Me Too Is A Roadblock (WT672)

Me Too Is A Roadblock (WT672)


WT 672 Me too, is a roadblock

Ever have one of those conversations where you regret not listening more?

That happened to me this week.

I was on a call with a colleague and I asked how she was.

“I’m feeling quite overwhelmed today”, she said with a sigh.

“Oh, tell me about it”, I jumped in. “Me too.”

The conversation moved on to other topics.

We hung up.

I heard this voice in my head, “Me too is a roadblock.”

O.M.G. I then spent the rest of the day belting myself up for not doing the one thing I am supposed to be good at and that I teach and that is, active listen.

Without thinking I used a roadblock.

A roadblock stops the flow of conversation.

It doesn’t help anyone.

It doesn’t help the relationship either.

According to Gordon International Training, there are 12 different types of roadblocks.

“Me too” could be classed as “Reassuring or Sympathising” which is one of the 12.

It’s important to understand that sympathising, praising, agreeing, changing topics etc. whilst we mean well, are not helpful when people are experiencing challenges and what they need is someone to listen to them.

One of the best things I learned when I did my Lifeline Telephone Counselling training was that the person with the problem is the best person to solve it because they know all the reasons why your solution won’t work.

Please use today’s thought as a reminder to listen more; to be present and give your attention to others.

Saying “Me too” is a roadblock.

P.S. Our next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series starts on Thursday 1st June. Reply to this email if you’d like more information or to register your interest. It’s conducted online for 90 mins each week and is practical and experiential. At the end of the 9 weeks you’ll have created a workflow for your business, a special type of job description to make it easy to supervise and drafted well written procedures. If you, your section or business needs streamlining and improving efficiency and productivity, this is the course for you.

P.P. S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

You Don’t Need To Say That (WT666)

You Don’t Need To Say That (WT666)


WT 666 You don't need to say that

Have you ever noticed that the words we choose and how we say things can have a remarkable effect on others?

I was just typing an email to a client and I started to type, “I called you yesterday and left a message”.

As soon as I typed it, I realised, I don’t need to say that.

The effect of saying that could make the receiver feel bad. She might feel guilty because she didn’t call me back. She might feel annoyed and frustrated because I reminded her that she didn’t do something. She might be angry with me for being passive aggressive and making her wrong.

By typing that, I ran the risk of harming the relationship.

The other thing to note is that including those words and especially starting with them, was not necessary.

Start with something positive. Start with something uplifting.

John Maxwell talks about what he calls “The 30 Second Rule”.  In the first 30 seconds of coming into contact with someone, find something to appreciate about them or to compliment them. Of course, it must be genuine.

When you do this, you make people feel good and if they feel good around you, they are more likely to want to hang out with you and help you.

So, back to the email.

Backspace, backspace, backspace. I coached myself. “You don’t need to say that”.

Instead, I wrote, “Hey Mary, I hear you’re doing great things in your new role”, (which is true), then I went on to write the message to let her know about the next Loyal Lieutenant’s class and how her boss has approved her to do it, if she’d like to join in.

I don’t always get it right however, I constantly assess my words, especially in written communication because I have the opportunity to think about the potential effect of what I write on the other person.

How about you?

Do you think about your words and your communication and how it may land for the other person or do you simply blurt things out and then find yourself having to clean up?

Far better to check yourself in the first place.

There are many situations where we don’t need to say that.

P.S. Our next Leading Yourself and Leading Others experience starts Wednesday 10th May in Newcastle. Early Bird Discount ends 10th April, saving $1000. If you’re looking for leadership skills and personal growth and development, then this is the experience for you. It’s practical. No academic assignments. What you learn will last a lifetime and can be used in all situations with all people. For more info go to

P.P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

The Goldilocks Zone (WT665)

The Goldilocks Zone (WT665)


WT 665 The Goldilocks Zone

I love it when my peeps embody what they have learned.

By embody, I mean they live it; they act it as opposed to having what we call “propositional” knowledge, where we think we “know” something but aren’t yet doing it. They actually do something with the knowledge.

For the sake of privacy, we’ll use the names Jim and Jane.

Jim and Jane work together. Both are leaders and managers.

Jim is an Advisor personality. Jim is a great risk mitigator because he considers all the information and ramifications of different scenarios.

He needs to research and think about things before making a decision.

The root meaning of decide is to “cut off all options”. It’s not until we move or take action that we have actually decided, so Jim can be a little slow to act.

Jane on the other hand is right on the line between Driver and Coach personality. In the REACH profiling system, Drivers and Coaches are on the action side of the matrix.

