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The #1 problem facing CEOs

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The no.1 problem facing most CEOs is the inability to spot their own behavioural blind-spots. By definition a blind-spot cannot be seen by yourself yet they are glaring obvious to everyone else. How often have you heard someone say “surely they must be able to see what’s going on”?

Yet CEOs have a plethora of ‘advice givers’, from consultants, board members, strategists, the senior leadership team and even family members.

However, in my view there is a distinct shortage of ‘listeners’ and ‘truth tellers’ acting as a trusted confidante with the rare ability to listen without bias, challenge with mind opening questions and help overcome fears without fear of reprisal.

Surveys indicate most of the largest companies now use coaches. However, what is little known is that the content of what CEOs and executives most often talk about in coaching sessions isn’t business strategy, but themselves.

In a survey of coaches employed by Korn Ferry, an executive search and advisory firm, self-awareness was the no. 1 topic coaches worked on with CEOs. The no.2 was interpersonal relationships, listening skills and empathy.

Many executives rise through the ranks on the strength of their technical skills, intellect, and ambition. However, once they reach the top of the organisation, they need a new set of skills to persuade and influence. Working with a trusted coach to identify blind-spots and build new capabilities is the best way to achieve this. While 360 degree and personal feedback can provide information, what’s needed is transformation and this is best achieved with an ongoing ‘safe’ coaching relationship over time.

A coaching engagement usually starts with assessment period to understand the CEOs strengths and weaknesses. The coach will often interview co-workers, and even the executive’s spouse if possible, to gather feedback.

After developing a plan to strengthen weaknesses, the coach and executive will meet once a month for several hours, ideally away from the office and its distractions.

Many CEOs and leaders I work with are under intense stress and pressure to lift performance and often also going through personal relationship issues. They often become overly reactive with employees when stressed, and react defensively when presented with challenges or feedback. Many are in danger of burnout with low energy levels. As a result, there inner circle withdraw and avoid. Its a lonely place to be. Sound familiar?

Given the complexity of human relationships, and large organisations, the ROI of a CEO with higher EQ is difficult to measure. However, the intangible benefit of a CEO who is less stressed, more approachable, receives timely feedback, creates open honest discussions, encourages innovation and retains talent is immeasurable and priceless.

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Overcome the #1 fear of most people: the ontology of transformation

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During my childhood I lived on a small farm on the outskirts of Havelock North, New Zealand, where we spent a great deal of time outdoors.

I would often have my trusty black Labrador, Judy, sitting next to me or ride the old retired racehorse lounged in the back paddock.

Rafters of noisy turkeys gathered everywhere on the property. When one gobbled, they all noisily “sang” in unison as they chased each other around the barnyard.

I always thought this was a beautiful metaphor for corporate life and how people stay small by surrounding themselves with “turkeys.” They refuse to look beyond the horizon because they’re afraid of leaving the safety and security of their “barnyard.”

The following parable from my book The Aroha Process teaches how to quit being a turkey through self-awareness, and strategies to break-through behavioral patterns from the past.

You were born with wings. Why would you prefer to crawl through life? ~Rumi

The Eagle That Thought He Was A Turkey

After finding a large egg in a wheat field, a farmer took it back to his barnyard and gently placed it on a turkey’s nest.

After Oscar hatched from the egg, he did everything the other turkey chicks did. He pecked at the dirt for earthworms and insects. And gobbled happily as he chased around the barnyard with his feathered friends.

Every so often he’d fly a few feet into the air, and perch on a fence to survey his surroundings.

For a long while Oscar was a contented turkey, until one day when he saw a magnificent bird gliding effortlessly above the bluffs behind the farm.

While watching this spectacular example of aerodynamics, he thought, Oh, my goodness! If only I could be that powerful to fly that strong and that high!

“Who’s that?” he gobbled to his friend, Beakman.

“That’s an eagle, the king of the birds who belongs to the sky,” Beakman answered. “But you need to remember that we’re turkeys. We’re not meant to fly that high, so we belong on the ground.”

Even though Oscar periodically saw the eagle flying overhead, he continued to gobble, scratch and peck in the barnyard.

Oscar was destined to live and die a turkey for that’s who he thought he was.

But that’s not how the story ends — in the parable Oscar manages to escape the barnyard and go on a journey of transformation to live an extraordinary life.

My childhood and my parents gave me a great gift, the gift of freedom. This allowed me to explore life, follow my highest calling through asking deep questions that led me to do what I do now as an executive counsellor, corporate strategist and coach.

