Do they Trust You?

Summary: To be an effective leader, you have to have “positive trust”. How do you know if you do?

two people 320x226 Do they Trust You?

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Regardless of the type of leader you are – business, community, volunteer, or sports. The one thing you must have, without a doubt, in order to be effective is Trust.

Trust:   assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something ~ Miriam Webster

Trust is one of those things that you either have it or you don’t. When was the last time you said “I kinda trust him” – probably never. You either trust someone or you don’t. I like to refer to having “positive trust” which is one that has a positive or encouraging element to it. In other words, you are trusted to do the right thing at the right time or with the right intentions.

“Negative trust” can be described as the opposite. The kind of trust where people know you will only do things in your own self-interest regardless of the effect on others, its all about you – not the company, peers, partners, etc. I have heard people say “my boss can be trusted – to mess it up” or “to ignore what we are saying” or “what’s best for the team”. Most people don’t want to have this kind of trust.

Do they trust you?

How can you tell? Here are some clues to see if you have “positive” trust.

  • People come to me with concerns
  • People share their ideas
  • They tell you things in confidence
  • They start conversations with “I know you can fix this”
  • People will share some of the negative feedback/gossip in order to turn it around.

If you don’t have trust, start with the small things to turn it around. While trust is easy to loose, it is hard to gain. Over time and with consistency you can regain their trust.

How do you know if you have trust? Share below.



Leadership is the key to Successful Teams

Summary: How does a team become successful? Leadership. Have a common goal, talk about it and more.


result of leadership quote 320x320 Leadership is the key to Successful Teams

I realize it’s not an event everyone watches here in the USA or is obsessive as me. Every four years I look forward to the FIFA World Cup (soccer in the USA and football everywhere else). One the reasons I like it so much is that the best teams, not every country gets to compete, with their best players. If you are so-so on soccer watch a game or two and you may see why I’m addicted.

One of the amazing things about the national teams is the players don’t get a chance to play together often. The majority of their time is spent with their clubs, they may play with the national team several times a year in tournaments.

So how do these teams become so successful? Leadership. They have a common goal – championship. Having the goal defined is the starting point.  To make a championship team the coach makes sure each person understands their role, how it interacts with the others and how it helps the team. For example: the goalie is to stop the other team from scoring and the striker is to make goals.

So how does this translate to business? Easily.

Do you have a well defined goal? Does you team know what your goal is? How do they know if the company is successful? Do you measure sales? Customer service? Number of customers served? Which ever measures you use – are you sharing?

Take it a step further, don’t only share the goal, explain to them their role in reaching the goal, each person contributes regardless of their role inside or outside of the company.  Outside influences on your goals may be your CPA, vendors, consultants, etc. Help them understand the dynamics of working with each other. How each person affects the other which can result in achieving the goal.

What are your goals? How can your team help?



How Do You Make Them Feel?

Summary:  Maya Angelou has a wonderful quote about how people remember how you made them feel. Imagine your impact on the business if people feel empowered and engaged.

Maya Angelou has a wonderful quote that is directly related to leadership and working with people. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” maya angelou1 320x185 How Do You Make Them Feel?   Not sure if you agree, think back to people in your life – personal and work – and what are your first thoughts of them. Are they feelings? Feelings beyond happy, sad, and angry. How about the feelings of empowered, energized, respected, worth, or appreciated. Now take a look at the people you are working with, trying to influence in your life – would they use similar words to describe you? What impact would it have on you, those around you and your business if people would use these words to describe you? Too often we get caught up in the “do it now” and our own to-do list to see a bigger picture of helping someone in their journey. In a business this could mean your clients – are you going beyond the “work” and educating them? It could mean your employees – are you coaching them to be accountable? In your home life – how empowered are your parents, partner or kids? Feeling have a habit of being called “soft” or too “touchy feely”, that’s an easy way to dismiss we have greater impact on people than we may realize. Need assistance in working with your people and making them feel empowered or appreciated? Contact me for a complimentary discussion.

Saying “No”

Summary: Are you always being asked to help, join or lead? Are you finding it difficult to say “no”? Start changing it now and be empowered by it.


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Are you the person everyone comes to for help, to join a committee or to lead a group? I know I am.  One of the hardest things I have had to do is to learn to say is “no”. One of the reasons it so difficult is because we may think saying “no” is a sign of disrespect, lack of interest, or unwillingness to serve. I prefer to think of “no” as empowering - in the sense of it gave me control of my time, priorities again.

How does this happen?

For me it started early in my career when I was a work-a-holic. You know the saying, “if you want something done, give it to the busiest person”, that was me. You could be the person who always seemed to have the answer or the one who was willing to help the new person.  Look back and you can probably pick up where it started.

How to change it.

This can be the tricky part. Most of us are not comfortable with a straight out “no” to a request. Let me share my criteria to decide if I should say yes or no to a request:

  • Do I have the time?
  • Is it really a priority?
  • Can someone else do it?
  • Can a teach someone else to do it?
  • What’s the benefit to me? (advance career, business, connections, etc.)

I used to work with someone who was good at the “no”, granted he was more direct than I am, he had a great saying on his wall (you may relate).

A lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine.

Essentially, this is what you are asking yourself with the above question.

Redirect the request.

I find the easiest way to do this is by asking questions, it also helps the other person understand what they are asking. Your questions will vary depending on the request, here are some examples.

When in the workplace:

  • When is this needed?
  • How high of a priority is this?
  • If I need help to get it done on-time, is there anyone who can help?
  • Can I bring in additional resources to meet the deadline?
  • I will need to re-prioritize my activities, which ones do you think we can change the deadline?

When in business/outside of workplace activities:

  • What is the time commitment?
  • Who is involved and what are their roles?
  • Is it possible to attend several times before deciding?
  • Out of curiosity, what value do you think I can bring?

Once you get your answers, re-frame your “no” to fit the situation. For example – my schedule doesn’t allow for that time commitment or I’m sorry, I have greater priorities or If it can wait until Friday then I can help you.

Give it a try and feel empowered and liberated.

How to you say “no”? (share below in comments)



Building Business Relationships

Summary:  When I speak to others about working with other people, doesn’t matter the situation – networking, clients, employees, etc., it’s about getting to know the other person and not about you or a process or procedure. Sometimes we are so eager to answer their question or tell the world what we do – we forget all that we do starts with relationships.

relationships 320x240 Building Business Relationships

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A reoccurring theme over the last couple of weeks have been about building relationships. It started with a talk I gave about “Accelerating the Know, Like and Trust Factor in Networking and Sales” it continued while I was coaching a Human Resources Manager about Employee Relations and ended with my own business development efforts. Once I stepped back I realized there was a common thread in my recent encounters – building relationships.

When I speak to others about working with other people, doesn’t matter the situation – networking, clients, employees, etc., it’s about getting to know the other person and not about you or a process or procedure. Sometimes we are so eager to answer their question or tell the world what we do – we forget all that we do starts with relationships.

In networking, you have to create relationships in order for people to refer you or work with you. Potential clients are more likely to work with you if they feel you are truly interested in them. Employees want more than answers they want to think you care about them.

So how can you get started? Here are some tips depending if you are meeting someone for the first time or if it someone you already know.

If you were to meet someone today, what would you do or say to get to know them better and create a “connection”?

  • Listen more than speak
  • Ask questions
  • Try to find a common ground
  • Ask how you can help them
  • Don’t talk about what you do unless they ask (I know this is hard)

With people you already know (clients, employees, contacts) keep working on the relationship.

  • Ask about them (small talk)
  • If you about a topic they are interested in say “did you hear about….”
  • Let them do the talking
  • Do this before you start working, talking about business, etc.

Even with these tips, the best thing you can do to build a relationship with another person is LISTEN. When you are listening don’t be thinking about anything else except what they are saying. Don’t be thinking about a point you want to make, don’t be thinking about your to-d0′s when they are done, don’t be thinking about the call/appointment/errand etc. you have, and don’t be looking around the room.

Magic happens when you really listen and pay attention to someone. Try to remember the last time you felt someone had all their attention on you and how that felt. Create that in someone else and you will see the relationship starting to build.

Please share below what your experience is when you use these tips.


The Answer is a Question

Summary: It can happen to us many times a day – we get asked a questions.  As respectful adults, we answer questions that are asked of us. However, when it comes to training people or furthering their development, the best answer is another question.

doubt 320x320 The Answer is a Question

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It can happen to us many times a day – we get asked questions.  As respectful adults, we answer questions that are asked of us. However, when it comes to training people or furthering their development, the best answer is another question. Normally this would drive us all mad, no one likes a question answer with another question.

When you trying to get people to think through a situation, the best thing you can do is NOT answer the question.

Let’s say they come to you with a situation or problem to solve. Instead of answering, you say “what would you do?” or “how do you think we should handle it?”.  The first time you do this, I can almost guarantee you will get a “deer in the headlights” look. It may take some encouraging to get an answer. Do this enough time and they will come to you with “this is the situation and I want to do this” and then you ask “what do you think the result will be?”.

Explaining the same thing over and over again. There are some people who no matter how many times you have answered the same question, they will always ask you again. By asking questions you can uncover what is driving this behavior (not understanding, insecurity, etc.).  Start by asking “What have you done already to take care of this?”.

This can even be applied to training. For example, you showing your new employee how to do a task on the computer system. What typically happens is we walk them through the steps, ask them to take notes and at the end say “understand?”. For fear of looking less than smart, the person who doesn’t understand, will say yes.  What if instead you told the person, “today we are going to walk through how to do a client search. Looking at your screen, where you do think a good place to start is?”. This will get the person to look over the program and determine the logic of the computer program and help them start to navigate.

The same process can be used to handle client inquiries, customer complaints, accounting processes, etc. So don’t be afraid to answer a question with a question. You will actually be helping yourself, the person and the company by getting an individual to understand the process, procedure, rationale, etc.

Contact us if you need assistance with using this questioning technique.

The Power of Listening

Summary:  We have lost the skill of active listening. What you need to do and how to benefit from it.

listen 320x269 The Power of Listening

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Since we were young, we were told to listen. As children, we didn’t listen because we didn’t like what we heard. As adults, we have not gotten better, in fact we are worse. We have so much information going through our mind at any given time, it can be amazing we even know what we are thinking about much less what someone else is trying to tell us.

This lost skill, I would say is the most important in your business and as a leader. Why? Believe it or not people will tell you want they are looking, need and want. It’s in the words they use.

To actively listen to someone – there can be no distractions. Distractions can be external or internal.

External distractions are our phones, email, computer, people knocking at our door, etc. We have gotten better about turning off the external distractions, however the internal ones are much more difficult.

Internal distractions are our own thoughts. They can be related to what the person is saying, as in we are forming our answer, argument or story in support. They can be related to our own to-do list – “as soon as this conversation is over I have to do ….” or “When is that client going to call” or “I figured out the solution to a problem”, etc.

How often do you have your mind quiet when speaking to someone else? Free from thought? Intent on listening to what the other person is saying or not saying.

Try it and see what you learn about the other person.

Let me share how this approach has benefited me – more quickly establish the know, like and trust factor. Clients feel that I am giving them what they need not what I want. I’m able to close more sales. I gain more clients. I have more people willing to refer my services.

Would you like the same results? Contact me and we can discuss how I can help.

Which one will you receive?

Summary:  An employee who is leaving your company has sent you a letter – which one will you receive? What do you have to do to get the one you want?

An employee has sent you a letter about your leadership style. Which letter would you rather receive?

Photoxpress 6183744 320x240 Which one will you receive?

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**** Letter One ****

Dear Boss:

I want to thank you for all the attention you have given me throughout my time here.  You have guided me, coached me, inspired me and promoted me. It is because of you that I have been able to take on a new position of greater responsibility and accountability. I thank you for giving me a career I can be proud of and truly enjoy.

Thank you, Your Ex-Employee

**** Letter Two ****

Dear Boss:

I am writing this letter to inform you of my resignation.  Working here and with you has been difficult.  I don’t believe I have received your support or trust.  I have had to learn things for myself and didn’t feel comfortable coming to you with questions. The new company I will be joining has a culture of learning, growth and happiness.

Regards, Your Ex-Employee

Which one will you receive?

