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Nicci’s Call: Being A Successful Exhibitionist

exhibition

By Nicola Bonfanti - Talent Dynamics for Sales

There are opportunities to exhibit all year long if you look for them but make sure you have a Trader on your stand to get the best from the event.

You’ve seen those exhibitions where smartly suited Dynamo people are sitting behind their stand talking amongst themselves or on their phones so as not to waste time but end up not engaging with many people.

They are there to be seen but not necessarily to serve. They will go home thinking the exhibition was a waste of time and money!

Or the stands where the Blaze exhibitors have wide smiles outstretched arms asking “Can I help you?”  The obvious answer is “No, thanks” and scuttle on as you don’t know what they do or what to ask for.   They will wonder what they did wrong!

But if you want to have a busy exhibition stand, lots of people to talk to, have contact details for new prospects, give a good impression of what you do to a lot more people than you could at a networking event and maybe even make some money by selling your goods and services, make sure a Trader is on your team who will focus on the client and make sure the follow up is done!

Whatever profile you are, here are 3 of the many ways to leverage the value  of your exhibition stand:

  1. Don’t try and sell anything. 
  2. Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card 
  3. Make your stand an interactive experience

1. Don’t try and sell anything.

Don’t expect or try to sell anything immediately. You are there to build a relationship first and foremost so spend time engaging with your visitors, finding out more about them. Have some form of short survey to gain valuable market information, have something free to give them that tells them more about you, your services and your products.    Make sure any freebies relate to your products or services.

Too many people have something to give away that is just a waste of money as it is not relevant to your business nor memorable.

However, make it easy for your visitors to buy should they choose to by having special offers for the exhibition only as some people buy on impulse if you have explained your products and services well (there is a different mind-set  between selling something and enabling a visitor to buy something and that difference could cost you the sale!).

Your Trader team member will make sure you have all the paperwork and everyone is followed up.

  • What questions could you use to engage and draw visitors in?
  • If you choose to have a free gift, what does it say about you? And what benefits does it give your visitor?
  • Plan special offers to give on the day.

2. Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

Adding new names to your database is a key objective of being at an exhibition but visitors are more reluctant to give away their details these days for fear of being bombarded with irrelevant emails. So you have to make the give-away prize or prize draw something really special.  Think about what would appeal to you ideal client – a spa break? An high octane experience like driving an F1 car or flying in a wind tunnel? Or one of your VIP programmes?

They also want to know that they will be sent valuable information not sales chasers.

  • How will you encourage and reward visitors for giving you their contact details?

3. Make your stand an interactive experience

In order to engage with your visitors, you want them to spend time with you on your stand, so give them something to do while they are there.

Traders are all about the customer experience:

  • Guess the price
  • Competitive game
  • Photo booth that gets retweeted and talked about, e.g. when I was promoting sales programmes I had cardboard cut-outs of sales superheroes people could pose in which got our stand talked about and invited to other events
  • What is your key selling point?
  • How can visitors have an experience or an insight of what you do in a few minutes on your stand?

Where will your exhibition be in the next few months?


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DT’s Tower: Steel Margins

ruler

“Uh oh!  A Lord is going to be talking about profit margins” *run away*

Those aren’t the kinds of margins that I’ve been thinking about this month (honestly!). What I’ve been thinking about mostly are ‘margins of error’.

Nobody’s Perfect

It is a fact that none of us are perfect (sorry to break that to you).  I have yet to find anyone who has not confessed at some point in their life that they have made a mistake or things haven’t gone as planned.  In fact most of the interesting stories and the biggest learning come from when things don’t go right. :)

I’d also argue that the majority of us, regardless of profile, have a degree of perfectionism about us.

Perfectionism… A Friend of Procrastination

From what I’ve been thinking there are two reasons for perfectionism.

The first is about the desire to get things right.  This is most clearly evident in the Dynamo profiles of Mechanic, Creator and Star.  Intuitively they know that something isn’t quite right and like having an itch they can’t scratch they can delay doing anything until they get it right.

From the Mechanic wanting to ensure every little detail is perfect to the Star who insists that something doesn’t look right.  The problem they often encounter is because the source of their perfectionism is intuition they can’t easily explain or identify what is wrong.  They just ‘know’.

