Thursday, December 17, 2009

Balancing Your Time

Most people feel an imbalance between how they actually spend their time and how they would want to spend it. It can be an enlightening experience to write down all your activities for a week on a piece of paper. Then evaluate where you can, and feel you should relocate some of that time into activities that take you closer to your wants and goals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Everyone Enjoys A Good Story

Story telling has been an art down through the centuries from the early oral tribal traditions, over ancient Greek rhetoric down to the Hollywood of today. Stories are compelling because they touch not only the intellect but the heart through emotional impact. What about the stories you are telling? Try to put them in context, use descriptive language, make use of vivid examples and explain your position in the drama.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Trick Of A Good Listener

The trick of being a good listener is not to sit silent, hold eye contact, nod and grunt the odd "yes" etc. The trick of being a good listener is to remember what was being said next time you meet that person again. Ask questions that show you remember the topics you discussed. The key to attentive listening then is to actively engage the memory functions of your brain.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Think And Plan Ahead

When I was working in the United States I was asked by my management where I wanted to be two jobs from now. I found that to be an intriguing question. Ask yourself today: where do I want to go, who do I want to be, relate to and work with three to five years from now? Once you've described your future it is easier to start planning and prepare for it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Power Of Compound Interest

Albert Einstein is reported to have said: “Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” Regardless of whether he did or not, there is an interesting element of truth to it. You can become a millionaire in your lifetime through compounding. If you can only save one dollar a day and invest it at 12% interest you will have $ 1M in fifty years. The keys are: start saving, convert the savings into investments, start early in your life and/or plan on getting really old and you can become financially independent in your lifetime.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do Your Homework First

When you call on a new customer, get some research done on the company you are calling on. What are they selling? How do they position and promote themselves? Make a note to remember the names of the key individuals of the firm. If you want to be brilliant check out some of their key competitors and see how your client differs from them. Armed with these insights you will be sure to make an impression as well as a sale.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Goals That Excite You

We have all heard about S.M.A.R.T. goals, haven't we? Sometimes they are not the smartest goals after all. The real purpose of a goal is to get you turned on! Ask yourself what would really get you excited and make that your goal. You want what you want regardless of whether you think you can have it or not. Focus on the goals that get you excited!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dream Big, Act Small

It is great to have big dreams and a great vision of the future. I think everyone should develop a compelling vision for their life and their organisation. However, it is also important to get down to action, and take the next small step. Lower your sight and set smaller targets for yourself on your way to your big dream.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Successful Meeting Outcome

A meeting is successful if: everyone comes out of the meeting inspired and motivated with a clear sense of responsibility, sharing a clear understanding of the objectives and targets discussed and agreed in the meeting. Next actions have been clearly communicated and documented and everyone knows exactly what they need to do, by what date. Are these bases covered in the meetings you attend?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Attracting And Maintaining Customers

The purpose of a company is to attract and keep customers. Your job in sales is to upgrade the quality and sophistication of your sales process and your approaches to create customers in sufficient quantity. To maintain the customer over time you can't be self centred. You must focus on the needs of other person. Remember the saying: "If you want a friend get a dog. If you want a customer solve his problems."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Do Not Say Not

The other day a friend of mine, an expert in Neuro Linguistic Programming, told me that our brains can not comprehend "not". He told me that sales people trying to close a sale with a negative question, like for example; "Could you not just consider trying this out?" can easily double their closing rate by just switching their language into the positive. This is good advice for all of us. We should talk in a way to make it easy for the brain to comprehend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tackle The Toughest Task First

When you start your day, take a look at all your important tasks, pick the most difficult and start by attacking that first. Stay with the task until it is completed. Then pick the next one and so on. This way you stay focused on the important stuff, you have less to worry about and get a sense of accomplishment. This way you keep your energy level high for the duration of the day and can finish with smile on your face knowing you did your best.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Focus On Who You Become

Rather than concentrating on what you want to get out of life, it is very powerful to concentrate on who you want to become and what behaviours you need to develop do in order to get you there. For example; don't focus on making a lot of money, instead focus on becoming the type of person people want to do business with. This way attraction will come naturally as a result.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Medical Procedure To Sales

In medicine a doctor follows a procedure he has learned in school. First comes examination, investigating symptoms and gathering information from the patient. Secondly there is diagnosis determining what is wrong with the patient and finally there is prescription telling what the patient has to do now to get well. It turns out this is very much like the selling process. With practice you too can become a surgeon of sales.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Do Unto Others...

There is an extension to the classical golden rule, sometimes referred to as the "Platinum Rule", propagated by Dr. Tony Alessandra; and it goes like this: "Do unto others as they want you to do unto them". In other words, treat people like they want to be treated. People have different personalities and come from different backgrounds. Particularly in one-to-one situations this suggests that in order to communicate more effectively we need to be good at adapting to the other person.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Don't Wish It Was Easier

One of my favourite quotes from management consultant Jim Rohn is: "Don't wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom." Growth comes from stretching and flexing just like you strengthen a muscle through tension just outside it's usual comfort zone. Challenges are good for you and function as stepping stones to your future success.

Ask Better Quality Questions

Many people keep asking themselves: "Why does this always happen to me?" and they continuously get negative answers. When you learn to turn your questions around you will get different answers. Instead ask questions like: "What can I do now?" or "How do I get from here to where I want to go?" In fact; the quality of your life stands in direct proportion to the quality of your questions. It comes down to what you constantly keep asking yourself in that inner dialogue of yours. If you are not happy with the answer you get, try a different question!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Don't Be Afraid Of Failure

It is interesting to notice that the most successful people have higher failure rates than others. This is because they are not afraid to try. The super entrepreneur tries new concepts. A good batter in baseball misses the ball more often than he hits it. The more they try, the more experience they get and the better they become. Don't be afraid of failure, be afraid of never trying!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Combining Work And Pleasure

We get so busy sometimes we lose perspective and forget what is important in life. Stop and smell the roses, absorb the taste of the food and listen to the world around you. It is simple yet so easy not to do. Be sure to schedule elements of pleasure in your daily activity. Take a lunch break with a friend. Stay a few hours extra and do some sight seeing when work forces you to travel. I had a boss who used to say: "Don't forget, it is all about work and pleasure!" So true!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Success Comes From Doing What You Enjoy!

Talent, skill and education are not the key issues. What is important is what inspires your enthusiasm, determination and persistence. In other words the things you care about. Don't worry about what you are good at. If something turns you on, you will be good enough, if it won't you will not. Your strengths are irrelevant. What you love to do is what makes the difference. Find out what you enjoy and make that your career.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Diligence, The Mother Of Good Luck

Seneca, the Roman 1st century philosopher said: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." This is very insightful. To the casual observer it may look like a "lucky break" however, they don't see all the sweat and toil, all the practice hours that went into the preparation. Gary Player, the famous golfer puts it this way: "The harder I work the luckier I get." Prepare, work hard and luck stands a far better chance of finding you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Learn To Deal With Rejection

Rejection happens to all of us in life, particularly in the context of selling. We have to learn to deal with it and not take it personally. Listen to this teenage boy explain how he dealt with a "no" at the school prom: "She didn't dance with be before I asked and she didn't dance with me after, so there was no change." That's a great response! Learn to deal with "no" and you will be more comfortable to ask people "for a dance" more often.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Attitudes, Attributes And Actions

The fundamentals of success are quite simple. First you apply energy and enthusiasm through a positive "I can" attitude. Secondly, you have to be knowledgeable and skilled in your field of endeavour. Continuous learning in form of education, experience, practice and training take care of that. Thirdly and most importantly you need to take massive action. Plan your work and work your plan diligently.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Read Outside Your Field

We should all be life-long learners. To expand your horizons it is a good idea to read books and literature outside your normal disciplines and areas of expertise. Buy a few magazines you normally wont read, and read them. This way you will integrate your current knowledge in totally new ways. You will find that it is at the verge between disciplines that the most exciting, interesting and creative ideas, solutions and innovations appear.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Put Something In First

In order to draw water out of a well you need to pump first, then you will get the water. You can't stand in front of a wooden stove and say; "Give me some heat, and then I will throw in the wood." Life doesn't work that way! You must put something in first, before you can take something out. Are there areas in you life where you like to achieve more? Get busy putting in the action and then you will see the results come.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Give Time For Mental Digestion

Most people resist change even when the change would benefit them personally. An individual needs about 72 hours to absorb a new idea. Effective mangers know this and present their new ideas in a casual way. They present their thoughts as ideas for consideration, encouraging the other person to take the new idea or new way of doing things and think about it for a few days. They say "we can discuss this later" and they just leave the idea with the other person. Try it and your ability to influence others will increase!

