Kevin Kelly was the founding editor of Wired. He reached 70 last year and shared 103 bits of life advice. I find these lists often are mostly cliche… but there is depth in this list.
This week’s video is me picking out the 3 bits of life advice that most resonate with me – and then sharing why these bits of advice are so important and relevant to myself.
3 of the 103 bits of life advice that I loved…
Living with Paradox… and Mentors (at 2:20 in the video)
Building A Life of Learning and Growth (at 5:33)
Trusting People (9:35)
Living with Paradox… and Mentors
“Three things you need: The ability to not give up something till it works, the ability to give up something that does not work, and the trust in other people to help you distinguish between the two.”
I love this one for this paradox: you need to be stubborn enough to stick to things beyond where someone else might abandon… and you need to be flexible enough to stop doing something when someone else might really struggle with the “sunk cost”… the hours and effort already invested in the activity.
How do you develop this capacity? You don’t. You are too close.
The only way you can develop the ability to navigate this paradox is with the input and perspectives of others. It took me a long time of stubborn arrogance before I finally had to accept that other people have much better perspectives on my life than I do.
Building A Life of Learning and Growth
“Your best job will be one that you were unqualified for because it stretches you. In fact only apply to jobs you are unqualified for.”
Once you have mastered something, we need you to move on… to take on something more complex. If you stay doing a job that you are now completely competent in… you begin to coast… and then feel like you deserve more… and become complacent… and then you find yourself out of a job.
I am currently leading Vistage in Spain… and the team around me can tell you that I am not yet the “perfect leader”… I am a work in progress… I am learning a lot as we go. I am completely committed to the mission of the organisation, and working hard to build up my skills and capacities to be a good leader… but I’m not there yet.
“If you loan someone $20 and you never see them again because they are avoiding paying you back, that makes it worth $20.”
I trust people as a general principle. It has worked out marvellously 99.9% of the time… but I have been let down, cheated and disappointed a number of times.
There is a saying “cheat me once, shame on you. Cheat me twice, shame on me.”
I have interviewed and hired hundreds of people over the last 20 years. I have accepted investment in my business, partners, employees… I have invested in others’ businesses and lent money to friends… and I’ve learnt that only behaviour counts… what people say they will do has no correlation to how they will act in future… what people have done in the past has huge correlation with how they will act in future.
If someone commits to pay you back $20 and then breaks that promise – it is a very inexpensive way of identifying someone not to trust in any way in future. While you might be wrong, there are 8 billion other people who are likely to be a better bet.
How to Build and Sustain Trust within your Team (by Luis Costa Soares)
You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.
A strong, cohesive team is high performing and will achieve anything.
Have you ever lead people in a team who didn’t trust one another? If you have, then you’ll know how challenging and draining this can be.
A team without trust isn’t really a team! It’s just a group of individuals, working together, often making disappointing progress. They may not share information, they might battle over rights and responsibilities, and they may not cooperate with one another. It doesn’t matter how capable or talented these people are, they will never reach their full potential if trust isn’t present.
However, when trust is in place, each individual in the team becomes stronger, because he/she is part of an effective, cohesive group. When people trust one another, the group can achieve truly meaningful goals.
So how can you, as a leader, help your team build the trust that it needs to flourish? Let’s look at trust within teams, why it’s important, and what you can do to build it.
The Importance of Trust
One definition describes trust as a “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”
Think about that definition for a moment. Trust means that you rely on someone else to do the right thing. You believe in the person’s integrity and strength, to the extent that you’re able to put yourself on the line, at some risk to yourself.
Trust is essential to an effective team, because it provides a sense of safety. When your team members feel safe with each other, they feel comfortable to open up, take appropriate risks, and expose vulnerabilities.
Without trust there’s less innovation, collaboration, creative thinking, and productivity, and people spend their time protecting themselves and their interests. This is time that should be spent helping the team attain its goals.
Trust is also essential for knowledge sharing. A study published in the “Journal of Knowledge Management” found that trust was a key element in a team’s knowledge acquisition. Put simply, if your team members trust one another, they’re far more likely to share knowledge, and communicate openly.
