4 Reasons People Don’t Understand You

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I was recently having a conversation with a man I meet with regularly about a situation I was facing. He’s a mentor of mine and a seasoned retired business man who often brings great insight to my world of dealing with people.

I was venting to him that I was so shocked that someone I was dealing with couldn’t seem to see what I was saying. He quickly pointed out that the person was a “Quadrant 4” person. I had no idea what he was talking about.

I’m not sure where this teaching came from but over the next few minutes he opened my mind in understanding how different people respond differently to correction and instruction based on the “quadrants of what they know”.

4-quadrants

1- “I know I know” – These people know that they are in the wrong and therefore choose to either correct their actions or else rebel against the expectations. Here you will get the greatest result of either compliance or confrontation.

2 – “I know I don’t know” – These people are aware that they are missing something in your attempt to correct the situation and are most likely to engage in wanting to understand you better. This is a great opportunity to mentor and guide them.

3 – “I don’t know I know” – These people are in the dark for some reason. Maybe they forgot the email laying out your expectations or the meeting where everything was discussed. Find the right way to smoothly remind them of what they forgot or misplaced and you can get them back on track.

4 – “I don’t know I don’t know” – These people are the most likely to become contentious and combative as their resistance is based on either their pride to concede or their incapablility of allowing themselves to be open to correction. Either way, you are probably going to hit a wall here. Either evaluate if you need to remove the ‘problem’ (let it go), the ‘process’ (find a different way to explain where they are not getting it), or the ‘person’ (wrong person for the reponsibility) in order to move forward.

Ask these four questions when hitting the wall.

1 – Are they the type of person to be resistent? Is this pride or is it lack of understanding?

2 – Where is this breaking down? Can it easily able to be put back on track?

3 – Am I communicating my expectations in a way that perhaps they are unable to understand? How does my message need to change?

4 – Is this person the right person for the expectation? Are they incapable of understanding what is desired?

If you don’t figure out quickly which quadrant they are in, you will expend unnecessary energy trying to get results from people who aren’t on the same page (quadrant) as you.

Onward… to knowing better.

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5 Must Have Leadership Books

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I have no idea how big your library is. I have a few ‘libraries’ when you think of the one in my office, the one in my house, and the one that is piled in boxes after several moves.

But of all the books that I have, there are five books that very often get cracked open for insight, wisdom, and guidance. I thought I would let you get a bit of a feel of the books that have meant the most to me as it pertains to “Leadership”.

Let’s dive in.

1 – Leadership – Rudolph Guliani. Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read on leadership. For those who do not know who the author is, he was the mayor of New York City during 9/11. The book was already being written during the terrorist attack. It was changed to show how his leadership principles  and resolve that transformed the city prior to 9/11 came into play again after the attack. Ugh. A great book!

2 – Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute. This is a fable about interpersonal conflict resolution and is a must have if you are responsible for a group of employees. I make all of our staff read it prior to working. We use the lingo. It helps us understand one another as well as ourselves so that we diffuse many situations before they ever amount to anything monumental. Its success within a staff is a great morale booster.

3 – The Path – Laurie Beth Jones. Rather than mention Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits book I thought I would show that I prefer Laurie Beth Jones’ take on mission statements / personal life goals better. She doesn’t start with the end in mind. Instead, she looks deeper… at why you are who you are and then builds the mission out from within. Great book. Have a number that I give away in counselling. Never had a complaint.

4 – Onward – Howard Schultz. I don’t hide that I like Starbucks. Check out my tagline on my other blog here. That said, I like how the company thinks about its mission and its connection with others more than I like the coffee. They seem to ‘get’ what is lacking and the book is great for anyone who is trying to rebuild in the midst of hardship. The CEO writes about how Starbucks flew right into the recession of ’08 and how they turned things around when everyone else thought they would fail. Very inspiring read.

5 – Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards. If you are in leadership and report to people and have people reporting to you then you will enjoy this book. It is a poetic look at the life of King David of Israel in relation to two other people: the previous King Saul who knew that David was to succeed him as king and David’s son Absalom who wanted to take the kingdom away from him once David became king. There are those who you need to learn how to work under while others are nipping at your heels. Great read.

I will no doubt end up doing similar posts for different areas. If you have any suggestions of a “Top 5” in another category, feel free to comment on it and I’ll see what I can do. Let me know if there are books in ‘your’ top 5 leadership category so that we can keep the conversation going.

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep leading.

5 Markers of a Great Huddle

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Kerry and I had a couple of friends over recently to watch our beloved New England Patriots play NFL football (yes they won but I’m not some sort of crazed fan who trashes every other team fan – our record does that 🙂  ).

Before every play I would watch Tom Brady bring his players together for a huddle and after communicating the intended play, they would go to the line, execute it with success (or not), then start the process all over again. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

I got to thinking about that as it pertains to the workplace. Kerry’s work has a daily ‘huddle’ where the team gets together. Now the good news is that I don’t really know how the meetings run so what I say has no reflection on what her work does.

I think that the ‘huddle’ can be the difference between a ‘touchdown’ or a ‘fumble’ in business. How your team views and uses the huddle is the tipping point between success and failure. Here are 5 things that will make a great huddle and launch your team towards the winning the game:

1 – Reset. Huddles are not the time to discourse overarching issues of the company, your team, why things aren’t working, etc. It’s a time to look forward. Not backwards. Lay out your plan and get your team on the same page. You will have other times with the right people to talk about making things better. Get in. Get out. Get it done.

2 – Praise publicly. Critique privately. Huddles are not for pointing anyone out for what they are doing wrong. The moment you do that, you make everyone on the team suspect of whether or not ‘they’ will be pointed out next. Do that outside of the huddle privately. I’ll write about that some other time. That said, it’s a GREAT place to say “great work”, “good job”, “way to get that new client Bob” etc… Make people want to come to the huddle.

3 – Define your immediate goal. “What’s the play?” Lay out your goal (SMART) based on how often you meet with your team. Use whatever metric you want to define success or failure in order to encourage your team if they accomplish it or else reset and redefine your next goal for the next huddle you have. Make sure it is clearly communicated and understood by all. Figure out the best way to do that based on how your team operates.

4 – Reinforce each person’s responsibility. It’s painful to watch a quarterback throw the ball to open space simply because the other player ran the wrong route. Make sure that everyone on your team understands clearly what their part of the goal is and what they need to do to ensure it’s success. Chances are if they don’t know what to do, you haven’t clearly articulated your expectations.

5 – Leave the huddle instilling confidence. If your team leaves the meeting uninspired to produce you’re probably about to watch subpar performance and a mediocre morale in the team. Find the right way to instil confidence and excitement for the immediate future. I will write about some suggestions in other posts to come.

Put these five steps together and you’re on your way to success. Remember, ‘momentum’ is simply a succession of ‘moments’ (good or bad). Focus on making the ‘moment’ count. Tie moments together over the course of your huddles in order to make a winning team.

Ready… Break!