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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Doubters don’t build!

by Rick Baker
On Jun 16, 2011
I have said and repeated, “There is no such thing as constructive criticism”.
I have said and repeated, “Constructive criticism is an oxymoron”.
While those conclusions came to me through independent thought, I have discovered many hold similar views and some folks even use the same words.
2 examples:
Both of these references describe the same thoughts I have come to accept as reality.
In summary:
  • Criticism, regardless of how carefully we try to package it, is poorly received almost each and every time it is delivered
  • Almost each and every time we deliver criticism it is destructive
  • Often, criticism is well-intended, well-packaged, and well-delivered…yet, it has no chance of being received as constructive [the door is closed and locked tight before it arrives]
  • And…people will always have differing views and there will often be a need to share those views…particularly, if we wish to create change…and, in business, we often do want to create change…hence, a major question: How do we create change without being received as deliverers of destructive messages?
That last bullet point gets to the root of business…people, interpersonal relationships, and change.
Napoleon Hill taught the value of faith.
He made it clear he meant 'faith' in the broadest sense, not just religious faith. And, he expressed his view, 'doubters do not build'. Hill's research showed every major business development and contribution had been founded on faith.
And, Hill established, ‘those who doubt do not build’.
You have ideas.
You want to build business things.
You have visions of what could be....what could be created...what could be built.
Do you have the right amount of faith to achieve 'what could be built'?
I say 'the right amount of faith' because I want to highlight a balanced approach to building business. I am not comfortable with blind faith. Few things lend themselves to blind faith. Blind faith fails too often. Few things in business lend themselves to blind faith. So, in business, blind faith is a problem in the making. Blind faith is whimsical wishing. And, wishing and hoping don’t get it done!
So, faith in business needs some boundaries.
How will those business boundaries set?
Will they set by you alone?
Will they set by you, working with others?
I think you will set your business boundaries both ways.
Sometimes, you, alone, will set the boundaries. You will use your personal values to guide you and you will use your good judgment.
Other times, you will work with other people to set business boundaries.
And, that’s where criticism arrives.
  • Doing things right is subjective…you have views and other people have views…often the views differ
  • Doing the right things is subjective…you have views and other people have views…often the views differ
  • Predicting or forecasting the future…you have views and other people have views…often the views differ…and none of us have a crystal ball…and some of us fail to recognize that last point
Obviously, we are discussing a fundamental issue here. We are discussing a fundamental people-issue with broad business application.
I think constructive criticism is an oxymoron.
I think most people disagree with that point.
Most people believe in or blindly accept the constructive capability of criticism.
And that causes more problems than are required.

DO NOT tell me what to do!

by Rick Baker
On May 24, 2011
To be clear about it up front, I am a big fan of Jeffrey Gitomer. I am able to get over the fact he favours bald people over people who are bald-challenged. And…while it is possible this is off on a little tangent…sometimes I get this strange feeling baldness is creeping up on me from behind…
Regardless, the fact is: I am a big fan of Jeffrey Gitomer. As far as I know, I own a copy of every book and every CD he has published. I think the set of ‘LITTLE BOOKS’ is a must-have for salespeople. Terrific sales advice. Terrific sense of humour. Terrific packaging. In a word: terrific.
So, I bought his new book ‘Jeffrey Gitomer’s LITTLE BOOK of LEADERSHIP’.
At page 18, I read:
When you lead people by example, there is nothing your people will not do for you and with you. Don’t tell me what to do, show me how it’s done. Then delegate. What kind of example do you set on a daily basis?”
Don’t tell me what to do, show me how it’s done.
Is that really what followers think and want?
Is that the right advice to give Leaders?
And, No!
  • Yes – Leaders need to show people how Leaders go about doing things.
  • Yes – Leaders should refrain from setting tight restrictions on followers’ actions. Each follower should be able to use his or her unique talents and personality. Followers should not feel hand-cuffed or micro-managed.
  • Yes – Leaders should delegate.
  • Yes – Leaders should set and show leading examples.
  • No – Followers must understand the desired outcome. So, Leaders must tell them that desired end-point outcome. That applies to the end-point Vision…the Leader gets to tell that to followers. And Goals…the Leader gets to pick at least some of them and tell them to followers. If followers call that ‘telling them what to do’ then…great!  That means they understand their Leader’s direction.
  • No – Leaders cannot leave all what-to-do decisions in the hands of followers. Leaders must set some structural bounds on followers’ actions. For example, the Leader must state/demand/tell things like - “You must follow our safety policies.”
The bottom line: Leaders must tell followers what to do…and limit that telling to the BIG PICTURE things.

no carrots, no sticks…no donkeys

by Rick Baker
On Mar 2, 2011
After attending Daniel Pink’s recent presentation, as I walked across the parking lot to my car that phrase found its way into my thoughts – no carrots, no sticks…no donkeys.
That was one of two major ‘take-aways’ I received from spending a half a morning with Dan Pink.
Why no carrots, no sticks…no donkeys?
Dan Pink made a compelling argument: we must alter how we deal with people if we want them to be motivated at work. In times gone by people were motivated to work under a combination of carrots & sticks…much as carrots & sticks had succeeded with donkeys.
As Dan Pink stated at one point…people are not donkeys.
Today, our people no longer perform much rudimentary work. Our people perform an increasing amount of conceptual work. And – this trend will continue to grow.
Now that conceptual work is the norm:
  • To ensure future success, we must alter our approach to motivation.
  • We must pay people enough to remove money from the table. Actually, we should pay people a little more than enough. People must feel they are being treated fairly. After that, money generates at best a diminishing return.
  • After money is off the table, our people we will be motivated by 3 things:
    • Autonomy
    • Mastery
    • Purpose
Here’s a link to learn more about Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose.
I mentioned above, for me, Dan Pink provided 2 major ‘take-aways’.
Here’s the 2nd one…
Throughout but particularly near the end of his presentation, Daniel Pink engaged the audience in discussion. He asked and he answered questions. At one point, after answering a question he paused for a moment, looked at the fellow who had asked the question, and said “talk to me…you look sceptical…talk to me more”. The fellow did talk more and he and Dan Pink shared more thoughts.
I was really taken by “talk to me…you look sceptical…talk to me more”.
Dan Pink is an excellent public speaker. It is clear he truly cares about the people in his audience. And, he wants to help them.
What a great example of how to deliver value to your audience.
P.S.: Communitech deserves a big round of applause for bringing Daniel Pink to our community.


Criticism: Constructive Criticism is an Oxymoron | INSPIRE PEOPLE - GROW PROFITS!

Sales Tweet #152

by Rick Baker
On Feb 15, 2011
Sales Tweet #152 If you have tried your hand and failed…try your head.
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
And – don’t forget: No one appreciates constructive criticism as much as the person who is giving it.

Sales Tweet #132

by Rick Baker
On Jan 18, 2011
Sales Tweet #132 "Great geniuses have the shortest biographies." Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
Reading thoughts like this one from the great Emerson remind us:
  • Don’t blow your own horn too loudly or for too long
  • Don’t badmouth other people

How to deal with people when their egos seem to be out of control

by Rick Baker
On Dec 1, 2010
First, spend the time to understand your own ego.
And, as you do that recognize you will tend to see yourself as less egotistic and possessing higher self-esteem than other people. At least, that’s the way most people view themselves, as compared with others.
Next, work to limit your judging of other people.
When you observe what you believe to be excess ego…you may be judging too harshly? Your judgement may be inaccurate? You may be unskilled at judging accurately?
Or, your judgement may be accurate.
Assuming your judgement is accurate – assuming the other person is showing an excess of ego – recognize you are seeing the other person’s reaction to fear. You probably will not be able to guess the fear. And the person with the big ego may not understand the fear that is causing excessive ego.
Recognize – your logic will not remove another person’s ego problem.  Ego is not about logic. Ego is about emotion. And the underlying driver is fear.
Next, analyse the situation.
Situations have a major influence on people’s feelings and actions. The situation includes something that is triggering fear in the high-ego person. To the extent you can alter the situation you may be able to reduce/remove the thing that is triggering the fear.
However; the situational thing that is triggering the person’s fear could be very broad/general. For example, most people show signs of changed behaviour when they are under stress. And, the stressful thing could be as broad as ‘having to go to work...and be around people’.
Does the person have a large ego in all situations?
If so then do what you can to avoid the person…you will not change the person.
If the person only shows ‘large ego’ in certain situations then do what you can to avoid those situations or remove them. If, for example, you are the boss then you can influence the situation. You can influence when, where, and how interactions happen with the person.
Neither feed nor assault the other person’s ego. Be matter-of-fact, not emotional. Make sure your actions align with your personal values…not the other person’s.
Do not criticize or work to outmuscle the other person because that could push things into ‘bully territory’.
Diffuse the situation rather than escalate it.

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