Today we live in a culture with an epidemic of mental health issues like anxiety, depression and suicide. It’s no wonder given the pace of change. People live in constant anxiety and fear because they can’t cope with the growing pressures.

I believe the antidote is to know who you really are – your authentic self and your highest calling in life. Then you will no longer be driven by fear but rather filled with passion, purpose and fulfilled by living an extraordinary life.

Unfortunately it’s often not until some kind of wake-up call happens – a relationship fails, a health scare, a financial or career difficulty that your worst fears stare you in the face. It’s only then that you discover the way you are living life doesn’t work. You wake up.

On TV there was a story about this gentleman who knocks on his son’s door. Jaime, he says, Wake up! Wakeup!

Jaime answers, I don’t want to get up, Papa. Why not? asks the father. Three reasons, says Jaime. It’s so boring; the kids tease me; and I hate school.

And the father says, Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school.

First, it’s your duty; you are forty-five years old, and you are the headmaster.

Wake up, wake up!

So many people that I talk to are afraid to live life fully. While some are traumatized by near death experiences, yet more are fearful of “near life experiences” – they have a chronic fear of failure and manifest a learned helplessness that leaves them resigned and cynical and powerless to change anything.

The secret to having a breakthrough in any area of your life is to ask yourself the question – Is my life working the way I want it to? and then live life authentically, on purpose by choosing actions congruent with your highest needs and values.

Then you will be on the way to a fulfilled life contributing your genius to the world.

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The #1 reason ceos fail

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Declining tenure rates and public trust suggest that CEO leadership has not kept pace with increased expectations. Many new CEOs have gaps in their preparedness and need to keep developing, particularly when it comes to dealing with scrutiny from an array of stakeholders.

Research from PwC, “CEO20 Public Survey” (2016) suggests future CEOs continuous learning will not be an option, but a must and strong core experience such as general management, finance, and people management, among others, is no longer enough.

The role of the CEO is becoming more complex as competing and increasingly vocal stakeholders permeate organizations. Leading at this intersection requires new thinking; past experience is no longer a reliable guide for future action.

Approximately two-thirds of the people currently in leadership positions in the Western world will fail — they will be fired or demoted. The most common reason for their failure is their inability to build or maintain a team according to David L. Dotlich and Peter C. Cairo as outlined in their book Why CEOs Fail The 11 Behaviors That Can Derail Your Climb to the Top – and How to Manage Them.

CEO success comes with a heightened awareness of failures in your career enabling you to perceive patterns and to understand your derailers.

Tip: Reflect on disappointments and defeats by asking questions of yourself like: What behaviors in this situation didn’t serve me well? Are there behavioral themes or patterns? Do any of the following derailers fit this pattern? arrogance, melodrama, habitual distrust, passive resistance, eagerness to please, volatility, excessive caution, aloofness, mischievousness, eccentricity, and perfectionism.

The following 2 strategies to develop awareness and behavior change are imperative:

  1.  Direct report evaluation – Ask your direct reports to answer the question: “How can I be a better leader?” Direct reports live with your derailers and are forced to work around them; they can provide the best insights into your vulnerabilities and may be able to make meaningful suggestions on how to address them.
  2. Find a confidant or coach – Talk to someone you trust, a truth teller who understands your business context, and can provide you with objective advice and feedback – the antidote to ‘CEO disease’ – the inability to see your own blind spots and reluctance for others to tell them to you.

Success as a CEO today hinges on continual growth in the role, even more than on the preparation beforehand and developing the following capabilities:

1. Emotional intelligence and softer skills including self awareness and relational intelligence.

2. Flexible, systemic thinking, managing uncertainty, complexity, and constant change.

3. Sophisticated communication skills to address diverse and divergent stakeholders across audiences, languages, and modes.

4. Strong personal purpose, meaning and authenticity.

In summary, all of these capabilities are critical requirements for next-generation CEOs who aspire to collaborative team leadership. They can be learned faster and more effectively with the aid of a master CEO coach.

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Authentic leadership: 4 steps to drop the masks

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A client recently asked me “How do I get in touch with my authentic self?”

I related the following story …

“There was once a man who was very forgetful. When he got up in the morning, it was so hard for him to find his clothes that at night he hesitated to go to bed for thinking of the trouble he would have on waking.

One evening he finally made a great effort, took paper and pencil, and as he undressed noted down exactly where he had put everything he had on.

