Friday, December 31, 2010

Your Vision

As the Holiday Season turns to Gray and a New Year approaches the nostalgia wears off. We put the indulgence aside and think about being better people. A New Year: a reason to recreate ourselves. The road map: Goal Setting...what do we need to do to get back to greatness this year.

Some have spent this week strategically planning for 2011, others will get around to writing a few goals down on Sunday through hungover eyes, and there are those who put documentation aside and just wing it (God bless them).

I find every day to be a battle. Each and every day I have a new set of goals and at day's conclusion I assess my progress. Give yourself an hour to think about 2011:
* What are your goals for the year?
* What is your Life Vision?
* Are you serious about getting better?


The Number
We all have metrics for success. We salesfolk call it a quota. It is a necessary attainment to validate our existence. Inability to hit that goal number means you are on the street ringing a bell. Here are a few ideas for hitting your number:
- Win little battles every day
- Find like minds among whom to exude your excellence
- Know what you are awesome @ and Be Awesome!
- Know that criticism is only a means for another to interject themselves in your success...


Get Busy Livin'
We get wrapped up in the day-to-day. That email pissed you off, your staff seems unwilling to put the work in, that jackass in front of you is driving too slow....pull back Friendo! Time to reassess what you and those around you are doing well and allow that to drive your forward motion.

Take in the sunset, listen to children laughing, tell a friend you love them, listen to your favorite music...most of all, be assured, everything is going to be fine! Allow not the mundane to distract you from the Miracle of your existence.

What Are You Gonna Do...?
It's easy to write those goals on a paper slate, Ipad, or white board. It's easy to revisit them from time to time. If you really want to be Awesome you have to be disciplined. Revisit your goals on Monday morning and on Friday afternoon.

I empathise that times are tough but you have to get over it! There will always be excuses for failure (the economy, your boss, your products). Failure is contingent upon one thing - Your Effort. You can always do more, do things differently, choose a different approach, challenge those around you to do more, present your solution in a better way. Man up, accept responsibility and produce!

2010 is gone....let it go.....It's time to party like it's 2011! There is no reason why it will not be the best year of your life!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Last Rights of Social Media

I have spent nearly 3 years heavily involved in the practice of social media activism. I have learned one distinct lesson:
* Very little good comes from participating in online forums.

LinkedIn is a masterful tool, I benefit greatly from writing this blog, and I hope my involvement in Twitter brings inspiration to others...? 100% of the time that I have participated in a LinkedIn group discussion, Wiki open forum or a blog debrief; my thought intent has been taken out of context, co-horts have ganged up on others, personal opinion has overwhelmed healthy discussion, and cyber-bullying has been the end result.

In 2010, we saw people initiatives created to protect young people from one another in cyberspace...laws enacted to prevent cyber-bullying. Guess what, cyber-bullying is just as prevalent in HR forums lead by industry veterans.

There seems to be a strong case mounted for free speech on the internet. Unfortunately, freedom of common sense and/or the ability to promote thought (instead of deterring it) seems to be on hiatus.

There are those waiting at lap top to pounce on anyone brave enough to promote ideas (original or otherwise). There exists a group of so-called experts that promote unwritten standards for social media and elect themselves to police social media forums with only malicious intent in mind.

It's not working! LinkedIn groups have lost their focus; invaded by spammers, negative thought and assumed right of authority. One cannot blog a collection of personal ideas in an effort to empower others without having their positive intent torn down and ridiculed.

So here are my suggestions for Social Media interaction in 2011:
* Encourage Only Healthy Discussion
* Make It A One Way Street
* Stop Participating


Keep Fighting the Good Fight
I just saw a posting from a so called 'social media expert' filled with infantile ideas. I applauded her post while others sited case studies and their assumed standards to disparage her advice. She had the courage to write the article, she put herself in the game....those who sit on the sidelines with arms crossed have no right to pass judgement on the Quarterback.

If you are going to put yourself out there you have to channel opinions into facts or points of encouragement. You have to develop the ability to ignore opinion fueled detractors and empower those who recognize courage.

Post Once
Where social media forums dissolve is when two people bicker back and forth in front of thousands. Develop a strong entry and own it....you DO NOT have to defend your thought process!

Sunsetting Discussion
...or you may choose to give up on these forums all together...and I don't blame you if you do. If you have a job to do, a child to look after, or a team to coach; you cannot have your day derailed by the opinion of a nameless, faceless, avatar with only ill intent in mind.

So next time you see a post by a person that seems off base, think about 2 things:
1. Is this person's intent to empower others?
2. What will be the potential backlash to my comments?


Keep it positive, do not let your ego override logic and do not respond to people who are only interested in picking a fight!

You only get one reputation...OK, you get two(one online and the other 'real life' reputation). Either way, you would hate to be denied the Presidency for a comment you made 10 years prior.

Inform, Encourage and Be Strategic!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best of 2010

2010: a year (by title alone) that came with great expectation. The hope that we would get through the economic struggle, create the next great widget and save the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the economic climate does not look any more promising today than it did a year ago. A few social media landscapes have solidified their viability and a million others have dissolved. The war has not ended while people continue to make less money and everything seems to cost more.

In 2010 some amazing things happened: The Lakers won a second straight NBA title and their friends in the Northern part of the state had the most improbable title run in baseball history. Mark Zukerberg finally received his due for the sphere of influence (and inclusion) that he has created in cyberspace. Salesforce.com continued to evolve Cloud Computing. Some of the world's most tenured companies closed their doors while young entrepreneurs opened offices simply by opening their lap tops.

2011 is in arm's reach and optimism shines like the sun! There has never been a time when fortune is more accessible. Our team's have shown us that anything is possible, we are at liberty to create our own future and there is music, cinema and literature for every occasion.

Before we move forward, we have to look back, here are the Best of 2010:

Top 5 Records:
1. Lonely Avenue by Ben Folds and Nick Hornby
2. Recovery by Eminem & My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (tie)
3. Infinite Arms by Band of Horses
4. The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
5. Flamingo by Brandon Flowers



Books:
Linchpin by Seth Godin
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Movies:
Exit Through the Giftshop
The Social Network
The Tillman Story
The Fighter
Waiting for Superman



The Year's Best Human Resources:
Ashley Fina
Mark Stelzner

Best Blog:
This one!

To all of my friends who take time to read this blog on a weekly basis, I hope I have invigorated your spirit. I hope my writing reminds you that anything is possible, you report to no one and your spirit and it's according drive are all that matter!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 - Lessons Learned

There are two work weeks left in 2010. It has been a year of success, failure, and lessons learned in the process. I progress in strange ways...I have an inability to accept criticism or praise. I tend to disagree when people tell me where I'm falling short (it's just an opinion) or look for ulterior motives in praise (and try harder). These, among a thousand other character flaws, are things I've sought to improve in 2010.

I am a person of extreme self-confidence, driven by an intense competitive drive. This produces a determination to out-work, out-think and counter-point my constituents. It's also a terrible way to live....with each year I get a little less hell bent on winning and a little more focused on helping others. It will never be ideal, but I'm trying.

So as this year comes to a close I want to share 3 great Epiphanies that struck me while looking back on my success and failures:
Sports are still The Great Life Metaphor
One must learn to Channel their Determination with Elegance
Find YOUR Faith


Conditioning
I was really excited to see the life story of the Great Vince Lombardi played on HBO this weekend. An extraordinary story of a man with all the determination in the world. Coach Lombardi reminds me of my Dad: hard working, unknowing of complaints, and unemotional on the surface level. When I was young I would occasionally be awaken by my Dad's electric razor in the dead of morning...still dark outside, cold. I would sometimes walk into the bathroom in my Hulk pajamas and watch him tie his tie with all the honor of a World Leader. I didn't know much about his job but I was proud of him and I knew I wanted to be like him one day. Those were different times...

