Breakdown: How to be a Good Motivator – Highlights from “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) Ch. 12-14

If you are like me, you may never get a chance to read all the books you would like to. There is just not enough time in a single lifetime to absorb it all. That is why I wanted to breakdown “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) by Alan Loy McGinnis to share the key takeaways that I got out of it.

Image result for bringing out the best in people mcginnis

“Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) is a guide to be a good motivator. It provides the reader with 12 principles to bring out the best in people through motivation. The 12 principles are as follows:

  1. Expect the best from people you lead
  2. Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs
  3. Establish high standards for excellence
  4. Create an environment where failure is not fatal
  5. If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons
  6. Employ models to encourage success
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge
  10. Place a premium on collaboration
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation

In this post, I will break down chapters 12-14. These chapters capture principles 11 and 12 to bring the best out of people. If you like it, please check out my previous post capturing chapters 1-11.

Chapter 12: How to deal with an abrasive troublemaker

This chapter highlights principle #11, build into the group an allowance for storms. Right off the bat, the term “troublemaker” should be avoided all together because it attacks another person’s character rather than addressing the problem – the behaviour. So in order to attack problems, rather than people, this chapter should be titled “How to deal with continual problematic behaviours”.

This chapter emphases how problematic behaviours can destroy team synergies and drain their enthusiasm. Unfortunately, too often we see these behaviours come from positions of authority such as supervisors, or managers. So as a leader who observes these behaviours, you need to act quickly. Your response should not be fire them first, then hire someone else later. If that is your philosophy, then you will be running from this problem your whole life. The best leaders will only replace an employee as a last-ditch effort after all other options have been exhausted. The cost of staff turnover financially, on morale, time and relationships is too high.

One option to manage problematic behaviours is to diffuse them through ventilation. Good leaders are prepared to absorb a heavy load of complaints. For your team to function smoothly, they need to vent all the junk out of their systems. You are the leader who needs to absorb it. So the point here is to build a corridor for others to steer their grievances through so that negativity does not infect the office. That corridor is your gentle, attentive ears. Don’t let the complaints bring down your enthusiasm – you are listening for a good cause – for the team.

For the continually observed problematic behaviours, here are seven pieces of advice to manage them:

  1. Allow some disruptive behaviour. Build into your team charter an acceptance of the storming phase, an allowance for temporary periods of insanity. We will all laugh about it later on.
  2. Uncover the underlying reasons for the behaviour. J.P. Morgan once said it bluntly, “There are two reasons why anyone does anything – the good reason, and the real reason.”
  3. Identify how harmful the problematic behaviour is. You may find out that the individual exhibiting the behaviour is loved and adored by his or her colleagues – for their honesty and bravery to state how they truly see things. Do not degrade him or her at the expense of your damaging your relationships with your team.
  4. Ask for help. This is straightforward, ask others for advice. Remember though, never attack the person – especially in front of others. Seek help about the problem. Maybe others have experience managing similar behaviours or have exhibited those behaviours themselves at some point.
  5.  Weigh the individual who is exhibiting problematic behaviour’s contribution to the team. It may be the case that their performance is incredible and outweighs the damage that they did. That does not mean that you should not address the behaviour, it just helps evaluate the situation.
  6. Appeal to the good side of the person exhibiting the behaviour. Remember, most of us have good intentions. Don’t assume the worst of the other person. You do not know their circumstances. If anything else, give them good intentions to live up to. Say, “I know you mean well, you are a good person. I noticed XY behaviours, that is not your usual self. I hope you are doing well. But if there is anything I could do to help out, even if it is just an ear to listen, I am here for you.”
  7. If the problematic behaviour is severely harmful, you may need to remove the person.

Chapter 13: The personality of the motivator

This chapter highlights principle #12, take steps to keep your own motivation high. This chapter is all about you as a motivator. It is difficult to be motivated by someone who is unmotivated themselves. McGinnis asserts that to lead people successfully, you need to understand what makes your team tick, and have a “spirit that spreads excitement and energy to those around you”. You cannot spread excitement and energy if you cannot take care of yourself. Don’t let anger, bitterness, resentment, exhaustion, or hatred dominate your soul. You need positivity to drive your motivation of others.

McGinnis provides five tips to keep yourself motivated to motivated others:

  1. Surround yourself with positive and successful people and minimize contact with those who exhaust you or bring you down.
  2. Be careful about what you let enter your mind. Any statistician or computer scientist will tell you: “garbage in – garbage out” or “your conclusions are only as good as the data you put in”.
  3. Take advantage of credible podcasts, audiobooks, and paper books. Or, as McGinnis put it, there is a “wealth of information on audio cassettes.”
  4. Go to conferences, seminars, lectures, or other networking events.
  5. Keep a journal. Record your leadership journey and reflect on them. Develop lessons learned and document your thoughts.

