Monthly Archives: March 2008

Desired Outcomes define our relationships

by Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008

From the time we are born the world asks us “What do you want?” And the better we become at defining and communicating what we want, the more likely we are to get it.

When a baby cries the mother seeks to learn what is needed. Is the child in pain, hungry, wet, cold, ill?
Until she knows what the child wants the mother is unable to fulfill the need or desire. So, she guesses; first rocking and soothing, then offering food, then a blanket, etc. until the crying stops. The mother is a metaphor for how the world operates toward us.

The world is driven by requests. When you clearly ask for something then ways to receive it begin to appear. This is true on many levels. Let’s say you have bills coming due and don’t yet have the money to pay them. Your first likely reaction is to “worry.” That is simply your mind sorting through the possibilities to give you an accurate Threat Assessment. You see, worry is the mental rehearsal of disaster. It is how we think about challenges and determine whether we are in trouble or not. If we easily see a way out then we relax. If we don’t then we become more alarmed.

People get far too distressed by worry. I suggest you keep it in perspective. Recognize it as a natural, helpful mental and emotional reaction to danger. Any challenge; getting to a meeting on time, finding a way to make a sale, avoiding a traffic ticket, or averting injury…will produce a thought process centered around threat avoidance and self-protection. Our difficulty increases if we end up staying in that mode for too long. We move from Threat Assessment into Pessimism.

Pessimism is the mindset of assuming that the threats are insurmountable and eternal. We take the posture that because there are threats we are therefore defeated, so why even try? This is a very destructive mindset.

We need to know what we want and what stands between us and achieving it. Part of that process is seeing the potential obstacles. Another part is seeing the successful outcome. A baby doesn’t yet have the capacity to see or articulate the desired outcome, but they know it the instant it arrives and they respond accordingly. Adults on the other hand, can visualize, describe and even vicariously experience the outcome in their imagination. But we do it far too little. Instead we spend time going around in circles within our worry loop. Reviewing again and again the negative possibilities.

Optimism by comparison is the mindset of assuming that regardless of the obstacles, there is probably a solution somewhere. So we continue to probe and explore until we find it. Without optimism we would not persist. Our mindset is a choice. We are not the victims of it, unless we choose to sustain it. So avoid pessimism at the first signs of it and embrace optimism well before you have tangible evidence to justify it. There is a way, somewhere, somehow, with someone’s assistance. It can be done.

So what do you want? Think of this in any context that is meaningful to you. What do you want on the job? from your next business contact? from the work you’ve put into a project? from your coworkers, customers or vendors? What do you want in your dealings with others? from your friend? from your neighbor? your kids? your spouse? And what do you want in life? from yourself? from others?

The more clearly you can define what you want the more valuable your relationships can become.
Here is why: almost everything you achieve will be in some ways done through others. The more people you have hoping and helping you the more likely you are to succeed. But they cannot help until they know what you want.

Assume right now that you listed all of your life’s goals on one sheet of paper and shared it with everyone you know. Odds are that some of them would discard the list, others would read and store it, and some would actually spend time thinking about how they could help you attain it. If only ONE person assisted you then you would have increased your “workforce” by 100%!

Personally, one thing that drives me nuts is indecision. To hear others avoiding decisions makes me very anxious. I recall one especially frustrating evening when “where shall we go for dinner?” was the question before us. We started suggesting restaurants with none getting much support and then people started embracing the indecision. One said,”Then let’s just see what leftovers are in the refigerator.” That’s when I chimed in with the assertion that we needed to make a decision. I said, “If nobody has a preference then let’s go to George’s Restaurant!” It was an excellent restaurant but not a popular suggestion because nobody else wanted to be the one who had made the choice. What was frustrating my efforts and keeping our group from an enjoyable dinner was simply not telling the world what we wanted. Once our goal was identified then we could progress into problem solving mode; call for reservations or eat on the patio or have drinks at the bar until a table was available, etc.

This same dynamic is true in all situations. Customers tend not to buy from us until we ask for the order. Waiters don’t serve us until we choose the meal or drink we want. Traffic won’t move aside for you until you signal your intended direction. And your employer won’t show you how to advance to higher pay until you show your interest in advancement and willingness to overfill your current responsibilities. We need to show others where we are headed so they can help or step out of our way.

How would you feel if upon arriving at a friend’s home for dinner, you were asked, “What would you like for dinner?”
I’d feel put out. It is the host’s job to determine what the meal will be and, after being considerate to individual taste preferences, to serve what was prepared. The guest shouldn’t have to drive the decision.
How would you feel in a football game if your quarterback used the huddle to take a vote as to the next play or game strategy?
Or if your employer didn’t let you know what you were working toward?
Leaders must lead. The world needs for each of us to do the same in our own life.

Again I ask, “What do you want?”
Once you know what you want or help your customer define what they want then your relationship takes on a whole new meaning. You become partners in problem-solving, collaborators toward an identified outcome. That is why I say that “Desired Outcomes define our relationships.”

