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Put this on your wall


     Effective communication is commonly attributed 80% to listening and 20% to speaking. Experts report that as much as 87% of communication is nonverbal. So where does that leave us, besides all tangled up with sign language?

     Martin Yates, in his best-selling, well-on-the-way-to-becoming-a-classic business book (KEEPING THE BEST…And Other Thoughts On Building A Super Competitive Workforce; published 1991 by Bob Adams, Inc., Holbrook, MA) says essentially–among many other A-1 working management concepts–that your effectiveness as a communicator is as heavily dependent on the follow-up actions you take, as it is on what you say and don’t say, and how you move or don’t move.

     Yates advises, for example, that after soliciting input, the boss needs to “make a visible effort to act on it and credit its source. It is counterproductive,” he says, “to solicit good input from team members, then put it into action with no accredidation (or worse still, with incorrect accreditation).”

     Yates proceeds to suggest (to owners/operators/managers) to praise creative ideas whenever they surface. This, he says, “encourages innovation and success-oriented thinking.” Yates paraphrases the old standby message to praise in public; criticize (when it’s absolutely necessary) in private.

     His emphasis on “accentuating the positive” [See also my Prentice-Hall Action Report article, “Theory A” (for “Attitude”)  published a decade earlier on the same topic] “build(s) positive behavior. It cannot be repeated enough: whatever behavior you recognize [positive, negative or ambivalent] will be reinforced” [and will produce more of the same]!

     So, the bottom line here is that if you are managing others and not getting what you want out of them, you must look first to your self. Ask yourself if you are paying more attention to scolding, belittling, and taking people to task than you are focusing on searching out the good behaviors and publicly rewarding those?

     I know a highly skilled healthcare practitioner and prominent researcher who maintains a “Wall of Shame” where he posts representations of every manner of employee screw-up, from dumb memos and emails to photos of his people caught in embarassing moments or doing the wrong things with patients. He laughs about it, and says his people all laugh at it too, that it’s become a “company culture kind of joke.”  

     Well guess what? The wall that started with 2-3 isolated pieces of incriminating paper is now covered with the evidence of a steady stream of bad behavior. And not only does that “company culture wall” speak for itself, so to speak, but so does this organization’s employee rate of turnover.

     People leave there–rapidly and happily–for lower paying jobs. Is he successful? His research is successful. As a businessman, and a professional, he’s earning just a small fraction of his potential… because his reputation for emphasizing the negative now precedes him.

     It’s a much easier, more enjoyable, and more productive thing to reward positive behavior than negative, and if you don’t agree, I’ll print out your comments and paste them on my wall!     

God Bless You and Good Night!  halalpiar  

Special thanks to my friend Doyle Slayton www.salesblogcast.com for the indirect inspiration   

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    ADD TO THE DAILY GROWING 7-Word Story started 188 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.

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