Honoring Edward “Ted” Kennedy: Cooperative Statesman

Ted Kennedy“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!” While this quote came from his older, brother, former President John F. Kennedy, I believe Ted Kennedy lived this quote for at least the 47 years that he was a senator from Massachusetts.

He was the epitome of cooperative leadership both in his personal and professional lives. I was moved by the personal account from Teddy Jr as he recounted his dad’s resolve as 12 year old TJ feel down a slick hill, having lost a leg to cancer. His father said, “I know you can do it. There is nothing that you can’t do. We’re going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day.”

As the youngest sibling in his family he developed emotional intelligence and patience that gave him great success in politics as he was a master in communication, bartering, persuasion and negotiation. Charles Campion recalls, “His greatest legacy was his own faith and unwavering beliefs. He followed his own compass, and regardless of the polls and even his own political vulnerabilities, he would never compromise or finesse on his principles.”

He battled for those who had weak representation among lobbyists championing civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ issues, immigration reform, health-care and education reform and the environment. He sponsored a long list of bills for these causes, and walked both sides of the aisle for their support. For example, it was no coincidence that President Bush called on Ted for support in passing the “No Child Left Behind” education bill. Only weeks after his brain tumor was diagnosed, he left his hospital bed to vote for legislation blocking deep cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.

He was incredibly connected on so many fronts, and there were high expectations of his involvement ranging from the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s JFK School of Government, his family, his staffers, his Senatorial initiatives and so much more…

I also appreciate his strong connection with the public and the issues affecting our nation, and attribute this to his hiring an incredible staff over his 47 years as a senator. I often think it was his experience with pain and suffering and the mistakes he made along the way—that kept him in touch—empathetic to other’s plights and connected to the public and to his family. I also believe his strong Catholic faith contributed to his listening and caring, and his tireless efforts to support issues he thought were important with conviction.

I love how he was a cooperative communicator right to the end of his life. During his final illness he finished writing True Compass (to be published on September 14), which he worked closely with Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Powers to assemble. In this book, he makes a strong and personal plea for health-care reform, the culmination of his life’s work.

President Obama called Ted Kennedy, the “greatest senator of our time.” He leaves behind a legacy that few in public life will ever achieve. On the Labor Day weekend, I salute you Edward Kennedy, a man who labored hard and with integrity as a champion of the poor, downtrodden and dispossessed.

Let’s Give SCIP a Second Chance

This has been a tough time for many of us in this rocky economy and SCIP has been no exception. SCIP 09 attracted many fewer people than SCIP had hoped for since many companies have cut back travel and education budgets this year.  Like most associations, SCIP is fueled financially by its annual conferences.  SCIP leadership and its Board of Directors were ready and presented the membership with a voting opportunity to keep SCIP in business.  Frost & Sullivan’s Institute has agreed to give SCIP a cash infusion to keep it in business, and to propel the CI profession into new directions, most particularly up the organization where Frost is well positioned.

Like many I was disturbed by the suddenness with which we were presented with this bad news: that SCIP was facing such financial difficulty that this infusion of cash was expedient, and we better vote YES to keep SCIP in business.  This was bad emotional intelligence on SCIP’s part I think.

There is a tremendous amount of emotional and analytical discussion on this subject on our CI Ning.  Check it out as you will read so many great ideas on how our field is evolving globally as well as organizations that do bits and pieces of CI.

What I get from this discussion is that we all benefit the most by having one place to represent competitive intelligence, so I hope that SCIP remains in business, and takes some of the constructive suggestions that have been raised in the last week through the CI Ning, the Fellow’s phone call, the CI chapter’s phone call…the outpouring of ideas.

I also hope that SCIP learns to work better with other interest groups all over the world in SCIP and brings back some form of an academic journal since schooling is a great way to build the profession!

Read about the proposed merger with Frost & Sullivan’s Institute right on SCIP’s home page .  The latest I heard was about 90% of the votes have been YES to the merger.  There has never been such a high voter turnout in SCIP’s history. SCIP needs 5% of the membership to vote and a 2/3 majority to say YES in order to move forward with negotiations for the merger.  I voted YES and encourage SCIP members to support our Board and SCIP leadership. We all win if SCIP moves forward and continues to support the competitive intelligence profession.

Take a Cooperative Approach to Conflict Resolution

Many in my fields of competitive intelligence and research have lost their jobs in this tough economy.  While cooperative intelligence skills of leadership, connection and communication don’t guarantee job security, they will help you stand out since many people have lower emotional intelligence: that is they have weak people skills.

I like the cooperative approach shared in Hot Buttons to solve conflicts with colleagues as it’s objective, focuses on constructive communication, and not “who dunnit?:

How did our conflict start? What hot buttons were pressed? Yours? Mine?

Which of your needs are not being met? What are your goals?

What do I need?

What am I doing, saying or not saying that is preventing your goals>

What is the cost of not solving this problem? Specifically…

What are the benefits of resolving the problem? What can I do?

How can we start?

