Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's in YOUR Dream Book?



When was the last time that you updated your dream book? If your answer is, “I don’t know” or “What is a dream book?” you have found another missing piece to your Success Puzzle.

A dream book is a graphic, numerical and descriptive collection of your dreams. It is a clear, constant reminder to you and others of WHY you are working so hard… WHY you are making sacrifices… WHY you must overcome everything that stands between you and Success. People who think that dream books are unimportant are the same people who struggle with consistently giving maximum effort… and are the same people who do not have the discipline to make the short-term sacrifices to achieve the long-term rewards.

Create or update YOUR dream book with pictures and descriptions of your dreams & desires. Look at it every day. Share it with every person in your Life.

Next, witness the proof that dreams DO come true.

Spam Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

In today’s world of easy ‘friends’ and ‘communication’, it is impossible to make personal, direct contact with everyone. Therefore, well-intentioned messages like, “Merry Christmas, everyone!” or “Happy New Year to all!” now come down upon us like a torrential rain. These generic messages are today’s equivalent of “To Whom It May Concern” or “Attention: Current Resident”

Up until this year, I have painstakingly customized almost every message & greeting sent out. Yes, I still did a lot of copy & pasting, but there was at least the person’s name (and usually a personal sentence or two) included. As my network of contacts grows exponentially, that level of personalization is no longer possible. However, I do not use that as an excuse to cover everyone with one simple click.

Consider this before the next time you hit "Send to All": Don’t at least some of the people in your life (Family, Friends, Co-workers, Clients...) deserve a phone call… or a personal e-mail, message or text?

No one will ever treat YOU special… if you treat everyone the same!

p.s. Happy Birthday to everyone who will have a birthday in 2010! (How did that make you feel?)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The #1 Conversation Killer in Retail

I was asked the single worst question in all of retail multiple times today. Before I share my story, let me set the stage… Today is Christmas Eve, and I have just completed my last round of holiday shopping. It’s been over 5 years since I left the retail industry… but 20 years of front-line retail management experience still flows thru my veins.

“Do you need any help?” That was the first question asked of me at each of my shopping stops today. Not “Happy Holidays!”… not “WELCOME, how can I help find your perfect gift?”… just the typical “Do you need any help?”

What a waste! It amazes me that organizations and managers still allow variations of that #1 Conversation Killer to be used in their stores 99% of the time. When you are asked that question, what do you answer? Most people say, “No, I’m just looking”… The interaction is finished… Game over! Retail associates should be required to treat their customers like friends or family… having conversations and helping them the best way possible. As the self-service & online retail tidal waves continue to build, time is running out for businesses to learn how to create true relationships with their customers.

Hint: The answer is NOT to kill conversations before they even start.

What's Your Passion Level?

You can immediately tell if someone is passionate about what they do. There is a perceptible Bounce in their step… Flash in their eyes… and Excitement in their voice.

Passion counts! It determines how you think & behave… and definitely how you’re perceived. People who show passion seem more confident, more intelligent and more happy… and most people prefer to interact and do business with them.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your passion level?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Are You Building or Destroying Your Brand?

You ARE your brand… You ARE that impression or feeling that people immediately get when they think about, hear or see you. Branding deals in the world of absolutes.

Everything that you do either builds up your Brand… or destroys your Brand.

There is no middle ground. Every human interaction, whether it is face-to-face… on the phone… or thru the countless forms of media and technology sends out a message regarding who you are. The blessing and the curse of technology is that more of what we do and say are ‘out there’ FOREVER… creating a composite of our Brand.

People no longer ask YOU to describe you. They find out for themselves by looking you up on Google… or by checking out your photos on facebook. Nothing is off-the-record... Therefore, you no longer have the luxury of doing something great over here... and doing something stupid over there. Before you say, do or post something, ask yourself this simple question: "Am I building or destroying my brand?"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Digital Footprint

Footprints are as reliable at determining your identity as DNA. They match YOU with traces that you left behind. They literally determine who you are. Digital Footprints are exactly the same. When people want to learn more about you, they don’t ask YOU any more… They easily gather the answers for themselves by looking you up online. What type of comprehensive Brand are you actively creating online so that people correctly understand who you are?