Chapter 14: Why Helping Others Can Become Life’s Greatest Joy

This chapter is supposed to inspire the reader to continue their efforts to motivate others. He notes the all-too-real experience we have, starting out on a mission to save the world – then end up just fighting to survive. Don’t let life bring you down. Remember to celebrate your wins – even small ones. Keep chipping away at your dreams and idealistic aspirations. Giving up now will mean you have wasted a lot of time for nothing. You may not see the change now, but big change is built upon an aggregate of small ones – keep making them.

Remember that motivating others is about seeing the best in them. Other people have potential that has yet to be acknowledged – and you are there to do that. It is very impactful for people. Try it. See if you can inspire someone today. Let them know that you genuinely believe in them and that you know they can and will do great things. You can change lives and inspire a better world because of it.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of Alan Loy McGinnis’ “Bringing Out the Best in People”. I loved this book. It challenged my behaviours and forced me to reflect on my personal experiences. I hope you got a lot out of it too. It was a pleasure for me to share these chapters with you and I look forward to next time.

If you enjoyed this read, please subscribe to my blog, give it a like or follow me on Twitter @interestpeaks. I found this content interesting. But I am more interested in what your thoughts, opinions or advice on motivation are. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback, please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear them.

Breakdown: How to be a Good Motivator – Highlights from “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) Ch. 9-11

If you are like me, you may never get a chance to read all the books you would like to. There is just not enough time in a single lifetime to absorb it all. That is why I wanted to breakdown “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) by Alan Loy McGinnis to share the key takeaways that I got out of it.

See the source image

“Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) is a guide to be a good motivator. It provides the reader with 12 principles to bring out the best in people through motivation. The 12 principles are as follows:

  1. Expect the best from people you lead
  2. Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs
  3. Establish high standards for excellence
  4. Create an environment where failure is not fatal
  5. If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons
  6. Employ models to encourage success
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge
  10. Place a premium on collaboration
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation

In this post, I will break down chapters 9-11. These chapters capture principles 8-10 to bring the best out of people. If you like it, please check out my previous posts capturing chapters 1-8 and look out for another post where I will cover the last two principles.

Chapter 9: When to Praise and When to Reprimand

This chapter highlights principle #8, employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement. Here the author emphasizes the need to use more positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement, but there still needs to be elements of both.

The good person in us will cringe at the thought of negative reinforcement. We all had bad experiences with it. However, negative reinforcement does not have to be mean, aggressive or result in a loss of morale.

McGinnis offers the Scorn/Reinstruction Method of negative reinforcement as an example. Using this method, when you see something that was done wrong, say something like “Don’t do it that way, do it this way”. Then you can proceed to show them exactly how it is supposed to be done. It seems reasonable.

McGinnis offers several pieces of advice for giving negative reinforcement:

  1. Teach them to avoid disruptive behaviours. Don’t teach them to avoid you. You still need to be approachable, respectful, and tactful.
  2. Be timely and give negative reinforcement immediately after the bad behaviour. The longer you wait, the less effective the negative reinforcement will be at correcting the behaviour.
  3. Stop any negative reinforcement effects as soon as the poor behaviour stops. If you punish your child for 30 days for a bad behaviour, there is little incentive to change those behaviours quickly because there are still many days of punishment to go.
  4. If negative reinforcement does not work for undesirable behaviours, then use positive reinforcement for any desirable behaviours. Give positive reinforcement for anything other than the bad behaviour. Once the undesirable behavior stops, then begin to withdraw any additional positive reinforcement.

The last thing discussed in the chapter is the use of guilt as a motivator. There are two schools of thought along a spectrum. At the extremes, one perspective is that guilt is not a good motivator, and the other is that guilt is a good motivator. Both schools of thought have some criticisms. Guilt is a valid emotion for people to have. So, who are we to say it is wrong to feel? On the other hand, if you use guilt against people excessively it can result in disturbed relationships. The bottom line is that leaders should not be there to control people. What we need to do is objectively point out consequences of certain behaviours. It is up to the those you wish to motivate whether they will feel guilty about it.

Chapter 10: The Will to Win

This chapter highlights rule #9, appeal sparingly to the competitive urge. People love a challenge. McGinnis used the exact same example as in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” to demonstrate this.

There was a series of mills all owned by the same company. One of the mills had very low productivity. When the boss from headquarters came to visit, he asked the manager about it. The manager said that he tried everything to get his staff to work harder and nothing worked. So, at the end of one team’s shift, he asked how many tonnes of steel they produced, they said 4. He took a piece of chalk and wrote 4 on the wall, big and clear where most will see. When the next shift arrived, they asked about the number 4. They were told it was how many tonnes of steel the last crew produced. At the end of their shift, 4 was rubbed off and replaced with a 6. The next day there was a 7, then 8. You get it. The boss gently provided the workers with an opportunity to compete, and they took it. That mill became one of the most productive.

The competition here was not forced, it was only gently encouraged. Healthy competition can boost morale, but remember not to create a competitive arena that accommodates unethical or mean-spirited behaviour.

