Category Archives: Team

Stand Out From the Crowd-sized

Have You Noticed That No One Is Noticing?

One of my favorite Youtube videos was shot in the Washington DC subway.

In the video, Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians alive today, plays one of the greatest pieces of music of all time on a priceless instrument during rush hour one January morning. More than 1000 people rushed by and yet hardly anyone notices the incredible performance unfolding before them.

Later, he played a concert again in the subway, this time to a crowd of thousands.

Why You Need To Get Noticed

Maybe you’re not performing on a violin, but you do need to get noticed. When you get people’s attention, they admire your work, want to be around you, and want to learn from you. Getting noticed will make your life and relationships better at work, with your friends, and with your family.

Successful brands get people to notice them. We can do a few simple things to “brand ourselves” and get noticed.

What We Can Learn From Joshua Bell

Why didn’t anyone notice Joshua’s exquisite performance the first time?

There are probably several reasons, but let me mention the main reason that apply to us and our personal branding: distraction.

Distraction takes attention away from us. People are busy. It’s a preoccupied world and everything from Youtube videos, to email, to advertising draw people’s attention and keep them from noticing us.

3 Ways to Get Noticed (Besides Standing on Your Head and Spitting Quarters Out Of Your Mouth)

There are at least 3 ways that you excel and get noticed by your coworkers, friends, and family.

1. Live and work with passion.
We are all drawn to a person who is passionate about their life and work. Communicate your passion by the things you do and say, and people will take notice.

2. Learn the language of listening.
Everyone needs to be heard, but most of us like to talk. If you can learn to be a good listener, people will be drawn to you and will seek your attention and company. Your relationships will be more intimate.

3. Create loyalty and build trust.
By doing what you say you will do and being consistent, people will begin and trust you. Dependability is a strong magnet for others—especial in difficult times. Walk the talk, be consistent, and live out your values. People will take notice and want to be near you.

The people of Washington DC did get a do-over. The second time, the performer, the music, and the instrument were noticed—thousands came to hear Joshua Bell’s concert in the subway.

If you will live with passion, listen well, and build trust with those you love and work with, they will observe it and you will get noticed.


You Are Different Than the Rest of the World

You are unique, you little snowflake!

How many times have we heard that from our grammar school teachers and the motivational speakers. The truth is that we are not really all that unique when we think about it. Our DNA is 99.5% exactly like every other human on the planet. We all need about the same amount of sleep, food, and water to live. We all feel the same emotions and feel them from most of the same causes.

But the problem is that we all think we are different from everyone else. Other people should wear a motorcycle helmet, but we don’t really need to. The government should set speed limits, but it is okay for me to go faster than that.

In the USA, nearly everyone says that it is very bad to text while driving a car, yet more than 40% admit to texting while driving and probably more than that do it, but will not admit to it.

Here is a sad fact: The rules don’t apply to us, because we deceive ourselves into feeling safer than we actually are. We want to operate as an individual snowflake.

How Can We, as Leaders, Turn This Around and Use It To Our Advantage?

There are many possibilities, but let me mention one today.

The Two-Step Buy-In Technique

Let’s suppose you are a team leader and you need to get buy-in from your team members. You want them to join the team and work for a common goal.

By using a simple psychological technique, you can get much greater buy-in from your team. In fact, in one study* researchers used this technique to increase voter turnout for an election by more than 25%—no small feat!

The first step is to set up a socially desirably behavior and then ask your team if they will engage or not. Nearly all will agree because it would be socially awkward not to.

The second step is to have them give a justification as to why they will perform this socially desirable behavior.

After we as human snowflakes melt by admitting in public that we are going to do something, we rarely go against society and fail to perform what we say we will do.

A Real Life Example

If you are starting  a new team project and you need to get buy-in from every team member, in your first meeting describe why this is such a great project. Then, ask each team member if they are going to commit to helping with the project (Step One). After they say, “Yes” ask them to give one reason why they are going to participate (Step Two). Nearly all of us as human beings will perform a task that we agree to do in a public setting.

Try it. I think you’ll find you can make a pretty good snowball when all of your snowflakes come together.


*Greenwald, A. G., Carnot, C. G., Beach, R., and Young, B. (1987). Increasing voting behavior by asking people if they expect to vote. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72: 315– 18.