6 Tips on Improving Results

I recently had a manager explain to me that he had a department with over 200 employees and that his biggest challenge was a lack of productivity.  When I asked him what he meant by that he stated, “I just don’t understand why people can’t do what I ask them to do!” When people fail to meet our expectations or perform poorly, they may offer any number of reasons, excuses, or stories in explanation for their lack of results. These explanations should signal that “fake talk” has occurred and may be occurring again. From our research, we have identified a number...

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Without Vision A People Perish

When I was a boy growing up in Redlands, California, my father would often take me with him to view cultural events on summer evenings at the Redlands Bowl.  This outdoor venue was a wonderful place to view opera, plays, band concerts, and numerous famous singers. One evening as we sat waiting for the performance to begin, my dad leaned over and asked me, “What do you think that means?” At the top of the proscenium were these words, “Without Vision A People Perish.”  Being only about 10 years old at the time, I contemplated the wisdom of...

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R . E . S . P . E . C . T

How Respect and the Quality of the Relationship Impact Results By John R. Stoker People often talk about improving their results through conversations, but what they don’t talk about is the connection between respect and relationships. And yet, the results we receive are directly affected by the respect between two people and the quality of the relationship. I recently spoke at a leadership conference of general managers for a national transportation company.  One of them told me this story which I will relate from his perspective. One Saturday after reading your book, I went to a shop to have my windshield replaced. I arrived...

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Can You Unify Your Team?

8 Tips for Increasing Team Unity By John R. Stoker Before the start of the college football season, the head coach of the local university’s football team announced that he had decided to take the football players’ names off of each of their jerseys, not uncommon in college football.  However, in place of their names, he proposed having the team’s motto of “Tradition. Spirit. Honor” printed instead.  Because the team members were unhappy with this change, they called a team meeting to express their displeasure at the coach’s decision.  The players told the coach they believed that displaying their last names on their...

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Can You Manage Your Emotional Energy?

During a radio show interview about my book, Overcoming Fake Talk the interviewer was very much intrigued by the notion of the energy that we portray as we express our thoughts and opinions.  Understanding the dynamics of the energy that accompanies your conversations is a great way to improve the power of your message.

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Managing Conflict with Ease

That’s a contradiction in terms. When I was a boy, my brother and I would get into arguments over some dumb thing or another. Rather than having us talk the issue out, our Dad would make us put on boxing gloves, then take us out in the backyard where we would duke it out. Since I was three years older than my brother, I won every argument.

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Are You Chasing Rabbits?

We are sending ourselves messages. Often we don’t receive them until it is too late. A couple of weeks ago, I had blocked out an entire Friday to write an article for a magazine. Just as I got into the car, my cell phone rang. It was the dentist reminding me of my appointment that was to occur in ten minutes. Because it had been awhile since seeing the dentist, I decided to keep my 8:00 a.m. appointment. Somewhat frustrated and numb, I returned home to pick up my laptop and head to the library. Big mistake! As I pulled up to...

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How Do You Avoid Playing the Blame Game?

When my second son graduated from high school with honors we were very proud of him. When all the celebration and fanfare were over, I asked him, “If there was one thing that you could do over, what would you do differently?” He responded, “I would have ignored all the blame and criticism from my coaches and just gone out and played my game.”

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How Do You Change Your Stories?

Everyone has a story. Sometimes the story we tell becomes an explanation for why we don’t achieve the results that we want. The first challenge is to notice the stories we tell. The second challenge is to change our story so that what we speak about moves us to create what we want. Changing one’s story is not easy because the best stories are true, and they usually describe things for how they currently exist. We become additionally challenged because once we see things in a particular way, we have difficulty seeing them any differently.

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Cues for Connecting with People from Different Generations

Recently a college professor friend of mine told me that one of his younger students would not confront him directly about the struggles that he was having with his class. However, the student did send my friend a private Twitter message that he was needing his help. He replied to the student’s tweet with a tweet of his own inviting the student to come to see him the next day at a specific time during his office hours. Only then did the student

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10 Tips for Creating a Culture of Candor

When I was in college, I had a roommate who had a goal to eat a bicycle. Every evening he would take out a file and file himself a teaspoon of bike. In the morning he would place the shavings in his cereal which he ate. During the year that I lived with him, he managed to eat half of his bike.

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Healing Relationships During the Holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate and share time together. However, it’s all too common that when families get together, someone does or says something that offends another family member. Perhaps someone makes a comment about the poor manners of another family member’s children. Or perhaps someone comments on what ugly apparel their spouse is wearing. Maybe someone protests forcefully when another suggests an activity that everyone should go out together to do. Whatever the issue, the filters come down, people blame one another, make rude comments, and offer unwanted advice that causes other family members to take offense.

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