One Key to a Great Marriage

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Written Blog | 0 comments

My wife Miryana and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary soon. As I think back to my younger years, I remember the great advice that my dad gave me. He always told me to do the things that Miryana and I loved to do before we settle down and have children. I have followed his advice consistently throughout the years. My relationship with my wife is essential, because one day the 3 kids will leave home and it will be just be the two of us.

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Avoid Permanent Mistakes

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Written Blog | 0 comments

A man approached me with a parenting tip after a recent event. I had talked about the value of taking the chance to try new things and be willing to make mistakes in your life to get ahead. I said that anything worth doing well, is worth taking the time and effort to do POORLY first. Any skill that you eventually master or do very well, you likely do poorly at first. You keep deliberately practicing, getting quality coaching and over time, you learn to do it very well.

Too many, especially kids, try something the first time, do not meet with immediate success and quit.  They never try again. This often happens because kids are over praised for being fantastic and special their whole lives. They are not good at dealing with failure and frustration. Sometimes kids who sail through high school with straight A’s get there first B in college and feel like a failure. I believe we need to encourage “non-permanent” mistakes. Try something new and be able to come back home, regroup, lick your wounds, suck it up and try again.

This man agreed with that philosophy and gave me a nugget I had not considered. He said he coaches his kids to make sure they avoid permanent mistakes. Some are obvious: breaking the law, teen pregnancy, ear spacers, driving under the influence accidents, starting to smoke/take meth/cocaine/heroin or other drugs, drinking excessively, permanent facial make-up tattoos, piercings in non-conventional areas, eating  a donut a day not an apple, drunk facial tattoos.

bad tattooThere is a show called Ink Masters which had an episode on permanent mistakes. I love the byline – Tattoos are forever and so are the mistakes!  If you want to see for yourself, here are three links to some hideous examples, One, Two and Three. As you will see are there are some very poor spellers out there and people with terrible judgment. Evidently many tattoo artists are not aware that there is a difference between your and you’re.

Some permanent mistakes are a little more subtle. My friend Waldo Waldman told me his wife had a good friend die of a stroke at age 49. He had no life insurance in place for his wife and 2 children. That is a totally avoidable permanent mistake that will negatively impact his family forever.

What about the couple how makes a decision early on to not put any money away for long term savings or their kids college tuition? That is a permanent mistake that you have a difficult time recovering from in the future. Maybe that is way 25% of people think their best chance to build wealth is by playing the lottery! Of course almost all take the lump sum payment instead of the 20 year annuity payment. What happens? It ruins many of their live because the did not have the mindset it takes to handle that windfall.

What about people who make the decision to not take care of themselves, eat poorly and do not exercise. Many of the eventual problems they run into we call “diseases”. My thought is if you GAVE IT TO YOURSELF, it is not a disease. Did you know that Preventable illness makes up approximately 80% of the burden of illness and 90% of all healthcare costs. Preventable illnesses account for eight of the nine leading categories of death.

Alert – if you have Type II diabetes you gave it to yourself! It is totally reversible and avoidable in the first place. Did you know that 95% of diabetics are Type II, 1 in 11 Americans have it and that a million more in the USA are diagnosed and it every year.

What about heart disease? Again, it is a preventable illness.  These are examples of permanent mistakes and you can take action to reverse. I see people like this in the gym all the time. They spent their entire life not taking care of themselves thinking ONE DAY I will get around to it and they never do. Then they wake one day and look in the mirror in horror. “I have to do something.”

In my research for this blog, I read about the MTV show TEEN MOMS. A article mentioned that of the teen moms on the show almost all had tattoos also. That got me thinking. If you make one permanent mistake does that make you more likely to keep making them?

What about the man who commits his first crime and goes to jail? Are they more likely to get that tattoo, try drugs and steal again? I think so. What about the girl who gets that tattoo on spring break? Is that next potential permanent mistake easier to make? Once you start down that path it must seem easier to keep going. What do you think? What are other permanent mistakes to avoid?

