Monday, December 31, 2007

Actions Trigger Change

The biggest self delusion is probably the habit of doing the same things over and over, expecting a different result every time. If you want to see change in the coming year you have to start do things differently. Change comes about as a result of applying new thoughts to new actions.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Set Realistic Goals

Effective goals must be realistic and yet inspiring. Don't set targets that are so far out of reach that you know you can not make them. To lose 5kg [11lbs] of weight in one week is an unrealistic target but over six months (200 grams per week) you can surely make it if you really wanted to. To be inspiring the goal should be slightly out of your reach. Put in a little bit of "stretch" to make it a worth while and yet realistic goal.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Layer Your Activities

Figure out ways to do more than one thing simultaneously when ever you can. Try to layer activities on top of each other. For example, turn your car into a university on wheels and listen to audio programs while you drive. Watch the news or catch up on the latest movies while you work out on your treadmill or exercise bike. Be creative and come up with other situations where you can multitask successfully.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Desire For Gain, Fear Of Loss

Two of the strongest human motivators are "desire for gain" and "fear of loss". In sales use both sides to motivate a customer. In determining personal behaviours; watch out for fear and greed motivators. If we are not careful desire can make us do the wrong thing and fear can keep us from doing the right thing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's About Finding Your Passion

Usually we are good at what comes naturally to us and what we enjoy doing. Find something you are passionate about and make that your occupation. Stay within your area of strength. That's where you have the chance to make the biggest impact. This is the fast track to your meeting with destiny.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's About Enthusiasm

The ability to extrude enthusiasm and excitement is one key aspect in sales as well as in leadership. To become enthusiastic, one has to act enthusiastic. Studies show that companies, where its' people are excited and enthused, perform better than companies with just happy employees. When I say "perform better", I mean in terms of bottom line profit. Act enthusiastically!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Always Look Ahead

Whatever happened to you in the past is not necessarily an indication of your future. Many dietists say you are only one meal away from eating a nutritious healthy meal. Just because you had a sloppy hamburger yesterday does not mean you have to eat a pizza today. It doesn't matter where you are coming from, all that matters is where you are going. Don't look back, don't look down, look ahead!

Monday, December 24, 2007

When Your Heart Is In Your Dream

A clear picture of your goal, coupled with an unwavering decisive resolve is what you need to take you there. Your will is the carrier of the power to bring you to your goal. Intent is a force that moves you in a certain direction. The power to carry your dream to completion lies within the intention of your heart. "When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Develop Clarity Of Purpose

Unless you develop a crisp clarity about what you are trying accomplish it is difficult to keep the focus when you get pulled in different directions. Develop a personal mission statement and write it down. Create a clear inner picture of what success looks like to you. Now you have a compass to help guide your decision making.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Your Non-Verbal Communication

In any conversation your tone of voice accounts for 38% of what you say and your body language for 55%. Your words only account for the remaining 7% of the message. People believe the most dominant impression. To be influential it is important to synchronize the messages. Learn to speak non-verbal!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Value Of Your Time

If you are a hard worker like me, time is probably the scarcest resource in your life. Time is also the only non-renewable commodity in your life. In business, if you have an annual sales quota of $1M you need to sell for almost $600 every working hour of the year. To assign a value to your private time is more difficult but I submit that your private time is worth much more than your after-tax hourly income.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Intentions Versus Actions

We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our best intentions many times. I think the psychology behind this tendency is that we know we intended it and thought about doing it, even if we never did. Let's be honest with ourselves and realize that other people judge us just the same way we do them - by our actions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Write Your Goals Down

A Yale study, 1953-1973 on goal setting and later a Harvard study, 1979-1989; found that only 3% of the graduate students had written goals, 13% had goals but not written them down and 84% had no goals at all. Years later when surveyed it was found that the students with goals had succeeded far better than those without. In the case of the Harvard study the MBA students with written goals made 10x as much money as those with no goals at all. The lesson is clear: Write your goals down!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Provide Value Upfront

Be of value to your contacts. Find ways to be helpful and useful. To be effective in your sales and marketing message you need to provide a lot of value to your customers upfront in order to stand out from the crowd. Just like the vacuum cleaner salesman of old used to ask when he knocked on doors; "Can I clean the living room for you, ma´m?"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Work Your Objectives Every Day

Success often comes dressed in work clothes. If you expect to make it big, you must work toward your objectives every day! The ability to carry on, and self-discipline yourself when motivation is no longer as strong as initially, when you first made your decision and started out toward your goal, is the mark of a true champion. Without work, no victory!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Live For Today, Plan For Tomorrow

Our success and effectiveness often depend on our ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in our head simultaneously. Live each day as if it is your last; and plan to live for many, many more years. Martin Luther is quoted to have said: "Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant an apple tree." Ask yourself: "What would I do differently if I knew today is my last day on this planet? How would I plan for the long term none the less?"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Daily Appointments With You

Among the two most important daily appointments are the private time you schedule with yourself to prioritize and clarify your day-to-day objectives (this does not have to be more than fifteen minutes) and the time for physical fitness at the gym or wherever you do your exercise. Put them into your calendar and make a point to show up!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Goal - Activity - Schedule - Results

There is a direct correlation between your goals, the level of activity you engage in, your schedule - how you spend your time - and your end-results. The more you practice, the better you get. The more you work at it, the more proficient you become. In sales, the more customers you talk to, the more you sell. If you want to increase your sales, increase your "face-time". Focus on the activities that generate the results of your goal!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Engage Head, Heart And Gut

To fully activate a person (or yourself), engage the head to think with clarity, the heart to be enthused and excited, the gut with will power and determination to succeed. You can do this by asking positive questions like: "What actions have you already taken that have worked best?" and "What’s in it for you when you achieve your goal?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Attention Please!

In this age of information with its endless buzz of activity 24/7, human attention is probably the most scarce and limiting resource of all. This insight has two implications; firstly, focus your attention properly toward your own top priorities and cut out distractions. Secondly, think about what you need to do in order to get through the noise when you are communicating with other people.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Long-Term Goals, Short-Term Actions

People that take a longer term perspective tend to be more successful. They have clarity and focus around what they want. Develop long term goals for yourself and break them down into short term action plans. If that's where you want to be in one year, where do you want to be in six months, three months, next week, tomorrow and the next fifteen minutes? This way you align your actions with your longer term goals.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Quality Of Flexibility

Flexibility requires openness and the willingness to try new methods and techniques. One way to become more flexible is to get your ego out of the way. Detach yourself from the situation. Be more concerned with what's right rather than with who's right. Your only question should be; "Does it work?"

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Keep It Simple!

The KISS principle, "Keep it simple, stupid!" is a great guiding star also for businesses. Ask yourself and your organisation: "What are we deeply passionate about?" and "What can we become best in the world at?" and "How do we make money?" Let those simple questions guide your decision making process. Remember; the burden of proof should always be on the more elaborate solution.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Empty Your E-mail In Basket

To reduce stress and increase your sense of control, empty your e-mail in basket every day. The way you can do this (even if you get lot's of mail) is to separate the task of reviewing and sorting the messages into separate actionable folders versus reading and dealing with the content itself. I can promise you will feel better about yourself and be more relaxed, when you learn how to do this.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Action This Day!

Winston Churchill waged his war against Nazi-Germany on his motto: "Action this day!" The learning for us in business is: we get paid for what we do, not for who we are. Action is the key. Why wait? Act quickly, do it now!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Spend Time To Get Time

For every unit of time invested in forward planning you will save multiple units of time during the execution. The more detailed and thought through the blueprint the faster you will build that house or anything else you do for that matter. The time you invest in preparation and planning you will gain back during the execution phase. Spend time to get time!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Great Human Motivators

There are two basic motivators of human behaviour; the desire for gain and the fear of loss. Freud called it the "pleasure principle", the fact that we gravitate toward comfort and move away from pain. As these are very powerful motivators figure out a way to use both aspects in any sales conversation. "Wouldn't it be great if you could.... (the positive) unless you are willing to take that kind of risk! (the negative)"

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Exercise Your Creativity

You can train your creative ability just like you exercise your muscles to get stronger. Unlock that natural genius to help you achieve the goals you set for yourself. Creativity is linked primarily to our senses, our verbal ability and our vision. Decide to do something everyday to stretch your thinking powers a little extra.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Increase Your Concentration

The ability to focus single-mindedly on the task at hand is the mark of a champion. Train your mental capacity to hold attention for longer periods of time. Learn to concentrate your energies with a laser-beam focus and stay with the task until it is finished. Constantly review your priorities and focus on the most valuable use of your time - all the time.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Develop Your Courage

Opportunities for further growth lie outside your immediate zone of comfort. Develop your courage. Learn to take intelligent risks to move forward. The best way to combat lack of courage is to confront it. Do the thing you fear anyway and see insecurity lose its grip over you. "Just face your fears and focus and stand up if you fall. The flower blooming late is most precious of them all."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Identify Your Constraints

There are usually a couple limiting steps that would make a tremendous difference in our life if we could overcome them. What are the obstacles that are holding you back? Figure out a way and learn to overcome them. "If I only got better in dealing with people or keeping my emotions under control, what a difference it would make to my life and career." Make a decision to shore up your limiting constraints today and device a plan to overcome them.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Define Your Competence

In which area of life do you really excel? Find your "area of excellence" and define your "unique selling proposition". When are you at your best? Move into the direction where you can do more of those things you are best at. You will be of more value and render greater service to others and have more fun while doing it. Define your competence and do what you are best at.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Strive For Clarity

With clarity of purpose comes the energy and the focus that help you concentrate to get done, what you need to get done. It is valuable to determine your goals in every area of your life. Take time with yourself and think through the various areas of your life. What do you want? Envision it in detail. Why do you want it? Describe your underlying reasons. Set a deadline, when you want it by and give some thoughts as to how you will get there. Strive for clarity.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Drive For Closure

Always drive to get closure on your most important tasks. It drains your energy to have lots of lose ends of unfinished business all around. Create a schedule, set firm deadlines and discipline yourself to follow through to completion. Finish what you start.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Failure And Success

Successful people have usually failed more often than ordinary people! And do you know why? It is because usually they have tried more often than others. They tried and tried and tried until they figured it out. They didn't give up. They were not discouraged. They continued and pressed on until they succeeded. Failures mean nothing at all if success comes eventually. Don't give up, keep trying!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Put On A Smile

Smile, even if you may not feel like it. Soon enough you will. Action seems to follow feeling, but in reality action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is more under direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. A happy smile goes a long way, and can even be "heard" over the telephone too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lead The Field!

Do you want to be a leader in you field? Then keep learning! Subscribe to the best magazines. Go to the seminars. Become among the best informed. Henry Ford said it well: "Anyone who stops learning is old - whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Get Organized!

