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4 Vital Tips to Master the Art and Science of Communication

We need to be exemplary communicators to succeed in business and life. Here are 4 vital tips to master the art and science of communication:

  1. Tailor Your Message to Your Audience
  2. Overcome Barriers to Understanding
  3. Develop Trust and Believability
  4. Choose the Right Medium

So, what do these 4 vital tips mean and how do you use them to improve your communication?

1.  Tailor Your Message to Your Audience

Know your audience. People prefer to receive information and to learn in different ways. Some people are more:

  • Visual, preferring to see information in pictures or graphics.
  • Auditory, preferring to have a two-way dialogue.
  • Kinesthetic, preferring to get their hands on and work physically with the information.
  • Creative (right-brain dominant), being energized by working with abstract concepts that result in something new being formed.
  • Analytic (left-brain dominant), being energized by getting into the nitty-gritty details and crossing all the “t’s” and dotting all the “i’s.”

2.  Overcome Barriers to Understanding

A person’s perception is their reality—their truth—until new understanding happens. It is our responsibility as communicators to assure that people are understanding what we are attempting to communicate—that what we are saying is making it through their built-in filtering system and barriers.

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3 End-of-Year Rituals Sure to Energize Your Business

As the year winds down, it’s great to understand where you’ve been, enjoy where you are, and see where you’re going. See the “3 end-of-year rituals that are sure to energize your business” after the special announcement.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

If you own a business or are thinking of owning a business, here’s an exciting opportunity for you to create a great 2018…

 

A Strategic Planning Process

that Energizes Your Business

facilitated by Ray Madaghiele

5:30 to 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tempe Public Library

I will teach the art and science of facilitating an inspiring strategic planning process for your business. You will be guided to determine the best way to proceed with your own custom-designed strategic planning process for your unique organization. You will learn how to:

  • Create an empowering culture in which your people are focused on what matters most to the success of your organization
  • Gain enthusiastic support for your strategic plan
  • Strengthen accountability by creating alignment and buy-in throughout your organization

All attendees will receive a free participant guidebook and an autographed copy of my book, Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Your investment is only $25 (all proceeds go to the Greater Phoenix SCORE to support their many services for business owners).

Click here to register at Greater Phoenix SCORE

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Here are 3 end-of-year rituals that are sure to energize your business:

  1. Reflect on the Past
  2. Celebrate the Present
  3. Project into the Future

Several sure-fire tips to execute these three rituals in your organization…

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Creating Work/Life Balance

Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park

How well have you done with work/life balance this summer? Our minds and bodies need time off from work to de-stress and recharge. Ironically, creating time off decreases our level of stress and increases our work productivity. It may seem counter-intuitive but it’s medically proven to be true.

 

Like you, sometimes it’s difficult to achieve the balance that I desire. Just this morning my wife, Lyn, and I wrestled with how to focus our attention today while staying near majestic Yellowstone National Park. How do we balance completing our business work so we can enjoy the beauty of America’s first national park. As a result, here I am completing this article before we set off to soak in the beauty of nature and recharge our souls. Lyn is wrapping up her tasks as well.

 

For more than 10 years, Lyn and I have operated our businesses as we have traveled throughout North America in our mobile office and home. We both have businesses that require consistent attention. It has been a continuing discovery process of figuring out how to live and work while full-time RVing. Our desire for work/life balance has enabled us to experience some of the most incredibly beautiful sights on the planet, stay connected with friends and family, while continuing to serve our wonderful clients as we roll.

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Why Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth

Disneyland Splash Mountain

Are you planning a family vacation to Disneyland this summer? If so, notice how they attend to the details of what makes you happy.

Disney understands what you, the customer, wants before you do.

Several years ago I attended a Disney seminar for leaders and was amazed at their organization’s attention to their customer’s needs and desires.

Disney employees exemplify what I call “The Diamond Rule: Strive honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”

 

Here are some ways they understand you, their customer, intimately:

  • They minimize distractions and expedite check in at their hotels because they know your family’s nerves are frazzled from the long, exhausting trip to get there. They know the last thing you need is more stimulation at that moment.
  • You won’t find an outside newspaper for sale anywhere on their property because they know you have come there to escape the real world.
  • Every employee knows where the nearest restroom is because they know you have pushed your bladder to its limits and will need to make a mad dash to get there in time.
  • Trash receptacles are placed no more than 30 steps apart because they know just how long you are willing to hold onto your trash before dropping it.
  • Lines at each attraction twist and turn with their own suspenseful entertainment as you wait with anticipation so that you don’t mind very much how long it’s taking.
  • Disney employees are called “Cast Members” to remind them that when they enter the property “It’s show time!” and your family is their most important audience.

