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

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13 Common Behaviors of Trusted Leaders!

Without trust – organizational crisis!

Research shows that only 49% of employees trust senior management, and only 28% believe CEOs are a credible source of information.

Trust aOrganizational trust is critical for success – trust is the foundation for all successful relationships, both business and personal. If you are a manager and leader, one of your most important roles is to inspire trust. Trust in you, your motives  AND your organization.

Inspire – to affect – to guide – to bring about – to fill with enlivening emotion.

Inspiring trust is not an easy task. To be trusted as a manager and leader, you must demonstrate both character and competence:

Character includes integrity, honesty and how you are observed treating others. A manager/leader who has earned trust is viewed as a “good and honest person” as demonstrated by past words and deeds – by “history”. He or she is credible – up front with people.

Competence includes capabilities, skills and track record. Your actions and decisions need to demonstrate that you know what you are doing – that you understand the marketplace, understand people and that you are constantly looking for organizational opportunity.

The-Speed-Of-TrustStephen M.R. Covey (son of the late Stephen R. Covey) – in his landmark book The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything – talks of the “13 Behaviors of High-Trust Leaders.

Covey identified 13 common behaviors of trusted leaders around the world that build and then maintain trust. When individual leaders adopt these ways of behaving, it’s like making deposits into the “trust account” of another party.

Those 13 are:

1. Talk Straight: Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand. Demonstrate integrity.

2. Demonstrate Respect: Show you genuinely care. Respect everyone, even those that can’t do anything for you. Show kindness in little ways.

3. Create Transparency: Be genuine, open and authentic. Don’t hide information or have ‘hidden agendas’. Operate on the premise of ‘what you see is what you get’.

4. Right Wrongs: Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible. Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up. Do the right thing.

5. Show Loyalty: Give credit to others. Be loyal to the absent. Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves. Don’t talk negatively about others behind their backs.

6. Deliver Results: Establish a track record of results. Accomplish what you are hired to do. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering.

7. Get Better: Continuously learn and improve. Increase your capabilities. Develop formal and informal feedback systems. Thank people for feedback. Act on feedback received.

8. Confront Reality: Meet issues head-on. Address the ‘tough stuff’ directly. Acknowledge the unsaid. Lead conversations courageously.

9. Clarify Expectations: Disclose and reveal expectations. Discuss and validate them. Renegotiate them if necessary. Ensure expectations are clear.

10. Practice Accountability: Hold yourself and others accountable. Take responsibility for good or bad results. Clearly communicate how everyone is doing.

11. Listen First: Listen before you speak. Listen with your ears, eyes and heart. Diagnose. Don’t assume, find out.

12. Keep Commitments: State your intentions and then do it. Make commitments carefully; make keeping your commitments the symbol of your honor. Don’t break confidences.

13. Extend Trust: Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.

Wise words and a roadmap for every manager and leader. Keep the short list of these (talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, etc.) in your mind as you go about your day. Better yet – get Covey’s book and read it!

Leadership – Never Stop Learning…….

Good luck!

Adapted from Crisis of Trust by Lori Williams of Creative Management Consultants

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