They it’s not what you know, but who you know. We are going to discuss that theory and much more as we look at why relationships are at the core of all business these days and how our ability to manage them is paramount if we are going to be successful in practically any job.

In today’s episode, cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:

  • How changes in the work world necessitate building more relationships
  • How to manage relationships
  • Examples of well managed and poorly managed relationships
  • The benefits of managing relationships with workers, former colleagues, bosses and others

Here are some hints for better managing business relationships:

  • Make amends. If you have a bad business relationship, fix it. Now.
  • Scroll through your phone contacts every week or two. I sometimes see someone’s contact information that I haven’t talked to and have called or emailed them right away. Everything happens for a reason.
  • Find beneficial ways to interact. I like to send articles to people that I think they might find valuable. They seem to like it. It shows I am thinking of them, and it’s easy enough to send an article.
  • Just say hey. Sometimes it’s great to hear from someone who you haven’t heard from in a while. I had a former coworker who I helped mentor contact me recently out of the blue. She told me she missed “my first mentor.” It made my day.
  • Use LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. It allows me to know what other people are up to, to be able to contact them when they change jobs or locations and it’s all free. I like to see who is celebrating birthdays, job anniversaries or whatever else. I respond often, and it pays off. Ten minutes in the morning or evening can yield great fruit with LinkedIn, or do it every Sunday night.
  • Be grateful. If all else fails, contact someone at least once a week who has had a profound effect on your career and tell him or her that. Believe me, if that’s where the conversation starts, it will end much better – for both of you.

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution at The Soft Skills Revolution? Why not? We are giving resources out for free to people interested in better understanding their soft skills. It’s free and it’s easy. Just provide your email and away you go. Nothing to buy or sell. Jut go to thesoftskillsrevolution.com.

Next Week

Next week, we will tackle another soft skill. New episodes come out each Wednesday. Until next week, thanks for listening, good day and good soft skills.

 

 

We all have to face ambiguity, even if we don’t want to. And while few of us actually become comfortable with it, we can employ strategies that help us make it at least bearable.

The ever-faster spinning of our business lives makes the soft skill of dealing with ambiguity one most of us must face in our professional lives more and more. Managers and leaders face it constantly. The farther you go in your career, the less clear things become.

Getting comfortable with ambiguity is an essential business skill and one that many entrepreneurs especially struggle with.

We Long For Control

Most of us want to control as much of our lives as possible – what we eat, who we spend time with, how much sleep we get, where we live, what car we drive, how we will retire. And for the most part, we have control over those things; most of them are functions of our choices.

Business is different. We can make the right choices and derive a bad result because our actions are only part of the equation. Business is about working with, for and against other people and companies. They do what’s right for them, or at least what they think serves them best. We do what’s best for us. The two cannot always coincide. As a result, we find uncertainty and ambiguity permeating our business ventures all the time.

Huge Decisions Riddled With Ambiguity

Here’s a common example: A company creates a product or service and tries to set a price. The company struggles to identify the right price. They assess the competition. They assess people’s views on the product or service. They make their best guess. But if they are wrong, the consequences can be enormous. A product or service that could make a difference in people’s lives fails because it’s price is too high or too low.

Pricing is just one area of uncertainty. What if the marketing message is unclear? The website looks off? The name is wrong? The benefits don’t resonate with the ideal customer? Or if people aren’t ready yet to address this problem in their lives?

Businesses face this challenge everyday. It’s a reality.

Strategies For Combatting Uncertainty

Finding strategies to address our feelings surrounding ambiguity can help greatly.

Here are four hints for combatting the fears that arise with ambiguity, drawn from a discussion I had with Dr. Tobin Porterfield, on our Serious Soft Skills Podcast.

  1. Accept that ambiguity is real. Easy choices don’t always exist. Taking action, even if it’s the wrong action, will bring you one or more steps closer to your goal.
  2. Keep a compass. Know what you are trying to accomplish and keep true to it. People, circumstances, finances and other factors will
  3. Call in the reinforcements. Find people and other sources of information and support that are solid no matter what else is happening.
  4. Heed the signs. When things appear to be faltering, recognize it and react. Remember, inaction is the enemy of any success. A course adjustment, even if it takes you farther from your intended target, still provides you valuable insight that can help the next course correction or the one after that put you back on track.

The more we fight ambiguity, the more a toll it takes on us and our plans. Facing the reality that is ambiguity head-on can keep you moving toward your goals, when others are getting sidelined worrying about things they can never control.

People ask us all the time how we got into soft skills so today, we’re going to explain how each of us came to this place and why we know soft skills are so important. All that and more in a few seconds.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:

  • Their individual paths toward leading the soft skills revolution
  • Why they feel compelled to lead this charge
  • Examples from their lives, including one from supply chain work, where soft skills made all the difference

If you liked what you heard today or in another episode, then give us a great review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Share our podcast with someone you know. And by all means, go to TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com and join our revolution. We want to change the world’s view on soft skills and you can help us.

Next week

We will look at another one of the soft skills. New episodes are posted every Wednesday.

 

58: The Art of Dealing with Ambiguity

The world is changing faster and faster. What seemed clear yesterday may not be clear today and who knows what tomorrow will bring? Dealing with ambiguity is not just a soft skill but a necessity in today’s workplace. We will discuss dealing with ambiguity and even give some hints for how to handle it.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss the following topics:
* Life isn’t predictable and it can get boring
* How clock speed affects our ability to succeed
* Dealing with not knowing
* Decisions have consequences and making bad decisions can be costly.

A few hints for how we can ensure that we can deal with ambiguity.

1. Accept that ambiguity is real. Easy choices don’t always exist.
2. Keep a compass. Know what you are trying to accomplish and keep true to it.
3. Call in the reinforcements. Find people and other sources of information and support that are solid no matter what else is happening.
4. Heed the signs. When things appear to be faltering, recognize it and react.

That’s it for this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast. Look for new episodes every Wednesday. And if you liked what you heard today or in another episode, then give us a great review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Share our podcast with someone you know. And by all means, go to TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com and join our revolution. We want to change the world’s view on soft skills and you can help us.

Next week

We will explore why we are leading The Soft Skills Revolution.

Natural curiosity or a willingness to learn is a powerful tool, building on the processes, software and techniques that you know are just the foundation for your success.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

  • How changes in the workplace necessitate the need to be willing to learn
  • How do you tease out a willingness to learn in an application
  • Employers want to see a willingness to learn
  • Curiosity is key
  • Hints for learning new things to promote your professional benefit

Next Week

We will look at another soft skill, dealing with ambiguity. New episodes every Wednesday.

Join The Soft Skills Revolution at SoftSkillsRevolution.com

Being unable to accept criticism can hurt our ability to advance in our careers, relationships and in life. We will discuss this complicated soft skill and give hints for delivering and responding to it better.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham talk about a number of important issues, including:

  • Why the soft skill of accepting criticism can be difficult to hear
  • How accepting criticism can benefit us and our development
  • What happens when we don’t accept criticism
  • Helping you versus hurting you with criticism
  • When to discount people’s criticism
  • Filtering out the good criticism and retaining ownership
  • Finding people to trust and value who give you constrictive feedback
  • How to give constructive criticism
  • When to table someone’s criticism
  • “The Sandwich Method” of criticism
  • When a cooling off period pays off for everyone   
  • Preventing criticism from paralyzing us
  • Why organizations need to integrate feedback and criticism into their operations to become better
  • Making a case for writing down suggestions, rather than speaking them

Next week

We will address another soft skill and its implications. New episodes come out every Wednesday

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution?