Food for Thought from Mike Schwarzer’ Perls of Wisdom, March 2012
Let’s begin at the end. What is the core purpose of your business or organisation? Helping someone else solve their problems, the problems they can’t or don’t want to solve themselves, right? Generally this someone you may know as a customer or client. Do you agree on this so far? Great! If not, that might ‘cause’ a problem … for you, your hip pocket and most likely for your sleeping patterns, but that’s another story and another problem to be solved.
Problems come in all sizes, shapes and forms. Some are simple and many are complex and require out of the box thinking. Helping your clients solve their problems makes you what? It makes you INDISPENSABLE … to Them! And that generally means return business, referral business and more money in the kitty! Not to forget the reputation that your business reflects that sets itself apart from the other players in your industry.
Here is the problem!
Many organisations are selling themselves short in operating at their full potential. And why is that you ask? Because they are trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s thinking. Top down and linear (Newtonian style). They talk about the importance of staff engagement, yet the way they interact encourages to disengage, to switch off and to simply not care. They are stuck in the status quo and mechanical thinking and acting.
How to take the problem out of the problem?
To help your clients solve their problems in today’s world, you need what? A workforce that is capable and focused on solving problems. Problem solving in today’s world, one that is complex, ambiguous and interconnected requires collaboration, curiosity and mental & behavioural flexibility. It requires ‘Environments where Engagement and COLLECTIVE Learning can occur’. Where people … see meaningfulness in their work, have a voice, interact with each other from a place of learning, have engaging conversations, ask great questions, explore together, express their ideas, share knowledge, etc.
It will provide your organisation with a greater flexibility and capacity to respond to changing environments, perform in and through challenging conditions, generate new ideas and innovate, and thrive on solving your customers’ problems, And how is that important? Well, think about it … the rest of the world and your competition don’t sleep nor do they stand still … Do they?
Yeah, yeah, yeah … I hear you saying, we’ve heard it all before! Well, I hope you have. The question is … what have you or what are you actually doing about it? I know, talk is cheap … action speaks louder than words. Many organisations live in ‘talk’-land and not in ‘do’-land. Why is that? Because they don’t actually know ‘how to’ move from ‘thinking’ engagement to ‘doing’ engagement. Because they are missing the wherewithal, the ability to create and take a thought or a matrix of thoughts, a mental model, and manifest that thought matrix into the neurological fabric, the body, of a person and the organisation where it shows up in a natural way of thinking, feeling, speaking and acting.
Where from here?
Where do you start developing this capability and creating environments where engagement and collective learning can occur?
Make a decision!
It all starts with the intention and a commitment to achieving it. If you are serious about creating an environment where your people thrive on collective learning, being creative and solving your customer’s problems than simply make a decision and start walking the talk!
1. Show up in the world in the way you want it to be!
As Ghandi said, “Become the change you want to see!” You mental state is crucial. Your mental state is actually a mind-body-emotion state. Those three can’t be separated, we are beings that can create thoughts and meanings, generate emotions and experience those thoughts and emotions through our body. Our states generate a dynamic energy around you, an energy that can attract or detract. I see many people underestimate the quality of their states. It can open your mind to enormous possibilities and make people swarm to you like bees to honey or work against you, blind you and make people avoid you like the plague! Become the master of your state and not let the state be the master of you!
2. See the world through multiple lenses
The world doesn’t just revolve around you! It also revolves around other people, your organisation and your marketplace. Poor communicators can have a limited perspective and only view the world through their own eyes. Skilful influencers have a fine-tuned perceptual & situational awareness of their surroundings and can see and experience the world through multiple lenses. Through that awareness they can assess situations and gain greater insights on those situations, the peoplem involved, the dynamics of the relationships between those people, the implications of those relationships, and then make better informed decisions based on those insights and position their language to that of the people they interacting with.
3. Meet and connect with others in THEIR world!
Rapport, Rapport and Rapport! There is no resistance only lack of rapport. Rapport is crucial for any engagement and influence to occur. Rapport is not necessarily about liking each other rather than being receptive to each other what we have to say. To build rapport, you want to meet and connect with others in their world, their map. Rapport can be established at multiple levels and is facilitated by reflecting others’ physiology, holding their energy, speaking their language, supporting and valuing their views, values and beliefs, and speaking from their perceptual position (i.e. self, others, environment, etc). By the way, rapport begins with YOU! To be in rapport with someone else, you want to be in rapport with yourself first. That means showing up in a state and energy that is conducive to creating an environment that others want to be part of.
How do you develop those skills?
These are skills that can’t be learned intellectually. They have to be practiced and honed to be mastered. They are honed by ‘applying these skills to self’. To make a state a state it has to be experienced in the body so it becomes a flow state one that you are fully engaged in. To see a situation from another person’s point of view through their eyes it has to be experienced not just thought through. When building rapport you have to experience the connection and notice the difference that makes the difference, in yourself and in the other person. And then you keep refining these skills so they become part of your fabric and daily beingness in the world.
Start practicing these skills and mindset, pass it on to your people and see the energy and dynamic in your organisation transform where undesired problems go away and your customer jump with joy!
About the Author:
Mike Schwarzer is a Performance Strategist & Modeler and an Internationally Certified Trainer in Neuro-Semantics and NLP. An experienced facilitator and coach, with an ability to connect and align people, he helps organisations to fine tune their performance wizardry to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to go! This includes creating and cultivating customer friendly buying environments and self-actualising leadership cultures.