Leadership

10 great ideas from five great bosses

Despite the negative environment, many organizations and companies are still enjoying great successes. In this article, executive and leadership coach John M. McKee shares ideas that you can use to build a more successful organization.

Depending on the news you hear, it may seem like this economy is still going downhill, or perhaps the bottom has finally been reached. But either way, there's no doubt that more organizations are going to fail before we're truly moving continually forward again.

However, while many organizations struggle, there are still great success stories out there. Leaders who see opportunities where others see roadblocks generally lead those operations. Not coincidently, their teams are usually both more positive and more productive than competitors.'

Over my 30+ years working with business leaders and professionals, I've been able to see which ideas will work in almost any arena. Here are 10 tactics I've garnered from some of the finest pro's I've worked with. See if any of them could help you improve your rate of success:

1. Become a small picture kind of boss - While it's critical that you help everyone understand the overall goals and objectives of the organization; don't forget that the best leaders will also bring those goals down to the smallest details of individual jobs. Learn to help everyone, at every level, understand how his or her specific contribution can make the whole organization more successful. 2. Nuke the Blackberry when at home - It won't surprise you that many execs tell me their organization can't run without them. They say it's imperative that they take a message and help "fix" things. But, you might be surprised to learn the percentage of bosses who never check messages or emails after hours. Importantly, these folks are generally highly rated and successful, and - this is important - they often work in the same industry or even company as those who tell me that they must be available at all times. 3. Stop treating vacations as an option - Almost like it's some kind of badge of honor, many managers frequently note how little time off they take off each year. On the other hand, others get very creative with their vacation planning. They look forward to getting away from the shop to re-charge and clear their minds. These ones tell me that their breaks make them more effective and creative. Care to guess which group I've seen moving up the ladder most quickly?

I recently did an interview on vacations. See it here: http://hwcdn.net/n3z3d6s4/wms/tempurpedic/tempurpedic2.wmv.asx

4. Improve the preparation for hiring new players - Most organizations do really crappy interviewing. Many who interview potential new hires admit to not being well prepared. They say they figured someone else in the process would have done much better. Now more than ever, it's important that anyone joining your organization is well screened and the best fit for the opening. HR studies show that 60% of new hires fail in the first 12 months. 5. Develop your memory - Think back to the first time someone important remembered your name. It felt pretty good, right? Like you counted. The best leaders remember names, job roles, hobbies, partner’s names, and more. Watching them go through a series of meetings, it can be amazing just how good their memories are. And it pays off - people work harder for those who care enough to remember personal things about them. 6. Exercise your body as well as your mind - Regularly scheduled forms of body work are a hallmark of the best bosses. The body needs to be exercised and maintained so that you can function at peak performance. Yoga, for example helps to release stress. That's good emotionally too, of course, but it also helps one's posture because we have a tendency to hold stress in the front of our body. So it helps us to walk and sit taller; breath better, and have more energy to take on the demands of the job. And keep this in mind: If you were choosing between two candidates for a promotion, would you pick the one who looked fit and alert or the one who looked tired and worn out? 7. Learn these words: "I made a mistake" - And then say them as required. When you are confident enough to admit your screw-ups, it's a great signal to team members that you are real and that you get it. This encourages them to be just as honest, reducing the fudging and BS so prevalent in many organizations. This makes it less likely that you'll get one of those surprises that cause people to reach for purple pills in the top left hand drawer. 8. Track how you spend your time - The finest managers spend their time where the best payoff is likely to come. However, many leaders, despite their best intentions, spend too much of their time on problems or dealing with problem people. To see how you're doing, I suggest that you regularly take out your calendar and review how much of your time you spent with what and who. If you see a pattern in your behavior - like too much time dealing with the whiny guy who always has troubles in his department and not with the positive individual who always delivers on her commitments - make some changes to your time management. 9. Don't demi-task - Do you listen 100 percent of the time or are you usually mentally engaged in several things at once? Top dogs know that nobody can multitask effectively over the long haul. They've figured out how to focus with laser-like precision. And their team members come to know that their boss is really hot and can't be bluffed. This makes the team better at being clear and precise in their communications to you. Saves both time and energy for everyone. 10. Celebrate success - Whining doesn't create change. Managing by berating is counterproductive. Even in downtimes, you can probably find something that's doing well - cite it during your meetings or in emails. And name the responsible individuals. What you choose to focus on gets the most attention from others on your team. When you celebrate the little wins, you encourage more of the same behavior from others. And soon, you'll have bigger things to celebrate.

