DISCIPLINE OF PERSONAL MASTERY

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”― Muhammad Ali

14203239_10205800962457331_7350841119475870421_n An organization is an intangible thing, an invisible repository of will and competence; organizations exist in the thin ether of our actions and values. But there is nothing abstract about the people who make them up. They dream, worry, attend meetings, call on customers, and phone home. You can weigh them, poll them, and clock them. It makes sense that when an organization learns, the locus of that learning is the individual and groups of individuals.

The term “personal mastery” may just be another way of saying “learning,” but I  must be clear about the kind of learning I  mean. It is not just the accumulation of technical and functional information, but the wise and beneficial use of that information. This is an important qualification, because it introduces the issues of self-knowledge and personal values. Here is where we find the answer to the riddle of the learning organization and the reason that the learning organization (as a whole, functioning entity) is so important.

Transcending Our Inherent and Learned Limitations

  “The last thing we learn about ourselves is our effect.”- Ben Kizer, one of the great civic leaders .  Personal mastery entails honing our effectiveness in the world through brave self-observation. It also involves creating a high-tension energy field in one’s life by facing the truth of current reality and boldly envisioning something different: a future of one’s choosing. The creative tension is where the juice of mastery comes from.

Through the ages, sages have testified to the virtues of the examined life and lamented a mind left untended. The following are the observations of three of them.

Those who know much about others may be smart, but those who understand themselves are even wiser.—Lao Tsu

You could drop a leaflet or a Hubbard squash on the head of any person in any land and you would almost certainly hit a brain that was whirling in small, conventional circles. There is something about the human mind that keeps it well within the confines of the parish, and only one outlook in a million is nonparochial.—E.B. Whit

I truly   believe that “personal mastery” is as good a name for the lesson as any. Liberating ourselves from the conditioned, automatic responses to life that endlessly loop us into the same frustrations is one of the hardest things that we can ever attempt. Accepting the need for this is a recognition of what it means to be human. Dealing with this reality is always worth the effort, because even the smallest successes are immediately rewarded with proportionally greater personal freedom. This, in turn, leads to greater creativity, productivity, satisfaction, joy, and expanded life possibilities.

Although the task is difficult, people regularly accomplish even greater goals. Changing one’s world view, says Livingston, is actually easier than overcoming chemical dependence, and people break such deadly habits all the time.

The Effect in Organizations

One person inside an organization ( a trainer) on the trail of personal mastery would be good news for that organization. Think of the ripple effect. Two people would be even better, and the implications of ten people struggling with the ways of personal mastery are even more exciting because of the dynamics of critical mass. The cumulative rate at which individuals within the organization change themselves in pursuit of personal mastery defines the rate at which the organization can change.

Personal mastery is very personal, revolving as it does around the unique mechanisms of the mind. It is challenging enough at the personal level. In the organization, the challenge is compounded not just by numbers but by the fact that no one can choose the pursuit of personal mastery for us; we must choose it for ourselves. Nevertheless, it is a challenge that people and organizations must face if they are to survive individually and collectively. Organizational leaders who have the courage to confront this issue will need all the help they can get from the training profession.

The challenge can be described as follows:

  1. Because of the rapidity of technological change and global competition, becoming a learning organization is now the real ante of doing business.
  2. The pursuit of personal mastery by individuals is the essence of the learning organization.

Unfortunately, the practice of personal mastery by an organization’s employees remains a taboo subject for management. A manager who addresses an employee with, “Excuse me, but I think you need to improve your personal mastery” will likely be as welcome as a religious pamphleteer at the door on Saturday morning. As Peter Drucker says, managers have no business messing with their employees’ minds. I must disagree with Drucker. Although I believe that organizations should not stick their noses into the private lives of their employees, I do not think that you can separate the person’s work from the person.

The notion that we have a work life and a personal life is a dangerous illusion. Each of us has one mind, one body, and one spirit, and we take them with us wherever we go. We do a lot of messing with one another’s minds; it may constitute the majority of human affairs. Every time a manager says “Thank you” or “You did it wrong again” to an employee, the manager is messing with the employee’s mind. Every bonus paid, every new team assembled, every reorganization effort is an exercise in messing with minds. The challenge, again, is to do it responsibly.

By practicing personal mastery as individuals, trainers and other HRD professionals will make their practice more forceful than any sermons they could ever preach on the subject. Happily, the discipline of it will almost inevitably confine one to constructive, ethical interaction with others.

The question is “How do you pursue personal mastery?”Components of the Discipline

The answer is that the biological and psychological force of habit is so great that you must have a discipline.

The personal-mastery technology I propose (O’Brien & Shook, 1995) rests on four adaptive skills:

Raising consciousness – means not just thinking, but thinking about thinking: noticing and managing the workings of your mind so that your mind will not run away with you like a startled horse.

