NO ONE TOLD ME

Many of the problems that organizations, teams, and individuals encounter on a daily basis find their roots in poor communication practices and poor communication skills. If you are the president of a company, the manager over a department, or the supervisor of a team, communication is vital to your success. Walk into most any organization or team environment and ask them what creates most of the problems they face. A very large percentage will inevitably respond with the same word – “communication.”

Co-workers who seem always to be at odds with each other will find that good communication skills will eliminate much of that conflict. Top management who senses reluctance to the buy-in of corporate goals or who have departments which are at disharmony with each other will often find poor communication from the top down to be the cause. General unhappiness of employees is almost always cured with effective organizational communication skills. Even parents find their family is more harmonious when even the youngest child is kept in the communication loop.

“Communication” has two very distinct aspects:

The first is that of keeping everyone informed. People at every level function better with information. Leaders should never make the mistake of thinking that because it doesn’t affect the actual job duties of employees, they don’t need to know. While there will always be information that should not be communicated, employees at every level are more willing to accept information, good or bad, which is shared with them by management. Management that keeps their people “informed” will find an increased level of trust and commitment among their people at every level. Developing and maintaining an effective internal communication plan should be a priority for every leader. An example I encountered recently: The president of an organization along with the director of the program made the decision to change the formal name of the program. However, they failed to make the name change known throughout the organization. Consequently, the development department was embarrassed when a donor asked about their “new” program.

The second has to do with the individual’s communication skills. First of all, communicating with another individual or individuals is more than just words. A good communicator must be aware of the words being used and of the message being sent by their body language. Researchers tell us that only a small percent of the message being conveyed is being done with the words we use; the rest of the message is being conveyed with tone of voice, posture, use of arms and hands, eye contact, and facial expression. Secondly, good communicators are likewise good listeners – listening to the words and non- verbal communication of the other person(s). Thirdly, it is important to understand that not all people communicate in the same manner and thereby are more receptive to the message when it is presented in their communication style. Some of us want direct and to the point communication while others prefer a friendlier and more personal approach. Others may want to have information about Even when communicating using texting, e-mail, or other written information, every effort should be made to accommodate the communication style of the receiver(s). For example: If you are communicating to someone who has a direct, to-the-point communication style, don’t give them exact, detailed information which is not definitively necessary for them to know.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”…George Bernard Shaw

Motivation

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” …Nikos Kazantzakis

This is a story about a little elephant. He was very small, much smaller than most elephants his age. In addition to being a small elephant, he had also become somewhat of a “mama’s boy”. So you can imagine how he felt when his owner sold him to a nearby circus without his mother.

After a few days the little elephant ran away and went back to his mother. But to no avail. The circus trainer soon came and took him back, once again, to the circus. This time he attached a heavy chain to little elephant’s leg and then fastened the other end of the chain to a stake which he drove several feet into the ground. No matter how hard he tried, little elephant was not able to break the chain or pull the stake from the ground. But he continued to try – over and over again, day after day; but he was never able to free himself.

Today little elephant weighs several thousand pounds and even though he now has only a loosely tied rope around his ankle, he doesn’t even try to free himself or run away. Why? Because he thinks he can’t.

Often we, too, never reach our potential because we ‘think we can’t.’ We are in effective dealing with changes in the work place because we ‘think we can’t.’

As a very young girl, whenever I said, “I can’t” my dad would say, “You’re right, can’t can’t never do anything.” While it was certainly far from proper English, it was his way of reminding me that I should at least give it my best before I doomed myself to failure. Another of his famous axioms was, “try it; you might like it.”

The interesting thing about motivation is that motivation comes from within oneself. Don’t limit your potential by saying, “I can’t.”

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” …Og Mandino

Pat A.Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc.

POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS


Earl Nightingale once said, “Our attitude towards others, determines their attitude toward us.”

Several years ago I wrote a one-hour seminar called, “Whose Cheerleader Are You.” The purpose of the session was to help members of a team or people working together on a project to begin thinking about how their attitude and their way of interacting with others was a major contributor to the way others interacted with them and to the attitudes displayed by their co- The premise that attitudes can be seen, changed, and transferred was the basis for the seminar.

