Showing posts with label Communications Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Communications Management. Show all posts

September 21, 2019

OFNR Communications Model


This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):

1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 
When I Observe...

2. Feelings:  Explain how the person's behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)
I feel...

3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)
Because I need...

4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you'd like them to do.
Would you be willing to... 
It's a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you'd like from others. 

This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 

When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)
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July 31, 2019

Be Happy, Have Fun

Thought this was funny at work. 

One person writes:
Be Happy. Have Fun. 

Another chimes in:
Ok, I will!

And finally a 3rd person writes:
Me too. 
Smiley faces and all. 

Never take yourself too seriously. 

It's true--try to enjoy the ride!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 21, 2019

UNDERpromise + OVERdeliver

Every manager is rightly taught to underpromise and overdeliver. 

It's sound planning and good risk management to plan for contingencies--and certainly these do happen. 

Build in some buffer time and resources into your estimates, because reality bites and you need to have the ammunition to respond. 

My father used to tell me:
"A word is a word!"

When you say something, promise something, commit to something then that is it!"

To do otherwise is to have no honor, no character, and no fear of G-d. 

Similarly, when you overpromise and underdeliver, you fail yourself and your customers.

People commit time, resources, and faith in you, so you owe it to them to set realistic goals and plans to accomplish them.

To do otherwise, you risk damage to the longterm relationship, you hurt your credibility, and maybe most importantly, you hurt the chances of genuine progress. 

The philosophy that I believe works best is:  Be thoughtful. Be strategic. Be direct. Be honest.  

That's what I would want from others and that's also what I strive to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2019

Wrong and Wrong

I thought this was a funny saying that my friend told me. 
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong!

He said that he actually liked it so much that he got a sign with it and put it in his office. 

As they say, "Two wrongs don't make right."

If you think something is wrong, hold your ground--otherwise no one will be right. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 25, 2019

Confidence Speaks

I found this interesting about communications management. 

On one hand, when discussing issues, you want to listen to everyone's input, and consider all sides. 

On the other hand, it's critical to be competent, confident, and "know what you're talking about."

Amos Oz wrote:
Those who hesitate and doubt are convinced by those who are strong-minded. 

So it's an important balancing act:

- Not to be so self-confident that you aren't listening to others, 
- But also not being so unsure and hesitant that you don't stand behind your values and views. 

Confidence speaks, but overconfidence is deaf. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 27, 2019

Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.

These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 

Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don't know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 

And it's even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 

But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!

Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don't have all the facts. 

The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).

The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.

We need to get the other person's point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.

Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn't open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 

The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 19, 2019

Stone Faces Hide The Heart

Some people are so cold and emotionally distant.

They go around with a stone face.  

No emotion seems to seep in or out. 

The face doesn't betray the heart in any way. 

You say something or do something, and they just sort of stare at you. 

No words, no outward response. 

Just a stone face like a poker face. 

You don't know what's behind it. 

But worse yet is a heart of stone--nothing impacts the inside just like the outside. 

Are some people this way because they have been so hurt in the past that they become hardened like a turtle's shell to protect from the outside world. 

...Ain't gonna let nothing hurt me again. 

Or are they great at using their poker face to fool, manipulate, and get what they are after. 

Perhaps the worst possibility is that they are simply a real psychopath--someone without conscience or empathy. 

Yes, that is scary because the unthinkable becomes thinkable. 

For most of us, reading verbal and non-verbal cues is critical to understanding other people. 

Hiding those cues can mean that the stone face is going to shatter someone's world and that won't be a pretty face at all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2019

Border Security - The Facts

So in this longest of U.S. government shutdowns, one thing that is missing from the debate are an articulation of the facts. 

All I hear day-in and -out is that President Trump wants to build a wall or barrier on the Southern border because there is a crisis. And the Democrats in turn say it's not necessary, it's a waste of money, and even that it's immoral, and that they will resist Trump!

But this is not a reasoned debate!

Who cares who wants what and who hates who in politics.

We need to be presented with a solid communication of facts, figures, and why should we support a position or not. 

Yes, an endorsement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is helpful, but the opposition can just claim partisan politics. 