Your blog (you do have a blog, right?)… GooglefacebookLinkedInYouTubeTwitterFlickr… (to name just a few) should be representing & promoting you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your official company website (the thing that you probably spent the most time and money creating) is only one miniscule piece of your online brand… something that many people either completely ignore… or don’t completely trust.

Having little or no Digital Footprint (other than your ‘official’ company site) is the same as being invisible. How is that working for you?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Handling Objections - Part 1

Do you allow objections to stand in your way of helping customers? Most professionals do... even those who do almost everything right. They find prospects, initiate contact, build relationships, understand needs, present solutions and ask for commitment. And then, when the customer responds, they think they hear the word “No!” and run away in search of another prospect… to start the whole process all over again. What a waste!

There is a BIG difference between "No!" and:

  • “I’m too busy”
  • “That’s too expensive”
  • “I’m already doing that”
  • “Let me think about it”
  • “I’m happy with my current provider”
  • “Let me ask…”
  • “I don’t trust you” (unspoken)
  • “I don’t know who you are” (unspoken)

These are simply cries for help and more information... Always remember these two important things about Handling Objections:

  1. People rarely say, “No!” to your requests. They give you some type of excuse why they are hesitant to proceed.
  2. Everyone hates to change (even if it means doing something in their best interest), so don’t be surprised by objections… embrace them!
Would you be in a better position to handle objections if you spent 60 seconds before each interaction reviewing and preparing for them? Do you do that every time now?

What if you did?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dream!

People are afraid to dream. That’s the punch line of today’s message. People prove this sad reality countless times every day… thru their words, thoughts and actions.

“Have a good day”… is what millions of people say to each other. It sounds polite and perfectly innocent, but it strikes at the core of the problem. When given the chance to wish something for somebody (including for themself), the best that most people choose to wish for… is good. What a waste!

Being a consultant, coach and mentor to individuals & organizations, I ask a lot of questions about goals, and it amazes me how low most people set their sights. If someone asks me to help create a plan to achieve “Ultimate Success”, I can do that. If someone asks me to help create a plan to achieve a pitiful goal, I can do that too. The catch is that they will be different plans.

Wishes & Dreams should NEVER be wasted.

If you’re going to dream… DREAM BIG!

Have an Excellent day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Buy Now... or Get Out!"

I had an unfortunate customer experience at my favorite bookstore (Barnes & Noble) today. It illustrates The Good, The Bad & The Ugly about customer service in today’s retail world.

First things first, I am a very loyal B&N customer. I have been a paying member for over 3 years, and I spend well above the average amount on books for myself, family, friends and colleagues every year. I love to ‘hang out’ at my local store… working… reading… and buying. The one thing that I don’t do is drink $4 coffee or buy $3 brownies. That’s why today’s store visit was disrupted by a smiling rep telling me that I needed to buy something or move out of the seated area.

I quietly moved to another part of the store, but my favorite bookstore was not so special any more. After a polite phone conversation with the district manager, I continued to do my work at a less desirable location (without electricity). If the department manager had known how much annual business I represented, maybe he would have come over to thank me for being a loyal customer… instead of instruct his subordinate to kick me out. Appreciate every customer as if they are a paying customer.

The associate who was ordered to kick me out felt so bad that she came by later to apologize (and sneak me a warm brownie). Barnes & Noble is still my favorite bookstore.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Charge!

Most people rest & play exclusively during their time away from work. While the desire to ‘recharge your batteries’ in that manner is understandable, there are other things that also need ‘recharging’. How are you re-charging your:

  • Mind?
  • Dreams?
  • Relationships?
  • Business?
  • Health?

Most Monday thru Fridays are so hectic that many people don’t think they have the time to work on the things that are most important in their lives. However, when they finally DO have the time… they rest & play.

Most things in life loose their power in one way or another. What are you doing to get them fully charged again?


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Are Invisible!

At some point during our lifetime, we all wonder what it would be like to be invisible… to be able to move thru the world unseen. I believe those thoughts come from our subliminal understanding that we already are invisible most of the time. Think about it…

As individuals & organizations, most of us are (and have always been) ‘invisible’ to 99.9% of the world (including our target market). Most people do not know who we are… Most people do not know what we do… Most people could not find or contact us even if they wanted to. Even when we are physically close to others (driving on the road, walking on the street, shopping in the stores), people don’t truly see us.

From a business standpoint, if customers do not regularly see, hear or at least think about you… you are invisible! What are you doing to change that?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Coming Soon!

Wow... what an amazing, productive November!

That's the great news... The short-term casualties have been my blog posts and quality fb updates. Thanks to all of my loyal followers. Coming Soon: a consistent flow of valuable information & resources (especially on my facebook fan page).

Have an Excellent weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Successful People - Part 2

Successful People...

  • look at every challenge as an opportunity
  • always keep & project a positive outlook
  • read books & blogs to learn & develop specific knowledge & skills
  • practice their crafts every day
  • help others before seeking to be helped
  • learn wisdom from previous generations… and teach wisdom to future generations
  • work longer & harder than their competition
  • work smarter instead of only harder
  • learn what other successful people learn
  • do what other successful people do
  • are where other successful people are
  • utilize focused To-Do lists

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Successful People

Success is not for everyone. It should be… but, it’s not.

There are two things stopping most people from achieving the success they desire: successful thinking and successful behavior. In the tradition of the “Chicken or the Egg?” debate, some people waste their time asking, “Which comes first... successful thinking or successful behavior?" Of course, the correct answer is: “Both!”

Without successful thinking… you will rarely have successful behavior. Without successful behavior… you will never become successful. Like most things in Life, while that might not be that easy… it is that simple.

Do you think and behave like a successful person? What if you did?

Friday, October 30, 2009

"It's Easy!"

“It’s easy!” That’s what Pat (my Southwest airlines flight attendant) told me when I complimented and thanked her for excellent customer service during my cross-country flight (#1691) today from Chicago-Midway to Oakland.

From her bright sincere smile when I entered the plane… to her concern for my leg room immediately after I sat down… to her hilarious (and informational) flight announcements… to her continuous care for me and the full plane of passengers… to the gifts that she gave me (a pen and some playing cards)… to her final “Good-bye, we’ll see you next time!”… Pat was the model of Excellence. I’m confident that she would have handled her ‘real’ job of caring for us in an emergency if that had occurred. Yes, Pat… it is easy!... Unfortunately, it is less than common… it is very rare.

What if every person in your organization cared that much for your customers… and represented your brand that well? (Punch Line: They can because… it’s easy!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Distractors


My son and I took a long walk yesterday. We had a great 90-minute conversation about… everything. While that in itself makes me happier than words can express… the coolest part about it was that we did it totally ‘disconnected’. In other words, we both left our cell phones and iPods at home.

It was a good old-fashioned Father-Son experience. Recently, most of our father-Son moments have included multiple types of distractions (phones, text messages, e-mails, television and/or iPods). “That’s very interesting, Dad. Hold on while I respond to this text message!” “I’m sorry, what did you just ask?” (I was listening to the best part of this song from the ear phone stuck in my ear.)

Distractors! Can’t live with them… don’t want to live without them. What is standing between you and having meaningful conversations with the ones you love?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quality Time


I spent several hours with my parents the other day. That’s the great news… because any time spent with “Mom” & “Daddy-o” is precious to me.

We spent most of our time together doing ‘busy work’ – making a quick trip to the bank… and me providing technical support on the new computer. I ‘blinked’, and it was time for me to leave. While I felt blessed to have had another day with two people who I Love, I was overwhelmed with the question I ask myself sometimes, “What if this is the last time?”

Was that the best use of our precious time together? Should it have been spent re-living memories… asking unanswered questions… taking a walk… getting one extra hug… or ‘just’ spending quiet time together? Most of us say that they want to “live life to the fullest”, but rarely do we appreciate what we have until it is gone.

Who should you be spending Quality Time with… while you still have the chance?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Understanding Needs vs. Developing Wants

I have been teaching & coaching sales professionals for over 25 years about the art of understanding needs. While that skill will always be a critical part of every human interaction, I have been neglecting possibly the most important human emotion: Want.

