Conflict Resolution: Know Your Hot Buttons & Be Aware of Other’s!

My father was failing as I wrote this blog. As I ponder his life, I recall what a great attorney he was, and how he could chew right through conflict. Case in point: he started his legal career defending Japanese war criminals after WWII.

I had the good fortune to read Hot Buttons: How to Resolve Conflict and Cool Everyone Down by Sybil Evans and Sherry Suib Cohen.

The mind and the body are twins. Poet Algernon Swinburne

What happens in your mind and spirit gets to your stomach and your heart.

Know Your Hot ButtonsKnow Your Hot Buttons

A Hot Button is an emotional trigger, and when someone pushes one of your hot buttons, you know it since it make you a little crazy. Self awareness of what makes you crazy and an awareness of others’ hot buttons—is very useful in business. It is important to know your conflict style. Before you can diffuse your hot buttons you must be clear about what inflames them. This sounds a lot like emotional intelligence to me!

Know Your Hot Buttons: Conflict Resolution Style

  • Avoider – Make “it go away” is the goal when conflict intrudes your life
  • Slash-and-Burn – Tough guy who is “in-your-face”
  • Peace at all Costs – Harmony is the goal here
  • Problem Solver – No problem is insurmountable if you work at it
  • Exploder – Into high drama, emotional and demonstrative

This bleeds right into cooperative intelligence’s leadership, connection and communication.

  • Leadership – Good leaders are self-aware and observant enough to notice what triggers other’s hot buttons.
  • Connection – This sensitivity helps develop trusting and lasting relationships.
  • Communication – Hot button awareness helps us be better observers, listeners and communicators.

Know Your Hot Buttons: 5 Steps to Resolve Conflicts

  1. Watch the Play – as though you’re the audience, not a participant. “Watch & play” creates a mental attitude of detachment and objectivity.
  2. Confirm – the validity of the other person’s anger. You let them know you’re ready to listen.
  3. Get more Info – by asking open-ended Questions.
  4. Assert your own interests and needs. Note: this is step 4 after you have calmed down and listened to the other guy’s point of view. Now he is likely to listen to you.
  5. Find common ground – for a solution with a problem-solving approach.

Tips from This Book to Avoid Conflicts

  1. People’s beliefs are not always what you assume they are. When you think people make wrong assumptions, it can push your hot buttons.
  2. Empathy is a great hot button diffuser since it acknowledges the other person’s feelings. This takes your mind off your own feelings and allows you to creep into someone else’s. This is calming during a conflict.
  3. Ask questions – Questions help you learn more about the other guy’s feelings, and give you time to cool down, if you’re angry.
  4. Paraphrase – By restating I can make sure I heard exactly what my partner meant me to hear. Paraphrasing also lets the other guy know I am listening, a key ingredient to conflict resolution.

Here are two books I recommend which are in a similar vein:

Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis bookAmazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

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Blogging about Competitive Intelligence from #SCIP09 in Chicago

I was blogging about competitive intelligence at SCIP’s 2009 annual conference in Chicago. SCIP always provides attendees longer learning opportunities at pre-conference sessions that are a half or full day.

SCIPblogging about competitive intelligence gives attendees a detailed program including the names and bios of all the presenting speakers, their session topic which includes a brief description.  In 2009, attendees received a CD-ROM of all the presentation proceedings. (I still have these presentations since many of them still apply.)

Here are the 10 Things I did at SCIP09:

1. I met my SCIP friends and many new people, including some of you on the Competitive Intelligence Ning who I had only met electronically (I notice the CI Ning is not as popular today as it was in 2009. More of us meet electronically on LinkedIn or Twitter.)

2. I looked forward to Robert Bugai’s talk on “Meet the Press” since the journalistic perspective of probing and interviewing has always interested me. (I was disappointed that he was unable to attend the conference.)

3. I attended Bill Fiora’s active dialog on “Are we in a Rut?” This is always a popular topic, and I surmised that this would be a great Competitive Intelligence Magazine article.

4. I enjoyed Roger Phelps’ and Suki Fuller’s active dialog session on “Social Networking & Its Role in CI.” Since then, Roger has retired, and Suki has relocated to the UK, but is still in competitive intelligence.

5. Due to my interest in win/loss analysis, I enjoyed hearing Lisa Hicks talk about “Sharpen Your Sales Results with Win/Loss Analysis Best Practices.” Since then I have written a book entitled, Win/Loss Analysis: How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want by Park Hill Press.

6. I liked Eric Garland’s talk on “Keeping Positive: Using Competitive Intelligence to Find New Business Opportunities.” I prefer using competitive intelligence to dig up new marketing opportunities versus the “I spy” version of competitive intelligence.

7. I spent some time exploring the Exhibit Floor, and my focus was competitive intelligence software providers like Strategy Software, Comintelli, Digimind, Cipher, QL2 and Traction.

