Words and Attitudes that Leaders Need to Understand

Human Interaction = TrustFact: Change your habits/words and you can completely change your influence.

Words and actions matter in today’s business, entertainment and political world. Just look at the controversies in 2017 alone where a wrong word, phrase, or action mentioned in social media or in public caused extreme defensiveness or outright resignations.

The right words or action can motivate you to take your vision and productivity to the next level — but the wrong ones can torpedo your flow or even sink the vision.

Many studies have even found that using positive or negative language can change your brain by impacting the interaction of synapses & genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.

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What I have learned from my frustration with robo-spammers, tele-scammers etc.

Bad Feedback
Not the Way to Do It!

I have finally made a decision regarding my battle with robo-spammers/tele-spammers and other similar irritants. Below are the possible actions that I have reviewed over the last few months while dealing with the massive increase in spam calls to my cell and home phones. I have fumed, articulated arguments and even written emails to representatives but common sense must prevail.

Below are some ideas you may find helpful about some of the alternatives that have been offered and reviewed over the last few months. I have given you my recommendations but the choice is yours.

Option 1: Answering the phone when the caller’s number is unfamiliar. (Not recommended)

Always an option but will usually only result in your frustration, anger and resentment which is not good for your health. It also validates that your number is a live valid number so keep it on their list. Why give them an advantage? Considerate and legitimate callers will usually leave a message, if not, don’t worry about it. As the popular song says, “Let it Go!”

Option 2: Pressing a number “to be taken off the list” (Not recommended)

This process will work for legitimate telemarketers, but valid telemarketers would not have called you in the first place, if you were on the Do Not Call list.  Pressing a number on a call from a robo-spammer or tele-spammer merely confirms you answered the phone. Adding to the aggravation is that you must listen to the spiel before you find out what the number is that they want you to click.

Option 3: Returning the call. (Not recommended)

Returning a call usually only results in your confirmation of an active number so they can keep you on their list. They may even sell your number to other spammers because you have verified it is a live number. Another action from calling them back, may be, that the call will cost you additional fees, if it is from a foreign country, such as Jamaica (876 area code). This is rare but it does happen.

Also, robo-spammers are now spoofing Caller IDs, so the number you see may not really be the number that called you. When you call back all you will hear is: “the number is not in service” or it might belong to an innocent, third party.

Option 4: Arguing with the caller. (Not Recommended)

Robo-spammers will not listen to your rant anyway. Tele-spammers have heard your argument many times. They may either continue to try to scam you, or they will hang up however they may also make sure some other scammer calls your number, later. You become a target!

They may also become abusive, combative or vulgar and taunt you to do something about it. None of these actions are going to help you resolve the problem, only aggravate it.

Option 5: Blowing a horn or whistle into the phone: (Not recommended)

Robo-spammers will not be bothered so waste of time. It will irritate the tele-scammer.  In retaliation, they may add your number as a “spoofed Caller ID”, so others think YOU are calling them. You may also hear retaliatory horns or whistles if the irritated called person calls YOU back!

Option 6: Forwarding the call to a government office. (Not recommended)

Never a good idea.  All this does is tie up a line at a government office, and record YOUR number as the forwarding number!  This is a huge problem and our congress person usually knows phone scams are a problem, and knows the FCC and FTC have been assigned the task of upholding the laws concerning this problem.  Instead, you should report the problem via normal channels to the FTC or FCC.

Option 7: Giving the scammer’s phone number to other scammers. (Not recommended)

Never a good idea! More than likely the 1st scammer used a spoofed phone number, and, if you give it to other scammers, all you are doing is causing more calls to and problems for an innocent person. Remember if you try forwarding your number is the one showing up at the other end.

Option 8: Getting a new phone number (Not usually recommended)

Eventually, after getting many scam calls, some people think their only recourse is getting a new number.  This is not true.  The “new number” is somebody else’s “old number”, and will come accompanied with its own baggage (and calls), even if it has been inactive for a period. If you use your number for business, the turmoil will also impact your clients. The only time I recommend changing the number is if the calls become threatening, abusive or vulgar.

What I have learned: (Recommended)

I am passionate about communications so not answering a phone is aggravating and frustrating but I have learned that the model has been changed and I need to change at the same time.  I have learned that I can’t do anything to stop them from calling me, I can’t personally evoke any type of penalty on them, why waste my time. I am the only one being hurt by giving in to them.

I now take a proactive approach, for example, my home voice mail message indicates that due to the rapid increase in robo-calls I have elected to NOT answer any calls from an unknown number and if they don’t leave a message, I have no obligation to respond or take any action on what the caller feels is necessary. While the ringing of the phone may seem irritating it is a small price to pay. As I mentioned above I am learning to “Let it Go!”

If you are disturbed by frequent calls from robo-spammers / tele-scammers on your cell phone, obtain a call blocker app, device, phone, or service. If it is not in the library, block callers after you have determined that they have not left a message. None of the apps are perfect but they are improving over time.

You can also look the number up online but it takes time and is not going to tell you anything more than you already suspect.  It just confirms your gut feel so be aware that your look up habits may decline over time. If you have time to spare, then report the callers that continue to pester, to the DNC website but provide details wherever possible.

Note to self; The robo-marketer’s telemarketer’s lobby has a lot of money to spend on influence so until we, as the electorate, can generate enough leverage to overcome this we must learn to deal with it.

Also, remember, the Do Not Call list was designed to prevent calls from registered telemarketers, but robo-scammers / tele-spammers don’t register, and they voluntarily ignore the policy!  Yes, it is illegal but the cost of tracking them down is enormous and very difficult given the technology! The DNC list is NOT a call blocker!

Businesses Can Balance AI, Robotics & Humanity!

Getting Agreement

AI, Robotics and Humanity is a critical topic of discussion today! Several dangerous trends are occurring in business today. For example, in the last fifty years’ enterprise companies have started to disappear at an alarming rate. The average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has gone from more than 50 years to less than 16 years and dropping every year.

Automation in the form of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are threatening to take a massive number of jobs. Organizations such as theguardian.com, NBC News, CNN and others have predicted that we will see 5 million + jobs being replaced by automation by 2020-2021.  That’s is only 4 years away.

Even more critical is that AI is now opening the door to machine replacement in areas such as writing, insurance, law and medicine that have until now been considered untouchable by automation.  Now this it true but there are some serious caveats to this type of replacement which may slow this area down but it will not stop it.

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Embracing AI in Our Lives is Vital

Systematic Innovation
A Systematic Approach Works

A snippet of the future of AI, thanks to the imagination of Stephen Ibaraki:

Time stamp–2026.07.14

“It is time to wake up Jane. Here is your morning update.

I did a self-upgrade. I am now Financial Intelligent Agent version 2026.07.14—you can still think of me as FIA (fee-ah) but with an emotional adjustment based upon the happiness assessment of your brain patterns. My upgrade also enhances my participation in a 360-degree holistic view of your life that helps me improve your financial well-being.

I am making continual micro-adjustments to your investment portfolio based on trends being monitored on a continuous 24/7 basis. I am redistributing your savings through micro-auctioning to the top ten ranked services for best spot interest rates.

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Major Challenge in Business: The Future of Leadership

Global EngagementIn my opinion, the future of leadership is always changing and it will continue to change. However, it’s human nature, that we often want to categorize everything and everyone into small, manageable boxes subject to fixed rules and processes.

It is also evident in businesses today that we are dealing with short-term thinking, a disposable view of people as assets and the persistent drive of leadership self-preservation. We seem to have devalued people, relationships and values down to simple dollars and cents which never works, if you are looking for a sustainable business.

It gets further complicated when we see the rate of change & complexity increasing daily and the challenges faced by every individual and organization are morphing, evolving and becoming more interdependent than ever before.

Today, I feel comfortable saying that successful leadership is a hybrid of art & science with no hope of a one size fits all solution.

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Rumors, Gossip & Fake News, Oh No!

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Unfortunately, we have developed into a society where rumors and gossip often provide convenient tools for both competitive recruiting as well as manipulation of workers. “False News” is major contention in political and business circles today and we are preoccupied with sound bite mayhem and death by innuendo.

While social media is often maligned for these issues, it only helps to propagate, it is not the cause nor is it the generator of the derogatory material, it must originate with a human being, i.e. leader, employee, customer or competitor.

Leadership is generally at the forefront of this very destructive and corrosive process when it starts. I recently commented to someone and firmly believe, “there is NO leadership model in existence that will allow you to avoid relational conflict” and this is one of those areas.

This means that leadership sets the standards of what is acceptable and what is not so this is a critical part of culture that cannot be assigned or delegated. If leaders are using rumors to manipulate the workforce it should not come as a surprise with it turns into a firestorm.

Gossip Circles
Attribution Stuart Miles – FDP

For example, I just recently I tracked a single “Fake News” article that was a known hoax, yet it was re-tweeted over 500 times in less than 14 hours.  I didn’t even bother to check the other social media sites. If this is happening in the public arena what makes you think it can’t happen within your company?

Personally, in my somewhat Utopian corporate world, there is no place for falsehoods, rumors or gossip.

Workplace gossip and rumors can represent a destructive force among employees and customers. The rumors or gossip can be about management, company operations, product or service quality, suppliers, or other employees, any of them can spread virally.

So often, people will believe the rumor or gossip, even if it isn’t true, and pseudo truth can then spread to the customers, clients or the public, as well. While some may be harmless, it is always necessary to deal with rumors and gossip in the workplace immediately — before they spread out of control.

