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Relationships and the Dog Eat Dog World

dog_daysThis is the third installment of our five-part Dog Days series. Today we want to talk about relationships. There’s that old saying, “It’s a dog eat dog world.

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It reminds us of this exchange on Cheers:

Woody: "How's it going Mr. Peterson?"
Norm: "It's a dog eat dog world, Woody, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

Dog eat dog is a zero-sum mindset. In order for you to win, the other party has to lose. There may have been times when this mindset worked. If you were in a large city or you sold nationally or worldwide, you may have been able to get away with it.

But the world is getting smaller and smaller.

Man’s best friend

Thanks to the internet, more people are connected with more people. Reputations can be built or destroyed pretty quickly. So it really pays to think win – win.

Be man’s best friend. Build loyalty by being trustworthy. Win friends by being loveable.

Those attitudes win alliances today. Your network is the single biggest asset you can have. The value of your network is the sum total of the value of each and every relationship in it.

Call the dogs off

You build value in relationships by giving. So call the dogs off.

You’re seeing this so much now as more and more people start using new tools like Twitter. They follow you; you follow them back. Then you’re immediately greeted with an auto-generated sales pitch.

As we’ve said before, the problem is they’re not seeing people. They only see dollar signs, but the dollars don’t materialize because people are turned off by the initial communication.

Of course, you can be too laid back in your networking efforts. You have to think highly enough of yourself, and what you do, to promote yourself. If you don’t, why should anyone else promote you?

Find the balance between too passive and too aggressive.

“His bark is worse than his bite”

We’ve all probably heard these famous words uttered by a dog owner. Perhaps you’ve said them yourself.

Is it a problem if we as humans exhibit this behavior as well?

Of course it is! Because we lose credibility if that’s the case.

When you choose to elevate a discussion, you have to be ready to back up your words with actions.

Barking and biting can be tools if they are used carefully. If they aren’t, they’ll come back to bite you (pun intended)!

If you never bark or bite, people may think they can steamroll right over you. On the other hand, you can use these tools too much. Then people avoid you or just brush off the dialog without really listening. They also lose respect for you.

So it’s okay to bark, if you bark occasionally. When you do it occasionally, it makes the communication stand out.

And it’s okay to bite … if you rarely do it. Sometimes you have to confront an aggressor head on. It puts teeth into your words.

Relationships. It’s hard to fully quantify them. They don’t show up on your Balance Sheet. But nonetheless, they are the single biggest asset you have. So build relationships for your bigg success!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today.

Occasionally, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself in the dog house. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about how to get out. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Leaders Must Control This Emotion

angryBigg success is life on your own terms. Growth, one of the five elements of bigg success, is our focus today.

If we’re going to succeed bigg, we must learn to control our emotions. Otherwise, they will control us. This is particularly true for leaders. One of the emotions leaders must control is their anger.

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Anger works against communication

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george I know from first-hand experience because I used to have a temper. Over time, I learned to control it because I realized it was counter-productive. People don’t respond well to it.

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marylynnThat’s the point. It seems that, in most cases, people either withdraw or they get defensive. Neither one is conducive to productive communication.

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Getting it under control

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george What helped me the most in controlling my anger was taking a step back – not necessarily physically, but mentally. Although, I have physically taken a step back when someone got too aggressive. It kept the situation from escalating.

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marylynnOf course, sometimes it pays to remove yourself from the environment altogether. Literally move to another space and relax for awhile before you respond.

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Responding like Goldilocks

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george I’ve coached a lot of people on just that issue. This is another Goldilocks principle. You want to get your response just right. There’s a tendency to respond too quickly – on the spot – and with anger.

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marylynnYou may win the battle but lose the war. The person retreats but the relationship is damaged. Or the other person comes right back and the conversation escalates to an even higher level of anger.

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george Exactly. The other side of it is leaders who don’t respond quickly enough. You have to get back to the person in a timely manner or you’re essentially rubber stamping their behavior. As a young manager, I probably responded too quickly. As I got older, I may have been too slow at times. Hopefully, in my advanced years, I’m getting closer to a good balance.

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How you say it

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marylynnKnow the purpose of your follow-up communication. Understand that how you say it is just as important as what you say. If you want to build the relationship, talk in the third person as much as possible. This is not the time for you-view. Try to frame the discussion like a reporter. Remove the personalities to diffuse the situation.

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Controlled anger can be a tool if brought out under the right circumstances:

Focus on the situation

When you express controlled anger, your people know you’re serious. You have to be careful with this one, but it’s okay to express anger about a situation.

This is an important distinction – be angry about the situation, not the person. You will keep things moving in the right direction with this mental shift.

Use it infrequently

This tool isn’t productive is used regularly. It has to be the exception. Otherwise, you’re the boy who cried wolf! If you only pull it out once in a while, it can serve a useful purpose.

The bottom line is to be yourself. It’s okay to let your anger show now and then. Just keep it under control and keep your purpose in mind when you respond.

Then you’ll build relationships rather than tear them apart. You’ll build your people up rather than bring them down. That’s bigg success!

