Dealing with Obnoxious Comments - David DeWolf

4 Steps for Dealing with Obnoxious Comments

I stopped, suddenly, as I read the next question. My blood began to boil. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. I read it again.

“Six kids? Regardless of your profession, it’s impossible to be a good parent to six kids. Not enough hours in the day.”

I quickly skipped down to the answer. How would Phillip Rivers, the NFL quarterback with 6 kids, answer the question?

As you’d expect, he stepped up into the pocket. A quick joke about diapers moves him away from danger. He then hits his receiver right between the numbers – following up the the joke by bragging about his wife and promoting a few of the merits of a large (by today’s standards) family.

It’s a two-year rotation: Once the diapers come off of one, we usually have a newborn. And we have another one on the way, due in October. I help when I can, but my wife, Tiffany, is the key. My big, growing family keeps everything balanced and grounded. My oldest is 11 now, and the kids are getting into football. They’re Daddy’s biggest fans, and they don’t get on you as bad as most fans. If you throw an interception, they still love you.

As parents of six ourselves, Teresa and I have heard our fair share of similar questions. Some are fairly innocent. “Wow, you have your hands full.” Others attempt to be funny, but border on being rude. “You know how that happens, right?” Still others, like Philip’s questioner, can’t help but insert their negative opinion.

As a result, I’ve become quite adept at dealing with obnoxious comments. What Phillip did so gracefully has undoubtedly come from years of practice. Here’s a quick four-step formula for successfully defusing obnoxious comments.

Take a deep breath

Nothing good ever comes by saying the first thing that comes to mind. Take a deep breath, collect your composure, and be the bigger man.

Tell a joke

Making light of the situation will immediately defuse the situation.

Divert the attention

The last thing you want is a personal battle with your adversary. Focus the conversation on someone else. Boost someone else up as the hero.

Promote the benefits

Don’t let it go without making your point. Instead of ripping apart the other person’s argument, speak to the benefits of your approach.

Following this proven formula may not make you a pro-bowl quarterback, but, it will help you navigate sticky situations.

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How I'm Going to Lose the Scrooge - David DeWolf

How I’m Going to Lose the Scrooge

I have a confession: I absolutely hate Christmas. Well, it’s not really Christmas that I hate. It’s setting up for Christmas that I hate.

I’m not kidding that the worst date of my year is the first day of Advent, the day my wife loves to set up the Christmas decorations. Getting the tree is hard enough: I don’t care if it’s a fake one or a real one. Strapping it to the roof and setting it up, putting the stupid branches in: it’s just a pain. It’s hard.

But what makes it worse is the lights. The damn strings of lights never work. You plug them in, you jiggle the light, and you can’t figure out which one is causing the string to be out. Every year, it seems I have to buy a new string. And every year, there’s another string that doesn’t work.

It drives me insane. It just gets under my skin.

Know who you are. I know this about myself and after three years of ruining this day of our lives, I’m planning to make sure that I lose the Scrooge.

I’ve also learned that I have to do something different. Last year, I tried to will my way through it. I told myself it was going to be the best year yet. And it was the worst.

So, I’ve decided to change it up. This year, we’re inviting friends over to set up for us. Well, with us, but I’m going to simply not get involved. I’m going to do what I can handle, but when it comes to the lights, I’m leaving myself out.

You see, I have a friend who loves, loves, LOVES this day. In fact, it’s his favorite day of the year.

So I’m going to be in charge of the fireplace. I’m going to be in charge of the snacks and the food and the beer. And I’m going to be in charge of making sure the football game’s on.

And he gets to set up the Christmas tree for us and for my wife. Knowing myself is going to allow me to have a much better day.

Question: Do you know yourself? Do you prevent yourself from getting in your own way? Do you allow yourself to lose the Scrooge so you can become a better person? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Be intentional and go do something greater than yourself.

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What NOT to Do to Destroy Trust - David DeWolf

What NOT to Do: Take Advantage and Destroy Trust

Over the past several years, I’ve built a trust relationship with a vendor who I’ve relied on over and over. This relationship didn’t start off by producing big dollars for this company. In fact, for the first several years, it was a relationship based upon a free exchange of value.

They began by attracting me with some insights on their blog and over time, I became more interested. I read blogs, looked at infographics, followed them on Twitter, and then, over time, dove in and spent more time reading more in-depth perspectives and opinions, and even reading a book.

My commitment went from five minutes a day to 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Eventually, I made a first purchase. My first purchase was small dollars, but has been increasing ever since. I have trust in that they’ve provided tons of value.

But the trust that you can build in a five-year period of time can be destroyed in a five-minute period of time.

I recently had an experience in which I brought in several other people and began to add even more value to the relationship for this vendor. Unfortunately, they took advantage. Instead of the approach they have taken for years — adding value, building a trust relationship with patience, over time — they decided to get salesy.

I don’t have a problem with making money. In fact, I believe that value should be paid for. But they disrupted the brand equity they had built with me by taking advantage and trying to sell blatantly over and over. They had built a reputation that they were a value-added provider, that they were a partner and not a vendor, that they were about relationship and not transaction.

My most recent experience, in which I brought several others to the table, destroyed that reputation in one period of time. They became transactional overnight. They threw out their commitment to relationship. They decided that immediate monetization and immediate gratification was more important. It’s very unlikely that I’ll invite anyone back to experience them again.

I’m soured myself and am considering whether I should pull back in my most recent thoughts on how I would engage with them again. It’s disappointing. I feel betrayed.

Question: What are you doing to build your relationships? Are you taking advantage, or do you continue to be who you are, even once you’re successful in landing that new client? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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Go the Extra Mile - David DeWolf

Go the Extra Mile

I got a call from a buddy of mine a couple of days ago. He was super excited: he had just hosted his first ever offsite meeting. When the team arrived, there were name badges at the desk. In the conference room I had scheduled, our host had put pads of paper and pens on the table. There was a series of drinks with ice and snacks and I had an agenda for them.

