not occur?" Sometimes we call this "damage control."

In the business of schools, this is an important part of decision making, and it is called the "mini-max regret solution." What can you do to minimize the maximum damage that can occur from an unexpected change or setback? As you begin thinking of all the things you can do, you are adjusting your mind to the new information and preparing to take steps to deal with the change effectively. Write these things down next to the result of step two.

The final part of this four-step method for dealing with change is to improve on the existing situation. Often, a change signals that your plans are incomplete or that you might be heading in the wrong direction. Serious changes, which create real problems, are often signals that you are on the wrong track. There is an old saying, "Crisis is change trying to take place." You will often find that the change is a healthy and positive step toward achieving your goals.

I’m an avid reader, on a multitude of subjects…and I recently read about W. Clement Stone, the billionaire and founder of Combined Insurance Company. Stone was famous for his attitude of being an "inverse paranoid." He was convinced that everything that happened to him was part of a conspiracy to help him to be more successful. Whenever something unexpected occurred, he immediately said, "That's good!" and then looked into the situation to find out exactly what was good about it.

If you look into any change, you will always find something good and beneficial for you. Look for the valuable lessons contained within every setback. What is the hidden advantage that you can turn to your benefit? Is this change a signal that, if properly responded to, will save you from a much bigger change or problem in the future? Since your mind can hold only one thought at a time, if you force yourself to look for the positive aspect of any change, you'll keep your mind clear, and you'll keep your attitude optimistic and confident.

Victor Frankl said that "the last great freedom of man is the freedom to choose his attitude under any given set of circumstances." You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

A mark of a successful person is what has been called "tolerance for ambiguity." This simply means that you have the capacity to deal effectively with a rapidly changing situation. The more successful you become — the greater your income and responsibilities, the higher your status and position — the faster the rate of change that will be around you. At every stage, it will be your ability to function with calmness, clarity, and quiet assurance that will mark you as the kind of person who is going places in life.

In the final analysis, your ability to perform effectively in a world of ongoing change is the true measure of how well developed a person you are. As you continue to do this, you will experience a wonderful feeling of self-control and self-determination that your whole life will be bright and positive — and so will your results.

Thanks for reading...

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A Tap on the Glass - 74 - Body Language Personafied

You ever notice how some people are the center of attention wherever they go?

 

They’re not glamorous movie stars, just ordinary people with excellent command over their body language. Here are some pointers to help you emulate these confident people and command respect from those around you.

Improve your standing…

Posture can say a lot about a person. Confident people seem to naturally stand tall, while those who slouch look like they’re down on themselves. Be sure that you’re presenting yourself in a way that commands respect.

What to do:

1. Stand tall, even if you’re the shortest person in the room. Keeping your shoulders pushed back will lend you an air of confidence.
2. Spread your weight evenly on both feet instead of leaning on one. You don’t need to stand at perfect attention, just keep your feet apart so you balance well.
3. Take your hands out of your pockets, or you may be seen like you’ve got something to hide. Hold them loosely by your side.
4. Stand with your arms crossed behind your back. Your shoulders will get pulled back automatically.

What not to do:

5. Don’t stand with your hands on your hips if you don’t want to come across as confrontational.
6. Don’t shuffle your feet. Pick your feet up and move like you know where you’re going.
7. Don’t fidget with your feet. Drawing patterns with one foot on the floor shows you’re not interested in what’s going on.
8. Don’t lean against walls or tables. You’ll appear tired and lazy.
9. Don’t turn away from the person you’re talking to in the middle of the conversation, otherwise you’ll show you’re not interested in continuing it.

Eye contact…

When holding a conversation, the person you’re speaking with should focus on your eyes. They indicate your emotions and can show whether you’re paying attention or not. Be considerate of what your eyes tell about you: show others respect and you’ll get respect in return.

What to do:

10. Look directly at the person you are talking to in order to exude confidence.

What not to do:

11. Don’t shift your attention to other people or things in the room. It shows deceit.
12. Be careful not to glare at the person talking to you. You may think you look intensely interested, but you just look mad.
13. Don’t blink excessively. People will be distracted and wonder if there’s something wrong with you.
14. If you wear glasses, don’t look over the rim. It makes you look condescending.
15. Never wear sunglasses inside, especially during a meeting. Others will wonder if you have something to hide.
16. Don’t look at your watch unless you want to appear as if you’re in a rush.
17. Don’t rub your eyes with your hands: it signals disbelief at the situation.
18. When you pinch the bridge of your nose with your eyes closed, you’ll come across in a negative manner.
19. Keeping your eyes on the door will show that you’re ready to leave the room.

