Skepticism Is Necessary For Good Decisions!

Skepticism is critical to solid decision-making!

skepticismSkep – ti – cism …. A skeptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something; doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted

The fact is that skepticism is a positive force that successful managers apply regularly in making decisions. All managers as well as those that are asked to follow a particular path need to be able to test the conclusion if the impact of a bad direction or decision could make a difference or have a negative impact on organizational mission or people.

As individuals, those with real-world smarts accept few things at face value, while organizations tend to accept without questions the decisions made by “the system”, especially if they are based on reams computer printouts.

There are six common sense rules that guide decision-makers in the skillful application of skepticism.

  1. Don’t be a knee-jerk skeptic. Establish a basis in fact before voicing skepticism, rather than acting on gut reactions.
  1. Double check all facts and assumptions, especially those introduced with “As everybody knows…”. Look for the underlying facts and trends.
  1. Use skepticism  particularly when he outcome of an issue is really important.
  1. Be tactful and constructive when expressing doubt. Use terms such as, “I wonder if you have thought      about…?” “Have you considered…?” What would happen if…?” “Are you sure you want to do that/proceed in that direction….?”
  1. Turn on the skeptic’s radar when a presentation is loaded with sweeping generalities. Remember, there are no sure bets; no gains without risks.
  1. Be skeptical about your skepticism. A healthy level of suspicion is needed to survive and thrive, while at the same time, you must suspect this attitude if it crops up constantly about all things.

Ask yourself if a claim, statement  or pitch which you are being asked to weigh in or implement makes sense? Is it based on a re-play of history? Are the facts being used to support it logical and sound? There is no substitute for organizational history. Does it pass the smell test?;  I refer to it as my “crap-detector”!

Skepticism Can Be An Uncomfortable Role

The role of the skeptic is not easy. It is often uncomfortable as well as hazardous. “Group Think” is hard to resist. Too often the call for team play means the suspension of healthy doubts.

No one is comfortable and happy taking the heat of doubting the steamrollers that come running through a meeting when all of the “facts” and “conclusions” are projected on the screen in dazzling slides and printouts, enclosed in handsome three-ring binders, are passed around for further study. Especially if a senior executive – or your boss – is doing the presenting!

To paraphrase a popular adage, “To question the presentation when the majority is applauding is to be the proverbial bastard at the family reunion.”

Skepticism Wins Over Blind Faith

Nevertheless, common sense says you’ll get farther along the career path with a healthy dose of skepticism than you will with blind faith in what the organization says and does.

Bertrand Russell, the renowned British mathematician and philosopher, had this to say about the place of skepticism in career success:

“For my part, I should wish to preach the will to doubt…what is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite. In all affairs, it is a healthy thing, now and then, to hang a question mark on all things you take for granted.”

If you are skittish about using skepticism as a tool to accelerate your trip on your career path, run a test. For the next 60 days observe those whom you respect for their prowess in mastering the dynamics of life in organizations. See how many times they act as skeptics and how they do it.

If you find skepticism working for successful managers, what makes you think it won’t help you reach your career goals?

Use skepticism as one more tool in your quest for success and building your career. Good luck!!

This essay is an adaptation of an article written by John Barney and that appeared in an issue of Business Time Zone Magazine ( http://businesstimezone.com )

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitter  My LinkedIn profile  

5 Very Positive Things that Successful People Do!

5 Very Positive Things that Successful People Do!

thumbs up“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Successful people have developed very powerful and deeply held habits.

Here are 5 of them:

1. They live for the future and they don’t dwell in the past. They learn from mistakes and errors but they never brood over “what could have been.” Successful people know that the past is history and that taking risks involves the possibility of failure…but taking reasonable risks is also necessary to succeed.

2. They don’t obsess over perfection. It is not attainable in any measurable way and making perfection the objective is a Sisyphean task and sets one up for failure. Successful people are realistic in their goal-setting and apply themselves and do the best they can. When the job or task is done…it’s time to move on. History will judge if it was good enough.

3. They associate with successful people. And avoid people who are “downers” …those who are negative. Just as a positive attitude is contagious, so is a negative attitude. Negative people can poison a team or an organization. Putting up with negative people is a waste of time and energy that can be used to build positive relationships and networks. Associating with winners helps people become winners themselves. You can’t pick all you interact with … but you sure can for a lot of them. If you are a supervisor – don’t tolerate it in any of your reports. If you supervise supervisors, instruct your people to not tolerate it and train them how to eliminate it from their domain.

4. They never stop learning. Successful people learn on two different tracks: first, studying the components of success and failure and secondly learning more about what interests them personally. The first one is the same for all successful people; learning what the dynamics of success are, how to achieve them as well as learning from past mistakes. One way to do so is to study the success and failures of others. What were the habits, practices, mindsets, and strengths of the great successes of history; Winston Churchill, George Washington, Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie Steel that became U.S. Steel),  Steve Jobs (Apple), Jack Welch (GE)…and Michael Jordan, to name just a few. These great success also made mistakes – big ones along the way. Learn from these greats.

The second area of learning will also make you a more interesting and personable person! In my case, it is history – especially of the American Civil War and the two World Wars. My two universes of learning are therefore reading  biographies and military history. The lessons to be learned overlap. Every now and then, however, an Elmore Leonard novel sneaks in!

5. They bring a healthy amount of skepticism to the table when it is appropriate. They have a bit of “Missouri” in them – Missouri being the “show me state”. It helps them separate the “wheat from the chaff” – the useful from the not-so-useful when absorbing information or needing to decide a course of action. The world is full of people with agendas. A certain amount of skepticism helps to get through that minefield. They know not to take things at face value without probing the details and understanding the consequences of the action being considered. They challenge claims that just don’t seem to make sense.

Step back mentally and evaluate how well  you do in these five dynamics. Make them part of your personal planning journal and incorporate them into daily thinking. Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitter  My LinkedIn profile 

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

10 Guidelines for Success; “The Best Advice I Ever Got!”

Dirk Hoffius

Dirk Hoffius

10 Guidelines for Success; “The Best Advice I Ever Got!”

I recently stumbled over an interesting article entitled “The Best Advice I Ever Got”. I got in touch with the author (Dirk Hoffius)  who gave me permission to share it with you in an abridged manner as well as giving you the link to the entire article. Dirk is an attorney with the law firm of Varnum in Grand Rapids, MI. His title is “The Best Advice I Ever Got”. I added that it seems to me to be 10 great guidelines for success! Read on……………….

1. Do something. In other words – act, make and do. You have three choices in life: you can make things happen; you can watch things happen; or you can wonder, “Hey, what in the world happened?” Do it. Get it done. Turn your energy into plans, actions, and deeds. People will be impressed, and so will you.

2. Find a mentor. Do this as early and as often in your life as possible. You will know your mentor when you meet him or her. He or she will be smarter than you are, more talented than you are, more sophisticated than you are, and wiser than you are. Yet, somehow, for all that, he or she will believe in you. The better your mentor, the faster you will grow.

3. Be nice to everyone. Assume the kid in the mailroom is your future  boss or client, because he or she may well be. You can’t be too nice, but that doesn’t mean you should be a pushover. Nice people don’t finish last; they just don’t talk about winning on the way to the finish line. The more important you get, the nicer you’ve got to be.

4. Be on time. Ninety percent of life, according to Woody Allen, is showing up. People who show up get a 95, and what they do after they show up is the rest of the grade. Be committed to the task at hand because everyone’s time is as important as yours. Agreeing to be somewhere is a promise. Keep it.

5. The magic words. Growing up, your parents made you learn the magic words. “Please,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” If you want someone to do something for you, say :Please.” If they do it, say “Thank you.” If you do something and it’s wrong, don’t sit around waiting for everyone to forget about it. They won’t. Say you’re sorry and move on.

6. Never point your finger unless you’re giving directions. There is no payoff for laying the blame on others, events or the weather. There is no time for it and the press of events is far more important that who or what is to blame. Be part of the solution, not the problem. But, never be afraid to ‘fess up to your own mistakes. Strive for fairness in all things. Even more important is to give others the credit they deserve. You will need them for the rest of your life.

7. Stay curious. Ask questions. Whenever anything is unclear to you, never ever worry about appearing dumb. The dumbest question you’ll ever ask is the one you never ask. It was your missed opportunity to learn. People love someone who’s not afraid to ask a dumb question. They were waiting with the answer anyway. Don’t be intimidated by expertise and don’t be afraid to challenge jargon. Jargon is the mask of the insecure, the fortress of the overeducated.

8. Keep is simple. Strive for simplicity in everything. Think about it. Have you r every heard someone say, “I love the guy, he makes everything sound so complicated?” Simplicity means using plain English and always thinking how to make what you say and write  as easy to understand as possible.

9. Love what you do. Do what you love. This is absolutely critical. If you don’t love what you are doing, you probably won’t perform as well as you could. And even if you are successful, you’ll be miserable, so what’s the point? What if you don’t love what you are doing? Maybe you aren’t doing your best because if you do your best, one of two things can happen; you may have a new opportunity or you may find you like the job.

10. Learning is forever. No matter what we do in life, we are always learning and that’s a good thing because the more we learn, the better we do,, and the more we enjoy what we do. More importantly, our careers and our lives do not become boring if we continue to learn, to explore new things, and to grow. The result of always learning from classes, mentors, competitors, and anyone with whom you come in contact, is that someday you can be the best in your field. When that happens, whether you  recognize it or not, you became a mentor.

Americans love lists; these ten things are important if we are to be the  best we can be. They are lessons for life. Everytime we think we “got it” we find we can do better. We can and we will.

Dirk Hoffius

The entire text of this essay by Dirk Hoffius can be found at:

http://www.varnumlaw.com/files/documents/publications/The_Best_Advice_I_Ever_Got.pdf

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitter  My LinkedIn profile 

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Lose Your Job!

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Lose Your Job!

Getting a new job is hard work…and you don’t want to undo it by either adopting or reverting to some really bad career habits! Whether you are new to the job….or you are a tenured employee…here are five habits of highly unsuccessful people. Purge them bad habitsfrom yourself and safeguard against them creeping into your daily behavior. These on-the-job-habits are often fatal to jobs …and careers if not corrected.

Fact – when your behavior becomes disruptive to team performance, attitude, moral and overall harmony – the boss’s job is to “fix it”. Often that means firing you if earlier steps of progressive discipline have failed to resolve it.

Fix these five factors in your mind and do a self-examination to see if you are guilty of any of them. Ask trusted co-workers if you are guilty of any of them. Job and career success are dependent on you NOT wearing any of these “hats”.

Keep in mind that the business section of the newspapers and publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Business Week have story after story of CEOs that have lost their jobs due to “management style”. This really means that they couldn’t get along with the right people; they have behavior habits similar to anyone of these five factors!

Ford Motor Company Chairman Henry Ford II fired the very successful Ford President Lee Iacocca with the comment “I just don’t like you” ending years of disharmony between  the two. An extreme example of mannerisms costing someone a job!

1. Gossip. Don’t participate in the chatter than can pollute a workplace. A comment or observation leads to someone turning it into a fact. People start discussing the non-fact and speculating on outcomes. At its extreme it undermines reporting relationships, creates distrust and can destroy the harmony of a team. Rest assured if you participate you will be quoted and if  your boss catches wind of your involvement one too many times … out you might go. The reason?….  “enough is enough”.

Use as your benchmark the “Momma and Washington Post (or your local newspaper) Rule”. Say nothing that you aren’t prepared to see quoted on the front page above the fold and delivered to your mom’s (or your boss’s) front door.

Stay away from those do gossip and if you must interact with them do so only in conjunction to the job to be done. When they raise the gossip factor, simply say “I do not want to discuss that or get into that….and you’d be wise to also do the same”.

2. Assertive or Aggressive Body Language. When making a point don’t stab your index finger in the air like a dagger – it is insulting and overly aggressive. Don’t cross your arms when others are talking – it says “I don’t agree”. Don’t roll your eyes when someone says something your disagree with – it mocks the point they are making. You need to avoid judgmental body language; when it gets to the point that no one wants to interact with you… it might be time for your boss to clean house.

3. Offensive and Inflammatory Statements. Avoid inflammatory statements such as “Let me tell you something” or “Trust me on this”. It isn’t just the words… they are usually accompanied by an assertive approach. When that occurs, it is a total annoyance at best on the part of whomever you are talking to. Purge from yourself those annoying (and predictable) statements and comments.

