I hope you’re geared up for a fun, relaxing Labour Day holiday!
One of the things I look forward to (even on holidays) is bringing you my best ideas and truth powered concepts that help us become better leaders in our work and in our lives. It’s focused in our vision of service to others and reflects our values and current realities. I send this out at the top of the month to be a bit of “leader fuel” that informs and inspires us for the month ahead.
One of my little writing rituals is to have something handy beverage-wise, preferably caffeinated. Right now, I’m enjoying a Torrefaction Foncee’ espresso from my trusty stove topper.
I think that’s French for “a whoopee load of tasty good.”
So grab a coffee or whatever, settle back, and let’s spend a few moments together and work through some important stuff.
Game -Changer NOUN
A person, event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something and profoundly alters outcomes.
Sports fans are familiar with that goal that turns the tide and wins the game or that star player who brings a level of skill and grit that makes for a winning team.
“Game-changer” people in sports and in business are highly valued and sought after because they influence outcomes and tend to make everyone around them better.
There are also little game-changer words and phrases that if practiced every day, can make for a winning team and fuel big outcomes. Anyone who has ever tried to start a campfire from scratch knows that you need a bunch of small sticks to get a blaze started and then add some more ‘til the bigger logs catch.
Like those bits of kindling, If you work these little phrases into your conversations, I guarantee they’ll help fuel some bigger conversations and better outcomes.
Here are a few little “game-changers” I’ve used effectively along the way.
Try ‘em. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcomes
First on the list:
“Here’s what I’m thinking.”
Quite often, you’re in charge of something that involves a group initiative or moving a plan forward.
That doesn’t mean you’re smarter or know more than everyone else.
When you let people know what you’re thinking and explain why it frees up the lines of communication and invites a response.
It also opens up the possibility of dissension, maybe criticism but that’s ok. It also paves the way toward a creative dialogue that improves new ideas and fosters better suggestions.
Having authority or title can create an illusion that you are “right,” but collaboration engages everyone. It certainly helps everyone pull together in the same direction.
“I was wrong’
“There have been situations where I come up with an idea that I thought was a brilliant plan to improve things or solve a problem in our workplace.
On paper, it looked perfect. In practice, it didn’t work out.
When that happened, I had to go back and say, “I knew you were thinking this approach wouldn’t work. You were right. I was wrong.
Let’s go back to the drawing board on this
At the time, I felt bad thinking that maybe I had lost the respect of my team.
It turns out I was wrong about that, too.
Later one of my newer co-workers said, “I didn’t really know you that well, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”
When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect–you’ll gain it.
“That was awesome.”
No one ever gets enough praise.
So when someone has done something well say, -“Wow, that was great how you did that.”
Add some details. “I especially appreciate……”
This works retroactively as well. “You know, I really liked the way you handled that situation last month…”
That makes just as positive an impact today as it would have at the time.
Praise is a gift that cost us nothing to give, but it is priceless to the recipient.
The people around you will love you for it–and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.
Say “Thank-you” and “You’re welcome.”
Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?
The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised or even if someone says “have a nice day”
Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person.
The spotlight may make you feel a little uneasy, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”
Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too.
“Can you please help me?”
When you need any kind of help just ditch your ego and say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you please help me?”
You’ll usually get a positive response. And in the process, you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen–which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader. And a great friend.
We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize and ask forgiveness for:
words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, or show support…
When that occurs, say “I’m sorry” and “please forgive me.”
Don’t follow the apology with a disclaimers.
But I was really mad, because…” or “But I didn’t think you were…” or any statement that places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.
Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry and take all the blame. No less. No more.
That way you both get the best shot at starting over.
“Can you show me?”
Advice is temporary; knowledge is forever. Knowing what to do helps, but knowing how or why to do it means everything.
When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen:
You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice;
You show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight;
Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught or trained or shown.
Then you both win.
“Let me give you a hand.”
Many people feel that asking for help as a sign of inadequacy or personal failure. So, many people hesitate to ask for help.
We all need help.
Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?”
Most people will automatically reply “No, I’m all alright.”
Be specific. Find something you can help with.
Say “I’ve got a bit of time now. Can I give you a bit of help figuring that out.?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous.
Model the behavior you want others to display.
Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.
Find appropriate ways to say “I love you.”
Not in the mushy romantic sense, but in the sense that conveys “I have a great deal of respect for you” or “I think highly of you”.
Some time ago, I got an email from a colleague who I had worked with for many years,
It started this way. “I’ve been meaning to say this for some time now but there didn’t seem to be a good opportunity so here goes.
From there on she went on to say some very affirming things and how she appreciated our work together. She acknowledged that she had learned a great deal from me and how she would always value our great working relationship and how proud she was of things we were able to accomplish together.
The email ended with “And no, I don’t want to borrow any money, or your car or anything 😉 m just finally telling you what I’ve thought for some time now.”
Well.. you can imagine the effect that had on me. To this day It has a lasting impact.
The point is, we all have people who are super important in our life and when you have the chance, let them know.
It will create a meaningful moment that will last a lifetime.
One final thing to say.
There are times where the best thing to say is absolutely nothing. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet.
You may think verbal venting will make you feel better, but it never does.
That’s especially true where your tenants or co-workers are concerned.
Results come and go, but emotions and feelings remain in the pathways of our brain for a very long time.
If you criticize someone in a group setting, it may seem like that person will eventually get over it, but inside, they never really do.
Before you speak, spend more time considering what others will think and feel in response
You can easily recover from a mistake of faulty information or genuine misunderstanding.
You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on someone else with words that are hurtful.
Be quiet until you know exactly what to say–and exactly what effect your words will have.
There you have it. Nine little game changers.
You may have little game- changers of your own going on. Shoot me a note. I’d love to hear about that.
My thirty-day game-changer challenge.
Try these phrases out for only thirty days, and if you’re not completely satisfied, I’ll provide you with a total money back guarantee.
For the first three people who write back to me with their own game – changer experience, I’ll buy you a taco. Yup, you got that right. I’ll buy you a taco wherever you are. If it works out, we can go for a taco together.
If you don’t like tacos, we’ll figure something else out.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. or email@example.com. I’d love to hear about your game- changer experience this September.
Until next time.
Have a great September!