Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend.  I had the rare opportunity to be kid-less for 48 hours, and it was such a nice break.  What if we created a child timeshare system?  I’m convinced it’s the next million dollar idea!  In the meantime, let’s work our way to a million dollars by being incredibly successful.

So how do you make that happen?  There are many ways to become successful, and we’ll explore more of them next week, but today, we’re going to focus on one strategy that will change your life and level of success.

Research has identified that at least 85% of our personal and professional success stems from our relationships with others.  Unless you live in a bubble, your success and happiness largely depends on your ability to have positive, productive relationships.  In order to improve relationships and minimize unproductive conflict, it is critical to communicate effectively.  Last week we explored ways to identify behavior styles.  Today, we’ll take the next step.

If perception is reality, it is important to understand others’ perspectives.  Because much of our world view is shaped by the lens we look through, it helps to know how to modify your approach to both allow you see the perspective of others and to help them see yours.

So, now what?  Use these 7 strategies to get started:

1.  Decide you want to.  This is the hardest step.  In my programs, I often hear people say, “Why should I have to change?  Why don’t they ever have to change?”  There are a ton of skills that can help improve your relationships, but all require work on your part.  If you don’t think it is your responsibility to take ownership of making shifts in your style, no amount of skill, technique or strategy will help.  You have to be more focused on achieving the result you want than getting wrapped up in whether or not it’s fair.  Life isn’t fair.  If you want to be happier and more successful, you have to believe that YOU are the only person you can change.  While you don’t have to change your fundamental values, you do have to be willing to change the way you communicate them without expecting others to change in return.

2. Identify your style.  Last week, I provided several questions that will help you get a pretty good idea. You MUST understand your tendencies, strengths and weaknesses before you begin analyzing others. Each style has strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to you to leverage those strengths and minimize the weaknesses. It all goes back to your goal. Would you rather be right or get it right?  You get to choose.

3.  Identify the style of others.  If you only behave according to your style, you might get what you need from others, but you’ll piss a lot of people off along the way.  If you understand how people view the world, you can shape your message to fit it.

4.  Flex for Drivers.  You want to be short, sweet, and to the point.  Let Drivers determine how much you socialize.  If they are looking at their watch while you’re talking, it’s time to re-engage or wrap it up.  Drivers like control, so give them the illusion of it.  For example, “We can approach it this way or that way.  Which do you prefer?”  Make sure you can live with either choice.

5.  Flex for Expressives.  Take time to build a relationship.  Expressives need to know you care.  Include them in conversations, ask their opinions (they’ll give them to you anyway), and make an effort to connect with them.  Show them you appreciate their contribution and effort and provide on-going feedback.

6.  Flex for Amiables.  SLOW DOWN.  If you are a Driver or Expressive, take it down a level.  Amiables need time to think, so give it to them.  Don’t expect an answer right away.  Build relationships, show them you care, and do your best not to embarrass them in front of others.  Amiables do not like to be put on the spot or in the spot light.

7.  Flex for Analyticals.  Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.  Make sure you do your homework and be ready to prove your point.  Provide specific examples and stay away from sweeping generalizations. Analyticals need time and space to think and reflect.  Don’t expect an answer or action until they have had time to really process the information.

I realize this is much easier said than done.  I’ve been using these strategies for over fifteen years, and I still have to practice and work at it.  The hardest part of this process is remembering that regardless of how you view the situation, you won’t get what you need until you view if from the other person’s point of view.

This topic always generates fun and thought provoking questions.  Leave a comment with your question, and I’ll answer it!

Next week, we’ll jump into additional ways to transform your relationships and your life.  Make it a great week!

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