The team was impressed. They thought I had put tons of work into planning this event. The reality was that I had just picked up the phone and asked the host to get us a room. I was lucky, because that tone set the stage for an incredibly productive meeting.

My friend lucked out. The friend he had used to coordinate the room (me) worked for an organization who understood the power of formality.

By being formal and by looking prepared, we stress to our teams that what we’re doing is important. It’s worth it to go the extra mile. It’s worthy of preparing and planning. It’s important enough that we took the time to make people comfortable, to optimize our time, and to make sure we’re on the right track.

If you’re looking to have an impact, for something to be meaningful, think about making it formal. Go the extra mile.

Do you need to get a point across? Don’t just write an email, put together an eBook or a one-page slick.

Do you need to have productive teamwork? Set up your own formal meeting. Carve it off. Create anticipation. Surprise people with how prepared you are.

Do you need to be noticed? Then go over and above. Think of something you can do to go out of your way.

I saw on the news a couple of months ago a company who was prospecting an advertising agency. In order to get their attention, they rented a billboard across the street and called them out. You’d better believe that got their attention. They went the extra mile. They made it a little bit more formal, but they did it in a fun way.

Look for those little extra things that can make a big impact.

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Perspective Is Everything - David DeWolf

Perspective Is Everything

Several years ago, when 3Pillar was in its infancy, we had three clients. One of those clients was responsible for 50% of our revenue. After being acquired, that company was acquired again.

I’ll never forget being asked to meet with the president of the company. My heart sank. My palms were sweaty. I could feel that something just wasn’t right.

Sure enough, our contract was terminated, and we were thirty days from going out of business. We only had seven employees at the time, but four of us were working with that client. It didn’t take long for me to realize that time was of the essence.

Luckily, the CEO of the company that had just sold agreed to go out to lunch with me. It was over lunch that he explained that within two years, I would look back from a different perspective and call this moment the best thing that could have happened for 3Pillar.

Sure enough, in two years I looked back, and I did say that exact thing.

At that moment, the best thing that could have happened to us was us losing that contract. It woke me up. It helped me to realize that my job was to build a company, not to write code.

That moment put me out and set me on the path of turning things around. It was a wake-up call. It helped us to grow. It helped us to build. It helped us to gain momentum.

It made me a CEO as opposed to a developer, project manager, product manager, or architect. It forced me to lead, to work on the business instead of in the business.

Trials and tribulations happen to us all the time. Sometimes, the biggest punches to our gut become the biggest accelerators in our lives. It’s all about perspective.

What will you decide to do? Will you have the perspective to turn a trial into a life-changing moment?

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The 3 Ways to Handle a Mistake - David DeWolf

The 3 Ways to Handle a Mistake

My friend, Scott, loves his Lab, Charlie. It’s a young, chocolate Lab, with tons of energy and a playful spirit. Unfortunately, over the past couple of weeks, Scott’s neighbors have been complaining that Charlie is a bit too rambunctious. He has been blamed for tearing up their yards, scaring their cats, and licking the front doors.

Last weekend, I ran over to Scott’s house to drop off something I had borrowed. As he opened the door, Charlie snuck out, ran to the neighbor’s yard, and started chasing their cat. Darting in and out of every barricade she could find, the cat took led Charlie on an adventure. Through a garden, between the bushes, and around the house. When the cat finally got away, there were trampled flowers and dirt spread across the driveway.

Scott was beside himself and knew his neighbor would be irate when he arrived home. He had three options, all of which reminded me of how service providers can handle issues when they inevitably occur while serving their clients.

Be Proactive

You can acknowledge the error, proactively fix it, and put together a plan to ensure that it never happens again.

Imagine what would happen if Scott had cleaned up the driveway, replaced the flowers, and headed over to greet his neighbor as he arrived home.

“Joe, I wanted you to know that Charlie got out again this morning. I went ahead and cleaned up the mess and took the liberty to replace your petunias. I couldn’t find the same color yellow, but I hope that the white and pink ones I chose are alright. I also wanted you to know that I’ve called the fence company and they are coming out next week to give me an estimate. I know I need to figure out how to contain Charlie. I’m going to have one put in as soon as possible”

How could Joe respond? He could be an ass, but it’s not all that likely. He’d most likely be gracious, accept the apology, and let Scott know that he shouldn’t worry about the color of the petunias.

Be Reactive

The second way to handle a mistake is to be reactive. You can apologize when you’re confronted and do what you can to make it up.

Imagine what would happen if Joe got home and confronted Scott about Charlie. “I’m sorry Joe, let me come over and help clean it up. I’ll make sure to go out tomorrow morning and look for some new petunias.”

Joe would be frustrated. He’d have a right to be upset and even if he were gracious, he probably wouldn’t be all too happy with Scott. At the very least, the experience would leave a bad taste in his mouth that would have to work itself out over time.

There’s nothing necessarily anything wrong with handling things this way, but it’s not confidence building.

Be Oblivious

The final way to handle it is to be oblivious – not to what has happened (that’d be just flat out wrong), but to the impact.

Imagine what would happen if Joe returned home and confronted an oblivious Scott about Charlie. “Huh? He’s just a youthful dog. This kind of stuff happens in life. What’s your problem? If that stupid cat of yours didn’t dart out of your yard, he would never have gone over there”.

Being proactive strengthens a relationship. Being reactive puts it on ice. Being oblivious can and will destroy it.

Question: How do you respond to your mistakes – even if they are not really your fault? Are you up front and proactive? Do you take responsibility and proactively solve problems? Or do you hide from the truth? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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