Make Candor a Priority

by Judith Glaser

When Bayer, a $7 billion multinational pharmaceutical company, acquired a smaller $300 million diagnostic company, Rolf Classon the CEO, chose to call it a “merger.”

Power-with Others
He wanted to immediately establish a “power-with others” relationship with the new organization. I was part of a consulting team who facilitated a multi-day vision, values, and leadership session to help the leadership team create the new direction for the culture and the business.

“We are becoming one company,” Rolf told the top hundred people from both companies at their kickoff meeting. He went on to convey that he wanted to set new ground rules for working collaboratively in a new environment in which “together we can create something that never existed before.”

The executives discussed changes that needed to be made in the organization to maximize the new partnership. Then they broke into smaller teams to craft the new vision and values, with the intent of reporting their insights to the larger executive team.

When the executives reconvened, a spirit of trust and collaboration had clearly emerged. They had worked together to create a vision of shared success and in doing so released a new sense of hope for the future.   

Rolf once again stood before the group and asked, “How many of you have been through a visioning session before?” Everyone raised his or her hand.

“How many of you have left those sessions and returned to the workplace, only to find that nothing had changed?” Mostly everyone raised his or hand. He then declared, “For us to be successful as an organization, we need to realize that we can’t create the organization we want without making fundamental changes in ourselves.”

Candor Opens a New Door to the Future
As the event unfolded, something magical occurred. Rolf, by his example, taught the executives the true meaning of leadership. “Change begins inside each person. So I want to let you know that over the past few days I have been looking at what I’ve been doing to unknowingly prevent change from taking place.

“I’ve discovered at least sixteen things I want to change about myself! Here are my top three: my arrogance, my control, and my lack of trust.

“At lunch I want you each to think about what change means to you, and what you can do personally to inspire your own growth. After lunch I want to hear from my top executives — from the podium — expressing their personal insights.”

The CEO allowed himself to be as transparent and vulnerable as he had ever been in his life when he acknowledged the personal work he needed to do to make this merger a success. As he left behind his flaws so did the other executives, which made room for cooperation and partnership to grow.

Rolf continued his talk about the future. He engaged others in conversations about the “big challenges” and the “big picture.” The key was creating a shared context for change. By setting the stage in this way, he enabled others to find a common ground on which to build the future.  The Bayer merger became the most successful in the company’s history. 

Candor Unlocks Culture Change and Transformation in Organizations

Through our research and client projects over the past decade, we have identified that candor is the behavior that best predicts high performing teams and the single most important success factor in transformation and change. Organizations that exhibit high levels of candor produce the highest and most successful performing teams.

Here are 5 ways to elevate every day – and experience a release in the capacity to create and sustain change, growth and transformation: 

By setting the context for candor throughout all of your leadership interactions, you level the playing field. You set the tone for people to be candid with each other – and candor leader to trust. I trust you have my back – I trust your intentions – I trust you care. Power and hierarchy become less important than the results colleagues can create together through trust, honesty and teamwork. 

Neuro-tip: Candor, truth and trust
While the words – candor, trust and trust – are different, the meaning of these words activate the same networks in our brain. When we display the Prefrontal Cortex, our Executive Brain. This network opens the power of the Executive functions, such as strategic thinking, empathy, foresight, intuition, good judgment and handling uncertainty with less fear. So candor plays a role in elevating our capacity to work through difficult challenges with others – a core activity for change and transformation in organizations.

Candor is a door to tapping wisdom and for discovering new ways to handle the challenges we face when stakes are high and uncertainty abounds. As Rolf Classon discovered – by setting the stage for candor with his top 200 executives – he created a comfort zone for others in his team to lead with candor – elevating trust and the organizational potential for higher levels of personal, team and organizational success during the biggest transformation Bayer ever embarked upon.

CANDOR AND TRUST Are the Fabric of a Healthy Culture

Here are 5 things you can do, as a Leader of Change, to elevate candor and TRUST as the foundation for healthy conversations in your organization.

Success Factor #1: Elevate Candor and elevate Transparency and Trust 

Our brain is highly sensitive to reading signals of friend or foe as we interact. In .07 seconds we can tell if someone is telling us the truth and when they do we label them friend and our whole mindset reconfigures to allow us to engage more deeply. Being candid sends signal we will be open transparent in our conversations, and therefore we can trust each other to had our back. These decisions are built into our hardwiring and take place in Nano-seconds and elevate the quality of our conversations.

