influencing others Archives

This seems to be my turn for having a refresher course on the importance of empathy in communicating with others.  Neil deGrasse Tyson - Dawkins perusasion

First, inspired by Obama’s efforts to explain empathy to the nation,  I write about my own misguided attempt to connect the 1950s Civil Rights Movement with the then highly upsetting news that Proposition 8 passed in California while my GLBT friends and allies were in the throes of processing their disappointment (see my previous post about Obama and the teachable moment.)

Then today, I run across a compelling video in which Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why just the facts alone are not enough.

To quote Tyson:

“Persuasion isn’t always here’s the facts, you’re either an idiot or you’re not. It’s here are the facts and here is a sensitivity to your state of mind. And it’s the facts plus the sensitivity when convolved together creates impact.”

“If they trust you, they’ll change”

A thought-provoking article in the New Yorker says the same thing by weaving together example after example of why some innovations spread rapidly and others take generations.  As the author points out, we now live in a world in which technologies have been developed that could make fantastic improvements in the quality of human life.  Yet, many of these technologies are languishing simply because people and cultures are reluctant to give up long-standing habits.

The article explains why:

Diffusion is essentially a social process through which people talking to people spread an innovation,” wrote Everett Rogers, the great scholar of how new ideas are communicated and spread. Mass media can introduce a new idea to people. But, Rogers showed, people follow the lead of other people they know and trust when they decide whether to take it up. Every change requires effort, and the decision to make that effort is a social process.

This is something that salespeople understand well. I once asked a pharmaceutical rep how he persuaded doctors—who are notoriously stubborn—to adopt a new medicine. Evidence is not remotely enough, he said, however strong a case you may have. You must also apply “the rule of seven touches.” Personally “touch” the doctors seven times, and they will come to know you; if they know you, they might trust you; and, if they trust you, they will change.

As the saying goes:  People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

 

 

Credits:

Original source for the Neil DeGrasse Tyson interview:  http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2013/07/why-do-some-innovations-spread-so-swiftly-and-others-so-slowly/

DeGrasse Tyson interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2xGIwQfik&feature=player_embedded

Oprah quote: cc licensed by krismc2011: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67161590@N03/6906338074

 

Daughter of a wealthy industrialist, she married, raised a family, and then chose to enter the field of social work and dedicate her life to serving her community.

Revered by many throughout Houston, Maconda B. O’Connor was born on May 4, 1930 and passed from this life on May 19, 2012.

The Houston Chronicle and others have listed her long list of achievements.  She received over two dozen awards and honorary degrees, served on Houston’s and the nation’s most prestigious boards, and founded or helped start innovative programs dedicated to helping people improve their lives. As Angela Blanchard, president and CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc., was quoted as saying, “There isn’t a place to go to in this city where you can get help that she didn’t help nurture.”

A colleague introduced us while Maconda was completing her doctoral studies at Smith College. She was looking for a research project for a required internship, and the colleague suggested my grant from the National Science Foundation might meet the requirements. Maconda was immediately interested in my project and, over time, in my work. She provided or helped arrange financial support for my research every year since.

Saying she supported my work, though, doesn’t quite get what she meant to me. We became friends. I loved her – still love her — dearly. We shared a similar fire for helping others improve their lives, and for setting up systems and organizations that would foster people’s growth and development. I see the world differently because of her, approach my own work differently because of her, have a deeper commitment to what I do because of her.

For me and many others, she has been an inspiration and a model of personal achievement and success. Following are some of what we can all learn from her:
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In the previous post on the Skill of Speaking Up, a Responsible Conflict Resolution Technique, I described a case in which Yolanda, a new Latina staff member, made a suggestion at a staff meeting on how to increase their sales. She noted that she liked to spend time in small talk and relationship building before launching into the sales pitch. Jim, her White male colleague, dismissed her statement by responding, “I disagree completely. People want you to get to the point and not waste their time. All that small talk and personal stuff is so Hispanic.”

Josh, a coworker, spoke up responsibly using the three guidelines provided in the post. Not surprisingly, Jim took offense and countered to Josh, “Are you implying I’m racist?”

Jim graciously accepted Josh’s implicit disclaimer that he meant no harm, albeit acknowledging that he felt confused about what had happened. They all then went back to the meeting agenda.

That was the gist of the post. To read the full post, click here.

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Suppose you were at a meeting where one of your coworkers insults another? This is the stuff that breeds festering conflict in organizations.  What’s needed is a good conflict resolution technique.  Well-meaning people who are unfamiliar with conflict management may try one of these approaches:

  • Stay silent (after all, you are not involved)
  • Stay silent in the moment and talk to the offender privately later (this is consistent with the adage, “praise in public, criticize privately”)
  • Tell the offender in front of everyone that he’s completely out of line and explain why he is wrong
  • Change the topic so that the meeting can move on to more safe topics

If none of these options sounds satisfactory, then you’re right, there are other alternatives. We call it Speaking Up Responsibly.

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Preface: Martin Prouix, President of Pyxis and an organizational coach, posted this article on his blog, Analytical-Mind.com, this past fall. For years, I have asked students, people I coach, and sometimes even myself whether they would rather be right or effective.  Martin poses essentially the same question by asking, “is it better to be right or to be helpful.” His example on what can go wrong when trying to build effective relationships is worth sharing.

Jean

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Preface: In an earlier post, I continued the series on Napoleon Hill’s application of the Law of Attraction as explained in his 1928 book, Law of Success. This post is Part 2 on “the habit of doing more than paid for,” one of Hill’s principles for personal achievement and success. For Part 1, click here:

Hill describes two important periods that people who wish to be successful must go through. The first is learning and organizing knowledge about our field of work. This in itself requires tremendous effort.

