Sunday, January 29, 2012

Considering Consideration

There seems to be a lot of concern recently about a lack of consideration in society. In particular, I find it very interesting to see a bizarre (and incorrect) application of the concept.

The politically correct (and logically INcorrect) interpretation is behaving in a way that will never offend or be contrary to what the other person wants. That is not being considerate. That is called "acquiescence. I just call it "caving in". Either way, it inappropriately disregards your opinions - which makes it INconsiderate of you, now doesn't it?

Being truly considerate begins with mutual respect. Mutual, as in TWO way. Always doing what the other desires is not mutual. Placing the other person in a position worthy of respect and consideration is good, as long as it is accompanied by an equal value on your own worth. In fact, undermining your value for the sake of others (who might be unreasonable or too easily offended) is a perverted sense of humility. This erroroneous position does not respect the diversity that YOUR perspective brings to the situation. (Isn't it interesting that some people, in the act of "championing diversity" actually deny people's opinions that differ from their own.) That lacks integrity.

The correct interpretation of being considerate is simply being aware of the other person (in thought, word, and deed) and literally considering how your behaviors could impact him/her before you take action. Once you have sincerely taken them into consideration, your behaviors are a separate issue.

Bottom line: Consider the impact your behaviors have on others, but have the courage to honestly act on YOUR legitimate preferences. They are JUST AS valuable as ANYone else's. Of course, the WAY you do this is the key. Open, honest, and diplomatic dialogue is important for developing healthy relationships that create mutual benefit. To be genuinely MUTUAL, everyone (YOU included) must be considered.

Think about it. But more importantly do something about!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are You Misspending Your Life?

We are all faced with a particular dilemma each and every day: Not enough resources to accomplish the things we want to do. Every day, we face choices. Each day, we make decisions.

Are you who you always wanted to be - living the life you always wanted to lead? Are you getting the outcomes you hoped for most?

With every tick of the clock, we invest a second of our life that we can never get back. We have limited time, and other resources: Energy (you have to sleep sometime), Money (we always would prefer more), Knowledge (what have you learned lately?), Skills (have you made the effort to master the abilities you need most?)...the list goes on.

Interestingly, there's a similarity among people that have their act together. Almost all have had a significant emotional/life-threatening experience (whether themselves or a loved one) that motivated them to identify what really, deeply, profoundly, personally matters to them in life. These foundational truths become the priorities for every decision they make. Being aligned internally creates the integrity we all see from the outside.

There is no reason to wait for a life-threatening experience! Commit to investing the time and effort to be introspective. Ponder what makes you unique. Consider what you value most in life. These will direct you toward your purpose. Once you have those "north stars" to guide you, you can determine how to maximize (say "yes" to) the activities that create your dreams and minimize (say "no" to) those activities that do not contribute towards your unique purpose.

Don't squander another minute on behaviors that don't get you the life you desire most. You don't get a second chance. And your first/only chance is slipping away every moment you delay...

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Proactively Reactive?

I had a very interesting discussion with a senior leadership team I've been coaching. Like many of us, they are in an industry that fluctuates wildly based on changes in the economy, technology, competition, and marketplace preferences. There were some strong opinions about being "proactive" versus "reactive".

The common thinking is that being proactive always trumps being reactive.

As is so often the case, common thinking is wrong.

Don't get me wrong, being proactive is a very good thing under the right circumstances. The problem is that many leaders mistake being reactive as a bad thing. Like anything else, the truth is that a person can react well or poorly.

Reacting merely comes from experiencing something that is unexpected. Given that Life is constantly changing and we can't control everything, the most effective approach is to be able to react well when the need arises. Yes, be proactive with those things that we can influence in advance (which should be much of the time), but be open to adapting/reacting when the situation warrants it.

In a way, it is a lot like the Leadership versus Management argument. The truth is that both are valuable skills - assuming they are used properly as needed. Lead well whenever you can. Manage well those things that need to be managed.

Just do them well - regardless - and you'll be fine.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nice Is NOT Enough!

It seems that people have become more focused on service as a competitive edge. That is good. The problem is that, compared to proven world-class companies, they are going about it all wrong.

To truly provide superior service, you need to provide more than just niceties. Training on how to smile and say please and thank you will not create an engaging, value-added experience for your customers. In addition to developing a caring relationship with with them, you have to provide legitimate expertise that helps them accomplish whatever they can't do on their own. (Think about why they are looking for your products/services in the first place!)

What the most successful know: It's not either/'s both/and.

Not only is service you provide critical, but the way you provide that service is critical as well. Pretty much anyone can provide one. It's only those who can succeed in both aspects will have the competitive edge and triumph in their industry.

So, do an informal assessment today (preferably with your team...and your customers!) - How does your product/service compare to your customer's expectations/wants? How does your offerings compare to their other options (your competition)? How does the experience (how you serve them) compare to their expectations/wants? How does it compare to the other options?

If you want to exceed all their expectations and earn their loyalty, you'll need to deliver excellence in all aspects of their experience...with both relationship AND expertise.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!