Many of the organizations that I have worked in this year are involved in dramatic change. They are doing more to meet the increasing demands of customers in order to compete with companies within their industry. They are implementing new productivity standards which is causing them to measure more effectively the behaviors of their employees and the return on investment for the implementation of newly defined competencies. Because we usually get what we measure,
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...
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...
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...
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...
Why do we make mistakes? We are human--that’s how we learn. Hopefully we learn not to make the same mistake again, but do we? Many times there are situations when we don’t know what we are doing because we can’t see clearly or understand how to fix the situation.
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.
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.
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...
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.”
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.
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
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.