By Mickey Woods, Technology Consultant, Ingram Micro
I met a young man long ago while making repairs at a local high school. He was incredibly tall and I politely asked if he was on the basketball team--and immediately knew from the expression of disappointment on his face that I had made an error in judgment. Attempting to fix the moment, I asked about his passion in life and why it was important to him. He explained that his after-school activity involved the science club and not athletics. Through this simple process, I was able to discover that physics was far more interesting than making lights flash on a scoreboard. That memory has stayed with me for a long time, and I learned that making assumptions can be a dangerous thing.
In today’s fast-moving world, taking an appropriate first step can mean the difference between success and failure--whether we are operating within our communities or reaching for goals in the workplace. As technology is woven into the very fabric of our lives, global collaboration in real time can influence our thought process and have an impact on our choices. This constant stimulation can affect our responses and make routine interaction with our partners difficult.
In his book The Seat of the Soul, author Gary Zukav explains that our “Intentions help to create our reality.” As a result, our enablement plans must not be driven by our past successes
but from the feedback we get in the meeting room. The director of my workgroup is fond of saying, “Don’t just hit the play button when dealing with customers, as your message can get old and lead to undesirable results.” We should be motivated to treat every conversation as its own unique experience and to understand the viewpoint of those on the other side of the table. To “actively listen” is a technique using our body language (such as eye contact and nodding your head in approval) to let the other person know you care about what they are saying. Remember there is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth: we should listen more and talk less.
Demonstrating your individual value-add to an organization and then having your efforts appreciated can be two different things. It is important to remember that providing a clear message when describing the path forward is the responsibility of the sender, so choose your words wisely. In the past, the Golden Rule taught us to treat others the way we would like to be treated. But the dynamic nature of business requires us to consider a new paradigm. Leveraging the “platinum rule” will allow you to support your business partners in a way that is most meaningful to them. This leads to greater success in a challenging marketplace by putting your audience first, and to champion the discussion instead of promoting any pre-conceived agenda.
Projecting a quality image to your customers can go far beyond what suit you are wearing. Thoughts are powerful and drive our intentions, which lay the groundwork for our engagements. As we use the tools of speech and the written word to communicate, work to align your interpersonal relationships in a way that can serve everyone involved. Focusing on the success of your business partners will help you create an atmosphere of cooperation and significantly increase your effectiveness. When participating in strategy meetings or during difficult negotiations, never forget that achieving results has two sides to its equation.
So whether you are staying late to shoot hoops or trying to understand Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, the force of change can be more predictable by thinking outside normal boundaries. Make sure to adopt the healthy mindset that “You get from the world what you
give to the world.” After all, celebrating the success of your hard work is best shared in the company of friends.