The second reason for perfectionism is insecurity.  This is the area of the Tempos, the Deal Makers, Traders and Accumulators.  Likely they will have a (full) list of points drawn that they will work through.  Unless a time limit is imposed it is likely that they will keep finding fault and making small ‘tweaks’.

Obviously both types of perfectionism isn’t good in order to get things done.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a Lord so I can appreciate the drive for perfectionism.

The devil is in the detail after all!

Delegation and Margins of Error

So are Blaze profiles guilty of perfectionism?  Well, they can be but as their talent is people they generally know the right people to get things done (and they are the ones who are usually perfectionists).  When they give feedback they can oscillate between Dynamo ‘doesn’t look right but I can’t put my finger on it’ or Tempo ‘here is a list’.

Now we come to the Steel profiles.  And an interesting thing happens, I think.  I have been accused of perfectionism.  I have also been accused of pragmatism.  Now both can’t be right can they?  What I have realised in terms of thinking about the way I look at it is that I never expect 100% (I might desire it but I know reality gets in the way most of the time).  I do sometimes oscillate between ‘something not right’ and ‘the list’.  Yet, in order to resolve either of these quandaries there is the margin of error.

So, for me, there is an acceptable margin of error.  That can shift depending on what is being worked on but I’d give it a range between 80% – 99%.

I don’t stick my finger in the air and go I’m in a 99% mood today but rather it is based on several variables:

1. How much time is left before planned completion?

2. Is there flexibility in terms of time after completion to improve?

3. How serious is the margin of error?  A seatbelt with a 20% margin of error is a bit different from a business card with a 20% margin of error :D

It annoys the HELL out of the Dynamos I work with and confuses the Tempos no end.

Yet ultimately, this margin of error allows for decisive decisions and getting things done.

Do you have margins of error?  Or are you a perfectionist?


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Osmaan’s Observations: Mix Up Your Environment!

home office

By Osmaan Sharif - Rapid Transformation

Have you ever had one of those days where you’ve got loads of things to complete on your ‘to-do’ list but you just aren’t being productive?

From my experience, one of the biggest reasons for this isn’t about what you’re doing (or not doing) but WHERE you’re trying to do it from!

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

So today let’s have a chat about the link between your working environment and your productivity, to see where you can re-design elements of it.

I know for that me sitting behind the same desk doing all manners of different tasks just doesn’t work!  This is because our mind makes associations between our environment & how we feel – without us even realising it.

A classic example of this is if you’ve been summoned to the ‘bosses’ office (or head teacher’s office back in the days), where you were given a slap on the wrists or some bad news (metaphorically of course).  If you were then invited back into that room for a ‘chat’ about your future, you’re mind may automatically be thinking & keeping you in the state of –‘ohhh ohhh – this isn’t good news!’ – even though it may be good news.

Environment Links to Task

So take it back to your working environment now.  Can you imagine if you were having to get your head down to work through a 100000 line spreadsheet and that was your most dreaded task of the week.  You wouldn’t really be finding it stimulating now would you, so you wouldn’t be totally pumped up or motivated, would you?  But if you’ve been there sat at the same place doing that type of work repeatedly – your mind can start to link that desk (or environment) to those types of tasks.  So even if you look at the desk, it could automatically trigger you to have those same feeling!

But would you necessarily get your most creative pieces of work written whilst sitting at that same desk, if your body & mind associated it with being in the ‘spreadsheet/numbers’ zone?  No way!

The good news is that there are so many different ways that you can mix things up (kinda like tricking your mind) – to do different tasks or activities in different places (or even in different way).

For example, I purposefully choose where I’m going to be working throughout the week & the location of where I work from varies.

Plan Tasks Around Environment

I knew early on from being my own boss that I would drive myself mad if I was cooped up in an office by myself every day.  So even though I have an office (& am moving into a new cool office – very excited!!) - I don’t make myself stay there to do everything.  Even around my office, I have different ‘zones’ – where I do different types of work.

