Monday, September 26, 2011

Building a team “Family Style”

Building a team “Family Style”

I come from a big Italian family. All four of my grandparents came to America from Italy (okay my Mom's father came from Sicily!). My extended family, just on my Dad's side (including aunts, uncles, cousins…), totaled almost 100 people. So I am very well versed on the concept of working together in groups.

When I look at team building I think of it as ‘family building”. Here is what I mean:

1. First, think of the group as “Family” not a team. Family in this context is a group whose members are related in origin, characteristics, or occupation. So since you are related in occupation, you qualify as a “family”

I’ve always considered my co-workers, clients and other business relationship as my “business family”. I have used this concept with organizations when I have served: as president, as committees chair and on committees/teams. I find it more powerful to think “family” versus team.

2. Find ways to get people to work/play together. You build stronger relationships when you interact/communicate with each other. Traditions also build family. For example, Sunday family dinner, Holidays, a family reunion, family picnics… Think of ways to incorporate the ideas of tradition into your business family.

3. Communicate with your family. A concept I use with my family (my wife and our two children) is communicating with love. I call this “loving truth”. How can I communicate from a place of “caring”. A family should be a safe place. By using caring communication we help create the safe environment and build an even stronger “business family”.

4. Reward family behavior, both informally and formally. Praise family behavior and reward family behavior. Behavior that is rewarded is repeated.

5. Include yourself in activities. As the leader, be sure to include yourself in the family and family activities. Remember you lead by example!


Do you have any other ways to build a “business family”? I would like to hear them. Send me an e-mail to Patrick@PatrickDonadio.com

Monday, February 08, 2010

7 Ways to Say No

7 Ways to Say No

Going along with my theme from my last post "Not to Do List" I though I would reprint an article I wrote on ways to say "no!"

I think many people struggle with telling others “No”. The reason they struggle is because they think they only have two choices. They can either say “yes” or “no”.

I try to avoid “all or nothing” thinking. I believe that there are many alternative between the extremes.

So here are several different ways I share with my clients on how they could say no:

7 Ways to Say No:

1) Say NO… with a straightforward explanation – “No, I’m uncomfortable doing that!”

2) Say NO… and give an alternative – “No. I can’t do that today, how about first thing in the morning?”

3) Say NO… and clarify your reason – Help them understand your position. Explain the why. “No. I can’t help you because I made commitment to my family to not work on weekends this month.”

4) Give Preface then Say NO… – “Each year we choose 3 charities to support and I am sorry you are not one of those this year.”

5) Make an empathetic listening statement (let them down easy) then Say NO…. – “I can see this is important. I would like to have someone help, however all my staff is already committed to project A that is due next week.”

6) Say YES BUT… – “Yes I can do Project B but not Project A”

7) Say YES AND… I nicer way to say yes but and it allows you to give them alternatives. “Yes I can help with the project, and I will need you to…”

What are some of the items you have taken off your list recently? Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail me by clicking here

Monday, January 11, 2010

Anti-New Year's Resolutions?

"Not To Do List"

During this time of year, people starting thinking about making "New Year's Resolutions".

I use to set New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of the year. Now I look at it differently. Every quarter I set and revisit my goals. I encourage my busy executive coaching clients to do the same. In addition to setting/revisiting new goals I ask my coaching clients to also create a "Not To Do List". Yes, I did say a "Not To Do List".

Some of us (including myself) keep adding to our list and very seldom take the time to look at the list and ask, "What can I stop doing?"

ACTION IDEAS

Here are a few ways to make "Anti-Resolutions" and remove some of those goals on your list that no longer serve you:

1. Does it fit in with you current mission/vision of your organization? Is not, take it off the list.

2. Is it the best use of your time? Can or should someone else be doing it? If so delegate it

3. Does is bring value to you or your clients? Take a look at the cost/benefit relationship of the item. Does the time invested return a greater value to you or your client? If not, stop doing it or delegate it.

4. Has it been on your list for more that six months? It maybe time to move it "off" your list or move it "up" your list.

5. Ask yourself, "If I didn't do it would it make a big difference in my life, the life of my clients or my family's life?" If the answer is no... take it off the list.


What are some of the items you have taken off your list recently? Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail me by clicking here

Monday, November 16, 2009

Effective Leaders Are Positive

Effective Leaders Are Positive.

A good leader understands the key role communication skills play in their success.

Are you the type of leader that brightens up the room when you walk in or when you walk out?Effective leaders understand the importance of building good relationships. One way to do that is to be a positive force in the organization. Employees will take your lead. Be someone that people want to talk to not someone people have to talk to

ACTION:
  • Compliment others - Look for what others are doing right. It is easier to find fault. Find positive behaviors and reward those actions. What is reward is repeated.
  • Write/talk about the success of your team, project, department or the industry in general. I am not asking you to neglect the challenges going on just to make sure you have a balanced view.
  • Encourage others to be positive. Ask questions to elicited the good things others are doing.
I will be sharing more areas that can help leaders communicate their messages more effectively.

So be sure to check back.In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail me by clicking here

Monday, October 05, 2009

Effective Leaders Summarize

A good leader understands the key role communication skills play in their success.

Effective Leaders Summarize.


