Developing The Both And Mindset 11 Great Reasons Why Smiling Makes Us More Successful Success Snippets Challenging Times Steps To Take To Stay On Your Mission
Clients often share a situation or challenge with me and as their consultant they ask me to advise them on a course of action. Often during the conversation, the Client will identify two distinctly different courses of action – that may at first seem to be in opposition. The question is basically formatted as an “either or” question – “Should I do A or B?”
Often, my answer is “yes.” After getting a confused look, I explain that the answer lies not in one or the other of the alternatives, but in exploring and doing both. This is what I call “both and” thinking. Collins and Porras in their book Built to Last call it “avoiding the Tyranny of the OR, and embracing the Genius of AND.”
“Either or” thinking is pervasive in our world. Let’s take the example of the common phrase, “black or white.” When we think of black or white, we often try to balance by looking for the “shades of gray” – thinking that in balance or compromise we will find the right solution. This is seldom the most valuable approach. My suggestion is to consider black and white.
That “either or” solution inevitably leads to suboptimal solutions, and under satisfying compromises. Balance is not found in some murky middle ground, but rather by dedicating our focus to both ends of the spectrum.
Black and white.
We can take this concept beyond the philosophical and find specific ways to use “both and” thinking in all parts of our lives. Below is a list of 10 “both and” combinations that will make you a better leader of yourself and others.
Strengths and weaknesses. What we receive feedback, we typically focus on our weaknesses and work to improve in those areas. This is fine, but if all of our effort is focused here, and none is focused on valuing and strengthening our strengths, we are not investing our time and effort in the most effective way. Are there weaknesses to improve? Of course there are. But think too of your strengths and build those.
Timeless and new. New ideas are seductive, and we must be mindful of and willing to move forward with new ideas. But we can’t focus on the new without a bedrock of timeless principles to guide us. History does repeat itself, so when we find the timeless principles in the new ideas; we will gain even greater clarity and create greater progress.
Expert and novice. Have a problem to solve? Consider having an expert help you think it through. Consider also bringing someone in with no prior knowledge or preconceived ideas about the situation. Expert and novice. Both bring value to a problem solving challenge or innovation opportunity.
Inform and listen. Great communicators do more than inform. They also listen. Great communicators are not great because they can do one or the other of these exceptionally well, but because they can do both exceptionally well.
Demanding and supportive. As a leader of ourselves or others we need to be demanding and tough because clear expectations are important and motivating. Results are needed. However, if we drive for the results without supporting people and their feelings, ultimately people won’t reach their true potential.
Goals and serendipity. To succeed at the highest levels we must have a target in mind, a vision, a goal. The most successful people have clear goals and continue to listen for the knock of opportunity. They value the serendipitous moment and meeting, and recognize that in those moments their goals might be adjusted reprioritized or otherwise change. Simply leaving our lives to serendipity will not create the greatest results. Conversely, remaining it rigidly goal focused, may preclude us from seeing many great opportunities.
Task and process. The work must be done – the task is important. However, thinking of the process, the flow, and how the work is done is equally important. If we solely focus on getting out the work we’ll miss opportunities to improve the process and make it easier, more productive and more enjoyable. On the other hand, if we spend all of our time planning the process, we will never get results. Maintain both a task and process focus.
Strategy and tactics. We must plan. Strategy is important. But we also must take action. Tactics are imperative. The most successful people and leaders value strategy in the context of actionable tactics that moved them towards those strategic ideals.
Customer focus and employee focus. Some organizations feel that the Customer is always right and all work should be done in service for the Customer. Others feel that if they treat their employees right, the Customers will ultimately be satisfied. These are not diametrically opposed ideas. Clearly, Customers and employees are the two most valuable assets any business holds. Focus on them both.
Individual and team. Individual talent, performance and productivity are critical; however individual success cannot trump synergistic collaboration. Work on building individual skills, and empower educate and support teams as well.
I could add to this list, but hopefully you already see the wisdom of “both and” thinking. Chances are, as you begin to value and create this mindset for yourself, you will find more and more of these combinations that you can apply.
The “both and” mindset will help you become more successful and paradoxically create greater clarity and balance in your life. Take the time to think about and nurture this mindset today.
First: Our smile shows others people that we are friendly.
If a stranger approached you and gained eye contact with you and then treated you to a broad smile you will have a fairly good idea that they are being friendly and certainly mean you no harm.
