6 Ways to Recruit the Best Talent Around.
Monday, March 17, 2008
During the dot-com boom, it was easy to find talent – and you just needed a hefty signing bonus to get them in the door.
Not true today.
In today’s job market, your best new hire already has a job…and is unlikely to be looking for a new one. Now’s the time to make sure your recruiting strategies are efficient and effective. Even a little creative.
These 6 tips can help you find the best talent out there.
1. Embody your brand – and your values – in your recruiting efforts.
Your marketing team knows how to sell your products or services to prospective customers.
But have you thought about how you’re selling your company to prospective employees?
When the market is as tight as it is today, you should focus on selling the best parts of your business to candidates. They’re asking, “What’s in it for me?” not “What can I do for you?”
So from your job postings to position descriptions, your website to your follow-up emails, double-check to ensure they embody your values and brand. If your business offers personalized customer service, don’t use form letters to turn down candidates. If you emphasize family-oriented work-life balance, outline the specific benefits available.
Even if you don’t get the right candidate right away, everyone you talk with will spread the word about what you offer – and how they were treated.
2. Forget about job fairs.
Know who goes to job fairs? People without jobs.
Most great employees are already in a position. And those who don’t, have strategies of their own to land their next job.
Instead of wasting time and resources collecting resumes from unqualified candidates, focus on tapping into your employees’ network of professional contacts.
Invest part of your recruiting budget on rewarding employee referrals. You might also want to invest in professional networking associations and extend membership to your most personable, happiest employees. They’ll be your best salespeople – and most cost-effective recruiters.
3. Offer an attractive, competitive compensation.
The old rule of thumb holds true: You get what you pay for.
Take the time to research what your competitors are offering, then make sure that your offer is just as attractive. Online tools like PayScale make it easy – and far more affordable than missing out on a new hire.
And remember, you’re compensating the person – and all the skills they bring to the table. It’s not enough to simply assign a pay range to roles outlined in the job description. So once you’ve found a winner, review the salary against their specific skills, talent and experience.
Match pay to people, not job descriptions.
4. Design benefits tailored to your employees.
A recent SHRM study showed that Gen Y employees would rather have an extra day off than extra pay. Are your company’s benefits rewarding employees on their terms?
First, make sure your benefits are competitive by doing a little online research at PayScale. Take a look at what other companies in your town – and your industry – are currently offering.
Even if you have a strong benefits package in place, take time to educate potential hires (and current
employees) about the specifics of your plan. Does everyone have a paid holiday calendar posted in their workspace? Are people using the massage and chiropractic care that’s covered in your health plan?
A little information goes a long way in wooing candidates into joining your team.
5. Don’t be limited by industry experience.
It’s tempting to set aside resumes that don’t showcase specific industry experience.
But you might want to take a look at the core skills that are transferable to your open positions. While it won’t help you fill the .NET developer on your list, you can find new customer service talent and salespeople with incredibly varied backgrounds.
Review the positions you have open, and see what values and skills are at the heart of a successful candidate. Then take a fresh look at incoming resumes and look for the right person…and see if you can train them to become your next top performer.
6. Consider alternatives to full time positions.
If you’re having a tough time filling a role, think again about what your team really needs. Can you hire a contractor in to fill the need? Once they fall in love with your environment, they might come on full-time.
Or is it a role that can be filled with part-time help? Many parents are looking to downsize their worklife, or reenter the workforce without sacrificing valuable family time. Job sharing and telecommuting options are increasingly popular among today’s best workers.
From “Praise for The Art of Possibility”
“I love this book. It is provocative, instructive, and uplifting. The ideas and practices in it are about creating and engaging new possibilities in life. It is a boon to readers as a guide to their personal development, as well as a resource for helping them to lead others. The Art of Possibility is a gem.” – Peter J Frost, Edgar F. Kaiser Chair of Organizational Behaviour, University of British Columbia
pg 3 The long line is the possibility of seeing deeply into what is best for all of us, seeing the next step. Each chapter of the book offers a separate practice for realizing that vision. Each practice provides an opportunity for personal evolution that promises to enhance not only the reader’s life but also the organizations and relationships in which he or she participates. These practices are as relevant to corporate management as they are to a marriage; as relevant to acts of diplomacy as to the settlement of family disputes.
The history of transformational phenomena – the Internet, for example, or paradigm shifts in science, or the spread of a new religion – suggests that transformation happens less by arguing cogently for something new than by generating active, ongoing practices that shift a culture’s experience of the basis for reality.
pg 6 In the chapters that follow, you will be introduced to a set of practices that each as its own catchphrase, such as it’s all invented, or giving an A, or Rule Number 6. By the time you have read the stories, parables, and first-person accounts that illuminate each of these practices, you will be better able to recall them with the use of the catch phrase, just as I was able to get back in the boat by remembering toes to noes. Once you are in the habit of using them, these practices will reliably land you back in the boat, reoriented in a universe of possibility.
pg 12 In full wakefulness, we produce reasons for our actions that are rational, plausible, and guided by the logic of cause and effect, whether or not these ”reasons”accurately portray any of the real motivational forces at work. Experiments with people who have suffered a lesion between the two halves of the brain have shown that when the right side is prompted, say, to close a door, the left side, unaware of the experiment’s instruction, will produce a ”reason” as to why he has just performed the action, such as, “Oh, I felt a draft.”
It is these sorts of phenomena that we are referring to when we use the catchphrase for this chapter it’s all invented. What we mean is, “It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.”
pg 15 A simple way to practice it’s all invented is to ask yourself this question:
What assumption am I making
That I’m not aware I’m making,
That gives me what I see?
And when you have an answer to that question, ask yourself this one:
What might I now invent,
That I haven’t yet invented,
That would give me other choices?
pg 22 Now we come to the heart of the matter. What is the practice that orients you to a universe of possibility? It is a practice for revealing the hidden framework from which the world of measurement springs. When you see how thoroughly that framework, like the box around the nine dots, rules your life, you will have located yourself in the realm of possibility beyond it. So, first ask yourself: How are my thoughts and actions, in this moment, reflections of the measurement world?... Notice the question is not “Are my thoughts”… which is a question of assessment, but “How are my thoughts”…which is a true inquiry.
pg 26 Michelangelo is often quoted as having said that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue; one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within. If we were to apply this visionary concept to education, it would be pointless to compare one child to another. Instead, all the energy would be focused on chipping away at the stone, getting rid of whatever is in the way of each child’s developing skills, mastery, and self-expression.
We call this practice giving an A. It is an enlivening way of approaching people that promises to transform you as well as them. It is a shift in attitude that makes it possible for you to speak freely about your own thoughts and feelings while, at the same time, you support others to be all they dream of being. The practice of giving an A transports your relationships from the world of measurement into the universe of possibility. … When you give an A, you find yourself speaking to people not from a place of measuring how they stack up against your standards, but from a place of respect that gives them room to realize themselves. Your eye is on the statue within the roughness of the uncut stone. This A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into.
pg 31 Yet it is only when we make mistakes in performance that we can really being to notice what needs attention. In fact, I actively train my students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, “How fascinating!” I recommend that everyone try this.