Jane wants action. “Come on, let’s go. What’s the hold up?”

Their basic differences in personality, which remember, is simply a habit of how we think, feel and act, can cause frustration between them.

One pushes, one pushes back.

Here’s the gold – pardon the pun.

Jim, being aware of his personality style sought Jane’s assistance to help keep him accountable and get into action.

Jim calls it “The Goldilocks Zone”. I love it. He said, “Working together with Jane should produce the sweet spot, in other words the happy medium between Jane pushing too much and me not taking action quick enough.”

Oh, music to my ears.

Someone who gets it.

Someone who embraces the learning.

Someone who can see how different personalities can actually work together for greater results.

We call this “synergy”, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Thank you Jim, for sharing this insight.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s your personality type?

What are the personality types that press your buttons and how can you find a way to use the differences to help you achieve better results?

Let me know. I’d love to see how you are embodying the knowledge you have.

P.S. Our next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series starts next week, Thursday 30th March 9:30am-11:00am. For more information or to enrol go to

P.P.S. Our next Leading Yourself and Leading Others experience starts Wednesday 10th May in Newcastle. Early Bird Discount ends 10th April, saving $1000. If you’re looking for leadership skills and personal growth and development, then this is the experience for you. It’s practical. No academic assignments. What you learn will last a lifetime and can be used in all situations with all people. For more info go to

P.P.P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

How It Lands (WT660)

How It Lands (WT660)


WT 660 How It Lands

How often do you give feedback to someone about something you’re not happy with and end up in a big argument?

Until I learned some amazingly simple communication skills, that’s what used to happen to me.

Not backward in coming forward, I often expressed how I felt.

Nothing wrong with that and in fact, we encourage you to share how you’re feeling and what’s going on.

What was wrong with it was the way I expressed it; the language I used and we’re not necessarily talking about swearing.

“Why didn’t you put the butter back in the fridge?”

“You did a terrible job of typing that document.”

“Great job! Woohoo, well done, NOT.”

You can imagine that being on the end of remarks like this wouldn’t make you feel good.

In fact, you’d probably feel resentful and possibly even look for an opportunity to take revenge in some form or other.

If you choose your words carefully when giving negative feedback, your message will “land” better for the other person.

They will be more likely to hear what you have to say and make any changes.

For example, “I didn’t see the homework in my inbox” versus “You haven’t submitted your homework”.

“I’d really appreciate it if you could put the butter back in the fridge when you’ve finished with it please.”

“I have a number of comments and changes to make to the document please.”

“I think we can improve on how we do this. Let’s work together to streamline the process and make it more accurate.”

Did you notice that all four examples above started with “I”?

We call these I-Messages or I-Statements.

With I-Messages we take responsibility for the message. We are sharing how it is for us so others cannot argue that what we’re saying isn’t right. They might not like hearing the feedback, however they can’t dispute that’s what you think or how you feel.

In our Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience we spend a couple of days learning how to communicate better; learning how to word things so the feedback lands better for the recipient.

There’s a saying that “People react to the manner rather than the message” reminding us not to yell and scream and be overly dramatic, however people do also react to the words you use.

Next time you have some negative feedback to give someone, think about how your words will land.

Have a go at using an I-Message and describing the situation without looking to blame or make up a story about what you think happened and why.

And on “why”. Don’t use that word if you want to gain more information from someone.

For many, the word “why” feels like a judgement or an interrogation.

“Why didn’t you leave earlier than that?”

The implied meaning is that “I should have left earlier. I am wrong. I am bad. I am in trouble.”

This language can cause us to become defensive and hostile.

Even if you are annoyed that you have been kept waiting, you can assert yourself using language that will be more easily received, e.g. “I was expecting you to leave at 9:00am to arrive at my place at 9:30am this morning. I’m curious as to what happened causing the delay.” 

Give it a go. Change your language and see how it lands.

The last thing you want is a crash landing.

Let me know how you go.

P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

P.P.S. Claim the date. Our next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series starts Thursday 30th March 9:30am Sydney time for 9 weeks. Hands on training, creating and streamlining systems and processes for your team and organisation.

Put The Lemon Butter On The Jatz (WT650)

Put The Lemon Butter On The Jatz (WT650)


WT 650 Put the Lemon Butter on the Jatz

Last week I mentioned that I would share a funny little story about our assessment for the final session of our 9 week online masterclass series – The Loyal Lieutenant.

The final assessment was a practical session where participants had to write a procedure during the class and submit the procedure so Ross could test the procedure.

Participants didn’t know what the procedure was until they arrived on zoom.