 

 

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Leaders – Change the energy in 5 minutes

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Written Blog | 0 comments

Leaders – what is your routine the first 5 minutes in the door? Do you head straight to your office? How you spend the first 5 minutes can ignite the fire in your team if you know what you are doing. Sometimes leaders are so focused on putting out fires they forget how to light them. How can y0u change the energy quickly?

I recommend the first five minutes you connect and engage your team – face to face with those close by and virtually with those working remotely.

Seek them out and ask them to tell you something good! What are they excited about?

What is their focus for the day? What will they accomplish today? How can you help?

Ask about their kids and out of the office activities. Engage and show sincere interest.

Seek opportunities to praise them for the specific things they are doing well. Why are you proud of them?  If they are virtual it could be a quick Skype call, phone call, email or text.

Remember it not just what you say but HOW YOU SAY IT! The tone of your voice, look in your eye and sometimes physical connection with a high five, fist bump or pat on the back. Why is this crucial? Because sometimes people come in with a bad attitude and you can help turn it around with your energy. Yours should be contagious!

Do you want a simple way to check your energy level? Get a check up by using your Smart Phone and the voice recorder. Just click record and put it in your pocket. That takes some guts! What takes even more guts is to LISTEN to it! I recommend you do a “check-up” every month. BONUS TIP – the next time you hold a formal meeting to talk to your team set up a tripod and video tape yourself! You may be shocked at what you see. Some think they are the “dispenser of enthusiasm” and they sound more like Eeyore!

You might have a team of 10 or perhaps hundreds or thousands. If you have many, start with your direct reports and them have them duplicate the same strategy down the line. How much is this strategy a departure from what you normally do it? You know it is easy to get caught up in your office and have the best of intentions to get out but it never happens. Start the first 5 before you get to your office.

Another way to accomplish the same thing in a group is with a quick, stand up 5 minute HUDDLE. You can watch a short video here how to make that huddle great. Test it for a month to see if it works for you. If you want extra-credit, try the First 5/Last 5 strategy. As you may have guessed, connect and engage in the last 5 minutes of the day. Repeat the same process. Start this simple discipline today and reap the benefits!Team pic for blog

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Be Careful About Recruiting Talent!

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Written Blog | 0 comments

The”top” college football prospects have been in Indy for the annual NFL Combine. They are being measured on a wide variety of short term tests to see how they stack up against their peers at the same positions. Tests such as the vertical leap, timed agility drills and the 40 yard dash. The question is whether this annual ritual is an effective way of judging talent. Last year in the NFL there were 582 players made NFL rosters that were NEVER drafted. Wow, one third of the players. That is amazing to me. Evaluated and somehow deemed unworthy by the traditional talent evaluation process.

What they have a difficult time measuring at the NFL Combine of course is harder to measure – heart, grit, character, ability to overcome adversity and do the right thing when no one is watching or even when everyone is watching. Many of you know I am a proud Oregon Duck and I have followed the career of Marcus Mariota very carefully the last 3 years. Based on what I can see his character and work ethic are impeccable. I believe he will be an amazing pro, especially if he gets in the right system and is not expected to be savior from day one.

The other top QB prospect of course is Jamis Winston from Florida State. I have to admit going to the Rose Bowl and seeing the Ducks thrash the Seminoles was tremendChip and Miryana at Rose Bowl smallerous. Full disclosure – my wife is an FSU grad, she did not enjoy it. So far Jamis has not shown the character traits of Marcus with many known and likely many unknown discretions in college. He does have tremendous charisma. I will admit that. But there is a big difference between charisma and character. It will be interesting to see which NFL team that will put their billion dollar franchise in his hands.

The University of Louisville did a study where they looked at how players were evaluated at the NFL Combine and how their career turned out. Their study determined there was NO statistical correlation between the results and the Combine and their subsequent NFL careers. None. If you are a college player and read this – GREAT NEWS! Stick with it. If you are not drafted you can make it!

Legendary Bill Belichick whose Patriots luckily beat my Seahawks recently on that amazing last play interception by underrated free agent of out Western Alabama Malcom Butler is traditionally skeptical of “raw talent.” You will rarely see them spend a high draft choice  on key skill positions like running backs or receivers. He looks for players who will fit into their system.

