School of Hard Knocks

Taking chances, making mistakes, it is the most natural thing in the world when you are a young kid, when you are a teenager, and then at some point in your life we learn that mistakes are to be avoided – at that point it is no coincidence that we stop taking chances. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are taking chances and make the inevitable mistake.
  • First, recognize them.  Be open to the possibility that when you are moving fast, or trying something new you are more likely to trip up, so don’t be surprised.  Keep a watchful eye on early indicators that you are off track, know what to look for and build into your process checkpoints to take in learnings and course correct.
  • Second, admit them.  It is never easy to admit you made a mistake, avoid the blame game, own it and don’t dwell on the past.  By owning the mistake you are also allowing yourself to take away learnings and move forward.
  • Third, take corrective action.  Understand the impact, look to manage the impact of the mistake and do something about it.  Communication is often a key tool in correcting mistakes, don’t hesitate to let those impacted know what is happening and how it will be corrected.
  • Finally, keep pushing forward.  Don’t let a mistake get you down.  Don’t beat yourself up and by all means don’t avoid trying new things or pursuing opportunities that will move your business forward.
Only by taking chances and pushing the envelope do we find out what is truly possible.  In the words of Albert Einstein, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” YOUR CHALLENGE:  Give thought to what area in your business you are currently playing it safe and what might be possible if you were willing to try something new.

Are You Attractive?

There are two elements involved in becoming a magnet:  Your ability to attract people and your approachability – the extent to which others perceive you as being open.  Together, these two qualities create a positive attitude, one of the top traits of a master networker.  Together, they influence how magnetic you are for your business. Author and professional speaker Scott Ginsberg has done extensive research on approachability.  Here is a summary of Ginsberg’s tips on how to maximize your approachability. Be ready to engage.  When you arrive at a meeting, event, party or even your kids ball games – be ready with conversation topics, questions and stories in the back of your mind.  Focus on CPI or Common Points of Interest. Show enthusiasm.  Avoid the routine questions and answers, like “How’s it going?” “What’s up?” or “How are you?” “Fine” or “Good”, instead offer something like “Amazing!” “Everything is beautiful!”  The other person will instantly change his or her demeanor, smile and most likely match your enthusiasm. Don’t cross your arms at networking events.  It makes you seem defensive, nervous, judgmental, close-minded or skeptical.  People see crossed arms, and they drift away.  You don’t appear approachable. Give options for communication.  Your friends, colleagues, customers and co-workers communicate with you in different ways.  Some will choose face-to-face; some will e-mail; others will call; still others will do a little of everything. Accommodate them all. Always have business cards.  Simply said, you just never know who you might meet and where.  Tuck them away in multiple places, so you are never without, in your golf bag, in your glove box, even give a few to your spouse. Wear your name tag.  A person’s name is the single piece of personal information that is most often forgotten – and people are less likely to approach you if they don’t remember your name.  In addition it is also free advertising, and lastly name tags encourage people to be friendly and more approachable. So, if you want to be more attractive, work on your approachability. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Rate yourself and your team on approachability.  Get a name tag, replenish your stash of business cards and up your game.

Weasel Words

All of us have used them, all of us know them, all of us have hidden behind them at some point in our lives or used them in defense of an argument.  I’m talking about weasel words.  They are easy to recognize because they make everything else that you say less powerful.  They are words like IF, SHOULD, WHEN, HOWEVER, COULD. You might recognize them better in a more natural state like…. IF we looked at the needs of our customer…. We SHOULD consider how we market to that segment… WHEN we find the time we need to followup… HOWEVER, it seems like we don’t have what we need… We COULD look at what the customer has to say… These words are like kryptonite…. they leave you powerless. On the flip side there are words that you can use that will give you power.  Those words that illustrate ownership, accountability and responsibility.  Words like WILL and CAN. Along with words that promote timing, words like TODAY, BY THE END OF THIS WEEK, BEFORE WE LEAVE HERE.  These words show a sense of urgency and a call to act quickly or within a specific timeframe.  They supply us with a certain focus on getting things done.  They are powerful. YOUR CHALLENGE IS:  To remove the WEASEL WORDS from your vocabulary and feel the power!

Intimacy In Business

We don’t often talk about intimacy in the business world.  However, how can you not when intimacy is a critical component of any successful, long term relationship. In the workplace we need to look at how we create and maintain intimacy with our clients, our team, our suppliers, and our partners.  Creating intimacy means taking the relationship to a level that is win-win for both parties, that is mutually fulfilling. Here are some ideas on what you can do to create intimacy and deepen the relationship…
  • When was the last time you took your best client out to lunch or dinner or did something out of the office?  What about your top 5 clients?  Wouldn’t it make sense to make an investment in getting to know that client outside of the transaction, to connect on a personal level?
  • Do you know what your client is passionate about?  How about sending them an article, a book or information about a speaker or event related to their passion?
  • When was the last time you told a team member or a supplier that they are doing a great job?  Or thanked them for putting in the extra effort and praised the work they did?
  • How about sending a note of gratitude or thank you card when you notice something they are doing well?  Or asking them to share their successes with the team and let them be the expert, the hero?
These are just a few ideas that will build intimacy.  People need to feel appreciated and to know that they belong.  If you are already doing these things than kudos to you!   Look for opportunities to mix it up and keep it fresh. As the saying goes: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” YOUR CHALLENGE:   Choose one client, one partner, or one team member that you want to create intimacy with.  Then do it.  Send them a note, schedule time together, reach out and deepen the relationship.