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Thank you so much for checking in with us today. Please join us next time when we discuss reasons why you should keep your day job. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Close Encounters of the Rude Kind

rude Does anything bring out rude behavior more than the holiday shopping season? People cutting you off in traffic, stealing your parking spot, talking on their cell phone while being checked out, leaving their garbage in stores, and even being physically aggressive on Black Friday!

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Oprah recently did a show on rude behavior where she highlighted these statistics:

  • Eighty percent of Americans think rudeness is a serious national problem.
  • Yet ninety-nine percent say that they themselves are not rude.

So we can only conclude from these results that all of the rudeness must stem from one percent of all the people! Evidently, most of us think that almost everyone else is rude, but we’re not.

Test yourself

To see how you stack up, she provides a quiz. Here are a few of the questions:

Are you chronically late? 

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georgeI would have to say n…yes. I want to say “no”, but there may be some people who would disagree with me! Too often I think I can squeeze in one more call or answer one more e-mail before heading off to that next appointment.

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marylynnOprah answered the same way. I know I need to work on this … I tend to be five minutes late to meetings.

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Have you ever interrupted a face-to-face conversation to take a non-urgent cell phone call?

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george
I can’t ever recall a time when I’ve done this. Hey, that means I got one right!

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marylynn
I’m good at ignoring the phone when I’m talking to someone face-to-face.

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Have you gone through a supermarket 10-item express lane with more than 10 items?

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georgeWell, that depends on how you define the word “item”. If I have multiples of a single item that does only count as one, doesn’t it?

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marylynn
I’m guilty by association because I go to the store with you, George.

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george
Oh thanks, Mary-Lynn, for blaming it all on me! That’s rude!

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These questions made us think – things that we don’t necessarily think are rude may be perceived as rude by others.

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georgeI get annoyed with oblivious shoppers. When it’s December 24th and I’m starting to shop for Christmas, it’s just rude for people to wander around like they don’t have anything to do. They get in the way of us serious shoppers!

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marylynnFor me, it’s rude drivers – they don’t use their turn signal. They don’t get over when I’m trying to merge even though there’s plenty of room. Drivers who don’t pay attention are inconsiderate!

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What rude behavior is a pet peeve for you?

3 rules of civil behavior

During her show, Oprah talked with Dr. P.M. Forni, author of Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct.

He says our society is structured to encourage rudeness. We’re stressed, fatigued, and in environments with a lot of people we don’t know. For example, we may be one of hundreds of people in a store or traffic jam. His book points out three rules to behave more civilly:

Pay Attention
Without attention, no meaningful interaction is possible. When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.

Acknowledge Others

Acknowledge others' existence, their importance to you, their feelings, and the things they do for you. A simple "Good morning" as you walk past a co-worker in the hallway is a perfect example.

Think The Best
When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that. Yet from the results of this study, it appears that we assume the worst in others while thinking the best of ourselves. Sometimes it is dissatisfaction with ourselves that makes us judge others unfairly.

Finally, Dr. Forni also says being polite is a healthier way to live. Going through life behaving rudely can make you physically sick. 

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We really appreciate that you took the time to read our post today. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. We’re going to put a different spin on it and talk about thanksgetting. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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6 Steps to Build Team Spirit

By Bigg Success Staff
08-06-08

Leadership Skills

We’re all familiar with the old saying, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” This works counter to our behavior as humans since we normally respond best to “What’s in it for me?”

As a leader, you must bridge the gap between working as a team and satisfying individual wants and needs. It begins with how you act since you must lead by example. Here are six ways you can build team spirit:

Show respect to earn respect

It’s not uncommon to see a person’s demeanor change when they get promoted to their first position. They mistakenly think that people should show them respect because of their title. It’s an ineffective strategy. People respect people who show respect.

Listen actively before talking

One way to demonstrate respect is to listen actively to your people. Keep the conversation productive, but listen even when it stings. When your people feel like you genuinely care about their problems, they’ll rally behind you and their team mates.

Equal consideration of interests

If it appears that you’re putting your interests above (or below) your troops’ interests, you’ll fail to win crucial support. Demonstrate that you place all interests on an even plane. You’re looking for solutions that satisfy the needs and wants of all.

Know the purpose of every communication

Before you speak (or write), know why you’re speaking (or writing). Move along logically in your communication toward that purpose. Don’t react emotionally – sometimes it’s better to let something sit for an hour or a day, rather than harming a relationship.

Choose your words carefully

How you say it is as important as what you say. If you’re correcting an employee, don’t frame the conversation in “you”. Report what happened and explain why it’s not acceptable. And keep it between you and the relevant subordinate.

Think mutual self-interest

As you begin exploring solutions, find ways for everyone to win. By knowing the wants and needs of the individuals on your team, you will find answers that get everyone excited about working together. It’s not as easy as barking out orders, but it’s a lot more fulfilling and also more effective in the long run. 

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How Stressed Are You?