Strategies for Building Trust
As a leader, what can you do to create a culture of trust within your team?
Lead by Example
If you want to build trust within your team, then lead by example, and show your people that you trust others. This means trusting your team, your colleagues, and your boss. Never forget that your team members are always watching and taking cues from you. Take the opportunity to show them what trust in others really looks like.
Open communication is essential for building trust. You need to get everyone on your team talking to one another in an honest, meaningful way, and you can use several strategies to accomplish this.
First, create a team DNA to define the purpose of the team, as well as each person’s role. Present this team DNA at the first team meeting, and encourage each team member to ask questions, and discuss his/her expectations. NOTE: This team DNA becomes the common language we all use within the team to communicate and understand each other. It creates a level playing field where all team members shared the same intrepretations of words and meanings.
Next, consider organising team building exercises. When chosen carefully and planned well, these exercises can help “break the ice” and encourage people to open up and start communicating. Make these exercises “real play”… in other words, use everyday real occurences as the content and basis for these team building exercises, rather than artificial simulations.
Meet regularly, so that all team members have a chance to talk about their progress, and discuss any problems that they’re experiencing. This time spent face-to-face is an important part of getting to know each other. It also creates opportunities for team members to talk, and to help one another solve problems.
Make sure that you “walk the talk”: whenever you have important or relevant information to share, do so immediately. Demonstrate that open communication is important to you by consistently sharing with the group. The more you share with your team members, and thereby prove that you have no hidden agenda, the more comfortable they’ll feel trusting you and each other. NOTE: be aware that “transparency” does not mean that you have to share absolutely everything. “Transparency” means that when there is something you cannot share, you say so: “this particular topic exists but I cannot share it with you due to this specific reason…”
Know Each Other Personally
One way to build trust is to encourage your team members to see their colleagues as people. Think about creating situations that help them share personal stories, and create bonds with each other.
Do this by asking sensitively about their family, or about their hobbies. Start by sharing some personal information about yourself, and then ask someone else to share something about themselves… a hobby, or a musical interest. Another way to get the team acquainted, and to form stronger bonds, is to find moments to socialize or at lunch.
You could also set aside time each week for informal group discussions. Consider asking team members to put forward suggestions on topics you could all cover. To start with, you could start a discussion around values. Share some of your own values, and encourage others to share theirs. Values are important to most people, and starting a conversation that allows people to share their values highlights your team’s humanity.
Don’t Place Blame
When people work together, honest mistakes and disappointments happen, and it’s easy to blame someone. However, when everyone starts pointing fingers, a difficult and awkward atmosphere quickly develops. This lowers morale, undermines trust, and is ultimately unproductive.
Instead, encourage everyone in your group to think about the mistake in a constructive way. Think about it as a learning opportunity for the team. What can you all do to fix what happened, and move forward together? And how can you work together to ensure that this mistake doesn’t happen again?
Sometimes, cliques can form within a team, often between team members who share common interests or work tasks. However, these groups can – even inadvertently – make others feel isolated. They can also undermine trust between group members.
Start an open discussion about this with your team members, and see what they think about cliques and their effect on other group members. Only by addressing the issue openly can you discourage this damaging behavior.
Discuss Trust Issues
If you manage an established team that has trust issues, it’s essential to find out how these problems originate, so that you can come up with strategies for overcoming them.
Consider giving team members a questionnaire to fill out anonymously. Ask them about the level of trust within the team, as well as why they think there’s a lack of trust. Once you’ve read the results, get everyone together to talk about these issues NOTE: make absolutely sure that you respect the anonymity of the survey!
Building Trust Virtually
If you lead a virtual team, then you might be working with a group of people who seldom meet face to face, or who have never spoken to one another personally. So, how can you build trust between people who are hundreds – if not thousands – of kilometres apart?
You can apply some of the advice above when you’re working with a virtual team. Schedule a virtual “meet and greet” if it’s a new team, to help everyone get to know one another as individuals. Or, create a web page for your team, and ask everyone to write a paragraph or two about their personal history and interests.