4. Mood and Attitude Swings. When you are up and enthusiastic one day and moody and uncommunicative the next, it confuses and annoys people. Consistency of behavior is important to teamwork and understanding co-workers. When your presence becomes a drag on others you have become a supreme annoyance to others. No one wants to work with a team member for whom the glass is usually  half empty! When it impacts productivity, it is not uncommon for a boss to step in to solve it…often by termination.

5. Poor Clock Management. Tardiness, late for meetings, reports and work not done on time, not returning phone calls in a timely manner (or not at all!) Reliability and dependability is critical to a team. You waste the time of others when you are not on time. It drives those that are on time nuts! Think “Lombardi Time”* …. 10 minutes early is ON TIME!

OK… unless you have an extremely tolerant boss, five  sure-fire ways to lose your job is to participate in any of these areas. Keep them in mind as you go through the work day and be determined to not let any of them represent who you are!

* “Lombardi Time” comes from a characteristic of the legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi (the Super Bowl Lombardi Trophy is named for him). There are lots of different versions of what constitutes “Lombardi Time” as it became known. One is “Ten minutes early or it’s too late.” It became well known that Lombardi expected his players to be 10 (some say 15) minutes early for all meetings – what he actually told them probably varied, so an exact quote may not be possible to determine.

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

My LinkedIn profilefollow me on twitter

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

4 Tips to Successfully Start a New Job!

4 Tips to Successfully Start a New Job!

Top 4Just as there is “only one first impression”…so it is with starting a new job. Start off poorly and you will at best be playing catch-up. You wrote and re-wrote your resume, you interviewed  successfully and accepted a job offer. There is still much to do to leverage that job offer into the next step towards a successful career!!

Print this blog post and carry it with you as you begin your new job. Refer to the 4 tips and be sure you follow them!!

1. Introduce yourself to everyone. Especially those in other departments that you run into in the cafeteria, parking lot, hallways, etc. With the same confident smile and handshake you used during all of your interviews. Have an introductory statement “Hi – my name is Robb Mulberger and I am the new controller  here at XYZ.” Make note of their name and ask where they work in the organization if it is not offered. As soon as you can write it down – in fact you can do it right on the spot with the comment “I have met so many new people here – I want to jot down your name to help me get acclimated!” Enter all of these into your contact list but also prepare a typed “cheat sheet” you will carry with you until you know who is who. Always address people by their names – “Hi Bill”…or “Good morning Susan” – not just a simple “Good morning” –  it will impress folks that you took the time to remember their name, especially those you don’t interact with on a regular basis!

2. Be organized. I use Outlook’s calendar feature synced to my iPhone. I make liberal use of the “alert” feature when adding an appointment or task via my iPhone (“reminder” on your PC’s Outlook access) to prevent me forgetting an appointment or pre-determined action to be taken (make a phone call, mail a document, etc.). I also print the Outlook calendar month-by-month for six months and carry it in my briefcase . On it I pencil in appointments since it was printed as I enter them either via my PC or iPhone. Never throw away past months – keep them as a diary of past events. The objective is to be really organized and never miss a task. Get up to speed with your employer’s internal communications processes (email, tele systems, etc.).

3. Create a job reference manual. In addition to the “cheat sheet” list of names and job responsibility you created, make note of other helpful pieces of information such as your new company’s website and site map to find employee information, mission statement, etc. During the interview and hiring process you no doubt determined how you would be evaluated and what the definition of success in your job is. Write this down in bold ….burn it into your brain… so as you go about your job you are focused on what is important to your success.

4. Listen more than you talk … at least during your first few months on the job. Be sure you know the “lay of the land” before you offer any opinions. Few things are more of a turn-off than a new person becoming a know-it-all! Listen and learn how things are done before you chime in.

OK… 4 tips to successfully starting a new job. Follow them and you will get off to a good start to career success!

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

My LinkedIn profilefollow me on twitter

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

 

 

Successful Delegation Requires a Process

Career success and job success is a function of your skills and abilities. If you are – or ever will be – in a supervisory job… in charge of a project…or chairing a committee… delegation skills are critical to success. Someday getting the job offer you want might hinge upon your ability to answer successfully  the interview question “Tell me about how you delegate – how do you go about it?”! Interview preparation is job search tip #1!

Delegation is universally understood to be necessary to the success of any organizational unit. For delegation to be successful,  however, it must be structured –  a process must be determined and then followed.