We all know what we need to do... but the one thing that holds most of us back is wanting the end result enough to actually do something. When we truly want something, we learn the information… develop the skills & behavior… ignore the fear… and work hard & long enough to get it.

In addition to understanding needs, we must focus on developing wants in order to help others (and ourselves) be more successful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Secret to Success

Step 1: Learn what successful people know

Step 2: Be where successful people are

Step 3: Do what successful people do

Step 4: Repeat

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Expenses vs. Investments


“I can’t afford that!” is what most individuals & organizations say on a daily basis. Cutting expenses is a top priority for everyone these days. Reducing headcount (that means firing employees)… forcing time off (that means cutting pay)… eliminating training (that means stopping skills development)… are just a few of the first things to happen when times get tough.

Here’s the problem with those tactics: employees are not an expense… the work that they do is not an expense… developing skills necessary to succeed is not any expense… They are investments. You cannot cut your way to success. You must grow your way there.

At this point in my life, I cannot afford to buy a telephoto lens for my camera… I cannot afford to take my wife to a fancy restaurant… I cannot afford to take a vacation… However, I did just invest $350 in a training course that I believe will quickly make me a social media expert. It was an investment (in me) that will have immediate and long-term benefits. As my father once taught me, “People find ways to afford what they really want.”

What investments are you making for your personal & professional success?

Friday, October 16, 2009

America's Next Top Model


Are you a top professional model? NOT fashion. I am referring to business. Do you set the standard… project the image… have the beliefs, attitude and behavior that others respect? Do you act professionally at all times? Have you created such a consistent individual brand that everyone thinks of you in the highest regard?

Looking good is only part of being a top model. Belief… Understanding… Skills and (most importantly) Behavior make all the difference. Everything that you say or do represents who you are.

What are you doing to become America’s next top model?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have an idea...



I have an idea... let's spend $20 to see a movie about the end of the world.

I have an idea... let's watch a tv program about murder, rape, sorrow & despair.

I have an idea... let's listen to music that promotes the mistreatment of women.

I have an idea... let's complain about everything that's wrong with our lives.

I have an idea... let's NOT!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

"What Have You Done For Me Lately?"

Proud individuals or organizations often attempt to live exclusively off of past successes. This practice can only last for so long, and it tends to be extremely dangerous. Eventually, everyone must start delivering results again.

Sports franchises that have not produced a winning product for years… Companies that have not been leaders of their industry since back-in-the-day… Individuals who continue to dust off testimonials that are decades old… mistakenly allow themselves to live comfortably in the past instead of facing the reality of the present.

“Learn from the past… Prepare for the future… Live in the present”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simple Things

Your customers are a lot like cats. They can be very particular. They like what they like… and ignore what they don’t.

I was in a pet store the other day, and I realized that pet accessory providers want me to purchase an expensive cat 'haven' (with multi-levels and luxurious carpet)… but my cat? He likes to hang out in a plain paper bag.

While most people understand that the real target market for cat havens (and cat food for that matter) is the cat owner, it’s never a good thing to ignore the end-user completely. Often, all they want are the simple, convenient and familiar things in life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Belief drives Behavior

"Would you like to be a motivational speaker some day?" By asking this seemingly innocent question to novice public speakers, I quickly determine their level of confidence, drive and probability of achieving their goal... because they really should give only one of two answers: "No"... or "I already am!" Their attitude makes all the difference.

Please note that I did not ask, "Are you a great motivational speaker?" The question was not, "Are you a professional motivational speaker?" I did not inquire, "Are you a successful motivational speaker?" But, that is the way that most people hear those questions, and (tragically) that is the way that most people behave. They think that they must achieve a certain level of proficiency before they can 'be something'. As a result, many people rarely become something.

The moment that you believe you are a motivational speaker (instead of just wanting to be one), you will behave differently. You will search out great motivational speakers for advice... you will read books on public speaking... you will join Toastmasters... you will watch TED.com... you will speak as often as possible (for fee and for free). Belief drives behavior.
Stop wanting... Start being!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Labels

It feels like we cannot go through one day, news broadcast, interview, article or conversation without people calling each other a name. They recklessly put a blanket stereotype label on an individual, group or organization because that’s the easiest way to express a one-sided thought.