SEEN: Often our negative attitudes aren’t conveyed by the words we speak; but, rather by our body language. Researchers tell us that 93% of what we communicate is not done with words. It is conveyed by the volume or tone of our voice, the use of our arms and hands, the way we stand, or our facial expression. Even more interesting, our body language is governed by what we are thinking. In other words, our bodies won’t lie for our minds.

CHANGED: If the results that we get when interacting with another person are not productive or cause negative feelings, it is important to remember that we cannot change the other person. We can, however, change the way in which we interact with that person. Most importantly, we can change how we respond to that person. Remember, every person you come in contact with wants four things: They want to be shown respect; they want to be understood; they want to be listened to; and they want to feel that what they are saying or doing is accepted as being important.

TRANSFERRED: “Our attitude towards others, determines their attitude toward us.” Of course, the opposite is likewise true; however, our reaction to the other person’s attitude is a personal decision on our part. Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as having said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Watch your THOUGHTS: They become WORDS.

Watch your WORDS: They become ACTIONS.

Watch your ACTIONS: They turn into HABITS.

Watch your HABITS: They become your CHARACTER.

Watch your CHARACTER: It becomes WHO YOU ARE!

Watch WHO YOU ARE: Because it becomes the ‘TEAM’.

Postive relationships

Stress

If something is creating stress in your life, change it.

If you can’t change it, change your response to it.

“One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital.”

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.” …..Author Unknown

When the body feels threatened because of stress or anger the body releases adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. These hormones cause heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Blood glucose (sugar) is diverted from your internal organs to your brain to increase your alertness. Most bodily functions, not vital to fleeing, such as digestion are temporarily suppressed. No wonder you get an upset stomach.

One of life’s greatest stressors, especially in the workplace, is dealing with other people—people who don’t see things the same way we do; people who don’t act the way we think they should act; people who don’t seem to care about others. Research says there are four resources that are critical for all of us as attempt to cope with the stressors in our lives: Problem-Solving - ability to deal directly with difficult situations and make changes to resolve them; Flexibility - how comfortable are you and how do you deal with unpredictable situations and with change; Communication - ability to share thoughts and feelings with others in order to promote mutual understanding - even when circumstances are difficult; Relationships - how you have developed a supportive social fabric in each area of your Often we have no control over the situation that is causing us stress; however, we can control

how we react to those stressors. Remember the garbage truck driver!

COOKIES JUST HAVE CRUMBS

It was the week-end and there seemed to be more than enough chores that needed to be completed. Poppa and I had been busy all day – yard work, house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping. Our daughter called and said that one of our granddaughters wanted to “go to “Nanna/Poppa’s house.” We replied that she could come on over and just spend the night.

When she arrived it was getting late in the afternoon and I had not yet begun to prepare dinner. So, when she said she was hungry, I suggested that she and Poppa could perhaps have a snack to hold them over until dinner time. They decided on having a couple of cookies. Of course, having just finished vacuuming the floors, I handed Poppa a couple of napkins for them to use.

As Poppa gave a napkin to her, he explained that she should put the napkin under the cookies so we ‘wouldn’t mess up Nanna’s clean floors.’ Her immediate response was, “Poppa, don’t you know cookies just have crumbs?”

All of us have those things in life - those little irritations and aggravations and inconveniences or those people we have to work with who rub you the wrong way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of reacting negatively to them, we could learn to be more patient and understanding – cause “cookies just have crumbs.”

Customer Service


Pamela was not quite five years old, she loved butterflies. So when her Poppa found a beautiful Eastern tiger swallowtail which had been injured by a passing car, he brought the butterfly home. He very carefully placed it a glass jar, making sure to cut slits in the lid to give the butterfly air. Pamela quickly ran into the yard and picked some beautiful spring flowers and placed them in the jar for the butterfly. She watched (and talked) to the butterfly, studying it carefully, stopping every few minutes to give it “something to eat.” After about an hour or so, the butterfly began to stir in the jar; slowly opening and closing its wings and turning itself upside down to “eat” among the blossoms Pam had so caringly provided.

