With Patrick Mosher
Ever feel like you weren't being heard?
'Do you mean within the last hour?' The feeling of not being heard is common. Unfortunately … too common. We can't do much to improve another person's listening skills, so let's focus on our own.
Active Listening is a skill. Learnable. Improvable.
Wikipedia says Active Listening 'requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said.'
On a ten-point scale, how would you rate your Active Listening skill? 10? 5? C'mon be honest. We all can improve our Active Listening skills. We just need to learn more about it and then practice. And practice. And practice more. Until Active Listening becomes Habit.
Let's get to it!
There are three fundamental steps to Active Listening: Hear. Store. Respond.
Hear. You'd think something as simple as hearing is...
The end of the year is fast approaching. Wait. It's the end of a DECADE! Have you made your Decadal Plan? Decade as an adjective is Decadal. 10 year plan = Decadal Plan.
With such a monumental milestone at our doorstep, STOP running for a moment. Take a breath. Reflect where you are from three perspectives.
Perspective #1. The Gratitude View
Get settled. Take another deep breath. Now, recall ONE memory over the last 10 years that brings you joy. Got it? Bathe in that memory for a bit. <PAUSE> For me, the first ten-year memory that made me smile was my daughter getting married. I remember the wedding day like it was yesterday. My breath gets taken away when I see her in her wedding dress. I walk down the aisle and 'give her away.' At the reception, the song, "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor is our father-daughter dance. To this day, whenever I hear that song, I...
We traveled a long way to get here. Delphi, Greece. The place where Pythia, the Delphi Oracle, received pilgrims seeking answers to questions related to their most pressing issues. Politicians, kings and philosophers traveled the arduous journey to the Delphi Oracle. Why? Because they believed she spoke Truth.
What question would you ask, if you had complete faith the answer would be absolutely True?
I call this the Delphi Oracle Question (DOQ). I use this metaphor in my events and programs. When I prepare for big events or ceremonies, I brainstorm my DOQ. Review and revise it. Imagine if you could receive absolute Truth, wouldn't you hone that question to get it just right? The process of honing my question is a habit and I'm amazed at how the question is always answered! Perhaps not in the way or timing I expect, but always answered.
Well, here I was at the actual site of the Delphi Oracle! Magnificent...
You may think this piece is about life after turning 55. I have a great story of turning 50, but that story is for another time.
This story begins in Cuzco, Peru. A few years ago, I had a magical 'pull' to conduct an event in the sacred mountains of Machu Picchu. I conducted a dry run of the event because of the exotic location. So, my team and I took off for Machu Picchu, flying through Lima and staging in Cuzco Peru.
When I landed in Cuzco, I felt a little 'off.' It was like having a mild case of sunstroke. A little confusion. Head a little blurry. Altitude. Cuzco is at about 11,000 feet. I slept well that first night, but woke in the morning still dizzy. I was downing coco tea, a local remedy for altitude sickness. Due to my Cardiac Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), I carry a small oximeter which measures my oxygen levels. Oximeter read 64%. For people without lung problems, typical readings...
I took a walk in the woods. Listened to the geese honking noisily overhead. Breathed air deep into my lungs. Felt the Fall leaves crunch under my feet. Even two nearby dogs incessant barking were beautiful pieces in my reverie.
We give our time to our jobs, our children, our spouses. We serve generously. After all, we are giving beings.
Isn't it interesting that we give time, but if we want time for ourselves, we have to take it. Taking time feels like we're stealing it. HEY WAIT A MINUTE! Wasn't it our time to begin with?
When do you live at your pace?
My next story is controversial.
Early in my career, we proposed on a huge training design and development project. The client wanted us to bid on the training delivery as well. To deliver training, we would send our high-priced consultants to each of the 300 stores across the US. Sounds good, but our price would put us in the...
I was talking to a Senior at my alma mater, Purdue, recently. He was graduating with a four-year graphic design degree. Wow! Think of the hard work. The many classes. Drawings. Computer Programs. Tests. Projects. 4 years of hard work.
"What do you want to do when you graduate."
His answer surprised me.
"I'm not sure I'm qualified to take a full-time job so I'm thinking I'll take a part-time job to learn what I need to do a good job."
I looked at him. Stunned. Here's a young man who has worked hard for 4 years and doesn't have the confidence to put his hard work into practice. I guess he's suffering from the "Not Good Enough" syndrome. Ever caught that dis-ease?
I launched into my story from my Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering and how I had seen many failures along the way. One particular one sticks with me today. You see, I flunked second semester Organic Chemistry in my second...
"Let's Go. Go. Go!!" "Where are we going?"
My 4-year old nephew. So full of life. Boundless energy. Always seeking the next big adventure. His life is one discovery after another.
I was also taken aback by his exclamation. Our lives are full of activity, but do we fill our lives with Action? Do we know where we're going?
Webster defines Action as the accomplishment of a thing. And Success is the accomplishment of an Aim or Goal.
Action is different than Activity. Action moves towards your goal. It's your journey to achieve what you want …. your success!
Sit back for a moment and think about what you want to accomplish today. Write it down. What Action do you need to take today to accomplish that thing? Voila! You have today's Action Plan! Today's Success is within reach!
Now let's hone this a bit. Any activity not aligned with accomplishing the...
The definition of Wisdom is the soundness of act or decision based on knowledge, experience and good judgment. I LOVE this definition. Why? It tells you exactly how to acquire Wisdom!
Interested in making WISER decisions? Let's focus on KNOWLEDGE.
Tom Peters, a prolific business writer of the 80's and 90's, gave us a provocative way to describe the Information Age. First there was Data. We built systems to store and transfer it. Then came Information. We elevated the importance of information to the C-suite with, Chief Information Officer. Then, we included people. When a person stores or transfers information and applies it, we have KNOWLEDGE! We entered the Age of the Knowledge Worker. Through social networking studies, we found key knowledge nodes in organizations – people who generated tremendous value with the sheer knowledge (and experience) they accumulated.
Knowledge workers work smart. ...
I was working on a project in Canada. My client counterpart was fabulous. She knew her people. She was incredibly supportive about the capability we were building in her organization and was overjoyed about the skills this initiative would build in her people.
About six months into the project, our relationship began to erode. She delegated important decisions to her direct reports. She stopped showing up for meetings. To keep the project rolling, I went around and above her to get decisions made. And eventually, she avoided contact with me altogether. I couldn't figure it out. Things were getting ugly.
I went to the partner in charge of the project for advice.
Virginia wasn't high on the EQ scale. In fact, she bemoaned her lack of people skills. Introvert and driven, she delivered hard messages somewhat …. Indelicately.
And yet, she gave me perhaps the BEST people advice I'd ever received in my...
When I was a Chemical Engineering Coop student at Corning Glass Works, I was assigned to a project in Medford Massachusetts. The problem: micron-sized holes etched into teeny tiny beads were not uniform. These beads hold substrate used to test blood for disease. Don't sweat, I'm not going to talk about the science of Radio-Immuno Assays (RIA).
There was a man named Blackie.
I needed to test samples of glass pellets in a HUGE oven, an industrial sized oven. The inside of the oven is probably the volume of your kitchen. Yea, that's one BIG oven! The only non-production oven that size was "on the hill" in our Research & Development Center. The only way access that oven was to review your plans with…Blackie.
Blackie had a reputation. He had been in the industry for over 20 years….or was it 200 years? I can't remember. Anyway, the guy was ancient to this 21 year-old. If you didn't have your...
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