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Archive for September, 2010

Is Your Team Infected With This?

September 30th, 2010 No comments

There is a syndrome which can infect individuals or teams in the workforce.  It happens, most often, to sales people and their teams, but can infect people in other lines of work.  It is disastrous to productivity.  What is this crippling phenomenon?  It is “Hares” disease.

No, I did not misspell hare.  I am not referring to the over abundance of follicles on the bathroom sink after a shower.  The syndrome I’m talking about is named after the  Aesop Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” . This disease’s main symptom is lack of consistency.

It is very common for sales people and sales teams to make a big push at the end of the month.  They want their numbers to look good for bonuses, etc.  This is a healthy thing.  It injects excitement and enthusiasm into the team.  The difficult part for the leader is to keep the momentum up after the push.  The first week of the new month, every one who participated in the sales push are suffering from PTPS, or better known as Post Tremendous Push Syndrome.  The team gave its all and is now putting more contacts and business back in their pipeline.  And, yes, feeling good about last month’s performance.  Left unchecked, it could spiral down into “hare’s” disease.

When a sales person becomes infected with “hares” disease, they lack consistency in their performance.  They’ll work really, really hard for a certain length of time.  They’re activity is like a jet plane going down the runway, preparing to take off.  The pedal is to the medal.  They start to get some momentum for career take off, and then, “bam!”, they let up.  They stop doing what they were doing to generate production.  Their jet plane bounces back down on the tarmac and has lost it’s take off momentum.  They’re tired.  It took so much effort they just can’t continue.  They take a break to rest up before they start again.  Every time they stop to rest, they lose momentum.  Their career never gets enough speed and momentum to take off and get any real results.  Just like the hare in the story, they have stopped to take a nap.  After a time, they will become discouraged with their lack of progress and quit.

There is a difference between a “rabbit” and a “hare” in this narrative.  Every team needs a “rabbit”.  They are the excited, motivated individual that will streaks out in front of the pack and makes it happen.  They set the pace for the team, similar to the rabbit at the dog track.  That rabbit always stays in front of the pack, giving the pack or team the incentive and the motivation running to keep up.

As a leader of a team, there are a few tips to keep your team going with consistency, like the tortoise, to get the job done.

1.  Know your team’s numbers.  How many contacts does it take to get appoints set?  How many of those appointments will turn in to sales?  How many sales does it take to reach the team goal and individual goals?  Keep those numbers in front of the team and reward them for  their activity in areas which generate results.

2.  Watch for the signs in their performance which happens right before they slow down for their “nap”.  When the signs are there, coach, encourage, and keep incentives in front of them to keep their motivation up.  Reward consistency.

3.  If your infected “hare” is hindering the performance of the team, and step 1 and 2 doesn’t work, it may be time to remove them from the team.  Harsh as that may seem, it may be the only route.  This syndrome can be catching!  The last thing a team needs is a group of infected “hares”.

We can get frustrated with team members who seems to be a slow plodding pace, but consisitency will win every time!  This Aesop fable is a reminder, steady performance with a focus on the end result will get the job done!

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Is Competition Really Bad for You?

September 28th, 2010 No comments

I have noticed a trend in education.  The trend is to take competition out of the schools.  The crazy idea is, competition erodes a child’s self esteem and they don’t feel good about themselves if they lose. This ideology is, also, embraced by the new age movement.  Their idea, if I understand it correctly, is competition creates the feeling of lack.  There isn’t enough to go around.  Sorry, educators and new-agers.  I take issue with that philosophy.

Competition is a great thing to teach children.  They will run into it in the “real world”.  Wouldn’t it serve the child better to teach them how to compete and feel good about themselves doing so?  If we teach a child not to compete, or that competition is bad, we are handicapping them instead of giving them tools for their life’s journey.

There isn’t any way to weed out competition  Even in a socialistic society there will always be people who rise to the top of the pecking order.  Competition is the basis of a capitalistic society.  Competition is good.  Competition creates new ideas and better ways to do things. We are all reaping the rewards competition has brought to the marketplace.  Would our lives have been better if there hadn’t been any competition between Microsoft and Apple?  Of course not!

Could it be, we don’t want children to realize there will always be a price to pay?  This isn’t logical either.  Even if someone never wants to compete or work, and prefers to live a life on the government dole, there is still a price to pay.  It is cloaked in the disguise of not feeling good about themselves, having a chip on their shoulder, never having financial security, and not being able to do the things for their family and themselves they want to do.  They pay the biggest price of all!

