How to turn 3 weeks into 12 weeks

Note: On September 27 I set out to write a 3 part/3 week series on what I like to do. Now, over 12 weeks later and with encouragement from my mentor, Richard Reardon, I feel the need to summarize it. Much like public speaking, I believe that any writer should first tell people what they are going to say, say it, and then tell them what they said. Let's see how well I can recap what I wrote over the last 3 months.  Previous installments of the entire 12 week series can be found on my website at http://stevemarshallassociates.com/steves-blog/

(September 27) "These are a few of my favorite things"

When people ask me what I do for work, I tell them that I (hopefully) create a better place for people to work. I do this by utilizing the following three methods:

  1. Strategic Planning;
  2. Organizational Development
  3. Leadership Coordination

(October 4)"We enable people to go to work, by providing transportation, by repairing their cars....." The importance of establishing the "why and what" before you get to the "how" in creating a strategic plan. Stated best with photos:
Enabling People to Go to work - "Why"  

By Providing Transportation - "What"       

  By Repairing Their Cars - "How"

(October 11) "The Whom in Why, What, and How":

Who Does What and When in Strategic Planning:
(October 18) "A Simple Plan" Once the planning is completed, we need a simple tool to measure progress containing an overall goal and several sub-goals that can be measured frequently.

(November 1) "Organizational Development - Getting to High Performance on Purpose" O.D. is a system of methods and tools that will assist any organization to operate at a much higher level:

(November 8) "Organizational Development - Why is it Important?" Mainly because 95% of businesses and organizations in the U.S. are operating far below their capabilities -- most are running between 40% – 60% of what they could be.That is a waste of money. The secret sauce is applying Organizational Development with a focus on significant change and improvement, possibly even with your current resources.

(November 15) "Organizational Development - How Can it Work for You in Your Situation?" All Organizational  Development processes are designed to help you solve a problem or achieve a goal, using the following tools:
1. Team building or bonding;
2. Creating new paradigms;
3. Strategic planning;
4. Communicating your vision, getting buy-in and action;
5. Planning change.


(November 22) "Leadership Coordination - a.k.a. - Executive Coaching"  This is one of my favorite services. Why? Because it is a high impact, high value, individual development service tailored to support the improvements successful people want to make. How does it work?  Like most professional endeavors, it is a measurable process.

(December 6) In my coaching work, I regularly assess new clients on the basis of three aspects of their personalities; IQ, PQ, and EQ:

  1. IQ = Intelligence Quotient
  2. PQ = Political Quotient/Intelligence
  3. EQ = Emotional Quotient/Intelligence

For me, I like to look at the whole person and how they are able to interact with other people, especially in the workplace. In addition, since I mostly work with leaders, I assume that they have some amount of IQ or they wouldn't be in their job in the first place. Let's move on to PQ.

Whenever two or more people get together for the same purported purpose, there are politics. In the workplace there are lots of politics because, at its essence, politics is the practice and theory of influencing other people on an organizational and/or individual level for the betterment of the whole, or, in some cases, with an outcome of increasing personal power, prestige and/or position. A high PQ can be invaluable to a leader as they attempt to categorize their team members and how each team member approaches conflict.

(December 13) "What is EQ?" Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others. EQ consists of five attributes:

(December 20) "Does Higher Emotional Intelligence Equal A Higher Paycheck?" YES! There is a relationship between higher EQ and a higher paycheck. Just how important is high emotional intelligence to business success? When L’Oreal started hiring sales people based on emotional competency, the high EQ reps outsold the traditionally chosen ones by over $90,000. Another company found emotionally skilled sales people sold $54,000 more each. If you’re more convinced by research, study after study after study has linked EQ and career success.

(January 1) "Emotional Intelligence - Case Histories"  The following are all true experiences I have had in my career; only the names have been changed.

Case History #1  Jack owned a business which provided IT and software technical support  to medical clinics around the country. His job as CEO was to ensure that client sites were back and running in the shortest amount of time when their computer systems crashed. He was known for being good at his job, but he had one problem. He was a control freak! (Read the complete case history on my website - http://stevemarshallassociates.com/steves-blog/)

What did Jack learn from our work together?
1. He was deliberately playing a risky game: putting himself and his company in out of control situations so that he could demonstrate to himself and others that he could restore order.
2. His controlling behavior was a defense.
3. The defense had been put in place long ago and was inappropriate to the present day.

Case History #2  Dave runs a consulting company.  A client had accepted some work without criticism but, sixty days later, still hadn’t paid their bill.  Dave was getting irritated:  after all, cash flow was tight.