Disney’s philosophy in their own words (excerpts from the Disney Institute website)… Read more

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Spring Forth with Renewed Energy

Circle of Growth

Spring is a time of releasing old burdens and planting something new and exciting that make your Spirit soar—both personally and as an organization. What could you plant now that will lead to a bountiful harvest this Fall?

Consider growing your company as you would grow a plentiful garden on fertile ground. During our strategic planning and training sessions with Native American communities and their enterprises, a good Hopi friend and business associate of mine, Perci Ami, often shares about the circle of growth and how it relates to the four directions of the medicine wheel. This cycle has proven valuable for understanding the natural order and balance necessary to yield a successful harvest in life as well as in organizations.

1. Cultivate Your Garden

Every organization is unique like each seed of every plant. What works for one may not work for another. Does your organization have a strategic plan that clearly identifies your unique seeds to success? The strategic planning process naturally reveals and cultivates what to focus your precious resources upon so that your organization is aligned with your desired vision for the future. This alignment will result in an organization that will stand the test of time.

The process also helps to differentiate the uniqueness of your organization compared to that of your competition. It is a great way to determine or reconfirm the core purpose, core values, vision, goals and action plans for an organization.

Successful companies that stand the test of time even during tough times are built upon a solid foundation of core purpose and core values while adjusting their vision, goals and action plans to adjust to the ever-changing external economic and political environment. In other words, their core values and purpose are etched in stone; their vision, goals and action plans are molded of clay.

The process, done right, draws from the collective wisdom of the leaders and employees throughout the different levels of the organization. The result is widespread involvement, buy-in and accountability for the success of the organization. The strategic planning process will illuminate your path toward a bright, prosperous future.

2. Plant Your Seeds

Once your strategic plan is established and you have decided which seeds to plant, it is time for a reality check to assure that the seeds you plant will grow. Ask yourself, “What in our present situation aligns with our strategic plan? What does not?” Similar to weeding a garden, continue doing what aligns with your plan. Stop doing what does not.

Having the right people doing the right things in the right way will assure success. All policies, procedures, systems and processes should assist your employees to achieve what you have defined in the strategic plan. If there are employees who do not support your organization’s direction, they are like weeds that choke the life out of what you desire to grow. These people are probably your unhappy employees. Chances are they are also your least productive employees who demand a lot of your time and energy.

Great leaders do not manage people, they manage agreements with people. Consider having the leaders in your organization create with each employee they supervise a Declaration of Understanding that clearly spells out mutual desires and expectations. Employees will choose to live their agreements or not. As a result, leaders can simply manage the agreement without a clash of personalities. Employees who choose not to live by their agreements, even after extensive coaching, will probably be happier someplace else where they feel better alignment with their values.

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3 Things Customers Value Most

Understanding your customers’ needs and desires is vital to improving your bottom line.

All customers assess the value of your products and services (the stuff you provide) before making a buying decision by weighing the delicate balance of price, quality and service—3-legs of the stool. You must learn how to masterfully build and balance these three components.

Let’s look at all the components of the 3-legged stool as shown in the accompanying graphic:

  • Your products and services represent what’s placed on the seat
  • Price, quality and service are the three legs
  • The legs are supported and stabilized by a clearly defined strategic plan (i.e., core purpose, core values, mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and action plan).

In this article, we will focus on exploring the delicate balance of the three legs of the stool. At the bottom of this article, you will find links to other articles that I have written about the other components of the stool. Read more

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Workplace-It’s All About Love!

What does love and Valentine’s Day have to do with business? In a nutshell, everything!

  • Customers and employees who feel loved are more loyal to your company.
  • Employees who love their bosses and their jobs perform better.
  • Customers and employees who feel loved share their experiences with others.

What if this is true: “It’s all about love!”?

Simply put: Love aspires. Love inspires. Love grows.

Let’s look at two extraordinary companies, both of which were launched in 1971—more than 45 years ago—operating with love as an essential core value.

Have you ever enjoyed a burger and a beer at a Hard Rock Café? Did you know that the company was founded by two hippies who chose love, peace, and rock-‘n-roll as their mantra? Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton were two shaggy-haired Americans who just wanted to find a good American burger while living in London. They built their first café on London’s Hyde Park corner as the first “classless” restaurant in the class-laden English society.

Today there are more than 175 Hard Rock locations, which include restaurants, hotels, casinos, and live music venues in 55 countries. Emblazoned on the wall of every property is, “Love All, Serve All.” It is the life—and business—success principle that Tigrett borrowed from his guru in India.

The Seminole Tribe acquired the Hard Rock companies in 2007, continuing to keep its love-based culture alive. Their mottos are still visible: “Love All, Serve All,” “Take Time to Be Kind,” “All Is One,” and “Save the Planet.” And how’s this for a core value: “Deliver kick-ass service.”

Southwest Airlines is another company that fearlessly embraces love (“LUV”) as a fundamental principle.

Read more

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Jump Start 2017

With 2016 nearly wrapped up, I hope that you are taking a deep, contemplative breath and a little time for personal reflection.

Every year we weave a unique tapestry of adventures we have experienced, successes we have accomplished, and setbacks we have suffered.

Reflect on the Past Year

Part of my ritual this time of year is to list these significant events that have occurred in my life, both personally and professionally, so I can fully view and appreciate the tapestry I co-created. It includes projects completed, activities enjoyed, problems faced, milestones reached, unforeseen circumstances overcome, etc. Some within my control, some not. What I have grown to know is that each experience was necessary to bring me to the present moment.

Jump Start Your New Year

Whatever our past year’s tapestry looks like, the beauty of the dawn of a New Year, is that we get to envision a new tapestry. It is time to begin selecting some of the threads and colors, and identifying the themes we desire.

Our greatest opportunity for 2017 is to apply our talents, skills and abilities more fully to make the finest tapestry possible.

Personal goal setting and strategic planning are creative tools that enable us to design our personal and professional tapestry.

If you are a business owner, thinking of starting a new business, or are a leader in an organization this upcoming class will help you to jump start your strategic planning process and make your 2017 tapestry your best yet. It is my honor to partner again with Greater Phoenix SCORE to facilitate this engaging how-to class, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Read more

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Facilitation Tips to Energize and Streamline Your Meetings

Facilitating MeetingsWhen asked to facilitate a group meeting, equip yourself with the right tools to energize the participants and accomplish the objectives.

Last week I had the honor and pleasure to facilitate an afternoon SCORE workshop for a group of small business owners titled, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Being directly after lunch, I knew the session needed to crackle with energy or else nap time would soon be upon us.

Here are some of my favorite group facilitation tools and tips for captivating the attention of participants and accomplishing meeting objectives:

  1. Clear Meeting Objectives– Prior to the facilitation, get together with key leaders and stakeholders to define the objectives of the upcoming meeting. These objectives are your ultimate targets, or goals, to accomplish.
  2. Written Agenda– Seems obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be surprised at how many meetings I have attended at which people don’t know why they are there. A written agenda, at the very least, provides a good framework to channel discussions. Sending it out to the participants before the meeting is a bonus.
  3. Declarations of Understanding– I begin every facilitated meeting by asking the participants, “What are your desires and expectations for this meeting and of me.” I capture their ideas on a flipchart. Then I share with the participants what I desire and expect of them, listing everything on another flipchart. Next, I hang both flipcharts on a wall so we can all refer to them throughout the meeting, if necessary, in order to keep things on track. My favorite desires and expectations of participants are:

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Jordan Spieth Reveals How Great Leaders Handle Defeat

Photo by Kevin C. Cox-Getty images

Photo by Kevin C. Cox-Getty images

Did you watch the final round of the Masters golf tournament yesterday? If you were like me you were shell-shocked and heart-broken to see Jordan Spieth’s  record-setting performance and 5-point lead disappear within a matter of minutes—bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey. A devastating blow for Jordan.

However, I continued to watch Jordan grapple with his demons on the remaining holes, even tallying one more birdie. He didn’t win but did finish tied for second behind Danny Willett who shot a phenomenal 67, tied for the low round of the day—shooting the right score at the right time.

I gained more respect for Jordan Spieth yesterday than during any of his amazing feats thus far. There were no temper tantrums. No cussing. No blaming. No clubs thrown. He handled his defeat with poise and grace.

Even though I’m sure he was dying inside, he stayed in the game; he allowed himself to be interviewed on the world stage, candidly talking about what happened; and he fulfilled his past champion’s duties by draping his worthy opponent in his first green jacket.

Will Jordan recover from such a devastating personal setback? A resounding, yes! From what I have witnessed of Jordan’s 22-year-old maturity and character, this will strengthen him as a human being and a leader in his industry.

So as leaders, what can we all learn from Jordan Spieth?

  1. Setbacks happen. Deal with it.
  2. When you fall, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, be humbled, but carry on.
  3. Blame no one but yourself for your defeats.
  4. When you face disappointment respond with good character as though the world’s watching.
  5. Continue performing your duties even though you would rather run and hide. Your team is counting on you.
  6. Praise the person who beats you.
  7. Treat everyone with respect, no matter what happens.

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray