There are only 50 days left in 2021. Can you believe it? As you reflect on this year, what worked? What didn’t work? Which goals did you meet? Which ones did you miss? And Why? As you’re taking note of where you’ve landed this year, think about what you want to change and all the possibilities that await you in 2022. And while you do this, make a plan. A purposeful plan that will allow you to meet those challenges and opportunities with confidence. To help, we’ve listed a few Fierce tips to help prepare you and your team for the new year.
MAKE A NEW CONNECTION
In your typical week, think about all the individuals you interact with – whether it be on the phone, via email, and even people you pass by on the street. How many of these individuals do you genuinely attempt to foster a connection with? Let’s be honest: We can all spot if someone is not being genuine from a mile away. What we should be asking ourselves when interacting with others, is whether we are asking questions and actively listening during our conversations with these individuals or do we just wait for our turn to talk? As our Founder Susan Scott shares, “If you want to become a great leader, gain the capacity to connect with your colleagues and customers at a deep level…or lower your aim.”
BE FIERCE: Make a new connection with someone in your life – whether it be inside or outside the office. Ask questions and really listen. Schedule a time in your calendar for this effort and make it a habit.
How many times a week do you have a conversation that just stays at the surface level? With your boss? With your colleagues? With your family and friends? The truth is…It happens. Perhaps, more often than any of us would care to admit. Even when we are in the conversation, we can breeze past each other altogether. Here’s the thing: We are craving depth each day. We are craving real. We want people to care. Author Joseph Pine once said, “The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling you can charge admission.” We need to seek to understand and go deeper in our own day-to-day conversations.
BE FIERCE: Identify the relationships in your life that deserve extra attention. To do this ask yourself: Where and when do you tend to have your most meaningful conversations? Where and when do you tend to have the most superficial conversations?
ASK ‘WHAT ELSE?’
Think about when someone asks you: “How’s it going?” How do you usually respond? My guess is that the initial answer is surface level. Work is busy, but good. Family is good. Vacation was good. I’m good. Surprisingly enough, the conversation becomes drastically different when you ask ‘what else’ afterwards. Only after the ‘what else’ does something juicier come out. It’s almost like ‘what else’ translates to “No, really. I want to know.” Part of our Fierce Coaching Program, we instruct individuals to ask ‘what else’ at least three times in different parts of the conversation. You’ll find that each time you ask, you will go deeper into the question – exploring and unlocking new territory.
BE FIERCE: Start with the relationships in your life deserve extra attention. Concentrate on where and when you can ask, “What else?” It is only two words after all…
IMPROVE TWO RELATIONSHIPS
Here’s a simple five-word sentence, and yet the depth and applicability of this sentiment is powerful… The conversation is the relationship.
Just think of all the relationships in your life…
How would you rank the quality of your conversations with those relationships on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 being most satisfying and 10 being least satisfying. When you picture this spectrum, where would all your conversations land? Is one end of the spectrum heavier than the other? With that visual in mind, it’s important to ask ourselves what kinds of conversations we’re having:
- As a leader, are the conversations developmental and supportive or skeptical and controlling? As a team member, are the conversations collaborative and robust or superficial and frustrating?
- As a friend, are the conversations thoughtful and compassionate or assumptive and insincere?
- As an individual, what kind of conversations are we having with ourselves? Are they encouraging and optimistic or critical and sabotaging?
The quality of your conversations is a direct reflection of the quality of your relationships.
BE FIERCE: Keep things simple. Start by identifying two relationships in your life where you are having the least satisfying conversations. Is it with your boss? With a team member? Your friend? Yourself? If you want to make the relationships more fulfilling, you must start by improving the content and quality of your conversations. Take them out to coffee. Schedule a lunch. Go somewhere that you can focus.
At Fierce, we do not have annual performance reviews. Instead, we engage in open and honest conversations every day of the year with the people central to our success. Talking about performance is just one of the many conversations you should be having with your leaders and team each day. We find that this activity aligns closely with one of our Fierce values: Be real. We describe it like this: There is no faking it at Fierce. We present ourselves – our capabilities and our knowledge – exactly as we are. We don’t pretend to be anything we aren’t. We are transparent with each other and our clients, and we embrace that which makes each of us unique. We regularly ask our employees how they are aligning with this value. What does this value mean to them? What does it look like?
BE FIERCE: In the spirit of leading Fierce, get real and be your authentic self. Are you having the conversations you need to have with the people central to your success? If not, there is no better time than the present.
Improving the quality and depth of our conversations is a lifelong journey. There is a lot at stake to get it right – as professionals, as partners, as friends, as fellow inhabitants of Earth. Remember: While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life – any single conversation can. That’s why it helps to take it one step at a time.
Stay tuned for part two with more tips on how to make you and your team Fierce!