The next morning very well pleased with himself, he took the slip of paper in his hand and read: “cap”, there it was, he set it on his head; “pants”, there they lay, he got into them; and so it went on until he was fully dressed.

“That’s all very well, but now where am I myself?’ he asked in great consternation. ‘Where in the world am I?’ He looked and looked but it was a vain search; he could not find himself.”

And that is how it is with many of us. As leaders we undertake 360-degree appraisals, and personality tests and go to very long lengths to dissect and categorize who we are. We then ‘put on’ personality traits and capabilities to become a ‘better’ person and perform more effectively.

In reality, we are treating ourselves as objects like jam jars with measurable characteristics and then comparing ourselves against a psychological standard to determine if we are ‘normal.’ Worse still we then identify ourselves with inauthentic ideas, thoughts, beliefs, taken-for-granted assumptions and worldviews, and wear them like masks that cover who we really are in our core.

Being authentic as a leader means peeling back the layers so we can reveal and relate to our experience of who we really are. Not the way we describe who we are, but the actual way we feel and what we value in each moment.

When you get in touch with your actual experience (your emotions, bodily sensations and thoughts in the moment), you can create the link to what you value and care about. This deeper sense of identity points the way toward the action you can take to make your life more workable.

Following are four steps to get in touch with your authentic self:

1. Awareness: Notice what you’re experiencing at this very moment — your bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, sights and sounds around you. You may feel pain in your shoulders, or hot or cold feet, feelings of anxiety, fear or excitement. This awareness is sending you an important message. Listen.

2. Values: What do you care about? And how does your experience signal to you what you value? For example, you may be feeling anxious, which signals the relationship with your team isn’t going well. Or you notice tension in your body, and fear gripping your chest, which is telling you your performance is under question. These emotional signals are telling you that you value your career and the relationships you have.

3. Choice: Choose an action to help you move towards your values. Recognise that no action means you have also made an unconscious choice.

4. Action: Create an action that will move you towards your values. For example, you may set a time to talk to your team about how to improve your relationship. Or you may make an appointment with your manager to find out how to perform better in your job. Or you may enrol in leadership course to learn how to communicate more effectively.

 

Love to hear your thoughts?

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Write your life story in 6 words

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While having lunch with a number of writers, Ernest Hemingway claimed he could write a short story that was only six words long.

When the lofty group of writers scoffed at the notion, he invited each of them to put ten dollars on the table, saying that if he was wrong he’d match it. But if he was right he’d keep the money.

He quickly wrote six words down on a napkin and passed it around:

Of course, he won the bet because his “story” had a perfect beginning, middle and end.

I first learned about six-word stories in a linkedin post. Amazed that over 14,000 people contributed to the post, I concluded there must be something to this kind of writing.

After further thought and research I wrote a soon-to-be launched book that essentially teaches people how to rewrite their life story. It opens with a parable that shows how to overcome the fear that holds you back from your desires, and how to unlock the courage you need to live a more meaningful future.

On the subject of meaning, Victor Frankl’s epic book Man’s Search for Meaning chronicled his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II. He proposed that people’s primary core desire in life isn’t pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what is thought of as meaningful to an individual.

If Frankl were to be asked what his six-word story would be, he’d likely reply with a quote he used in the beginning of his book:

“A Why Bear’s Almost Any How” ~Nietzsche

Similarly, Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces discussed the journey of the archetypal hero found in mythologies who conquers the doubt and fear of the unknown to achieve a deeper purpose and life of significance and meaning.

Do you have a journey you feel can bring greater significance and meaning to your life?

A study has been done to understand the key to achieving a happy and purposeful life. The Harvard Grant Study, followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates for 75 years, collecting data on various aspects of their lives at regular intervals. The study had the following five universal conclusions:

  1. “Love is really all that matters”– Love is the key to a happy and fulfilling life.
  2. “It’s more than money and power”– Acquiring more money and power doesn’t correlate to greater happiness.
  3. “Regardless we can all become happier”– One man went into the Grant study with fairly bleak prospects for life satisfaction. But at the end of his life, he was one of the happiest because he spent his life searching for love.
  4. “Connection is crucial for satisfaction”-– Strong relationships are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction.
  5. “Challenges and perspective make you happier” -– The journey to maturity, from narcissism to connection, has to do with the way we deal with challenges.

