Wednesday, September 28, 2011

3 Simple Adjustments

In this day and age of technical efficiency it is easy to forget the little things. The simple adjustments produced by our experience that allow us to be better people. I would call them "habits" but habits can be easily forgotten. If you remember your failures, you adjust and do better.

Here are 3 Simple Adjustments that will change your life:
1. Remember even your slightest achievements
2. Start every conversation with a positive statement
3. Wake up one hour earlier

Glory Days
No, I am not asking you to bask in your better days as if you haven't progressed since high school. What I am asking is that you take time, every day, to remember how awesome you are! We have all won something: a speech contest, a girl's favor or a little league championship. Hold on to those moments, you never know when you might need them.

Misery loves company! There are those who will exist to tear you question your motivation in an effort to make you re-assess. I am the first to admit that swinging at shadows is a poor strategy...I will also tell you that if you take the input of others too seriously you will never make a decision for yourself.

Remember how awesome you are and take action!

It's Good Stuff
We all know those people at the coffee shop who force us to look down when they walk by. There are others to whom we gravitate simply because we know they are going to make our day brighter. So we can reduce this to a simple point:
By starting a conversation in a positive manner you inspire people to engage you in their lives

I know a guy who complains every time I ask him how he is doing. It's just a figure of speech but he is so disconnected that he cannot acknowledge his rotten existence. There is another Gentleman who will not allow me to project negativity...any off color comments are met with:
It goes fast, that's the good stuff!

Who do you think I would rather do business with...?

I'm too busy 
I consider myself an over-achiever to an almost manic degree. I am always apprehensive when people tell me they do not have enough time to do something. Lack of time comes down to one of two things:
You are spending your time doing the wrong things (or)
You do not value the thing that has been suggested to you

A while back, I adapted the ability to wake up at 5am. It has been the single most beneficial thing I have done in my career. I beat traffic to the office and am 2 hours into my work day before my competitors wake up. My day is started within the solitude of my personal space. Every day is great, when it starts great. If you avoid unnecessary stress by ignoring the crowd; production is inevitable!

Sometimes you have to take a breath. We get so caught up in our expertise that we forget how to be human: to forgive ourselves when we fall short, to understand that others have to same deficiency, to be OK with not always being perfect, and to stop pretending that we are.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Ultimate Act of Definace

In 2006, William Taylor wrote a book called Mavericks at Work. I devoured the book! I loved the concept of rule breakers sticking to their guns to gain authority. This, to me, is the true definition of winning. That you do not need the most gifted players but those with conviction, an uncompromising purpose, the willingness to work hard and a lack of appreciation for convention. Yes, the aforementioned pillars of maverick leadership matched my personal mission to perfection.

The story of moneyball hits the silver screen today. An exploration of the way Billy Beane went to war with convention every day and had a lot of fun doing it. The great Jonah Hill categorized the movie as the ultimate punk rock story during his recent appearance on the Howard Stern show. Like William Taylor's book, Bennett Miller's film matches my personal mission.

I lived it, I loved it, it was punk rock, but it also made a lot of sense. 

Through my reflection on the aforementioned works of art, one theme has emerged crystal clear:
Leaders lead because they have a burning desire to challenge the status quo!

Conformity, sticking on the path most traveled and being part of the herd ~ leads to a predictable and manageable life - Booooring!

Every great leader has been met with shaking heads. The nay-sayers always shake in their boots when their inability to step out of their comfort zone backfires.

Great leaders have respect for tradition. So much so, that they feel they owe it to those who have come before them to improve upon their work. You do not need to be a conformist to climb the corporate ladder. You do not have to be agreeable to make progress. The best leaders are not the best followers. 

It's pretty simple, as a person you get to a point when your pride is challenged through your profession. Those who see inefficiency and throw their hand up open a door. Sure, there is an elegance needed to establish new ground. But, leadership starts with two things:
An inability to accept the under-developed ideas of others and the courage to make them better!

Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Great Expectations

In Detroit, in the spring of 1992, I attended an orientation for The University of Southern California. During the "questions" portion of the event I boldly asked, "should I take the easy classes and get A's or should I take the hard classes and get C's". Without taking a breath the head recruiter replied, "take the hard classes and get A's". The expectation was clear, direct, and at a non-pedestrian level. As if to say, if you are coming to play bring everything you have....every day!

Do you ever ask a question seeking validation with doubt in your mind? Do you fish for compliments for acts previously performed?

Think about it....those who are extraordinary in their field do not ask questions or seek validation. They take what is rightfully theirs and win. This way of thinking is met with consistent results for one reason:
People are afraid to be great because people need other people to tell them they are great!

Why Not Just Be Great?
There is a ball and a basket - you get points for putting the ball in the basket. Any questions?

At some point, a whole lot of in-between became more important than the scoreboard. I certainly understand the aspect of being under-appreciated but only effort and ability determine the final score. Did you forget how great you are or has your effort wavered? As you have done less have you looked for someone else to blame? As the market has become more challenging are you unwilling to further challenge yourself? Is your memory of your greatness in black and white?

Self Expectations
The only means for another to extend appreciation to you is for that person to assess your performance. No one lives in your shoes and therefore can never understand the extent of your effort. So why would you allow another to determine your grade of excellence?

