Communication the Number One Soft Skill with Hard Results

Posted by johngies
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Last year LinkedIn recently released a report on the top ten job skills employers wanted in new hires. Communication was number One! I could have told you that. Unless you are a hermit or you are truly working alone, your ability to communicate is crucial to your success. Everything you do involves communicating to other people.

Some studies say we lose anywhere from $15,000 per employee per annum to $26,000 per employee per annum due to poor communication. Think about it:

  • Email ping pong because people are not clear in their emails
  • Misunderstandings
  • Policies that are not clear
  • Conflict
  • Quality errors

I am curious. We all communicate, and we have all been communicating since before we were born. Why are so many people so bad at it.

I suspect the following four things:

  • Lack of Emotional Awareness

It is interesting to me how many people are not aware of the impact their communication is having on others. They leave an emotional wake behind them as they move through the day, spewing whatever they think of. Or the impact of demanding a result without building the context for their team; The Why?

  • Self – Centeredness

This was a lesson I had to learn early in my career. It cost me a promotion and a raise. The principles in Dale Carnegies book saved my career. I learned how to connect with people, how to understand their needs and how to create alignment.

There is an agenda to every communication. The challenge we all face is that because we see the world through our own eyes, we assume everybody else sees the same thing we do. They don’t. When we slow down and as Stephen Covey said, “Seek First to Understand before you seek to be understood,” we get remarkable responses to our communication.

  • Not understanding the Chemistry of Communication

The way we communicate has an electro chemical reaction in your body which then produces a response, positive or negative. Just seeing the word “NO” on a screen will release cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals in our body. And as those chemicals reach our nervous system it shuts down and goes into Fight Flight or Freeze.  It limits our capacity to think clearly. It reduces our willingness to collaborate.

I don’t think any leader wants their team or customer in this state.

The opposite is also true. When we communicate with the behaviors and language of trust, the body responds with Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin. These chemicals hit the system and open us up to collaboration, creativity, and trust. And it is not hard to do.

Behaviors like a smile and eye contact work remarkably well. Words like, “I trust your judgement, I believe in you,” can do wonders.

  • Not having a clear outcome in mind

Lack of clarity is a major stumbling block in communication, especially the important communication. Again, it goes back to our self-centeredness.  Often we will have an outcome in mind. And, because the brain is lazy, we will shortcut the communication. A simple example from my workshops is as follows:

John: My wife and I are considering a dog. What would you recommend?

Audience: A Dachshund, Schnauzer, Poodle, Border Collie, A Golden.

John: I forgot to say I am allergic to most dog’s and my wife wants one under 20 lbs.

Audience: A Havanese, a Poodle, A Maltese

As I clarified my desires, I got better results. Think about the projects you assign to your team. Are you clear about the outcome you are looking for?

Why Start with Why? Nobody Cares

Posted by johngies
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Start with Why is the now world-famous Ted Talk and book by Simon Sinek. In it, he makes the bold claim is that when your clients know your why they will buy from you.

I have read the book several times and I am here to call BS on the whole notion. (Belief System).

This is an entertaining talk. It’s just entertaining. It is important for you to know why you do what you do but you clients, don’t give a hoot. They care about what you are going to do for them.

Consider the contractor that goes into the hardware store looking for a drill bit.  And the sales rep starts talking about “Why” he chose this hardware store to work at. Then “why” this store was founded. And then why” this drill bit is the best!!!

The contractor doesn’t care, he wants the hole that the drill bit makes.

Now some hardware stores may differentiate on price (this will attract customers that want a lower price).

Another may choose to differentiate on education for the DIY market (This will bring in the DIY crowd).

Or a third may choose to differentiate by giving back. (This will attract customers for whom that is important).

The only reason your “why” matters to anyone besides you is in how it impacts them and their goals. When thinking about your businesses existential “why”, make sure your client cares.

And, to do that you have to understand who your ideal client is. Then determine their goals, aspirations and wants. If you why lines up, share it. If not, ask how you are going to connect with your clients.

If you would like help connecting with your ideal clients check out the resources at

Are You Overwhelmed? Quit Wasting Your Time and Buy it Back

Posted by johngies
Lots of Clocks
Image of clocks courtesy of Pixabay

Business is challenging and those challenges are all the worse if you don’t have revenue, time, or energy to deal with them.