Like when I am coaching clients on the phone or Skype – I tend to sit at a different desk from when I’m doing my e-mail & admin work.

When I need to get creative when writing new workshop materials or blogs – you’d often find me in a coffee shop.

I’m also very lucky to have found a co-working/business members place in Glasgow (SocietyM) where I spend some days a week, where I get to surround myself with other like-minded business owners.  This is also where I’ve tended to have meetings.

So I tend to schedule out where I’ll work from in advance & then arrange my meetings or activities around where I’ll be.

It makes a huge difference for how productive I am, so how about you give it a go & see how it can work for you?

Even if you have less ‘flexibility’ in terms of different locations you could work from – how about creating different ‘zones’ in your work place?  (When I worked in the corporate world, whenever I was on a phone call, I would automatically walk around in circles in beside a window (with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral in one of my last jobs!))

Let me know where some of your best places are to work from & also what changes you’re going to make to your working environment, by adding a quick comment below.

Enjoy the rest of your week & I look forward to connecting again soon.

This blog was originally posted on Os’ own site Rapid Transformation


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DT’s Tower: Handwriting, Star Wars and How to Play Nice

587857_97257344

I found this video during my travels across the internet and it got me thinking (always dangerous).  Graphology is currently considered a ‘pseudoscience’, that is something that purports to be scientific but actually has little proven scientific research behind it.

And yet the idea of graphology has made its way into popular culture with everything from Sherlock to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation at one time or another using graphology to get an insight into the personality of a suspect.  The idea that ‘who we are’ can be analysed is a powerful one.

But Why?

One of the things that everyone struggles with at some point is knowing who they are. There is no objective standard to use.  As individuals our point of view is heavily biased, sometimes towards the positive or sometimes to the negative.  We ask those who know us well their opinion but again, there is the danger of a hidden agenda.  Either people will focus on positives to spare our feelings, or sometimes might focus on negatives to score points.

There is little point asking people who don’t know us… as they don’t know us :D

So we turn to analysis of the effects of our personality.  The individuals that we are leave impressions on the environment around us, the people we interact with, the choices we make… perhaps even our handwriting?  Our impressions on a page.

If we can understand ourselves, we can accurately assess our strengths and compensate for those things that challenge us so we can improve and develop.

‘Know Thyself’

Very noble.  However, our own brains get in the way of making full use of this knowledge. We instinctually need to classify and categorise. This is why in psychology there is an important difference between personality types and personality traits.

Types categorise.  People are either/or.  So someone is either introverted or extroverted.  Traits acknowledge a sliding scale.  People can be place on a line between ‘fully introverted’ to ‘fully extroverted’.  Because of problems with consistency and how people answer psychometric tests, personality type theories have fallen out of favour in psychology (just for your information, MBTI is a ‘type’ instrument).

There is another issue with this objective analysis.  Ironically, we can struggle to come to terms with the idea that something other than ourselves can tell us who we are.  We resist the categorisation of any instrument even if it is a ‘trait’ instrument ESPECIALLY if it goes against our own self image.

For example, on the Buzzfeed personality tests of Facebook I keep getting R2 D2 when I am CLEARLY Han Solo!

The other thing to bear in mind (and I fall into this trap myself) is we look for how the objective test can be wrong, even in the most minute detail… like when I come out as something else other than Han Solo ;)

On a Sliding Scale

Although the Talent Dynamics test has 8 personality profiles, it isn’t a ‘type instrument’. These are simply handy, easy to remember reference points.  Behind the types is a mix of 4 energies (traits) that scales from 0 – 100%.  It is the mix of these traits which can be used to objectively ask questions of yourself and allow focused development with an understanding of strengths and challenges.

But none of us are an island and the final issue with psychometric testing is the isolation that many tests engender.  It is focused on you.  One of the most valuable things you can take from a psychometric test is how you relate to others.  Even Carl Jung, pioneer of “Psychological Types”, came up with the concept in an attempt to reconcile his own perspective with those of Freud and Adler, whose relationship had grown… ‘tense’ due to differing perspectives.  In effect, the start of psychometric testing was to learn how everyone could ‘play nice’ (dazzling use of technical jargon there, DT) despite the tensions of extroversion, introversion, intuition or sensation.

