By Zig Ziglar
My friend, author-speaker Nido Qubein, in his Executive Briefing newsletter, gives some advice on communicating with people from other cultures. “We must remember that people from different backgrounds send and receive messages through cultural filters. Words, expressions and gestures that mean one thing in one culture may mean something entirely different in another culture. A term or a gesture that may seem perfectly harmless to you may be offensive to someone from another ethnic group.” Nido says that, “We must first find out what terms and expressions are offensive to minority ears and avoid slang words that refer to people of different racial, ethnic or national minorities. Don’t use them even in joking. Next, we need to understand that English is a precise language but is perceived as blunt by many speakers of other languages. For example, Americans often pride themselves on ‘telling it like it is,’ but this is a turn-off to Japanese workers who practice ‘ishin-denshin’ – that is, communication by the heart.”
“Saving face” is an important consideration in some cultures and this may influence the way people respond to you. If you say, “Do you understand?” to someone from an Asian culture, you may get a polite “yes” when the person has no idea what you’re talking about. If they say “no,” it can only mean one of two things to many Asians: They’re too dense to comprehend or you are a poor instructor. Nido says that it’s important to watch the facial expressions of the person with whom we’re talking. It’s hard to disguise puzzlement and it’s usually easy enough to tell whether the face comprehends. He suggests that first of all we ask for feedback; second, that we listen carefully for questions because if there are no questions, there’s likely to be no understanding. Third, we should use clear, simple language. This is only a minute capsule of communicating properly with those from other cultures, but it’s a good place to start. Give it a try and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
Dog Collar Conditioning
By Lee Colan, Ph.D.
I was taking a long walk with our small family dog, Sparky, after a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Not sure who needed the exercise more. Although it was a well-worn path for both of us, this particular walk taught me a lesson about my dog and about me.
Sparky is a great dog (and that’s coming from a guy who is relatively new at pet ownership), but he is not a particularly well-trained dog. That’s a direct result of having a poorly trained owner. As a result, we have to be careful about leaving doors and gates open or Sparky will run like the wind.
This walk started off like business as usual (if you know what I mean). Then Sparky decided to continue his sniffing in one spot a little too long, so I gave the leash a gentle tug. As I learned later, Sparky’s dog collar had been loosened just one notch while he was at the vet’s office the day before. So this time when I tugged, his little head popped right out of the leash and he was free to roam, run, skedaddle or run like the wind!
But Sparky just sat there looking up at me, seemingly trapped. In reality he was as free as he had ever been. It was like a smorgasbord of all the smells and critters he could sniff and chase… a canine buffet! But Sparky stood still, paralyzed by the unknown of this freedom. He willingly let me reaffix his dog collar, allowing him to assume his normal comfort zone.
Hmmm, I thought. How many times have I stayed within my own self-imposed boundaries? Probably more often than I’d like to admit. How about you?
I see this “dog collar conditioning” frequently in the workplace. Leaders’ boundaries are usually much wider than their team’s perception of those boundaries. In other words, we often condition ourselves to live and work in a smaller world because of our own limiting thoughts. We typically have more control and freedom than we think.
Our biggest barriers to greater success and freedom are not “out there.” They are “in here” (Lee pointing to his head). To realize our potential, we must re-condition our thinking to stretch beyond the boundaries of our own comfort.
Remember, growth and learning occurs when we are uncomfortable. So, take off your “mental dog collar” and explore new limits of success!
|Getting the Big Picture: Some Rules of the Road
Are you happy with your place in life? Not living the life you were intended can be more stressful than a faltering 401(k), says Andrew Sherman, author of the book Road Rules: 12 Essential Rules for Navigating the Road of Life.
“While it’s very frustrating when the market is down, it does not measure your effectiveness as a parent, spouse, friend or sibling,” Sherman says. “It’s just one gauge. We need to remind ourselves of that from time to time.
“If you don’t like your life, recast your story. We are a great country and we have great resources to change our lives if we want,” he says. “Write your own story.”
A lawyer and expert in strategic business growth, Sherman says that even if people aren’t entrepreneurs, they can apply the principles of entrepreneurship to their lives “and develop a vision of something larger.” Here’s what he says you can do now:
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