Monday, January 25, 2010

It is important that you believe

There is a real sense of hope in the air. Every client and professional associate we talk to has one common comment – "2010 has to be better than 2009". As I had mentioned in a previous blog, “2009 to 2010 – from hell to well”. But just hoping is not enough. We must have trust in your organization that 2010 will be better. Just hoping will not make it happen.
It reminds me of a story I heard this weekend. It seems that there was this community and they were experiencing a severe drought. They requested that their pastor pray for rain. So he said that the next week there would be a prayer service for rain. Everyone came to pray for rain.
The pastor started his homily with the statement ”there will be no rain”. Someone from the back of the church cried out – “You told us to come a pray and we have”. The pastor responded – “Yes, but you do not believe that it will rain. No one came with an umbrella or raincoats, etc.”
The message behind the story is very simple – for 2010 to be a great year we must all start acting that way. What are you doing differently to make it a good year? Or are you just sitting back – hoping it will be true.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Are you communicating or dialoging?

In today’s world, we hear so much about being a good presenter and speaker. There are workshops and organizations that are dedicated to presentation skills and public speaking. There are books and lists of what words to use for a given situation. We often are told that this includes our body language and how the right body language helps one better deliver their message.

This is all well and good and I truly believe in learning these skills. This is especially true for corporate storytellers – the art and skill of telling your story. What follows is not a BUT - it is an AND

With all this emphasis on our speaking and presenting, we so often ignore the “as equal to” part of communications – listening. Yes listening ( not hearing – there is a difference!). We must stop talking and listen to what are clients are really saying ( a want expressed as a need or a need expressed as a want). We need to listen to what our professional associates and fellow workers are saying. We need to quit our self-talk to listen to the creative message that lies within us. For some of us, this means including listening besides asking in our prayers.

As designers, as a nation, as a society - we need to re-learn the art of listening. Here at the studio, one of our beliefs is: “Communications is telling. Dialogue is sharing.” Let’s start dialoguing with each other.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009 to 2010 - From Hell to Well

Last blog I mentioned that I was getting ready for the studios’s follow-up planning session as it related to our personal and corporation SWOT analysis. First it was not as painful (personally) as I thought. It was very constructive and helpful. What was made clear is that it is important to have weaknesses and to know them – it is the best way to improve.

This got me thinking about the New Year 2010. 2009 for so many of us was a “mess”. In so many ways, it can only get better. So I guess you can say 2009 had a lot of weaknesses. It is a good way to get prepared for a much better 2010. Look at 2009 and as a year - what were its weaknesses as they related to you and your organizations. Included should be opportunities lost and threats not prepared for. Next create strategies to take your strength and opportunities for 2010 and come up with ways (strategies) to do better.

The first thing is to write down the following on a card and keep it in front of you:

2009 to 2010 – From Hell to Well

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What is needed takes courage

Welcome to a new calendar year. It may not be the start of your fiscal year, but it is still a time of new beginning and change. So often we start January with new goals and a commitment to achieve those goals and we do not take time to review ways to improve ourselves (personally and as an organization).

During Christmas week, the studio held our yearly planning and off-site. This year we spent time doing a traditional organizational SWOT and personal strengths and weaknesses. Going back to known processes was very helpful. I strongly suggest if you have not performed a SWOT analysis, do one.

To prepare for the off-site, each studio member had to present what they thought was their own strengths and weaknesses. This was difficult but more difficult part is the next step. This will occur this afternoon. After reviewing each strength and weakness, each member gets to comment on my strengths and weaknesses and how I can improve. Just what I need, people telling me what is wrong with me and how I can be better.

This is not going to be easy. But if I remember that it is important to have weaknesses. That means one can get better. If no weaknesses, then one must ask “Is this all there is?”

So to improve myself and the studio as an organization, I will go into this afternoon’s meeting with an open mind and a resolve to listen. (By the way, did I tell you that being able to do this is one of my weaknesses?)