Tag: engages

Do you truly want to be here?

November 15th, 2012

It’s a question we ask all the time, though we may not know we’re asking it. We ask this question because we’re drawn to people who want to be here, and averse to people who would rather be somewhere else.

For instance, here in the Northwest there are two kinds of coffee shops. The first is staffed with people who don’t appear to want to be there. The person at the counter responds to your coffee order as if you’ve interrupted him to ask if he could tie your shoe laces for you.

The second kind of coffee shop is infested by alchemists who delight in your enjoyment of their products, service, and experience. Where do they want to be? Right here, right now, making coffee they believe could, in some small way, change your life. Every interaction for them is an opportunity to infect others with their passion for coffee. They know that not everyone will catch the bug, but those that do will return.

We’re instinctively drawn to people who are present and engaged. They want to be there. Which is why we should be mindful that the people we serve (students, clients, co-workers, and customers) ask this question of us: “Does she really want to be here?”

What’s fascinating is how we answer this question for people we serve. They study our facial expressions, attitudes, responses, and a host of other subtle cues. Research on this topic makes it clear that these cues don’t lie. They speak the truth about whether we want to here or not. We can all tell the truth, even without asking.

    Rethink Your Job Description: A Practical Guide

    June 7th, 2012

    Data Disseminator or Engage Agent?

    We know too well how to be Data Disseminators, but we want to be Engage Agents.

    Rethink your job description. Be an Engage Agent instead of a Data Disseminator. This less mechanistic, more engaging job description draws people to you, your message, and what you have to offer.

    I’ve created a short video and printable PDF as resources for you and your team as you strive to be Engage Agents.

    Here’s how you can put these resources to use with your team:

    First, watch the video and print the, Rethink Your Job Description, PDF.

    Second, forward this email to others on your team. Ask them to watch the video and print theRethink Your Job Description handout.

    Ask the following questions at your next team meeting:

    1. “Which job description best describes our work as a team, and as individuals?”

    2. “If we could do three things to migrate toward being Engage Agents instead of Data Disseminators, what would they be?”

    3. “What single aspect of the Data Disseminator job description hampers us most? Which single aspect of the Engage Agent job description do we most need to develop?”

    A prediction and a promise…

    Prediction—these questions will precipitate resistance within yourself and others. That’s okay. In fact, it’s a good indication.

    Resistance of this ilk tells us we are entering a new, fresh territory full of promise. We resist it because it’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

    Keep in mind always that the safest, most comfortable paths fail to change lives, especially our own.

    Promise—you will engage people in a more personal, meaningful way.

    In time, operating as a Data Disseminator will seem unthinkable.

    Here you go! The Guide for Rethinking Your Job Description:

    Video tutorial

    Printable PDF (right-click to download)

    I hope you find these resources helpful.

      Empathy’s 3 Enemies

      February 9th, 2012

      A group of researchers in the mid-1990s used electrodes to monitor individual neurons in a monkey’s brain. They were able to identify precisely which neurons in the monkey’s brain fired when the monkey ate a peanut. What happened next led to a new understanding of the brain and empathy. When the monkey watched a researcher eat a peanut, the exact same neuron fired within its brain as when it ate it. Noting the reflective nature of the neurons, researchers coined them mirror neurons. Later studies revealed the same neurons in humans.

      These neurons within our brains not only mirror actions, they mirror others emotional states. Think of an experience when someone seemed to truly empathize with your emotional experience, whether it was one of joy or sorrow. If we could peak into both of your brains in that moment, we would see that the brain sequences in your brain synced with the sequences in the other person’s brain. One is a mirror of the other.

      The good news is that our brains empathize naturally, but only when we’re truly focussed and engaged. My mirror neurons won’t fire, for example, if I’m composing an email while my child shares a story with me. She will rightly conclude I lacked empathy for her story and, to some degree, for her.

      Increase focus by warding off distractions—Empathy’s Enemies. There are, of course, many I could list. Here are three common ones:

      1. Infatuation with my agenda.

      2. Preoccupation with extrinsic pressures: follow protocol, get through the material, preserve fidelity.

      3. Anything with a screen.

      Make it easier for your mirror neurons to glow. Fend off the Empathy’s Enemies. Only then will others recognize that you see them.