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Better Than Average Blog - Improve anything, maximize talents, and stand out from the crowd

3 Powerful Questions to Stand Out from the Crowd

questionTo learn continuously, ask questions constantly. This is the very cornerstone of learning.  Many people already ask a lot of questions; some to the point of annoyance. However, those who stand out from the crowd ask a better quality of questions.

In today’s answer-oriented society, we have a dearth of good questions. We want information now, in digestible, low-calorie, high-fiber chunks. If the answer cannot be found on the first page of Google results, then it doesn’t exist or isn’t worth asking.

But it’s ok. It’s not your fault. Society teaches us to be Average and average people ask average questions. Average people ask “what?” or “when?” The socially inclined ask “who” (as in, “Who will see me there?”).

The Better than Average, those who stand out from the crowd, ask a different type of question. Their questions begin with “how?” or “why?” They probe for a deeper understanding of the issue. They want a greater context to provide better meaning. They want answers that aren’t readily found on the Internet. And sometimes, the answers they seek are high in fat, but a good fat, like Omega-3 found in salmon.

3 Most Powerful Questions

The Better than Average use the following 3 most powerful questions to get to the root of the issue:

  1. Why?
  2. So what?
  3. Who cares?

Once you can answer those questions, you will have a deeper understanding of your subject.

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Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]
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Who to Fire

fireFired, laid off, reduction in force, rightsizing whatever you call it. The basic idea is removing someone from their employment.

When the determination is made that its time “let go” of certain people, how do you decide whom to remove?

Selecting the wrong person could leave your company mired in mediocrity.

Be blind. Be blind to color, to age, to gender, to ability, to family situations, to what you pay them.

Select on performance. Look at the numbers. But not just the tangible numbers. Dig deeper. Look at the intangible numbers. What are intangible numbers?

In sales, don’t just look at the number and size of deals closed. Look at the number of doors opened. Look at the number of relationships built. Look at the number of positive qualities to his or her personal brand.

In engineering, don’t just look at the number completed projects. Look at the number of lines of code. Look at the defect rate. Look at numbers resulting from innovative ideas. Look at the quantity of leaders saying she has the ability to translate business needs to solutions.

In accounting, don’t just look at accuracy. Look at numbers of years of experience. Look at measurements of integrity. Look at the number of times the complex was made simple to understand.

It’s never easy to pink slip someone. But when you do, select on performance.

(image courtesy of Chuck Grimmett on Flickr)

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Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]
Download Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World

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Turning Fear into Abundance

Turn Fear to AbundanceWe are scared. Scared that we won’t have a job. Scared that we won’t sell a product. Scared that we won’t make payroll.

We play in fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of loss. Fear of spiders.

The opposite of fear is abundance.

Somewhere will hire. Someone will buy. There is enough.

Change from a fear mindset to an abundance position to increase your chances of success.

What you verbalize comes true. If you think fearfully, speak abundantly.  Turn the fear into faith. Faith that you will succeed. Faith that your ideas will be heard. Faith that you will stand out from the crowd.

Look around. We live in the age of abundance. Access to the world’s information is in our pocket. We have more food than ever before. More people live in freedom. And it’s only getting better.

Find another customer to buy your goods. Take that lower paying job to make ends meet. Start the idea you’ve been putting off. Do what you need to do to persevere.

Someone somewhere needs your talents, services, or products. Go find them.

(image courtesy of Andy Potter on geograph)

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Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]
Download Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World

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7 Things Generation Y Can Teach Us about the Workplace

Todd Brockdorf

There are no generational workplace differences. Quite simply, they are a myth. Yes, there are now four different generations working in the same place. However, all four generations still want the same things – respect, trustworthy leadership, stability, feedback, loyalty. See Jennifer J. Deal’s work at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the question is, what can Generation Y teach us all – Boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials, about the workplace. After all, the Gen Y’ers are starting to rise up the ranks of the corporate ladder. Or in some cases, are already sitting on top of it (aka Mr. Zuckerberg).