When an outcome is identified then the rules, protocols and expectations of the relationship reshape themselves around the new goal. If you are riding in an elevator with a stranger there is very little “relationship” in place. All that is expected of each other is common courtesy. But if you find upon exiting the elevator that both of you are going into the same meeting where you will be negotiating a contract from opposite sides, a whole new set of “rules” apply to your dealings. Alternately, if you were to discover that both of you were about to become partners in a new venture, then your relationship would be defined by the goals of the venture.

So, as you contemplate your next task or communication with someone else, I’d like to ask you on behalf of the rest of the world:
“What do you want?”
(Surely we can find some ways to help you get it.)



Filed under Behavioral Economics, Relationship Intelligence Training

High-Value Relationships tm: The Economics of Connecting with People

by Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008

If you spend 20 minutes each week with John you get four referrals a month, three great new business ideas, you feel better about yourself and you have a great time. If you spend 20 minutes with him only once every three months you get virtually nothing by comparison. Would you not agree that there is an actual, tangible, financial value to advancing your relationship with John?

If you have dinner twice a month with Mary you have a lot of laughs, but you also pick up some of her cynicism. She uses put-down humor almost exclusively and, though it is funny, a steady diet of it will color your own mindset. So, like with comedians George Carlin and Don Rickles, their humor is good for an occasional laugh but a constant exposure to it is detrimental to your emotional well-being. The same can be said of many information sources and entertainment types. If it is uplifting, inspiring and encouraging, you will notice the effect. If on the other hand it is cynical, critical and sarcastic, so will you become. What we “feed” on most will ultimately show up in our own behavior and attitudes.

There is a cost to bad input and a value to good input. You and I are in control of who we spend our discretionary time with. I believe we should choose intentionally and consciously, and not just accept things by default. There are billions of people on Earth with whom you could cultivate a relationship. There are dozens or maybe hundreds with whom you already have the beginnings of a relationship. So, as the investor of your time and energy, where do you think the smart investment of your time should go?

Some say that intention has no place in a genuine relationship. I disagree. All of our relationships are intentional in some ways. I recommend that we become more conscious of it. A relationship is a connection between people in which there is an element of trust. The higher the trust the greater the relationship. If you want a relationship in which you can “just be yourself” then you will need a high-trust relationship. But…what does it mean to “be yourself”?

Does it mean to be able to follow your impulses without restraint? If so you are leaving open some pretty unpleasant possibilities.
Does it mean being able to think out loud? Then you’d better have much trust. As Emerson said, “A friend is one with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.” But even in high-trust relationships there is some restraint.

I have found that we “edit” ourselves in all of our relationships, at least to some degree. We choose not to say things that might leave the wrong impression or be misinterpreted. We omit observations that might be offensive or hurtful to others. We refrain from yelling “Fire!” while in a crowded theater, etc. So, technically, we are never “just being ourselves” but rather we are making at least some effort to be our “best self” as much as we can.

Now, back to the value of our relationships. The more we can generate trust with others the more possibilities we will have before us. The person with the most trust among others usually prevails. This is true in politics, in business and in day to day relations with neighbors. With more trust you get “the benefit of the doubt” and without it you get second-guessed at every turn.

As I’m fond of quoting, my friend Kevin Buck says, “Trust is a fruit. You can’t grow it directly. You cultivate the plant and it produces the fruit in its own time.” The relationship is the plant. When we nurture and cultivate the relationship then the trust will emerge “in its own time.”

Conclusion: when we become more conscious of the value of relationships in our lives we take our connections more seriously.
When we take our connections more seriously we become more intentional about who we spend time with, how we spend that time and how we conduct ourselves while we are there. The happy result of all this is that we get greater rewards just like in my example of meeting with John for 20 minutes each week.

Now examine the relationships in your life. Just list them all. Yes, all of them. Take some blank paper and just start listing everyone you know. This could take some time so don’t worry about doing it all in one sitting. Give yourself a week or so and keep adding to the list each day. Each name will remind you of others, and even of some people whose name you don’t know or recall, e.g. the guy who always greets me at the information counter. Just list them.

The easiest way to generate this list is to create groupings first. Develop a set of groupings that they would naturally belong to: family, friends from church, from sports, from school, coworkers, neighbors, customers, etc. Note which people go into each group. Then just brainstorm and list everyone you can think of.

Now “NOTICE MORE”, reflect on your lists and notice who you spend the most time with. List those people on a separate page.

From an interpersonal perspective, the people you spend the most time with are the essence of your life’s experience at this time.
If you were to change the mix of people or the amount of time with them, you’d actually alter your life.
Hmmmmm. Give that some thought.
You could actually change your life by altering the mix of people you associate with most frequently.

I believe that it is incumbent upon us to direct our life instead of just experiencing it. The more intentional we become the more we will tend to get what we want. So, who should you be spending more time with? Less time? No time?
Who do you need to meet in order to expand your potential?

Your relationships are valuable to you. Whether their value is high or low is in your hands.

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Filed under Behavioral Economics, High-Value Relationships

The System for Relationship Intelligence Training

Article 1 of 7

How to Create High-Value Relationships

By Jim Cathcart, author of Relationship Selling
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart

It’s time we started seeing Relationships through a Strategic perspective. This is not Relationships as Skill, but rather as Strategy. There is a direct correlation between the number of strategically valuable relationships in your life and your level of success. It is not about “what you know” or “who you know” but rather about “who you know who also considers it important that they know you?”

