February 28th, 2011
Between emails, letters and voice mails we are communicated to hundreds of times a week. It all becomes a blur except when we receive communication that personally touches us in a sincere way. Communications that makes us stop and spend extra time on them either asks about our day, family or adds a comment of personal interests. In other words, real personalized human contact makes a difference.
During your last visit at Macy’s did you notice how you are either greeted or thanked for your business by using your name? It probably made you stop for a second and pay attention to their comments. Facebook has become one of the greatest forms of communication around the world because people want to be connected yet in a quick and concise manner. People want to stay connected and informed. They make quick decisions about whether to continue reading letters or emails throughout their busy days. The recipient reads every word and sentence, each is at a point of judgement to deciphers the communication’s value before it ends up in the trash can.
Have you been trying to effectively reach your audience, giving them an incentive to take action using the following:
- Relevancy: Is your email or phone call relevant to the individual? Or, are you just trying to cast the net and be happy with the few you reach?
- Significance: Is there quick indentifable value and incentive to the recipient? Would you take advantage of this offer or information, as a Salesperson or consumer yourself?
- Honesty: Are you being honest about why your are making contact and the statements within it?
- Helpfulness: Are you providing helpful or educational information? Is this information making a positive impact?
- Simplicity: Is your communication easy to understand? Are details about your services or condition of a discount buried in “gotcha” phrases that only an attorney could understand?
Next time you reach out, be personal making sure you answer their “What’s in it for me” question and capture the opportunity.
February 28th, 2011
What if, starting today, the word ‘no’ didn’t stop you anymore? What if every time you heard the word no you became stronger, more powerful, and more resilient? What if the greatest success strategy in the world was not to go for yes, but to go for no? The word ‘no’ doesn’t have to debilitate you. In fact, it can empower you to achieve a whole new level of greatness you never dreamed possible.
Intentionally increasing failure is the basis for the “Go for No” concept. The more people telling you “no” the closer you get to ultimate success. Most people would be shocked if they actually counted the number of times they hear “no” during a typical day or week, it’s usually quite low. The tendency is to avoid no’s at all cost, but now you will start going for no. You’ll hear more no’s, but also get more yeses.
Set “No” goals
Everyone sets goals for success. But how about setting goals for the number of times we fail? For example, rather than a salesperson setting the goal of having two prospects say “yes” to them, they set the goal of being rejected (hearing “no”) 10 times. Imagine the first two prospects they called on said, “Yes”, rather than being done (having hit their “yes” goal), they’d actually be behind because they still have 10 no’s to go.
This strategy continuously keeps people at the top of their game. If all you have is “yes goals” you might slow down (or quit) when you’re successful because you’ve met your goals. But if you keep going for no when the yeses are falling at your feet, the sky is the limit.
Here are 3 keys to turn failure into success immediately:
Change your mental model of “success” and “failure”
Most people operate with the following mental model:
Success < < < You > > > Failure
They see themselves in the middle, with success on one end and failure on the other. They do everything they can to move toward success and away from failure. But, what if you reconfigured that model?
You > > > Failure > > > Success
Instead of viewing failure as something to be avoided, turn it into a stepping-stone on the path to success and gratification. In other words: Success is the destination and failure is how you get there. To achieve significant success in today’s world failure is not just a possibility–it’s a requirement. We must see success and failure for what they truly are, not opposites, rather opposite sides of the same coin.
Intentionally increase your failure rate
If it’s true that the more we fail the more we succeed (and it is), then your immediate goal should be to intentionally increase your failure rate. With this thought in mind, you’re succeeding even when you fail.
February 22nd, 2011
In a new book, I discuss practical actions for orchestrating your thoughts, words and actions. One of the keys is to choose your view.
Our experiences are much less important than how we choose to think about them. The way we interpret our experiences shapes our beliefs about the past. Furthermore, our interpretations either limit or enable our future success. When we change the way we look at things, things change the way they look.
We need to control our own internal weather, like a thermostat, instead of absorbing the conditions and circumstances around us. Hot or cold outside, you set your thermostat to 72 degrees and it maintains your house at that temperature whether it’s a cold night in New York or a hot summer day in Dallas. We can set our own internal thermostats to “joy” and choose a positive view.
For example, a mission-critical project you are leading has “promotion” written all over it, but it bombs – it’s over budget, past its deadline… the works. How you choose to interpret those facts is where you can shape your future. Are you a failure, a poor leader who is maxed out and on her way out? Or, are you a great leader in the making who is learning some tough lessons that will help ensure success on the next project when your true colors will show? Facts are facts, but the view you take is your choice.
If you find yourself having a negative thought, say “STOP!” out loud, and replace it with a positive thought. Saying “STOP!” out loud is important so that you can actually hear yourself controlling your own thinking. Let’s see how it works.
A friend told me about a situation that used to drive him crazy. He would drive home after a hard day through rush hour traffic and find the driveway to his garage impassable, blocked by his children’s bicycles and toys. He reacted something like this: “These kids have no sense of responsibility. They never pick up after themselves and it’s a hassle for me to move their junk just to get in the driveway.”
Then he said, “STOP!” out loud. He decided to choose a more positive view and he responded with, “My kids are still kids. It looks like they had a great time today. Boy, how time flies… I had better seize the moment with my kids.”
Sure, the driveway still looked like a yard sale after a windstorm and his children did not put their toys away. Nothing changed except his interpretation of the facts. He substituted gratitude for anger and changed his mind for good.
Here are four steps to turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones:
1. What is currently your single biggest challenge or problem?
2. Write down three positive things relative to this challenge.
3. Considering the three positive points you wrote down, restate your challenge as an opportunity you would want to embrace.
4. Start using this new description to think about your opportunity!
Set your internal thermostat on “joy” today. The choice is yours.
February 22nd, 2011
Where does vision come from? How does a leader develop a clear vision for the future?
At the earliest stages, the word “vision” may be somewhat misleading, portraying vision as a picture that we can see. The birthplace of vision isn’t the mind’s eye, but the heart. In the beginning, visionaries are guided by passion not sight. They must feel their way in the dark at first, and only through time do they gain a mental image of what the future could look like.
Vision is what you want to do in life, not only what you think should be done. I can think of a thousand noble causes, but only a select few resonate with my heart. Vision begins as a compelling want or desire. The genesis of vision isn’t purely an intellectual exercise; it involves monitoring your passions.
Passion generates vision, but I certainly do not recommend blindly following your heart. When developing a vision it’s necessary to realistically assess your strengths, skills, and available opportunities. For example, I may aspire to sing on Broadway, but if the sounds of my voice makes an audience cover their ears in pain, then it’s time to focus on another area of passion. Desire alone surely is not sufficient to develop a vision. Yet, every vision starts with an emotional spark.
Passion Births Vision
Ability is not enough to enable us to reach our potential. Opportunity alone will never get us to the top. Knowledge is a great asset, but comes up short helping us “be all that we can be.” Even putting together a good team is not sufficient. Passion is the difference-maker.
In my years of observing people, I have never seen an individual reach his potential without passion. Horst Schultze, former COO of the Ritz Carlton says:
You are nothing unless it comes from your heart. Passion, caring, really looking to create excellence. If you perform functions only and go to work only to do processes, then you are effectively retired. And it scares me – most people I see, by age 28, are retired… If you go to work only to fulfill the processes and functions then you are a machine. You have to bring passion, commitment and caring – then you are a human being.
Without passion we stop dreaming and settle for survival. We relinquish heartfelt vision in exchange for security and comfort.
One team of researchers followed a group of 1,500 MBA’s over a period of 20 years. At the outset of the study, the participants were divided into two groups, Group A and Group B.
Group A, 83 percent of the sample, was composed of people who were embarking on a career path that they had chosen solely for the prospect of making money now in order to do what they wanted later in life.
Group B, the other 17 percent of the sample, consisted of people who had chosen their career paths so that they could do what they wanted to do now and worry about the money later.
The data showed some startling revelations:
• At the end of the 20-year period, 101 of the 1,500 had become millionaires.
• Of the millionaires, all but one – 100 out of 101 – were from Group B, the group that had chosen to pursue what they loved.
In summarizing the research for his book Getting Rich Your Own Way, Srully Blotnick observed the following: “A missing ingredient had to be present if someone was going to become rich: they had to find their work absorbing. Involving. Enthralling.” The success stories choose passion over predictable earnings. They had a vision for life beyond material riches, and ironically, they ended up generating the most wealth.
To birth a vision, begin by paying attention to your areas of passion. What makes you feel alive? What matters the most to you in life? What activities can absorb attention for hours? Don’t worry about being able to see the whole picture immediately. As you look for ways to make contributions doing what you love, eventually a picture will emerge in your mind of how you can shape the future.
February 15th, 2011
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
It’s not what you have but what you do with what you have that will determine your success or failure. Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist said that the story of the human race is the story of people selling themselves short. He said people have a tendency to settle for far less from life than they are truly capable of. Many people are spinning their wheels in careers where they should be moving rapidly onward and upward. Here’s how you can put your career on the fast track.
Choose Your Parents Carefully
Someone once said that the key to success was to choose your parents carefully. That may be partially true but it is even more important to choose your job or career with great care. The choice of a job or occupation for which you are ideally suited comes before anything else. If you try to work at something you don’t enjoy or don’t believe in, you’ll never be happy, and you’ll never be successful.
Be the Best At What You Do
Which leads us to the next point. If you want to reach the stars in your career, you have to become excellent at what you do. You have to pay any price, go any distance, spend any amount of time necessary to “be the best.” Extraordinary rewards only go for extraordinary performance; average rewards for average performance; below average rewards, insecurity and failure for below average performance. And here’s a vital key, you are being paid today exactly what you’re worth – no more, no less. If you want to earn more, you must increase your worth, your value to others.