“The procedure you have to write is ‘How to Spread Lemon Butter on Jatz Biscuits’ for Ross’ morning tea.”

“What? That’s it?” asked one of the engineering students. “How to put lemon butter on a Jatz?”

“Yes, that’s correct. Off you go.”

I waited and watched as participants wrote out their procedures.

One by one they submitted them and I printed them for Ross.

If you know Ross, you know he has a sense of humour and can be a bit cheeky.

He followed the procedures exactly as written.

If the procedure instructed to place the lemon butter on the Jatz, he would simply place the bottle of lemon button on a Jatz biscuit.

It might seem like a simple exercise, however one of the procedures included 34 steps.

It was so funny to watch Ross as he placed a “scrape” of lemon butter on the Jatz.  How big is a scrape?

When you are writing procedures you have to be precise. You can’t assume that the reader knows anything. You have to include every detail and it’s best to start with a verb because people want to know what they have to do.

Overall it was a fabulous exercise. All of the participants did extremely well. Their procedures were detailed and provided instructions for exactly what to do.

One slight detail that was only captured by one participant though, was the final step – Eat and Enjoy.

Remembering that the procedure was to prepare the biscuits for morning tea for Ross, he actually needed the instruction to eat.  It’s a bit like the game Simon Says – “Simon says, Put your hand on your head” and we all follow the instruction, but if the instruction is given without saying “Simon says” and you follow the instruction, well you’re out of the game.

How would you go? Do you think Ross could follow your procedure? Do you think you’d be able to write it in about 10 minutes?

If not, perhaps you need to enrol yourself or your Loyal Lieutenant in our next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series. Nine x 90 minute sessions of practical applications to streamline your operations, step into a leadership role, learn how to write procedures so you can delegate to others and generally have some fun along the way. Click on the link for more information.

Regards Shirley

P.S. Registration is open for the next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series. A 9 week hands on training to streamline your operations, learn how to write procedures the right way and get clear on your roles plus much much more. Click on the link for more information.

P.P.S. The Loyal Lieutenant book is now available on Amazon. Click on the link or the QR code below.

If You Want Me To Listen To You (WT636)

If You Want Me To Listen To You (WT636)


WT 636 If you want me to listen to you

If you’re like most people, you don’t enjoy conflict.

In fact, many people will go out of their way to actively avoid conflict.

In our Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience, participants learn skills for dealing with conflict.

The first skill they learn is how to actively listen.  When confronted, our first reaction is to defend ourselves.  We need to put ourselves aside and listen to what the other is saying, actively listen and then assert ourselves.

If we’re the ones who are confronting we use a Confronting I Message. This is a statement that follows a formula, “When this happens (unacceptable behaviour), I feel (emotions) because (tangible effects on you).

Another way of confronting is to describe the situation; just the facts of what has happened or what you’ve noticed or observed.

We also have a 6 step method for resolving conflict as well.

When you put all these skills together with a willingness to resolve, there isn’t anything that can’t be cleared up in conversation.

The barriers to resolving conflict include yelling at the other person, not letting them finish what they’re wanting to say or walking away.

If you want people to listen to you and really hear you, the best strategy is to quietly and respectfully explain how you are feeling and describe the unacceptable behaviour (in other words what the other did or didn’t do).

Describing unacceptable behaviour is different to judging others or labelling them. For example, arriving late to a meeting might be considered an unacceptable behaviour. Judging the person as inconsiderate or rude is a label. People can’t make changes to their behaviour if you call them names and label them.

I remember years ago, we were visiting and exploring a little country town in Queensland. We went into a curiosity shop and I found a cushion that was embroidered: “If you want to be loved, be lovable.”

I thought this was great and have since adapted it for other desires such as: “If you want to be interesting, be interested.” “If you want to be respected, be respectful.”

If you want me to listen to you, listen to me.

Learning how to fight and fight clean is a skill as well as  a mindset. Being open and willing to hear what the other has to say is the first step. Remember, it’s very difficult to resolve conflict if you’re acting like an abusive bully.

P.S. Want some hand-holding to get your procedures done? Want to draft better job descriptions and identify and improve your workflow?  Not sure of your role?  Join me from 30th September for 9 weeks. I’ll be leading an online masterclass series to guide you through the steps I use to help businesses systemise and streamline their processes.  Each week for 90 minutes we’ll cover a chapter in my book The Loyal Lieutenant: How the Second-in-Command Brings the CEO’s Vision to Life to help you implement my proprietary system and get your processes and procedures DONE. Go to for more information.

P.P.S. Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

Pin It on Pinterest