How do we get great results?
By taking a look at the truth about success!
My keynote presentations and training programs are based on my company’s research of top performers (5,000 top-performing people of influence in 21 industries) and shows what the most successful people have in common. Recently, I created a summery of the core ideas I presented in a keynote for a client looking to provide something extra for attendees to take home. These same idea are examined in detail in my newest book “The Real Truth about Success” .
The Real Truth about Success is based on Wynn Solutions’ research of top performers (5,000 top-performing people of influence in 21 industries) and shows what the most successful people have in common.
Dealing with difficult people is one of the true litmus tests of being influential. When you boil it down, if you criticize the ideas of the people you are dealing with, they are less likely to use your ideas; and if you make people feel important, then you and your agenda/ideas will be more important to them. We also have to learn the importance of our behavior reflecting on our skill level. Sometimes our behavior betrays our skill. If people do not like your behavior, they will consistently look for reasons not to trust or agree with you. It is possible to be right without making others feel people wrong. People do not choose what’s best; they choose what they are the most comfortable with whether it’s the best or not.
Another often-overlooked area of influence and teamwork is judgment. Top performers acknowledge and act on the concept that everyone knows something they do not. We can all learn from one another. Also, when confronted with bad ideas or information, an attitude of conciliation is the most effective approach. In other words, instead of saying “You’re wrong,” you can take a step back and calmly state, “I disagree with your approach (ideas) but am willing to listen.” This disarms the listener and creates a spirit of teamwork that will enhance the opportunity for productivity. You might also find you are more in agreement than previously thought. Furthermore, you might discover why the person you are speaking with is in fact incorrect, and you can forward the conversation from there. The amazing part of this tactic is that as you listen and gain agreement, you will see that they will start to change their story to match yours as a product of trust gained.
Top performers also understand the truth about trust. Our research shows that trust is built on the foundation of two things: compassion and competence. Data we have collected about effective communication styles clearly demonstrates that an overwhelming number of people responded well when they felt heard or listened to. If you make them feel heard and appreciated, as stated earlier, you and your agenda will be more important to them.
When you rob people of their uniqueness, you make one of the biggest communication mistakes there is. Don’t be dismissive if people say they’ve got a problem. Agree that their problem is valid, and they will be more accepting of your solutions – so accepting that they’re more likely to take accountability for those solutions. Agreement is the foundation of accountability. People are much more likely to be in agreement with those who have agreed with them first!
Another issue is dealing with people you don’t get along with very well. Many people think getting everyone to like each other is the key to success, but our research shows that how well you work with people you don’t get along with will define your greatness. You must be willing to look at your own behavior; if you have personality conflicts on a regular basis, you need to investigate your personality.
Also, top performers know everyone has the same basic agenda: We all want sincerity, value and prestige. Sincerity is simply a matter of making sure your sincerity matches the situation – are you being real? Value is about having several scenarios or solutions for addressing a single problem. People need to know you believe there is more than one way to do things. Prestige is about making people look good to others. Can you make them look smart in front of people they want to impress?
If people know you have all three of these attributes, they will listen intently to everything you say every time you speak. It’s the foundation of influence. But even as they listen, they might encounter the obstacle of believability: Some things might be true but might not be very believable. If people believe something strongly, they just look for reasons to prove the “truth” of what they already believe. So the key to getting people to change their beliefs or see things your way is to first show the similarities before calling attention to any differences.
What the most influential people have in common
- They can clearly explain value in about 20 seconds: The longer it takes you to explain value, the more people might believe you don’t have any. The key to having a cohesive team is making sure your ideas are perceived as valuable not just for project success, but valuable to them personally. You have to know what people value before you can influence them. You need to teach them to think, not just give them knowledge. You can do that by asking good questions such as these: Is there a question I did not ask you today that you think that I should have?
Is there a difference between what you think is important about your job and what others think is important?
- Their ideas are clear enough to follow: It does not matter how smart you are if no one knows what you’re talking about. Clarity, more than intelligence, is the foundation of success. It’s hard to clarify a team vision if it’s fuzzy. You can’t build a shared vision if everyone sees it differently. Your intelligence could cause you to lack tolerance for those who do not understand things the way you do. You could be labeled a poor communicator and lose your influence. You may need to simplify things a bit to be more effective. If the goal is to get everyone on the same page, you’ll want to make that page easier to read.
- They understand the issues between older and younger workers: Older workers will quickly attack what they see as a lack of work ethic in younger team members. They see young people who will quit their job to go on a ski trip! Younger workers see the older people as being inefficient and unable to multitask. When they ask a question of an older worker, they feel they get the history of the answer first. They also believe older workers don’t have an accurate grasp of technology. Younger people need to know that an understanding of how things worked in the past will help older team members embrace the new way. It’s hard to create a future without understanding the past. To lead people effectively, you need to know where they’ve been. Older people need to see that you value their experience and are willing to seek their counsel. Let their experience work for you! Older leaders need to give more consistent praise and use small goals and tight deadlines. Wishing someone were more like you is not an effective tactic. You have to manage people for who they are, not who you want them to be. Also, older leaders should remember that young people are not living in our times – we are living in theirs.
- They have fair partnerships: A fair partnership guarantees a team effort (lead by example). You have to be willing to do some of the things you’re asking others to do. You can stand your ground but you must show fairness. • They spend time with people who can position them to succeed: Leverage the relationships that will take you somewhere and minimize the time and effort you invest in those that won’t. Spend more time with productive people and create a culture of excellence.
- They understand the power of gratitude: You attract better people, effort and respect when people know you are grateful.
- Change is not the problem; it is resistance to change: Top performers know they must constantly grow and adapt to lead people (or themselves) in a successful direction. Action and adaptability create opportunity. Flexibility is the key to longterm success. Intelligence and skill are not enough to make most organizations view you as effective.
- Success lives in you; you did not get it from a keynote speech or a book: All humans have the basic ingredients of success. That’s why we are the dominant species on the planet. Never forget your value! You have the ability to be influential if you implement practices that already have a good track record of success.