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Workplace Playbook II Connect ara bouloutian

nect

CONNECT is a system in how to think when communicating in the workplace. It programs you to gain the respect of peers, superiors, and subordinates.

Module 5: Tool Box

ara bouloutian


Connect

The Tool Box

Copyright 2010, Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be photocopied, reproduced, or translated into another language without the prior written consent of the author.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Connect

Tool Box

THE SCOREBOARD CONNECT Pre Game Breakdowns Minimizing The Process Tool Box Managing Conflict Walking On Eggs Common Tasks Playing the Game End Game

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

What People Do When Communicating People do four things when communicating: ASK QUESTIONS (LEARNING) Asking questions produce a system for learning and that means talking only one third of the time and allowing the other person to talk two thirds of the time while you listen. LISTEN / REFLECT Listening is evidence the other person is talking most of the time. When listening, you reflect on the information, demonstrating patience and maturity, which earns respect. Further you are learning and are able to weigh the information gathered, which strengthens your arsenal of information and point of view…and it‟s free. RESPOND When answering questions be concise and to the point. Don‟t be too extended with your responses. There is no need to paint the picture. Let the other person do that. There is always time to offer another view later - there‟s no hurry. MAKE STATEMENTS When making statements, especially when they become extended, risks the chance of talking two thirds of the time and painting the picture. Be patient, there is plenty of time to express your view.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

TOOLS FOR GUIDING DISCUSSION There are a number of tools to help guide discussion, depending on the situations faced: *

Learning

*

Listening/Reflecting

*

Responding

*

Testing

*

Huddling.

*

Delaying

*

Non-Verbal

*

Blocking

*

Tackling

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

LEARNING The key for developing good chemistry is to be in a state of learning. And to be in a constant state of learning you need to ask open questions and listen. These two skills guide and create the environment needed to prompt others to paint the picture. They also protect you from painting. When others are talking you are learning. And when you are patiently learning, you are building your knowledge base for helping produce a win-win result. There are three types of questions: *

Open

*

Reversing

*

Controlling.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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OPEN QUESTIONS Open questions encourage others to talk freely with no limitations or boundaries. For example: * * * * * * *

What do you see as the key issues? What are your major concerns? What seems to be the problem? What do you see as an answer to these problems? What do you think will happen if we do nothing? What are we going to do about our Brooklyn operation? We have allowed three goals in 60 seconds. What do we do?

THE FEATURES: * * * * * * *

Prompts others to paint the picture and offer their views. Encourages those who are quiet to speak up. Protects one from falling into a telling mode. Places you in the relaxed position of listening. Projects an air of patient maturity. Makes it difficult for people to respond with a short yes or no. Encourages others to talk 2/3 of the time and paint the picture.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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In the field of organized sports, having the ability to ask questions and listen is the key to learning and getting better. If an athlete has made a mistake in judgment and asks another player or the coach, “What happened?” and “What should I have done?” He’ll get back information that will change his play for the better.

Many people feel they are losing control when they are not talking. Not true. Actually by knowing how to loosen control through the picture painting process, more control is gained. By encouraging others to contribute ideas, more possibilities are generated, which might be even better than yours. If that turns out to be the case, take those great ideas, congratulate everyone for a job well done and get on with winning.

“The best way to gain control, is to know how to give up control.”

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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REVERSING Reversing questions are used to keep others talking and contributing ideas after an open question initiated discussion. *

Person A:

What seems to be happening? (Open question)

*

Person B:

Well our productivity has been slowing down.

*

Person A:

I see. Why‟s that? (Reversing Question)

Reversing, like open questions keep dialogue open and productive. *

Oh, why‟s that?

*

And?

*

Really, how come?

*

Yes?

*

I see. Then what?

*

That‟s interesting. What else?

*

So you think losing fifty pounds would improve your speed. What else can we do to help improve your game?

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. Francis Bacon

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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CONTROLLING As opposed to open and reversing questions, which allow others to freely talk and paint the picture, controlling questions restrict the other person to narrow answers such as a Yes or No or a limited choice between two or more possibilities. “Do you find overtime to be a problem?” (yes or no) “What works best for you, the medium or super size?” (Limited choice) “Lefty, our payroll is at the allowable ceiling. So which would you prefer, retiring or a big pay cut?” (Limited choice) Both of these examples demonstrated restricted or controlled choices. Controlling Questions produce short responses, which work against getting someone to paint the picture. They can tend to make people feel they are being interrogated, similar to police investigators. All types of questions are useful; however, Controlling Questions are best used when limited to clarifying a point.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

LISTENING/REFLECTING Most interpersonal communications training includes Active Listening. It generally involves listening to a series of statements and recalling all or some aspect of each. So you can appreciate what happens when attempting to listen and remember accurately. Try this unique exercise (Author Unknown). Do this with one or more people you know. PREPARATION: Number a sheet of paper down left side from 1 through 11 with space between each for short answers. Make copies for those taking part. TELL PARTICIPANT(S): * * * * * *

They will enjoy the experience You will ask 11 rather simple questions You have less than 10 seconds to write an answer from the moment the question is asked. When time is up, move to next question or you will miss questions When the exercise is over we will review the answers You will check your own responses. No one else will see your results. So be honest.