To delegate successfully follow these guidelines from MindTools:

1. Articulate clearly the desired outcome. Specify the results that will make the effort a success. Include any “stakeholders” in the discussions leading to the definition of success for the effort. Provide initial timelines and deadlines.

2. Identify the degree of authority and accountability of each person involved.

3. Define who and when are the people involved to:

a. Develop a plan and ask for approval?…or

b. Develop a plan and proceed to implement, reporting status/results on what frequency?

4. Be sure authority and responsibility are in sync; if someone has the authority to act in a particular aspect of the project – he or she is also responsible for the results.

5. Delegate as far down in the organization as possible; the people closest to the action are in the best position to know what will work and what won’t.

6. Make answering procedural questions and clarifying issues a priority of all. You don’t want the process to come to a halt because someone can’t get an answer to a procedural question.

7. Don’t permit “upward delegation” to take place; where someone shifts responsibility upward or to you. When someone comes to see you with a problem  – picture the issue  as a monkey on his/her back. Don’t let that monkey jump on your desk, and then you are left with the monkey (the problem or issue)! Don’t answer such questions – ask questions instead as to possible approaches/solutions until they arrive at one you would agree with….then just nod approval!

8. Focus on results – not procedure, so long as procedures don’t exceed pre-determined parameters (cost, not a violation of any law, etc.). How you would do it is not necessarily the best way – if the right people are in the mix, the “how” should not be an issue.

9. Every now and then – there will be a glitch. That is, “the cow will get in the ditch”. This can be a great learning exercise – instruct whomever of the three-step process:

a. Get the cow out of the ditch.

b. Find out how the cow got into the ditch

c. Develop and implement procedures so it can’t happen again!

10. Have periodic meetings to discuss progress, stressing the objectives and what the desired results will have in terms of payoff for the organization and the team members. Review timelines and deadlines. Be sure to give recognition when earned. Document progress and distribute to all involved.

Successful delegation can only be achieved by understanding that it is a process that needs to be put into place and then followed religiously.

For further reading on the subject – go to http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_98.htm

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitter    My LinkedIn profile   

 Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

Organizational Culture – You Must Understand it for Career Success!

Organizational Culture – You Must Understand it for Career Success!

As your career expands you may well play a role in developing the orgnaizational culture of your employer or perhaps a subset (division, department, etc) of it. If you are an entrepreneur, you ARE the determining factor of your venture’s orgainizational culture. If your job title starts with a “C”, then you have a responsibility to orgcultmaintain and mold the existing organnizational culture. Any way you look at it, organizational culture (or OC for this discussion)  is a deteremining factor for success of all organizations whether they be corporations, law firms, educational institutions, etc.

Lest you doubt that, hear the thoughts of Isadore Sharp, CEO of the Four Seasons Hotel chain: “If you don’t understand the culture of the company, even your most brilliant strategies will fail. Your vision will be resisited, plans won’t get executed properly, and all kinds of things will start going wrong.”

A study by the Econimist Intelligence Unit found: “56% or U.S. executives felt the single greatest obstacle to growth was corporate culture”.

Given its imporatnce to success, let’s examine just what OC is and its impact. The conclusions of those who have studied it are:

1. OC is the basic pattern of shared assumptions, values and beliefs considered to be the correct way of thinking about and acting on problems and opportunities facing the organization. OC is the philosophy that guides the organization’s policies towards employees and customers.

2. OC represents certain predefined policies that guide employees and give them a sense of direction in the workplace. It determines how employees interact in the workplace; it puts them on a common platform of thinking and decision-making.

3. An organization’s culture is the “lens” through which its employees view the world; the “logic” which defines roles and actions; the “grammar” which brings order and makes sense of things. In other words, OC is central to what people see , how they make sense of what they see and how they in turn express themselves.

4. Organizations will ultimately get only as far as their OC will take them

David A. Thomas from the Harvard Business School and Robin J. Ely from Columbia University have extensively studied OC and found the following components to be present in most of the successful organizations they studied:

  • The OC creates expectations of high standards of performance from everyone.
  • The OC encourages debate and constructive conflict.
  • The OC is such that training and education programs nurture personal development.
  • Employees feel valued and are encouraged to apply their background and skills in creative ways to improve the work of the organization.
  • The mission and goals of the organization are well articulated and widely understood, which keeps discussions about differences focused on the organization’s work.
  • The OC and structure are such that people are encouraged to be themselves,      unencumbered by unnecessary bureaucratic systems that control and limit the activities of people within the organization.

