May 2nd, 2012
Behaviors that are genetically transmitted from generation to generation are know as instincts. Psychologists William James and William McDougall argued that people have instincts that foster survival and social behavior.
- Formed by Psychologist Clark Hull in the 1930’s.
- According to the Drive-Reduction Theory, people and animals experience a drive arising as a need from an unpleasant tension.
- They learn to do whatever they can to reduce that tension by reducing the drive. Like eating to reduce hunger.
- The body looks to achieve a state of equilibrium , or balance. The tendency to maintain this state in the body is called homeostasis.
- Homeostasis works like a thermostat in a home. Going through various stages of heating and cooling in order to maintain a set temperature.
The humanistic theory suggests that people are also motivated by the conscious desire for personal growth and artistic fulfillment.
Abraham Maslow concluded that people are willing to tolerate pain, hunger, and other tensions to achieve their artistic or political goals.
Maslow believed that striving to do, or be, something meaningful in life is essential to the human well being, just like food.
Many artists, actors, musicians, and writers commit to their goals even if they are unable to make a living by perusing their passions.
People strive to fulfill their capacity for self actualization. Self actualization refers to the need to become what one believe s he or she is capable of being.
The Value of Understanding Sociocultural Theory
The Sociocultural theory is the theory that focuses on the roles of ethnicity, gender, culture, and socioeconomic status in personality formation, behavior, and mental processes. The foods that people eat, they way they eat them, and different ways of greeting are all derived from culture. For example coffee vs. tea, or hamburgers vs. tacos. J.K. Rowling began writing Harry Potter while she was on welfare. She incorporated some of the darker elements of her own life, like the loss of her mother and her battle with depression, into the series. Now she is worth an estimated $850 million dollars.
The Secret to Becoming Motivated is…
- The secret to motivation is doing what you want to achieve, but everyone already does this.
- You already have the motivation to do what you think is important, so you do it.
- Everyone has different motivations based on what they think is important.
- Whether it is someone’s education, sports, art, music, or fashion, we all do whatever we think is important to us. Therefore, we are all motivated.
What is your motivation? What motivates you is not what may motivate another. Surveying your clients, employees and members every year is crucial because motivation triggers do change from year to year.
September 9th, 2011
Do you walk into your office asking yourself what happened to the energy of your once vibrant sales staff? There is hope, you just have to give everyone their red balloon back. No matter what the age of the individual on your team, everyone still has a kid inside. A child lives inside of all of us whether rich or poor, educated or not, young or old. We all yearn for wonder, excitement and fulfillment, our red balloon.
When I was a little girl my grade school teacher announced that we were all going to sit Indian style on the floor and watch a French movie. We all thought, “Wow, a movie all the way from France at our school just for us!” What could it be about? As the teacher began to set things up for our movie, we were all so excited. It took her several minutes to get us situated and sitting quietly on the floor. She then told us the movie’s title ”The Red Balloon”. We all laughed with excitement because after all, what kid does not love a balloon? What a fun title I thought! It seemed so perfect to me that I quickly sat quietly with anticipation of this French movie. When the projector went on, I remember hearing the movie reel go around and around as it began to show the movie on the pull down screen in front of the chalk board. Thinking back to moment, it was really amazing how a 1/2 hour story about a red balloon befriending only one little boy could ignite a fever of excitement and motivation amongst 20 children that lasted the rest of the week.
“What is in it for me”, the question heard throughout every organization at literally every level. Whether those that do business with you are your employees, clients or donors, they all want to know the answer. Give them their choice of incentive. Either provide them year long discounts to theme parks, dinning or their choice of vacation.
Those that manage sales teams have opportunities to give their teams red balloons providing them with incentives that bring out their energetic inner child. Whether their inner child responds to incentives they can share with their families, experience with their buddies or fun from a new electronic toy, their “red balloon” is one that will not soon be forgotten. Like most kids we all share fun stories about experiences or prizes we have won. An incentive is usually shared imediately with others via email, text or photographs providing you with added advertising and sales. The best advertising of all is of course, the word of mouth.