 Imagining- When you “imagine,” you create a mental picture—the most vivid image you can—of an outcome you desire. It works, and you do it all the time. If you are typical, however, most of the imagining you do goes by the name “worry.” This most common form of imagining leads not to something you want but to something you do not want, and it works depressingly well.

Framing and reframing –  are the foundation of human experience and the essence of personal freedom. They mean interpreting the world, deriving meaning, and assigning significance to the events of life. When the Greek Stoic Epictetus noted two-thousand years ago that it is not the events of life that matter but our opinion of them, he was talking about framing and reframing. You do not have to think about anything in any particular way, but some ways of thinking about things are more helpful than others. Learning to frame and reframe means learning to see things in the most helpful light.

 Integrating new perspectives. –  What we see depends on where we stand. And where we stand—that is, the view of the world our senses present to us—is profoundly influenced by the biases of our families of origin and the hands that fate has dealt us. However, each of us is not stuck with just one world view. We can get new ones any time by learning to integrate the perspectives of others. In this sense, the points of view of other people rank among life’s most priceless gifts.

The Impact of Personal Mastery – It probably is not possible for someone to engage in these activities without impacting events around them, without creating powerful and effective relationships with others. But any words that someone who pursues personal mastery could speak about these things would be pale next to the things themselves. In the story of Pinocchio, it is the master’s love and the behavior of love that brings the puppet to life. It may be that way with personal mastery. Only to the extent that we are willing to step into these practices and give them life do they have the potential to shape our destinies and those of the organizations we form.

All this is a matter of considerable importance to organizational leaders, to trainers, and to organizations. Many organizations currently are trying to change themselves from the outside in, by reengineering new organizational forms into existence in the hope that structure alone equals performance. I  doubt that it does. The catalyst missing from such efforts is the inside-out change offered by personal mastery. I doubt that the best team players can be made by teaching the external strategies of teamwork alone. To be constructive members of a team, people must examine their attitudes about collaborating with others, resolving conflict, coping with mistakes (their own and others’), dealing with anger and fear, and so on. That comes from the never-ending pursuit of personal mastery.

When the leaders of an organization sincerely embrace personal mastery themselves, they will automatically begin shifting the parent-child relationship between management and workers to adult-adult relationships. Although the former is still the dominant organizational paradigm, it is the latter that holds the power to drive truly empowered workers and an organization that is capable of continuous learning and fluid response to a dynamic marketplace.

…Just a few thoughts

Greetings,

K.

What Does It Mean to Be People Smart?

Ask the person on the street what it means to be people smart, and you are bound to hear many who have this picture: “Oh, that’s a person who is really a smooth operator . . . a person who knows how to get others to join his side.” A different picture you might hear is someone who is “personable . . . friendly . . . fun to be with.”

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While few people would complain about having those attributes, they represent a very limited view of what it means to be gifted with people. Being people smart is a multi-faceted competence. It is not limited to our skills or our social graces but includes a wide range of abilities.

People smarts is about that aspect of emotional intelligence that is best called “interpersonal intelligence.”When you consider how important interpersonal effectiveness is, it also makes sense to build the PQ or “people quotient” of your workforce.

What makes up someone’s PQ (people quotient)? Consider these questions:

Are your employees good at. . .

•   Understanding people?

•   Expressing their thoughts and feelings clearly?

•   Speaking up when their needs are not being met?

•   Asking for feedback from others and giving them quality feedback in return?

•   Influencing how others think and act?

•   Bringing conflicts to the surface and resolving them?

•   Collaborating with others as opposed to doing things by themselves?

How these questions are answered determines someone’s PQ. People with high PQ excel in the following eight areas. How do your people stack up?

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1. Understanding People

People with high PQs listen actively, empathize with another’s feelings, and acknowledge his or her viewpoint. That not only helps them to be appreciated but also works to draw out information they need to figure out what makes the other person tick. They ask questions to clarify what someone is saying when communication is unclear. They also realize that understanding others goes beyond the words they speak. They know how to interpret the unspoken. Finally, they are expert at reading other people’s style and motives.

2. Expressing Themselves Clearly

People with high PQs know how to get their message across so it’s understood. When people go on and on to make a point, they simply have no effect on other people. High PQers get to the point when brevity is required, yet give just enough detail so that other people are not confused. They can also sense when the other person has not understood them and can quickly rephrase what they are saying.

3. Asserting Their Needs

High PQers know that they have to be their own person. They have to have limits and establish those limits. If they try to be all things to all people, they’ll wind up disappointing others. They also are straightforward with their wishes. Hinting at what they need from others only leads to disappointment and frustration. Once that happens, they often become angry with others and lose the calm and confidence they need to be at their best. People with high PQs are able to remain calm and confident, even when others try to provoke them and push their emotional buttons.

4. Seeking and Giving Feedback

High PQ individuals are open about their reactions to others. They are able to give feedback easily and do it in such a way that the other people don’t become defensive. They also know that it is smart to get in the habit of asking for feedback themselves. If feedback is withheld, it’s as though the person has blinders on. Without feedback, they’re left wondering what the other person is thinking about them.

5. Influencing Others

A high PQ is evidence of someone’s ability to motivate others to action. High PQers are also people others come to for advice. They are able to connect with others, unearth their needs, reduce their resistance to new ideas, and persuade effectively.

6. Resolving Conflict

High PQers are exceptional conflict resolvers. They get the subject right out on the table. They figure out what’s bothering the other person. They are especially adept at negotiating differences and working out creative resolutions to problems.

7. Being a Team Player

High PQers are team players. They work more to advance the group’s goals rather than their own. They also know how to complement the styles of others, coordinate the efforts of team members without bossing them around, and build consensus.

8. Shifting Gears When Relationships Are Stuck

Finally, high PQers are flexible and resilient. While they have an inner core and a predominant style of dealing with people, they also understand that there are different strokes for different folks. They realize that one of the ways to get a stuck relationship to change is to change the way they behave in it. They know how to get out of old patterns and unfreeze situations that have previously been frozen shut.

KEEP IN MIND:All your employees need to be people smart. No matter what someone’s function is, everyone in today’s workforce is in the people business! It used to be said that some people were in the business of working with people and some of us were in the business of working with facts, figures, and machinery. But the people business is no longer the domain of the few. It now includes everyone.

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K.

 

Millennial generations needs in the design and delivery of training.

14322523_10154650908715832_4391318693932779514_n:Training the Generation X and Millennial generation

 How the differences between the Baby Boomer generation and the Generation X and Millennial generations impact learning and training. What we can do to make training more interesting and effective for members of the younger generations.

Think of these five needs, or five factors, as antidotes

Boomer Habits                                            Millennial Needs

Use telling, text-oriented methods                 Involve to solve

Take a linear approach                                    Offer options

Use a leisurely, even pace                               Pick up the pace

Apply a trainer-focused style                          Link to the learner

Employ a prudent amount of fun                   Turn up the fun factor

Let’s take a look at each og these five differences and suggest ways of addressing Millennial generations needs in design and delivery of training.

10522562_10152946554170832_5806779337945096730_nInvolve to Solve

Interactivity is of the essence. Younger learners crave interaction—with each other, with the material, with problems and information, with experts and people who really know. They don’t want to be told; they want to find out! This is the one factor that always comes out at the top of the list when members of the younger generation describe their ideal learning situation. Discovery learning, engaged learning, collaborative learning, and other such approaches that have been popular in schools over the last two decades focus young learners on what they want to know and how to find out—often with the help and involvement of others. Discovering answers and obtaining information on their own is something younger learners do daily and have come to expect in a learning situation. Giving them a handout of the Top Ten Customer Complaints may not be nearly as effective as letting them sort through a hundred customer complaint forms and discover the top ten complaints for themselves.

            Baby Boomer culture is basically competitive. There were so many of us as we were growing up that we fell almost naturally into a competitive stance toward most situations. We competed for our parent’s attention with our brothers and sisters. We competed for our teacher’s attention in our crowded classrooms. We competed for scholarships, dorm rooms, and part-time jobs and then moved on to competing for real jobs, promotions, and attention from the boss. Many of us are still competing as to who can look younger than they really are!  The emerging generations are far less competitive in their general approach to things. They had fewer brothers and sisters growing up and were more involved in teamwork and group projects in their school years. That’s not to say there are no competitive individuals among the younger generations or that they love to work in groups, but their general approach to the world is not an immediately competitive one.

            Connected to their less-competitive nature is the younger person’s attitude toward risk and failure. In general, they are less risk-aversive than their Boomer elders. No one wins a video game without taking risks and learning from numerous failures.

            I suggest we design training that involves the learners in solving problems connected to the focus of the training and that we allow them to explore problems and discover ways to solve those problems. This can be done through absorbing, challenging, interactive games and structured activities. Let them risk; let them fail; and let them learn on their own terms as much as possible.

14196003_10205800943656861_8056031839396348260_oOffer Options

The younger generations live much of their lives in a hyper existence, above and beyond their immediate time and place. Connected globally, interacting simultaneously in a variety of media, they multi-task their way through each day—working, learning, communicating, and playing on many channels at the same time. They are accustomed to doing more than one thing at a time. They expect options and choices and free samples. They love to pop in and out as they like.

            While Boomer learning has more or less been dominated by text, the younger generations of learners have taken in as much of their learning from graphics, sound, and physical manipulation as they have from text. Interactivity is mandatory. Learners want to literally, physically interact—with things, with people, with ideas. And they want to choose which and when.

            To progress in a video game, you must coordinate the movements of your hands and thumbs with the changing visual images on the screen and respond to a variety of changing audio cues as well. A learning environment that offers little in the way of graphics and sound and that requires almost no tactile participation stands the chance of boring young people, even if those young people are interested in the subject matter and want to learn. They are not passive learners. Action, interaction, and choice are imperative.

            As a trainer or facilitator of Millennial learners, you may need to go above and beyond what you’ve done before. You may need to rethink and redesign your approach to training to include more action and interaction, more options and choices, a variety of parallel processes, and random access to an assortment of learning alternatives. Let the learners choose the “how” of getting to the endpoint, or at least offer a variety of pathways that may be taken.

Pick Up the Pace
  Think for a moment about your own style. What is the pace or tempo of your training? At what speed do you move through the material? If you have mostly older participants, you may want to make just a few adjustments to the speed of your training. But if you have a majority of trainees under 30, you may definitely want to pick up the pace. Try to make it snappy. And there are a number of ways to do so.

            Try starting your training with a bang. Immediately begin with an involving, challenging activity—and I mean immediately. Introduce yourself and the course later. Get the learners up and doing before they can really settle in. Catch their attention and their imagination in the first 20 minutes of your program.

            Keep your delivery pace quick and lively. Do a lot less “telling” and lot more “showing.” Don’t read anything out loud. Cut back on those overhead transparencies and PowerPoint presentations or end them all together. Tighten up all group activities. Better that participants have less time to do things than more time.

Link15195989_1140922826006123_8790694217671068748_o to the Learner

If you’ve been teaching or training for a number of years, you probably have a good feel for your material and your audiences. You’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. You’ve come up with some especially good examples and illustrations. It can feel so good when you’re on a roll. You’re standing up there explaining something and you see the light bulbs go off. You make a comparison, you give an example, and they laugh, they nod, they get it!

            Then comes the day when you notice that a number of people are not laughing or nodding. They may be sitting politely waiting for you to continue or, good grief, they may be rolling their eyes and grimacing! What’s wrong with these people? Your clever analogy to Sgt. Pepper, or your pun on the famous Beach Boys song, they completely miss the target! Whoosh, over their heads and out the door. And there you stand. But most of all, talk with members of the emerging generations—your kids, your relatives, your neighbors, your students. Talk about generational differences. Ask them what they like and don’t like about Boomers. Get their input when you design training. Better yet, let them design their own training and you can facilitate them through it!

            As much as possible, customize your training programs. Be flexible and adaptable to the learners who are present at any given delivery, from any given generation. Have a variety of illustrations and examples ready so that you can pick and choose those that best fit the audience or use a variety of them for a mixed-generation group.

            Younger learners enjoy utilizing their senses. They want to see it, hear it, and get their hands on it if possible. For many years, proponents of accelerated learning have extolled the benefits of appealing to all of the senses in learning situations.The challenge is to do so in ways that engage all learners without coming across as unprofessional and cheesy.

Turn Up the Fun Factor
The more we can bring some of that level of enjoyment into the corporate classroom, the more we will have the attention and the commitment of not only our younger learners, but most likely, learners of all ages.

Have a great week,

Kirilka

Training the Generation X and Millennial generations

aaeaaqaaaaaaaalwaaaajgu3mzdjntfklwrkotqtndqxzc1inzk0ltbhy2iyywrhzdq3maThere is a growing generational culture gap appearing in today’s workforce, and it is becoming increasingly apparent in the world of education and training. 45 percent of today’s workforce is under the age of 40. And as these young “millennial workers” show up for corporate training programs, who do they find teaching the programs? Trainers from their parents’ generation?

            Now, there are younger trainers out there. But still, the chances are quite high that the majority of corporate training decision makers and senior trainers are from the Baby Boomer generation. And they certainly influence the design and, to a great extent, the delivery style of a major portion of corporate training.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaamiaaaajdzioddhzjy3lwu5mzytndrlnc05nzkylwi4ntawngyxnwrkmqDo Generational Differences Matter?

Your first response to this situation may be something like, “So what?” Is it really such a big deal that there is this generation gap between trainers and trainees? In fact, isn’t that the way it has always been? Those doing the teaching are older, and supposedly wiser, than those receiving the training? The answer of course is “yes, but.” Yes, in general, there has often been an age difference between those teaching and those being taught, especially when we are young. But, as adults, we often find ourselves in learning situations where the age differences lessenss doesn’t make any sense?

assessment-1

As the number of younger learners increases in the workplace classroom, designing and delivering training will have to be changed, updated, and, occasionally, overhauled entirely in order to be effective with the younger generations.

            And I’m not talking about changing generational reference points and outdated examples, although these are important. I’m talking about addressing generational differences in learning styles and overall approaches to learning—perhaps even generational differences in cognitive development. Although I am Millennial generation (born 1982)   our learning came through lectures and texts with an occasional opportunity to do something.  We looked to gurus and subject-matter experts to tell us the answers—or at least to provide insights.
Teaching methods have changed dramatically over the past  years also. If the last time you were in a public school classroom was well before 1980, or even 1990, check things out. The look, style, and approaches to learning have changed. Many young people from the emerging generations grew up with learning approaches that used teamwork and collaboration. They took part in engaged learning projects. They learned to use critical thinking skills. They thrived in classrooms with learning pods and subject corners and individualized options… the Millennial Generation, born between 1981 and 2000, grew up learning to learn …Their learning encounters were reinforced with sound and color and humor.      .