My teacher, the great cellist Gaspar Cassado, used to say to us as students, “I’m so sorry for you; your lives have been so easy. You can’t play great music unless your heart’s been broken.”
pg 32 I was Number 68 out of 70 student. I come to Boston and Mr.Zander says I am an A. Very confusing. I walk about, three weeks, very confused. I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A student… I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A. One day I discover I am much happier A than Number 68. So I decide I am an A. This student, in a brilliant flash, had hit upon the “secret of life”. He had realized that the labels he had been taking so seriously are human inventions – it’s all a game. The Number 68 is invented and the A is invented, so we might as well choose to invent something that brightens our life and the lives of the people around us.
pg 33 The practice of giving the A allows the teacher to line up with her students in their efforts to produce the outcome, rather than lining up with the standards against these students. In the first instance, the instructor and the student, or the manager and the employee, become a team for accomplishing the extraordinary; in the second, the disparity in power between them can become a distraction and an inhibitor, drawing energy away from productivity and development.
pg 39 The lesson I learned is that the player who looks least engaged may be the most committed member of the group. A cynic, after all, is a passionate person who does not want to be disappointed again. Tanya, the Mahlerian par excellence, had decided to “sit out” that performance because it was going to disappoint her again. I learned from Tanya that the secret is not to speak to a person’s cynicism, but to speak to her passion.
When I initially approached Tanya – not to reprimand a recalcitrant member of the team for not pulling her weight, but rather with the attitude, the certain knowledge, that she loved the music, that she wanted the concert to be a success, that she wanted to “get into the string” with her bow – I gave her an A. My question to her, “Is there anything amiss?” was a question to someone I imagined to be completely committed to the project we were engaged in together, someone who, for whatever reason, was having a hard time.
pg 43 When we give an A we can be open to a perspective different from our own. For after all, it is only to a person to whom you have granted an A that you will really listen, and it is in that rare instance when you have ears for another person that you can truly appreciate a fresh point of view.
pg 44 The following day, little Katrine asked to hear the music about the beautiful princess again. So once again Anne put on the tape and let it run its course, only occasionally reminding Katrine of her invented story line. When the piece was playing for the third time at Katrine’s request, about halfway through she asked, “Auntie Anne, what is this music really about?” Anne regarded her five year old niece with astonishment, and then began to tell her the true story of Mahler….. the following October, the entire family made the four –hour drive from upstate New York to Boston to hear our performance in Jordan Hall. Katrine sat wide-eyed through the whole piece. Later, she wrote me a thank-you note. I carry this note with me everywhere I go. It reminds me how seldom we pay attention to, or even look for, the passionate and the extraordinary in children – how seldom we give children an A.
pg 50 Many of us suffer from the conviction that our parents withheld from us an A. Often the advice we receive, delivered with an earnest, pitying look is, “You can’t change people,” though most of us will go to our graves trying. That adage is true, of course, in the world of measurement, where people and things are fixed in character. However, in the universe of possibility, you certainly can change people. They change as you speak. You may ask, “Who, actually, is doing the changing?” And the answer is the relationship. Because in the arena of possibility, everything occurs in that context.
pg 51 “We keep looking so hard in life for the “specific message” and yet we are blinded to the fact that the message is all around us, and within us all the time. We just have to stop demanding that it be on OUR terms or conditions, and instead open ourselves to the possibility that what we may seek may be in front of us all the time. “
pg 57 I settled on a game called I am a contribution. Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It is not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found that the fearful question, “Is it enough?” and the even more fearful question, “Am I loved for who I am, or for what I have accomplished?” could both be replaced by the joyful question, “How will I be a contribution today?”
pg 59 The practice of this chapter is inventing oneself as a contribution, and others as well. The steps to the practice are these:
Declare yourself to be a contribution.
Throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, accepting that you may not understand how or why.
The contribution game appears to have remarkable powers for transforming conflicts into rewarding experiences.
pg 68 I had been conducting for nearly twenty years when it suddenly dawned on me that the conductor of an orchestra does not make a sound. His picture may appear on the cover of the CD in various dramatic poses, but his true power derives from his ability to make other people powerful. I began to ask myself questions like “What makes a group lively and engaged?” instead of “How good am I?” So palpable was the difference I my approach to conducting as a result of this “silent conductor” insight, that players in the orchestra started asking me, “What happened to you?” Before that, my main concerns had been whether my interpretation was being appreciated by the audience and, if the truth be known, whether the critics liked it because if they did it might lead to other opportunities and greater success. …. Now, in light of my “discovery”, I began to shift my attention to how effectively I was at enabling the musicians to play each phrase as beautifully as they were capable.
pg 70 You see, I had shouted out after one passage, “Cowbells, you didn’t come in!” A few minutes later I realized the cowbells weren’t supposed to play at that moment, so I called out to the percussion section, “I’m so sorry, I was wrong about that entrance. I realize you don’t play there.” After the rehearsal, I was amazed that no less than three musicians came to me separately and in private to say that they couldn’t remember the last time they heard a conductor admit his own mistake. One player commented how dispiriting it is for players when a conductor, as often happens, gets angry and blames the orchestra when he himself made the mistake, in the vain hope that nobody will have noticed. Many corporate heads and managers I have spoken to have since let me know that the orchestra is not the only hierarchical setting where this dynamic occurs.
White Sheets – With the intention of providing a conduit for orchestra members to be heard, I initiated a practice of putting a blank sheet of paper on every stand in each rehearsal. The players are invited to write down any observation or coaching for me that might enable me to empower them to play the music more beautifully. … Whenever I take on an idea from a member of the orchestra, I try to make eye contact with them at the moment the passage is played, sometimes several times during the rehearsals and even at the concert. Magically that moment becomes their moment. “You did my crescendo!” said a cellist with a mixture of disbelief, pride, and delight after the concert; she had written on her white sheet only that morning at the dress rehearsal that we weren’t doing justice to one of Bruckner’s majestic climaxes.
pg 73 Then, in the middle of the rehearsal, I suddenly turned to one of the violinists sitting in the fourth stand of the second violins, whose passion had been evident to me from the very first rehearsal, and said, “John, you come up here and conduct. I want to go to the back to hear how it sounds.” That day on his white sheet he wrote that I had enabled him to realized a lifelong dream. Suddenly, the full extent of the resources of the orchestra presented itself to my view, and I leapt to offer some of the other musicians the same gift.
pg 74 Listening for passion and commitment is the practice of the silent conductor whether the players are sitting in the orchestra, on the management team, or on the nursery floor. How can this leader know how well he is fulfilling his intention? He can look in the eyes of the players and prepare to ask himself, “Who am I being that they are not shining?” He can invite information and expression. He can speak to their passion. He can look for opportunity to hand them the baton. Today was exceptional in that I learned leadership is not a responsibility – nobody has to lead. It’s a gift, shining silver, that reminds people huddled nearby why each shimmering moment matters. It’s in the eyes, the voice, this swelling song that warms up from the toes and tingles with endless possibilities. Things change when you care enough to grab whatever you love, and give it everything. – Amanda Burr, student at the Walnut Hill School
pg 76 Mr. Zander, This is my first white sheet. Sitting at the back of the cello section, when I have always sat at the front, was the hardest thing I’ve done in a long while. But over the nine days of our work together I began to discover what playing in an orchestra was really about. Your shine has inspired me to believe that I have the force of personality to power the section from wherever I sit and I believe that I lead that concert from the 11th chair. Thank you for helping me know that. From this day I will be leading every section in which I sit – whichever seat. – Georgina, cellist in the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra
pg 83 We portray the calculating self as a ladder with a downward spiral. The ladder refers to the worldwide view that life is about making progress, striving for success, and positioning oneself in the hierarchy. The downward spiral represents, among other things, the slippage that occurs when we try to control people and circumstances to give ourselves a boost. When this lads to conflict, we are likely to think that we have run up against difficult people and have learned an important lesson. We become more hard-headed and practical. Inevitable our relationships spiral downward. As the calculating self tumbles out of control, it intensifies its efforts to climb back up and get in charge, and the cycle goes round and round.
How do we learn to recognize the often-charming, always-scheming, sometimes-anxious, frequently conniving calculating self? One good way is to ask ourselves, What would have to change for me to be completely fulfilled?
The answer to this question will clue us in to the conditions our calculating self finds threatening or even intolerable , and we may see that our zeal to bring about change may benefit from a lighter touch. The intolerable condition may be a place or a situation, but very often it is another person.
pg The practice of Rule Number 6 gives the facilitator in a negotiation a unique perspective. For the facilitator a unique perspective. For the facilitator versed in this practice, conflict resolution is the art of paving the way for the parties’ central selves to take charge of the discussion. In other words , the role of the facilitator is to promote human development and transformation rather than to find a solution that satisfies the demands of the ever-present calculating selves. …. The assumption was made that the two men`s calculating selves would each be plotting to win out over the other, pulling the conversation into the downward spiral, while their central selves would know a more direct route to a productive and collaborative solution.
pg 111 Being with the way things are calls for an expansion of ourselves. We start from what is, not from what should be; we encompass contradictions, painful feelings, fears, and imaginings, and – without fleeing, or attempting correction – we learn to soar, like the far-seeing hawk, over the whole landscape. The practice of being with the way things are allows us to alight in a place of openness, where ``the truth`` readies us for the next step, and the sky opens up.
pg 113 If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth, and power, but for the passionate sense of what can be, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints ,possibility never ends. And what is wine so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility? – Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
pg A ”no” can so often dampen our fire in the world of the downward spiral. It can seem like a permanent, implacable barrier that presents us with limited choices: to attack, to manipulate our way around it, or to bow to it in defeat. In other words, a “no” can seem like a door slamming instead of merely an instance of the way things are. Yet, were we to take a “no” less personally, and ourselves less seriously, we might hear something else. We might hear someone saying, “I don’t see any new possibility here, so I think I’ll stick with my usual way of doing things.” We might hear within the word “no” an invitation for enrollment.
pg So the first part of the practice is to declare: “I am the framework for everything that happens in my life.” This is perhaps the most radical and elusive of all the practices in this book, and it is also one of the most powerful. Here is another way of saying it: “If I cannot be present without resistance to the way things are and act effectively, if I feel myself to be wronged, a loser, or a victim, I will tell myself that some assumption I have made is the source of my difficultly.”
It is not that this practice offers the right choice or the only choice. We may want to make sure the intoxicated driver gets his due. We may want sympathy, and we may want revenge. Being derailed from our larger purpose, for a length of time, may be an acceptable option. However, choosing the being the board approach opens the possibility of a graceful journey, one that quickly reinstates us on the path we chose before the fateful collisions intervened. It allows us to keep on track.
pg 158 In the practice of being the board, you are not concerned that the other person examine her own assumptions. You see that the “stumbling blocks” that stand in your way are part of you, not her, and only you can remove them. Moreover, once you embark on the practice, you may find yourself relinquishing your claim for “fairness” or “justice” in favour of the riches that an intimate relationship can offer.
When you are being the board, you present no obstacles to others. You name yourself as the instrument to make all your relationships into effective partnerships. Imagine how profoundly trustworthy you would be to the people who work for you if they felt no problem could arise between you that you were not prepared to own. Imagine how much incentive they would have to cooperate if they knew they could count on you to clear the pathways for accomplishment.
This practice launches you on a soaring journey of transformation and development with others, a complete different route than one of managing relationships to avoid conflict. It calls for courage and compassion. You do not find compassion simply by listening to people; you open the channel by removing the barriers to tenderness within you. Among the rewards are self-respect, connection of the deepest and most vital kind, and a straight road to making a difference.
pg 162 Leadership is a relationship that brings this possibility to others and to the world, from any chair, in any role. This kind of leader is not necessarily the strongest member of the pack – the one best suited to fend off the enemy and gather in resources – as our old definitions of leadership sometimes had it. The “leader of possibility” invigorates the lines of affiliation and compassion from person to person in the face of the tyranny of fear. Any one of us can excersize this kind of leadership, whether we stand in the position of CEO or employee, citizen or elected official, teacher or student, friend or lover.
pg 173 … I spoke at length about the practice of “being a contribution”…. He rapid countered, “But what about the stockholders?” At this point his diminutive wife standing at his side have him a firm jab to the ribs and said, “No, not the stockholders, the children!” – because it turned out the company produced the motor for a tiny children’s car. In his concern for the stockholders, this CEO had forgotten that the company was formed around the idea of making a toy that children would love to play with.
pg 177 Thank you for reminding me of what I am here for. I will have to remember, “I am here to cross the swamp, not to fight all the alligators.” Thanks
By Don Miguel Ruiz
From the flap… In The Four Agreements, Do Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec Wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.
The Four Agreements:
Be Impeccable With Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
pg 60 As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally,you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
pg 64 All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. Take a moment to consider the truth of this statement. The whole world of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
pg 65 It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.
pg 74 When you transform your whole dream, magic just happens in your life. What you need comes to you easily because spirit moves freely through you. This is the mastery of intent, the mastery of the spirit, the mastery of love, the mastery of gratitude, and the mastery of life. This is the goal of the Toltec. This is the path to personal freedom.
pg 78 The Master replied, “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to life, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won’t enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love, and be happy.”
pg 82 You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestations, no results, and no reward. A good example of this comes from the story about Forrest Gump. He didn’t have great ideas, but he took action. He was happy because he always did his best at whatever he did. He was richly rewarded without expecting any reward at all. Taking action is being alive. It’s taking the risk to go out and express your dream.
pg 90 So if you do fall, do not judge. Do not give your Judge the satisfaction of turning you into a victim. No, be tough with yourself. Stand up and make the agreement again. “Okay, I broke my agreement to be impeccable with my word. I will start all over again. I am going to keep the Four Agreements just for today. Today I will be impeccable with my word, I will not take anything personally, I will not make any assumptions, and I am going to do my best.”
pg 98 The problem with most people is that they live their lives and never discover that the Judge and the Victim rule their mind, and therefore they don’t have a chance to be free. The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free. We need to be aware of what the problem is in order to solve the problem.
pg 103 That is why in all the shamanic traditions in America, from Canada to Argentina, people call themselves warriors, because they are in a wear against the parasite in the mind. That is the real meaning of a warrior. The warrior is one who rebels against the invasion of the parasite. The warrior rebels and declares a war. But to be a warrior doesn’t mean we always win the war; we may win or we may lose, but we always do our best and at least we have a chance to be free again. Choosing this path gives us, at the very least, the dignity of rebellion, and ensures that we will not be the helpless victim of our own whimsical emotions or the poisonous emotions of others. Even if we succumb to the enemy- the parasite – we will not be among those victims who would not fight back.
pg 114 If we can see our state of mind as a disease, we find there is a cure. We don’t have to suffer any longer. First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely. How do we do this? We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for the injustice.
pg 115 You will know you have forgiven someone when you see them and you no longer have an emotional reaction. You will hear the name of the person and you will have no emotional reaction. When someone can touch what used to be a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you know you have truly forgiven.
pg 117 The warrior has control. Not control over another human, but control over one’s own emotions, control over one’s own self. It is when we lose control that we repress the emotions, not when we are in control. The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the victim represses, and the warrior refrains. Victims repress because they are afraid to show the emotions, afraid to say what they want to say. To refrain is not the same as repression. To refrain is to home the emotions and to express them in the right moment, not before, not later. That is why warriors are impeccable. They have complete control over their own emotions and therefore over their own behaviour.
Tools for talking when stakes are high
By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzer
pg 3 Crucial Conversations: a discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong.
pg 10 After all, organizations that maintain best-in-class productivity rely on elegant performance-management systems. Widespread productivity couldn’t result from anything less, could it? We weren’t alone in our thinking. Every organization that attempted to bring about improvements – at least the companies we had heard of – began by revamping their performance management systems.
