That’s right, as of March 28th Whiteboard Consulting is 3 years old!
Both Nicole and I are breathing a sigh of relief that we made it out of the Terrible Two’s, which, though not truly “terrible,” did provide us with our fair share of lessons.
Three Things We Learned in Our Third Year
- We thought we would be doing all Process Improvement, all the time. We were wrong. Instead, we have been doing more and more training and facilitation as the months have gone by. Why is this? Two reasons: first, most organizations don’t know that they need process improvement. They don’t come to us, hat in hand, and say, “Please Ruth & Nicole, will you fix our processes?” Instead, they express concern over a symptom, or ask for information on how to improve a specific aspect of their business. This almost always leads to some kind of facilitated work and/or training, and sometimes also to true process improvement work. The second reason is that, without intending to boast, we are excellent trainers, and word gets around.
- Network. All the Time. In the first half of 2014 we were extremely busy, and spent little to no time networking and generating new business. It seemed natural for the work to come to us, so imagine our surprise when the pipeline dried up in late summer and it took several months to get it moving again.
- Do what you love. We love to train and write. Our courses for both the general public and our private sector clients, as well as the courses we teach for the Government of Ontario, are received with wonderful feedback, and our blogs are being picked up by the Huffington Post more and more frequently. (Look for them in Forbes soon if all goes well.) We really enjoy process improvement work, and when teaching and writing are thrown in, we are very happy campers.
In Our Fourth Year We Are…
- the Queens of networking and business development, taking Whiteboard into a year of growth.
- following Sean Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution and taking a page out of our own book too – this means we are focused on the activities that act as lead measures and will drive our ultimate goal of revenue generation. We have weekly accountability meetings and have laser-focus on the activities we need to achieve to be successful.
- finding ways to say yes. If clients ask us to do work that conflicts with something else in the schedule, we figure out a way to make it happen. If that means Nicole does one event and I do another, so be it. Hard for us to let go of each other’s apron strings, but that’s what it means when you’re a toddler instead of a two-year-old.
- training. A lot. Our next two public courses are:
- Lean Six Sigma for Service Delivery, a 3-day course in May in Toronto. (Click here)
- Performance Measurement 101, a 2-day course in April and May in Toronto. (Click here)
Thank you for your engagement, your comments, your “Likes,” “Shares,” “Favourites,” and “Retweets.” We look forward to even more of those in the coming year!
Until next week,
Happy Friday everyone. During our course, “Can I Tell You Something?” last week we talked about networking and building rapport with others. One tool that we taught was creating sameness. Namely, if we can find the things that are the same about us and the person we are interacting with, we will likely build rapport. Sameness can be attire, vocal tone, posture, gesture, speed of speech, volume of speech, shared experience, you name it. WE also talked about how different people interact, and one way that I’ve seen many women interact (and I’ve done it myself), is the “I love your ______, where did you get it?”. I know. So basic. So uninspiring. But I cannot tell you how many relationships (superficial and deep) have been formed through this very sentence.
Earlier this week, I ran into a friend and we had lunch together, and we started talking about this very same topic. She, very eloquently said that many people like to connect through “woes”. Either you are commiserating about the terrible networking event you just went to, or lamenting about how your husband/spouse/spousal equivalent ALSO leaves dishes all over the kitchen. And as she was so eloquently describing this, my mind wandered a bit, and I started to think about how interesting this friend of mine was, and how I appreciated her ability to talk about these ideas in such a holistic way. And I started to appreciate what characteristics and traits she had, that I didn’t. And I just kept thinking how amazing that was. WHOA.
And then we had a 2 glasses of wine induced epiphany (okay it was 1.5 glasses, but who’s counting). The final, and most advanced mechanism for going beyond “sameness” and “woes” in a relationship -was “WHOAS”. That moment where you recognize the person you are engaging with is not only similar to you in many ways, but also very different. And you say “Whoa. You are incredible”. And to move even beyond that, you are amazed at this difference and appreciate it. Whoa.
That’s what we said.
3 Steps to Building Relationships
- Establish rapport through sameness. Match postures, gestures, speed, vocal tone, and volume with the person you want to connect with. Use open ended questions (ones that end in something other than yes or no) to discover things about the person that you may be able to establish a greater degree of sameness.
- Some of the sameness established above, may turn into a bit of kvetching about a shared crappy experience. Share and understand each others WOES. This is okay. Don’t let this become the centre of the conversation, but use it to leap into step 3.
- Whoa. Discover now what is unique and amazing about that person. The key here is to celebrate it. There is a gap between your “sames” and your whoas. And that gap and understanding of that gap is where a true relationship flourishes.
I’ll let you take this little piece of genius with you today. Tell us what you find out about yourself and your relationships @whiteboardcons #sameswoeswhoas.
Until next time,