People often let their egos determine that they want to outsource or hire in order to “Scale”. Is there a more overused word today? The reason for you to spend money on staffing and or outsourcing is simple. It is to buy time. That is to buy time for YOU!

Whether it is time to work on higher-value activities or to spend on vacation and lifestyle.  I doubt very much that you started your business so you could commit 50 – 60 hours a week to your job (I meant your business).

So, how do you create the time you want? First, own the fact that you want more time. If you get sucked into “I am busy and I love it…You will be busy!

Conduct a time audit. What tasks are you performing and what is the value of those tasks? Are they helping you serve clients or grow your business? If not, should you do them or should someone else?  You have probably heard about the difference between $15 tasks and $1,000 tasks. Where do you want to focus?

Once you decide to outsource or hire, it is not as simple as just pulling the trigger. I have watched clients burn through employees that were not a good fit.  So, start with a “job description”. That is what tasks do you want them to perform, how often, and to what level of proficiency. How will you measure proficiency? What skills should they have and what will you “train” them on.

One of the most important things you will do for your  business after creating profits is selecting the right teammates and being very clear on roles and expectations. I actually like the word agreement over expectation. It demonstrates that both parties have agreed to the work. If you do this right, you can delegate with confidence. If you fail to do it because you don’t like writing things down, resign yourself to working 50 – 60 hours a week. You will have to work that much because your team has to rely on you. This means more work.

This will also be one of the key factors should you ever decide to sell your business. Do you have the policies and procedures in place that run your business even when you are not there?

These are three simple (not necessarily easy steps for you to take to buy back your time. And let’s face it isn’t, that part of why you started your business in the first place? If you would like help in creating the time and the resources to create a business you can own, over the job that owns you, let’s schedule a call.

Stop losing clients – Stop saying “I am too busy”.

Posted by johngies
image courtesy of pixabay

Busy has become a common phrase; along with I am so busy, and I am too busy. STOP SAYING THAT!

When you say you are too busy you are saying you are out of control. You are saying you haven’t mastered your priorities; it means you don’t have control over the details of your work and that you probably can’t handle your clients priorities, time or work.

This can be challenging in today’s age of social media where there is a little chemical hit when we are able to one up somebody with our posts.

“You’re busy… Let me tell you how busy I am”.

If you are going to be in business and you are going to serve others you must be able to:

  1. Master the details, no detail is too small
  2. Control your time. This means controlling your attention and your calendar
  3. Determine and manage priorities…First things first.
  4. Manage and control your communication…to the market , your team and to yourself.

If you are too busy to do this that is to trust yourself to do this why would a client trust you to do this for them?

You can find resources at https:///

Building the Team to Propel Your Success

Posted by johngies

Let’s talk about building your team. As your business grows, you will need and want to add staff because you can’t do it all.

Team meeting
Image Courtesy of Pixabay CC0

There are essentially archetypal roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success. In the book, The E-Myth Michael Gerber calls them:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

You need all of these roles and initially if you are by yourself you may play all of them.

The Technician

This person is the “doer”.  They are the specialist that actually does the work. They have the subject matter expertise or the technical skills to actually deliver the goods for the customer. This is typically the most visible person of the entire operation. These people represent the present.

The Manager

Is the one “managing” resources. Scheduling work, ensuring the books are taken care of, and that the marketing and payroll are handled. They are the practical side of the business. These people are learning from past mistakes and planning the efficient use of resources. They represent the past in this analogy.

The Entrepreneur

The person that represents the future is the Entrepreneur.  They are the visionaries that are always pointing toward the future. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding, and more. They represent the future.

All three of these roles are essential in the success of any business.  If you want a solid foundation for your business, you want to be committed to getting the right person or people into these roles and not just be filling positions. DO NOT shortchange this process. Clearly, you need to be one of these key people. But many business owners think because they founded the business, they should be the “entrepreneur”. I recently celebrated a friend’s five-year business anniversary and she announced the new CEO of the company. Someone she brought in to be the visionary, the master planner for the company. The owner realized that she was great in the trenches and loved doing the hands-on work with their clients, she was the Master Technician so to speak.

This might be hard for you as you will need to relinquish some control and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.

Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach you the practical steps to move your business forward through each stage of growth when you try our FREE test drive.