|By John Ryan||
|June 9, 2009 11:00 PM EDT||
“The Greatest Victory is over Self” – Plato
The workplace can be a very rewarding place for our egos. It does not really care if the reviews are good or bad as long as it gets all the attention. It is rewarding because your ego is put in the position to win or lose everyday. “Who likes me?” “Who is going to help me?” “Am I the best in everyone’s opinion?” And of course, when it really gets control of the internal conversation, “who is out to get me?” Notice the omnipresent “I” or “Me” in this dialogue. This is your ego at work and in some companies you will find that there are some experienced executives who are totally self-absorbed. The damage this causes has been far too evident in the recent scandals in the financial markets. Everyone has to deal with their own ego but the first step is to recognize when the ego is lobbying toward a limited direction.
If you watch young people in an organization, they tend to want to talk about themselves to build your view of them because they lack a record. This is the ego hard at work to establish itself in their mind too. It wants internal dialogue control and it wants to believe it can influence relationships which can be painfully short-sighted. Only later in life do most people begin to surrender to the notion that their best relationships have been built on joint experiences where trust was earned.
People that are much older or wiser tend to have already crossed the line to the sweet surrender of the unforeseeable. Their shields have been dropped and they are ready to talk in the most candid way possible to get to the essence of something. Some of them have even evolved to the point that they laugh at that silly voice in their head. They are present and listening. By surrendering, they enter a new dialogue of understanding and proper response that is much more collaborative.
Another name for it would be wisdom and it opens much larger doors for any relationship. When you talk to buyers, is your ego in charge or the desire to listen and help? What line of questioning are you pursuing? “What do I want?” or “What are the issues for this customer?” If so, it is showing up on your face and through your voice. The internal is reflected in the external. Is your ego hard at work to own the internal dialogue of what you need or wish to gain?
One of the most common tricks of the ego is to focus on past mistakes or worry about the future but not be in the present. If your full attention is in the present, the customer senses this. They can feel it and it gives the impression you are listening. The customer will be relieved to find someone who is listening and is down knee-deep in the present moment with them. If you can meet them there, you have increased the odds of creating a remarkable experience for the customer and you will probably earn a friend. Lose the I, gain a buyer.
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