Chapter 11: How to Get People to Cooperate with Each Other

Chapter 11 highlights rule #10, place a premium on collaboration. It emphasizes that people have a need to belong and are more attracted to high morale teams than even its leadership. So good leadership will go above and beyond to create a good, positive, enthusiastic, and collaborative atmosphere. This will facilitate solidarity and kinship, a sense of pride and loyalty shared by the group, or as the French would say esprit de Corps.

So how do you create esprit de corps? McGinnis provides four suggestions:

  1. Reward cooperation. Some organizations would rather reward individuals for their successes rather than high functioning teams. However, this creates incentives for individuals to exaggerate their successes and downplay their teammates successes. This may facilitate a mean-spirited competition resulting in poor morale and unethical behaviour.
  2. Assign responsibility for cooperation to the team as a whole rather than a project champion, team lead, or other individual member. This makes accountability everyone’s responsibility.
  3. Plan some occasions for the team to travel outside of the office together. When you place a team together outside of the office, an interesting thing happens. They tend become more creative, open to each others’ perspectives, build respect and form bonds with each other. It allows them to see each other as people, rather than just employees. So send them to a conference, resort or something like that to build team comradery.
  4. Do not undervalue good communication. Often times distance and petty arguments between teammates is caused by a misunderstanding or a lack of consideration for each other which can escalate rapidly into a massive grievance.

Conclusion

I hope you liked this breakdown of the key highlights from Alan Loy McGinnis’ “Bringing Out the Best in People”, chapters 9 –11. If you would like more tips on how to be a good motivator, look out for my future posts which will cover more of this material. Or better yet, buy his book!

If you enjoyed this read, please subscribe to my blog, give it a like or follow me on Twitter @interestpeaks. I found this content interesting. But I am more interested in what your thoughts, opinions or advice on motivation are. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback, please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear them.

Breakdown: How to be a Good Motivator – Highlights from “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) Ch. 5-8

If you are like me, you may never get a chance to read all the books you would like to. There is just not enough time in a single lifetime to absorb it all. That is why I wanted to breakdown “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) by Alan Loy McGinnis to share the key takeaways that I got out of it.

See the source image

“Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) is a guide to be a good motivator. It provides the reader with 12 principles to bring out the best in people through motivation. The 12 principles are as follows:

  1. Expect the best from people you lead
  2. Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs
  3. Establish high standards for excellence
  4. Create an environment where failure is not fatal
  5. If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons
  6. Employ models to encourage success
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge
  10. Place a premium on collaboration
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation

In this post, I will break down chapters 5-8. These chapters capture principles 4-7 to bring the best out of people. If you like it, please check out my previous post capturing chapters 1-4 and look out for future posts where I will share highlights from later chapters.

Chapter 5: Management of Failure

This chapter highlights principle #4, create an environment where failure is not fatal. As motivators, we need to help the people we motivate manage their failures, and as leaders we need to approach failures creatively. Failure is an important learning opportunity and can be used as a tool for innovation.

The main theme of this chapter is to anticipate and expect failure, so you and your organization is prepared for it. It also notes that as motivators, we need to learn from our own mistakes also and be open and honest about them. Let others see your mistakes. Richard J. Needham, late columnist for the Globe and Mail said it succinctly, “Strong people make as many and as ghastly mistakes as weak people. The difference is that strong people admit them, laugh at them, and learn from them. That is how they become strong.”

What I thought was missed in this chapter is the power of recognizing mistakes of others as a learning opportunity for you and the organization. Mistakes may stem from problems within the system. It may be an opportunity to improve processes, procedures, and leadership. By turning a mistake from an individual learning opportunity to a systems learning opportunity, we have more corridors to accommodate it. By not personalizing the mistake, and instead capturing it under a broader umbrella of responsibility, we make it more comfortable for employees to make them. The mistakes are not always solely their own, the team can recognize errors and identify if there are changes that could be made to reduce or learn from them.

The trick here is to be able to address and correct errors without harming the person who made them resulting in a loss of their enthusiasm. Don’t let failures deter staff. Major success often comes after long stings of major failure. Look at Abraham Lincoln’s track record before his presidency.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” For this reason, you should probably reprimand teams who never make mistakes – they are probably playing it way too safe.

Chapter 6: Building an Inner Drive

This chapter highlights principle #5, if they are going anywhere near where you want to go, jump on their bandwagon. The main purpose of this chapter is to drill into your head that the best way to give advice to those you want to motivate is to find out their wants and needs, then give them advice to achieve it. Remember, manipulation is convincing people to do things against their own interests. Manipulation is a red flag for poor leadership. As motivators, we need to understand the interests of others.

McGinnis points out here that a real test on the effectiveness of your efforts, is how much people continue to stay motivated when you are absent. They could behave as if they are motivated when you are there, but as soon as you leave become complacent. To get them to stay motivated when you are gone, help them develop personal goals that are SMART (SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). These goals need to satisfy their interests, dreams, and aspirations. Then the motivator will help them create a plan to reach those goals and help them follow it. Do everything you can do to help them achieve their goals. This is “hopping on their bandwagon.”

