By Jay Forte
By Jay Forte
Art imitates life and life imitates art. And today, what works in
business works in life and what works in life, works in business.
Art imitates life and life imitates art. And today, what works in business works in life and what works in life, works in business. With the movement from the industrial age (we made things) to the intellectual age (we make ideas), work and life have become parallel worlds.
Our workplaces are now about people and relationships – in fact, humanity. Success in the workplace is now more directly based on our ability to know and understand our customers as people, create “customerized” service responses and build relationships that last. This is also just what we must do to have successful and fulfilling personal lives.
Let’s review several areas where the parallels between work and life now exist.
“You never listen to what I say.” This could be a line from a spouse or a customer. Both have critical consequences and the steps to improve them are virtually the same. Learning to ask great questions and then really listen is a millennial skill. Working diligently to be understood and to understand dramatically improves relationships, moves information and drives performance. Thus, learning great communication skills will have specific benefits in both environments.
We know people communicate using different methods, and whether you use DISC, Myers-Briggs, The Colour Code or some other personality profile process, there are tools to help asses the communication styles of others. Books, audio programs and live web meetings are readily available to understand the communication process and ways to become better by fixing its breakdown points.
Statistics indicate that more than 60 per cent of all problems happen because of faulty communication. Therefore, it must be high on our Parallel Plans to be understood and to understand others. Learn how to ask great questions, communicate in the style of others (pace), understand your own style, eliminate the environmental distractions to communication and learn to listen. These tools will have specific and profound benefits in work and at home.
The best definition of value I have heard is “Value is doing the right thing, for the right person, every day, all the time.”
In other words, value is about finding out enough information about another person (using great communication skills) and then using the information to create the right response. As you can imagine, value is personal; value for one is not the same as value for another. And our success in today’s business world is to know what each customer wants, how they want it and when they want it. When we respond in a way they see as valuable, we build the relationship. The more consistently we can do this, the more we prove to customers that we know their needs, interests and values and are committed to addressing them. This develops trust in the relationship, which then has the ability to advance to loyalty.
Now consider this same definition of value at home. If I know what value is for each of my children, and then work to constantly provide it, I have the skill of building trust, showing interest and building a powerful relationship between us. When we spend the time to understand the other (through strong communication skills), we are ready to develop the right response to what they need, feel, want and ultimately value.
Value is doing the right thing, for the right person, every day, all the time. When we do this, we show another person (family or customer) our effort and our level of care. People are motivated and affected by emotions. We show our emotional response when we create value for the people with whom we live or to whom we sell.
Focus on talents
Employees, to be successful in a thinking environment, must first be assessed to determine their talents (their natural thinking) and then be matched to a workplace role that allows them to use these talents. Each of us has gifts, talents and perspectives that others do not have … at least not in our combination; the choice to learn how to identify them and actually use them is up to each of us.
Where the talents, passions and roles all intersect is called “congruence” by some, and “flow” by others, but, in short, it is a thrill spot where the person becomes passionate about whatever he or she is doing. Employees who are miscast in the wrong roles do not easily find that thrill spot, and their days become tedious and boring.
Thinking drives passion, and passion drives performance. Put an employee in a role that does not match his thinking, and the result is low passion and poor performance. But put an employee in a role that matches his thinking and the results can be great passion and great performance.
At home, think about what you love to do. Think about what your kids love to do. Do you find time to allow for as much of this as possible – for example, gardening, cooking, dancing, singing, building, exploring technology? The way to help others be great is to help them see their talents, identify what they are passionate about and build it into the day as often as possible. Learning to find talents at work activates a more powerful home life, as people know themselves better, learn to be connected to what inspires them and then live it for greater happiness.
Build a Parallel Plan
In the workplace, a daily plan is needed to ensure important things are completed and goals are achieved. Planning is a critical part of time management and is one of the most important aspects of a successful career. Employees who take the time to plan use their time more effectively to get the right things done at the right time; this is critical for a better work/life balance.
Building a plan at work also addresses career development. It is important for each of us to own our careers: to develop in areas that make sense for us, those that bring us to places that match our interests and passions. The age of companies creating these plans for us is all but gone. Instead, we need to understand our options for growth and advancement and own the process of getting ready to move ahead in our careers. We must constantly be learning, growing and improving. We must constantly talk with others to see opportunities, invent opportunities or take advantage of opportunities. We must not act as spectators but rather step up as players. All successful players have a plan.
It is the same in life. We can roll through the days, aimless, responding as things come. Or, we can decide what we want from life, build a plan and work the plan each day. Time management and planning are not unique to business; these concepts make sense for life. What we learn at home to run an extraordinary life are the same things needed to run an extraordinary career. It starts with a plan to develop strong communication skills, focus on value and understand ourselves through our talents.
“Life is not a dress rehearsal.” If life could be ordinary or extraordinary, why would we choose ordinary? Each day we must commit to owning it. We should embrace each day, be fully engaged and commit to the largest slice of happiness and contentment. Reach, challenge, drive and learn. If work is not great, change it. If home is not great, change it. The lessons and education you find in one will drive your performance in the other.
The centrepiece in both worlds is humanity – emotions, passions and relationships. So be human: dream, care, be excited and be passionate. Your family will love it … so will your customers.
Jay Forte is a powerful performance speaker, consultant, author and founder of Humanetrics, LLC. He works with managers who want to be more successful in activating and inspiring exceptional employee performance, to significantly drive customer loyalty and improve company profitability. Jay, a CPA/financial executive turned educator, turned consultant, is renowned for producing significant results. He is a highly engaging speaker and is working on an upcoming book “Fire Up Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition: How to Invite, Incite and Ignite Performance” For information on keynotes, seminars and consulting, or to see the daily “BLOGucation,” visit: www.humanetricsllc.com , his new site www.fireupyouremployees.com , or call 401-338-3505.