Just before Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, he was asked “Who is my neighbor?” The reason this question arose was because that same person had asked Jesus a question about how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told him that he’d answered correctly and encouraged him to “do this, and you will live.” Then came the “clarifying question” about the identity of his neighbor and the parable followed.
“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what [Christians] call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely supernatural (spiritual) thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.”“Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.” – Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA (both quotes)
“We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” – William A. Barry, SJ and William J. Connolly, SJ, Center for Religious Development, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA“The greatest teacher is silence. To come out of interior silence and to practice its radiance, its love, its concern for others, its submission to God’s will, its trust in God even in tragic situations is the fruit of living from your inmost center, from the contemplative space within. The signs of coming from this space are a peace that is rarely upset by events, other people and our reactions to them, and a calm that is a stabilizing force in whatever environment you may be in. God gives us everything we need to be happy in the present moment, no matter what the evidence to the contrary may be. A good spiritual director helps us to sustain that trust.” – Father Thomas Keating
Needless to say, that was unnerving. Certainly not my idea of my own or any else’s journey as a follower of Christ! Fortunately, I was completely wrong in that visualization, for which I am thankful.
- The role of the directee or person being coached is first of all to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s movement in your life, calling you to a deeper, closer relationship with God, but desiring someone to “walk with you” and help you to pay attention to what God is doing
- The role of the director (I prefer spiritual companion or friend) or coach is to be that person. It is a calling and a ministry.
Change signifies life and the movement through time we all take part in. The dual focus I have taken within this blog has been about things I have a long-time and deep abiding interest in AND the phenomenon we loosely and broadly call “social media” and the business and more human aspects of it.
As of this past few weeks my more business-focused writing will take place on the blog that is part of my new Social Sapiens site. Some of those will be cross-posted here (and vice versa…) as they have aspects of my passion for being human online or how what happens online impacts us in real life. I intend to continue to write for this blog in broader areas that include many of the things I’ve written about before, but that business owners and entrepreneurs may or may not find as directly pertinent to their bottom lines (although my hope is that the work published here will be valuable and thought-provoking to whomever takes the time to read and consider it…).
Please join me on my other blog soon, and keep your eye here for more articles too!
- CUSTOMER – Who’s doing the asking here? Who’s the request actually FOR? Never assume anything that looks obvious, here. When someone says something like, “We need to do some research on this” you desperately need to know who the research is for, so you can get to specific expectations about the research and also know to whom you go for further clarification or if you have concerns.
- PERFORMER – Who’s going to do the work? Is it you? Are you qualified? Do you have the resources (time, talent, funds…) to fulfill the request? Is that clear to you AND to the requester?
- ACTION – Just what EXACTLY does the customer want you to do? Can you actually do it? What measurements for the action or deliverables will be the outcomes of this action?
- TIMEFRAME – When does the customer want it to be completed….Oh, and ASAP is not at all helpful. Get a solid date, since ASAP may mean by the end of the week to you and by the end of the day to the customer.
- I ask that you…
- I request
- Will you (please)…
- (Please) do this….
- I want or I need…
- Why don’t you…
- …needs to be done.
- My coffee cup is empty. (Secret request: Get me more coffee.)
- The conference room is a disaster. (Secret request: Clean up the conference room.)
- It’s almost eleven o’clock. (Secret request: Get me the printed slides for the 11:00 team meeting.)
- COMMIT – “Yes, I’ll do it.” To them this means, “I will do exactly what you’ve asked me to do. Here is where real clarity about the request is critical. If the request is vague or missing information, it is up to you to ask for it.
- DECLINE – “No, I can’t (or won’t) do it.” This let’s the customer that you aren’t available to do whatever she’s requesting…..she needs to find a different resource. Sadly, in the workplace, many times “No” isn’t an option….however, saying “Yes” is truly setting yourself up for failure, so consider how “No” could be framed.
- COUNTEROFFER – “I can’t do that, but instead I can do…” This is one way “No” in the workplace could be framed. Create something that MIGHT work. A counteroffer opens a negotiation scenario between you and the customer. This should end in either a commitment or a declination. Leaving things hanging in midair is the same as failure.
- COMMIT-TO-COMMIT – “I need to check on something (resources, time, etc.) before I can get you an answer. I’ll get back to you by…” You might need more information. Regardless of the reason, be sure to designate a time at which they WILL get a firm answer.
- Make sure you can actually do what is asked of you BEFORE you respond to a request.
- If the request is unclear, ask for clarification and any missing bits of information.
- If you are offering to do something, be sure they understand what you CAN and CANNOT do.
- Listen to people to determine if they are making EXTREMELY indirect requests of you. Are they just talking, or are they creating a framework of expectations that are clear to them and vague to you? Decide which it is, and respond.
“Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.” – Charles Spurgeon.
The end of summer is upon us. These diverse articles will tickle your imagination and start you thinking about what your autumn online activities might be!
Building trust is vital and required.
- You need to develop new relationship-based associations with your customers and other social media participants (All Ties…), especially to build and maintain brand loyalty and to manage or at least influence what is being said about you online. Instead of just disseminating information about the organization and its products, you need to actively participate in the discussions on social media sites and develop other methods to engage Internet users. Most people deal with information overload when surfing the Web or visiting social media sites, so you need to design and implement content and initiatives that are interesting, entertaining or thought-provoking, to capture and hold their attention.
- You will also be judged by the way in which you respond to online customer feedback, especially negative comments or complaints. Your reputation is on the line here, since everyone on the Internet can observe the interaction and judge accordingly. You need to develop and maintain not just a brand but an online personality which is likeable and well-respected and with which individuals can develop a real sense of familiarity and emotional connection. It is now often argued that ROI on marketing should now be measured not in traditional sales terms, but in terms of “return on engagement”. What is important is a measurement of engagement or emotional investment in the brand, such as active participation on the company website or favorable references to it in blog posts. These not only translate into longer-term individual loyalty but also help to attract additional followers who may become fans and customers.
- Key in both the B2B and the B2C social media contexts is the ability to identify and build relationships with “key influencers” in the business network or target market. Jay Baer writes about this topic regularly with keen insight. This observation returns us neatly to the concept of social networks and the concept of weak and strong ties. In order to achieve the desired business objectives, there is a need to plumb the mass of online users and identify those likely to have the greatest impact. Within social networks, for example, there are usually key individuals or “trusted experts” who have established a strong reputation in their field. You need to make positive connections with a few key influencers who will transmit positive information about you. This is likely to be much more effective a strategy, and much less resource-intensive, than direct relationship-building with large numbers of people in the target market. Similarly, when a business partner or expert is needed, it can be invaluable to locate and build a relationship first with a “critical enabler” or “trusted advisor” who can offer not only detailed knowledge of the relevant industry niche and its participants, but who also knows the key decision makers personally and can help arrange an introduction or advise on the best approach to them. The old saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know” applies.
- Curtis & Lewis (2010) argue that in order to develop effective relationships with key enablers or other stakeholders, the principle of progressive reciprocity should be followed, in which something of value is offered to the other party at the outset, not just after an offer of help is secured. You might benefit from developing and maintaining strong ties with key influencers or critical enablers who are likely to provide ongoing value and benefits in return. At the same time, you should maintain a wider network of weak ties with other stakeholders who hold relevant knowledge, expertise or market influence. One strategy that is likely to be effective across the board is to establish the your company itself, or individuals within it, as trusted experts in a particular subject area, for example by publishing well-researched, informative articles or blog posts on relevant topics.