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The Keys to Strong Working Relationships

You may enjoy your job immensely, but if you haven’t got good working relationships with the people you work with on a daily basis, it can make your life a misery. All it takes is one failed relationship to make your whole view on your job change completely. You may feel like you want to change jobs or you may feel like you’re unable to work with the individual in question. Building strong working relationships will not only mean you’ll be able to enjoy your job, but you’ll also have support when you need it and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Good working relationships are important in every sense – an employer with employees, employees with their employer and colleagues with one another. So, here are some tips for perfecting all three.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

An Employer with Employees

You’re reliant upon your employees to do a good job in order to keep the business running as successfully as possible. Your employees need to know that they’re able to come to you with problems and you’ll calmly offer solutions. If your employees are afraid to bother you or believe they’ll be reprimanded for small mistakes, they’re less likely to keep you informed. So, how do you build a relationship that allows your employees to enjoy your company and respect your views?

First and foremost, you need to remember that your employees are the ones who are the first point of contact for your customers. What they do is important and employers often forget that. As an employer, it’s easy to feel like you’re superior to your employees, when in fact, their jobs are just as important as yours. If you present yourself in a way that makes your employees feel inferior, they may not believe you’re approachable.

As the businesses boss, you’re sometimes the odd one out. You’re doing a different job and it’s likely that you have your own office space, away from everyone else. Therefore, you have to do what you can to blend in with the crowd. Come out of your office at break times and enjoy a coffee with your employees so you can find out more about them and their lives. Consider how you’re dressing too. If you’re walking into work wearing a designer suit and tie, you may be inadvertently setting yourself apart from the rest. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be turning up looking smart; but, you don’t have to throw your superiority in everyone’s faces.

It can sometimes help to go back to basics. When you’ve been running a business for so long, it can sometimes be difficult to remember where you started. Try to trigger your memory by doing your employees job for a day could help you to realise the pressures they’re under and what you could do to make their jobs easier. Ask your employees for any suggestions and don’t try and keep secrets. It’s important you have an open relationship with your employees, where you can say what you need to say and they can return the favour.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Employees with an Employer

If you can build a good relationship with your employer, it can make your job so much easier. Even if you’re only in your job for a short amount of time, you’ll need to rely on your employer for a good reference and they may be able to point you in the right direction when you want to climb the career ladder. So, how do you create a relationship with your boss that will benefit you both?

One of the main things to remember is that your boss is human. There may be days when your boss is under immense stress and that could result in you and your colleagues getting the brunt of it. It’s difficult not to take it out on the people you work closely with when something major goes wrong. Don’t take it personally and try to remember that there are more good days than there are bad. Underneath the title, your boss is just like any of the rest of you. So, build a relationship in the same way you would with any of your other colleagues.

Along with your quality of work, your boss will also expect a high level of reliability and honesty. So, if you’re known for pulling a few ‘sickys’ and your boss has to deal with unfinished work, you aren’t going to build a strong foundation for a good relationship. Can you imagine if you turned up to work and the doors were closed with a note saying, ‘sorry, but I won’t be paying you today’? Trust and reliability works both ways.

It’s always nice to be told that you’re doing a good job or your work is fantastic. But, your boss may not always have time to give you praise. Don’t sit there and wait for praise to come and then get upset when it doesn’t. You should be able to tell when you’ve done good work and be proud of yourself regardless. Everyone has a different kind of communication style, and it’s worth taking the time to figure your bosses out. It will be easier for you to figure out your boss’s style than your boss attempt to adjust his style to each individual employee. Once you’ve cracked it, you’ll have a much easier time when it comes to talking to your boss one-to-one.

Creating a good working relationship with your boss doesn’t mean you need to be best friends. In fact, it doesn’t even mean you have to like each other. But, you do need to rely on each other. So, do what you can to show your boss that you’re willing to go above and beyond and you may just get the same back.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Employees with Employees

Colleagues have the opportunity to become lifelong friends. In fact, many colleagues do become best friends. If you think about it, you probably see more of your colleagues than you do your own families. This is especially true for people working shift jobs, like nurses. Take a look at Staffnurse.com vacancies for phlebotomists and care assistants and you’ll see the type of hours they work. So, it’s important you build great relationships with your colleagues so you have a better chance of enjoying the work you do.

It’s a much different type of relationship than that of an employer and employees. You’ll spend a lot more time with your colleagues than your employer, so you’ll have more of a chance to get to know one another. Be honest and open from the get go. Learn to communicate well with others. Some basics are eye contact and body language. Don’t be afraid to be truthful about your flaws. It isn’t like the playground at school – no-one is going to tease the new kid. In fact, many people end up bonding over similar flaws.

Remember that everyone is different. When you attempt to get to know people by chatting and opening up, you may come across people who are less enthusiastic about building a relationship. Some people are quiet and reserved, so it doesn’t mean you’ll never have a relationship with that person, it just may take longer to develop. When building relationships with colleagues, it’s important to be observant. You may spot someone reading a book you’ve read before which could be a good talking point for you both. You may notice someone suffering from a head cold, so offering to lighten their load or making them a cup of tea could go a long way to starting a lasting relationship. People don’t often remember what you said, but they’ll certainly remember the way you made them feel.

One of the most important things you can do when you’re starting new working relationships is to find some common ground. Perhaps you like the same TV programmes or you enjoy going to Yoga class. Perhaps you have children of a similar age or you have a family member that drives you crazy. There are lots of things, some surprising, that can help people to connect. It also worth remembering not to be a colleague snob. There are many companies where colleagues stick to the same department when it comes to building relationships. Someone from the I.T department surely couldn’t be friends with someone from the marketing department? Thinking like this will only result in you missing out on valuable friendships. If you have the opportunity, try and connect with people from different areas in your workplace. It’s not only good for you to establish as many relationships as possible, but having connections can often lead to new opportunities. You’ll never know if you’ll be interested in swapping departments in the future.

Working relationships have the ability to make your working life wonderful or a living hell. Which would you choose? Make an effort with your relationships by following these steps and you could find a workplace that you’re happy in for years to come. After all, isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Jeffrey Gitomer

Your Missing Power: Master Mind

Perhaps the most powerful principle Napoleon Hill wrote about, and certainly the most enduring, is the 9th step towards riches: Power of the Master Mind. The idea of a Master Mind group was created, put forth, and expounded upon by Napoleon Hill in his two classic books, Think and Grow Rich, written in 1937, and “How to Sell Your Way Through Life, written in 1938.

If you want to have a better, easier, more fun, more productive, less frustrating (sound good so far?), more bountiful, and more profitable life: Create a Master Mind. A Master Mind group can help you and your business succeed far better and far faster than you can on your own.

Hill defines Master Mind as, “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

In other words – people working together in harmony to get to ‘best answer,’ ‘best response,’ ‘best ideas,’ or ‘best strategy’ to any situation or issue.

You have problems, issues, and concerns. Do you think you’re the ONLY person facing your issues and concerns? Come on, really now? My bet is that every one of your colleagues and connections have exactly the same issues. So, eh, why are yours reoccurring?

Why didn’t that deal go through? Why aren’t your calls getting returned? Why are you having a challenge to set a meeting? Why are you having major blockage to get to the decision-maker? Huh? Why?

Because you have not yet created your own Master Mind. A group of peers facing the very same issues in their life.

Hill stresses and uses the word POWER in conjunction with MASTER MIND. Hill says, “POWER may be defined as ‘organized and intelligently directed KNOWLEDGE.’ Power refers to ORGANIZED effort, sufficient to enable an individual to transmute DESIRE into its monetary equivalent.

ORGANIZED effort is produced through the coordination of effort of two or more people, who work toward a DEFINITE end, in a spirit of harmony.” He goes on in all capital letters to say, “POWER IS REQUIRED FOR THE ACCUMULATION OF MONEY! POWER IS NECESSARY FOR THE RETENTION OF MONEY AFTER IT HAS BEEN ACCUMULATED!”

Hill says, “POWER comes from accumulated and organized knowledge.” That’s what the Master Mind helps build. He also says, “If POWER is accumulated and organized knowledge, let’s examine the sources:

INFINITE INTELLIGENCE. This source of knowledge may be contacted through the procedure described in chapter 6, with the aid of Creative Imagination.
ACCUMULATED EXPERIENCE. The accumulated experience of man or woman, (or that portion of it which has been organized and recorded), may be found in any well-equipped public library. An important part of this accumulated experience is taught in public schools and colleges, where it has been classified and organized.
EXPERIMENT AND RESEARCH. In the field of science, and in practically every other walk of life, people are gathering, classifying, and organizing new facts daily. This is the source to which one must turn when knowledge is not available through ‘accumulated experience.’ Here, too, the Creative Imagination must often be used.

Knowledge may be acquired from any of the foregoing sources. It may be converted into POWER by organizing it into definite PLANS and by expressing those plans in terms of ACTION.”

Who Should You Ask To Join Your Master Mind?

Smart, positive, successful people that you know and trust. People with BOTH wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is knowledge and experience applied. Someone you respect. Someone willing to be open and contribute.

A Master Mind has to be content-rich, to the point, value-based dialog – and it’s each participant’s responsibility to bring their gold to each meeting, and share it freely.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Alexander Throckmorton Comes of Age

On September 25, 2015, Warner Brothers released The Intern: Experience Never Gets Old starring Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway; written, directed, and produced by Nancy Meyers. The September 2015 edition of Chief Learning Officer Magazine featured an article called Don’t Undervalue Older Workers by Lynn Schroeder. Nancy and Lynn must acknowledge that Edgar Lee Masters planted the seeds for appreciating seasoned workers back in 1914 when he wrote the play based on tombstone epitaphs in the western Illinois hamlet of Spoon River.

When Edgar Lee Masters penned his eloquent formula for genius, which he attributed to one fictional – albeit deceased – Alexander Throckmorton in the classic Spoon River Anthology, he bequeathed to all of us an elegant guiding principle for organizational leadership: genius is a composite made of some parts wisdom and some parts youth. Many organizations have exactly what they need for genius; that is seasoned workers and young workers. The problem is that so many organizations see older, experienced workers as problems; blocking the door for younger, less expensive and less experienced talent to enter the building. If we’re to believe Lynn Schroeder, Nancy Meyers, and Alexander Throckmorton, organizations who deliberately integrate wise, experienced team members with young, talented, and energetic team members, eager to destroy barriers and bifurcations, have the potential for genius—not individual genius; but true, organizational genius.


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About the Author

John HooverJohn Hoover, PhD.

Senior Vice President and Leader of the Executive Coaching practice at Partners in Human Resources International (New York), Dr. John Hoover is a former executive with The Walt Disney Company and McGraw-Hill. He is the bestselling author of a dozen books on leadership and organizational behavior from Amacom, Career Press, Barnes & Noble Publishing, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill, and Saint Martin’s Press.

Dr. Hoover is adjunct faculty at Fielding Graduate University and the American Management Association. He has coached, lectured, or served on the faculties of Amherst, Aquinas College, Cal State Fullerton, College of the Desert, Middle Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, and Yale. As outlined in greater detail below, he is an experienced consultant and executive coach to C-level executives and board members in the private sector, academia, and not-for-profit social service agencies.

Sharon Drew Morgen

Why do we gather information from buyers?

Information, when used to influence or sell, has cost us untold loss in business and relationships. It actually causes resistance.

Information Causes Resistance

For some reason, we maintain a long-standing belief that if we offer the right people the right information at the right time, presented in the right way, those it’s intended to influence will be duly impressed and adopt it. But that’s erroneous. Just think how often we

  • patiently explain to our kids why something is bad for them,
  • present a well-considered idea to our boss,
  • offer great data as rationale to lead change initiatives,
  • offer brilliant pitches to prospects to explain our solution

and how often our brilliant delivery and logical (and probably accurate) argument is not only ignored but rebuffed. Certainly the ineffective behaviors continue regardless of the logic of the information we offer. Are they just stupid? Irrational? We’re ‘right’ of course: we’ve got the rational argument and data points.

But do we?

We don’t. And we’re wrong. We’re actually creating resistance, losing business, destroying relationships, and impeding change.

Here’s why. When we present rational data, or make arguments based on logic or wisdom or knowledge, and hope it will sway an opinion or get a new decision made, we’re putting the cart before the horse. While the data itself may be terrific, the timing we use to present it stinks. You see, until there’s internal buy-in for change people have no place to put the information.

As outsiders – leaders, sales professionals, coaches, managers – we are engaged to amend the status quo of clients, prospects, or staff, using information as the rationale for change. But information does not teach someone how to change: information is a knowledge issue, not a behavior choice. Change is a systems problem, not a misunderstanding problem.

Let me explain. People and teams, companies and families, are each unique systems with components that buy-in to agreed-upon rules -idiosyncratic beliefs and maps of the world – and determine our behaviors. So someone, or a company, with ‘green’ beliefs won’t adopt non sustainable activities, and who/whatever is uncomfortable with these accepted beliefs aren’t admitted into the system.

Offer Information Only When System Ready For Change

It is only when parts of the system seek a new level of excellence and can figure out how to change without disruption will any sort of change be considered, regardless of our initiatives as outsiders to influence the change. If the system had recognized the need to change and knew how to fix it congruently they would have fixed the problem already.

