Blind Spots ~ Solving Hidden Business Problems (Excerpts Part Three)
Why is it that some leaders are successful, while others struggle? In this guide in narrative form, Russell Baxter, a fictional character and outgoing CEO, shares his secrets of success with incoming CEO Amir Ahmed. Baxter demonstrates that great leaders need to be aware of their vulnerabilities or blind spots and take action to make necessary changes.Filled with practical advice, Blind Spots shows the value on drawing on experts to develop valuable skills that can take your business to the next level. For the month of September our blog will highlight short excerpts from our book Blind Spots ~ Solving Hidden Business Problems.
Blind Spot Seven: Writing Without a Purpose
WHAT IS GOOD BUSINESS COMMUNICATION?
Good communication isnt about using the newest buzzwords, squeezing words onto a page, or even using semicolons properly. Instead, good business communication seeks to influence others, whether it be taking a particular action in corporate strategy, or just reminding people to clean out the fridge.
THE THREE ELEMENTS OF INFLUENTIAL COMMUNICATION
Aristotle named three qualities of rhetoric: ethos, logos and pathos. In English, we can reconfigure that to mean trust, logic, and passion.Trust gives you the power to be heard. People will only listen to someone who they trust, professionally, and personally. After you gain peoples trust, sound logic shows them that your argument makes sense. Finally, passion, and the ability to ignite it in others, will get listeners to accept your ideas, and act on them.
Blind Spot Eight: Talking without listening
WHY WE NEED TO LISTEN
Listening is about uncovering assumptions that people have that will get in the way of them buying in to a decision. It uncovers barriers or obstacles that we hadnt thought about before. It identifies better ideas than any one person can have. In fact, by taking the time to listen, we can go faster towards a goal than we would otherwise.
Listening is not merely a passive activity. Its just your quiet contribution to a conversation. And when we forget to make that contribution, we can lose respect, lose valuable information, and otherwise lose business. On the other hand, if we can listen with intent, we are more likely to create the kinds of impacts we truly need to be effective and successful. For leaders, intentional listening leads to better results, greater respect, and stronger relationships. In the long term, listening plays a large part of making a leader effective.
HOW DO WE CHECK OURSELVES?
We often fall into patterns for listening. The tricky part about patterns is that you dont know youre in oneor if that pattern is keeping you from making an impact and getting results from other people.
Record yourself in a candid conversation. Observe yourself as a listener in the conversation. Do you look interested? Do you ask good questions? And do you have unconscious body language cues that prevent you from making your desired impact? By looking at yourself, you can often see these quirks right away and develop strategies to address them.
Ask a few trusted colleagues for feedback. Theres a difference between what you intended to communicate by how you listen, and what you actually communicated. Do you dominate the conversation? Do you impose your ideas rather than letting people voice their own?
Blind Spot Nine: Not Planning for Family Emergencies
BAD THINGS DO HAPPEN
Thats the simplest, rawest way to say it. Bad things can happen to good people. Unfortunately, its not a truth were comfortable with, and its not something we think about as much as we should. That can leave us unprepared when tragedy does occur.
Thats why we need education. Education in the whats, hows, wheres and whys of illness, death, and care can help us move through tragedy and protect us and our loved ones from further harm.
WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN, YOUR OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES DONT EVAPORATE
One person cant do the work of twonot for long. And in the event of illness or death, we can stretch ourselves to a breaking point handling the new responsibilities of tragedy with the responsibilities that dont go away, like our work.
WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN, THERES PAPERWORK
In Canada, our government provides baseline care to ailing parents and spouses, and also manages the intricacies of inheritance and estate. Theres a law for everything, paperwork for everything, and so much red tape it might as well be Christmas.
But when were already dealing with a personal or family emergency, it isnt easy to navigate the bureaucratic maze. Already knowing what to do, or having someone guide you through the steps, will get you out of that maze faster, and back to your friends, family, and job.