By contrast we would find it far more difficult to offer trust to the stranger that wears a scowl or unfriendly face features.
Second: A smile can make people happy.
When someone treats you to a smile, even a stranger, you usually smile back. For that moment you enjoy a flash of positive communication without saying a word. As you walk through a crowed area such as a main street you can do this hundreds times in a very short period of time.
When you smile at someone who is not already smiling and they smile back you have brought a moment of happiness into their lives which, who knows, could last all day.
Third: Smiling is infectious.
When you spend a lot in the company of someone who smiles a lot you will soon discover that their smile starts to wear off on you. It is hard not to return a smile; most of us do it at a subliminal level without thinking.
Fourth: Smiling can make you popular.
Which type of people do you prefer? A person that has a tired and listless face. An expression that may reflect their inner thoughts of boredom and worry? Or, would you prefer someone who is always smiling and shows that they have an enthusiastic passion for life.
I think for the majority of us the choice would be obvious!
Fifth: Smiling can help you to make new friends
In the same way few of us would choice a miserable person for a friend. Lets face it we all want someone who is going to be bubbly and a happy and positive.
Sixth: A smile is usually returned
When someone smiles back at you it make you feel good inside. You have just made a short but very positive communication and possibly the first step in the process of getting to know or making friends with someone new.
Seventh: Smiling makes you positive and happy inside.
When you smile it is hard to feel unhappy, negative or sad in anyway. Smiling gives you enthusiasm and drive, it is also habit forming.
Eight: A smile makes you look far more attractive.
You don’t see many celebrities or media personalities that are not smiling because if you did it is fairly certain that their popularity would quickly start to drop!
Ninth: Smiling also helps make you memorable to others!
Have you noticed that smiling people are usually far more memorable than those that are not? It is fact that you are 3 time more likely to remember the person that is smiling over the one that is wearing a negative or neutral features.
Tenth: Most importantly, smiling is good for your health!!!
When you are smiling you find whatever you are doing far easier. It releases stress, worry and tension that you may have built up throughout the day. Long term, developing the smiling habit will be one of the smartest things that you can do to improve most aspects of your life.
Eleventh: The effects of smiling can last for hours
Whatever problems and challenges you have in your life, smiling temporary puts them and hold. For a while you forget the problems and become positive, and while you are in a positive state you have far more potential and power to advance and improve your life.
Lastly: Smiling is FREE!
You are never going to run short of smiles and will always have enough to go around. When you weigh up the positive points of smiling it is a no brainer decision to do far more smiling and share them with as many people as possible.
Ride the Wheel
It’s a challenge to stay at the centre of the wheel of change. It’s like riding the merry-go-round in a playground. The centre is the safest part to stay, with much less risk of being thrown off. Yet the centrifugal forces of our emotions threaten to send us to the edge as we struggle to maintain our grip of the centre. The longer we can stay there, the more laughter we experience in the face of adversity. I’ve been experiencing that too. Today was a bit of a challenge and I rode the ledge for a couple of hours. Having this perspective of existence that I’ve spoken of before, I’m finding it easier to find my way back to centre. Even so, I’ve also noticed that to edge away a bit from centre propels me into more action. There’s a fine line there that must be negotiated. The dance of life.
Never Give Up
You know, I just responded to someone this evening and wrote that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We all know that saying. When times are hard and the situation seems hopeless, we usually turn a corner and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Looking at the situation, I fully saw this about a month or two ago and figured that the light at the end of the tunnel would’ve materialized by now. I mean, it’s there, just not here yet. I still have more tunnel to go through. In the dark, I’ve noticed, the distance of the light is deceiving. Will I reach the opening today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or 2006? I don’t know. Hanging on is really tough some days but I still refuse to give up.
You believe you’re on the right track. You have defined a career mission, set up goals in line with your mission, and you’ve even set up a daily priority plan. Now effective time management should kick in and simply take care of itself, right?
Not so fast! As you become more productive, you may find that you’ll be forced to make choices. Some of these choices, if made properly, will lead you to even greater heights, or if made poorly will lead you to a career disappointment.
Let’s use Ted as an example. Ted is a composite character made up of thousands of salespeople from around the country. Let’s look at Ted’s career:
Ted has recently made some big changes in his career. These changes have expanded his prospecting skills and his presentation skills – so now several things are happening to him that have never happened before. First he’s got too many customers, so he feels pulled into many directions at once. Second, he can feel himself slipping on service with his customers. He’s not returning phone calls promptly, not following up, and basically dropping the ball. Third, he’s beginning to spend more time away from home, his children are beginning to become distant, and his spouse is becoming resentful of the business!
