My uncle Mel passed away after living a wonderful life. He was one of those brave souls who fought in World War II and was lucky to make it home. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a member of 87th Infantry Division that came up from the south on the west side of Bastogne.
I recently had a manager explain to me that he had a department with over 200 employees and that his biggest challenge was a lack of productivity. When I asked him what he meant by that he stated, “I just don’t understand why people can’t do what I ask them to do!”
When people fail to meet our expectations or perform poorly, they may offer any number of reasons, excuses, or stories in explanation for their lack of results. These explanations should signal that “fake talk” has occurred and may be occurring again. From our research, we have identified a number...
When I was a boy growing up in Redlands, California, my father would often take me with him to view cultural events on summer evenings at the Redlands Bowl. This outdoor venue was a wonderful place to view opera, plays, band concerts, and numerous famous singers.
One evening as we sat waiting for the performance to begin, my dad leaned over and asked me, “What do you think that means?” At the top of the proscenium were these words, “Without Vision A People Perish.” Being only about 10 years old at the time, I contemplated the wisdom of...
How Respect and the Quality of the Relationship Impact Results
By John R. Stoker
People often talk about improving their results through conversations, but what they don’t talk about is the connection between respect and relationships. And yet, the results we receive are directly affected by the respect between two people and the quality of the relationship.
I recently spoke at a leadership conference of general managers for a national transportation company. One of them told me this story which I will relate from his perspective.
One Saturday after reading your book, I went to a shop to have my windshield replaced. I arrived...
Recently a vice president of human resources shared with me that he had been approached by another senior executive who was having trouble with a particular employee. When he asked her what the problem was, the other executive informed him that her employee was just not doing the work that was required. In response to her query he asked her, “Are you using the magic words?” Somewhat puzzled she answered, “I guess not because nothing has changed.” Then she asked, “If you don’t mind sharing, what are the magic words?”
Recently a college professor friend of mine told me that one of his younger students would not confront him directly about the struggles that he was having with his class. However, the student did send my friend a private Twitter message that he was needing his help. He replied to the student’s tweet with a tweet of his own inviting the student to come to see him the next day at a specific time during his office hours. Only then did the student
A friend of mine recently told me about a conversation he had with his brother, who he was coaching through some difficult times.
His brother had recently been promoted from the field into a corporate setting because of his excellent work. My friend’s brother expressed his frustration at how unimaginative his co-workers were and how they were always making mistakes. The brother went on about how unwilling everyone seemed to be about listening to his ideas or following his advice.
As I have traveled around the country speaking, I have frequently been asked, “Can you give us some examples of ‘fake talk’? We’re not sure exactly what that means.” You’ll remember that fake talk is any conversation that doesn’t achieve the results that you want.
Recently my college-age son hit a large piece of asphalt while driving our 1997 Toyota Avalon down a country road at night. The impact against the undercarriage caused the airbags to deploy and shatter the car’s windshield. Thankfully, except for a concussion, my son was not seriously hurt. Days later, when talking with him about the accident in person, my initial feelings of gratitude turned to worry about the cost of fixing the car, and disappointment and anger due to his lack of judgment.
I really wanted to write a piece celebrating Independence Day and the advent of freedom in our country. And yet, I have been frustrated as I have contemplated the many core American values and institutions which seem to be under attack.
During the last several months, we have heard a lot about “fake” news or “fake” media. The frequent use of these terms made me think of the term “fake focus” and how it can cause problems in our organizations. So what does the word “fake” refer to? “Fake” may be defined as something that is not real or it may mean to pretend, falsify, or fictionalize something. “Focus” is defined as a concentrated activity or influence that leads to a particular outcome. Consequently, one’s focus is a devotion or dedication to a particular effort with a specific outcome in mind.
Although many people have had business communications training, some still approach difficult conversations with a degree of fear and trepidation. In fact, ever since Donald Trump won the presidency, I have had a number of people call and email seeking advice and asking for suggestions about how to talk about politics. Many of these folks have done damage to their current relationships in the way that they have broached sensitive topics.
A few weeks ago I was taking my son to school in the midst of a snow storm. As I pulled into the student drop-off at the high school, I noticed a woman who was getting into her car as I was waiting to move forward. I was about up to her car when she got in, and started to back out. As there wasn't really room for her to pull out, so I pulled forward past her. Her rear lights went on and she started to back out just as I passed her.