Meetings and Media - Marketing Innovations & Storytelling
RSS

Recent Posts

How Aetna Approaches Social Media in the Healthcare Industry
Book Review: Still Crazy After all These Years
Traditional Ads Meet Content Marketing at Ad Week 2016
Getting in Tune with Non-Traditional Radio Marketing
The Innovative Spirit at Work

Categories

ADHD
Advertising Week
Distraction
Dr. Edward Hallowell
Healthcare communications
Memoir
Psychiatry
Public Relations
Social media
powered by

Thinking Things

Thinking About the Way You Think


As I entered the dry cleaner this morning, my friend behind the counter was serving another customer and, while doing so, told me to drop my clothes on a side table. We’re pretty informal around here – I don’t need a ticket, and only now and then does he lose something. Rather than just leave my clothes and run, I had to alert him to a special request on a torn sweater. But my reply was cut off by the other customer being served, who looked me straight in the eye and shouted, “Why don’t you shut up and wait your turn. He’s waiting on me now. The whole world doesn’t revolve around you.” Deep breath. Okay, what just happened? As I sized up this comment and my adversary, and contemplated who might win an old-fashioned saloon brawl at the dry cleaner, I summoned the Inner Jim and replied, “Good morning, how are you today?”
 
He kept at it. I tossed any thoughts of sharing the honest explanation, which was that I was merely responding to the cleaner’s directive to me. Surely the other customer heard that -- I mean, he was more than cognizant of everything I was saying. I continued to ponder whether a single-leg drop from my old high school wrestling days might be the soundest strategy should I be assaulted from up high. As my heart beat faster and the man returned to the matter of his filthy shirts, I kept my head down and waited. Tempted to ask when he thought he might come back to pick up his shirts so that I could mentally schedule a different time for myself, I leveled my parting shot, “Have a great day.”
 
Whether true or not, I recently suggested that people skills in the business world often are more important than any professional, technical or academic training one brings to a job. This proclamation was made in the context of my role as Board Member of Meeting Professionals International’s Greater New York Chapter and my efforts to promote our November education program, “The Power of Understanding People,” presented by Dave Mitchell of the Leadership Difference.
 
I never guessed I’d have the chance to apply so quickly what I learned in Dave’s session, which was the night before my dry cleaner caper. Teachers used to say about a word, “Use it in a sentence and you own it.” I was still processing the wit and wisdom of Dave and hardly had time to use it in a sentence.
 
Dave encourages people to understand their personal communications styles and recognize how those may or may not sit with others with whom they are communicating. Then, make the necessary adjustments.
 
He segments people into four categories:
·      Romantics – who in general value relationships
·      Warriors – who value results
·      Experts – who value reliability
·      Masterminds – who value innovation
 
To understand the difference using one of Dave’s examples, Romantics might value world peace, while Warriors might consider whom they need to obliterate to achieve it.
 
It’s fascinating to examine some of the behavioral cues Dave discusses, and the adjustments he recommends once they are identified. For example:
 
ROMANTICS
Behavioral Cue               Recommended Adjustment
-Easy smile                    -Smile
-Engages in small talk     -Use their name
-Personable                    -Don’t rush to transaction
 
WARRIORS
Behavioral Cue               Recommended Adjustment
-Direct                           -Show value quickly
-Offers short answers      -Get to the point
-May display evidence     -Cite example of success
 of status                          
 
EXPERTS
Behavioral Cue               Recommended Adjustment
-Detailed and thorough    -Know your stuff
-Conservative                 -Expect long sales cycle, don’t give up
-Respects procedures      -Be thorough
 
MASTERMINDS
Behavioral Cue               Recommended Adjustment
-Creative                        -Be enthusiastic
-Bore easily                    -Expand them beyond stated interest
-Impulsive but elusive     -Indulge them while they weigh options
 
 
Naturally, I'm providing only a snapshot of what could have been a daylong seminar. So back at the dry cleaner, let’s call a spade a spade – I’m a Romantic. My charming fellow customer could only be a Warrior, but I’m hesitant to give him any label that suggests he has human characteristics and fits into one of Dave’s four entirely human categories. Would my newly acquired knowledge about understanding people have helped? It certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
 
This post began last night as a simple tribute to a great presenter and educator, Dave Mitchell. My expectations for him were high, and he exceeded them. But then commotion at the dry cleaner gave me the chance to think about the way I think, and also draw a connection between Dave’s remarks and the traits of some great leaders I’ve known in my own business experience. As it turns out, I've had extensive dealings and special admiration for those who possessed the people skills to motivate others and realize continued success, and didn't necessarily exhibit off-the-charts intelligence, instinct, acumen or creativity. (Of course, I'm not referring to anyone for whom I've ever worked directly -- all my former bosses who might be reading this certainly realize that, don't they?) (Sweat.) Rather than frown upon what you might see as these leaders’ shortcomings, I have to applaud their strengths and achievements.
 
Thanks, Dave, for bringing home my theory on the importance of people skills relative to more professional and technical skills, and the practicality of applying them to everyday life. It's already forced me to take an extra hard look at the way I think, process and react. And all is well -- that is, as long as I have enough clean shirts in the closet to last me for an extended period.

1 Comment to Thinking About the Way You Think:

Comments RSS
Joan Eisenstodt on Sunday, December 02, 2012 7:03 PM
Yes, you are a romantic .. thank goodness .. and this is really interesting. I would guess that the other customer was having a seriously bad day. I mean that. Not a bad day as in getting up on the wrong side of the bed or misplacing his keys before he left home - perhaps something tragic had happened. I hate that kind of interaction and if it's someone who is repeatedly in my life (work or personal or professional) I try to find out more. About this guy .. hopefully his p/u day won't be yours and when he drops off, the owner can signal you not to come in for a bit. Thanks for the insights, Jim.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint