I find there are two core “rules” or “guidelines” I see myself reminding myself and those around me of regularly, which are among the longer list of what I’ll refer to as “guidelines for peaceful co-existence”. These are some base principles which, when applied, can lead to reduced internal worry/struggle, and a generally more peaceful outlook towards external stimulus. These also work hand in hand with the approach to self-coaching I shared previously.
“One cannot control another person, and other people cannot control us”
“Everyone out there, including oneself, can do anything one wishes to do”
In short, stop trying to control others, and don’t let others control you. Even though all actions have consequences, there is nothing stopping anyone from doing exactly whatever they want, whenever they want.
Coaching is something that one can spend one’s entire life trying to understand in new and different ways. Each person experiences coaching differently, whether or not they’ve ever actually been coached. Someone who says “I don’t need coaching” has experienced coaching, without actually being coached.
A coach is a person who is available to hear what’s on your mind, and to be a sounding board to help you to work through your own thoughts and feelings about something. The coach isn’t there to solve your problems for you. This, I believe, is a fundamental understanding one has to embrace when discussing coaching.
What happens when my coach isn’t available? How do I work through what’s on my mind? Enter self-coaching.
We live in a very busy world. As small as we’re perceiving our world to be in many ways (eg: communicating across the globe in an instant, being able to keep track of friends and family regardless of their location, getting instant insight into the worlds of others, and sharing insights from within our own world), the inherent busy-ness of our world is almost undeniable… yet we don’t always acknowledge this cost we’re incurring, in exchange for these “luxuries”.
A large part of this, for me, is this sense of having to “keep track” of multiple channels. These, in essence, all function the same way; “receive messages”, “process messages”, “send messages”. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately, and want to begin applying a stricter approach to how I deal with my various “inboxes”, and defining what my list of inboxes looks like.
I recently “took the plunge” and removed the Facebook app from my mobile phone. Frankly, I’d read simply too much about Facebook “listening in”, and decided it was time to curb this habit and see what happened. What happened next was enlightening, and sparked an interest in how to slowly curb this mindless habit.
Every so often, I hear a story which makes no sense. “We put a huge popup banner on our website, and our sales increased by 15%”, “we slowed down our website, and our sales funnel converted 2% better”. While these sentences may make technical sense, they’re odd to wrap one’s brain around, as they shouldn’t make sense. To me, this comes down to a delta between doing what works and the customer’s experience overall with your store, brand, and/or product.
I’ve heard semi-regularly that, as South Africans, we tend to not be very direct in our communications. For example, we may say something like “you may not want to do that”, when what we really mean is “don’t do that”. This sounds small, yet has a definite snowball effect. Changing this approach is something I’ve committed to changing in late 2017 and now in 2018. It’s a little trickier than I originally thought, and takes constant management, yet the rewards are significant.
“Jobs to be Done” is a framework often used for making effective product decisions. The intention is to understand what your customer is “hiring” your product to do. For example, we hire our email client (Outlook, Gmail, etc) to provide clear and easy access to our email. If that ever stops happening, we’d hire a different app to do the same job. I like to equate the “job to be done” with the “expectation of an outcome”. In many cases, performing service successfully hinges itself on a specific expectation and outcome.
Getting this right, to me, is the key to successful customer relations, and gives a nice amount of free public relations benefits in the process (tl;dr: customers love your company).
I’m someone who enjoys gathering as much information as possible on a topic, as I enjoy the context. Practically, this often translates to picking up a new podcast (for example) and starting right at the beginning (even if there are hundreds of episodes). I feel this helps to provide context for where the podcast began, how it has evolved, and the knowledge and experiences gained along the way.
In many spheres of life, we often spend a lot of time analyzing and focusing on who/what we perceive as “our competition”. This can be in business, in social circles, and almost anywhere. I believe there’s always room for one more, and competition can actually be very healthy for everyone involved.
As I write this, I’m sitting at a Bootlegger Coffee Company in Cape Town. Bootlegger opened up almost out of nowhere, with a few stores across Cape Town, in a style reminiscent of a Starbucks (dark leather, good coffee, free WiFi, and a food menu). This is not too dissimilar to other coffee companies in Cape Town; Seattle Coffee Company (I wonder how they came up with that name), Mugg ‘n Bean, and Vida e Caffe. When Bootlegger first opened, I heard two main schools of thought; “how are they going to survive as a business” and “this looks really exciting, yet it’s nothing new”.
When making decisions, I’ve found it can be quite easy to get into a “bikeshedding” scenario, where the deciding parties lose track of the actual decision to be made. This can be internal, or within a group. Something I’ve found particularly useful and interesting recently is to acknowledge what we already know and how we already feel, as a way of helping the decision to progress to the next step (towards ultimately deciding).