Home Leadership Turn Archives Me RampUp Solutions Option Sanity
 


  • Categories

  • Archives
 

Golden Oldies: If the Shoe Fits: Wave Deafness

Monday, June 19th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

When I wrote this originally it was aimed directly at entrepreneurs, especially the ones who don’t seem to hear their people very often — if at all.

Coming across it five years later I decided it’s so apropos across the board that it definitely qualified as a golden oldie.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mLast year I wrote about Tony Hsieh’s approach to employee empowerment, featuring some great quotes from him.

As I said then, the thing that sets Hsieh apart is security.

Hsieh is comfortable in his own skin; secure in his own competency and limitations, so he doesn’t need to be the font from which all else flows.

Entrepreneurs can learn from this.

Startup hiring usually comes in waves as the company progresses.

While most founders will listen to their initial team and first few hires, those hired later often find it difficult to get their ideas heard.

Unfortunately, this behavior often sets a pattern, with the ideas and comments of each successive wave becoming fainter and fainter and those employees less and less engaged—and that translates to them caring less and less about your company’s success—call it wave deafness.

Wave deafness is costly.

Costly in productivity and passion, but even more costly in lost opportunities.

As Hsieh points out, there is no way he can think of as many good ideas as are produced if each employee has just one good idea in a year.

And not just from certain positions. I never heard of a manager, let alone a founder, admit to hiring dummies for any position, no matter the level.

So if you hire smart people and don’t listen to them, who is the dummy?

Image credit: HikingArtist

Entrepreneurs: Reality vs. Wishful thinking

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ky_olsen/3133347219/

For years I’ve interacted with entrepreneurs from the US and other countries. And while they have many traits in common, there is one that never ceases to amaze me — their approach to their users.

Maybe ‘approach’ is the wrong word; perhaps attitude or interpretation or wishful thinking is closer.

Your users are who they are, not who you want them to be.

That means it doesn’t matter if you/your friends/peers think it’s cool.

Or that you/your friends/peers like the style/fashion/etc.

That’s why Lean Methodology says to get out of your office, your comfort zone, and talk to your market.

Actually, rather than talking, you should listen to your market.

Truly listen.

Hear what they are really saying, instead of hearing what you want to hear.

Doing the latter has sunk many a startup.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a look at some of them.

Image credit: Ky

Golden Oldies: Ducks In A Row: Do You Have People Or Persons?

Monday, September 12th, 2016

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Companies are fond of calling those who toil for them by different names. ‘Human resources’, which morphed to just ‘resources’ was one of the first. Then came ‘talent’. Next, the pendulum swung back to ‘people’. Managers, on the other hand, have always talked about their ‘people’. But no matter what the company or manager called them, they were individuals; each with different skills, goals and passions — and need to be managed as such.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

ducks_in_a_rowDo you work for a company or a manger?

If you ask most people who they work for they’ll name a company, but if you ask them why they love or hate it, stay or leave, they’ll usually mention a manager, the people or the culture, which is a projection of the manager and the people.

People quitting is expensive and bad for team morale, but having them quit and not leave is the worst thing that can happen.

Think about it, who do you manage? And How?

Adequate managers manage employees.

Good managers manage people.

Great managers manage persons.

Yes, persons.

Individuals, because you can’t manage (or lead) everyone the same way.

The same words often mean something different to different people, so you need to say what’s necessary in whatever words will ensure that each individual hears and understands your message.

I’m not saying that it’s easy, but you aren’t paid for easy—you’re paid for results.

And knowing how to manage persons is the best way to ensure that your people won’t quit.

Image credit: ZedBee|Zoë Power on flickr

How Well Do You Hear?

Monday, October 19th, 2015

https://www.flickr.com/photos/caninest/4394678079/Bosses at all levels waste their human resources every day.

How? By only listening to those at X level or higher.

Common sense should tell you 

  • Nobody suddenly develops a brain as a result of being promoted.
  • If they were good enough to promote then they should have been good enough to listen to in their previous positions.
  • If they can’t contribute in the position for which they were hired, why hire them at all?
  • Even new grads hired for their potential need to be heard; they are like eggs and like eggs they must be cared for if they are to hatch.

Bosses afflicted by “positional deafness” often experience high turnover and lament the lack of loyalty, especially in “more junior workers.”

But the term ‘junior’ is very subjective; for some managers it refers to those with just a couple of years of experience, for others it’s a level within the company and for still others it’s relative, with the baseline how long it took them to finally be heard by their boss.

How do you know if you suffer from positional deafness?

Simple; just consider the sources of your input over the last quarter and what you did with it.

Better yet, ask the people you trust to tell you the truth, not the ones who tell you what you want to hear.

Flickr image credit: Caninest

Entrepreneurs: It’s Never Either / Or

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

https://www.flickr.com/photos/andymorffew/8048112195

The other day I was asked, “When do you lead rationally vs. when do you lead emotionally?”

