The Art of Failure

Have you ever noticed the things you value the most, are the very things that cause the most challenge! The art of failure is not a destination but the journey of consistent learning and discovery. Success is a learning curve that involves failure! Have you ever accomplished anything worthwhile in life that only required one attempt to get it right? Have you ever seen a baby go from crawling to walking without ever falling down in the process? Falling down is part of learning to walk because there’s a learning curve. Consider this…if life was a single, all or nothing event with no learning curve, perhaps we could afford to be that narrow-minded. But that is not the way life works. My daughter, Cathryn, with whom I work and have come to treasure and respect her insights into the tools I teach my students and clients. One day in Austin, TX during a training session in which I was building the slides for the presentation, Cathryn leans over to me and says, “Mom you might want to reinforce the attitude of what it means to fail.” I asked, “What do you mean?” Her response surprised me, but made me so proud of her. She said, “Fail is simply the; First Attempt In Learning”. In that very moment … what I have shared with others over the many years just then, came a full circle.  That day I learnt something new about failure and I just wanted to share it with you. Failure means that most successes will be preceded by a series of attempts that didn’t quite produce the results we were...

The Eight Communication Principles Every Manager Should to Know

1.  Ask Questions Asking effective questions is the most powerful way to get the best results from people. Asking is the key to move people to understand results, behaviors, or tasks required. This leadership skill requires people to ask questions even if they know or think they know the answer. This guiding principle of questioning builds understanding and motivation within the individual or team.  It is important to use “What” and “How” questions because of the benefits gained:  lead people to effectiveness, build evaluation skills, encourage self-confidence, and more. “Who” questions identify the person; “When and Where” questions seek commitment as to time and place. AVOID USING “WHY”! “Why” questions increase the likelihood of defensive responses that generate reasons, excuses, rationalizations, or justifications. “Why” based questions focus on the past. Therefore, all responses to “Why” questions demand past based answers.  Since the past cannot be changed, asking “Why” is less effective than asking “What” and “How” questions which allow people to stay in the present, where change happens. Avoid Telling: Telling lowers motivation. Unfortunately, we often tell others, either directly or indirectly, what to do or how to do it.  Telling does not engage others in gaining a meaningful understanding of the results, processes, or tasks required. Fill In:  If people do not know the information being sought, then and only then is it appropriate to “fill in” the gaps with new information.   2.  Be Relevant Ask yourself if this issue really matters.  Is this a recurring issue, an exception, or part of a bigger problem?  What makes it of top importance?  Look at those issues that are...

Four (4) Tips For Asking Better Questions

“Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers.” Voltaire When presented with a problem, ask questions instead of telling the answer.  You will help yourself by assisting others to create their own solutions and to build confidence and skills.   Try These Four Tips For Asking Better Questions: Keep the questions open-ended.  Ask stimulating questions that encourage people to think for themselves.  Start your questions with a “what” or a “how.”   Ask questions based on curiosity, such as “What do you think you might do?” or “What might that look like?”  Do not ask leading questions. Avoid asking questions where you embed the answer you are looking for (often referred to as a loaded or leading questions).   Encourage brainstorming for solutions such as “What do you suggest we do to get the best results?” or “What do you believe might work in this situation?” Both are great questions because they elicit ownership and sharing of ideas.   Create an effective coaching questioning culture. Ask team members to bring critical questions to meetings and show that you value their queries through facilitating round-table discussion of the questions brought forward. Or, if you work alone, brainstorm questions to ask yourself. Give yourself 15 to 20 minutes, come back and start answering the questions. Test this out, see what...
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