Use this POWERFUL tactic to grab people’s attention!

It’s SO frustrating… You try to tell others something important. But they’re not hearing.

You tell your team: ” This is what we need to do during the next weeks. First, we need to implement the new IT systems. Then we need to fix the customer interface problems.” NO reaction. Some are staring at their computers. Some are staring at you with a blank face. Some seem to be half asleep.

You’ve just presented your new strategy. ”So this is our new strategy. Any questions or comments?”

Deep silence. No comments. No questions. ”Did they even hear what I said?”, you wonder. Next day, nobody’s talking about the strategy. It’s obvious your message didn’t get through.

You tell your spouse: ”Listen, I would really like us to spend some more time together. Maybe we could have dinner at that new restaurant this Saturday?”.
”Yeah, sure, maybe… But you know what aunt Lisbeth told me yesterday? She bought this new dress, but then it turned out it doesn’t fit her shoes at all. So she went back to buy new shoes also, and ….” Blah blah…
 

You tell your teenage son: ”We need to set some ground rules regarding your home coming time. You can’t stay out all night!”

”Right… Well, but I need to go now. See ya, bye!”

Influencing others is NOT easy. But what makes it unnecessarily difficult is a common blindspot. A common mistake most of us do when we’re trying to make others listen to us.

Once you understand this blindspot and a simple tactic to overcome it, your level of influence goes way up. It can be one of the most powerful tactics in influencing you’ll ever learn, if you learn it right. Yep. It really can. Keep on reading.

 

So what is the blindspot and mistake I’m talking about?

 

When we try to influence others, we often fall into the trap of believing: “we just need to TELL people the facts. Share our information with them.” We think that when we tell people the facts, they absorb the information and change their behavior accordingly. It seems we assume people are rational, and by just giving them the rational information, things work out. But it doesn’t work like that.

It’s actually quite amazing! We try this over and over again, even though it doesn’t work. Especially corporations are FULL of rational information flow.

 

 

This is our strategy… These are our goals… These are our processes… PowerPoints… Emails… Information.

And then we wonder: “Why the heck aren’t people doing their stuff? I did send that email. And I told them the facts in the meeting. What’s wrong with them?”

So let me tell you something you know already. And if you don’t know, then its time you learn this deeply. It’s time you understand this once and for all.

So here it is: PEOPLE ARE NOT RATIONAL!

And let me repeat it again, just so you remember this: PEOPLE ARE NOT RATIONAL!

Got it? So now you know this.

Then comes the next question: “So what can I do about it? If people are not rational, then how do I get my message across?” Great. THAT’s a good question.

The answer comes from understanding the fact that people are also EMOTIONAL. You must understand that what ever you say or do, it evokes some kind of emotions in people. Even if you only talk about the facts. Even if you don’t show any emotion yourself (and actually, if you don’t show any emotions, it’s likely to make people feel bad…)

 

For example, when you talk about the goals of your team, your message elicits emotions in people.

  • Maybe they feel anxious“Oh, I’m stuffed already. I can’t possibly take on anything new!”
  • Maybe they feel excited. “This is great! I’ll get started right away!”
  • Maybe they feel afraid“I’m afraid I can’t do what he asks me. If I pretend I didn’t hear, maybe he’ll just leave me alone and I can just keep on doing what I’m used to doing.”
  • Maybe they feel indifferent, and your message has not touched them at any level. “This is just same crap as always. Nothing of interest to me here.”

 

So there are many, many possible emotions that could be relevant here, but now I want to focus on one particular emotion – the most important emotion – that you need to evoke first if you want to influence people.

Because if you want to influence people, the first thing you need to do is to get their ATTENTION.

If you don’t have people’s attention, they will not hear what you say. Their thoughts are somewhere else. They are checked out. The communications channel is closed.

There is one particular emotion that is especially relevant to attention. An emotion that directs your attention. That emotion is CURIOSITY (often also called interest).

Curiosity has been researched thoroughly over the past years, and it is actually a very, very interesting emotion. But now I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll share just a very brief overview of curiosity. So you can improve your influence with it.

 

What is curiosity and why is it important?

 

Curiosity is a powerful emotion that has a central role in acquiring new knowledge. It is the emotion behind all science and progress. With the power of curiosity, we have developed modern physics, medicine, IT and internet, and conquered our planet and space around us.

Curiosity has an important message to you: “There is something I WANT to know, and I don’t know it yet.“ It is a powerful emotion when you want to influence others.

Why? Because curiosity:

  • directs your attention towards the thing that evoked curiosity
  • increases your motivation to learn and get new information
  • it improves your memory – we remember better those things we’ve been curious about
  • it makes you feel good when you learn what you wanted to learn

 

This example will help you understand the point:

You’re watching an interesting movie in the evening. You have an early wake-up tomorrow morning, so you know you should go to sleep. But damn, that movie is so interesting… You WANT TO KNOW how it ends… You are so CURIOUS… And you watch it till the end. And next morning, you’re tired.

Yep. Nobody asked you to stay up late. You didn’t get paid any extra for it. Actually, you pay a price for it yourself – you’re more tired today. But the power of curiosity was too strong. You WANTED to stay up and see how the movie ends.

So think about this. If people were as curious towards your message, they’d stay up late just to hear what you have to say! You wouldn’t need to do any extra persuasion or give any extra rewards to make them hear you out. Just getting them curious would do the trick.

Sounds worthwhile, doesn’t it?

 

So HOW do you get people curious?

 

Well, the trick is that you have to convey your message in a different way than what you are used to. Don’t just TELL people the information and expect them to listen. Instead, think about these questions, first:

  • Am I myself interested in what I have to say? (This is important, because emotions are highly contagious. If you’re not interested yourself, nobody will be.)
  • Do I believe people are interested in what I have to say? Should they be? Why is this message important to them?
  • How can I make my message so interesting that they just WANT to hear me out?

Then you can think about ways to get people curious.

 

In principle, it is quite simple: you just have to make people know that you have some important or interesting information that they do not yet have. In principle, you could just say: “Hey, I have something important to tell you.” Already this simple statement can be enough to awaken curiosity. Or you can tell only a part of the story and leave the rest for a later time: “But this is not the whole story. There are two other important points. I will share them with you next time we meet.”

Here are some other examples you can try to get people curious:

  • “This year, our strategy will be very different. Be prepared for a surprise!”
  • “Hey, I just came up with something… Yes, this is a big insight!”
  • “Look, there’s something you need to know. Something important.”
  • “You know what? I think we’re missing an important point here.”
  • “Tomorrow I will tell you what happens next…”

 

These are just simple examples, but I hope you get the point. If you want to influence people, you need to get them to listen to you. You need their attention. You need to make them WANT to hear what you have to say. And there’s nothing as powerful as CURIOSITY to make people listen to you.

Go ahead and try this. Try to make at least one person curious TODAY! Then share your experiences in the comments below.

 

/ Jarkko

PS. If you found this blog useful, please do me a favor and share it with others!

 

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

How to transform an underperformer into a TOP PERFORMER

So you’ve hired someone supposedly great and you’re having high expectations, but then he turns out to be “just ok”.  Or worse.

 

🗸  He underperforms.

🗸  He has no passion.

🗸  He does just barely the minimum of what is needed.

 

You want your team to deliver top-notch results. World class quality. It’s obvious – he doesn’t share your passion. Even though everything seemed SO right when you were hiring him.

This is, of course, a very frustrating situation. Not only does it make your life more difficult, but it can also have other implications. For example, you’re not likely to get the results you are hoping to get. If you want world class results, you need 100% passion and commitment from everyone involved.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Like this manager who told me lately: “This underperformer is making my life so difficult. I have to work extra to cover up for his poor quality job. And you know… If I’m really honest, I’m afraid I can’t deal with this and I’m a lousy boss. Maybe my boss will see me as incompetent – for hiring the wrong people and not being able to lead my people well. I think my whole team is watching how I deal with this situation – whether I just let it be or do I try something that doesn’t work, or will I be able to solve this situation somehow? The other team members are also suffering because of this underperformer. This puts me on such a pressure… Whatever I do, my actions are also buidling the culture– how do we relate to underperformance in this team? What if I can’t deal with this situation?”

 

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

The ONE skill that separates FUTURE leaders from others!

A manager recently told me:

”My job is to deliver RESULTS. That’s what is expected of me. When I go to meet my bosses, they ask me about the results only. That’s it. They’re really not interested in anything else. So, I focus on increasing our profits and efficiency. It’s not really on my agenda to think about how people feel. Sure, I don’t want people to feel bad and I hope they like working here. But I really have no time or energy to start taking care of their emotions. It’s not my job. I’m not an expert on such topics. I’m a business leader. I expect my employees to manage themselves and to do their jobs.”

This type of thinking is very common among managers. It’s understandable. After all, this is what they are trained to do. To manage a business. To manage strategies, processes, and finances. Their job is to get results. That’s what they are ultimately accountable for.

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

How to ENERGIZE your LEADERSHIP TEAM

 

It’s been estimated that leadership team behaviors explain 50-70% of the organizational climate.

And why does it matter? Because the emotional climate is crucial for business success. The emotions experienced in the workplaces have a huge impact on people’s decisions, motivation, social interactions – and eventually the business results. Those companies with higher employee satisfaction outperform their peers by 2,3% to 3,8% per year in long-run stock return. In a study of 62 management teams, those companies whose leadership team had a positive climate were more successful financially.

 

But how is the everyday leadership teamwork in corporations? After all, working in a leadership team should be inspiring. Is there a better place to see the big picture, make a real impact, work with true professionals, and develop as a leader?

Yet I see many leadership teams struggle with the same motivational problems as the rest of the teams. To be honest, many leadership team meetings are FRUSTRATING.

There are internal struggles. Personal chemistry problems. Too much focus on details and non-strategic issues. Lack of energy and inspiration. Not enough talk about vision, strategy, and the future. The meetings get BORING – just another burden on a leader’s overloaded to-do list. Just another waste of time that drains your energy.

This is really frustrating for many leadership team members. Because at that level people ENJOY being challenged. They WANT to look at the big picture, take responsibility, and get results.

 

The missing ingredient?

Many leadership team development projects focus on creating a common vision, purpose, structure, ground rules, priorities, efficient meeting practices etc. The list goes on.

And sure, they are often helpful. But none of them guarantee a high performing leadership team.

It’s very possible that you have all the basics in place, and still the leadership team is not reaching high levels of inspiration and performance. Because there is one crucial aspect that is often forgotten in leadership teams.

It is actually very much possible that a leadership team has none of those basics in place, yet it is highly inspiring to work in the team. There are lively, meaningful discussions, collective responsibility, and high accountability – despite the lack of structure.

So what is the missing ingredient?

It’s the emotional climate of the team. Even the best strategy and vision or the clearest priorities and rules do NOT guarantee success if the climate of the team is bad. Because emotions are the fuel for human performance.

When the emotional climate of the leadership team is good, then there’s energy and commitment. There’s trust and psychological safety.

Let me make this very clear. We all understand that what happens around us has an impact on the emotions we experience. For example, if there’s too much work to be done and not enough resources (e.g. time) to do it, then anxiety arises.

But what we often don’t understand is the fact that emotions are also A CAUSE to our situation. Because emotions have a huge impact on the way our minds work.

For example, when anxious, our perceptions get distorted and our mind is focused on threats, random details and ruminating. If you’re sitting in a meeting where everyone is anxious, you’re not likely to be very innovative. How do you create an inspiring, out-of-the-box vision if your mind is stuck in details?

