Rick Brandon and Debra Dinnocenzo discuss the role and important applications of political savvy in the workplace with a focus on the evolving hybrid/remote environment. Rick also overviews the key skills described in his book, Straight Talk, and discusses the essential aspects of communication from a distance. Hear why traditionally described ‘soft skills’ are becoming the vital skills for successful leadership in the new world of work and why leaders must step into the new methods, styles, and applications of traditional leadership skills to ensure productivity, profitability, and wellness in the workplace – all of which impacts team performance and talent retention.  

About the Guest:

Rick Brandon, Ph.D., is CEO of Brandon Partners, is a best-selling author and designer of flagship workshops on Organizational Savvy and the Motivational Tool Kit. With thirty years of performance improvement and interpersonal communication skills development, he has trained tens of thousands at companies worldwide, including scores of Fortune 500 companies.

Several clients urged Brandon to write Survival of the Savvy (Free Press, 2004), noting that too little material existed in the marketplace on this important competency. This straight-talking and practical book quickly made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, was called “the definitive book on political savvy” by Robert Eichinger, founder of the Lominger Career Architect, and earned endorsements by thought leaders Ken Blanchard, Marshall Goldsmith, Harvey MacKay, and many CEO’s. It was Book of the Month for the Institute for Management Studies, Fast Company magazine, and Forbes CEO.com, & was reviewed in Harvard Business Review, Library Journal, Business Book Reviews, Executive Book Summaries, and many articles. The book’s core model is regularly presented at The Conference Board, American Society of Training and Development, the Institute for Management Studies (18 cities in 2005, the most requested program) and many companies’ Leadership Forums. 

Brandon is also the author of the recently released book, Straight Talk (Matt Holt, 2022), which hones core Assertive Speaking and Empathic Listening skills, and then funnels readers into step-by-step formats for six vital workplace situations: Gaining Commitments, Advising and Guiding, Recognizing, Reminding, Constructively Confronting, and Challenging Ideas. Dr. Brandon also delivers High-Impact Workshops, Keynote Presentations, Executive Coaching, Corporate Training and applied behavioral sciences consulting to enhance performance and organizational results.

Connect with Rick at: Rick@BrandonPartners.com or linkedin.com/in/rickbrandon

Learn more about Rick and his work at: https://brandonpartners.com/

About the Host:

Since publishing her first book on telecommuting in 1999, Debra has been a pioneer in the shift to virtual work and remote leadership. Few practitioners in the field have the depth of knowledge and hands-on experience that distinguishes Debra in the hybrid workplace and remote leadership space. As a nationally recognized expert in remote workplace and distance leadership, Debra has spoken widely on related topics, and developed and taught “Leadership in the Virtual Workplace,” an online graduate-level course.

Debra A. Dinnocenzo is president and founder of VirtualWorks!, a consulting, coaching, and training firm that specializes in virtual work issues. Debra is a dynamic keynote speaker, innovative educator, impactful coach, seasoned executive, and successful author. 

Debra is the co-author of the recently released book, REMOTE LEADERSHIP – Successfully Leading Work-from-Anywhere and Hybrid Teams, as well as several other books on remote and virtual teams. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/debradinnocenzo/

https://dinnocenzospeaks.com/

https://virtualworkswell.com/

Schedule a call with Debra HERE

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Transcript
Debra Dinnocenzo:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the remote leadership podcast. I am exceptionally thrilled to have today's my guest, Dr. Rick, Brandon, Rick and I have known each other for a very long time. And Rick is a best selling author, a top notch consultant, and a superb trainer with decades of experience. Rick also has 30 years of experience in leadership development, and derailment, coaching. And I've asked Rick to join me today, we were talking recently and realize that a lot of the work that he's done, has so much application to the New World Order of the remote hybrid workplace. And So Rick, thank you. Thank you for joining me today.

