Monthly Archives: August 2011

“I Know You Can Do It!”

18 Aug
by Bridget DiCello

“I know you can do it!”  Why are these such powerful words?  When voiced by a someone about a colleague or team member, they express confidence in that person.  Despite the independent, confident, maybe egotistical approach of people who are difficult to work with, I believe there is a great lack of self-confidence under the surface, being hidden by confident speech.  When someone who they respect, whether because of a great relationship or by only an official relationship, says they believe they can do something, it energizes that person.

You are telling them that you believe in them and that they should believe in themselves.  Too mushy for you?  Well, it’s powerful and used well, can bring about significant changes in performance and levels of cooperation.

Do you tell team members this who you find difficult to interact with?  Can you get yourself to believe it for those who have less than stellar performance?

Why would you say this if you don’t believe it 100%?  There is power in what we say about ourselves and what others say about us.  By saying, “I know you can do it,” you are instilling a determination in that person.

You will find the most success when you follow up by holding them accountable to what they have agreed to.

What if they fail?  Doesn’t that mean you were wrong?  No!  It just depends on what timeframe you are talking about.  If you say they can accomplish something and they get frustrated because they didn’t get it done in a week.  Push harder.  Insist you know they can do it and ask them what the next step they are going to do is.  Everything is accomplished with a series of small steps.

Sometimes team members may at first look to prove you wrong in order to stay in their comfortable current level of performance.  Insist you believe they can do what needs to be done, that they have the ability to learn and to accomplish more than they have.

Try it.  Say, “I know you can do it!” with conviction to each person important to your success once a week and see what happens!

Return on your Networking Investment

12 Aug
by Bridget DiCello

If you’re faced with an extremely busy schedule and increased demands in a challenging economy – you cannot spend a lot of time networking unless you get a good return on investment. Yet you find it necessary to get out and meet new people, connect and enhance relationships with current contacts and referral sources, and be out and be seen. You may not enjoy the typical “networking event,” because it doesn’t produce enough results to make the expense, time and discomfort of being around a bunch of people you don’t know, worth it.

From my experience, key activities that make it worth it your time and effort to attend an event:
• Decide what you need to achieve to make it worth attending events. Do you plan to make new contacts? If you do, do you know who specifically you’d like to meet or can you describe your target prospect? Do you wish to build relationships with current contacts or prospects by going where they go? Do you wish to achieve general visibility in larger crowds of professionals?
• Plan your month. Act purposefully. As much as possible, evaluate the events that are coming up in the next month and decide the best use of your time. Seeing some of the same people at events gives you an opportunity to deepen the relationships, but seeing them three times in the same month devalues that benefit. Plan to attend a variety of events to achieve your most important goals and stick within your budget.
• Invite people to attend with you. If they can’t go, the invitation itself is a meaningful contact and builds that relationship. If they can go, they will appreciate the opportunity, especially if it is an event of which they were not aware. It’s an opportunity to spend some time with the person you invite and introduce them to others.
• Show up early and act as a host. Stand near the door and welcome people. You can help them to feel comfortable, and have an easy conversation opener as they walk in the door.
• Move from conversation to conversation. Typically, making multiple contacts at an event will make it more worth your time. Spend 15 minutes talking to one very solid contact if that makes sense at the time, but reserve deeper conversations for a follow up meeting where they are often a better fit.
• Connect two people you know to one another. And vice versa, ask someone you know to introduce you to a contact they know and you would like to meet.
• Follow up with important contacts. I have long since stopped following up with everyone I meet. I know that some conventional networking wisdom will tell you to connect with a lot of people, not knowing who could help you/who you could help some day. Personally, I look at the return on investment of my time, am clear with where my beneficial connections will most likely lie, and spend my time there.

How about you? How do you ensure a profitable return on investment of your networking, time, energy and money?

Learn from Leaders who Fail as well as from Leaders who Succeed

04 Aug
by Bridget DiCello

If you wish to become a more effective leader within your organization, it makes a lot of sense to study great leaders, read what they write and what others write about them and talk to them if you can get the opportunity.

However, it also makes sense to study and talk to the leaders who have tried and failed, and to successful leaders about their failures.  It’s powerful to learn from mistakes others make, especially from those who have been in positions of leadership, stressful situations and under great pressure.

Ask them to share with you not only what not to do and but learn also what to do instead.  It’s very difficult for anyone to focus only on what not to do.  It’s important you gain from these leaders what they would do again if they had the chance to do it over again – hindsight is a powerful 20-20 view.

David Burkus has a great story on his blog about the power of studying failure – by looking at the bullet holes in an aircraft.

To learn from a leader’s experiences, Ask Questions.  Just because a leader’s approach was successful in their situation, their advice may be hard to apply to your world.  Dive into their decision making processes as well.  Ask how they decided to take the path they took in their particular situation to become successful in it.

A successful leader probably doesn’t realize all the good things they did, just the more obvious or those about which they are most proud.  The more questions you can ask about situations where they were successful, and the more you can get them talking, the more knowledge you can glean beyond the things they would tell you if they only summarized their lessons.

These suggestions assume that you can have a one-on-one conversation with these leaders.  That is the environment where the best lessons are learned.  Because most of us cannot call Bill Gates and make a lunch date, you need to think of the leaders you know and ask for a bit of their time.  If you are prepared with intelligent questions, that you send them prior to the meeting, many leaders will be happy to share their insights and wisdom.

What insights have you learned from your failures?