Archive for November 2018

Skepticism vs Cynicism

Skepticism vs Cynicism

Both attitudes force us to question what we and others are doing or suggesting. Both can have some healthy self searching and lead to good debates. But skepticism can end in great support for new ideas once questions are explored and answered while cynicism doesn’t give in or give up.

Be careful of people who are cynics but say or think they are skeptics.

Ask questions like what would it take to change your mind? How will you support this new effort if the majority of evidence says to move ahead?

That Important Pause

I’ve been coaching about the importance of pauses for a long time. It comes up in my book, Business, Brains & BS, and is part of most seminars and workshops that I do. This morning I read a phrase that says it best. It is the sound of thinking.

Peter Bergman in an article in Harvard Business Review said something else I won’t forget.

If you have been reading what I write or have attended one of my speeches or seminars you know that I always encourage questions and say questions are a sign of intelligence. Bergman’s brilliant two questions take courage. 1: Do you want to get better? And then it is important to pause patiently until the person answers. Question 2, ‘Are you willing to be uncomfortable in the process?’

Does any of this describe Your Business Meetings?

Another Look at Your Business Meetings

Business Meetings are a microcosm of how your company includes and excludes ideas and contributions. Who speaks up, and even more important, who is listened to. Who gets credit for an idea, who takes credit for an idea. Who grumbles. Who rolls their eyes. Who keeps looking at their smart phone or laptop. And do they do it consistently when certain people are speaking.

Conscious and unconscious bias is contagious. Like a sneeze, we can pick up the disease without realizing it.

Business Meetings

Your Business Meetings

Even if your company is working hard on inclusiveness and diversity, it is important to pay attention to how you get everyone equal ‘floor time’ in the meeting. How do you do that?

One way is to use silent and anonymous idea generation. Hand out a pile of sticky note paper or 3×5 cards. Challenge everyone to come up with a minimum of 5 ways to solve a problem you’ve been working on or a new way to market a declining product. No talking and no sharing during this initial thinking and writing time.

Then all ideas get put up equally on a flip chart or white board. Organize by categories or similarity.

All ideas are valuable, some will work on their own. Most will work better in combination with others on the board. Some can be expanded by discussion.

You may decide to organize the ideas by how long they would take to do a trial or to implement in general, or by cost, effort, or ROI. You may even decide to try out the most outrageous first because standing out is better than blending in and being boring.

Are you in the Chicago area?

This Saturday, November 10, 2018, I will be at TedX Naperville doing a follow-up to last year’s TedX talk on mind mapping. I will be coaching audience members and participants on mind mapping the speeches they hear and want to remember. If you are there, come find me and say hello.

How to be Decisive

Acting decisively does not mean always making fast decisions. There are times when it it possible and necessary to make a decision quickly. Then being decisive means not only making the decision quickly but acting on it quickly.

But most of the decisions you need to make, and especially most business decisions, are better made with thought, taking a reasonable amount of time to collect information, list options available, think it through, ask for alternative viewpoints, do some pros and cons, and …then be decisive and take action.