Like my Dad, Coach Lombardi was a man of pride by the virtue of his work. He spent the first 2 weeks of practice completely on conditioning. He worked his team to the breaking point and the survivors became his core contributors. This was a time when complaints were not an option, working hard was the only way and people appreciated their opportunities. Times have changed....I'll be the first to admit I can be a wuss at times (another one of my flaws). In 2010, I have come to remember that the emotions only surface when you haven't worked hard enough. In 2011, I promise to work harder, to blame no one and to keep my emotions to myself!

Presentation
At some point in my life, I became aware of how others were perceiving me and I didn't like the image presented. It is very difficult to be elegant when you are on the track of working harder than everyone else. I recognized that I was being insensitive and that I was not entitled to act in such a manner. If you are more talented you will win more. If you work hard you will out-condition your opponent. To be better doesn't give you the right to disparage others.

I have discouraged the touchdown dance though I have been guilty of it in the past. It is a release of insecurity. If you truly have talent you can replicate any feat....you simply live success. It has been a continued struggle to go into every day with the intent of winning and not running over everyone. In 2011, I will develop the ability to win gracefully!

Form
I am a strong proponent of No Religion, No Politics. Both topics appall me. But, I cannot deny that faith in something is essential to personal development. To have a belief in a higher power is paramount. Faith and Spirituality are 10 times more special and meaningful when you keep them to yourself. In 2011, I will continue to evolve my spirit (alone)!

Goals for 2011
1. Work harder than ever
2. Keep my emotions (and faith) to myself
3. Be Humble in victory and accountable in defeat


Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Friday, December 17, 2010

The YOU


Raise your hand if you had a tough year? Are you better for it?

I have discovered this year, more than any other, that if you bust your butt and keep your head down eventually the hard times will pass. Seth Godin calls it getting through The Dip. His contention that we put forth the majority of our effort before we give up. This practice repeated becomes a whole lot of effort with little result. One of my least favorite sayings is, "Let's not confuse effort with results"...unfortunately it is a point well taken.

In these times of economic decline, foreclosure, marital turmoil and career uncertainty; you must be stronger than ever! You cannot hide in a bar, blow off your next task or pretend to hope your troubles away. You have to put your head down and try harder than ever!

I have seen men cry. They feel sorry for themselves because they have tried harder than ever and are not measuring up. It is difficult to see people in this spot. Unfortunately, we are the product of our effort. If we have tried harder than ever and are still not measuring up, we need to adjust our approach....and try even harder!

Before others Love you...You have to Love Yourself!

Here's How:
Hide Your Despair
Get a Whiteboard
Talk to Strangers


Say Great!
When people ask how you are doing they seldom care what your answer might be. It's a salutation not an invitation to dictate your life story. Tell them "Great"!

Most people are polite enough to hear you out. But, when you leave the table they probably roll their eyes. Stay upbeat, keep up appearances, and save your tears for God!

Document and Revise
My sales results improved drastically when I implemented a sales strategy. Sounds like a no-brainer but many people go into a client, talk about how great they are, and wait for a decision. Wrong!

The way you find a genuine solution is by researching your client, listening to their challenges and re-formatting your game plan each time you step on the field. Get good at researching, develop a strategic approach and save your prayers for God!

Unlikely Friends
Some of the best advise I have gotten about my career are from hair dressers and bar tenders. You never know who might present an angle you haven't considered.

Sometimes we get so trapped in our world that we forget to listen. We try to address problems that are not there. We become slaves to our process and we come off as know-it-alls (not experts). Your clients appreciate your listening skills more than your presentation skills.

The year 2010 is concluding...2008 and 2009 are gone as well. All we have is the future. Things are going to get better, but you have to keep working hard! The simple message I can leave you with is:

Beating up on yourself only makes your critics job easier!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Without Expectation

Last week, I told you the story of a friend who had lost his way...a salesman with his hand out. Some of us have chosen a life of unpredictability. Most of us get to a point where we question that decision. This Sales Life is a roller coaster...when you are accountable to others the highs are higher and the lows are lower. Such is our choice, Own It!

The question to ask yourself is not whether you are doing the right thing but rather:
How Can I Live A Life Without Expectation?

If you expect nothing from anyone, you are accountable to no one. That's a good spot to be in. You have to own your decisions, accept the mistakes of others, lead with solutions in mind, and make no excuses. Take accountability for everything and become unflappable in your direction.

There are 3 ways to take the power and win!
Point Your Palm only to Your Partner's Back
Self-Analyze
Get Good at Rough Drafting


3 Fingers Pointing Back At You!
You have busted your butt and your team has failed you. Don't stand in front of the room and tell them how much YOU sacrificed. They know what you've done, they know they failed, your re-iteration cheapens your effort....did you participate so you could lift everyone up or was it simply to elevate yourself? If you have the ability to replicate your skill, accept the loss and keep moving.

It's hard to try harder than you ever have and to fail...try harder!

A Finger in Your Face!
...the easiest thing to do at any juncture is to blame others. It is always an option. There is not a point in your life when you will not be able to point at others. To be evasive and unaccountable only reveals your true self.

What is your true intent? Did you try just enough to glimpse the spotlight knowing you could pass the loss onto others? What didn't YOU do? (that is the only question you need ask)

A Finger in the Right Direction!
I can tell you with great confidence that an hour in front of the lap top, whiteboard or on a trail; beats a sleepless night. You'll figure it out, but you have to dive in. To assume the worst and hide from it is the ultimate act of cowardice.

Your ideas are a gumball...chew on them for a while and they become much more manageable!

Take Ownership Now!

You will give 100 hours only to be corrupted by one mistake of another...unfair! You will have your intellectual property stolen but your products untouched...unfair! You will do everything you are told and still lose that which means most to you...unfair! When you accept that fairness is for those who wait..and take action..you take control!

GO GET IT!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Transparency of Insecurity

I met an old friend for coffee this week. The only word I got in edgewise was, "How are you?". My invitation to converse was followed by an hour long tirade. This once strong professional had lost his confidence and was blaming everyone in sight for his failures. He is an amazingly smart guy who channelled business relevant challenges and articulated humor through his complaints. It all fell on deaf ears. The bravado of his negativity dwarfed his business intelligence. I can't imagine that anyone would take this Gentleman seriously and that is a serious shame.

After our conversation I almost cried for this guy. I consider myself very good at helping people find the recourse of their perception and attitude. I didn't make a dent with my old friend:
It Is Hard To Give Up On People

What hurt most about this conversation is that I used to be this guy:
Consumed by Negativity
Totally Unaccountable
Mired in Bravado


Yes...Mr Positivity used to be Mr Miserable. I regret the hours I wasted with the friends that afforded me their audience. I hope my friend can bring himself to realize the faults of his presentation at some point in his life. The transition I went through was a costly one. I allowed the negativity and mislead actions of others to distract me from my genuine intent. I lost focus on my job, spilled negativity into the lives of my friends and was unable to focus on my family. I allowed people without my best intent in mind to win my attention and to overwhelm me. What a waste.

Where do you direct your time & energy? Do you allow mundane detail to distract from your larger goals?

I received 2 important pieces of advice that helped me make a life transition and I want to share them with you:
Self Promotion is Not the Way to Win Favor
Insecurity is Transparent


Hire Me, I'm Great!
I was half way through an interview, rolling through my resume, pounding my chest. After my diatribe, I asked if I had answered the interviewers question to which he replied...."this is not a matter of you proving yourself to me, it is a matter of us deciding if this is a career for you".

I sat back in my chair and settled into an hour long relaxed conversation. A great dialogue. A revealing of my true self. I got the job!

Don't Go Gettin' Insecure
My first ride along with my new boss, our first appointment together...cancelled. I was hell bent on proving my worth and was not afforded the chance. I got back in my car deflated and told my boss of my discontent. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "don't go gettin' insecure on me".

These conversations changed my life! I settled into MY plan. I have never tried to prove myself outside of my work since. I vowed to do my fighting in the ring. My transparent insecurity vanished, I became fun to be around again, I have never been more professionally productive, and I have never been more confident.

Have you taken a moment to listen to yourself? Are you aware of how others really perceive you?

We all go through transitions in our lives. My life got a million times better when I took ownership of everything! I stopped looking for anyone to carry my load, I stopped looking for recognition of my every effort, I kept my head down and I ignored that which was beyond my control!

I hope my friend finds a way to make this transition. I hope you do too!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Challenge


Bill Parcels had a way of motivating his players by antagonising them. He tempered them to the point that they chose to succeed in spite of him....when they won, he won. Coach Parcels has been profoundly misunderstood. The only shots you see are those of him yelling at his Quarterback after the drive that put them up 4 TD's.

Phil Simms told the story of having played one of the best games of his career after which Coach Parcels discussed with him the potential areas of improvement. Phil felt deflated for giving his best effort, winning, yet receiving no recognition....he told the coach to get lost. To which Coach Parcels responded:
"It pains me to see that my expectations for you are greater than your own"

The Key To Success is to always ask more of yourself than any one else does. To exceed the expectations of others you have to set your own goals higher. To look at your quota, double the number and make that the norm.

Every Company has their Elder Statesman....the guy (or gal) who welcomes you to the company and tells you how 'things are done around here'. This is known as abuse of tenure. The reaction of most 'up and comers' to this altering regulation is usually inspired courage; not because of the Elder Statesmen but in spite of him.

The Challenge:
Allow Not The Past to Dictate the Future
Estimate Impossible Revenue Goals (and Double Them)!
Recreate Possible


Reset
The only reason anyone advises you of what is possible in any given profession is to regulate you. Allow not yourself to be regulated. People will tell you of their extraordinary past achievements to show you a line in the sand. Leap the line. We all know that acquisition of knowledge can take a while. One must learn his/her trade and market. As you grow and progress don't allow yourself to regress based on the ill advising of others. The only reason others tell you about the past is because they want to preserve it. Break The Mold.

Restructure
How do you maximize your plan? Look at the number, put metrics in place to get there incrementally and proceed each day with said plan in mind. Look at the expectation, determine its reality and redefine. Set check points along the way, leave yourself notes and stay the course.

Know this....if you are going to restructure the standard there are no days off, achievement must be measured every day and you have to out work everyone. First to work, last to leave. Are you ready to accept that challenge?

Recreate
So you have put the past behind, committed to winning on a higher scale and now you have to believe it is possible. There is not an achievement that can be put into motion without a belief in yourself. Doubt will creep in, use it to better prepare. Most people will discourage your effort, find courage in the weakness of your detractors. There are no limits. You can achieve anything. You simply have to walk into every day with fierce determination and sustain it!

Are you ready to redefine possible?
Can you commit yourself to every day?


Progress will have new metrics when you are through!

There are 25 work days left in 2010! Go To Work!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Retribution


There have been a lot of come backs in 2010. Tiger Woods emerged from the darkness of his Gigolo soul to play the worst golf of his career. Michael Vick did time in Federal Prison only to present himself as an MVP candidate. Brett Farve seemed to have another season in him but he should have hung it up while he was ahead.

Yesterday Kanye West dropped My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I expected a self-realized apology to the little girl he beat up at the MTV rewards show. I got no explanation but an unapologetic mission statement: I am who I am and if you don't like it....

Tiger, Mike, Brett and Kanye all have faced the unenviable task of acknowledging their mistakes. In some cases like this people seek revenge: who called my bluff? After their resistance subsides they do some internal analysis, realize the human tendency to make mistakes and take accountability. They get back to work and seek to redeem themselves. Retribution always works better than revenge. In the midst of our shame we get sick of hearing ourselves talk, lace up the cleats and get back to playing ball. We shut up and let the results speak for themselves. We slowly get back to who we are. We curse ourselves, learn from our mistakes and vow not to repeat them.

A friend recently told me he was at the lowest point of his professional career. To which I explained to him that he was the perfect consultant to any company:
How can I understand your challenges if I have not been challenged myself
How can I propose solutions if I have not been burned and risen from the ashes


Brother and Sisters, we are going to make errors in judgement! We may forget our phone at home or do something more extreme. The worst thing we can do in light of our errors is blame others or make excuses. The best thing we can do is admit we screwed up, apologize and move on. People are disappointed by excuses. People are encouraged by results through redemptive effort.

Celebrity misbehavior aside, we have to acknowledge that it is better to take action and learn from the practice than to sit back a criticize others. We love reality TV because we like to see people do stupid things and criticize their actions....and for once it is not us who is on the spot. We love to see celebrities fall because we can point fingers to the fact that no one is perfect...and go on being imperfect.

This Thanksgiving instead of superficial reflection your 'luck', reflect on your short comings and set a course to retribution. The key to perfection is learning from your actions without repeating your mistakes. It is time to move forward with grander expectations by being accountable for the results. Better to know how to find success than to look at your failures and 'hope' to get back to success. Luck becomes less significant when you have discipline....a process, a strategy, initiative and the ability to carry out the plan.

"...the plan was to drink until the pain was over but what's worse: the pain or the hangover..."
- Kanye West

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hogwash


Sitting at a conference last week the person next to me turned and said, "why would we care about this?". She didn't know me but she was aware that I could have cared less about the subject matter. The real issue lies in the fact that the speaker failed to recognize what everyone else felt apparent.

Every great Quarterback knows how to read the defense and to call an audible where necessary. As a speaker, presenter, salesperson or conversationalist you have to adapt. Read your audience and adjust your message accordingly.

I have a few confidants that assist in my development as a professional. They do not work for me or with me but we face similar challenges. Our conversations often drift from standardized sales process to human theory. We discover that as we mature as human beings our process becomes less important than our intent. We discover that it is less important to know your product and more important to know your audience...and to differentiate a solution accordingly.

Here are the Keys to Differentiation:
Listen
Apply by Situation
Tell a Story


Two Ears & One Mouth
I used to think that possessing the 'gift of gab' was the key to being an admirable professional...I could not have been more wrong! If you walk into an office dressed sharp, pull up a fancy PowerPoint and start laser pointing your outstanding features the reaction of your audience will be two fold:
The precept that you are insanely self-centered
The Charlie Brown Teacher Scenario


I use every introduction to a person as an opportunity to learn as much about them as possible. Ask 20 questions, retain 3 or 4 key facts and work them into your next conversation. Likewise, with a prospective customer, listen to their pain points and articulate your solution to them in a meaningful follow up conversation.

Just for YOU
People are startled when you meet with them a month later and recite things they have mentioned..."you have a great memory", they may say. If you site an entry from this blog in conversation with me you can guarantee my attention.

People exist to have their thoughts validated and addressed. Take in as much information as possible before your propose what you can do for someone.

Expertise is a silly myth. A book cannot tell me what you face in your corporate environment. You have to know the applicable nature of your products and services, the according scalability and how to uniquely apply a prescription for the pain.

Story Telling
We have a customer who we assisted in a similar situation...
I just read a piece that mentioned a similar conundrum...
I walked into an office just last week....

We are 5 times more likely to remember a solution when framed in a real life situation. Get good at story telling.

The way to convey confidence is to address people in direct terms by showing you have listened to them. Hogwash only matters if you are bathing pigs. Your ability to be a skilled professional lies in your ability to convey your human understanding.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The War Is Over!


In "Delivering Happiness", Tony Hsieh describes a moment in the bar when he asked his soon-to-be COO what it would take to make a Billion dollars. Keith Ferrazzi describes a moment after the "Who's Got Your Back" book tour when he finally allowed himself to celebrate his achievements. Even Gordon Gecko stated that life comes down to a few defining moments.

Where we sit today, we are on the presuppose of greatness...I said that.

It is true, exciting and incredibly important to understand that the hard times may have finally sunset. The stars finally aligning, things falling into place, a lucky break. The reason for it needs not be described but it is time for the fruits of our labor to be piled on our collective drive ways in all of their organic goodness.

Some have lost houses, others their jobs and a few more their marriages. It has been a rough few years. We survived, we are wiser for it and now it's time to move forward.

This is the point in the movie when our hero gets his reward when he least expects it. I want to remind you of a few things:
Nice Guys Finish First
Constant Effort IS a Defensible Strategy
It's OK to Believe


Your Time Will Come

"I too will have my day in the hot sun"
- Nacho Libre

Every dog has his day. It does not matter how many bad decisions you have made, the black cloud that follows you or your miscast career choices. If you endure with genuine intent you will win.

I have come across some tremendous assholes in my career. Today, a few of them are unemployed. Taking short cuts at the expense of others lasts for but a few fleeting moments. Over time the pretenders are revealed as such. Karma is a bitch.

The Working Man (is not) A Sucker!
I was introduced to a book called "Hope is Not a Strategy" - the theme is logical in it's intent. The premise is deflating.

I am the first to say that you have to follow up strategically, determine your target market and deliver a credible message. But all of that has to be driven with the intent that something meaningful is possible. To know that you can excel in every step of business strategy and still care enough to believe that you are forging something special.

Believe

There is a God, Santa Claus is coming to town and the war is over (if you need it).

You are stronger than you will ever realize, the world is a kind and forgiving place and everyone needs a little luck.

It's OK to admit you are wrong and I'm sorry if things didn't work out the way you planned. But, we're back! The past is forgiven, the future is limitless and you deserve to be Happy!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, November 15, 2010

Show Up & Care


Why would anyone want to be a politician? To have your personal life opened up, to play audience to special interest groups and lobbyist, to constantly be under a microscope, for every decision to be questioned by the less talented...all for much less money than you made as a business leader?

As The Great Jesse Ventura put it, "If Not Me, Then Who?"

My skepticism of the position vs The Governor's optimism makes the case pretty clear:
There is Nothing Easy About Progress!

If everything was easy, we would all be drunk in the town square every day, celebrating our Utopia. We have all learned in recent times that the hours of thankless effort far exceed those spent celebrating in the sunshine. Therein lies our challenge. To put our heads down and progress knowing that the gold stars may be few and far between.

To develop the ability to win in the face of constant adversity with diminishing rewards is a task that less than 25% of American workers are willing to accept. When faced with the challenge of being Genuinely Engaged in your career you can ask yourself but one question:
"If Not Me, Then Who?"

Develop Metrics for Progress Beyond Results
Find Other Avenues
Know That the Willingness to Try Eliminates 75% of Your Competition


Encouragement in All Forms
In a recent survey I conducted regarding workforce engagement, respondents indicated that encouragement from one's peers is equally as important as that from one's manager. This is often because a Manager is caught up in finish line results...that's what pays the bills. There are metrics beyond revenue to get to revenue that when encouraged properly can produce long term success. Whereas, short term revenue may be a stroke of luck or a quick fix product dump.

It is vastly important for organizations to understand business critical behaviors more than just the results they produce. It is even more important to develop programming and training that enriches such behaviors instead of just analyzing results and brow beating assumed under-performers.

The Definition of Insanity
We have identified that life in business is not fair, especially in a floundering economy. Still businesses increase prices, increase quotas and figure that margins will justify themselves in accordance. The thought being....we don't need to produce if we can adjust what we currently have to make up for our lack of production. As such, your loyal customers suffer, your account support spends all day explaining unilateral decision making and your sales people make up for their lack of ability by selling the wrong products & services at the wrong prices to the wrong people....this is exactly how NOT to run a business.

We have to produce by means of DAILY development. Your goals are cemented, how you get there is up to you. Find new ways to penetrate the market, up-sell current customers, develop products and add value.

You can walk into a wall, run into a wall or find a pick axe and bust a whole in it.

Then Who?
A study by HR Solutions indicated that 25% of the workforce are engaged in their work. This seems like a high number. This means only 1 in 4 workers even care about the work they do....what an opportunity! If you know three quarters of the people you walk by every day don't even want to be part of the game, it should be really easy to win. All you really need to do is show up and care.

The odds are steep, the rewards diminishing and the future uncertain. The easy thing to do is give up. If you do then you open the door for the less skilled to take what is yours simply by default.

It is time to no longer accept what we cannot change and change it! To ignore the statistics that serve only to demotivate you, to set your own course, to derive hope from the ambivalence of others.

Show up, find a way and never stop moving forward!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Humble Gratitude


I never understood the touchdown dance...to achieve through determined action and then perform a ballet seems contradictory. I have had my moments of arrogance and I regret them. Worse than failing, is winning and tarnishing your trophy. If you read this blog you know I am anything but traditional. There is, however, a time for respect. A nod to the effort of those you beat down is probably a good Karma measure. Not everybody wins, Capitalism is the American Dream, and respect is not deserved to those who mail it in.

We cannot evolve without those around us who accelerate our effort. The spirit of competition is to push one's self beyond the thershold as a benefit from those with whom you compete. I have spent my greatest moments of achievement alone (and I assure you they have been monumental in scope). I am grateful for that!

Here are 3 ways to Win Gracefully:
Understand the Benefit of Your Work
Replicate the Process
Reward Not the Uncaring


What Got You Here
You won! You gave your full effort to a task, achieved and have progressed from it. Reflect on it......!

Don't throw your hands up or dance...take a breath and to yourself celebrate that achievement!

Learn and Earn
It is difficult to hold off the celebration and retrace your steps when you win...but it is important. To understand the process of your effort, to find the pillars and to make them part of your strategy. You would be surprised how impressive a rehearsed routine can be if presented properly. Point by point procedure is a gateway to production.

Retrace the path to success and replicate it!

No Orange Peels
...let's not confuse the situation. If you put no admirable effort forward, you deserve not a pat on the back. If you busted your hump and fell short, you need not be over critical of yourself!

You need not pick up your rivals when they fall. You don't have to shake hands if you're pissed. There is nothing wrong with being distraught for not measuring up. I will take the guy who does not accept failure (regardless of qualification) over he who smiles in defeat, every day!

Pin your opponent, score the game winning touchdown, win the million dollar deal...and give yourself a few moments to take it all in!

Congratulations! You Deserve It!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, November 8, 2010

Re: Action


Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

– Winston Churchill


This quote from Sir Winston presents simple terms that address the most difficult conundrum anyone can face:
Dealing with Failure

There are 2 categories for those who have been challenged and have fallen short:
Those mired in self pity who never challenge themselves again
Those who put on a facade to present themselves as bullet proof


It's Not My Fault
Do you know someone who is consistently angry? Every day sucks because they wake up with the foresight of dread. From the minute they walk out the door they project their discontent on others so they never have to be accountable to themselves again. They use negativity to provoke others prepared to respond because they cannot stand to see another smile.

Don't allow these folks to suck you in...they are the cowards who have tried, failed and cannot bear to face disappointment again.

The Smile Guy
Do you see that person in the office that always smiles, that laughs at all your jokes, that folds his hands properly in his lap when the boss speaks (nodding in approval). I get it, sometimes you need unflappable positivity to navigate the overwhelming negativity that others will heap upon you.

It can be said, however, that those who find the positive in everything may be just as cowardly as the person who blames everyone else. If you never hold anyone accountable, odds are you will be trampled at every turn.

Don't be the Fault Deflector or the Smile Guy....find the strategic medium:
Work Hard
Develop Candid Relationships
Find the Solution


Touch All The Bases
You have to carry the weight...every day. Accept that you will quarterback every task, every day. Know that those helping you will try and fail. Be willing to be the focal point. Out work everyone: your partners, your managers, your support staff.

Be Humble in Victory and Accountable in Defeat. Never deflect blame or brag over accomplishments. Every game has a critical turn....the person who drove the victory or is responsible for the defeat knows who they are (as does everyone else).

Wake Up Call
You cannot advise someone without their respect. If someone is failing and they are continually badgered they will continually ignore advice. We all face our pivotal moments, usually a reflection of some hard words from someone who loves us dearly.

It is difficult to tell a friend they have hit their bottom. You have to have relationships within which you can tell those who are falling how to get back up in light of their ignorance to reality.

Solutions Not Excuses
Don't be the smiley guy, don't ignore misconduct with a smile, don't pretend you can wish away the inefficiency. But, stay upbeat!

You don't have to smile and laugh loud to be positive. You DO have to find a solution in everything. Save time arguing your point to prove your personal relevance and find a gateway to progress. No one cares who forgot the copies if you win the deal. Put aside the insignificant, think big picture, be adaptable, don't show your cards and accept nothing other than victory.

Let it be known that a person's character shines greatest in their moments of discontent....it is easy to smile when you are winning!

You cannot grow without failure. If you win all the time you might be selective in the challenges you accept. Break the mold, continue to develop and never compromise.

We Can Do This!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CPS


There is a spreading epidemic: Competitive Paranoia Syndrome (CPS). CPS is an affect of the lack of strategic purpose due to concerns over what one's competitors are doing in the market place. Of course, it is healthy to know your opponents and to formulate a strategy that pits your strengths against their weaknesses. But, if you are consistently concerned over what 'they' are doing, you will lose focus on what 'you' should be doing.

In the great sport of football research and development has become a prominent department. Players and coaches alike spend a dedicated portion of every day studying their opponent's playbook. In reaction, some teams completely change their playbook every week. Other teams know their opponents know their plays...and run them anyway! That's Right, if 'you' do what 'you' do very well, what 'they' know means nothing.

So here's the premise: Execute Your Strategy (and disregard what the competition knows)

1. Your competition has an edge only if you haven't prepared properly
2. Don't disparage the other team
3. Competition is everywhere


You First
If you are concerned that your competition has an edge you haven't prepared properly. Out game them! Address client needs within the context of your differentiating skills and knowledge. In the lost moments that you obsess over your competition's philandering tactics you could have been out prepping them.

Concentrate on what you are good at, show your clients what you can do, and work candidly to develop a fit. Dishonesty is transparent! There is never an edge in underhanded tactics.

Talk Is Cheap
Prospects need to trust you. They may bait you with the question of what differentiates you from the other guys. Responding by trashing the competition breaks your trust with the prospect. Don't do it.

Tell the prospect what you are good at and allow them to evaluate the other guys. If they play dirty, you will win.

It's Not Just Them
You compete against other vendors, the prospect, your constituents, your management team, the market, your family, alternative solutions, and everyone you come across.

You don't think everyone has ulterior motives? You don't think everyone who intends well for you won't provoke your competitive nature to ignite your full potential? You don't think your prospect wants your fullest commitment?

Wake Up Man....competition is everywhere. You need to put your game face on, perform and win! Accept not defeat! It's you against the world. You don't have to be mean spirited...but you do need to look out for YOUR best interest! Be the best you can be, drive the process and proceed with class.

No one trusts a slick talker and talking bad about others will only reveal your insecurity. Drive the bus and you will eventually shake the hangers on!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, November 1, 2010

Creating Culture


More often than not when people see my last name I get one of the following responses:
Where are you from?
What Nationality are you?
Is that Russian?

To which I respond: I'm from California, the nation I represent is America and I'm not Russian but I love Vodka (being that we're playing the stereotype game).

Frankly, I found my culture on La Pera circle in the early 80's. Karen Hunter, Gabe Rowland and the Walker Brothers were my countrymen. We started playing ball on our block and when we were old enough we ventured a few blocks over to challenge those kids in a game of touch football. We banned together, we looked out for one another, we took pride in our block and no one was f-ing with us. We didn't need a flag to fly or a discernible physical commonality; it was in the air. If you came on our block you had to get through the guard to play kick ball.

The culture I subscribed to was created by me and my friends and it meant more to me than the songs of my forefathers or the meals my Grandmother made. So, It stands to reason that in evolution from our names, skin colors or gender; there is a climate to our lives that focuses on now not then. In example, it can be said that the place you work is a culture in-and-of-itself.

A lot has been said about organizational culture of late and this is one HR trend that I believe in. Without question, if you can create an engaging environment between the four walls of any office, satisfaction is guaranteed.

So what do you need to do to create an Engaging Organizational Culture:
* Core Values
* Metrics for Success that Reflect the Population
* Action Oriented Leadership


How Do You Spell Integrity?
Recite your organization's core values...How many people can actually do it? My guess is not many and that is a shame. Take away departmental goals, rank, tenure & the Core Values of any organization are what level the playing field.

Core Values fail to engage for two reasons:
They are too broad
Middle Managers have failed to interpret them to in a meaningful way


I would bet that 80% of organizations have Integrity and/or Accountability as a core value. The extended definition is honesty, the most important professional characteristic any one can possess, why don't we understand that? If as a Manager you cannot explain to your team why honesty is important you are mis-cast. Traditionally, what you will hear from Middle Managers is, "its a core value, its important to our Chairman, know the definition". What a waste!

The definition of engagement is knowing the significance organizational core values have to YOUR role in the company.
* If you can differentiate the company mission to your own success you are guaranteed to find personal significance in every day....within the goals of the organization.

Know Your People
As a consultant people ask me, "as an expert, what would you recommend to improve our culture?". How should I know, it's YOUR company. If you don't know what the people who work for you want, how can I help you? If I offer industry best practices that are not applicable to the people who walk your halls, you are simply re-manufacturing more mediocrity...that's what got you into this mess in the first place:
- Don't worry about being safe
- Make it meaningful
- Make it fun


Detachment is not a Strategy
How often do our Leaders work from a 10,000 foot view? Of course, our CEO cannot be in Kansas every month to opinion poll the Transportation Supervisor. But, there are a few ways to get the real facts:
- Use your Open Door Policy as a means for improvement not to judge who is un-coachable
- Engage real conversation with people at all levels to get 'real' feedback
- Take the formality out of Organizational Input


Surveys are tough because I know that even though they are framed as 'confidential', someone above me will be looking at my feedback and judging me accordingly. This is not the fault of the CEO or the individual contributor but rather an affect of insecure Middle Managers. (see a trend developing here?)

You have to develop a culture of trust! To know that I can give you feedback and you can discern if I am bitching or actually interested in evolving organizational objectives. How can we do this?
- Look for hard facts to accompany the (sob) story
- Ask how the 'problem' effects the Organizational Mission
- Share feedback instead of burying it
- Help redirect instead of judging


In Summation (without assuming):
It doesn't matter what you look like, how you talk or what your life goals might be. If I can ask everyone to find the pot of gold on the same treasure map, our goals are laid out for us. Different teams may take different routes but in the end we all find the treasure.

Create a Mission and help each of us understand it's significance to our own lives. Stop asking for feedback if you are not going to use it to evolve organizational goals! Create team goals that reflect our input and strategize accordingly.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, October 25, 2010

Smile


There seem to be two types of people in the world today:
1. Those who are full of positive energy
2. Those who hate everyone and wear it on their face


I have to admit I am freaked out by the person who talks at high volume, bounces into the coffee shop at 5am and/or laughs uncomfortably at every valid point they might pull from you. Such people, I have often thought, are hiding something. There was a time in my life when I was disgusted to see anyone smiling while they walked the mean streets. "How could they be positive with so much pain and strife in this world", I would ponder beneath my frown. Surprisingly, this time of discontent in my life happened when I had less to be upset about than any other time in my life.

While the overtly optimistic always raise an eyebrow, the publicly negative always furrow the brow. You see the man who criticizes the work of every Barista or Drive Through Attendant that he comes across. That person who looks in discontent at a 3 year old for not knowing his/her manners. They are bitter most likely from a life of short comings and an inability to tolerate their own failures. In order to avoid looking themselves in the mirror they attack everyone in their path provoking confrontation.

Which one would you rather be?

If ignorance is bliss is it better to know nothing and love everything?

Have we considered that those who wear a smile may do so not because they know nothing but rather because they have acknowledged the world's injustice...? Having experienced both sides of the coin, I can tell you that it is much easier to be negative. To deflect all challenges with forgone excuses to their immanent failure. To dismiss those who smile as ignorant. To wake up angry, knowing our inability, and to make an every day mission of tearing down the more capable.

With every achievement comes more responsibility. You cannot endure said responsibility without uncompromising positivity. If you are driven by hate, the drive to prove others wrong or the need to see others fail...you wake up every day and put a bag full of rocks on your back. Negativity is baggage.

You have to accept the challenges before you, assess the path to achievement, and take action. You have to win and from winning learn to elevate your capabilities. You have to be willing to fail and develop the ability to laugh at yourself.

So when the mad man runs into the happy lady at the coffee shop this morning which force will be greater?

Here are a couple simple tips to make today a positive experience:
Wake up earlier
Assess all sides of the argument before taking action
Create an abundance of opportunities
Develop the ability to laugh at yourself


5am
..I wake up every day at 5am. I often leave the coffee shop by 8:30am. As the angry guy is just stumbling into his day, I have already completed 3 hours of quality work.

You can wake up earlier! Stop using the 3 evening hours to watch TV. Late night TV only makes you tired and less original.

He Said/She Said
Do you see an email come through, assume your team member has screwed up, shoot him an angry 'fix it now' email, and cc the COO? Let me tell you how to fix that habit -
Call First
Never Document your discontent (email nor voice mail)
Ask both sides and create a solution instead of looking for someone to blame


The More the Merrier
It is far easier to fail when you have something to fall back on. If you are in sales and you have only one large deal in your pipeline for the year, you better start cold calling (today!). It is far easier to lose a deal when you have 10 large opportunities in your pipeline.

Negotiating one deal a year gives you a sense of desperation in the negotiating process. You are sure to accept all terms and conditions and bring aboard bad business.

Laugh
You are gonna screw up. Things will happen by the actions of others that are beyond your control.

Sometimes you have to accept your fate, laugh it off and move forward. Time spent beating yourself up will only detract from your ultimate progress. Learn to laugh at yourself.

So, if we are choosing sides, I will go with the positive! To convey one's admission of challenge through negativity is the first admission of failure.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The 3 Habits of Highly Engaged People


The term Employee Engagement is often missused. But, those passionate about their work create a ripple effect that is contagious. Energy, positivity and connectivity; these are traits that are undeniably admirable.

How do you get there?

How do you get to the point where work becomes a joy, where you enjoy meeting people, where your negativity gives way to some positive energy?

You don't have to quit your job, do palates at 4am or drink a hundred lattes. All you need is a personal strategy driven by genuine intent. Discovering your life's purpose through work might be more than an overnight chore. I can, however, suggest 3 things that will make every day exciting.

Do Something Remarkable Every Day
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Every Day
Commit with Greater Measure


To See The Sun Set
There are those who grind for 51 weeks to get that moment in the sunset once a year. Sometimes that seems like enough but you need more. You don't need to vacation half the year but you can see that sunset every day.

Take a Walk After Work
Find the Beach on your Lunch Break
Go for a Hike
Drive to a Hilltop
Rock out in your car


...we become creatures of habit and that makes our lives predictable, boring, & uneventful. You cannot invigorate your soul just once a year in cape cod. You have to find in each day an element of personal beauty. To take life in. To be thankful. To Reflect. To move forward with greater insight.

Step Out
If you sit next to me on a plane and ask me where my travels are taking me, the Ipod goes on....I am an asshole in this respect. I do not favor the guys in the gym locker room who stand around naked talking business or the lady in the coffee who talks loudly about her blessed life at 5am. In my book I urge the technique of easing your way in. There can, however, be a happy medium.

So in 2011, I will challenge myself to engage in that conversation on the plane. To ask someone how they are doing. To jump into a pick up hoop game. To swim in the cold ocean. To connect with a group of strangers over coffee.

Part of keeping yourself sharp is doing the uncomfortable...every day!

5 more
So you worked your butt off in the hardest of economic times to achieve your goals in 2010. In 2011, you have to do more. Even if you work far beyond what the standard might be....the extra effort is what differentiates the extraordinary from the regular.

Make 5 more calls, talk to 5 more associates, do 5 more sit ups, write 5 more lines of code.....

You define your true potential not by achieving your goals, but exceeding them, and redefining your self-imposed limits. This process never ends and you consistently evolve.

There are just 3 things you need to do every day to be that Engaged Person you admire:
smell a rose, say hello to someone new, do 5 more of the little things

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave

Sunday, October 17, 2010

10 in 10


There are 11 weeks left in 2010. But the last week seldom counts and 10 in 10 just sounds cooler. One cannot help but think that as this year comes to a close we are closer to getting through the hard times.

Call it a recession or what you might but it has been a couple of challenging years. We have just shy of 3 months to make something of 2010 and to set the table for 2011. A new year, despite our consequence going into it, always brings a feeling of hope. No matter how far off the path we have drifted there is sunshine on the horizon (or at least we have 365 days to turn our fortune around).

