Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2014 Contents BG12 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 2014 • WEEK TWO
People are wired for good stories. If you
can weave a compelling story into your pres-
entation or meeting, your message will be
more memorable. Hone your storytelling
• Parachute in. Avoid "Let me tell you a
story about a time I learned ..." Drop your
audience immediately into the action and
draw the lesson out later.
• Follow the "Goldilocks" rule for details.
Give too much detail and your audience is
lost or bored; too little, and they lack enough
context. Test your story with friends to find
the right level of detail.
• Focus on one person with one thought.
Focus on one person at a time, for four to
seven seconds, and try to connect with as
many people as possible.
• Use silence for impact. Silence draws
emphasis to what was just said or what is
about to come, and it allows others to con-
tribute their own interpretations.
(Adapted from "A Refresher on Storytelling
101" by JD Schramm.)
Encourage your team to
take more risks
Innovation requires a tolerance for risk-
taking and learning from failure. Yet many
companies still have risk-averse cultures.
Break out of this and create an environment that is
more conducive to innovation by being more explicit
about what risk-taking really means:
• Define smart risk. Distinguish the areas where
risk is encouraged, and where it is not. For example,
you want minimal "execution risk" regarding customer
commitments, but more "discovery risk" in developing
new solutions to customer problems.
• Use the right words. Terms like "experiment"
or "scouting mission," as opposed to "successful vs.
unsuccessful project," signal a more open attitude
• Establish clear phases for funding projects. Stop
providing blank checks. Fund each project in clearly
defined phases. If it passes one phase, give it additional
(Adapted from "The Reason Your Team Won t Take
Risks" by Ron Ashkenas and Lisa Bodell.)
Ask team newcomers
to tackle tough problems
It s easy to think of newcomers as burdens: They
need to be trained and brought up to speed. But
rookies are far more capable than most people expect.
Instead of putting them through basic training, ask
them to make a difference right away. Have them
generate fresh ideas, experiment and get rapid feedback
from your customers. They can also:
• Tap networks of experts. Newcomers have no
qualms about seeking guidance from others. They
seek out expertise 40 per cent more than their expe-
rienced peers, and, when they do, they connect with
five times as many people.
• Forge new territory. Assign a rookie to tackle a
tough challenge or new opportunity. Newbies are
more willing to explore new frontiers, and they re
more likely to improvise and be resourceful.
(Adapted from "Why Your Team Needs Rookies"
by Liz Wiseman.)
Rebuild a work relationship
that's gone sour
If you haven t been getting along with someone
at work, there are ways you can repair the relationship.
First, ask yourself what s happening so you know
what needs work. Are you having trouble commu-
nicating? Are you failing to see eye to eye on things?
Give up being right, and resist your tendency to
analyze every detail of what s happened in your rela-
That s not productive. Instead, look forward and
reflect on what you want from the relationship. Try
to see the other person s perspective. When you re
ready to approach him, do it on neutral ground. Go
out for lunch or coffee, rather than asking to meet
at one of your desks.
Don t debate what went wrong or who is at fault.
Focus on the bigger picture or a common goal you
share. But don t expect the relationship to change
overnight; it takes time to re-establish trust and rec-
(Adapted from "Fixing a Work Relationship Gone
Sour" by Amy Gallo.)
Control your temper
When you re swamped with work and facing a
slew of deadlines, it s easy to lose your temper. Man-
aging your time better, learning to say "no" and
resisting the temptation to multitask are all good
long-term solutions. But how can you stop the fuse
Every hour, take one minute to ask yourself if you ve
been the kind of person you want to be. Have you
been a good boss or colleague? Then recommit to
who you will be in the next hour. Sometimes it only
takes a small interruption for you to regain control.
Why not take the time to prevent yourself from losing
your cool before it happens?
(Adapted from "A Ritual to Help You Keep Your
Focus and Your Temper" by Peter Bregman.)
@2014 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp.
Distributed by the New York Times Syndicate
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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