So what’s next?

14322523_10154650908715832_4391318693932779514_nSome trainers and designers of training settled into a very organized, linear approach to training and training design—structured, step-by-step, lecture-dominated, text-oriented, criterion-referenced, and often more focused on the trainer than on the learner. What if all your group is under 30 years ? Are you going to use the same approach? Me personally, I am changing the styles always. And really the core of my design is with who i am going to work 🙂
Here are few tips and taps

         Take the “set up” of a training program, for example. If you’ve been doing training as I have for the past ten years, the first 30 minutes of your program may be carefully devoted to establishing a good training climate—welcoming participants, making introductory remarks, presenting an overview of the class and its purpose and goals, covering housekeeping issues, and, of course, introducing yourself and then having the participants meet one another (preferably in a short, clever activity). All of this is done at an energetic, but evenly paced tempo—accompanied by the appropriate distribution of three-ring binders and a sprinkling of overhead transparencies or colorful slides.

            This approach to setting a good learning climate was established years ago, probably to deal with reluctant participants, many of whom were not happy about attending training. The idea behind the approach may have been to allay participant fears, establish the credentials of the presenter, reassure participants of the value of the course content, and put class members at ease with one another. These are important to do, and the way in which we do them may be very reassuring to older participants; but to many younger participants, it is frustratingly slow and seems quite unnecessary.

            I do not want to suggest that any one way of conducting a program is better than any other, nor am I suggesting that participants will only respond to one type and not another. I am suggesting, however, that trainers of a certain age may want to consider using different types of design and delivery techniques now and then, particularly in programs that contain a large number of younger learners.

Five Key Millennial Generation  Needs

After reading and researching what has been written about the different generations, after conducting a number of focus groups and brainstorming sessions with younger learners, and after numerous fact-finding junkets into Millennial culture, I would like to propose five key Millennial needs that can be easily addressed in the design and delivery of almost any training program to make it more appealing to younger learners. Think of these five needs, or five factors, as antidotes to five unfortunate habits of well-meaning Boomer trainers:

Boomer Habits                                        Millennial Needs

Use telling, text-oriented methods                 Involve to solve

Take a linear approach                                    Offer options

Use a leisurely, even pace                               Pick up the pace

Apply a trainer-focused style                          Link to the learner

Employ a prudent amount of fun                   Turn up the fun factor

proper-preparation-prevents-poor-performanceSo How TO Do It?

Start your training with a bang. Decrease the amount of telling and increase the amount of doing. Make the learning environment pleasant and attractive. Use rewards and incentives. Use fast, action-based games and competitive activities. But most importantly, have lots of interaction and involvement.

            Design and use games that address the five factors presented in this article. Make your games fast-paced. Offer options and choices throughout games and activities. Involve your players in finding solutions and solving problems. Try to use great graphics and include sound and movement. Whenever possible, make use of technology. Include lots of rewards and punishments. And don’t be afraid to make use of fantasy and imagination.

Where to Begin?

Take a quick look at the various classes you are teaching. Which ones have the largest enrollments of younger learners? Choose one or two and begin making a few alterations. Or choose a program that needs a real shot in the arm and design a new “<Millennial-friendly” game or activity to use at the very beginning of the program.

            Find a couple of Millennial colleagues and discuss some of the ideas and suggestions in this article. See what they think. Audit each other’s programs and exchange feedback and ideas. Make some changes. Try out some new approaches. See what happens.

            As one younger learner I know suggested, “Don’t make learning so serious. Make it fun. Make it comfortable. Have lots of food and drinks. And if I have to sit there for a long time, how about a sofa?”

Have a great Monday.

Greetings,

Kirilka

ENCOURAGEMENT: GIVING POSITIVE INVITATIONS

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soft skills trainer

Parents, teachers, and managers – “helping persons” frequently ask how to motivate others more effectively. The philosophy and skill of encouragement are a means both of increasing motivation and of combating feelings of inadequacy.

Encouragement communicates trust, respect, and belief. Many psychologists contend that there are only two basic human emotions: love and fear. Encouragement communicates caring and movement toward others—love, whereas discouragement results in lowered self-esteem and alienation from others—fear. Yet, despite the intention to be encouraging, all too often helping persons are, in fact, discouraging in their communications with others. An example is the manager or parent who “lets things go” as long as they are going well and who comments only when things go wrong.

A crucial beginning to being a more encouraging person is to become more aware of and to eliminate discouraging messages. The five telltale signs that a message is discouraging are these:

  1. The “Red-Pencil” Effect, Circling the Mistakes of Others. A frequent consequence of such “constructive criticism” is that the recipient of the message becomes preoccupied with his or her mistakes.
  2. The Vertical Plane of Interaction. The vertical plane is characterized by “oneupmanship.” The horizontal plane, in contrast, is characterized by equality and a mutual respect for all; classification of people as superior or inferior and sexual, racial, and religious prejudice do not exist on this level.
  3. Overperfectionism. The unrealistic notion that people should not make mistakes leads them to become overly critical of themselves and to want to discover that others are worse. If people cannot make peace with themselves, they never will make peace with others.
  4. Clinging to Old Patterns. A primary principle of child psychology is that children are good observers but poor interpreters. When they observe death, many children, being egocentric at the time, conclude that they killed the person. Many such irrational decisions and conclusions are habits that are held over from the past. By means of a systematic lifestyle assessment, a counselor often gently confronts a client by noting, “Now that you are not a child anymore, perhaps you would like to look at some things differently.” Reinforcing a static philosophy (“You’ve always been that way; you’re not going to change”) can actually inhibit change or growth.
  5. Misused Psychological Tests. For people who doubt their own abilities, an “objective, scientific” test can be the ultimate discourager. Such tests often “label” people and the people then act in accordance with the labels. Although all tests obviously are not harmful, it is wise to remember that we build on strengths, not weaknesses. Thus, it is important to focus on people’s assets whenever possible.

The goal is not to cease all discouragement completely; indeed, all helping persons at times need to confront others. The goal is to combine such confrontation with encouragement as a means of maximizing the ability to impact others positively.  The proper use of encouragement involves the following:

  1. Valuing individuals as they are, not as their reputations indicate or as one hopes they will be. Believing in individuals as good and worthwhile will facilitate acting toward them in this manner.
  2. Having faith in the abilities of others. This enables the helper to win confidence while building the self-respect of the other person.
  3. Showing faith in others. This will help them to believe in themselves.
  4. Giving recognition for effort as well as for a job well done.
  5. Using a group to help the person to develop. This makes practical use of the assumption that, for social beings, the need to belong is basic.
  6. Integrating the group so that the individual can discover his or her place and begin working positively from that point.
  7. Planning for success and assisting in the development of skills that are sequentially and psychologically paced.
  8. Identifying and focusing on strengths and assets rather than on mistakes.
  9. Using the interests of the individual in order to motivate learning and instruction.

In addition here are  ten specific “words of encouragement”:

  1. “You do a good job of . . . .” People should be encouraged when they do not expect encouragement, when they are not asking for it. It is possible to point out some useful act or contribution of everyone. Even a comment about something that may seem small and insignificant could have an important positive impact.
  2. “You have improved in.  . . .” Growth and improvement are things we should expect from all. If any progress is noted, there is less chance of discouragement and individuals usually will continue to try.
  3. “We like (enjoy) you, but we don’t like what you do.” People frequently feel disliked after having made mistakes or after misbehaving. A person, especially a child, should never think that he or she is not liked. Rather, it is important to distinguish between the individual and his or her behavior, between the act and the actor.
  4. “You can help me (us, the others) by . . . .” To feel useful and helpful is important to everyone. Most people need only to be given the opportunity.
  5. “Let’s try it together.” People who think that they have to do things perfectly often are afraid to attempt something new for fear of making mistakes or failing.
  6. “So you made a mistake; now what can you learn from it?” There is nothing that can be done about what has happened, but a person always can do something about the future. Mistakes can teach a great deal, especially if people do not feel embarrassed for erring.
  7. “You would like us to think that you can’t do it, but we think that you can.” This approach can be used when people say (or convey the impression) that something is too difficult for them and they hesitate even to try. A person who tries and fails can be complimented for having the courage to try. One’s expectations should be consistent with his or her ability and maturity.
  8. “Keep trying; don’t give up.” When someone is trying but not meeting with much success, a comment like this can be helpful.
  9. “I am sure that you can straighten this out (solve this problem); but if you need any help, you know where you can find me.” Express confidence that others are able to and will resolve their own conflicts, if given a chance.
  10. “I can understand how you feel, but I’m sure that you will be able to handle it.” Sympathizing with the other person seldom helps because it suggests that life has been unfair. Empathizing (understanding the situation) and believing in the person’s ability to adjust to the situation are of much greater help.

Giving positive invitations” is another way to describe the process of encouragement. Such invitations help to increase people’s self-confidence by at least four different methods:

  1. Self-affirmation—a renewed appreciation of one’s personal strengths, motivators, values, and peak experiences;
  2. Self-determination—being able to take responsibility for one’s life without blaming others;
  3. Self-motivation—setting goals and taking the action necessary to reach those goals by integrating one’s emotions and intellect with one’s body; and
  4. Increased empathic regard for others.

Many people’s feelings of inadequacy can be overcome by prolonged exposure to positive affirmation. Of course, the process of encouragement may take longer with some people than with others. One may be tempted to admit defeat and discouragement much too soon. An optimistic rather than a pessimistic attitude and a proactive rather than a reactive affirmation of the basic worth of all people can help anyone to be a more effective “helper.” Encouragement can assist people in rediscovering their values and joys, in identifying their strengths instead of dwelling on their mistakes, in challenging and changing old patterns, and in having the courage to be imperfect!