Our red balloon provides us with an incentive to reach and stretch for our goals. It may seem that it is out of reach at first but as we continue to keep the incentive in our minds eye, we find ways to make that final jump grapping the string tightly holding it with pride and joy. We have reached success and have the red balloon for all to see.
July 20th, 2011
Boy, do I get happy happy happy when I find a coupon for my favorite restaurant! I can go dine and have a great time with my friends at a 25% to 50% discount. Coupons incentives are not just for fast food restaurants, there are now 3 star or better restaurants understanding that the motivation to save is what is drawing crowds back in to spend. When my friends and I go out we find ourselves spending a bit extra on drinks or desserts making everyone and the restaurant owner happy.
People use coupons and are feeling more appreciated because they are being offered an opportunity to enjoy living life as they did before this economic slow down. They are actively hunting for coupons and incentives to see movies, plays, concerts and make purchases at stores.
When the happy recipient uses their coupon, they are sharing it with everyone! This is why more and more retailers and restaurants are jumping in on the band wagon. They offer a discount but gain from supplemental purchases and the best advertising of all, word of mouth advertising. We all like to brag a bit about a great deal found or gift incentive we have received.
Over the past two or three years at Incentive and Rewards conventions, the choice of delivery for incentive coupons codes are via SMS Text Messaging. Coupon incentives are received quickly, attractively and are usually used more immediatley than the traditional mailer. Using electronics is a part of our busy lives and there is still is a certain excitement to it all.
Companies can buy movie and restaurant codes in bulk for delicious savings, extending coupon incentives with more employees and donors. Ah, the love of an incentive providing food and entertanment!
July 19th, 2011
How do you use the phone to your advantage, and connect with people that you can’t see, and who can’t see you? You do this by matching some key vocal characteristics of the person you’re talking with.
Match voice volume
Some people talk louder than others, others speak more quietly. Loud talkers may be hard of hearing, and quiet talkers may not know how hard they are to hear. Talk at a similar volume to create that sense of common ground.
Match talking speed
Some people talk faster than others, others talk slower. Talk at a similar pace as the person on the other end of the call, you’ll find it easier to get and maintain that positive connection!
Match speaking rhythm
You’ll find it easier to maintain confidence and speak with ease by hearing and matching the rhythm of the person you are talking with. Their voice is your guide.
Match their energy
If a person has a subdued energy, dial yours down. If the person has a lot of energy, amp yours up!
Match vocal variety
Some people talk in a consistently high voice tone. Others in a consistently low voice tone. Others are somewhere in the middle. Some people practically sing their words. Others speak in a monotone.
Match sentence length and word choices
Short and to the point communications are great in email. But people who get too much to the point may find that they’ve failed to give their listener the detail they need to make sense of what they’re hearing.
Likewise, some people use technical language and jargon, others use colloquialisms. Notice this and respond in kind, and you will make better connections over the phone and in general.
|First Thing Every Morning
|If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400 – with no balance carried from day to day – what would you do? Well, you do have such a bank…time.
Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it rules off as “lost” whatever you have failed to use toward good purposes. It carries over no balances and allows no overdrafts.
You can’t hoard it, save it, store it, loan it or invest it. You can only use it – time
Here’s a story that drives the point home.
Arthur Berry was described by Time as “the slickest second-story man in the East,” truly one of the most famous jewel thieves of all times. In his years of crime, he committed as many as 150 burglaries and stole jewels valued between $5 and $10 million. He seldom robbed from anyone not listed in the Social Register and often did his work in a tuxedo. On an occasion or two, when caught in the act of a crime by a victim, he charmed his way out of being reported to the police.
Like most people who engage in a life of crime, he was eventually caught, convicted and served 25 years in prison for his crimes. Following his release, he worked as a counterman in a roadside restaurant on the East Coast for $50 a week.
A newspaper reporter found him and interviewed him about his life. After telling about the thrilling episodes of his life he came to the conclusion of the interview saying, “I am not good at morals. But early in my life I was intelligent and clever, and I got along well with people. I think I could have made something of my life, but I didn’t. So when you write the story of my life, when you tell people about all the burglaries, don’t leave out the biggest one of all… Don’t just tell them I robbed Jesse Livermore, the Wall Street baron or the cousin of the king of England. You tell them Arthur Berry robbed Arthur Berry.”
