Monday, June 27, 2011

Are We Willing to Focus on Others?

Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time

Are we willing to focus on others?  That is the "connection" question John Maxwell uses to organize the second section of his book Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.  The "connection question" is made up of 6 principles which explore ways to focus on others and their needs instead of oneself.  In doing so, you become more desirable to others and build stronger relationships.

The Big Picture Principle:
"The entire population of the world- with one minor exception- is composed of others."
To break self-centered or self-serving behavior, focus on the big picture, which requires three things:
  1. Perspective- There are billions of people in this world who will never know you.  Most of them have needs far greater than yours.
  2. Maturity- Most people hit a stage in life where they feel unfulfilled and desire for more meaning in their life.  The key to finding meaning is to use your strengths to serve others.
  3. Responsibility- Entering a marriage or leadership position will expose ones' maturity and sense of responsibility.  Maxwell says that good leaders: put others first, serve others, take responsibility, are a good example, give others credit, and mend relationships.

The Exchange Principle:
"Instead of putting others in their place.  We must put ourselves in their place."
The two key elements of this principle are perspective and empathy.  Here are ways you can make the exchange:
  • See others in a positive light and give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Get to know others by listening to their concerns, studying their culture or job, finding out their interests, visiting their home, or simply just asking questions!
  • Work to find the legitimacy in another person's viewpoint and acknowledge their valid point.
  • During times of conflict, work to see the similarities in others' viewpoints instead of the differences.  Don't focus on trying to win.

The Learning Principle:

"Each person we meet has the potential to teach us something if we have the right attitude."
  • We need many mentors.  It is impossible to learn everything from one person.
  • No one is too old, too smart, or too successful to learn something new.
  • Be passionate about learning, don't fall into an idle comfort zone, keep stretching yourself.
  • See the value in other people.  I recently met a woman with incredible wisdom who could easily be overlooked based on her physical appearance.
  • Surround yourself with people who will help you grow.
  • Look for people's uniqueness and strengths, then ask questions.
  • In order to show growth, there must be a change.

The Charisma Principle:
"People are interested in the person who is interested in them."
A Sanguine is a great example of a charismatic person.  Even if this isn't your temperament, there are 6 things you can do that will attract others.
  1. Show a genuine interest in others.
  2. Light up your face with a smile and draw people in.
  3. Make an effort to remember names and call people by their name.
  4. Encourage others to talk about themselves and be a good listener.
  5. Build conversations with others based on their interests.
  6. Go out of your way to sincerely make other people feel important.

The Number 10 Principle"
"Believing the best in people usually brings out the best of people."
Believe that each person you encounter is a 10.  Here is why:
  • All people have potential and can achieve it if they just believe in themselves.
  • Believing in others encourages them and brings out the best.
  • Everyone wants their life to matter and wants to feel significant.
  • When you help or believe in one person, it overflows to others.
  • Seeing others in a positive light makes your day more positive.

The Confrontation Principle:
"Caring for people should precede confronting people."
Nobody likes confrontation so most people try avoid it, however it's impossible.  Generally, if conflict isn't dealt with quickly and correctly, it just compounds!

Here is Maxwell's list of unhealthy approaches to handling conflict:
  • Win at all costs
  • Pretend it doesn't exist
  • Whine about it
  • Keep score
  • Pull rank
  • White flag it

Here is Maxwell's 6 step plan to healthy conflict resolution:
  1. Only confront someone if you care for the other person.  Keep the other persons interests in mind and try to make the outcome a win-win situation.
  2. To resolve a situation, meet together face-to-face as soon as possible.  Avoiding the issues or putting off a situation will just make it worse.  If a personal meeting is absolutely impossible, then use the phone but Maxwell says to never resolve conflict via email.
  3. Preconceived notions can cloud your judgement.  Your first goal should be to seek understanding, not necessarily agreement.
  4. Outline the issue causing conflict using a positive approach.  Describe your perceptions without making conclusions or statements.  Express clearly how the issue makes you feel without accusations.  Explain why the issue is important to you.
  5. Encourage a genuine response and truly listen.  Maxwell says that 50% of the time people don't even realize there is a problem, 30% of the time they knew there was a problem but didn't know how to solve it, and 20% realize there is a problem but don't want to resolve it.
  6. Agree on a positive action plan which focuses on change and the future.

The third organizational question Maxwell uses is the "Trust Question:  Can we build mutual trust?"  By following me on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribing to the blog, you'll get notified when I share the five principles from the third question in Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.  You can check out my first post on this book where I discussed the "readiness question" and it's five principles by clicking on this post:  Are We Prepared For Relationships?

WOW!  Maxwell's book is only $5.51 through Amazon today!  The list price is $14.99, that is a 63% savings.  I highly recommend picking up your own copy of this easy to read book!  Don't forget you can get free two-day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime.  Get a Prime account for free through Amazon mom.  See my post: Amazon Mom for more information.