“In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types; for it is one’s psychological type which from the outset determines and limits a person’s judgement.” ~ Carl Jung

Ultimately, all the self-knowledge in the world will be largely useless if we don’t understand how we can use that knowledge of ourselves to improve our personal and professional relationships.


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A Profiling Workshop – Sysmex Middle East’s Story

platelets

Saad Kayali, the Managing Director of Sysmex Middle East, a subsidiary of Sysmex Europe GmbH, had his Talent Dynamics profile done and liked the results so much he asked Susan Castle, Performance Coach & Flow Consultant, to do the same for the entire top level of his company!

There were six managers at this level:

  1. the Managing Director,
  2. the Marketing Director,
  3. the Logistics Director,
  4. the HR Director,
  5. the Sales Director
  6. the Operations Director.

As global leaders in vitro diagnostics and automation services, the managers seemed to have no immediate issues. All communicated well with each other and as a team were seamless.

Uncovering Issues

The issue was they tended to focus on areas they knew they were brilliant at – for example the conception of ideas, but they had blind spots in other areas, i.e. putting things into action.

On completion of their individual Talent Dynamics profiles the explanation became obvious.

Out of the six people on the team, four were Mechanics including Saad, one was a Lord and the other was a Creator profile.

This lack of Blaze and Tempo energy explained why they were good at brainstorming, but not so strong at following through. They were very tunnel focussed and tended not to go for bigger targets those with a more Blaze energy would instinctively do.

Talent Dynamics Workshop

Saad then asked Susan to run a leadership development training session to decide what changes, if any, needed to be made to their management set-up.

“I wanted the Heads of Departments to understand their own profiles, master their own talents as well as ensure that these talents are put into good use for the team and the company. Having a team that is well-honed and performing at their best can only be good for business.”

During the workshop they looked at what was stopping them from setting bolder financial targets. Was it a Dynamo, Tempo, Blaze or Steel problem? The managers ended up with about 30 or 40 different things blocking them.

After narrowing down these blocks further, the underlying core issue became apparent:

the truth was there was no one in that room with the specific kind of business power or ability to deal with Blaze or Tempo challenges.

What Kind of Energy Are You Missing From Your Team?

Each of the directors left the workshop motivated and full of clarity. They had a deeper understanding of what was stopping them from achieving higher targets and more importantly, who to go to in order to solve any issues and help achieve these new goals.

Susan says, “Sysmex found, through the test, that the management roles fitted them quite well but the workshop helped them to leverage these strengths by highlighting them and showing them how they could be leveraged to improve team communication and performance while reducing stress.”

Saad is now planning another workshop for the next level of management in the Sysmex team and we’ll keep you posted on how much of a difference this one also makes!

 “I think Talent Dynamics is a great opportunity to maximize the harmony within the team, to get the needed group mindset and perspectives of “what else we can do”; and thus develop a healthy change culture, opting always to challenge our own achievements and parameters to yield further milestones in the journey of success.”  - – Saad Kayali, Managing Director of Sysmex Middle East


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Nicci’s Call: Customer Care or Customer Scare?

customer scare

By Nicola Bonfanti - Talent Dynamics for Sales

The client experience is paramount in their decision to buy from us so we are aware that we have to go beyond customer satisfaction and deliver great service.

Trader profiles are great at considering and executing that.  If you have a customer facing business you will want a Trader profile to welcome clients, resolve any problems, follow up with their requests and requirements and be patient on the end of a phone to irate customers.

But what about those clients that are genuinely a pain?! You know the ones you dread seeing their number come up on your phone, you swerve to avoid bumping into them at conferences, they seem to take up 80% of your time and patience for less than 10% of your revenue.

Just for a bit of fun leading up to Halloween we will look at particularly nightmarish customers, why we find them so and some tips on how to deal with them or who should deal with them.

There are a few examples here and we’ll be posting them daily in the lead up to Halloween on the Talent Dynamics for Sales Facebook page,  see if you can identify the dark side of the profiles?!

