It’s been around 3 months since I published my previous blog post. I went back home to Taiwan for three weeks to attend my friend’s wedding and also spent a couple of days in Korea to visit my family there. After I returned to Toronto, I’ve started to get back to my usual routine this past month and I’m happy to be back.

How to Win Friends & Influence People is a book I read around 2 months ago. It’s harder to recall the details of the book but it also gives me a better idea of what I took away. After reviewing my notes, I remember that I find the book a bit dragged out with examples that often illustrate the principles in the best-case scenarios. To clarify I do believe the examples did indeed happen, it’s just that the outcome of some of the examples can easily be undesired under different circumstances.

All in all, I do find the book filled with many principles everyone can use and learn from. If you practice the principles it teaches, it can definitely be a very impactful book.

Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers

If you involve someone in the decision-making process, you will get better buy-in from that person. And if you let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers, the person will champion it.

This does not mean you should try to trick someone into coming up with an idea they don’t believe in. Instead, ask questions to help them see different perspectives that they might not have considered. They might end up with a different idea than you do and that’s ok. When a team is brainstorming ideas, the goal is to come up with the best decision possible.

In a performance-driven society where demonstrating your value can be the key to a promotion or a raise, you might think twice before giving other people credit for your idea. I’ll say try to help others grow, share the credit, contribute to a better work environment, and most likely, things will work out for you. 🙂

Throw down a challenge

For my 2019 resolutions, I’ve set weekly goals for me to accomplish. For example, I had practicing piano for 30 minutes 3 times a week as a weekly goal. It has helped me to keep my focus and to make incremental progress consistently.

Seeing the effects it had on myself, I’ve started to throw down challenges for my friends and colleagues. Usually, the conversation will start with a desire to achieve something. I’ll follow up with “when are you going to start doing this then?” This is very helpful to get people to start thinking about how their goal can be accomplished or for them to start listing out the reasons which prevent them from accomplishing it. Often times, the reasons listed are solvable. For example, the reason for not starting kickboxing can be having a foot injury. I’ll then follow up with questions such as “when will you fully recover?” and “when will you start rehabbing on a daily basis?” When you are trying to motivate people to accomplish their goals, the key is to get people to commit to an actionable step with a specific timeline.

Commitment secured! But don’t stop there! You want to help others achieve their goals. Remember to follow up and encourage. If a commitment is set for Thursday, ask the person to set up a phone reminder or even check up yourself. And when the person is able to deliver on their commitments, be happy for them and let them know about it.

Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. This might sound counterintuitive as we often heard quotes such as respect is earned. However, if someone is given a reputation as a hard worker, the person will be incentivized to work harder to not let down the team and his own reputation. By giving others a fine reputation, you are also more likely to get him to listen to any constructive feedback you might have.

“the average person,” said Samuel Vauclain, then president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, “can be led readily if you have his or her respect and if you show that you respect that person for some kind of ability.”

So rather than only giving people credit after they’ve earned it, try giving them a fine reputation to live up to until they have shown that it’s not warranted.

Summary

This is not a book I would recommend as I’m not a fan of the writing style. However, it is filled with principles that are beneficial when you practice them so I can see why this book is so popular. The principles it teaches definitely bring a lot of value so please don’t let me discourage you from reading it. 🙂

Have you read this book? And is there any book you would recommend? I’ll love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

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