The bottom line of the study – ‘Being connected with purpose, relationships, love’ is important to live a happy life.

What’s your life story in 6 words?

Want to have a go? – please post your 6 word life story below in the comments below….

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Visit Grant’s website at www.grantwattie.com for more helpful leadership strategies and download his free 34-Point Transformational Leadership Checklist.

Grant is a global Transformational Leadership Coach and consultant based in Melbourne, Australia. He helps senior executives and people in all levels of business to find their ‘MoJo’ (their meaning and purpose for a healthy, profitable work/life balance) in their performance strategies and daily actions. Hissoon to be released book and coaching program teaches people how to free themselves from constraints in order to find their higher purpose and achieve their goals.

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3 tips for ceos to think about your thinking

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As a teenager, 14, I remember firing a paper dart across my Geology classroom. Father Minto, a wise old Priest said in a terrifying voice “Wattie! Will you ever grow up?” and proceeded to dish out a punishment for my error in judgement.

This leads me to the thought, ‘Will we ever grow up in our roles as leaders?  Perhaps we fall short in the sense that we ‘don’t know what we don’t know’.

Jeff Barnes, Head of Global Leadership for GE, said, “A major part of our job is helping people develop how they think. How they get to an answer matters more than ever.”

In today’s world, we live in times of rapid change, market volatility and unpredictable events. As leaders ‘ we are in over their heads’ and need new ways of thinking to cope with the changes.

We all need strategies to adapt, to be able to handle complexity and to cope with the many changes experienced daily. Yet the current methods used to develop and cope with the new world are old and out-dated and focus on old behaviours rather than new ways of thinking.

The ‘Constructive Development Framework’ (CDF) is a methodology that enables a measure of the scope of the role of the job you are in and the mental capacity of the person to perform in their role.  This model is provided by the extensive research and life work of Professor Robert Kegan and Susan Cook-Greuter’s research into adult development.

Research shows that development of thinking as well as personal values leads in the direction of an increasing loss of egocentricity, towards growing a larger ‘object’ of reflection.

So why does this matter?

Harvard Professor Robert Kegan said a large number of executive’s are in roles that cause them to feel they are in “over their heads”. He distinguishes between two types of developmentHorizontal development is the development of new skills, measured by behaviours. Vertical development, however, is the ‘stages’ that people progress through and how they ‘make sense’ of their world – and can be measured in thoughts or how sentences are constructed.

Piaget’s well known research into childhood development has demonstrated that children progress through stages of development as they grow. However, there has been little research into adult development. In fact, conventional thinking assumes that adults have ‘grown-up’ at around 21 years old. However, the latest developmental research has shown that adults continue to progress through predictable stages of mental development.

At each higher level of development, adults ‘make sense’ of the world, in what we call thought forms, (an analysis of understanding, reasoning, and focus of attention) and do this in more complex ways, as their minds expand.

Metaphorically, horizontal development is like pouring water into an empty glass. The glass filling up represents learning new behaviours and skills. In contrast, vertical development is like expanding the glass to provide a larger capacity to hold water. The leader’s mind has expanded and can assimilate more information. Recent research has shown that people at higher levels of development perform better in more complex environments.

A study looked at 21 CEOs and middle managers from various companies, each with annual revenues of over $5 billion. The study showed a clear correlation between higher levels of vertical development and higher levels of effectiveness.

The study also demonstrates that managers at higher levels of cognitive development are able to perform more effectively because they can think in more complex ways. There is  also a high correlation between creativity and adults at higher levels tend to be more creative.

Here’s three tips to help you think about your thinking:

1. Awareness of your thoughts and the way you think

2. Expand your thinking using mind opening questioning

3. Practice your thinking by focusing on expanded awareness of thoughts and emotions, coming up with and answering different questions, and viewing things from multiple perspectives. Peers and other truth tellers such as a ceo coach can help with this.

In a nutshell, leaders that operate at higher levels of development will have an important competitive advantage over those that don’t. Ultimately they will have a higher capacity to ‘connect the dots’ and will be better at ‘strategy’ and this can be learned.

Love to hear your thoughts?

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3 tips for ceos to stay calm under pressure

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I was called in to provide support to staff who lost a colleague to a fatal heart attack while at work. Because they were being told the news first-hand, it was an incredibly sad and powerfully emotional moment for everyone concerned.

I explained to the first group what to expect when dealing with a traumatic incident (i.e., unexpected emotional and physical reactions). And that they weren’t to be concerned as those were completely natural responses to a very difficult situation.