Sitting pretty…

Your posture while sitting is just as important as standing. Your level of interest in a conversation can be easily read by the position you sit in. Be careful to position yourself in a way that shows you’re powerful and actively engaged in what others have to say.

What to do:

20. Sit straight so that your shoulders touch the back of your chair. Slouching promotes the image of laziness.
21. Rest your hands on the arms of your chair, place them on your knees, or fold them on your lap so that they are not a distraction.
22. Make sure your chair is positioned so you’re facing the person you’re talking to. This will show that you’re engaged in what they are saying.
23. Lean slightly forward to appear interested in a conversation and stress what you’re saying.

What not to do:

24. Don’t cross your ankles. Some people think it’s a sign that you’ve got something to hide. Sit with your feet on the floor to minimize distractions.
25. Don’t tilt your chair back so that it’s standing on two legs. This shows a very casual, laid back attitude and does not earn you respect. You also run the risk of looking silly when you accidentally fall backwards.
26. Don’t cross your arms across your body. You may come across as disinterested.
27. Stretching your legs out shows you’re too relaxed and may also invade others’ personal space.
28. Never put your feet up on the desk in front of you. You don’t want to come across as condescending.
29. Ladies, be cautious when crossing your legs. If you’ll expose things that are better left to the imagination, refrain from doing so.

Heading for victory…

The position of your head, the frequency of your breaths, even yawning are indicators of your level of interest in a conversation. Take care to avoid looking as if you’re bored or disinterested. If you seem to be involved in what others have to say, they will naturally offer the same to you and build mutual respect.

What to do:

30. Tilting your head to one side during a conversation shows you’re interested and thinking about what’s being said.
31. Take regular, even breaths. Heavy breaths are a sure sign that you’re nervous.
32. Be sure to nod your head so the person you’re speaking with knows you’re listening and interested.

What not to do:

33. Massaging your temples shows you’re either at your wits’ end or that you have a severe headache.
34. Don’t swallow too often; it gives away the fact that you’re not comfortable with the situation.
35. Yawning is an involuntary sign from your body saying that your brain’s bored. You may not have much control over it, but yawning in the middle of a conversation will give away the fact that you’d rather be somewhere else.
36. A blank face conveys either disinterest or a lack of understanding.

Walking into the limelight…

Carrying yourself in a confident manner is key to commanding respect. Give the impression that you’re walking with a purpose so that you’ll be admired by others.

What to do:

37. Walk, don’t run. Take even strides.
38. Look ahead or in front of you, not at the floor when you walk.

What not to do:

39. Don’t walk with a swagger; it indicates that you’re cocky and have an attitude.
40. Be careful not to shove people aside as you move across a crowded place: no one respects a rude person.
41. Similarly, avoid stepping on others’ toes.

Win, hands down…

Hand gestures are great for getting attention or making a point, but be sure that you’re not creating a distraction. You want attention to be on your eyes and face while speaking, not on what your hands are doing. Command respect and control the interest of the conversation by keeping your hands in check.

What to do:

42. Open, face-up palms signal honesty and straightforwardness.
43. Gesturing with your arms can help you make a point, but don’t do so much that it’s distracting.
44. When you stroke your chin, it shows you’re trying to make a decision. Be sure that you want others to know that’s what you’re doing.
45. Making a steeple out of your hands makes a good impression, as it demonstrates confidence.
46. Shake hands firmly: not too tight or too limp. You don’t want to crush the other person’s hands or come across as unsure of yourself.
47. If the situation calls for paperwork, be sure to keep your papers in order with easy access to avoid looking disorganized.
48. Make sure your palms are clean and dry. Sweaty palms indicate nervousness and are a turn off for most people.
49. If you’re trying to convince someone of your sincerity, touch your open palm to your heart.
50. Rolling up your sleeves signals a casual, get-down-to-work attitude. Roll them up or down according to the situation.
51. Removing your tie, top button, or jacket to indicate you’re getting comfortable in your surroundings.