A Relationship is only an Asset when it is connected, directly or indirectly, to a Desired Outcome. It’s time to become more conscious, intentional and intelligent about the Relationships in your life.

There are Six Stages in the process of conversion from your existing methods toward practicing Relationship Intelligence tm on all levels of your organization.

I. Stimulating the Desire to Change
II. Learning to Become More Intelligent
III. Learning to Select Relationships More Intelligently
IV. Learning to Develop Relationships More Intelligently
V. Learning to Sustain Relationships More Intelligently
VI. Implementing Intelligent Systems to Assure Continuity


Article 2 of 7

Stage One in Creating High-Value Relationships (the Relationship Intelligence System tm) is:
Stimulating the Desire to Change

People have to want to change, otherwise all the energy to affect a change will have to come from you. If the status quo is tolerable to folks then they won’t exert enough energy to affect a lasting change to better practices. So step one is to get everyone into the wagon and then one by one to get them to help you pull the wagon. The ultimate goal is to have everyone pulling so that the effort required from each one is so little as to be unnoticeable.

The two universal motivators are: Avoid Pain and Seek Pleasure. If it is going to hurt more to keep things as they are than it will to change, then people will be open to change. Conversely if they can see that the joy of achieving a new level of success is greater than the comfort of sustaining the current level, then they will cooperate to improve. So paint pictures of the possible futures and expose the potholes in the current road they are traveling.

Do the Math

Think in terms of Behavioral Economics: What is it costing you to continue performing as you do today?
Here are some questions to get people thinking about how valuable improvements in their relationships can be for them.

Consider the value of the untapped potential within your existing relationships.

* How many more sales are there for you?
* How many referrals are you not yet getting?
* How many ideas for product improvement, process enhancement, cost savings, waste reduction, safety improvement, new opportunities, and faster results are already there just waiting to be tapped? Put a dollar value on your estimate.

* How many of your people bring attitudes to their work that literally cost you money and reduce your output? Guess what the financial impact of that might be.

* What habits exist within your workforce that keeps you from being more successful?
* Which standard practices need to be replaced in order to open up new levels of success?

* How many of the relationships in your organization are somewhat dysfunctional? What is that costing you in wasted opportunities and missed deadlines?
* How much of your absenteeism and your employees’ healthcare claims can be attributed to bad relationships instead of actual illness?
* How much does the “grief factor” in dealing with others take away from your people’s ability to perform at their best?

Where systems haven’t been put into place intentionally – work habits harden into systems anyway.

* How many of your existing systems for marketing, service, production, problem solving, communications, cost control, and planning are working for you and how many of them are working against you?

* What is your organization’s current reputation in the marketplace? How about among your coworkers and associates? Is that the reputation you intended to enjoy or would you like to see it evolve into something more ideal?
* What does your current organizational reputation cost you each year compared to what it could be?

* How loyal are your current customers and clients to you? How loyal are you to them?

* How often have you lost business due to not knowing the inner relationships and personalities within your targeted client’s organizations? What is that costing you?

We all know that things that get measured tend to improve. If you keep a constant vigil on where your money comes from and where it goes to, then you will become better at managing your money…even without financial skills training.

* Do you and your people have the right scoreboards prominently visible so that everyone can track what is working and what is not? What would it be worth to you if you always knew exactly where things stand?

Each of these questions guides you toward seeing your relationships in a new light.
As you discuss and explore questions like these you will begin to place a financial and strategic value on the ways in which people deal with each other. You will see that there is a direct financial impact felt from certain Attitudes, Skills and Habits. (Mindsets, Skill Sets and Systems.) These can each be improved through training and management practices that are targeted toward a specific Desired Outcome.

Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart

Article 3 of 7

Stage Two in Creating High-Value Relationships (the Relationship Intelligence System) is:
Learning to Become More Intelligent

To Know More, Notice More

The essence of Intelligence is the ability to make distinctions, noticing more than others do. In the first stage of the Relationship Intelligence System there is a series of questions based on looking at your organization in terms of “Behavioral Economics.” Each of the questions was designed to cause you to notice more about a particular aspect of your organization.

In each category; sales, management, communications, operations, service delivery, interpersonal communication, etc. there is immense opportunity for improvement.
Consider each as an Acorn, the seed of millions of future Acorns…if you nurture and grow it properly.

Now let’s work on becoming more intelligent about relationships.
Step one in becoming more intelligent is to get into the habit of “helicoptering up” to a higher perspective so that you can see the patterns in things. As you become more aware of the patterns you will begin to discover the principles that make those patterns work. And once you have discovered the principles, you can make better choices.

The three levels of Thinking are: Conceptual, Strategic and Operational.
Most people function at the Operational level of thinking – what you can see is assumed to be all that there is. They see a ballpoint pen as simply a writing instrument. Those who develop their thinking to the Strategic level would tell you that the pen is also a marking instrument, an artist’s tool, an ear scratcher, a pointing device and even a form of business jewelry. They see many more uses for it than the obvious. Now which do you think will find more solutions to a problem, the operational or the strategic thinker?

