Confrontation Is Counterproductive

June 24, 2008

Artfully articulating and asserting our authority is a key to success and survival.  The goal is to encourage and energize people to want to comply, not force them. 

Fight with Finesse shares skills and insights to do this effectively. 

Assertiveness “experts” often tout Confrontation as a primary means of protecting ourselves, our interests, of getting what we want and voicing how we feel.  We think they are wrong.

Confrontations often involve Angry Altercations and unpleasant displays of power and force that are rarely productive and leave the targets stunned, confused, fearful, demoralized or angry.

Confrontation is often an empty excuse for Angry Explosion lacking good goals and good intentions.

Time spent recovering is lost productivity and enthusiasm.  If people comply, it is often to avoid unpleasantness, not  because they agree or feel the argument is just.

I recently faced a silly situation with an angry female who wanted to tell me “how she felt.”  She assumed I cared. Her previous abusive behavior left me completely disinterested in continuing the conversation, so I didn’t.

Confronters usually try to catch you by suprise, at their convenience when they are angry and ready for a fight. Don’t let them. 

If you control your time and attention, don’t give it to them.  Put them off. If you have to deal with them, do it at a convenient time for you when you are ready. 

Catching you off guard is a key component to their strategy, they are ready, you are not. Find out what they want, prepare, choose a time that is good for you.

A wise leader once commented he was confrontation adverse and  avoided confrontations whenever possible.  I realize the wisdom of his approach.  People followed him eagerly because they wanted to, not because they feared his anger or unpleasantness.

Anger is contagious.  So is enthusiastic zeal to excel and do well.  Which would you like to charactize your organization and relationships?

Actions speak louder than words. What we do is far more powerful than what we say.

Is Confrontation ever the best strategy?  Rarely, we think. What does it achieve?  Do they have to comply?What do we want to achieve?  Isn’t there often a better way?

On occassion, we all have to communicate difficult, distasteful things. Isn’t it wiser to find a more artful way than catching a person off guard and ambushing them in an angry, adversarial way?  We think so.

Copyright 2008 by Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
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Going for Greatness

February 15, 2008

 Want to be GREAT at what you do? Fortune Magazine’s October 19, 2006 cover story What It Takes To Be Great  is required reading!

Extensive research shows Greatness comes from hard work and practice, not innate gifts or talents.

The good news is greatness is possible for all of us, not just a talented, select few. 

The feature examines how greatness was achieved in many different professionals, from golf (Tiger Woods), speaking (Winston Churchil), to music (Vladamir Horowitz) and chess (Bobby Fisher.)

If greatness comes primarily from talent or gifts, Michael Jordan would not have been cut from his high school basketball team. Michael Jordan’s determination to excel and do well and his intense and rigorous practice schedule was responsible for his professional prominence. 

Focused practice that develops specific skills to improve overall performance is the key. It’s not just hitting 300 golf balls a day, it’s ensuring at least 90% fall within 20 feet of the green with a good follow through that leads to golf greatness. 

Continually trying to enhance and improve your performance coupled with intense, rigorous, regular practice is the key the greatness.

The zeal to excel and do well and focused, determined practice is far more imortant than talent or any natural ability. 

Wanting to do well, continually working to improve and practicing regularly and rigorously is the path to greatness.

It’s the drive and the determination to continually improve coupled with the desire to deliver ever better performances that brings greatness.

Delight with our progress helps propel our process.

Cheer And Customer Complaints

January 15, 2008

Angry customer complaint faceGood  Cheer is the best way to
handle customer complaints.

Respond with warm, loving, unruffled cheerful concern no matter how outrageous their complaints.

Remember, a certain percentage of the population is drugged out or crazy.

You are probably not personally responsible for their problem.  The more outrageous their behavior, the more certain you are of their crazy / drugged out status.

Be Cheerful and Unruffled. Don’t give an angry person control of your thoughts, feelings or actions.  Respond with loving warmth. It gets easier with practice. Don’t  cite rules, procedures or schedules beyond your control, it won’t help.