What not to do:

52. Don’t clench your fists. You’ll come off as aggressive.
53. Never point at someone, be it the person talking to you or anyone else in the room. It’s rude.
54. Don’t play or fidget with your mobile phone when someone’s talking to you. It shows avoidance and a lack of interest.
55. Don’t wring your hands: it signals despair.
56. Don’t scratch your head. You’ll come across as being unsure of yourself.
57. Don’t touch your nose, play with your hair, or rub your eyes when you’re being asked for an honest answer. They’re all signs that say you’re lying.
58. Don’t tap your fingers on a table or arms of a chair; you’ll seem anxious.
59. Don’t run your fingers through your hair. It shows frustration.
60. Don’t doodle on the notepad in front of you, as this indicates boredom.
61. Closing an open mouth with your hands shows you’re shocked at what’s been said or what you’ve seen.
62. Never bite your nails. It will make you seem nervous.
63. Don’t fidget with objects lying on the table in front of you.
64. Don’t chew on a pencil or pen when talking to someone. It’s unattractive and distracting.
65. Don’t sit with your palms on your cheeks. It shows you’re deep in thought about something else.
66. Don’t clench the arms of your chair or your handbag too tightly. You’ll portray yourself as nervous.
67. Don’t rub your hands together: it shows you’re too eager.
68. Avoid a two-handed handshake. It’s usually connected to politicians who are not very sincere.
69. Do not wipe your palms on your clothing. Use a handkerchief instead.
70. If you pull at your ear, you may indicate that you’re lying.
71. Don’t shake your fists at someone, as it is extremely aggressive.
72. Clenched fists raised in the air will indicate that you’re overjoyed or thrilled. Avoid doing this when situations call for restraint.

A matter of manners…

Practicing common courtesy is a basis for earning respect from others. If you’re rude, people will avoid talking and working with you. Be polite to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

What to do:

73. When you need to offer comfort, a one-armed squeeze, gentle hug, or a pat on the shoulder helps, depending on how close you are to the other person.
74. Open doors and allow others to walk before you.
75. Cough and sneeze into your hands or a handkerchief, not into the face of the people around you.

What not to do:

76. A handshake that goes on for an extended period of time may be considered inappropriate.
77. Ruffling someone’s hair may seem like you’re being genuinely affectionate, but in a formal setting, it suggests you’re being condescending.
78. Don’t shout when you’re on the phone. Talk in a calm, volume-controlled voice.
79. Don’t huddle into a corner with your mobile phone while in a crowd of people. Get out and mingle instead. Keep your private conversations for a time when you’re alone.
80. Don’t mock someone’s mannerisms when you think they’re not watching.
81. Avoid taking a phone call when you’re in the middle of a discussion.
82. If you have a cold, don’t blow your nose loudly in public.
83. Never wipe your nose with your hands or sleeves.
84. Don’t scratch your itches, not matter how much you’re tempted to. You’ll make people wonder if you have a rash.
85. Don’t multi-task in the middle of a conversation. It doesn’t show dexterity, only callousness.
86. Don’t slam doors, no matter how angry you are.
87. Don’t snap or clap your hands to call someone over.
88. Don’t burp/belch loudly in public.
89. Don’t lick your lips too often. You may jut be wetting them, but it indicates nervousness, or worse, sexual aggression.
90. Don’t make faces or stick your tongue out behind someone’s back. It’s childish and rude.

Take a good look at yourself…

Carefully examining the way you present yourself can help you discover areas in which you may need improvement. Carefully groom your mannerisms and outward appearance to make your best impression and command respect.

What to do:

91. Practice your mannerisms in front of a mirror so that you can discover your weak areas.
92. Additionally, try videotaping your actions so you can find out where you’re going wrong.
93. Look at others who command respect and imitate their actions.
94. Look good. You don’t have to be conventionally handsome or beautiful; it’s enough to dress neatly in clothes that suit both you and the occasion.
95. Smell good. Use deodorant and perfume, but go easy on it. You don’t want to overpower the room with your scent.
96. Keep your fingernails clean. Close cropped nails show you’re neat and orderly, but if you prefer to wear them long, make sure they’re groomed neatly.
97. Wear footwear that allows you to walk comfortably to avoid making a fool of yourself.
98. Keep your work area and personal space neat and tidy. Avoid clutter and dust.

What not to do:

99. Avoid revealing, dirty or wrinkled clothing.
100. Don’t wear too much makeup. Keep it to a minimum.

101. And last, but not least, always smile. Smiles are contagious. When you smile, others can’t help but smile back and feel positively towards you.

Hey, I’m feeling better already……

Thanks for reading..

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A Tap on the Glass - 73 - The Valid Gut Instinct

You’ve made hundreds of big decisions in your life. 

I know that many of them have been business related. Do you make the deal? Spend that money? Hire that person? Did you bypass an opportunity?

How do you handle decisions that involve risk? Sure, you can look at data — but I would argue that at least 50% of your decisions in your career and in your life are not decided with the data, rather, with your gut.  Most certainly that’s been the case with me…and admittedly, with mixed results. 

But, the numbers don’t tell the entire story. I’ve learned a thing or two about achieving some level of success by listening to my gut when making decisions. 

I admit that it’s a learned discipline, with a margin of error, but it pays off for a lifetime.

Here are a few “gut” ideas that you may be able to use:

Going Solo. I’ve tried decision-by-committee in my career.  I’m convinced that nothing impedes the progress of a task more than forming a committee.        We employ people whom I trust with a lot of our day to day needs. I value the input of others. I want others to feel engaged, invested, and a part of the process.  We ask for it from every staff member and expect it from key people.  However, at the end of the day, if you’re the one writing the checks, the success and failure is completely on you and you alone. With risk, your gut deserves the primary focus. Stay open, seek opinions, collect data, and then trust your gut.

The Battle. I’ve found that most people do not give their gut the stage it deserves. The Gut gets tuned out, overshadowed, out-debated, and many times flatly squashed!  By what? A superior? A “Professional Consultant”?  No, most times it’s your own powerful mind.  Your mind is a potent device, but it behaves like a child at times.   Perhaps that speaks too close to my own truth, but I find that the mind wants gratification.  It wants a lot of it and it wants it now. It wants to be independent and yet constantly yearns for validation. The “mind” is eager to overwhelm, rationalize, and dominate our gut if our gut doesn’t give it what it wants.

“My gut told me not to do it… but I went with it anyway.” Consider the last many years and review some of the bigger decisions and turning points in your life.  Did you take one job over another?  Did you miss an opportunity? Did something turn into a disaster? Hindsight is valuable, and negative outcomes are the easiest to analyze.  In any of your outcomes, to what extent did you initially rely upon your gut? What did it tell you? Did it serve you well?  Were you LISTENING?

If we are listening, the gut usually will communicate one of the following three ways in any given scenario:

“Absolutely Yes”
“Heck No”
“Not ready to respond”

Gut responses of “Yes” or “No” are black and white and thus, easy to act on.    The third option, “Not ready to respond”, is equally valuable and is not used often enough as far as I can tell.

We get into trouble when we permit “maybe” to sneak in. That is the opportunity that our persuasive mind and people are looking for…to woo us into not following our gut. It’s much better to abstain for the moment then jump in with both feet when you truly KNOW better.  I’m reminded of the lyrics from a song that group Rush, sings in their song ‘Freewill’, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”   

(I’m convinced you can find a song lyric to say just about anything you want if you look long enough.)

When there is risk involved, our gut deserves a chance to be heard. Sometimes it takes hours — sometimes days — but time is not the point. 

Accuracy.  THAT is the point.

Learn to trust your gut and take notice when it does great work.

Thanks for reading. 

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A Tap on the Glass - 72 - Taking Pride in Making a Difference

Have you ever blown off a task at work because it just seemed too small or menial to bother with? Perhaps you figure it won't matter if a few little details slip - a couple of unanswered emails, maybe, or some rushed forms that are supposed to be filled in with painstaking care. Instead of filing papers according to your office guidelines, you just keep them in a heap in your in-tray - you don't think anyone's ever going to need them.

But getting the little things right - and doing an excellent job on small tasks - can really make a difference. After all, if your boss thinks you can't be trusted to get the little things right, are you likely to be given responsibility on anything else? Probably not.

Here are four reasons why you want to take pride in getting small tasks right:

1. Your Task Could Be Mission-Critical
Even if something seems unimportant or insignificant to you, it might be a crucial cog in the machinery of your company - and getting that little task right can stop things from fouling up.

This isn't a new idea; it's been around for centuries. Here's an old nursery rhyme illustrating the same point:

For want of the nail the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe the horse was lost;
For want of the horse the rider was lost;
For want of the rider the battle was lost;
For want of the battle the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horse shoe nail.


Are you the person in your company losing the nail?

2. The Way You Carry Out The Task Matters
If the procedures that you're supposed to use seems like a ridiculous amount of effort, ask your manager for the reasons behind it. There may be a perfectly good rationale about why you have to fill out a form in triplicate - perhaps it'll cause a lot of hassle for the QA team or the auditors if you don't.