Here's to your future!

john

Leadership Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

61 comments
The Management consultant
The Management consultant

The problem is after working for many American companies in my business career I have never come across an effect American Boss..its nice to know after setting of one hell of a financial crisis the American bosses are actually learning how to manage from Europeans!!!!

jck
jck

I'm an American, and after 2 trips to Europe, seeing how most people loved their jobs, and having more than a dozen friends in various countries... I whole-heartedly agree. America needs to learn to get their proverbial finger out of their workplace arse and let employees be people instead of treating them like robots.

b4real
b4real

Lead without a title. That can apply to anyone and show leadership as well as initiative.

adamblevins
adamblevins

Perfect example: As an electronics tech in the USAF, we obviously had a formal chain of command. However, we also had an informal chain of command, which we used when attempting to fix something. This chain of command wasn't based on rank, but technical ability.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Like every other one, my National Guard unit had two weeks of training every year. The last couple of days involved returning borrowed equipment; cleaning barracks, dining halls, motor pools; loading trucks and preparing for the convoy home, etc. We had a first sergeant who started a tradition of putting some promising but lower ranking soldiers in charge of these activities. A sharp private would be assigned three or four sergeants to supervise, and those NCOs would do the 'grunt work'. While it was clear who was in charge (the private), it was understood the experienced NCOs would do what was necessary to ensure that private's eventual success. A good leader recognizes leadership potential in subordinates and others and helps develop it.

Ming Kang Tan
Ming Kang Tan

Looking that the results of the votes, I could not help but wonder that the ideas are only good as a person's chosen way of life. They may have no relationship in becoming a great leaders!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I think Zatoichi Master's is on to something with his earlier post on the voting. I'm one who picked "5-7". I didn't really like either of the the two middle choice: Rate yourself: Of these 10 tactics, I regularly do: 5 to 7 - I'm good, and much better than the rest around here 2 to 4 - I could do better but I think most of these are fiction I would have preferred 2 to 4 - I could do better and I'm going to try incorporating more of these. I picked '5 to 7' because I DON'T think most of these are fiction. I felt overestimating the ones I practice was better than sending the message that the list is bogus. I've not heard most of these described before, although I've been doing some of them without realizing it.

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

The article is a rehash of basic Dale Carnagie principles with some minor updates. I find it VERY disheartening that an author does not know the difference between the words "then" and "than". "Not coincidently, their teams are usually both more positive and more productive then competitors." I also don't think you can apply blanket rules to people -- personally it stresses me out much more to take a vacation that it does to work.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

What stresses you out on vacation? Are you more worried about what you're doing (coming up with activities, entertaining others, trying to do too much, or do you worry most about what might be happening / going wrong back at work? If it's the first, you may want to look at what you're doing and change to something more relaxing. I've seen plenty of people on vacation who work on the principle of "Go faster to have more fun." They try to jam in as much activity as time or the trip allows, and exhaust themselves instead of recharging their mental batteries. After the rush of the recent TR gathering, I spent a day just reading and birdwatching at an aunt's nearby lake house. If it's the second one, this can be a sign of micromanaging or inadequately training subordinates. That's a whole 'nuther kettle of fish worthy of a discussion of its own. Of course, it could be neither of the above.