Monday, November 16, 2009

How Do You Mean?

A great question to ask in any conversation when you are checking for understanding or need clarification is "How do you mean?" It is difficult for the other party not to answer with greater level of detail. The same question is also a great way to unravel a "no" in a sales conversation. It gives you an opportunity to understand the underlying reasons and get a chance to discuss the objections. "How do you mean, exactly?"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Start A Savings Plan

Creation of wealth starts when we learn it's first rule: A part of all you earn is yours to keep! The quickest way to increased stability and financial security is to start a serious savings plan (if you don't already have one). The habit of putting no less than 10% of your steady income aside into a savings account can create wonders over a relatively short period of time. I have found this process to be easy, fun and truly rewarding.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It Takes More Than Enjoying Your Work

#1. Be willing to make the most of a bad situation. Most of us do not willingly seek out change and transformation - we grudgingly accept it when forced upon us.
#2. Every job has sucky parts. Most people succeed because the joy they experience doing the parts of their job that they like makes up for the angst they experience doing the parts of their job that they hate. Based on experience, you've got to be able to like at least 60 to 70 percent of your job or you'll burn out.
#3. You still need a sense of purpose for doing what you love - you need a vision for how your work will make the world a better place. No vision / no purpose; no purpose / no passion.
#4. It's still going to take some hard work. Just loving what you do doesn't let you off the hook!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Mission Statement

A mission statement is a formal short written statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. A company's mission statement should include a method and a measure. To be effective you should be able to answer the following questions; How will we achieve our goal and how do we know we have arrived?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Imagination versus Knowledge

Albert Einstein said; "Imagination is more important than knowledge!" From this follows it is very important to develop your creativity. In a world of commodities a creative approach can be your greatest differentiator in the battle of business (as well as love).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Try S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

SCAMPER is a checklist that helps you to think of changes you can make to an existing product or service to create a new one. You can use these changes either as direct suggestions or as starting points for lateral thinking. Developed by Bob Eberle, the changes SCAMPER stands for are:
- Substitute - components, materials, people
- Combine - mix, combine with other assemblies or services, integrate
- Adapt - alter, change function, use part of another element
- Modify - increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes
- Put to other use -
- Eliminate - remove elements, simplify, reduce to core functionality
- Reverse - turn inside out or upside down

Monday, October 12, 2009

Losers, Dreamers, Quitters and Winners

Some people make a decision and then back off from it when the going gets tough. We call them quitters. Some people continuously hope for a better tomorrow. We call them dreamers. A few people don't care and give in to procrastination and indifference. We call them losers. Don't be like any of them! Discipline yourself to persistently stick to your decisions through a hot desire to succeed and we will call you a doer.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hire Slowly - Fire Quickly

Learning how and who to hire and fire is a key leadership skill of uttermost importance. Fortunately the skill can be learned. Be very careful with who you bring on board your team. Check the references! When something is not working out, move swiftly and fire promptly. You as well as the other person will both be better off. One of the keys to human resource management is to hire slowly and fire quickly. (Did I mention to check the references?)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who's Responsible?

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ask For Someone In Sales

Often it is difficult to get through to a decision maker when you are calling on a new company. The personal assistant is operating as a gate keeper, protecting the boss from interruptions. If you can't get passed the gate keeper, ask for someone in sales. A sales person will show up immediately and tell you everything you want to know about the company and the CEO. They are paid to tell people things and will lead you the right way through the organization if you ask.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Become What You Think About

An old saying says; "you become what you think about". Most people focus a lot of attention to what they don't want. Successful people, on the other hand, focus on what they want, they think positive thoughts and from those thoughts come positive words and positive actions, leading to positive results. To be more successful think more about what you believe, what you want and what you can do.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Motivation And Expectation

Motivation is to a large degree a result of expectation. If you expect little you will not be motivated but when you expect much you will be highly motivated. If you are not particularly motivated now is the time to change your expectations. Fuel your inner drive with inspiration. Get excited about your prospects. Someone once gave the advice to; "Dream your paintings and paint your dreams." Feed the hunger with excitement over a future reward.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Who Are Your Best Customers?

Figure out who your best customers are. And go on a hunt for similar clients. Ask yourself; what are their profiles, what line of business are they in, what other things do they have in common? Remember, if you fish for minnows and catch a thousand, you still only get a bucket full. If you fish for whales and get one you have a ship load full.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Understand The WHY

Talking about mergers and acquisitions, it is usually straightforward to agree on the WHAT, WHEN and HOW when we enter into a new relationship with another party. A corporate lawyer recently told me that most arguments and problems stem from disparate views on WHY we are doing this in the first place. Spend time upfront and make sure you have a common understanding about WHY.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Freedom Of Speech

Freedom of speech is a human right. Use it to get exposure as often as you can. Whatever business you are in, think about ways to get exposure in your industry. Take all the opportunities you can to get in front of people. Don't forget to practice at social gatherings such as weddings or birthday parties. If you are uncomfortable speaking in public, start small and grow from there. Join a network club or take a class. Get known to as many as possible in your field of business.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Show Up

According to Woody Allen; "80 percent of success is just showing up." For instance, did you show up at the gym today? Just showing up means you’re 80% of the way to a good workout. Same thing with opportunity. It’s easier to make significant progress on a project or close a sales if you simply show up to do it. So increase your chances by 80%. Show Up (and don't give up)!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Create Value First

The fundamental principle for all businesses is value creation. If you can provide something of value and extract value from the marketplace at cost lower than price, you can make a profit. There is a difference between chasing after versus creating value. Focus on your value creation. To be successful in business create something of value first, instead of waiting to add value later.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Be Thankful And Enjoy The Ride

We can not change the world. What we can change is how we view our place in it. Maybe we need to get better at looking back at our day and realize that it was not that bad after all. People, like Oprah Winfrey, often talks about being thankful and reflect on at least three good things from the day each night. Let's learn to enjoy the ride even more.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Build Relationships

Make friends and business will come. Concentrate on the needs of your customers. If you make a sale, you can earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune. All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. And even when things are not equal, people still want to do business with their friends.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things Are Never What They Seem

One representative from the Obama administration relayed the president's advice to him as he started out his service at the foreign office: "Learn to listen to people. Things are never as good as they sound, and things are never as bad as they sound either." This is an excellent piece of advice when you are trying to understand a person's perspective in any situation. Listen intently.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fear Of Pain

The fear of pain is often greater than the pain itself. If you are afraid that something will be difficult and complicated the fear is usually worse than the task you have to do. That's why you should always challenge your fears and not let them limit your options unnecessarily. Remember that the fear of pain is often greater than the pain itself.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't Try Too Much

We are busier than ever and often try to do too much all at once. You can't load an elephant into a Volkswagen, even though many people try. The secret is to be selective and learn to say no. Don't let the image of success fool you into chasing after the perfect life. Instead concentrate on your key activities and the results will come automatically.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nextopia - Your Next Achievement

When I grew up (in the 1900-hundreds) I learned that you are only as good as your last achievement (in hitting your sales quota or scoring in soccer). Today all this has changed. Things are moving so fast that nowadays you are only as good as your next achievement. We are constantly looking at the future value of things in terms of its net present value. Not only in the stock market where they have always forward priced the value of companies but also in the products and services we buy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who Knows You?

