Am I A Good Listener?

Steven Ash, “The Career Doctor” developed this listening test. It is a great way to see where you rate as a listener. Good luck! Give yourself 4 points if the answer to the following questions is Always; three points for Usually; two points for Rarely; and one point for Never.   __ Do I allow the speaker to finish without interrupting? __ Do I listen “between the lines”; that is for the subtext? __ When writing a message, do I listen for and set down the key facts and phrases? __ Do I repeat what the person just said to clarify the meaning? __ Do I avoid getting hostile and/or agitated when I disagree with the speaker? __ Do I tune out distractions when listening? __Do I make an effort to seem interested in what the other person is saying?   Scoring 26 or higher – You are an excellent
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The Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

  On the slopes of Long’s Peak in Colorado lay the ruins of a gigantic tree. Naturalists tell us that it stood for some 400 years. It was a seedling when Columbus landed at San Salvador, and half grown when the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth. During the course of its long life, it was struck by lightning 14 times and the innumerable avalanches and storms of four centuries thundered past it. It survived them all. In the end, however, an army of beetles attacked the tree and leveled it to the ground. The insects ate their way throughout the bark and gradually destroyed the inner strength of the tree by their tiny, but incessant attacks. A forest giant which age had not withered, nor lightning blasted, nor storms subdued, fell at last before beetles so small that a man could crush them between his forefinger and his thumb. Just as
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Research Pays Off

A few weeks ago I was speaking in Omaha, Nebraska for Centris Federal Credit Union. When I got to my hotel room there was a gift basket waiting for me from the team at Centris. It was a very nice gesture but the reason I am writing about it was because they took an extra step that most people don’t take. They had done their research and the gift basket was full of things that I personally like. (Personal note: Dr. Pepper and Licorice are the keys to my heart) I was reminded of how much a little research pays off. Before you meet with a potential client, team member or partner – take a few minutes to research what they like, dislike, etc… It will give you insights into that person, allow you to personalize your approach and customize the conversation. I recently had a meeting with a potential
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One of The Biggest Keys to Influence & Charisma

  We all know someone who is charismatic. They have a charm that can inspire devotion in others. My question is: What creates that type of Charisma? What produces that type of presence? One of the biggest keys to influence and charisma is being genuinely happy for other people’s success. When someone achieves something great – do you feel threatened by their success or do you celebrate it? One of the surest signs of someone being comfortable in their own skin is how they see others and how they can separate others experiences and achievements from their own. Too many people subscribe to the idea that tearing others down actually builds you up and it’s just not true. It makes you look weak and insecure because that is where it is actually coming from. People who are secure with who they are genuinely happy for others, they celebrate their success
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If You Want To Communicate With Influence – Then Use This Phrase

When you’re the leader, the one in charge, it’s far more natural – and far easier – to lecture and command than to discuss and invite. Leaders can create caste systems within their organizations simply by language choices. When they refer to “we” as the leadership team and “you” as the employees, they create a separation in the team. If we want our people to feel like they are in a partnership with us, that we are in it together, that we are locking arms with them to accomplish the overall goal of organizational success, then we need to communicate in a way that creates partnership. The ultimate partner phrase is: “If I, will you …” Examples: “If I set aside time to help fine tune your board presentations, will you have it prepared by Friday to review?” “If I let you choose your people, will you head up the project?” “If
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Prove Them Wrong

Last week my six-year-old son Drew invented a new game. The board was a torn piece of cardboard with marker & the pieces where taken from an old box full of mismatched toys. He said he wanted to sell it to someone. His older sister mocked him and said, “Who would buy that?” Drew didn’t seem to hear her and went out to go door to door to sell his new invention (I apologize to my neighbors). Within five minutes he walked in with a huge smile on his face and a shiny dollar in his hand. He immediately went into his sisters room and said, “Remember you said that no one would buy my game? Then how do you explain this?” & he held up his dollar & walked out. I have to admit I might have teared up a little because I have lived that experience. If you
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Elephant Mindset

When I was 19 years old I had a mentor who taught me a lot about the importance of correct thinking. He told me that anything was possible if we had the right thinking. What Henry Ford said is true: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” One way my mentor helped me to understand the power of your thoughts was through the example of elephants. He said, “When a baby elephant is born in captivity, the captors will use a large, heavy chain to tie the elephant’s leg to a solid post, driven deep into the ground. The baby elephant will pull and pull with all its might, but will not be able to break the grip of the chain. After enough pulling, the elephant learns that it can’t escape and begins to think, “What is the use in trying. I’ll never break free.”
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Build People Up, Don’t Tear People Down

People with integrity focus their attention on building up others as opposed to tearing them down. They avoid criticism, complaining and gossip and instead they celebrate the successes and praise the strengths of those around them. It is easy to get caught in the trap of gossip or negative speaking, but I love what Will Durrant said when he stated, “To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.” Do you build people up or tear people down? To illustrate this point further, let me tell you about an interesting study. Friends Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad wrote about a study conducted with a group of monkeys. Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas. One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to
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Great Leadership Is Driven By Passion

If the Number One thing we want is committed people, we need to start by looking in the mirror. Leaders who lack passion will have followers who lack commitment. You’ve heard it said that the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. That is especially true when we look at the attitude, the work ethic, the energy, and commitment of the leader. Pure passion will permeate your team, it will rub off on them, and it will inspire them. The word passion originated at the time of Jesus Christ and was used to describe Christ’s suffering. Knowing the etymology of the word gives us a unique insight into its meaning. Passion means being willing to suffer for something that you love. The kind of passion that inspires commitment shows up early, stays late, finds solutions, engages the team, and gets the job done. Save Save
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3 Types of Influence

Whether it’s at home, at work, at play, or anywhere in between, our influence on those around us will fall into three categories: Situational Influence – People follow you because they have to. Position and authority most often determine this kind of influence. A political leader, for example, or a CEO, or a school teacher, or a traffic cop. This is the most common type of influence, based on position, title and authority. It is influence bequeathed, not personally earned, and exercising it can be done lazily because following is not a choice. When people are forced or compelled to follow you in a particular situation, the most you will ever get out of them is compliance. And as Dondi Scumaci likes to say, “Compliance will never take you where commitment can go.” If you are an influencer who has a position of authority, step back and ask yourself this
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