Know Thyself and All That Jazz


How do others see me? I mean really see me?  How closely do you think your self knowledge matches what other think about you?

If you are familiar with the Johari Window – the diagram shows us that each of us has parts of ourselves that others can see that we can’t. The goal however, is to make our public self window the largest of the 4. What we ‘know’ about ourselves is the same is what others ‘know’ about us. Perfect self knowledge is not possible but that’s not the goal.

It’s likely that our ‘hidden self’ – “what others know about me but I don’t”…that negatively affects our personal and professional effectiveness most dramatically.

So what can a person do to move their self-knowledge from ‘hidden’ to public? In her new book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, author Dorie Clark suggests that we follow these steps:

  • Read through old performance appraisals — look at the areas for improvement – is there a pattern?
  • Look at your online presence – if someone didn’t know you, what would they think about you?
  • Conduct your own 360 degree interviews – ask people who know you to give you one area that could improve your effectiveness. You will need to be prepared to hear things that might ruffle your feathers. No matter what they say… don’t react, thank them for their input. Choose these people wisely. These must be people you respect and who respect you. One or two good sessions can give you many things to work on.

Look, I know this isn’t easy. What if they tell you something REALLY hard to hear? Counterbalance the difficult with the good. People for positive feedback too. Tell them you are looking to be more effective and want their help. Make sure that you have support from family and friends. Then dive right in. Modeling this behavior for your children is better than telling them 100 things. Agree or disagree?

Image credit — Mr. Johari? Ms. Johari?

Find Your “Zone of Genius”


Do you think you are an interesting person?

In her book, How to Be More Interesting in 10 Steps Jessica Hagy shows us direct ways to enhance our “interestingness” (my word). Here’s my suggestion. Get a piece of paper… rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being no way and 10 being — I’m already doing that every day!) — how comfortable are you with each of these?

1) Talking to strangers

2) Exposing yourself to ridicule, risk and wild ideas

3) Learning an entirely new skill; especially one that interests but intimidates you

4) Embracing your inner weirdness

5) Ignoring the “scolds”

How’d you do?  If you scored above 50, you’re on your way. Below 50? What are you waiting for ? There’s a saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears — but you have to be looking! In my experience the teacher is already available – I just haven’t been paying attention.

— Don’t hide your quirks; they are what make you interesting!

–Don’t let the ‘shoulds’ get in your way? When others will criticize you, be prepared. Don’t listen. They’re projecting their fear onto you. Push it back to them.

So this relates to your “Zone of Genius” – a term coined by author Gay Hendricks. Here’s how she describes it:

“Your Zone of Genius is the combination of your innate talent and your greatest passion. Innate talent, for this purpose, is how–not what–you do what you do. Your greatest passion is the activity that you could do for countless hours with unending fulfillment.Finding your zone of genius can be tricky. We’re all blind to many of our own true strengths and weaknesses, so it often helps to find an objective, supportive person to help. Knowing your Zone of Genius also makes you caring, humble, and brave.”

The ‘teacher’ can be anyone… your child, spouse, co-worker, an old friend, a complete stranger. You just need to let go and ask for help. It will be there. Go!

Photo credit: RiÃ?©Kââ??¢


Be a Great Negotiator in 5 Easy Steps


We all learned to negotiate as children. Depending on who we learned from, we either learned that success meant win – win or win- lose. Competition is healthy and there are occasions where one needs to ‘win.’  The Olympics — for instance. That’s not a negotiation, that’s a competition.

We do refer to the other companies in our industry as our ‘competition’ but that doesn’t mean that we crush them in every circumstance… particularly if that doesn’t serve our customers. Personally, we probably negotiate 10-20 times a day (even more if you have children or employees).

You may be unaware of your approach to negotiation.  A good start is to pay attention to your words, attitude and mind set going in and coming out of negotiations for one whole day. Take some notes.

Here are a few steps to help you become a more aware negotiator.

1) Physically stand or sit next to the person. This sends an important signal that you are open and ‘on the same side.’ Does this work when you are disciplining? Only if it’s really a negotiation. By the way, pay attention to body language, your own and the other person’s.

2) Actively listen to the other person. Repeat back what they are saying so they know they are being heard.

3) Be sure to explain the why something needs to happen. While this isn’t always possible, it is really important for buy in and builds trust.

4) It’s not personal. The best negotiations keep the ‘personal’ out of it.

5) What’s the path forward?  Are there alternatives in case of contingencies? These small steps build trust.

It can be fun to learn new skills.. and become more effective. Dig in and create that win/win.

Photo credit: Winning Together   dcJohn

You’ve Come A Long Way Baby…


This is a photo (1909) showing what a woman might dress like as a police officer. The first female police ‘woman’ was sworn in September 1910.

When you realize that it’s only been 5 generations since we brought the female voice and presence to law enforcement in this country, is it any wonder that women around the world are still repressed and assaulted as a matter of course?

This post isn’t a lecture about Leaning In… Sheryl Sandberg’s new book about women in the workplace. Sheryl is entitled to her opinion and I applaud her efforts to amp up the dialogue about people, work, choices, skill building, education, decisions, etc.

I would like us to think about our daughters AND our sons. No matter what age they are…

What are we teaching them about respect for all people?

Recently I learned that for a Japanese woman, it is very difficult to have both a career and a family. Thousands of years have brought them to this place. I also became aware that rape is used as a weapon of war – to literally ethnically cleanse the enemy by impregnating as many women as possible.

The world is a complicated place. Teach your children well.

photo credit: Library of Congress