Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Power of Listening

Look at the title, and think about whether or not you pay attention to everything said to you in a given day; or do you hear only what you want and fill in the blank spaces with noise?  In a job such as recruiting or sales, the ears are almost more important than the eyes when it comes to making decisions. Any time a decision needs to be made; it is best made when all the information is at hand, and that no nuances or misinterpretation is at hand. I have a calendar at home, and one of the pictures depicts a rabbit with his fingers in his ears saying “I’m not ignoring you, I’m listening to my fingers”. While this seems funny, as I thought more about it, I realised that there are alot of decisions made without having enough information, and by having enough information, I mean by listening to all the facts before reacting.

Our days are made up of a lot of little conversations with people, be it in person or over many possible ways on the internet, or on the phone, that it is possible to confuse conversations, or swear you heard something from someone that was never said.  Hmmmm…. If we hear all we are told, and we listen to all that is said to us…..How is this possible? Simple….in a nutshell….we didn’t listen completely to the thought expressed, or digest it completely before reacting.

In our zeal to please those around us, oftentimes we react to things before we take the time to act on them. Its this knee-jerk reaction that often leads us into trouble where there really wasn’t any forming.  This could eventually cause enough bad blood between people that countries would go to war for honour, rather than just admit that they didn’t hear the entire statement which they were being told.

In sales, something that simple could cost us a much valued client, or a deal which we had spent a lot of time working on, or worse even a shot to the reputation which will take a long time to fix.(if ever)  Trust is key; so is hearing everything before taking action.  That can be the hardest part of the equation, as most people are wired to lash out at WHAT THEY THINK has been said; when in reality no such thing had been said or even intimated.  For those of us in the “people business”, its easy to get caught up in the moment, and judge or defend someone or something without having the right information, or getting involved in an issue or help out in a consultation or a sale without being asked. Giving information prematurely, or at all when it is not needed is grounds for creating a bad situation when it doesn’t need to happen.

We get involved because we think we are helping. Great if we were asked, not so if we weren’t.  Think about all the occasions where getting involved cost you something you never should have lost.  Was it worth it in the end?  Probably not….Maybe next time, Listen to the entire statement and then act on it, and not on what you think was said…..Something To Think About…..

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Answers

You’ve asked all of them on your mind. The questions. Those incomplete thoughts or flashes of brilliance that you feel needs some sort of vindication that your opinion is valid. Those things burrowing into the dark places of the mind that prevent you from moving on rationally. What if I appear ridiculous? What if my lack of knowledge shows through? Am I that much of a know-it-all?, I know we covered this topic 1000 times, yet for some reason I just don’t understand. These are all thoughts that race through our minds many times at various parts of the day, and then repeated over, and over….and over….and….

Its okay and its normal. If we actually sat down and seriously thought about how many questions are answered in a given day, I don’t think we would get out of bed. Its okay to be unsure, its okay to ask for the second opinion (17 or 18 times a day) and its okay to question the task in front of you. Only by asking the question, and measuring the resulting answer, can we be completely effective in completing our goals.  Until we actually reach out for help…we’ll be stuck treading water, wondering why we aren’t moving forward, or even moving at all.

Over the last number of years (since I accepted that I wasn’t to win the lottery and would be working for pretty much all my adult life) One remark has always worked its way to the top…You won’t know if you don’t ask, or, There really are no stupid questions, just thoughts that need completing.  I don’t know why it is that human nature makes us prone to thinking ours is the only opinion that counts, and that ours is the only right way to do things.  Until we slow down and look at the big picture, we won’t be moving anywhere close to success.  Human Nature leads to the stubborn streak, which inevitably leads to a slow-down in production. This of course leads to missed deadlines, tasks half-done, and eventually work that we are not proud to have our name attached to.

My current associates are adamant that if I have a question or a thought that needs fleshing out….then ask. Its better in their mind to ask the same question time and again if it means understanding, then not asking at all, and falling flat on my face and having to re-do the assignment.  Humility is a big tool which we do not use enough, meaning there are too many times when we fail to ask questions, be they the right ones or the not so right ones, and proceed on a course which will change any number of ways, before correctly crossing the finish line.

If nothing but a good read comes from this—> ASK QUESTIONS to RECEIVE ANSWERS, and the understanding that comes from acquiring good information which will help the organization in the long run, but definitely help you in reaching your goals successfully.

©2011 the daniel j smith

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Questions

This is something everybody uses; yet on a number of occasions they feel silence trumps silly, or banal, or demonstrating that they don’t have all the knowledge they need to proceed. Its human nature to want to have all the facts before proceeding on a project, just as it should be human nature to want to confirm information if there is any possible chance your results will be contrary to what is expected.

Not everybody has all the skills in the world needed to accomplish every goal. If they did then there would be no need for a learning curve, there would be no need for more than one person in any position of a company, no need for competition; either between firms or between employees (for positioning by friendly fire). If each of us had all the knowledge that we needed, then the world would be full of experts that did no research, because in their minds they knew everything. Interesting thoughts, huh?

No one person possesses all the knowledge needed to accomplish everything. Just as everyone needs assistance at one time or another to fulfill on an area of attention. The value placed on assistance is sometimes felt to be high for the sharing of common knowledge; and higher still if the request is 2 or 3 ‘attempts’ old.

When I ask a question, usually it will be after all avenues of research have been exhausted, or if I feel that it is something which could be answered in a matter of a couple of sentences. I am not asking that my project be completed by others, just a little assist to get over the hump causing a stall in production.  In return, I fully expect that when a question arises in my area of expertise, that I will be consulted in return.

The one thing which confuses me, and I'm certain others reading this, is when someone (or myself) struggles through every possible scenario, wasting valuable time when all that needs to be done is to ask a simple question or two.  Now I know there are times where knowledge is held at a premium (promotions or pecking order within a company, or even competition between offices.), BUT and this is a really big BUT, nobody learns anything major if they do not ask the right questions.

Think about your present situation moving forward. Do you have anyone to bounce ideas off of, or are you playing the aloof card and striving to fulfill your projects on your own?

My associates tell me time and again—>There are no silly questions, just avenues not explored! They want me to ask, regardless of how I feel about the situation, time and again until the knowledge sinks in. I appreciate this method of assistance as it allows me to proceed correctly, knowing that when I reach a roadblock with the project; one or two quick questions will be all it will take to put everything back on track.  The same is true for them, should they need the help, I am more than willing to spend the time assisting them. THIS is what creates a strong working environment, and THIS is what will create strong teams. You are only as good as the weakest person on the team; before you think of replacing them, ask yourself if you did all you could as a mentor or a colleague to see that they had all the information which was required to accomplish their task. If the answer turns out to be ‘NO’ then the problem is not with the colleague, but with the team-leader for not establishing a clear line of communication. Everyone has someone with whom they answer to; The more positive the flow, the smoother the communication will be.

This gives all of us “Something to Think About!’

ps: on a side note I am creating a fan page for The Daniel J. Smith. Please click on the link and LIKE the page. Thank you—http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Daniel-J-Smith/199011880109236

©2011 the daniel j. smith

Friday, February 11, 2011

Satisfaction Guarenteed

Right off the top, no, I didn’t just swear. These two words are thrown around daily under a multitude of reasons; but how many people actually back it up or even mean it as much more than a catch phrase or cliché?  We all deal with people, either working with, or working for; and regardless of our job-identity; in one way or another we always defer to those two words in almost every close.  How do you guarantee satisfaction? Have you listened intently to the customer or to the supervisor and understand what is being asked? Have you addressed all the concerns that the other party might have? Have you demonstrated that you understand all the information given, to produce satisfactory results? These are big questions; each of which should be addressed with every contact you take the time to engage.

Sure this makes a good mantra, and I’m certain most of my readers try to make this apply in their vocation, but there are times during the year where our attention is simply ‘phoned-in’ and we are going through the motions because we have other issues on our mind.  When this happens, do you step back, take a look at the root cause, correct and move forward; or do you continue working with a mind not completely on business? 

The client should be your focus when you are dealing with them, and they deserve your undivided attention.  Whether they are a long time account, or someone just passing by who decides you have the services they need. Home life can wait for after hours. 

Satisfaction is something many people talk about providing, do we provide the after-service required to ensure the goal is met. The process is rather simple- pick up the telephone and give them a call, have a conversation or invite them for a coffee. It costs you nothing and leaves the thought in your clients head that you  care. The more you care, the deeper the bond is developed, and the stronger chance you are creating a long lasting relationship. Should you run into any issues, address them at the time, don’t let them build into lost future opportunities.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: more than a motto, more than empty words and yet real easy to provide. Face it; if you don’t or find yourself unable to; then your competition will.

These are my words for this Friday Morning: Straight from the Source®

Have Yourself a Fantastic Day

 

Daniel J Smith

Sourcer/Social Media Maven

RBS Staffing Consultants

 

(905) 627-5060

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