The Key to Motivation
The reason why choosing the right career, why doing what you love to do is so important, is because unless you really care about your work, you will never be motivated to persist at it until you become excellent. And until you become excellent at what you’re doing, you can’t move ahead.
The Key to Peak Performance
The antidote to these fears is the development of courage, character and self-esteem. The opposite of fear is actually love, self-love and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is simply a technique that boosts our regard for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and lose their ability to effect our behavior and our decisions.
Here are two things you can do to be more successful in your career.
First, set high standards for yourself and recognize that anything that someone else has achieved, you can probably achieve as well. There are no limits.
Second, select one key skill area that is important in your job and resolve to become absolutely excellent in that area. Start today to get better and better.
February 14th, 2011
When a child is born, new parents immediately learn about their new little girl or boy. They also begin to teach their baby what it means to be a girl or a boy. The baby arrives from home usually in either blue or pink and thus begins the process of the differences between the sexes. Girls learn about ruffles and princesses. Boys learn about mud and trucks. Boys are taught it is okay to be agressive while playing and aquickly learn about winning and loosing. Girls learn how to get along and preserve relationships.
Men can be recognized because they live their live in a structured hierarchy, they see business through the eyes of an athlete. Some boys play war games with soldiers and commanders. With girls, their world rarely has a boss Barbi Doll in it. Girls learn to look to others for input and participation. They think about all of the potential players from almost the very start of their play time. This is not to say that women are not good leaders because they are very good leaders. They stop to gater information, solicit feedback and consider the fridges of the situation.
When tacking a problem it is about the playing field for men. A man often will sort throught all the options before offering the solution. He will most likely not verbal his thoughts until he is certain where will woman will vocalize her thoughts along the way. Men have goal focused mindsets that result in the need to immediately “fix it” or “kill it”. They see a problem and target it and in their mind it is half way done.
Linear vs. multiple focus is viewed by men as; college is completed, they go to work and retire. Women look at living the life in phases savoring what they can. Womenn go to school, go to work, stop and have children, go back to work, become a Girl Scout Leader or join the PTA. Each phase is important to the entire picture. Women are the plate person at the circus who keep their plates spinning on sticks at the same time. Men are the Quarter Backs tacking one play at a time. Sometimes because of this one play at a time approach may seem who as unfocused because they are here there and everywhere.
Good leaders are those that can flex and change their style when necessary. Effective leaders are Emotionally Intelligent adjusting multiple times during a project for the common good. Unfortunately, both men and women will go on “auto pilot” and use the style their are used to and not adjust.
Coach vs. Scout Leader for everyone at different times. The coach’s job is to keep the team focused on the goal line. This style is perfect for a crisis or fast approaching deadline. The negative side to this style is that team players are in a receiving role most of the time and must except the commands of their coach. Working relations usually end up as a sideline thing. The Scout Leader style works best because of shared power. It involves promoting team input, creativity, added recognition and psychological “buy-in”. The downside of it though is, that this style might be proceived as weak and ineffective beause individuals who manage using coaching techniques see this as week. If you are effective long term change or “buy in” on several projects or processes this is usually the better style to achieve the desired result.
The language of the sexes. Females uses “maybe” or “I think I have a problem”. Disclaimers usually begin the sentence. Men are more direct and use banter. You might hear “what have you been doing, you look like you have been up all night.” Women would think more than twice when being so direct when they joke around. Often times you hear women say “did you see her face when you said that?” Men usually do not take note because they do not notice facial expressions as often as women do. Women prefer to face others when interacting in communicationwhich when with men it may appear too aggressive. Men prefer to stand shoulder to shoulder during relaxed discussion which women might perceive as a disinterested individual. Another point is women nod their head when they listen and men nod when they agree with what is being said. Funny isn’t it. It is all about what we recognize from the other depending on our sex.
Finding a What to Reinterpret the Intent of the Sexes:
- Reasses what the person is trying to say and take the time to interpret it.
He: “She is looking at this using her options. This is an effective way for her to choose the best solution to the problem.”
Her: “I’m processing this but he sees me as being clueless about what to do here. Maybe that is why he tunes me out when I am talking.”
Flexible Style and Consideration:
He: “Several of these point sound good but which one were you leaning towards?” “What do you see as the risks and benefits?” – Soliciting and considering (woman’s approach).
Her: “I am leaning toward option B.” “ Do you see any problem if we go that direction.” – Short and concise, kill it approach (men’s approach).
Leveraging is about respecting and using advantages of the collective mixture or unique characteristics, experiences and skills that each individual brings to the workplace. Most corporation open their doors to the best and broad set of talents and have a work environment that allows people to excel. Recognizing and maximizing the differences between sexes requires knowledge, empathy and discipline make it all easier.
February 14th, 2011
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.
In front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II
During the next year and one-month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A Romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7:00 pm at Grand Central Station in New York.
“You’ll recognize me, ” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.
I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened: A young women was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the women whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own
And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible; her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the women, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. “I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?”
The women’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!”
It’s not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell’s wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. “Tell me whom you love,” Houssaye wrote, “And I will tell you who you are.”