Taking a brief intermission to get a cup of coffee, I reached inside the fridge to grab a container of milk. While I was opening it, my hand went numb and I dropped it onto the floor.

Of course, milk splattered everywhere, including my suit and shoes (which gave them a milky-white sheen). I couldn’t believe this was happening.

I was suddenly called in to address the next group without time to do more than a quick wipe-down.

I didn’t have time to cry over spilt milk as they were anxiously waiting for me to arrive. When I walked into the room, most of them looked terrified, thinking they were going to be fired.

Thinking quickly, I used my milky makeover experience as an example of the kind of unexpected physical or emotional reactions you can have during and after a traumatic event.

​Following are three simple lessons I learned from this experience:

  1. There’s no use crying over spilt milk. What’s done is done. What is just is. Don’t waste time ruminating over the past as it can’t be changed. But you can learn from this experience for a better future.
  1. Don’t avoid your emotions, or try to hide what’s happened. Accept what you’re feeling as they’re there for a reason, then move on.
  1. Direct the incident to something you care about and put your energies there.

The milk incident is a marvelous metaphor for the value of being authentic and honest with yourself and others when you’re in a terrible state. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable helps build, rather than hinder trust that it’s all going to turn out all right.

So there’s no use in crying over the past. Feel it, own it, get on with it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences you’ve had about this subject.

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Nine steps to resolving a dilemma

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I’ve sometimes found myself in situations that seem difficult if not impossible to resolve. Comparing then analysing various options in my already frazzled mind can keep me tossing and turning at night.

My clients also bring and endless list of different kinds of scenarios to our sessions (i.e., Which job is the right one to take? Do I stay in or leave a relationship? Do I sue or let it go? How can I cope with my family, job and financial worries? What do I do about my feelings of unhappiness and lack of purpose?).

As the following tips have helped me push through and resolve difficult dilemmas, you may find them useful as well:

  1. Acknowledge and accept:  If the situation you’re in is difficult, refrain from judging yourself or blaming others. It is what it is.
  2. Choose to be in the situation: Taking responsibility for situations is empowering. So recognize a difficult situation, choose to be in it, then see if it occurs differently for you.

I recently worked with a client who faced a possible serious court charge and prison sentence. Once they learned that taking responsibility for their actions would make them feel more empowered, choosing then confronting their situation helped them learn valuable life lessons (Nelson Mandela choosing to own and honor his choices is a perfect example).

  1. Make space for your emotions: This means being present for your feelings. When you breathe into them and give them more space, notice what your emotions are telling you, then ask yourself what you need (i.e., I feel sad and lonely, and need friends or other support around me).
  2. Notice unhelpful behaviour: Give a name to your unhelpful behaviour (i.e.,  My sadness is forcing me to withdraw into my shell). Once you name it, it becomes real and your compulsive behaviour loses much of its power.
  3. Spend time with your feelings, unhelpful thoughts and difficult emotions: While taking deep breaths, don’t push them away or react to them with unhelpful behavior just because they make you feel uncomfortable. Remember, what you resist can persist.
  4. Visualise your idyllic future: Visualise how you’re feeling, what you’re doing at the moment, and who is alongside you. Then locate your values in this image (i.e., I see myself with my family and colleagues all around me. I am happy and am a supportive, loving, respective partner at home and at work. My values are friends, family, and making a valued contribution.)
  5. Take the first step toward your ideal future: See yourself in your current situation, then determine the first step you need to make to move towards your future. Name the step, then commit to taking it (i.e., In my current situation I feel lonely and sad, and am isolating myself. The first step is to communicate with my colleagues and my partner, and resolve our differences without blame or judgment. I will commit to the future values of being a supportive partner, colleague and friend.)
  6. Take action: Nothing happens without scheduled actions, then a commitment and resolve to take action.
  7. Reflect on the outcomes and recommit to your stated future direction and values: Mindfully practice awareness and the preceding eight steps daily until the situation is fully resolved.

Look forward to your comments.

 

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Leadership manifesto: 10 keys to living courageously

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You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor” ~Aristotle

The word manifesto can be traced back to the Latin root manifestum, which means clear or conspicuous. A manifesto is defined as a declaration of beliefs, opinions, motives, and intentions. In other words, a document that an organization or person writes that declares what they value.

A manifesto is a bold, courageous call to action. It prompts us to evaluate the gap between those principles we value and our current reality. It also challenges our assumptions, makes resolute our commitment, and provokes change.

