How to Deal With Irrational and Impossible People

You’re CRAZY!

Have a manipulating boss driving you nuts?

Is a co-worker bullying you?

Do you have someone irrational or deceitful in your life?

You’ve tried explaining, tried rationalizing, tried…everything…and still, you get nowhere.

 

What do you do when you are talking to CRAZY?

 

“To reach irrational people, you need to know why they’re irrational.” –Mark Goulston

 

Enter acclaimed psychiatrist Mark Goulston with the answers. Mark’s new book Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People In Your Life is a guidebook to dealing with the impossible people that cross your path. His suggestions can be put to work immediately. I know because I did. And they work.

Recently, I asked Dr. Goulston about his exceptional new book and his practical observations and suggestions in dealing with difficult people.

 

“Life is beautiful but people are crazy.” –Charles Osgood

 

We Are All A Little Nuts

When a psychiatrist says “We’re all at least a little nuts,” it gets my attention. How are we all a bit crazy? What’s the best way for us to identify our major issues and weaknesses?TalkingToCrazy

We’re all a bit crazy because we all engage at times in non-rational, non-functional self-preservation (a.k.a. our identity).  That means that when the reality of what we are dealing with changes, we will often continue to “do the same things over and over, expecting different results.” The reason for that is because in an increasingly specialized world, the areas in which we feel competent, confident and in control are increasingly narrow. That translates into trying to stay inside those areas rather than adapting to the new situation facing us. By the way, I don’t see “crazy” people as mentally ill.  I have great compassion for and spent 30+ years treating people with significant mental illness, because they truly cannot stop acting the way they do until that mental illness – depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, etc. – is treated.  To me crazy people are people who can control their behavior, but choose not to.  In essence they abuse or take advantage of their relationships. They drive us crazy vs. being truly mentally ill.

 

“Being crazy isn’t enough.” –Dr. Seuss

 

I was incredibly moved by Mr. Harding’s story during your residency. What did this teach you?

It taught me not to jump to conclusions or be overly influenced by others before I gather all the information I can from the other person. That means patiently taking the time to truly understand and go to “their there” before I try to fit them into “my here.”

 

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” –
Alfred Adler

 

Lean Into Crazy

How to Create Repeatable Success and Endless Encores

Repeating Success

 

Ever feel frozen in place?

Have you seen something take off and then get consumed with worry about what’s next?

How do we create an encore worthy of that success?

 

Ken Goldstein’s new book, Endless Encores: Repeating Success Through People, Products, and Profits, tackles the difficult topic of creating continued, repeatable success. His various corporate roles make him uniquely suited to share his perspective on success. Currently, he is Chairman & CEO of SHOP.COM and previously he was Executive VP of Disney Online and Publisher of Broderbund.

 

“All success resets expectations for what comes next.” -Ken Goldstein

 

How to Create Repeatable Success

You wrote a fictional story about a topic that seems to haunt many: repeating success. Why did you choose this topic?

I think there are two challenges that weigh heavily on our minds at work: first, how do we achieve success, and second, once we achieve some success, is that the last success we are going to have? In many senses, the second challenge is much more haunting than the first. When we’re initially trying to break through the noise and get noticed, we have nothing to lose, so our leaning toward risk is high and our openness to the unusual is ungated. We are open to helping others, and we welcome their help because together we are stronger. Once we have a reputation of any kind, fear starts creeping into the mix. No one wants to be a one-hit wonder, but often we become our own worst enemy and unintentionally box ourselves in. We worry about our next thing being compared to our last thing. That worry can filter our creativity, our bias to action, even our kindness toward others as competitiveness takes over. None of that negativity helps us win again at all, it just clouds the way forward. That’s why I chose this topic. So many people I know are consumed by it, overwhelmed by it, and sometimes frozen in place. The colleagues I’ve helped in person in a leadership capacity have continued to move forward with the new, and I thought if I could capture that spirit of innovation in a story with real characters, I could inspire others to keep looking forward and only forward.

 

“Leadership is earned and recognized, not granted.” -Ken Goldstein

 

Why We Learn More From Failure

Why is success difficult to repeat? After all, if you did it once, you can follow the same process . . . or not?

Ken GoldsteinHere’s what I have discovered repeatedly: You can almost never recreate a success, but it is absolutely predictable that you can recreate a failure. That’s why we learn more from failure than we do from success. In failure, we learn what not to do again. It didn’t work, so put that on your list of things you don’t need to try again. In success, if we do the same thing again, or even a modest alteration, we will not create the same inventiveness or excitement that we did with the original. Something can only be unique once, and success is usually unique. That’s why it is so hard to repeat success, because no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, all that is in the past, and you must start from zero. It’s also why I say you’re not really failing if you’re learning, because the learning is what sends you back to try again. When we embrace the empowerment and humility of starting over, releasing defensiveness and facing the blank canvass with a set of trusted colleagues, we have the best shot at repeat success, which is the same shot we had at first success. Accept that and innovation is all you need to worry about (and that’s plenty).

 

“Offer customers more than what they think they want.” -Ken Goldstein

 

Build a Mission That is More than Words

What’s the best way to have a mission that is “more than words”?

When a company’s mission statement is in a binder on the shelf or buried in the company handbook, it’s dead text — it means nothing and empowers no one. Shared values are what drive people to work together and innovate. A set of shared values allows a mission to be more than words, but only if those around us embrace the values with authenticity and conviction. We live in a cynical world where conflicting data and untested opinions are communicated broadly in real time. If we say “our people are our most valuable asset” and then lay off 20% of our staff because of a bad quarter, was that a shared value? If we say, “We cherish integrity here,” and then our CEO resigns for unexplained reasons around a publicly broadcast compensation scandal, what happened to our commitment to integrity? Walk the walk, lead by example, and you can get the people around you to rally to any cause you share, but you must share it as a set of consistent actions (emphasis on “consistent”), not a slogan.

 

“Long-term leaders spend the majority of their thinking about talent.” -Ken Goldstein

 

3 Steps to Building a Winning Team