Two very different letters. Which one would you rather receive? What are you doing to make sure you you get the one you want. A few things to remember. Being encouraging and coaching your people is not “fluff”.  It will translate into happier customers, repeat customers, a good environment and more productivity. More productivity equals better business. How will you make sure you get Letter One today?

Ready to make a change? Not sure where to start? We provide one-on-one coaching to assist in becoming the leader you want to be.  Contact us today at:


How to avoid firing people

Summary:  The best way to avoid firing people is to ensure you hire right.  Here are some tips to help make that happen.

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This is usually one of the hardest decisions someone has to make in their career, deciding the fate of another person. Should they stay or go? This decision also should not be made lightly, and there are a few factors to consider.

What are the reasons?

Is it is due to a downturn in business? The decision may be one of financial survival. If it is due to losing a major customer, how long can you wait with extra employees until a new customer has signed on? Again, a financial decision. While we can’t always help you with these your Accountant or Financial advisor can.

Is the reason due to a mismatch? – we can help you figure this out. By a mismatch I mean either the person has the wrong skills for the position or the position has changed. The wrong skills for the position comes down to the interview process. If you understand what the position’s duties, responsibilities, outcomes, personality and skills required – these can be uncovered in the interview process. This is sometimes easier said than done because most human being have a tendency to hire based on who they like and not always based on the position requirements. This is even more prevalent with small business owners – mostly because they may not be sure how to interview. They started their business based on their knowledge not on hiring people.

If the hiring decision has been made then it is about what can you do to keep this person and what goals do they have to achieve in order to stay. This will require more work on your part and you will also have to know when the effort outweighs the results. In other words, you are putting in lots of effort but not seeing as many results – how long can you have this person? Only you can answer that question. If the position has changed, what can you do to assist the person in this new role? Is it training? Mentoring? or something else all together? Again, a decision will have to be made on effort vs. results.

The best way to avoid firing people is to make sure you understand what you need to hire. It is better to take the extra time and review what you need in that position. Write out all the duties, responsibilities, personality traits and results needed. Is it realistic for one person to have all these? Are there some that are a “must have” vs a “nice to have”? Just as a firing decision takes thought so does a hiring decision.

Do it right the first time and you won’t have to worry about firing – the right hire can even help you reduce the need to terminate due to financial reasons.

Skip the either/or, find the “and” in recruiting

Summary: When hiring, skip the either/or of cultural fit and skills. Make it cultural fit “and” skills.

characters 320x213 Skip the either/or, find the and in recruiting

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Finding, recruiting and hiring people can be an on-going activity at many companies. This can be due to growth or turnover (replacing people). Actually I find in many cases, it is because they have the wrong person in a position.

What does that mean? We can go to Jim Collins book “Good to Great” where he discusses having the right people on the bus and then placing them in the right seat.  We can hire people who fit our culture and possibly lacking in skills or the reverse, hiring the skills and foregoing the culture.  It shouldn’t be an either/or, it should be an “and”. Find people with the right skills and attitude.

The right skills refers to the essential skills a person needs and not the “shinny object” skills a person may possess. For example: when hiring an office manager you need accounting background and a “shinny object” would be database management. Take a moment before placing an ad to determine what the person/position will be doing each day and what skills are needed.

The right cultural fit refers to attitude and beliefs.  You may not have realized this, your company has an “attitude” or “belief” system. Take a look at Zappos and Netflix – they hire very strongly against these criteria.  Find out what is important to you, what makes your company and people successful and duplicate in your next hire.

This may sound like a lot of work but here are a few things you can keep in mind to make the process easier.

  • Determine what you need in the new person/position not only today but down the road in 6-12 months time.
  • Hire with the future in mind.
  • Before meeting/interviewing anyone determine what qualities/skills are the most important to you (and don’t compromise)
  • Create a list of questions to ask each candidate, this way you won’t miss anything and it will be easier to compare candidates.
  • Only after interviewing all the candidates, review each person and determine who is best for you.
  • If you have other employees in your business, have the final candidate talk to others so they can get a feel for the company.

Keeping these in mind you should get a successful hire who will help you with their knowledge and be satisfied in their new position.  It will be a win-win!

Happy Recruiting!