How are you currently evaluating new talent you want to bring into your organization? What are you looking for? Be careful about looking too closely at traditional measurements. Look for hungry people of high character who are coachable and will fit in.

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Reducing dementia in men by 60%

Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 in Written Blog | 0 comments

Wow, is that possible? If there was a pill you could take each day to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimers by 60% it would be an epic multi-billion dollar block buster drug. The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating story about Our Amazing Plastic Brains this Saturday. Research in the past concluded that there was not much you could do with brain problems and reversing damage. It turns out that is not true. There are new and under publicized dementia treatment options.

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Malcolm Butler Super Bowl Hero

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Blog, Written Blog | 0 comments

I just got done watching the Superbowl. I grew up in Washington so I am disappointed in the play call at the end of the game. How do you know run the ball with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, you only have a yard to go and it is second down with plenty of time left and a time out? They said he scores 87% of the time on 3rd or 4th down. Every other  Seahawks fan in the world is asking the same question. You virtually had the game won! Pete Carroll said he had a 3 receiver set in and the Patriots had their goal line defense in and he did not like the match up so they threw it. Call a time out and change your personnel! Russell Wilson could have not run the play and called a time out himself to change the play. Sorry but I am pissed! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Then a miracle happened for the Patriots.

The player who secured the game for the Patriots was a long shot to make the team. Malcolm Butler went to a small Division II school called Western Alabama after he was kicked out of Hinds Community College. He was evaluated at the Alabama Pro Day according to NESN and at only 5”11” 190 his workout did not impress and he was not drafted. In the pre-season NESN reported that:

“Butler can’t burn up a track or jump out of gym, but he’s proven to be a playmaker on the practice field and in the Patriots’ first preseason game, when he allowed just two receptions on seven targets from Washington Redskins quarterbacks.”

He is a “proven playmaker”. It just goes to prove that talent is overrated. He was evaluated and deemed unworthy by the pro scouts and was not drafted and got his shot with the Patriots and made the most of it. At the Pro Day in Alabama they just measured him on short term physical tests.  They could not measure the intangibles – GRIT, TENACITY, HEART and the ability to make plays! In the post season interview he said before the play he saw himself making a play before it happened! That is a play maker. He said, “I did my job.” A Super Bowl hero.

 

 

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Start the New Year with Momentum

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Blog, Written Blog | 0 comments

Experience-photo.123927

We are 3 weeks into the year, have you set yourself up to win? Recently I did a global teleclass and captured the recording. Follow this link and you can listen to an interactive call to help you get plugged in and switched on! Your chance to reach your goals this year goes up ten fold when you take action.

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We On! Michigan Basketball pre-game ritual

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in Written Blog | 0 comments

Michigan BBAL We ON lights smaller

Michigan Basketball team Get Switched On pre-game ritual

I was selected to speak at what the University of Michigan calls MGoBlue Day. Dave Brandon is the Athletic Director and has done an amazing job with selecting the talent and developing the culture of perhaps the finest athletics department in the country.  Their goals are high – 31 teams competing for championships – be the #1 Revenue Generating Development Team in the Country to name a few. Most importantly, not just in achieving championships but in developing World-Ready Graduates. I got in early and got an amazing

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Cutting turnover in a high turnover business

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Written Blog | 0 comments

CorkRecently I spoke to a legendary sandwich chain on the west coast – Togo’s. I had a chance to visit for lunch and they do make a terrific sandwich. They like many in QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) industry would love a strategy for cutting turnover of their teammates in the restaurants. Recently I spoke to their franchisees in Phoenix at their annual convention. I gave them a simple ideas based on the Law of Appreciation.

The law states that who ever you consistently show sincere appreciation, will appreciate in value

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“We On – We Work!” Michigan Basketball pre-game ritual

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Written Blog | 2 comments

me infront of MLast week I was selected to speak to the University of Michigan for their annual MGoBlue Day event. Their Athletic Director Dave Brandon has done a tremendous job of creating a compelling vision for where they are headed and how they will get there. Their goals are high not just in athletic excellence and fundraising, but also creating World-Ready Graduates. They are even developing a new program to help them with the transition from being a student athlete in that unique atmosphere with set schedules, tutors and coaching and how to move into the “real world” and establish a career.

