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!

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Top 7 Reasons Customer Service Slides

If your job involves customer service (and whose doesn’t!) – this is a MUST read for you!

customer service checkmarkMany thanks to Jeff Mowatt for letting me share this story with you. This article is based on the bestselling book, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month by customer service strategist and award-winning motivational speaker, Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com or call 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288).

Top 7 Reasons Customer Service Slides

By Jeff Mowatt

When I’m asked to speak at conferences on how managers can boost business, they often assume we’re going to focus on gaining new customers.  Ironically, that’s the last thing we should focus on. Neglecting existing customers to chase new business is akin to gathering water in the proverbial leaky bucket. We can exhaust ourselves trying to collect more water when we’d be further ahead by simply fixing the holes. The more sustainable approach to growing business is ensuring existing customers are so thrilled that they’ll not only return; but they’ll also recommend you to new potential customers. The challenge is without attention, customer satisfaction often atrophies. To ensure that doesn’t happen in your organization consider these top seven reasons why customer service slides.

1. Assuming customers notice good service 

They don’t. Customers are too busy and distracted by their mobile devices to notice when service is merely good.  Employees need to provide service that’s remarkable.  Fortunately, that doesn’t mean working harder.  It just means choosing words more carefully. Compare, “Do you want us to deliver it?”  Vs.  “Would it be helpful if we delivered that for you to save you a trip?” The second phrase didn’t take more work, yet the wording made the offer more noticeable.

2. Establishing Customer Service as a department

If you set-up a customer service department, it by default means other employees will assume that taking care of customers isn’t their job. That means employees end-up redirecting customer concerns when they should be addressing problems themselves.

3. Measuring sales vs satisfaction

It’s tempting for managers to evaluate the business by focusing on monthly or annual revenues.  That’s fine for measuring how the organization has been doing up till now.  But the factor that determines how the business will do in future is not sales; it’s customer satisfaction. Sales measures success today.  Customer satisfaction predicts how you’ll do tomorrow.

4. Rewarding longevity over service

It’s fine to have ‘service’ awards for long term employees. However, length of service isn’t nearly as important as quality of service.  Customer service cultures that thrive are those where recognition is focused more on internal and external customer service, than on just showing up.

5. Training focuses on technical vs interpersonal skills

The term ‘soft-skill’ somehow implies that customer communication skills aren’t nearly as substantive as technical skills.  The irony is that customers take for granted that employees have basic technical skills.  What customers do notice are the interpersonal and communication skills employees use to interact with them. Technical skills deliver the work.  Soft skills create the customer relationship.

6. Lack of recovery skills 

When customer service training consists of providing customers with information, transactions, and being polite, that skill set will take the employee as far as the nearest foul-up.  If employees aren’t trained on how to interact with customers when things go wrong, then they’re not fully trained. Ironically, customers don’t notice (or appreciate) your service when everything goes well. The time when they actually notice and judge you is when things go wrong. That’s why of all the customer service skills you can provide, those that get you the fastest return on investment are recovery skills.

7. Lack of reinforcement 

Without regular reminders and reinforcement, employees revert back to old habits of focusing more on transactions than on customers. That’s why we advocate a three phase approach to building a customer focused culture.  Phase One is conducting a customized customer service seminar – including recovery skills – which we film to serve as an orientation for new hires.  In Phase Two we provide employees with monthly bulletins and by-weekly tips.  And finally for Phase Three we teach managers how to stage their own regular CAST© (Customer Service Team) meetings so they can continue to train employees in-house and adapt to changing customer needs. That way you’ll convert a one-time customer service training event into an on-going continuous improvement process.

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Leadership – Critical for Success – How to Excel in Your Job

Leadership – Critical for Success – How to Excel in Your Job

Peter Drucker said it all when he said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”. *

leadershipBoth are necessary for success… but leadership is harder to pursue and harder to attain.

Any road map for dynamic leadership will include:

1. Seeing the big picture. Picture in your “mind’s eye” the objectives of the organization (or your team, department or business unit). Don’t engage in or permit others to engage in any activity that doesn’t get you closer to achieving those objectives. Sure – every now and then a re-grouping is called for to get back on track… and every now and then some “pro bono” effort is needed….but don’t let extraneous “things” get in the way of pursuing the organization’s objectives.

2. Making sure subordinates are fully informed as to the objective(s) and buy into them. This often involves a discussion of “why”, “how” and “target numbers”.  Give them the parameters of action that can – and can’t – be taken; budgetary limits on spending and any other broad guidelines. Communicate clear and concise expectations of results.

3. Monitoring progress – but not hovering. Let staff do their thing… your monitoring is to prevent disaster, not minor mistakes or errors. “Doing things their own way” may well result in minor errors or mistakes. Make any mistake or error a learning process; risk-taking is inherent in the pursuit of success.  Remember – “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs!”

4. Measuring progress regularly. Benchmark progress against targets, and charge staff with developing plans to address shortfalls or to capitalize on above-target results. Guide their problem solving…but don’t do it for them.

5. Making sure every team member “sweats the small stuff”. One of John Wooden’s maxims for success is, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen”. Every team member needs to acknowledge that each and every task or action needs to be on-target, on-time and error-free. Sloppy execution is a sign of sloppy management. Sloppy management is a sign of poor leadership.

6. Recognizing and rewarding performance…publicly.  People like to be winners. The incremental achievement of targeted objectives determines who the winners are; it is the job of leadership to recognize and reward those individuals and teams. Create programs and mechanisms to regularly and publicly recognize those who achieve and set the standard for others.

OK… six components of effective leadership. Rate yourself on a 1-5 scale for each:

One or two points – I haven’t a clue where to begin

Three points – I am progressing but I have a ways to go

Four points – I am doing well!! Now it’s time to fine-tune

Five points –  Ain’t no such thing as a five… always room to improve.. give yourself a 4.7 or 4.8

Now – add up your points – maximum of 30 possible (6 x 5). Anything less than a twenty means you have your work cut out for yourself. Twenty-five or better – congratulations – Drucker would be proud of you. But don’t rest… keeping it going requires constant attention. Good luck!!

http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Peter_Drucker

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Delegation Trains Everyone

The inability to delegate is one of the most common failings of managers. Management and leadership are all about getting results by organizing and supervising a workforce. Poor delegation or no delegation is inefficient and expensive. And the worst thing about not delegating is that managers are losing wonderful training opportunities for their delegationworkers.

Managers have many reasons for not delegating:

  • They feel at ease doing routine tasks rather than supervising the work of others.
  • They aren’t familiar with the skills of their workers and therefore unsure of other people’s ability to take more responsibility.
  • They hate correcting other people’s work.
  • They know they can do some things better than other people can.

Delegating is hard work, but it’s work that is needed to help an organization grow and improve. You can tell people what to do, you can show people what to do, but by far the best way to teach people is to simply let them do the work themselves. Delegation provides that training venue.

There are basically two good reasons to delegate:

  • It gets the work done more efficiently…and
  • It provides training and new experiences for members of work teams.

Renowned management consultant Andrew E. Schwartz says, “Too many managers waste both time and energy performing tasks an employee could perform just as well, thereby lowering productivity while raising operating costs. The answer to the problem is easy – delegation. However, many managers still limit their own effectiveness, time and energies, and fail to develop their subordinates by either ignoring or mismanaging the techniques of delegation.”

The ability to delegate tasks and control productivity simultaneously is an essential skill for managers. There are many pitfalls that can undermine efforts to delegate, but there are also some basic steps to help managers ease their workload through delegation while maintaining control.

There are five functions of an effective delegation and controls system:

  1. Planning and Goal Setting – If everyone is involved in the planning and goal setting of a project, it is more likely that everyone will buy into the work involved to bring the project to fruition – which makes delegation easier.
  2. Responsibility and Authority – Before delegating, everyone needs to know which way the responsibility flows. Who reports to whom? That question must answered for effective delegation. James G. Patterson, a business writer and faculty member of the University of Phoenix, advises, “Be prepared to supervise. All projects require regular monitoring – especially in the early stages. So do all employees. But some projects require more scrutiny than others, and some employees demand more direction. Here, too, it’s a matter of matching the task with the person.”
  3. Negotiation – “Can you do this?” If not – training is needed. Give and take is part of the delegation process.
  4. Consultation and Coaching – Think of consultation as the bedside manner of a physician taking the pulse of a family member. The manager needs to know how the patient is doing, and must make suggestions to improve the overall health of the project and that person’s performance.
  5. Review and Control – This is kind of like consultation and coaching, but from one step back. Reviewing project aspects and controlling the work and schedule insures continued progress towards worthwhile goals. In reviewing the project the results should be addressed; and the methods that were involved should be addressed only if they were inefficient or ineffective (or illegal!!).

