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Follow-up: Overcoming resistance to change

Many of you, I'm sure, may have read a previous post on the website which outlined the ways that business leaders can overcome resistance to change. Well, if you have, and you've applied some of what was outlined in the article, I'd love to hear your comments as to how things worked out.

Were you able to convince an employee unwilling to adapt to a changing work environment? Did you get them involved in the process in some way for them to buy in to the concept?

E-mail me or post your thoughts and experiences. It would be interesting to hear what else people have done with regards to this ever-challenging issue.

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How to negotiate across cultures

In business, good negotiation skills can give you an advantage over your competition, your suppliers, and of course even your customers. However, as confident as you may feel about your own negotiation skills, it is important to remember that negotiating across different cultures brings with it its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Author Jeswalde W. Salacuse has written an article for the Ivey Business Journal entitled "Negotiating: The top ten ways that culture can affect your negotiation." In it, Salacuse rightly suggests how negotiators from differing backgrounds may each interpret the negotiation process in different ways, and as a result, each participant may want to conduct things that may confuse or perhaps unwillingly even offend the other party.

The author offers some tips on which approach to take with respect to communication style and level of formality to apply. Some tips the author provides for cross-cultural negotiators are:
  • Not to rush the negotiating process;
  • Laying out the rules and negotiating framework before-hand so as to make the other side feel more at ease;
  • Being open to share information;
  • Building a foundation of trust and partnership; and,
  • Moving the deal forward in an incremental, step-by-step way, rather than all at once.
Read the full article in PDF form, here.

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How to motivate your employees

In order to motivate someone, you must have an understanding of the driving factors behind that person’s existing behaviour, and organizational systems in place which will foster employee motivation.

Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs states that human beings need to fulfill certain types of wants and desires in a specific order. From the more basic to the more complex levels, the human needs hierarchy according to Maslow consists of: 1) physiological needs; 2) safety/security needs; 3) love/friendship needs; 4) the need for self-esteem; and 5) the need for self-actualization.

What this means is that because people are at different “levels” within the hierarchy – e.g. some may be motivated by the need for long-term security (safety/security), whereas others may be motivated by the need to accomplish something big and meaningful (self-actualization), there will undoubtedly be different ways to motivate people.

In order to motivate someone, you must have an understanding of the driving factors behind the person’s existing behaviour as well as the proper organizational systems which will foster employee motivation.

What is required of these organizational systems is:

Regular communication with the employee
Having regular discussions with employees will help in assessing what it is that actually motivates them.

Whether the individual has a need to feel safe and secure that they’re doing relevant and purposeful work, or to feel self-actualized in that the work that they’re doing is beneficial and of high importance to the organization, it is important to communicate with the employee regularly, find out what their motivating factors are, and ensure that they are on the right course.

A direct link between the goals of the employee and those of the organization
Related to the previous concept is the alignment of the employee’s goals and objectives with those of the organization. When meeting with the employee to discuss his or her goals and objectives, it is helpful to share with them the importance of their contribution to the organization, and to guide them to choose goals that align nicely with those of the company. This need not be a one-way street however. If the employee’s goals are not immediately linkable to those of the organization, look for ways in which the person’s job activities can be enlarged or enriched.

By supporting the individual in their expanded or enriched role, the employee will be more fulfilled, and the organization will benefit by having a more motivated, high-potential individual within their ranks.

Linking compensation and rewards to the achievement and realization of goals
Compensation and employee reward systems are an important part of the overall motivational systems within an organization. When an employee does an outstanding job, don’t be afraid to reward them for their efforts.

By regularly meeting with employees to assess their individual motivating factors and putting other organizational processes in place, you stand a far greater chance of motivating your people to accomplish goals that are purposeful and relevant to your organization.

It is clear to see then, that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to encourage and motivate people but rather a multitude of ways, depending on what the individual needs from the organization.

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Seven ways to improve communication skills

Effective communication skills are essential to organizational success; this should come as no surprise to anyone. However, most people fail to realize the importance of improving upon their own communication skills.

An interesting article from PaulsTips offers seven straightforward ways that these important skills can be improved upon.

The seven strategies are:
  1. Keep the message simple
  2. Know your audience and its level of expertise on your topic
  3. Communicate with sincerity
  4. Don't confuse your audience and your message with big words when simpler words will do
  5. Personalize your message; make it one-on-one
  6. Brevity is key: keep your message short and to the point
  7. Respect your audience; don't talk down to them!
The article is a quick read, yet it contains valuable information on how to improve one's communication style. Read it here.

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Creating persuasive presentations

There's a great little article from Fast Company Now that discusses the most effective strategies to use when trying to create a persuasive presentation.

According to the article, the top five strategies (with the percentage of firms that actually use them) are as follows:
  • Sharing facts: 73.5%
  • Offering a solution: 62.1%
  • Sharing a new idea: 52.8%
  • Telling a story: 51.6%
  • Changing a perception: 50.9%
Among the other successful strategies are: the use of humour, building trust, and creating an emotional appeal.

Read the full article here.

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E-mail responsiveness affects your professional reputation

So simple and straight-forward, yet so easily overlooked is the notion of how responsive you are to your office e-mail and how it affects the perception of your professional reputation.

The article "How can Responsiveness help your Professional Reputation" at the Email Overloaded website uncovers some examples of how, by promptly replying to colleagues and business clients (even if you don't have a complete answer for them) you can maintain a positive reputation at work which accurately represents how responsible and capable you truly are.

As the article itself states: "If people's opinion of you were based solely on your email responsiveness, can you imagine what they would think of you?"


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