Integrity: Inspect What You Expect

Leaders check-in on what they expect to improve. Not for keeping score or ego-boost purposes, but because improvement is at the core of what effective leaders do and they make it a priority to stay on top of things.

A few weeks ago we conducted the first of five speaking skills conferences in the month of January for members of the Oklahoma FFA Association. The great little town of Dover hosted this first training. A good friend of mine is a Dover High School administrator and he came over to say hi. I thanked him for hosting the event and for stopping by. He replied with a very leaderly statement...

"Well, I expect good things today and I always inspect what I expect."

Ask yourself this question, what are you expecting from others today and what is your system for tracking goals, actions, improvement and/or decline?

Regarding your expectations, keep them high, look for the good and remember to separate the person from the performance.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. What are 5 aspects about your leadership skills, team, or life in general that you are expecting to improve?

2. How can you inspect these expectations?

3. Why is it important to revisit, inspect, evaluate, and adjust expectations over the course of time?

4. What does it mean to separate the “person from the performance?”

5. What can you do to ensure that you are always expecting realistic results?

6. As a leader, why is it important to inspect what you expect from others?


Emotional Maturity: Do You Set the Mood or Does the Mood Set You?

Effective leaders understand the difference between being like a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermometer goes with the flow. If things are good, they are in a good mood, have a good attitude and see the good. If things are bad, their demeanor, attitude and outlook turn bad.

A thermostat sets the temperature. No matter what is going on around them, a thermostat's internal mood is constant. Through the sheer force of their personality, their leadership methods or their attitude, they set the mood of the entire environment and everyone/everything in it.

Of course, being a thermostat can be a good thing or a bad thing. Some people's internal mood is constantly set on negative. Even in the face of loads of positive, they seek out and find that speck of negative.

Step 1: Learn how to be the thermostat, not the thermometer.

Step 2: Set your internal thermostat to positive, constructive, and encouraging.
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1. What can you do on a daily basis to stay positive?
2. When was a time that you let a situation or another person negatively affect your attitude?
3. What could you have done to be a thermostat and stay positive?
4. What are the advantages of staying positive in the face of challenging situations?


Masterful Communication: The Improved Elevator Speech - OTIS Style

In the 1800's Elisha Graves Otis invented a safety device that prevented elevators from falling if the hoisting cable broke. Today Otis Elevator Company is the largest elevator company in the world. Of course what Elisha didn't invent was a safety device to prevent conversations from falling silent in elevators and during other potentially awkward moments. Nor did he invent a method for maximizing those short windows of time many of us have to communicate our ideas to a potential buyer, our resume to a future boss or our background to a new friend.

The "elevator speech" is a time to quickly communicate a message; normally 30-seconds or less. Practice the following formula for any messages you know you will be called to give in the next few days during networking opportunities, business meetings, or socializing (who you are, what your organization is all about, selling an idea, etc.)

O - Opening
First impressions are made in the first three seconds. The eight-second number we have all heard for years is actually the time it takes for someone to either confirm or deny their first thoughts. This means your first words need to be intentional, meaningful and purposeful. They should start taking the listener right where you want them to go. Not an appetizer, but the first bites of the main course.

T - Target
The words you use depends on the recipient. Even within the same context (ex. - sharing an idea about a project to your peers), the words you use will change depending on the person's position, their familiarity with you and the idea, and the purpose of that particular interaction. This may seem obvious, but we can get lazy and very self-focused in situations like this. Being target focused means you have your attention on them. Leaving a "you are more important than me" residue on a conversation is just as important as the words you say during it.

I - Intentional
This speaks to how you engage, why you engage and where you put the focus of your OTIS conversation. Most times you will have to do the initiation because people are primarily interested in talking about themselves or not talking at all. So, be bold and talk first.

Secondly, the biggest question we have when someone starts a conversation with us is "what is this person's intentions?" Answer that question quickly. Getting intentions out in the open will either grease the wheels of the conversation or shut it down quickly. But, better to not have a conversation that the other person really doesn't want to have than to waste time for both of you.

Finally, you will benefit greatly by initiating the conversation in the context of something that interests them, not you. This is easier said than done, but masterful conversationalist get things said quickly and spend most of the conversation listening and asking questions.

S - Simple
Your formula for what is in your elevator speech should be simple. Your preparation should be in bullet point format. Your words should be void of confusing terms or "industry jargon." Communicating in a simple manner is about cutting through the noise and gaining their attention quickly. Stories, while sometimes too long for an elevator speech time frame, are great at simple because they are concrete and visual.


Wise Judgment: How a Millionaire Makes Decisions

A man walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan officer.

He told the loan officer that he was going to the Philippines on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan.

Then the man handed over the keys to a new Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. He produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to accept the car as collateral for the loan. The bank’s president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the guy for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral against a $5,000 loan.

An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank’s underground garage and parked it there. Two weeks later, the guy returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest, which came to $15.41.

The loan officer said, “Sir, we are very happy to have had your business and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multi-millionaire. What puzzles us is why you would bother to borrow $5,000. The millionaire replied, “Where else in New York City can I park my Ferrari for $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?”

That's how the majority of the wealthy people in America get and remain wealthy. They know a ton more about money management than the average person and they use this specific knowledge to make better financial decisions.

Making better choices is mainly about getting great information and then disciplining yourself to use it.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. The Millionaire came at the problem of parking his Ferrari from a different direction then most would. What is an area of your life that could benefit from attacking the problem from a different direction?

2. What are the advantages of attacking a problem from a different direction?

3. What are some ways you can discipline yourself to use the information you have to make better choices?


Masterful Communication: Seth Godin Tip

For your next presentation...
  • Put up a slide with a simple, but powerful visual (no text).

  • Create an "I want to know what that means" moment by delaying explanation or just allowing for a few moments of audience examination.

  • Explain the connection between the visual and your content - it should be a leap to connect the two, but not a huge leap.

This tip from Seth comes from Garr Reynolds' new book on giving simple, yet powerful presentations - Presentation Zen.


Masterful Communication: Authenticity Rules Blog

My presentation coaching blog has a new home and a new focus. I have blogged for a year at http://speak.terapad.com and produced 50 posts on everything from AV set-up, overcoming nervousness, storytelling, and many more topics relevant to novice and advanced communicators.

The new blog, Authenticity Rules, will cover much of the same information, but everything will funnel down to how to be more authentic before, during and after your presentations. Check it out, subscribe and forward this link to three friends who present on a regular basis...