Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What is Creative Problem Solving?

Creative problem solving has evolved since its inception in the 1950s. However, it is always a structured approach to finding and implementing solutions.

The creative problem solving process involves creativity. The problem solvers come up with solutions that are innovative rather than obtaining help to learn the answers or implementing standard procedures.  

The creative problem solving process is at work anytime you identify solutions that have value or that somehow improve a situation for someone.

The Creative Problem Solving Process uses six major steps to implement solutions for almost any kind of problem: 

  1. Information Gathering or understanding more about the problem before proceeding
  2. Problem Definition or making sure you understand the correct problem before proceeding
  3. Generating Possible Solutions using various tools
  4. Analyzing or determining the effectiveness of possible solutions before proceeding
  5. Selecting the Best Solution(s)
  6. Planning the Next Course of Action -- Next Steps -- or implementing the solution(s)

Until next time... 


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Influencing People: Bridge Building.

Bridge building is the process of increasing rapport and affinity between people. It can involve making the other party feel at ease in talking with you, gaining their trust, and identifying common interests. Bridge building is important in influencing because people are more likely to agree with someone they like, trust, or see as “one of them.” Aside from bridges improving the over-all communication between two parties, they can also serve as negotiating grounds. Bridges translate to common interests which can be the foundation of win-win scenarios. The following are some of the ways in which you can build bridges in your interpersonal relationships:
Active Listening
If you want to gain another person’s trust, you have to communicate that you value their presence and that you are exerting the effort to understand what they are saying to you. Listening attentively is a way to do this.
Use Common Language
An indirect way of building bridges is showing by your words, manner of speaking, and even body language that you are one with the other person. For example, use business language when you’re speaking with the company CEO, but use laymen-terms when speaking with blue-collared workers. Pay attention to how others phrase statements.  If they are formal,be formal, and if they are casual, then follow suit. Similarly, attend to their pace of doing business. Some people like to relax before a deal; others like to go straight to business. Adjust your approach accordingly.
Highlight Similarities
No matter how differently two people appear, they will always have at least one thing in common. If you want to persuade a person, find these areas of similarities and emphasize them. An important similarity to emphasize is common interests --- goals that you both share and that the proposal you’re pitching can address. The skill of “seeing the other side” can assist you in this process. 
Sustained Communication
Lastly, consistent and sustained communication about matters of interest can help you in influencing other people. If you feel that there is significant resistance to you or to your proposal or there are marked differences between you and the other person, continue to meet with the person and open communication lines. Sometimes, your mere visibility in another person’s circle can increase your likability and credibility.
Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Friday, March 27, 2020

Influencing People: Seeing the Other Side

The first step in influencing other people is entering their world. Set aside your own point of view, and look at the situation from another person’s perspective. Remember, each person is unique, and sees the world differently. You can’t always assume that what’s clear to you is clear to the people with whom you are talking.
In short, you have to be able to answer this question for them: “what’s in it for me?” Seeing the other side involves knowing what is important to the other person(s): their values, interests, and preferences. Do they have strong feelings against what you are pitching to them? What would it take to for them to get over their resistance? What are their characteristics, personality traits, social status, or professions that can you use in order to make your point more convincing? Research, active listening, and keen observation can help you in “seeing the other side.”

Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Good Business Etiquette Part 2

International Etiquette

·    Always take the time to research cross-cultural etiquette when dealing with a foreign client or when conducting business in a foreign country. 
·    Awareness of international etiquette is important not just in face-to-face meetings but also in encounters such as sending gifts, conversing over the phone, or communicating online.


·     Religion
·     Dress Codes
·     Social Hierarchy
·     Rules on "Meet and Greets"
·     Use of titles and forms of address
·     Exchanging business cards
·     Physical space
·     Dealing with embarrassment

When uncertain, err on the side of what you presume is conservatism.  Be observant; check to see whether people are becoming uncomfortable.  Etiquette mishaps in international settings can range from merely embarrassing to potentially insulting to the other person. When you realize that you have committed a faux pas, apologize immediately and ask how you can make up for it.

Some cultures dress conservatively as the norm. Americans tend to be more relaxed when it comes to dress codes. People from other parts of the world are generally more conservative. The Japanese, for example, dress according to rank. Some Muslim nations find short dresses for women as offensive. If uncertain, err on the side of conservatism.

·    Some cultures meet and greet people with a kiss, a hug, or a bow instead of a handshake.
·    Stick to formal titles for business interactions unless invited otherwise. Approach first names with caution when dealing with people from other cultures.  Some cultures are very hierarchical and consider it disrespectful to be addressed without their title. Some cultures never accept first names in the business setting, and this should be respected.
·    Some cultures are less time-conscious than others. Don't take it personally if someone from a more relaxed culture keeps you waiting or spends more time than you normally would in meetings or over meals. Stick to the rules of punctuality, but be understanding when your contact from another country seems unconcerned.