In 2010 those who have succeeded despite the economic decline have worked five times harder, found different angles, learned from their mistakes and consistently been willing to take chances.

What have you learned?

What can you do in the next 11 weeks to make 2010 complete?

We can start by reviewing the aforementioned keys to succeeding against all odds:
Work Harder
Find a New Angle
Learn from Your Mistakes
Put Yourself Out There


"What Got You Here....
...won't keep you here", a tremendous asshole once said to me. His tact was off but the sentiment was right. In trying times you cannot expect to duplicate half efforts of the past and replicate results. In fact, evolution is always the goal. The minute you stand still you start moving backward.

Yup, it's unfair. But you have to bite your lip and work harder to produce equal results. Or you can work five times harder and produce twice the results. That, my friends, is what separates the men from the boys.

Think about your family and buckle down!

More than one way
We are at a point when the unconventional is becoming conventional. I will reiterate, if you are over looking the social media thing, you are soon to be bulldozed into obscurity.

Our pride often tells us we've been doing this for 44 years and NO ONE is going to tell us our methods are wrong. Sure, but make 114 calls and get 3 live people....or reach 50,000 in one tweet. #justsayin

Once
Is the number of times a great man once told me I could screw up. His point being, if I made a mistake as a result of taking action he could accept that. Better to act now and apologize later. But, if you make the same mistake twice, you're just a dum dum: action without discourse is the revealing of the incurable disease of stupidity.

Whatever Happens
Keep trying! It is the coward that tries, fails, and hides behind commentary. There are a hundred stoners sitting on couches revealing their philosophy....need I say more.

So here it is: 11 weeks, 1 goal - achieve that which was once deemed impossible!

No One has the right to tell you which goals are realistic.
No One can put a finger in your face.

When YOU set the agenda the day is much easier to navigate!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Benefits by the Numbers




In October of 2010 I took to LinkedIn to engage the top producers in their respective fields. The intent being to discover what top talent is
looking for in an employer and what said employer needs to retain said
talent.


The survey includes a generational perspective of:
* Benefits
* Pay Scale
* Expected Tenure
* Opportunities for Advancement
* The Importance of Recognition of One’s Achievement


The results clarified some forgone conclusions and debunked others.

Study Summary:
1. Google remains the Employer of Choice
2. Cash is still king, but a fun loving work environment is more important
3. Lack of pay is the last reason for leaving an employer
4. A Bad Boss is the number 1 reason for employee departure
5. Recognition from Senior Leadership is significantly more important than recognition from one’s peers
6. Top performers are seeking long term employment
7. Pay by performance is equally important as salary
8. Employees need to be recognized for their achievements at least once a month

The glaring facts
Our ability to conduct our work day at our own pace, to have a company vision we believe in, an opportunity for advancement and the need to 'have fun' at work are now the driving factors in the job search of those who have options.

What we didn't consider
Money is less a driving factor in employment than it used to be.

Generation Y has been categorized as the validation generation...our survey debunks these stereotypes in indicating that everyone wants to be recognized for their effort (at least monthly).

Despite the 'job hopping' categorization of today's workforce, our survey shows the majority of Top Performers are seeking long term employment (10+ years).

A Bad Boss can drive anyone from any company.

Statistics and case studies are everywhere. The default to many surveys is who is conducting them and what do I stand to lose by being honest.

It is my conclusion that this random survey of the Best of the Best gives us dependable data.

Note to Employers:
Big pay checks and generous benefits do not make up for lack of leadership
Everyone needs to hear Thank You!
Your company culture is what drives retention

Listen and implement requests from the field. Validate effort in a genuine manner. Create fun and a vision to believe in....Lead by Example.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Do You Really Want?


I have seen case study after white paper regarding what people look for in a an employer. What benefits are necessary to entice top talent. The bigger question is what really matters to you?:
- Every company has benefits
- Jobs come with a pay check

...the real thing that drives retention is work environment. Call it culture, call it corporate structure.


Culture as it applies to job satisfaction is driven by 3 key factors:
* My Influence on My Success
* The Light at the End of the Tunnel
* Thank You!


You Drive
Would it seem awkward that YOUR motivation would be driven by someone else? The stigma with business motivation is that we ask for tasks from our Manager, they give us a check list, we complete said list ask for another. Is our metric for success limited to paperwork?

You need to expect more...What do you really want?

When you wake up in the morning and think about your ideal job what comes to mind? Are you doing that today? Do you have the ability to do so?

You don't have to quit your job and run off to Alaska. You can, however, apply the following:
1. Find your personal mission in every task
2. Ignore insignificant busy work that does not speak to your larger goals
4. Think big picture
5. Don't allow the miserable to drag you down to their level
6. Stay Positive


What's Next?
- What career path lies in front of you?
- Is there a logical progression to ascend your organization?
- Do you want to ascend your organization?

I have two competing ideologies on the subject of organizational advancement:
* Don't put yourself on the fast track if you are happy where you are
* If you are promised advancement, and passed over, it's time to move on


I know literally hundreds of career salespeople who have admitted their worst professional mistake was going into management. The best individual contributors make more money than their bosses with far less busy work. Managers are often nothing more than baby sitters....careful what you wish for.

Hard Fact: if you have been given a six month window to perform the tasks of your position to ensure a promotion and you do not get that job in 6 months - sharpen up your LinkedIn profile! You are a victim of the old bate and switch...keep talent on board by dangling a carrot. You are either on the list or you are not. If you are not the first choice, success is impossible. Jack Welch would advise otherwise - he is wrong!

Thank You
I don't care which generation you come from. I don't care which role you serve or which industry you are in. The best thing you can hear at work is: Thank You!

The key to retaining top talent: Thank You!
The phrase more important than a pay raise: Thank You!
The ticket to life long loyalty: Thank You!

But you gotta mean it...if you truly appreciate your people they will be perfectly happy with the role they are given, perform beyond expectation and stay at your company forever!

Say Thank You!

In my next posting we will put direct metrics to the aforementioned career objectives through a survey I have conducted.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lost on Revenge


The story of Wall Street, Donovan McNabb's motivation in returning to Philly, The Count of Monte Cristo. In all cases, one lesson rings true...
If Revenge Is All That Motivates You, Success is Impossible!

It usually happens like this: the bully picks on you for two weeks, you get sick of it and knock him out, and when he runs off crying you end up feeling bad.

You cannot lower yourself to another's level. They are down there for a reason. Some people have very little to hang on to...when they see an intruder approaching they hoard their prize. This happens when people see an 'up and comer' and are threatened by his/her presence. The goal then of the hoarder is to bate the over-achiever into the trap of displaying their frustration...don't play that game.

I am a short tempered, prideful, hard working lad. The hardest thing for me is to hear others insult my work and to turn the other cheek. While it stings to 'let it go', I can tell you with great certainty that the squealers always get theirs. Be OK with losing an argument. When your accuser walks out the door with a box in hand he/she will not be laughing...and you probably won't either.

In short, if you are only motivated by sticking it to those who doubt you, you will not win. They wish only to see you fail and if your motivation then becomes a race to deface them first....no one wins.

You need to find within yourself what is important; and to be so diligently immersed in it that you cannot see those on the roadside throwing tin cans at your race car.

In the story of 'money never sleeps', greed engulfs an industry and our country nearly folds because of it. People from all over Pennsylvania came to see Donovan McNabb fail and he didn't. The Count of Monte Cristo escaped jail to kill his false accusers....now what? What was gained from any of the insanity of revenge? Could not that time and it's according motivation have been better spent?