Some indicators that the OC requires more than just passing attention would be:

  • Higher than normal turnover and/or unexpected turnover.
  • Such simple indicators as unhappy, unmotivated  and/or disgruntled staff.
  • Projects and plans that sound good initially just don’t progress; people are not taking ownership of them and seeing them through to completion.
  • Staff can’t articulate the organization’s mission and values.
  • Staff senses conflicting messages from senior management.

Very few organizations can’t use a little tune-up to improve their Organizational Culture to; it is of benefit to all if the common values, assumptions and beliefs are shared by all and used as a bias for action. Constant attention is always needed to fine tune and maintain an organization’s culture.

As you evaluate prospective employers, do your best to determine what their OC is and how healthy is it. Successful organizations have healthy OC; those that are not one of the leaders in their segment probably have an unhealthy OC and are to be avoided as a career choice.

And regardless of what your job is today, analyze the OC of your organization and do what you can to strengthen it.

Follow me on Twitter for notices about new posts.

For jobs in Washington, DC – visit the NRI website.

follow me on twitter   My LinkedIn profile  

Job Success… and Career Success…is Dependent on Great People Skills!

Job Success… and Career Success…is Dependent on Great People Skills!

Periodically I offer you an executive summary of a book that offers real value regarding achieving success in a job and building a career.  Books that enlighten as to how to view and approach workplace issues and situations successfully. Books that I encourage you to read, underline and mark-up and use as a roadmap to achieve greater job and career success.

Life's a CampaignChris Matthews is a familiar face to many Americans for his fast-paced TV talk show “Hardball” and other media appearances.

He is also an accomplished author as a reading of his “Life’s A Campaign” book will reveal. Subtitled “What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success”; the book is broken into four segments – one for each of the four factors in the subtitle.

Chris starts off with “To get ahead in life you can learn a lot from those who get along for a living.”

At 190 pages it is an easy and fast read… but by no means is it a light-weight of a book. Each chapter has a very catchy title, along with a quote or two, and then drives home the lesson being made with real-world examples from Chris’ experiences.

For example Chapter 5 (in the Friendship section) is entitled “The Best Gift You Can Give a Stranger Is an Audience”, followed by two poignant quotes:

Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.                         Lord Chesterfield

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery…If you want to influence someone, listen to what he says.        Dr. Joyce Brothers

Matthews then details one of Bill Clinton’s most endearing attributes: his ability to make the person he is listening to feel like the only person in the room. “To have someone listening to you is flattering – but if you let them do the talking, they’ll be far more interested in you.” says Clinton. Examples such as this abound in this book.

Most people strive to be successful….and successful people wish to be even more successful. This book has message after message that will assist in both objectives.

Other chapter titles include:

Friendship – “People don’t Mind Being Used; They Mind Being Discarded”

Rivalry – “Attack from a Defensive Position” – Matthews tells the story of Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey. As a young member of the Massachusetts legislature, Markey got in hot water with its Democratic leaders by pushing a bill they didn’t want. To teach him a lesson, they removed him from his place on the Judiciary Committee and  took away his office, forcing him to re-locate his desk into the hallway. Markey struck back. Running for Congress he shot a TV ad showing him in front of his desk in the hallway – arms crossed – staring straight at the camera. He then uttered the comment, “The bosses may tell me where to sit. No one tells me where to stand”. He won the election!

Reputation – “Don’t Pick on Someone Your Own Size” & “Keep Good Company” –  Matthews summarizes – “Pick your friends carefully. They are the neon lights that illuminate the way to you, that fairly or unfairly declare your character. Lie with dogs and you’ll pick up fleas. Sing in the choir and they’ll think you’re holy.”

Success – “Aim High” & “ Speak Up”. My blog post of last September 11th  “Not Too Keen on Making a Speech?” was taken from Chapter 23 “Speak Up!” of this book. Chris gave a perfect outline and approach for anyone having to make a speech or do some public speaking for the first time.

This is a book well worth reading…. and keeping at hand for reference as you pursue success!!

Follow me on Twitter to get a notice of each new blog post!

follow me on twitter   My LinkedIn profile