At the point the need for change is considered, even by a small part of the system, the system must get buy-in from everything and everyone that will touch the new solution and knows how to change its underlying rules in a way that insures minimal disruption. In other words, no buy-in/no agreed-upon safe route forward = no change considered = no information accepted: the information doesn’t fit anywhere, can’t be heard, can’t be understood. We end up pushing valid data into a closed system that doesn’t recognize the need for it.

Telling kids why they should clean their rooms, telling prospects why your solution is better, telling managers to use new software doesn’t create the hoped-for change, regardless of how cogent the information except where the kids, buyers, managers were already set up to/seeking change and know how to move forward congruently (i.e. the low hanging fruit).

Here are a couple of simple examples.

  1. As you run out the door to get your daughter to school your spouse says, “I think we should move.” Huh! “We’ll speak more tonight,” you reply. On your way home you notice a great house for sale and you buy it. Do you think the information about the house is relevant to your family at that point (even if it’s the perfect house)?
  2. You and your team are getting ready to launch a new product you’ve been developing for two years. Your boss tells you the company has been bought out and it may affect the launch, certainly effects next year’s budget, your work location, and the team. Then a sales person calls selling team building software. Do you think the information about the software is relevant at this point (even if it’s a perfect solution)?
  3. You’re a consultant hired to lead a team through a reorganization. The team is stable, has been working successfully together for three years and enjoys great productivity and camaraderie. Do you think the information about the rationale of reorganization will be adopted effortlessly and effectively?

It’s not about the need or efficacy: change cannot happen until the system knows who or what:

  • will be affected by the new solution;
  • an acceptable solution should be that considers all;
  • the criteria that must be met;
  • the parameters for change to ensure minimal disruption;
  • the level of buy-in or change necessary;
  • the new rules and norms that must be adopted.

As I say in Dirty Little Secrets: the system is sacrosanct. We learned about homeostasis in 6th grade: anything that is seen to be pushing the system out of balance will create resistance. Giving information to any part of the system before everything is managed first merely causes resistance as the system fights for balance.

And so, our brilliant, necessary, cogent information gets ignored, resisted, objected to, or misunderstood and we must handle the ubiquitous objections and resistance. Hence long sales cycles and implementation problems.

Conventional sales, marketing, training, coaching, and leadership models use sharing and gathering information at their core. I’ve developed a model called Buying Facilitation® which is a generic decision facilitation model that enables a system to manage change and manage all of the behind-the-scenes elements needed to garner buy-in first; information is offered once there is agreement for adoption. If you’re a coach, negotiator, seller, purchasing agent, leader, doctor, or implementer add it into your current skills. Then when it’s to offer information, your clients will be ready for it and eager to accept it.


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is a visionary, original thinker, and thought leader in change management and decision facilitation. She works as a coach, trainer, speaker, and consultant, and has authored 9 books including the NYTimes Business BestsellerSelling with Integrity. Morgen developed the Buying Facilitation® method www.sharondrewmorgen.com in 1985 to facilitate change decisions, notably to help buyers buy and help leaders and coaches affect permanent change. Her newest book What? www.didihearyou.com explains how to close the gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She can be reached at [email protected]

Doing Business in a Big Data World

The Internet and cloud computing have revolutionized the nature of data capture and storage, tempting many companies to adopt a new ‘Big Data’ philosophy: collect all the data you can; all the time. But this new world of Big Data is proving to be much more demanding and complex than expected, requiring companies not only to adopt different technologies, but also to make significant changes to their business strategy, internal skillsets, and organizational structures.

Big Data is Not Just More Data: That’s because the nature of the data we can now collect has changed. Big Data involves not just the structured data (customer name and details, products purchased, how much was spent and when, etc.) that every company is used to capturing, but also unstructured data (data scraped from the Internet and social media channels that may come in a wide variety of formats, from video to voice). It may seem an obscure data management distinction, but this shift toward collecting unstructured data – which is a large part of what Big Data is all about – is sending shock waves across traditional organizations.

Why?


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About the Author

Dale NeefDale Neef is a technology advisor, and author of Digital Exhaust: What Everyone Should Know About Big Data, Digitization and Digitally Driven Innovation (FT Press). A veteran of knowledge management, business intelligence, and large-scale technology implementation projects with more than fifty companies worldwide, he has been a technical consultant for the Asian Development Bank, has worked for IBM and Computer Sciences Corporation, and was a fellow at Ernst & Young’s Center for Business Innovation. A frequent contributor to journals, and a regular speaker at technology conferences, he earned his doctorate from Cambridge University, was a research fellow at Harvard, and has written or edited eight books on the economics of knowledge and data management and the use of information technology to mitigate risk. Learn more at www.daleneef.com.