It pays to take a little time each week to prioritize and organize the tasks you have to get done. When you get organized it is easier to get your job done in the most efficient way. Decide a time slot for a review meeting with yourself every week and put it down in your calendar. Focus your priority on the most important stuff and then stick to your priorities. In other words; plan your work and work your plan.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ask Why?

The best way to get people to think is to ask them questions. One of the best questioning words to use to overcome an objection in selling or to ask at any other time; is "Why?" There is something happening to the human brain when we get posed with such a question. Just ask and shut up and wait for the answer. Don't be afraid to ask more often: "Why do you say that?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Secret Of Salesmanship

Talk to people about them and they will listen for hours. Ask questions about them and they will be delighted and think you are a genius! One of the most important secrets in sales is to find out what people want and then help them to get it. Try to see things from the other person's point of view and talk in terms of his wants, needs and desires. Help them get what they want!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Habits Govern Behaviour

98% of what we do is governed by habit according to contemporary brain research. This means that in our brains, there are small "software programs" in charge of every little activity we undertake. They start automatically, on reflex, whenever we need to move, act or react. This is why it is so important to form good, functional habits to help you become more successful. Are there any programs in your life you would like to "upgrade"?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Never Quit, Never Lie, Never Apologize

In the TV-series about the Mcahan family from the 1970's ("How the West was Won") the old cowboy Zeb had a motto that goes: "Never quit, never lie, never apologize." I think he was on to the secrets of success in his own, old fashioned cowboy-sort-of-way. Sustained effort, honesty in purpose and a fearless non-apologetic style is key to any effective communication and in influencing others. Be bold and never excuse yourself when you stand up to deliver a speech.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Focus And Concentrate

Focus is very important when it comes to getting things done. Clarity of thought and a laser-beam focus help you get the job done. If you get easily distracted when you have many things around you develop the habit of picking one important task at a time and follow it through to completion with focus and single-minded concentration. Don't get distracted by other thoughts or outside stimulus. Turn down the volume on your e-mailbox and mobile phone if you have to. Focus and concentrate!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Don't Let Your History Hold You Hostage

Don't allow your past hold you back. Should you feel like you're down in the dumps right now, be assured you can turn the situation around and build something beautiful on that very garbage dump. There are plenty examples of others who did. If life hands you lemons, make some lemonade. It really doesn't matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Test Of Persistence

It is said that persistence, concentrated effort with a definite purpose were major sources to all successful people's achievements. Broadway (or any other scene where you happen to be making your career) acknowledges talent, recognizes genius and pays off in money only after one has refused to quit. The basis of persistence is your power of will and desire to succeed. If you sense your resolve is weakening; build a stronger fire under your desire.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bad Excuses And Good Reasons

People who never take responsibility always come up with excuses. It never seems to be their fault. In every sales office there is a big book with all the excuses why we did not reach our sales quota. If you have been around you have heard them too. Mark Twain once wrote that there are a thousand excuses for every failure but never a good reason. Learn to take responsibility for your life and achievements. You will grow faster and feel much better when you do!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Negotiate For Mutual Win/Win

We may not actually realize it but we negotiate all the time, with spouse and kids and colleagues etc. The closer the long term relationship is the more careful we need to be in a negotiation situation. Most of the time it is best to settle for mutual win/win agreements and when not possible make no deal at all. (However, when you are in one-off negotiation with a total stranger in Marrakesh it is a totally different scenario.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The trait of courage is probably what set entrepreneurs apart from most other people. Dream-Dare-Do-Delegate is an interesting entrepreneurial formula. First dream and think about the opportunity then develop the courage to dare branch out and get going. A bit of stubbornness provides for perseverance and follow through. Finally as the venture grows, learn to delegate well but remember to always follow up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Make A Striking First Impression

The first impression process occurs every time you meet new people. Within the first four seconds, people pass judgment on you - looking for common surface clues. Then they spend the next 40 seconds to verify this opinion. Once the first impression is made, it is virtually irreversible. This is known as the 4 sec/40 sec rule. How you present yourself during these first 40 seconds is therefore one of the most critical factors to success in selling, making a presentation, meeting the board of directors, interviewing for a new job or dating a potential spouse.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Minimise Customer Risk

Risk is one of the major reasons why customers don't buy. Your client is not willing to take unnecessary risk. First it is a matter of establishing trust in your relationship and secondarily having them comfortable with the terms of the deal. It is your job in sales to minimise your customer's risk exposure. Figure out what you can offer. Can you give a money back guarantee or promise 100% satisfaction?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Think And Generate More Creative Ideas

Socialise with creative people and stay open to new ideas. The more you relate to people with a high “thoughts-per-minute” (TPM) it will rub off on you. The inventor Thomas Edison had a very high TPM. He generated many ideas. It is said he failed over a thousand times before succeeding with a functional light bulb. You see, if you continue to crank out a thousand ideas, at least one of them is bound to be good.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Apply Sport Psychology To Business

Even if we are not professional athletes we have much to learn from the advancement of sport psychology in relationship to winning. First athletes set goals, continuously focus on the positive and build in time for relaxation in their busy training schedule. Then they train their imagination to visualise extreme situations, proper techniques and see themselves winning. Isn't that a great training program we all can apply to our life and career?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Trust Is A Must

Trust and respect can only be earned. You earn it by a predicable behaviour when you consistently fulfill on your promises. I like the analogy of the emotional bank account. Some people will not give you credit to withdraw anything from them until you first make a deposit in their emotional bank account. This is equivalent to the 'Ethos' a speaker initially seeks to establish with his audience according to Greek rhetoric. Before Ethos is there (the deposit is made) they will not listen to the message; your 'Pathos' (what you have to say).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ask For The Deal

Sometimes, because of fear of confrontation and rejection, we are not bold enough to ask the final question to close the deal. Zig Ziglar says: "We miss 100 percent of the sales we don't ask for.” Asking the question doesn't cost anything. Keep refining your questioning and closing techniques and continuously ask for the deal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What's The Next Action?

If you get overwhelmed by the many different things you need to get done, remember there is only one thing you need to worry about and that is the next step. Even if you have ninety nine things on a long and daunting project to-do list, all you really need to ask is: "What is the next action?". Focus only on the next step and get it done, then move on to next item until the project is completed, one thing at a time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Think Successful Outcomes

Don't engage in a project or a meeting until you have defined what a successful outcome looks like. Focus on the results rather than just on the activities. You should know what you are trying to accomplish. "Successful-outcome-thinking" provides a greater focus as the goal becomes clearer in your mind. To get alignment, ask the question: "How would you like to define the successful outcome?"

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Four D's Of Incoming E-mail

There are four possible responses to any action you are asked to take and they all begin with the letter 'D'. DO IT! If it is a task that takes less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately! You may DELEGATE the work to a more appropriate person. Alternatively you can DEFER it to later and schedule it in your calendar for a specific time. If there is no action needed on your part feel free to DELETE it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Your Habits Determine Your Future

Your habit patterns will determine your future. Tell me what you are doing on a weekly basis and I will pretty much be able to tell you where you will end up (unless you make changes). The point is: your destiny is not decided yet. You influence your future by having clear goals and a determination to work your way toward them. You determine your habits and then your habits determine your destiny.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Focus On Relationships And Results

One definite key to success is developing better time management skills. However, it is important to understand that squeezing more activities into an already overloaded planner is not what we are talking about at all. The objective of time management is to work smarter not harder. Time management is focusing on relationships and results rather than things and time. When you think of it; relationships and results are what we have left when all else is done.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Get Things Done Quickly

Develop the habit of getting things done fast! Foster a sense of urgency! Once priorities are set and decisions made, act quickly. Develop a "do-it-now-mentality". Become known for your quick turn-around and response time. If something is important enough to be done, it is important enough to be done now. "Why wait until tomorrow for something that can be done today!?" With dependability and decisiveness you get ahead a lot faster!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Take Good Care Of Your Best Customers

According to the 80/20-rule; 80% of your business is likely to come from 20% of your top customers. Make sure to take good care of them. We know that it is easier to get more business with an existing client than to get started with a new prospect. Become your key customer’s best supplier. Be easy to do business with. Serve them well and help them see and capture new market opportunities. When you help them you will flourish.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dress For Success

93% of our communication is non-verbal so pay attention to your exterior and your clothing. You never get a second chance to make a first impression! How you present yourself during the first few seconds is one of the most critical factors to success in selling, making a presentation or interviewing for a new job. A good rule of thumb is to always dress slightly more conservative than the occasion calls for. This way you ensure you will be among one of the best dressed in the room.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let Thoughts Take Time

Give room for reflection and contemplation in this hectic and fast paced life. Try to schedule daily and weekly thinking time. Figure out what works best for you. Some people think best in the morning others at night. The psychologist B. F. Skinner once said: "The issue is not if machines can think but whether men can". Let your thoughts take the time they deserve.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Make Every Minute Count

Usually during a day between your other engagements, while you are standing in line, waiting or travelling, there are many small chunks of time (five to ten minutes each). When you add the time together it can easily amount to an hour a day. Use it to your advantage! Always have something to read with you or be ready to make a couple of extra phone calls. Ask yourself: "What is the best use of my time right now?"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Engage In Positive Self Talk

There is an inner dialogue going on inside our head all the time, a stream of consciousness of about one thousand five hundred words a minute. Left to itself, most people are somewhat slighted toward the negative. Your task is to interrupt this stream and make sure it is using a positive and optimistic language. Use affirmations to control your inner dialogue with positive, personal statements in present tense. "I am good! I feel fine!"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Concentrate On The Right Things

Years ago I used to complain that I did not have enough time. This was before I learned about the principles I am sharing with you. Since then, my life has changed dramatically for the better. Always do the most important task first. Every day I decide on three things I will get done today. I write them down on a piece of paper and get right into the action. We always have time to do what we do first.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mistakes And Self Sabotage

In psychology there is a concept called self-sabotage, when our inner conflicts make us do things that are not in our own best interest. Most of us do mistakes and self sabotage our best intentions sometimes. One definition of a mistake is when you don't follow your own rules. And if you don't have rules, then everything you do is a mistake. And self-sabotage occurs when you keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Identify them and determine to do something about it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Identify Your Limiting Step

It is good advice to play it to your best strengths and attempt to mitigate or minimize your weaknesses. However, usually there is one thing that holds us back from getting up to a higher level than we are currently at. "If I could only learn how to sell better on the telephone or in the personal meeting with clients." What is that one skill, if you could master it, that would make the most difference in your life? Identify it and work on becoming good at it and you will see it's tremendous impact!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Key To The Future

Today everything is happening so fast and knowledge quickly gets obsolete. The way to get ahead and stay on top is to become a student dedicated to lifelong learning. Read thirty minutes or more every day. Listen to audio programs in your car and on your mp3-player. This way you can become an authority in your chosen field in a couple of years time. Continuous learning is really the key to the future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bring Your Boss Along

It is good advice to always bring your superiors along, and never surprise them with bad news. Say what you will do and do what you say! Package good news into “sound bites”. Stop using words like; But, I can’t, If only, Maybe, I’m afraid and turn them into the more affirmative; And, I can, I will, Absolutely, I’m confident etc. Always be pro-active with a bias to action when you deliver bad news; “The sales are weaker than expected this month, AND the team is already working on a recovery plan.”

Monday, October 22, 2007

Share Your Connections And Follow Up

Be generous with your own contacts and make a point to introduce people to each other. Also give them tips and ideas about who to make contact to and where to seek council based on your experience. Try to constantly add value to the contacts in your network. After a mingling event; follow up your contacts. It is best to do the follow up as soon as possible within the next two to three days, if you can.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Be A Good Listener

Listen actively and take in other people. Do not bulldoze them with your own story. Everyone appreciates to be correctly approached and responded to. I have found that the more you let people talk about themselves the more they will like you. If you start asking questions about their interests and experiences they will think you are a genius.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Doing Nothing Is the Biggest Risk

Inertia, doing nothing - is the biggest risk to your business, health or your relationships. In sales the greatest threat is not coming from competition but from customers not buying at all. Invoking action then is the key! Think about this in your sales and marketing activities as well as in you personal health diet and exercise regimen (doing it) and in your major relationships.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mind Mapping Brainstorms

Mind-mapping is an interesting note taking technique, particularly useful in the context of brainstorming. The technique is so powerful because it's dynamic, flexible and emulates the non-linear thought process of the brain. You start with a central idea or theme in the middle of the page and then you link to associations drawn around it as you come to think of them. Afterward you can itemise the thoughts into categories and develop your plans further. Try mind-mapping next time you are about to brainstorm.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Manage To The Downside

When you are making an investment, either monetary or in people, projects or opportunities, often risk is the most critical factor. If you can manage the downside, the upside usually takes care of itself. You only have figure out how to minimize your risk exposure and protect the soft under belly and you are already halfway to success.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Put Your Arguments Into Questions

Socrates and Benjamin Franklin were questioning experts. With good questions you can put forth your point of view without getting into conflict with your counterpart. "Don't you agree it would be nice to ...?" In a carefully prepared sequence of questions you can get the other person to reason with you and agree with your intentions while thinking it was his own idea.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Reading A Book The 80/20 Rule Way

There are many applications of the 80/20 rule. When it comes to reading a book it says: 20% of the pages contain 80% of the content. This has tremendous bearing on your studying technique. First read the summary of the book, then the table of content and the introduction. Then flip through the book, look at illustrations, graphs and pictures. After that you will most likely be able to create a one pager summary of the book. Then, if you want, you can read any particularly interesting chapters.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Expect The Best, Prepare For The Worst!

When engaged in strategic planning I have found it intelligent to work with scenarios and trigger points for each scenario. When the trigger points are reached you will execute according to that specific plan. Since you don't know exactly what the future will look like develop contingency plans around your scenarios to describe your course of action if the triggers are not reached. You should expect the best but prepare for the worst!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Be A Mensch - Enjoy The Joke

"Mensch" is the Yiddish word for "man". Be a man or woman but don't take yourself too seriously. Stop for a moment and smell the coffee. Cultivate a sense of humor over life's little oddities. Enjoy the laughter of a joke well told. Make room for laughter in your daily rituals. When I went through a particularly intense period at work many years ago I used to watch the comedy series "Fawlty Towers" every night! If you are either stressed or bored, make your life a bit more fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Take Responsibility For Your Time

You can not let other people or circumstances determine your priorities. You have to figure out a way to make the most out of your time, employ a system to rationalize it and focus your activities where you get the greatest return. Our habits shape our destiny. Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure, as Jim Rohn so aptly puts it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Keep Your Itinerary Information Handy

When travelling on international business trips, don't forget to put all your itinerary information on a piece of paper you can carry in your pocket at all times. Include flight details, telephone numbers and addresses for your meeting appointments, hotels and any transportation you may be using while in transit. It helps to be dressed for business as you will always get superior service in case on an emergency if you wear a jacket and a tie.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Earning Ability And Time

The two most invaluable commodities to guard with your life are your earning ability and your time. Your brainpower to spark valuable new innovative ideas in this modern era of knowledge; your earning ability is your greatest asset and your ability to use your time extremely effectively is your greatest resource to propel you ahead. Why? Because when you break through the bottlenecks of creativity and time, inevitably monetary success will follow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Law Of Diminished Intent

Usually you experience the highest level of energy over a new idea immediately when you first conceive it. Then, over time, the energy wanes off until it is no longer there. If you get a brilliant idea act on it right away or at least make a note of it where you are sure to come back later. Take action now and don't procrastinate! If you delay, the law of diminished intent will ensure you never get around to it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

If you knew you could not fail and money was no object, what would you do? Often fear holds us back from reaching out and achieving our dreams. One of the most effective ways to deal with fear is to confront it. Do the thing you fear until you fear it no more. To find out what you really want, ask yourself: "What would I do if I was not afraid? "

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happiness As Organising Principle

Enthusiastic and happy people get more done. They are energetic and positive. They enjoy what they are doing most of the time and others like to associate with them. If you don't identify with this category I suggest you give some serious thought as to what you like to be doing. I think it is a good idea to make happiness one of the key organising principles in your life. You owe it to yourself and your family!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The First 100 Days...