Success Factor #2: Elevate Candor and Deepen Relationships 

When we learn how to be candid with others, we engage at a deeper level of connectivity. Our brain radiates energy, and the energy of connection is more powerful than any other, yet we can’t access this unless we feel safe. Being candid and focusing our candor on enhancing our relationship – such as telling the truth about who we are, or helping build relationships before focusing on task – shows we value others and want to build on each others strengthens. These decisions take place in Nano-seconds and elevate the quality of our conversations and our relationships.

Success Factor #3: Elevate Candor and Deepen Understanding 

When we learn how to be candid, we are able to step into each other’s world, and understand each other’s perspectives rather than feeling we need to defend our own. The need to be right is and addiction which gets stronger when we are uncertain of where we stand. When we learn to deepen our connectivity by focusing on understanding others intentions, dreams, and aspirations – we communicate we have their best interest at heart. Our Prefrontal Cortex and Heart connection actually strengthen physiologically – and the quality of our conversations escalates – magnifying our ability to achieve greater results with others.

Success Factor #4: Elevate Candor and Build Shared Success 

When we learn how to be candid, we are able to spend more time exploring what success looks like with others – not just my success – our shared success. Rather than focusing on ‘my needs’ – I am able to build a new world view that combines yours and mine in ways we would never have thought about it before. We know that our Executive Brain – our Prefrontal Cortex – has the capacity to literally build holograms of the future – when we are open enough to access this human capacity – we join our best thinking into one new world view with Shared Success as the outcome. 

Success Factor #5: Elevate Candor and Elevate Courage to tell the truth 

When we learn how to be candid, we elevate our courage to step up, and speak out. Human beings need to share what is on their mind. When we mask the truth, or avoid the truth, or when we avoid difficult conversations our body chemistry shifts. The word disease is ‘dis-ease’ and it’s a chemical discomfort that blocks the vital instincts for growth. Finding ways to be candid and caring at the same creates the healthy space for truth telling while strengthening relationships with others.

Candor is One Act that Changes Everything

Learning to have healthy conversations is the most fundamental and vital skills of a transformational leader. As Rolf Classon learned when he stepped up and stepped out of his own fear, and stepped forward to connect with his team through candor. Make candor a priority and open the door to business success.  On some levels, we human beings are very simple. We turn to those who make us feel good and we turn away from those who make us feel bad. Finding comfort from people who care about us is a healthy strategy. Learning to down-regulate fear at work and up-regulate the factors that stimulate growth is a winning strategy for success is a game changer.


Judith GlaserJudith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of the best selling book, “Conversational Intelligence” (Bibliomotion, 2013), an Organizational Anthropologist and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Visit her at creatingwe.com; conversationalintelligence.com or contact her at jeglaser@creatingwe.com. Follow Judith on Twitter @CreatingWE or connect with her on Facebook.

HED: Increasing Sales Leads Through Social Media Listening Tools

by Jeffrey Hayzlett

by Jeffrey Hayzlett

There’s an old saying in the sales business that I firmly believe in, “Go where your customers are.” Nowadays, your customers are frequenting one place in particular above anywhere else, and that place is social media. Never before has it been easier for customers to get in touch with a business—and actually get a reply back—but thanks to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, a simple comment to a company can elicit a response in a matter of seconds. Which is great for customers, but for salespeople, who already have a million tasks on their plates on any given day, sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to carve time out of their busy schedules to communicate with customers via social media. If you’re not working for a large corporation with its own internal social media department, oftentimes either you or someone else on your team is stuck with the task of managing social media accounts. But before you complain, hear me out. Social media is a great resource for increasing your sales leads. And the best part is that there are dozens of social media listening tools out there that make it easy to stay on top of your accounts. However, before I get into how social media can increase sales leads, let me first mention a couple social media listening tools that I use daily that I think could be beneficial to you, too. 

1. Google Alerts

At one time, this was one of the only social media listening tool available, and even today, it’s by far one of the easiest to use. Basically, using Google, you set up a keyword search or alert for any topic that interests you, from specific companies to subjects you enjoy following. Every time something is published online relating to your selections, you’ll receive a message in your Gmail inbox with a link. One alert that I highly recommend is your own name. Sure, it may sound a little bit vain and Kardashian-esque, but in all honesty, it’s far from it. Google Alerts is a great way for me to be notified every time one of my articles or blog posts go live, as well as a good resource for when I’m mentioned in other people’s articles.