Alternatively, if there really does seem to be no point to the procedure, part of doing small tasks well is to get it changed! It'll make things easier both for you and your colleagues.

Don't just assume that a complex procedure means your boss or manager is trying to be a pain. They don't want to waste your time on trivia - after all, they pay you!

3. You're Showing Diligence and Reliability
Taking care over little tasks really can impress a boss or manager. If you're the one in your team who always fills in forms right, always cheerfully volunteers to do the mail outs, and never has a stack of un-filed papers heaped around the desk - you'll be sending out great signals.

Assuming that you want your boss to see you as organized, diligent and reliable, taking care with small jobs can only create a great impression.

And even if you're not in a traditional employed job, the same applies. If you're a freelancer, then customers will be more likely to re-hire you if you deal with the little things as well as the big ones - for example, getting back to their emails promptly and professionally. To you, this might seem far less important than getting on with the logo design they've asked for, but to customers, it says they're being taken good care of.

If you're a student, doing a good job on the minor aspects of your course - showing up to lectures, preparing for seminars, getting essays turned in on time and with any appropriate paperwork completed - can really help you shine in your tutor's mind when they come to write a reference for you!

4. You Get Personal Satisfaction From a Job Done Well
The final reason, and the most important to me, doesn't have anything to do with impressing your boss, colleagues or customers.

It's simply this: you can take pride in knowing that you've taken care of a job and that you've done it to the best of your abilities.

How do you feel about yourself when you know you've slacked off, ignored your responsibilities, and put in a half-assed effort? And how do you feel when you know you've done your utmost, even though the task was tedious or boring? Be proud that you're the sort of person who does things well - even when no-one else will ever know.

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A Tap on the Glass - 71 - Dealing with Change

All change and growth involves three steps:

1. DISSATISFACTION: Because of outer events or inner feelings, you decide your current situation no longer works for you.

2. CONFUSION: Normally, a period of confusion follows in which you challenge your old beliefs. You begin to fantasize how things could be different. This transitional period could last a day, a month, a year, or more ... Until something happens.

3. ACTION: Someone helps you to make a decision, or an opportunity presents itself, or you manage to attain clarity. Once this happens, you take action and, ideally, manifest a more satisfying life.

But, oh, how we resist change! We are terrified of it! Out of fear, we cling to what is and do everything within our power to keep people and things in their familiar static positions. If you're in a good relationship, you certainly don't want your union to spin off in some unexpected direction that will cause you anxiety. You want things to remain just as they are, solid and predictable. But soon suffering arises, because life is constantly changing.

“It is your resistance to what is that causes your suffering,” said Buddha. Life is change. Change, is what it is.

If not today, then tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Everything in your life will eventually change.

Trouble starts with our desire for permanency. Desire is a matter of living in the future—of sacrificing the present for the future. And desires always disappoint. If you don't get what you desire, you become frustrated. If you do get what you desire, you'll still be frustrated, because what you desired will never live up to your expectations. Sooner or later you'll find you were chasing illusions.

And permanency is a great big faulty assumption, because it simply does not exist. Never has, never will. It is what it is.

But what if you could lock up life so that permanency were possible? Nothing would ever change. Tomorrow would be a repetition of today. Next year, everything the same. Five years down the road, exactly the same. BORING! STATIC! DEPRESSING! It is the not knowing that makes life exciting and generates ALIVENESS.

So the idea is to be courageous enough to embrace change, knowing that you're in search of new experiences to provide GROWTH.

Growth is why you supposedly incarnated upon the earth in the first place , right?

But you can't experience growth living a static life. A static (stagnant) life may protect you from some problems, but at what cost and for how long? Stagnation is a process of drying up—allowing your life to become dull, colorless, lifeless. No aliveness. No joy. Watch some TV, go to work, come home, watch some TV, go to work, come home. Treadmill. Been there? Are you there now?

Even if your actions in a quest for growth cause you pain, at least when you're hurting, you know you're alive. And the pain will generate more action, which will lead to more aliveness. Soon you'll find yourself back among the living.

If your life has become lifeless, what can you possibly fear from change? Explore your DISSATISFACTION, allow time for CONFUSION, and then make up your mind and ACT to manifest a more satisfying life.

Words to Consider Eliminating

Since the concepts implied by the following words don't contribute to improving the quality of your life, it might be in your best interest to notice when you use them. You'll become more aware of the way you give away your power, limit your reality, or negatively program your subconscious mind.