A summary is a good way to close a dialogue. The longer or more complicated the message, the more important it is to summarize what was said. People tend to remember the most recent information presented. So in a longer conversation or meeting be sure to do a brief summary. This is also a great way to check for understanding.

ACTION:

  • An effective way to close a conversation or meeting is by going over the key points that were discussed. Either you can summarize or you can ask the others to summarize from their perspective.
  • For any action that needs to be taken, be sure to mutually discuss deadlines for their completion.

In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail me by clicking here

Monday, August 24, 2009

Effective Leaders Are Other Focused

A good leader understands the key role communication skills play in their success.

Effective Leaders Are Other Focused. The most important person in the conversation is the other person. “It’s all about me” is the mantra. The key here is it is not all about you... it is all about the other person.

Find ways to focus on the other person in the conversation. For example, ask a question, bring up a current accomplishment of theirs (or their team/department)...


ACTION
Pay attention to how often you are "me" focused or "other" focused in your conversations. Keep a journal of what you notice. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • What drives me to the "Me" mode?
  • How did I catch myself? How can I catch myself sooner?
  • When I catch myself what can I do to shift to the "other" focus mode? (Hint - revisit this blog series for some tips...)

In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail me by clicking here

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Five Active Listening Skills

A good leader understands the key role communication skills play in their success.

Talking is great but listening is where the real learning takes place. Here are five ways to become an Active Listener:

1. Do an Internal Summary - Concentrate on what is being said and try to summarize the main points in your mind. Listen to understand, not to respond.
2. Ask Questions - Yes this is part of being an "Active Listener." If you don’t understand, wait for a break, politely interrupt and ask a question.
3. Take Notes - Engage yourself by taking notes.
4. Timing - If it is not a good time to talk, say so. Reschedule when you will be more focused
5. Listen with Your Eyes - Eye contact helps you stay focused and to see the non-verbal part of the message. Any mismatched signals could give you more insight. (See blog post Effective Leaders Communicate Effectively! )

ACTION

Try using some of these techniques in your conversations this week. The key is to catch yourself not paying attention (my last blog homework) and then shift into one of the above techniques.

In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail Patrick

Monday, June 08, 2009

Effective Leaders Listen!

Effective leaders understand that good communication also involves the ability to give clear direction and productive feedback.

Here is another of my leadership communication skills tips to help you communicate your message more effectively:

Listen - do you hear what I hear? Our brain can process information three times faster than people can speak. This GAP is what makes us either good or poor listeners. Listening is a learned skill that involves utilizing the GAP between how fast we think/process information and how fast others speak. So next time someone is talking with you, force yourself to use the GAP to stay focused on the other person.

ACTION
Practice catching yourself drifting off when someone is talking with you. The first step to change is awareness. Once you are aware of the challenge then you can adjust what you are doing with the GAP to be a better listener.

Join me next time as I share "Five Ways to Use the GAP to be a Better Listener". So be sure to check back.

In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail Patrick

Monday, May 11, 2009

Effective Leaders Communicate both Priorities and Deadlines

Effective leaders understand that good communication also involves the ability to give clear direction and productive feedback.

Here is another of my leadership communication skills tips to help you communicate your message more effectively:

Communicate both priorities and deadlines. Sure you can walk up to an employee and ask for a list of tasks to be done. But without context, the employee might not do the tasks in the order you expected or might not complete them in the timeframe you wanted. Effective leaders communicate priorities and/or help employees prioritize.

Effective leaders also are not afraid to ask, “When can you get this done?” Whenever possible, it is a good idea to create deadlines together. An employee might have several other projects going at the same time, and while you might not want to compromise time, you don’t want to sacrifice quality.

ACTION During the next few weeks pay attention to how often you communicate priorities and deadlines. 1. Are you communicating priorities and helping the employee prioritize? 2. Are you giving them the deadline and/or creating the deadlines together? These two questions will help you become more aware of your need to improve on these two areas.

I will be sharing more areas that can help leaders communicate their messages more effectively.

So be sure to check back.In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail Patrick

Monday, April 27, 2009

Leaders Communicate Effectively! - Use Questions

Effective leaders understand that good communication also involves the ability to give clear direction and productive feedback. They also know when to ask questions and how to encourage new ideas among their employees.

Here is another of my leadership communication skills tips to help you communicate your message more effectively:


Use Questions to Uncover Information. “Effective leaders use great questions.” When an employee comes to you with a challenge, instead of giving them an answer (the default mode for many leaders) ask them a question instead.

Questions allow you to collect information before you give the answer (diagnose before you prescribe). Questions can empower employees by helping them think through a challenge and forcing them to search for answers or new ideas on their own. If they uncover the answers, employees are more likely to embrace them. Leaders can also use questions as a check for understanding and to see whether the listener got the essence of the message.

“Seek first to understand then to be understood.” - Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

ACTION
During the next few weeks pay attention to how you communicate with employees. Are you quickly giving them the answer or are you asking questions first? Carry an index card and track your communication: 1) How often do you ask questions? 2) How often do you give answers?

If you are not asking questions at least 50% of the time, you may want to reconsider how you communicate with others.


Over the next few weeks I will be sharing more areas that can help leaders communicate their messages more effectively. So be sure to check back.

In the meantime, if you have any successes or questions about leadership communication Let me know and I will share them with my readers. E-mail Patrick