Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to take control of any interview

Here is a guest post I recently wrote for Gradversity, a site that helps recent grads find and launch rewarding and successful careers.

This post offers good insight into how to do what many people forget to do during interviews, maintain control.

http://www.gradversity.com/controlling-your-interview-2/

BE AWESOME!

-MR. BIZ

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5 Keys to Dealing with Criticism

While complex is many ways, when it comes to some things people are very simple.

We like being told we are great and hate when people say that we suck.

Criticism is often a translation for something deeper or larger than the comment made, it also may be the symptom for another issue all together.  Especially amongst those in leadership positions, some use criticism as a tool (the good old “break them down to build them back up again” strategy) to get what they want.

Here are some key things to do when you are confronted with criticism.  These steps will help you take something others are critical of and either turn it around or make it a non-issue.

  1. Say Thank you– Let’s start with the toughest one first.  One of the hardest things to do is bite your tongue when someone is being critical of you, especially when you think the other person is wrong. If you can have the self-restraint to listen all the way through and thank them for what they shared with you, you can better hear their message (and probably throw them off a bit with your reaction). Remember, though, that a majority of communication is none verbal, so your tone and body language need to match your words.
  2. See things from their point of view– It is tough to take a step back when you are being attacked.  It is important to not fixate on small pieces to the criticism. On the contrary, you want to make an effort to see where the other person is coming from and why they are communicating to you. Seek to understand the other person.
  3. Translate their True intention– Often criticism is really code for something else. At times people criticize us to make us better and other times they do it to cut us down. Learn how to tell the difference and translate their underlying message to see what they are truly saying. Are they being critical because of the great work that you do? If so, find ways to help them get better. Are they being critical because they got yelled at for something you did? If so, uncover this and acknowledge your mistake. Taking ownership amidst criticism is an important skill to learn.
  4. Refute (with evidence)- The key to dealing criticism is not to always “taking it off the chin.” Sometimes, the person being critical of you is flat-out wrong and you need to defend yourself amongst false accusations.  It is important not to immediately respond to everything said. Nor do you want to start to criticize the other person for things they have done (escalating things to a full-out fight).  Instead, confirm what the other party is saying by repeating it back to them and getting them to agree that your response encapsulates what they are criticising you about.  Then explain to them where their viewpoint is wrong (and where it is right) with specific evidence (not emotion, logical evidence). If someone is critical of you in a public setting, find a way to set the record straight without smearing the other person.
  5. Use Criticism as a tool– Many times criticism can be avoided. I would recommend not to openly criticize others (to their face or behind their back). Organization politics and alliances can be a complex web of relationships (think about any season of Survivor) and you do not know if your criticism will reach others (plus it may be mistranslated in the process). At the same time, if you are always a “yes-man” (or woman) that agrees with everything people say then people will not be respected.  Voice your opinion, even if it is negative. However, when you need to offer criticism, do so with an acknowledgement of a few positive things and then offer suggestions to help with the parts you are criticising.

Most of all, don’t fear criticism. It is a part of life and shouldn’t be taken personally (which is easier to do when you take a step back and fully leverage steps 2 & 3). You ultimately have the choice whether to let criticism tear you down or help it build you up and plug up some gaps that you may have.

BE AWESOME! 

-MR. BIZ

 

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Lessons From The Movies (Part 4)

This multi-part entry continues with some classics. Movies seem to be universal, so it is no surprise that we can pull many lessons from the characters we see on the screen. Hopefully the lessons resonate.

  • The Apartment: “Normally, it takes years to work your way up to the twenty-seventh floor. But it only takes 30 seconds to be out on the street again. You dig?” — J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) explains to C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) during a conversation in which Baxter attempts to set his boss straight. In the quote from this 1960 film, cuts right to the core of a very important lesson. Reputations take a lifetime to build and can be ruined in the matter of moments (the same can be said about trust).  There are countless examples of this from Tiger Woods to Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Be mindful of how your actions and the words you say translate to people’s’ opinions about you, and when you do make it up to the 27th floor remember the long path it took to get there and protect the image you have built.
  • Star Wars (Episode 4: A New Hope) “No reward is worth this!” — complains Han Solo (Harrison Ford), not long after he told Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher): “Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.” I say this as George Lucas is re-releasing the whole series in 3D (who in my mind continually looks for ways to cash in on these films again and again and again… which is both smart and absurd). You will find people who are only in things for the money (reference Office Space) and will push to get as much as they can. At the same time, there is a certain value you bring to your company that you should be paid accordingly for. This is where the real money lies for you.  Find ways to build your unique value for the group.  Foster new relationships and get additional training which will be useful in reaching your goals. This equates to extra leverage when it comes time to negotiate your salary.
  • Star Wars (Episode 5: Empire Strikes Back): “Do or do not, there is no try.” — the famous words of Yoda. This quote here is a HUGE one for my personally. There is no state of TRYing.  You either do something or you do not.  You either reach your goal or you fall short.  Many people use the concept of TRYing to make themselves feel better about failing.  Be real with yourself. Admit when you fail and celebrate when you succeed. If you allow yourself to “try” to accomplish something it strings the goal out over a longer period of time and can lead to inaction. Listen to Yoda, you must. Do, and succeed you will.
  • Cool Runnings: “The driver has to work harder than anyone. He’s the first to show up, and the last to leave. When his buddies are all out drinking beer, he’s up in his room studying pictures of turns.” — says Coach Irv (John Candy) to the team. The driver is very similar to the role of a manager in the corporate world. The role is not always glamorous. Being a manager is not all about giving orders and kicking back.  Even when someone is not doing their job, their manager must make sure the job gets done somehow and then they must document all the coaching they provided the underperforming employee (yeah for paperwork!). Plus as a manager pressure comes from two directions, not just one. Pressure comes from both the people they manage and their boss.  The book One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey offers a great analogy of this. (include a URL reference)
  • Miracle:  “You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” — Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) tells team USA before their game against the Russians. Team USA beating the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics was a pivotal moment, not only in the history of American sport but also in the Cold War. The lesson here is that skill alone will not lead to victory; desire is an essential ingredient.  In my opinion, one valid definition of success is:

Passion    x     Skills    =     Success

Given that this is a multiplication equation, if either Passion or Skills is zero then Success would be zero. Skills without passion does not equal success. Although, if you have passion for something you will have the drive to build skill (which is the secret to this success equation).  You don’t always have to be the best to succeed, hard work and determination is often the difference.

BE AWESOME! 

-MR. BIZ

 

Follow my blog by clicking the link at the bottom right of your screen.  I’d really appreciate it!

If you found this article useful, then please retweet and share on Facebook by clicking Like.

And please leave your comments and suggestions below

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