Then we studied those who had invested heavily in spiffy new performance-management systems. It turns out that we were dead wrong. Changing structures and systems alone did little to improve performance. For example, one study of five hundred stunningly productive organizations revealed that peak performance had absolutely nothing to with forms, procedures, and policies that drive performance management. In fact, half of the highflyers had almost no formal performance-management processes.
What’s behind their success? It all comes down to how people handle crucial conversations. Within high performing companies, when employees fail to deliver on their promise, colleagues willingly and effectively step in to discuss the problem. In the worst companies, poor performers are first ignored and then transferred. In good companies, bosses eventually deal with problems. In the best companies, everyone holds everyone else accountable – regardless of level or position. The path to high productivity passes not through a static system, but through face-to-face conversations at all levels.
pg 20 We won’t pull a Curly (from City Slickers). We’ll reveal the one thing. When it comes to risky, controversial, and emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get relevant information (from themselves and others) out into the open. That’s it. At the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information. … Now to put a label on this spectacular talent – it’s called dialogue.
pg 21 When two or more of us enter crucial conversations, by definition we don’t share the same pool. Our opinions differ. I believe one thing, you another. I have one history, you another. People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool – even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way out into the open.
pg 23 Not only does a shared pool help individuals make better choices, but since the meaning is shared, people willingly act on whatever decisions they make. As people sit through an open discussion where ideas are shared, they take part in the free flow of meaning. Eventually they understand why the shared solution is the best solution, and they’re committed to act. For example, Kevin and the other VPs didn’t buy into their final choice simply because they were involved; they bought in because they understood.
pg 24 Now, here’s how the various elements fit together. When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, we’re often at our worst. In order to move to our best, we have to find a way to explain what is in each of our personal pools of meaning – especially our high-stakes, sensitive, and controversial opinions, feelings, and ideas – and to get others to share their pools. We have to develop the tools that make it safe for us to discuss these issues and to come to a shared pool of meaning. And when we do, our lives change.
pg 29 People who are best at dialogue understand this simple fact and turn it into the principle “Work on me first.” They realize that not only are they likely to benefit by improving their own approach, but also that they’re the only person they can work on anyways. As much as others may need to change, or we may want them to change, the only person we can continually inspire, prod, and shape – with any degree of success – is the person in the mirror.
There is a certain irony embedded in this fact. People who believe they need to start with themselves do just that. As they work on themselves, they also become the most skilled at dialogue. So here’s the irony. It’s the most talented, not the least talented, who are continually trying to improve their dialogue skills. As is often the case, the rich get richer.
pg 33 “And then it struck me,” she continued. “Despite the fact that I had four hundred eyeballs pinned to me, a rather important question hit me like a ton of bricks: ‘What do I really want here?’” Asking this question had a powerful effect on Greta’s thinking. As she focused on this far more important question, she quickly realized that her goal was to encourage these two hundred managers to embrace the cost-reduction efforts – and to thereby influence thousands of others to do the same.
pg 34 …How do you recognize what has happened to you, stop playing games, and then influence your own motives? Do what Greta did. Stop and ask yourself some questions that return you to dialogue. You can ask these questions either when you find yourself slipping out of dialogue or as reminders when you prepare to step up to a crucial conversation. Here are some great ones:
What do I really want for myself?
What do I really want for others?
What do I really want for this relationship?
Once you’ve asked yourself what you want, add one more equally telling question:
How would I behave if I really wanted these results?
pg 40 The best at dialogue refuse Sucker’s Choices by setting up new choices. They present themselves with tougher questions - questions that turn the either/or choice into a search for the all-important and ever-elusive and. (It is an endangered species, you know.) Here’s how this works.
First, clarify what you really want. Second, clarify what you really don’t want. Third, present your brain with a more complex problem. … Combine the two into an and question that forces you to search for more creative and productive options than silence and violence. … “How can I have a candid conversation with my husband about being more dependable and avoid creating bad feelings or wasting our time?”
pg 42 At first, we thought that maybe there were places where dialogue couldn’t survive. But then we learned to ask: “Are you saying there isn’t anyone you know who is able to hold a high-risk conversation in a way that solves problems and builds relationships?” There usually is
pg 46 Later that day as you talk to your friends about the meeting, they let you in on what happened. You were there, but somehow you missed what actually happened. “That’s because you were so caught up in the content of the conversation,” your buddy explains. ”You cared so deeply about the shift rotation that you were blind to the conditions. You know – how people were feeling and acting, what tone they were taking, stuff like that.”
“You saw all that while still carrying on a heated conversation?” you ask. “Yeah,” your coworker explains, “I always dual process. That is, when things start turning ugly, I watch the content of the conversation along with what people are doing. I look for and examine both what and why. If you can see why people are becoming upset or holding back their views or even going silent, you can do something to get back on track.
pg 51 Imagine the magnitude of what we’re suggesting here. We’re asking you to recode silence and violence as signs that people are feeling unsafe. We’re asking you to fight your natural tendency to respond in kind. We’re asking you to undo years of practice, maybe even eons of genetic shaping that prod you to take flight or pick a fight (when under attack), and recode the situation. “Ah, that’s a sign that the other person feels unsafe.” And then what? Do something to make it feel safe. … For now, simply learn to look for safety and then be curious, not angry or frightened.
pg 56 What does it take to be able to step out of an argument and watch for process – including what you yourself are doing and the impact you’re having? You have to become a vigilant self-monitor. That is, pay close attention to what you’re doing and the impact it’s having, and then alter your strategy if necessary. Specifically, watch to see if you’re having a good or bad impact on safety.
pg 80 When people misunderstand and you start arguing over the misunderstanding, stop. Use Contrasting. Explain what you don’t mean until you’ve restored safety. Then return to the conversation. Safety first.
pg 84 So next time you find yourself stuck in a battle of wills, try this amazingly powerful but simple skill. Step out of the context of the struggle and make it safe. Simply say, “It seems like we’re both trying to force our view. I commit to stay in this discussion until we have a solution both of us are happy with.” The watch whether safety takes a turn for the better.
pg 86 So when you sense that you and others are working at cross-purposes, here’s what you can do. First, step out of the content of the conflict. Stop focusing on who thinks what. Then CRIB your way to Mutual Purpose.
- Commit to seek Mutual Purpose. Make a unilateral public commitment to stay in the conversation until you come up with something that serves everyone.
- Recognize the purpose behind the strategy. Ask people why they want what they’re pushing for. Separate what they’re demanding from the purpose it serves.
- Invent a mutual purpose. If after clarifying everyone’s purposes you are still at odds, see if you can invent a higher or longer-term purpose that is more motivating than the ones that keep you in conflict.
- Brainstorm new strategies. With a clear Mutual Purpose, you can join forces in searching for a solution that serves everyone.
pg 91 Summary – Make It Safe …
Step Out: When others move to silence or violence, step out of the conversation and make it safe. When safety is restored, go back to the issue at hand and continue the dialogue. Decide which safety condition is at risk:
Mutual Purpose. Do others believe you care about their goals in this conversation? Do they trust your motives?
Mutual Respect. Do others believe you respect them?
Apologize When Appropriate: When you’ve clearly violated respect, apologize.
Contrast to Fix Misunderstanding: When others misunderstand either your purpose or your intent, use Contrasting. Start with what you don’t intend or mean. Then explain what you do intend or mean.