At the heart of any organization is the connection between manager and reporting employees.  To improve the relationship and demonstrate cooperative leadership and promote loyalty consider the following 4 attributes:

Trust – is a two-way street.  Managers and employees need to express confidence in each other.

Respect – recognize your employee’s competence. Show thanks and appreciation for your employee’s work, in a note, a conversation…

Inclusion – include employee’s opinions and welfare in decisions that affect him/her.

Fairness – give all an equal opportunity to be successful. Be even handed, impartial and objective.

42-18327996Another pet peave I have is that many managers don’t give good feedback to their employees during their quarterly or annual review process.  Lousy feedback, lack of feedback or the destructive delivery of feedback is a form of disrespect and maddens people.

I had a difficult employee who I had to provide feedback to outside of the annual review process.  She wasn’t pulling her weight, and was certain that her contribution–based on her straight A’s in a decent college–was excellent.  I was at my wit’s end to get her to produce.  How could I cool my heels and get through to this woman?  I started with her place of strength: I complimented her on her wonderful grades and high IQ which caused her to relax and smile.

Then I asked her for the date to get her to realize she was now out of school and while the grades got her this job, production would be the key to keeping it since her co-workers completed their projects in less time.  I also implored her sense of fairness since the other workers had to stay late to finish work that she wasn’t, and she knew she didn’t want that.

We turned it around since we started with her strong point and built on it, and I knew she had a strong sense of fairness towards her co-workers.  She started to produce great work once she had time to digest that I valued her intelligence, and wanted her to apply it at work.

What stories do you have where you turned around a difficult situation?

Conflict Resolution: Know Your Hot Buttons & Be Aware of Other’s!

I’m still visiting my folks in VA and my Dad is failing. As I ponder his life, I recall what a great attorney he was, and how he could chew right through conflict. Case in point: he started his legal career defending Japanese war criminals after WWII.

I had the good fortune to read Hot Buttons: How to Resolve Conflict and Cool Everyone Down by Sybil Evans and Sherry Suib Cohen.

The mind and the body are twins. Poet Algernon Swinburne

What happens in your mind and spirit gets to your stomach and your heart.

conflictbusinesspeopleyellingsmall1A Hot Button is an emotional trigger and when someone pushes one of your hot buttons, you know it since it make you a little crazy. Self awareness of what makes you crazy and an awareness of others’ hot buttons—is very useful in business. It is important to know your conflict style. Before you can diffuse your hot buttons you must be clear about what inflames them. This sounds a lot like emotional intelligence to me!

The book describes 5 conflict styles:

Avoider – Make “it go away” is the goal when conflict intrudes your life

Slash-and-Burn – Tough guy who is “in-your-face”

Peace at all Costs – Harmony is the goal here

Problem Solver – No problem is insurmountable if you work at it

Exploder – Into high drama, emotional and demonstrative

This bleeds right into cooperative intelligence’s leadership, connection and communication.

Leadership – Good leaders are self-aware and observant enough to notice what triggers other’s hot buttons.

Connection – This sensitivity helps develop trusting and lasting relationships.

Communication – Hot button awareness helps us be better observers, listeners and communicators.

So how do you resolve conflicts which stem from Hot Buttons? The book outlines 5 steps:

1. Watch the Play – as though you’re the audience, not a participant. “Watch & play” creates a mental attitude of detachment and objectivity.

2. Confirm – the validity of the other person’s anger. You let them know you’re ready to listen.

3. Get more Info – by asking open-ended Questions.

4. Assert your own interests and needs. Note: this is step 4 after you have calmed down and listened to the other guy’s point of view. Now he is likely to listen to you.

5. Find common ground – for a solution with a problem-solving approach.

There are several tippers from this book that I practice to avoid conflicts:

1. People’s beliefs are not always what you assume they are. When people make wrong assumptions, it can push hot buttons.

2. Empathy is a great hot button diffuser since it acknowledges the other person’s feelings, and takes your mind off your own feelings and allows you to creep into someone else’s. This is calming during a conflict.

3. Ask questions – Questions help you learn more information about the other guy’s feelings, and give you time to cool down, if you’re angry

4. Paraphrase – By restating I can make sure I heard exactly what my partner meant me to hear. Paraphrasing also lets the other guy know I am listening, a key ingredient to conflict resolution.