Humans have always been competitive.  Even cavemen competed for food and the right to procreate with the cave woman of their choice.  Wouldn’t it be best to teach children how great it feels to win?

When I was in school, I wasn’t athletic.  My field of competition was in music.  I hated competition because it gave me a knot in my stomach and I felt sick with anticipation until it was over.  I worked hard,  practiced continually, and perfected my performance.  I felt fabulous when it was over!  What I learned, working hard had a tremendous payout at the end.  I learned the self discipline to stick with something until I completed it.  The rewards lie in doing a job to the best of my ability.  I, also, found out, I like me best when I am a winner.  These lessons have served me well in the business world.

Champions make the worst losers.  They never, ever, get used to losing anything.  They always strive to win.  I found, in life, the biggest prizes come from paying the biggest price.  When I really work hard and sacrifice, it has brought me the biggest reward.  It has always built my self esteem.  I know that I can, do well, whatever I focus on.  My mental attitude has triumphed!

Wouldn’t our efforts be better served to teach our children good sportsmanship?  Not how to lose, but how to be gracious when they win or lose.  We, as a society, will advance when we can teach our children to play full out.  Give the best of their ability.  When we really work hard and we are really prepared, we develop the expectation of winning and success.  Now, that’s a great feeling!

Want to learn how to set goals that help you succeed, click here!

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What does Luck have to do with Success?

September 27th, 2010 1 comment

We all have heroes.  Someone we admire.  They may excel in our favorite sport, or they could have reached a level of success in business we aspire to obtain.  We, all, need heroes.  When we pick heroes, we are celebrating their achievement of excellence.  What does it take to reach their level of excellence?

Sometimes, when we observe someone who is excelling we say, “they were born lucky!”, or “They have a natural talent.”  But, luck and natural talent are gifts that will only take us so far.  When it comes to luck, I’m sure you have heard the saying, “the harder we work, the luckier we get.”

What we aren’t seeing in our talented, lucky heroes, is the hours of practice it took to get them to where they are.  Or the sacrifices they made to achieve the level of excellence we are celebrating.  Sorry folks, there is no substitute for hard work.

Anyone who excels at something, whether it is sports or business has paid a price.  An athlete pays the price of injuries.  If they lose a game, they can’t stop to lick their wounds.  They have to get back after it, spending grueling hours practicing.  They do this over and over again.

A business person, also, pays a price for success.  They put in long hours and time away from family.  Perhaps, they’ve had business failures.  A business failure is devastating.  Picking themselves up, after a failure, to pursue their goals and dreams again is a difficult thing to do!

For instance, let’s look at the success of the McDonald’s company.  Ray Kroc endured much before he made it big with his idea of franchising the McDonald’s fast food restaurants.  He had a dream and worked in many industries before he stumbled across the McDonald Brothers when he was selling shake mixing machines.  He was in his 50’s and suffered from ill health.  After buying the McDonald brothers out, he put together the McDonald’s franchise system.  That was the missing piece for his  dream success.  Today, all we see is his success, which stands like a beacon of hope for those who’s dreams involve owning their own franchise restaurant.  His idea revolutionized the business world and impacted the way Americans eat.

Sacrifice is a tough word.  People shy away from it like a plague.  Sacrifice is giving up hobbies, TV, time away from family, and many hours of self improvement.  Sacrifice is denying oneself something they want, to put them closer to their goals.

Sacrifice is continuing to pay the price, even when everything goes to stink!  The easier route is to give up in defeat.  Beat ourselves up.  Accept being a broken failure.  The hardest thing to do, is to pick ourselves up and do it again.  It calls upon our inner strength and self discipline.  No one, but ourselves, can make us willing to pay the price, again.  To succeed, you must be one tough dude!  As someone I know and respect said, “if I had known how great it is to be successful, I would have paid twice the price.”

We don’t luck into success.  Success comes from inside of us.  Those who are willing to turn down immediate pleasures today and work hard, can receive the rewards of success and financial independence.  Then, someone will look at them and say, “he/she was born lucky”, “he/she has natural talent”.  But, we’ll know, won’t we?

To learn more about goal setting for your success click here!

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What is the Secret to Becoming Successful?

September 24th, 2010 No comments

On my quest for self improvement, I have studied a lot of information on the Law of Attraction.  When the movie “The Secret” burst on the scene it became an overnight success.  I must admit, I liked the movie.  But, even the makers of the movie will tell you, it’s not complete.  There’s so much more to being successful than visualization.