CRIB to Get to Mutual Purpose: When you are at cross-purpose, use four skills to get back to mutual purpose:
Commit to seek mutual purpose, recognize the purpose behind the strategy, invent a mutual purpose, brainstorm new strategies.
pg 98 As it turns out, there is an intermediate step between what others do and how we feel. That’s why, when faced with the same circumstances, ten people may have ten different emotional responses. … What is this intermediate step? Just after we observe what others do and just before we feel some emotion about it, we tell ourselves a story. That is, we add meaning to the action observed. To the simple behaviour we add motive. Why were they doing that? We also add judgement – is that good or bad? And then, based on these thoughts or stories, our body responds with an emotion.
pg 103 When an unhelpful story is driving you to silence or violence, stop and consider how others would see your actions. For example, if the 60 Minutes camera crew replayed this scene on national television, how would you look? What would they tell you about your behaviour?
pg 105 Separate fact from story by focusing on the behaviour. To separate fact from story, get back to the genuine source of your feelings. Test your ideas against a simple criterion: Can you see or hear this thing you’re calling a fact? Was it an actual behaviour?
pg 112 Tell the rest of the story… turn victims into actors. Ask: am I pretending not to notice my role in the problem? … turn villains into humans. Ask: why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person do what this person is doing? … our purpose for asking … is not to excuse others for any bad things they may be doing. If they are, indeed, guilty, we’ll have time to deal with that later. … when we reflect on alternate motives, not only do we soften our emotions, but equally important, we relax our absolute certainty long enough to allow for dialogue – the only reliable way of discovering others’ genuine motives. …turn the helpless into the able. Ask: what do I really want? For me? For others? For the relationship? What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?
pg 117 Summary – Master My Stories… If strong emotions are keeping you stuck in silence or violence, try this.
Retrace Your Path – Notice your behaviour. If you find yourself moving away from dialogue, ask yourself what you’re really doing.
Am I in some form of silence or violence? Get in touch with your feelings. Learn to accurately identify the emotions behind your story.
What emotions are encouraging me to act this way? Analyze your stories. Question your conclusions and look for other possible explanations behind your story.
What story is creating these emotions? Get back to the facts. Abandon your absolute certainty by distinguishing between hard facts and your invented story.
What evidence do I have to support this story?
pg 124 Once you’ve worked on yourself to create the right conditions for dialogue, you can then draw upon five distinct skills that can help you talk about even the most sensitive topics. These five tools can be easily remembered with the acronym STATE. It stands for:
Share your facts
Tell your story
Ask for others’ paths
The first three skills describe what to do. The last two tell how to do it.
pg 126 Facts are the least controversial. Facts provide a safe beginning. By their very nature, facts aren’t controversial. That’s why we call them facts. For example, consider the statement: “Yesterday you arrived at work twenty minutes late.” No dispute there. Conclusions, on the other hand, are highly controversial. For example: “You can’t be trusted.” That’s hardly a fact. … Eventually we may want to share our conclusions, but we certainly don’t want to open up with a controversy.
From the National Post, by Matthew Jay on March 19, 2008...
OTTAWA - More Canadians are looking for a job that is challenging and rewarding, as opposed to one with high wages and a quick climb up the corporate ladder, according to an online poll.
The results appear to mesh well with trends being seen by career counsellors, with intangible career expectations receiving more attention from job seekers.
Results of the poll, based on the responses of 4,721 participants at Monster.ca, showed 53% of job seekers are looking for "challenging work that is fulfilling." This is in contrast to 27% who were looking for "financial gain and advancement" and 20% who preferred "job security, even if it means a less challenging role."
Results on the French-language site were even more stark, with 70% of respondents looking for personal gratification over high compensation and job security.
According to Dawn Legault, the director of career development at Carleton University in Ottawa, the poll results mirror the attitudes of students moving into the workforce today. She said young people are more concerned about finding an organization that fits their lifestyle and values rather than one that will provide superior compensation.
"Across the board, these are the questions students are asking," she said. "I think it's an overall question of lifestyle. It's about finding a fit with personal values and those of an organization."
Legault estimated only a quarter of questions posed by students during university-hosted information sessions with prospective employers are related to compensation and security.
Here’s a short excerpt and a direct link to the article from the HRE Online newsletter.
Beyond Day One - Electronic onboarding can cut costs and the time needed for new employees to master their jobs. But its real value may be even more strategic.
Says Platz: "If you look at the excitement curve of an employee about to be hired, they're on a real high. Then they get the job and there's a drop in interest." Calling Silk Road's process "talent branding," he says a new employee's experience should match up with the expectations they had as a candidate. "You get the company pitches during the interview process, but then you start and reality hits," he says. "[Comprehensive onboarding] is a way to bridge the gap."
Many companies don't handle things well during the period between a person's date of hire and when they actually start work, says Holbrook. "The more you can fill that gap, the better your relationship with the employee," he says.
The Aberdeen study, which rated companies on the basis of how well they integrated new employees, noted that 30 percent of "best-in-class" companies extend onboarding to the first six months of employment, while only 10 percent of "laggard" companies do so.
And 90 percent of best-in-class organizations incorporate "socialization" in their onboarding process, compared to just 75 percent of laggard organizations, according to the report, which defines socialization as "delivery of information about the culture and history of the company."
Tarquinio recommends laggard companies integrate onboarding with the hiring management process, adopt a long-term approach to onboarding and define the onboarding process -- what it includes and how it will achieve ever-greater consistency.
The study recommends that industry-average organizations develop a formalized onboarding process, measure first-year retention rates and time to performance, and eliminate paper-based processes in favor of Web-based ones.
As foresighted and innovative as management might be, the thinking that's likely to have the greatest impact on improving processes, products and services emanates from the people closest to the work. HR leaders and others in organizations who understand this fact include frontline staff in an organized productive thinking process.
This except caused me to exclaim "Four books a week?!" (I'm trying to read one a week, with a second book on the go at all times as well, and that is a stretch!) :
According to Bryan George, a world-class executive coach quoted in HFN [Home Furnishings News] magazine, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read, on average, four books per week. Busy professionals have others regularly scan news and periodicals for topics of interest. They can supplement reading with audio books.
And another favourite:
If your organization is unwilling to embark on large-scale transformation, practice positive disobedience.
No, this concept is not a recipe for a pink slip. It's a term used by the Center for Creative Leadership to describe the action of subcultures that model a behavior for the larger culture. It's behavior or action that yields superior results, even though it might differ from the mainstream
Randy Pausch reprising his Last Lecture
This was passed along from a colleague. I really loved the part about 'when people are hard on you, it's a good thing'. Cause if they aren't, they've given up on you. I think about how true that can be in the workplace... people who are performing beneath their potential or the expectations are often just left alone, without feedback, without that kind of pushing-you-til-you-see-what-you-are-really-capable-of coaching.
STAFFING: The Development Dialogue
Engaging employees, expanding career-development opportunities and retaining soon-to-retire boomers will be crucial in 2008. Human resource executives must work closely with managers in determining how to align worker and organizational needs. By Beverly Kaye
It doesn't take an expert to foresee that we will continue to experience significant upheavals in staffing, development, recruiting and retention in 2008. With advancing technology and an impending labor crisis on the horizon, there will be a greater need than ever to find and nurture the talent within our organizations.
The need for continuous learning is a given. If you're not attending to your talent and keeping them longer, you will be losing extremely vital knowledge and human capital. This is serious business.
It's not that organizations haven't been aware of the issue, that managers don't care or that employees won't listen. The problem is that none of these stakeholders typically receives the support or mandates necessary to make the best use of the development dialogue.
Manager involvement will be absolutely critical to challenge employees, build relationships, align individual needs with organizational needs and put employees on projects where they can best utilize their talents and skills.
Human resource leaders will need to hold managers accountable for the development dialogue.