“Liberal!” … “Conservative!” … “Socialist!” … “Feminist!” … “Racist!” … “Terrorist!” … “Idiot!” … “Bum!”

It requires very little thought or effort (regardless of your side of an opinion) to yell out a label and attempt to move on… Here’s a challenge: Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) get away with putting a label on somebody. Describe the behavior that bothers you, and be prepared for a civil debate to make your point.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gatekeepers

“Gatekeepers are the enemy! If they would just stop blocking me from getting thru to their bosses, I would be much more successful!”

That is the attitude of many sales professionals whose job it is to initiate unsolicited contact with decision makers. They view executive assistants, administrative secretaries and lower level managers as problems… instead of what they could be – valuable assets. Most people mistakenly believe that it’s the job of a gatekeeper to keep everybody out… to prevent salesmen and other nuisances from bothering the boss.

That is not true... because like any great filter, it’s the gatekeeper’s job to improve productivity by keeping out the waste… and letting thru only the good stuff. Therefore, if you don’t have the ability to prove your value to a gatekeeper well enough to get thru, then that person did their job.

Possibly more than any other person in an organization, the gatekeeper knows the executive’s goals, priorities, headaches, hot buttons, schedule AND availability. Never trivialize, disrespect or fear them. Treat them as if you want them to become your very best friends… because you do!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Failures Wanted!


How many times did you fail last week?

If your answer is "Zero!", don't be so proud. That only proves the fact that you did not try hard enough... or stretch yourself far enough... because if you're not failing on a regular basis, something is wrong.

Most people are proud of the fact that they are not only confident... they are competent in everything that they do. I was the same way for most of my career. But, after much personal reflection, reading and hearing words of wisdom from people that I trust, I realized that I was not a failure at success... I was a failure at failing.

Don't fear people telling you "No!" or turning you down. Don't fear missing your short-term goals. Failure is an absolutely necessary part of achieving your potential.

Here's wishing you a future of many failures... and much success!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Make A Better Tomorrow... Starting Today!

Starting today… Let’s:

Become a healthier nation & world by eating better & exercising more…

Improve our financial situation by becoming more financially intelligent, creating more real jobs and holding our leaders accountable to ‘Do The Right Thing’…

Lead the world out of war, hate & despair by taking the moral high ground in everything that we do…

Regain our lead as having the best schools & banks & communities by dismissing our petty differences and addressing the serious issues at hand…

Have zero tolerance for every individual or organization that creates, markets or distributes ‘poisons for consumption’ just to make a profit…

We have tried living our lives in ‘isolation’… with a mindset of fear, hatred and scarcity. How has that been working so far? Improve your Life… the lives of your loved ones… and the world by accepting the 30-day Challenge:

1. Eliminate all of the negativity in your Life

§ Negative television, music, movies, conversations and thoughts

2. Remove the distractions in your Life

§ Things that prevent you from making your life and the world better

3. Capture your thoughts in a journal

§ Goals, dreams, plans, observations, etc.

4. Embrace the Silence

§ Allow uninterrupted thoughts to flow

5. Read – Read – Read

§ Take advantage of your free access to every piece of knowledge & inspiration you could ever need

We can save the world by stopping all negative influences (incoming & outgoing)… creating our own reality… and looking inward for The Solution. Make a better tomorrow… starting today!

(This blog post was inspired by Randy C. Wilson. Check him out at www.longliveyou.com)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lessons Learned... Lessons Forgotten

Life is precious...
We can get past petty differences...
Tomorrow is not guaranteed...
We can come together as a nation...
Something 'important' one day… is meaningless the next...
True heroes do exist...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Make It!

Make it Better!

Make it Happen!

Make it Authentic!

Make it Remarkable!

Make it Memorable!

Make it Stick!

Make it Yours!

Make it Honest!

Make it Personal!

Make it Valuable!

Make it Now!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Honor Your Rank

Certificates of Achievement should mean something. They should indicate a level of understanding, expertise and performance that translates into a minimum standard of behavior… without exception!

I observed an advanced class of young karate students one day. Each student had a rank of brown or black belt. I watched this group workout with a feeling of amazement and embarrassment... as most of the students sloppily executed their routines. Despite having reached two of the highest levels in their craft, many of them could not throw a decent punch or kick… I blame the teacher for advancing students just to prevent them from quitting. I blame the parents for not holding the teacher accountable to actually teach their kids. And, I blame the ‘real’ advanced students for not questioning the fraud.

If you look closely, you can see similar situations in all walks of life:

  • Sales professionals who don’t listen
  • Teachers who don’t care
  • Doctors who aren’t compassionate
  • Distinguished Toastmasters who say, “ah & um”
  • Customer service reps who aren’t nice
  • High school graduates who cannot read
  • College graduates who have no marketable skills
  • Parents who are unable to raise their children
  • Politicians who abuse our trust
  • Adults who act immature

How do you honor your rank?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Change

According to an NFL expert, 40% of all offensive plays break down and don’t go as originally planned. Therefore, the true test of a quarterback is not his arm strength or other athletic gifts… it is his ability to adapt to Change.

The quarterback must make an immediate assessment of the new situation… consider the vast array of options… choose the best course of action… communicate the new plan to the team… then flawlessly execute the play… all within a matter of seconds while powerful, skilled opponents try to stop him. This challenge repeats play-after-play, series-after-series, and game-after-game.

Similar situations can also be found throughout the business world every day… as executives, managers, sales professionals and entrepreneurs are challenged to succeed in this ever-changing world. Change is not probable… it is certain. And, the only way to perform at your absolute best when the ‘game’ is on the line… is to practice so much and so hard that nothing surprises you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

'Right Place' at the 'Right Time'

As a solutions provider, there is only one place where you must be… and that is exactly where your customer needs you. There is only one time at which you must be there… and that is exactly when your customer needs you.

If you are any other place… at any other time, you are (at best) irrelevant or (at worst) an annoyance. Where and when do your customers need you?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cause & Effect

I invest in my team because I have money… I have money because I invest in my team.

I’m happy because I’m relaxed… I’m relaxed because I’m happy.

I’m healthy because I exercise… I exercise because I’m healthy.

I smile because I’m in a good mood… I’m in a good mood because I smile.

I’m intelligent because I read… I read because I’m intelligent.

I learn because I love my teachers… I love my teachers because I learn.

I’m a successful salesman because I listen… I listen because I’m a successful salesman.

I’m optimistic because life is good… Life is good because I’m optimistic.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Success Library - Part I

Do you have all of the knowledge necessary to succeed? Could you benefit by learning more information about your craft or industry? Then, that must mean that you have a success library of books that are helping you gain that knowledge.

You are the only person preventing yourself from gaining the knowledge you need to be successful.

What’s in your success library?

Here are some recommendations:

Leadership: Tribes by Seth Godin / The Essential Wooden by John Wooden

Achieving Excellence: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell / Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

Perseverance: The Dip by Seth Godin

Problem Solving/Creative Thinking: The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

Passion: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball by Kevin Carroll

Business Improvement: Good to Great by Jim Collins

Success: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Avoiding Organizational Disaster: How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins

Sales: The Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

Stress Management: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

Miscellaneous Wisdom: The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"You're Fired!"

Most people think that only bosses can fire someone. That is not true. Every individual & organization has not only the authority, but the obligation to fire the following types of people:

  • Underperforming employees
  • Unprofitable customers
  • Negative friends
  • Valueless manufacturers
  • Disengaged board members
  • Inactive volunteers
  • Boring television
  • Bad musicians
  • Irrelevant news
  • Lying politicians
  • Etc., etc.

A negative influence is worse than no influence. Who should you fire today?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lessons From The Lawn

Personal & professional relationships are a lot like grass. Nurture them with regular attention… provide basic care… and they will reward you with many years of growth. Neglect them (for even a short period of time), and not only will you guarantee short-term damage… you run the risk of killing them forever.

For the record, it does not matter if it’s “not your fault” (like not realizing a sprinkler head is broken for three consecutive 100+ degree days). Neglect something or someone, and you might have to start all over again.

Who are you neglecting?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"You're Special!"

Are some of your customers more ‘special’ than others? Maybe it’s the amount that they purchase… or how much they contribute to your bottom-line. Maybe it’s their longevity as a loyal client… or maybe it’s just the prestige they give you by being your client.

Whatever the criteria… every customer is not the same.

So, what are you doing about that? What are you doing to show your ‘special’ customers that they are important to you… and that you really appreciate their business?

If you want to differentiate your company, maybe you should differentiate your customers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Are You REALLY Doing?

It is very easy to pretend that we care about others in our lives… because the words come so easily – “How are you doing?”… “I hope that you are doing well! With good intentions in our hearts, we ask these types of questions… make these types of statements… and, then go on with our lives pretending that everything is OK.

Underneath the surface, however, everything is rarely OK… and often those same people (who just gave us the answer they thought we wanted to hear) are desperately searching for words of advice, encouragement or a shoulder to lean upon. They are desperately waiting for someone to ask, “How are you really doing?” so that they can be honest… and trust that true friend with the truth.

As this world becomes more & more ‘connected’… we can easily become more & more detached.

Which Comes First?

Thinking & behaving like a successful person... comes BEFORE being a successful person.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Progress Reports

Many parents wait for their children’s report card to find out how their doing in school… others will wait and look closely at the mid-term reports… some diligently attend the back-to-school parent/teacher conferences… and even fewer will take a daily interest in how their children are doing.

These are all various forms of progress reports. While most of them focus only on past performance (homework, projects, quizzes & tests), some of them also realize the importance of looking at current behavior.

Last week, without any of the standard measures of performance listed above, I saw all that I needed to see to accurately predict the future success of four teenagers. On the second day of school, these four boys were huddled around a table in a library… studying their homework… Case closed!

Whether you are predicting the future success of children… employees… service providers… or elected public officials, all you need to do is observe their daily behavior (especially when no one is watching… and especially early in the ‘game’) to know the answer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Be First!

Here is an easy way to make your ‘world’ a better place immediately:

Be First…

to make eye contact…

to say, “Hello!”…

to call a truce…

to be optimistic…

to say, “Thank You”…

to apologize…

to take care of an issue…

to smile…

to turn off the television…

to give a hug...

to offer a solution…

to say, “I Love You”…

Life is too short to wait for the others... to do what we all should be doing anyway.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Need to Know?

Once again, I attempted to endure the nation’s most popular news broadcasts… watching what were supposedly the day’s “Top Stories”. I turned off the television dissatisfied, knowing that everything I had just seen was totally irrelevant to my needs & interests.

Here is a random list of common and not-so-common daily topics circulating in your world... You decide which are truly Need to Know:

How a celebrity died

The details of a murder

The state of your personal finances

The latest gossip around the workplace, organization or community

The location of your children

The opinion of stranger barely smart enough to write 140 characters

Today’s stock market results

The latest opinion poll

The character & behavior of your child’s friends

The quality of education in your schools

The opinions of your ‘best’ customers

The gruesome details of a shark attack

The feedback of your ‘lost’ customers

Ways you could help make the world a better place

The needs & wants of your target customers


Challenge: Make a list of the most important information that you need to know. Compare that list to what you spend most of your time watching and listening to. Then, decide whether or not you should change your behavior.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ask!


By the nature of who you are… people will pretty much answer any question that you ask them… won’t they? Of course, the depth and truthfulness of those answers will greatly depend on how much trust & credibility you have created… but they will answer you. That being the case… what information do you need to know in order to help them?

Would it be helpful to know their:

  • Goals & objectives?
  • Vision of success?
  • Vision of a world-class partner?
  • Priorities?
  • Perceived value of your solution?
  • What they like about their current provider?
  • Decision making criteria?
  • Current strategy?
  • Deal breaker issues?
  • Etc., etc., etc…

If you believe that people will answer any question that you ask… and you believe that certain information would help you help them… ASK!