Delegation can result in some mistakes being made, but mistakes can also be learning opportunities. The manager’s job is to monitor the work and progress so that any mistakes are caught and corrected before they become fatal to the project. Praise should be given for jobs well done. Each time delegation happens there is a chance that everyone will improve his or her performance and standing in the organization.

For more information about delegating – see “Successful Delegation – Using the Power of Other People’s Help”

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_98.htm

And of course Wikipedia’s take on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegation

 

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The Art of Persuasion

Persuasion is the process of convincing others of the merits of your position, idea or issue thru presenting facts, the use of logic…and avoiding any inter-personal issues that could become distractions and thereby blocking your audience from seeing and persuasionthen accepting your argument. Persuasion therefore is a two-fold process.

1. Presenting your case:

a. Broadly state the outcome and success story that you believe will result if your course of action or plan is adopted and put into place. Be as specific as you can, but don’t make any “heads in the cloud” statements or promises. Be sure everyone understands your objective and the features and benefits of achieving it.

b. Outline briefly what the challenges and barriers to success are and what resources will be needed to implement or to proceed.

c. Proceed to present in suitable detail what it is that you propose…your idea, solution or course of action. In advance you need to have thought through how much detail is appropriate for your audience. Some audiences – bosses and others – want a great deal of detail… graphs – charts, etc. They are “numbers people” and need numbers to understand. Other audiences are “concept people” and just want to understand your concept and how things will generally work. Part of this depends on how much faith your audience has in you, your past history of being on target with ideas, decisions and actions.

d. You need to build your case step-by-step. Take the temperature regularly to ensure that you haven’t lost anyone along the way, saying something like “Everyone with me? Any questions? OK… let’s proceed.” Pay attention to your audience… and look for any signs of confusion and if questions reveal that an earlier point was missed…go back and cover that ground again. When you have fully made your presentation…do a quick review…ask if there are any more questions…and then ask the decision-maker(s) when you might expect a decision.

e. You also need to think through ahead of time what your presentation format will be; will you use visual aids such as a PowerPoint presentation, or some other graphics? And hand in hand with that is what kind of “leave behind” or handouts you will utilize. If you use a PowerPoint presentation, you can print all of the PowerPoint slides – six to a page – in color or in black and white. You also need to decide whether to distribute your handouts in advance… so that your audience can make notes on them.

2. Remember we said there are two aspects to persuasion? The second one is avoiding any inter-personal issues that could become distractions and thereby blocking your audience from seeing and then accepting your argument. An overview of these issues include:

a. Know who your audience is and what is at stake for each of them. For example, a plan to expand the use of technology and automaton may be great… but if it results in cutting staff, be aware that may be indeed a blow to someone’s turf…their power and influence in the organization. When a “stakeholder” has something to lose as a result of your plan, you may well benefit from talking with them in advance…saying something like “..when I make my pitch to the team tomorrow, it might have an adverse impact on part of your operation… but hear it out and we can then discuss its impact on your department.” Do an inventory of who is going to be involved with your presentation and the resulting decision to be made. What do they have at stake? What might their fears be? Be sure to address them in your presentation.

b. Be aware of whose handiwork you are going to modify or eliminate if that will be the impact of your proposal. Here too you may want to meet with them before the presentation and say something like “…I know that the data center was your baby and that you set it up…and wanted you to know that my proposal to the team tomorrow will have an impact on that…and I ask that you hear me out tomorrow.”

c. Finally… be sure to mentally be alert for any mannerism that annoy or frustrate people. Jingling the change in your pocket for the men… pulling at strands of hair for the ladies. Examine your speaking style for repetitive and annoying words and phrases such as saying “OK” after every sentence, and slang and lingo that might annoy others. Never, never use profanity or discriminatory words or phrases. Be 110% “politically correct”!!

