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Asking Questions Communication Conversations Culture Leadership

The Heart of your Business

It happens every day, everywhere, with everyone, in every business. It’s taken for granted almost always and lacks investment. Here’s what IT is.

Last week I conducted my training called “Growing Leaders and Culture.”

Its principles are based on effective dialogue.

Why?

Because dialogue is what makes people grow and deliver on their dreams.

You’ve done half the work if you understand that running a successful business is an accumulation of constructive, forward-looking, and growth-focused dialogues.

“Relationships succeed or fail one conversation at a time.”

Susan Scott

Business is a collection of relationships. 

Therefore those dialogues are the heart of any business.

Have them and conduct them well, and you have a chance.

Avoid or fail at doing them well, and you’re in trouble.

Let’s start with a few basic questions:
  • How well do you listen?
  • How good are you at asking good questions?
  • How well are you at trying to understand your dialogue partner first?
  • How well are you at practicing silence?

These questions are relevant for every associate, but first and foremost for the business leaders.

Because they’re the leaders and people look at them for direction.

Even more importantly, people look at their behavior. 

Do you walk the talk?

Great! 

Do you think the rules don’t apply to you?

Not so great!

Do people exist that don’t follow their own rules? 

You bet!

I call those people managers. They have gone up in the hierarchy for some reason, and now they want the world to know they’re here. 

Once they’re on their seat, in their (corner) office, and received their title, things change.

They start behaving differently, making sure people know who’s the boss.

Those people are not the heart of the business. We could call them the head of the company, but even that word I would not use.

For me, they’re the downfall of the business. 

Why?

Because their behavior impacts the behavior of the people working for them.

If I’m the boss and I show no interest in treating people well, why would they treat customers well?

That’s the model that has been proven over and over again.

Behind every business with a loyal and satisfied customer base, there are always leaders that behave as role models and treat their people well.

They know if they inspire their people to behave well, that those same people will also treat their customers well.

And customers treated well are more likely to return and do business with you.

It’s not certain, but your chances increase significantly if you follow this model. 

Why do people not always follow the model, you may ask yourself?

Simple.

EGO!

We’re too consumed with ourselves and how we look. 

We’re too consumed looking at our bosses or board, trying to influence how they think of us.

We’re worried about our job, our title, our office. So we focus on those ‘above’ us rather than those ‘beside’ or ‘below’ us.

And therefore, we don’t engage in proper dialogues as mentioned above.

Our conversations are then based on hierarchy, not what we’re trying to accomplish with our dialogue partners for our customers.

And the model breaks down. 

Your turn: dialogue or monologue? 

Do more of what makes you happy!

Erikjan

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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