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Motion Creates Emotion and Longevity

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Written Blog | 0 comments

How long do you want to live? Have you given that much thought lately? My focus is not on the number as much as the QUALITY of life I want to have when I reach 100 – longevity and vitality! That is my goal, why not? You must know people who are very active and healthy and active at 75, 80, 85, 90 or even 95 or 100. You also know many who are old and decrepit at 52. Maybe you know them intimately.

Here is a wake up call: If you are not fit in your 50’s,  your projected life span is “eight years shorter than if you are fit.” That is according to Dr. Jarett Barry at University of Texas SW Medical Center. The real issue again is not JUST the 8 years taken away, it is the quality of those 8 years and well beyond IF you are fit.  For many aging is equated with arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain….not pleasant. But what is the good news Chip?

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A Streak Starts with 1 not 21!

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Written Blog | 0 comments

 

launch_streak (2)

How quickly can you change a behavior? You have probably heard and seen it written that it takes 21 days. That “fact” has been quoted for decades but there is actually no solid clinical evidence to back it up. Everyone is different. Wait until you see what Lacey has to say after a program last week.

Long term change never happens when you are interested. My belief it that every behavior change comes after making committed decision.  The root word cis and its variants cid and -cide come from a Latin root which means ‘cut’ or ‘kill.’ A decision, for instance, is a ‘cutting off’ of all possibilities except for one; if you are decisive you have ‘killed’ all other options.​ Here is a new belief for you to consider

A Streak Starts with One!

Once you make a true decision and have KILLED all other options, that first day of new behavior starts a streak. At Thanksgiving I made a decision to do at least 10,000 push-ups a year. That is more impressive that it sounds, it is only 28 a day. I downloaded the Push Ups Pro app (Android app, many other options for iPhones) and have not missed a day since. Having a system to remind and measure you is a big help which is of course the beauty of an app. The alarm goes off every night and I do the 5 sets. It reminds me, counts me down, cheers me on, challenges me to increase my set total and records my progress. 

You do improve quickly which is very exciting. I am now up to 81 a day and done 5776 in the last 3 months which is on pace for well over 20,000 a year and only takes 10 minutes a day. My streak started with one decision and one day. I am up to 95 days and if I miss one I will start a new streak. At every convention I speak, I do I ask my audience to make a decision.

What will you resolve to accomplish?

To start something new.

To stop doing something destructive.  

The stories of those decisions and the impact they have made is what continue to drive me and reinforce the belief I am a catalyst who makes a difference. 

It could be a decision to quit smoking, stop drinking your calories, stop drinking soda/diet soda,  no longer be a “seagull” when you get home, start investing more time on self improvement, losing 30 pounds in 6 months, committing to be one of the 3% who lead a healthy lifestyle, workout at least 12 days a month and track it, get better results with a Peak 8  workout session, start a 529 Plan for your kids college, start making the Get Switched On Smoothie...

What decision do you need to make today? Your streak starts now! Let me know what you think. Here is a message I just received from Lacey. 


My name is Lacey and I recently attended your presentation at the PAX conference in my beautiful home state of Arizona.  I absolutely loved it!  While it gave me motivation to be a better coordinator, the greatest inspiration I gained from it was most applicable to my roll as a mother: the most divine and important calling in my life.  With three children ranging in age from 2 months to 6 years, and with a husband whose work keeps him out of state and away from home except on the weekends, I often find myself at a level of frustration that prevents me from ENJOYING my daily life because I’m so focused on merely surviving it.  Up until last Saturday I lived a pretty “shouldy” life with a heaping pile of “should” that overwhelmed me each and every day to the point that I ignored all the “should” because it was too much to confront all at once.  Now, I’m taking one piece of “should” each day and making it a “must”.  It’s a little at a time, but it’s a streak nonetheless.  I’m finally doing what must be done to prevent that frustration which allows me to be happy instead.  Thank you for being the catalyst that stirred up what had been dormant within me!

 

P.S.  I took a trip to the health food store yesterday and purchased the ingredients to make my very own Switched On Smoothies.  All I have to say is those better be some damn good smoothies!!!

 

They are Lacey, they are!
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Baby Steps vs. Radical Change

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Written Blog | 1 comment

Why do so many who really need to lose weight not do it? I think they never resolve to really do it number one. They do not make a personal contract with themselves. No clear time line and accountability of what they will do (minimum 18 aerobic sessions where you sweat a month) or not do (cut out all soda for example) every day AND they take baby steps.

When you are making small changes it takes a long time to see results. If you need to lose 100 lbs for instance, setting up a plan to lose one pound or less a week is not very exciting. After 60 days you lost 8 pounds and likely do not get too excited about it. You say “I tried” and go back to your old life style.

I had a friend recommend the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead by Joe Cross. It is a must see! Joe was well over 300 lbs, fighting a terrible auto-immune skin disease, on MANY meds and on the road to an early death.

I was interested in his story because of my years making, drinking and recommending the Get Switched On Smoothie.

As you will see in the movie, which you can watch for FREE on Joe’s web site RebootWithJoe.com. you can’t beat free as my mentor Jim Rohn would say! He made a radical change – 60 days in a row of juicing his meals – primarily vegetables and some fruit. No solid food. That was it! He did it under a doctors supervision and the results were tremendous! Almost 100 lbs of weight loss in 60 days and the results in lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides etc were amazing AND no more skin disease!

You will also meet the truck driver who was 429 lbs, suffering from the same skin disease and miserable. Joe coached him to get the same results and radically change his life. He wore a 6XL t-shirt and on Joe brings him an XL shirt as a goal to fit into. The final scene of the movie is this man jogging in that XL t-shirt after losing over 150 lbs. Inspiring to say the least!

If you needed to lose even 30 to 50 lbs why would you not suck it up for 10 – 20 – 30 or 60 days, do a RESET on your body and results quicker! Once you drop the weight, follow the 3 Percent Choice Lifestyle, get some consistent exercise and never have to “DIE – IT” again?

You can do it too! Why wait? Why not you? Why not now? Start with a 10 day challenge and start from there!

fat sick n dead

 

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The Power of a Persistent Challenger in Sales

Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

How long would you call on a prospect until you got a sale? How many no’s will you tolerate before you give up?  How persistent are you in the face of adversity? Last week I speaking to the amazing sales team at Cars.com. In my pre-event interviews I spoke to John Scalzitti who told me about one of their Legends Jeff Coulter. Cars.com is a digital media company that brings an audience of car buyers to auto dealers. The dealers have in the past been used to paying for traditional advertising, primarily TV and print. In the early days of Cars.com it was a much more difficult sale than today. It is well known that car buyers do much more research on the internet today before they go the the dealership. Often that research is done on their smart phone…at the dealership…in front of the sales person!

Jeff had to challenge the dealers paradigm of how they viewed the car buying process. He had to win the battle and teach them a new way of thinking and buying their advertising to drive the car buying public to their dealerships. Jeff learned how to keep charging through rejection. He kept coming back with an assertive attitude and the right data and insight to change the way the dealers looked at their advertising.

Jeff used to say that deal took my 5 years and 10 minutes. Five years of sales calls and planning and 10 minutes to do the paperwork.

Can you relate to that? How persistent are you? Do not focus on the price/investment but instead on the value you bring to the customer. Challenge the way they currently view what you are offering! It may not take you five years but if you have a compelling story, create urgency and keep charging through rejection and you will be more successful.

persistence

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Anti-Branding Success Story

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Blog, Written Blog | 0 comments

Golf Magazine just named Phil Mickelson Player of the Year. His brand has become “The Peoples Champion” and I belive that it was not by accident. Like Arnie (Palmer) and his Army from the 60’s, Phil has created a base of Raving Fans. Announcer Gary McCord said he said he was going to be everything Tiger Woods was not. That is an interesting branding philosophy. Who is your biggest competitor? What are they not?

phil

For Phil it was basics like being friendly with the galleries, taking extra amounts of time to sign 100’s of autographs and bring his family with him often. With Tiger’s transgressions it was easy to position against him with his long marriage to Amy and his three adorable kids. Seeing Tiger now with one of his kids at a tourney actually seems kind of strange to me.

