Here's a thought. Blogs, articles, email based sales messages from gurus and so called experts, even things like TED talks are all entreating you to try something new, better, the latest fad that industry leaders are using ...
We're all chasing that magic bullet that will somehow give us the edge, make us rich, more successful, better leaders or better people. Everything is about change, change, change.
Were the old, familiar, tried and tested ways of working and being really not good enough for you? Do they really not apply anymore just because we have the Internet now?
There is a learning model I've used for the last 11 years and it asks three key questions that are worth answering before you jump onto the latest band wagon, technological or otherwise.
- Are you doing things RIGHT?
In other words, are you following the rules or procedures that will make this work? For instance, we all know that to make a sale we should listen to what the customer wants, don't we? So are you a skilled listener? Are you listening to what the person is really saying to you or are you figuring out what to say next whilst sounds come out of their mouth?
Of course, if you don't know how to do something properly in the first place you may not know you're getting it wrong! It's worth checking with someone who is skilled to correct your technique. Using the example above. Who do you know who is a skilled listener? Who listens to you?
- Are you doing the RIGHT things?
Sometimes we get stuck in a loop repeating our mistakes. Ever find yourself saying "he never answers my emails"? Then you spend loads of time trying to write better emails with snazzy subject lines. You try to guess when he'll open it and schedule it to arrive 10 minutes before. And guess what? he doesn't answer those either! Maybe next time give him a call? Find out if he prefers texts? Or even send him a letter? (a bit radical that last one).
Sometimes it can be hard to notice your own patterns. Many of them lie in your subconscious (not a new idea, honestly). How about getting some help to gain new insights - one of those 'aha moments'? My favourite quote from one of my clients has always been "the blindingly obvious I haven't been doing!" Any coach worth their salt will tell you that these kinds of insights can clear most obstacles in your path.
- How do you decide what is RIGHT?
Chances are you will apply your own preferences, ethics and principles. It also depends on your behavioural style (see my blog post on How to walk in another's shoes). Going back to the emails: if time management is important to you then sending an email saves you time or allows you to schedule it to suit you. On the other hand, it doesn't give you an answer to what you contacted the person for in the first place. Maybe to you that's not quite as important?
You are also swayed by your own ego, we like to be right and some (not all of us) will go a long way to maintain this. So he 'should' answer the email, shouldn't he? Also, we avoid our fears so don't choose routes that will expose them either. In fact we will go out of our way to find the one person in a thousand who agrees with us.
I first noticed this happening when I was in nurse training. The consultant would see a patient and give them some worrying news. The patient would then ask me what he had said. I would then say the same in simpler language. Later I would hear them tell their family that the doctor had said XXXX but it wasn't right because the cleaner had said that her mother had that and she didn't need an operation.
Deciding what is right for you takes some thinking through. It is a good idea to test it out on a range of different people. Take care to listen to people who challenge you as well as your fans. A good coach, advisor or even non executive director should take on this role for you in business.
My tip for you today is this: Before you clamour, all helter-skelter, for the next big change, bright idea or business gismo, just check how well you are doing what you've already decided to do.
If you want to learn more about this technique then why not Google 'Triple Learning Loop'. There are lots of sites which can guide you. I hope you notice that this is not new information, maybe just new to you. In which case I hope it helps you make better business decisions.
If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.