·    Understand differences in perception of personal space.  Americans have a particular value for their own physical space and are uncomfortable when other people get in their realm. If the international visitor seems to want to be close, accept it. Backing away can send the wrong message.

Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Good Business Etiquette - Part 1

Good business etiquette can help organizations improve in the following areas:
  • Branding: Everything we do reflects on our company and our products. By acting professionally, we send the message that our organization is credible and trustworthy. Personalized care may very well be your edge against the competition.
  • Customer Care: The best way to show customers that their patronage is valued is to treat them with respect and consideration. This in turn can inspire customer loyalty and positive feedback.
  • Engagement: Good manners will help improve morale and confidence between employees and team members.
  • Team Synergy: Good manners will help establish smooth working relationships within a team which contributes to greater productivity.
Creating an Effective Introduction: 
  • Project warmth and confidence. Many people size you up even before you say a word, which is why it’s important to mind your body language. When you introduce yourself, stand up straight, relax, and establish eye contact.
  • State your first name and your last name. Depending on the situation, you may also state your affiliation or your position in the company. Example: “Hello. I’m Jill Smith. I’m the Quality Control Officer.”
  • When the other person has given their name, repeat it in acknowledgment. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Andrews.” or “It’s nice to meet you, Joseph.” Repeating their name is an acknowledgment that you heard their introduction.
Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Angry? Here are some tips.

DO acknowledge that you are angry. It is important that you know how to recognize that you are angry and give yourself permission to feel it. This can be as simple as saying to yourself, “I am angry.” Remember, you can’t control something that you don’t admit exists!

DO calm yourself before you say anything. It helps then to defer any reactions until you have reached the return to normal/adaptive phase of the anger cycle. Otherwise, you might end up saying or doing something that you’d later regret. Count 1 to 10!

DO speak up when something is important to you. This is the opposite to "keeping it all in." If a matter is important to you, so much so that keeping silent would just result in physical and mental symptoms, then let it out. If it’s not possible to speak to the person concerned, at least look for a trusted friend or a mental-health professional.

DO explain how you’re feeling in a manner that shows ownership and responsibility. Take ownership and responsibility for your feelings. This makes the anger within your control. Remember that you can’t control other people. One way to take ownership and responsibility for your anger is through the use of "I-messages." For example, "When you say this, I feel angry because my feelings are hurt."

Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Anger Cycle

Anger can be an incredibly damaging force, costing people their jobs, personal relationships, and even their lives when it gets out of hand. Since everyone experiences anger, it is important to have constructive approaches to manage it effectively. 

It can be helpful to first understand the nature of anger. While most are familiar with this emotion, not everyone is aware of its underlying dynamics. 

Anger is a natural emotion that usually stems from perceived threat or loss. It’s a pervasive emotion; it affects our body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Anger is often described in terms of its intensity, frequency, duration, threshold, and expression.

Anger typically follows a predictable pattern: a cycle. Understanding the cycle of anger can help us understand our own anger reactions and those of others. It can also help us in considering the most appropriate response.

The five phases of the anger cycle include trigger, escalation, crisis, recovery, and depression.

1.  The Trigger Phase
The trigger phase happens when we perceive a threat or loss, and our body prepares to respond. In this phase, there is a subtle change from an individual’s normal/adaptive state into a stressed state. Anger triggers differ from person to perso, and can come from both the environment or from our thought processes.

2.  The Escalation Phase
In the escalation phase, there is the progressive appearance of the anger response. In this phase, our body prepares for a crisis after perceiving the trigger. This preparation is mostly physical and is manifested through symptoms like rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and raised blood pressure. Once the escalation phase is reached, there is less chance of calming down as this is the phase where the body prepares for "fight or flight" (to be discussed later).

3.  The Crisis Phase
As previously mentioned, the escalation phase is progressive, and it is in the crisis phase that the anger reaction reaches its peak. In the crisis phase, our body is on full alert, prepared to take action in response to the trigger. During this phase, logic and rationality may be limited if not impaired because the anger instinct takes over. In extreme cases, the crisis phase means that a person may be a serious danger to himself or to other people.

4.  The Recovery Phase
The recovery phase happens when the anger has been spent (or at least controlled), and there is now a steady return to a person’s normal/adaptive state. In this stage, reasoning and awareness of one’s self returns. If the right intervention is applied, the return to normalcy progresses smoothly. However, an inappropriate intervention can re-ignite the anger and serve as a new trigger.

5.  The Depression Phase
The depression phase marks a return to a person’s normal/adaptive ways. Physically, this stage marks below-normal vital signs such as heart rate so that the body can recover equilibrium. A person’s full use of his/her faculties return at this point, and the new awareness helps a person assess what just occurred. Consequently, this stage may be marked by embarrassment, guilt, regret, and/or depression.

After the depression phase is a return to a normal or adaptive phase. A new trigger, however, can start the entire cycle all over again. 

Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP