Archive for May, 2011

Work a Job You Love and It Won’t Feel Like Work

At a recent conference a woman came up after my presentation and asked, “What do you attribute your busy schedule to?

I thought for a moment.  Then in almost a gut reaction I said, “I try to work when no one else dares to work.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

I work at times no one is working so I have very little competition.  No, I am not so much of a work-a-holic as I am driven by a passion for what I love to do.

Yes, I love my job (That statement alone puts me in a group of much less than 15% of the general population).  I am doing what I enjoy and it blesses me to do it.  And it seems to bless many others, too.

Having said that… I don’t have a problem doing my job on days that I don’t feel as motivated as on other days.  I don’t mind working when I don’t see continual success.  If you love what you do, then on your worst day, you are doing alright.  On your best day… well, you can figure that out.

The Value of Failing

I believe we don’t understand the “value of failing.”  There is value in success, but there is equal (and often greater) value in failing.  The value in failing is that it removes from us our false beliefs regarding success.  But we don’t always see the successes that brought us where we are.

Have you ever been to a prize drawing and the person next to you says, “I don’t know why I bothered being here – I never win anything!”? Maybe you muttered these words yourself at some point.

The truth is we have been advancing towards winning our whole lives.  Our we wouldn’t be here in the first place.  We simply chose not to notice the progressive victories.

When you and I fall, we need to look with open eyes, minds and hearts to see what caused it.  And what we can learn from it.

“Cutting” Your Way to the Top

Rather than reduce compensation plans and kill morale, smart executives boost performance and productivity through rewarding achievement.  Achievement is the only scale you can use to judge workers that will stand up with the test of time.

Cuts don’t bring rewards.

I’ve heard it said many times that you can’t “cut” your way to success or survival.  I spoke to countless leaders in “The Great Recession” who decided to cut back on sales training and recognition to tighten their belts in the recession.

Each was outperformed by their competitors.

Are you cutting costs or investing in achievement?

7 Questions That Will Make Your Board Sweat!

What are you doing to make your executive board stretch, innovate and lose bad habits?  Are they cool and calm, while you are breaking out in a sweat?

Want to see them work up a sweat and come up with some great answers for a change?

Realize that it’s not all about hearing you talk.  Quit squirming and blathering away about your vision and enliven your executive board with some great questions.

Quit talking to your board and get them interacting in dialogue.

What kind of questions?

Ask questions that make them think.
Ask questions that make them develop ideas.
Ask Essay Questions  (Stay away from “Yes/No” answers.).
Ask Story Questions (Generate great stories).
Ask Sweatin’ Questions.

Then ask MORE Sweatin’ Questions!

Here are some Sweatin’ Questions:

1. What don’t you think  customers/members like about what we are doing in our business right now?
2. What has changed in our customers’ buying habits in the past two years?
3. How have we become “different” to match those changes?
4. How do people feel punished by our policies or practices?
5. What habits are we holding on to that are holding us back?
6. Where are the “dinosaurs” in our organization/office/policy manual?
7. What are you most afraid of losing in a change or transition?

Sit back and watch the pounds (and negative habits) come off!

Losing Your Brand Identity?

If you truly know your target audience and customers, you are close to defining your brand.  An example is your friendly neighborhood credit union.   The credit union movement has been around for over half a century.

Credit unions once were formed to serve a select group of consumers who had something in common – like where they worked or the organization they belonged to.   It was easy to distinguish their members from anyone else by the common ties.   This gave them a target market that was easy to identify and reach.

Then came community charters (opening up to anyone who lives works, attends church or school in the immediate community).

Once they became community chartered, it became a double-edged sword.   Where they once targeted a very select group to heavily market, the expansion of charters widened membership far beyond the original group.   The message and branding became diluted to the point where they don’t know who they serve specifically.   Many have lost their uniqueness in the process.  Their diversity requires of them a new brand identity.

Does your organization or company need to create a new brand identity?

Who Is Buying From You?

A friend met me for lunch in Philadelphia to discuss a situation he was facing.  It was a unique “problem.”

He was receiving frequent phone calls asking if he booked speakers for a living.  He received calls of this nature several times each week.  His problem was that he doesn’t handle booking for speakers.

His question was a good one: Should he start offering the service?

“Why are they calling you and asking you the same question?” I asked.

“What are you doing for them now that leads them to believe this is also what you do?”

There is a reason he is getting these calls about a service people want to buy from him – even though it isn’t a service he provides…yet.  I believe that he has tapped into a trend and value that people want to buy from him without knowing it.   He found that his value was in an area that he could make a lucrative living in.   All because he asked who was buying from him; what they were buying; and why they wanted to buy from him in the first place?

In fact I believe who is buying is just as important as what they are buying.

Who is buying from you?  When your phone rings, what do most people want?  Why can’t you lead with that?

Customer Frequency Vs. Customer Loyalty

In an old episode of “Frazier,” he and his brother, Niles join an elite health club.  They are happy Gold members…until they discover that there is a Platinum level, even more exclusive.   And they want that even more.

They MUST have it.

I can identify with their passion for status.  I was a Platinum Delta Sky Priority customer…then they expanded the program and created Diamond.   The perks are not that different.   But everyone wanted them so they did more business with them.

Hotel chains like Marriott, Carlson, Hilton, Wyndham and the like all have their status symbols of membership.  I know and I am a member of their clubs with Silver, Gold and Platinum status in various ones.  Why?

Status sells.   I know if I stay with them more frequently I will be rewarded with status and perks that are little cost to them.  So I come more often.

People will pay top dollar to be given a designation that is superior to other people.  How else do you explain the success of Mercedes, BMW and Lexus during the recent economic tribulation, while Pontiac, Saturn and Mercury all went under?

The competition as to who will be a better customer is incredible today.  Loyalty is measured in degrees between members and customers.  These companies have learned this truth:

Customer loyalty is nothing compared to customer frequency.

How can you turn loyal customers into frequent ones?   Just being loyal isn’t enough, when organizations are competing on numbers of sales and frequent visits, enrollments, sales, hits, etc.   How does joining your organization, buying your product or being your customer make your community of followers participate with you more often?

Frequent customers know that their business is rewarded by the number of times they work with you.   They love the status this gives them, if that is what your reward them with.

Stop building satisfaction and loyalty.  Just being satisfied and “loyal” doesn’t insure they will use you more often.

Build frequency.  Raise everyone’s status for using you more often.


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