Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Challenge To Change The Game

Today I heard an ad from Ultimate Electronics. It is turning a concept and tradition on its head by challenging the fundamental level of it.

The concept they are challenging is Black Friday. The tradition they are turning on its head is the idea that people want to scour ads, wake up early in the morning, stand out in the cold in line, and then poke and prod their way to the product that is the early bird special.

The question they asked is, “What would happen if people didn’t have to do that? What if they knew all week they could get those items at our store for the block buster price?”

So they are running ads telling you they will shop all the electronic competition and will offer those same door buster prices on those items all week long. No need to rush. No need to lose sleep.

My questions to you are:
• What traditions or concepts do you need to challenge in your business?
• What could you gain by taking on those challenges?
• How could you change the game with your competition?

Anne Warfield
More on taking on challenges by Anne Warfield

Monday, November 23, 2009

Right versus Wrong: How this Second Belief Blocks You With Conflict

If you are just tuning in you want to read back to the blog on “Three Beliefs that Block Your Effectiveness with Conflict.” This blog will talk about belief number 2: You must get the person to understand where they are wrong and you are right.

When you believe you need to get the person to see where you are right and they are wrong you are making two critical assumptions that shut down your ability to listen. They are:
1. You are assuming there is a right or a wrong. This means you will only listen for data and facts that fit what you see as right or wrong. Much of the valid data you need for critical thinking will be lost for you as your brain won’t even be able to “hear” or “see” it.
2. You are better or have better information than the other person, and therefore you have the right perspective. Think back to the Allegory of the Cave by Plato. The person looking at the shadows saw the “truth” of the shadows on the wall. The person looking at the wall couldn't even begin to “hear” about what was casting the shadow because to them, the shadow was the truth. Which person are you- the person seeing the shadow or the person seeing the real object?

You want to be able to take in as much information as possible so you can see the possibilities in the conflict rather than the improbabilities.

In order to shatter this belief you have to get rid of the belief that there is a right or wrong AND that you need the other person to validate your position.

Instead of focusing on the “but or however” start focusing on the “And”.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the third belief and how it trips you up when dealing with conflict.

Anne Warfield
More on developing effective communication skills by Anne Warfield

Friday, November 20, 2009

Three Beliefs that Block Your Effectiveness With Conflict

We act as though conflict is a bad thing. We are taught that we must resolve all conflict. The goal that is implied is peace- no disruptions.

I disagree. I think conflict is good, even necessary if you are to be innovative and creative. To be innovative and creative means you have to question all that is and try to create what doesn't exist. In and of itself, this means you will disrupt the lives of people that like to have things stay consistent without much change.

So, if you don't have any conflict, then most likely your team is filled with yes people and you are stretching your imaginations to the limit. Now having said that I want to make sure we all have the same definition of conflict.

Conflict, to me is about duality. It is about the differences between things that give us new insights and possibilities. I believe conflict should be a building block, not a stumbling block.

The majority of people handle conflict poorly. This stems from three fundamental beliefs that block you in handling conflict:

1. In conflict you must get the person to see and , best case scenario, agree with your side in order to resolve the conflict.
2. You must get the person to understand where they are wrong and you are right.
3. All conflict needs to be resolved so we are at peace as a team.

In the next three blogs I will be taking one of these at a time and showing you how this belief freezes your mind and blocks you from dealing effectively with conflict.

Belief #1: You need to get the person to see and agree with your side in order to resolve the conflict.

Why? It causes you to do things that derail the conflict.

1. This approach causes your brain to immediately move to making a laundry list of all the reasons they should agree with you. It is a faulty premise and leads your brain to defense thinking.

2. As you list all your reasons their brain moves immediately to defending their side and finding the holes in your argument.

3. They may never be able to see or understand your side because they have not experienced it. They say the Indians couldn't see the Mayflower as it approached because their brain couldn't even conceive of a ship that big. Therefore, the Pilgrims were able to land without the Indians being any the wiser. Trying to argue your side when someone can't even see it is likely trying to share the Mayflower when a person can't see it. Save your breath.

4. As you try to get them to see your side, all of your energy and focus is on YOU, not them. Not a good way to magnetically get them to connect with you.

In order to shatter this belief you have to see conflict not as opposing but as enlightening. It is a way to expand your thinking, not contract it. It is a way for both you and and another party to create and build what was not there before.

Stay tuned for more on the conflict beliefs and how to shatter them.

Anne Warfield
More on developing your conflict management skills by Anne Warfield

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Birdseed to Seed Money

Birdseed. Imagine if in 1981 someone asked you how much money you could make selling birdseed. Seems to be a limited market doesnt' it? I mean imagine the retail space you need to rent and the amount per square foot you would need to generate in order to make it profitable.

The only way it will work is with one magic ingredient-one that costs no money. Jim Carpenter knew what that ingredient was so he took the risk and launched his business. This "little" business now does $120 million dollars a year in revenue s Wild Birds Unlimited.

Seems to be amazing, especially when you consider how much business he did BEFORE the internet took off. He had to get all bird lovers in an area to come to his physical store and he did it with his secret ingredient.

You, too, can have his secret ingredient if you tap in to the right part of you. He had passion for birds. He loved all aspects of them and he wanted to share that passion with other bird lovers. That is how he started his store.

His passion drove people to come to his store to buy birdseed as well as to learn about birds.

Other companies have had this magic formula and they went away from it in order to have more efficiency and profit. Think of Sears.In the tool department, they used to hire men that loved to build things. You knew you could go to Sears to find a hammer and get a lesson on the nails and other equipment you need to build the proper deck. Most of the men in a neighborhood bought Craftsman tools.

Then Sears when to building center kiosk for selling and hired high school kids to man their floors. Suddenly the "extra" you went to Sears for was no longer there. See they didn't GO for the Craftsman tools- they went for the information and passion that came free with the Craftsman tools. The use value a person got from that experienced salesman on the floor is what made them fork over the money to buy the tools.

So here is your take action:

1.Define what you are passionate about.
2.Figure out how to let others see and feel it so it has a "use value" to them.

When they feel the "use value" that causes them to want to do more business with you, work closer as a collegue with you or to follow you as a leader.

Anne Warfield
More on Sales Training by Anne Warfield

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Story is in what you say and what you hear

Aesop's Fables have lived on for so many years because we remember the moral or lesson due to the story.

When presenting we are taught to create and craft a story to help anchor our message in the audience's mind. But there is another important aspect to story telling that we often don't think about as leaders but it is a vital one.

Leaders spend so much time telling stories that they forget to listen for stories. How well people embrace your corporate values, directions and goals can be heard in the stories that people tell.

Each week encourage people to share with you a story that will give you better insight. Do this by asking a thought-provoking question such as, "Share with me a customer story you experienced that demonstrates phenomenal customer service."

In everything there is duality, so ask for a story on the opposite side as well- "share with me a story that shows customer service that frustrated our customer."

Listen and don't interrupt the person. You aren't trying to edit their story but instead to let it unfold. Think of interrupting as having about the same affect as someone stopping you kissing to coach you on how to kiss. This is the time to just experience the kiss of the story.

Try to see some parallels in the stories you hear. Are there disconnects with what the company says versus what the customer experiences? How about the employees? Do they experience from management the same high level of service that you expect them to provide to your customers?

Think about how these stories can be creatively used- to give live "testimonials", to highlight employees, to launch new directives.

Your company is a wealth of stories; the question is are you maximizing the riches of them?

Anne Warfield
More on Leadership Development from Anne Warfield

How to Flip Your Brain from Defense to Offense!

Is there a way to train your brain to say the right thing at the right time every time?

If you have ever put your foot in your mouth or stood with a wide eyed look because you don’t know what to say next, then you will want to tune in.

You will learn why your brain does what it does and how to unleash the full power of you.

The brain is your most powerful instrument yet ironically it is actually designed with communication to work against you rather than for you…unless you know the secret switch to power it up in a dramatically new way.

Join us for this enlightening webinar designed to help you flip your brain to the offense.

Take 30 seconds to RSVP for this “NO-COST WEBINAR” on Thursday November 19 at 1:00 cst.

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/960134002