“I believe he’s well,” she exclaimed. “I’m going to let him go home and see his mommy.” Upon which she took the jar and went out into the yard. A few minutes passed and she returned with the glass jar with the butterfly still inside. “I thought you were going to set him free,” Poppa inquired. “I did,” she replied. “But he came back and landed on my blouse. We talked about it and he said he wanted to stay with me.”

It took a little persuasion; but, finally, she once again carried the butterfly outside to set him free. This time he flew away among the flowers and Pamela came back inside the house. “Is everything O.K.,” Poppa asked. “It’s alright Poppa, he said I cared for him and I listened to him and he’d come back to see me; and he’d tell his friends to come and see me, too.”

We may never know where reality left off and imagination began; but as I thought about it, I realized there was something to be learned from Pam’s childish innocence - when we genuinely care about others, we are the real benefactors.

Researchers tell us that customers don’t care as much about what you do as they do about how much you care.

Pat A. Bishop, People & Solutions. Inc.

learn more  about our “do=it=yourself” workshop training kits - Customer service - team dynamics - leadership www.pstrainu.com

BE A S.T.A.R - WHEREVER YOU ARE


Several years ago one of our many repeat clients called asking me to once again plan on doing a workshop for his staff. As we talked about the various sessions we had already facilitated for them, he asked that since I had worked with his people many times before and had a good knowledge of their needs, would I write a session for them. I agreed and subsequently wrote a session called, “S.T.A.R.”

“S.T.A.R.” created an acrostic for the session: S=Share A Smile; T=Think before you Talk; Apply positive Action; and Reap the Rewards. Because of the nature of the group, I knew they responded well when they could be active participants in the learning session. I also knew that one of their challenges was interacting effectively with a large and ever changing internal customer population. Little did I know then that the workshop I created for them would turn out to one of our most popular workshops.

SHARE A SMILE - Some of us smile naturally and easily all of the time. Yet, for many others of us, we forget to put a smile on our face for others to see. If we are a very focused person, intent on the task at hand we don’t realize that we are not smiling. We may even show our intent focus in our facial expression leaving the person we are interacting with thinking we are frowning. Others of us, by virtue of our personality, tend to show little or no expression on our faces, leaving the other person to decide what our feelings in the matter really are. Think about it, don’t we all truly enjoy interacting with a person with a smile on their face.

THINK BEFORE YOU TALK! How many times have we all opened our mouth and later regretted it, Researchers tell us that being a good listener is one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to creating effective interactions with others. Likewise, many of us are not aware of what makes us a good listener:

Looks at the other person - no matter how busy you are, how much you have on your mind, or how much you think you already know where the conversation is going, you need to look at the other person. Looking at them shows respect and says, “I’m listening.” Additionally, a large percentage of the message being conveyed is being done with body language - facial expression, eye contact, use of hands, arms, & body posture.

Ask open-ended questions - Open-ended questions are questions designed to solicit more than a one or two word response. An example might be: Can you tell me how this would affect our project? Open-ended questions can serve two functions: First, they show you have an interest in what is being said. Second, if the other person is angry or being difficult, asking them an open-ended question requires them to talk. Letting them talk allows them to vent which helps to reduce the level of hostility and anger.

APPLY POSITIVE ACTION - What can I do to make my interaction with the other person more effective? It is easy to blame the other person; we can wish they would do things differently; we can hope they will change. However, the truth is I can’t change them; I can only change the way I interact with them. Attitude is everything.

REAP THE REWARDS - I am amazed every time I do a workshop session and I ask the participants to list the rewards of dealing effectively with other people - smiling, listening, being positive, taking action -- the answers: happier; work is easier; less stress; get more done; like myself better ……

Learn more -CLICK HERE

Pat A. Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc.

ON BEING A GOOD MANAGER


“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. A leader leads and a boss drives.” ...Theodore Roosevelt

A manager is:

  • Responsible for getting the work done through others.
  • The one who organizes, directs, and oversees the work of others.
  • Responsible for developing the full potential of each of their employees.
  • The one who applies problem-solving and communications skills to tasks and to team interaction.
  • The one who facilitates needed changes.
  • The person responsible for getting results through teamwork.

A manager is sensitive to and able to recognize their employee’s:

  • Needs
  • Motivations
  • Strengths
  • Fears
  • Weakness
  • Cultural Difference
  • Values

TEST YOURSELF

Y=Agree N=Disagree

___I am good at telling employees what is expected and how their performance will be rewarded.

___I know my employees well as individuals, especially when it comes to their needs and motivations.

___I recognize and reward good performance on a regular basis.

___I am fully aware of the resources needed to perform the job and I assure that they are provided.

___I am good at recognizing or eliminating poor performance when it occurs.

___I assure the proper supervisory assistance or training needed to help each individual employee achieve our mutually established objectives.

___ I feel I am good at encouraging personal growth for individual employees.

Listening is more than hearing!

Listening is more than hearing! Talking is more than words. Seeing “eye to eye” breaks down barriers. Good communication depends on more than effective speakers. Good communication is about the quality of the communication between the speaker and the listener.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ---Ralph G. Nichols

We spend a lot of time listening; but, we are not always effective listeners. Researchers tell us that the average person spend 40% of their time listening; 35% talking; 16% reading, and 9% writing.

There are four basic listening styles: Impatient, Drifting. Willing, and Selective.

The impatient listener tends to quickly see the big picture and then gets bored and ‘impatient’ with any further details. This, of course, comes across to the speaker as rude and uncaring.

The drifter is a very active person who usually has a lot of different things going on. While listening to others he tends to ‘drift’ off and begin thinking about his own agenda. The speaker, who can tell from the drifter’s body language that he is no longer tuned in, feels as though the drifter is not interested in or listening to what is being said.

The willing listener is very willing to listen and usually makes the speaker feel very well received. However, willing listeners tend to focus more on feelings that facts.

The selective listener is a very detailed and precise person who listens for facts and wants to know the “whys” of a situation. This quest for information often comes across as criticism or an attitude of superiority to the speaker.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ---Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Body language, on the part of either the speaker or the listener, is a critical factor in effective communications. 96% of what we communicate is not done with words. Tone of voice, the volume with which we speak, facial expression, use of arms and hands, and posture convey far more than the words we speak.

When listening to others follow three simple rules: Look up; Look at; Ask open-ended questions. When someone is speaking to you be sure to look up at that person - shows respect and says I’m listening. Look at the speaker - remember, a large portion of what they are communicating is being done with body language. Ask open-ended questions (questions which require more than a brief, yes or no type answer). Asking open-ended questions shows interest in what the speaker is saying while providing more information. What one person says and what the other person hears are often two different things. Asking open-ended questions is extremely important if the person is upset, angry, or difficult - it shows concern and it allows the angry person a vent for their emotions. As they talk they tend to begin the cooling down process.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” ---Bernard M. Baruch

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." ---Karl A. Menniger

Pat A. Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc.

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Changes Workplace

Change is a constant in most workplaces today. Many of us in leadership positions do not have a good understanding of how to effectively initiate those changes. Not because we are poor leaders, but because we don’t always understand our people. Many times employees resist change and/or complain about the change, or their attempts at implementing the change are slow and not up to par. Many times the employee appears to be inflexible.

“An oak and a reed were arguing about their strength. When a strong wind came up, the reed avoided being uprooted by bending and leaning with the gusts of wind. But the oak stood firm and was torn up by the roots.” … Aesop

The person who is creative often sees change as “making things better” and is eager to get started. However, in their eagerness they fail in terms of “the details”. This happens because once they have grasped the main focus or idea, they quit listening and therefore miss the detailed information they need in order to complete the task.

The person who likes steady, known, and routine procedures is uncomfortable with change. The reason lies in the fact that before they attempt any task they need to know exactly “how” it will be accomplished. Once this person has a well-defined track to run on and have had time to take in and understand the steps along the way, they will be effective and consistent in following through. The person who has a sense of perfectionism wants everything done “correctly” and will question the validity of required changes. They will ask a lot of questions and insist upon knowing “why” we are making the change. Sometimes, even after they have begun the processes of the change, they will feel the need to “perfect” those processes - again, leading to more questions.

The person who loves to talk and is a people person will be the first to accept the change and talk it up to others. However, because their information intake is visual, if the information is given verbally, they will not remember the details. Even when the information is given in visual or written firm, care should be taken that details are not overly exhaustive.

The manager who takes these differing perspectives into account understands the value of:

...explaining why the change is necessary,

...detailing how the change will be beneficial,

...clearly defining in writing the new procedures, and

...giving advance notice of the changes to be implemented.

As a manager, the flexibility we seek in others must first be demonstrated in the way we introduce the change to our employees.

---pat Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc.

DO-IT-YOURSELF Workshops and Seminars

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Standing Against the Wind

Change is a constant in most workplaces today. Many of us in leadership positions do not have a good understanding of how to effectively initiate those changes. Not because we are poor leaders, but because we don’t always understand our people. Many times employees resist change and/or complain about the change, or their attempts at implementing the change are slow and not up to par. Many times the employee appears to be inflexible.

“An oak and a reed were arguing about their strength. When a strong wind came up, the reed avoided being uprooted by bending and leaning with the gusts of wind. But the oak stood firm and was torn up by the roots.” … Aesop

The person who is creative often sees change as “making things better” and is eager to get started. However, in their eagerness they fail in terms of “the details”. This happens because once they have grasped the main focus or idea, they quit listening and therefore miss the detailed information they need in order to complete the task.

The person who likes steady, known, and routine procedures is uncomfortable with change. The reason lies in the fact that before they attempt any task they need to know exactly “how” it will be accomplished. Once this person has a well-defined track to run on and have had time to take in and understand the steps along the way, they will be effective and consistent in following through.

The person who has a sense of perfectionism wants everything done “correctly” and will question the validity of required changes. They will ask a lot of questions and insist upon knowing “why” we are making the change. Sometimes, even after they have begun the processes of the change, they will feel the need to “perfect” those processes - again, leading to more questions.

The person who loves to talk and is a people person will be the first to accept the change and talk it up to others. However, because their information intake is visual, if the information is given verbally, they will not remember the details. Even when the information is given in visual or written firm, care should be taken that details are not overly exhaustive.

The manager who takes these differing perspectives into account understands the value of:

...explaining why the change is necessary,

...detailing how the change will be beneficial,

...clearly defining in writing the new procedures, and

...giving advance notice of the changes to be implemented.

As a manager, the flexibility we seek in others must first be demonstrated in the way we introduce the change to our employees.

---Pat Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc.

DO-IT-YOURSELF Workshops and Seminars

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Procrastination

Logan, one of our six great grandsons, has slightly red hair; and, whenever you see him, he is smiling and with such a joyful twinkle in his eyes you can’t help but wonder what magical things are dancing around inside his mind.

He had been eagerly awaiting his upcoming birthday because, as he put it, he was going to be a “big boy.” Mom: “Logan, you are almost six years old; don’t you think you can cut up your own pancakes now?” Logan: “No, I will tomorrow.”

How many times do we, too, put off until tomorrow those things that could and should be done today.


Let me share a few quotes about procrastination with you:

I swing between procrastination and being really thorough so either way things aren't getting done quickly. ….Freema Agyeman

The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn't make people happy. ….James Surowiecki

One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivity are also the tools of our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we're idling in front of our computer screens. ….Joshua Foer

We probably have procrastinated at times - everyone, except, maybe, my spouse.

Pat A. Bishop

People & Solutions, Inc.

www.pstrainu.com

Stepping in the puddles

“It was one of those kind of days when an umbrella was a necessity. As I started to leave after visiting with my granddaughter and my three wonderful great granddaughters, four year old Madison says, “It’s raining, so remember, don’t step in the puddles.” “ “

All of us go through times when life is difficult and we really don’t like the circumstances we find ourselves having to endure - it’s RAINING! Have you ever stepped in a puddle - your shoes and socks get wet and your feet are suddenly heavier and you find getting around more difficult and frustrating. That’s what happens when it’s RAINING in our lives and we allow ourselves to harbor negative thinking - we STEP IN THE PUDDLES - and it gets more difficult to walk.” (from “Memos From Nanna” - A devotional book by Pat A. Bishop)

Often in the work place we find ourselves stepping in the puddles of: what other say, of how other people fail to do their part, of what customers say or do, of dealing with changes we don’t understand, of the attitudes of other people, and etc. Often we find ourselves in situations which are not to our liking. We get stressed; we worry; we get angry and upset. Negative thoughts rule our minds.

Researchers tell us that the easiest way to get rid of negative thinking is to replace those negative thoughts with positive affirmations/statements.

  • “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” ― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

    I challenge you to start a handwritten journal and record your negative thoughts and negative statements - every day. Then take time to list beside each negative thought how thinking that thought made you feel. You’ll want to replace the negatives with more positive statements.

  • “That’s what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge, speeding ball of ugliness. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome” ― Shoaib

Write down your positive affirmations. Put them on your desk at work; put them on the mirror in your bathroom; put them on the dash of your car. Read them over and over. Memorize them. Then, whenever a negative thought enters your mind, replace it with a positive one. Don’t let negative thoughts rule.

…Pat A. Bishop - People & Solutions. Inc.

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Conflict

CONFLICT can be described as:

A struggle “I’m doing it my way”

A contest “We’ll see who wins”

Opposition “You don’t understand”

A Clash “I’m right - you’re wrong”

Emotions “I’m mad - Don’t hear facts”

Conflict occurs when we limit ourselves to our own point of view. One challenge that most of us face every day is the challenge to really listen to others. Some of us think we are listening because we hear the words the other person says. However, what one person says and what the other person hears are often two different things. Some of us simply do not take in detailed information; we get the gist of the conversation and we move on. Can you imagine the conflict that occurs when the person talking finds out we can’t complete a task because we failed to “record” the details necessary for the completion of the task. Then there is the situation where the talker does not give us the details we need and gets frustrated with us when we can’t complete the task to their expectations.

Conflict occurs when we don’t understand the motives of the other person. The values that we believe are important and upon which we make our decisions are almost always different than those held by the other person. For example, if you value money and the other person values relationships, can you see how conflict would occur? The reasoning behind our actions will be vastly different.

Conflict occurs when we respond out of habit to situations which require new learned skills. Ask any manager and they will tell you that the one response that they dread hearing the most when giving instructions about how a job is to be completed is: “Well! That’s not the way we’ve been doing it” or “That’s not the way we used to do it.” Conflict can be positive if it provides insights - don’t be hesitant about asking questions; make sure you provide needed details.

Conflict can be positive if it fosters growth - a good manager gets to know their people and works not only to direct them but to develop their potential as well. Conflict can be positive if it builds relationships - caring about the other person’s feelings and concerns is vital in reducing conflict. Listening to others is powerful. Listening involves hearing the words; paying attention to body language; and asking open-ended questions (questions which cannot be answered in a few words); and being patient with others.

However, conflict is negative when it creates explosions, allows disruptive anger, and breaks up relationships. A manager who operates out of a ‘stress’ mode will almost always create explosions. A manager who is blunt and direct in the way they communicate will inevitably be seen as confrontational by most of the people who work with and for them. A manager who is not organized will create negative results and conflict.

You cannot change the other person;

You can only change the way you choose to interact with them.

Pat A. Bishop

People & Solutions, Inc.

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Teams

TEAMS ARE EFFECTIVE WHEN... each person on the team respects others; strives to be a likeable person; does their part; is flexible; takes responsibility for their mistakes; cooperates with others; communicates effectively; is motivated; and is customer focused.

When we truly have RESPECT FOR OTHERS we are patient with others; we treat others with courtesy; and we think before we speak.

In order to be a PERSON OTHER PEOPLE LIKE to work with and cooperate with, we must do those things which show concern for other people’s feelings and needs.

A RESPONSIBLE PERSON can be depended on: to do their part without grumbling; to do more than just what they have to do; to come to work on time; to support each other; and to be cooperative.

Being FLEXIBLE is absolutely necessary when changes are needed and when problems arise. “Blessed are the flexible; they don’t get all bent out of shape.”

All people are MOTIVATED; however, some people are motivated more by negative thinking than by positive thinking. What we say to ourselves becomes who we are.

Be a STAR member of your team. S hare a smile; T hink before you talk; A pply positive actions; R eap the rewards.

---pat Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc.

Workshops and Seminars

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Goal

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Our great grandson, Andrew is not quite one year old; and he is going through the “investigator stage.” He can’t walk, but he has no trouble going from room to room, from one thing to another, discovering what the world at grandmother’s house looks like and feels like. One of his favorite investigation sites is the connector box where Poppa has several electronic devices attached. It seems there are a series of blinking lights which really foster a lot of curiosity on Andrew’s part.

Fearing that he might get an electrical shock (or, at minimum, disconnect Poppa’s devices), his grandmother has tried picking him up and turning him in another direction, or diverting his attention to some other activity. However, his fascination with those lights keeps him coming back. Her latest intervention included turning him around and ever so lightly tapping the top of his hand while telling him, “No, No.” Evidently at some point she had also pointed her finger at him as well. Well, Mr. Andrew looks up at her with this really big smile on his face and points his finger back at her as if she was playing a game with him. He just didn’t get the message.

I think there is a very valuable lesson in Andrew’s story. Not for Andrew because he will get the message as time goes on; but for us. Sometimes we are so involved with our day to day activities that we fail to take into consideration our long terms goals and objectives. We tend to let one day drift into another without much thought about the potential impact on our future. Our interactions with others, at home or at work, are affected by the personal goals we have. It is easy to react to difficult situations and difficult people, but it takes planning to simply act appropriately. Life is more meaningful when you take responsibility for yourself.

Goals are significant. They provide the direction you need for your life. Goals allow you to be successful. Without goals you may find you simply shift from one activity to another without any focus or purpose. Don’t assume things will take care of themselves or that they will be taken care of by someone else.

When you set realistic goals and start on the path toward accomplishing those goals, your feelings of achievement, satisfaction, and fulfillment increase. Your feelings of self-worth are reinforced. You will find yourself acting upon situations rather than reacting to them.

---pat Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc. - Learn more - Click here.

Button Pushing


What is “button-pushing”? - Anything that another person(s) says or does that causes you to react in a negative way or get defensive or argue back is “button pushing”. When people complain about a policy over which you have no control, criticize you or what you are doing, get loud or hostile, get defensive, won’t listen, don’t know what they are talking about, or in some manner do things that tend to put you on the defensive and upset you – these are “button pushers”.

When children call other children names; when husbands and wives resort to sarcasm or insults to protect their own feelings; when neighbors or co-workers or customers are short, abrupt or try to tell you what to do – these are “button pushers”.

Very often when you have been faced with a button pusher and you buttons have been pushed you are simply not as effective as you need to be. It undermines your confidence and causes you to get flustered. You feel stressed and your blood pressure goes up. You may say things that you wish you had not said. You are not in control.

Which would you rather have happen to you - end your day feeling relaxed and happy or end your day feeling stressed, angry, aggravated, or frustrated.

The stress and anger that comes with allowing others to push your buttons can harm your physical and emotional well-being. When the body feels threatened because of stress or anger the body releases adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. These hormones cause heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Blood glucose (sugar) is diverted from your internal organs to your brain to increase your alertness. Most bodily functions, not vital to fleeing, such as digestion are temporarily suppressed. No wonder you get an upset stomach!

The choice is yours. Make the decision to be the person in charge of you and of how you are responding to what is happening around you

“When someone or something stresses you, if you can change it, do so.  If you cannot change it, change your response to it.” 

Pat A. Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc. Learn more

Attitude

When one of my grandsons was not quite 4 years old he developed the bad habit of whenever he didn’t get his way or didn’t like something of stomping his feet, often accompanied by clenched fists and a most ugly frown. His mother’s diligent attempts to break him of this habit just were not working. So one day I asked him if he liked getting in trouble with his mom whenever he stomped his feet. “No!” he replied. “O.K., then, let’s try a game Nanna knows. Whenever, you hear Nanna (or your Mother) say, “Attitude, Attitude” that will be your signal that what you are doing is about to get you in trouble. And, here is what I want you to do. Tell your feet to stand still and tell your face to find its smile.” He quickly agreed to my suggestion and while I was not sure if it would work or not, we were off to a good start. As the months went by, we had to play our game less and less. Then one afternoon when he was asked to do something he really didn’t want to do, he started to (as we call it in the South) “pitch a fit.” I immediately said to him, “Attitude, Attitude.” He stopped and looked at me and finally, after a few moments, said, “I’m sorry, Nan; but it’s just not gonna work this time!” Have you ever felt that way?M