By Bigg Success Staff
07-22-08

Test Yourself

stress

Experts say that stress can cause everything from a common cold to a heart attack. In fact, the Mayo Clinic has a great table that shows how stress affects you. They list eighteen effects of stress on the body, seventeen on thoughts and feelings, and eleven ways stress can change your behavior.

So how stressed are you?

You can find out in less than five minutes with this stress test from the good people at Lessons for Living. All you have to do is answer the 20 questions; you’ll instantly know how stressed you are. Just knowing may help relieve some stress.

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Gearing Up for a New Workplace

By Bigg Success Staff
06-05-08

Leadership Skills

keyboard 

Great leaders are vital to success for any organization. It’s especially true today as we face more challenges with a multi-generational workforce. We’re also learning more about how people respond to calls for change.

It’s incumbent on leadership today to focus the attention and activities around these three questions:

#1 – What are the most important results for us to achieve?

Your people must know what needs to be done. Not the duties, but the outcome. What is the expected result of the work you’re doing together? Identify it, proclaim it, and repeat it … and repeat it … and repeat it.

#2 – What behaviors are necessary to achieve those results?

Identify what it will take to achieve your desired result. Don’t worry about current behavior. Focus on what behavior will lead to bigg success. To accomplishing what you set out to do.

#3 – What is working well?
Along the way, highlight those things that are leading you and your team to your goal. Keep your discussions on discovering these things and then making them part of your system.

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4 Characteristics of Constructive Criticism

By Bigg Success Staff
02-24-08

Leadership Skills

 

One of your responsibilities as a leader is to admonish the troops who fall out of line. It could be that they aren’t performing up to expectations. Perhaps some behavior isn’t in line with the code of conduct you established.

You have to respond to these errant troops so your whole team keeps progressing toward the victory you defined. There are four characteristics of your response:

Quick
The longer you wait to address the situation, whatever it may be, the more you risk that the behavior will become systemic. Don’t think that you’re too busy to deal with these situations. They need to be a top priority.

Logical
While you need to react quickly, you shouldn’t respond if you’re still feeling emotional about the situation. You’ll do more harm than good. If need be, let it sit overnight. The key thing is to address the situation as soon as you can discuss it logically, not emotionally.

Private
You should discreetly pull the person aside to have your discussion. No one likes to be called out in public. It’s counterproductive – you may find the person you’re disciplining defending themselves more aggressively. Worse yet, they may withdraw and become less productive. It also has repercussions with your other troops.

Systematic
Prepare for a conversation, not a confrontation. Before you do that, know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ve established consequences for underperforming and violating the code of conduct. You have to be prepared to dispense those consequences or risk that your code will become meaningless.

Try to start off the conversation with some positives – things they’re doing well. Then discuss the situation at hand, helping them understand why it is not acceptable. If it involves performance, offer him or her suggestions or resources to help them get back on track. Finish off with some encouraging words along with a time to review progress.

Admonishing your troops when they fall out of line is one of the most important abilities of a great leader. If done correctly, you’ll find that most of your people get back on track quickly.

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How Do You Define Professional

By Bigg Success Staff
02-26-08

Wynn Bigg Today

smiley_gumballs 

I’ve often thought that the best definition of a professional is a person who makes his or her job look so easy that you think you could do it!

I recently realized that my definition could use a little tweaking.

Windy City blues are not-so-blue
I happened to be in the Windy City last week on business. I unexpectedly had some time to kill, so I decided to surprise one of my friends.

I’ve heard him speak on many occasions to a number of business students. I’ve heard him talk about his business. I know his business. I saw him start it.

As he shares his story, I often think how easy it’s been for him to succeed. He’s become a millionaire many times over with seemingly little effort.

After I got through all of the layers of security necessary (I chided him later that I didn’t realize how important he was), I finally got into his office. I was greeted by his executive assistant.

It turned out he was on the phone. So I had a nice conversation with his assistant while I waited. Although, our conversation was frequently interrupted by a raised voice … coming from my friend’s office. His voice.

One of his advisors had dropped the ball. It cost him a small amount of money and a large amount of aggravation. He wanted to know what happened and his advisor wasn’t forthcoming.

If he didn’t learn what happened, he couldn’t make sure it wouldn’t happen again. The conversation ended without the issue getting resolved.

But what happened next was the biggest surprise – he came out of his office with a bigg smile on his face!

So put on a happy face
I realized that’s why his talks with students always sound so good. In his mind, things ARE good. He has the ability to get off the phone, walk a few steps, and completely forget about what just happened.

We all have bad days. Or at least bad moments. Successful people just seem to get past them easier.

That’s part of what makes them successful!

It made me wonder – who is a great model of this behavior? I picked my favorite.

Donald Trump is the master at this. I’ve heard him questioned about some difficulty he’s experienced. He briefly passed over the subject at hand and then starts plugging how wonderful things are in the Trump empire.

He’s constantly selling – himself, his brand, and his products. And no one buys a bad day. We buy good experiences. Successful people exhibit those good experiences so we purchase from them.

If you want to succeed, you have to be a professional.

So what’s my new definition of a professional?

A professional is a person who makes his or her job look so easy that you think you could do it, even when it isn’t easy for them!

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