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

Actually, I know that the whole vacation thing is a personality flaw. I just feel like I must always be doing something and most things that are vacation oriented seem insignificant. So being on vacation makes me feel like I am wasting time that I could be spending on something meaningful.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And I agree that many 'popular' vacation activities are irrelevant. I'll probably never take a cruise, especially in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. My wife and I have no use for theme parks and rides. I have a co-worker who spends a week every year with Habitat for Humanity. I had one whose church did missionary work for two weeks every summer. There are also volunteer opportunities with youth camps, state and national parks, etc. If you promise not to tell anybody, many National Guard and Reserve soldiers look forward to their annual two-week 'summer camp'; although I'm certainly not suggesting you enlist strictly for this reason. Heck, take two days and paint the bedroom. The general idea is that by focusing for a few days on something other than your regular work, you can return to that job with a fresh outlook and a renewed sense of enthusiasm.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I?m not knocking you brother, to each his own. I once felt as you do. A near fatal motorcycle accident gave me a new perspective. Work somehow seems insignificant and infinitely less important than time spent with loved ones and vacations. I can?t begin to tell you how happier I am on a daily basis. After working a stint in public safety doing IT, I noticed the same attitude among firefighters and ems workers. They see more heart wrenching stuff than I care to discuss, and they also realize how precious life is. Rarely do you catch those people depressed for more than a few minutes before they snap out of it, and that is something I can relate to. Police offers on the other hand are more moody, because they run into some truly nasty people and it sucks dealing with those people on a daily basis. My lifelong friend, and new father at the time quit being an officer not long after seeing a year old child thrown at his feet by the child?s father in an attempt to flee on foot. Sounds corny or maybe even silly, but life or our loved ones can be taken away in an instant and there is no human way to control that short of total isolation in a nuclear fallout shelter. Each day has to be lived to the fullest. I once hated people that seemed utterly happy, content and friendly all the time. I just knew it was a front. Now that I am one of those people I realize some people are that happy even through the bull crap and curve balls life throws at you. Just my humble opinion

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

The first is a family thing. It is typically fast paced with lots of activities to keep kids busy. The second is usually with whoever I'm dating. That typically involves a beach or a secluded cabin on a mountain. None of that roughing it crap either lol, I want a hot tub on the deck, running water and an immaculate bathroom. Depending on the company it may be a fast paced ordeal or slow and easy. I'm honestly happy either way. That's just me, and I'm the first to admit I'm weird. I may exhaust myself physically and need a day to recover from vacation, but mentally I'm a rejuvenated man. Oddly enough the one thing that relaxes me the most is road trips. Most people hate them. One of my dreams is to one day take a month off and just aimlessly drive coast to coast. No GPS, maps or gameplan...just me, the road, a big honking v8 and time to kill. Start east and aimlessly drive west or vice versa. No satellite radio crap or mp3 players either, just good old fashioned diggin on the fm radio.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]You gotta pee? Tough stuff, I don't stop till the tank needs refueling.[/i] You get old enough, that will change. Believe me, I know; I used to [be able to] drive the same way you do now.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I didn't say anything about a ride along, no offense. :) I don't even want a gorgeous young woman beside me. Just a v8, the road and the radio. Just like when I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself...as the amazingly corny George Thorogood once said. Ask my ex wife, no one wants to take road trips with me. You gotta pee? Tough stuff, I don't stop till the tank needs refueling. I did break that rule once, but I was driving an old girlfriend's civic which could go bladder busting distances on a tank.

Proud member of Vast right wing majority
Proud member of Vast right wing majority

OZ gave us his ideas on ways to improve our memory - all in the context of becoming better supervisors. I would hope you aren't as critical of your employees words, posts and ideas as you are in here. Just my thoughts..

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Most articles here include a link to send a message directly to the author or web log host. I think this is the best way of addressing these issues. Submitting a post to point out a grammatical error is like using the PA system to tell someone his fly is open. You maybe right, but it looks like your intention is to embarrass, not help.

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

intended to embarrass a bit. If a person puts themselves up as an author of 2 books then I think they should be a professional writer. The difference between "then" and "than" is a second grade grammar lesson...not a mistake I would expect from a person with 30 years experience.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I've taught The Dale Carnegie Course (as well as their sales courses)and while some of these more common techniques have been part of the Carnegie Courses they are also very common tips used in the VanSec course, 5 Simple Steps to Sales and many others. Havign attended and taught such courses they are all very similar and one always seems like it copies the other, proably because they are proven techniques that actually work in real life. As for THEN vs THAN, I couldn't agree more it is one of my top 10 biggest pet peeves of Americans. ('I could care less' instead of "I couldn't care less" is #1 but will soon bcome second to THEN vs THAN) I don't see it elsewhere too often but it seems that it appears in US comments on a regular basis or at least more then other nations. :D I always ask a question like "THEN other nations what?" :D

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It only took 5 bosses to come up with 10 ideas? That's one fair to average idea for every two bosses; an outstanding feat itself.

adamblevins
adamblevins

I need to work on 5 (memory) and 9 (decluttering my mind). 5 - I meet people and moments later cannot recall their names. I think its because (see next item) 9 - My mind (normally) sounds like a train station at rush hour. I make lists to keep from forgetting things and that helps, but I have to make a conscious effort to be "in the moment". Anyone have any tips?

tonycopp
tonycopp

drill down, drill around, grow tentacles, perpendicular record on all your layers as you walk the earth..and pay close attention..it's about time, and you can't make that stuff up...and oh yes! remember the madeleines.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If there's any useful information here, I'm incapable of deriving it. One more time please, using word of one syllable (or less).

tonycopp
tonycopp

in another persons words, I just fished out of the NY Times in memory discussion..not grabbing names is not really the disease, but a marker of lack of attention to the persons in your present..(hint!) they may indeed be the Present sic transit... Veronica June 11th, 2009 at 1:47 pm As someone who has gone through a severe depression and has been diagnosed with PTSD, I can completely testify to the lack of concentration experienced while working through both of these conditions. It?s maddening, especially considering I had a sharp memory up until my trauma event occured. What?s helped me is living in the moment, as much as I possibly can. I?ve had to slow my brain down and focus not on the past or the future (re-hashing, worrying, blaming, etc.) but really tap into what is happening in the NOW. It?s helped tremendously with my concentration and memory. Thank you for the insight. Veronica Moment-to-Moment Optimism http://www.drrussbuss.com

KSoniat
KSoniat

I'm not great at names either - rather than fake it I just explain I know them, but I'm bad at names and at the same time remind them of mine. Most times they admit they had forgotten mine too, and off we go. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm not saying you're not right, only that I'm unaware of concentrating on myself or how to get over my introductory jitters enough to remember to change my approach.

tonycopp
tonycopp

FEEL more deeply, CARE more deeply, and LISTEN more carefully. You never know who you might be talking to who could help you improve your life. If you learn to get over your SELF, you will magically feel compelled to remember everything, like a drowning person, and have gratitude you were there.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-12848-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=313317&messageID=3119350 that's it, a private memory course, gratis! Sure beats 4 weeks and 1500.00 to learn the same thing. Just remember that at first you'll need to conciously practice it. I've even written out a little stoyr and memorized it, after that it is second nature. In fact I STILL (not kidding) remember MOST of the 50 word list I learned inmy first Dale Carnegie Course, and that was in 1986-1987! I don't have a clue what I did last week though. :D

Triathlete1981
Triathlete1981

It's not surprising that the majority of people already think they're good. Are they good or is it in their heads? In my experience, most bosses have a little of everything but whether they use each of these qualities in the right balance to become a "good" boss is something completely different. I rarely meet a boss who doesn't think he's good and is completely honest with himself. And I am a boss.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This is the one area where I'm weakest. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve this? I'm occasionally stopped by people who address me by name but I have no idea who they are. My wife is used to my not introducing her; she knows I'm not being rude and that I'm aware I'm unable to perform the social exchange. I flounder until the other person happens to say something I can work from to put him or her in context, but even then I can rarely dredge up a name.

