Monday, August 31, 2009

Brett Favre's Secret

Even if you aren't a football fan chances are you know who Brett Favre is. Now he is coming back again out of retirement to quarterback the Minnesota Vikings. In his first press conference he took the mic and the press probably wanted to grill him! Here is a guy who has repeatedly said he was retired only to change his mind. He was also about to play for one of the Green Bay Packers' (his first team) biggest rivals.

So what did Brett say in the press conference that may have had a small effect on the reporters and also reminded some of his fans why they like him, and why they root for him? Here is an excerpt...

Another thing I forgot to mention was that when I said no earlier to Coach Childress and Coach Frasier, my 10-year old daughter who was neutral in this whole deal. So I asked her, “What do you want to do daddy?” She said, “Whatever you want to do daddy.” I said, “That’s a good answer but what do you want me to do?” She wouldn’t say until after the news broke and she started crying as we sat on our back porch. Anybody who has children, I can be chased by five defensive linemen and that doesn’t scare me but when my daughter cries it softens me up. She said, “I wanted you to go back and win one more Super Bowl.” I said, “Ugh. Why didn’t you tell me that before? She said I didn’t want to make that decision for you.” It’s amazing what you learn from your children. She said, “Can you go back?” I said, “Too late.” I found myself tearing up this morning as I brought her to school, and she said, ”Daddy, it’s going to be fine. You go up there and do what you got to do. We will be up there soon enough.”

When the opportunity arises, whether it is a business or professional setting .... consider telling your employees stories. They work. Make them personal to you or to them or both if you can. Most people appreciate that. Most people can relate to stories, and maybe most importantly, most people remember them ... and the connection you made!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dumb down your message

Many accountants (not all) are guilty of tech-speak. We get caught up in the latest acronyms and technical jargon and we do not realize that most of the outside world (including many of our junior and even senior colleagues) have no idea what we are talking about half the time. Sometimes people don't call you on it for many reasons, including the insecurity of believing they SHOULD know what you are talking about....but they don't. The result is costly miscommunication.

(By the way the latest acronym I have heard is "squash" or "SQCS" which is short for Statement on Quality Control Standards which are designed to provide guidance on a organization's internal quality control standards and are issued by the Quality Control Standards Committee, the senior technical committee of the AICPA. Are you kidding me? Squash!?)

We should be more encouraged to consistently dumb down and simplify our messages. If you have ANY doubt that the other person might not know what you are talking about it, you are probably onto something.

What is interesting is many times it is the MOST senior/experienced people that I'll see call others out ... "I have no idea what you just said, could you tell me that again in simpler terms." That takes confidence and lack of insecurity. That takes a desire for effective communication, not effective "I can prove how smart I am in with how much jargon I know" miscommunication.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Unsolicited Positive Remarks

How much do you go "out of your way" to talk about others good traits, characteristics, and performances?

And just maybe sometimes .... it might be good to talk to others "behind the back" of the person you are talking about!

"I was working with Suzy and I tell you what, she knows her stuff. Here is what I mean specifically ...."

"Ted really worked hard on that last project. He made the deadline and the quality of his work was remarkable."

Here is one, maybe unintended, result that happens when you start doing this ... people TRUST you more! That is right -- when you start talking others up, the people you are talking to will trust you more. Think about the opposite approach: When you talk bad about others behind their backs - the people you are saying these things do will pick up on that and realize -- hey this person might do the same thing to me one day! Trust is lowered, even if they agree with you! ... and the same happens when they see you as someone who talks others UP! Trust is raised.

Be on the lookout for positive actions and then TALK TO EVERYBODY about them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thank You Emails

The "thank you" email -- There are literally tens of millions of these sent every day. No other information in the email, only a simple thank you.

The main simple and obvious reason I've heard for sending them:

To express gratitude! Than sounds nice!

Do you value the appreciation of others around you expressed in the form of "thank you" emails? Chances are it might sound nice but it really does not resonate. The reason? It is precisely the same as the reason we send them .... it takes no time to do it. We know a hand-written card or a face-to-face gesture takes more time and effort and thus we appreciate that more. So if you want to really express gratitude, do it in a more memorable (but maybe less frequent) way.

Challenge your "thank you" emails all together and see if you don't send out less but do other things, just maybe better things, in their place.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't Ask For It, Demonstrate It

Want to be appreciated more at the office? Throw some appreciation to those around you.

Want your colleagues to act more like a "team"? Act more like a teammate to them.

Want more communication? Be a better communicator.

Do these ideas sound obvious?! .... then be obvious. People will respect and gravitate more towards your actions then they will in responding to your pleas for improvement.

I was recently involved in a discussion (close to an argument) with one of my family members about the act of listening. We both thought the other did not listen (and we were both probably right.) So finally, after being stubborn for too long, I just decided I was going to stop everything and listen to his every word at our next lunch. Guess what happened? It became reciprocal. It was hard at first for me, but it was a great feeling in the end because it led to much better results.

Lead by action....then watch others emulate.