“Rationally” refers to communicating and appealing to those who are more cerebral, while “emotionally” means focusing more on feelings — it does not mean that one type is cold and the other overwrought.

People hear in different ways and it’s the responsibility of the speaker to communicate so that all can hear.

Over the years, I’ve been told many times by people in positional leadership roles that having to constantly alter how they present information is hard work and they believe that it’s up to the listener to understand what they’re saying.

What these bosses don’t understand is that if “they” can’t hear you “they” certainly won’t follow.

It’s not just a choice of rational vs. emotional, it’s understanding your audience and then speaking appropriately.

For instance, if you’re presenting plans for a new building to investors, business, the community and the media you might be inclined to concentrate on relative costs and ROI, since you want to win over the money crowd, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the esthetics and ambiance.

First, you need to think about the different viewpoints and craft your presentation to include both types of information, even when it’s stuff about which you don’t care, that way you have it all at your fingertips.

During the presentation a money person suggests that construction costs could be lower by using smaller windows and lower ceilings and you know that this won’t fly with the community and business interests, since they’re concerned more with how the building will look and feel.

If you’ve done your homework, then you can show that higher ceilings and larger windows have been proven to increase worker productivity and the improved ambiance means higher rents.

Each group will focus on the information addressing their primary interest with the rest being relegated to backup position, but the important thing is that each heard something positive that directly addressed their concern.

Doing this is a habit you can cultivate and the fastest way to do so is to make yourself hyper aware of that to which your reaction is “who cares,” since that’s the information/viewpoint you’re most likely to skip.

While it’s not rocket science, it does require self-awareness supported by a driving passion to be heard.

While there’s never a guarantee that people will agree and follow, they will hear you and that’s where you need to start.

Image credit: Andy Morffew

If the Shoe Fits: You and Selective Hearing

Friday, October 25th, 2013

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mA Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

Founders are constantly considering choices and making decisions to move their company forward, but the anxiety, stress and fear that accompany the excitement and frequent highs of startup life can distort and disrupt the decision-making process.

Noreena Hertz, professor of economics at University College London, explains this in the light of her own medical drama.

When the volunteers were given information that was better than they hoped or expected…they adjusted closer to the new risk percentages presented. But if it was worse, they tended to ignore this new information.

It’s called selective hearing; hearing what you want to hear—hearing whatever agrees with you and rationalizing or ignoring that which doesn’t.

It’s a notorious managerial mindset when checking references and accounts for a large percentages of bad hires.

Founders can be subject to serious cases of selective hearing, especially when the market doesn’t fully validate their vision.

When we find data that supports our hopes we appear to get a dopamine rush similar to the one we get if we eat chocolate, have sex or fall in love. But it’s often information that challenges our existing opinions or wishful desires that yields the greatest insights.

For founders, hearing and responding intelligently to those challenges does more than provide insights.

In fact, the right response can be the difference between success and failure.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ducks in a Row: Listening vs. Hearing

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

http://www.flickr.com/photos/memestate/3577193781/Ask most people if they hear people or listen to them and they’ll say they listen.

But if you are checking email, doing stuff on your smart phone; thinking about dinner, plotting a date with the hot guy/gal you chatted with while getting your morning coffee, listening to the conversation at the next table or any of a myriad of other things then you aren’t listening.

The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.

Attention means you focus on the person talking.

Focus involves your eyes, ears and mind,

Focus does not include thinking about and formulating your reply based on the first part of what is said.

This is especially important if you are a boss.

Think of listening as an investment in your people that carries a high return.

Your ROI comes in the form of improved productivity, increased innovation and greater loyalty.

And the only cost is a little self-discipline.

What a deal.

Flickr image credit: Rich Anderson

If the Shoe Fits: Wave Deafness

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mLast year I wrote about Tony Hsieh’s approach to employee empowerment, featuring some great quotes from him.

As I said then, the thing that sets Hsieh apart is security.

Hsieh is comfortable in his own skin; secure in his own competency and limitations, so he doesn’t need to be the font from which all else flows.

Entrepreneurs can learn from this.

Startup hiring usually comes in waves as the company progresses.

While most founders will listen to their initial team and first few hires, those hired later often find it difficult to get their ideas heard.

Unfortunately, this behavior often sets a pattern, with the ideas and comments of each successive wave becoming fainter and fainter and those employees less and less engaged—and that translates to them caring less and less about your company’s success—call it wave deafness.

Wave deafness is costly.

Costly in productivity and passion, but even more costly in lost opportunities.

As Hsieh points out, there is no way he can think of as many good ideas as are produced if each employee has just one good idea in a year.

And not just from certain positions. I never heard of a manager, let alone a founder, admit to hiring dummies for any position, no matter the level.

