Monday, October 25, 2010
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
..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 -
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.
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!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
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.
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!
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!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
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:
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
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.
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!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
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
The survey includes a generational perspective of:
* Pay Scale
* Expected Tenure
* Opportunities for Advancement
* The Importance of Recognition of One’s Achievement
The results clarified some forgone conclusions and debunked others.
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!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
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!
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 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!
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!
Monday, October 4, 2010
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!
Friday, October 1, 2010
A Gentleman named Mark Burnett changed television. He expanded on the concept of 'reality' TV by engaging the egos of the desperately unaware.
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 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!