Early in Phil’s career he was said to be kind of aloof and did not embrace the fans. He made a conscious decision to spend the time with fans because he knows that few moments of interaction can lock them in forever as being a supporter.

I have also made that decision in my career to be different. Almost all speakers use PowerPoint. I never have. Most speakers stay on stage. I get out and engage the audience. Almost no speakers create a customized handout for every event. I do every time regardless of how many are in the audience. My style is more like a interactive workshop not a “traditional one way keynote”. It makes for a more enjoyable sticky experience for the audience.

Research your competition and find out what you can do differently that will make a difference.

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10,000 Push Ups – are you crazy!

Posted by on Oct 27, 2013 in Blog, Written Blog | 1 comment

puash upWow that sounds like a big number. If you can do 10000 push ups every year I bet it would help you stay in great shape, build muscle, stay strong, strengthen bones and make you look better for sure in a swimsuit. If you break it down to a DAILY discipline 10,000/365 rounds out to only 28 a day. A streak starts with just one decision! For it to be a streak you also have to TRACK it.

I have been tracking my workouts for over 20 years and saved each of these sheets – go to the Document Library on my site to print out the Get Switched On Energy Schedule,  place on the mirror in your bathroom and simply fill in the boxes from 1 – 31 for each day of the month you get your 30 minutes of aerobic movement getting your heart rate up and ideally getting a sweat. You can add a “red dot” each day you add your minimum of 28 push ups too.

I am using technology on my Samsung Galaxy S3 smart phone. I downloaded a Push Ups – Your Personal Fitness Trainer app. There are MANY of them out there for Apple or Android. This is cool because you place it down below your face and touch your nose to it to count your push ups. It makes you go DEEP!

What would having the discipline of doing 10,000 push ups a year do for you? What would it do for your family to see your have that “streak” alive in your life? Get started now and see your body transform. It will not have over night BUT you will see results in as little as two weeks. Not a bad idea to add at least 28 exercises a day to build your core too!

This app also is making me do more. I set the alarm for the same time each day to remind me. Doing 54 a day right now -almost 20,000 a year. I made a decision to do a minimum of 28 a day for ever! You can too.

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How do you do things at your company?

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

I was recently asked to speak to the team at Babcox Media. Bill Babcox is the third generation leader of this 93 year old print/online media company that targets the Tire/Fleet/Autocare markets. In my preparation for the event they sent me a document I have never (and I have done over 940 events) been given.

The Way We Do Things Around Here – clearly lays out they way they do things at the company – both behavior and accepted best practices. It reminds the long term employees to keep the bar high and not get away from what got them there. It also quickly indoctrinates new team members of what is expected of them – no guesses – no excuses! This is really helpful for the “Millennials/Gen Y” whose work habits have really been called in to question recently.

Putting this document together should be easier if you have a small company like Babcox who has about 80 employees. It can certainly work for a much larger organization too. Have a meeting and share the concept of what you want to put together and why. You can use what Babcox did as an example to follow.

I love #22. Look sharp, be sharp. When in doubt, err on the side of over-dressing. That is a simple way to state your dress code policy.!

Putting it together will be a process and it will be worth it. The document will evolve as you discover more best practices. You must make it your own to fit your culture and business model. Create it, communicate it and make sure everyone on the team understands and hold each other accountability. Let me know what you come up with.

Babcox Media Akron, OH

Babcox Media Akron, OH

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How fast do you walk?

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

This may not surprise you but if you typically walk slowly and “lollygag” it will likely cut years off your life. Lollygag is one of my favorite words, I hate to get behind them when trying to make a flight and making your way through the airport.  A 14 year study by the University of Pittsburgh concluded that senior citizens who are the fastest walkers live longer than those with slower paces. STUDY

Looking at the lives of slow and fast walkers who were 75 years old, only 19 percent of the slowest men and 35 percent of the slowest women lived another 10 years. Wow – did you catch that – only 19% lived another 10 years. That is a compelling argument to pick up the pace a little. When you are walking for exercise does your heart rate get elevated? How high? Are you checking it? Are you getting a sweat? Are you walking to get exercise consistently? It will increase your energy and cut your stress level.

