Idea #71 Fables for the 21 century

Do it When your want to talk about desirable characteristics in your company.  Aesop’s Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. Every fable has a story in which characters of the people are personified in animals. In addition, every fable has its morale and because of that fables are told to the children while they were building their value systems. I think that nowadays fables should be used in companies to build value system of the organizations.  Divide your participants in small groups and in each group tell them to find 3 characteristics that are totally unacceptable in your organization. After that, tell them to reverse those characteristics and find 3 positive. Now, for each characteristic they have to find one animal that will represent it. After that each group just has to make its unique fable. To make it more interesting each group will make a drawing about its fable. In the end, read them all and show the morale of each fable. While preparing the workshop for my group, 3 fables came to my mind. Here is the first one.
A Midnight rooster
Every morning a rooster was first to wake up in the farm announcing to all other animals that the new day had come. But the young hens had some new habits. They liked to sleep late in the morning. So they made a cunning plan. The young hens came to the rooster with a story that he had an extraordinary voice and that he should try to sing during the night for them. The rooster was flattered and he accepted to make them serenades during the nights. The poor rooster was caught in a trap to sing all night long, so he couldn’t wake up in the morning. The farmer noticed that there was something wrong with the rooster, so he killed and fried him.
Morale of the fable: Do your job properly no matter what “young chicks” will tell you to do.
cut-out-1901284_1280Now coaching questions for you:
1. Think about your life. Dedicate one animal to all 8 areas of your life. What animals will you choose? The areas are: Physical Environment, Career, Money, Health, Romance, Friends / Family, Personal Growth and Fun / Recreation.
2. Make stories for all 8 animals.
3. What would you suggest to each animal?
Thank you for sharing your ideas!

Idea #67 Are Salesman born or made?

Lets hear another story for sales force. The kids filed back into class Monday morning. They were very excited. Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on productive salesmanship.
Little Mary led off: “I sold girl scout cookies and I made $30,” she said proudly, “my sales approach was to appeal to the customer’s civil spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success.”
“Very good,” said the teacher.
Little Sally was next: “I sold magazines,” she said, “I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them abreast of current events.”
“Very good, Sally,” said the teacher.
Eventually, it was Little Johnny’s turn. The teacher held her breath. Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher’s desk “$2,467,” he said.
“$2,467,” cried the teacher, “what in the world were you selling?”
“Tooth brushes,” said Little Johnny. “Tooth brushes,” echoed the teacher, “how could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?”
“I found the busiest corner in town,” said Little Johnny. “I set up a Chip and Dip stand. I gave everybody who walked by a sample. They all said the same thing… ‘Hey, this tastes like s**t!’
Then I would say, “It is s**t.  Wanna buy a toothbrush?”
Now coaching questions for you:
1. What makes you think that sales people are born?
2. What sales skills that could be learned?
3. Write down your personal improvement in last year in each skill!
4. In which skill you made the biggest improvement?
5. How do you explain that improvement?
6. Knowing that answer, how could you make such improvement in other skills?
7. What will motivate you to succeed in that effort?
Thank you for sharing your ideas!

Idea #66 Do your Best At All Times!

Do it When you have to discuss with employees why to do their best now. An old carpenter was getting ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. The employer contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He restored to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.” What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well. So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way; reacting rather than acting, willing to build less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently. Think about this while going through your everyday life. Don’t regret not giving your best later. Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today. Make good ones, and do your best at all times!
Now, questions for you:
1. How can you show your clients that you deliver service to them like you would deliver it to yourself?
2. What company slogan is appropriate to show mentioned dedication to work?
3. If this story has no positive results what are the other ideas that will be appropriate?

Idea #55 What we have learned from donkeys

Do it When you train team building. First tell them a story: Once upon a time there were two donkeys that were tied together. They both wanted to eat off the bushes but the rope wasn’t long enough. They both really wanted to eat but they just couldn’t reach,so they just pulled and pulled hoping that the rope would stretch but it wouldn’t. Because they couldn’t reach,the donkey just sat and tried to think of a way to eat? Then one suddenly clicked and said “now that we are friends why don’t we just stand next to each other and take turns”. They decided they’d eaten all they could from the other bush, so they moved to the next one and carried on all day.
Now, ask each of  them to write a list of things that he/she will do for other members of the team. The employee with the longest list will receive a prize.
Make smaller prizes for all members of the team.

Now, coaching questions for you:
1. Imagine that you can help your team members in the way that is the most valuable for them. What would it be?
2. Why is that so important for them?
3. Why is that so important to you?
4. By providing them with your help how beneficial will your team be?
5. How would you know that your help is beneficial?
6. What would you do to make your help even more valuable?
7. What will the full action plan for your help be like?
8. How are you going to commit yourself to those action steps?
We know that nothing can stop you from helping your colleagues.
Thank you for sharing your ideas!

Idea #41 Where to put effort

Do it when you want to point to the participants the importance of putting effort in the right point. This is story about giant ship that has suffered engine malfunction and was tightened on the dock for engine repair. Several groups of engineers failed trying to repair the engine. Finally captain called old mechanist with lifetime experience on ships like this. For 15 minutes he was examining the full system. At the end he focused on the one pipe and started hitting it with hammer. After that engine started working properly. Captain was amused but suddenly he was stunned because mechanist asked him for 5.000 $ for his work. Then captain asked for specification of his 15 minutes service. Machinist wrote on the bill: Working on the engine 2$, diagnosing what to do 4.998 $, in total 5.000 $. Obviously, in life everything is knowing where to put the effort.

Coaching questions for you:
1. Imagine that you are sitting with someone like old machinist from the previous story, but he has knowledge relevant to your career. How useful it will be for you?
2. Where will be the most useful place to talk with him?
3. How much you trust him on scale from 1 to 10?
4. What would you ask him?
5. What from you point will be his answer?
6. What new ideas will gain from your talk?
7. In form of action plan, write down what you are planning to do. What will be the time frame for it?
Thank you for sharing your ideas with us!

Idea #31 Maximum training results

Do it when you are asked: “How can you guarantee that participants will accept skills from your training?” I have applied at some French company for delivering soft skills to their managers. In application form one of the questions was: “How can you guarantee that participants will accept skills from your training?” If you have any experience in training than I am sure that you have seen curve explaining that training without mentoring and coaching sessions will make maximum 10 % improvement. So I come to the following idea. I will guaranty that participants will gain any percentage that we would agree was acceptable. And after a month we will do evaluation. If participants fail, company will have to pay 3 times value of training. In that way I am 100 % sure that they will find way for coaching, mentoring, refreshing and everything that is necessary for successful learning. What are your thoughts?

Now, coaching questions for you:
1. Imagine that you have to deliver training to a very important group of managers. How would you prepare?
2. How important is that training to you?
3. Who will also benefit from it?
4. Who are you in eyes of people that you respect after that training?
5. What kind of positive visualization will be beneficial to you?
6. Visualizing your successful training what do you see, hear and feel?
7. Explain it in 5 sentences.
8. What was the most crucial part of presentations for your success?
9. What would be some other good idea for that training?
Write down everything and share with us your success. Thank you!

Idea #22 Learn them to be punctual

Do it When you want to establish that people have to be punctual.
It is another story from Master ZI; I have mentioned in ideas #10 & #15.
“After 25 years in the same parish, Father was saying his farewells at his retirement dinner. One local politician had been asked to make a short speech. But he was late.
So the priest took it upon himself to fill the time, and stood up to the microphone:
“I remember the first confession I heard here 25 years ago and it worried me as to what sort of place I’d come to… That first confession remains the worst I’ve ever heard. The chap confessed that he’d stolen a TV set from a neighbor and lied to the police when questioned, successfully blaming it on a local scallywag. He said that he’d stolen money from his parents and from his employer; that he’d had affairs with several of his friends’ wives; that he’d taken hard drugs, and had slept with his sister. You can imagine what I thought… However I’m pleased to say that as the days passed I soon realized that this sad fellow was a frightful exception and that this parish was indeed a wonderful place full of kind and decent people…”
At this point the politician arrived and apologized for being late, and keen to take the stage, he immediately stepped up to the microphone and pulled his speech from his pocket:
“I’ll always remember when Father first came to our parish,” said the politician, “In fact, I’m pretty certain that I was the first person in the parish that he heard in confession…””

Idea #14 How to listen like Benjamin Disraeli?

Do it When you want to underline how important is active listening.
Here is a story concerning how important is active listening. William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, both eminent British statesmen were considered as two the smartest persons in England, in the late nineteenth century. A young journalist said that she would dine with both so she could decide which one was smarter. She has compared the two men this way: “When I dined with Mr. Gladstone, I felt as though he was the smartest man in England. But when I dined with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I was the smartest woman in England.”
active listening decko

The point being made is that Gladstone spoke but Disraeli was a good listener to the woman. That evening Disraeli made the woman the center of his universe. If you practice attentiveness to others, you’ll find it does wonders.
They will enjoy it, and so will you. You will accomplish much more.
Elements of active listening skills are:

  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Nodding
  • Be focused to hear
  • Questioning
  • “Listen” to the speaker’s body language
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarizing
  • Empathy feedback
  • Not interrupting
  • Not finishing his/her sentences
  • Clarifying

Questions for you:
1. What also is important for active listening?
2. What can we do to improve our listening skills?
3. What is the best way to practice active listening?