The second is the period in which we must convince others that we can do the work. During this second period especially, Hill advises that every time we give our services, we gain another opportunity to prove to others what we can do. This is where the habit of doing more than is paid for becomes especially useful. As Hill explains:

“Instead of saying to the world, ‘Show me the color of your money and I will show you what I can do, reverse the rule and say, ‘Let me show you the color of my service so that I may take a look at the color of your money if you like my service’” (p.695).

Once we do more than is paid for, what Hill calls the Law of Increasing Returns kicks in to deliver our benefit.

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Preface: Does it make sense to do more than we are paid for? Napoleon Hill says yes, that the habit of doing more than we are paid for is key to our personal achievement and success.

This post continues the series on Napoleon Hill’s application of the Law of Attraction as explained in his 1928 book, Law of Success. The book provides fundamentals for achieving success for those who enact them. Hill developed his compendium of traits (with the help of Andrew Carnegie) based on interviews with over 500 successful men and women of the time.  In these posts, I discuss how Hill’s theory – and the Law of Attraction – is supported by behavioral science theories. For prior posts in this series, click here and here.

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Preface: The previous post described how I came to view “the law of attraction”as a voluntary behavioral modification technique. Recently popularized in the book, The Secret, the law of attraction holds that our thoughts determine what we attract into our lives. I decided to blog about this after reading the beginning of Napoleon Hill’s (1928) The Law of Success.

To continue from the previous post…..

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In Oprah Winfrey’s 25th and final season of her award-winning show, superstar Jennifer Hudson was scheduled to appear to discuss her amazing weight loss. Unfortunately for all of them, the taping was scheduled a day after the largest blizzard that Chicago had seen in 25 years, resulting in a textbook-like study of stress at work.

A behind-the-scenes look at what transpired that morning was shown on “Episode 116”of Season 25, the highly acclaimed reality show showing the makings of The Oprah Show’s 25th season.

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Employee motivation is a recurrent problem creating stress at work for managers, employees, and just about everyone who works with people. In this post, Professor Jeffrey Ford, an expert on personal leadership effectiveness, succinctly describes how to delegate a task to ensure clarity and increase motivation.

As an added bonus, readers of Reframing Change will recognize that these are a great set of questions for testing assumptions about expectations – whether you are the delegator of the task or the person to whom the task is assigned.

I am grateful to Professor Ford for giving me permission to reproduce this gem of a post.

 

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Why on earth would someone change their behavior just because you said so? And what  can you do about it?

Week after week, a manager complains to her staff about missed project deadlines. Usually, only one or two completely finish the tasks they were assigned. The others make some progress toward their weekly goals or none at all. She lectures them about taking personal responsibility for the team’s success.

An instructor gently chides students in his class for not participating more in class. As he stands in front of the classroom, looking at the 20 students clustered in rows in front of his desk, he says, “This is such a small class. We could have excellent participation if only you would talk more about the readings. If you want to advance in your careers, you need to learn to take more individual responsibility.”

A parent yells at her kid for dumping his books, jackets, and lunch box on the floor right by the door when she comes home from school every day. “This is your home,” she explains with exasperation in her voice. “When are you going to learn to take responsibility for how it looks?”

The concept of “leading consciously” implies individual responsibility — people willingly assuming conscious awareness of thoughts, emotions, and actions. Yet, individual responsibility alone won’t get us where we want to go if situational factors work against us. And lecturing others about individual responsibility is equally doomed to failure if their environment is compelling them in another direction.

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Preface:  Workplace Undercover is a recurring segment of this blog, featuring a workplace scenario and a response by a guest consultant. This scenario was written by Carole Marmell. Jennifer Joyce, cofounder of LeadershipSmarts, responds. This is the second of a three-part segment.

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In the previous post, Molly, a young bank employee, had expected supportive feedback from her manager during her yearly performance appraisal. Instead her manager strongly criticized her and accused her of acting arrogant and believing she is smarter than everyone else. What can Molly do?

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From Mindless Behavior to Leading Consciously

In the last few months, I have gotten into friendly debates with others about whether it is appropriate for local school boards to ban candy and soda from their public schools in light of the alarming increase in childhood obesity.

A recent Rasmussen Reports public poll shows how controversial an issue this is.  Results indicated that 52% of the public favors the ban and 40% oppose it.  This is a case in leading consciously.

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How to Get the Most Out of Coaching

Jennifer Joyce, co-founder of LeadershipSmarts, is this week’s guest blogger.

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Coaching is often a pivotal step in a person’s career. It represents a large investment of time, money, and personal work.  So how does one get the most out of such an important venture?

During my 15 years as a coach, I have found three keys to creating a successful engagement:

  • A clearly articulated coaching goal
  • Specific examples or stories from work, and
  • A willingness to look at self.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011 was National Lemonade Day, an event designed to teach entrepreneurial skills to children.  A few weeks before, Morgan, age 6, wrote us as her grandparents to ask us to invest $12.00 in her lemonade business.  With the aid of her father, she was going to set up a lemonade stand and sell lemonade on that date.

Her grandfather sent the check immediately.

A couple of weeks before the big day, we drove to her home and Morgan showed us the colored step-by-step workbook that the local entrepreneurial association had put together to guide participants through the business of selling lemonade.  It was impressive:  it included a week by week plan, a resource list, and a budget outline with places for the kids to fill in their own information — and, of course, color the illustrations.

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