The only external determination you are asked to conform to are the classes you take. The difficulty of your curriculum is determined by others. This is based on past you want to be average?

So, Then....
The way to ensure success:
* Have higher expectations for yourself than the expectations laid before you by others!
* Know that most people are content with average effort...contentment is an act of cowardice!
* Your judge and jury look at you through the mirror!

I want you to think of that day in which you did absolutely everything you could do. How you submitted to the pillow that evening and how you redefined what was possible in a day's time.

Let's assume there are 14,600 days left....there is no reason why each of them should not end with submission to your pillow...when you have done all you can possibly do, nothing keeps you up at night!!!

"there are two pains in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret" - Russ Hellickson

Don't Forget to Remember!



Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 Questions for Steven Trompeter

 Nearly 10 years ago, The Great Steven Trompeter left his Sales position in a well-established organization. He joined an industry with an average tenure that matched his years on Earth. Truly the new kid on the block, Steven established himself among his tenured peers in under a year.

Today, he is among a rare breed of Millennials that has served a company for the aforementioned extended amount of time. 

Mr. Trompeter is a man of intense competitive drive, unquenchable creative desire and an astounding sense of humor. He was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his Happy Hour as the labor day weekend beckoned.

1. You are a successful, seasoned sales professional. What advice would you give to a young person starting a sales career in this day and age?
First off, thanks for the compliment. It’s always nice to be recognized. Before I gave them any advice I’d ask them this question: Why do you want to be in sales? It’s the key to understanding whether or not you’d be great at it. There will be a lot of different reasons but ultimately it should lead back to this answer. I want to be in sales to control my own destiny! To me, SALES is the heartbeat of any company. It’s the most exciting place to be because it all starts with your efforts and when you taste success there’s nothing like it! Back to your question, for a young person starting a career in sales today here would be my advice:
• Start building your professional network immediately
• Being prepared is the ultimate sign of respect
• Embrace social media for business purposes
• Set goals and hold yourself accountable
• Understand that nobody cares what you want to sell. They care about their business problems and if what you are selling can be a viable solution
• Don’t be afraid to fail! In fact, expect it, embrace it and learn from your mistakes
• Become a student of sales - attend seminars, read books, follow blogs and become an industry expert in whatever field you’ve chosen
• Sell with integrity
• Learn to keep the door open even when you want to slam it in someone’s face
• Seek advice – look at your sales team and develop mentor / mentee relationships to advance your learning curve. You don’t need the company to assign one to you. Find one yourself, take him or her to lunch and build that relationship
• Continuously educate yourself on your clients and prospects line of work
• Have a vision and learn how to articulate it
• “CLOSING” is for losers. OPEN relationships and business partnerships that will grow for an entire career, not just one sale

2. As an incentives consultant, are you seeing trends in the way companies are encouraging staff results?
A few key trends that are moving to the forefront of our industry are:
• Eliminating programs that live in silos and developing a total rewards strategy that ties into business objectives
• Making the reward and recognition experience social
• Instant / timely recognition
• Equitable global recognition

3. What do you feel is the key to employee engagement?
A strong leadership team
• Transparency on the status of your company
• A shared vision for all employees
• Providing a career path for your employees with plenty of opportunities for them to understand how they are doing
• Set up consistent programs to gain feedback from your staff
• Show your employees how their opinions matter and how you have listened

4. You have worked for the same company for almost 10 years. This is rare for a young professional. What’s the secret to your tenure?
I get this question a lot. I believe it’s a combination of my personality and the sales culture I am a part of at Michael C. Fina. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the most talented, sincere and engaged professionals in my industry. The Fina family, our leadership team and our extremely committed employees of Michael C. Fina have helped me grow as a professional and as a person. The old expression “to whom much is given much is expected” is the way things work around here. There is an unwavering level of trust and support from the top which allows you to have the feeling of being an entrepreneur but with a proven system and financing behind you every step of the way. It’s been an amazing challenge and one that I am very proud of. Additionally, working at a privately held, family run business fosters a culture of reciprocal loyalty. Anyone who tells you they haven’t thought of leaving their company or explored other options is full of it! I believe the key is to make your own grass greener and keep pushing yourself to be the best you that you can be. Most of the time when people switch jobs it’s in the quest for something more and that "more" isn’t always money. It could be a different team, new leadership, better market position etc… Then they get to that new company and two years later it’s the same story. I don’t begrudge anyone who makes a move that they believe will put themselves and their family in a better position for success. At the same time, I encourage people to put their best work on the table. Push hard and you might just be surprised how doors open up for you.

5. You are a Boston kid. Do you feel the recent run of championships will take away from the working class, underdog mystique that has made Boston so hard edged?
DK – somehow I knew a question like that was coming my way from Mr. California-lovin… Not at all! I believe that grind it out, get it done mentality will never leave our sports community (or the people who are from Boston for that matter). Of course, it’s fun to be the underdog and climb up to championship status but I also think that gritty chip on your shoulder mentality will allow us to protect the sports dominance we have created. Cue the Duckboats!

Follow Steven on Twitter -
or network with him on LinkedIn -

Don't Forget to Remember