Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How I Learned To Advise Others

Every extraordinary person I know has had an exceptional mentor. Be they a coach, manager, priest or bartender; those who are excellent at what they do have found someone who saw their hidden greatness. I've been extremely fortunate to have a ton of amazing unofficial advisors along the way. Let me tell you why this is important.

The reason I never rested on my laurels is because I had no idea they existed. I lead a life as a youngster that Daniel Plainview would be proud of. My dad made sure I was part of his life...during professional time. I loved it!!!! I have met people who have prioritized my human progression over their own. All of my great achievements have begun with people who were willing to take a chance on me.

Here's How to Help People Take a Chance on You:

Know Your Purpose
I have had several meetings with well-intended young people. More often than not, the determination of these young people is more abundant than their defined path. There are people who want to do something...they just don't know what that something might be. I also meet people who have grandiose dreams without applicable credentials.

Two Things:
1. Relate Your Passion To Your Career Choice.
2. Be Willing to Start at the Bottom.  

Be Passionate, Not Desperate
There are people I know who have created their dream job. They learned a profession, acquired the necessary certification, slept in their car to get an internship, elevated to an entry level position, and climbed the ladder (one rung at a time). Exhausting....! Success takes a dare to dream, the brains to make it happen, and a whole lotta hard work. Oh, and you have to learn to ignore the word, "NO"!

It takes very little time to detect a person who has a goal but is unwilling to achieve it.

Cardinal Rule:
* Don't ask for advice only to proclaim that you have already thought of that.

There is nothing more telling than a real-life example. Your chances of being a Sales Superstar are drastically increased if you have displayed excellence in sales that the hiring manager has witnessed directly.

Any hiring manager with 15 resumes on his/her desk will always go with the safe bet. It makes the learning curve less-drastic and if a qualified candidate fails there is proof behind the hiring decision. It is far more difficult to pass-up the qualified industry veteran for a new kid with a whole bunch of ideas.

Why Not Make a Deal?    

The industry veteran will not start at the bottom and they will bolt when a better offer comes along. If you are willing to take an entry-level position, perform well, and apply your results to your plan for the future... you will win.

We fear success because we are unwilling to work hard or we are afraid that our world-changing idea will be challenged.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Why People Dislike You (unbeknownst to you)

I believe it is the first amendment that allows us to say whatever might be on our mind. The one thing human beings do exceptionally well is abuse our free will. A right, law, and/or rule does not trump commonsense. Herein lies our problem: a system cannot function without human interaction and humans are complex beyond comprehension.

You won't be stricken down if you pretend your suit affords you a skill you do not possess, if you talk loud on your cell phone in a public place, or if you cough all over your co-workers. You should, however, know better...and you do! We also assume that for us to win another must lose. We level-set our relationships and find a way to pay it backward.

Here's how to submit yourself to obscurity (while assuming you are progressing):

Wear A Suit
I heard an interesting interview in which a man wore a suit to a meeting with best intentions. He quickly found out that the least dressed person in the meeting was the most important. It was further discovered that the need to "dress-up" is merely an admission of lack of belonging in any professional situation.

I've been in sales for many years. There are 2 things that sales people assume a definition of success:
1. Sales people learn from sales people.
2. Dress defines success.

Dum Dums! In reality, if a sales person were to learn a trade their finest teachers are those from whom they buy. Showing up in a fancy suit and a shiny tie now indicates one screaming innuendo:
I have no idea what I'm doing, but if I look this way, you may be too-intimidated to ask me any questions that would require any brains.

Abuse The Social Space
You are on your cell phone in a public place. You throw your voice across the room so people know you are involved in large business transactions, that the ladies love you, and/or that you indeed have tickets to the big events tonight. People look up sheepishly from their lap top, not because they are intimidated by your aura of Awesome, but because they are subtly praying the the repose of your soul.

What ever happened to manners? Why are we so lonely that we have to pretend to have a conversation so that others can raise eyebrows toward our pretend success? Why can we not sit in silence for 7 minutes over coffee in mental preparation for our day?

These are sad times!

Your hair looks nice, you talked to yourself in the mirror while you put on your tie, and 12 people on facebook have complimented your weekend photos. So, you trot down the street pointing at people saying, "hey guy".... that man has a name and he thinks you are a tool.

Today's buyer knows about your products and services because they can read (see the Internet). They only ask you questions to measure your degree of honesty. The more you talk, the less-credible you appear.

Be yourself! Listen to the problem and offer a solution.... wearing a tie does not afford you the super-power of fitting a square peg into a triangular hole.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Consider The Alternative

I take my profession seriously. This, because, I am in the business of Human Relations. Somehow, some way, I lucked out and found the best job in the world. I am able to help people do their job better, to assist them in finding what is genuinely important, to help share their success, and to attach business results to all of it. Pats on the back with a purpose. It's a pretty great life!

I get to interact with people of all ages at every rung of the organizational chart. A young person with whom I recently conversed told me she was distraught by her place in the world. She wasn't having any fun at work and it was affecting her personal life. She had read a blog I had written regarding the fact that we are all individually accountable for our lot in life. She felt helpless.

We all want to be happy and if we spend most of our waking hours at work, our professional lives become personal. Telling people they are great is great, helping them prove it is better.

No one reserves the right to put a finger in the face of another human being, our jobs are far less important than we pretend, and those who abuse their authority will never be happy.

For the benefit of those who love what they do and those who have lost their way alike... let us ponder the following:

You Should Hate People Who Hate Their Jobs
The profound misunderstanding in our workforce is that bad apples spoil the bunch... you underestimate your workforce! People are always willing to be empathetic to their peers but bitching has a shelf life. After a while the bad apple falls off the tree and there are no branches left to break the fall.