NOTE: Do not allow more time; QUESTIONS ON NEXT TWO PAGES…with answers in bold for the review when completed.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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THE QUESTIONS Answers in bold.

1.

DO THEY HAVE A FOURTH OF JULY IN ENGLAND? ANS: DON‟T KNOW Y N

2.

HOW MANY BIRTHDAYS DOES THE AVERAGE MAN HAVE? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 1 20 50 74- 80

3.

SOME MONTHS HAVE 31 DAYS; HOW MANY HAVE 28? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 1 3 6 9 12

4.

HOW MANY OUTS ARE THERE IN AN INNING? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 1 2 3 6 8

5.

IS IT LEGAL IN CALIFORNIA FOR A MAN TO MARRY HIS WIDOW‟S SISTER? ANS: DON‟T KNOW Y N

6.

DIVIDE 30 BY HALF AND ADD 10. WHAT IS THE ANSWER? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 10 35 50 70 90

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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7.

IF THERE ARE THREE APPLES AND YOU TAKE AWAY TWO HOW MANY DO YOU HAVE? ANS: DON‟T‟ KNOW 1 2 3

8.

A DOCTOR GIVES YOU THREE PILLS TELLING YOU TO TAKE ONE EVERY HALF HOUR. HOW MANY MINUTES WILL THE PILLS LAST? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 20 30 40 60 90

9.

A FARMER HAS 17 SHEEP AND ALL BUT NINE DIE. HOW MANY ARE LEFT? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 1 3 5 8 9

10.

HOW MANY ANIMALS OF EACH SEX DID MOSES TAKE ON THE ARK? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 3 2 1 0

11.

HOW MANY TWO-CENT STAMPS ARE THERE IN A DOZEN? ANS: DON‟T KNOW 1 3 6 9 12

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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AFTER REVIEWING ANSWERS: *

Ask how many got 11 right? Then how many got 10 right? Then 9 right? And so on.

*

The result: Few will get many right.

Say something like – “You can see it‟s not easy to remember everything heard, even when the questions seem to be rather easy. In this case they seemed easy but were actually somewhat tricky.” Point is, attempting to memorize what someone is saying is not reasonable for most people. Unfortunately this kind of exercise is used in many training programs. Actually, people do listen and recall rather well when they are intent on a topic. A good listener will be able to mentally record and recall the major points. Too often people are busy thinking about their own views, rather than encouraging others to talk.

“Active listening does not burn one calorie and it yields immeasurable return.” Anonymous

In today‟s knowledge based business environment or any environment for that matter, when we‟re talking we‟re not learning. When we‟re not learning we fall behind. And if we continue falling behind we can‟t very well be moving forward.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

LISTENING IS YOUR FRIEND Many of the following thoughts were extracted from an article in the Investors Business Daily. The odds of making a good first impression soar if you let others talk. Waiting on the edge of your seat to get a thought in will usually be sensed, and sooner than longer, people will tend to find a way to escape rather than continue. Look to express appreciation or admiration for others. Show you genuinely respect what others want to say. If they mention their ten years of experience or a house they just bought, acknowledge their accomplishment with a compliment. Sometimes you don‟t have to say a word. Nodding and smiling warmly can signal your approval and affirm their sense of pride. Showing interest in others and asking friendly questions allowing them to elaborate on their favorite topics, puts them in a better mood. It‟s an early step in gaining respect. Too often jumping in with something you are dying to express is conversational suicide. The best evidence of you listening is when you offer tidbits or examples to uphold a speaker‟s point of view. Give people something of value rather than focus on your own views…help them paint their picture. In organized sports any player or coach who is unable to listen with a wide open mind and learn will probably have a short career.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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PLAYING THE GAME Shown below are thoughts paraphrased from Jeswald Salacuse‟s book, “Leading Leaders” dealing with managing very smart workers. “When managing smart people, your ego can get pummeled. Yet you‟re better off supporting them, not bossing them. They may see you not as their superior, but as „first among equals‟. It means you should treat them like peers.” “Leaders may think they need to be charismatic talkers. They may assume listening diminishes their position; the person talking has the power. Overseeing high-ego employees involves spending time listening. They want to feel important. “They would come to my office and talk about projects they were excited about, or keep me informed of their work.” “It‟s important to realize that what may seem mundane to you is important to your employees, so listen.” Salacuse found it unusual that they seldom asked questions of him. Whenever employees dropped in and interrupted his work, Salacuse would remind himself, “These are capital assets. Without them, I couldn‟t produce anything. It‟s an investment in time to listen.” A big trap when managing smart people is to label them “high maintenance” or „prima donnas‟. Casting aspersions makes it harder to treat them with respect.”

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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“Understand people on their own terms without labeling them”. “And if you hear someone describe one of your employees negatively, don‟t let that skew your view.” “Talented workers will not always tell you when they‟re dissatisfied”. “They may quietly lose interest in their job and turn their attention elsewhere. Just because an employee isn‟t causing trouble doesn‟t mean everything‟s fine.” “You should stay in contact with them and learn their interests. One of the best ways to curry favor with your most intelligent employees is to ask about their work. They appreciate the interest. Asking follow-up questions shows you‟re listening”. “And it‟s a way to keep your ego under control.” Now if you happen to be one of those very smart people consider yourself a leader and treat your boss based on the ideas in Connect. It may take you a long way toward developing “good chemistry”.

"Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln 1809 - 1865

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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RESPONDING When people ask a question in the workplace they want to get a feel for your thoughts about something. It‟s important to respond concisely and with useful information, and with care not to convert your response into a lecture. We know people tend to resist when faced with listening to opinions. So you don‟t want to sound “parental”. Respond with information and data and don‟t forget to reverse the conversation back to the other person. Even the most timid people resist by simply saying something like, “I see, that‟s interesting.” In this context, “interesting” is nothing more than a polite way to say “I don‟t know” or “I‟m not sure”. You might try something like this: Him/Her: “So, what are your thoughts on eliminating tidily-winks from our school athletic program?” You:

“It’s essentially budget. If we could afford it, it could help with hand–eye coordination. How’s that sound?” (A Reverse)

The response can be whatever you think is reasonable. What is important is to end it with a reverse to return the discussion to the other person. A continuing combination of open and reversing questions help people rethink their point of view. If dealing with a team, keep discussion going with a reverse, something like “That‟s interesting. What other thoughts might someone have?” Or, “Who else can comment on that?”

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

TESTING In many games it’s necessary to try something different as a way of finding a tactic that turns out to be a winning decision. In golf changing a swing, in football executing a new unexpected tactic, and in chess attempting an unorthodox move might produce results that can change the outcome. In the workplace very often too little useful information is flowing back and forth during a discussion. In this case, an idea or suggestion can be offered. This risks painting the picture, so skills are in order. It‟s called Testing. It can work this way. Offer your thought or idea. Then ask a question seeking feedback as a way of returning discussion. For example: “Here’s another way of looking at that issue. If we set up the group in teams of two, each team can share a laptop. We’ll need only half the computers and they can help each other. How’s that sound?” (A reverse)

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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TESTING

(continued)

Another effective way of testing is to employ Reverse Psychology. It‟s quite simple; offer a thought and then end it with doubt. “Here’s another way of looking at it. If we set up teams of two, they can share a laptop and help each other. We’ll need only half the computers. But maybe that doesn’t fit with your thinking.” The tactic is to express doubt in your own idea. Reverse Psychology touches on Child Psychology. If a parent asks a child to perform in front of others, s/he will frequently do the opposite. With adults it disarms them and they become curious about your thoughts. Another way is to just ask for help. Something like, “Say, maybe you can help me with a thought.” Then go on with your thought. If you like you can even end it with doubt. People tend to come to the rescue when help is needed. So don‟t be afraid to ask for help. You just might get it.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box HUDDLING

In sports, the goal is to get the best out of everyone. To do that an atmosphere of openness, harmony and cooperation is necessary. In football making decisions together as a team is called “huddling” (collaborating). Smart quarterbacks listen to ideas of others in the huddle. When players come to the sideline they may huddle with the coach and discuss tactics.

In the workplace if you make all the decisions, it takes away an important sense of belonging, enthusiasm and excitement from others, which can injure relationships and good decision-making. Huddling and letting others paint is a way to collect the best ideas. When huddling, use open and reversing questions to encourage others to express their ideas. Then it‟s a matter of sorting through and selecting the best of the best. So you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. By letting everyone share in decision-making, you win because they will be dedicated to seeing their ideas succeed. And you gain the respect of the team (or the individual). “In today’s world of global business and giant economic powers, learning and the accumulation of knowledge is crucial to any growing and progressive society. One of the most important tasks people need to master is collaboration. Collaborating is a way of working with others to accumulate knowledge so necessary to remaining current and competitive.” Tom Freidman

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

SILOS From an article in the Investors Business Daily Michael Lee is the CEO of the Tower Group, a property and casualty insurer. Silos on farms serve a nifty purpose. They store grain and hay. But silos in the business world hurt companies. They stifle growth. The silo mentality is an approach where each worker looks out for his or her department and not the company. It erodes efficiency and slashes the ability to deliver customer satisfaction. Lee recognized his department heads had become “territorial and defensive.” He found the sales, underwriting and claims units were chasing separate goals. He introduced six cross-functional tasks referred to as process management. They included corporate planning, marketing, systems governance, customer service, product management and territorial management. To meet its financial goals and expand revenue, Lee drafted mission statements on collaboration and working together. He reinforced the system at quarterly meetings and evaluated everyone based on demonstrating teamwork to meet company goals. He said, “We provided training, reinforced these annual goals, and gradually moved everything down to the individual level. Catherine Wragg, VP of Human Resources informs employees on the big picture. “We communicate long term goals to ensure that everyone is working toward common goals. Lee says, “The collaborative approach helped employees stay on same page. It keeps them focused on retaining customers and meeting needs through superior service. Eliminating silos also boosts morale. We have a culture where people are happy to come to work and be part of a team and the organization. Efficiency rises and collaboration and profit increase, a good formula.”

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box PLAYING THE GAME HUDDLING

Here is a simple example of painting the picture and collaborating. YOU:

Okay folks, we’ve got a problem. We need to figure out a way to decrease our cost of operations. What can we do?

ROB:

Why do we need to do this?

YOU:

The brass is concerned because we’re not on target to meet our profit projections.

MEL:

What’s that have to do with us?

YOU:

Everybody’s affected. The question is, what can we do?

TIM:

Well one thing we can do is cut back on travel expenses.

YOU:

Okay guys, what you think? Can we?

ROB:

I think that’s a bit much.

YOU:

What do you mean?

ROB:

Well let’s face it, expenses help cover us on sales calls.

YOU:

Rob seems to think we can’t give up the expenses. Well…?

CAL:

Maybe it’s not as bad as all that.

YOU:

What do you mean?

CAL:

Well, it’s not like we have to cut that much.

YOU:

How’s that?

CAL:

What if we each cut back just a little. When we add it all up it should help with the budget. Don’t you think?

YOU:

How’s that sound?

MEL:

Makes sense. It shouldn’t hurt that bad.

YOU:

What do the rest of you think?

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

DELAYING In the game of work, sometimes a person in conversation will interrupt and jump to another subject prematurely. Though the topic may be important, more information may be necessary before it can be discussed intelligently. When this occurs you may need to delay discussion on the point until later. This is referred to as Deferring. In sports delaying is necessary to prevent the opposing team from changing the direction of the game. In basketball, one team may slow down play, and in football they may run with the football rather than pass and risk an interception by the other team.

Delaying can work like this. Start by acknowledging the point. Then explain that more information is needed before discussing the point. “Bill, what you’re asking is something we need to deal with, but we need to finish talking about the alternatives before we pursue that subject. Now where were we, xxxxxx” “Clarence, you’re right. We need to discuss the cost. However, we haven’t finished working out what will be an appropriate solution. When that is resolved, we can discuss what we need to budget. I believe you were about to offer some further ideas.”

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS APPEARANCE - Research indicates organizations tend to hire and promote tall, good-looking people. Though unfair, things can be done to offset that reality. PERSONAL SPACE - High status people take more personal space, which for most Americans is about 18” from our bodies. But in Arab, Hispanic and European cultures, personal spaces are smaller. A European or Arab may consider an American rude for carrying on a conversation, standing 4‟ away. ENVIRONMENT - A corner office or desk in the center of a room communicates authority. A desk against the wall or corner is lower profile and more comfortable for visitors. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS - Facial expressions and eye contact impact participation. During discussion you may have your mind on something. People sense this quickly, reducing participation. Without one knowing it, facial expressions communicate anger, disagreement, boredom, concern, listening, worry, and so on. ARMS AND HANDS - Steepling of the hands communicate power; crossed arms, defensiveness; and hands to chin, thinking...and so on. POSTURE - Next time you go to a meeting, instead of walking in the room, stop at the open door with good posture, don‟t say a word and don‟t enter. Eventually everything will stop and someone will say, “Oh, come in.” They might even stand up. It displays mature bearing and draws positive attention. In public places, posture can cause one to be served ahead of others. VOICE / INFLECTION - A nurturing voice causes cooperation and an aggressive voice, resistance. Many people have no idea the sound of their voice may be loud, course, aggressive, etc. The effect of voice on others can be measured by this rule: “What you give is what you get”.

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

THE SCOREBOARD CONNECT Pre Game Breakdowns Minimizing The Process Tool Box Managing Conflict Walking On Eggs Common Tasks Playing the Game End Game

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence. —Xenocrates— Greek Philosopher (396-314 B.C.)

Copyright 2010 Ara Bouloutian. All rights reserved.

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Tool Box

End of Tool Box

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