The person who learns to think on the Conceptual level opens up even more vistas and opportunities. They would tell you that the pen is a symbol of mankind’s ability to communicate across space and time using a combination of hand crafted elements to change their world. Whoa! That may be a bit stratospheric for some folks, but consider for a moment, if more of your people were to progress from Operational to Strategic, and some of them even to Conceptual thinking skill…wouldn’t that increase in Intelligence be likely to expand your profitability as well? Some jobs simply require Operational thinking but even those jobs could be streamlined through more Intelligent thinking.

Intelligence doesn’t operate in a vacuum.
It is not very useful to just have raw processing capacity or intellectual potential. It only begins to matter when you direct it with intention.

The activating factor for Relationship Intelligence is your Desired Outcome.
Once you decide what you want then everything you do or avoid doing takes on more meaning. Meaning is the motivator in life. Without meaning our jobs become drudgery and we resent the work. With meaning they take on purpose and we seek even better ways to reach the Desired Outcome.

Desired Outcomes are goals and life requires goals in order to organize itself. When you decide what you want then everything else takes on a new place in the order of things. Relationships that contribute toward your goal move forward and those that detract move aside. So look at all of your relationships in terms of what you want from your life. Assign a role or level of importance to each relationship.

Even a casual friendship has a Desired Outcome of support, mutual caring and enjoyable communication. In each relationship as the Desired Outcome grows so does the relationship itself. Every contact takes on new meaning and motivation is the by product.

Be more Conscious, more Intentional and be more Natural.
By noticing more as described earlier, people become more Conscious of what they do and how it is working. Thinking and talking about Desired Outcomes conditions people to become more Intentional in what they do. Then by finding ways to communicate openly and truthfully they become more Natural about what they do. They do their best by behaving as their best self, not by trying to become something else. “If you are an Acorn you should plan an Oak future. You are going to be one anyway, so why not be the best Oak you can be instead of trying to become a Giant Redwood?” Your greatest impact will be felt from doing the things you are naturally suited for.

There are multiple ways to increase your intelligence. These are outlined in my book The Acorn Principle. I’ll enumerate some of them here for your review.

Develop your multiple intellects:

1. Verbal Intelligence: Word Smarts – cultivate a larger vocabulary. The more ways you can express yourself and understand others the greater your possibilities will be.

2. Visual Intelligence: Picture Smarts – learn to think in terms of images, shapes and patterns. Practice seeing the outcome you desire.

3. Physical Intelligence: Body Smarts – develop your ability to use your body well. Play music, create art, dance, run, stretch, move in the many ways you can. This will add to your ability to achieve more in a physical sense, plus you’ll probably become more fit.

4. Musical Intelligence: Music Smarts – this is not just music in the usual sense but also rhythm and pace as it relates to all things. Timing is a big element of music and the better you are at timing the more intelligent you can be in what you are doing.

5. Mathematical and Logical Intelligence: Number Smarts – the world operates according to universal laws and many of those can be better understood through math & logic. By expanding your math intellect (try Sudoku and other exercises) you expand your overall strategic and tactical ability.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence: People Smarts – study human behavior and psychology to learn more about how to listen and how to express yourself to each different type of person. This broadens your reach and appeal. People are your gateway to everything you want.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: Self Smarts – Socrates told us “Know Thyself.” The reason this matters so much is that the better you understand You, the better and more readily you will understand the patterns that cause others to behave as they do. You will also come to like yourself better and judge people less as this intellect grows.

8. There is much discussion around other forms of intellect but the seven presented above will give you more than enough to expand your potential before trying to explore the others.

Indicators of Intelligence – work on these to become more intelligent

1. Ability to Make Distinctions – get into the habit of noticing more about every situation you are in. See through multiple points of view. Practice this daily.

2. A Wide Vocabulary – study the special vocabulary of the society, business or organization you wish to connect with. The better you “speak their language” the more you will fit in and be accepted by them.

3. The Use of Metaphors and Analogies – learn to think in pictures and comparisons. Using examples in this way broadens the understanding of the topic by illustrating the main idea and principles as well as the specifics. It’s like understanding military tactics helps you understand sports and vice versa.

4. Flexibility and Adaptability – the more ways you have to respond to a situation the more likely you are to prevail. Cultivate the ability to change quickly and smoothly.

5. Problem Solving – learn to assess causes and distinguish between a symptom and a cause. Find multiple models for solving problems to increase your chances of success.

6. Time Orientation – Operational thinkers focus on the past and present only. Strategic thinkers can see both the present and the future possibilities. Conceptual thinkers seem to focus primarily on the future. Be conscious of the time frame you are looking through.

7. Sensitivity – As you notice more, assure that you notice not only thoughts but also feelings. The more sensitive you are to your own feelings and the feelings of others, the more you will see solutions where others only see or feel problems.

8. Memory – If you don’t remember it then you don’t really know it. Use proven memory techniques to improve your ability to understand and recall information of all types. The more you remember the more points of reference you can use to remember even more.

Intelligence is expandable. You can learn to behave more intelligently and you can certainly become more intelligent about the relationships in your life.