Best regards,

Kirilka

The Influence

To work is to sell, regardless of whether you are “in sales” and whether you hold a position of authority over others. When you interact with people, generally you are either presenting an idea or listening to the ideas of others—either selling or being sold on something. To sell successfully, you must convince others that it is worth their time to listen to a proposal and to take action in accordance with it.

The Influence Continuum

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Often when you want people to comply with your wishes, you will either not have or not want to use position power to accomplish your goal; instead, you will want to influence them. This article offers an approach to influencing that can be used by anyone in an organizational or team setting. With some adaptation, the approach can also be used in one-on-one situations.
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Balk
When you want to influence others to listen to an idea and to take action that is different from their accustomed behavior, you must anticipate resistance. During the first stage, called “balk” because of this characteristic audience reaction, prepare to present your idea in ways that lower resistance. Most people do not feel a need to give up a current practice and adopt another unless they believe that the new practice will be significantly better in some way. Reactions may range from hesitation or agreement on a surface level only (“It sounds okay, but let me think it over”) to questions about potential benefits (“What’s in it for me?”) or direct challenges (“The way I’m doing things now works just fine; I don’t need to change”). Influencing others successfully during the “balk” stage, when people know little or nothing about your proposal and probably do not care to know more, calls for preparing an introduction to your idea that will create interest.
Lay the Groundwork.  Before you unveil your proposal, set a tone of anticipation. Let people know that they can look forward to the change as a positive experience. Prepare for Resistance.
Develop strategies for handling resistance to the change. Anticipate people’s questions and qualms; devise appropriate responses and rehearse them before you meet with people to present the change.
Gather.  Collect facts, figures, and benchmarking data from comparable situations to include in your initial presentation of the idea. These precedents will go a long way toward persuading others of the validity of your idea.
Plan a Powerful Presentation.  Work on making your presentation powerful or dramatic. You might try an experiential approach. Let’s say you previously trained three colleagues from another department in a new problem-solving technique that you now want your team to adopt. You could invite these colleagues to a team meeting, explaining to them in advance that you want them to use the technique for solving a particular problem. At the meeting you would ask the team members to suggest a real workplace problem that needs to be solved. You would form three subgroups, each to be led by one of the colleagues. Then you would give each colleague a specific amount of time to come up with a solution and walk through it with the subgroup members. After the subgroups finished the task, you would reassemble the entire group to review the new technique, discuss ways in which it may be superior to techniques currently being used, and answer any questions. Also, you would encourage your three colleagues to share their experiences with the technique, its benefits, any difficulties they encountered, how they overcame those difficulties, and their personal reactions to the technique.

Talk

The “talk” stage refers to the actual presentation of your idea, during which you not only explain it but also engage your audience in a discussion of it. To make your presentation as effective as possible, consider the following questions and incorporate resulting insights:

  •  What draws my attention?
  • What factors are compelling enough for me to try something despite my belief that I don’t need it?
  • What persuades me? How am I persuaded?

Seasoned influencers often begin their presentations by acknowledging the negative emotions that people experience when confronted with change.  Lead people to the realization that trying something new can yield gains, regardless of whether those gains are apparent at the outset. Following are recommendations of ways to influence successfully during the “talk” stage, when you are ready to present your idea to people who are willing to listen to it and discuss it.

Use Visual Aids.  Use visual aids to supplement your message, but make sure that they do not constitute more than half of your presentation. Visual aids can be highly effective, but they cannot replace a passionate proposal and an effective rationale for implementing that proposal. Remember that visual aids are only one of the three essential “V’s” of an influential presentation: voice, verbiage, and visuals.

Paint a Vivid Picture.  Use metaphors and vivid verbal pictures to engage the members of your audience and to help them envision your idea. When your purpose is to inspire and motivate rather than simply to edify, you need to appeal not only to people’s minds but also to their emotions and imaginations.

Acknowledge Disadvantages and Risks.  Present and explain any potential disadvantages and risks associated with your idea. People know that every new venture has a “downside.” By readily acknowledging the particulars of that downside, you will be seen as honest, and you will probably preclude some audience attacks on your idea. Discussing disadvantages and risks also allows you to appeal to the courage and adventurous spirit of others in trying your idea.

Encourage Discussion.  Make sure that you establish a dialogue with your audience. By inviting and welcoming feedback, you will arouse people’s interest and enhance the likelihood of buy-in.

Ensure Viability and Value.  First ensure that the idea you are proposing is both doable and worth doing. Then assure your audience that it is viable and beneficial. Don’t worry about aiming slightly higher than existing comfort levels; that is the basis of continual improvement.