Three trends will require stronger commitment and increased capacity. Managers will be required to (1) re-recruit talent regularly, (2) drive succession planning wider and deeper and (3) encourage transition planning with pre-retirement boomers. In 2008, these three development dialogues will move from nicety to necessity.
Re-recruiting Will Be Critical
While recruitment will continue to be one of the most costly HR processes in 2008, its longer-term effectiveness will be eroded by unacceptable attrition rates, especially within the first year of tenure. Hiring will continue to be among the most important tasks managers will have; however, it won't stop with the job offer.
New hires come to an organization fully charged: They are excited about their new adventure and are filled with ability and potential. Comprised mostly of Millennial-generation workers in coming years, they will bring unrivaled energy and ambition right from the start. Organizations who want to maximize the potential of their new hires will extend the "handshake" well past the beginning of the employment cycle.
Re-recruiting the best new people will be as critical as hiring them in the first place.
Research continues to demonstrate how important the relationship between manager and new hire is to retention, performance, employee satisfaction and ultimately, customer satisfaction.
If managers can quickly develop high-quality relationships with their new hires, they will greatly improve
first-year retention, decrease time to productivity, and build loyalty and commitment.
Instead of waiting six months to a year before having meaningful career-development discussions, savvy managers will unleash the energy of new hires by engaging them in a series of structured, powerful conversations over the course of the critical first few weeks and months of employment.
Development dialogues should be opened around six essential areas critical to new beginnings: relationships, passion, challenge, focus, balance and intention. If this is not done, managers will find that, halfway through the year, those new hires will leave.
Backfilling will only crowd recruiters' agendas and impede other staffing demands. Recruiters and hiring managers need to link arms to keep their talent from going to the competition.
Expanding Succession Planning
Many organizations have focused engagement and retention initiatives on the top 10 percent to 15 percent -- the "high potentials". It's not wrong to give hi-pos attention, but in the process it has been easy to lose sight of another critical segment of the workforce -- the "massive middle" -- the solid citizens, the bulk (60 percent to 70 percent) of the workforce, the people whom you will continue to count on to show up every day and do their jobs.
These are managers and individual contributors who have often been overlooked, especially when it comes to engagement or retention initiatives; and certainly they have been overlooked when it comes to the development dialogue.
We have improved greatly in succession planning but we have failed miserably in the opposite process: "buried treasure planning." Perhaps we already have the talent we need within our organizations; we have just not looked widely or deeply enough.
Forward-thinking companies will begin to focus engagement, development and retention efforts on this often-forgotten group. Why? Because they will need the bulk of their workforce to be more fully engaged, to bring their discretionary efforts to the job and to support their leadership. They will need those who are not engaged to get engaged ... in a hurry!
While methods will vary and will be customized for each population, there are at two complementary focus areas that will provide an engagement edge with the massive middle: career self-management for employees and career coaching for managers.
Organizations that embrace the development dialogue will see to it that managers are skilled enough to feel comfortable in the conversation and that employees are skilled enough to take responsibility for their own career satisfaction (a lovely way to abolish "entitlement!").
When this dialogue is mandated by the organization, accountability will finally be shared.
Legacy Development Plans
The U.S. Department of Education has stated that 60 percent of the skills needed in the future are possessed by only 20 percent of the current workforce. However, in the rush to acquire these skills, organizations sometimes forget it also takes wisdom to effectively put skills into practice.
Workers near the end of the employee life cycle, mostly boomers and some of the younger veterans, carry years of valuable experience and industry knowledge with them, and will continue to impact the bottom line in 2008. As they get closer to part-time or full-time retirement, their needs change and this will have to be reflected in the development dialogue.
Managers, led by their HR partners, will need to get comfortable and creative in considering how to tap this wisdom and experience, both in the short and long term, as well as how to get the most out of older employees while they're still around.
Mentoring and reverse-mentoring will provide immense value for these workers. Call it learning transfer, transition planning or legacy development (my favorite), but the very nature of this conversation will show individuals that their organization values them, cares about how engaged they are and recognizes their continuing impact on the bottom line.
Imagine inviting a 55-year-old to meet for their yearly IDP (individual development plan ... groan). Now imagine the reaction if, instead, the invitation was for an LDP (legacy development plan). Now there's a potential energy boost.
The development dialogue, if done at all stages of the employee life cycle and done seriously might just result in the surfacing of the talent we need to lessen the impending shortage.
When there is genuine organizational support, when managers are held accountable for engagement and development efforts, and when employees buy in and recognize their own roles, great improvements can be made in organizational staffing.
Efficiency, productivity, effectiveness and profits become more tangible.
Those organizations that re-recruit new staff, engage and retain the massive middle and help older boomers
transition their wisdom and lessons learned to others will arm themselves with true competitive differentiation in 2008.
Beverly Kaye is an internationally recognized authority on career issues, and retention and engagement in the workplace. In 2006, she was named a "Legend" by the American Society for Training and Development. She is founder and CEO of Career Systems International in Scranton, Pa., and a best-selling author on workplace performance, with titles including Up is Not the Only Way and Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay. Kaye, who has worked with a host of organizations to establish cutting-edge, award-winning career development solutions, holds a doctorate from UCLA, and completed graduate work at the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
November 19, 2007
I loved these excerpts:
Fast-forward to 2006, and Electrolux is morphing into a very different company. It uses a series of innovation metrics to measure unmet consumer needs and how well new products meet them; how products are developed and launched; and whether the right product and marketing managers are in the right jobs. Hjertonsson simply calls this "talent management."
Hjertonsson wields both carrots and sticks. Bonuses are based on how well managers adapt to the new system at Electrolux. The evaluation process includes a series of 30 questions aimed at figuring out how well managers are adapting to the regime. Electrolux uses three basic measures. First there is what they call "value market share" which is the portion of the consumer's wallet going to Electrolux versus other competitors. It is determined by the volume of appliances multiplied by the average price. Electrolux also looks closely at growth of profit margins and at average prices. The purpose of all three of these metrics is to shift focus to higher-value products and de-emphasize those that have become commoditized.
One of the biggest changes in Electrolux is the switch from using marketing surveys that ask consumers what they want to actually visiting consumers in their homes to see how they use their appliances. "We never ask the consumer what they want," says Hjertonsson. "We do anthropology. We study the consumer."
Weekly tips to help you and your colleagues become more effective and respected leaders.
Today's Topic: Ask for Feedback
Two of the most important keys to job success are: 1) Keep doing the things you do well (your strengths), and 2) Correct the things you don’t do so well (your weaknesses) – a.k.a. “developmental opportunities.” And in order to do both of those, you need to know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are. To be sure, you’ll want to periodically do a self-assessment on where you stand.
But the best and most accurate information on your performance must come from others – from your boss, your coworkers, and your customers. If you happen to work in an organization where feedback is frequently provided to you, great! You’re fortunate. Pay attention to what you hear and ACT on the information. If you’re like most folks, however, you’ll need more performance evaluation data than is given to you. That means you’ll have to ASK for it. Make a habit of posing the How am I doing? question to someone at least once a month. Solicit information from your manager, a trusted coworker, or a customer you’re serving. To pinpoint specific areas to work in, try asking:
“What one or two things can I do to be more successful?”
“What can I do to serve you better in the future?”
You’ll be amazed at how many people will be more than willing to tell you what you need to hear. And when they do, be sure to thank them. They truly will have given you a gift.