Successfully persuading others involves influencing them. The late (and great) Cavett Robert, a world-renowned motivational speaker said “Influence is the ability to cause others to think, feel and act as we desire”. Use your powers of persuasion to influence your audience to adopt your proposal … or at the very least …as a springboard to modifying it for the benefit of the organization. Good Luck!!

If you want to know more of the art of persuasion – see the Wikipedia link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persuasion

And a great Forbes article on line:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2013/03/26/the-21-principles-of-persuasion/

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Not Too Keen on Making a Speech?

Making a speech is one of the more intimidating and frightening aspects of many jobs and careers. Popular thought is that people fear it more than snakes, spiders, heights, etc.

public-speakingThe library shelves are loaded with books to guide you through the process, and the experts stress that the only way to overcome the fear is to “jump in the water”…make as many presentations as you can in order to get used to the rhythm of doing so and to reach a certain comfort level.

We recently came across a wonderful book by Chris Matthews – “Life’s A Campaign – What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success” – published by Random House, that has a great chapter on speech-making (Chapter 23 – Speak Up!).

 

Chris provides six points to follow for a successful speech:

#1 – The Icebreaker –  a brief comment or observation to start things off. Something like “Good afternoon… and welcome to Washington, DC – your nation’s capital – where parades and protests can snarl traffic just as well as a good snow storm!” …or…“Good afternoon….I traveled here from Washington, DC – 68.3 square miles surrounded by reality!” This opening comment is also to get any cobwebs out of your voice… to be sure your voice is projecting and that the PA system (if you are using one) works properly.

#2 – The Tease – tell ‘em what you are gonna tell them. Something like “After my remarks, you WILL be able to <understand why global warming is not good>”,  or whatever. You want the audience to know where you are coming from and where your remarks are headed. You don’t want anyone in your audience wondering what your point is or what’s the goal of your presentation.

#3 – Anecdote time – these are not jokes, but rather short stories about people, circumstances or perhaps yourself and why you are standing in front of your audience. Of course, they must fit into the context of your remarks as illustrative examples of the points you wish to make.

#4 – Download this is where you “tell ‘em” why you are talking to them…what are the points you want to make, the action you want the audience to take… etc. It is usually helpful to number the points you are making and start off by so stating…”I am going to give you four good reasons to vote for me”…or whatever. Above all, avoid wandering around the verbal landscape!

#5 – Relief – communicate that the heavy lifting is over…summarize the points you made and the logic you used to glue it all together.

#6 – Send-off – you made this speech or presentation for a reason. Re-state it here with whatever call to action is appropriate. Often speakers end with a simple, “Thank you.” Wrong!! No need to thank them for listening. Rather, thank them for the opportunity you had to teach them something, help them better understand an issue, ask them to take a course of action, etc.

Chris notes that most speeches should be between ten and twenty minutes long…notwithstanding the annual State of the Union addresses that seems to go on forever!

Success in almost every line of work requires strong and clear verbal communications, and making presentations and giving speeches is a critical part of that for many a position. Rather than shirk away from them – be determined to become good at them!

For further preparation, read some of the great speeches available online: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream”, etc. and analyze what makes them great speeches. A simple Google search will bring them up for your review.

For further information about making an effective and non-anxiety producing speech go to:

http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~rbrokaw/speech_anxiety.html

Good luck and may great speeches be in your future!

“How Are You?”

A throw-away question… or one you are asking with sincerity?

In my capacity as an executive with a former employer, I used to work with an insurance broker by the name of John Spinner. Whenever I talked with him or saw him in person, he’d ask the standard question “How are you…” but with two additions.

how are youHis question was “How are YOU today?”…with heavy emphasis on the YOU. And the addition of the word “today” totally took the question out of the “throw-away” category to a question where the answer was important to him.

If in person, it was accompanied by a firm handshake and direct eye contact. If my answer was non-committal, John would follow up “no – really how are YOU?”

Agreed – I was a customer. But as time went on and John knew he had my business, he still asked the question same way. And if I responded in anything less that “A-OK John”, he’d ask “Is there anything I can do for you?”

Please note these exchanges took place over 30 years ago yet I still remember them.

The point is that this single aspect of John’s communication skills helped make him a very likeable fellow which in turn earned him referrals galore… and from referrals come new business and more referrals.

And remembering John’s approach to the routine “How are YOU today?” serves as a reminder to us all just how impactful the most simple of communications can be.

