21 Slices
Medium 9781576754276

Step 6: Maintain Effective Support

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started:

What if someone isn’t helpful?

How can you keep people excited about supporting your change?

“I’ve seen a lot of good relationships turn bad.” That is what Jasmine explained to me as her rationale for an uncommon practice she uses in business and personal settings. She told me that once a month she asks the question, “How are we doing?” She asks this of key colleagues at work and her husband at home. When she asks this question she isn’t looking for sales numbers or a state of the family. She wants to know how her relationship with the person is progressing. She’s looking to find out if any obstacles have arisen that might stand in the way of their communication and/or trust.

She told me of a manager she once had who was initially open to feedback and then became more and more defensive over time. She described a friend who had recently gotten a divorce, because she and her husband became incapable of speaking openly about their marriage or their relationship to one another. Neither of these 92 situations started out with poor communication, but they both ended there. To avoid a similar fate, Jasmine adopted the routine of asking, “How are we doing?”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605090009

Recognize Your Stories

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Learning to change your stories takes practice. When you are in an emotional state, whether you are angry, disappointed, stressed out, or excited, your mind will be predisposed to fall back into old patterns and forget to focus on what the hero would see and do. The following tools can help you incorporate hero stories into your daily life.

I hope you enjoyed reading the parable and might even choose to reread it. However, you shouldn’t have to reread it every time you want to refresh your knowledge. The first tool, the quick cards, can help you recapture the lessons of the book. Each of the three quick cards — one for each of the three stories people tell — contains a summary of the major lessons of that story. They are positioned on facing pages for easier photocopying. The quick cards can help you review and thus maintain your understanding of the book.

As you learn new behaviors, it is wise to keep in mind the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” The second tool, the smart card, can keep the lessons in view. I call them smart cards because they raise your storytelling IQ. These cards are the size of a business card, and they are meant to be used as visual reminders. Carry them with you. Post them on your desk, computer monitor, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or dashboard. Put them anywhere you will see them and read them at least once a day.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605090009

Challenges of Work and Life

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Jeff was in a rut.

The day started off with a familiar pattern. His alarm rang and he hit the snooze button. He used to wake up on the first ring. Today it took him four snoozes.

“Why is this happening to me?” This wasn’t the first time he had asked himself the question. It had become a common lament, usually followed by, “When is my life going to get better?”

Jeff’s company had recently adopted the acronym B-HAG, which stood for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. B-HAGs were supposed to energize people and encourage them to strive for greater things. Jeff had adjusted the term slightly. By the time he cut himself shaving and spilled his coffee, Jeff had declared the day a B-HAD. For him B-HAD stood for Big Hairy Atrocious Day, and lately he felt almost every day was a B-HAD.

Jeff had never experienced a funk like this in his life, and it was quite possible things were about to get worse. Today he had to hand in his year-end performance appraisal to Yvette, his boss.

Jeff wasn’t certain how Yvette would rate him, but he was willing to bet she would not have good news. She had been on his case constantly lately. He knew he had to be on his best behavior, but all he wanted to do was tell her to shove this job. Each day he felt like he was about to lose his cool completely and do more than a few things he would certainly regret.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605090009

Afterword: Find Your Heroic Inspiration

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In the past decade I have coached and taught thousands of people who were facing challenges. They suffered from critical bosses, missed promotions, loveless marriages, abuse from their customers, personal and health tragedies, or frustrations with their kids, their employees, or their companies.

Some clients had allowed minor issues to get under their skin; others had felt unable to recover from major disappointments. Whether they were dealing with everyday events or major life challenges, the stories they told themselves influenced their ability to curb their negativity, adopt a more positive frame of mind, and respond effectively to their challenges.

I had been helping people change their stories for years when my second daughter, at the age of six months, appeared to have a seizure. Her eyes rolled back in her head, her body stiffened, and she was unresponsive for about fifteen seconds. My wife and I took her to the hospital immediately, where she exhibited the same symptoms in front of five neurologists who had all squeezed into the room to see. They confirmed our fears. It looked like a seizure to them.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605090009

Hero Tips for Managers

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Managers can find many ways to apply the lessons of this book to become stronger, more effective leaders. I encourage you to go to www.be-the-hero.com to find additional tips and tools to become heroic leaders (access code: HEROSTORY). But here is your first tip sheet — five easy steps to creating a team of heroes:

Be the hero. You are a role model and must lead by example. The strongest influence on your team’s behavior is your own behavior. Tell yourself heroic stories and show your team you are choosing a positive outlook and seeking solutions.

Share your stories. When you have a positive interpretation of the actions of team members, other departments, customers, or senior management, share these stories. By doing so, you will help team members build their own stockpile of positive views.

Hear and shift. When team members tell victim stories, it is important you recognize their concern, showing that you understand their perspective. Don’t be critical of them for expressing their view. However, don’t allow them to accept their own view as the only possibility. You might respond, “I understand why you might feel that way. How else could we view this situation?” Then explore heroic alternatives.

See All Chapters

See All Slices