Say Yes or Say No, but Quit Dropping the Ball

January 15, 2010

People fall into one of two camps: Those who keep their commitments and those who don’t. Those who keep their commitments, almost always judge those who don’t.  Those of us who are sticklers for keeping our word  label those who don’t  as flighty, undependable or incompetent.

“Why can’t people just do what they say they are going to do? Why do so many people continuously drop the ball?” we ask, using one hand to pat ourselves on the back and the other hand to point a finger.  (Of course judging others is never good either, but that’s another article.)

In judging others, we come up with all kinds of theories about why people are so undependable: The theories range from character defects, to a lack of organizational skills, to intentional cat and mouse game-playing.

Although there may be a kernel of truth to all of these theories, I now have a new theory that is a bit kinder than some of these other theories floating around. The new theory is entitled The Avoidance Trap.

The Avoidance Trap Theory is based on the idea that when people drop the ball or fail to follow through it is because there were certain things that (unbeknownst to them) they were trying to avoid.

For example, some common situations most people want to avoid include admitting that they do not know how to manage time, that they always over commit, appearing to be selfish,  unappealing work, saying “no” to someone they want to please, and letting others down.

The Avoidance Trap manifests itself by not being able to clearly say “yes” or “no” and the intention is often an unconscious need to please momentarily without looking at the long-term effects. The result is lots of loose ends, dropped balls, lost trust and a bad reputation.

The Avoidance Trap shows up in all areas of life, from the person who volunteers to be on the non profit board and doesn’t show up, to the customer who promises to call you back but doesn’t, to the sales rep who guarantees you that your bill will be adjusted then blames the customer service rep.

The Avoidance Trap manifests in three stages:

  • Saying “yes” with no understanding of the requirements
  • Making excuses to cover for their poor performance
  • Blaming others for their inability to follow up

For example the volunteer says, “yes” even though he is overextended. The intention may be good at the time, however the “volunteer” avoids looking at the facts of his over extended schedule.  Or the volunteer avoids asking about what is required.  Or perhaps he says yes to avoid looking selfish, and this pattern ripples into stage two; making excuses.

It’s easier to make excuses rather than to renege on a deal. What is being avoided is performing unappealing work or disappointing others.

The excuses depend on the situation and range from “I had to work overtime,” or “I was out of town.”

The customer who promised to call you  back  uses other excuses: “I lost your number,” or “I’ve been meaning to call,” or “It’s in a stack of to-do items,” and so on.  What is being avoided is saying “no” to a product or service, thereby disappointing the salesperson.

When the excuses no longer work the last resort is to blame.  For example the sales rep that promised to adjust your bill, then blames the customer service rep when your unrevised bill shows up in your mailbox.

A more subtle way of blaming is by passing the buck.  The prospect finally says, “I am not the main decision maker,” or  “the committee said no. ”

A way to eradicate the Avoidance Trap  is to ask yourself this question: “What am I committed to?”

If you are committed to excellence in business and integrity in your relationships, that commitment requires you to become a more conscious and competent communicator.

The commitment to excellence and integrity requires that you stop making excuses, quit blaming others, and say a clear “yes” or a clear “no.”  The commitment to excellence also requires those who do keep their word, to stay focused on what you can control instead of pointing fingers at some one else’s character flaw.

Your reputation is dependent upon the way you represent yourself, and you represent yourself by your integrity or your lack of it.

When you fail to follow through, forget your promise, or say something that you regret, you are representing yourself.  You represent yourself as one who is not aware, as one who cannot follow through, as one who has no focus, or as one who cannot be taken seriously.

When someone tells you that you have poor customer service and you respond by saying, “I couldn’t help it, we were short of help,” you have represented yourself as one who makes excuses instead of one who solves problems.

You represent yourself by the choices you make every single day.  By your choices you reveal your commitments.

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Stop Holiday Drama

December 22, 2009

Want to get the Free Audio?

If  you want to get access to the free audio download, go to this web page and register. The audio will automatically appear after you sign up, as long as you do so before 2010.  Here’s the link!

Content Rich Learning Points

  • Identify the familiar patterns of drama
  • Discern the three components common in all drama
  • Why clarity is key
  • How to know when you get off course
  • 7 useful tips to master your mindset
  • Communication techniques
  • Practical exercises to do before the holidays

What is Your Holiday DRAMA Question?

Do you have a “holiday drama” question? If so, just ask me your holiday drama question in this blog and I’ll do my best,  using the Stop Your Drama Methodology to give you some new insights and clarity.

Want to read the questions asked me during the seminar? Click here to download a 20 page Q and A document. I’m sure you’ll see yourself in at least one of these questions.


Stop Reacting: 3 Tips for Conscious Communication

December 15, 2009

During the stressful and fast paced holiday season it’s easy to get triggered into drama in the form of overreacting, getting sucked into an argument or feeling overly sensitive.

These three conscious communication tips will help you stay in charge.

As you can see, these tips are not about the words you speak but more about the internal journey, or what I call “the emotional journey.”

Using these techniques will help you stay in control with dealing with

  • An irate customer
  • An unreasonable co-worker
  • An irritable boss
  • Your ex spouse
  • Your extended family

If you find these tips to be helpful, drop me a line and let me know.

Want to learn more about mastering your communication by listening to your body?
Join me to hear Steve Sisgold on my Attitude Builders program!

Happy holidays to you!


What Makes Someone Boring?

December 2, 2009

According to communication expert Peter DeLisser in his book, Be Your Own Executive Coach, certain communication mistakes makes the listener expend too much energy.

1. Telling more than needs to be told
2. Talking too fast
3. No articulation
4. Too long to get to the point

Other communication blunders include not talking in their language, talking down or raising your voice, monopolizing the conversation and interrupting.  Then there’s my personal favorite, the “me me me” syndrome—only talking about yourself.  Poor communicators are often unaware of making these impressions and in certain networking situations they seem to hover around like a dark cloud or stick to you like a leech.

Click here to download a matrix to help you improve your skills quickly!


Stop Holiday Drama

November 11, 2009

I used to dread the holidays, and I also felt guilty because it was my secret. I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

Most people have mixed feelings during the holiday season. That’s because relationship challenges always come to the surface and magnify. This drama can be avoided if you know how to access the power of clarity.

Join me for this special edition of Attitude Builders absolutely free. The Attitude Builders membership is usually for members only, however this is my holiday gift to my friends, and subscribers.

In this  teleseminar I will share the very first step in the Stop Your Drama Methodology.  We’ll talk about how to get crystal clear, specific communication techniques to keep you in control, and I’ll even give you some tools to create the right mind set when dealing with difficult people or situations.

Join me by registering here.


Five Indicators of Poor Listening Skills

November 2, 2009

These five habits indicate you may not have effective listening skills.

1. Multi-tasking
2. Interrupting
3. Giving advice too soon
4. Discounting
5. Stage hogging

Download a free PDF article to get more in depth information including a matrix on how to implement solutions to become a better listener!

How about listening to your body? Join me November 20th where I interview Steve Sisgold, Author of What is Your Body Telling You.


How to Excape a Conversation

October 14, 2009

Have you ever felt trapped in a conversation? Perhaps you are tired. For example, you are at a conference and your brain is so full you can’t bear another moment of  banter,  but for some reason you don’t know how to exit the conversation. Or perhaps you are at a meeting and the long-winded associate has you held captive and she just took another breath before starting yet another story?  Here are some easy ways to leave a conversation while keeping the relationship in tact.

Give clear messages. Don’t encourage them by nodding, smiling and asking questions if you want to move on. Take a deep breath and say, “I’ve enjoyed meeting you. There are a few people I need to go speak with before I leave.”

Make a Connection. (This is a good plan to keep in your back pocket.) Introduce them to someone else and after you have included them in another conversation you can gracefully walk away, or sometimes they will make the exit.

Avoid making excuses. Often at state or national conferences you might be cornered by someone who suggests going to get coffee or having an extended visit.  Simply say “Thanks, but I want to unwind in my room before the next session.”

Be true to yourself. If they are persistent about meeting you later simply say, “I promised myself that I wasn’t going to create a schedule or deadlines.  Perhaps we will run into each other, but I want to keep my promise to myself.

Become self-aware. Self-awareness increases the likelihood that you will engage in mutually rewarding communications without boring one person and trying to escape from another.