Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘working relationships’ Category

Give People Options and They’ll Agree to the Rules

In autonomy, business relationships, career challenges, delegation, employee engagement, empowerment, gaining cooperation at work, game show psychology, leadership, managing, people skills, professional boundaries, rules of play, sales, selling, selling techniques, talent development, Uncategorized, working relationships on March 5, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Think of the most successful game shows and why people want to play: it’s the fate placed in their own hands to impact the outcome. Take “Let’s Make a Deal” for example. People can only choose from three doors, and have to take whatever’s behind that door – placing their luck in their own hands. In “Wheel of Fortune” they spin that wheel and have to live with whatever that spoke offers. “Jeopardy” gives people the opportunity to pick their own subjects, yet they still have to follow the rules of asking the right questions. This is the strategy of getting people to willingly follow rules: give them options and autonomy and empower them to have a hand in their own destiny. The mind then focuses less on the restrictions and more on the pleasure of choosing for oneself.

This crossed my mind the other day when thinking about helping a client become better in the art of delegation. This vice-president was sharing her failure to gain cooperation and complained that she mostly receives push-back or non-compliance. I asked her how she went about asking people to follow her lead. Her way was something like, “Hey, I need you to do this. It’s due by 5pm.”

The truth is that individual contributors may realize their jobs require them to execute management’s agenda, but they may rebel when orders are barked at them and they have no say about the task. So she and I worked out a way for her to become more effective, which was to present options and give her team latitude (and some control) over the project, while still holding them accountable for the assignment.

After this interaction, it occurred to me that this issue isn’t limited to delegation. The best sellers know that to influence a decision and close a deal; they offer their prospects options to choose from with varied costs and value-adds. Buyers feel empowered when they perceive to be in control of the seller relationship. So the seller provides options that are adventageous to both parties, with set boundaries and restrictions, but sellers know that to have a successful outcome, it’s the buyer who is given the power to choose from a selection of options.

So, for those of us who must delegate or close deals or get people to collaborate/cooperate here is what creating options sounds like. Examples:

Delegation. Start with the rule: “Sara, this project is due tomorrow at 5pm.” Provide the options: “Between 9a-4p, when do you think you can get this to me?”

Closing a deal. Start with the rule: “We have three packages that will fulfill your objectives, scaled by investment levels. In order to launch this on time, please provide us with your choice by Monday.” Provide the options: “Option 1 will cost X and deliver Y. Option 2…etc… Option 3…etc. Which one would should we go with?”

Gaining cooperation. Start with the rule: “Today the team will be divided up into 3 groups, each with a different task. These are to be handed in by COB Friday.” Provide options: “Based on these deliverables, on a first come-first served basis, please select the task you’d like to work on.”

Autonomy is one of the most important needs that people have in life. Ensuring that your teams are not stripped of this essential human right – even when rules are in play – is a critical factor in creating a cooperative and healthy work environment.

Cheering you on!


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Shed the “Corporate” Persona and Just Be You!

In authentic power, character vs. personality, Connecting, connecting with people, Corporate Persona, diplomacy and tact, humanity, impress, kids, leadership, letting go, person to person dynamics, Reputation, self-image, self-improvement, sharing information, transparency, trust, working relationships on January 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm

It’s now 2:04pm on a Monday.  If I was addressing a classroom of three year-olds and said, “It’s time to act like little, furry, meowing kittens, everyone,” not one kid would say, “Hey, that would make me look silly.”  The kids would just go for it; taking the opportunity to show off their interpretations of kittens, with glee.  There wouldn’t be one child in that room that would be afraid of how he or she was perceived; there wouldn’t be a thought to block their natural sparkle.

On the other hand, it’s now 2:04pm on a Monday and we’re at a company meeting when the boss requires us to communicate what we truly feel on a subject.  We find ourselves falling over our words.  How do I say this without giving myself away?  How do I make the point without being vulnerable to criticism?  How do I share this honestly when it also involves my co-workers?  How do I present my ideas openly without getting slammed for them?

What happened to the three year-old who would act like a kitten if only asked?

We worry that we are at risk of creating the wrong perception because corporate life isn’t kindergarten and it doesn’t encourage the humanity, character, and honesty that are natural to us.  It uses us as job functions and demands a protocol and persona that makes us blend in.  So over time, we become encased in a shell of protection against the forces; we become so withdrawn from our true selves that we don’t take risks to reveal what makes us unique, to speak our minds, or even to be playful!

I say to you that it actually takes more energy to hide than to reveal who we are and that a veneer robs us of our freedom.  It ends up adding to our misery and our stress. The good news is that we can step out of that suit of armor at any time and simply be ourselves.

1. Tell the truth.  Always with kindness and compassion.

2. Dare to say what must be said (diplomatically and tactfully) without condemning others. Back up your point with evidence.

3. Let down your guard.  If you feel that demonstrating an idea in a goofy or frenzied way, do it to dramatize your point.  People will get a kick out of it and your message will be the one that people remember.

5. Look beyond the surface when interacting with others.  See the humanity and realness of your co-workers.  What unique qualities about them were behind a job well done? Recognize their attributes and tell them what you admire about them.

6. Protect yourself.  Don’t go out of your way to feel vulnerable by sharing too much. Rather, give people a a sense of how you feel and what you think by daring not to hide.  It builds trust.

7. Think of yourself as a leader who is transparent.  It’s the key to shedding ‘the persona’ on behalf of the person you are. It creates safety and support for others to follow; it breaks apart the veneer.

By taking this concept under consideration, you will feel a new sense of power and freedom in being authentic.  It can activate your creativity, you can have more fun at work, and might even find yourself purring once in awhile…

Personally yours,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How and When to Say No

In being a yes person, delegating, leadership, office politics, personal interest, profesional boundaries, professional interest, saying no, saying yes, staying late, team-player, working relationships on July 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm

You’re being asked to stay extra late to work on a project by your boss and you say, “Okay,” but probably want to scream, “NO!”  Your colleagues want you to join them for drinks after hours, and you don’t like to socialize with your co-workers, you just want to be a vegetable on the sofa, talking to no one until the morning. Sadly, you hear yourself saying, “Yes.”

Why is it so hard to say, “No?” When is it appropriate to say, “No?”

I think it’s pretty obvious why it’s hard.  We don’t want to disappoint.  We want to be the stand-up professional ready to take on more than is humanly possible.  We want the goods to come back to us.  (YOU: “Oh, he’ll remember when I said yes to working until midnight and I’ll be the first to be considered for that promotion.”) We succumb to peer pressure and don’t want to risk not being liked.

The consequences of saying no to the crowd can be hurtful.  I found myself being ostracized more than once because I didn’t want to join the group. Believe me, although somewhat hurtful, it was better than the alternative:  I had learned the painful lesson of becoming too friendly, too open and too close with people at work.

Being a YES person doesn’t necessarily get us respect anyway!  True, we may be liked, but that doesn’t make up for not being respected.  This is the risk of the person who sets professional boundaries.

So, as a general rule, it is appropriate to say, “No,” when it isn’t in one’s best personal or professional interest to say, “Yes.”  Here are some guidelines:

1. You feel taken advantage of (people perceived as YES persons may experience this more than others.)

2. You are beyond tired and must take care of your well-being. Staying even one more hour is pushing the limit.

3. You are being asked to do a colleague’s work because that person is lazy or overwhelmed or knows you are better than she is at that given task.  There are promises of a return favor, but you know this won’t be the case.  You don’t want a favor from this person anyway!  (Don’t confuse this with a manager delegating work to you, which he/she should be doing!)

4. You are uncomfortable becoming too friendly with co-workers.  Once alcohol gets involved, it’s a game-changer. Another type of boundary-breaker is the person who privately shares her personal dramas with you.  Or, of course, there’s the office fling.  My vote?  Do nothing that might make you the topic of gossip and don’t create an expectation that you are the dumping ground for others’ problems.

5. You are being dragged into gossip and condemning of others.

6. Your ambitious nature makes you want to say, “Yes,” with the motive to get ahead. Sometimes this is appropriate!  We want to be perceived as  team-players and a proactive leaders, but this can backfire if we use it to promote how great we are.

We can’t always say, “No,” and that’s a reality.  It’s okay to say, “Yes” when:

1. You are a team-player and want to contribute beyond the call of duty.

2. You see someone in need of help and have the capacity to chip in.

3. On the odd occasion, the team is rallying together late for an important business cause, such as solving a major client’s problem.  Pizza and chocolate for all are called for in such situations.

4. You feel good about saying, “Yes” with no regret or fear.

So, how do you say, “No” without arousing ill-will?

Always start with addressing the concern of the other party.  Here are some examples:

a. “I know how much you value my work and think I’m the right person for the task. I appreciate that. I’m going to say no because it will dilute the quality of the work I have on my plate.”

b. “Thank you for inviting me to join you for drinks.  It makes me feel good to be invited! I’m going to say no because I need to replenish my energies for the morning, and just relax at home. I would be happy to have a quick lunch with the team tomorrow, if it’s convenient for you.

c. “I’m sorry you’re having such problems with your boyfriend.  I don’t want to hurt your feelings and I hope you work it out.  I feel that I’m just not the right person on this subject.  I hope you understand.  I’m very excited about working with you on this project.  By the way, are you free at 3pm so we can go over that report?”

In the end, saying, “No” is not easy.  But, if we hold to the idea that we are setting professional boundaries, we are more apt to gain respect.  And, as long as we are compassionate towards others while we turn them down, we can contribute to creating positive working relationships.

Enjoy your assertiveness,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.