Category Archives: Leadership

The REAL reason, and one that sounds good.

JP Morgan used to say that people usually have two reasons for what they do: the REAL reason, and one that sounds good. Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, tells us to appeal to the one that sounds good in order to get people on our side. As effective as that is, I’l have to admit that Carnegie’s suggestion always seemed like manipulation to me rather than genuine engagement. Does it work? Sure, but it’s a philosophy based on the Western tendency to believe it’s okay for people to use each other.

That being said, when you want to pursue a business or personal vision, having a real reason that is different from the one that sounds good may not interfere with its success if we measure by profit, but it can affect the legacy of that vision. Ulterior motive also tend to lead us toward manipulation, deceit, and under-handed tactics which in time may very well poison our relationships. I’m all for success and profitability, but in the end there is no substitute for authenticity and integrity.

As you build your vision, a great way to protect that vision’s integrity is to periodically as yourself if there’s a ‘real reason’ behind your decisions that differs from the ones that sound good. As I discuss i my book, The Million Dollar Hustle, your real intention will influence your decisions, and your decisions will determine your results… and their consequences.

What can you do today to refine the integrity of your vision?

How to work with people you DON’T like

Let’s face it. We’re not always going to like every co-worker, supplier, vendor, and so on. Sure, it’s human nature to try to work with people we like, and most of us if we’re in a position to do so, we tend to pick vendors and supplies, for example, that we like better, even at the cost of price, quality, delivery, and more. Over the years I’ve made a conscious decision to go with quality and trustworthiness first, because at the end of the day the best interest of my clients matters more than whether I like the people who print my manuals or host my mastermind groups.

How then, do we find a balance where we can work with people we don’t like, especially when we’re in a position where we don’t have much choice?

Now, I’m a man, and we men tend to be able to work with almost anyone. Part of this is because how we tend to communicate. Men’s communication tends to be a bit primitive, it centers around status, not unlike wolves in a pack. As long as we all know our spot in the pack, we can get along well enough to function. Women, on the other hand tend to communicate for connection. Thus when a woman doesn’t like who she’s working with, connecting seems just about impossible. However, there are plenty of men and women whose ‘communication personality’ is a mix of these two styles, so let’s explore a few simple ways to deal with folks you just don’t like.

  1. Get over yourself. Most of our judgments concerning people are entirely subjective. Sometimes we’re just plain wrong in how we’re viewing them. Even when we’re right, if we let our dislike for someone get in the way of what could otherwise be a productive and profitable relationship, we’re just being childish. Who cares if you don’t like him? Focus on getting results, not on whatever it is about the person you don’t like.
  2. Re-train your brain. Find a way to overlook the things you don’t like and find something to like. I once had to work with an event planner who I thought was insincere and selfish. I don’t like selfish people, and I despise insincere people. However, he was good at what he did, and I’m a big believer in loving people where they’re at, even if they get on my nerves, so I made a conscious decision to find something about him to like. He was a pretty snappy dresser, so I thought of him in terms of his fashion sense, and as a result we got along well enough that when it was my time to speak, he gave me probably the best introduction I’ve ever received. Had I not overcome my dislike, I might have done or said something to piss him off, and that intro might not have been quite so good.
  3. Don’t get too caught up with #2. I’m not saying you have to force yourself to like everyone. Sometimes the best approach is to focus on the work that is to be done.
  4. So, how do I focus on the work? The easiest way is to determine what the measurable results need to be. As the old saying goes, if it gets measured, it gets done. The next thing to do is to check your ego at the door. Sometimes, when we don’t like someone, even determining what needs to get done can turn into a tug of war. In some cases, I’ve even let the person I don’t like take the lead, supported their ideas (unless they were really THAT bad), and let them think they were the ‘alpha dog’ just so we could get the project done, get paid, and go home. Another way is to work virtually. With things like DropBox and other online means of collaboration, we can now to a great extent remove ourselves from the personal space of people we don’t like.

I try my best to work with people I like, but when that’s not possible, this simple approach has helped me to get along with people even when I really just wanted to tar and feather them, so give it a try.