elledezz
elledezz

I have a terrible time with names, especially on really busy days. It's important to be patient and honor people, at least by remembering their names. Well, I'm working with a tip I learned in Jr. High long, long ago and along the same lines, but more specifically: As you say the person's name aloud and quickly come up with a word association, as others have recommended, apply that word association to some feature of the person's face or physique. For instance, earlier today, I just met my neighbor's friends, Fabia and her children Joshua and Simone. I'll never tell her, but I pictured Fabia as the famous model in drag. Her daughter Simone had sort of a long face, so I thought her face frozen in a moan. Joshua had no remarkable features I could spot very quickly, so I sang Bad Brains' "Joshua's Song" in my head as I focused on his face. (Sorry, I used to be a punker.) In other situations, you might for instance, associate a person's widow's peak hairline with a bat or dracula if his or her name is Battman or Drakeman, etc. Anything, anything, anything to get you started on the recall process, because this is how our brains work. It's how we learn, by association. Well, I suppose I should report back since I'm not great at this yet. I'll check back myself. Thanks for the great ideas, Everybody.

craig
craig

As soon as you meet them, speak their name out loud. Use their name while talking with them, say it inside your head a couple of times, and when leaving, say "It was great to meet you, Susan." Also, try real hard to place the relationship in a familiar category/context that you already have a hook on: church, a favorite restaurant, etc. The trick is in actually making the effort. Some things we remember naturally, others require some work. Someone was told me that I simply didn?t care enough to remember. Perhaps they were right. I used to be as bad as anyone at this, now I blow people's minds when I say "John, it's good to see you again." After meeting this person once, a year ago.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I used to teach the memory game for Dale Carnegie courses. It is a matter of association, there are several ways to do it. My favorite is to make up something that will remind me of the person...before I go on, the biggest mistake is NOT repeating a name when introduced. When someone introduces themself, or yuor are introduced to them, always ALWAYs repeat their name. "Hi John, it's a pleasure to meet you." Don't just say 'Hi', offer your own name and shake a hand. That aside, come p with somthing witty to remember them by. for example: Mike Smith, think of a guy singing into a mike at ablacksmith's shop. Or somethign aabsurd like that, the more absurd the easier it is to remeber. To remember lists, there a two popular methods. One is to create a story,example: BIKE CADILLAC ELVIS PRESLEY CANDLESTICK OAR Now create a story, I was riding my BIKE, when I saw a CADILLAC with someone dressed as ELVIS PRESLEY in it, he was tapping a tune on the seat with a CANDLSTICK in one hand and an oar in the other. If you were to repeat that story to yourself a couple of times, I could ask you for those same 5 words 2 years form now and you could probably remember most, if not all of the words. Another trick is to picture yourself walking through your house after work. Placing objects on counters and familiar places along the way. Such as leaving your bicycle on th front mat, then the keys to your Cadillac on the hall table right beside your picture of Elvis. You then walk down the hall and light a candlestick and eventually end up by teh back door where there is an oar leaning against it. These most absurd things will work. I have taught people who say the can't remember yesterday to name a list of 50 words, in any order in less than 30 minutes. You could simply say number 23 and the person would think through their story, or walk through their home and come up with the word every time. All memory retention techniques seem to use word association this way. It takes practice, put together a list of 30 items and practice it with people in the office or at home, its a gas and you get it down pat so you don't even have to think of it anymore, you just start learning lists and names that way automatically. For nams its teh same thing ut shorter of course, just think of a relational picture for the words. Graham Chapotelle: Picture a guy eating Graham crackers outside a hotel with a giant sign of a cowboy in nothing but chaps, The Chap Hotel. Graham Chap hotel, said at normal speed is, Graham Chapotelle.