Today is the hundredth daily entry into this blog! While Jerry Seinfeld was still a touring comic he noted that the way to create better jokes was to write a little every day. He had a big wall calender marked with a red marker X over every day he did. He said: “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. Your only job next is to not break the chain.” Whenever something is important to you, stick with the task and don't break the chain!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

With A Little Help From My Friends

One of my favourite books is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" in which he stresses the fact that whatever you want in life, another human being has to give it to you. To be successful in any area of your life; in family, business, sales or socially, understanding how to make other people want to work with you to achieve what you want is one of the keys. Armed with this insight, how can you further apply this principle in your life?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Success Is 80% Psychological

How we think about ourselves and the world is of uttermost importance, particularly in the context of success achievement. The "law of correspondence" suggests that our outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world. If you start thinking like the most successful people think, you will get what the most successful people get. If you like to see different results, think different thoughts about yourself and the world around you. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Overcome Procrastination; Just Get Started

When we have too much to do or a big task in front of us and feel overwhelmed, we sometimes give in to procrastination. There are many tricks you can play to overcome it, like breaking the task down into smaller pieces, or deciding to start with a particular part of it. The point is; you don't have to get it right, you just have to get it started! You can always come back and refine it later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Serendipity And Discovery

There is an old Persian fairy tale about the Princes of Serendip; three men who were on a mission but always found things they were not looking for. They discovered them by good fortune. Today we are often so stressed for time and so focused that we develop "tunnel vision" and only see things we are tuned into and miss everything else. You don't always know what you are looking for; so it is best to keep your eyes open and stay attuned to new ideas.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Fun Flow

You hardly get kids to do anything, unless they think it is a game. Convince them it is, and they will play it for what it's worth! The same is true with you! Chances are that you are good at the things you enjoy doing. It is very likely you too will be of most service others and create the highest value when you are involved with things you think are fun. Try to get to do those things more often. Follow the fun! If possible, seek ways to make your hobby into your career.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ask The Right Questions

Often we get stuck in a rut when we ask the wrong questions over and over again. It is so much easier when we learn to re-frame the questions and start asking the relevant ones. Ask ‘why' only when you are deciding if you should do something. Ask ‘how' you should do it when you are solving your next problem. Ask the right questions, quit the blame and take responsibility for your life.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mind Your Mind

Your mind is your most precious asset where all your future value generating resources reside. You better take good care of it and exercise it regularly. A study conducted on senior citizens in New York a few years ago, called The Einstein Aging Study, came to the conclusion that individuals who played chess and maintained regular reading habits, stayed mentally alert and fit longer than others. Train your brain! Get on an exercise program starting today!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Take A Break

It is important to take frequent breaks to balance your stress to recovery ratio. Go for a short walk and get some fresh air, relax and do something completely different for a few minutes every two hours, especially when working on a difficult task. You will be able to approach your challenges with renewed vigour when you do. What are your recovery rituals? Any new ones you would like to establish?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Incremental Improvement

I once read about a swimmer who was practicing for the next Olympic Games. His task was to improve his personal best with a couple of seconds. It was a huge undertaking. The trick was to break the goal down into smaller chunks. He only had to improve his personal best with two 1/100 seconds each week. Surely he could accomplish that! So it is with continual personal improvement; you may not have to go that extra mile, when an inch every day will do just fine!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

e=mc [square]

In physics Einstein’s revolutionary equation e=mc2 opened entirely new doors in the fields of nuclear and quantum physics. It describes how energy and mass can be converted through the multiplier of a powerful constant, creating an enormous lever when multiplied with itself. Imagine if we could find an equally dynamic equation to describe the reality of business life. I believe we can! Success = time x ideas x relationships2.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Most Valuable Use Of Time

A key question to continually ask yourself is: "What is the most valuable use of my time right now?" And whatever it is, work on that. Your ability to discipline yourself to work on those few tasks that can make the greatest difference in your life is the key quality that makes everything else possible for you.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Maintain Maximum Altitude

When mountain climbing or trekking there is a rule of thumb to remember: Always maintain altitude. Don't give up gained territory easily. When you keep the high ground you can move in the terrain more easily, you have a better view of the landscape, preserve your energies, maintain a closer proximity to the next mountain top and can come down on a target quickly and forcefully. Take, keep and maintain the high ground in your life.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Focus On A Critical Few

The worst use of time is to do well what need not be done at all. The Pareto Principle says that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of the value of your activities. This means that if you have a list of ten items to accomplish, two of those items will be worth more than the other eight items altogether. To achieve great things, you must always concentrate on the small number of activities that contribute the greatest value to your life and your work.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Don't Go To Meetings Without Goals

Most meetings have an agenda and I have found many people mistake the agenda for the goal. The goal of a meeting is not to get through the agenda! Unless a meeting has a clearly stated goal, don't go there! It is a waste of everyone's time. How can you determine if the meeting was successful, if there weren't clear goals stated ahead of time? Always make sure to have a crisp understanding of the goals before the meeting starts.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Warm Up Before You Play

Professional athletes warm up before the game begins. They obviously do this to warm up their muscles, to stretch and get mentally prepared. In the context of business dealings do you warm up before you play? Before you go into a sales meeting; review the agenda, go through your "sales pitch" in your head. Review your key arguments. How are you going to open? How will you eventually ask for the order at the end? The best prepared person often wins!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Time Is The Most Precious Resource

Time is your most precious commodity. We all have the same amount of time; twenty four hours every day, but not all people have learned to manage it as effectively as others. In fact, time is more precious than money, because it’s a non-renewable resource. Once you’ve spent it, it’s gone forever. If you lose money you can earn it back. It is renewable. But you can never make up for lost time, so use it wisely!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Words Create Your Destiny

The person that says "I can" and the person that says "I can not" are both right. Words are extremely powerful! Words we say about ourselves either out loud, or in our inner dialogue, as well as what other people we trust say about us, shape our beliefs, attitudes and self-concept. If you are not happy with where you are, start changing your words in a more positive direction. Words shape our destiny. What you say will be the way!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Get The Right Things Moving!

