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Pause to Consider

The following is adapted from Proactive Personal Style (Crow, 2003, p. 7-8) and gives you a perspective from the popular literature you may find useful as you strive to conform your interpersonal style to that expected for members of the Leadership Team.

Life’s most important lessons are amazingly varied and can be quite confusing. Even so, they most all have two things in common. First, they usually are not particularly complicated. It certainly can sometimes take a while to get it; but once you do get it, the lesson is normally straight-up and to the point. Second, and here is the rub, the lessons invariably are a “So now you tell me!” kind of thing. Oh sure, hindsight is 20/20, live and learn, no one is perfect, and you are only human. Nonetheless, having learned your lesson is not much consolation once you have already missed important opportunities to achieve personal excellence with people and important relationships. Yes, you may do better the next time; but your chance to get it right the first time has passed and will not return. Much better is to get it right, the first time, on time, every time.

It is certainly true no one is perfect, you are only human, and things only work out just the way you want them to in the movies. Life can be a real bear sometimes; but fortunately, you do not have to take responsibility for life. You are only on the hook for who you are and what you do. Here is a suggestion worth taking to heart. Start with developing a Proactive Personal Style (PPS) that sets you apart, that lets everyone know you are a class act.

Think about people you know who stand out from the crowd, people who are certifiable class acts. They have three techniques down pat. First, they are originals. Their style and approach with people and situations are their trademarks. Second, they are not on-again, off-again. They are always uniquely themselves. Third, and here is the key: it is no accident. They usually make it seem easy and natural; but take a closer look and you will soon understand and appreciate how hard they work at it. They consciously and purposely do everything they do, with style, all the time, on purpose, one situation at a time, one person at a time.

Proactive Personal Style is not grounded in flashy clothes, gestures of affection, superficial interest, staged behavior, or anything else serving only to call attention to the individual. It is grounded in commitment, sincerity, and personal integrity. It is the stuff toward which admiration flows, the special ingredient setting the interpersonal standard others aspire to follow.

Perhaps you are acquainted with an interpersonal superstar. Even better, perhaps you are yourself someone who has reached the interpersonal pinnacle. If so, you know the PPS elite provide a value-added benefit for others they cannot get from the merely competent. Many people have their occasional flashes of brilliance; but the crème de la crème work their wizardry consistently, creatively, and in virtually every situation.

Of course, there is their uncanny ability to anticipate problems and opportunities and their simply taking it for granted people usually are trying to do what is right. As important as that is, they have an even more important secret. They always remember and own everything they say, agree to, and do. The PPS bottom line is integrity; and following the lead of people who have it is a certain path to your unique Proactive Personal Style.

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