Here are six terrific truths about time:
First: Nobody can manage time. But you can manage those things that take up your time.
Second: Time is expensive. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of our day is spent on those things or those people that only bring us two percent of our results.
Third: Time is perishable. It cannot be saved for later use.
Fourth: Time is measurable. Everybody has the same amount of time…pauper or king. It is not how much time you have; it is how much you use.
Fifth: Time is irreplaceable. We never make back time once it is gone.
Sixth: Time is a priority. You have enough time for anything in the world, so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities.
July 5th, 2011
It’s time to change your mind about money and wealth.
Freedom is more than financial, and living a wealthy life is about more than just making money.
Below are the top 10 principles you need to know when pursuing more money so that you end up with a happy, healthy, and wealthy life…
1. Give More Than You Take
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
To build true wealth, you must help improve other people’s lives as you improve your own. When you give more value than you take it helps everyone around you. Living this way means the growth of your financial wealth becomes a measure of how much you have given to others. Your success becomes an act of contribution.
Always remember, taking value may bring you temporary financial success but it can never lead you to happiness and fulfillment.
2. Live With Integrity
Never cause harm to other people or the environment, encroach on the property of others, or violate moral laws. Never insult, lie, or cheat for financial gains.
Follow the simple rule, “If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t”. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable telling your family about.
When faced with the choice between expediency and integrity, choose integrity because no amount of wealth can replace peace of mind and a clear conscience.
3. Find Your Inner Motivation
Building financial wealth is not an easy path. It is a long and challenging journey that requires a deep rooted motivation strong enough to see you through to the achievement of your goal. Superficial motivators like a fancy car or endless vacations sipping umbrella drinks on a tropical beach won’t cut it.
Below are four proven motivators that can help you stay the course long enough to succeed:
- Freedom from daily labor: This will allow you time to connect with family, indulge in your passion, or pursue personal growth so you can live your life to its fullest potential.
- Capacity to share: Contribution is a powerful motivator because the more you have the more you can share. Wealthy families have significantly empowered social and environmental causes through the charitable foundations they’ve created. Maybe giving is your reason for getting.
- Personal growth: When you’ve achieved financial freedom you will have more time to pursue personal freedom and achieve true wealth.
- Capacity to inspire: Your success will inspire the people around you to follow in your footsteps and pursue their dreams. By achieving true wealth you will have the chance to help people break free from the shackles of financial mediocrity.
4. Have The Courage To Find Your Own Path
As social beings, we are afraid to do things differently and independently. However, wealth won’t be achieved by conforming to the majority. Wealth comes from doing things that others don’t so you can acquire the wealth they never will. It comes from following your own unique path in life.
Dare to be different. Be brave enough to take on new paths and learn new skills so you achieve your goals — even if it causes you discomfort.
5. Discipline Is The Key
Wealth isn’t built overnight. Get-rich-quick is a lie.
Instead, financial wealth results from many little things done right that accumulate and compound over your lifetime. This is good news because it means anyone can do it. There are no magical answers or sudden strokes of luck required. Instead, success depends on simple daily habits like saving, investing, and re-investing. It depends on regular investment education through reading and listening to podcasts that develop your financial and business intelligence daily.
When you have discipline you take regular action that produces regular results. Without discipline you will fall prey to the leading wealth killer – procrastination.
6. Live A Modest Lifestyle
The foundation of wealth is delayed gratification. Spend less than you can afford so you can invest the difference for greater value in the future. Materialism doesn’t bring happiness but it does keep you from achieving wealth. It will keep you attached to the superficial rather than connecting to the deeper motivation that drives you to achieve wealth.
Don’t be fooled by the consumerism myth that being wealthy is about living a conspicuous lifestyle. Most self-made millionaires live modestly — that is how they built their wealth. The truth is lifestyle conflicts with wealth building. Your resources are limited and can only serve one master.
7. Create Supportive Environments
The path to financial freedom is not easy. Few succeed even with the best laid plans because life incessantly gets in the way by throwing up obstacles and distractions. The key to success is focused, consistent and unyielding action. To achieve this objective create a support system that maintains your focus as you work toward wealth.