There are people in my career who have screwed me over...I have forgotten most of them...and it feels good. In passing I will hear of their short comings, crack a smile and get back to living my life.

'Tis better to win and share the trophy with others than to stand on the podium and spit on those beneath you....it is beneath you!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh The Bravado


A Gentleman named Mark Burnett changed television. He expanded on the concept of 'reality' TV by engaging the egos of the desperately unaware.

The agenda:
1. Take people manically eager to prove themselves
2. Give them a challenge
3. Allow them to create their own dialogue


Reality TV is about nothing. There is no reality to it. Our cast, however, faces the very real epidemic of proving their validity as part of the team. Mark & Mr Trump look not at the most well formed resume to hire the next apprentice. Instead, they look for people who are short fused, insecure, unfiltered and fantastically ambitious. A formula for great Television. We all love a car crash...

On last night's Apprentice I witnessed all of the sins of pseudo professionalism:
Using 3 fingers to accentuate your speaking points
Talking in terms of only yourself
The use of framed language


The Key Points of This Challenge
"this challenge will personify teamwork, your ability to think on your feet, and your entrepreneurial spirit", explains The Donald's douchey son. (is that guy going out with one of the Kardashians?)

Trust fund dum dum turned reality TV star speaks with his hands in front of him. His index and middle finger touching his thumb to accentuate his speaking points with great poignancy...while our cast of soon-to-be celebrity rehabers nod to his brilliance. Kill Me!

I
I am really good at that. I did that for 10 years. I am really, really good at stuff...people like me...I swear I am really, really capable...I am not a failure.

There is nothing more appalling than hearing people tout their achievements, skill set and professional accolades. Have a little tact, be humble and engage your audience.

This is a Win/Win
Let's spit ball some ideas....let's not. I hate framed language. Catch phrases that people lean on because they are incapable of producing original thought.

Some examples of Framed Language include:
- "At the end of the day,..."
- "It is what it is"
- "Robbing Peter to pay Paul"
- "Throw me under the bus"

We empower the simple minds by tuning into watch them. There has to be a better way to spend our lives.

Throw your TV out the window! Take a walk, grab a book, put on a record.

Or better yet, spend some with your 5 year old. You can learn more from them than you will from the next Apprentice.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, September 30, 2010

For Sales People Only


I just saw Wall Street....another quintessential sales movie with quotes from Gordon Gecko on the art of selling, trading, negotiating. A movie filled with slick suits, high priced cars and spacious lofts. The intent possibly to have sales people leave the theater, grab a scotch and plot their fortune at the expense of anyone in their way.

Guess What....No one cares anymore. The whole game is changing.

Sales is no longer about sharp dress, slick talk, presentation and negotiation skills. Offices are being cleaned out for mobile work, suits are being hung up for t-shirts and face to face meetings replaced by Skype.

The problem when money drives is that greed takes over. Make a quick buck, flip another deal, burn another bridge and move on.

Two things have happened while you were buying leather shoes:
* Prospects have gotten wise to the slick sales approach
* Organizations are realizing that long term relationships are far more profitable

So you walk from the high rise building, undo your tie and say 'I just tricked those dummies'. Did you consider that they have windows and that they could have seen you coming from a mile away? It's time to grow up!

Here's what matters:
Trust
Long Term Care
Reasonable Relationship Standards


How Do I Know You?
It is very difficult to win someone over in an hour. It is very easy to sour them.

Here's what you can do to win trust on a first dance:
Answer a Yes/No question with either Yes or No
Be Polite
Research your client and their company


Be concise in your responses, let the prospect do the talking and work in a curling metaphor (if your research shows that he/she likes curling).

5 years from now
Why would you build a house just to move out of it? Why would you buy shoes and leave them at the shop? Why would you work to close a deal and then lose it by revealing your false premise?

Happy customers provide guaranteed revenue, up-selling opportunities and word of mouth reference. Why toil in promising and falling short? Find the right customers, treat them with outstanding personal care and watch the flowers grow into big beautiful trees.

Sometimes You Have to Say No
Your client will respect you if you tell them you cannot promise everything. In fact, many prospects ask questions to gage your willingness to set standards. If you promise without flinching you are suspect.

Know what you can't do, promise accordingly and be gracious in the process.

It is far better to know your target market and spend your time wisely. Trying to push your solution on an illogical suitor is a guaranteed waste of time and money.

Put away that fancy tie. Save the $1,200 you were going to spend on a sales seminar. Be honest, be yourself and consult people in the right way for the right reasons (no matter how much it hurts).

When the movie ends you want to be the hero not the villain. There are a lot of villains in sales.....follow the aforementioned directives and you will win more than you lose...the only formula anyone needs to follow.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Genuine Article


I remember being in my boss' office....the news relayed that I had (again) been passed over for a promotion. Nearly in tears, I told him I wished that 'they' understood how hard I worked and how much 'this place' meant to me.

I had performed to my quota year after year, was the first to volunteer for any new initiative and never missed a day of work. My problem? I wanted something for every inch of my effort...I was selfish and it was transparent.

The people around me recognized my hard work. They also recognized my false motivation and the volatility that fueled it. The same manic energy I put into 12 hour work days, I put into searching for kudos for everything I did. Through melt down after melt down, I eventually turned to slush.

I wish someone would have had the wherewithal to help me channel my motivation. I am here to help you do that through the following advice:
Let Genuine Intent Guide Your Actions
Ask Not for a Pat on the Back
Do Your Talking in the Ring
Understand that Promotions may not be a Good Thing


Get Real
One cannot act without purpose. The 'look busy the boss is coming' technique may only work once. You need to set a purpose to every day that involves taking organizational directives and giving them meaning to your life. You have to find meaning in every thing, understand why it is important to you and carry out said task with true intention.

People love those who carry themselves with confidence. You get to confidence by understanding the WHY behind every task and always pursuing a grandiose purpose.

Without Thank You
Yes...you will bust your butt on a project for which someone else will get credit. This does not happen more than once. Eventually a flood gate opens and the pretenders are revealed. It is better to be discovered behind the curtain than to be in front of initiatives you cannot expand upon.

If you expect to hear 'thank you' every time you perform, you will become a professional foot tapper. Some companies and managers are not good at recognizing achievement...that's not your fault. The key to keep from getting discouraged is to discover your personal achievement in everything and reward yourself.

The only validation that really matters is your own!

Results Shout Out Load
In a Radio interview I did, the host was freaked out to hear my technique of keeping my mouth shut for the first 6 months at a new job. I stick by that recommendation.

No one likes a person who comes in a room and starts talking about their 'past achievements' at high volume. Ease your way in...

You don't have to talk about how great you were or how great you will be...just be great!You need not talk a mean game, play a mean game. Eliminate the bravado, don't pre-frame your work, do your fighting in the ring!

Casting Call
I used to believe I wanted to be promoted to management because I saw that promotion as an ascension up the corporate ladder. When I finally got a promotion to Manager, I realised how much I disliked managing. The a-holes who held me back from promotion were right...I wasn't the guy for that job.

The bottom line is this:
You cannot let others determine what is right for YOU.
You need to pursue your career with YOUR best interest in mind.
By being true to yourself you will represent others in a more genuine fashion.


The worst thing you can do is pretend to be someone you are not, be miscast, get in over your head, under-perform, act out of character and lose your dignity.

There are many things far more important than your job. But, you spend most of your life at work...do it the right way:
Be True to Yourself!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave