9 Ways to Help Restore Civility in Today’s World

9 Ways to Help Restore Civility in Today’s World

I cannot believe that everyone was shouting in the meeting. No one heard anything and nothing got resolved.


My colleague stopped talking to her cousin because of the person she voted for.

The recent outbreaks of uncivil behavior in the political arena have impacted our everyday experiences, as the comments above testify. But it's time for people to fight back, politely of course, and assert that being uncivil to one another is not the way we want public figures to behave. Nor is it the way we should behave ourselves.

After the terrible events of 9/11 we came together and helped one another at a time of national tragedy.  We saw or heard of acts of incredible kindness, often between strangers.  And you know what?  We liked it! 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to mirror the impolite actions of others. 

There are ways for people to express their differences without resorting to bad behavior. If you want things to change, the change starts with you. Let me stress that: You are the change agent.  

Use these 9 tips to encourage polite behavior in the workplace and your world.

1. Don’t attack back.


Remember that someone else’s bad behavior is no excuse for your own. Though it may feel good to respond, “Well, what do you know, you idiot?” if somebody says something to offend you, it’s not going to build your credibility or accomplish anything. 

2. Use courteous behavior.


It’s hard to be nasty to people who are nice to you.  Keep “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” in your vocabulary.  Greet others when you see them. And respond to the greetings of others. If someone says “hello” to you, you must say “hello” back. It is not optional!

3. Avoid inflammatory words.


Using harsh words such as “stupid,” “ignorant,” and “fool” only inflames a situation, and this approach is unlikely to lead to a positive resolution. Cursing at people is just mean, and reflects poorly on the one doing the cursing.

4. Disagree agreeably.


If you have difficulty with someone, talk to the person. Listen to what he or she has to say. You can evaluate an idea without attacking the person who is promoting it. Saying, “I see it differently, and here’s why…” is a lot more productive than screaming at people or calling them names.

5. Acknowledge your mistakes.


Saying to someone, “You’re right. I shouldn’t have said that or done that,” goes a long way in maintaining good relationships.

6. Share, wait your turn, and be gracious toward others.


Help other people when you can. Don’t interrupt. And be considerate when sharing space with others. This includes cleaning up after your meeting and making sure that you return the items you borrowed.

7. Be cautious with humor.


Humor can be an effective communication tool, but it also may cause you to fail miserably, especially in tense or difficult situations. What some people believe is funny may hurt or put down other people, and this invites conflict. 

8. Stop complaining.


If you don’t like something, don’t complain about it to others – do something. Get involved. Join organizations. Politely object. (Additional information on communicating effectively and politely can be found in my new book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes.)

9. Walk away. 


And if you don’t want to do any of the above, you can always avoid hostile or impolite interactions by simply walking away.

Barbara Pachter
Personal Development
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Barbara Pachter is an internationally-renowned business etiquette and communications speaker, coach and author of 10 books, including The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How ... Click for full bio

Cyborgs Are the Future for Advisors

Cyborgs Are the Future for Advisors

Becoming cyborgs is the way to go for financial advisers…blending robotics and humans into one organism.


You see, I am convinced that robo-advice models will succeed and prosper.

I am also convinced that human advisers will succeed and prosper.

I am further convinced that some of each will fail entirely and die, but in Darwinian fashion the most adaptable will survive and prosper. Smart financial advisers will work out how to become cyborgs and build an offering which is a blend of human and machine – or at least their practice will.

Despite the fear-mongering when it comes to robo’s the reality is that there are many great arguments for automated transaction systems, or robotic product delivery.  Cost reduction for the consumer, cost reduction for the practitioner….efficiency, speed, convenience for all….elimination of the frustrating and time consuming service model supplied by the industry to low value transactional customers….and let’s be bluntly honest: some people DO just need a product solution at some stages of their life, and DO NOT need holistic advice at some points.

Robo-advice makes sense commercially, and it can meet a need in life stages planning for many consumers.  It also happens to appeal to a segment of society who are happy to make their own decisions and transact from the comfort of their pyjamas during the ads in their evening television program, and who are unlikely to engage in full advice.  It is worth remembering that this last type of consumer segment is growing at the expense of the traditional intermediated product delivery systems of distribution.

However, machines do not “manage” relationships and behaviour – humans manage humans.  Humans tend to rebel against the concept (or slightest inference actually) that they are being manipulated or are at the mercy of computers and machines.  Machines and automated systems exist for our convenience, don’t they?  Nobody wants a “SkyNet”.

……So the human adviser remains in the equation……

When we strip out all the industry jargon and hyperbole the primary function of a financial adviser is to manage clients behaviour.  We don’t really manage their money – other people do the actual money management. We don’t supply products….we source them from a supplier.   What we do is manage their behaviour and expectations.  We coach them.  Machines don’t do that yet….and when they are able to (and they will be), most consumers will shy away from being managed by a machine.

But we cannot escape those arguments supporting robo-offerings as they make too much sense for clients and for us. In fact I suspect robo-advice will be a very good thing for smart adviser practices.

Believe it or not, I believe robo-offerings can help us get clients.

For most consumers there is a period early in life when their financial advice needs are fairly basic, and also there is a period later in life where all the planning has been done and consumers are moving into “drawdown” territory.  In between those times, life gets somewhat busier and complexity increases substantially.

Advice delivered by humans should be focussed upon the complexity phase.  Apart from the fact that this is the period of a consumers life when there are the most variables to consider in their planning needs, it is also the phase where behaviour management is a distinct help to the achievement of the consumers goals and objectives.  Generally people will only do uncomfortable or new things if they have a high degree of trust and confidence in the person guiding them to do so, and establishing that level of trust – or the bond between two people – is where robo-offerings will struggle to compete.

However, when it comes to identifying a fairly simple need which has a product solution then robo’s will certainly be able to deliver a solution more cost effectively and faster than the human adviser can, who is bound by increasing complexity of their own called “compliance” every time they have to interact with another human being.

The smart adviser will identify those areas of their clients lives and those product solutions which work well for those times and find a transactional solution for their clients to access.  They will build that transactional, no-advice, solution into the service offering that their practice puts into the market.  In other words they will embrace and incorporate robo-offerings into their business model.

Why?

Not just because consumers want them or need them, and not just because it is cost effective to do so.  Not even because we’d like to have a commercial revenue stream which sidesteps the more time-consuming (and therefore labour intensive and expensive) compliance requirements.

The reason smart advisers will do it is because it will help gather the next generation of clients for the firm before the complexity triggers drive them to seek advice elsewhere.


The robo-advice solution caters to those who have an identifiable need for financial services of one sort or another, but who do not yet need holistic bespoke planning.  It is an entry point for consumers to become customers of the firm, and for the firm to then work upon converting those transactional customers into advised clients for the future.

Robotics are a part of our world and our future.  We need to figure out how to make them a part of our business too, but in such a way that our business uses the robo’s, rather than being used by them.  Humans and robo’s integrated into the same service business in order to deliver they type of solutions and assistance that consumers and customers and clients want at different stages of their life.

The future for the financial advisory practice is cyborgs.

Tony Vidler
Development
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Tony Vidler is the expert in professional services on creating strong personal branding and target marketing positioning. Tony has been in financial services since 1990, ... Click for full bio