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Everything Starts with Your Intention
Are you aware of how your intentions drive your behavior? Are you aware of the impact your behavior is having on others? The following example shows you how intentions play out in behavior and the impact that that behavior can have on others’ perceptions of you.
John sat across the table from me. I was interviewing him to gather information to customize the interpersonal communication program for company directors in which he was to participate. He looked perplexed. Rubbing his forehead, he sighed, “Maybe you can tell me why I’m often told by others at staff meetings that I look disinterested in what’s going on.” Then he added, “And why people accuse me of being negative when I’m only trying to point out the potential hazards involved in moving forward on a project without proper investigation of the problems under discussion.”
“Are you acting disinterested? Do you sound negative?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “It’s just that some people at those meetings are long-winded. They blow a lot of hot air without substantial evidence to support their opinions. It takes them forever to say nothing. I’m so agitated by the time I finally get a word in edgewise, I probably sound negative. But I’m not. They just don’t realize that my intentions are positive. I’m only trying to make sure that the job is done right. Why can’t they see that my intentions are for the good of the company? You’d think I was the enemy.”
John was both hurt and baffled by others’ reactions to him. His intentions were positive, and yet no one else seemed to recognize it. This gave rise to feelings of frustration and a desire to withdraw from active participation at meetings. John was soon to discover something that would change his life and his power to influence: positive intentions, acknowledged and validated, put you in a position to influence.
If we could put human behavior under a magnifying glass, we’d see the intentions that direct people to act as they do.  Every behavior has a purpose, or a positive intent, that the behavior is trying to achieve, and those goals can change, depending upon the circumstances.
Intentions drive behaviors. Being aware of your own positive intentions and those of others can eliminate unnecessary frustration that often leads to conflict and hurt feelings, but only if you recognize and express those intentions.
John’s intentions may have been in the best interest of his company, but he didn’t take the time to recognize and express the validity of other people’s goals. Had he done so, not only would his behavior have been more productive (active participation versus withdrawal), but he’d have been in a more powerful position to influence.
If John has simply said, “I understand that your intent is to get product out the door; we cannot keep our customers waiting if we want to keep our customers. I can appreciate that. My intent is to make sure that we get to the bottom of what is causing our product issues so that our customers are not unhappy once they receive the product.” He could then have presented his evidence of the number of customer complaints, lost customers, or the amount of returned product. A valid discussion of the bigger picture would have been possible once all understood that everyone was communicating from positive intentions. Problem solving instead of conflict would have been possible.
Ian Percy wrote: “We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” Understanding and expressing our own intentions and those of others, puts us in a more positive light, better able to influence.
Want a clearer understanding of the 4 major intentions that drive behavior and the behaviors (both positive and negative) that indicate each intent? Click here.
Build Trust

3 Ways Leaders Build Trust

Trust and integrity are inseparable. Both are fundamental to authentic, healthy relationships. And relationships are the bedrock of leadership. Here are three Powerful and Easy ways a leader (formal or informal) can build trust at work.

1) Coach…Don’t Coddle or Control.  You don’t have to have been around long to notice that when an employee’s performance needs improvement, coddling or making excuses doesn’t help the employee. Nor does trying to control through lecturing. Both methods leave the employee feeling inadequate. Whether coddling or controlling, both imply that the employee is incapable of figuring things out, and that, as you know, plays havoc with one’s confidence on the job.

On the other hand, coaching implies that the employee has the answer to his or her own performance issue; the employee just needs the questions that help discover what’s already inside of them. A good coach listens with understanding and discernment. A coach knows how to take someone through a line of questioning that allows the employee to discover for him or herself the path to improved performance.
Dallas Cowboy’s coach Tom Landry said it best:  Really, coaching is simplicity. It’s getting players to play better than they think that they can.
And that builds confidence themselves – and trust in their coach.
2) Contribute to the lives of others.  Invest energy in helping make life better for people.  For example, have you ever:
• received an unexpected thank you note for a bit of good advice you gave or for a helping hand you extended?
• received a card of condolence OR a surprise birthday or anniversary card from someone you least expected to send one?
• been given a congratulatory note for a well-deserved promotion or raise or some type of recognition?I’ll never forget the time I served on a board and headed up a major fund-raising campaign.  Afterwards, I received a note from another board member who wrote, “It has not gone unnoticed how hard you worked to make our fundraiser a roaring success. I so appreciate your contribution of time and energy to help raise money for deserving kids in our community.”We work hard and yet many times our efforts seem to go unnoticed. Though we may not be working for compliments, but results, a note of appreciation is still the icing on the cake. When people do take notice, don’t you tend to move them to the top of your list of people who care?  Though nothing new, Poet Maya Angelou eloquently stated: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”  And when you make people feel genuinely good about themselves, they tend to trust you more.

As the Book of Proverbs states: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.

3. Don’t suck up; offer up specific, helpful feedback. Be the kind of person others go to for honest feedback because they know you’ll give it – not simply feedback about what they’ve done, but also about how they’ve done it. Help others see the connection between their intentions and their impact.

Avoid being the person who merely flatters. Most people know that flattery is 50% soft soap and 50% lie and that kind of feedback won’t serve them in the long haul. Instead, give feedback others can learn from, whether positive or constructive. You will get known as someone who genuinely wants to see others grow and improve. That kind of caring produces trust.

Want to know more about how leaders create authentic, trusting relationships needed to expand their influence and impact, able to leave a larger legacy? Click here.


Are you looking to transform your business relationships and alter perceptions? Do you want to lower stress and anxiety and increase the recognition and rewards? Then try my 5 Step Power Process. Here’s a bird’s eye view:

P=Produce a relationship vision. Everything that has ever been created began with vision.
Human beings have a tremendous power to visualize. In fact, your eyes are taking in approximately 4 million bytes of information per second, processing, and forming pictures in your mind’s eye. You have the ability to picture almost anything in your mind’s eye, and that same aptitude plays a key role in what you are able to achieve. The mental pictures that you carry around with you have a strange way of materializing. First conception, then birth. It works the same for the relationships you want.

However, before producing your relationship vision, it’s important to gain insight into why people behave as they do. And, why they communicate the way they do. Armed with this information, you are better able to create the vision that will get you the outcomes you want. Visualize the relationship you want, and then act as if you already have it. This is the P in the 5 Step POWER Process.

O=Observe and Alter Your Beliefs. Your beliefs drive your actions. To transform relationships you need to know you and what you believe about yourself and others. This includes how you acquired those beliefs (that drive your thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, your actions), and how to bring those beliefs to the light of day and change any that aren’t serving you. This is the work of the leader who wants and needs transformed relationships in order to be successful. This is the O in the 5 Step Power Process.

W=Wait for the Real Message. Only when you understand what others want and need from you and how to help them get it are you able to consciously build trust. Genuine trust is a requisite to truthful, authentic relationships. Not only does your ability to wait for the real message require a skill set that most people lack (primarily because they were never taught), but the right mindset needed to remain open is mandatory. All of this begins with self-awareness and self-management, the next step in the 5 Step Power Process. Without self-awareness, you’ll never know what is getting in your way of waiting for the real message of another to be revealed.  Armed with self-knowledge, self-management, and the ability and skills essential to know another, you are well on your way to creating relationships built on trust and understanding – foundational to real influence.  This is the W in the 5 Step POWER Process.

E=Exercise Self-Awareness and Control. Captain Sully Sullenberger, the pilot of US Airways flight 1549 who landed his plane in the Hudson River after flying into a flock of geese, became an overnight hero. It wasn’t so much that he saved the lives of the 155 passengers on board who walked away with barely a scratch. Rather it was his ability to remain calm in the midst of a crisis and make the right decision that gained him hero status. This ability doesn’t just happen; it is learned. And it begins with self-awareness and the ability to self-manage, able to control the mind and emotions in any situation. Learning how to do that makes it possible to choose positive responses that lead to less stress, more harmonious relationships, better decisions, and greater influence. This is the E in the 5 Step Power Process.

R=Root Out Your Anger. Anger can be used for both positive and negative ends. Therefore, its vital to understand the root causes of anger and what’s required to gain control and channel your anger for productive results. Armed with this ability, you can avoid the negative mental, emotional, and physical consequences associated with anger and, instead, use it productively to strengthen relationships. Without this knowledge, you become a slave to your emotions–and that rarely, if ever, leads to stronger, trusting ties with others.  This is the R in the 5 Step Power Process.

This is a Leaders’ 5 Step POWER Process to Real POWER in Business and Beyond: Authentic, honest trusting relationships.

Do you want to transform your relationships and alter perceptions (even with those who could make or break your career)?  Do you want to decrease stress and anxiety and increase recognition and rewards?

If you answered yes to either or both questions above and want to dive deeper into the process, click here to discover how.

(c) 2018  Mary Jane Mapes  All rights reserved.

#Influence   #Leadership   #Power   #Relationships   #Transformed Relationships

YOung woman contemplating
Have you ever struggled to communicate or influence a direct report, boss, more senior leader, peer, vendor, or client? Is there someone in your organization with whom you grapple to even connect? Have you ever wished you had a magic wand that could make connections, communication, and relationship building easier? Well wish no longer. Adopt the habit of seeing from The P.I.G. Perspective.™  By seeing from The P.I.G. Perspective, I’ve been able to turn my greatest adversary into my greatest advocate, and, in all likelihood, you can, too. In fact, The P.I.G. Perspective makes it possible for you to connect, communicate, and influence almost anyone.

Just exactly, what is The P.I.G. Perspective? Simply stated, it’s your ability to see through the eyes of someone else – namely, your P.I.G., an acronym I used in my 2011 bestseller, You CAN Teach a Pig to Sing, to describe that person with whom you struggle to connect, communicate and cultivate a trusting relationship, necessary to becoming a truly influential leader.

A P.I.G. could be a Particularly Irritating Guy or Gal.  But it could just as easily be a Pompous Inane Gasbag, a Pesky Incessant Griper, a Purely Impossible Gossip….or it could be a Positively Intelligent Guy or Gal, a Pretty Influential Guy or Gal with whom you strain to connect, and yet desire a trusting relationship in order to build alliances and gain the support and advocacy you want and need to be successful.

The P.I.G. Perspective, as you might guess, is your ability as a human being to take a different perspective. For example, let’s say you are a supervisor in an organization that is undergoing massive change. With that change has come added stress for you because, as people are being taken off their regular assignments to work on projects that support the larger change, you are left with fewer people to do more work. As a result, those left in your department are resisting the additional workload and you’re experiencing greater moments of conflict.

This is where I’d suggest you close your eyes and try to imagine yourself in the shoes of one of your P.I.G.s, an employee from whom you are experiencing great resistance to the current workload. Try to see the current situation as that employee might see it. Then ask yourself, as the P.I.G., three questions:  “What do I want that I’m not getting in the workplace?” “What am I currently thinking and feeling?” and “What is my greatest fear?” Once you’re tried on your employee’s perspective, consider how your P.I.G.’s perspective differs from your own.

By taking on The P.I.G. Perspective, you gain a deeper understanding of the current situation from your employee’s point of view. You also find it easier to recognize the resistance as another point of view, rather than something the other guy is doing to make your life miserable.

Once you are able to see things from another’s point of view, it’s easier for you to give up the need to control how the other guy thinks and open yourself to being authentically interested in your P.I.G.’s perspective. By genuinely listening to understand, you lower the tension between the two of you and you increase trust. With increased trust comes greater power to influence in a positive direction – allowing you to lead rather than shove. It also puts you in a better position to make wiser decisions.

And the best part? By taking The P.I.G. Perspective, you become more magnanimous in your responses to those who differ with you, and able to value and learn from all people.

Are you willing to try on The P.I.G. Perspective?

Want to Transform Relationships and Alter Perceptions? Find out how by clicking here.

(c) 2018  Mary Jane Mapes  All rights reserved.

#leadership #relationships #communication #influence

African American business womanWhat Is an Influential Leader?

An influential leader is someone who, through powerful influence (as opposed to coercion), achieves effective results through people who choose to follow him or her because they believe in and trust that the leader can guide them to the desired result. Both high levels of competence AND high levels of trust accompany high levels of influence.

Becoming an influential leader doesn’t just happen. It takes a commitment to being your best and doing your best regardless, consistently. Pat Summit, the winningest coach in NCAA college basketball history (for men’s and women’s basketball) died in June, 2016, of early on-set Alzheimer’s. Pat knew something about that kind of commitment. She said:  “We keep score in life because it matters….Too many people opt out and never discover their own abilities because they fear failure. They don’t understand commitment. When you learn to keep fighting in the face of potential failure, it gives you a larger skill set to do what you want to do.”
It gives you the skill set to achieve your purpose – something that is a lifelong journey.

Have you ever noticed that at business conferences or educational meetings that it’s often the best of the best that show up and sit in the front row with pen and paper or computer and take notes, sharpening their skills and building their competencies? Real leaders never stop learning. And there’s good reason for this.
When you commit to being your best at what you’re currently doing, it opens the doors to the future, to the next level of responsibility.

I interviewed Dr. Ruth Shaw, retired President and CEO of Duke Power Company, for my bestselling book, The Unstoppables – Success Strategies from 12 Top Women Leaders to Super Charge Your Career. Dr. Shaw, early in her career, advanced to the highest levels in academia. That was intentional. What was not intentional was her move to business.

Dr. Shaw told me she was “born to serve.” And, she served both in her organization and in the community. As to her volunteer work, she said, “I only set out to do really good work on behalf of the community.” So when the Vice Chair of Duke Power, whom she’d met through her civic activities, asked to meet with her, she thought it was to discuss another civic endeavor. But it wasn’t. He asked her to take the leap from academia to become part of the Duke Leadership team—something that came as a complete surprise to her.

Had Dr. Shaw not been preparing herself all along the way–-committed to becoming her best self and to doing her very best work-–she might never have set into motion the wheels that would propel her toward a journey of significant influence, service, and opportunity that even she had never imagined—the place she was able to do her very best work.

A person of influence is the go-to person others believe in and trust to guide them to the desired result. Because they are committed to being their very best and doing their very best, they possess both high levels of competence and high levels of trust.

How influential a leader are you?

Want to become a MORE influential leader, able to make a bigger contribution? Check out how here!

(c) 2018 Mary Jane Mapes All rights reserved.

#influence #leadership #relationships #business

shutterstock_Business people celebrating“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

Rohn’s wise words sum up the key to success in both business and in life. But of what must you be better? Here are three simple (though not necessarily easy) fundamentals that it pays the leader to get better at doing:

Walking through life awake. Are you sleepwalking through life, on auto-pilot, barely noticing what’s going on in you or in other people? Unfortunately, many people live in a state of unawareness—one of the most dangerous places to spend time. Little, if any, change (or growth) is possible in a state of unawareness. The Law of Life is Change and change begins with awareness. As the saying goes, “We’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” Sorta like picked flowers or harvested fruit. For people who want to be successful rotting in the rut of complacency isn’t an option. A rut has often been described as nothing more than a grave with the ends kicked out.

When in a state of unawareness, both the individual and the organization suffer. Every day people in managerial positions lose good people to their competition because they’re oblivious to the fact that those employees aren’t happy at work, don’t feel cared about or respected by them, or aren’t feeling challenged in the job–or countless other reasons people leave their supervisor. Every day marriages break up because one or both partners are unaware of just how unhappy their spouse truly is, or because they fail to grow the relationship. Every day people lead frustrated, unfulfilled lives because they never notice the underlying structures of their lives that determine their actions and, therefore, the outcomes they get.
Change is synonymous with Life. Where there’s change, there’s energy, and where there’s energy, there’s life. Positive change requires us to notice, and to notice, we must be conscious of what’s going on inside (as well as outside) of us.

Creating a powerful relationship vision. Vision is the only thing that allows us to get off, what author Robert Fritz calls, the Path of Least Resistance. The path of least resistance is a natural law that all life flows in the direction of the path of least resistance. If you ever visit Bryce Canyon in Utah, you’ll clearly see the wind’s path of least resistance by looking at the rock formations. Should you ever decide to take a canoe trip down a lazy river where the riverbed began forming thousands of years ago, you will be carried along the path of least resistance for the flowing water. As humans, our lives also follow the path of least resistance created by the underlying structures that keep us right where we are, despite our best intentions to change. However, create a powerful vision of the results you want in your life, and you can step off the old path and onto a new one that will eventually, with consistent action, become the path of least resistance you want to be on—a path that leads to the outcomes you desire. First comes awareness of the old structures and what’s needed to change them, and second comes the vision of your desired results.

Developing trusting relationships. As the saying goes, “No one is successful unless a lot of other people want them to be.” In other words, it’s tough to be successful without trusting, authentic relationships. We need the help of others, but without trust, you won’t get the kind of support you need. And to form those authentic relationships where trust abounds, you need to know who you are— the beliefs, thoughts and feelings that drive your life daily. You need to be able to manage those thoughts, feelings and behaviors so that you are in the driver’s seat of the life you want. Only then is it possible to be in a position to give others what they need to trust you. Once again, it all begins with awareness.

How awake are you?

Interested in Becoming a More Influential Leader? Check it out here!

#leadership, #influence, #success, #business

(c) 2108 Mary Jane Mapes All rights reserved.

Business couple on blue background

Ever wondered if there was an indispensable leadership quality? Probably not one, but a combination defined as one.

Picture this. You have been selected to represent your department at an executive board meeting of your Fortune 500 company. Your mission is to present a proposal for a project your department feels is critical to the organization, and your ultimate goal is to get the boards’ commitment to move forward with the project, along with funding to support it.

On your way to the meeting, you have a flat tire which causes you to arrive several minutes late. In your effort to change the flat tire, you end up looking a bit disheveled, with a coffee stain you were not aware existed on the front of your shirt. Suffice it to say, you do not appear “dressed for success.”

A bit rattled by your late entrance, you fumble awkwardly through introductions, calling a couple board members by a nickname common to their formal name. When you finally sit down, you frantically search for a pen and note paper, clearly noticeable to everyone in the meeting. Not long after the meeting begins, you must dismiss yourself for a “much needed bathroom break.” Not only did you drink too much coffee on your way to the meeting, but the “fight or flight” state you’re in as a result of sensing you’ve made a bad first impression has made it necessary to relieve yourself. As you walk out the door, you see several board members look at one another with disbelief. You know they must be thinking, “How did this person get chosen to present to the board?” Sound like a scene from a comedy film?

The above example is obviously meant to be an exaggeration of what goes on in meetings across the country. While perhaps not quite so obvious, both men and women are broadcasting in subtle (and not so subtle) ways that they do not have what it takes to be tapped for a career path that leads to the executive suite.

Not only do executives lead their establishments, they many times become the public face of accountability for their organizations. And, it is never so noticeable as when stakes are high. For example, let’s look at James Burke, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, during what became known as the “Tylenol Scare” many years ago.

The year was 1982. Somebody when into retail businesses and replaced Extra Strength Tylenol capsules, a product that dominated market share for oral, over-the-counter pain relievers, with capsules laced with 10,000 times the amount of cyanide needed to kill a human being. They then put the bottles back on the shelves. Seven people in Chicago were reported to have died as a result.

Overnight Tylenol went from 37% market share to 7% market share. Was Johnson & Johnson responsible for the tampering? No, of course not. But Chairman James Burke took full responsibility and moved immediately to remove 31 million bottles from the shelves, offering to replace the product with another in tablet form, and to do so free of charge.

As a young woman, I remember watching James Burke when he appeared on The Phil Donohue Show to express his deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost loved ones. I remember him talking about all the steps that the company was taking so that something like that would never happen again. He was caring and empathetic and in complete control after a virtual disaster. The way in which Mr. Burke handled himself during a crisis situation gained him tremendous admiration, not only for his leadership decision to pull Tylenol capsules off the market, but for his forthrightness in dealing with the media. Because of the way James Burke dealt with that tragic situation, both he and Johnson & Johnson became heroes. Burke exhibited the epitome of executive presence. He was authentic, clear thinking, able to quickly do the right thing because it was the right thing to do, and came across as genuinely caring and connected to his “audience” in his communication with the American public.

With this in mind, do you know how you come across to people? As I’ve worked with leaders, executives, and sales professionals over the years, it has become clear to me that the very best leaders have what is called Executive Presence.

What does Executive Presence look like?

It is the look and presentation of a genuine, authentic leader. Executive presence can be described as a type of gravitational pull. It’s largely how others perceive you – are you poised, clear, and confident? What does the full picture of you tell others when they meet you?

True, authentic, quality leaders have a way about them that shows through all of their actions. It says that if they are not in leadership that they should be. They are grounded, focused, and they think and speak with clarity. They continue to develop their mind-set and their skill sets, and discipline themselves to do the kind of thinking needed for high quality and high level work. Because their minds, including both their thoughts and emotions, are disciplined, their actions follow suit and it is apparent through all that they do.

For example, a person with Executive Presence:

• Has expertise, able to demonstrate real competence.
• Possesses a positive mental focus, always looking for the opportunity in every situation, either good or bad.
• Exhibits integrity by walking their talk, asking tough questions, making difficult decisions.
• Invites others to engage and collaborate with them.
• Is known to be reliable – they are prompt and prepared—every time.
• They dress professionally.
• They demonstrate stamina and fitness.
• Their people skills are practiced and honed, able to make others feel comfortable in their presence.
• They communicate clearly and effectively, able to read a person or an audience.
• They are able to command the attention of others.
• They are active listeners, demonstrating a genuine interest in others’ points of view.
• They move with purpose and energy, making the most of every day.

Someone with Executive Presence may have charisma, but those two terms should not be thought of as synonymous; they are not interchangeable. Charisma, or the ability to “wow” a crowd, is an attractive personality trait, but it does not necessarily demonstrate positive leadership ability. Hitler had charisma, but he was anything but an effective leader. A leader can have charisma, but just because someone has it doesn’t mean they have the ability to lead others toward success.

The good news is that Executive Presence is something that can be refined and practiced. Find someone that exudes the traits you want to emulate and learn from them. To be at the top, you must earn the ability to be with those at the top.

Become your own best coach. Ask yourself the following questions:
• How would I rate my people skills on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)? How would other people rate my people skills?
• What does my body language tell others? Do I come across as congruent? Do I possess self-awareness? Does my body language invite others in?
• Do I move with confidence? Am I poised? Who do I trust to ask for feedback so that I can gain some clarification and insight?
• Do I need to gain skill and confidence in speaking to both small and large groups of people? Am I willing to get myself trained?
• Am I aware of my emotions and am I able to express them at the right time and in the right way?
• Am I an active listener? If not, where can I learn to become one?
• How physically fit am I?
• Am I someone who approaches every situation with positive intentions?
• How committed am I to developing the executive presence I need to become my most effective as a leader?

Someone with executive presence doesn’t need to make their presence known because it simple enters the room when they do, and its absence if felt when they leave.