A team DNA is still important for defining a clear way of communicationg and intrepreting each others’ expectations. Make sure that the team DNA addresses roles, as well as processes for submitting work digitally. Make sure that the team DNA is as comprehensive as possible, so that people don’t feel uncertain or fearful about the work they’re doing.
Next, make sure that everyone on the team is aware of other team members’ expertise and skills, as well as the value that each individual contributes to the group.
Encourage your team members to treat each other just as they would if they were working face to face. This means that team members should make every effort to be on time for conference calls or web meetings, and that they should let the rest of the team know when they’ll be absent, or on vacation.
It’s particularly important to follow through on the promises you make, and to set an example for everyone else. Keeping your promises is incredibly important in a virtual team, because your word is often all you can give. Positive follow-through builds trust quickly, and can raise the entire group’s tone and expectations.
Trust is an essential element in team productivity. Without it, you’re unlikely to get anything meaningful done. With trust, teams can accomplish everything they set out to do… and more.
As a leader, it’s important that you set an example. Show your team members how critical trust is to you by demonstrating your trust in them, as well as in your colleagues.
Make an effort to help everyone get to know each other on a personal level. Encourage conversations on values, family, or hobbies. Discourage cliques, if you feel that they’re damaging to the team’s trust and morale.
From the very beginning, coaching has always been at the core of my passions.
For the past 38 years I have been an Executive and Team Coach working globally with CEOs and their C-Suite Executives, Business Owners and top talent in a significant number of the major global companies (including a significant number of Fortune 500), innovative companies operating in new ecosystems and dynamic family owned businesses.
During the past 28 years, I have also been an Executive and Team Coach and a “consultant to consultants” developing partners and top talent at major consultancies, Big4 Firms and Legal Firms
There is formula for changing people. Doctor Malik Mohammed shared this wisdom with the EO Global Leadership Academy last week in Washington, USA. If you are to change someone’s behaviour patterns, two things are necessary.
This video is about Building Trust – and how building Trust will Improve Relationships and the Enhance the Quality of our Lives. After you have food and shelter, it is the quality of the relationships that really make your life. Relationships are about trust. Where there is no trust, there is no relationship.
In Rationalia, all decisions are taken because scientific data is collected and the evidence supports the law. If you want to change a law, you suggest an experiment. If the experiment produces evidence that the new law improves the conditions of Rationalia, then the law is passed.
In this land, reason wins.
This is not a country that we are living in now.
This post is not going to get into the pros and cons of the nation of Rationalia.
How Do Politicians try to Change our Minds?
If I listen to political debate (Trump vs Hillary, UK Labour party, Brexit referendum) I do not hear rational arguments being put forward for a range of proposed policies.
I hear arguments that go to credibility (or Ethos, for those followers of Aristotle amongst you):
“You can’t trust her”,
“She doesn’t have the energy”,
“It was just locker-room banter”,
“He says it does not represent who he is, but I think we all know that it really does represent exactly who he is”
There is nothing here about policies. There is nothing here about the danger of the other’s flawed policies. There is only raising of my trustworthiness and decreasing of the other’s trustworthiness.
Why has Reason disappeared from political debate?
I understand this shift. I see three big reasons:
People hold a wider range of beliefs
more sources and types of data and
more channels for experts to spread their views.
There has been such a broadening of accepted beliefs over the last half-century that there are few value systems that can be assumed to apply to the whole electorate. There are few symbols that represent the same value to the whole electorate. There are few bases for logical argument that starts from a widely held truth.
There is much more data, in many more forms (graphics, reports, video, analyst reports…), there are many more experts, there are many more sources for information. The experts come at us through new channels – online, cable, satellite, podcasts, blogs, facebook, twitter…
It is confusing.
What do we do when we are Confused?
In this environment we seek voices we can trust. (Check out The Trust Equation for an in-depth analysis of the 4 components of trust in relationships)
It is only a trusted voice that can open our eyes to a new perspective.
If you want to persuade someone, build a relationship. If there is no relationship, there is little chance of persuasion.
We only really change our minds when a trusted friend who knows us finally asks a question in a private conversation “Hey, why is that so important to you? What effect do you think it is having on your life? on those around you?…”
Who are your trusted friends? Who do you allow to have influence on you?
