Self-Awareness Matters: Finding Your Filters

I remember sitting in a project meeting back when I worked for a Big Company. The project manager, Ted, announced the top three priorities.  When I offered a different view point, Ted declared, “You’re wrong. We decided on these priorities yesterday.”  He didn’t notice six out of eight people at the table  shaking their heads…

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Best at argument != Best ideas

I was talking to my friend Penny the other day about a team she coaches. There’s a really smart guy on the team. I’ll call him Bob. Most of the time Bob is an asset to the team. But when the team needs to decide on a technical solution under time pressure, he’s not. “But…

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There’s I(ntelligence)Q, and then there’s I(nfluence)Q

People who work in software are smart people who take pride in their abilities to understand complex information and solve difficult problems. But much of the work isn’t only about smarts. Creating most software requires the help and cooperation of other people. Telling, convincing, and winning arguments won’t work to bring people along, change their…

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Talk, Talk, Talk

I wrote an article about the many ways that managers inadvertently plug the communication pipeline (free registration required). In doing so, they deprive themselves of the information they need to do their jobs. It reminded me of one of the most common ways managers block information–talking too much, listening too little. Some advice for managers… ***…

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As Goes the Contracting, So Goes the Contract

A while back, a colleague, Susan, called to ask me for some advice. “I’ve been planning a vacation with my family for months,” she said. “And now my new client wants me on-site next week. I’d be happy to come the week after next, but they keep pushing. I told them I couldn’t come because…

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Dealing with “Difficult” Co-workers

We all have coworkers who rub us the wrong way, get on our nerves, and generally drive us crazy. Let’s consider these examples of three people who have difficult coworkers: 1. Ted finished working on a difficult bit of code and headed for the team meeting. When he got there, Sandy looked at her watch…

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The Blame Game

No one likes to be blamed, so why do we blame each other in the first place? What place does it have in our relationships, and how does it affect our problem-solving abilities? A personal experience with customer disservice to highlight our attraction to assigning blame and how it delays us from reaching solutions. Not…

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A Coaching Toolkit

As a coach, your job is not to solve or do—it’s to support other people as they develop skills and capabilities and as they solve problems on their own. When it comes to coaching, one size does not fit all. You need to have a variety of practices in your toolkit in order to approach…

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Diluting Appreciation

Mike Kelly has a nice post on diluting the power of appreciation.   My experience is that genuine appreciations can transform many situations. A couple of years ago I led a year-long project with a distributed team–no two members were in the same timezone. We had a weekly teleconference. I started every telecon with appreciations…

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