Tag Archives: Bob Burg

Oct 11, 2012

Damn you StoryCorps for Making Me Cry Again!

Daniel Ross firefighter

It happens every time.

I’m driving my kids to school before heading to work, listening to NPR, and coming back from break, I hear that nice acoustic guitar, and I know what’s coming. “Now it’s time for StoryCorps…” StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, sharing and preserving the stories of ordinary Americans. It seems they have a way with a story, because almost every time these 2-minute segments are aired on NPR, they make my cry. Yeah, I’m a tough guy.

A while back they aired a story on a prison inmate named Daniel Ross fighting forest fires in Wyoming. He first talked about how scary it was to confront these huge blazes, but then the story took a different turn. The prisoners-temporarily-turned-firefighters received a very warm thank you from the townspeople, and their well wishes included a meal, and more. Take a listen here.

As the townspeople thanked the firefighters, Daniel said “I was overwhelmed to see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. It was so moving that I had to get up and go compose myself. That was my proudest moment, hands down.” He found a sense of significance and a feeling of contribution by helping the town. Two of his six human needs were fulfilled right there. I started breaking up a bit.

My older daughter said, “Dad, are you crying?” Funny, because they can’t see my eyes; they’re in the back seat. And I was wearing sunglasses. How did she know? “No, I’m not,” I said.

My kids always want to understand the stories they are hearing, so I tried to explain it. This is such a HUGE life lesson, and I so hope it registers with them. With a cracking voice, I basically told them “What that man felt after helping fight that fire and save that town … that is a feeling he never could have bought.” I reiterated that there was nothing he could ever buy that would make him feel that fulfilled. It made me think of Bob Burg’s The Go-Giver. Giving is so much more powerful than receiving.

Link to the story on NPR’s site:

Apr 12, 2012

Six Tips on Dealing with People

Managing people is truly an art form. If you have ever had a team of people working for you, you know how challenging it can be. However, when you get the right team of people together and you’re able to teach, motivate and inspire them, you can move mountains.

I would have preferred to brainstorm about this for weeks and provide a longer, more complete list. I’ll have to save that for the book, I guess.:-) I felt like getting these six thoughts up on my blog right away. To wit, here’s an incomplete list of six tips on dealing with people.

1. Stop beating around the bush. People (men especially) hate begging for answers. Clear, concise communication aids in team-building. However, keep in mind that bluntness, rudeness and honesty all occupy the same grey area. Do your best to pick the right shade.

2. Don’t bother telling people to “just relax” when they’re upset. It’s not helpful. It only makes it worse. For you, It may be a time to say nothing. Listen to and absorb the venting. That’s how you can help. Bob Burg touched on this yesterday.

3. Smile. This goes SUCH a long way. Even my 7 year old has discovered this. She has noticed how the smiles she directs at people change their demeanor towards her. And she likes it.

4. Stop interrupting others while they’re talking. Even if it’s banal blabber, they desire to tell you this stuff. A person’s stories are important to them. They want you to have perspective so you know where they’re coming from. When you interrupt someone, you disrespect them at a deep level. This is hard for me. I have a terrible short-term memory and must blurt my thoughts out before I forget them. If I’m sitting with a pen and paper (or iPad and stylus), I’ll jot the thought down so I don’t forget to mention it. If I am with someone I’ve known for a long time, or if I’m having a heated discussion with someone, I just can’t wait to talk. I have to work hard to resist the urge to interrupt.

5. Follow your own rules. This goes not only for managing people that work for you, but parenthood as well. You’ve heard “leading by example” a million times, so I suppose this is the 1,000,001st time. It’s that important. Breaking this rule kills teams. An example: you run a company and throw a tantrum because your employees never show up “on time,” even though the work day has never had an official start time. So in a tizzy, you set 8:30am as the official start of the day – be on time from now on! And then you casually show up the next day at 9:45am. Boss, you can’t do that! This happened at one of my previous jobs, and it made it increasingly difficult to take anything the boss said seriously. It was predictably unsettling.

6. Are you capable of walking in another man’s shoes? Can you truly see things from another’s point of view? If we as humans could do this, we’d likely eliminate half the wars we fight. While that would decimate the defense industry, it would keep more families, friendships and teams together. Even in difficult situations that seemingly require an immediate decision, try to take the time to discover what motivates others. Not only will this help you make the most reasoned decision, but it will better prepare you for the next time a challenging situation arises. For instance, from a business perspective, I can say this: the goal of a business negotiation should not be to defeat the other side, but to work together for mutual benefit. That more properly sets both sides up for deal 2, 3 and so on.

Leave a comment below and give me your tips 7, 8, 9 and 10!