In the Spirit of Growth,
Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart


Article 4 of 7

Stage Three in Creating High-Value Relationships (the Relationship Intelligence System) is:
Learning to Select Relationships More Intelligently

Intelligent Relationships begin with your choice of who to spend time with.

At last count there were over five billion people on Earth. With today’s technology and a little extra effort there is a good chance that you could connect with any of them.

So which ones should you connect with?

The answer, of course, depends upon your Desired Outcome.

This stage of training is where you focus on finding the people who can make a difference for you. People you can serve profitably and those who can open doors for you. As I mentioned earlier, Intelligence in this sense is Noticing More and being more Conscious, Intentional and Natural in your choices.

In any organization the results are produced by what we call an “Inner Circle.” This is the primary group of people who cause action to occur and results to be achieved. It is typically fewer than twenty and more than two individuals.

Consider in your own job who the three to twelve individuals are without whom you’d be hard pressed to sustain your success?

Who is vital to achieving your results? Take some time to write down all their names on one sheet of paper. Then reflect on this group and notice the implications (in outcomes) if each one were to increase their skills, knowledge, habits, relationships or attitude.

Any change in the Inner Circle will be felt throughout that section of the organization.

The three things to look at first with each Inner Circle are:

1. Who are the players and what does each one of them bring to the team?

2. What is the mix of talent, experience and ability represented on the Inner Circle? Is it a championship team yet?

3. How are the relationships between you and each of them? How are their relationships with each other?

Are there some members who should move to the outer circle? Are some talents missing from this group? Should you go shopping for a new member or two? Who exerts the most influence in the group? There is much to think about with each Inner Circle as you can see.

Find the Leverage Points

The Inner Circle is the Leverage Point for getting to your Desired Outcomes. Every system has Leverage Points where impact is felt more powerfully than at other points in the system. In an automobile one of the leverage points is the fuel delivery system. If you cut off the fuel flow to the engine the entire car will stop. In an organization it may be a department or committee. Among groups the Leverage Points are usually one or two individuals and even with them it is often one or two key aspects of your relationship that holds the most potential for influence.

In selling it has been long understood that the company owner is a leverage point, but sometimes so is the receptionist or administrative assistant. This person, who usually has much less economic power in the business, still holds the keys necessary for you to gain access to the executives. A relationship with a receptionist, when handled poorly, can end your ability to penetrate an organization further.

The same dynamic exists in all groups, communities, and societies. Certain people are more influential, more well liked, admired and listened to than others. When you gain access to these people your options expand dramatically.

Look at all “organizations” in your life and begin to identify the Inner Circle within each of them.

In the Spirit of Growth,
Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart
Article 5 of 7

Stage Four in Creating High-Value Relationships (the Relationship Intelligence System) is:

Learning to Develop Relationships More Intelligently

Creating High-Value Relationships

Relationships evolve in stages from New Acquaintance through Close Friend or Business Partner.
As we progress the trust increases and information sharing expands.

The more we know about each other the more ways we can find to be of value. As my philosopher friend, Kevin Buck says, “Trust is a fruit.” You can’t grow the fruit, only the plant can do that. But you can nurture the plant and it will produce the fruit in its own time.

In order to make progress we need to focus, not on building trust but, first on reducing relationship tension. We don’t have direct access to trust but we do have the ability to reduce fears, worries and anxiety. Then the trust will grow.

So the first step in any relationship is to take an interest in the concerns of the other person and show that you are not a threat.
Once they discover that they can relax with you then their tension drops and trust grows.

If you want people to become interested in you, first take a sincere interest in them.
Learn not just to listen to others but to actually hear and understand what they are communicating.

There are three essentials for any relationship, whether it is with customers, colleagues or supervisors.

These are: Commitment, Open Communication and Clear Agreements.

1. Both parties must be committed to making the relationship successful. Nobody can bear the full burden alone.
2. Communication must be open and frequent. The truth must be told always and bad news must travel fastest of all.
3. Both parties must know what the others expect from them. Clear agreements are essential.

It is important to go back to the Inner Circle and examine the three essentials in each of the relationships. This will tell you exactly what “homework” is needed in order to enhance that relationship and access its full potential value. Once you have assessed each relationship in this way, helicopter up again and look at the patterns of missing “essentials” among all of the relationships. That will show you both the obvious and the hidden systems by which this group operates.

For example: if you find that most of your relationships show a one sided commitment, the solution may be in rethinking how you establish your relationships and how clearly you articulate the value others will get from connecting with you. If your communication isn’t open enough in most relationships then a new skill for listening and expressing may be needed. If you have numerous conflicts and missed expectations then perhaps you need to improve your skills at negotiation and clarifying agreements.

Another way to look at the development of relationships more intelligently is Modus Operandi, the Latin term for mode or style of operation.

In every situation we have the choice of being passive or active, of knowing more or less. By observing these two dimensions you can see what Mode a person is in:
Passenger, Navigator, Driver or Leader.

For example: when I get on an airplane for a trip I assume both the literal and figurative “Passenger” mode. My knowledge and awareness as to how to fly the plane is very low and my actions to influence the outcome are simply compliance with the instructions I receive. I take my seat, store my luggage and follow directions.
If a problem arises then I will increase my performance by looking for ways to help and I’ll seek more knowledge by asking the flight attendant what is wrong and how I might help. If the flight attendant appears to not be in control then I will take further action by seeking information from one of the crew. And if the plane itself seems to be out of control then I’d be willing to take the pilot’s seat if necessary and do my best to land the plane. In other words, my Mode of Operation (MO) would change as the situation changed.

