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Skills Development

Who doesn’t remember the old adage “Do as I say, not as I do”? For today’s progressive manager, this expression isn’t really appropriate. But how about “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do”? This variation is better, as it focuses on action. Furthermore, when you do and say the same things, you develop credibility with your workmates. The reason why is simple: no hypocrisy.

To improve your effectiveness though, even this is not enough.

Before opening your mouth or hitting the “send” button on an email, put yourself in the shoes of your audience: how would each person interpret what you said? And more important, how would each person interpret your actions? Before making a sales presentation, how would each person on the customer’s side of the table interpret your words? And when you are in a job interview, focus on how your answers will be interpreted.

When it comes to communication, interpretation is in the mind of the listener, not in the intentions of the speaker. When it comes to managing effectively, it’s not what you say, it’s what they see that will make a difference.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

Mentor Mentee

by Randall Craig on May 23, 2006

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , ,

I’m not sure if mentee is a proper word, but it should be. So much has been written about the importance of finding a mentor, but when you get one, what is your role as the mentee?

First, consider the reasons a mentor is showing an interest in you. They might enjoy coaching/developing others. They might be setting up a network of their own throughout the organization. They might see your success assuring their success. They might be doing it out of obligation to a third party. Or they might just enjoy your company.

However you got into the role, the question still remains: How can you be a great mentee? Some ideas:

1) Deliver on your promises. Make sure that when you commit to doing something at your mentor’s suggestion, you deliver to a standard of excellence.

2) Return the favor. What are your mentor’s hot buttons? Can you help them solve their problems?

3) Return the favor to others. Is there anyone that you can mentor, in turn? You will find that you learn as much from your mentee as from your mentor.

4) Maintain the confidence. Don’t broadcast any of your discussions, and consider whether a discreet relationship will avoid jealous feelings from colleagues.

5) Keep your mentor informed. Whenever you act on their advice, circle back to let them know the outcome. It’s tough giving advice, without knowing the outcome.

6) Show appreciation. They are giving you two priceless gifts: their experience and their time. Remember to say thank you with your words and deeds.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

Give and You Shall Receive

by Randall Craig May 9, 2006

Many people are not really comfortable developing new business relationships – or personal ones, for that matter. Yet this skill – networking – is critical to business success, whether you do it internally, or amongst your peers in a trade association or professional group. It increases your value, and can open the door to a […]

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What would my mentor do?

by Randall Craig April 25, 2006

Mentors and coaches hold a special place in most successful managers’ careers. They provide advice on difficult decisions, give valuable career perspective, and smooth the political way when problems occur. But what should you do if your mentor is not available, and you need their advice? Stalling or deferring your decision isn’t a preferred alternative, […]

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Two ears and one mouth

by Randall Craig March 14, 2006

Did you ever wonder how children can so quickly learn new things? And ever hear the expression “Children should be seen, and not heard”? Maybe there is a connection between these two concepts that can help us be better managers. Consider: it is 100% impossible to learn from others if you are the only one […]

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Sweat the Small Stuff

by Randall Craig March 7, 2006

Several years ago. I decided to change my voice message to one that ended with an enthusiastic “Have a Great Day”. Soon afterward, something funny started happening. When clients and colleagues left messages, they invariably ended with “Have a Great Day” too! This got me thinking about how something as simple as a changed greeting […]

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The Five W’s

by Randall Craig February 21, 2006

During school, we learned about the five W’s as elements that should be used in a great story. But as managers, they serve an even more important purpose. These Five Words, Who, What, Where, When, and Why, along with others like “How”, are words that start questions. In particular, they start Open-ended questions. “Did you […]

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When is the best time to plant a tree?

by Randall Craig January 31, 2006

Q: When is the best time to plant a tree? A: 20 years ago. Q: When is the second best time to plant a tree? A: Today. Right Now. This week’s action plan: Do you have any trees that should have been planted, but haven’t? Identify three specific “trees” that you want to plant (or […]

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Learning from the Rest

by Randall Craig January 24, 2006

Ever hear the expression “Learn from the Best”? This is great when it comes to a coach or consultant, but a more important concept is “Learning from the Rest”. Each day, we interact with our workmates, friends, and sometimes even the youngest of children. Each of these folks has something unique that they can give […]

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