8 Ways to Make a Great Impression

When you meet a new potential client, colleague, business partner, friend, or love interest, they judge you with in seconds. It’s human nature. We all tend to do what we’ve been taught not to do: we judge a book by it’s cover. This new stranger will see you and make any number of judgments about you, determining within 5-8 seconds, including but not limited to, whether you are:

  • Friend or foe
  • Attractive or unattractive
  • Likeable
  • Competent
  • Trustworthy
  • Someone with status, or a ‘loser’
  • Intelligent or an idiot
  • Someone with authority

In many cases this will happen within the first five seconds of the encounter, and there is a lot of truth to how that old deodorant commercial used to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Are there instances in which you can do ‘damage control’ for a poor first impression? Sure, but that’s a street you just don’t want to live on.

I’m not going to tell you that there’s some secret trick to keeping people from making snap decisions about you in seconds. There isn’t. You can, however, develop an understanding of how to make this tendency work for you rather than against you.

In most cases, our first impression of people are far more influenced by nonverbal signals than by anything we might say. Depending on whose research you want to believe, nonverbal signals have 3-4 times as much influence as whatever you’re saying.

That being said there are a few definite ways to use your nonverbal behavior to make a great first impression.

  1. Smile. A genuine smile conveys good will, trust, confidence, and ‘approachability.’ Go here for an article on The Power of a Genuine Smile.
  2. Attitude. Be sure to adopt an attitude appropriate for your situation. Acting like a wise-cracking gigolo might go over at a costume party where the crowd’s a bit tipsy, but it probably won’t do you any favors in a board room.
  3. Make eye contact. People who can’t or won’t make eye conact are usually seen as shifty or potentially deceptive at worst, lacking confidence at best. Good eye contact also helps to communicate your energy, trust, openness, and confidence.
  4. Posture. Status, authority and power are nonverbally conveyed by height and how you take up space. Standing straight, with your chin parallel to the floor, shoulders back, conveys confidence, strength, and competence. See our video on the James Bond Walk here.
  5. A firm handshake. Don’t try to crush anyone’s fingers, but give a firm handshake with a smile and eye contact. See our article on The Power of a Good Handshake here.
  6. Lean in just a little. Leaning toward someone slightly when they’re speaking to you shows that you’re engaged and interested. Of course, be mindful of their personal space. Generally, give them 2-3 feet.
  7. Raise your eyebrows slightly. Throughout the world, this is a sign of recognition and acknowledgement, and helps people see that you ‘get’ what they’re saying.
  8. Relax. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but the truth is we tend to make ourselves more nervous than we should be. If I’m nervous, I tell myself ‘Honey Badger don’t care!’ At the end of the day, one client can’t make me rich or poor. Maintain high intentionality, but low attachment to the result.

If you do these things consistently, you’ll have an easier time making a strong personal impact in those critical first few seconds, and have a much better chance of ‘deserving’ the opportunity to connect with the right people.

Waiting on the world to change? Change the world!

I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve not been well. Still feeling the effects of May’s car accident which left me with a severe concussion that I’ve yet to recover from. But enough about my problems! Let’s talk destiny.

One of the many obstacles to achievement and fulfillment is our human tendency to wait for better circumstances in orde to take action.

It’s a natural tendency. First, we don’t like change. Then, there’s the fact that most of us tend toward laziness, or rather toward wanting things to be easier than we perceive them to be. However, that and $2 will buy you a halfway decent cup of cofee. I know it’s popular to say ‘How bad do you want it?’ But the truth is that it’s more important to know WHY you want it, because the ‘why’ is going to be what drives you, what keeps you going when things go wrong, what gets you up an hour or two earlier to work on your vision, and what got you started in the first place.

WHY is where you find your purpose, your strength, and reasons to go on even when it seems like you’re getting nowhere.

But to get to WHY you’ve got to know WHAT, and that’s a major problem for would-be visionaries.

Want to find your WHAT? Understand that all growth, and all improvment of life and the human condition always come from change. What is it about you that can bring a change that will benefit others enough to make them want to pay you for it, and be glad that they did?