As you read through the following leadership manifesto, I encourage you to think about the things you value and write down your own personal manifesto. Are you up for it?

Leadership Manifesto

1. You are born with the seeds of greatness within you

Embrace your inner you – you are already enough.

2. There is only one authentic you

You are the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Without you the world doesn’t quite fit together.

3. You are an integral part of the whole universe

You are connected to the world, and have everything you need at your fingertips.

4. You are committed to something bigger than yourself

Serenity, passion, meaning and legacy come from serving others.

5. The future is yours to create

The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination

6. There are no limits

There is nothing you cannot do for the benefit of the whole of humanity. Unleash your creative potential.

7. You are free to choose to stand for what you care about

True freedom is choosing to live authentically towards that which you value and care about.

8. All life is sacred and connected

You don’t live alone. The true power isn’t in you individually – rather it is between everyone.

9. You are committed to being extraordinary

The mark of an extraordinary free life is making a commitment to living free. Commit to letting go of your past, and do it.

10. You belong

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You don’t have to be or do anything to belong — you already are.

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Ceo communication breakdowns & avoidance strategies

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Like him or not, in my view President Obama is the epitome of a master communicator. Next time you see him on television notice his use of communication strategies including body language, voice inflection, gestures, and his ability to establish and sustain trust.

Communication is critically important for personal and professional effectiveness. In my experience as a coach and counsellor, most relationship issues, especially conflict can almost always be attributed to poor communication.

The following six communication breakdowns include strategies that master communicators use for highly effective communication. See if you can recognize some of them in your work and personal life.

1. Hidden requests and expectations.

You want something yet fail to request it. You may be reluctant to ask, fear rejection or feel you are imposing. In fact, making a request is not an admission of weakness and most people are only too happy to help. Take a risk in being vulnerable as this is a great way to build trust and connect with others.

Understand the person receiving your request isn’t a mind reader. Most of us have hidden thoughts and often fail to make them known. Then when people don’t do what you expect then you become disappointed, resentful and angry. Many times I have observed people who expect their partners or colleagues to do things that haven’t been communicated verbally. Translating “shoulds” into clear and precise requests will result in more satisfying relationships.

Strategy One: Make Clear Requests

2. Not being ‘tuned in’ to the listener.

The mood and tone of your speech affects the listener more than words alone. If you’re demanding or come across as weak, people may decline your requests perceiving you as arrogant or needy. Observe the mood produced in the listener of your request; adjust your mood to attune to the other and you are more likely to get the kind of listening you want.

Strategy Two: Be Attuned and Empathize with Others.

3. Weak promises

Committing without being clear about what you’ve committed to is a recipe for a disaster. For example, lets say your manager asks you to talk to a client. You assume it’s about a sale, however it may be about a complaint. If you’re not sure what the requester wants then clarify the request and you won’t end up looking stupid.

Strategy Three: Listen and Clarify the Facts

4. Not saying no (Declining requests).

Some of us say yes to every request. We’ve been trained to please other people, and be compliant. The result is overwhelm, anxiety, exhaustion and burnout. The inability to say no is really a case of wanting to look good and the need to be helpful and nice to others. Learning to say no requires practice – start today.

Strategy Four: Decline with Respect and Dignity

5. Breaking promises (Undermines trust).

Making a promise builds an expectation that you will take action. If the promise is broken, the person will begin to lose trust in you. Its only natural that things come up that may keep you from completion a promised action on time and it may not be in your best interest to complete the task and on time. If you simply ignore your promise, you’re out of integrity with your word and demonstrating lack of empathy towards the other party. In contrast, if you communicate you are unable to keep your promise and do your best to clean up the mess both parties will maintain the relationship in a positive light. Integrity is maintained and trust is strengthened.

Strategy Five: Promise Soundly and Clean up the Mess after Broken Promises

6. Treating assessments as the facts.

What you judge and perceive as the truth is not necessarily the truth. Even evidence to back up your statement still doesn’t make it the truth. Treating our assessments of the situation as truth and insisting our perspective is correct is how most conflict arises. We must be flexible and learn to ‘bracket’ others views without passing judgement. Holding assessments as the truth comes across as rigid and arrogant and conflict is sure to occur as a result. Diversity and difference is healthy.

Strategy Six: Listen to Assessments as ‘Assessments’ Not the ‘Truth’.