Today’s lesson is from Start Right...Stay Right: Every Employee's Straight-Talk Guide to Job Success
by Dave Balter & John Butman
founder of BzzAgent
from the flap... For the last few years, businesses have been obsessed with stimulating person-to-person conversation to counteract the declining effectiveness of traditional advertising. But it's easier said than done. As the founder of BzzAgent, Dave Balter developed a strategy for driving authentic word-of-mouth in the real world. He's a successful practitioner in a field previously dominated by armchair theorists.
here are my condensed flags as my library over-due fines mount...
pg 3 The marketer typically thought of word-of-mouth as coming about in a sequence: (a) conduct brilliant marketing campaign. (b) word of mouth will follow. ... the traditional image was all wrong.
pg 8 Word-of-mouth is the honest, genuine sharing of real opinions and information about products and services. It can be stimulated and accelerated, but it can't be controlled. Marketing mediums are not the same as real word of mouth.
-WOM proliferates in unpredictable ways
- there are limited WOM windows
-WOM is product storytelling
-WOM doesn't have to be positive to be good (negative WOM can add credibility to a product, and can bring out the quiet advocates, who can be even more powerful than everyday fans)
-WOM is the basis for a new approach to marketing... WITH marketing is about companies allowing everyday people into their process... as opposed to traditional AT marketing
pg 29 The majority of agents were telling us that they were taking part in a BzzAgent WOM campaign for reasons that had nothing to do with our rewards or prizes. DontheIdeaGuy says there are two reasons why people become BzzAgents:
1. To get cool stuff first.... early adopters
2. A sense of being 'in the loop'
pg 33 We stopped trying to figure out how to make the reward system better and more robust. We worked, instead, to make the communications more satisfying, to make people feel even better about their involvement in the network. (Amanda - insight here for staff referral programs!)
pg 92 When we started BzzAgent, we believed in the myth of the influentials. It took nearly a year of campaigns and thousands of interactions with BzzAgents for us to understand that mavens and high-profile influentials are effective in specific ways and in particular categories, but that most of the time, everyday people are better.
pg 115 Why are WOM stories so important? Because the stories are where the credibility of the product is created. Marketing stories can be delightful, clever, brilliant, charming, and hysterically funny. But often, they aren't credible. That's where WOM comes in.
pg 138 Negative feedback should always be listened to with great attention and shared throughout a company. Seeking it out should be paramount.
pg 142 The implication is that a company can overcome a great deal of negative reaction to a product or brand if it has a good process in place for listening and responding and takes positive action to fix its faults, just as Apple did with the iPod.
pg 154 As the result of the WOM campaign, Bruce said that he came to realize that NOLS had not been asking for enough help from its alumni, had not been doing enough to help NOLS grads talk about their experience with others, and hadn't been communicating well enough about the benefits of the experience with prospective students. (Amanda: idea for Youth Team here... imagine a YouTube video with footage from the annual 'show and tell' event!)
pg 162 There's only one little problem with it: you can't measure it the way you have ever measured anything else. The reason? You can't measure the middle. ... you can measure the first interaction. Through feedback from your consumers, you can get a gauge of how many individuals have actually begun talking about the product. But after that, authentic WOM travels its own grapevine. ... WOM is impossible to measure for many reasons.
... We know that WOM can and does increase sales. One way to show this is by comparing sales of a product in two similar markets: one with a WOM campaign, the other without. In 2004, we performed a study for Wharton School Publishing that did just this. ... we found that in the cities with a WOM component sales were 66% higher than in the cities without a WOM campaign.
pg 170 in WITH marketing you don't talk about capturing. You talk about listening. Targeting is a concept from the days of old. Now it's about engaging.
more info visit www.bzzagent/grapevine
For centuries, great philosophers, thinkers, and scholars have contemplated the source of our happiness. Notable teachers and famous spokesmen have also offered their opinions. Yet, I feel a person who truly understood the meaning of happiness was Marty, a man who ran a cash register.
In this excerpt from The Richest Man in Town, a true story about Aaron “Marty” Martinson, we join a conversation between author V. J. Smith and Marty. In all of their simplicity, Marty’s thoughts on happiness could rival those of the most famous thinkers. Sometimes, the simplest ideas touch us the most.To Your Success,Eric Harvey Founder and President, WalkTheTalk.com
The Richest Man in Town: Inspired by Marty, a Simple Man Who Ran a Cash Register
By V. J. Smith
Excerpted from The Richest Man in Town:
Chapter Titled The Source of Happiness:
At times Marty made it sound too easy. On a visit to his home I heard him say, “People need to decide to be happy.”
I pressed him. “What do you mean by that?”
His face took on an incredulous look. “You have to ask me?”
At that moment I felt a little foolish. Complex human problems, at least to me, often prevent people from being happy. To Marty it was a matter of common sense. I wondered, what was I missing?
“C’mon, Marty,” I said, “do you really think people can actually decide to be happy?”
“Who makes decisions for you?” Marty asked me. “All my life I’ve watched people waiting for someone else to make them happy. The way I got it figured, the only one who can make you happy is you.”
As I considered his point, my mind began to wander. Strangely, I thought of an old “Peanuts” cartoon–the one in which Lucy asked Charlie Brown, “Why do you think we were put on earth?”
Charlie Brown answered, “To make others happy.”
“I don’t think I’m making anyone happy,” Lucy replied, “but nobody’s making me very happy either.” Then Lucy screamed out, “Somebody’s not doing his job!”
I smiled at that moment, thinking Marty had something in common with Charles Schultz, the creator of the “Peanuts” cartoon. Both seemed to be saying that it was silly to expect other people to have such an influence over our lives.
That was Marty’s lesson: Only you can make you happy.
About The Richest Man in Town By V. J. Smith... The Richest Man in Town is a true story that captures the important things in life in an unforgettable way. It is beautifully written and will make you laugh, make you cry, but most importantly, will make you reflect on what life is about.
by John Heider
From the introduction... Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching is one of China's best loved books of wisdom. It was originally addressed to the sage and to the wise political ruler of the fifth century BC. ... This adaptation, I believe, will be of value to anyone who aspires to a leadership position, whether within the family or group, church or school, business or military, politics or governmental administration. Tao Te Ching means the Book (Ching) of How (Tao) Things Happen or Work (Te). The title is pronounced Dow Duh Jing.
Here are my flags...
pg 27 Knowing What is Happening ... When you are puzzled by what you see or hear, do not strive to figure things out. Stand back for a moment and become calm. When a person is calm, complex events appear simple. To know what is happening, push less, open out and be aware. See without staring. Listen quietly rather than listening hard. Use intuition and reflection rather than trying to figure things out. The more you can let go of trying, and the more open and receptive you become, the more easily you will know what is happening.
pg 37 Self-Improvement... if you wish to improve yourself, try silence or some other cleansing discipline that will gradually show your true selfless self.
pg 39 Traditional Wisdom... Our job is to facilitate process and clarify conflicts. This ability depends less on formal education than on common sense and traditional wisdom. The highly educated leader tends to respond in terms of one theoretical model or another. It is better simply to respond directly to what his happening here and now.
pg 43 The Paradox of Letting Go... When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. These are feminine or Yin paradoxes:
- By yielding, I endure.
- The empty space is filled.
- When I give of myself, I become more.
- When I feel most destroyed, I am about to grow.