Properly designed environments will literally pull you toward your wealth goals. Structure your relationships, financial habits, daily routine, family and work environments to support and reinforce you plans. Eliminate contradictory environments that distract or drain your resources. Shaping your environments is the most efficient path to achieving your goals with the least effort required.
8. Nobody Builds Wealth Without Leverage
Leverage is the key principle to building wealth. You will achieve greater results in less time when your efforts aren’t limited by your own resources.
Below are the 6 types of leverage you should consider using:
- Knowledge Leverage: How to work smarter — not harder.
- Financial leverage: Other people’s money.
- Marketing Leverage: How to connect with many for the same effort as one.
- Systems and Technology Leverage: How to get more done with less effort — automation, streamlining, standardized protocols.
- Time leverage: Other people’s time — employees, volunteers, assistants.
- Network Leverage: Other people’s connections.
You will never build wealth by trading time for money, and you will limit your success as long as you’re limited by your own resources. The key principle required for breaking through the obstacles that curb your success is leverage. It literally separates those who can build wealth from those who never will.
9. Manage Your Money Like A Business
Treat your money like a business because that’s exactly what it is — a growing wealth management business. Employ proven success principles in your wealth plan similar to a traditional business plan as follows…
- Competitive advantage
- Risk management
- Strategic planning
- Accurate record keeping
- Accountability milestones
You wealth plan should include all of these business principles while also incorporating your unique skills, interests, and resources so that it’s custom fitted to your personal life situation. You wouldn’t expect to succeed in business without a plan so why should wealth be any different?
10. Use Money Responsibly
You don’t own wealth: you’re merely its temporary guardian. Everything must pass including you and your money. Since you can’t take it with you the only alternative is to use it wisely while you are here and give it carefully upon death.
Always remember that money is a flow that passes through your control while you pass through this lifetime. Whether or not you use that temporary power wisely will determine the legacy of your life.
It will also determine if you lived with true wealth.
The goal for true wealth is not just financial success. It is about leading a balanced and fulfilling life that honors your deepest values. It is a about a life well lived.
As John Wicker wisely pointed out, “Wealth is not in making money, but in making the man while he is making the money.”
When you follow these ten key principles you will grow your financial wealth, and more importantly, you will grow personally.
That’s what true wealth is all about.
June 29th, 2011
Don’t let unresolved conflict poison your office.
Situation 1: Jeff and Maria are co-workers at a company that lets employees set their own hours. Jeff usually saunters into the office about 10 a.m., while Maria is there promptly at 9 a.m. She often has to take care of Jeff’s customers due to his lateness. He rationalizes that all is OK because he stays until 6 p.m. to “make up his time.” However, his clients usually stop calling at 5 p.m. Maria is angry with Jeff and becomes irritable and frustrated with him. She takes it out on him in daily interactions and sometimes even in staff meetings. Clearly, their conflict is an issue.
Situation 2: Allen and Leo are both managers. In almost every staff meeting, they bicker. They try to cut each other off, they criticize each other’s comments, and they waste time that could be devoted to essential business matters.
In both of these situations, conflict results in a waste of time, energy and productivity. Are business situations like these rare? Or is this kind of conflict exclusive to large companies?
Hardly. Conflict is all around us, and it occurs in every office to varying degrees and with almost every employee.
So what is conflict?
If you ask the average person, the responses could range from a negative situation to an extreme dislike for another person. At the same time, others could define it as anger, distrust, antagonism or simply something they dislike. These are all negative views, and I find them too narrow.
I suggest that conflict does not need to be characterized as just negative. In fact, it can be neutral or even positive. Conflict can simply be defined as tension.
Tension can be good, bad or neutral. Just because two people disagree doesn’t mean their disagreement is negative or poisonous; it can simply be a difference of opinion. However, left unaddressed and allowed to fester or grow, that neutral tension can become negative and possibly harmful. Then everyone, including the organization, suffers.