Proud member of Vast right wing majority
Proud member of Vast right wing majority

Great information, Oz!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

:^0 Alcohol abuse, too! I had a mouthful of beer when I read that.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Before joining the right wing majority, proud member fried his short term memory through the use of recreational drugs. This left him unable to remember articles he'd already read; comments he already posted; and that as a drug user, he was really a left wing stalwart.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Oddly enough, I don't have a problem with a short list of random words. For a longer list, I carry a pen and paper everywhere, and have no reason to try to remember them unaided. People? I can't come up with mnemonic images AND still respond to the greeting / introduction. People seem to think it's rude if I stop and write down their name; it's as if I'm saying their unmemorable. And just knowing a name doesn't help me reconnect the it to a face or what my connection is to him or her. Technical stuff is rarely a problem.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Weird. Once upon a time the only way I could remember a name without using tricks was if I was speaking with attractive young ladies. Now in my 30's, I just forget everyone's names.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I see a difference between sales reps that were trained sales as almost an art form and those who say, "yeah, I can sell stuff!" Years ago I ran a very large call centre, we had trainers but I woul drop in on teh third of fourth training day and run through hard core, old time sales techniques. 5-Steps to a sale, 3 steps to a close, handling objections etc. These were nto your average telemarketer, they were all people with strong sale sbackgrounds hired to sell business to business for the call centres clients an none of them had ever heard of selling steps, different types of close, certain ways to ask questions and draw out rebuttals early on so they can be overcome before you close etc. I started to realize that just about anyone coul dget a sales job, with or without training. Of course it is something you either have or don't have a knack for, but there are ways of increasing yuor success rate too, honing those natural skils. I ju8st don't see it anymore, I LOVE it when I work with older sales guys, as they all seem to have taken similar courses, understand the drill and are great to watch in action or team up with on a deal. There's nothing worse than goin into a presentation where your partner offers info at teh wrong time, asks the wrong questions, offers the wrong answers etc. without a planned route of attack. I know it sounds bad and makes it sound like a scam, but epsecially with large ticket items you need some real, formal system so you don't blow large opportunities. If you can't do it, somebody else from another company will (I can't stomache that part). A skill, yes. A talent, perhaps. Remarkable? I think that's a little too much, I would say I am a good sales rep, I have proefessional skills that make me successful in what I do; if you have the right air for it and you hone your skills properly, it seems effortless and natural to clients and can feel effortless to the rep but it is really very contrived and planned out step by little step, word by word.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

My Cisco guy told my secretary happy birthday. He said it lowly and personally, but not so much that it couldn't be overheard. Pretty slick trick. Even if he has it on his calendar, that's good stuff. If a salesperson can't remember my name he doesn't stand much of a chance with me. That guy/gal that remembers your name and personal details (kids, fav sports teams, hobbies) is typically more motivated, knowledgeable, personable, professional, dependable and overall more tolerable than some sales dude/dudette spewing quotes and facts.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

My entire life is built upon remembering things. Having been in the touring rock band industry in the 80's and 90's, that's not exactly my prime advantage. :p So I've learned to remember things withotu really conciously thinkign that I am playing name games with myself. When people say names, they just instantly stick in my head now by usually be relating them to another with the same name automatically. As for lists of items, I build a linked story as in my first example without conciously thinking of it. It does take practice and sometimes I get rusty when I don't need to use such things much, but I try to keep myself in tune as it is imperative in my line of work. Even with a database, I can't always refer to it when I see Morgan Fawks and I need to ask how his kid's ballgame went last week. Remembering that stuff really separates me from competitors, they just seem ot get lazy these days. I remember a time when ALL salesmen had the same bag of tricks, sales techniques etc. Now I see a few 'old schoolers' who know these things and watch others flounder away, wondering why they can't build the same, strong customer relationships. Do you really think my client will go elsewhere to save $1 when I asked how his son did with his carpentry exams last week? Not bloody likely. :D Now, if only I could use some shorthand technique to type properly!