Dave emailed his client requesting payment.  After a while, he was very surprised to receive an email back from the client listing various problems with the consulting services Dave’s business had provided.

Dave was indignant and sent off a long, businesslike and polite email, but one which made his position clear.  He got back another email from his client like the first.  So Dave responded in kind, and got another unacceptable reply (and no check).  Dave responded, got another reply and no check. Dave asked for my advice... (Read the complete case history on my website - http://stevemarshallassociates.com/steves-blog/)

There are two principles of emotional intelligence at work here which Dave needed to be reminded of:
1. If you’re in a fight, you’re equally responsible for it and, if you want it to stop, stop fighting.
2. An attachment to being right will always stop you moving forward (more precisely it stops you communicating fully and therefore prevents you from finding a resolution).

Applying principles of emotional intelligence almost immediately resolved the problem (at no cost) and Dave’s business got paid. 

(January 3) "EQ Case Histories - Part 2" The following are all true experiences I have had in my career; only the names have been changed.

Case History #3  A prospective client said to me, “If you send me an email with the word 'emotional' in the subject line, I will delete it before I open it”. Bear in mind that I just had met this person as a referral from another client, and not wanting to end the conversation over this one comment, I asked him, “So, how’s business going?” He told me with considerable animation about a number of ventures he was engaged in. “You sound pretty happy and excited about it”, I said. “I am”, he replied. “Well, aren't happy and excited emotions”, I said. His reply was not very polite, but he tried to make it a humorous dismissal. (Read the complete case history on my website - http://stevemarshallassociates.com/steves-blog/.)

There are two principles of emotional intelligence at work here which I needed to be reminded of:

  1. If you start persuading, but the other person thinks you’re pushing (whether or not you think you are), they will start resisting. If you want to be successful, you’ll have to then overcome the resistance that wasn’t there until you helped to create it.
  2. The other reason is that it is not important what you say, but, rather what other people hear you say. In short, the meaning of a message is what the recipient makes of it.

So I suggest not having any per-conceived expectations when meeting new people in the business world. The one thing I find which is more useful than anything else is simply to be curious about what’s going on for the other person, and stick to it.

Case History #4  I was once asked to work with a large medical group which, outwardly, seemed to be doing well. As part of my work, I always want to interview the leaders of any organization with which I am engaged. I interviewed all 10 members of the Board, and the Executive Team. As a result of that, it was possible to draw a picture of how the shareholders of the organization viewed the competency of leadership, and what they hoped the organization would look like in 5 years.

One finding was very important: the Executive Team believed that the Board Members didn’t trust them. The Board, as a whole, was completely surprised by this and it seemed that this finding was completely beyond their comprehension. Digging deeper into this with one Board member elicited a strong reason why this was happening; “Because we don’t trust them!” Wow! It seemed very unlikely that every person on the Executive Team was actually untrustworthy. (Read the complete case history on my website - http://stevemarshallassociates.com/steves-blog/ .)

There was at least one principle of emotional intelligence at work here which I believe had eluded him.

  1. People who have a blanket mistrust of other people, without cause, actually don’t trust themselves. The end result is that the mistrust of oneself gets projected, unconsciously, onto others.

Perfection is a trap. Perfection is actually a way the mind has of stopping us moving forward. “I can’t take the next step because I haven’t done this one perfectly yet”. It is also quite often disguised by those seeking perfection as a way of avoiding making decisions. I once asked a client how much information he needed before he would make a crucial decision. His reply was, "100%!" I replied that it was impossible to have 100% of any information, because the world and everything in it is always in flux. There was a wise old gentleman named Heraclitus who lived 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ that had something to say about this point; "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”

Of course, one never will do it perfectly; one can always find a flaw, one can always acquire more information, and that’s the point. I think that the notion of ensuring that one has enough information is really another way of deluding ourselves that we actually have control over the future. That is the next trap.

Needing to be right about how the world is
, being comfortable in the knowledge that one can predict what will happen to one, is a result of a fear that, actually, the world is unpredictable—and that’s frightening. I might not be able to cope; I might lose control; vaguer senses of threat abound, etc. Needing to be right is therefore a type of needing to control. One way of doing that is to control what happens to us. There's only one problem with that belief..........it doesn’t work.

My 12 week conclusion: Well, there it is; hopefully a good synopsis of the last 3 months of my efforts to impart what it is that I do and like for my work.

At this point, for all my loyal readers - Thank You!

And, since you have an appreciation for what I write about, I could use your help! Please write and tell me what you want to know more about and there is a good chance that I will do just that.

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