There is something to be said about pressure and its ability to yield results.
During a morning stroll, reasoning his thoughts on current affairs, HBB Group CEO Garret Norris got to thinking about coping mechanisms. His own coping strategies, his teams, people around him, and humans in general.
For those that know him, he went into his ‘other realm’ of thinking (outside the four equal-sided shape). Here, Garret’s thoughts took him to Diamonds, Quartz and Pressure.
THE THOUGHT PATTERN
We know a Diamond forms at great depth under high pressure. Whereas a Quartz forms – usually – at depths that are less deep, and under less pressure. BUT – the Diamond has the highest degree of mineral hardness (numbered 10 in the scale of relative hardness) whereas the hardness of the Quartz is only 7. Stay with me here. Then, with this in mind, one of life’s greatest questions hit Garret, “How do you know if you have a piece of quartz or a diamond on your team, in your relationships, family, and even within yourself? The only way to really know – is to apply pressure!“
“In this time of weirdness we are all in and experiencing, are we surrounded by Diamonds or Quartz… is it now the time to apply more pressure, so we uncover Diamonds in 2021?” Garret continued to ponder, as he was almost reaching the street corner.
Applying pressure is a tricky art form. The Irish-born CEO always likens closing a business deal to cracking an egg, “If you apply too much pressure, you will overpower your client and crush any hopes of a deal and be in a very sticky situation. On the flip side, if you do not apply enough pressure the deal is guaranteed to not yield any useful results”. With that, Garret adds, “we need pressure to succeed, but it is all about the right pressure, on your team, your customers, and ultimately, yourself”.
The most important thing to remember from all this, is that pressure in some form is needed to yield results. Anyone that refuses to use pressure in business will never be successful. Just as pressure is required to make Diamonds, the same idea is applicable in business.
When pressure is used in the right ways, you will smash KPIs, boost productivity, enhance your customers’ experience, skyrocket results, and see some serious ROI happening. But how do we master the use of pressure, the right way?
WHY PEOPLE SHY AWAY FROM USING PRESSURE
It is important to understand why people avoid pressure in the first place. There is certainly a negative connotation associated with pressure.
There is one main reason why people don’t like applying pressure – it is because they don’t know how to use it!
They may have tried it in the past and had an interaction completely blow up in their face. Leaders often shy away from using pressure because they don’t know the best way to use it or the timing. Also, there’s times when people think they are using pressure when they really aren’t.
Whatever the case may be just know, that not mastering the use of pressure is holding you back from success. Or at least the success you can achieve.
THE BEST WAY TO APPLY PRESSURE
The best way to apply pressure in any business situation is when the other person doesn’t feel it. Think about it, no one likes to be pressured into things. It takes the fun out of decision making and makes people feel anxious. Instead, employees and customers like to be the ones making a decision. Remembering this is imperative for your success – allow people to make their own decisions!
First and foremost, respect the person in front of you, allow them space and the respect to make up their own minds. And then, follow these 7 Steps:
1. BE UPFRONT
Never hide anything. In fact, you should focus on being 100% honest, this is key in establishing a positive employee culture.
If you know something won’t be the best fit for your team member or customer, then say so even if it means losing the project or the sale. This honesty may prevent what you thought you wanted from happening, but it will earn the complete trust from your client or team when it comes to your suggestions.
2. GIVE CONTROL BUT STEER THE SHIP
Stop fighting for control. It is not about power; it is about direction. Some people like to take the full tour guide experience and some like to head out with a map and do their own thing. Instead, embrace the fact that you have provided a platform for thinking for someone else. Not only that but your staff and your customers will respect you more for it because they’ll see you respecting their wishes.
But how do you steer without control? By Effective Communication. Giving feedback, experience tips, and pointers on things is a way to steer someone back on track. The best way to do this is to ask the right questions and active listening!
Effective communication is crucial in applying pressure the right way. That and, knowing when to let go – you will never win if you’re fussing over petty things the whole time, like control.
3. SET EXPECTATIONS
This can be one of your most helpful tactics. Set your expectations as soon as possible. By doing so, you show appreciation for their effort as well as letting them know you too value their time. So, let them know the order of the timeline, and ultimately put out there what it is you want and by when. This is best achieved through structure and planning.
4. ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS
Sometimes when the going gets tough you need to ask some tough questions to understand where or what’s breaking down, either in the work environment or with a customer and the deal. It is like ripping a band-aid off – but you’re the one doing the, one two, rip.
Tough questions are the ones you want to ask but feel nervous asking them. These questions are needed otherwise the business will never grow. There is an art to Having Crucial Conversations. Do you know how to have one?
More times than not there is typically just some confusion at either end. To apply pressure the right way, you need to overcome your internal fears and ask those tough questions.
The only way to grow employees as well as business is by fully communicating. You are the one that facilitates the communication. Only then will you be able to uncover the hesitations and fears of your employees or customers.
5. GET CREATIVE
Get creative with your team as well as your customers. Make sure you overcome every obstacle, setback, push-back and objection no matter what. This will require you to get more creative than you have ever been before. Think mad scientist creative.
You are going to have to problem solve and carry most of the weight. If your team member, or customer, need help or don’t know how to do something, then go above and beyond for them. It will result in improved employee productivity as well as complete customer satisfaction.
6. INSPIRE ACTION
ACTIVITY DRIVES RESULTS! There are different ways and reasons that cause people to act.
If you incorporate things like scarcity, urgency, social proof, reciprocity, excitement, growth, and opportunity – you will ignite action.
Equally as important as action is resilience. For yourself and your team. Resilience and Applying Pressure in business are art forms, that can be taught! Building resilient employees and teams requires a focus on forward thinking and a cultural shift.
7. USE HUMOUR
Humour is the most effective method in any relationship, professional and personal. And it has tremendous strength in business deals. People love to laugh. And quite frankly, we are not laughing enough – especially at ourselves.
Remember that people buy from people they like; and equally, people produce greater results from leaders they like.
Humour gets your client to like you more while reducing tension, if there is any. Humour will make your Sales team hit target to make you happy if they like you and are comfortable around you, but still hold you in high regard.
But most importantly – humour shows you are human!
Humour helps us call upon our strengths and forgive ourselves for our shortcomings. And when we instil these methodologies and practices in our team – they too will produce results, happily.
Recognising the value of laughter in leadership can be a helpful way to get into a more resourceful state of mind, which is key to productivity and ROI. As a leaders, have you ever thought of laughter as yielding dividends?
Ultimately these 7 strategies will help you become a Specialist at applying pressure. Success will come when you incorporate all of the strategies. You’ll have some successes from them individually, but the massive success comes from all of them being used together. These methods will help you apply pressure unknowingly, creatively, and most importantly, respectfully.
With that, the HBB Group’s Art of Applying Pressure Workshop is up and running. Get your Current-Quartz-thinking team on a workshop immediately and make sure 2021 sees you uncover a glistening team of Diamonds!
ESSENTIAL WORKSHOPS FROM THIS ARTICLE, SELECT ONE OR ALL, WE CAN PACKAGE THEM UP FOR YOUR TEAM:
- Art of Applying Pressure
- Resilience | Professionally and Personally
- Advanced Effective Communication
- Creative Leadership Training
- Establishing Positive Employee Culture
- 3 Horizons Strategic Planning
- How to Have Crucial Conversations
- Humorous Leadership with Dividends