Start a personal branding campaign and be prepared to work hard. Register your name brand online. As in classical advertising it takes at least five to ten impressions to generate a buying response. Show up where people in your marketplace meet. Learn to socialize and mingle. Become an expert in your field. Make a personal marketing plan and execute it with fervor. It's not who you know, it's who knows you in a favorable light.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Principle-Centered Planning

There are different approaches to planning. The first is the non-planning alternative. Next, there is panic planning in the case of emergency. Then there is the more mechanical, scientific method that often ends up abandoned in the end. And finally there is principle-centered planning which is the key to effectiveness, and an artistic leadership approach. Principle-centered planning recognizes that life in general (and people in particular) can't be graphed on a chart, but sees that planning still remains essential.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Creativity And Discipline

One of my clients said to me recently; "You are very creative AND well organized too!" I took that as the compliment for which it was intended. It is the combination of creativity and discipline that generate success. You need to allow and brainstorm for crazy ideas and be flexible in your thinking and yet be firm and adhere to process, focus of thought and disciplined in its application (getting it done).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Values Are The Ultimate Test

Sometimes there is conflict between something you are good at and your value system, what you value and think is important. You may be working at a job you don't feel add value or contribute to society in a meaningful way. Management guru Peter Drucker suggests to quit that job even if you are good at it and find a new job you can devote yourself to wholeheartedly. He says; "Values, in other words, are and should be the ultimate test."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Celebrate Team Success

Emphasizing the positive is a far more powerful motivator than emphasizing the negative. Things are successful for a combination of reasons rather than there being one single factor. Once you know the reasons for a success you can plan future successes even though the circumstances will never be identical. Reward success with recognition and you reinforce the behaviors you want to see more of. Celebrating someone else’s success give vicarious pleasure from which everyone benefits.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Change The Picture In The Mirror

How we see ourselves and who we think we are, will be reflected in our attitudes, behaviors and our results. The truths you hold about yourself; what you see in the mirror will produce in your life. For example, if you think you are not a sales person, your sales results will show it. A change of attitude and behaviors is all you need to produce a different result forcing you to reevaluate and change that picture in the mirror.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Desk Stress Causes Distress

Here are some ideas on what you can do to combat desk stress in your working life:
De-clutter: Organize your desk to reduce stress levels and increase productivity.
Setting Up: Pay more attention to how you set up your desk to reduce stress and health risks.
Keep Cool: Prevent dehydration and overheating at work to promote higher energy levels.
Take Five: Take a few minutes to stretch at your desk to reduce injury from routine activity.
Change of Scene: Take regular breaks away from your desk to improve your concentration.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Take A Look At You First

It is so easy to blame our own lack of results on something or someone else. The market conditions, the boss, the economy, the weather or whatever. These things may be factors but fundamentally your performance is dependant on you. Before you blame your lack of performance on "it" take a close, hard look at "you". Examine yourself and have the courage to take corrective action.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Be A Little More Like Baloo

Don't over analyze the situation or think to much when it is time to act. Just let your reflexes take over. To perform at peak performance you need to relax. I heard a great advice on the radio this morning; Be a little more like Baloo, the mellow bear of the Jungle book;
"Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife. I mean the bare necessities, that's why a bear can rest at ease, with just the bare necessities of life."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prepare To Win

Be prepared! has been the Boy Scout motto for over one hundred years. Don't waste your valuable time watching TV. The workday starts the night before. Prepare to win, or lose to someone who is. I often work and prepare during prime time, while others are watching TV. It's okay to watch TV occasionally but I assure you, you can cut out the news almost completely. If it is important you will learn what is going on anyway.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Relationships And Business

I remember having a meeting in the office of one of my larger customers in New York one time. During our discussion we came to talk about relationships and how they affect business. The CEO was a man of Jewish decent and I will never forget his sentiment; "I don't believe in hate. Hate is not good for business." The moral point aside, from a practical point of view, obviously good relationships are better for business.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Make It Happen!

You become known for dependability and speed when you follow orders through immediately and don't procrastinate. When you get things done quickly two things will happen; you will achieve results and you will get promoted. A bias for action is key. Don't wait for things to happen. Make them happen! Don't talk about them or think about them. Just do them! Get things done quickly.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Focus On The Future

There is little value in reminiscence over what has been. Let's look ahead and focus on our future. We can learn from our past experiences but shouldn't allow our past to keep us stuck and hold us back from our future possibilities. If you’re constantly talking about what was, you’re robbing yourself of what will be. Your past is not equal to your future. See your past as your teacher and use your past to inform your future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Competence, Contacts And Capital

To build anything of value in any sense of the word, the most important assets you can apply are competence, contacts and capital, and in that order. With technical skill (being good at what you do) you tend build up your reputation and network of contacts (people who think about you in favorable light) will grow over time. Then capital is easier to attract. Work first on your competence and contacts then capital will follow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Serious Are You?

Most people misunderstand and fail to define the word serious correctly. They view it as stoic, non-smiling, stiff, non-humorous, and boring. That is not the case! Seriousness is the intention, the intensity, and the focus that you put into your work ethic and your personal ethics. Serious is a way of life, a way of business, a way of selling, and a way of serving. How serious are you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Victory Called Success

The victory we call success goes to the best prepared, self believing, right associated, self taught, responsible person, who sees opportunity and is willing to take a risk to seize it - sometimes a big risk. Are you that person?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Compare Performance To Potential

It is said that Tiger Woods continues his tough practicing schedule even though he is already the best in the world at his craft. He is comparing his performance to his potential and knows he has not arrived yet. We are all on a constant journey of growth. We learn, we get better, we learn some more and get better yet. When comparing performance to potential we can still get better. Everyone started out as a beginner and rarely reach his or her maximum potential. There is always room to learn more.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Never Sanction Incompetence

As a leader, you must hold your people accountable for competent work. That is basic to everything you do as a leader, manager, or supervisor. Your number one job as a manager is to help your people succeed. If your people are failing, then you are responsible to do something about it! If you allow incompetence in your ranks, everyone loses. If you are faced with incompetence in your ranks, you must take action!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Letter π (pi)

When ever you are conducting research and development in any capacity remember that everything takes more time and costs more than you expected. Even with your best educated guess you simply don't know what you don't know. Experienced project leaders and venture capitalists agree on the rule of thumb to multiply time estimates with π (pi~3,142) and divide projected profit with the same constant. If your business case can withstand the π-test your business is likely to be sustainable and robust.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Serving Customers Profitably

When you are preparing offers for your customers think about these strategic options: It is your unique way to provide value that makes customers buy and it is what you choose not to provide that makes you profit. You can not be all things, to all people, all the time. The way to having happy customers is to think about what new elements you need to integrate into your offers and what to do more of. The way to a profitable business is to figure out what you should do less of or stop providing altogether.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confront Your Challenges

Most people have a natural tendency to shy away from conflicts and problems. We simply don't like the stress and the tension. The quickest way to grow as a professional and a person is to confront your challenges and don't run away from them. It is said that successful people do what less successful people don't like to do. Successful people confront their challenges and solve their problems. Behind the obstacles you too find your success.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hang Out With The Right Crowd

Our level of accomplishment has a lot to do with the peer group we tend to associate with. You become similar to the people you spend most of your time with. During our life we hang with different crowds. We start a new job, and suddenly we hang out with a different crowd. How successful are the other people you associate with? Are they as ambitious, focused and energetic like you? If not it may be time for you to find new associates.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Learn Something New

I find it fascinating that so many motivational speakers, business coaches and sales trainers focus such an emphasis on continuous learning. It is probably because they associate learning with success and I think they are right. There is no steady state. We are either growing or decline is setting in. Stay inquisitive, curious and open minded. How much time are you spending each day learning something new? Fifteen minutes is better than naught.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ignorance Or Uncertainty?