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

As soon as you meet this new person it helps to immediately say their name in a sentence, like "It was nice meeting you Joe" or "do you like your job Joanna?" What I actually do is purposefully have a mini conversation upon discovering the person's name. The first sentence I lead off with their name, and the last sentence I end with their name. It may sound like a childish thing, but it works for me. "FNG, how do you like it here?" blah blah blah "Well it was nice meeting you, and good luck FNG." I remember faces, and for some reason this tricks my mind into associating the face with the name. Of course you are required to spend a couple of brief moments engaged in small talk but I also found it made me immensely more likable. I always, always, always used to forget names and I still do if I don't do this.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm wired to pay more attention to the content than the deliverer. I occasionally remember to use the person's name in a sentence or two. By the time I've heard his message in a business conversation, or gone through the brain-panic of attempting to carry on (and feign interest in) a casual one, I've already forgotten the name. Faces? Any suggestions?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"You can remember what a person does, bit about his/her personal life and every piece of work you've done for them..." I can't bring up those details most of the time. No face recognition either. Unless we worked together at least monthly, I won't know who you are after two or three years; often less than that.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I'm a visual guy. I have a photographic memory of sorts. I can remember faces, and the story that goes along with it, but the name escapes me without those tricks like myself and oz mentioned. The visual thing kills me. I can give you directions across town in great detail, but I don't know a single street name. Same thing with interstates. I can remember which exit, but not the number. Not remembering names is a huge pitfall so I seriously feel your dilemma. You can remember what a person does, bit about his/her personal life and every piece of work you've done for them...but once you forget the name they assume you treat them as a number.

S,David
S,David

I am terrible at names. What I do to correct this is to be sure I use their name all the time in conversation with them. Not their whole name, or I would sound like I was singing "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith", but I stop taking shortcuts. I say, "What you need here, Frank, is...." rather than "What you need here, is...." In my case, it helps link their name with their face, and next time I see them, I know their name.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I am in business development, I speand most of my time with clients, new as well as existing. ANYTIME I pick up the phone, even if its someone I chat with often, I start writing down thier name on a pad that I ALWAYS keep with or beside me. As I am talking to them, I use their name in the same way. Except in a sales capacity you count the number of times you use it, where you use it and the voice inflection sued when saying it. That's what make stelemarketers so easy to pick out, they don't sound natural, it's rehearsed and they have to keep looking for your name etc. TO be efficient and smooth in your delivery, there's more to it than just repetition but for simply remembering names, repeat them, especially when being introduced. "Mary, this is Jack from the Kentucky office" Correct: "Hi I'm Mary, it's great to finally meet you, Jack!" Incorrect: "Hi, I'm Mary, it's great to finally meet you!" or even "Hi Jack, I'm Mary, it's great to finally meet you!" The problem with the second greeting is thtat you have used the person's name first and not last. Your last words always stay in your head longer then the first.

lrhodes
lrhodes

I have the same problem - but it's not just remembering names. The best sysadmin I know has a remarkable memory. Someone will ask "What was that utility we used ten years ago to fix ___?" and he knows the answer right away. I asked him how in the world he remembered that, and he just shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn't know - but "just remembers things." I'd pay dearly for that ability.

memman
memman

It would seem that I share in this ability to a degree and share in the lack as well. I have the ability to remember what was talked about in a meeting 4 years ago and the "groups" that attended, but I can not seem to remember the names of the people I work with but see little. I'm open to suggestions as well. I like the one about using their name in "so what you should do, Frank, is..." in the following post.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I can remember the first command I typed. I can even remember your face. But I'll be darned if I can remember the names of anybody I haven't seen or corresponded with more than about two weeks ago. Gets me in trouble at work when I haven't been to a store in a while...

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