A survey of 350 executives across 14 industries, 68% confirmed their companies experienced unanticipated problems in their change process. – International Consortium of Executive Development Research.
Inspiyr - 10 Steps to Succeed At Work
by Dianne Durkin | on April 5th, 2013 |
1. Ask, Listen & Volunteer
One of the things successful people are good at is asking questions. In many cases, people ask a lot of “Why” questions: Why are we doing it this way? Why do we have to continue to do it this way? Questions are secret weapons to move ahead and forward. One way to step up your game at the office is to simply change your questioning strategy to:
- What can I do to improve this situation?
- What improvements can we make to this process?
- What are the things we should stop doing and what should we continue doing?
This approach brings a level of innovation and creativity into our thinking and maintains a positive approach. By asking questions people feel as though you are interested, engaged, and passionate about what you are doing.
The second part is to listen for the revealing answers. Listening can be very difficult because we all have our own biases and listening is hard work. It takes twice as much energy to listen than to talk. I encourage people to listen not only for the content, but for the emotions behind the words. This highest level of listening is called empathetic listening. An empathetic listener is someone who listens beyond the words to understand the feelings, intentions, and implications of what the other person is saying. For example, if a person is telling you about certain things that need to be changed about a process or procedure, one of the things you want to listen for is how much pain, anxiety, frustration the present procedure is causing this person. That will help you determine the level of importance of solving this particular issue.
The last part of this first step is to volunteer. If you believe you might have a solution, volunteer to look into the situation. This does not mean you need to promise a solution, all you need to say is, “I am going to look into this and determine if there is a better way.” Another very important point is to ask for help. In this complex changing world we live in, it is very difficult for one person to know everything. As a result we all need to help one another and ask for help when we need it.
The only way we can learn and grow is to engage other people, ask for their assistance and advice and listen to them.
2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
No one likes to be an island and no one likes to second guess individuals. Transparency is key in business and in creating long-term relationships and let’s face it, long-term relationships is what business is all about. If you have a new idea, share it with others. If you have information that you have discovered, share it with others. Knowledge is information. Wisdom is knowing what to do with the information. AND the real power in this world is how you communicate that information, which leads me to the next step which is passion.
3. Have Passion
Show your passion for what you do. It is contagious. You can be sure that if you are very excited about something and express it with true belief and passion, everyone around you will become equally engaged and excited. This directly leads into another concept I would like to talk about: “Do what you love and love what you do.” If in fact you do this, you will have passion beyond all expectations. Doing what you love and loving what you are doing will bring out the best in you and the best results for the organization you are working for and trust me, it will be appreciated.
4. Continuously Improve
I tell everyone you should be learning something new on a daily basis and if at the end of an evening you are putting your head on your pillow and you have not learned something new, I suggest you put the light back on, open a book and read to learn something new and interesting. It is only with this continuous improvement that we continually grow and develop. In addition, it keeps our brain young and full of vitality. You may want to read business magazines relevant to your industry, technical journals also relevant to your industry, or you may want to ask your employer to send you to some training programs, seminars, or workshops. All of this helps in your growth and development.
Show an interest and it is very rare that a company or an organization will not allow you to grow and develop. Great leaders of great organizations recognize people who are growing and developing do not leave their organizations.
5. Be Positive
No one likes to be around people with a negative attitude. In business, positivity is the key to success. The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts, the past, education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, and whatever other people think or say and do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, and skill. It will make or break a person, a company, a home. We all have a choice every single day regarding our attitude and whatever attitude we embrace for that day is the attitude that will allow us to soar and create that positivity. We all need to remember that we cannot change our past, we cannot change that people will act in a certain way, nor can we change the inevitable. The only thing we CAN do is to play the one string that we have: ATTITUDE. I think we all have to remember that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it.
6. Build Your Trust Bank
Trust is essential for all organizations and at all levels of an organization. You need to be trusted by your coworkers and everyone you deal with. When trust exists, they will work with you as a team, people will believe in you and they will be willing to partner with you to create incredible results for yourself and the organization.
There are four major elements of trust. The first is straightforwardness. What individuals need to do is set expectations that are clear, make sure disagreements are discussed and resolved and individual expectations are discussed and agreed upon.
The second one is openness. The way you achieve openness is to make sure you exchange information and communicate, communicate, communicate! As we said before, communication is key to all success.
The third is acceptance. Respecting and accepting people for their contributions and their differences. It would be great if everyone in the world was just like us, at the same time it would be a very boring world and we would not get the creativity and the innovation that is so needed in the business world. Accepting people for the differences in their skillsets, their values and how they operate is key to building trust and reliability. This is one element that cannot be understated. You need to do what you say and say what you do. In the business world you need to be sure people can count on you and your word. Building your trust bank will help you grow to be a huge success in your organization.
7. Communicate Confidently
We have continually mentioned throughout this article that communication is critical to one’s success. With communications you really need to adjust and flex your style to work effectively with other individuals. Some people are very process-oriented. They need to know every detail associated with that particular project or situation. Others are very results-oriented. With a results person you need to get to the bottom-line very quickly. Others are relationship-oriented, which means you need to say hello, find out how their children and family are before you get into the business environment. Lastly there are those individuals who need to be recognized. In many cases you need to complement and recognize them prior to getting into the business issues. Also, these people can be very valuable because they have a creative and innovative side and when you engage them in your projects you will get new ideas you never thought of before. The key to getting these new ideas is to make sure they are valued, appreciated, recognized and complemented. It all amounts to one thing: flexing your style to meet the needs of the other person.
As part of this communications with confidence, it is important to understand you should communicate with confidence only when you are sure of the information you are providing. This means you need to research it. Blowing smoke or generalizing situations will not help you in building that rapport, respect and credibility with individuals within the organization.
8. Embrace Change
In today’s business world, change is continual. If organizations are not changing they are not growing. Everyone in the organization needs to be part of the change process. You need to be a “change agent”. Look for the positive aspects of the change, embrace the change, and be an influencer in helping others embrace the change. You may even want to be the person who initiates some changes. Going back to what we talked about earlier, volunteer to solve major business issues. While doing this be prepared for resistances and be prepared to be an advocate for the changing process. The way you are an advocate is to show people the benefits to them. Everyone is interested in: What does this mean for me? In answering that question, you will get people to embrace any changes you are trying to implement.
9. Look Ahead
It is always great to do the job of today. I encourage everyone to be the best they can be at whatever they are doing. At the same time it is important to plan ahead and look ahead and do some strategic thinking. A lot of people need time to think outside the box and do this strategic thinking. I therefore encourage you to take some time on a monthly basis to think about:
- Where am I/are we today?
- Where do I/we want to be for the future?
- How should I/we get there?
Part of looking ahead is making sure you understand the competitive and market pressures of the future. This goes along with step 3: Continuously Improve. Always read, be aware of what is happening in the world, and how it impacts your particular business, expertise, or industry.
10. Understand Strengths and Areas for Development
The last and certainly not least is to truly understand your strengths and areas for development. We all have strengths and we need to capitalize on those strengths. At the same time, we all have areas for development and we need to work on those areas for development and/or supplement them by teaming with people who have the expertise we do not have or that can complement our deficiencies.
In summary, make a difference in this world by being the absolute best you can be, helping others be the best they can be and working effectively with all types of individuals. In doing so you will be a magnet that people will want to be around, want to partner with and they will trust. It will lead to huge success personally, professionally, and financially.
Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Durkin has over 25 years experience in finance, direct sales, international marketing and training and development. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people. She authored “The Loyalty Factor: Building Employee, Customer and Brand Loyalty,” and the newly released “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.”