So if you hire smart people and don’t listen to them, who is the dummy?

Option Sanity™ rewards creativity.

Come visit Option Sanity for an easy-to-understand, simple-to-implement stock process.  It’s so easy a CEO can do it.

Warning.

Do not attempt to use Option Sanity™ without a strong commitment to business planning, financial controls, honesty, ethics, and “doing the right thing.”
Use only as directed.
Users of Option Sanity may experience sudden increases in team cohesion and worker satisfaction. In cases where team productivity, retention and company success is greater than typical, expect media interest and invitations as keynote speaker.

Flickr image credit: HikingArtist

If the Shoe Fits: Shutting Your Mental Mouth

Friday, August 26th, 2011

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

Experience teaches that if you absolutely need information frame it as a  question and then shut up.

It’s a tried and true method that every good sales person knows (they call them closing questions) and is guaranteed to get whomever you are talking with to answer specifically.

For most people it’s a diffucult strategy to employ in spite of working 99% of the time.

Often the silence stretches, creating pressure to fill the void, so the askER enumerates, adding detail or “what I mean is…” and the askEE is off the hook and rarely responds to the original question.

Even when the askER stays quiet their mental mouth is moving, framing responses, organizing rebuttals, responding to possible scenarios.

Whether physical or mental, your thoughts drive the words and the more thinking the less listening, because the focus is elsewhere.

In order to get funded you need to hear investors.

In order to sell you need to hear your customers.

In order to manage you need to hear your people.

You can’t hear if you are talking.

Shutting up is key and that means shutting your mental mouth along with your physical one.

Option Sanity™ helps you hear

Come visit Option Sanity for an easy-to-understand, simple-to-implement stock process.  It’s so easy a CEO can do it.

Warning.
Do not attempt to use Option Sanity™ without a strong commitment to business planning, financial controls, honesty, ethics, and “doing the right thing.” Use only as directed.
Users of Option Sanity may experience sudden increases in team cohesion and worker satisfaction. In cases where team productivity, retention and company success is greater than typical, expect media interest and invitations as keynote speaker.

Image credit: Bun in a Can Productions

Positional Deafness

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

3740791077_0de85962b9_mI’ve written several times referencing Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and it’s come up in numerous conversations I’ve had.

Each time I hear that Gladwell’s premise is flawed and that if a person is determined enough they will succeed blah, blah, blah.

They claim this holds true whatever the location, including gang-ridden inner cities or third world countries; work hard enough and you will overcome.

My typical response to their rhetoric is “bullshit.”

A few days ago TechCrunch published The Chilling Story of Genius in a Land of Chronic Unemployment; a comparison between Ibrahim Boakye and Max Levchin.

It is elegant proof of what Gladwell says, as well as a warning call to the stupidity of wasting our world’s human resources.

On a much smaller scale managers waste their human resources every day through “positional deafness,” i.e., only soliciting and/or hearing thoughts, ideas and suggestions from those at X level or higher.

I’ve never understood why managers expect workers who were consistently ignored and shut down to suddenly start contributing because they receive a promotion.

  • Nobody suddenly develops a brain as a result of being promoted.
  • If they were good enough to promote then they should have been good enough to listen to in their previous positions.
  • If they can’t contribute in the position for which they were hired, why hire them at all?
  • Even new grads hired for their potential need to be heard; they are like eggs and like eggs they must be cared for if they are to hatch.

Managers afflicted by positional deafness often experience high turnover and lament the lack of loyalty, especially in “more junior workers.”

But the term ‘junior’ is very subjective; for some managers it refers to those with just a couple of years of experience, for others it’s a level within the company and for still others it’s relative, with the baseline how long it took them to finally be heard.

It’s easy to know if you suffer from positional deafness, just consider the sources of your input over the last quarter and what you did with it.

Better yet, ask the people you trust to tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/3740791077/

RSS2 Subscribe to
MAPping Company Success

Enter your Email
Powered by FeedBlitz

About Miki View Miki Saxon's profile on LinkedIn

About Ryan ryanrpew

About Marc marc-dorneles-cpcu-b8b43425

About KG View KG Charles-Harris' profile on LinkedIn

About Ajo View Ajo Fod's profile on LinkedIn

Clarify your exec summary, website, marketing collateral, etc.

Have a question or just want to chat @ no cost? Feel free to write or call me at 360.335.8054

Download useful assistance now.

Entrepreneurs face difficulties that are hard for most people to imagine, let alone understand. You can find anonymous help and connections that do understand at 7 cups of tea.

Give your mind a rest. Here are 2 quick ways to get rid of kinks, break a logjam or juice your creativity!

Crises never end.
$10 really does make a difference and you'll never miss it,
while $10 a month has exponential power.
Always donate what you can whenever you can.

The following accept cash and in-kind donations:

Web site development: NTR Lab
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.