8. I always look forward to our WLC (Women’s Leadership Council) cocktail party at SCIP conferences. It has become more of a global event since 2009, when most all the ladies were from the US.

9. I didn’t exhibit in 2009, actually haven’t since 2006 since it’s too hard on my body to spend all that time standing at my booth.

10. I gave two presentations.

  • Build a Sustainable Early Warning Process through Cooperative Intelligence (article)
  • Capture Competitive Intelligence from Sales & Customers to Drive Lucrative Product Development (article)

Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis bookAmazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

Join our mailing list and get our cheat sheets on “How to Build a World Class Win/Loss Program.”

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Read up on Social Networks: Integrating Competitive Intelligence into Marketing: Part 3

In 2 earlier posts I shared book lists we used to supplement our AMA (American Marketing Association) workshop on Integrating Competitive Intelligence into Marketing. In the cooperative spirit, today’s post provides books and blogs to help you read up on social networks.  A targeted social media strategy is a strong and essential ingredient to any research project!

read up on social networksRead up on Social Networks: Some Classics

One of the classics on social networks is Virtual Handshake by social networking gurus David Teten and Scott Allen. This book is somewhat dated, but I like how it gets you thinking about developing a strategy around social networking and rolling out your program.  It’s pre-Twitter, so if you’re looking to learn more about Twitter consider Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm, and Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online by Warren Whitlock and Deborah Micek.

Another golden oldie is Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Read Up on Social Networks: LinkedIn

My favorite book on LinkedIn is: I’m on LinkedIn–Now What??? (Third Edition): A Guide to Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn by Jason Alba. I read the first edition in 2007, and the third edition was just released in Jan. 2009. Another more recent LinkedIn book: The Power Formula for Linkedin Success (third edition): Kickstart Your Business, Brand and Job Search by Wayne Breitbarth.

Read up on Social Networks: Top Sellers

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly (2017) by David Meerman Scott. Another popular David Meerman Scott book is World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories.

Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day by Dave Evans

Read up On Social Networks: YouTube and Blogs

I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend a book on YouTube:

YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business (second edition)
by Michael Miller

Social networks are changing so rapidly so I suggest you follow blogs to stay up on the latest.  All these authors have blogs.  In addition I recommend Chris Brogan’s, Hubspot and Duct Tape Marketing.

Happy Reading!

Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis bookAmazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

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Trick or Tweet: 14 Ways to Alienate Twitter Followers

This is a follow-up to “Netiquette on LinkedIn.” In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I will illustrate how to be cooperative by sharing examples of bad Twitter communication practices that alienate Twitter followers.
alienate twitter followers

14 ways to alienate Twitter followers

1. Advertise your blog posts and everything about your business with every Tweet. It’s OK to send a person to your blogs as you publish, but it is tacky to repeat and/or re-tweet (repeat your Tweets) about your business continuously. I like the 80:20 rule–80% of my Tweets are about others; 20% about me.

2. Don’t share anything about yourself in your profile. That’s a way to discourage people from following you. People are curious about who you are: tell them and be human about it. I include a link to my LinkedIn profile, and got that idea by looking at a colleague’s profile.

3. Don’t have a picture or brand by your name. That’s an opportunity lost for branding. It’s so much more interesting to see someone’s picture next to their Tweet rather than the ugly, brown default space.

4. Don’t use your Tweets as a chat room. Some people are really just Tweeting to each other. Send that person a direct Tweet. The rest of us feel left out and don’t want to be a part of your personal conversation.

5. Don’t publicly berate anyone in your Tweets. Remember your manners.

6. Twitter is not a megaphone for one way communication. Engage your followers by sharing information you think they will appreciate and ask them questions.

7. Set up a robot to send a standard message thanking people for following you on Twitter. I find this insulting. I would rather get no message than a robotic one.

8. Mass following everyone so you can inflate your numbers, and then use that success metric for influence. Some people will “Brag Tweet” that they just got over 100 followers in a 24 hour period. We followers don’t care! Think about how this makes your followers feel–not very special.

9. Some people argue that you should automatically follow everyone who follows you on Twitter. I think it depends on your goals. I am not in Twitter for the numbers game. I would like to get to know the people who follow me, gradually. For example I am not a huge sports fan or into pumping iron, but somehow I am being followed by these types. BTW, Tweet Deck lets you organize those who follow you in categories that you create. For example, I create separate columns for Tweets from my personal friends, my research and competitive intelligence colleagues, friends in Colorado, and frequent Tweeters. Lately I prefer Hootsuite, but was disappointed when LinkedIn no longer allowed us to post on LinkedIn groupsjust to our LinkedIn individual or LinkedIn business accounts.

10. Some people Tweet so often that they fill up their followers’ screens with their Tweets. It’s obvious they’re using software, such as Tweetdeck, Buffer or Hootsuite  to stream out Tweets 24/7. I’m not knocking the use of technology: just don’t use it to abuse us! I think it’s better to send out occasional Tweets that are relevant to your social networking goals and the brand you are portraying. For example, I mostly report on competitive intelligence, market opportunity analysis, win/loss analysis, elicitation, and cooperative intelligence’s traits of leadership, connection and communication.

11. Some people Tweet the mundane details about their life which we really don’t care about like, “I just baked a loaf of bread. I’m waiting for my flight at Denver airport.” This is boring! Is this how you want to be remembered?

12. There are some people who have 1000’s of followers, but who follow no one. This is rude and insinuates that you are a taker. The only exception to this rule might be news stations like CNN, but even they want to follow a certain number of people to stay up with the news.

13. Some people just Tweet a link and don’t tell us why we should want to visit it. This takes very little time to include. It’s a real turnoff just to provide a link and makes people think you’re lazy.

14. Some people don’t Tweet. Yet they expect you to follow them. What? Why?

So what do you find aggravating about practices on Twitter?

Check out The Dark Side of Twitter: What Businesses Need to Know.

Building Relationships on Social Media Takes Time Too

In closing, when communicating on social networks, as with in-person networking you have to decide what works best for you based on your objectives for social networking, your ethics and philosophy. Recognize that everyone you connect with has their own standards which might be different from yours. It takes time to build a successful social networking presence just like it does the old fashioned way through meetings and phone calls. Relationships take time to develop, and the best way to nourish them is through continual, consistent communication, asking questions and listening.

Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis bookAmazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

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Win/Loss Analysis: Weaknesses – SWOT #2

This is the second article on the SWOT of win/loss, which focuses on Win/Loss analysis Weakness of this analytic tool. Many of the weaknesses can be found in the execution of Win/Loss analysis.

win/loss analysis weakness

Timing of the Win/Loss Analysis Process

Since the Win/Loss interviewing process takes place after the buying decision has been made, some argue it is of limited value. If you have lost the business, it’s too late to reverse the customer’s decision to go with another service provider. So why bother asking them?

An interview and customer relationship management has better results to affect the sales outcome before the buying decision is made. It takes time to conduct these interviews and the analysis. Is your time better spent doing other forms of customer outreach and analysis?

Another Win/Loss analysis weakness can be the timing of interviews. If you delay the customer interviews for too long, they won’t recall the details of why and how they made their buying decision.  This is particularly true when you interview business that you’ve lost. The companies are working with another provider, and will soon forget why they didn’t select your company’s solution.

Win/Loss Analysis Weakness: Organization

Win/Loss is a very organized process, and if any of the knowledge or steps are missing, the interviews will be less effective.

What might be missing?

  • Relevant customer data from Sales which causes the interviewer to waste the customer’s time asking questions about basic account facts that the customer expects your interviewer to know beforehand.
  • Inadequate information for the interviewer on the company’s products, services, sales process, market issues and the competition.
    • If they don’t know the market well enough, they will lack the knowledge to probe beyond what’s in the Interview Guide.

Inexperienced Win/Loss Analysis Interviewers

The interviewer may be too inexperienced to have the confidence to ask questions outside those in the Win/Loss Interview Guide, thereby missing some key information that the customer might have been willing to share. Some interviewers are so analytical that they will only follow the Interview Guide since they don’t have the intuitive skills to sense when a customer knows more and is willing to share.

Disorganized Win/Loss Analysis Interviewers

Some interviewers don’t organize the data at every step of the Win/Loss process, which can compromise the final product. Be sure to:

  • Integrate the feedback on questionnaire development from the various people at your company.
  • Gather the relevant customer contact, buying event, and logistical information from Sales.
  • Keep track of who the interviewer has connected to within Sales and which accounts they market to.
  • Keep track of where interviewers are in the connection process with customers: introductory email, reminder email/text, Win/Loss interview, or follow-up.
  • Write up interview summaries interview summaries shortly after conducting the interview.

Win/Loss Interviewers Lack Analytic Skills

Some individuals are excellent interviewers, but don’t have strong analysis skills.  While each interview summary contains valuable customer information, if the analysis isn’t thorough, you won’t learn the key takeaways from the win/loss interviews.  It’s the key takeaways that your company needs to act upon.

Interviewers Lack Accountability to Make Changes from Win/Loss Analysis Findings

The interviewer who makes the recommendations to improve your ROI is not accountable to make the changes. This is a major Win/Loss analysis weakness. Accountability needs to be assigned and agreed to by managers who get things done, in the various departments.

A related weakness is when individuals or teams are not held accountable for making the changes recommended from the Win/Loss analysis. There is no change and the company keeps doing business the same way as before, even though they have the intelligence to change. If you’re going to invest in a Win/Loss program, change, since that’s what will improve your bottom line: improving win rates and customer retention, and often enough, higher spend.

What are some of the weaknesses you have noticed in your Win/Loss program? What have you done to overcome them?

Read more about the strengths of Win/Loss analysis here.

Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis bookAmazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

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