Money Doesn't Matter
I don't remember the amount of the largest commission check I have ever received. My best work can be characterized by giving a co-worker a hug when they really needed it.

You may make a lot of money but at what expense? You can always make more money but it won't be worth it.

Practice Your Retirement Speech
You should start building your legacy the moment you start your career. There is nothing more important than developing the capabilities of those who have come after you. If you guard your knowledge it will catch up with you. It is in the process of teaching that we learn the most.

Picture yourself in a room at the conclusion of your professional life:
How many people are in attendance?
Who would you mention to carry your legacy?
Will they be cheering when you go or crying for what you have left with them?

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

NCAA Basketball & Business: A Relative Paradox

Here goes Dave again, using a current event to draw up a business comparison. I am so predictable!

At the conclusion of each College Basketball season, teams enter a single-elimination tournament. The goal: win six straight games and be crowned champion. After a long season the scoreboard is reset and any of the 68 teams in the bracket have an opportunity to raise the trophy. Winning the aforementioned tournament is one of the more difficult tasks in sports.

I won't wax poetic like a talk show host or quote statistics like a nerd. What I would like to do is point out a few critical elements of the NCAA tournament that parallel winning in business.

Good Guard Play
Every play is driven and developed by the smaller more agile dudes on the floor: the guards. Guards mirror sales people. Love them or hate them, your business cannot exist without your sales folk. Great guards are strategic in their aggression, uncompromising in their drive, and have the ability to read their competition.

Are your sales people knowledgeable of what your customers need?
Do your sales people talk about what they need or achieve based on what they have?
Do your sales people know how to read the defense?

Sales is no longer a slick talkers game...buyers are too smart for that. No one is impressed by fancy dress and well-groomed hair. People have unmet needs and/or business problems that require solutions. If your sales people are able to articulate what you have and why people need it (without a smoke screen), your business will thrive!

Make Free Throws
Dr. James Naismith created the game of basketball as a skill sport. The initial object of basketball was to shoot a ball from a substantial distance into a wicker basket. The easiest way to lose a basketball game is to neglect it's foundation. Teams who cannot make free throws... lose!

Do you understand the fundamentals of what differentiates your business from any other?
Are your employees aligned by a genuine purpose?

You cannot compete in business by playing into your competitors strengths. You have to be better by being different. Ingenuity has never been more important! There is a need to create something totally original, to exemplify why it matters, and to re-create it... every day.

Fundamentals matter: core strategy, a functional game plan, and the ability to predict the results you will produce. Mission, Vision and Values matter as well. A company whose every employee is unflappable in their commitment to their purpose will always win admiration.

One Man Does Not a Team Make
A man I used to work for once told me, "everyone is important, no one is irreplaceable". At the time, I resented the quote but he was right. No individual is bigger than the collective. One cannot implement ideas without support. Opinions must be challenged to become better formed. People are often astonished how quickly their organization forgets them when they leave.

If you have a defensible strategy, impassioned employees, great leaders and amazing products/services; every day will be a step into the future. It takes a village!

How do you cut down the nets?
1. Hire elite sales people.
2. Develop and instill a meaningful mission and supporting values.
3. Ensure the collective is bigger than the sum of it's parts.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Coach Dave    

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's Your Fault

You dislike your job, your boss is disconnected, your spouse is a pain in the ass, your children misbehave, you have that friend who is a hot mess, your customers are too demanding, you and Jesus don't talk no more, people get in the way... it's all pretty messy. There are plenty of things about which to complain.

You have to pick your battles wisely and certain things are out of your control.

Beware: the things that you complain about are a result of your own choices. You chose the job you have, you chose your spouse, you chose to live where you do and the friends who you keep. There are things that have been put upon you... the boss you hate who took over for the boss you loved, the spouse who you used to love who became miserable to be around, the kids who used to think you were Superman who now think you are The Joker.

We complain because life is unfair. We humans are complex little things and we cannot avoid one another.

Are there really certain things we cannot control? Do we have to avoid confronting that which we feel to be a waste of our precious time?

Our life's conclusions are the result of the choices we make.

While I always encourage people not to be too hard on themselves, it is only YOU who can be blamed or rewarded for your current lot in life.

It's Your Fault
There was a time in my life when I was a miserable person. I complained all day long. I thought I was a charming narcissist, but I was a hopeless defeatist. Somehow I became self-aware enough to make a change.

Still to this day, I have a tendency to become that miserable person I used to be. Often, people will tell me I'm being an ass. Mostly, these are people who love me. There are thousands of people who do not voice their discontent with our negativity... they walk off in the other direction and we never see them again. We lose opportunities for business partnerships, professional advancement, and even love. Lost opportunities are the result of our self-defeating actions.

Do Something About It
A common practice I implement in training courses is to list all of the things that suck about our work. We build a list and then determine what we can do about it. I have never found a complaint that could not be turned into an action item (and ultimately fixed).

Complaining is an act of cowardice. We look at our poor choices in hindsight, regret them, and look for someone upon whom to pass the blame.

Stop Putting Off Change
You hate your job...quit! You hate your husband...divorce him! You hate your friends...unfriend them! How much time and opportunity do we waste putting off taking ownership of our lives? Change takes energy and may not yield results. Change is also a voluntary act.

I can provide this reassurance: If something is keeping you up at night, wake up and take action. Even if you do not come up with a solution, trying to fix things is an astoundingly reassuring act of building self confidence.

...I can also assure you that complaining has never solved a problem...

Don't Forget to Remember!