Monday, November 24, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday (Thanksgiving Week): Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships


The deepest principle in human nature
is the craving to be appreciated.
--- William James

Do you think the best way to go into a sales or fundraising meeting is to launch into the products or programs you’re selling or seeking support for? That’s never worked for me. I raised over fifteen million dollars for international youth programs from foundations, companies, governments, and individuals by learning the power of empathetic listening.

Many people try to impress people in powerful positions by talking about all they’ve accomplished. I’ve always found the opposite to be true: that people, regardless of the position they’re in, mostly just want to be listened to, appreciated, and respected.

How do you start your (social or work) meetings? Do you launch right into what you want, or do you listen first? If you listen, do you really listen—or do you just listen functionally until it’s time for you to get on stage and ask for what you want?

Before every meeting this week, take note of one quality you like about the other person. Begin by asking them a few open-ended questions, such as “How have you been?” or “How are you feeling about what you’ve been working on?”

Truly listen for awhile to what they value. Then share what you appreciate about them or their ideas before shifting to your objective for the meeting and expressing what’s important to you.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader


Tell them what you want,
reward them for giving it to you,
and get out of the way.
That’s my strategy in a nutshell.
--- Gordon Bethune, Former CEO of Continental Airlines

Many of us pay lip service to the empowerment buzzword, yet in practice have a lot of trouble encouraging the people who work for us to take initiative and ownership over what they do. Here’s one strategy you can try: it hinges on understanding the difference between judging and deliberating.

While judging positions you as the omniscient “sage on the stage” at the center of the decision-making process, when you deliberate you become a “guide on the side.” You enable the originator of the idea (the employee) to occupy center stage, to process critical feedback, and to incorporate this feedback into an enhanced strategy that belongs to them.

Mentally project the likely outcomes of these two disparate management styles. An employee who designs, thinks through (while deliberating with you) and implements a solution to a critical problem will feel ownership over what they produce.

An employee who is punished for thinking as an individual and is told what to do (by your judging comments), on the other hand, will feel the opposite. They will consider themselves incapable of finding solutions and will rely on you to resolve any issue out of fear of reprisal or punishment as a consequence of their own initiative.

This week, make a pact with yourself to loosen your reign as the front-stage star and to instead become a back-stage architect. In so doing, you will experience a sea change in your effectiveness as a leader.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan


It is difficult to make a man miserable
 while he feels worthy of himself.
--- Abraham Lincoln

Imagine a laundry detergent commercial with a woman holding a box of powder and saying, “I know you’re busy, and you’re probably doing just fine with the detergent you’re already using, but if you have a moment and would like to try a new detergent, perhaps you could consider this one.”

If the company doesn’t believe in their detergent and consider it an excellent use of anyone’s resources, no one else will either.

If loving others, building relationships, creating a family, or any measure of personal or professional success is high on your list of priorities, you simply must learn how to love yourself. Why? Self-love is the most important ingredient for building the high-quality, premium foundation necessary to bring anything you desire into your life.

Yes, I know, it’s difficult sometimes, especially when the external events in your life call your self-value into question. Yet here’s a radical thought worth meditating on: you can allow these external events to have nothing to do whatsoever with your feelings of love toward yourself.

Your inner sovereignty, like the inalienable rights of a nation, cannot be dictated to from outside any more than someone can climb a ladder into your brain and select what you think about.

This long journey to inner strength and self-nurturing begins right here, right now, with a single internal step. Take this step this week.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined

A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald 
but if he has fire, women will like him.
--- Mae West


“Will you help me?” my brother asked. “I really want to get into business school. I hate my job and need a change.” I asked to see his essays from the previous year.

“I can tell you why you didn’t get in last year,” I said a few days later. “I hate to break this to you, but they don’t care as much as you think they do about what you’ve done. These admissions officers receive thousands of applications, and every applicant has had great internships, done impressive volunteer work, had this or that job. All those facts become meaningless to them.

“While it’s true they want to see that you’ve accomplished something in your life, what they care about most is not what you’ve done, but why you’ve done it. They care how you felt during those critical points in your life when you had to make tough decisions, and how those decisions shaped you as a person.”

Once my brother recognized that his passion for launching educational companies to help children study better was the thread that wove his past experiences together, he wrote application essays that were not just impressive, but moving. He was accepted the second time around.

There is a tremendous shortage of genuine passion in the world. Like any commodity in short supply and high demand, passion is highly marketable and holds tremendous leverage.

This week, take some time to reflect not on what you’ve done in your life, but why you’ve done it.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).