Anna Soo Wildermuth

Welcome to Personal Images, Inc.!

Here I'll give you up to date tips on developing your personal and professional image to ensure your first impression will be your best impression. Also I will blog about current image and communication blunders. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments, and stay updated by subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting my blog. – Anna

Change One Thing is a superb book that gives excellent advice to help jumpstart your engine." Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Archive: Leadership

Agree to disagree

coaching 2Today’s political environment is so charged that family members sometimes end up not talking to each other. Recently, I was riding in a car and the conversation turned challenging. I requested we not talk about politics unless we could agree to discuss by listening to each other’s point of view. We also agreed if we could not agree to disagree we should talk about other topics instead. If an agreement cannot be made to agree to disagree, then it is better not to discuss politics or any highly charged topic.

Breaking bread

networking-pic-gifSharing a meal with a new manager or employee is a great way to get to know each other on neutral ground. If time and geography allow, I always meet a potential new client before a proposal is written.

Recently, while coaching a group, it came up that they never had the opportunity to share a meal together. Food can be brought in during a lunch time. Since that time they had several opportunities to share a meal including once to celebrate and another time as they collaborated on a long project. Taking a client out for lunch or dinner as a thank you or just to get to know them can serve many purposes. I highly recommend it.

Delivering difficult news

ElephangIn a recent brewing scandal involving a major sports organization, the president of the group made a statement about it. What impressed me about this is that the president refrained from the usual allegation denial. Instead, he expressed concern while stating the incident was under investigation and would be addressed after the findings were revealed.

It was genuinely felt that the organization would be honest with the findings. Delivering difficult news must be heartfelt and honest. This approach was much better than not speaking about the situation or worse, defending it before all the facts were in.

Moderating a panel discussion

microphone-vectorGood moderators do their homework. First, they know the discussion contents. They know the panelists from interviewing them before the actual event. They have prepared an introduction of each of the them.

The time allotment for each answer is discussed with each panelist prior to the event. The moderator has the authority to monitor the time. Successful moderators create a safe environment for the panelists and simultaneously satisfy the audience that the promised content has been delivered.

Asking questions

26447en_USI_QuestionMarkOften, questions are asked in an intrusive manner during troublesome situations. The tone of voice is as culpable as words in creating a polarized environment as are gotcha questions. We see this in television interviews.

Clients with impressive technical skills sometimes act like bulls wandering in a china shop when asking questions. The message to others when this occurs is: I don’t want to work with you.

Start with what they do well and then ask how we can make the situation better to secure a successful result. When they offer what does not work begin to ask the “Why” question which, when answered truthfully, usually brings out a viable solution.

Being nice is still critical for business success

the-big-love-heart-4aThe last article of a favorite Chicago Tribune business section columnist reiterated that he has not changed his opinion. Being nice, kind and thoughtful is critical to business success.

In my twenty plus years, I have found the executives with longevity are the ones who are good business people but also known as nice folks.

Why is presence so important?

targetOften, I observe technically competent folks with reasonable communications skills rise up the ladder pretty quickly and then hit a wall. The C-Suite does not see them as the face of the organization. This usually is first impressions garnered on connecting with an audience. It is the way they carry themselves meaning posture, pace and how they look any audience in its collective eye.

Also, it’s putting together clothing choices, grooming and the key ingredient of style and confidently navigating situations. They can be cut some slack if it is noticed that confidence and communication skills promote steadiness. Can some develop the critical factor of presence to move into the C suite?  Yes, with the right coach, mentors and champions, the C-Suite is a possibility!

Inclusive not intrusive leaders

Thumbs upSuccessful leaders are always inclusive in their interactions whether is it just acknowledging with a hello in a casual encounter or making introductions in a meeting. They are inclusive in providing feedback. Even in difficult situations, any intrusive or destructive behavior is avoided.

This reminds me of an incident on a major project for more than 1,000 retail service centers. The vendor of choice missed the deadline for delivering the products. The CEO called a meeting with the leaders of the vendor organization. He stated in quiet voice how much he valued their relationship…however if the product was not delivered within 30 days he would cancel the order and go with a new vendor.

He did not yell, question their professionalism or go thru the cost of damages. Nor was he in their face on how bad the situation was. Instead he was all about moving forward.

What do successful leaders do?

A key laying on a piece of paper with the word "leadership" on it.

The successful leaders I have been blessed to work with consistently do the following:

• Recognize good work
• Provide support for colleagues and staff
• Stand for the success of staff
• Build strong work and social relationships
• Support philanthropy with money and action
• Never shift blame
• Take responsibility for mistakes

What are your good triggers?

targetWhat is the trigger or triggers that confirm you are in the much fabled zone of doing nothing wrong? Do you sense the zone from the calmness of your breathing, steadiness in your hands or acute awareness of the positive things surrounding you?

This reminds me of playing in golf tournaments when my swing is in the groove. That is when the golf ball goes straight and the putts go in on the first stroke. The zone is also the time to push yourself a bit more whether on the links, presenting to a small group or speaking to thousands!