Then again, research shows that when you’re feeling positive emotions, like joy, pride and enthusiasm, your mind is much better at seeing the big picture, playing around with ideas, connecting the dots. A leadership team with better emotions is much more likely to see the big picture, come up with new ideas, and deliver better results.

 

So how do you build the emotional climate in a leadership team?

I recommend starting with getting the basics in place. Many times increased clarity on the common vision, priorities, targets etc already relieves frustration and builds motivation. But that’s not enough.

Once the basics are in place, here are four steps to get started with building the emotional climate:

 

1. Build momentum by clarifying the significance of being a member of the leadership team. I often start with something like this:

“There are probably tens of people in your company that would LIKE to be a member of this leadership team. But of all people, YOU have been selected to be in the team. So people are looking at you as individuals and as a team. How do you behave? How do your faces look like when you come out of team meetings? How do you FEEL about being a member of this team? And what kind of an image of this team do you want to give your people – are you a bunch of uninspired individuals or are you a competent team who enjoys working together? People are sensitive in detecting your emotions. What kind of an emotional climate do they perceive when they’re looking at you? Your behaviors have a HUGE impact on the organizational climate.”

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

Feeling confused at your work? This is why confusion is GOOD for you!

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

Picture yourself at the monthly sales meeting. The conference room is filled to the brim with your bosses and coworkers. James is talking, one of the department managers. Soon it’s your turn. You feel a bit uneasy, but you know you are prepared. In fact, you feel confident and you’re expecting some praise. It’s your turn. You go over your numbers and forecasts. Silence. Then three horrible words come from the CEO’s mouth:

“I completely disagree.”

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

5 tips to AWAKEN joy after the holiday!

So it’s time to get back to work. For many people, it’s a time of internal struggle: ”Oh no, now I have to start being effective and disciplined again. Early mornings… Tight schedules… Heavy responsibilities… Power struggles… Consuming relationships… Bureaucracy… How on earth do I find ANY joy in this? How do I find my work motivation again?”

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

Do you want to have the best holiday EVER? Then do this ONE thing!

Oh boy… Holiday time. For many people, this is the best moment of the year. You get to let go of your work and focus on the things you enjoy the most. Maybe you indulge in your favorite activities and hobbies. You go sailing, hiking, golfing… Or maybe retreat to your home or summer cabin, enjoying the fact that you don’t have to go anywhere. You just enjoy being idle.

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

When you feel OVERWHELMED, this is what you need the MOST

Work (and life) can be overwhelming. Too many things to do, constant distractions, and even if you work like crazy, stuff just keeps getting added to your to do list. And it feels like there’s no way out.

 

At times like this, you need to understand that your emotions are part of the problem. You can’t see solutions to your situation because your emotions – anxiety and stress – are preventing your mind from working properly (I’ve explained this in more detail in my free e-book).

One way to clear your mind and get unstuck is to have someone to talk to. Someone who really listens to you, asks you good questions and makes you think. Good questions and a listening ear is a valuable resource in life that many of us seem to be lacking.

 

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

Are you leading zombies? Then check this, now!

One major challenge in work life is that it tends to be inherently empty. I mean, too many employees, working in a standard corporation is lacking a deeper purpose. The employees are not feeling fulfilled. They are simply not engaged.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 51% of the workforce in U.S. are not engaged
  • Only 16% say they feel “connected and engaged”
  • Disengaged workers cause massive losses in productivity – between $450 and $500 billion a year

 

The corporate missions often talk about “delivering high quality”“adding customer value”“being no 1 in…” and “bla bla bla”. Maybe these statements inspire some people, but for the regular employee, they tend to give absolutely NOTHING. As Frederic Laloux, the author of Reinventing organizations, said in an interview:

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!

Is it ok to show emotions at work?

“Can I show my emotions at work?” This is a question I get asked often.

This is actually a very interesting question. But I also think it’s a wrong one. I’ll share a much better question later.

Let’s first dig into this question a bit deeper and look at it from four perspectives:

Seuraa meitä ja jaa!