Criticize Actions Not People

Since a long, long time. I have read this in one of the books and it’s one of the most important parts in management. And in particular, how to manage people.

If I could get $1 every time I heard about somebody not liking to work with another person, or having pain from their own business relationship, I would have been a millionaire by now.

There’s a big confusion between liking somebody and liking to work with somebody, or simply being efficient in working with someone; I see things in multiple perspective. In my career, I have moved from working as an individual contributor (where I am the average employee) to becoming a manager and managing a group of employees And then to becoming a manager of managers on a director level, where you need to manage those who manage others and then all the way to an executive level where you oversee the organization as a whole.

Traditionally, Dealing with people has always been a challenge for most managers; When I had that issue at some point in time, and later on when I I spoke about it in conferences and workshops, I used to reflect and give the same example:

Every time I used to give the example of kids and dealings with kids, So, if you have a problem with your child, let’s say they did something wrong, they broke something. When you come to them and you tell them.

Did you break this. Why did you break it?

More likely, the kid is going to (depending how you raised them but most of the cases) tell you all types of stories how it was not his fault, and mostly based on  psychology, it would be because he felt under attack or under threat; when you are attacking him as a person, then he will certainly try to defend himself, But if you do not attack him as a person but you try to talk to the act, then, more likely that they would understand and open up to see what’s happening.

So, the best case scenario, you would tell your kids: Listen, I still love you, you’re still my Alexander, However, I am disappointed in what you have done and your action, this particular action is not something we have agreed on this is not what I raised you to do and how to treat your sister Maria.

So, this particular action. I am upset of.

This way, you will have a discussion over the action itself rather than him being incompetent, and so on.

So as you move back to management, you look at and talk to your employee; If that employee started feeling under threat because you are touching on her competence to perform her job, eventually she will pull up her defense mechanisms, and you will lose the touch.

So, this week’s that is about focusing on the actions and not the person in your criticism, and when you want to manage the person you are actually focusing on your work relationship and therefore, you have a certain expectations that they need to meet and their actions are a big indication to that.

Trust me, it will pay off on the longer run.

Have a wonderful week.
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Samer Chidiac is a Strategic Innovation Advisor, a Business Psychologist, a Philanthropist, an Author and a Speaker. 

You can check his Books on Amazon, Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check his Website for More.

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Reading the signs and signals

Working as a futurist and as a senior strategist for a while now, taught me a lot of things and one of the most important lessons I learned was about reading signs… Signs about the future, and about what can happen to you or let’s say MAY happen to you.

 Let’s say that you are driving your car, to hear a weird sound coming from the engine, then that sound stops and you don’t hear it again… You may decide to check it out (just to be on the safe side) or just ignore it as it just happened as a one-time thing… if the same sound gets repeated another time, then the sign of something that may be wrong gets stronger, and your internal voice would start communicating with you to tell you that it would be wise to check it out… and if that sound was there for the 3rd time, the sign is stronger now, and you are now saying that you need to check it out… but come on, the car is still running, and everything seems in order, so you decide to get the car engine checked “when you have time”… 2 weeks later, your car broke down while you were taking your wife and kids out and the timing couldn’t be more wrong… and the story went on…

 Another configuration of the same scenario can go into relationships, business transactions, and any other you may think of… you may see some signs that can seem weird but not necessarily worrying from your friend or partner, and then you notice the same behavior more than once until a big issue can happen like betrayal or whatever.

 This week’s tip is about the action that you need to train your self on doing… It’s not about the signs… It’s about READING the signs… You may be going into a place and you see a sign outside in a different language that you don’t understand, and you ignore it and go, only to discover that this sign was meant to stop you from entering or from performing an action and so.

 Some of us are lucky to have CLEAR signs on their way, while the rest of us are not… Imagine that you could see a person wearing a sign that says “Liar” or “Cheater” before things would be more serious between you two. Therefore if you want to train your self on reading the signals, you need to understand patterns and trends… and then you can spot the outlier among these, so taking the example of the car, you know what the different sounds that it produces, and you can tell which sound is “natural” and which is not.

 Find out about something that is wrong, or let’s say not right come from reviewing and analyzing the landscape of all the patterns and what is traditionally have been considered in a normal range and which is not… and mostly you would “feel” that something is not right… Yes, you read that properly… Experienced professional would sense and feel that something is not right but they can’t tell what is it… so they start investigating more… maybe by reviewing old data (did this happen before… with me or with someone else?) and if they couldn’t find it in the old data… they would create a situation that would make them surer or not…

 Just like a doctor, you may find a patient showing a specific symptom, that may seem like a specific sickness, but you can’t be sure with the current data, so you ask for more tests, like blood tests and you check the results against what should be classified as the normal range and you find the outliers and evaluate if these outliers together can prove your theory or not..

 The advice I can give you is that you are NOT to ignore the signs, some signs lead to great opportunities, and some are for a potential discomfort and even a disaster… and they call it the “Window” of opportunity for a reason… if you don’t act quickly, you would miss It and it will be closed; meanwhile, the threat would start small, and then it grows.

 Trust your hunch, and act wisely and appropriately… and it’s ok to be wrong… the more you are wrong, you learn, and the next time you’re more trained to make the right discovery.

 Enjoy your week,

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Samer Chidiac is a Strategic Innovation Advisor, a Business Psychologist, a Philanthropist, an Author and a Speaker. 

You can check his Books on Amazon, Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check his Website for More.

Be like a baby… Then Grow up!

If you ever had the opportunity to study Psychology, one of the foundation of this magnificent study will be about learning, and how do we learn. And to be able to understand the evolution of the Brain & Mind in this, they normally start with studying babies.

There’s a fascinating small game that parents play with their infant child, that is almost universally known as “PEEK-A-POO”, where the parent (adult) hide his or her face from the child and then show it again with the work “PEEK-A-Poooooo” (Where I come from the word was “BAA’OOUSSI”) and the look on the child’s face at that moment, is priceless :).

For those of us who are not too technical on this, The Game is nice, brings positive vibes and simply fun and easy to play with a child; In Psychology, the explanation of that, is simple… The Infant’s Brain at that stage of Learning, REALLY THINKS THAT THE OTHER PERSON DISAPPEARED! and throughout time, the game will start being less interesting as the child develop the understanding of how it works.

Now moving on to another very nice thing about babies, when they start to walk or talk… Their first attempts are always the most important and most desired to witness by their parents… It doesn’t have to be perfect… in fact, NOONE ever is expecting a child’s first words would be “To Be or Not to Be… That is the Question” :P; but instead they might start speaking in a very alienated form of speech until one day they say something that sounds like “DA DA”, or the day when the child will try to stand up by themselves and then fall down in a cute and adorable way.

Now what would be the role of the parents at that stage… in simple terms:

Protecting > Encouraging > Motivating > Correcting > Raising the Bar
(and then starting this all over again)

You see a child saying “DA DA” is different than a 10 years old speaking like that… So first there’s a safe environment to actually innovate and do whatever you like, then you get the encouragement to do so, then you get a cheerful motivation, and a correction but then the parent is no longer impressed by that attempt, and then they require more efforts 🙂

This week’s tip, is pointing out that each one of us, learn in different ways, but most importantly gets motivated in different ways, and therefor, by applying the simple rules of parenting… An employee can be encouraged to start learning something new, to excel in their field and become innovative…

And Although you may think that this Tip is dedicated for Managers… You are right… But you are your own MANAGER… and You need to start motivating yourself using those rules… And you Will succeed…

Start small, Encourage yourself to try, Reward your self for the small improvement, correct yourself, raise the bar and then REPEAT.

Enjoy your Week!

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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

Mediocrity is the enemy of success

I can’t think of any inspirational / successful person who started on a perfect scale, where everything was in order and things came easy… Unless you are born, the son of royalties or so; You just need to make a living for yourself just like the rest of us.

Now although I know that success is not an easy think to make, it takes really hard work and so many factors and ingredients and maybe so many things that I don’t know about… It’s just one common factor, the pursuit of success doesn’t come from Accepting Mediocrity   

A brilliant person that his books inspired me for years, once said, Good is the Enemy of Great and once we accept the GOOD we stop pursuing the GREAT… 

That person was Jim Collins, in his book, Good To Great!

Whether you were a manager, a team leader or a simple individual, accepting mediocrity is simply surrendering to failure, And here I’m not saying that things should be perfect to start with, I guess we’re far away from perfection as it gets… But at least we should acknowledge that we are at an acceptable stage, BUT WE’RE NOT STOPPING HERE…

I know people who surrendered to their mediocre life, stopped pursuing their dreams and stopped believing they could make it, even not believing that they could even do a routine thing they’ve done 100s and 100s of times. Let me tell you this, it’s HARD to go back to excellence when you start accepting mediocrity, (not impossible.. but just hard).

This week’s tip, is about EXCELLENCE… is about going for the GREAT, and not getting satisfied with the GOOD… since the beginning.. and Accepting the GOOD only as a Stage before you reach to Great.. BUT NOT STOPPING THERE…

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”
James C. Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Always seek greatness, and never settle, cause when you do, everything starts to become easier to maintain, but harder to grow, and when your leadership accept a mediocre result, your followers will start accepting even less and less…

Have a great Week,

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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

Keep Learning to Become Successful, then Start Unlearning to stay that way!

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~Professor Leon C. Megginson

When you often hear about Change and Evolution, depending on your age, you might visualize Charles Darwin talking about how we, the humans, have evolved or you might simply take a glimpse and think about how the use of Mobile phones evolved to changed our life…

I’ve had an interesting discussion with the Former the Microsoft’s UK Head of Education, after she moved to the Middle East and took a leadership role in Oman; She was sharing some tips from her evolved lifestyle between 2 different culture of business and even between 2 different Eras and reminded me that the key to a successful evolution is adapting to change and most importantly… Unlearning.

For this week’s tip, we’re not going into a complete paradigm shift and change our current reality (like Neo took the red Pill in the Matrix and everything changed 🙂 ) instead, we need to take a deeper look at how we, as individuals, have several habits and learning that we are so attached to,  that we try to change the circumstances to fit what we know, rather than to change what we know to fit the circumstances.

What is Unlearning?

Unlearning is not reframing or refreezing or something along that lines. They all focus on an end state whereas unlearning is about moving away from something rather than moving towards something.

So unlearning is exactly what it says. Intending to let go of what we have already learned or acquired. It is not about right or wrong. It is about being open to and exploring something that lies underneath the judgment, underneath the right and the wrong.

How do we unLearn?

Margie Warrell once explained unlearning, by LEARNING TO BE AGILE (to be flexible!) and quoting from her article at Forbes.com

Unlearning is about moving away from something—letting go—rather than acquiring. It’s like stripping old paint. It lays the foundation for the new layer of fresh learning to be acquired and to stick. But like the painter who needs to prepare a surface, stripping the paint is 70% of the work while repainting is only 30%.

So to sum it up, YES change is hard, and it’s a slow process, but it’s not impossible, and just like in order to throw an Arrow you need to Pull back; changing and adapting will make you experience some decrease in productivity and enthusiasm for a little while, but it will help you STAY successful!

Have a Nice Week!
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project