2. Hootsuite

It feels like every day there’s a new social media platform launching, it can be time consuming to have to post to each one of them separately, let alone keep track of postings. This is especially the case if you’re managing social media for a company. That’s where Hootsuite comes in. Hootsuite works across 35 social networks and lets you schedule postings for different times of the day, monitor feedback from your posts, and receive in-depth analytics across all of your platforms. If you need to be everywhere at once, this is the listening tool for you.

So now that you know a little bit more about social media listening tools, how can they help increase sales leads? There are a few ways:

• They can help you find new leads. Like I mentioned earlier, never before has it been easier for customers and companies to connect, than now. Sure, back in the day a customer could stroll into your store to make a purchase and you could have a face-to-face conversation, but thanks to technology, this kind of sale seems downright archaic. Rather, customers are relying on the Internet to make purchases via e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, and I’m willing to bet that this mega corporation wooed many a customer away from its competitors by using social media as opposed to traditional advertising methods like newspaper or radio ads.

• They can help fine-tune your pitch. Say you sent out a tweet that had a particularly successful response rate. The reason you know this is because you’ve been tracking your analytics on Hootsuite or a similar tool. Once you have a better understanding of why this tweet garnered so many replies, you can apply a similar strategy to future tweets. For example, in my own experience, I’ve found that tweets structured as questions have proven successful, because they encourage people to reply back with an answer.

• They can help you solve customer’s complaints. Perhaps one of your customers is unsatisfied with your company, or product, and they posted a scathing review on a site like Yelp. Unless you’re scanning Yelp on a daily basis, most likely you may never see this person’s review. But with a social media listening tool like Google Alerts, their complaint will find its way into your inbox and you’ll be quicker to reply to help solve the issue, and hopefully salvage your relationship in the process. As a customer, there’s nothing worse than not having your concerns heard, but by sending a (polite and professional) reply, you’re one step ahead of the game.

• They can help you check out your competitors. While you’re setting up a Google Alert for your company, take a second to make one for your closest competitor, too. This way you can stay on top of any social media campaigns they roll out, and maybe even learn a thing or too that you can apply to your own accounts.

Now, tell me, what are some ways that you’ve used social media listening tools to your advantage as a salesperson?

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television and radio host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, FacebookLinkedInGoogle+ or www.hayzlett.com.

When You Start Saying These 3 Things to Yourself, It’s Time for a Change

by Steve Rizzo

When work and life is out of balance, you might have a conversation in your head that sounds something like this:

I love my job, but it hurts that I am missing out on valuable time with my kids, time that I know I will never get back. I am going to have to occasionally leave early so that I can have more time for them. When I get home too late, I know that I missed out on something very special. And I don’t like going to bed feeling guilty.

I’m tired of taking my job home with me. I need a weekend off from work, without interruption. I want to be able to do what I want—read a book, listen to music, work in my garden, sleep. I miss this part of myself—and I’m taking it back.

My spiritual reservoir is on “empty.” Taking time to commune with nature is important to me, and I barely have time to meditate or to appreciate a sunrise or sunset the way I used to. I guess I just got caught up. Yes I’m successful, but I don’t feel fulfilled. I have to bring that sacred part of me back to myself. I deserve to be happy on all levels.

Sound familiar?

There’s no doubt we are living in a world so fast-paced that it’s easy to get lost and misplace our feelings and values.

A value can be something tangible or intangible that we esteem highly—like family, freedom, spirituality, health, goodness, playfulness, self-sufficiency, time to spend as we like, and so on.

Your personal and professional lives are individual parts of you that make up the whole of you. And if you put most of your time and energy on just one, you run the risk of leaving the other unfulfilled.

So when our jobs consume us, our souls pay the price. Of course, it is important to love what we are doing for a living. It is essential that we devote quality time toward our job and do our work with excellence. The problem arises when what we do for a living interferes with our other precious core values.

These cherished values are sacred parts of us that need to be experienced and expressed. They give us self-worth. If we ignore them for too long, it leads to unhappiness, regardless of how prestigious your profession is, how much money you make or how successful you think you are.

When you have conversations like these in your head, it’s a sign that things must change—and it is up to you to change them.

When you finally become aware that your job is interfering with other important parts of yourself, you can begin searching for ways to create more balance in your life.

The result of living aligned with all your values is pure and simple happiness—increased peace of mind, self-respect and a sense of fulfillment. Now that’s what I call nourishing your soul!

*This post originally appeared on Success.com


JVI_0469j-webSteve Rizzo is more than a Funny Motivational Speaker. Don’t let the laughter fool you! What Steve brings to the table is his captivating ability to engage the attendees with laughter as he challenges them to SHIFT their focus and way of thinking to discover greater enthusiasm, increased productivity and new levels of success. Recognizing difficult situations don’t cause us to fail or be unhappy, but rather our negative thoughts and beliefs about the situations, Steve has been Adjusting Attitudes in organizations throughout the world such as AT&T, Prudential, State Farm, LaQuinta, and even the CIA (yes, he even had them laughing!) since 1994.
Find him on Twitter @RealSteveRizzo, Facebook at Riz’s Biz Steve Rizzo, LinkedIn and Google+.

Remember the famous TV show, “All in the Family?”

by Dr. Tony Alessandra

“Edith do you know why I can’t communicate? Because I’m talking in English and you’re listening in dingbat!” Well, maybe Archie Bunker could benefit from learning how to communicate in “dingbat”! Then, he could mentally change places with Edith to understand her expectations instead of just his own.

Every day I face the potential for conflict or success with different types of people. Conflicts are inevitable, but the outcome from how you handle dissension is much more controllable. At the very least, you can manage your end of it. You can choose to treat somebody from his perspective, the way he wants to be treated by modifying your own behavior; or you can choose to meet only your own needs – facing consequences such as dissatisfaction, frustration, confusion and distress. It’s up to you.

Modify your spots

“Modify my behavior? Hey, I don’t want to change! And I hate phonies!”

I’m not talking about changing a leopard into an elephant. I mean acting in a sensible, successful way. When someone wants to move at a faster pace, move at that pace. If others want more facts and details, provide them.

But wait? Isn’t it phony to act in a way that isn’t natural for you? I think acting in a way that is responsive to Japanese behavior patterns in a Japanese environment is more likely to be appreciated and accepted there. The result is greater success! It helps dispel the stereotype that has been associated with some tourists who “act themselves” and expect others to do likewise. Of course, anything that’s new feels strange at first, until you get more comfortable with it through repeated practice.

People learn to become more adaptable through education, experience, and maturity. We simply have to allow the opportunity for appropriate behaviors to surface. As I’ve mentioned, if you’re able to put yourself in the other person’s position, you become more open-minded in dealing with him or her. When you understand the way the other person feels comfortable communicating, you can modify your approach to get on the same wavelength. You haven’t changed your own natural behavior. You’ve merely added to it additional consciously learned, behavioral insights and strengths for dealing with different types of people and situations. The best part is that people will teach you how to communicate with them if you’re willing to learn their signals by “reading” and then appropriately responding to them.

Four styles with a difference

Today’s Information Age features dozens of models of our behavioral differences. But they all have one common thread – the grouping of behavior into four categories.

Most explanations of behavioral styles have focused on internal characteristics leading to external behaviors. My model focuses on patterns of observable, external behaviors that each style shows to the rest of the world. Because we can see and hear these external behaviors, it makes it much easier for us to “read” people. Therefore, my model is simple, practical, easy to remember and use, and extremely accurate. My model divides people into four natural, core behavioral types:

  • Dominant Directors: Firm and forceful, confident and competitive, decisive and determined risk-takers. While their impatience sometimes causes eyes to roll, the Directors leave no doubt who sits at the head of the table.
  • Influencing Socializers: Outgoing, optimistic, enthusiastic people who like to be at the center of things. Socializers have many ideas and love to talk, especially about themselves.
  • Steady Relaters: Genial team players who like stability more than risk and who care greatly about relationships with others. They are likable but sometimes too timid and slow to change.
  • Conscientious Thinkers: Self-controlled and cautious, preferring analysis over emotion. They love clarity and order but may come across as a bit starchy.

So. . . which style are you?


Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedDr. Tony Alessandra earned his PhD in marketing (1976) & has authored 31 books & 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) & Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame (2010). He is also the CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips coaches, trainers and consultants with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account. Interested in one of these assessment accounts, fill out THIS FORM. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.