One of my best friends had shared with her grandson our “Attitude, Attitude” game and she he told me later than one day she and her grandson were going somewhere in the car together when another driver really frustrated her. She felt herself really getting upset. Suddenly, her little grandson, said, “Meme, “Altitude, Altitude.” She said it took her a minute to realize he was trying to remind her about “Attitude, Attitude” and it had come out “Altitude, Altitude.”

Well! Attitude or Altitude – the message is the same. We need to keep our emotional responses under control.

Carol Kinsey Goman in the book, “Adapting to Change”, said:

“There may not be much you can do about how things are changing in your organization, but you have total control over your attitude toward that change.”

Gene and Pat Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc. - Learn More

Training that makes a Difference!

I remember so vividly the fourth month of the school year, 1994. Pam my nine year old granddaughter, who used to be an above average student suddenly started getting grades that were well below her potential.

For several weeks her parents tried all the usual things that parents try – talking, persuading, urging, and even taking away privileges.

Nothing was working! Mother and Daddy and Pam were all feeling a measure of frustration with each other.

Pam, who truly loved the theatre and the ballet, was excited because she and “Nanna” (that’s my grandmother name) were going to the theatre – girl’s night out, as she was fond of calling our times together.

One of the things that went along with girl’s night out was that Pam would get to select the restaurant for that night’s dinner, after the dinner we went to the theatre.

As we talked and laughed and enjoyed our dinner, I asked Pam, “Are you happy with what is happening about your grades?” Her immediate and very pronounced response was, “No!” “Why do you think this is happening? What do you feel is the reason for your lower grades?” I asked.

In her true style, she just looked at me and smiled. After a few minutes of silence she mentioned a couple of things which she felt were happening. One of them was that one of the boys in the class always wanted to talk and interrupt her. The other was that she often became bored and lost interest.

“Pam, when people are in business and they are not happy with the results they are getting they must attempt to do something about the situation. They usually have to sit down and take a look at what is happening. They must determine what they want the outcome to be and formulate an action plan – what can they do to change or improve the situation.”

“You have said you don’t like the results you are getting. Here’s what I suggest – while I am out of town next week I want you to think about what is happening and what you feel you can do about it. Then, I want you to write down the things you could do to achieve those changes. That’s called writing your action plan. I also want you to remember that while your friend is the one talking to you and interrupting you, you are the person in charge of yourself. Your friend does not control what you do unless you give him that control.”

Pam’s only response was, “I can do it.” We dropped the subject and went about enjoying our time together.

On Thursday evening of the following week I called Pam from out of town and asked if she had her action plan put together. In her most grown-up voice and with all the confidence in the world, she replied, “Nan, I’ve got it; I’m doing it; and it’s working.”

And that was the last of the poor grades and incomplete work. Pam learned two very valuable lessons which many of us still have to work on – other people can’t control your actions unless you allow them to do so; and you are the person in charge of you.

As I have conducted customer service training sessions over the past twenty plus years, I have been aware of the fact that many adults are much like Pam – someone else is to blame for making them react the way they do. “They have no right to talk to me that way.” “I give them back what they give to me.”

Another observation has been that stress, anxiety, and conflict are very common in work environments, in homes, and in relationships.

Employees are saying things like, “You don’t know what it’s like around here.” “You’ve never met some of my customers.” “Trying to please my boss is driving me crazy.” Managers are saying, “My people aren’t happy; there’s a lot of stress around here.”

Parents are saying, “My kids are driving me crazy.” Spouses are saying, “You just don’t know what it’s like trying to deal with ....”

Any person who has ever worked in the area of customer service knows you deal with all sorts of people who have all sorts of feelings. It is not easy to deal with other people – especially if they are being difficult or they are angry or they are upset.

Pat A. Bishop, People & Solutions, Inc. - Learn more