Here are some suggestions to deal with them:

1. Always Practice open communication with your employees.

Change in business is a part of life so this is particularly true if your company is planning or executing a major change or relocation.  Companies are most vulnerable when they are during major changes because of uncertainty so this aggravation does not need a lot of energy added to blow out of proportion.

It is only natural for employees to be fearful of change and how it will affect their jobs. However, when one person unintentionally or intentionally overhears something, then misconstrues what was said and finally winds up spreading a rumor that is not true the damage has begun.

Be authentic with employees, let them know what is going on so that there is no room for speculation and gossip. Don’t try to spin it or cover it with a lie because this will only intensify the impact.

2. Avoid an over-reaction.

When you hear, that employees are saying something that is not true, the natural reaction is to respond in some way. Many times, this may be in anger or frustration which only fuels the speculation of the employees.  Start by understanding that the source of the rumor may not be malicious, and it may be a simple misunderstanding. Always investigate and perform some level of analyses, then develop an appropriate response, if you don’t then the response will more than likely be in anger.

3. Be Proactive with damage control.

Damage Control
Damage Control Saves Dollars

If rumors in the workplace can flourish, they will eventually grow and possibly spread outside your company. When you hear of a rumor, be quick to clarify the actual situation and don’t brush it off as “typical employee talk.” Be proactive and act quickly before damage occurs, it is much easier and less costly in many areas.

4. Never encourage interoffice gossip or rumors.

Although these are typical human behaviors, particularly in situations where many different groups may be pushed together under the same roof, leadership should never allow or encourage harmful gossip and rumors.

Let your employees know you have a zero tolerance for malicious gossip and rumors.  Let them know that leadership will always investigate, analyze and determine objectively where the origination point is so the truth can be determined.

These zero tolerances, must be part of the company culture and DNA with swift action taken when discovered. There should be no bias in any part of the investigation.

5. Avoid lingering and nurturing rumors.

Failing to keep employees informed, generating spin, or hedging when confronted about company change, will usually result in a backlash on leadership. Even though you may not be ready to tell employees about an upcoming event, you need to set the record straight as quickly as possible if a rumor has started.

As leaders, employees and customers it is critical to keep your commitments or say no, there is no middle ground here. If you need help in this area, check out the PEER Commitment Management Platform at http://peersaas.com.

In summary,

These suggestions are starting points because each incident is unique to the individuals, organization, culture and time-frame.  Some instances you may let play out because they will expose themselves as falsehoods and die.

Other times, it will take an intervention to correct, adjust or defend, depending on how long leadership waited, how rational or irrational the creators of the material are and how determined the opposition is to disrupt.

The primary factor to remember is that with a culture of transparency, high integrity and openness the ability for rumors, gossip or “Fake News” to is diminished significantly. If everything in the organization is done behind closed doors and leaders seed the rumor mill, then the it is ripe for the rumor mill to run rampant.

Avoid anything that can allow someone to capture sound bites and take them out of context.  Make sure that the story you are telling people is the same at all levels, no more or no less to any level.

If you would like help with developing your proactive strategy to change, please feel free to check out my website at https://tlgcoach.com or call me at 630-454-4821.

5 Critical Commitments for Successful Leadership Development

Today, I see companies paying lip service to leadership training and individuals ignoring the provided methods because they consider them antiquated and outdated.  It’s time for 21st Century concepts be applied to leadership development. Commitment is critical for growth..

Where do you stand on this subject.  Are your giving it lip service or are you intentional and proactive in making these priorities in your company?

I challenge every company who is struggling with this issue to make it a topic of discussion in every meeting.  Check out your competition and see what they are doing?  Set the bar high for yourself and your employees and you will reap the rewards.

Here are 5 commitments that I believe are critical, if you want your company to grow and prosper:

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Unlearning Could be the Key to Successful Change

Woman at laptop 300_200Could the solution to resistance to change be a simple act of unlearning?  Let’s look into this and see just how complex this statement really is for humans.

Lao Tzu said, “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”

Peter Drucker said it another way, “We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.

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Gibb’s Rules Adapted to Business!

Courtesy of renjith krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of renjith krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net

I have been a fan of the TV program NCIS since it was originally released. I have loved it for a number of reasons but most of all because of the focus on Gibb’s rules as a core of operations for the team. There are 50+ of these rules that have cropped up in many of the episodes over the 11 seasons.

One of the aspects of Gibb’s rules, that I like, is they are dynamic and change as attitudes and underlying values change which is important for growth. While you need to retain some rigidity, the flexibility allows you to balance responses and reactions

These rules have their foundation from Gibb’s values and time leading black ops missions while he was a Marine. They were adapted to his work with the NCIS investigative team so they have a tendency to be reactive or military based.

While I agree we can apply many of the characteristics of military engagement to business, I find they are limited because the motivations are different. In reality, nothing we do in business is truly life threatening or based on imminent physical danger.  Yes, there are those who have this perception but it is rarely fatal to an individual.

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