The Vampire

With the aim of bleeding you dry, the Vampire is never happy until he thinks he has got the best deal possible.  He will test your sales and negotiating skills pushing for more and more concessions and wanting assurance that he is getting a better deal than anyone else.

He will feel it is a privilege you doing business with him and therefore he is worth special attention and a celebrity status of customer care. He may also come up with his own ideas of what your best service should look like and not be shy of telling you.

The Vampire wants to feel significant and important.

Use this experience to improve your customer care and if possible make it a standard you can give everyone (just don’t let the Vampire know that!). The Vampire wants to feel that he has sucked out all possible concessions, discounts, bonuses and benefits.

Make sure you get something back for every concession (longer subscription terms, less time spent face to face) but that you give maximum value to the Vampire which doesn’t bite into your profits (bonuses of already created products, invitations to events).

The Vampire will also appreciate personalised, monogrammed gifts and become a loyal customer if you can keep him sweet with morsels like that from time to time.

The Witch

The Witch seems like she is out to get you!  She has unrealistic demands and wants more and more information. At each visit her demands increase and when you think you have supplied her with everything she asks, she just screams for more information, statistics, testimonials. When you meet her she wants to control the meeting and will turn up late and change the appointment at the last minute.

The Witch wants security that she is not taking a risk by buying from you so tests your loyalty at every stage.

As a result she needs a lot of information in order to make her decision, more so than other clients.  She will respect your strength if you stand up to her and not surrender to her every demand, so manage her expectations and explain why delivery at 4am will cost a premium.

Share the cost implications of her demands with her and she will be astute enough not to waste money needlessly. At the same time give her the information she craves and more if at all possible (at the end of the day she just needs security). Give her realistic and feasible guarantees that takes the insecurity and risk away.

By providing her with her demands you will build up a bank of proof, statistics and data that you can use with other customers and by taming her you will have a loyal ambassador for your company. It’s worth the effort.

Can you guess the dark side of these profiles?  Happy Halloween with your customers and prospects!


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Transforming Teen Talent Through Trust! Talent Dynamics for Young People

TDYP

By Teejay Dowe - Talent Dynamics for Young People

It was astounding and inspiring to see so many business people who attended this year’s Trust Conference attend a break out session about ‘Transforming Teen Talent Through Trust’.

Perhaps it’s because so many businesses find it perplexing to employ young people, or they have hired young people and been disappointed, or struggled to trust young people to do a good job or even the right job.

As we all know the cost of poor employment decisions is massive both in terms of finances and morale.  Businesses have lost trust in a young work force.

A Challenge of Self Trust

The biggest challenge that young people face today is that they have low self-confidence and cannot see their worth to an employer or, they have so many options and opportunities that they have no clear vision and are confused about the jobs or careers that would suit them best.

The “hidden talent” remains hidden because our young people are never taught what their natural gifts and talents are and why they are so crucial to a fulfilled life.

They are often made wrong for spending time on what they love to do and told they must spend more time on what they find difficult and whilst this is valuable to a certain degree it becomes counter productive as their confidence takes a huge knock, they question their self-worth and they struggle to know who they are and what direction they should take.

And so, their talent stays hidden from the young people themselves and their prospective employers.  Ask them what they want to do, what job would they love to do they’re like…

“I dunno!”

And we continue to judge ability purely on academic achievements, force young people to stay in education till at least 18 to get more qualifications. Some still have no clue what they want to do and continue to university, sent off by proud parents wanting the best for them, dreaming of how proud they’ll be when their son/daughter graduates.

That young person is also dreaming of what it will be like when they graduate, and then they graduate and the reality most often is £55k debt, still not sure what they want to do  and few jobs to go to anyway.

Young people have lost their trust in academia, adults, employers and their ability to get work.

A Loss of Trust

A poll for LinkedIn questioned 200 Graduates questioned about their experiences after university and discovered that:

65% of graduates are not prepared for the world of work, March 2014

635 senior managers and 52% employers said ‘none’ or ‘few’ graduate recruits were prepared for the working world when starting their first job, YouGov Survey, September 2013

When Trust has been lost on both sides we need to address it on both sides and Talent Dynamics for Young People is a vehicle that does just that.