As things around us change quickly and fundamental value drives sometimes change as a result, it is much harder to predict future business scenarios these days. When ever you don't know, ask yourself if you are unsure because of ignorance or uncertainty. You cannot control uncertainty but ignorance you can do something about. Read, listen to audio, go to class, ask the experts. Do what you can to make sure your knowledge stays current.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Focus As Decision Criteria

We are bombarded with offers and opportunities to spend our time, money, energy and focus all day long. To have to make all these choices can be exhausting. Once you decide on your areas of focus they will act as decision criteria for you. Your focus can tell you if any opportunity is inside or outside. Identify and develop your focus areas and use your focus to make yes/no decisions. When you learn to use your focus to inform your decisions, decision making will be easier and faster.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Remain Teachable

Things change so fast in our world today and as a consequence the half-life of our knowledge and skill get shorter. Remaining teachable is a prerequisite to learning anything new. It is so easy for individuals and organizations alike to get set in their ways as they grow older. Make it a habit to expose yourself and the team to new ideas. Read outside your field. Meet with interesting people and have a forum to collect and try new ideas out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't Be An Energy Drainer

Only speak about your problems to the people who can help you fix them. Don't volunteer your misfortunes unnecessarily. Don't invite friends to come to your pity parties. I like the old advice; "Don't speak about your sicknesses, unless you are talking to your Doctor." When you are among other people; be positive and cheerful. Be a person who others like to be around and become an energy gainer, not an energy drainer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Questions Are Better Than Propositions

To successfully influence another person you often need to advance some ideas for a person's consideration. Research shows that the best way to do this is to phrase your ideas as questions to the other person, not as propositions. When you propose an idea, the likelihood of agreement is only 25% and the risk of getting an objection is 39%. When you use questions instead the likelihood of agreement jumps to 42% and objections are cut in half.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking The First Step

Often in life, the biggest fear to overcome is taking the first step. Leaders make the first move, and in doing so, they inspire others to act. By initiating action, leaders serve as pioneers, paving the trail for others to walk after them. Tacitus, the first century Roman Empire senator and historian said; "The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise." What trail are you paving for your people?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Focus On What You Have

When you focus on what you have, you end up getting more of what you want. If you focus on the good qualities of your spouse, he/she will be more loving. If you are grateful for your job rather than complaining about it, you’ll do a better job, be more productive, and probably end up getting a raise. If you focus on ways to enjoy yourself around home rather than waiting to enjoy yourself in Hawaii, you’ll end up having more fun. If you ever do get to Hawaii, you’ll be in the habit of enjoying yourself.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prepare And Plan Ahead

Organization skill is at the heart of value creation. Your ability to organize your own activity as well as that of your team is vital since value is created through the organization of skilled labor. The value you create is in direct proportion to how well you prepare and plan ahead. There are many tools and techniques available at your disposal. Figure out ways you can strenghten your organization skills.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Empower Your Team

Motivation produces results. The first responsibility of a leader is to motivate the team. Refrain from doing anything that disempowers them or reduces their energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing. Involve them and let them provide input. When they participate in a discussion they tend to accept the conclusion even if it differs from their perspective.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Maintain Your Disciplines

Hold on to your positive habits that made you successful in the first place. When things go smoothly it's easy to relax your disciplines. Your productive habits form the basis for your future success. They are vaccines to protect you when the wheels get spinning faster and things get harried. Review you habits and ask yourself if there are any you have forgotten and should pick up again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tell A Story

One of the best way to influence others is by telling stories. There is something about a good narrative that is difficult to challenge. A story acts as a kind of independent witness in a trial. No one can argue with the experiences of others. This story telling technique is commonly used in politics, religion and by great sales- and marketing people. Figure out how you can use story telling when influencing others in your line of work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hear All Sides, Get The Facts

A way to solve problems; resolve conflict; and bring closure to your worst mistakes and failures: hear all sides; get the true facts; let the chips fall where they may. Get everyone's version of the story. Listen a lot and don't jump to conclusions too quickly. Don't stop until you have a clear picture of what really happened. Let the appropriate people be held accountable for what happened, especially if you are one of those people! It is helpful and inspiring to a team when a leader is willing to admit their own mistakes. Be one of those leaders.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thank You!

Thank the people around you for the smallest acts of kindnesses. The more you thank other people for doing things for you, the more things those other people will want to do. Look for ways to make people feel more valuable and important. Say things to others that you would like others to say to you. Express appreciation for everything anyone does for you, large or small. Say the words, "thank you" on every occasion.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Understand Momentum

It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It's a lack of momentum. Without momentum, even a tiny obstacle can prevent you from moving forward. With momentum, you'll be able to navigate through problems and barely even notice them. As a leader, your responsibility is to understand momentum, to get it moving for your organization, and to sustain it over time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Prioritize Your Tasks

Ivy Lee is considered to be the father of modern Public Relations and worked for Rockefeller, Chrysler and others. He sold an idea to Charles Schwab for $ 25,000. The idea was to write down your six most important tasks for next day, prioritize them in the order of their importance and work on them in that order, not proceeding until a task is completed. Schwab introduced the idea to his entire management team. Try it for yourself.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Difference Is Just Thinking

There are many unwritten rules, assumptions and paradigms that influence our way of thinking and skews our perspective. Is the glass of water half full or half empty? It is neither, it just is. Facts merely are, then we pour our interpretation into them. The difference between disappointment and happiness is just thinking. You can choose happy thoughts!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Getting Others To Talk

The two most important interpersonal relationship skills you can develop are: questioning and listening skills. Both when it comes to selling as well as getting along with people this is the key. You want to get the other party to talk. As long as they are talking, you are winning. People usually enjoy talking about themselves and their needs. Ask questions and listen for their answers. They will enjoy it and you will be learning.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Raspberry Jam Principle

Focus is very important for us to achieve any level of success. What ever you are involved with, don't spread yourself too thin. This is sometimes referred to as the Raspberry Jam Principle. You want to have energy and strength to carry your initiatives to fruition. In sales and marketing, for example, decide on your target audience in such a way that you spread your raspberry jam in tasty enough chunks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hunters Or Farmers?

Are you a hunter or a farmer? A hunter is an individualistic short term go-getter. They work hard and get the job done. Their motto is; "If it is to be, it's up to me!" The farmer on the other hand works best with a team, in collaborative efforts and they cultivate their business for the long term. To build something of great value you will need both hunters and farmers on your team. Build up your team with complementary personalities.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Creating Conditions

Concentrate your time and energy on the most important factors to create maximum leverage. When you work hard to create the right conditions, the conditions will work hard to create your success. In business, always focus on revenue increasing or cost reducing activities first. When you get the fundamental basics right everything else becomes much easier.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Unload Your Brain

Unload your brain and write everything down. Write on paper or use a digital device of your choice but write everything down. When you unload your brain from all the clutter you will be more relaxed and increase your capacity for creative thought. Write down all the crap so you can think of all the good. Your subconscious mind will come to your aid much more easily and bring you ideas and solutions even while you sleep.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Change Is Opportunity

The rate of change seems to be ever increasing. Our ability to adapt and be flexible in the face of change is ever more important. The personal question is: How will you react to that change? The bigger personal question is: Do you understand that change is opportunity? The biggest personal question is: How will you take advantage of that opportunity?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Resiliency More Important Than Education

In Harvard Business Review a few years ago, a company called Adaptive Learning Systems did a comprehensive study of the qualities it takes to be successful in life. They looked at the expected things: education, motivation, connections, etc. But they concluded that resiliency deserved to be on top of the list."The ability to bounce back from disappointment and even disaster," Adaptive's CEO Dean Becker said, "counts more than education, more than experience, and more than training."

Friday, July 24, 2009

You Are In Showbiz

For anyone today, especially those in leadership, honesty and integrity are absolutely essential to survival. A lot of businesspeople don't realize how closely they're being watched by others inside and outside their organization. Do you think there's anything your people don't know about you right this minute? If you haven't been totally straight and honest with them, do you really think you've gotten away with it? Not too likely. Remember you are in showbiz all the time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Servant Leadership

As evidenced by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, leaders have prioritized self-preservation (built pyramids) for thousands of years. Regrettably, self-preservation runs contrary to the true nature of leadership, which involves serving constituents. By operating with a me-first mentality, leaders deprive and exploit those they lead instead of equipping and inspiring them. Decide to become a servant leader helping your people grow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't Wait Until The Inbox Is Empty To Relax

Your inbox will never be empty, there will always be stuff waiting there to be dealt with, processed, responded to etc. Someone once told me to realize that not even the day I die will my inbox be empty. So true! We might as well just learn to enjoy ourselves in the meantime. Figure out a way to relax between your obligations and activities. Life is not a dress rehearsal, it's meant to be enjoyed. Don't wait until the inbox is empty to relax.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Qualities Of A Leader

According to Peter Drucker leadership is the lifting of a vision to higher sights, the raising of a performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. Nothing better prepares the ground for such leadership than a spirit of management that confirms in the day-to-day practices of the organization of strict principles of conduct and responsibility, high standards of performance, and respect for the individual and his or her work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

