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Who Do You Think You Are?

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Thinking can be your best tool or your worst nightmare.

Many years ago, I enrolled myself into a training program/workshop that was quite different from any seminar, workshop, or training I had done before. The training was unique because it was experiential. By that I mean; there were games designed, as well as exercises and communications done individually, in pairs, and in teams. Many lessons I came away with, I never forgot because they were interactive and reflective of my real life’s behavior. This is where I think I lost my mind……

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What was I thinking?

One exercise, I recall being a real stretch for me, or should I say; it scared the crap out of me, because I got to stand up in front of all the students and sing; “I’m so excited”. You remember that song, right? Now, the point of this exercise was not to show off how well I could sing (or in my case how badly I could sing), but rather for me to match the words with the experience the rest of the students were having of me while singing. The point was not just to sing the song, but to have everyone experience me being excited, passionate, and overjoyed. I needed to demonstrate the match between me, the words and the song. Now, put yourself in my place here for a minute. Can you imagine how challenging this must have been to be in front of a room doing this before a bunch of people I didn’t even know? You got it! The match was not about me showing how well I could act either, but rather to “be” that person. The students, separately, were to be judge. When the students individually were completely convinced I was “being excited”, they were to stand up one by one as they were enrolled. At that point in my life, this was no easy task, being cool, calm and unflappable as I was. I remember one student, Melissa; I could not get her out of her seat until I got really outrageous, jumping, singing and dancing. Finally she stood up. Can you imagine?

Well, I got to tell you, the benefit of this exercise I never forgot. It taught me the value of being authentic, by making my words match the person I am being. The words, the tonality, facial expressions, body language, etc., acts like a neon sign, if not all giving the same message. It made me understand, when I am not “being” consistent with what I say and who I think I am, people know it, even if I don’t. It doesn’t always work out as perfectly for me as I would like, and people don’t always tell me when I’m not, however, when I notice I can always realign myself to be authentic. That exercise has been a constant reminder for me when what I say, what I’m thinking of myself and what I am doing are different. I always want to know, if they are standing?

What you think about you isn’t what they’re thinking

I shared this story with you to show often times (like me), as a company, there is often disconnect between the proverbial words and music. By that I mean, who we think we’re being, and what others think and feel about the company is often different. Marketing efforts are generally a great example of this, here’s why; marketing is primarily directed at customers and only focused outwardly. The marketing is done obviously to attract new customers, reacquaint old ones and/or maintain existing ones. While on one hand, we expect our people (the staff) to carry the company flag, so to speak, but on the other hand, we spend almost all marketing dollars on the other side of the fence. So my thoughts about the company are “X” and their thoughts are generally “Y”.

Understandably, without external marketing, the marketplace won’t know your product exist. They won’t know how much better your product or service is over the competitor. It makes sense to spend dollars on external marketing because it’s the outbound marketing that generates customers. It’s the outbound marketing that creates income. It’s the outbound marketing that convinces the market that our products are better than the competitor’s. Internal marketing is the same mental concepts only meant to influence the employees first, rather than customers. In essence the employees become the internal customers. The idea behind marketing from the inside out is that it puts in place the foundation to build solid external marketing upon. It positions the company, brand and products in the hearts and minds of our people first, and then moves outward. Working without the hearts and minds rallied around the company, would be like swimming against the current. It requires a lot more work in, reminding, overseeing, inspiring, and motivating. When the words don’t match the internal environment, people get the disconnection.

Will they tell you if your company’s fly is open? Nah When you think you know who you are, and no one else gets it, it’s because there is a disconnection. When you have spinach in your teeth, toilet paper stuck to your heel, or mismatched socks, people won’t always tell you. Likewise, if your company’s fly is open, chances on being told are slim. So my question is; how can I continually work on getting my house in order before taking the show on the road?

Inside out thinking

Just like external marketing basics, internal marketing is applied psychology. It is a way to use influence methods to make response, easier, faster and more natural. By influence, I don’t mean that we need to trick, bribe or get people to do things they don’t want to do. I am not suggesting being anything other than authentic. People don’t respond to us because they understand what we want them to do. They respond because they are understood. This so happens also to be a Stephen Covey principle of highly effective people; “First seek to understand and then seek to be understood”. The value of having internal marketing precede external marketing is that internally, they are all prepared believers, enrolled in the philosophy and are “being” the force we need, rather than just speaking the words because someone told them to.

Imagine the difference and ease external marketing becomes when the environment is in place internally. Imagine the value of authentic office dynamics, when the whole environment works together. Imagine the energy that is communicated in phone conversations, emails transcriptions, inter-office communications, sales community, and even outside communications with friends and family.

Separately, what others say about us naturally is infinitely more believable than what we say about ourselves. If I think I’m great and I say it, it can be construed as bragging. If someone else says it, it is more believable and comes across as credible. Therefore, getting the pieces and strategy together to grow the company from the inside out, exponentially, I feel is a great approach.

Applying influential thinking

As any marketer will tell you the very first things you must do as a marketing agent is have the right match to market. You can have a great product but if you have the wrong market, you will not be successful. You can have great advertising but if it is to the wrong market, it won’t matter. Likewise with internal marketing, you must match the right people, with right tools, at the right time, in the right environment, done the right way in order to influence thinking in the direction of the message.

Clean, authentic, constructive, attractive, performance-driven environments can be a start with any internal marketing program. It gives your “internal customers” a mental reference of who the company is “being” rather than who we say we are. Like my exercise in the training room, it took “being” first, then doing, in order to influence thinking of my observers.

So my question for you is are they all standing?

Want some influence techniques to help in “authentically” getting your message across? Contact  your office design professional at 90 Degree office Concepts, 855-699-0334.

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