One of the greatest gifts I have received from being passionate about marketing and communications is the lesson in the importance of human relationships. It’s a shame these days because it seems people have lost their sense of humanity. There’s too much texting instead of talking, even when people are out in a pub together for instance, no one is talking! The shame stems from the fact that, everyone has a story to be heard, and has a lesson worth learning from. It’s all about the human connections, and as Robin Sharma mentions in his book, “The Leader who had no Title” nurturing relationships with everyone: your teammates, your customers, your stakeholders. It makes sense too; people do business with people they like, and the stronger the bonds the stronger the results. After all, as Sharma says, “the main business of business is to connect with, and add value to PEOPLE”. What is a company anyway but a human venture that rallies people together behind a common cause. So the culture in an organization should be one that encourages its human capital and inspires them to reach their fullest potential. It is also one that helps its customers achieve their greatest potential as well.
Inspiring the best in people is not a job reserved for management or HR, it is up to each of us to commit to lead by example. With the word lead comes the connotations of making the first step. You don’t need to wait for someone to connect with you, YOU make the first move, initiate the connection. Develop everyone you have the privilege to help and touch. Basically, be the change you want to see. People don’t like to be told what to do, one of the most basic forms people learn anyway is by imitation. A successful organization is one that consists of fully engaged and energetic people who feel connected. Sharma points out how, one superb relationship inspires the next conversation, which moves on to the next one. And the ripple effect ultimately determines what the culture of the entire place will be like and the quality of the results achieved.
So the key principle is this: the deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership, and a simple acronym presented by Sharma will serve in helping the execution process. HUMAN
H: helpfulness, give away that which you most wish to receive
U: understanding, which involves mastering the art of listening to people.
M: mingle, establish your network and make your human connections
A: amuse, a fun environment facilitates productivity.
N: nurture, this takes time and patience.
Always remember the one leadership truth:
People are the most paramount element to a successful organization.
I’ve been doing some thinking lately about words. The most basic form of communication, words facilitate life. Their importance cannot be emphasized enough, however words in themselves have no inherent meaning. Words are nothing but symbols people attribute meaning to, and as such carry with them subjective implications. Obviously what something means to me would mean something completely different to someone else. It’s all about our window of perspective, which is framed with our experiences, our beliefs, etc. In other words (pun intended) no two people will view the same thing the same way or interpret the same word to mean exactly the same thing. Despite this, words have so much power that not a lot of people are aware of. Looking back in history at people like Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Mandela, where would they be without their impeccable use of words?
Recognizing the importance of words can be used to our advantage. First and foremost, we should always be candid in our communication, but it is all about HOW we say things. In business for example, instead of telling someone, “you are not doing a good job” you can phrase it in a more positive way: “ I’d like to share some opportunities to take your performance to the next level” It’s all about the languaging. As a matter of fact, words can even influence your own state of being! What you say pretty much determines how you feel. Calling something a ‘nightmare’ triggers a different response than looking at something as a ‘platform for improvement.’ So our diction determines how we respond to different scenarios. Since words convey beliefs, and beliefs lead to behavior, and behavior creates results, you can see how the train of reactions flow.
You’d be surprised at how refining your vocabulary improves your energy levels, state of mind, and spiritual well being. What you give attention to amplifies how you might be feeling. Talking a lot about something could magnify it to hyperbolized levels. Modern psychologist William James said, “our experience is what we attend to.” The connotations of the words you use direct your flow of energy. If you are constantly complaining about how something going for you, you will find yourself more deeply immersed in the very situations you want to avoid. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy in a way, what you think about you bring about, same concept applies with what you talk about and how you talk about it.
So adopting a more positive vocabulary, and using words to inspire people, make them feel good about themselves, pushing them to be the best version of themselves, will also shape the words that they chose to communicate. Speaking kindly to someone, in a world tinted with harsh words can make all the difference. After all, we have to lead by example.