David Klaasen's Blog (100)

When Rapport is not enough

While rapport is very important, sometimes it is not enough.  By listening carefully to the words people use to express themselves we can identify a number of motivational traits that can help us to understand, predict and influence the behaviour of others. 

Too many communication seminars or trainings focus on rapport. They are often full of exercises about body language, voice tone and pace and the frequently misquoted research by Mehrabian; that the meaning of communication is 55%…


Added by David Klaasen on September 12, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Do you have the crucial skill for the 21st Century?

While there is some talk of recovery there are still lots of economic traps ahead.  Success in today’s workplace is not only about your level of skill and competence; it’s about how quickly you can recover from setbacks and learn from mistakes . . . 

It’s about developing resilience. 

More businesses fail as an economy comes out of recession than during its peak because they are stripped to the bone and don’t have the resources or skills to cope with growth or unexpected…


Added by David Klaasen on September 5, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Can you let go to grow?

Why do so many senior people struggle to delegate key tasks even when they know they are limiting growth by being the bottleneck in their business?  The latest scientific evidence shows that it’s not only down to skill, it’s our brain getting in the way.  There is always a lot more to be done in a day than you can achieve by yourself and the key to success is knowing what to let go of.  But letting go creates uncertainty and your brain hates uncertainty almost more than anything…


Added by David Klaasen on August 22, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

What level of thinking are you encouraging in your people?

We are facing an unprecedented crisis in workplace motivation.  Only the businesses that are quick to learn and adapt will survive and thrive in the current economic climate.  Survey after survey is showing that the majority of people are disengaged at work and are delivering well below their best efforts.  But we now have an opportunity to use a more creative management approach – by utilising below conscious motivation patterns.    



Added by David Klaasen on August 15, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Are you winning or losing?

Do you ever feel people aren’t listening to you – especially when you know you are right?  Well consider this; when you decide you are right the other person must be wrong, which means you are probably not listening to them!  It’s interesting to see that whenever a contentious issue is being discussed, people seem to put more effort into being ‘right’ than finding a solution that will benefit the business.  In their determination to be heard and to score points they don’t listen to one…


Added by David Klaasen on August 8, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Are you too certain to learn?

The ability to rapidly learn and apply new ways of working is the key to business success, especially in our knowledge-based economy.  The dramatic changes in technology are leaving some senior people stranded as they struggle to manage the vast amounts of information required to run a successful business.  But there is also something else that can inhibit your ability to learn. 

Developing strategies to sort the wheat from the chaff is a whole new skill that needs to be acquired.  We…


Added by David Klaasen on July 25, 2013 at 17:00 — No Comments

How to avoid Silly Mistakes

Dealing With Increasing Complexity

In a world of ever-increasing complexity it is becoming very difficult to maintain high standards and control mistakes, especially the silly ones that seem to be repeated, even by competent people.  There is a surprisingly simple answer to this fundamental problem that many businesses suffer from.  But very few people want to implement it because it offends their ego. 

On the 30th October…


Added by David Klaasen on July 17, 2013 at 18:30 — No Comments

Is ‘Captainitis’ getting the better of you?

No one really likes to be challenged but it is sometimes very dangerous to have everyone around you agree with you.  If you don’t encourage your people to challenge you the results can be fatal . . . 

Take for example the following exchange taken from the flight recorder of Air Florida flight 90 just before it fell into the icy Potomac River near Washington DC, in 1982. 

Co-Pilot:  Let’s check the ice on those tops [wings] again since we’ve been sitting here a…


Added by David Klaasen on July 11, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

Are you empowering your people or just exerting your power?

There is a lot of talk these days about empowerment yet very few managers actually do it because they seem to be more concerned with exerting their own power. This is understandable because power can be addictive and it takes courage, faith and belief to let go and truly empower others.  How effectively are you empowering your team? 

You are probably familiar with the ancient proverb “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”; it is interesting to note how the latest…


Added by David Klaasen on July 4, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

How proficient are your people?

As a senior manager you probably have very high levels of awareness and technical expertise in your chosen field.  You can effortlessly make decisions that actually require reflecting on your vast experience, and sorting through millions of mental maps with various levels of complexity.  But what about your people?  What level are they at and what are the steps they need to take to get to the next level?  What are the steps you need to take to help them? 

