There’s Always a Bridge

 

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Here is a brief piece of advice that will help you when connecting with someone who may be outside your culture or ethnicity.

There is always a bridge.

Believe it or not, we instinctively put forward pieces of information about ourselves in hopes of creating a bridge. Offers of information can be blocked or accepted. Think of this instinctive behavior as improvisational theater where actors attempt to create a coherent scene without rehearsal or a script. What keeps this form of theater coherent? Each actor accepts what he or she is offered. The principle can be expressed using the phrase “Yes, and..” That is, an improv actor accepts an offer and builds on it.

Here are some sample offers of information and how one can accept and build on them to create a bridge.

Example 1
Offer: “I’m working on a new process for speeding transfers between manufacturing and shipping.”
Accepted: “It’s about time.” or “That should be interesting.”
Building: “Is there anyway I can help?” or “What part will be the most challenging part to implement?”

Example 2
Offer: “I just moved here from Florida.”
Accepted: “Really”
Building: “How long did the move take you?” or “How do you organize such a major move?”

Remember, it’s not if you can connect, it’s what you can connect about.

Learn well!

Encouraging Excellence

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There is a simple strategy for getting people to do more of what they are already doing well. It’s called ENCOURAGEMENT.
It’s more than just saying “At a boy!” or “Great Job!”

It involves a specific style of communication that will increase the frequency of good performance.
Here are six simple rules for giving encouraging feedback:

  1. Specific – When praising someone’s work give them something specific. “Thank you for answering all calls after the first ring. It signifies to our clients that we care.” Don’t say, “Thanks for being a great employee.” Be specific!
  2. Pure – Avoid the “BUT” sandwiches. Stay away from giving positive feedback followed immediately by things that were done poorly. We often times tend to praise what was good and then point out areas for improvement with the word “BUT”. Subordinates will often only remember the negative or what comes after the “BUT”.
  3. Positive – Don’t encourage by thanking them for not doing something bad. “Thanks for not answering all calls after 5 rings.” Keep the feedback purely positive.
  4. Immediate – Give feedback as soon as possible. Don’t wait several weeks after the occurrence of something worth praising.
  5. Frequent – If you want someone to improve their performance its important to give similar feedback again and again over a period of time (one week or two)
  6. Irregular – Don’t give feedback on the same day and at the same time, it will become expected. Give the feed back at irregular intervals at times the person doesn’t expect it.

Following the six simple rules will get you more greatness from your people.
Learn Well!