Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mind games

Successful people often have great memories. Who says so? My personal experience does. Any advice to someone moving out in life has to include practising memory skills. Now that doesn’t mean having instant recall on the sales figures for the last ten years sliced by every possible variable. Some people seem to find that useful, but it’s not so important. I’m interested in the startling personal effects of having a good memory. How often have you met someone you haven’t seen for a while and been deeply touched when they remembered your name? This is empathy at its purest. Someone is not just telling us, but showing us that we matter to them. Getting someone’s name wrong is an instant empathy killer. You have to do a lot of make-up work to get over a blunder like that. With the number of people we meet every day, it’s not surprising that the name game has become important as a fast check on whether someone connects with us or not. Too often, people find that they forget names at the same moment that they are being introduced. If you spend as much time in the United States as I do, you soon become familiar with the American trick of repeating a name two or three times when you first meet. It certainly works but can sound odd, and once you figure it is a trick, the magic of intimacy fades a little. Just as memory is invaluable for connecting with people who matter, it is also fantastic for connecting with ideas that matter. A memory aid I’ve been using recently is: FREDA. Focus, Reinvention, Execution, Delivery and Accountability. It is a simple formula for success, based on a shared dream, an inspirational purpose and a set of common beliefs. Organizations that unleash inspirational players at every level who are committed to FREDA are out on their own. If you put anything to memory this week, make it FREDA.