What you should not do is plant an idea in their head, then convince them that the idea was theirs in the first place. This is a manipulation tactic that often backfires. So, don’t approach people with a view that you know what that person should be then change them to be that. Clarify what they want by asking how they want to change, what makes them happy and how they wish to modify their behaviour. Then set goals together.

Another sharp point made here is that employees’ goals and values need to align with the organization. For example, I would not recommend that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) hire carnivores who actively protest against plant-based diets. They are probably not a good fit.

As much as you need to establish a fit between employees and the organization, you as a leader needs to have clear goals and objectives too. People want leaders with clear objectives, but you need to be consistent. People who waiver on values and objectives are often seen as weak or unstable. This becomes particularly dangerous when you change your values and objectives in such a way that people can no longer be on your bandwagon. But we know that it is okay to change your beliefs, it is human and shows that you can learn and grow as a person without blindly holding onto beliefs that are irrational. That is the foundation of science, as new information comes in, new understandings emerge that force us to let go of the old ones. So, the author clarifies that we need to build into conversations some room for others to change their minds and to say “no”. To avoid manipulation, don’t lock them into a position that they cannot change from.

Also highlighted in this chapter is to not let people believe that they are failures because they failed. Tomas Edison had the right mindset when he said, ““I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Chapter 7: The Power of the Success Story

Chapter 7 highlights principle #6, employ models that encourage success. The purpose is to get the reader to realize the power of story telling. Success stories are motivating because they touch the hearts and minds of people and as a result can change their attitudes and perspectives.

Here, you should not simply use stories that you find compelling. People are motivated in different ways. You should not use the success story of Donald Trump to motivate a democrat or use stories of war to motivate a pacifist.

Here, it is important that you know those who you want to motivate. Understand their values, goals, and aspirations. Then pick stories that you think will tug at their heart strings.

Chapter 8: The Secret of Parlaying Small Successes into Larger Gains

This Chapter highlights principle # 7, recognize and applaud achievement. Here the author notes the all-too-often complaint from employees: “The boss never gives me feedback, except when something goes wrong”. Remember, as motivators we want to recognize the good side of people and build on that. If we are only recognizing when they make mistakes, we are focussing on their bad sides.

The advice in this chapter is based off BF Skinner’s seminal work in psychology about positive and negative reinforcement.  It is clear that positive reinforcement, or rewarding good behaviour is a much more effective tool for changing behaviours than negative reinforcement or punishing bad behaviour. So, the art of praise is an important skill for any leader.

The art of praise works best if you reinforce specific behaviours. This is not saying “I expect great things from you”. This is saying “Wow, I overheard your call with that client and you demonstrated the kind of customer service excellence we like to show off to the world”.

The author gives a tool here called one-minute praisings, where you take regular breaks to catch employees doing something right or exceptional and give them compliments. Everyone is starving for appreciation. So, when someone comes along to genuinely acknowledge our good side, we will follow them enthusiastically. Employees are more motivated when they know that they are doing things right, so create systems that regularly identify wins, reinforcing that your people are winners and then celebrate those wins.

To master the art of praise, McGinnis provides four suggestions:

  1. Give praise publicly as one-on-ones are less effective. People like it when nice things are said about them to other people. For example, it feels really nice when your partner says something very nice about you to their friends.
  2. Seize the moment to celebrate every success. Successes are an excuse for celebration, and celebration supports morale and a positive atmosphere.
  3. Write your compliment down in a hand-written letter. 
  4. Be very specific about the compliment you give. Identify exactly why you appreciate what they did and how they did it.

Here the author also notes that too much reinforcement with things like pay incentives and gifts can be dangerous. You don’t want those you motivate to become more motivated by material rewards than they are by their values and goals. Don’t lose sight of the importance of your mission and purpose as a tool for motivation. People can turn into “reinforcement junkies” who must have some material reward available to put in hard work. Furthermore, too much praise can become meaningless. Don’t praise for the sake of praise, this is not genuine. People will recognize it and it will become less effective.

As leaders we need to observe improvements in those we motivate. If bad habits have changed into good ones, we need to acknowledge them for that. It is extraordinarily demoralizing to change your behaviours at great effort and/or personal expense, then see it go unnoticed by your leadership.

There is this idea that by celebrating success, you produce overconfident employees who think they are better than others. McGinnis argues that this is not the case. It is a mistake for leadership to think that they need to “peg employees down a notch”. William Somerset Maugham, a famous English playwright and novelist once noted, “The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistical and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them for the most part humble, tolerant, and firm. Failure makes people bitter and cruel.”

Conclusion

I hope you liked this breakdown of the key highlights from Alan Loy McGinnis’ “Bringing Out the Best in People”, chapters 5 –8. If you would like more tips on how to be a good motivator, look out for my future posts which will cover more of this material. Or better yet, buy his book.

If you enjoyed this read, please subscribe to my blog, give it a like or follow me on Twitter @interestpeaks. I found this content interesting. But I am more interested in what your thoughts, opinions or advice on motivation are. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback, please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear them.

Breakdown: How to be a Good Motivator – Highlights from “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) Ch. 1-4

If you are like me, you may never get a chance to read all the books you would like to. There is just not enough time in a single lifetime to absorb it all. That is why I wanted to breakdown “Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) by Alan Loy McGinnis to share the key takeaways that I got out of it.

See the source image

“Bringing Out the Best in People” (1985) is a guide to be a good motivator. It provides the reader with 12 principles to bring out the best in people through motivation. The 12 principles are as follows:

  1. Expect the best from people you lead
  2. Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs
  3. Establish high standards for excellence
  4. Create an environment where failure is not fatal
  5. If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons
  6. Employ models to encourage success
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge
  10. Place a premium on collaboration
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation

In this post, I will break down the first 4 chapters. The first chapter is dedicated to “The Psychology of Motivation”, which was not explained academically but rather in plain, every day english. Chapters 2-4 cover the first three principles to bring out the best in people. If you like it, please look out for future posts where I will share highlights from other chapters.

Chapter 1: The Psychology of Motivation

This chapter highlights the notion that motivation is not always internally sourced. There are all kinds of external motivators that influences one’s drive. There is a need for inspiration. Have you ever thought of someone as being lazy, lacking motivation? It could be that they just have not been sufficiently motivated by any leadership, that nobody has acknowledged their potential and put in the effort to use it. Your employees don’t want to feel unengaged. They want leaders who can teach them to enjoy their work.

Some people can confuse motivation for manipulation. Manipulation is persuading someone to behave in a way that supports your best interests, not theirs. Whereas motivation is where you identify compatible interests and goals then develop a partnership to achieve them.

The famous poet Goethe once noted that “the greatest genius will not be worth much if he pretends to draw exclusively from his own resources”. What he is trying to do here is warn you not to fail to achieve great things because you failed to inspire others. This was an impactful statement for me. It highlights that there is power in relationships.

Chapter 2: Expecting the Best

This chapter is dedicated the first principle to bring the best out of people: expect the best out of the people you lead. It highlights that if you set the bar low, the people you lead will meet that expectation, but if you set the bar high – to greatness – people will tend to put in great efforts to live up to that.

Not only should you set the bar high for things like productivity, but you should also expect that others have the best of intentions. If you treat people like they have good intentions, you will get good things out of them. This chapter encourages the reader to see the good side of people, picking out the best in them and building on that. To do so, you need a genuine desire to help others.

This is in contrast to the authoritative policing style boss who always looks for the worst in people. It makes people defensive, protective and forces them to close the door to their inner potential. If you make people feel defensive and productive, they won’t be confident enough to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and become the best they can be.

So, to bring out the best in people, you need to set up high expectations. Recall that Eminem song “The Way I Am”. In the chorus he rhymes “I am whatever you say I am, if I wasn’t, then why would you say I am”. This lyric gives insight into the human psyche, that we are moulded by others’ expectations of us to an extent.

This is summed up in what some call “The Pygmalion Effect”. It is derived from the George Bernard Shaw play “Pygmalion” where a professor helps a woman become an elegant lady. He does this by always treating her like one and the result was that she lived up to those expectations.

Goethe also sums it up succinctly: “Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be”.

Everyone has the desire to do great things and to be somebody. The goal for you as a leader or motivator is to tap into that drive by showing them that you believe in them. If you show that you believe in them, they will try very hard to live up to those expectations.

Chapter 3: A Tailor-Made Plan of Motivation

This chapter is dedicated to principle #2, to make a thorough study of the other person’s needs. To be a motivator, you first need to understand what the person you are trying to motivate wants. They may not know this themselves, so you need to be patient. You may not get it out of them in the first conversation. If you don’t know what someone wants, then how can you motivate them to attain it? Remember, if you motivate others to do what you want, against their own interest then it is manipulation.  

Motivation is not some form of hype. Good motivators make motivational plans tailored to individuals they are trying to motivate. To do this effectively, you need to understand their beliefs, aspirations, and what they love (and don’t love). You need to understand their system of needs and desires. McGinnis says it well “People are driven by a bundle of interests. So, save yourself time and frustration by carefully appealing to their interests.”

The real key to this chapter is to tailor your leadership to the individual. For example, if someone is a pacifist, don’t motivate them using military code or stories about war. George Bernard Shaw said it succinctly “The only person who behaves sensibly is my tailor. He makes new measurements every time he sees me. All the rest go on with the old measurements

McGinnis gives two reasons why you should seriously study those you want to motivate:

  1. It gives you powerful data to inform your motivational plan
  2. It is a compliment to those you are trying to motivate. You are not only studying them, but you are also building a relationship with them and showing them genuine interest in them as individuals. Remember Bob Chartier’s note from “Handcrafted Leadership” that shows the association between relationships, possibilities, and action.

Some leaders will lead with the mindset of “follow me, I am the strongest! I know more than all of you.”. But the best leaders lead others by first saying “tell me about yourself”. They know that if they listen long enough, their people will explain how to motivate them.

Chapter 4: A Commitment to Excellence

This chapter is dedicated to principle # 3, to establish high standards of excellence. It highlights that you don’t have to sacrifice positivity and encouragement to be hard on standards. The best companies out there encourage and accommodate employees’ individuality while enforcing standards.

Being tough on standards does not mean that you have to be an oppressive leader. Being tough on standards simply means that you care. Standards are born to uphold excellence and the well-being of the organization as well as the employees within it. They are meant to act in the best interest of those invested in the company. So, if you are not tough on standards, you are not supporting the employees or the organization.

So how do you reprimand employees who are not meeting the standards? McGinnis provides four pieces of advice:

  1. Do it immediately. The longer you wait, the less impactful the reprimand will be. Don’t wait for a performance review, do it right away.
  2. Before you reprimand, confirm all the facts about what happened. You need to ensure that your data is accurate. Refrain from accusatory statements and blame.
  3. Be specific. Once you have all the facts, be very specific about what went wrong. Criticize behaviour, not the person or their motives.
  4. Do not hesitate to show your feelings. McGinnis states here to show your feelings of anger, annoyance, and frustration. However, please be mindful not to dramatize those emotions. Do not sacrifice your emotionally intelligent demeaner and high morale in your office for the sake of a reprimand. If you can refrain from being angry or harming your relationship with your colleagues, then don’t.

Remember that there is immense power in a challenge. People are not inspired when they are not expected to do much. People are inspired by a challenge. William James put it bluntly, “need and struggle are what excite and motivate us”.

There is also power in a cause. People can be motivated if leaders can offer a challenge and a cause. The cause gives meaning, a deeper level of motivation driven by the want to do good in this world.

Remember, that your expectations need to be realistic. It can be demoralizing to reprimand someone for not upholding standards that are unrealistic.

Conclusion

I hope you liked this breakdown of the key highlights from Alan Loy McGinnis’ “Bringing Out the Best in People”, chapters 1 – 4. If you would like more tips on how to be a good motivator, look out for my future posts which will cover more of this material. Or better yet, buy his book.

If you enjoyed this read, please subscribe to my blog, give it a like or follow me on Twitter @interestpeaks. I found this content interesting. But I am more interested in what your thoughts, opinions or advice on motivation are. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback, please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear them.

Your Practice and the Power of Community of Practice

This article was inspired by Bob Chartier’s book “Handcrafted Leadership” published in 2015 by Doghouse Publishing.

Your job is not just your core work duties outlined in your job description. Most of us have something we do at work that goes beyond that. Maybe you are an expert in some area, have an on-going side-of-the-desk project, or are working with others to resolve some issue. This is a practice.

We all should have a side-of-the-desk practice, or better yet a community of practice. If your goal is to improve your leadership abilities, then develop a leadership community of practice. Anyone can have a leadership practice, you can lead from wherever you are, whenever you can help. All you have to do is ask “can I help?”.

The traditional way of doing things was to put together a committee. A Leadership Committee, a committee on process improvement, a committee on standards, etc. But these tools may be outdated. A relic of the “old boys club” days.

Committees have challenges, they are bureaucratic, energy intensive, and non-inclusive as membership is restricted. Whereas a community of practice is entrepreneurial, creates energy and is all-inclusive, no restriction on membership.

The practice and community of practice therefore is a valuable tool to effect change, self-improvement and empowerment.

So what are some ideas for communities of practice at your workplace?

  • Social Media
  • Writing
  • Leadership
  • Mapping & GIS
  • Union work
  • Workplace Engagement
  • Workplace Fitness and Wellness
  • Public Speaking
  • Relationship Building
  • Event Planning
  • Volunteering
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Facilitation
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Trend analysis
  • etc…

Try this. Next time you have a goal, aspiration, side of the desk project or something, create a community of practice with others who share the same passion.

Remember, there is power in relationships. Relationships – Possibility – Action. Having a community may uncover benefits and possibilities you could not realize on your own.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading this post. But those are just my thoughts. I think it would be more interesting to hear yours. If you have any thoughts, opinions, questions or ideas, please share them in the comments below.

If you liked this post, please subscribe to my blog, like this post and follow me on Twitter @interestpeaks.

Principled Negotiation

This article uses the book “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton of the Harvard Negotiation Project to outline what the Principled Negotiation Method is and why you should conider using it.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In: Amazon.ca: Roger  Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton: Books

What is Negotiation?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, to negotiate means to “confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter”. Each side of the negotiation table is there to get what they want. Whether you are suing, being sued, making a business deal, deciding on where to eat or what movie to watch. We all are negotiators, whether or not you are cognizant of it.

What is Principled Negotiation?

Principled negotiation is a method of negotiation that emphasizes collaborative decision making, rather than haggling or bargaining. The principled negotiation method also provides tools that may be useful for conflict resolution, mediation, facilitation, and other interpersonal communications as well.

The authors of “Getting to Yes” (2011) offer principled negotiation as an alternative to hard and soft negotiation, which both have drawbacks addressed by this method.

Hard Negotiators view each negotiation scenario as a battle of wills where the side with an extreme position who can hold out the longest wins. They come to the table with a goal to win the battle. However, this approach is heavy on resources, and even heavier on relationships.

Soft Negotiators try very hard to avoid personal conflict, making it much easier to reach an agreement. However, it is emotionally draining for them, often left feeling exploited and bitter.

Principled negotiation uses both hard and soft tactics. It is hard on merits, but soft on people. It looks for mutual gains, and where conflicting interests are identified, objective or independent third-party standards are used to reconcile them.

What is the Problem with Bargaining Over Positions?

The authors of “Getting to Yes” assert that your method of negotiation should be assessed using three criteria:

  1. It should produce wise agreements (meets both party’s interests, fair, durable, takes community into account)
  2. It should be efficient
  3. It should improve (or at least not damage) the relationship between participants

The authors argue that bargaining over positions produces unwise outcomes, is inefficient and endangers on-going relationships. Whereas principled negotiation does not.

Arguing over positions produces unwise outcomes because it locks you or the other party into a position. The more you are forced to defend or clarify a position, you make it more concrete, locking yourself in deeper.

Arguing over positions is inefficient because it creates incentives to delay settlement. It compels people to threaten, stonewall or use other shady negotiation tactics that prolong reaching an agreement. Furthermore, if any one party comes to the table with an extreme initial position, the more time it will take to meet somewhere more reasonable.

Arguing over positions is hard on relationships as negotiation tends to be a battle of wills. Solving problems becomes adversarial, rather than collaborative. This can fuel feelings of anger and resentment on either side as they flexibly bend their position to meet the other side’s ridged wall, while their own interests go unaddressed.

Principled negotiation uses four main focus points to address these criteria:

  1. Separate people from the problems: Practice how to address problems without attacking or putting down the other person.
  2. Focus on interests, not positions. Positions are a good tool because they tell the other side what you want. But don’t make this the focus. Focus on the interests and collaborate together to find solutions that meet both sides. Here you will find innovation, and relationship building opportunities.
  3. Invent multiple options that have mutual gains before making a decision.
  4. Insist that the decision-making process use objective or agreed upon third party standards

Conclusion

If you are interested in the principled negotiation method, read my review for “Getting to Yes” or better yet, buy and read the book!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading this article. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, ideas or opinions in the comments below.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie Book Review

By Cory Davis

This is a review of the Special Anniversary Edition, published by Pocket Books, 1982.

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5/5

“It is a vibrant, engaging read full of story-telling”

See the source image

This book immediately caught my attention by providing instructions on how to read it. It does this with nine techniques. The first is to approach the book deeply motivated to improve your human relations skills. Therefore, Carnegie urges us to read this book purposefully. If you are like me, on a journey to improve your communications and relations skills, this book may be for you.

Why would you want to win friends and influence people in the first place?

Some may gawk at this question. I am one of you. However, my best friend messaged me the other day. He noted his lack of interest in this book. Some people, he asserted, don’t really care about other people’s opinion of them and lack any drive or motive to influence others.

Fair enough. This book may not be for everyone. However, if you are one of those people who lacks a desire to influence others or win friends, consider this. Regardless of the fabric of your relationship to society, the advice covered in this book (and other related titles) will make your life easier.

It will make your life easier by reducing unnecessary conflict, as you will now have tools to avoid it, and better yet, capitalize on them. It will reduce friction between yourself and other people, making interactions more smooth, less energy intensive and emotionally draining. It helps you get what you fairly want from others. If you are a customer, legitimately dissatisfied with a service or product, use these skills to get the compensation you deserve. If you are about to enter an argument with your partner, learn to avoid it and improve your family relationships.

For those who want their lives to be easier, more fruitful, brimming with opportunity, then read this book.  It provides advice, fables, stories, and quotes that you won’t forget.

The stories, fables and quotes will give you ammunition for self-improvement and words of wisdom to share with others. There is power in story-telling. So load your guns with meaningful stories to share with your friends, family and foes.

What does the book promise?

This book promises the reader a guide for interpersonal communications to win friends and influence people. It does not promise that you will become an expert communicator after reading the book. It merely serves as a reference to use in practice, to assist in your personal development as a leader in business, community, or your personal network.

How does it deliver on its promise?

It delivers on its promise by splitting the book up into four parts, each with several principles to follow. Each principle is demonstrated through stories, fables, quotes and gems of wisdom, which keeps the readers interest.

  1. Fundamental Techniques on Handling People

The first part of the book provides three techniques – (1) don’t criticize, condemn, or complain, (2) give honest and sincere appreciation, and (3) arouse in the other person an eager want. This part of the book was gripping. Especially the first principle – Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. On Twitter, I see constant criticism counter to the goals of the person criticizing. I am guilty of this as well. It gave me a good opportunity to reflect on my past behaviour and ask how I could do things differently next time. Perhaps my favourite aspect of this first part is the powerful quotes it provides. For example, one impactful quote is:

“There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers, blaming everyone but themselves. We are all like that… Let’s realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let’s realize that the person we are trying to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself and condemn us in return.”

2. Six Ways to Make People Like You

The second part of the book is also impactful. It provides six ways to make people to like you. It may seem egotistical, but being liked can be a tool for influence, efficiency and effectiveness in business and your day to day life. They are simple things that we all likely know somewhere in our subconscious. Some principles to get people to like you are as simple as smiling, remembering names, and showing genuine interest in others. It showcases these principles through story telling. The author gives several short examples demonstrating the positive impact using them can have. Although the book is old, the examples still seem relevant and effective.

It seems funny that that some of us need to be told to be an attentive listener, to be one. I always thought of myself as a good listener. However, after reading how Dale Carnegie articulated what a good listener is, and demonstrating how and why it works, I know exactly where I need to improve. Many people think they are good communicators. Most business students state that it is a highlight of their skillset. I see it in almost every cover letter. Many do not realize that it is a real skill that takes time and attention to develop, a field of study that needs to be taken seriously. But if you don’t know how to articulate how and why you are a good communicator, with examples and results, then re-examining your own behaviour against advice from books like these may be of real benefit.

3. 12 Ways to Win People Over to Your Thinking

The third part of the book gives 12 principles to win people over to your thinking. Keep in mind that if your way of thinking is wrong, the content of this book will help you identify this as a safety mechanism to save face. The last thing we want is to win someone to your way of thinking when your way of thinking is wrong. All the principles provided here resonate with me. One highlight was the Socrates method of getting people to say yes, yes at the beginning. Give them some things that both of you can agree on, so the other person can say yes, that’s right, yes. This triggers a psychological process that lowers barriers to affirmation. Whereas if you start with points of disagreement, and the other person says no, it starts a psychological process that reaffirms their initial position and makes them more disagreeable. These initial moments in a conversation can set the foundation for the rest of the dialogue to build.

Another highlight for me was a reminder to let the other person do a great deal of talking. Don’t interrupt, unless they pause for a response, in which you should encourage them to speak more. It shows interest in the other person. Some people try to persuade others by talking too much, however, there is power in giving others a friendly, considerate, and attentive ear to speak.

4. Nine Principles to be a Good Leader

The fourth part of the book gives you nine principles to be a good leader. This section was again insightul. Some highlights for me were “How to criticize without being hated”, and “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to”. How to criticize without being hated is something we all struggle with. The advice here is to provide criticism indirectly, giving many examples as tools to put this into practice. Giving the other person a fine reputation to live up to also makes sense. Would you be encouraged if your boss introduced you as an expert in some area? Would that motivate you to live up to that reputation? It would work for me.

Favourite Quotes:

“There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers, blaming everyone but themselves. We are all like that… Let’s realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let’s realize that the person we are trying to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself and condemn us in return.” – Dale Carnegie

“Judge not, that ye be not judged” – Abraham Lincoln

“Don’t criticize them. They are just what we would be under similar circumstances” – Abraham Lincoln

“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof, when you own doorstep is unclean” – Confucius

“Your bad manners are exceeded only by your bad manners.” Richard Harding Davis to Dale Carnegie

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

“A great man shows his greatness, by the way he treats little men” – Carlyle

“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable than criticism; and breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness” – Dale Carnegie

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own” – Henry Ford

“The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking”. So, the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He (she) has little competition” – Dale Carnegie

The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, a sure way into their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely” – Dale Carnegie

“…the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back” – Dale Carnegie

“Men must be taught as if you taught them not. And things unknown proposed as things forgot” – Alexander Pope

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself” – Galileo

“Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell him so” – Lord Chesterfield said to his son

“One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing” – Socrates “Well, I can’t hope to be any smarter than Socrates, so I have quit telling people they are wrong. And I find that it pays.” – Dale Carnegie

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will” – Ben Franklin

“So figure it out for yourself. Which would you rather have, an academic, theatrical victory or a person’s good will? You can seldom have both.” – Dale Carnegie

“Hatred is never ended by hatred, but by love” – Buddha

“A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument, but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation, and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s point of view.” Dale Carnegie

“Cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own. Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by that you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your ideas.” – Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg

“I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you, I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.” – Dale Carnegie

“ Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow the warm sunshine of praise.” Jess Lair, Psychologist

“Abilities wither with criticism; they blossom under encouragement” – Dale Carnegie

Conclusion

This book resonated with me in several ways. First, it articulated things I felt but lacked the experience and wisdom think. Now that it is within my sphere of thought, I will become more cognizant of my own behaviour. Second, the fables, stories and quotes really hit home. I have already cited some of these to family and friends in conversation, with great results! Third, it was fun to read. The book is not a bland outline of how to win friends and influence people. It is a vibrant, engaging read full of story-telling.

For anyone who wants to improve their interpersonal skills, give it a try!

Thank you so much for reading this review, I deeply appreciate it. If you liked this review, please subscribe to my blog, give it a like and follow me on Twitter @interestpeaks. I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, or questions down in the comments.