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  1. Listen to Yourself
  2. Successful Negotiation Starts with You
  3. Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence
  4. The Purpose of Mentoring Has Changed
  5. Selling A Business For An Outrageous Price: Fact or Fiction?
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Soundview Executive Book Summaries
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Listen to Yourself

Our guest blogger today is William Ury, cofounder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, and one of the world’s best-known and most influential experts on negotiation. Ury is the author of Getting to Yes with Yourself (and other worthy opponents) and coauthor of Getting to Yes, the bestselling negotiation book in the world.

Psychologists have estimated that we have anywhere between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts a day. The majority of those—as high as 80 percent—are thought to be negative: obsessing about mistakes, battling guilt, or thinking about inadequacies. For some, the harsh critical voice of our inner judge is stronger, for others weaker, but perhaps no one escapes it. “You said the wrong thing!” “How could you have been so blind?” “You did a terrible job!”  Each negative thought is a no to yourself.  There is a saying that goes, “if you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, you wouldn’t have any.”

Self-judgment may be the greatest barrier to self-understanding.

If we want to understand another human being, there is no better way than to listen to them with empathy like a close friend would.  If you wish to understand yourself, the same rule applies: listen with empathy. Instead of talking negatively to yourself, try to listen to yourself with respect and positive attention.  Instead of judging yourself, accept yourself just as you are.

Empathy is often confused with sympathy, but it is different.  Sympathy means ‘to feel with.’ It means to feel sorry for a person’s predicament, but without necessarily understanding it.  Empathy, in contrast, means ‘to feel into.’ It means to understand what it is like to be in that situation.

Listening to yourself with empathy goes one level deeper than observing.

To observe is to see from the outside whereas to listen is to feel from the inside.  Observing offers you a detached view whereas listening gives you an intimate understanding.  Observation gives us the understanding of a scientist studying what a beetle looks like under a microscope whereas listening gives you the understanding of what it feels like to be a beetle. You can benefit from both modalities together. Anthropologists have found that the best way to understand a foreign culture is to participate in it actively and at the same time to maintain an outside observer’s perspective. I find this method, called participant-observation, is equally useful when it comes to understanding ourselves.

As I listen to myself, I notice that the majority of my problematic emotions are the same everyday. For example, one anxiety that pops up regularly concerns the daily to-do list that only seems to expand: will I be able to get through it?  To understand and reduce the intensity of these recurring feelings, I have come up with a daily exercise: in the morning, I imagine sitting at a kitchen table.  As each familiar thought or emotion such as anxiety or fear, shame or pride shows up, I offer it an imaginary seat.  I have learned to welcome all customers, no one excluded. I seek to treat them as the old friends or acquaintances that they are. As the kitchen table fills up, I listen to the free-flowing conversation of feelings and thoughts.

Listening to yourself helps you not only to understand yourself, but to accept yourself just as you are.

If self-judgment is a no to self, self-acceptance is a yes to self, perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Some might worry that accepting themselves as they are will diminish the motivation to make positive changes, but I have found that the exact opposite is usually true.  Acceptance can create the sense of safety within which we can more easily face a problem and work on it.  As Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, once noted: “The curious paradox is that if I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Join us September 10th to hear more from William Ury at our Soundview Live webinar: Six Steps to Getting What You Really Want in Life.

     

Successful Negotiation Starts with You

Thirty-five years ago, William Ury co-authored the book Getting to Yes with Roger Fisher. It became the classic title on negotiation, introducing the Win-Win concept to business people. Since that time Ury has published other titles on various aspects of negotiation, including Getting Past No and The Power of a Positive No.

But he realized that something was missing – namely the first step in negotiation – Getting to Yes with Yourself. This book is about changing the inner game so you can then change the outer game. Ury developed six steps to help people deal with their inner self so that they can be more successful with others.

  1. Put yourself in your shoes.
  2. Develop your inner BATNA.
  3. Reframe your picture.
  4. Stay in the zone.
  5. Respect them even if…
  6. Give and Receive.

Because we want all of our subscribers to have the chance to learn this important negotiation skill, we’ve invited William Ury to join us on September 10th for a live webinar entitled Six Steps to Getting What You Really Want in Life. Please join us for lunch, and invite your colleagues as well.

     

Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence

theleanceo2As organizations strive to do more with less, many are turning to Lean methodology, which is based on the same techniques that propelled the legendary turnaround of Japan’s industrial sector after World War II.

The Lean CEO reveals the true power of Lean through in-depth interviews with CEOs who have gone beyond tool adoption and established Lean as a corporate-wide management system.

The CEOs tell in their own words how they applied Lean management to deliver sustainable financial results, empower and motivate employees, break down internal silos and build solid partnerships with customers and suppliers. Their testimony provides a goldmine of practical advice for managers in Lean and non-Lean organizations alike, as they share their personal insights on topics such as leading and empowering people, building transparency and trust, tuning into the customer experience and creating a learning organization.

Thoughtful, sometimes brutally frank, these leaders challenge many of the sacred cows of traditional business, such as standard cost accounting, hierarchical management, emphasis on large batches and our obsession with data and computers. Citing  numerous examples from their experiences, they provide a fresh view of today’s business challenges and a positive roadmap for any organization that is striving for excellence.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:

• How to apply Lean management to empower and motivate people.

• How to build transparency and trust.

• How to align strategic direction with day-to-day operations.

• How to instill a corporate-wide culture that promotes quality.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.

 

     

The Purpose of Mentoring Has Changed

Modern Mentoring

Unfortunately, according to Randy Emelo, most mentoring relationships today are obsolete. Traditional mentoring, he writes in his book Modern Mentoring, does not truly meet the needs of the modern organization.

The reason, as he explains, is that “the purpose of mentoring has moved away from getting a handful of people ready for leadership roles.” Instead, mentoring according to Emelo, is an organizational practice that should increase an organization’s intelligence, including emotional, leadership and technical intelligence; enhance the organization’s competitiveness; and “accelerate” employee development.

In other words, the traditional approach to mentoring, focusing on a few select individuals, should be replaced by an approach that is much broader and inclusive, he writes. Instead of mentors only consisting of top leaders, and mentees consisting of high-potential employees, mentors and mentees can be anyone in the organization, at any level.

The connections of modern mentoring are no longer one-to-one, Emelo writes, but many-to-many.

Building Blocks

In the opening chapter of his book, Emelo lays down the building blocks of modern mentoring:

Open and Egalitarian. The goal of mentoring is to enable “uninhibited and meaningful learning,” Emelo writes. For such learning to take place requires, he writes, “an open environment where people have equal access to one another.”

Diversity. The diversity in question involves different perspectives coming from different functional, geographical, hierarchical or generational backgrounds and experiences. These different perspectives are valuable in helping mentors develop innovative solutions for the people they are mentoring.

Broad and Flexible. One person does not have all the answers. Such a mindset, Emelo writes, “is outdated and inefficient.” The ideal mentoring relationships are those that involve multiple people who are simultaneously advisors and learners. The relationship is flexible, depending on the situation at hand. A person can be an advisor in one situation, and a learner in another. As Emelo writes, “modern mentoring breaks the cycle of the sage on the stage and pushes the idea of the guides on the side.”

Self-directed and Personal. In today’s world, people must take the responsibility to direct their own personal development. They have to choose what they want to learn and from whom they want to learn it. “By allowing participants to control the process,” Emelo explains, “they can tailor their learning so that they reap the benefits.”

Virtual and Asynchronous. In traditional face-to-face, one-on-one mentoring, advisors and learners made arrangements to meet. Such arrangements are no longer necessary, given today’s technology, nor even logistically effective given the broad “many-to-many” reach of modern mentoring. Thus mentoring sessions, writes Emelo, are more likely to be virtual as well as asynchronous — that is, the teaching and learning do not have to occur in the same window of time. Mentors can share their knowledge and experience through virtual communication, which is then captured at the learner’s convenience.

Modern mentoring as described by Emelo is a significant change from traditional mentoring, and therefore often requires a significant and perhaps difficult culture change in an organization. Leaders used to the traditional methods will need to be “reeducated,” Emelo writes.

Another challenge is the vital role of trust. Today’s virtual capabilities allow long-distance mentoring but hinder trust-building. Emelo includes guidelines for trust building and many other facets of modern mentoring in this eloquent and compelling addition to the personal development literature.

     

Selling A Business For An Outrageous Price: Fact or Fiction?

Today’s guest blogger, Kevin Short, is the author of Sell Your Business For An Outrageous Price (AMACOM Books, 2014), and the Managing Partner and CEO of Clayton Capital Partners, a St. Louis-based investment banking firm specializing in the sale and purchase of mid-size companies.

Have you ever wondered why similar, mid-market[1] companies sell at wildly divergent prices?  I noticed the discrepancy between ordinary and outrageous prices years ago and decided to find the answer.

First, I defined “outrageous price” as one that is at least two times the EBITDA multiple of an average company in its industry. Second, I looked at leverage; the leverage that drives prices up when sellers have it and holds prices in check when buyers have it. Finally, I looked at the transaction process: could we use it to produce an outrageous price?

I started with a four-step Proactive Sale Strategy™ to transform good prices into great ones and to maximize a seller’s probability of closing.

Step One assesses readiness of the company and its owner for sale and addresses any areas that are not sale-ready.

During Step Two we dissect all of the information that we collect in preparation for a buyer’s due diligence to save time later and reduce the risk of a failure to close.

In Step Three we identify a company’s competitive advantage and search for an existing or potential fit between the seller’s competitive advantage and a buyer’s need. We then determine how a seller’s company: (1) can (or could, if given time and preparation) meet a buyer’s immediate need, or (2) could pose an imminent threat to a buyer.

Step Four focuses on potential buyers: which ones can use their significantly greater resources (such as access to capital or more efficient processes) to make more money from a company than can its current owner?

At the end of this process, owners decide if they want to go for an outrageous price. If so, we look for the following four items that I learned (after analyzing numerous outrageous price sales) must be present:

[1] $10M – $250M of value

  1. A competitive advantage that can be leveraged to cause a buyer pain or create gain.
  2. An “outrageous buyer” active in the marketplace who has deep pockets, is motivated to eliminate pain or create gain and has an internal champion pushing to make the deal.

III.        A seller who can trust their advisor enough to follow his or her lead, is self-disciplined enough to resist the temptation to talk to buyers or jump ship when the seas get rough, and has an ability to act.

  1. A transaction advisor who knows how to orchestrate the Outrageous Price Process™. That advisor must understand why a company is successful and be able to communicate to buyers how the acquisition will bring it gain or relieve pain.

The success of this process is dependent on the presence of each of these elements but not necessarily on a strong M&A market. I’ve used it under varying marketing conditions and in all types of industries. Check out my book to learn whether your company could sell for an outrageous price.

To learn more about selling a business, join Kevin Short at our Soundview Live webinar on September 3rd: An Insider’s Guide to Getting More for Your Business.

     

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