Whatever definition is used, we can agree that most people don’t like conflict. Indeed, they go out of their way to avoid it. In many cases, people view conflict in terms of arguments, anger, hurt feelings or being yelled at. And no one likes those situations. As a result, when conflict arises, most people will steer clear of it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Nonetheless, it is real, and it may become problematic.
So how should you deal with conflict in your workplace?
- Address It Directly. When conflict arises, you need to raise the issue with the parties involved. You want to emphasize the need for your employees to address it. At that time, you can explain that negative feelings and thoughts can be handled in an appropriate manner that can actually make them positive and productive.
- Listen to Both Sides. Speak with each party separately to gain their perspective on what the tension is all about. Make sure that along with any emotional information, you discuss specific facts or events that led up to or inflamed the situation.
- Bring Both (All) Parties Together. Allow them to share their version of the events or issue. Often, this step will elicit issues or facts that the other party was unaware of.
- Find Common Ground. This is very important, because often each side has some concern the other party can agree with, and this will become the foundation that enables you to bridge the gap that separates the parties involved.
- Encourage Compromise. For the sake of working together, each person must be willing to give in a little. This step may take a while because the sides are already firmly entrenched in their own viewpoint or version of what should happen to resolve the issue. When this is accomplished, everyone will feel a little better.
- Confront Negative Feelings. The feelings and thoughts that arose during the conflict stage have to be worked out. Unless this happens to everyone’s satisfaction, the problem may go away for the moment, but the hard feelings or thoughts will persist, and then a repeat conflict might occur.
- Be Positive. Resolve to address future conflicts in a positive manner. The model, of course, would be similar to how this one is being resolved.
Based on the experience the employees just practiced, they should now have the skills and a process in place to turn negative conflict into positive tension that propels them to deal with future problems.
Dr. David G. Javitch is an organizational psychologist, leadership specialist, and President of Javitch Associates in Newton, Mass. Author of How to Achieve Power in Your Life, Javitch is in demand as a consultant for his skills in assessment, coaching, training and facilitating groups and retreats.
April 5th, 2011
How encouraging employees to come up with ideas helped one company get creative in serving its clients.
Editor’s note: Small-Business Comebacks is a new series about resilient entrepreneurs and their strategies for rebounding from the recession.
For Suzanne Bates, the financial meltdown on Wall Street in 2008 had a quick and painful impact. Bates Communications, her small executive-coaching firm based in Wellesley, Mass., depended heavily on large, multinational companies. But many of those mammoth companies were ravaged by the market crash, and suddenly nervous about paying for comprehensive leadership coaching services. By late 2008, a few big clients signaled they would delay or cancel their coaching plans altogether. The company braced for at least $600,000 in lost revenue in 2009 — a major scare for a small company that had seen steady 25% annual growth since its 2000 founding.
“It was a rude awakening for us,” says Bates, 55-year-old founder and chief executive of the 10-employee company. “I knew things were bad, but I didn’t realize these companies would pull back as much as they did.”
- Bouncing Back After Losing a Big Client
- Rebuilding Sales After Deep Discounts
- Fixing a Nearly Fatal Flaw
- From Rock Bottom to Rebirth
- When Peers Prompt a Turnaround
- A Reinvention for the Long Hall
A Low Point
Problems didn’t stop there. The company’s new business manager uncovered bookkeeping errors that Bates says were caused by her outside accounting firm. It turned out her company had $100,000 less cash than she thought and a meager safety net for weathering the economic downturn.
Bates remained cautiously optimistic that business would pick up again by early- to mid-2009. But by February it was clear that wouldn’t happen. Corporation still weren’t spending and the company was so short on cash that it was difficult even to manage monthly lease payments.
“As CEO, you’re lying awake because you have a payroll and you have people who are depending on you,” she says.
Step one was to quickly cost cuts. In early 2009, her staff took 10% to 15% pay cuts in exchange for no layoffs. The company couldn’t afford its lease payments, so Bates negotiated with the landlord to temporarily stop payments for a few months in exchange for tacking the accumulated amount onto future lease payments, plus interest.
Your Reality Check
Bates had to answer tough questions to turn the company around. Consider how these may apply to your business:
• How can you provide the greatest value for clients in a changing business environment?
• In what ways can you be more creative and flexible in meeting clients’ needs?
• How can you inspire and encourage employees to share their ideas for growing the business?
Next, she cut the company’s marketing budget and examined every expense — even little things like offering free coffee for employees hit the chopping block.
Despite all the bad news, Bates mustered the strength to rally her employees to be part of the solution. She began thinking about how the company could better reposition itself to help cost-conscious clients weather the bad economy themselves. In regular staff meetings, they discussed how to make their coaching services more relevant and keep current clients engaged in the business. Bates’ coaches stepped up efforts to stay in closer touch with clients, ranging from a quick email once a week to grabbing lunch to sending them an article about leadership. The idea wasn’t so much to sell them on coaching immediately but rather to gather “insight and intelligence about where they were in terms of training and development.”
“We really figured out what was working and what wasn’t,” she says.
As it turned out, many big clients needed leadership training more than ever — they just weren’t in a position to pay a high price for it. So the company rolled out lower-priced options, including $25 teleseminars on topics such as jumpstarting sales in the bad economy. Some clients were also more receptive to group coaching sessions that can cost “a fraction” of ongoing one-on-one coaching, Bates says. For instance, one West Coast client that had previously paid for Bates employees to travel for one-on-one coaching on site switched to a more affordable group-training session via video conference.
On top of efforts to keep current clients, Bates began to expand its market by pitching leadership training to smaller companies, and even some non-profits, that saw the recession as an opportunity to gain market share. Bates coaches started using LinkedIn to make client connections and the company launched a Twitter and Facebook page, where it posted updates and thoughts on leadership topics.
By early 2010, the company had added several new midsize clients, while bigger corporate clients were improving financially and bringing back more of their business. Though annual revenues fell to $1.3 million in 2009 from about $1.8 million the previous year, Bates rebounded to $2.3 million in 2010 and the company is on track to hit $3 million this year.
Reinforcing client relationships in rough times — though not an immediate cash cow — allowed the company to identify other revenue-generating opportunities. Through social media and face-to-face meetings, the company’s coaches also developed much deeper relationships with their clients.
“There isn’t any aspect of our business that wasn’t touched by the experience,” Bates says. “We’ve come out of it a much more focused company.”
March 28th, 2011
People like people who like people By Harvey Mackay
Quick, name three people at your workplace whom you look forward to seeing every day. Now, name three who rain on your parade every time you see them.
Which list was easier to generate?
I believe it was Lucy of Peanuts fame who said, “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand!”
But Lucy would have had an argument from former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, who said: “Anyone who doesn’t get along with people has earned the kiss of death because that’s all we’ve got around here are people.”
Whether you like them or not, you need to learn to get along with others. Having a co-worker who is difficult to deal with can destroy an office dynamic, which can be very bad for business. Customers wonder, if they can’t get along with each other, how will they treat us?
On the flip side, a staff that has learned how to cooperate regardless of personal differences will project a positive vibe to customers. People, not specs, in many cases will be the key in determining who gets the sale.
William J. Bennett, former U. S. Secretary of Education, was once asked by a seventh grader: “How can you tell a good country from a bad one?”
The Secretary replied, “I apply the ‘gate’ test. When the gates of a country are open, watch which way the people run. Do they run into the country or out of the country?”
Bennett’s answer can easily be translated to business settings. If a company is good, people want to work there and customers know they are valued. The doors don’t spin fast enough at a bad company.
Never underestimate the importance of people in your life. And always look for opportunities to improve your relationships, no matter how good they already are.
Successful work relationships depend on several factors. Perhaps the most important is you. What can you do to become a better co-worker?
- Maintain a positive attitude. Managers and co-workers alike appreciate the support of someone with an upbeat outlook. Show some enthusiasm about your job and the organization you work for. Look for opportunities, not problems, and find the bright side of the challenges you face.
- Always demonstrate integrity. Be honest with people. When you don’t have an answer, say so. Admit your mistakes (and concentrate on not repeating them). Keep your promises, and meet your deadlines. All this shows your respect for other people and demonstrates your reliability.
- Show a willingness to try. Don’t be afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone. Volunteer for new tasks and extra responsibility. Take risks — be realistic about what you can and can’t do, of course, but don’t back away from a challenge because of the possibility of failure. Ask the right questions so you know what’s really going on, regardless of whether you fear you may appear “ignorant.”
- Co-operate. Be a team player — help your colleagues with their priorities, and share information instead of hoarding it. Know what your manager wants, and support him or her to the best of your abilities. Offer your support when people need it, so they know you’re not just out to get ahead for your own benefit.
- Manage conflict. The ability to resolve conflicts among different groups of workers is a coveted skill in most organizations. Companies are looking for employees who can build positive relationships between people, yet don’t shy away from controversy.
- Focus on other people. Ask questions that let other people talk, and encourage them to open up and share their thoughts. You’ll be less worried about saying something wrong, and you’ll probably find enough common ground on which to build a real conversation.
- Set a great example. Show others that they can count on you to be fair, friendly and even-tempered. Keep your cool. Remember that you are dealing with people who also have feelings, opinions and ideas. You can’t learn anything if you are doing all the talking.
- Then, take these suggestions and apply them to your customer service. Your customers are people too! If there’s one complaint I hear over and over again from customers, it is that some companies they deal with treat them like account numbers rather than flesh and blood. Deliver your customer service with a human touch. Your customers should feel like the technology you use is an enhancement of your personal service, not a replacement.
Mackay’s Moral: If you want to get ahead, learn how to get along.
March 7th, 2011
What happen to the front porches? They came on to the landscape years ago in the South and later were part of American Culture throughout the United States. Either small in size or like a big beautiful ribbon wrapping around the entire front of the house they could be seen almost every where. Each porch had its own lovely character and charm.
Porches were commonly admired in the south when people walked by on a warm evening. You could hear the creaking of the old rocking chairs as they rocked back and forth. Laughter filled the air and the lemonade glistened in the setting sunlight. The porch seemed to welcome all passers by over for a conversation or at least offered a smile and a wave to all who walked by.
The neighbor porch wasn’t just a place to cool off, it offered a connection to people and nature around it. Life is busy and now our front porch is social media. Social media offers us all a far reaching front porch, reaching out around the world bringing us many passersby and an education of what is out there to see and learn about. The only question is, what is the incentive for someone to visit your Facebook Page or website out of the millions that exist? Do you have have that welcoming feel and glistening lemonade that will attract others to interact with you on the Internet?
How Do You Make that Connection and Motivate Others onto Your Front Porch?
- Does Your Visitor Feel Motivated and Confident About Your Website?
- Does it Provide Beneficial Information?
- Does Your Website Answer Their Incentive Question, the “What’s in it for Me” Question?
- Does it Prompt the Visitor to Share Their Positive Experiences with Others?
- Do You Survey Employees, Clients, Donors and Visitors About Your Website?
Combine old with the new! People are simply starving for good old fashioned service and respect. Someone that appreciates their business and does not take it for granted. Offer incentives and reguarly thank your visitors oftne. Each click and phone call is an opportunity to present your business in a positive light and demonstrate your appreciation for their contact.
Keeping Your Porch Attractive to Others
- Make regular sincere calls taking interest in on their personal lives asking about their kid’s teams, their favorite sport or charitable organizations.
- Send articles or pictures that are of interest to your client on a personal enrichment level.
- Be an advisor and not a salesperson.
- Truly invest in your client for the long haul. Make it your goals to be there for them.
- It is not only the first impression that is important, it is every single impression.
- Be yourself and be personable. Laugh and show your lighter side.
- When in doubt use the Golden Rules, you can not go wrong.
Make your passersby all feel welcome so they have an incentive to come back.
June 4th, 2010
A wise teacher was taking a stroll through the forest with a young pupil and stopped before a tiny tree.
“Pull up that sapling,” the teacher instructed his pupil, pointing to a sprout just coming up from the earth. The youngster pulled it up easily with his fingers. “Now, pull up that one,” said the teacher, indicating a more established sapling that had grown to about knee high to the boy. With little effort, the lad yanked and the tree came up, roots and all. “And now this one,” said the teacher, nodding toward a more well-developed evergreen that was as tall as the young pupil. With great effort, throwing all his weight and strength into the task, using sticks and stone he found to pry up the stubborn roots, the boy finally got the tree loose.
“Now,” the wise one said, “I’d like you to pull this one up.” The young boy followed the teacher’s gaze, which fell upon a mighty oak so tall the boy could scarcely see the top. Knowing the great struggle he’d just had pulling up the much smaller tree, he simply told his teacher, “I am sorry, but I can’t.”
“My son, you have just demonstrated the power that habits will have over your life!” the teacher exclaimed. “The older they are, the bigger they get, the deeper the roots grow, and the harder they are to uproot. Some get so big, with roots so deep, you might hesitate to even try.”
Creatures of Habit
Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Merriam-Webster defines habit this way: “an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.”
There’s a story about a man riding a horse, galloping quickly. It appears that he’s going somewhere very important. A man standing along the roadside shouts, “Where are you going?” The rider replies, “I don’t know. Ask the horse!” This is the story of most people’s lives; they’re riding the horse of their habits, with no idea where they’re headed. It’s time to take control of the reins and move your life in the direction of where you really want to go.
If you’ve been living on autopilot and allowing your habits to run you, I want you to understand why. And I want you to let yourself off the hook. After all, you’re in good company. Psychological studies reveal that 95 percent of everything we feel, think, do and achieve is a result of a learned habit! We’re born with instincts, of course, but no habits at all. We develop them over time. Beginning in childhood, we learned a series of conditioned responses that led us to react automatically (as in, without thinking) to most situations.
In your day-to-day life, living “automatically” has its definite positives. If you had to consciously think about every step of each ordinary task—making breakfast, driving the kids to school, getting to work, and so on—your life would grind to a halt. You probably brush your teeth twice a day on autopilot. There’s no big philosophical debate; you just do it. You strap on your seatbelt the minute your butt hits the seat. No second thoughts. Our habits and routines allow us to use minimal conscious energy for everyday tasks. They help keep us sane and enable us to handle most situations reasonably well. And because we don’t have to think about the mundane, we can focus our mental energy on more creative and enriching thoughts. Habits can be helpful—as long as they’re good habits, that is.
If you eat healthfully, you’ve likely built healthy habits around the food you buy and what you order at restaurants. If you’re fit, it’s probably because you work out regularly. If you’re successful in a sales job, it’s probably because your habits of mental preparation and positive self-talk enable you to stay optimistic in the face of rejection.
I’ve met and worked with many great achievers, CEOs and “superstars,” and I can tell you they all share one common trait: They all have good habits. That’s not to say they don’t have bad habits—they do. But not many. A daily routine built on good habits is the difference that separates the most successful amongst us from everyone else. And doesn’t that make sense? From what we’ve already discussed, you know successful people aren’t necessarily more intelligent or more talented than anyone else. But their habits take them in the direction of becoming more informed, more knowledgeable, more competent, better-skilled and better-prepared.
My dad used Larry Bird as an example to teach me about habits when I was a kid. “Larry Legend” is known as one of the greatest professional basketball players, but he wasn’t known for being the most athletically talented player. Nobody would have described Larry as “graceful” on the basketball court. Yet, despite his limited natural athletic ability, he led the Boston Celtics to three world championships and remains one of the best players of all time. How did he do it?
It was Larry’s habits—his relentless dedication to practice and to improve his game. Bird was one of the most consistent free-throw shooters in the history of the NBA. Growing up, his habit was to practice five hundred free-throw shots every morning before school. With that kind of discipline, Larry made the most of his God-given talents and kicked the butts of some of the most “gifted” players on the court.
Like Larry Bird, you can condition your automatic and unconscious response to be those of a developed champion. This chapter is about choosing to make up for what you lack in innate ability with discipline, hard work and good habits. It’s about becoming a creature of champion habits.
With enough practice and repetition, any behavior, good or bad, becomes automatic over time. That means that even though we developed most of our habits unconsciously (by modeling our parents, responding to environmental or cultural associations, or creating coping mechanisms), we can consciously decide to change them. It stands to reason that since you learned every habit you have, you can also unlearn the ones that aren’t serving you well.