Sound familiar? Are these challenges you’ve faced? Unfortunately, when faced with these dilemmas, many salespeople resort to something we have all done at some point in our careers. They take steps to sabotage their own success.
Consider this quote from Dr. Joyce Brothers – “We cannot consistently perform at a level inconsistent with our own self image.” Is this true of you? Many salespeople view their new found success with suspicion. Why? Because they have rarely experienced it and may have a difficult time adjusting to a new self image. So instead of embracing success many salespeople will reverse course and begin to swim back to their old lives. How do they do this?
Most salespeople don’t wake up one morning and say “Well, today I’m going to start failing!” Instead most salespeople just begin making bad decisions. These poor decisions can lead to a bad case of self sabotage and a career crash.
So you may ask yourself how can I succeed in my business but also not feel overwhelmed? How can I continue giving great service to my customers? And most important how can I stop working 80 hour weeks and still be productive?
Let’s look at these ways to Stay on your Mission:
1. Relegate/Delegate/Terminate –
When studying your daily to do list (you have one right) you may find that you just have way too many items on the list to possibly accomplish. So what can you do? Apply the simple but effective RDT method.
Relegate – First decide which of the items on the list must be done to accomplish your long term goals. These of course, are your priorities. You must relegate yourself to the fact that these items must be done and most importantly done first.
Delegate – Next when reviewing your to do list ask yourself is there anyone that could be doing these items instead of me? Can you out source it, hire it done, or could some else be doing this work? Wise salespeople attempt to delegate as much as possible.
Terminate – What is on your to do list that does not have to be done? Are there items that are nothing more than busy work? If you can’t terminate them, at least, put them on the very bottom of the list.
2. Cut the Dead Wood
As your career begins to pick up steam you may find that you cannot simply work with every customer. You may need to begin choosing your customers. How? Qualify them harder. This may seem harsh at first, after all you want to work with everyone, but in the end you will unable to work with everyone. This is one of the toughest aspects of time management: Knowing which priority takes priority. All customers are good, but the fact is some are better than others. Here is a quick way to qualify your customers:
Motivation Level – Do they really want to buy?
Timing – Are they ready to act now! Or are they stalling?
Ability – Can they close the deal?
3. Deal with Paper Once
How many times do you move one piece of paper around on your desk? Come on, it’s more than just once! We all know we should do something about the piece of paper, but we decide that for now, it will look good in a new corner until next week (or the week after). So we keep shuffling, and shuffling, and shuffling. Sometimes one piece of paper becomes two pieces of paper or more.
So what can we do about it? Use the one touch rule. Only touch paper once before you do something with it. There are three uses for every piece of paper you have on your desk – Here they are:
File It – Put it where it needs to go – Which is off your desk!
Toss it – 90% of what comes across your desk is garbage!
Deal With it – If it requires your attention do something with it!
Now when it comes to item number three let me give you a tip: Deal with paper once a day! Set aside just one time during the day to deal with paper, deal with it and move on!
4. Automate Yourself
How long does it take to make ten phone calls? Believe me it takes some time. You have to look up the phone number, dial it, wait for it to ring, and then you have to talk to someone on the other end. What’s makes it time consuming is that you if you beat around the bush awhile until you get to the topic you really called about.
So what is the solution? Force yourself to focus on the reason for your call, and in a polite, tactful way, cut to the chase. Your contact at the other end will appreciate you not wasting their time as well.
Email is another simple solution. How long does it take to email those same ten people? Not long, especially if your message is the same to each one.
Superstars learn to condition their customers to the fact that they will be communicating with them primarily by email, with a few sporadic calls mixed in. The truth is most of them will be relieved. Why? Because they don’t have the time to talk to you either!
5. Time Log
Can you remember what you did five days ago? Hey, I can’t remember what I did five hours ago! But when you are trying to improve your time management skills you must have the ability to measure your actions against your results. Within the investment world we call this the ROI or return on investment.
What is your return on investment for your time? The only way to measure this key aspect of your business, is to take periodic stock of your business. Do this with a time log. A time log is a simple notebook, in which you record all of your business activities for a week and then compare your success with your actions. If you find that your actions did not equal success then it may be time to reevaluate your time investments..
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