Caulk

The third stage, “caulk,” extends throughout the process of implementing your idea. At the beginning of implementation you scrutinize your idea, looking for and “caulking” or repairing cracks or weak spots that might jeopardize the outcome. For example, if you find that you lack essential organizational support, you can cultivate a relationship with a top manager who is willing and able to champion your idea. Then, once implementation has begun, you and others involved in the process continue to assess progress. The “caulking” responsibilities that must be fulfilled consist of solving any problems that arise, obtaining any additional resources that are needed, and strengthening commitment when it begins to wane. Recommendations for successfully influencing others during the “caulk” stage, when you and they are working to reinforce implementation, are as follows:

Agree on Measurements of Success.  Because we human beings have such a capacity for misunderstanding one another, it’s important that you establish clear and measurable gauges of success. Quantitative measures, although they need not be used exclusively, will tell you when and where caulking is needed.

Focus on Accomplishments.  When setbacks occur, remind people of their accomplishments to date. Sometimes during implementation the future seems too far away, the goal less distinct than it once was, the need for your idea less pressing. If you are to be effective as an influencer, expect such developments and be prepared to caulk any fissures by restoring people’s flagging spirits.

Avoid Defensiveness.  Don’t let defensiveness impair your ability to identify and solve problems. You won’t be able to caulk if you don’t know where the leaks are, and you won’t know where the leaks are if you refuse to listen to feedback. If you doubt the importance of paying attention to feedback, consider the following news story:

Identify the Real Causes of Problems.  Use what is called the “five-why technique” to determine causes. This method consists of asking why a problem exists and continuing to ask why as each answer is received until you are certain that you have uncovered the real causes, rather than superficial reasons. You scrape through the various layers on the surface until you can clearly identify the cracks; then you can caulk appropriately.

Walk

Eventually you will cease to be the impetus behind your idea; after implementation the idea continues on the strength of its own momentum. By the time you reach this fourth stage, known as “walk,” you have conceived the idea, nurtured it through a period of gestation, helped to give it birth, facilitated its continued growth, and seen it reach maturity. Your idea has become standard operating procedure; now you can walk away and turn your attention to another project. Recommendations for influencing others during the “walk” stage, the process of releasing yourself from the day-to-day execution of your idea, are as follows:

Recognize People’s Efforts.  Think of appropriate ways to recognize those who helped you to implement your idea. For example, you might write a formal letter of commendation to everyone who participated in the process and then send a copy to each person’s supervisor.

Celebrate Successful Implementation.  It is important to hold some kind of celebration or ceremony to signify the end of the project. Not only does the hard work of those involved deserve public and lavish praise, but such a ritual also helps the participants to achieve closure and move on. People often remember the closing celebrations or ceremonies with as much intensity as they remember the many months preceding the project’s conclusion.

Encourage Networking.  Encourage networking among those who have been part of the project. Frequently, all people need is a nudge in the right direction. Keep in touch with them, and ensure that they keep in touch with one another. Some teams find the initial success so heady an experience that they decide to undertake a second project. Other teams disband after the initial success, but their members network to keep alive their memories of the past, to learn about opportunities for other projects, and to encourage their hopes for the future.

Connect Implementers with Influencers.  Make plans to inform your implementers when new opportunities arise, in connection with either your own new projects or the developing projects of others. Such referrals are appreciated by those being referred, as well as by those who need implementers.

 Stalk

Despite the usual negative connotation of the word “stalk,” it is used here in a positive sense to designate the fifth and final stage of influencing. It consists of dropping in on those who have implemented your idea and who continue to support it and maintain the implementation.

            Recommendations for influencing others during the “stalk” stage, during which you strive to catch others in the act of doing the right things in the right way, are as follows:

Seek Periodic Progress Reports. 
Publish What Has Been Learned. 
Encourage Continual Improvement.

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It’s long been observed that if you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. This adage serves as the philosophy behind the five-stage model presented in this article. Whether you use this model in influencing others or in teaching others to influence, your emphasis at each stage needs to be on careful planning to accomplish a goal.

Hope my writing is helping you 🙂

Share how you influence others?

Greetings,

Kirilka

How you will measure your life?

Exploring questions everyone needs to ask: How can I be happy in my career? How can I be sure that my relationship with my family is an enduring source of happiness? And how can I live my life with integrity?

What if I tell you just listen Seasons of love  from Rent).
Five hundrend twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundrend twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundrend twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year

In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights,
in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles
in laughter in strife,

In Five hundrend twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

(chorus)
How about Love
how about love
how about love
measure in love
seasons of love
seasons of love

Five hundrend twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundrend twenty five thousand journeys to plan
Five hundrend twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
how do you measure the life of a woman or a man

In truth that she learned
or in times that he cried
In the bridges he burned
or the way that she died

Its time now to sing out
though the story never ends
lets celebrate remember a year
in the life of friends

(chorus) 
Remember the Love
remember the love
remember the love
measure in love
seasons of love
seasons of love