Author Archives: Karen Snyder

Communication - Management - Workplace

Blooms are not Incidental

A year ago, I needed to replace the walkway leading to my office. I called three landscapers to estimate the project. The first landscaper was affable enough, took some measurements, and left.

The second assessed the area and then turned to me and said, “What mood are you trying to create?” I had no idea, so he offered to drive me around to look at “mood.” He had me show him what I liked. When we returned, he looked at the surroundings and he explained how the atmosphere created by the path would influence how people felt when they walked into the office.walkway

As we talked more, I was excited by the possibilities, but nervous about the potential cost, which must have shown in my face. “Don’t worry,” he said. “We’ll start with the walkway, and then you can do the rest of the plan in stages, if that’s what you choose. I want to give you a whole plan, so that it will all work together.”

When the third landscaper pulled out his measuring tape, I had already been won over by the second landscaper’s approach. He had created a compelling vision for the walkway and allayed my money fears.

He got my business because, unlike the other two landscapers, he was more than just an order taker.

In training programs, sometimes participants say, “Oh, I don’t need sales skills. It’s not part of my job.” Regardless of your work, it pays to be persuasive, and it’s important to have a little sales mojo.

All of us need to be able to influence, which is essentially what “sales” is. When we work with our members, patients, clients, employees, and customers, getting to know them as individuals is key. What are their goals? Concerns? Wishes?

It’s only when we know people as individuals that we can truly influence and persuade. And persuasion is something we all need to do, even if you think you’re not in sales.

You may be a doctor encouraging your patient to quit smoking, an HR manager asking an employee to fill out a timesheet – or a landscaper building a walkway.

Whatever your role, sales skills will make you more successful.

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Appreciation - Self Reflection

Positive Outcomes

About 18 years ago, I was at a networking event (with my four-month-old daughter strapped into a snuggly), and I was lamenting to some colleagues that the lion’s share of my consulting business came from one client – a great client with whom I thoroughly enjoyed working,  but one client nonetheless. I feared that I was not creating the stability I needed to build a successful business.  If that one client pulled out, I’d be sunk, I griped.
This reaction from a colleague made a huge impact on my business acumen.  “Let me get this straight,” said Corrin. “You have a client you love, you have three children who are healthy, and you’re worried?  You should be grateful.”
I left that event thinking:  They are right.  My cup is way beyond half full.  I need to focus on what I have, instead of what I don’t have.
Positivity is a powerful business tool.  And while the field of positive psychology offers up a bevy of evidence for the connection behind optimism and positive outcomes, my belief in the concept came from a personal experience.
I was reminded of that networking event a few months ago when a coaching client told me, “I am just going to pour positive energy into what’s in front of me!  Not because it’s something I should do, but because when I pour positivity into anything, it seems to get better.”
All of us can learn from this.  In organizations, we tend to focus on what is going wrong instead of what is going right.  And when we fail to pay attention to what’s going right, it can evaporate pretty quickly.
Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to reframe your mindset.  Let’s say that your team landed three new clients, but missed their revenue goal.  The negative message is that the team failed.  The positive message is that any of those three clients have the potential to become million-dollar clients.
Or maybe your logo redesign required lots of back and forth with the design team.  Negative message:  This costs more than we planned.  Positive message:  We ended up with a logo that everyone is happy with and that will endure.
So how can you inject your workplace with positivity?  Ask yourself these questions:
  1. What have I done well this week?
  2. Whose work in the last month should I affirm with praise or a note of recognition?
  3. How will I reward team members who have contributed to the success of our organization this quarter?
The bottom line is that what we think about and emphasize is what grows.  So plant the seeds of positivity at your workplace and see what sprouts!
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Employee Feedback - Meaningful Conversations - Workplace

A Thimble or a Beer Stein?

You’ve followed all the rules for a effective performance review with your assistant:  you found a time that works for both of you; you booked a private spot; and you made sure you wouldn’t be interrupted.  It all seemed to be going well until he suddenly turned defensive and withdrawn. What went wrong?
You may have misjudged his capacity for feedback.
I like to think of feedback as being something you pour.  Some people have a huge beer stein-sized capacity for receiving feedback and they are appreciative the more you fill their metaphorical glass (to a degree). Others have a tiny thimble – and if you overpour, all you do is make a big mess. So how do you tell whether someone is receptive to what you’re saying? It’s all in the body language.
Keep talking if:
  • they are asking questions such as, “Can you tell me more?  Can you be more specific?”
  • they thank you for sharing your insights
  • they appear relatively calm
  • they are attentive and listening
Put a cork in it if:
  •  they start giving excuses
  •  they aren’t making eye contact
  •  they appear agitated
  •  they are red in the face
  •  they tell you why they did what they did
The key is to not let the session turn into an argument, or even a milder form of disagreement…
You’re going to lose their respect and it won’t be a productive dialog.
Understanding a person’s ability to handle feedback is a valuable tool for productivity, retention, and the bottom line.  In fact, it’s so pivotal – and so hard to get right – that we offer training on the art of giving feedback.
When have you been on the receiving end of positive feedback?   How has someone enhanced your career by sharing their observations and suggestions?  Feedback really can be a gift.
I would love to hear your experience.
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