At Your Best

When you plan meetings, appointments or time for important project work, you should always consider your natural biorhythm. This is the recurring cycle of biological processes that affect your emotional, intellectual and physical activity. Most people are 'morning' people - others are 'afternoon' people. Determine the two hours of the day when you feel your best, then schedule your most important activities for this time slot and protect this 'time space' from all intruders. If you do this for a week or two you will see an immediate productivity gain!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Goals And Dreams

Don't let your goals get in the way of your dreams. Goal setting, as a tool, has its utility and by all means, set yourself some worthy goals. But dreams, on the other hand, are more about motivation, feeling and emotion, passion and revelation. Dreams are your internal standards you want to live by. Make sure you make room for your dreams while you work on your goals.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How We Think About Our Problems

Everyone is facing problems, challenges and drama in their life. How we think about our problems will determine the outcome. You have heard the expression "garbage in, garbage out". Well, this is true also for the positive and the negative when we are attempting to resolve issues we have to deal with. With positive input into your thinking process the result is more likely to be positive. Load your thought processes with positive thoughts on a daily basis.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Relationships Not Transactions

Legitimacy of a business comes from serving others. Successful business is not about good transactions, it's about good relationships. When you treat your customers and suppliers well they are more likely to come back and repeat doing business with you and recommend you to others. Running a good business means you provide value to others while making a profit for yourself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Question Instead Of Statement

How we respond to events and other people is an indication of how mature we are. Instead of reacting instinctively with a knee-jerk response to everything that happens, maintain a positive frame of mind by formulating your response as a question rather than as a statement. For example if you are dissatisfied with someone's actions; ask what they did, then if it was the best they could have done and what could have been done differently. Then encourage them to do better next time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Be A Risk Taker

Without risk there is no reward. Moderate risk takers are not only more successful since they have a tendency to seek out opportunity, they are also happier than other people according to a recent study. If you are the kind of person who like to push yourself outside your normal comfort zone you are likely to be more content, fulfilled and successful. The most interesting aspect of this is that any normal person can work toward risk and can in fact become a better risk taker with practice.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Display Authenticity

True authenticity is one key networking element. No effective relationship can develop without actually engaging with people and this forms the basis for demonstrating authenticity. Are you what you say you are? Do you always deliver on your promises? Do you commit and follow through? All of these engaging characteristics develop an authentic relationship.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Prepare For The Worst

Plan for the best and prepare for the worst is an age old advice. Obviously you want your plans to be as excellent as possible in order to exploit the opportunity and hit it big. However, it is often more important to cover the soft underbelly and protect the downside properly. Prepare yourself and your team by asking "what if" questions in the style of "What is the worst that could happen?"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Do The Opposite

Most people as well as businesses are often charging in one direction after "the next big thing". One excellent way of differentiation is to do the opposite. Many times that's where you find uncontested market space. Rather than competing on the same premises head to head with all the others you will find margins and pools of profit where there is little competetion out there in the blue ocean. Observe the masses and do the opposite.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Output Equals Input

In the last song ever to be recorded with the Beatles on the Abbey Road album, the final chorus says; "The love you take is equal to the love you make." Years later John Lennon acknowledged McCartney's authorship by saying, "That's Paul again ... He had a line in it, which is a very cosmic, philosophical line. Which again proves that if he wants to, he can think." Remember, when it comes to success in love or achievement in business, your results stand in proportion to what you put in.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Whiner Or Winner?

Can you tell the whiners from the winners? The whiners are complaining about everything and they’re worried about losing their job. The winners are planning to win, believing they’ll win, and taking action. Which are you? When bad things happen unexpectedly as they certainly will from time to time, do you see yourself as a victim or as a victor? The way you respond to a challenge shows if you are a whiner or a winner.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Pace Of The Leader

Great managers know that the pace of the leader determines the pace of the pack. You lead the way by setting your own personal example. Classical military strategy suggests the general should lead from the front and I think that makes perfect sense. When you as a leader work hard, long hours, your people will be more inclined to do the same. Your tempo will become the tempo of your organization.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Change Things In YOUR World

Are you identifying yourself as a victim or a winner? The victim thought patterns are governed by self limiting beliefs. It is true you can’t change things in THE world, but you can change things in YOUR world. Now is the perfect time to change your situation and take a self-leadership position. Now is the perfect time to take control of yourself including your thoughts, your expressions, and your actions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Diamonds Are Created Under Pressure

Have you ever wondered why great leaders seem to arise in emergency situations and in times of war? It is because the situation demands it. The enormous pressure calls for hard choices and quick decision making. The leaders just have to rise up and perform. I heard an interview with one of Mandela's prison mates during the anti-apartheid struggle, talking about all the good that came out of twenty six years of imprisonment. When you are struggling remember that diamonds are created under pressure.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Four Ways To Answer A Question

There are four ways to answer any question. Politicians are very good at using these maneuvers.
1, answer the question (just give the answer);
2, answer a different question (the one you want to answer);
3, answer with a question (the one who ask questions is in charge of the conversation)
4, don't answer the question (you have the right to remain silent or say "no comment")
Make sure you are comfortable with these as they are powerful communication tools to use when the situation calls for it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Scarcity Principle

When a resource is scarce it is considered valuable. Gold, for example, is a relatively scarce metal and hence we consider it valuable and precious. You can use the scarcity principle as an influencing factor in your negotiations with others. It is a common marketing tool to use deadlines; "offer only valid to...", or "while stock lasts". Give some thought to how you can apply scarcity in dealings with your customers.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Attitude - Action - Lifestyle

Business philosopher Jim Rohn says; "Philosophy drives attitude. Attitude drives actions. Actions drive results. Results drive lifestyles." If you don't like your lifestyle, look at your results. If you don't like your results, look at your actions. If you don't like your actions, look at your attitude. If you don't like your attitude, look at your philosophy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Who Are You Around?

Who you associate with says a lot about you. The environment you are in influences you greatly. You want to stay around positive, enthusiastic, uplifting people and stay away from the negative energy draining individuals. If you want to fly with the eagles you can't continue to scratch with the turkeys. Think about your own relationships. Some people you should probably spend more time with, others less and some you stop seeing altogether. Then there may be some new contacts you should initiate. Do it!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hindsight Is 20/20

It is always easy to look back at something once you have all the information and all the insight, after the fact and realize what happened. The real litmus test is to ask yourself; "If I had to do it all over again, and I have the exact same information I did at the time, would I still make the same decision?" If the answer is yes, you probably made the best decision.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Break And Repair

We have heard about stress testing of the banking industry recently. The logic is interesting; when you break it you know how to repair it. When I was little I liked to pull things apart and put them back together again. Don't be afraid to push the limits of your systems. There is a lot of learning available here. If you break it you can fix it and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

Today it is exactly two years ago since Bottleneck Blog was started. One of the keys to success is continuous, lifelong learning. Since the shelf life of knowledge is getting shorter, it's become more important than ever if you want to stay competitive. At the same time information is more readily available. But what you need is not information, but insight - or wisdom, which is the prudent application of knowledge. The question is how you learn and what you do with what you learn.

Monday, June 29, 2009

As A Man Thinketh

What you think about yourself and your prospects in life and business is vitally important to your results. James Allen in his famous little book As a Man Thinketh says; All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is a direct result of his own thoughts. You become what you think about most of the time.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Correct For Skewed Vision

Myopia is a refractive defect of the eye causing nearsightedness or shortsightedness. We have to correct for a skewed vision all the time. In marketing it can help us redefine what business we are in. If a buggy whip manufacturer in early 1900's would have defined its business as the "transportation starter business", they might have been able to make the creative leap necessary to move into the automobile business when technological change demanded it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Whose Problem Is It?