We could curl up on a pillow in our lotus position and visualize all day long.  I have nothing against visualization.  In fact, I love it!  When I visualize my success, it makes me smile!  It pumps me up!  It helps me develop my clear, concise mental picture of what I really want.  It is the daydream of inspirations which adds the fuel to my desires.  But, as Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident.  They came by hard work.”

I’ve also heard motivational speakers say, “it’s not how hard you work, but how smart you work that makes the difference”. There’s an element of truth to that statement.  We do need to work smart.  If we don’t, we can spend hours and hours chasing our tails and not getting the job done.  No matter how smart we work, it is still leaves the 99% of hard work we have to put in to succeed.

Napoleon Hill talks about “paying the price”.  Many people would LOVE to have a successful business and be financial independent.  If they could find that on their pillow of visualization everyone would be in on it.  There’s no way to escape it.  What separates the people who obtain success from those that don’t is still the ugly four letter word, W-O-R-K.

Most people aren’t willing to put in the sacrifice of hard work.  They aren’t willing to put themselves on the line for their idea and follow it through with an incredible amount of effort.   Not everyone is an Olympic athlete.  Why?  Because, not only does it take an amazing amount of talent, it takes an astronomical amount of work, sore muscles, getting up early, and working late nights.  Time and effort squared!  If it was easy, everyone would be an Olympian.

The next time you are presented the idea that we can visualize and get into the “flow” and all our desires will come to us.  Realize, this may be true for the vital 1% part of the equation of success.  We’ll still need the other 99% to succeed.  I say, let’s leap off those pillows and get the job done!

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What is the 4 Step Technique for Successful Goal Setting?

September 22nd, 2010 No comments

Fall is the perfect time of year for reflection.  The children have gone back to school, toting their new school bags and bouncing around in their spiffy new shoes.  Whether you are involved in back to school or not, it is the perfect time to set our last quarter 2010 goals, gearing up for 2011.

Most people don’t set goals and have little interest in doing so.  When goal setting is brought up, their eyes glaze over and they lose interest in the conversation.  This can be very frustrating for a team leader.  A team without goals will eventually shrivel up and die.  They will not have the focus to be effective.

Why set goals?  Life will give you exactly what you are willing to fight for.  When I am without goals I’ve found myself drifting through my life with no particular focus.  My life without goals is similar to a boat without a motor.  I feel as though I’m drifting along without any means of steering, unable to move forward with any speed or focus. My life is adrift and I feel less satisfaction.  My belief is, without measurable goals, my sense of creating lasting success in life has as much chance of happening as winning the lottery.

Here is a down and dirty 4 step process that has helped me get started.  These steps must be written down and looked at every day.

1.  Identify your long term goals. Many people are confused by this step.  A good way to start is to close your eyes and imagine what you want your life to look like in one year.  Imagine everything; career, financial, material, etc.  Write it down!  If you don’t write it down you are simple daydreaming.  After you have written it all down, do the same thing again only 10 years from now.

2.  Make a 90 day commitment. It’s time to take those goals and break them down.  Take your yearly goal and break it down into what needs to happen every 90 days to accomplish the yearly goal.  That gives you a bite sized piece to make a commitment to focus on.  Notice I said “commitment”.  Write it down.  Sign your name to it.  Then, go out and bust it like truly focused person.  Do everything you can to get the 90 day goal accomplished.  When a goal is broken down into 90 day increments, it is easier to give it an intensified focus.  Like the old expression says, “Inch by inch it is a cinch!”

3.  Reward yourself. At the end of the 90 day period, if the goals are accomplished reward yourself with a predetermined reward.  Maybe, it is a weekend away with your spouse.  Perhaps, it is buying something you really, really want and have been putting off.  This is your carrot to hold in front of your nose to keep you moving forward towards the goal.

4.  Punish yourself. At the end of 90 days if you haven’t accomplished your goal, punish yourself with a predetermined punishment.  When it is predetermined at the beginning of the 90 day commitment, you will be well aware of what you will be giving up if sidetracked. Punishment might be to work every Saturday for the next 90 days.  Or, take away a material thing you enjoy such as, your favorite TV show.  This is the step most people ignore.

It is smart to break the 90 day goal commitment down to even smaller bites by breaking it down to weekly goals.  Thus, using reward and punishment on a weekly basis.  This makes the reward and punishment that much more effective.

The most important thing about the 4 step process is to have fun with it!  Goals are not bitter medicine we must take.  They are a way to focus our energies to create the life we want to lead.  If you are interested in a more complete goal setting information click here!

Leave me a comment and share with all of us what you have found works well for you.

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The 3 Priorities to Achieve Balance for a Happy, Successful Life

September 21st, 2010 2 comments

I have worked in the business world for many years.  The saddest thing I have witnessed is to see someone who has work very hard, spending the majority of their time creating a successful career.  They finally reach that pinnacle of success in their career that they were striving for and they look around and that’s all they have.  Their marriage and family is gone, kicked to the curb by over focusing on their career.  They had lost all sense of balance.  They have achieved the dream career, but their life is in ruins.

Some people, actually,  use the above scenario as an excuse to not succeed.  They don’t want to put in the time and hard work it takes to succeed because they don’t want to lose what is precious to them.  I believe you can have it all.  I have witnessed it.  I know many successful people who have grabbed the brass ring in their career and have a solid life with their partner and kids.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have seen plenty of the first scenario.  But, it be challenging,  to say the least, but it can be done!

If someone achieves their dream success in their career, but loses their family and is spiritually bankrupt, are they really successful?  Creating a successful life begins by prioritizing the important things in life.  The successful people, I have seen, prioritize their top three things in this order.

1.  Spiritual – they have an active relationship with their God or what ever they call their creator.  They model their lives by the laws and teachings of their spiritual faith.  I don’t believe that a certain religion creates more successful people.  They may not even be affiliated with a religion.  Successful people realize there is something larger than themselves.  They acknowledge it and worship in their own way. Their communication with their spiritual side is their first priority.  Face it, faith and hope come from a strong spiritual connection.

2.  Family – isn’t this who we are working for?  If we really prioritize our families we will find the time to spend with them.  The time might not be quantity, but it should be quality.  Four hours of watching TV with the wife/husband and the kids is not quality time.  The key is, the time you spend with them should have all your attention. Schedule them in your planner and keep that appointment no matter what crisis happens at work.  If we have a great career but lose the closeness with our spouse and children, what have we gained?  When we always short change our family for our career, they aren’t really the priority they should be.  Our families should be our “why” for success.  When we move into the winter of our lives, our families will be the ones who keep us warm.

3.  Business – I am not naive enough to believe, when creating a successful career, we will always be in balance.  Project deadlines and business growth accelerations can take us out of balance.  When this happens, communication with our top two priorities is in order.  Our family, will understand short changing their quality time only if it doesn’t become the norm.

It is fun and exciting to build a successful career!  It should be the monetary means to build a successful life, not the life.

How Words of Encourgement Builds Self Esteem

September 20th, 2010 3 comments

My parents have recently moved into a full care nursing facility.  It became impossible for them to care for themselves and live independently.  I have become involved in the arduous task of preparing my parents’ home to be put on the market.  They had been living in the same home for 47 years and uprooting them was very difficult.  Those roots were planted very deep.  As I have been going through their belongs, I ran across a lot of my old school papers.  Looking at the grades and notes of encouragement, written in the infamous red pencil, made me smile.  I started to think about how much those simply words of encouragement had meant to me and helped shape my life.

Every time we receive words of encouragement it releases a small amount of “can do” hormones into our system.  Encouragement doesn’t produce immediate results.  It is similar to our body’s need for growth hormones. When we are young and growing a healthy body it is imperative to have a constant stream of these vital hormones.  when we receive a steady diet of encouragement it builds our expectations of success in whatever we are striving to accomplish.  Whether we are in athletics or business, our successes build up our self confidence and helps us compete in a competition rich world.

In many corporate cultures, they are as stingy with words of encouragement as they are with increases in pay.  It’s as if they think giving praise and encouragement, more than at review time, will give the employee a “big head”, or too much self esteem.  Do they think that if they are encouraging to their employees, and those employees start feeling good about their job performance, they will be off looking for greener pastures in other companies?

Encouragement is as important to the new person on the team as it is to the seasoned team veteran. It never get old hearing someone say they believe in you.  Leaders who give abundant encouragement have teams that reap the biggest rewards.

Every time we encourage someone and let them know we believe in them, we are adding to their self esteem.  Over time those words are put into their bank of inner strength.  In every life, adversities will happen.  During those troubled times, we will need to make a withdrawal from our bank of inner strength to lead us.

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