It starts with stopping! Let’s stop criticising our young people for not being ready for work when actually we never taught them those skills. Let’s start taking collaborative action to ensure young people learn about their strengths and talents, where they will shine as an individual, where they best contribute to a team, who they are as a leader, how to communicate more effectively with themselves and others.

And, start with businesses recruiting young people for their natural energy and talent rather than recruiting for the elusive all-rounders. We are bringing together young people, teachers, parents, apprenticeship providers and businesses  to better work together and understand each other through Talent Dynamics for Young People to build a trusted way forward for tomorrows employees, employers, business leaders,  and entrepreneurs.

It started with me and it continues through YOU!


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Osmaan’s Observations: Are You Admiring the Wrong People?

Admiring Wrong People

By Osmaan Sharif – Rapid Transformation

Do you ever look at other people and think, ‘gosh I wish I was more like them!’, as they seem to have their ‘stuff’ together and are getting amazing results?

Then you start believing, that if only you could think and act like them, then you’d also have similar successes?

So you start ‘modelling’ them but it just doesn’t feel right – (like it would if you were squeezing yourself into someone else’s underwear (yuck!).

Then you start to saying not so nice things to yourself & putting yourself down, because surely it’s down to YOU and how you’re not as good as them – so why even bother?

Sound familiar to you? 

Well, here’s the thing …. maybe it’s because you’re admiring the wrong type of person for you?

I’m a firm believer that we can learn from other people around us – whether that’s famous folks; colleagues; managers; leaders or even our close relations – but you’ve got to be super choosey when it comes to it!

Its important knowing what your talents are.  Because it means that you can do more of what you’re good at & enjoy – BINGO!  

Sounds simple doesn’t it, but really how much time do you actually spend at ‘work’ doing the things that float your boat?

Talent Dynamics Profiles

From the world of Talent Dynamics, which I share with my clients – it quickly shows how there are 8 different ‘types’ of people – who each bring different things to the party (a.k.a. your business or team).  Each with their unique ways of thinking; communicating; feeling and doing things.  The cool thing is that each of the 8 different profiles are needed to makes the world function and go around.

But here’s the thing … each of the 8 types of people ‘see’ things differently from one another!

It’s all well and good modelling those who are some steps ahead of you in your business or career – or have a particular skills that would be really useful for you …. BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE THE SAME TYPE OF PERSON AS YOU (sorry for shouting but that’s super important!)

Let me put it another way – if you were in a 8 piece band and you played the guitar … but wanted to up your game.  Then go and learn from another guitar player who’s in a band – rather than the drummer!

Follow Your Flow

“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.  Follow your flow.” – Roger James Hamilton

For example, in my case, I’m a Trader profile in Talent Dynamics – which is the complete opposite from a Creator profile.  That means that even though I think the late Steve Jobs was super cool because he came up with amazing new innovative ideas, because he’s a Creator – even if I was to put some of his best strategies in place – for me they just wouldn’t connect as well as they would for other Creators out there.

Instead though, if I focused upon some of the things other Traders do, like Sir Alan Sugar, then that would help me to grow, develop & continue to get even better results.

I’m not saying that the other 7 profiles aren’t relevant to you (or me) in our ‘work’ but there may be other people out there in your team (or associates), who you could enlist to help with those parts.

That way they’ll be getting to play the ‘instrument’ that they’re a master of and you get to play your ‘instrument’ and you can make sweet music together (… I think I’ve been listening to far too much music while typing this …)

So enjoy getting to know YOU even more & then choosing more people who are like YOU to admire & learn from – as this is key for you to both LOVE what you do & get amazing results in your working life.

I look forward to sharing even more with you next time and until then bye for now.

This blog was originally posted on Os’ own site Rapid Transformation

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Clelia Serpico


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Whats new

MandB

So this month I got to hang out with one of my all time hero’s… Humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof, was the keynote speaker at our Trust Conference on September 11th in London. During his keynote, you could of literally heard a pin drop! It was spell binding. From how he built Trust in the 90′s through to Live Aid and on to the modern world, with the social and economic importance of Trust.