Here are two books I recommend which are in a similar vein:

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler and Stephen R. Covey (my comments)

The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes by Bill Ury

Sharpen Your Emotional Intelligence Skills

Emotional Intelligence is a important component of cooperative intelligence. Referred to as EI, often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), it is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. (Cooper & Sawaf 1998, Executive IQ, New York: Perigee)

daniel-golemanAccording to Daniel Goleman, the father and author of Emotional Intelligence, there are 5 skills that enable EI:

1. Self awareness – knowing your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others

2. Self regulation – the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting

3. Motivation – a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence

4. Empathy – understanding other people’s emotional makeup and the skill to treat people according to their emotional reactions

5. Social skill – an ability to find common ground and build rapport. Skill in managing relationships and building networks

In my field of competitive intelligence a high EQ is helpful since we’re often delivering people bad news like, “Competitor A is getting ready to launch a disruptive technology,” or “We need to get this product to market before Competitor A or does else we’ll lose X% market share.” We are being paid to “tell the truth” and we cause stress since often “they” don’t want to hear bad news or threats to the business even if it is the truth. We have to stay strong to deliver bad news, and also be sensitive as to how “they” are going to take the news and not spring surprises, for example. I found one way not to be regarded as Darth Vader is to present management with opportunities as well.

eqmentor1What’s neat about EI versus IQ is that we can learn and be coached to improve our EI skills, whereas we’re born with a certain IQ. In this vein, I am studying to be a certified mentor for a company called EQmentor founded by the genius of Izzy Justice.

What’s really neat about EQmentor is it’s all on-line and there is total anonymity between mentors and mentees. I think their timing is really right as about 70% of communication is electronic, an indication of its high acceptance. When I formed The Business Intelligence Source  in 1993, my phone rang all day. Now it’s email, Twitter Tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook communication that talk to me 24/7.

EQmentor provides an incredible repository of information that mentors and mentees have access to in addition to members of the EQmentor community. The company carefully matches mentors and mentees and the relationship is a 6 month engagement, long enough to make a change in a person’s life. I know the price is right compared to traditional coaching so it will be affordable to more people.

What do you think about this concept at EQmentor? How do you use emotional intelligence in your profession?

Win/Loss Analysis book gives you a process to learn why you’re losing business and how to keep more of it!

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Win Loss Analysis is more than Competitive Intelligence

42-21056354Win loss analysis is my favorite tactical cooperative intelligence practice as it offers the best ROI of any sales intelligence tool. You gain intelligence by interviewing your customers shortly after the sales event to find out why they chose to do business with you or decided on a competitor. The data gathered combines knowledge from sales, customers, competitors, and your marketplace.

Consider these points to develop a cooperative B to B win loss process:

  • Clearly identify objectives for conducting win loss
  • Invest the time to develop the questions you want answered
  • Include Sales
  • Maintain professionalism throughout the process
  • Don’t just “survey” your customers
  • Don’t just interview losses; include wins
  • Communicate findings broadly within your company

I’ve conducted win/loss interviews and analysis for years, and enjoyed reading Ford Harding’s post, “Learning from Loss,” where he shared findings from Ken Sawka of Outward Insights about what can be obtained from conducting win loss interviews.

What I found most interesting was Ford’s experience in professional services firms where partners do the work and make or lose the sale so there isn’t a dedicated sales force.  Ford’s focus isn’t competitive intelligence so his perspective is valuable to those of us with our heads in the competitive intelligence sandbox.  He is the author of Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field.  A rain maker is an employee who creates a significant amount of new business to a company. Rain Making uncovers how professional services are marketed successfully in terrific detail.  I decided to buy the book to gain the perspective of selling in professional services as I sold in the retail and telecommunications arenas. BTW Rain Making gets very good reviews on Amazon.

As a competitive intelligence professional, you will be more successful in capturing competitive data from sales if you build your emotional intelligence by gaining an understanding and empathy for the challenges and joys of their job. You will most certainly acquire this from Rain Making.  You might even give your company’s sales and PR folks some tippers from this book.

For more reading on win loss analysis consider this article, “Increasing Sales through Win Loss Analysis.”

Do you conduct win loss interviews at your company?  If so, how have you used the findings to improve your business?

Be notified when our book, Win/Loss Analysis: How to Clinch and Keep the Business You Want is published.

Why Cooperative Intelligence?

Ellen Naylor

Ellen Naylor

In my 25+ years working in and for corporations in marketing and competitive analysis, I have observed that the focus is too often on process and monitoring the competitive landscape using secondary research and the Internet, and increasingly neglects the relationships we must forge with individuals. From speaking to people in other professions, I have learned that this focus on process is widespread, particularly due to the high usage of electronic communication that has replaced the telephone and face-to-face meetings.

We have plenty of support to become good at our skill such as law, finance, accounting, art, marketing, or my area–competitive intelligence. However, many of us have trouble listening, being heard and taken seriously by the right people in our companies. I have learned that an attitude of cooperation is one of the best ways to encourage people to share, regardless of what you do or what industry you work in.

circlehandsontopeachotherCooperative intelligence puts people in the center whether through social networking, in-person meetings, teleconferences or written communication. Its foundation is giving attitudes and practices which encourage openness, sharing and trust. Trust begins with communication, telling the truth, and doing what is good for people and the organization. When people trust you, they often will do what you ask them to do since they want to.

Cooperative intelligence is a holistic solution which integrates generous leadership, connection and communication to make us stronger individuals regardless of our profession. It incorporates emotional intelligence and appreciative inquiry to make us more balanced individuals.

BTW, I am writing a book on cooperative intelligence. If you have some ideas, I would love to hear from you.

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