- When I desire nothing, a great deal comes to me.
pg 63 Unity... Tao cannot be defined. One can only say that it is the single principle responsible for every event or thing. ... But too much theoretical talk distracts the group from what is happening, from the process itself. Talking about the process is one way to block process and lower the energy of the group field. When that happens, the wise leader returns once again to an awareness of what is happening and to the single principle that lies behind what is happening.
pg 65 Inner Resources... To know how other people behave takes intelligence, but to know myself takes wisdom. To manage other people's lives takes strength, but to manage my own life takes true power. If I am content with what I have, I can live simply and enjoy both prosperity and free time. If my goals are clear, I can achieve without fuss. If I am at peace with myself, I will not spend my life force in conflicts. If I have learned to let go, I do not need to fear dying.
pg 69 Keep It Simple... Do not get carried away by the group process. Stick to the single principle. Then you can do good work, stay free from chaos and conflicts, and feel present in all situations. The superficial leader cannot see how things happen, even though evidence is everywhere. This leader is swept up by drama, sensation, and excitement. All this confusion is blinding. But the leader who returns again and again to the awareness of process has a deep sense of how things happen. This leader has a simple time of it. The sessions flow smoothly, and when the group ends, the leader is still in good spirits.
pg 87 Owning or Being Owned?... Are you doing this work to facilitate growth or to become famous? Which is more important: acquiring more possessions or becoming more conscious? Which works better: getting or letting go? There is a problem owning a lot. There is a problem with getting more and more. The more you have and the more you get, the more you have to look after. The more you might lose. Is hat owning or being owned? But if you give up things, you can give up spending your life looking after things. Try being still in order to discover your inner security. If you have inner security, you will have what you want anyway. Also you will be less harried, and you will last longer.
pg 93 Here and Now... The wise leader knows what is happening in a group by being aware of what is happening here and now. That is more potent than wandering off into various theories or making complex interpretations of the situation at hand.
pg 97 Be Open to Whatever Emerges... The wise leader does not impose a personal agenda or value system on the group. The leader follows the group's lead and is open to whatever emerges. The leader judges no one and is attentive to both 'good' and 'bad' people. It does not even matter whether a person is telling the truth or lying. Being open and attentive is more effective than being judgmental. This is because people naturally end to be good and truthful when they are being received in a good and truthful manner. Perhaps the leader seems naive and childlike in this uncritical openness to whatever emerges. But openness is simply more potent than any system of judgements ever devised.
pg 105 Materialism... The wise leader leads a quiet and meditative life. But most people are busy getting as many possessions as they can. The quiet path leads to a more conscious existence. The busy path creates an exaggerated materialism.
pg 107 The Ripple Effect... Do you want to be a positive influence in the world? First, get your own life in order. Ground yourself in the single principle so that your whole behaviour is wholesome and effective. If you do that, you will earn respect and be a powerful influence. Your behaviour influences others through a ripple effect. A ripple effect works because everyone influences everyone else. Powerful people are powerful influences.
If your life works, you influence your family.
If you family works, your family influences the community.
If your community works, your community influences the nation.
If your nation works, your nation influences the world.
If your world works, the ripple effect spreads throughout the cosmos.
Remember that your influence begins with you and ripples outward. So be sure that your influence is both potent and wholesome. How do I know that this works? All growth spreads outward from a fertile and potent nucleus. You are a nucleus.
pg 115 Unfolding Process... For example, facilitating what is happening is more potent than pushing for what you wish were happening. Demonstrating or modeling behaviours is more potent than imposing morality. Unbiased positions are stronger than prejudice. Radiance encourages people, but outshines everyone else inhibits them.
pg 119 Don't Stir Things Up... Run the group delicately, as if you were cooking small fish. As much as possible, allow the group process to emerge naturally. Resist any temptation to instigate issues or elicit emotions which have not appeared on their own. ... do not push. Allow them to come out when they are ready.
pg 129 Theory and Practice... The leader's teachers did not emphasize complex theories. They practiced and taught a way of life based on consciousness and wisdom. People who see the world in terms of theories often have a very intricate view of what is happening. Clarity is difficult for them. They are very hard to work with. If you teach a group by making complex explanations, you will confuse people. They will take notes and fill their minds with opinions.
But if you return again and again to an awareness of what is actually happening, you will both clarify and enlighten. The ability to distinguish between theory and practice will save you much trouble. Practice a way of life, and demonstrate conscious cooperation with the single principle. If you cooperate with Tao, you will experience the power of universal harmony.
pg 133 Three Leadership Qualities... These three qualities are invaluable to the leader:
- Compassion for all creatures
- Material simplicity or frugality
- A sense of equality or modesty
A compassionate person acts in behalf of everyone's right to life. Material simplicity gives one an abundance to share. A sense of equality is, paradoxically, one's true greatness. ... Compassion, sharing, and equality... sustain life. This is because we are all one. When I care for you, I enhance the harmonious energy of the whole. And that is life.
pg 135 Opportunities... The greatest martial arts are the gentlest. They allow an attacker the opportunity to fall down. The greatest generals do not rush into every battle. They offer the enemy many opportunities to make self-defeating errors. The greatest administrators do not achieve production through constraints and limitations. They provide opportunities.
Good leadership consists of motivating people to their highest levels by offering them opportunities, not obligations. That is how things happen naturally. Life is an opportunity and not an obligation.
pg 145 Freedom and Responsibility... Keep in mind that Tao means how: how things happen. But how-things-happen is not the same as what-should-I-do. No one can tell you what to do. That is your freedom. That is your responsibility. Instead of asking for advice, learn to be more conscious of what is actually happening. Then you will be able to see for yourself how things happen. You can make your own decisions about what to do. ... But no one can decide for you what to do in a given situation. That is up to you.
pg 147 Judge and Jury... It is not the leader's role to play judge and jury, to punish people for 'bad' behaviour. In the first place, punishment does not effectively control behaviour. But even if punishment did work, what leader would dare use fear as a teaching method?
The wise leader knows that there are natural consequences for every act. The task is to shed light on these natural consequences, not to attack the behaviour itself. If the leader tries to take the place of nature and act as judge and jury, the best you can expect is a crude imitation of a very subtle process. At the very least, the leader will discover that the instrument of justice cuts both ways. Punishing others in punishing work.
pg 151 Flexible or Rigid? At birth, a person is flexible and flowing. At death, a person becomes rigid and blocked. Consider the lives of plants and trees: during their time of greatest growth, they are relatively tender and pliant. But when they are full grown or begin to die, they become tough and brittle. The tree which has grown up and become rigid is cut into lumber. The rigid group leader may be able to lead repetitious and structured exercises but can't cope with lively group process. Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow. Whatever is rigid and blocked will atrophy and die.
pg 153 Cycles... By serving others and being generous, the leader knows abundance. By being selfless, the leader helps others realize themselves. By being a disinterested facilitator, unconcerned with praise or pay, the leader becomes potent and successful.
pg 157 Win or Lose... If you get into an argument with a group member, and it does not come out the way you wish it would, do not pretend to compromise while withholding your true feelings. Yield your position gracefully. Return to facilitating what is happening. It is not your business to be right or to win arguments. It is not your business to find flaws in the other person's position. It is not your business to feel belittled if the other person wins. It is your business to facilitate whatever is happening, win or lose. Because we are all one, there are no sides to take. When all is said and done, the wise leader goes along with what is happening anyway.
pg 159 A Simple Life... If you want to be free, learn to live simply. Use what you have and be content where you are. Quit trying to solve your problems by moving to another place, by changing mates or careers. ....Eat food grown locally. Wear simple, durable clothing. Keep a small home, uncluttered and easy to clean. Keep an open calendar with period of uncommitted time. Have a spiritual practice and let family customs grow. Of course, the world is full of novelty and adventures. New opportunities come along every day. So what?
pg 161 The Reward... It is more important to tell the simple, blunt truth than it is to say things that sound good. The group is not a contest of eloquence. It is more important to act in behalf of everyone that it is to win arguments. The group is not a debating society. It is more important to react wisely to what is happening than it is to be able to explain everything in terms of certain theories. The group is not a final examination for a college course.
The wise leader is not collecting a string of successes. The leader is helping others to find their own success. There is plenty to go around. Sharing success with others is very successful. The single principle behind all creation teaches us that true benefit blesses everyone and diminishes no one. The wise leader knows that the reward for doing the work arises naturally out of the work.