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Rich’s Change Rule # 1: Then, Now & NEXT!

pablo (86)Rich’s Change Rule # 1: That Was Then, This Is Now & What Comes Next?!

Time flies. When clients ask me about generations in the workplace I have to stop and think hard because the subject is such a moving target. Same with technology. Yesterday I didn’t think about Algorithms, Today I do. And tomorrow they will rule the world – if not already.

To stand a chance at navigating change, or at least being AT the parade route when it all passes by, let this series provoke your thinking towards staying relevant. Here are some things to consider NOW. They may change by my NEXT blog!

The World You Were Born Into Is Not The One You Live In Now

Not to sound cruel, but no one cares about hearing you say “When I was a child,” even if you’re only 19, because they’re too busy trying to keep step with what’s NOW and NEXT. Your kids might get a chuckle from stories of walking miles to school in the snow while listening to Roxette sing The Look on your Walkman. And it might be fun to reminisce with high school friends at that 2007 ten year reunion over a drink or two about the Good Old Days. No Mooning Allowed!  But, as soon as the story ends or the reunion is over, it’s back to business – the business of staying in step with change on a fast moving treadmill in the middle of a raging river in turbulent times – not to mention on a revolving planet orbiting a sun in a hardly known solar system and less familiar universe.  Unless you’re all New-Agey and stuff.

The World You Live In Now Is Not The One You Will Live In Tomorrow 

It’s hard to imagine that some of today’s cutting edge technology, high tech gadgets and compelling advertisements will seem so dated and ridiculous tomorrow. Heard last week from a friend, “Sell your lap top? No one buys laptops anymore?”  Me, “But wait! I have a fairly new one I’m not using that I’d like to sell.” And that sentence explains the whole concept.  Buckle up buddy boy, or girl, or transsexual – the new and the next is coming from that mysterious neighborhood just over the event horizon.

As Is Vs. Will Be

You, me, and everyone and everything else has an As Is situation. Current reality. Right Here, Right Now to put it in Van Halen-ish words (crap, was that 1993)?  We also have a Will Be situation waiting for us after that reunion. Be alert. Stay Relevant. Mount up. And don’t let the bucking speed of change throw you out of the saddle and stomp you into the dirt of obsolesce.

More about Rich Drinon’s Leadership Communication Coaching at Drinon & Associates

Conversations with “All About Me People” (AAMPs)

20160117_104340-2_resized 4The Promising Opening

Me: Hello?

All About Me Person (AAMP): Hey Rich, this is _____!  Long time no see!  How are you!  Good I hope?  Let me tell you how I’ve been – yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah…

The Grueling Body of the Conversation

AAMP: So how’s the wife and kids? Good?

Me: They’re goo…

AAMP:  Good, good.  Glad they’re doing well.  My kids are now yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah….

Me: That’s great….

AAMP: Looks like from your FB posts you’re having lots of success?

Me: Yes, it’s going grea…..

AAMP: That’s great!   Did I tell you about what I’ve been doing yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah….

Me: That’s super!

AAMP: Yeah, and you know what else?

Me: Can’t imagine (but not out loud)

AAMP: I did this, I did that and I did the other thing, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah (me hearing a Rocky theme in my mind)

Me: You Da Man or You Rock (Complimentary short sentence – since it’s all about them)

AAMP: I wanted to ask your opinion on something (ask me for advice on something everyone else pays me for)

Me: Vague as possible while encouraging the person that they are smart, talented and will figure it out no problem.

AAMP: More blather on how great they are.

The Not-So-Grand (for me) Finale

AAMP: Goes off on lengthy tangent about this, that and the other thing.

Me:  Holy cow – my lunch is burning.  I’ve got to go.  Honey where’s the fire extinguisher!!!????

AAMP: Do you need to get that?  I better go. Great catching up!  We will have to do this more often!

Me: Call me.  We’ll talk!

Final Tally: 30 minute conversation.  28 minutes for AAMP.  2 minutes for ME.  Loose the conversation, keep the friend?

Do You Wear a Black or a White Hat? – Rich’s Rule # 12

Rich's Rules TitlecardDo You Wear a Black or a White Hat? – Develop Political Savvy

Politics are a reality of life and of the workplace.  Especially the workplace.  Many people say they hate the politics in their organization or try to avoid them.  Perhaps some can ignore the politics as they make their way along the career path.  And others might find a back room to hide in while they count money, move numbers or manage technology. But most people – even the most detached – are going to come face to face with the political realities every once in a while.

In your role as a leader, you oversee many things.  You oversee your team, your department or perhaps the organization as a whole.  You are accountable for the work of others, and accountable to your boss, the organization or the board of directors.  And, the whole arena or circus tent of politics is also on your property.  You can ignore it, but it won’t go away. You can run, but you can’t hide.  You can put it on a leash, but it will still find a way to bite you.  So, the truth is, it’s best to accept the reality of office politics and do your best to manage and even master the art form.

For this reason, Develop Political Savvy is Rich’s Rule # 12.

Click for info on Part 1 of Rich’s Rules Video Series

Shed Some Light On The Subject – Rich’s Rule # 11

Rich's Rules TitlecardShed Some Light on the Subject – Beware of the Dark Side

Over the past decade, moral intelligence has emerged as an important theme for research in leadership studies.  The good news is that leaders with higher character ratings in these studies tend to have more successful organizations on several levels.  And common sense would tell us that followers prefer leaders of high character.

In contrast, you can also see a rise in certain “dark” characteristics in younger generations and in society as a whole.  Leaders who are narcissistic and self absorbed use power for their psychological needs. Leaders who are psychopaths – lacking conscience and empathy – have a found a perch of power to defend and will do whatever it takes to keep it, even if it means killing off their own people. Then there are those who come to leadership through family, favors or tradition.  They may be unqualified to lead, and they may abuse or neglect their responsibilities.  Leadership borne of dark places comes at the expense of many. The irony, of course, is that if those types of leaders are reading this, they will either not see themselves or not care if they do recognize themselves.  I raise this topic to make leaders of good character aware of what they may be encountering in the leadership landscape.

For this reason Beware of the Dark Side is Rich’s Rule # 11.

Click for info on Part 1 of Rich’s Rules Video Series

Natural Selection Sundown- Are D/C (DISC) Types Doomed to Workplace Extinction?

20130502_193109_resizedThe D/C style is among the smallest of the DISC* combinations.  They do, however, make up a large percentage of those who participate in my leadership communication skills coaching.  I wonder, in this age of entitled, politically correct and thin skinned workers, if these direct and exacting types risk extinction in leadership ranks due to a lack of sensitivity towards others.  I’ve seen more than one D/C leader’s role impacted due to disgruntled employee complaints or exit interview payback.

So, what’s the deal with D/C types?   For now I’ll touch on these three – Focused, Driven & Detached…

  1. Highly focused.  Setting goals and achieving results are of the utmost importance to D types.  Logic and accuracy to the C type.  D/C combined creates a goal, task and accuracy driven leader.  This seems like a fitting style for moving an organization ahead in a complex, global, technology driven workplace that relies on big data and metrics for success.
  2.  Finding a way.  D/C types are driven, analytical and generally don’t give up when others say something can’t be done or the road is blocked or the first attempt doesn’t work out.  Instead, they make a second attempt or figure out another way to achieve the goal, result or mission.  So, don’t tell them they can’t do something, don’t get in their way and don’t be surprised when they accomplish what seemed impossible.  And don’t be hurt when they say, “I told you so!”  Organizational success usually benefits many.
  3.  Learning people skills.  D/C types have a “double-dose” of goal and task orientation. This often presents challenges in the people skills department or a sacrifice in relationships.  Successful ones usually learn the importance of people skills after finding out it’s hard to achieve results without collaborative relationships.  Still, detachment can be an issue.  To appear cold and uncaring signals a lack of empathy, concern or enjoyment.  People types need to see these cues in order to be comfortable with you and to feel good about themselves in your presence.  And, the key to being liked is for others to like THEMSELVES when around you.  Sometimes it’s necessary to be cold and calculating when making certain choices. But it’s harmful to forget that those choices often involve people’s lives – people who may choose to no longer support or follow you or might consider future payback.

*The DISC Model of Behavioral Styles acronym represents the four behavioral styles of Dominant, Inspiring, Supportive & Cautious (Personality Insights).  Depending on your assessment provider different words are sometimes used for the styles, for example Interactive for the I type, Steady for S types and Compliant for C types (DISC Provider).  D is usually for Dominant.

Rich Drinon, M.A. is a leadership communication skills coach with an master’s degree in leadership communication,  28 years of experience coaching leaders and managers and expertise in the art and science of persuasion. He also has a D/C DISC style.   

Language Leads the Way – with Individuals, Communities…and Nations

20150307_095836-1.copyaAs a leadership communication skills coach I’m keenly aware of the power of language.  And, like those of you who aim to live positively, I’m attuned to the workings of language when it comes to attitude, actions and results.  We can witness these workings in our lives – and in our collective life as a community or nation.   Here are a few current examples of concern…

1. Language, Both Internal and External.  It’s helpful to monitor and manage our internal dialog and external words to insure we’re creating the results we desire – that as creative beings we’re speaking what we want into existence.  Today in America I hear one leader say the threat of terrorism is contained.  Another high ranking official says “They only have to right once, we have to be right every time.”  And, from another in a leadership role – there are too many threats to stop them all.   This changing language alarms me on one level, but on another makes me hope our verbal and physical response to the present danger will shift to effectively meeting and defeating the threat.

2. Physical Action.  Those practicing positive thinking and self-talk know this principle: the mind follows the body and the body follows the mind.  This means regardless of what’s going on in our head or coming out of our mouth we can change our body language to shift the other two.  You can stand up straight and strong, get active or throw yourself into the task at hand – to name a few ways.  I wonder what corresponding actions our citizenry will take to meet this new threat as it faces us on a daily, close-to-home, in-your-face manner? The idea of being more aware, alert and ready to take action comes to mind.

3. Underlying Attitude and Ever Changing Emotions.  Those practicing positivism often recognize that beneath it all is a history of how we function in terms of our general mood.  And that emotions – both positive and negative – are short term factors that come and go.  Is your ongoing attitude toward life generally positive, or upward and onward?  Or is your underlying theme generally negative and immobilizing?  And what about as a nation? Will our collective ongoing mood be one of continuing freedom, achievement, wealth, democracy and striving for liberty and justice for all?  Or are we at risk for a lesser one?  And will we face the emotional pain of increasing attacks by keeping our hearts intact, grieving and mourning but also keeping with the business of living?  Or will we be overcome by emotions that keep us from doing so?

R.U. Persuasive? (7) Meeting Resistance

IMG00070-20110707-1325While leading others through change you’re likely to run into some push back. Resistance can come in many forms, including those that are obvious and those less visible. My approach to meeting this resistance has been influenced by change management expert Rick Maurer. A few years ago I read an article in which Rick discussed forms of resistance that come into play when people don’t “get” or “like” what you’re proposing – or don’t like you! You can find out more about Rick and his training at http://www.rickmaurer.com Here are a few thoughts related to these keys areas of resistance and reflecting my experience as a leadership communication coach:

Understanding & Making A Logical Case

There will be followers or other constituents who literally don’t understand what you’re proposing. Logical types have a hard time taking action if something doesn’t add up or make sense to them. Your plan might make sense to you, but something gets lost in translation making listeners uncomfortable. You may find their insistence on more and better information to be tedious, annoying or slowing to the plan, but if you can’t answer their questions you will be less likely to get them on board with any new direction or objective you’re proposing. This is WHY making a logical case is a key ingredient of persuasion.  And, this is why you need to have your facts, figures, statistics, charts, graphs and answers to specific questions about WHY your proposal makes sense.

Feelings & Emotional Appeal

There will also be those who resist what you’re proposing out of fear or concern. Some types have a hard time taking action if what’s proposed sounds difficult to achieve, demanding of resources or threatening to the well-being of self or others. *Fears need to be addressed. Nerves need to be calmed.  And you will likely have a large group of constituents with difficulty getting on board if they can’t see HOW something is going to be implemented.  The time required to shift people from resistant to motivated may be frustrating and yet, without this kind of care, concern and hand holding, you may not get this potentially large part of your population on board with change.  And, if people are dragging their feet, efforts at change can be sabotaged and timely opportunities lost.  This is why addressing concerns and answering questions about the HOW of a change is vital to success.

Credibility, Likability & Trust    

And, there will always be people who don’t like, believe or trust you.  It’s vital that you establish credibility PERTINENT to the change you’re proposing. If you have education or experience that earns you respect for this particular objective then make it known – or have someone else do so when introducing you. If you have expertise that others lack – emphasize that. If you were successful at leading others through a similar situation in the past – especially a difficult one – make sure your followers know. If they recognize YOU are the best hope for a successful transition they may realize it’s in their best interest to follow you, whether they like you or not.  Of course, trust is a HUGEissue, so you will need enough proof of your credibility to overcome that form of resistance.

*Fears – So not to confuse or contradict, my previous blog stated that fear of loss is usually a stronger motivator than opportunity for gain. And there arecritical times when you MUST use fear of loss to get people on board with change. This does not conflict with the idea that when, where an how to work THROUGH this important emotion can be a matter of circumstance, timing or lobbying of individuals.        

Rich Drinon, M.A. is a leadership communication skills coach with an advanced education in leadership communication,  28 years of experience coaching leaders and managers and expertise in the art and science of persuasion.  

The Rich’s Rules for Engagement video series, featuring more insights on persuasion, is soon to be released.  In the meanwhile you can purchase Rich’s Rules: Great Rules of Leadership for only 29.99 at the following location:    Rich’s Rules: Great Rules of Leadership Video Series