Thursday, December 14, 2017

Think Before You Act BUT Interrogate Your Thoughts

.3 Seconds. 

I read somewhere that that’s the time it takes between having a thought and acting on that thought.

To an Olympic athlete .3 seconds can be the difference between a Gold Medal and not making it onto the podium. To an ordinary human being .3 seconds can be the difference between thinking a stupid thought and being accused of sexual harassment, being fired, or other negative outcomes.

What can you do in those .3 seconds? Breathe. Ask yourself… Why am I having that thought right now? What emotion am I feeling? Am I feeling threatened, weak, alienated, angry? Do I want the person in front of me to respect me more, like me more, just plain go away? Do I want this person to hurt like they have hurt me? Do I think this person needs to be taken down a peg? Is this thought/idea that I’m about to act on or speak really even my thought or is it an old cultural or societal belief that I’ve adopted?

Just asking yourself one of those questions could save you from doing or saying something that you’ll regret. And if you’ve asked the right question, you may even discover another way to deal with your fear, feeling of threat or need for respect. If something about the other person triggers you, there are ways to create a conversation that addresses how you feel and eliminates the need for you to do or say something that will only exacerbate the situation.

Olympic athletes train constantly to erase the .3 seconds that separates them from their competitor or even their own record. Shouldn’t we train as diligently to make good use of the .3 seconds that separates us from doing or saying something that could potentially ruin our lives?
I'm dedicated to working with individuals and organizations to give them the tools they need to navigate those .3 seconds and beyond.

 Let's talk. You can schedule a phone call here.
In the next .3 seconds ask yourself, how much better off would I or my team be if we knew how to communicate more effectively?

Communication Rx - The Case of the Employee Caught in a Foolish Lie

I love the ongoing relationships I have with some organizations who bring me in whenever an issue involving communication threatens to impact morale, productivity or effectiveness. I get to be like a superhero or a medical specialist called in to save the day or in some cases, pronounce the situation terminal. In this instance, I was able to diagnose the problem and prescribe a treatment plan that may have saved a person his job, the organization the expense of having to hire additional staff and/or replace a valuable employee AND created a vibrant more efficient department.  

The call came from Nancy, a director of an organization I've been working with for five plus years. (names have been changed) Nancy told me she wanted me to work with one of her IT staff members, let’s call him Carl. Carl had a long history at this particular organization and Nancy felt some loyalty to him but that was wearing thin. She was entertaining the possibility of letting him go. 


Nancy had heard from some of her staff that Carl was ‘rude’ or dismissive to them. In addition, Carl’s immediate boss, George, felt that Carl often didn’t do things the way he wanted them to be done which made him think Carl was taking short cuts and did not respect his authority. Carl was asked to contact me over the summer but did not do so. In October, Carl was late for work one day and lied to George about it. That was the last straw. Nancy told him he MUST contact me or else…