If life’s journey is like a bus ride: there are drivers, and there are passengers.
(there are also conductors, there are navigators, there are engineers…)
There are a lot more passengers on the bus than drivers.
What does it take to be a driver?
The drivers are people that passengers can believe in. Who do we believe in? I am reminded of the Trust Equation. Trust is made up of 4 elements – credibility, reliability, intimacy and other-orientation.
Sometimes I am a passenger on the journey: I am seeking validation of my ideas, my projects and my life.
Great teachers know how to balance enough validation with enough allowance for the development of self-validation capacity. The best teachers are mature enough to avoid giving me the explicit validation that I think I want, but they know that if they give it, I will become an addict to their validation, not to building my own inner capacity to self-validate.
…and my next question for today:
Whats the difference between a rockstar and a guy with a guitar in his bedroom?
You finish your pitch and the customer says: “Your product is too expensive!”. You arrive home, you’re a few minutes late: your partner says “You are always late!”. At a dirty plate left on the table: “you never wash the dishes!”
What do you say in this moment?
How do you handle objections? It is possible to take proactive control of your emotional state. You can practice a habit of not reacting like a viper snake or a cornered bear. It will improve how you sell, it will improve how you manage… and it will improve the quality of your relationships.
I posted a short video yesterday to my YouTube Channel explaining a concept that I teach in my class on persuasion: “Aikido Conversation”.
From: “What I want to say”
The most important step in persuasion is being able to leave behind “what I want to say” and move to what “they need to hear”. It requires emotional control that we don’t have as standard.
To: “They need to hear”
When someone gives you an objection, or accuses you of something – the real issue is underneath, not at the surface. If you react with what “I want to say” you will have a fight, you will lose the opportunity to understand what is really at issue.
How to deal with Objections
Transcript of the Video:
You finish your pitch and the customer says: “It’s quite expensive”… “Your product is too expensive!”
You arrive home, you’re a few minutes late: your partner says “You are always late”
At a dirty plate left on the table: “you never wash the dishes”
What do you say in this moment?
Most of you, and myself included, went through 14 years of school where we were taught one way to respond to questions:
Teacher asks questions “how do you spell cat?” Student: “C A T”
Teacher: “what is the biological process called osmosis?” Student puts hand up explains in detail the process through which cell membranes allow water to go from one side to the other.
So for 14 years you’ve been taught that you provided an answer to a question. If you went to university you probably had another 3,4 years where you gave answers to questions… but in real life, in persuasion in getting to what the other person is really about, what their needs really are the worst thing you can do is give an answer to question. If someone says “your product is too expensive” and you said “no it’s not! it’s only €1000” you’ve lost every chance to understand what else is behind their reasoning.
If you get home and your partner says “you’re always late!”
“No no no! Tuesday I definitely was here on time”… you’re gonna have a crap weekend
You’ve had 14, if not 18 years of training that you answer questions and it’s going to cause fights in your home life, it’s going to cause problems at work, it means you’re not selling anything.
Because when someone says your product is too expensive, that’s not what their real issue is. When someone says “I will have to speak to my boss” that’s not what their real issue is.
If we had lots of time here I would create a little role-play thing because what happens here in our model of the human brain: the stem, emotion
When your partner says “you’re always late” emotion goes up and what happens is this part disconnects. The way to make someone stupider is insult them, object to them tell them they are wrong. When asked a question there’s an emotional reaction.
Emotion up, Intelligence down
and the higher emotion goes the lower thinking goes
so if you don’t practice this response you’re not going be able to do it in the moment. if you don’t practice repeatedly how you’ll respond to
“you’re always late!”,
“you never wash the dishes!”,
“you never do your part of the share!”
“your product is too expensive!”,
“your competitor is better!”,
“you failed us 3 years ago!”
“I don’t trust your company!”
if you don’t practice this habit of not giving an answer. You’re not going to be able to do it in the heat of the moment.
So i would say this: when you are asked a question or given an objection what I want you to do is say “I understand”, and repeat in your words what they’re saying:
Them: “your product is too expensive!”