Rick Brandon:

You bet pleasure to be with you, my friend.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

So you've written a number of books. And tell us a little bit about both your your books that you've published, and if anything I missed about your journey that you want to have listeners know about you? Sure, sure. Well,

Rick Brandon:

that I got started, there's two books. One is called survival of the savvy that's about political savvy in companies, not government, political savvy, although there's some overlap there. But in an organization, that book talks about the fact that it doesn't have to be a necessary evil, that there's a positive aspect of corporate or agency politics. And so we can talk about that and what's in that book, but it really helps turn around that, that vibe about politics, that it's all evil. It's a dirty word in the English language. And what we found is sure there can be over political people in companies, but in the realm and coaching that my co author Marty Seligman and I have done, we found that there were just as many people who were under political so the book tries to say, Okay, let's, let's look at that. How can I not be over political Of course, and how do you recognize the sharks and snakes, but then also, I don't want to be living on that river in Egypt, you know, called denial where I hate politics. So I'm gonna throw the baby out with the bathwater, and now I'm marginalized and under influential. So that's what that book does. That's, that's political savvy. But we also have interpersonal savvy, and that book is, is straight talk, influence skills for collaboration and commitment. It's just straight on interpersonal skills training on steroids. So those are the two, those are the two main books, okay.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

And of course, you know, how people are deploying those skills and that mindset, and doing all of that when they're not face to face anymore, is a real challenge for a lot of people, because there's so much subtlety and nuance and we don't get to interact, the way we've known or we're comfortable with are face to face, although I make a distinction between on site face to face and virtual face to face. And so how are you seeing your the clients that you're working with and people adapting these smart skills in the New World Order of work?

Rick Brandon:

Well, first, let's take them separately. First off, we looked at political savvy, through survival in the savvy, it's tougher, it's tougher in the remote world and hybrid world. But ironically, that's what makes it even more important, because part of political savvy is about visibility. How do I become visible? And how do I get come across as credible and get endorsement for my ideas, sell ideas, it's tougher to do remotely, sure. But it's all the more important, important that we do it. And an example of that is is now this one of the 13 skills of political savvy we talk about in the book is networking, essential networking for visibility? Well, obviously, that's going to be tougher to do when I am not in the office, gathering just like it's tougher to have innovative ideas. I'm not stopping by your your cubicle and brainstorming. But networking often is going to be done on Zoom, for instance. So it that differs, but but then people are invisible on their Zoom meeting, they have their cameras on because they have a bad hair day, losing visibility. So we tell people don't squander the one time that quarterly meeting where you're where you are with senior management, and yet you're invisible. So don't shoot yourself in the foot and make the situation even worse. So there are a lot of things that people can do in that meeting, turn on the camera. Make sure even if you don't know someone to chat come and say love to link up with you by phone later I see that your title is XYZ that really interests me or we're both working on that wireless project. So let's, let's chat. So the skills of political savvy are tougher remotely, they're more critical mission critical, then, because people are going to be more more marginalized in the remote world, especially if you're geographically remote, and further away from headquarters. So that's, that's a bit about the political savvy, but in terms of networking, but also respecting ego, that's a, that's another one that's tougher on a zoom call. Well, you can because you can really get yourself in trouble by going on camera or going on mute, and people catch you, the boss catches you multitasking. And now we're you're up a creek without a paddle, or you you're the one scheduling the meeting. And you always do it in a timezone situation where he or she is up at 530 in the morning, so show respect by how you how you schedule the Zoom meeting. So there was a there are certainly applications of same as in face to face, we don't want to say or do things that denotes that that person, I leave the meeting, and I don't send a chat to the boss on Zoom, or teams. I don't send a text, letting them know, I need the lead because of XYZ client meeting. Here's how I will catch up, let them know that you respect, you know, respect the work. So people, I think it's a dangerous assumption to think, well, I can't do any of this stuff. If I'm on Zoom, you can do it. And it's even more important to do so how's my clarity? Is that making sense? Yeah, yeah,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

absolutely. And, you know, it reminds me of the one thing I say in almost every presentation, every training, every coaching, I do have a remote for remote leaders or remote teams. And that is that we have to be conscious of replicating and simulating what we would do if you were face to face and just doing it in a digital environment. That means we would don't put bags over our heads we're in we're in live meetings on site, right? And that's, to me, what are we doing our cameras off? It's like are putting bags over our heads would not be tolerated. Get up and leave without saying hey, you know what I have I have another meeting, I have to go start. Have a call with a client, I can't change need to check out early. So it's just thinking about if we were on site to gather, how would we do this and, and finding ways to again, replicate and simulate that in the environment. And

Rick Brandon:

not psyching ourselves out about the fact that we're we're not in person doing something that's common sense. But common sense ain't always common practice when we're on a zoom or on a phone call. You know, another example of what what you just said, doing what you would do in the meeting? Well, you're in the meeting, and someone hijacks your part of the agenda, you're not finished yet. And yet they they get excited. And with therapies, well, in a face to face, it might be more likely that we we would be able to give them our body language and convey to them that Ouch, not I could even put up a hand. Well, Zoom wise, they might not see me on camera, even if I do put a hand hand up. So I need to if I'm marginalized, I need to refocus. I need to not let them hijack the meeting. And they say, Joe, Joe, Joe, I hear your excitement. I want to get on to that next topic, too. I really would like your opinion about XYZ. Okay, if we just wind up or discussion on the on the off site project first? And of course he or she would would say yeah, so So that's a skill of balance, self promotion, and and credibility building. By not letting someone take over. It's easy to do. If we change our mindset that, like you say, it's the same as, as in a face to face meeting. So those are some of the political savvy implications of the skills of political savvy. I think it's even sadder. What happens with the interpersonal skills, of listening skills, for instance, speaking skills, building rapport, building trust, getting clear agreements, that that is tougher to do. But again, it's even more important because of the alienation and impact, negative impact on building relationships and trust that happens because of remote work. What are you seeing in that that area? In terms of your remote work? What do you see of the impact on teams, and on, on trust on building that sense of connection? Because that, that, that's what kind of freaks me out about when I psyched myself out about remote? It's about the lack of connectivity?

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah, that's a really important point. And I just finished some research on all of that. And what came out of that research is that of course You know, connectivity connecting with peoples is important. We're doing it now in a different setting. And so the big takeaways were, first of all, you got to be really proficient and comfortable, you know, competent and confident with the technology that enables those connections, that connectivity. And there's a quote that I use in all of my presentations, also, connectivity, which is, you know, all the digital stuff that we have is not the same thing as connection. Connection is what we do at a human level, right? And but we're connecting through connectivity. And we still have to, we still have to connect with people, we have to build rapport, we have to build relationships. The big difference that I'm hearing about from leaders is that, that doesn't happen as informally or spontaneously, as you mentioned, you just don't drop by somebody's cube, or pop into their office, or meet them in the break room. When you're getting coffee. It's intentional interactions, that leads to building rapport, open communication, checking in on people to make sure they're doing okay, or demonstrating caring, making yourself also available to people responding more proactively. So it's intentional connections, that really also comes back to leaders have to be really, really, really organized in ways they didn't have to be before, to make sure that those intentional connections don't fall through the cracks if you're not highly organized, and managing your time. Well. So. So a lot of these really relates to I'm sure what you wrote about in straight talk. So first of all, I'm curious about what prompted you to write straight talk at the at this, your, your experience level?

Rick Brandon:

Yeah, sure. I would say that the bid piece, there was a sense that it's all the more it was all the more needy because I wrote it during COVID. So part of the motivation was to have something to do while I was locked down. Part of it was, at my tender age, that it was time to codify what we've been teaching people interpersonally listening skills, assertive speaking skills, clear agreements, holding people accountable with constructive confrontation, positive feedback, corrective feedback, all of those skills have been taught for centuries. Of course, I have my own spin on it. And I figured, hey, COVID is a great time to, to codify it and get it out in the world, but also COVID wise, tremendous loneliness, like we we paid homage to a minute ago, lack of connection. But that the research shows that people are so disengaged anyway, even when they were face to face the old, what was the old Gallup that 30, only 30% of people are fully engaged. And a lot of it is my boss, and lack of recognition, some of the skills of interpersonal treatment, but even worse, in times of COVID that they found that we're trying to think of the person's name, I think it was Noreen Hertz. She wrote, she wrote a book called The Lonely century. And it's all about how human connection in a world that's pulling apart more and more, is challenging. And she said that one in five people suffer loneliness, and that they're more likely to quit 30% even more likely to die those illness. So this issue of loneliness that can be not saved and cured by by the kind of treatment in positive regard that you're talking about intentional interpersonal skills. It certainly isn't a cure, but it can ease the pain of that separation, and isolation and depersonalization that started percolating during COVID. So that was a big motivation for writing the book, how do we help people to use those skills on zoom in telephone, a lot of the skills are the same. It's just that intention. You said something that intrigued me the whole bit about being more intentional and leaders and managers need to be more intentional. So so my question to to your listeners would be okay, how, how can you be more intentional in terms of helping people can net not just through your use of listening skills of empathy, of positive recognition in a Zoom meeting, but how do you how do you make lemonade Out of the lemons of them feeling way separated by by being on that Zoom. Do you do any? Do they do any? Any community community building at the start? Do they check I know leaders who check in with each person, give me a weather report on how your how your week since our last meeting has been, what do they do to create belonging?