Customer complaints express emotional needs that are usually not resolved by logic.  Some value, right or need they hold dear has been violated or they feel unloved and unappreciated. Logic doesn’t meet these needs, love does. Show you care when you can’t change things.

The nicer and more unruffled you are in the face of their craziness, the more outrageous they will seem.

Don’t let them direct the conversation. If someone screams, “Why is this line so long and slow, why don’t you get more cashiers?” Saying the schedule doesn’t allow it, won’t help.

Saying, “Oh, I wish the line was much shorter and faster too, thank you so much for your patience, we really value your business,” affirms their angst in a loving way. You can’t change it, find ways to enjoy it.

Answering or reacting to their complaints puts you on the defensive and gives them control of the conversation.

Project positive, loving energy. Look for a security guard and reserve your right to smile, say, “Excuse me please,” and walk away. Your personal security is paramount.

Let it go quickly. Don’t give them control of your thoughts, actions or feelings.

Smile, give yourself a big hug, laugh and be glad you don’t behave that way. Think of the misery they cause themselves and people close to them. Feel sorry for them.

Give yourself another big hug and let it go!

Continue to enjoy a beautiful day as quickly as you can.

  
Copyright 2008, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved. Email Michele at MicheleMoore.com for reprint permission.
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3 Strategies for Successful Sparring

December 11, 2007

3 Sparring Strategies

Whenever you face an argument or attack, there are three ways to address it, focus on the:

1) Substance of what was said – Are their facts correct? Do they have facts to back their claims?

2) Strategy of what was said – The tone of voice, timing, motivation for the attack, or

3) Silence – Respond with a question or don’t address the attack at all. Deflect attention to another topic or ignore the attack with no comment? Or use the power of silence and say nothing at all.

If you’re sitting in a meeting and a colleague suddenly states you are way over budget for a project you are managing. You could:

1) Ask, “Where did you get that absurd idea?” (Silence / Question / Deflect Back )

2) Say, “No, I am way under budget and well ahead of schedule, the project report is right here. Where did you get absurd that idea?” (Substance / Deflect Back / Question)

3) Say, “You come in and make outrageous charges you know are not true. What motivates these absurd allegations?” (Strategy)

Attackers often try to hook people into an arguments about facts. If you respond, “That’s not true,” they gain control of the interaction and put you on the defensive.

Deflecting the pressure back on them gives you time to think and forces them to defend what they’ve said.

Remember your demeanor and tone of voice are all important, they convey your real meaning.

How you say it is far more important than what you say.

Stay, strong, smiling and successful!

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
Email Michele at MicheleMoore.com for reprint permission.
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Rudolph on Diversity

December 8, 2007

Rudolph gif drawing“… all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games.”

Ridiculing and excluding good performers because of their differences at Santa’s workshop? Could this happen in your workplace?

There are lots of valuable lessons in diversity from Rudolph’s story.

Rudolph succeeded and became famous because of his differences.

His dramtically different bright red nose allowed him to do what “normal” reindeer couldn’t do, lead the way on a “foggy Christmas eve.”

We need different team members to address different challenges well.

Different players can do different things. When we all are exactly the same, we may do certain things well but we are very limited in our flexibility and ability to meet new, unexpected challenges.

How well do teams of affluent white male ivy leaguers understand and address marketing preferences of black single mothers, first generation latino immigrants, upwardly mobile Asians?

If you don’t include these groups on your team, you won’t understand how these groups think, what appeals to them or how to market to them effectively.

It’s dangerous to discourage talent, you never know when you will need them.

Rudolph waited patiently, enduring the other reindeer’s ridicule.

When the opportunity came, he stepped into the lead position cheerfully without the support of others and did a stellar job. Rudolph was obviously qualified to lead and had no trouble assuming the lead position.

What would have happened if Rudolph had become discouraged and moved away? Santa’s sleight would have gotten lost in the fog and millions of children would have been very disappointed. Doesn’t this happen to major corporations as well?