7 Things Generation Y Can Teach Us about the Workplace

  1. Ask Curious Questions – Generation Y is also known as “Generation Why” for a reason. They tend not to accept things as they are unless they understand the back story. In other words, the “why”. If we all asked more “why” questions, we could work to eliminate the ineffective/arcane/stupid processes, procedures, and practices that handcuff our abilities.
  2. Entrepreneurial Thinking – Generation Y wants to move fast and break things. They learn by trying, tinkering, and toiling. A company’s slow pace and bureaucratic overhead are the ball and chain of disenfranchisement. What would happen if we sped up decision making? Might a calculated risk pay off?
  3. Workplace Flexibility – It’s pointless to leave Generation Y trapped in the confines of their four-walled cubicle. They will find a way to bust out – one way or another. As we all try to do more with less, “work hours” are extending beyond 9-5. We can all embrace workplace flexibility. Who cares wherever or whenever work gets done, as long as it is on time and accurate? Who really cares if you are sitting in your PJs when you are responding to email? Do you really need to be in the office to do that? Of course not, and it shouldn’t matter to you if your coworkers do either.
  4. Unified Communications – Generation Y communicates through social media, text messaging, instant messaging, and to a lesser extent, email. Give your people the tools to be successful. Internal social media sites, instant messaging, and presence notifications (on the phone, busy, away from the desk), benefit everyone in the organization through quicker decision making and shared knowledge transfer.
  5. Feedback for Growth – One of the knocks of Generation Y is that they require constant feedback. So? Don’t you want to know how you’re doing? Or is sitting in the dark, stuck in the poop, like a mushroom, really a good way to grow? Feedback should be more than an annual occasion.
  6. Respect for Everyone – Generation Y grew up in a multicultural society. If they didn’t have it in their hometown, they saw it when they got to college. They accept people for who they are. They judge others on their merits, not preconceived notions or stereotypes. Can’t we all just get along?
  7. Expectations of Greatness – Above all, Generation Y wants to be inspired. They want to find meaning in their work. They want to do good. They want to understand a larger connection with the world. They expect greatness. If we all expect greatness in ourselves, our coworkers, and our company, we will find that meaning, the connectedness, and the good that we do.

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Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

 

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Shameless Self-Promotion to Stand Out from the Crowd

self promotionThere is no shame in self-promotion. Some might call it egotistical. Some may call you vain. Perhaps it is cocky or arrogant. But the fact of the matter is that we need to promote ourselves, because few will do it for us.

But here’s the key – shameless self-promotion is not about you.

In a world of calculating clutter, nosy noise, and vivacious volume, it is hard to stand out from the crowd. If we didn’t toot our own horn, no one will know about us.

But shameless self-promotion is not about you.

Even in our own small offices, management tends to be tied to their projects and programs, taking little note of what the little people are doing.

But shameless self-promotion is not about you.

It’s about them.

What have you done for the organization lately? How have you made a difference? What value did you deliver?

5 Ways to use Shameless Self-Promotion to Stand Out from the Crowd

  1. Integrity – Nothing speaks louder than doing what you say you will do. Except for maybe doing what you say you will do, then exceed those expectations. Believe it or not, people do notice. And it helps to build your personal brand.
  2. Document – Nothing says proof like a laundry list of accomplishments. Keep a running tally close at hand so that successes can easily be added. It also can act as a quick pick-me-up when you’re having a down day.
  3. Shout it from the rooftops – Not literally, silly, but in some cases, maybe. When you meet new people, use an accomplishment in your self-introduction. “Hi, I’m Bob and I’ll be your superstar sales rep. I’ve been working with clients such as yourself to save over $7 million dollars on their car insurance.” Doesn’t that scream instant rapport?
  4. Send it to the boss – No matter how hard-nosed your manager is, delight him with a quick message of your accomplishment. “Hi Bossman. Just wanted to let you know that the project has concluded and we were under budget and 3 days early.”  Who doesn’t want to hear that message?
  5. Find a friend – Who says campaigns are limited to the political-types (ugh)? Get your co-workers and friends to lobby on your behalf. If they mention that you did something well for them, kindly suggest they send it to the bossman (or bosswoman), or tweet it, or post it, or whatever is appropriate.

As we approach annual performance review time, a little shameless self-promotion will help you stand out from the crowd.

(image courtesy of sunface13 on Flickr)

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Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

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