Make It Happen
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Eye of the Beholder

by Randall Craig on May 26, 2010

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: ,

Have you ever been completely “ticked” by something you read? When this happens, you often feel defensive: How can they say that? It doesn’t apply to me! At other times, your reaction is more aggressive: you lash out in anger. You malign the sender. Or worse. If yesterday’s email world was risky, today’s social media world can be downright dangerous.

We might all speak the same language and read the same words, but what we get from the interaction is completely unique. As writers, speakers, tweeters, and bloggers, it behooves us to carefully consider this whenever we speak or write. Three suggestions:

1) What’s your point? What are you trying to accomplish with your communication? Are you trying to inform, clarify, convince, debate, or incite?

2) Consider the different responses that each reader or listener might have. The last thing that you want is a flame war (or a permanent enemy) just because someone is offended by what they think you mean.

3) Take a moment to catch your breath. Instead of immediately responding to an offensive post, write your response and sit on it for a few hours (or a day). You can still send it later, but a short cooling off period is an important insurance policy.

This week’s action plan: Whenever you find yourself annoyed by what someone else writes or says, give them the benefit of the doubt. When you assume others have the best of intentions, remember that sometimes they do. (For more on this topic, read The Center of Gravity .)

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

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Alternative options

by Randall Craig on August 12, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Miscellaneous

Tagged as: , , ,

At any point in your life, have you ever found yourself backed into a corner, uncertain how you were going to proceed? It may have been a tough client, a project gone awry, a personal relationship gone sour, or maybe a financial crisis. When this happens, there are a number of common responses, some helpful, and others which are not.

Good responses:

  • Take personal responsibility, and be accountable for the situation. Admit that you’re wrong, and take your lumps as early as possible.
  • Let those impacted know as early as possible. (Especially your manager or clients.)
  • Reach out to colleagues, friends, and family for support.

Bad responses:

  • Compromise values: If you compromise your values, then you’ve “re-set” people’s expectations of what you would be willing to do in the future. Changing your values to get out of a tough spot might seem like an easy fix, but a reputation for dubious ethics will stick with you forever.
  • Be too easy to please. When this happens, you appear desperate. Others will be tempted to take advantage of the situation.

Of course, the best protection against tough situations is to avoid them altogether. Yet if we avoid all challenges, we will never grow. It is these experiences that strengthen us for even greater challenges, increase our value in the job market, and increase our personal equity with friends and family.

This week’s action item: Each day we are faced with situations that require our input. This week, before reacting to a tough situation, consider your options: what is the impact of each alternative? How might each impact your reputation over the longer term? Choosing an option from a list of alternatives will always produce better results than a decision made in haste.

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

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Just Ask

by Randall Craig December 23, 2008

We ask others for things all of the time: on the job, with our families, and in the community. Yet, we aren’t always met with the response we want. How can we improve our odds? 1) Ask for something specific. If people don’t know exactly what you want, they will always decline. No one likes […]

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Flexibility of style

by Randall Craig January 15, 2008

Are you ambitious and push everyone to reach your goals? Or are you analytical, reviewing all of the implications and details before you take action? Or are you an emotional decision-maker, deciding what to do based on your gut feeling. How you define your style, however, is completely irrelevant: your ability to adapt your style […]

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