If you do all the talking, whose problem is it? There is a simple principle at play here - we are more likely to support that which we help create. When it comes to problem solving and decision making, the more input you allow from other people, the more ownership and buy in you gain for the resulting solution or decision. Listen to others and win their support. It's how you build better collaboration.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Become A Human Lie Detector

Police investigators and interrogators are experts at detecting lies. When Richard Nixon said; "I am not a crook" that is not the typical way an innocent person talks about himself. In every day language we usually don't use negations that way. Instead we would describe ourselves along the lines of; "I am an honest person." You too can become a human lie detector when you pay attention to what and how people say things.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Improved Responses

I once heard a direct marketeer describe the recipe to his secret sauce like this; clarify, verify, testify and get 'em to buy. He said those steps were the best in order to attract high response rates. He is right. In a sales situation it is the same thing; be clear in your communication, make sure about the customer need, exemplify with other customers and ask for the order. It does not matter if you are selling a product or just your idea.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Relationships With People And Things

We think of relationships as something we have with people, either good or bad. In good relationships there is attraction and wanting to spend more time together and in bad relationships there is a repelling pull to keep us apart. I want you to reflect on the fact that we have relationships to everything in our world, some good relationships and others bad. For example; what is your relationship to money, achievement, success, health and happiness? Do they fall in the good or bad category?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Show Respect

Listening is one of the most tangible ways we can express respect in the modern workplace. Go ahead, I am listening. Say it genuinely and authentically and it tells people that they are valued and respected. Think about how you feel when someone says; "Shut up. I am talking now." to you. You express respect when you show that you are listening.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Be Brief And Keep It Short

Less is more! Be brief and to the point. Churchill suggested that a person who can not summarize his/her message into a one pager he does not know what he/she is talking about. There is some truth to that. It takes more concentration of thought to keep a message short and to the point. Distill your communication down into its key components and condense for clarity. In your role as a leader, your communication skills are of paramount importance. Keep it short!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Adapt Your Communication

Adapt your communication to the person you are talking to. This is particularly important when you want to influence the other individual. In sales, for example, studies show that you can as much as double your closing rate, just by adapting to the style of the person you are talking to. People that are good with interpersonal relationship skills do this all the time intuitively. You can do it on purpose, once you learn how to do it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Start With "Yes!"

A couple of years ago, always when interviewed, the coach for the Swedish National Ice hockey team, started out every sentence on the negative, with the word "no"; even when he had something positive to say. You like to hear the word "yes", don't you? Guess what; so does everyone else, too. Always try to start out on the positive, particularly when you want to influence people. Start out with a "yes!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Your Own Peace Of Mind

Cyrano de Bergerac, in Edmond Rostand’s play says: “I am what I am because early in life I decided that I would please at least myself in all things.” Some people call it to follow their heart or to follow in their calling. Choose peace of mind as your highest organizing principle and see how that affects your life. I can tell you; great things will happen when you dare to follow the joy of your heart and your peace of mind.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Continue To Learn And Grow

Making excuse is the opposite of taking responsibility. Excuse is a permission slip to stay where you are. When you stay where you are you are not growing. When you are not growing you are not learning. When you are not learning you are not winning. Invest in your continuous learning and growth. And take responsibility for your achievements and your results.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Little Every Day

Steady progress is made when you work in on something consistently, a little every day. Read a little, exercise a little, call on your customers, work on your projects a little every day. You know the old adage; An apple a day! It is not seven apples at the end of the week or thirty one apples by the end of the month. Make sure your key work habits support your goals, a little every day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Urgent Versus Important

So many times we get bogged down by what is urgent, such as pressing things from our surrounding environment, instead of prioritizing and focusing on what is truly important to us. Often things that are more important (that is, having higher yield on our end results) don't come with tight deadlines and hence are pushed down in our priority listings. For maximum results, make sure to always find time do the important stuff on a daily basis.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Habit And Deeply Held Beliefs

Strategies and techniques will not solve problems caused by deeply held beliefs often on an unconscious level. That's why behaviors are so difficult to change. We know what we need to do, but sometimes we don't do it. What we know is overruled by our convictions, our deeply held views of ourselves and of the world. To change a habit you first need to change your underlying convictions.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Science Of An Apology

A proper apology should always include the following elements: a detailed account of the situation followed by an acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done. Assume responsibility for the situation and recognize your role in the event. Then issue a statement of regret and ask for forgiveness. Finally, promise that it won't happen again and include some kind of restitution whenever possible.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Your Words Define Your World

The words we use to describe things say a lot about us, our values and deep down convictions about those things. Just as we have relationships with one another, some are good and some are bad, we also have relationships with everything else around us. We have relationships (good or bad) with money, success, happiness and so on. Your words describe your world. What you say, how you express yourself reveal if those relationships are good or bad.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Success Flows Through Learning

When you blame someone or something else other than yourself and excuse your lack of results by blaming it on the government, the economy or your competitors etc. that is the opposite of learning! When you take responsibility for your results and see everything as an opportunity to learn and adjust when needed, you will succeed. Your ability to perform to achieve results come from what you learn. Continuous learning is a key component of success. Your future success flows through your future learning.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Good Am I At That?

People often say; "I know that!" and stop listening. When they stop listening they stop learning. When you grow from understanding and awareness to action and application, you have to develop your thought process from "I know that!" to "How good am I at that?" It is the application of knowledge that counts. It is not what you know but what you do with what you know that produces success.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Questions Are Better Than Information

We say that knowledge is power - and it is. However, when you ask questions the answer, in addition to providing you with knowledge, provides the other party with new levels of insights. And that's a powerful way to influence! It is better to ask the question than to have the information. For example, when you ask your customer about their needs, they find out about them first (and then you do, too!).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Over Motivated Underachievers

Some people mistake activity for results. They are motivated and want to produce. They work very hard, put in the long hours and strive for success. Yet they never seem to arrive. They are over motivated underachievers. You have to remember that you don't get paid for your time but for your ideas, your solutions and the value you create per unit of time. Don't mistake activity for results!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Attitude In Communication

Effective communication is extremely important in the world of business as well as at home. When analyzed experts say 30% comes from your ability to listen, 20% from your ability to respond and 50% from a positive attitude. As you can see, listening and communication skills are vital but as much as half of effective communication or great customer service comes from attitude. Yet they teach it in very few schools. Make sure attitude development is part of your own curriculum.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Concentrate On The Fundamentals

When things are not going well for you, check on the fundamentals. Are you doing it right? Do you have the correct people and processes in place? Ninety nine percent of all success is achieved through application of fundamentals. If you lose a sale, think about it and ask yourself; did I apply all my knowledge and skills properly? Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better! Come back to and apply the fundamentals constantly. It is the road to your success.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Responsibility And Liberty

Personal responsibility, personal rights and liberty go together. The American author Henry D. Thoreau wrote; "The greatest enabler of rights and freedom is individual responsibility. Without personal responsibility, rights are meaningless." Don't blame your problems on other people, situations or circumstances. When you are ready to take full responsibility for your emotions, your actions and your results, you are free to grow.

Friday, June 5, 2009

People Plus Processes

As a leader you need to put your focus onto what drives your business. The equation is P2=R; People + Processes = Results. Any chain is as strong as its weakest link. If you lack results you either lack the people or the processes. Focus first where it makes the biggest difference. Usually you will find success when you put your focus on your key relationships and your results.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Minimize Your Maximum Loss

Always work on minimizing the impact of the worst possible outcome you can think of. In the face of uncertainty "minimax" is a decision rule used in decision- and game theory, statistics and philosophy to minimize the maximum possible loss. It can be applied to decisions where the consequences of decisions depend on unknown facts. For example, deciding to prospect for minerals entails a cost which will be wasted if the minerals are not present, but will bring major rewards if they are. Work to minimize your maximum risk.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Attraction Comes From Action

Don't believe people offering you instant success, an easy life where your down line supposedly does all the work, promising you only need to sit back relax, concentrate and think about all you want to see happen in your life. That's not the law of attraction, that's the law of inaction. Of course a positive mental attitude is vital, aided by having your goals clearly visualized. But, primarily you generate attraction from your action. So get ready, position yourself, build your platform and be prepared to work hard.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Develop Your Options

In a world where complexity is growing and the rate of change is increasing we need to develop our strategic options. I read in a recent McKinsey report the conclusion that our perception of risks and uncertainties have changed. You can make plans even in the midst of chaos. If you know your goals you can develop scenarios through combination of conditions that would take you to your goals. You are only as free as your options. Develop them!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Focus On Strengths

As a leader you create value by managing people and not as much by your own individual contribution. Success will depend on how well you match you team. Great leaders focus on the strengths of their best people. Poor leaders focus on the weaknesses of their worst people. Focus most of your efforts on your key contributors and help them to win. They act as role models for the team. When they win, you win!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

No Hope, No Action

Fear is belief in a negative outcome that usually you have vividly visualized in your own mind. Fear extinguishes possibilities. It hampers hopeful creativity. Fear only allows for a threatening, damaging outcome. Fear neutralizes hope and when there is no hope, there is no action. Shift back from fear to courage. And, when your beliefs are different, then your expectations about outcomes become different.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

You Get What You Think About

There seems to be this mental law that we tend to get what we think about most of the time. In general, successful people think about what they want all the time and unsuccessful people think about what they don't want. Never desire what you don't expect and never expect what you don't desire. Choose the thoughts and desires you decide to dwell on with care!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Everything Starts With An Idea

Ideas are powerful seeds. You mind probably is your greatest asset. When we think about it, everything you can see, all businesses and every initiative started out as an idea in someone's mind. Is it true that you can create something out of nothing? No, you create something out of an idea. I read somewhere that the average person generates at least for brilliant ideas every year. Capture the ideas! Don't lose them!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Passing The Persistence Test

Many times when people say no at first it is not a complete rejection of your proposition. They may want to test your conviction and persistence or just use their "no" reflex for convenience or protection. When interviewed 83% of customers saying "no", admit that they could have been convinced to say yes if asked again. The problem is sales people only repeatedly ask for the order again 7% of the time. Don't give up! If you don't take no for an answer, you will eventually pass the persistence test.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pick A Great Team

In order to create greatness you need a great team. In essence leadership is the organization of specialized knowledge or skilled labor. When we look throughout history nothing great was ever achieved without a team. Explorers like Christopher Columbus, Marc O'Polo or Neil Armstrong would never have reached their goals without the teams behind them. When you set out to build something great, pick a great team!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Honor Your Commitments

A lot of people, including professionals from whom you would expect more, often promise to do things and to call you back or provide you the answer in an e-mail, but don't. They fail to honor even their most basic commitments. This seems to become more common by the day. I find it fascinating! It makes it easier for you to stand out in a crowd; the only thing you need to do is to be true to your own commitments. When you say you will call someone back; do!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Somatic Responses To Stress

I recently read an article on stress where the author suggested that somatic responses to stress can give you an indication of underlying problem areas. Headaches and migraines related to thoughts of self doubt, heart symptoms to problems with relationships, stomach problems connected to emotions of fear whereas pain in back and shoulders were related to heavy workload. I have no idea about the scientific merit but found this an interesting hypothesis. What do you think? How does your body react to stress?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Strengths Come From Struggles

We have to allow for mistakes as a part of our growth and development program. Kids have to learn the hardships of life by doing their own mistakes. In organizations where mistakes are not allowed people don't grow as much. Arnold Schwarzenegger said: "Strength doesn't come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths." Don't be afraid of temporary setbacks, be afraid of never trying.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Eliminate Must

When attempting to motivate yourself or your co-workers to action don't use the word "must". Say "we will" or "we can" instead. This will provide more energy and enthusiasm. The word "must" trigger negative emotions preparing us to defend ourselves from the threat of failure making us feel insecure and powerless. For maximum performance take the word "must" out of your vocabulary.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Know Your Proposition

In project management and in all business it is how well you define your demarcations that determine your result. If it's what you decide to do that determines your revenue it is what you decide not to do that determines your profit. Feature creep in your products or service creep in your delivery can ruin a great opportunity. Simply know when to say no.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sometimes Things Are Beyond Repair

At times a situation or a relationship may deteriorate too far. At that point letting go or parting ways can be the best win-win solution. Don't let that bother you. In your role as a leader don't take it as a personal defeat when you need to replace someone occasionally. You have to do it for the betterment of everyone involved. They will be much happier somewhere else and you will be happy you took the action.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When Is It Strategic?

You often hear the word "strategic" used to explain our making poor choices like going ahead with a bad business or dealing with unprofitable customers or chaotic projects. We excuse ourselves by saying "Well, you know, it is a strategic deal/customer/project!" This use of the word has clouded our understanding of the real meaning of the word "strategic" which means this is a very important business consideration that influences the outcome greatly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Speed Up Your Decision Making Process

You don't have to have all the detailed facts in order to make an informed decision. To speed up your decision making process you only need to have the pertinent facts available. The key is to figure out what the pertinent facts are and gather that information. Pertinent facts are factors that impact and could sway the outcome. All other details are irrelevant as far as making the decision is concerned!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Time And Commitments

Everyone has the same amount of time. Time is truly democratic; distributed equally to everyone. People that complain about having too little time really don't have an issue with time but with too many commitments during a particular time interval. There are no time problems. You can't manage time but you can manage your commitments. Learn to say "No", or "Not now" more often.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Your Organizing Principles

It is not only what you decide to make important that matters. It is also the sequence by which you decide to organize them. For example; if you choose integrity, profitability and growth in that order, integrity takes precedence over profitability and profitability takes precedence over growth. In other words you would not trade profitability for growth or integrity for profit with this particular sequence. What are your organizing principles and in what order?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Your Reputation - A Valuable Asset

Your reputation and your good name is one of your most precious assets. Your reputation is how you are known to others. To have your company being viewed as a fair and honest place of business is more valuable than taking advantage of your legal rights when a customer or supplier is in breach. When you appear to do the fair thing you guard your reputation.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs held a commencement address at Stanford a couple of years ago where he reflected on his life and career. There seems to be a logical progression in life moving us from one step to another when we look backwards at it. It may not always be obvious while we are in the middle of it all. Jobs describes it as connecting the dots. He urges the audience of students to stay hungry and stay foolish. I'd say stay curious and open minded.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be A Problem Solver

Train the people around you as well as yourself to become problem solvers. When someone in your organization comes to you with a problem, ask them to come up with at least one workable solution to the problem themselves. Ask; "What would you suggest we do?" and better yet; "What do you consider to be our options?" Ask yourself these questions when you run up against a situation. Be a problem solver not a problem finder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Go As Far As You Can See

You very seldom have access to complete knowledge of a situation. You have to make up your mind as you go based on sketchy information. The 19:th century Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle said; “Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther.” There is something about being decisive and launch out even if you don't know exactly where to go next. Usually the course will clear once you get closer to your destination.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Question, Go Deeper

Whenever you are interviewing either to hire, get a reference or a referral always ask follow up questions. Ask them to provide specific examples of what happened, how they interacted in a certain situation. This is a great way to test for truth worthiness. It is very difficult to fabricate lies when you probe and dive in deeper to check for details.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reciprocity And Obligation

You can use reciprocity and obligation as a strong influencing factor with others. If you give the other party something first, like a free tasting at the supermarket, the gift creates in a sense a moral obligation and we feel like we owe them something in return and often we pay back by purchasing a full container of the same stuff. Figure out what gifts you can provide your business contacts and acquaintances.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pace Yourself

You need to pace yourself and plan your schedule in such a way that you arrange time for your important relationships and time to relax. It is vitally important in order to sustain your energy and ability to deliver results over the long haul. Pay particular attention to your sleeping pattern and aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. For each incremental hour of sleep you get, you reduce your stress levels with more than ten percent.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Providing Causes For Success

Successful people develop a sense of urgency to getting things done. They have a strong commitment to results and their actions continually provide causes by which results happen. They are highly motivated and focused on their goals. You too provide causes to what you implicitly find important. If not happy with the results you get, first work on your focus and your motivation to develop your sense of urgency.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is Your Indecision Final?

I saw a funny and award winning advertisement from the Economist the other day. It said "Is your indecision final?" I found it very clever, but jokes aside, there is an element of truth in it. You know that not making a decision is also a decision - to do nothing. When you decide to be undecided you delay actions and results into your future. Don't let your indecision be final.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Change Is Happening Fast These Days

In this day and age you need to be flexible and willing to change more than ever. Many people are talking about the current recession as structural rather cyclical. This means when we come out of it a lot of things will look different than they did before. You have to think about the impact it can have on your business. Rethink and recreate or you run the risk of becoming obsolete. Don't underestimate the power of change!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In Persuasion - No Exaggerations

Don't exaggerate your claims when you are trying to persuade someone to your point of view. A modest approach, slightly understating the facts will be much more convincing. The Talmud says; “If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.” When you exaggerate, people generally become hesitant and suspicious. It is more likely that exaggerations will lessen your trustworthiness rather than enforce it. In persuasion, don't add to the truth!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Desired Goals, Pressing Problems Or Focused Questions

Some particular scenarios spur our creative thinking more than others. Creative thinking thrives on intensely desired goals, pressing problems and focused questions. Goal orientation creates focus to ignite our creativity. Problems tend to elevate our creative faculties as well as asking ourselves pointed and focused questions about the situation. What can you do to enhance your creative spark?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Strong Purpose, Pleasing Results

Successful men are influenced by the desire for pleasing results while failures are influenced by the desire for pleasing methods. They are inclined to be satisfied with such results as can be obtained by doing the things they like to do. Successful people, on the other hand, have a purpose strong enough to make them form the habit of doing the things that must be done in order to accomplish the purpose they want to accomplish.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Agility Training

In many aspects life is similar to an obstacle course and can be stressful at times particularly when focusing on the burdensome obstacles. In agility training the trainer must be courageous and take responsibility in order to lead properly. A confident leadership style creates an environment where the coworkers can focus on the fun and stimulating aspects of creatively finding the best way through the obstacle course. Learning to overcome the obstacles will make you and the team stronger and better prepared for the future.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Wishing Staircase

Everything we want in life and business starts with a wish to achieve it. At that point there is a wishing staircase to walk up through. The first step is wish, the second is desire, then hope and next the belief that this is possible. Less than one out of ten walk up the stairs this far, but there is one more step to go, namely to plan of action. Only 2% of the population go all the way. Are you one of them?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Criteria For Decision Making

When you are trying to make a decision it is helpful to establish criteria for your decision making. Ask yourself three questions; What am I trying to achieve? What am I trying to avoid? and What am I trying to preserve? Having the end result in mind will help you hone in on the best alternative. Make the criteria measurable. What must happen? How do you determine a successful outcome?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Common Denominator Of Success

The common denominator of success, the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful, lies in the fact that successful people form the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do. So what are the things that failures don't like to do? They are the exact same things that successful people, including you and I, don't like to do. The common denominator of success then lies in the disciplining of habit and motivation to carry it out every day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quantity Of Questions, Quality Of Answers

There is a direct proportion between the quantity of the questions we ask and the quality of the answers we come up with. The more good, relevant questions you ask of yourself and others the better solutions you will come up with. Don't always go with the first obvious answer. See how you can use the second answer you receive as part of your solution.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crisis; A Dangerous Opportunity

The word for "crisis" in the Chinese language is made up of two Chinese letters; the first character meaning "opportunity" and the second meaning "danger". This brings us to a composite understanding of the word "crisis" to be equal to a "dangerous opportunity". Viewed this way we can acknowledge a crisis as a learning opportunity for our continued growth and development. Don't be afraid of dangerous opportunities. Embrace them!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Examine Your Assumptions

When you run into problems you can not easily solve, take a look at your assumptions. There may be something wrong in the underlying context. Someone once said; "Errant assumptions lies at the root of every problem." I am not sure if this is one hundred percent true but think it can often be the case. Examine your assumptions about your market, the size of the opportunity, the competence of the people involved etc. Take a closer look at your assumptions.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Champion Of Ideas

Every idea needs a champion. You may have the best ideas in the world but without someone who can inspire others and bring them into reality, nothing will happen. History shows us that it is the ideas with the best champions that survive not necessarily the best ideas. For every initiative in your organization you need to find a champion to carry it through.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Maverick Mindset

What super entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell have in common is that they challenge their industry logic and decide to compete on different factors than their competitors. They think in unconventional ways. They look at business logic across industries, look at alternative channels of distribution and so on. You too can develop a maverick mindset and look at your business more creatively!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Higher Image Versus Lower Concern

Everyone experience fear at some point or another. Mark Twain said; "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of it!" When you experience fear, decide to keep your vision on your higher image (of what you are trying to achieve) instead of your lower concerns (that make you feel anxious). The ability to do just that is what we call courage. You can do it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Law Of The Lid

Leadership ability determines a person’s level of leader effectiveness. To reach the highest level of effectiveness, you have to raise the lid on your leadership ability. Seek opportunities to grow your leadership and search for opportunities to improve organizational structures and procedures. Seize opportunities to create greater efficiencies and help others to lift their lids in the process.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What We Do, Not What We Say

Our true values in life, both as individuals and organizations, are not necessarily what we say they are. There is a better indicator than our words; namely our actions. Is what you say you want your life to stand for consistent with what your life really stands for? If not, I suggest you either change your values or your words. The best indicator of your true values is what you do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mother Teresa Said:

If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you have anyway.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Optimistic Planner

One trait of great achievers is that they combine an optimistic outlook with purposeful planning. These people have a healthy, positive attitude and yet engage in detailed preparatory planning work. They don't leave their future achievement up to chance or luck. Be an optimistic planner and you greatly enhance your own chances for success.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Being Proceeds Doing And Having

Before we can have what we want to have we must become the person we need to be in order to do what we need to do in order to achieve it. In other words; being proceeds doing and doing proceeds having. A great question to ask is; "How would the person I’d like to be, do the things I’m about to do?" Wish for yourself success, not for what you will get but for the person you will become in order to get it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Focus On The Cause

One way to work on your odds and stack them to your favor is to constantly focus on the cause instead of the effect. Focusing on the causes of success instead of the results means you continue to do those things that will bring success to you. In sales, focus on customer need instead of your commission. In love, focus on the girl instead of on yourself. When you focus on the causes your odds of succeeding vastly improve.

Friday, April 17, 2009


In any communication exchange there are so many things that can go wrong. For starters, first we need to speak the same language and dialect. Then, once we understand the words we need to interpret the meaning and articulate an appropriate response back (upon which the process starts all over again). Given the complexity of human communication we should not be surprised that misunderstandings occur, but rather that we sometimes do understand each other.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Take Responsibility Over Your Own Stress

There are many things you can do to take more control over your own stress level. You can not control the environment around you as such but you can control your reactions to what happens. Make sure you have a plan for recreation, exercise and relaxation. I found out many years ago I need at least half an hour on my own every day to reflect and relax. How about you?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Repetition Improves Learning

Sayings such as "Practice makes perfect" illustrate the fact that repetition improves learning. When we are learning a new topic, repetition as a tool to help memorize and store away the information in our long term memory for later retrieval is important. Retention of information improves as a function of the number of times the information has been studied. Repeat and review your study materials, the book, the notes, or the tapes at least three times. Practice makes perfect!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Primary And Secondary Consequences

It is easy to think about the direct consequence of our actions. "If I eat this, it will taste good and I will enjoy it!" Instant gratification! We like it! "It felt so great to tell him/her what I was really thinking!" However, it takes a truly wise person to consider the more important and longer lasting secondary consequences of their actions. "If I eat this I will gain weight" and "I wonder how what I just said will impact our relationship." Start to think more often about the secondary consequences of your actions!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Likability Factor

People enjoy and like to be around friendly, courteous individuals. Work on to further improve your likability factor. The more people like you the better they will support you and work with you and help you. The likability factor is probably one of the most important factors for getting along with others. People relate to and do business with people they like. Make sure they like you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Frame Game

The ability of the human mind to interpret and reframe what happens to us is an incredible asset. From this follows that we can choose our own frame of mind. Failure is an attitude, not an outcome. That's why you never hear successful people admit defeat. They reframe setbacks and call them learning opportunities and things like that. I recently heard a sports coach say; "We didn't loose the game, we simply ran out of time!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Randori - Keep Moving

In Aikido the term Randori refers to a form of practice in which a defender defends himself against multiple attackers in quick succession without knowing how they will attack or in what order. Randori implies fast movement, quick footwork and difficulty catching the defender. In business terms it means don't get stuck with one problem, keep moving and be comfortable with multiple challenges coming at you from different directions all at once.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Certainty And Influence

Whenever you are trying to persuade someone you must know that in any interaction the person who is most certain will influence the other. That is why preparation is of uttermost importance. Knowledge of the subject matter as well as experience and time to reflect on the subject beforehand. The one who is best prepared often wins! Conclusion for persuaders; "Know thy stuff!"
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