So here are some simple facts to inform the discussion:

Gun Trafficking:
- Over 253,000 guns annually cross the border from the U.S. to Mexico.

Drug Trafficking:
- Cartels send $64,000,000,000 of drugs annually from Mexico to U.S. 

Human Trafficking:
Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the U.S. 

Gang Members:
Almost 6,000 gang members in 2018 were deported by ICE.

Illegal Immigrants:
- The U.S. and Customer and Border Protection apprehended more than 500,000 illegals trying to enter in 2008, and there are between 12 to 22 million illegals in the U.S, today

Looking at these numbers, I am not sure how anyone can say that the current border situation is secure--it isn't. 

So whatever we are doing with agents, sensors, surveillance, intelligence, inspection, and interdiction --no matter how good it is--it is not enough. 

Certainly a request for Border Wall funding for $5 billion out of a $4.4 trillion dollar budget and placing barriers on hundreds of miles out of a 2,000 mile border, does not seem at all extreme!

While I do not like to be on a government shutdown, I certainly don't see why this can't be resolved with some reasoned border security funding that includes among the other security measures, a wall/barrier. 

A strategically-placed border barrier only stands to reason in a layered defense/system of systems approach to security. 

For some of those that don't want the wall, and only want votes from a broken immigration system, this is a fight for power, rather than a genuine argument on how to help secure the country. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 19, 2018

Parking Lot Full of Ideas

So conducting large meetings is not often easy. 

People have their own concepts as to where they'd like the discussion to go.

Yes, agendas help keep the meeting focused. 

And a good facilitator enforces meeting discipline. 

Some people think that any deviation from the agenda is like taken a sudden left turn or driving off the cliff. 

But you don't want to throw away the baby with the bath water. 

It's important to jot down good ideas or follow up questions that come out in the discussion even when they are not immediately relevant. 

That's where the "Parking Lot" comes into play. 

A flip chart or whiteboard to capture the important thoughts for follow up afterwards. 

While parking lots are needed to take certain things off the table immediately in order to focus on accomplishing the meeting's objectives, they are not junk yards for people's input. 

Instead, they are a place to park the stray thoughts and then to actively follow up on these after. 

No question is a dumb one, and no idea isn't worth considering. 

Parking lots can be full of these and they should be parked and then taken for a spin around the neighborhood.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2018

Never Say Anything

So I overhear this conversation...

Woman:  "Never say never and never say always."

Man: "Well then what should I say?"

Woman: "Just keep your mouth shut!"

Yeah, that's one for the books.

Anyway, thinking about this a little more--there is an exception to every rule. 

Never say never is itself violating this rule of thumb. 

Hence one conclusion perhaps is that many rules are so stupid to begin with! :-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2018

Lunch And A Call

This just seemed like a funny photo to me.

In the cafeteria, someone was checking out at the register. 

And on their lunch/food tray, they had, of course, their lunch. 

But also, they had a big black telephone.

Talking about a working lunch!

Wow, is that customer service or what? lol

This reminded me also of the BIG red phone on some top officials' desks --always ready for that critical call in case of near world catastrophe.

So here we go Joe... 

I will eat my lunch and am ready for your call at any time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 17, 2018

From Mouth To Friendship

So it's amazing how people are so willing to throw away friendship. 

They get angry about something having nothing even to do with you.

They say things they probably don't even mean, and in turn you may say things you don't even mean. 

Often you say things just to bring the other person to their senses. 

But sometimes they don't come to their senses. 

They need to let out on someone and you're the convenient scapegoat. 

Before you know it, they throw your friendship under a bus. 

Personally, I'm not one to make friends that easily or quickly--there needs to be some real chemistry and the building of trust--but then I am one who is an eternally loyal friend. 

Yet, I see others, they kiss and hug and say you're like family, but then when they get angry, oh boy, you are gone like the wind. 

Maybe that's not what real friendship is. 

To me, friendship surpasses dumb deeds and words and stupid fights, it's about being there through thick and thin.

Take the false teeth out and put some permanent ones in--they last much longer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 13, 2018

The Love Truck

Ok, the title of this blog may not be the best. 

Some may associate the "Love Truck" with human trafficking or something horrible. 

But this truck in Washington D.C. really fitted the name with messages on the windows and sides like:
Love not hate.
Peace on planet Earth.
One race, the human race. 
Left, right, make America unite again through love.
2 wrongs don't make it right.
Stop bombing, start educating. 
Smile, life is short.
Be kind to your fellow man.

I almost got to wonder what's on the other side of this truck???

Anyway, I know it's more than kind of kooky to graffiti up your own vehicle this way, but I still rather see these messages and actions than those of hate and violence in this world. 

Happy Friday folks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 11, 2018

Not A Kiss

So I learned a lesson recently.

Sometimes, a kiss is not a kiss. 

It could be a phony show. 

Like a snake. 

It slithers and fools people into complacency. 

Kiss kiss!

Hug hug!

But around the back is a hand holding a dangerous dagger. 

It stands ready to swing and plunge into your soft unsuspecting tissue. 

The more kisses, perhaps the more hiding of their true intentions. 

People are complex and sometimes malevolent. 

They want what they want, and when they want it. 

When the time comes, a kiss can turn into a sharp knife. 

You wonder how is it that person has no more kisses.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2018

Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 

- Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 

- Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.

- Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 

I don't know about most people, but I don't get convinced easily. 

You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it's right. 

Some others, and I don't know why--it's like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  

I think that's dangerous!

Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things...a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  

Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:
- Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 
- Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the "Aryan nation," and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.
- Ethically--let's just say, this one didn't really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, "G-d is with us!"

It's a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos--potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2018

Don't Worry--Be Happy!

Happy Friday everyone!

Yesterday, someone gave me a couple of these bright yellow smileys--one on the back of each of my hands. 

I was going around waving these happy faces all day.  

Of course, sitting in meetings was a little weird with these on, but then again, maybe that is part of setting a colorful and happy tone. 

It's funny how a little smile sticker can make the whole world seem right again. 

Maybe we can learn to live life, love life, and make the most of every single day. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 27, 2018

Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 

I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 

All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way--like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?

First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt--like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips...did I miss it all along. 

I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said "What an asshole!"

I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 

I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 

But I said to myself, "Hold, hold, hold!"

It wasn't easy not to respond in kind--lash back out at them--and even then some for good measure. 

No, that isn't the way. 

You can rise above this. 

I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.

Well, lo' and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.

It didn't have to come from me to them to "set them straight!"

Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 

I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 

Don't stoop to their level--you rise above it!

Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 25, 2018

Left Handshake Is Right

So I heard about someone misinterpreting something I did for the worse.

Occasionally, when someone tries to shake my hand, instead of shaking with my right hand, I will take their hand in my left. 

I'll do this for various reasons such as arthritic pain or from dirt (like ink or cleaning ) from some prior work I was doing. 

But always when I extend my hand it is with warmth and friendship. 

However, I learned that one person took this handshake as a serious personal affront. 

They thought that I was "disrespecting" them intentionally.

So I learned that even the most everyday, mundane gestures like a handshake, but done differently, can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. 

Why do we judge others for the bad?

Maybe because we don't trust, don't want to ask, don't want to know, or have had bad experiences in life that jade us. 

But sometimes a handshake is just a handshake whether with the right or left hand. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 16, 2018

Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 

How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:

Credibility is about being "convincing and believable" and results from "expertise and experience."

Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person."


BRAVING

Boundaries - Have good boundaries--respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 

Reliability - Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.

Accountability - Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 

Vault - Keep information in confidence.

Integrity - Hold courage over comfort; choose what's right over what's fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 

Non-judgmental - Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 

Generosity - Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 

No offense to anyone...the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  "Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt--short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic." ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 11, 2018

Kanban Visual Task Boards

Just wanted to share this best practice for Kanban or Visual Task Boards

This is a way to layout work/workflow and track and communicate progress. 

Previously, many professionals use colored sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard.

Today, tools like ServiceNow have the capability built right in. 

This was an example that I created in just a few minutes. 

Visualize your team's work and focus on what needs to get done, who the tasks are assigned to, the status, and keep driving continuous improvement in the workflow and project. 

Color coding can be used for different tasks and you can see the legend at the top.  

Tasks can be easily dragged and dropped from one column (status) to another. 

Create transparency and collaboration on your projects--try Kanban Visual Task Boards. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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