What was Santa thinking? He allowed Rudolph to be ridiculed and excluded. Is this the reputation he wants for his workshop? Is this the message he wants to send to children he urges to be nice, not naughty? It sets a mean spirited tone in his workshop.

Rudolph was discounted and dismissed until he was needed. Suppose Rudolph’s difference was not so obvious and immediately valued. Would Rudolph ever have been accepted?

Is it okay to ridicule and exclude team members who are different? Managers who allow this to happen loose flexibility and their ability to meet new challenges. This eventually sinks them.

Creativity and flexibility require diversity of thought.

Embracing differences keeps team minds open, flexible, willing and able to address new challenges and change.

Remember Rudolph when you think about diversity.

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved. Contact us for Reprints. For more Happiness Habits see http://HappinessHabit.com Comment on our postings below.

Horns of a Dilemma

December 2, 2007

Horns of a Dilemma

From time to time, we all invariably find ourselves in the horns of a dilemma.

We’re not sure what to do and we may not see the situation clearly.

So what are our options?

There is danger in taking action AND there are definite dangers of inaction.

People Who Don’t Fight For Their Rights And Freedom Loose Them.

Find ways to assert ourselves in attractive, appealing ways that minimize acrimony. Preserve rights and freedoms without making enemies unnecessarily.

The truth always inevitably comes out. We decide what side of it we want to be on when it does.

Here are three steps to dealing with moral dilemmas, ask yourself :

1. What’s the Right thing to do?
2. What will happen if we don’t act?
3. What’s the best possible solution for everyone involved?

Decide What you’re going to do, When and With Whom. Then it’s just a matter of execution.

Remember Why You’re Taking Action. Sometimes it’s just a gnawing feeling in your gut that you have to do something, and that’s often enough. Good goals are valid reasons for taking action.

We’re all called to defend our lines and position from time to time. When we don’t, we loose them. When we don’t stand up for what’s right regularly, we forget how. It’s easy to become down trodden and corrupt. Don’t let that happen.

Be guided by goodness, live and act by only the very highest and best values. See the Gold Fish Test posting earlier this year. Choose actions you can be proud of. Decide what you’re going to do and then find ways to enjoy it!

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
Email info at FightwithFinesse dot com for reprint rights.
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As Safe As Their Secrets

November 22, 2007

sunflower.jpg

Goodness flourishes and prospers openly for all to enjoy, appreciate and admire.

Triumphs of goodness and compassion are valued, respected, esteemed.

Criminals Are Only As Safe As Their Secrets!

They don’t want the world to know of their evil actions and activities. Their joy comes from hurting others. They prey on the trusting, the loyal, the faithful.

Evil Is Taking Pleasure In Causing Pain or Harm.
Evil is destructive, disruptive, dysfunctional.

Truth Is A Powerful Weapon Against Evil. When people know the truth, they are wary, forewarned. They may even take action to stop it.

Criminals are constrained and contained by fears the truth will be told about who they are and what they do.

Truth Triumphs Over Evil. A safe society allows people to speak the truth, openly, honestly, completely. When people cannot safely tell the truth evil has triumphed.

Truth protects us from evil.

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
Email info at FightwithFinesse dot com for reprint rights.
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Who Is Being Tested?

October 12, 2007

Who Is Being Tested? “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” 
~ Edmund Burke

Have you ever kept quiet and watched wrong doing mushroom out of control? 

You just wanted to get along, to avoid confrontation.

By not speaking up and taking action early, the evil grew larger, much more dangerous. The costs and risks became far more severe. 

Guarding Goodness Is An Important Part of Being Good. When we don’t guard goodness, evil triumphs.

If you can get people to stand by and do nothing while they watch good, righteous people being assaulted and abused it shows they won’t fight back when the same things happen to them, their families and loved ones. They’ve lost the ability to stand up and fight for what’s right, good and just.

When People Stop Guarding Goodness Evil Triumphs.

