"I analyse, interpret and explain. Then I advocate action."

Ego and Insecurity

by Kim Miller | August 7th, 2013

If you are successful in business, you have both – Ego and Insecurity – probably in substantial amounts. I am not postulating here, merely observing. I coach leaders of organizations. They all have healthy egos. They also all have significant insecurities.

Another way this is manifest is in the very human NEED to achieve, and the equally human FEAR of failure.

It is easy to confuse one with the other because they both provide motivation. But the former – let me call it “Achievement Ego” – is more likely to lead to action. for this reason, most of us in the business world would say that Achievement Ego is better than “Insecurity Fear”. Action is better than inaction, right? You can’t win if you don’t try, right? Generally, but not always.

If you take action with a high degree of competence, you are more likely to succeed. If you don’t know what you are doing – or if others simply do it much better – you are less likely to succeed. Your Insecurity Fear may be the thing to tell you when to hold off, even when your Achievement Ego is saying, “Go, go, go!”

By aware of – and use – both. Listen to your ego, and respect your insecurity.

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It may be Apples and Oranges, but it’s still Fruit

by Kim Miller | May 1st, 2013

I often find myself challenged by a client who believes they are different. They believe that their particular situation is unique and calls for extraordinary action. Sometimes they are right, then we must get creative to solve the problem(s). Sometimes they are (half) right, but the differences are really not that great.

It is important for me and the work I do to identify when the differences in a situation are important and when they are not. Most problems in running a business have occurred to other businesses and perhaps to the same organization in the past. This then calls for reviewing proven solutions for application. The key is assessing the situation carefully, and deciding whether the situation warrants extraordinary effort. Experience counts here, combined with a healthy dose of solid judgment.

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Listen!

by Kim Miller | March 22nd, 2011

One thing comes up regularly when I do my “360” background interviews for my coaching clients: “Listen, I want him/her to listen to me.”

Let’s face it, most of us don’t listen well. Instead of truly listening to our partner in a conversation, we often take the time to develop our thoughts so that we can start to speak again just as soon as we get the opportunity. So we make our point, but at what cost? My experience tells me that the cost is great. Rather than being impressed with our linguistic prowess, people are often annoyed, discouraged, or worse…

As a result of this input, I often work on listening skills with my coaching clients. There are various techniques, such as: offer one thought at a time before stopping and waiting for a response; give yourself 30 seconds to make a point, then wrap it up, really. One that I like is more of a concept than a technique: to make them think that you are the best listener in the world. This is easy to say, hard to do. You must put aside your ego and your insecurities. You must let your brilliant thoughts go unuttered. You must hear and understand the words and the message.

Try it. You may learn something.

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Perspective

by Kim Miller | April 15th, 2010

Perspective – do you have it? Of course. Is it correct? It is for you. Or is it? There’s the rub.

When do you need to question your own perspective on an issue? I suggest regularly. If you walk around comfortable with your own view of the world, you will eventually cease to participate and contribute.

As most of us move through life, we tend to become more conservative in our views. OK, change is good, right? Sure, but don’t dismiss the seemingly silly and unrealistic views of others. Consider them first, and then dismiss them, or not. Either way, you will be better for the effort.

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Save a Little

by Kim Miller | April 15th, 2010

Financial advisors suggest we all keep two or three months’ worth of earnings in a current account to cover fnancial emergencies. Business advisors (including me) suggest that organizations create plans for contingencies.

We don’t know everything that is going to happen, and we certainly can’t control the future. So on a personal level, I advise my people to leave a little emotion in the bank. No matter how good or bad things are going, we can quickly be whacked upside the head. Things can get worse.

It is important to plan emotionally for the possiblity of a major setback. This all happens in the head and heart. It is simple in principle but difficult in practice. If we accept the possiblity of a challenge, we are more prepared to deal with it when it occurs.

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