Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Good Business Communications

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

In my experience good business communications is about good listening. It’s not about speaking well or writing well – our society, especially in business, handles those reasonably well. But business doesn’t emphasize listening; we don’t send our brightest employees to listening classes or seminars. While we do send them to all kinds of other seminars, we just assume that they know how to listen. That’s because we confuse hearing with listening.

Ultimately, listening is about feeling heard and getting to an understanding. Simply put, good communication involves 5 steps that will lead to understanding and empowerment.

1.    Get clear on what it is you want to say – don’t be afraid of a silent pause while you gather your thoughts.

2.    Actively listen – don’t agree or disagree; understand the others person’s perspective thoroughly; leave your thoughts and idea’s alone for the moment and concentrate on the other person (you can get back to your thoughts later).

3.    Reflect back what you heard – use the stand-by: “here’s what I heard you say… is that correct?”

4.    Ask clarifying questions – ask for additional information; don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t understand; ask the other person if they feel heard (which is an amazing experience on its’ own without any of these other steps).

5.    Agree on a course of action – who’s going to do what and why; allow your intuition, your gut, to guide you to a creative solution that can only come about once you both feel heard.

These steps can be used for spoken or written business communications. My experience is that if you are able to really listen, without any other agenda like speaking your opinions on the subject, then the other person feels heard. When everyone feels heard, conflict disappears. In fact, this type of practice will avoid conflicts in a good way.

After Articulating Business Goals, Create a Plan

Friday, September 24th, 2010

By Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

Garden at Versailles

A well thought out goal and plan resulted in this

In my last entry, I wrote about the importance of articulating business goals. After writing your goals down, you may find yourself filled with energy, and want to do something about your newly articulated goals. So, what next?

The first thing is to notice the energy you feel. You may think to yourself that you don’t want to loose that energy, and may even become fearful that you will loose it. Have no fear: you will. Inspiration is great – I highly recommend it; I find it a necessity for a balanced and successful life. But it is very rare to carry the energy of inspiration 24/7 throughout your entire life. It’s been done before, but mostly by people who have a title (two letter hint: St.)

Don’t despair, once inspiration is found, it can be found again. The key at this point is to use it while you’ve got it. That’s why many (most?) successful writers don’t rely on and wait for inspiration to do their writing. The schedule their writing like appointments and keep going.  When inspiration does strike they will recognize it, and use it to write words that inspire or to come up with ideas for the next project.

Use your inspiration as if it was a tool that will help you further on down the road, not just for the particular task at hand. You could use this new found energy to start the work, or you could develop the plan that will lay out the path towards achieving your goal.

For example, let’s say that the goal you articulated was to plant a garden in the back yard by the end of next month. After waking up full of energy you could grab tools and start the digging. There may be a semblance of a plan in your head of what will go where, but you want to “just start”, so you begin tearing out the weeds and debris. By lunch time your back hurts, your hands have blisters, your neck is sunburn, and you feel miles away from the completed garden. You may also notice that the energy of inspiration has been used up.

Or, the other thing you could have done as inspiration dawned is to sit back down with your newly articulated goal in front of you, and write out a plan – a set of objectives: the first is to clear away the debris. The second objective is to start seed germination, which you also note will require seeds, and small seedling containers. The third objective is to create a detailed map of what will be planted where. The third objective is to develop a budget for expenses. The fourth and perhaps most important objective is to develop a time line: how long will it take to clear the debris? What specific day will you be free to go to the nursery to get the seeds and containers? Tomorrow? Next Saturday? Make the time line specific, for all of the objectives, all the way to the celebration of the achieved goal. See the pathway to completion laid out in front of you.

This planning stage is about taking the inspiration and using it to help carry you through not only the next step, but many steps. From personal experience, just having a plan for business goals is inspiring, which I can then use to start working, but with realistic expectations as to how long and how much energy it will take me to clear the debris. With that, I’m now on my way towards achieving the goal.

Define Business Success

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

How do you know if your business is a success?

Without thinking about it, most people think they know what business success is. Coming up with a definitive answer is one of the most important things that you can do for your business.

Well-meaning managers often define it in financial terms. While those are certainly important, the financial numbers are just that – numbers. They do not tell the story of how it feels inside, whether there is fulfillment, or an emptiness that even strong financial numbers can not fill.

In my experience, business success will always be tied to core values. If they are being expressed, then there will be a feeling of success.  The more conscious one is of the values, the stronger the feeling of fulfillment. It’s important to identify a definition of what each value means. Two people can have the same value of “family” but it may mean something completely different to each of them. These kinds of details are integral to defining what success is for your business (as well as for your life!).

Finally, the way I advocate to find out what your values are is not to brainstorm with a white board and a few of your top managers. Instead, it’s to look at what is most important, for example, why you started the business in the first place; or look at your conflicts, because your values are showing up there.  Often times, it’s far easier to identify your values using support. That may come in the form of a coach, or someone else who you have hired; it can also come from a colleague, friend, or family member.

Once your values are revealed, you can articulate exactly what success is. Specifically, when what you are doing is a manifestation of a value, you will feel successful. Therefore, define business success in the terms of your values. Then, look to see how they feel, and if you feel more successful.