TRY: Trying is lying. There is no such thing as trying. You do it or you don't. You get results in life or you have excuses why you didn't. When people say, “I'll try,” they usually mean, “I'm not going to do it now.”

SHOULD: don't “should on yourself.” Should is resistance to what is, and the Universal Law of resistance states, “That which you resist, you draw to you.” Do things because you want to do them, not because you should.

BECAUSE: This word often prefaces a “reasonable” explanation for doing what you do. When you cease to provide reasons to other people for doing what you do, you'll keep more power.

BUT: “Get your but out of the way!” The word but often creates a problem. If you replace it with the word and, you no longer have a problem.

BELIEF: You only believe what you don't know or haven't experienced. Knowledge comes from experience. And belief destroys experience.

Of course this is easier said than done, and there are exceptions.

As an overly occasional writer, all too often, I tend to play loose with words and ignore my own wisdom. The old “do as I say, not as I do”, bit.

But (did you notice the but), now that I've shared this with you, I'll have to be a little more careful.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 70 - Loincloth Optional

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!

If your office sometimes feels like an animal house, you may not be far off the mark. Several studies show similarities between people functioning in the business world and animals coping in the wild.

There are many lessons businesses and workers can glean from studying animal behavior. From interacting with the boss to determining business risks, animals show us that we may not be that different after all. Here are several animal characteristics that are just as visible in the workplace.

Decision Making
When bees need to find a new nest, scout bees are sent out to search for suitable nesting sites and report back their findings using a waggle dance, The Economist explains. Other scouts visit the sites reported by the initial scouting group and return to perform more waggle dances. Eventually, the bees come to a consensus on the best site and the swarm migrates. "The decision is remarkably reliable," The Economist notes.

During observation of the bees' scouting process, researchers introduced computerized bees that were good at finding nesting sites but did not communicate well. This slowed the migration and left the swarm vulnerable. In another instance, computerized bees that followed blindly without checking the site led to swift but mistaken decisions.

The reason the real bees were able to identify the best site is because they "listened" to what the scouts suggested and confirmed this information before making a decision. "There is a danger in blindly following the party line, a danger the honeybees seem to avoid," The Economist adds.

According to Dr. Christian List of the London School of Economics who headed the bee research, "the swarm manages to block and prevent the kind of groupthink that can bedevil good decision making. People demonstrate this kind of bad decision-making when investors pile into a stock and others follow, creating a bubble for which there is no good reason."

The way the bees come to their consensus decision is something governments, businesses or other decision-making groups should think about, The Economist suggests — that is, share all information with a committee and investigate the issues and information presented before taking a vote.

Leadership
The Economist also touches on the importance of leadership both in ant colonies and in business. In his study of ants called Temnothorax albipennis, University of Bristol researcher Nigel Franks reports the disadvantage of making a swift choice and not having proper leadership.

According to Franks' observations on ant migration, scout ants mark the route to the new nest and return to train the other ants. Because relatively few ants know the route, there is a great need to get other ants on board so the group can move as quickly as possible.

In relation to people, The Economist notes, this behavior "indicate(s) the importance of recruiting active leaders to a cause because, as the ants and bees have discovered, the most important thing about collective decision-making is to get others to follow."

Resourcefulness/Adaptability
A recent study by scientists at Oregon State University and the University of Hawaii observes that spinner dolphins, which are known for their teamwork in capturing prey, have evolved a strategy that allows them to not only feed but also maximize their energy intake.

The dolphins surround lantern fish, forming a tight circle with 10 pairs of dolphins, e! Science News reports of the study. The pairs at 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock move in, feed for 15 seconds and move back to the circle to allow the next set of pairs to feed. This continues until each dolphin has had an opportunity to feed twice. Then the group rises to the surface all together, take a breath, dive back in and start the process over.

Because dolphins can't open their mouths like whales and swallow large amounts of food at once, "they have to target individual fish, and it's too difficult and energy-consuming to hunt solo," according to Kelly Benoit-Bird, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. "They've had to adapt these unique behavioral methods to maximize their ability to capture prey." If not for this feeding strategy, each dolphin would have to eat a fish a minute.

Similarly, in the business world, companies unable to adapt have a more difficult time surviving.

To that end, professional organizer and entrepreneur Lorie Marrero recommends leveraging a company's network and teaching resourceful habits for team members to develop resourcefulness (via LifeHack):

  • Build and maintain a list of people from various backgrounds who you can call on for questions and support; and
  • Teach teams how to look up information on their own, encourage initiatives and when they come to a meeting with a problem, have them show up with proposed answers to those problems as well.

Lastly, Marrero reminds us that to be resourceful, one must practice being a creative problem solver.

Cooperation/Teamwork
In the book The Ape in the Corner Office, Richard Conniff compares the workplace dynamics to the way chimpanzees live and interact with each other. For example, smiling is derived from "the fear grin in monkeys," the Hindu Business Line says of Conniff's book. "In a group of macaques, for example, the approach of the alpha male may cause a subordinate to cringe and nervously pull back the corners of the mouth, exposing clenched teeth. It's a signal meaning, 'I'm not a threat.'"

In another example offered from the book, chimpanzees engage in mutual grooming but they also watch one another continually and protest unfair dealings. Chimpanzees follow a formal structure for cooperating and getting along with one another, from playing nice to dealing with aggression and power struggles to handling various temperaments within the group.

In human terms, our workplace is our troop and the alpha male is the boss. "Being nice, even strategically nice, is a natural behaviour of monkeys, apes, investment bankers and other creatures formerly deemed savage," Conniff says. While chimps groom each other, humans display this altruism through "friendly conversation and kind words."

Like the chimpanzee troop, the workplace can function only if the workers within cooperate with one another, recognize aggression, protest inappropriate behavior and manage emotional conflicts. Conniff concludes that "we achieve the greatest success by recognising these traits in our colleagues and balancing conflict with co-operation to work with our peers to solve problems and achieve success."

Risk Taking vs. Risk Aversion
Today, increasingly complex global supply networks combined with mounting economic pressures make risk management a more crucial capability and a key differentiator for the supply chain. Oxford Risk Research and Analysis (ORRA), a business risk advisory organization that gets its insight from animal behavior, cites its research on the behavior of starlings in comparison to petroleum companies. Starlings forage for food similar to the way oil companies forage for oil. They both eventually face the dilemma of staying in a field that's productive but in decline or move on to new, untested fields.

"A risk-averse strategy would be to stay in a field that is still productive but has declining output of worms or oil; a risk-taking strategy would be to move on and take a chance on finding new supplies somewhere else," ORRA tells the Financial Times.

"There is a critical point at which you should switch from being risk-averse to gambling for survival," Sir John Krebs, Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University and ORRA co-founder, adds. This depends on an animal's or a business's remaining reserves — food or financial resources, respectively.

Companies should continually assess the risks in their business to minimize them and figure out when to go from being a risk-taker to being risk-averse. To manage business risks, Small Business Notes offers these basic suggestions: 1) identify risks, 2) measure them, 3) formulate strategies to limit risks, 4) implement these strategies, and 5) continuously monitor these efforts.

"While you can't anticipate everything, a good brainstorming session in which you look at 'what if thus and so happens' will go a long way towards helping you plan for some of the emergencies that arise," Small Business Notes adds. "The more backup plans and alternatives you have available, the better off you will be."

So, is there an ape in your corner office? Does your team approach decisions like bees or work together like dolphins? Pay attention to your surroundings. You may find there's a little animal kingdom in your cube jungle.

 

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 69 - You Have to Believe!

Beliefs are the most powerful force in the world. What we believe to be true about ourselves appears in our lives as our lives.

How do you visualize your world? Do you hold the belief that nothing good happens to you, that you will never win the prize? Our prosperity, or lack of it, reflects our thinking. Would you like to be on the receiving end of prosperity?

Then change your thinking and you’ll change your world! You will become what you think about most.


Erase and Replace

All of us talk to ourselves all the time. We are thinking machines that never shut down. The more you think about anything in a certain way the more you will believe that that's how it really is. Become aware of what you are thinking. Make a list of your thoughts. Most people are unaware of just how many negative thoughts they think about themselves and the world around them. If you can’t be bothered making a list, have a friend say “negative” every time he or she hears negative self-talk. It will stop you in your tracks. You will be surprised how many negative thoughts you think in a day’s time.

You need to be aware of everything you tell yourself about yourself.

Here are a few examples of negative self-talk:

  • I’m so clumsy
  • Just my luck
  • I never know what to say
  • I’m too shy
  • I don’t have talent
  • It’s just no use
  • Nobody likes me
  • I’m too poor
  • There’s just no way
  • I hate my job
  • I just can’t handle this

The human mind will do and believe anything you tell it if you tell it often enough and strongly enough! If you tell it the wrong things about yourself, it will accept and act upon it.

Programming

Our conditioning, from the day we were born, has created and reinforced most of what we believe about ourself. Right or wrong, true or false, the result of it is what we believe to be true. It all starts with programming.

I can’t - Your greatest foe. You say something negative about yourself and accept it.

I need to, I should - Your recognition of your need to change, but don’t.

I never, I no longer - You recognize the need to change and make the decision to do something about it.

When you replace a negative thought or action with I never or I no longer, your mind will eventually accept it. For instance, if you are a smoker, every time you light a cigarette say to yourself and out loud, I have no desire to smoke or I never smoke. Say it to yourself until your subconscious mind accepts its new directive and creates a new non-smoking version of you. You no longer smoke! That’s exactly what you told your subconscious mind; that’s exactly what it will do.

I am - The better you. The most effective thought pattern. It has been used the least and is needed the most. You are telling your subconscious mind, “This is the me I want you to create! I don’t smoke! I am living the life I choose, I do everything I need to do when I need to do it. Your past negative thought patterns are turned around. You are no longer thinking, “I can’t remember names” instead you are thinking “I have a great memory”. Which do you want your subconscious mind to accept?


This is how the brain works

  1. Programming creates beliefs.
  2. Beliefs create attitudes.
  3. Attitudes create feelings.
  4. Feelings determine actions.
  5. Actions create results.

Start with the first step. Change your programming.

What would you do if you had no chance of failing?
 
Thanks for reading...

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 68 - The Wisdom of the Carnegie System

Dale Carnegie seminars for speaking and selling have helped countless numbers of people improve their personal and professional lives. His down-to-earth philosophy, along with his keen insights into human nature, explain the continued success of the Dale Carnegie training programs. Below is a brief sampling of Dale Carnegie's well-chosen thoughts.

On Courage

Would you like to have more courage? Here are five short rules, which, if you follow them, I guarantee will increase your store of fortitude.

1. Act as if you were courageous. This makes you a bit braver, as if one side of yourself had been challenged and wished to show it was not wholly afraid.

"Pause to reflect that others have had to face great discouragements and great obstacles and have overcome them. What others have done, surely you can do."

2. Pause to reflect that others have had to face great discouragements and great obstacles and have overcome them. What others have done, surely you can do.

3. Remember that your life forces move in a sort of rhythm and that if you feel depressed and without the power to face life you may be at the bottom of the trough; if you will keep up your courage, you will probably swing out of it by the very forces which at the moment are sucking you down.

4. Remember you feel more defeated and downcast at night than during the daylight hours. Courage comes with the sun.

5. Courage is the measure of a big soul. Try to measure up.

On Perspective

About 90 percent of the things in our lives are right and about 10 percent are wrong. If we want to be happy, all we have to do is concentrate on the 90 percent that are right and ignore the 10 percent that are wrong. If we want to be worried and bitter and have stomach ulcers, all we have to do is to concentrate on the 10 percent that are wrong and ignore the 90 percent that are glorious.

On Selling Ideas

Don't you have much more faith in ideas that you discover for yourself than in ideas that are handed to you on a silver platter? If so, isn't it bad judgment to try to ram your opinions down the throats of other people? Wouldn't it be wiser to make suggestions -- and let the other man think out the conclusion for himself?

On Worry

If you are worried, do these three things: First, ask yourself, "What is the worst that can possibly happen?" Second, prepare to accept it if you have to. Then, calmly proceed to improve on the worst.

On Values

   
People are not lazy; they just have impotent goals, that is, goals that do not inspire them.

Anthony Robbins

   

I honestly believe that this is one of the greatest secrets to true peace of mind -- a decent sense of values. We could annihilate 50 percent of all our worries at once if we would develop a sort of private gold standard -- a gold standard of what things are worth to us in terms of our lives.

On Pep Talks

Is giving yourself a pep talk every day silly, superficial, childish? No! On the contrary, it is the very essence of sound psychology. "Our life is what our thoughts make it." Those words are just as true today as they were 18 centuries ago when Marcus Aurelius first wrote them in his book of Meditations.

On Enthusiasm

How can you make yourself become enthusiastic? By telling yourself what you like about what you are doing and pass on quickly from the part you don't like to the part you do like. Then act enthusiastic; tell someone about it; let them know why it interests you
 
Thanks for reading.