As I reflect on my first…


Added by David Klaasen on June 27, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

Are you getting the tension just right?

You can only control that of which you are aware, that of which you are unaware controls you.  Awareness is very empowering but we often neglect it because we are too busy; addicted to the urgency of crises and fire fighting.  But there is another way . . .

We clutter and overload our prefrontal cortex (the part of our brain that we use to think about stuff) with urgent things like mistakes and errors of others, deadlines and client calls.  These issues give us plenty of excuses for…


Added by David Klaasen on June 20, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Are you giving negative instructions? (and programming people to deliver what you DON'T want?)

It can be frustrating when people don’t do what they are supposed to do and yet many managers unwittingly make things worse by emphasising what they don’t want rather than what they want.  The science has proven that this only perpetuates the problems because the brain can’t ‘not think about things’. 

If I ask you not to think about work, what happens?  If I say “Don’t think of white bears” what do you notice about what you are thinking about?  In 1989 Daniel Wegner and others…


Added by David Klaasen on June 6, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

How are you Unlocking Performance?

Reject Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom says “Treat others as you would like to be treated” and yet this is the root cause of most performance problems and communication challenges in the workplace (not to mention personal relationships!).  In a massive study of managers who were leading high performance teams, researchers Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman discovered that great managers have very little in common.  However, they all…


Added by David Klaasen on May 30, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Why some people can’t take a hint

The most frustrating thing about communication is that it is never good enough. There is always someone who will get the wrong end of the stick; they will choose to interpret what you're saying in a completely different way than what you intend, or they simply won’t take a hint.  It’s all about below conscious motivation and once you know what to look for you can become even more effective. 

Expert communicators will always take responsibility for what they are saying and what gets…


Added by David Klaasen on May 23, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

Selecting for Talent

Imagine everyone on the planet simultaneously getting in contact with 150,000 other people.  This is what is actually happening with each of the neurons in the brain of a young child.  Scientists now know that by the age of three there are up to fifteen thousand connections for each of the one hundred billion neurons in our brain.  Not surprisingly this is far too much information to cope with, so we have developed a way of making sense of it all.  Our own unique sense of it!  During the…


Added by David Klaasen on May 16, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

What is the Key to better understanding?

Relationships can be the most exciting part of business especially when you meet a new client who not only really needs your product, service or expertise but wants it because they feel you understand them and the issues they face. But relationships can also be the most challenging part of our lives. The more you look at all the claims going through Employment Tribunals, the more you find that about 95% of them have the breakdown of a relationship as the initial cause of the…


Added by David Klaasen on May 9, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Are you interviewing or being interviewed?

Recruiting good people is not easy, they are usually gainfully employed.  However, when they are available many businesses squander the opportunity to get them on board due to lack of structure and organisation. Applying a few simple techniques can make you highly attractive to the best candidates. 

Sadly, many Small and Medium sized businesses (and a surprising number of bigger corporates) lack effective recruitment and selection processes.  Many Directors and Managers just want a…


Added by David Klaasen on May 2, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

Do you have Inspired Working Relationships?

Almost every problem at work boils down to the quality of relationships.  This can range from the relationships we have with shareholders and clients to the relationships we have with our line manager, colleagues and those who report to us, but it also includes our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with our work. 

It could even be said that “The level of success we achieve at work is in direct proportion to the quality of our relationships”.  There are four cylinders…


Added by David Klaasen on April 25, 2013 at 18:30 — No Comments

Break the Rules!

It’s excellent managers – not pay, benefits, perks or a charismatic leader – that are critical to building a strong, high performing workplace.   Great managers are not only catalysts and translators, they consistently break the rules of conventional wisdom! 

Despite the hundreds of thousands of books on the subject, nobody really knows what being a good manager is any more, and the flat-structure and re-engineering brigades don’t seem to care.  Conventional wisdom tells us that the…


Added by David Klaasen on April 18, 2013 at 18:30 — No Comments

Relationships or Results – What’s your Focus?

Is work about getting results no matter what?  Or is it the quality of working relationships that really leads to success?  We each have deep motivational preferences that drive our behaviour and focus our attention.  If they are neglected or ignored they can lead to problems that undermine understanding and success.  

I was recently listening to a misunderstanding between two Directors.  One of them, let’s call her Linda, was frustrated by a particular member of staff not achieving…


Added by David Klaasen on April 11, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

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