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Enough is Enough!! Stop Talking and Let’s Get on With It !!

stop_talking_tshirtA major annoyance for most of us is a conversation with someone that never stops talking!

You almost have to wait until they take a breath to get a comment or question in!

Learning how and when to “shut up” is both a behavioral habit as well as a leadership trait.

According to  Mike Staver of The Staver Group – www.thestavergroup.com – many people don’t know when to talk and when to put a brake on it.

Here are a few questions to determine whether you know how to keep your mouth shut or not:

  •  After you make your point, do you just have to add a few other (unnecessary) comments?
  •  Do you say “in closing” several times before you really close?
  •  Do you have to have the last word in an argument or disagreement?

Here are some communications tips from Staver:

  •  Be clear about what you are attempting to communicate.
  •  Share with the person you are communicating with what you want to accomplish.
  •  Avoid getting distracted by other issues, ideas, points, stories, etc. (I refer to this as “wandering around the verbal landscape”! With folks that do this, you just want to scream “Stick to the point”!!)
  •  Use “talk-ending” techniques such as “So what are the next steps?” or use an example to wrap things up.
  •  Learn to tolerate silence. It is effective…and it won’t kill you, Staver says!

“Leadership – never stop learning”

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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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Traits of Success!

Traits of success – what do successful people credit for why they have achieved success?

successSuccessful people – when asked, “What has helped you achieve success?” Or ”What are the traits you have nurtured to get where you are?” – will respond with a variety of nouns and descriptive phrases. Some of the most common are detailed below. Take a look at these and check off those that you possess… and add the others to your personal “to do” list.

Do the same for your subordinates and develop a coaching program for each of them so they too can begin to check off as “got it” these desired traits of successful people.

  1. Great and positive attitude. The glass is – at least outwardly – ALWAYS half full. Be “up”…smile…portray that problems and obstacles are to be tackled and resolved. Having a great positive attitude is the first step to being a “Go To” person – a desired state of being for anyone! Have a personal methodology to get and keep your attitude positive, especially when things go wrong. Check the websites and thoughts of Tim Connor  (www.timeconnor.com) , David Rich (www.contagioustalk.com) and Angelo Agrafiotis (www.aaimlifecoaching.com) when you need a mental shot in the arm.
  2. Stay on message. To do otherwise confuses people as to what is important and what the mission is. Repeat the message over and over again… otherwise, people will forget and stray off message. Like the parlor game of telephone where a verbal message is passed down the line and emerges bearing no resemblance to the original message… only by repeating the message will it get to all and be retained in its original form. One memo… one presentation…one speech will never get it done… tenacity is critical.
  3. Be upfront, straightforward and honest…at all times. Simple and direct avoids confusion. No obfuscation…no “blowin’ smoke” about “what’s going on”. Your subordinates and those you work with need to be able to predict how your think and how you make decisions in order to be in sync with you. Being upfront and straightforward leads to predictability. When you use facts and figures – be sure you are right on; getting them wrong leads people to conclude you were playing fast and fancy with the facts.
  4. Be curious. Curiosity leads you and your co-workers to explore new and better ways to do things. It counters the brain “stagnation” that can set in within an organization. Cultivate “environmental awareness” – what is going on around you and – and consider how it all fits in. Read, learn and ponder the “what-ifs” regarding your organization, department or job!
  5. Be a very good listener. When you are talking with someone – give it 100% of your attention. It is just rude to listen and also multi-task on your PDA or let your eyes wander around the room. If you are going to listen to someone, you have two objectives: a. Hear and understand what he or she has to say; and, b. Have him or her leave the conversation feeling they had your total and complete attention.. .the impact is for the person to feel that they were the most important person in the room.
  6. Intensity of focus. Be very, very serious about achieving excellence in your realm of responsibility. Never accept second-best … and if it happens regardless, have a plan to fix it. Remember the parable of the farmer’s cow in the ditch. The three-step process is:

a. First – get the cow out of the ditch.

b. Second – Figure out how the cow got in the ditch.

c. Third – Create and implement a plan so it can never happen again.

Most people do #1…and maybe #2. People that are serious about excellence take the time to do all three!

OK – these are six characteristics of successful people in their own words. See if you agree…and to what degree do you possess and practice them!

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