May 2011

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PowerPhrase Quote About Caring

From Seth Godin: “When your organization punishes people for caring, don’t be surprised when people stop caring”.

quoteI can recount many times where I felt actually ridiculed for caring. Can you? In a profit-driven world, it can take a lot of courage to care. It’s worth it. And if you don’t dare to care where you are, it may well be time for a change. 

Corporations don’t care. People do. Or some people do. I’ve been shocked at times about how uncaring some people have been. I’ve ended mutually beneficial business relationships with companies that have rewarded non-caring and punished caring. Tough choice – but I don’t do business that way. There are too many people in the world who do care – and enough organizations that allow their people to care that we don’t need to waste much time with those who don’t. 

Consistency in Communication Matters

Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “It’s not what you say or how you say it, it’s how often you say it”. While Ford referred to advertising, his point applies to all kinds of communication. Consistency reinforces your message. 

Especially in our crazy-busy world – don’t assume that because you told someone something once, they got it. That’s why as a speaker, I make the same point in many different ways – and as a professional, a wife, a mother, a friend – I strive to cut people slack. People are busy and we all need to reinforce our points with repetition. 

What we DON’T want to do is tell them once and build our case against them because they didn’t get it. 

What is a courageous conversation?

What makes a conversation courageous? You could say it’s when there’s a risk involved. And I wouldn’t argue with you. But more specifically, I think unpredictability makes a conversation courageous. When you keep talking, moving through chaos and confusion, learning with each step and moving forward. That takes courage. And it’s very tempting to reach for security or invent artificial security. 

We grow by operating on the outskirts of our capacity. We also fail by doing that, but we learn more from our failure than our easy wins. 

So have some courageous conversations. It might hurt a bit – but i would call it growing pains. 

PowerPhrase: Give me an example

I listened to two business radio interviews yesterday. Both were excellent. And in both cases, I consitently wanted to ask the guests to please:powerphrase_icon2

  • Give me an example.

It all sounds good, but I don’t really get it until I hear it described in action/application.

There’s a trend in business books toward fables and story-telling. But you don’t need to write a whole book to give an example. It can be as simple as what I did here – I gave an example of how I wanted an example to understand a principle. 

Make a point, elaborate on the point and illustrate the point with an action or an example. It’s a simple formula for communication success. 

PowerPhrase: I’ll get you on the calendar right now

Immediacy is the name of the game these days. So what do you say when someone wants immediate attention and you can’t give it? The knee jerk response is to say “I can’t do that.” But instead of negating and declining, talk about what you CAN do. Say,

  • powerphrase_icon2I can get you on the calendar right now. 

I got this one from an admin who would tell people who wanted to talk with their execs right away. 

What to say at a 25 year memorial celebration

A several hour break in the rain and cloud cover graced our graveside memorial for my late husband’s 25th anniversary of passing. The meeting was an expression of gratitude for the gift of the years we all knew him. We shared memories and perceptions and fondness. I read stories from those who couldn’t David Runion and Meryl Runionbe there. Many were tales I had never heard. Some were of adventures that were really misadventures, but journeys that left us all full of love for the man who had touched us all so many years ago.

I couldn’t let the 25th anniversary of Mike Runion come and go without marking it somehow. It was short and oh so sweet for us all. The clouds cleared for our gathering – in many ways symbolic of how many clouds had cleared in the 25 years since we gathered at that site before.

No regrets. Just gratitude. Not much to say, really. What to say at a 25 memorial of passing?

  • Thanks.

What a blessing. This is David Runion, my son, with me after the gathering. 

What is the thinking behind the idea?

In the book Toyota Kata, Mike Rother observes that the thinking behind Toyota practices is more important than the practices themselves. Yes, you might be able to improve a process by, say, copying a kanban system, but if you understand what led to that system in the first place, you have the key to toyotakatabannerimproving every process you have – from customer service to product development on around.  

Remember that the next time someone tells you about an achievement. And by all means, ask:

  • What is the thinking behind that idea/decision/action?

Achievements are far less interesting than the process that led to them. 

What Kind of Journeys Are You On?

What kinds of journeys are you on?

A lean journey? People in lean manufacturing and management refer to their “lean journeys”. That expression is very telling. The first word you get when you look up the term journey in the thesaurus is adventure. You’ll also find words like exploration and quest and pilgrimage. A journey is about more than getting somewhere. The term indicates that the process of getting somewhere is full of surprises and experiences and awakenings. How you get there is as important as arriving. 

A Speak STRONG journey? The path unfolds with each step. It’s full of surprises, experiences and awakenings. Each step informs the next. You take the first step – speak in a new way – and see what happens. It might be exactly what you hoped for. It might not. You could be very surprised by what happens – which means you learn a lot. Your second step – new communication – is based on what you learn from the first.

A journey isn’t a simple wandering. There is a quest – a search – an exploration. And on this quest, you’re likely to go down some rabbit holes and side trails. You’ll need to find your way back from them. And find your way again.

Lean and Speaking STRONG are journeys. What kind of journeys are you on?

PowerPhrase: I’m Challenging that Belief System These Days

Jarla joked about how we make money the old-fashioned way – by working our tails off. Judith replied,

  • powerphrase_icon2I’m challenging that belief system these days.

I like the way Judith’s words gracefully shined a light on the assumptions in Jarla’s remarks. Her words inspired a discussion of how the assumption that we need to work that hard might limit us. Not that any of us don’t want to work or value work. It’s more that… well… I’ll let you reflect on it for a bit. How might that belief system limit our options for success? How might it limit yours?

This post isn’t really about that particular belief system. It’s about ALL the beliefs that are true because we assume they are. For example, one belief I run into is people who believe they can’t say what they mean and mean what they say without being mean when they say it. Sure – there may be reasons why you don’t and consequences if you do, and preparations you would want to make before you live your life communicating that way. But is it possible that you hold yourself back from rich expression because of a belief that deserves challenging?

What belief systems are you ready to challenge? The path of continuous communication improvement is a path of continuously challenging beliefs that limit you – often unnecessarily.