It is good to do things right but it is much more important to get the right things moving! To be effective it is vital you learn the skill of proper prioritisation. If you want to get ahead, you need to learn to pick the high value, high impact, high yield activities over other, more mundane things. You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it moving!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Secret Of Chunking

The secret to succeed with any major task is to break it down into smaller pieces, pieces you can handle, pieces that are actionable. Always look for the next action, do it and the project will open up for you to execute step by step. You can accomplish anything if you break the task down into small enough chunks.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Goal Beside Your Goal

We often confuse a goal with an end-result and when we do, we fail and get discouraged. Let me take the simple example of weight loss to illustrate this point: We often set a weight loss goal for ourselves; so and so many kilos or pounds, when really weight loss is a result of reaching a totally different goal, namely to eat less and exercise more. The goal is in the action, the rest is merely an end-resulting consequence. Always focus on action goals to take you to where you want to go.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Treat Your Prospects As Customers

Give the consideration, attention and quality service to your prospects that they potentially deserve. Treat them as if they were already your customer. Offer to provide value without the thought of immediate return. Next, treat your best customers as prospects! Never stop courting and super pleasing them. Don't forget to earn your continued business. Well taken care of, your best customers usually become your most profitable business.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Always Ask For The Next Action

In making sure to get things to move forward, it is a powerful question to always ask for the next action or the next step. Performing a major task or a big project can sometimes be a bit daunting but all you really need, is to focus on the next step to keep things moving forward. This way you make progress toward your goal one step at a time.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Get Your People Turned On!

Studies as well as experience show that a group of people performs best when the team is excited, enthused and passionate about what they are doing. It is the leader's primary objective to get the people turned on. Superior performance is usually not a result of complacent happiness but of enthusiasm, excitement and passion.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What Do You Want To Be Famous For?

Desire is the starting point of all achievement. The motivation to will to accomplish anything specific can come from many different places. When assessing the motivation of an individual, ask this question: "What is it you want to be famous for?" It is jokingly said that there are two reasons for everything: "That which sounds good and then the real reason". Figure out the real reason for yourself and light the fire of desire!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Apply The 80/20 Rule To Your Time

Time management is really a misnomer; you can not manage time, all you can manage are your priorities and your areas of focus. The 80/20-rule determines that the relationship between cause and effect is non-linear. For example: 20% of all customers will generate 80% of all sales revenue, 20% of all products in a company will generate 80% of the turnover and so on. The point is that there are a few vital factors that generate most parts of a result, and in fact this principle can also be applied to the use of our time. Always focus on your high yield activities!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Understanding Sales As A Buyer

When we want to improve our selling skills it is useful to think about it from the perspective of the buyer. When we are on the purchasing side of the table we don't want to "get sold to". We want to make up our own mind based on what is being offered, taking the trustworthiness of the sales person into account. A great question to ask when evaluating new sales techniques is: "Would that approach work on me?"

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Attitude Determines Altitude

We become what we think about most of the time. If you are not happy about your own attitudes or where you currently are in life, start examining your thinking. Clarify your goals to your own mind, switch on your expectation and turn off cynicism. There are so many things in life to be grateful for. Things we take for granted all the time. Take a few moments today and reflect on the things you are grateful for and the goals you expect to reach in the future.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Behind the Karate Board

In karate the focus of attention needs to be behind the board you want to break. You will need the force and speed to be able to follow through successfully. Don't be overly concerned about the board (your action). Let your focus always be on the end-result you want to accomplish, "behind the board".

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Vocabulary And Earnings Potential

A Harvard study concluded that there is a direct correlation between salary and language skill. A test including large manufacturing companies resulted in the following: Presidents and vice presidents scored much higher than managers, then superintendents, foremen, and finally floor bosses. In virtually every case, vocabulary coincided with executive level and rank on the corporate ladder. Your ability to achieve success, whether in your relationships, career, or business, depends on your ability to communicate effectively. Increase your vocabulary and you become more successful!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Build The People On Your Team

If you are a leader; give your people reasons for doing things when you tell them what to do and they will feel they are part of the project and not just employees following orders. Build your people and your people will build your business. Both you and the team will enjoy it and the results will definitely be better!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Excellent People Take Excellent Notes

I have found that there is a 1:1 relationship between excellent note takers and excellent people. Good note takers know things, they are organized. They remember when others forget. You will impress your customers with your memory of details (from your notes) and surprise your boss and your colleagues. Make it a habit to always record the date on every note you take. If you want to become excellent, move ahead, or get that promotion, start taking better notes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Think About Your Future

Your attitude toward time, your "time horizon," has an enormous impact on your behavior and your choices. People who take the long view of their lives and careers seem to make better decisions about their priorities and activities than people who give very little thought to the future. Successful people have a clear future orientation. They analyze their current choices and behaviors to make sure that they are consistent with the long-term future they desire.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

First You Choose A Habit

It is good to establish positive and productive habits in your life. First you get a habit then the habit gets you! It is said to take 21 days to firmly establish a new habit pattern in your consciousness. Remember; when you choose a habit you simultaneously choose its corresponding end-result. For example, with the habit of exercise comes good physical health. Choose habits with end-results reflecting your long term goals and your habits will help you reach them!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Do You Want To Be A Millionaire?