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Right perfect example of that's intentional, that doesn't just happen by accident anymore. And it didn't happen by accident, right. So these are really important, written portant skills you're raising also an important point about, you know, leaders have to also ensure that team members are connecting with each other and managing that on top of everything else. A lot of what I'm hearing right now, is, there's just a huge sense of overwhelm with too much to do not enough time. One of the things I always asked leaders during coaching is when is the last time they had 1015 minutes, where they could sit and just be silent. And practically no one has an example of that. So you know, we've known for decades that we increasingly are compromising leaders opportunity just to think, because we fill our days with meetings. And but you know, think back when you and I first started in the workplace, we had teleconferences and that was it, we had, you know, bat phones, we used to call them in the middle of the conference table. And occasionally some people would join remotely and all we had was a voice or voices. And we hated that. Why did we hate that? Well, because we didn't have a visual component. We couldn't, you know, see gestures and see how people were reacting, facial instruct expressions, now we have that and people turn their cameras off. And so but you know, so we've, in my view, we've come a long way. And at the same time, think back COVID was a horrible time, in terms of people being feeling disconnected, increase in suicides, and that sort of thing. At the same time, though, look at how many families were able to stay connected, and teams were able to stay connected, weddings occurred, and people were able to be there virtually, which never happened before. So we've advanced our ability to bridge distances. Through technology, we just don't like it as much. But it does enable us to include many more people than could have otherwise been included. memorial services happened online, which is

Rick Brandon:

Yeah, and my family during COVID bonded more than we ever did 14 of us. Extended family would meet every week for game night. Yes, yeah, we never, we never did that before. So Amen to what you're saying. Even though we say oh, it's it's, it's separated us there's alienation, we don't want to miss the silver lining, which is definitely true. And people are connecting more even now, post COVID Post pandemic, but because of that cousin blessing of turning on to connectivity in ways that we never did, did before,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

I hadn't thought about this for a while. But during COVID My father turns 95. And, you know, I would have wouldn't have a big party, right? We couldn't have a big party. So I set up a Zoom meeting, and invited a bunch of people, family members and everything, which, you know, my father was 95. So he, you know, I pull out the computer and I said, what, what we're going to have a party and he said, What the hell is that. But, you know, people talked with him, and he didn't really get the technology, but, you know, it was better than doing nothing. And then, you know, when he turned 96, we did have a big party, and made it a surprise. And that was a lot of fun. And people actually showed up. So I think we need to focus on what we have, what we can leverage what's available to us and and make sure we're using it well. And then be be conscious of how to use and apply those skills in that environment. So so if you think about the the key skills in straight talk, what are those? How would you articulate how those are best deployed when we're not face to face? Or at least not?

Rick Brandon:

Yeah, at least it does, of course, depend on which of the skills we're talking about. So again, we're teaching active listening. We're teaching assertive. Speaking and then making clear agreements. So when we get to listening, for instance, I think people need to be, particularly if I'm on the phone with you, or it's just you and I on a on a on a Zoom meeting. More listening skills are needed more of the has more of the I hear us more paraphrasing the race especially even active

Debra Dinnocenzo:

listening to me exactly checking for understanding. Exactly,

Rick Brandon:

because you can't see me necessarily even if I have my camera and you don't necessarily see my head and answer my Oh, I see my facial reaction showing recognition. So I have to verbalize the fact that I'm really tracking you more. And of course, we want to be especially active with open questions more so. So to keep that involvement there. So I think it's important to to ask myself, how, how well does my listener? Does my speaker feel, feel heard? And in a Zoom meeting, can I be more active in paraphrasing, and this is a way to have credibility and be seen, you know, from a political savvy standpoint, as being a mover and a shaker in a positive sense as being active. So I want to break in now and then to paraphrase what someone else is saying, especially if I'm running the meeting. If I'm one of the individuals, I can still do that, or I can even do it via chat. Wow, Terry, it really sounded like you felt a little burned when the group when the group moved on to the next topic, because you had a lot of juice on that on that wireless configuration. And I can I can tell that you're really enthused about, I'd love to talk to you more. So I paraphrase, and empathize on chat. In the meeting, at the end of meetings, why don't I be the person that paraphrases the decisions and action steps we've made? So my understanding as we close down is that moving forward, we're going to blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, I just think it's more important to do even more of it, more of it. One caveat is some platforms, whether it's zoom or teams, some platforms, if I go, Uh huh. Oh, I see that I would normally do in person more. It cuts off the speaker. Do you know what I'm saying? It's like a Max Headroom it it gets choppy. So I might want to do it more with with, with my body language nodding still but not interrupting what those grunts and groans of listening communication, the cause of listen, and come in and still paraphrase the thoughts and feelings. I think that's even more important, not just paraphrasing the content, but if there's emotion there cooking, to to let the person know, to reflect to use your word to reflect the emotions, you sound really disappointed. Whatever the emotion might be. How's my clarity?

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah, you're doing great, you're doing great. And it's so helpful. And, you know, I also, at this point, if I was talking with some leaders, I would remind them another way to do that with within the tool, there are emoticons or polling tools. So getting people more engaged during a meeting, and then, you know, asking, seeking out so you know, use the emoticons to, you know, let me know, agree or disagree as opposed to just, you know, ask for comments. And then there's dead silence which we hate

Rick Brandon:

it and the Cricut saw the Exactly.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Because for some people, it's it's hard for some people to to assert it in a remote meeting, actually, they're not comfortable with that either. And so, in my last book, remote leadership, we actually have a whole section and an appendix on that includes icebreakers, to get people kind of, you know, loosened up. And if a team really knows each other, well, it's still there's still always an opportunity to, you know, say, hey, what's the most fun movie you've seen lately? Or the you know, what the movie you enjoyed the most or little things like that?

Rick Brandon:

Yeah, it's been it's back to it's back to what you said before being intentional about connecting, and not just getting right down to business. Well, let's, let's lubricate the interaction by getting people connected at a human level. And yeah, I think those are critical. Can I go back to what your question about using some of the Straight Talk skills remotely and I was blabbing about listening skills, but what about the other skill that we talk about in the book straight talk and in our workshops and you teach all the time, assertive speaking, so how do I come across as not being passive, not being aggressive or harsh, but of being assertive, firm, respectful, using candor without falling into being too submissive and having that be my rap or a little too hard. So just some quick things on, on on the phone and video chats, virtual meetings, passive behavior, what's that about? Well, it's if I'm not speaking up enough and I am invisible, that, ironically, can be taken as passive, but it can be also taken as aggressive. Like, it's too. I don't care about this stuff. I don't need to be involved. So passivity, whispering, muting yourself and forgetting to unmute, which shows a lack of technical savvy to it makes you seem like you're asleep at the wheel. Or using too many questions with that ending every sentence with the upturn voice. And so what I'm talking about is is a way of having myself not seen password. I just now did it. It's the on purpose. It's the Canadians habit we make fun of coming across too wishy washy, or am I on on zoom on Zoom? Are our teams coming across as aggressive by monologuing? Too much without doing that check, or a polling like you were suggesting, or verbally? Chat, your reaction? Are there any questions about what I'm saying? interrupting people speed rapping, talking too loudly. And so all of these things can come across remotely as too aggressive, or too passive, I want to come across a strong, firm without overdoing either end of the continuum.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

And some of that is making sure we're comfortable with the technology confident and how we use it. It's still stunning to me, I cannot tell you how many times I'm in meetings, and I have to walk away saying, you know, we got people like up there in the space station flying around, they're not falling out, you know, from the sky, and we can't do these damn meetings. Teams without people still stumbling all over themselves and not getting being able to get their their speaker on the right setting. And it's still a challenge. And for some people, it's very intimidating, then I think it makes them feel really not comfortable. And just being there in an authentic human way, and being able to share in an authentic human way. So you also mentioned and I want to just get a little plugin here, you mentioned about the importance of sort of wrapping up and summarizing the meeting. And for years, we have published a what we call the virtual meeting checklist. And it's a simple checklist, what to do before a remote meeting what to do during and how to do it well, and what to do as follow up to ensure that things don't just like disappear into the ether, which sometimes happens. And that's that's available on the virtual Works website at virtual works while.com. And it's in free resources. And it's amazing to me that people still need that resource, because we kind of lose, we lose focus on what we need to do to prepare for a meeting to be conducted well, and then to conduct it. Well, I still see sometimes we forget, in meetings, I see this in a lot of board meetings I participate in to welcome the people who are on the phone if we don't have video, just audio. So we know if we're in the room who the heck's on the phone, and the people on the phone don't really know who's in the room. And so that's not replicating and simulating what would happen if we were live face to face on site, because we'd all see each other when you would need to Yeah, yep, we're forgetting some of those things. So, you know, interestingly, you and I go way back enough to know that we used to call this this stuff soft skills. You know, really, they're so critical. I wish we could come up with a better name. Have you come up with this stuff yet? Yeah, that

Rick Brandon:

you're hitting a nerve there because you're preaching to the choir there. Because that that is a pet peeve of mine is soft skills, because I don't think they're soft skills. I think they're hard skills, because they kids not touchy feely, charm school. These are vital skills, especially in today's world. So we write a right away on our workshops and in the book right away. Straight Talk. We talk about the business case, for interpersonal skills. It's not about term scope. It's about bottom line, because we're talking about building the kind of rapport through the listening skills and trust building we're talking about that keeps people engaged instead of doing what people the great resignation, or worse, they quit and they stay but the morale is low. There's There's very bottom line impact of faulty listening and think oh, one faulty listening error where I misunderstood what you said about those, let's say the timeline for, for getting the feedback to you. And we realize, Oh, you meant this Friday, I thought you meant next Friday that whatever it might be the cost is in the billions. Morale engagement, we talked about we talked about a lot the cost of faulty engagement, faulty communication, lack of innovation. So so I really believe it's important first, before I practice the skills to get my right, my mind, right, and turn, we call it the Straight Talk mindset to build an understanding of the business case, for doing this stuff. It's about getting results, especially when we funnel active listening and assertive speaking into some of the conversations, like making clear agreements with people, and then holding them accountable. That's all about results than even soft stuff, any fluff management, that's getting the job done by being really clear with agreements. And, and oftentimes, people think they've made an agreement, and they haven't made an agreement, they just hasn't have an expectation that the person understand well, they should know things that's in their job. It's their job, they should well, but they don't know. And, and it's my job to not expect them to be a mind reader. So these soft skills, quote, unquote, are hard skills. And they really lead to bottom line results after my take on it. And that sounds like it's, it's yours as well. Absolutely.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

I have said, as you know, I've been in this business for over 20 years. And I have been saying for two decades now, that the the best thing that's ever going to happen to performance management, is the distributed dispersed workforce. Because, you know, we have to get over thinking that just because somebody's in the office sitting at their desk, their eyes are open, and they appear to have a blood pressure, that they are actually working and working on the right things and getting the right results. We got to easily fell into that trap, without the clarity of direction and clarification on deliverables expectations, that is now required, which is a really great thing, who I mean, clarity, who doesn't want clarity, right? So. So it's somewhat I had a meeting earlier today. And I was asked who is my ideal client. And my response was, it's a leader who totally gets the connection between the performance of their people and the profitability of their organization. So it all comes back to performance, which has to start with, to your point, a clear expectations of what is expected of people when and how. So it's both the task and the behaviors as well. Which, oh, you know, we don't necessarily see the behaviors as frequently. And I also think there's challenges now that, you know, remote, fully remote is actually easier than hybrid, at least, I hear from, from leaders and teams, that it's just a little bit messier. But you know, the real point is, this is the future. And we're just evolving into what the next normal will be not the new normal, it's because it's going to continue to change. So I'm sure you agree, Rick, about the importance of clarity, because you've mentioned it several times. And the importance of the connection between that and clear direction and deliverables, expectations and that sort of thing. So what are your thoughts on that?

Rick Brandon:

Just that the expectation is often where it stays, and I know you mean expectations shared between people. But I think that a lot of times people don't have don't have the expectation translated into a true agreement. And expectation is in my head, have I put it into words through an agreement discussion through gaining commitment? Through mapping out what you're talking about? Or am I assuming that they are mind readers, as I mentioned before, so if you might be interesting for your listeners to we have people in workshops, do this think of the people who are driving you crazy, they're frustrating, because they're not doing what you want them to do? Or they're doing something you want them to stop doing, or they're doing something in the wrong way. And we have people list those and then go back and we talk about Okay, how's an expectation of yours different than an agreement? One way versus two way, a chance to work through concerns versus an expectation I might assume that you're okay with it. Maybe you're not asking for the reaction. And so, so then we asked people, How many of those frustrations really are, are after a clear agreement versus you having the expectation. And many times people say as many as 30 to 40%, I could do more to make it clear by having a conversation, that's clear and doing it in a way that is effective, meaning not just sharing what you said about the timelines, the deliverables, the percentages, et cetera. But the What the what, and the how, but what about the why, what's the advantage to the company to the consumer, to the customer, to the client, to our team? So I think we, we tend to shortcut these agreements. And then the third problem, so first problem, expecting people to know what we mean, without saying is clearly as you're suggesting, expecting it to be effective when the conversation we do have isn't fully effective, we're not going to get results, so I need to sell him on it. Why and and specifically work through what concerns do you have that that question can be a mantra, what could stand in the way of you delivering what I'm asking you to do? And then finally expecting without inspecting, once I have the agreement, especially to your point about being remote? Do I follow up? Do I just assume it's going well? Or do I check in? Or if they dropped the ball? Do I have a reminder, if they succeed in it, let them know how much you appreciate it with positive recognition. So again, all of these skills are important face to face, I think they're even more important when it comes to remote so that we have that performance full of performance, like you said, of results, and behaviors, and that we keep having meaning agreements and reinforce those agreements when they're kept or not kept.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Right, and I

Rick Brandon:

got off on a rant there, I got a bit of a rant, you can tell I'm excited about the impact of the skills to make hard results, not just saw fluff skills, right?

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Absolutely. And it reminds me of another one of my key messages in all of my coaching and keynotes that I do. And that is a big reminder to everyone, this is not a time to under communicate. So this requires communication on the front end throughout. And we're not talking about meetings, we're talking about, you know, give people expectations, we can't just assume it's going to get done anymore, right? People we need to know as leaders, how things are going, we need to make ourselves available to support and coach, we need to make it clear that we're available to help and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. And, and we need to be closing those loops making ourselves available, and ensuring that the right thing gets done the right way. That requires a lot of communication. And a lot of, you know, smart talking. Yeah. So right

Rick Brandon:

on to that, and especially us talking about people needing to communicate more. I think that's especially true not just remote wise, but when we're in times of massive change, which of course, accelerated rate of change, people tend to under communicate when what's needed, if anything is to over communicate, or things fall through the cracks, especially people are resistant to the change. We better check in about what possible losses and proceed losses and threats they perceive by the change. And to not just pretend there's managing the human side of change, not just planning the tasks apart, so Amen to what you're saying, Debra, absolutely. Amen.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah. Well, I think that's a great note for us to wrap up on but except that I would like to let people know how they can reach you. There'll be your your email and website will be in the show notes. But how can people find you, Rick?

Rick Brandon:

Well, that's on LinkedIn, but the best way is email and if someone has a question, you can feel free to email me Rick at Brandon partners.com True to go to the website there's a bunch of freebie collateral about and take away tools, even if you don't read the Straight Talk book. So those are straight talk self assessment of meeting toolkit for how you can weave Straight Talk skills into meetings. There's a lot of a lot of information there and of course, the best way to get to know me is take a look at straight talk which is available all over the place on Amazon Straight Talk influence skills for collaboration and commitment and then the the older books survival at the savvy about political savvy, you'll get a sense of of my my roots in political savvy because that that thing is 20 years old, but it still has legs. because I love it when I see someone read reading it on the airplane. So just invite people to take a gander at the material that way or to email me, I'll be back within 48 hours with an answer to you. That's

Debra Dinnocenzo:

great. And that's Ric Ric K at Brandon, br A n d o n partners.com.

Rick Brandon:

That's beautiful. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot. And I really enjoyed this. We always Yeah, speaking of let's not assume let's not have the expectation that people understand my name. You're practicing what we preach, right? Yeah, sorry, I had a guest doing this. Thanks. This

Debra Dinnocenzo:

was great, I think very helpful, great information, and certainly political, political savvy and important topic right now on this these times, and how those are applied. And I appreciate you, you know, kind of flipping this around to talk about how this works in the remote hybrid workplace. So thank you. Thank you for joining us today. And I'll look forward to being back with everyone on the next broadcast.

Rick Brandon:

Beautiful. Thanks so much. Have a great day.