Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to Get Along with Others

One of the main reasons people lose their jobs isn't because they can't do the job, it is because they can't get along. Workers who cause a commotion and have difficulty getting along with others create more unproductive work, cost companies excess money, and contribute to low morale. Building a culture where the top performers work best involves a number of components. Here are just a few to look at in yourself and in the culture you create at work:

  • Nothing predicts being disliked more than aggression and negative interactions: While we all have bad days, it is important to recognize that being a hothead, even if it is just in response to being mad for an instant, can leave a bad impression. Click here to read our summary of the book Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me?

  • Increase your Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Remember that EQ involves the ability to understand your own emotions and perceive the emotions of others. It is like having a radar so you can read other people and know how to best proceed. In the workplace, a culture of high EQ is more productive. Click here to listen to an interview that I did recently for FIVE STAR SPEAKERS Bureau's "Ask the Expert" program where I discuss EQ.

  • Be solution oriented rather than problem focused: Instead of asking "why," ask "what" and "how" questions, which will get people talking about the solution.

  • Know the 4 factors that make a person likeable: Tim Sanders wrote a book called The Likeability Factor. He outlined 4 components of likeability. They are friendliness, your capacity to connect with others, your ability to be empathetic, and realness which is the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity. Chapter 12 in my book Working in the Smart Zone gives more Smart Moves to be likeable at work and home.
Finally, we all can spot likeability when we see it. Recently when the beloved Tim Russert passed away unexpectedly, the celebrations of his life showed how likeable he truly was. The stories about his relationship with his coworkers, his staff, the public who loved him without knowing him personally, even the fact that he waited for the cable man at his son's apartment the day he died show that he was a likeable guy. Almost as impressionable is the legacy of likeability that he left with his son Luke. In case you missed it, click here to watch Luke's memorable interview 3 days after his dad's death.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Careers in Psychology & Counseling Conference

I am excited to have been asked to deliver the keynote presentation for Argosy University's upcoming Careers in Psychology and Counseling Conference in Dallas, Texas on
August 8.

Argosy University has been offering degrees in professional psychology for more than 30 years. Approximately 14% of the nation's masters and doctorates in psychology are granted by Argosy University. And the field of psychology and counseling are ranked in the Top 10 of growing career fields.

The conference will also consist of break out sessions where you will learn about "a day in the life" of the speakers in their respective fields of expertise while developing a deeper understanding of the unique career opportunities available in each area of specialization. Register now for this exciting and informative conference.

See you there!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Explanation of Addiction

In the corporate world and in our our clinical practice, we find ourselves being told that someone has an "addictive personality". I know it is true and we can spot it as we get to know the players. What we find is that people don't always know what they mean when they say "Addiction" and they use the term loosely even when someone, in my opinion, is just "spirited."

Addiction is often brought on by stress in those people who have a genetic defect in a defined area of the brain. Addictions include drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gambling and/or spending. A typical hallmark symptom is a loss of control, craving and persistent abuse in spite of negative consequences. These consequences can include marital conflict, missing work, poor performance reviews, DWIs, and other legal snarl es. According to Dr. Kevin McCauley from the Institute for Addiction Study, "Addiction meets the standard definition of disease even better than MS and Schizophrenia."

It is not negotiable that people with true addictions learn to manage stress better. In the Smart Zone we talk about making sure you know how to empty your bucket when it gets full. More importantly, we all need to know when our buckets are getting full - when the stress is piling on. For those with addictions, it is mandatory that they be better bucket emptiers. Many people loose the ability to manage their emotions so it is also important that they increase their emotional intelligence so they are more emotionally in sync with themselves.

People who are addicted to whatever can't get by with blaming their addiction on a brain malformation or their genetic history in my opinion. We all now know that addictions can be managed with the proper support and tools to overcome the tendency.

This blog submission is being written with one person in particular in mind. It is for the wife of one of the executives we have worked with in a business outside of Texas. It is to help support the family who is working hard to deal with this thing called addiction that is a source of destruction for a husband, father, son and boss. But I believe that this information can help anyone who suspects that someone they care about, work with, or live with. Even people with addiction can work in the Smart Zone. It is just even more important that they recognize what they need to do for their sake as well as the sake of others.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Desktop Tool To Increase Productivity

If I have discovered a new tool to keep you in your Smart Zone, wouldn't you want to know about it? Well, my Vistage CEO group introduced me to something that is going to help us manage daily tasks in our office and I am finding myself telling everyone. It is called, DeskAway, and you can learn more about it at It is a web based application that you can use free for a few projects and a few users. It is a way to have a dashboard for your team where the status of tasks is centralized. One of the best things is that it eliminates those ongoing run on emails that get sent back and forth as you are working on proposals, letters, and other documents that require the input and activities of more than one person. I am looking forward to all the projects we have that can be managed using DeskAway. Try it and let us know whether or not it is keeping you in your Smart Zone.