If you didn’t make it to the conference, either online or in person, for a limited time only and only for the first 50 people who register to download here, we have a special offer to access all of the keynote recordings from the day reduced from £149 to just £29 but this will only be for the first 50 to register.

Click here to access a full set of keynote recordings from the Trust Conference for just £29

 

Have a great month ahead

Michelle

PS. If you are a leader of The Trust Movement, why not apply for the Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Awards 2014! These awards are run by our good friends at Trust Across America.

Click here to nominate someone you feel should be recognised for one of these awards.


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DT’s Tower: Applying Trust

Trust Conf

Well, it came and it went.  The Trust Conference.  As it did last year.  And although it is now disappearing on the horizon of a new month something, once again, stuck with me.

Actually 2 things stuck with me.  I’m going to be using myself as an example of how I myself have applied trust.

1. Trust starts with yourself

One theme that ran through each of the speakers presentations was that trust needs to start with you.  As a person.  How can others trust you if you are a bit shaky on what you trust yourself with?

So how do you work out where you are most trusted? As I see it, it comes in two strands.  Self-reflection and opening yourself up to others.  The first part, self-reflection can be a little tricky as we can all rationalise away problems and build ourselves up.  This is where a profile test can come in.  It can objectively assess where your personality provides strengths and challenges.

I am a Lord profile.  The strengths of my personality are in details and certainty (and personally in a general pleasure in spreadsheets and flowcharts).  I am challenged when I have to deal with people and variety (not a natural multi-tasker by any means).  This means that on paper I can be trusted with spotting errors and asking awkward questions that bring things into focus.  I can lose trust quickly if I am always in front of people and dealing with too many things at once.

The second part is even trickier as our defences go up when we ask the opinion of others.  The phrase “Yes, but…” can sometimes be heard.  I find concentrating on understanding the points and applying them to yourself before jumping to your own defence works well.  Especially if you are asking people you trust!

Asking others confirms my profile with a few surprises.  Although I have a tendency to focus (some might say obsess) on the detail I have a reputation of getting things done.  You could say I am trusted to finish.  Despite my challenges with people, people consider me to be quite diplomatic.  I can be trusted to take on multiple points of view and deal with things fairly.  I also have a tendency of phrasing things in just the right way (all in the detail) to not put people’s noses out of joint.

2. Trust builds when you offer it

The second point is that if you don’t offer trust, you cannot build trust.  Very often we can get stuck in a cycle of not trusting.

“I don’t trust them, so I won’t let them do something just in case they fail”

This leads to team members not being given the opportunity to do something they might excel at.  Stephen MR Covey’s point here is that you shouldn’t blindly trust everyone but that you should be smart about the trust you give.  Start with the small things (or the detail :) ) and let trust build.  If the small things are delivered and the trust is developing, go a little bigger or wider.  Get other people’s opinions as yours might be biased in some way.

We’ve recently restructured in our business and I’ve had to offer trust to others.  I have a tendency to be controlling so this has been hard for me.

I didn’t blindly just toss people a load of work with a half-arsed ‘I trust you’.

What I did was consider the benefits of the trust I was offering:

  1. Allowing me to focus more on the things that needed to be done.
  2. Providing others with opportunities to develop.
  3. Attempting to align what needed to be done with what has been done in the past or my view point on which responsibilities people might thrive with.
  4. Getting the view point of others.
  5. Understanding that with trust comes a responsibility to support.

My understanding of my own area of trust (my profile and the opinion of others) and the understanding of where I already trust people has been a great help.

I can easily provide a structure to allow people space to use their own initiative but also provide them boundaries which they can understand and help them to focus.  I can help people with problems or issues that they are struggling with by providing an objective viewpoint that weighs the pros and cons (possibly on a flowchart!).

This is how I am starting to apply trust after this year’s Trust Conference.  The interesting thing to note is that the above two points were already under way before the Conference but by examining actions and outcomes through the lens of trust I am able to not only further justify the things that are working, as the trust builds, but I am also able to examine why certain things are not working and use trust to explore ways of improving results.

What did you takeaway from this year’s Trust Conference?  How are you applying them?


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