You: “I understand that money is an important factor for you, What other criteria will be used in taking this decision?”
You understand… and you give an open question back. I call this “Conversation Aikido”
Martial Arts are about using the energy, the force of the opponent against them. In Judo, if someone punches you pull their arm and you allow the energy to keep flowing. In Karate… don’t be where the energy is arriving. In Aikido the concept is you go towards the punch, go towards the energy
If someone punches you, if someone asks you a question, if someone objects or says you’re wrong: The Aikido method is go towards and see the world from their view.
In Aikido you learn to go towards the punch, dodge it, and look and you are seeing the world in the same direction as the person who’s attacking you.
It takes some habit to start to be able to give “I understand” and fill in good words so practicing
“you’re always late!”…
“I understand you feel frustrated”
“I understand you feel let down”
You will have to work on this quite a few times over the next 10 years to find the set of words that captures what the other person feels, what’s behind it
“What can we do now?”
“What happened during the day?”,
“What would you like to talk about?”,
“What can we do this weekend?”
so that is the way that instead of when you get punched, walking straight into the punch, having a very bad weekend; when a client says “you’re too expensive!” and you say “No we are not!”: You learn nothing:
about who else they are considering
what other criteria are important
what process they have gone through
who else is involved in the decision
I hope that, and this takes 14 years of it being drummed into you… 4 more, 18 if you went to university. It’s gonna take you at least 18 years to get out of the habit of responding to questions with answers
We live in an uncertain world and we don’t have the answers but by giving the answer we shut down the possibility of hearing what’s really going on in the other person’s mind, in the other person’s business, what other things are going on; so if someone says:
“your product is too expensive” -> “I understand that money is an important criteria for you what other things are important in this decision?”
“I’ll have to talk to my boss in this” -> “Hey, this is an important decision I understand you want to get everyone involved” “When can I come and meet with you and your boss together?”
…that’s a bit of a closed question…
but the habit here is being good at “I understand” and accepting the energy that is coming from the other person and then giving back an open question
and I guarantee that if you do it 4 times: the answer to your 4th open question begins to be what’s the real underlying need issue, interest of the person that you’re listening to.
Photo Credit: Aikido Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com
We Enjoy Lies. When we believe a lie, it is because we want to believe the lie.
“Everyone is hungry for something and they will give anything to get it” Pamela Meyer, Liespotting
I met Pamela Meyer at the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation University in Istanbul, Turkey about a month ago. She spoke about Lie Spotting. She has spent years working with the FBI to train agents in spotting deception.
She spoke about several clues that FBI agents learn to watch for when they conduct interviews. You can read more about those clues in her book. However there was a deeper idea that she left with me.
We Enjoy Lies
When we believe a lie, it is because we want to believe the lie.
Lying is a cooperative act. When somebody lies to us and we choose to believe it, we are cooperating with the liar. A great liar is excellent at quickly identifying what it is that you want more than anything. The liar’s lies will help you see yourself closer to the person you wish you were, but that inside you don’t feel that you are.
“Lying is the bridge between reality and our fantasies, between who we are and who we want to be. And it’s a cooperative act. You can only be lied to if you agree to it.” Pamela Meyer
If you are taken in by a financial scheme, it is because the liar has seen that you want to see yourself as a smart, financially savvy person; and you don’t feel that you are. Or it may be that your brother is richer than you and it bothers you, the con-man sees that your need is to feel that you are as good as your brother.
I sat there in the audience in Istanbul and I reflected on the types of fantasies that I have. What type of person I would like to appear to be? Where does my fantasy me most differ from my real me? If a liar tells me that I show excellent discipline and consistency: I want to believe. If a liar tells me that I still look young, strong and healthy; I am prone to believing. If Bernie Madoff told me that he only allows the elite few to invest, and that he has heard that I am a special person; I am prone to deciding to invest.
It is where our fantasy most diverges from our reality that we will be most open to accepting deception. What are your fantasies that a liar might use? What do you want to believe that you are, but inside still have doubts? Who do you want to love you, but inside wonder whether they do? What groups do you want to belong to, and inside hope to one day be able to join? In these situations, you will believe a liar’s deception.
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