I had the privilege to be seated next to a billionaire on a three hour flight at one time. He was an eccentric person and we had a great conversation for the duration of the trip. I asked him what he considered to be the one most important thing for success achievement. He said: "You don't have to be particularly smart nor necessarily well educated. All you have to do is decide what you want and then go for it and give it all you got. Then you will have success!"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Help Others Get What They Want

Zig Ziglar says: "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want." This is the way you create value in the market place. Service to others is really the purpose of life. How we think, work and conduct ourselves and the extent of our service will determine our reward. Our rewards in life will always match the service we provide. Provide excellent service and reap the correspondent rewards!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prepare Your Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a short presentation about you, no more than thirty seconds in length. Prepare your key points about yourself depending on your purpose and who you will be talking to. Highlight a few interesting key features and point out why it is worth while to know you better. Make sure to always have business cards available and exchange them with each of your new contacts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One Social Call Every Day

It is a great habit to cultivate your network and keep in touch with family and friends. Make a conscious effort to stay in touch. This comes more naturally for women than for men. I learned it from one of my mentors. There is always the aunt and long lost friend to talk to and it does not have to take long. Start making this social phone call today!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Inertia - The Law of Momentum

Newton said: "An object at rest tends to stay at rest; an object in motion tends to stay in motion." This is why it is so important to start moving and keep up the pace! When travelling, time is so easy to lose. You just stop and you "lose" travel time. To make up for the lost time is more difficult. Let the law of momentum work for you; keep moving on your goals and projects!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Education vs. Dedication

To have a good education is great but having dedication is even greater. With dedication you can make up for lack of formal education. You can find the information you need. You can enlist complementary skills on your team. History is full of successful people who dropped out of school but made up for it with dedicated effort.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Three P's To Progress

Passion for what you are doing provides the energy to keep going, so do what you enjoy and love! Preparation in planning positions your talent and opens the possibilities for great execution. It pays to prepare! Perseverance sustains the initiative and sees you through. Remember, quitters never win and winners never quit!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Break Your Goals Down

A goal without a deadline is not a goal but a mere dream. Put deadlines next to your goals and break them down into monthly, weekly and daily increments. If your goal is to make a certain amount of money or lose a certain amount of weight, break it down to weekly and daily targets. This way you can ensure you stay on course and celebrate the small victories along the way.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Make Valuable Contribution

Almost always you can measure a person's contribution to society in terms of dollars. When you create value you might as well attempt to contribute a lot to as many people as possible while you're at it. The more you can contribute the more you will earn.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Focus On The Benefits

Focus on the benefits to your clients. Think more about what you are giving your customers than what you are getting back in return. Figure out what is so special about your offering. What are your unique selling points (USP's)? When you have them identified you can confidently sell your customers on these benefits.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Loser's Limp

It is interesting to notice in sports, that when an athlete fails a run or a shot, they often unconsciously develop a limp afterward. The limp suggests; "How could I have succeeded, after all, can't you see I am injured?" We all are prone to the loser's limb behaviour when we get discouraged. See if you can spot yours next time and switch it to something more appropriate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wherever You Are, Be There!

Make a conscious effort to always be where you are, mentally and socially as well as physically. Connect with what you are doing and the people you are together with. Park everything else to the side. You can always pick that up later. It is all about being present in your own life. Wherever you are, be there!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Portal to the Brain

Recent brain research suggests attention is the information portal to your brain. In a way intelligence is our ability to focus our concentration. Attention is what connects our thought process with the memory functions of the brain. When you learn to focus your attention you appear and become more intelligent.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It Pays To Prepare

Good preparation is vital to your success, both in business and in private. When you are well prepared you tend to be more confident and calm. You don't get surprised or sidetracked so easily because you have analysed your options and set your goals ahead of time. Remember the saying: "If yo fail to prepare, you prepare to fail."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Write It Down!

Don't trust your memory! It is a good idea to always have pen and paper at hand. Capture your ideas, thoughts and things you have to remember and write them down as you come to think of them. Free up your brain to do what it is best at such as creative analysis and information processing. Make it one of your habits to write things down!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Most Important Choice

The most important choice you make is what you choose to make important. How you prioritise what you consider important will obviously have a major impact on the direction of your life and career. Take a few minutes to reflect on your priorities every day and then follow them through in your actions.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Yoda Principle; Don't Try, Just Do It!

If you respond "I will try to do that!", in the face of challenge, you are setting yourself up to fail. You are keeping the backdoor of excuse open; "I said I was going to try!". In "The Empire Strikes Back", Yoda, in his peculiar wisdom, says: "There is no try - there is only do or not do." Adhere to the Yoda principle and stop trying. Just do it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Inspired Motivation

Your daily motivation comes from either one of three sources; Desperation - "I have to", Rationalization - "I should" or Inspiration - "I want to". To achieve the maximum result and enjoy the accomplishment the most, inspiration is the best source. Examine your life; where do you draw your motivation from? Think about what you can change in your life to make it more inspirational and let inspiration propel you to new heights.
About the Author

Urban Gavelin a native Swede with more than twenty five years of business experience. He has held positions as director of sales- marketing- and business development on Nordic, European and World Wide levels. Urban has lived and worked in Stockholm, London and New York, now works primarily with leadership development and sales training and is a credentialed coach. He has studied Executive Management at Lausanne Business School and Stockholm School of Economics.

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Bottleneck Blog by Urban Gavelin © 2007-2011