The same dynamics appear in all situations. And by reading the situation you can determine the appropriate MO to assume.
In a meeting you might be in Passenger mode (low awareness, low performance) until you are called on to make a report. Then you’d operate from high awareness (telling what you know) and somewhat higher performance (as you presented your report.) This is called Navigator mode. If the chairperson left the room and asked you to facilitate the rest of the meeting you’d be in Driver mode, high performance and low awareness. You would not be controlling the meeting’s content, you’d simply be facilitating the input from others. Assuming the meeting went well, you might be asked to chair the next meeting. In that case, once you had prepared well, you would be in Leader mode; high awareness and high performance.

By the way, you cannot assume a higher mode without acquiring the element that defines it. You can’t move from Passenger to Navigator without increasing your awareness and knowledge. You can’t move from Passenger to Driver without increasing your performance. And you can’t move into Leader mode without increasing both awareness and performance. You can, however, choose to operate in a different mode temporarily if moving from higher to lower on the scales.

How to use MO with others

When you encounter another person in any of these modes you can determine by their MO how to best guide them to the next level of operation.
If their awareness is low, they need education.
If their performance is low, they need motivation.
Without the right combination of those two, things would go awry. Someone with low awareness is not ready to Lead or Navigate (Advise). Someone with low performance is not ready to Drive or Lead. Someone in Driver mode doesn’t need motivation, they’d just burn out. What they need is education so that they are working smarter, not harder. There is much more to this, but you no doubt get the point. Determine one’s MO and you know whether you need to educate or motivate or simply support them in what they are doing.

Without purpose this all just becomes a process.

As I had mentioned earlier, each relationship needs a Desired Outcome, even if it is simply a casual acquaintance. This does not mean that you have to become mercenary in your dealings with others. It simply means that you need to begin to notice why each relationship matters to you.

The more we are able to see, the more intelligent we can be.

Take a look at all the relationships in your life. Just make a list of as many as you can think of. Then put them into categories that make sense to you. These might be: colleagues, club members, coworkers, team members, close family, extended family, neighbors, prospective customers, clients, mentors, teachers, “play-mates”, etc. Some people will fit into multiple categories and that is worth noting.

Once you have all of them listed and coded as to their groups, take some time to simply reflect on what you see. Just casually look over your lists and see what you notice.

What happens for many people is that they begin to see opportunities. They remember things they had forgotten to follow up on. They notice how they could be of service to some of them. At this point you will want to start making notes and “to do” lists for activating these relationships in new and meaningful ways. Many of them will have no commercial implications to you, others will matter a great deal to you financially. Just notice more and start taking intelligent actions.

Devise a method for keeping this information in front of you. Don’t just file it away, make it an active part of each day. Take a few moments each day to reflect on the implications and opportunities in all of your relationships.

Then develop a “Shopping List” of new relationships you’d like to form. Keep a list of names and titles of people who you would benefit from knowing better. Review the list every week and keep your radar tuned to opportunities to be more intelligent in your cultivation of relationships.

In the Spirit of Growth, Jim Cathcart, copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart


Article 6 of 7

Stage Five in Creating High-Value Relationships (the Relationship Intelligence System) is:

Learning to Sustain Relationships More Intelligently

They say it is not what you know that counts, it is who you know. I disagree. I’ve found that what really counts in relationships is: Who is glad that they know you!
We only have a valuable relationship when both parties consider it valuable.

Customer Loyalty Revisited
For a couple of decades now the business community has been filled with messages and models as to how we can build more customer loyalty. The automotive industry has its “Customer Satisfaction Index” and many other industries have developed frequent buyer programs, starting with the airlines back in the early 1980s. All of these endeavors are intended to increase the customer’s loyalty to the company and its products. But I think the energy is being misdirected.

We need to stop worrying about causing the customers to become more loyal to us and start focusing on becoming more loyal to our customers. When our customers get it that we are truly loyal to them, then they will start valuing their connections with us more strongly. It’s like my son told me during his college years when he worked at Mailboxes, Etc., “Dad, I’ve noticed that the people who get the most mail are the ones who send the most mail.” Customer Loyalty should be approached in the same way.

Customer Loyalty should be something we give rather than merely something we seek.

Every day you and your organization have a multitude of contacts with the marketplace. From your online ads to your showrooms, phone calls, in person visits, service calls, telephone orders, mailings, and more…you are continually in touch with others. Each of these contacts has the potential to leave an impression, either positive or negative. If every impression you leave seems to show how loyal you are to those who do business with you, then others will want to do business with you too.

Isolate each Point of Contact and Enhance It

Think of your business as a golf ball. The average golf ball has over 300 impressions on its surface. If only one of those 300 impressions is imperfect then the ball is rejected as a “second” that is not fit for a retail sale. Your business makes hundreds of impressions each week and every one of those has the potential to be near perfect. The more positive impressions you make the more customer loyalty you will be giving and receiving. These have been referred to as “moments of truth” in which your relationship with a customer or prospect is influenced toward the good or bad.

The easiest way to approach this process is to isolate the various Service Cycles within your regular operations and identify all the points of contact. Then brainstorm ways to enhance each contact and assure that your high standards are maintained.

Up-Serving rather than Up-Selling

Businesses frequently encourage their personnel to “up-sell” customers to other products, bigger orders and higher priced items. This often leads to the associate pressuring the customer and some of the sales fall apart from the added pressure. The seller feels bad and the customer is annoyed. Of course, it can be done tactfully too and often is. But there is an easier way to approach it.
Change the effort from getting to giving. Instead of seeking to sell more, seek to serve better. Up-Serve instead of Up-Selling.
When you shift to looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction (instead of increasing the transaction) then what occurs is the customer notices that you are sincerely trying to help. That means you are seen as a helper rather than a persuader. They begin to accept you as a Partner in Problem Solving instead of a pushy sales person, and their tension drops. When tension drops, trust grows. As trust grows, they share information more freely and you will see more ways to be of service. This leads to bigger sales. Not through sales pressure, but through improved customer service.

Naturally you still have to present your services and products with an emphasis on the value of the benefits they contain, and you have to ask for the order, but not in the old sense of purveying your wares. Instead practice “Relationship Selling tm” and build profitable business friendships. My television show on TSTN is titled “The Purpose of Selling” and that’s what I say at the top of each episode: “The Purpose of Selling is Building Profitable Business Friendships.”

Decide in advance on the reputation you want to have…and deserve.
The quickest way to open doors and reduce customers’ tension as they consider working with you is to build a great reputation. The quickest way to build a great reputation is to earn and deserve it.
Here’s the process for Reputation Management:
1. Identify all of the groups among whom you will have a reputation
2. Determine exactly what you want them to think and say about you
3. Isolate the ways in which you communicate and interact with them
4. Specify the behaviors you need to cultivate in order to earn the desired reputation
5. Relentlessly perform at the new level in everything that you do
6. Measure and Monitor the messages you are sending and the reactions you are getting
7. Institute Systems and standards to preserve what you have built

In the Spirit of Growth,

Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart


Article 7 of 7

Stage Six in Creating High-Value Relationships (the Relationship Intelligence System) is:

Implementing Intelligent Systems to Assure Continuity

Systems are the organizational equivalent of habits. We develop systems to ensure that the patterns get repeated, and this becomes true whether they are good or bad. So be careful when selecting your systems. Last night my well-intentioned restaurant server did a horrible job of serving our table because his system was faulty. His attitude and intentions were fine, even his skills at serving were OK, but we left there unhappy anyway. Our service was bad because they were inefficient in determining how to stay attentive to each guest in a regular rotation. So lots of guests got high attention while others got neglected to the point of frustration.

Every part of an organization has systems by which it operates. Some are intentional and some just develop as work patterns without any conscious influence. I suggest that you make more of them intentional.

For example: Relationship management systems abound and the state of the art is advancing every month. There are now systems that will not only capture your data, identify your primary and secondary relationships, and record all your communication with each, but they also now include personality profiles, links to sales and service tips, motivational messages and much more. What used to just be a “data base” has now become a rich information environment where self-management, the management of others and relationship management are merging.

Systems must be based on Standards.
As Peter Drucker once said, paraphrased, “A society that is not based upon a Constitution will not succeed.” We need standards and clearly stated values to guide our day to day actions and choices. So “helicopter up” one more time and look for all the aspects of your operation that could be standardized and enhanced through the use of a system. Be careful, lest you create a bureaucracy where it is all systems and no sense of human connection. The goal after all is to build profitable business friendships and partnerships where trust is high and cooperation is natural and spontaneous.
Be Conscious, Be Intentional, Be Natural and Be Relentless in the intelligent cultivation of Relationships.
After all Relationships are where the organization lives.
If you’d like for us to help you determine which systems are serving you well and what new systems may be needed, please give us a call at Cathcart Institute, Inc. 800-222-4883.

In the Spirit of Growth,
Jim Cathcart
copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart

A total of 5618 words in all seven articles

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Every Relationship is the Seed of Great Potential

by Jim Cathcart

One Acorn can produce an Oak that generates millions of Acorns. The same is true of Relationships.
One Relationship can become the genesis of abundant opportunities for you.
One Relationship can truly change your life.

The creation of High-Value Relationships is a science and an art that you can learn to master.
Relationship Intelligence tm” is a way of looking at Relationships in the context of your Desired Outcomes.
Every relationship that connects directly to an Outcome you desire will build momentum for you to achieve it.
Every relationship that does not connect to your goal will utilize energy that could have been invested more wisely.

This does not mean that all of your relationships must be goal oriented, but it does mean that the higher the percentage of intentionally formed relationships in your life the greater your chances are for success.

To become more Intelligent about Relationships come with me and let’s discover where the Acorns of your future are today.

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Inner Circles: The Critical Players in any Organization

by Jim Cathcart

Circles, circles everywhere and all of them lead to outcomes.
Every group of people; a business, family, church, school or team has an “Inner Circle”. These are the people through whom the major results are achieved. In the White House, in Congress, in Harvard University, in the San Diego Padres and at Google…there are small groups of people without whom the whole enterprise would suffer.

Even small businesses have Inner Circles. It’s often Mom & Pop plus the most productive workers. As a sales person or a consultant, once you know who is in the Inner Circle of leadership then you know who to work with to affect major change in the organization.

In war, once you know the Inner Circle of your enemy then taking them out or removing their ability to function well is your key to victory. In sports it is the Inner Circle of certain talented individuals that inspire and lead the rest of the team to the championship. And you have an Inner Circle too. We all do.

Your Inner Circle consists of somewhere between a few and a dozen people. Groups larger than that are no longer “Inner” circles. Consider for a moment how many people you absolutely rely on in order to be productive each day. Regardless of their titles your Circle may contain; assistants, coworkers, your boss, a colleague, a key contact at one of your client companies, a supplier, a mentor or even your spouse. If any of these folks were to go away, your world and your productivity would reflect it right away. That’s what I mean by “the people through whom you produce your results.”

Take a minute and list the people in your Inner Circle. Keep it to twelve or fewer people. Don’t worry if it is only four or five people. Write down their names and their roles or positions in relation to working with or assisting you. Seriously, take some time and write them down right now.

Next, draw a “sociogram”, this is a format much like a graph or bar chart in which you put your name in the center and surround yourself with the names of the Inner Circle players. Think of a Hub (you) with spokes leading out to the others in a large wheel-like display. You are the one around whom the Inner Circle is organized and the spoke connecting you to each person represents your relationship with that person. Don’t bother connecting them to each other just yet. That’s for a later exercise.

Now do an analysis of three things about your Circle.
1. Examine the Mix of talents and viewpoints represented in this group. Is there a variety of complementary talents or does everyone seem to fit the same limited profile?
2. Notice the Individual Contributions each person brings to the team. What special qualities does he or she contribute? And…
3. Assess the state of your Relationship with each person. How well does that specific relationship work for both of you? Are you both committed to the success of the relationship? Do you tell each other the whole truth all of the time? Do you have a clear understanding of what you expect from each other? Do you have clear agreements to help you resolve potential conflicts?

The above analysis may be one of the most important thinking assignments you complete all year. After all these are the major players in your world and when you get everything right in connecting with them…success is imminent.

When every person in the organization is aware of his Inner Circle and then goes to work on improving; the mix, the talents and the relationships with each person…the organization improves almost immediately. After all, what is an organization but a group of people committed to a common cause? When you improve either the people or their relationships or both, you are bound to get overall improvement as well.

Try this exercise with your own Inner Circle and then go back to my earlier article on “Relationship Intelligence”. Increasing the Relationship Intelligence of each Inner Circle is the quickest way to improve Teamwork, Productivity, Collaboration, and Innovation.

Jim Cathcart

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Behavioral Economics: Every Action has a Value or a Cost

by Jim Cathcart

When you apply the science of economics to the study of human behavior some wonderfully useful insights occur. For example; once you realize that there is a tangible and measurable value to behavior, you will begin to think about them differently.
I recently addressed a group of about 400 Taxation Professionals, numbers people who work in a world of documentation, compliance regulations and statistics. When I presented this concept to them they instantly “got it” and, in fact, at the end of my speech they lined up to shake my hand and tell me how much they liked this way of thinking about behavior.
Here is the gist of the idea:
Every action we take or fail to take can be tracked sooner or later by measuring its value or cost, e.g. if we fail to prepare for an important event there will be a true cost to our lack of preparation. If we develop the habit of reviewing what we need to know just prior to meetings in which we will use the knowledge, then we will be able to participate in the meeting more spontaneously and usefully.
Behavioral Economics has three main components:
1. How we Think
2. How we Relate
3. How we Act

If people in an organization understand and embrace the purpose, vision, mission and values of the organization then they “embrace its genetic code.” These people bring more value to their work than their counterparts who think differently.
When you find meaning in what you do, you bring more value to how you do it.
This is merely one component of How we Think.
The ways in which people communicate or “Relate” to each other has a measurable value as well. Coworkers who don’t communicate openly and freely often operate with incomplete information and erroneous assumptions. This can have disastrous consequences financially.

There are three essentials for any relationship, whether it is with customers, colleagues or supervisors. These are:

  1. Both parties must be committed to making the relationship successful. Nobody can bear the full burden alone.
  2. Communication must be open and frequent. The truth must be told always and bad news must travel fastest of all.
  3. Both parties must know what the others expect from them. Clear agreements are essential.

The ways in which we relate to each other have a tangible economic impact.
How we act both on and off the job will ultimately show up in our productivity. Bad health has an impact of clarity of thought, ability to perform and on attitude. Lack of organization produces unnecessary errors plus a waste of time and resources. Certain work habits have more value than others. There is a cost to each of our habit patterns.
In short, if we think about our behavior as having an economic impact, we will be more motivated to change unproductive behaviors and adopt profitable ones. It’s time the “human factors” in business were placed at the TOP of our priority list, where they belong.
In the final analysis, “it’s the people, stupid!”

Jim Cathcart

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