An assault victim once looked me in the eye and said, “It’s not me that’s being tested, it’s you.” Their comment was chilling. If I was not willing to stand up, take action and support them, the same thing could happen to me and it did.

It was a reminder that guarding goodness is an important part of being good.

Rekindle Your Determination To Stand Up For What Is Right,
Support Targets of Abuse and Aggression

It’s the best and only way to keep the world safe for you and your loved ones.

Guard Goodness So Evil Does Not Triumph.

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
Email info at FightwithFinesse dot com for reprint rights.
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Deal with Dirt Decisively

August 20, 2007

Corruption Is Costly – It benefits a selfish few while poisoning the entire organization.

Resources wrongfully redirected, misplaced focus, corruption trumping competence, all seriously drain and corrode corporate well-being.

Expect rot and wrong doing as an inevitable part of doing business and

Deal with Dirt Quickly and Decisively So
You Don’t Have To Defend It in the Future

Relief comes from removing the wrongdoing and clearing the corporate conscience. No matter how difficult and enduring the dirt, end it as quickly and decisively as possible. In communications:

  • Place Principles Above Personalities
  • Focus on WHAT Was Wrong rather than WHO Was Wrong
  • Emphasize Evidence that Provides Enduring Examples that can Lead to Future Excellence

Use the Gold Fish Test – Expect the dirt to become public, what do you want the press to say? Ideally you want them to report what you did, the dirt you identified and dealt with rather than rot you face.

Your choice, your career. Do you want to Defend the Dirt and concoct a continual cover up and crises of conscience and credibility?   Or ~

Deal with dirt directly and decisively, quickly clearing corruption and the corporate conscience so the organization can move forward positively, productively, enthusiastically.

Is there a choice?

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
Email info at FightwithFinesse dot com for reprint rights.
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Be A Pleasant, Powerful and Persistent Peer

August 5, 2007

Position Yourself as a Pleasant, Powerful, Persistent Peer

A talented friend had her excellent leadership materials downgraded and disparaged by a low level gatekeeper who had deceptively renamed her topic.

In a discouraged moment she said, “I’ll call her next week to see if we can reopen the discussions.” Ouch!

By mentally positioning ourselves as subordinate supplicants and speaking from that perspective we give people power over us. Power that hurts us, power they do not deserve and should not have.

I bit my tongue and did not speak. These words screamed in my mind:

Our Mental Perspectives Determine the Positions Others Take –
Position Yourself as a Pleasant, Powerful and Persistent Peer!

Don’t talk down to people or up to people. Talking down to them puts them in a subservient position that is demeaning. Talking up to them as a supplicant hands your power over to them.

When you have to lean on people do it pleasantly and with a smile. Radiate lots of positive energy. Expect success.

Make It Clear Your Position will Prevail Assume the power to achieve your goal and success and you will have it.

Use Simple Clear Statements of Fact
Do Not Try To Justify or Argue

“The page needs to be titled Leadership, how do we get this fixed quickly?” If there’s resistance, continue…

“Everyone will benefit from this change.” Find ways to show your opponent how they will gain from your request. Focus on benefits. Make it seem resistance is silly and counterproductive.

“I’m not going to argue with you. The Board and the Membership know the package as Leadership. The current title is deceptive and misleading.”

“Can you get it fixed fast or do I have to speak to someone above you?”

No need to get personal with words like your title. Give the other side wiggle room to reject the wrong along with you.

Focus on their resistance to comply with your request instead.

“Why do you continue to defend a name that is clearly wrong, inaccurate and deceptive? Leaders wouldn’t look for their materials in that category?”

“I need to know you are going to change it right now, can I count on you to do it?” If they don’t comply escalate.

“The Leadership materials need to be described as Leadership because that’s what they are and that’s how people know them. The current title is deceptive and misleading. This is a silly thing to argue about, let’s get it fixed.”

Be A Pleasant, Powerful and Persistent Peer

Copyright 2007, Michele Moore. All Rights Reserved.
Email info at FightwithFinesse dot com for reprint rights.
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