However, 87 and 91 percent of the fastest walkers were still going after 10 years. I have always been a fast walker. I guess it helps to be tall and have long legs. How about you? Are you a lollygagger? Don’t be that person.

I would stop doing that right now. Walk with purpose. Remember the quality of your life later will be a function of the quality of your movement. It is not how LONG you live but what QUALITY of life you eventually have.

Why live a long live if you can hardly move and can not enjoy it! Take an honest assessment of your movement right now. Do not be one of the people who take “slow” walks and fool themselves into thinking they are getting quality exercise. It is better than nothing I agree AND you can do better than that…can’t you?

 

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How to Maximize Referrals

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

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The Biggest Mistake in the Service Industry

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Written Blog | 5 comments

I do not know about you, but it is rare for me to come across an employee in the service industry who is truly Switched On. I mean from the get go they are in the moment, bring energy and enthusiasm, a sincere interest in serving you and emotionally committed to what they do. Your immediate reaction is WOW!

When it does happen, I believe it is an exception. You likely travel quite a bit too. Think back to the recent times you checked in at a hotel. What was that experience like? Most of the time you get a, “Next” or “Checking in?” or my favorite silence. They say nothing. I love it because I say nothing too and will never speak first. I am the guest, they should welcome me! Give it a try, it’s fun.

It is rare you get someone Switched On (who notices you have bags with you and are likely checking in at 10pm) saying, “Welcome to the Marriott Marquis, we are glad you are here, let’s get you checked in, you have probably had a full day?”

waitress-2-2-midWouldn’t that be fantastic if that was the norm? Recently I was in Orlando trying to get home with thunderstorms throughout the SE (Southeast) making it difficult. I had accepted I would not make it to ATL (Atlanta) to make my connection home and would be stuck overnight in ATL. I went into the Delta Sky Club for an adult beverage and to wait for my delayed departure. When I checked in the agent was energetic and empathetic to my situation AND quickly realized there was a delayed flight just leaving now that would get me to ATL to make my connection to Knoxville. She printed a new boarding pass and send go!

It happened so fast I did not even get her name. What surprised me is that I had spoken to the special Diamond Line customer service (I fly a lot!) three times and none of the agents had come up with that option. I did make my it to ATL and just made it to my connection home. Yes!

If you are in a service business, encourage people to be playful and show their personality. Create an atmosphere that encourages them to have fun and set up a system to reward them for doing so.

What do you do to get your team Switched On before their day begins?

Reviews people post on Google Reviews, Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, Travelocity, Tripadvisor, Angie’s List or many other sites are very important for any business because often we start with a web search BEFORE we consider doing business somewhere. Have you checked your reviews recently? You could be losing business from a few disgruntled customers. Engage them and turn around their experience with you. It is makes you look great when you do that.

Employees who are Switched On and go the extra-mile for a customer with creative acts of service will not only feel great about themselves, but it can also drive their customer to tell their story on line and to all their friends.

What do you do to ensure Switched On employees and drive exceptional customer reviews?

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At Least I Didn’t Kill Somebody

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

A recent WSJ article reported that “medical errors kill enough people to fill four jumbo jets a week.” Yikes that is hard to imagine that over 98,000 deaths a year from mistakes.! US surgeons operate on the wrong body part as often as 40 times a week. I remember when I ruptured my left Achilles…twice (@#$!%), that required two pretty extensive surgeries and I remember that they tagged my left leg as a reminder for the surgeon.

The frightening part of the story was that the mistakes go mostly unnoticed and the medical community rarely learns from them. As you might guess, the problem is that the preventable mistakes are being made over and over again and as Marty Makary reports “doctors are not very good at complying with well-established best practices in their fields.”

Currently there is not an effective rating system for surgeons or hospitals. For virtually everything else now you have a rating system: YELP and Angie’s List for business’s and service providers, Urban Spoon for restaurants, Google Reviews, Ebay and Amazon reviews of product and sellers to name a few.

I would bet that you check an online review in almost every situation you can when making a purchase, deciding where to eat or what movie to go to. I do not think a hospital in the country has an online system to track quality of care, reviews, infection rates, surgeon reviews, nurse reviews, # of preventable errors,  # of types of surgeries they do etc. There are a few sites popping up like RateMDs.com and Vitals.com for doctor reviews.

I accept that when sick people go to the hospital some will die. The question is how many die because of preventable errors? How many stories do you personally know of where an educated patient was able to stop a potential catastrophic error from being made?

There was report in the USA Today I have mentioned for years about a “checklist that cut death rates by 40% at 8 hospitals.” A checklist can be a valuable tool. It can help you put in a protocol that will help you not to forget something important. My question for those hospitals is what in the hell were the doing BEFORE they had a checklist?

Did they have a special meeting? “On the agenda today is a high number of preventable deaths of patients in this hospital. Someone says, hey, how about a checklist for every procedure to make sure we do it right every time? That’s a great idea!”

Fortunately for most of us, our errors do not result in preventable deaths. That is the good news. The bad news is that we may have let some aspects of what we do daily get a little too familiar and it is causing us to make preventable errors that are costing us in other ways. It could errors in establishing clear outcomes for a con call we are running, or in making the weekly sales meeting valuable, or in leveraging a sales call with a long time client, or in running our daily shift meeting in the restaurant, or in executing a service call with an unhappy client.

I still use an event checklist for every event I do to make sure am on top of all the details from the beginning. My dad asked me once, “Chip you have done over 900 events, are you still doing the little things every time to make them exceptional?

It has saved me many times! Recently I forgot to triple check with my client if  they had ordered the boards for the team building event I do – The Board Break Experience. The experience is not too impressive without boards! Luckily we were able to scramble at near the last minute and pull out a miracle to get them in time.
What has gotten too familiar for you? What are the preventable errors that you and your team are making that can be avoided? If you are in the service industry I guarantee those errors are what people are writing about you in online reviews! If they are there use them to train your team how to get better. Maybe you need to create a checklist for your sales calls. service calls, con call or pre-shift meetings to make sure you are prepared.

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Talent is overrated! Measurements that miss the mark!

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 1 comment

The NFL Combine is coming up in a few weeks and the college football signing day is Wednesday. There are experts rating the prospects in hopes of finding the next superstars for their pro and college teams. The high school players are ranked in an elaborate ranking process to determine if the prospect gains the coveted 4 or 5 stars. Amazingly the QB with the highest completion percentage in the history of HS football is not getting looked at from Division 1 programs. More on that later.

nfl-combine-midAt the NFL Combine they put the players through a series of short term tests: 40/20/10 yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, bench press. Many business’s use short term tests to evaluate their employees too.
Of course the conventional wisdom is if they excel at the combines they will have a stellar NFL career. A recent study by economists (University of Louisville) has a surprising conclusion – the combine is a waste of time! They say there is not consistent statistical relationship between how well a player does at the combine and how productive their NFL career is. Similar findings for the careers of  top 4 and 5 star college not reaching NFL glory. Why…can you guess? What do those short term tests NOT measure? Right!

Guts, character, grit, heart, determination in the face of adversity and frustration.

I live in Knoxville and if you were to name top 3 running backs in the NFL the last three seasons, former Tennessee Vol Arian Foster of the Houston Texans is in that group, yet in 2009, 7 rounds and 234 players were chosen and he was not one of them. He recently signed a 5 year deal worth of $43 million. What did the say about Arian after the combine?

“Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type. Lacks the explosiveness to consistently make defenders miss in tight quarters and is not the power runner his size would indicate. Inconsistent.” He has been the most productive running back from that years draft,  well ahead “more talented” running backs at the combine. What they did not say was what an amazing person he was.

Colin Kaepernick’s combine results merited this evaluation on NFL.com , “Kaepernick has enough physical tools to be viewed as a developmental backup quarterback prospect. As we all saw this season he is a tad better than that! Again he is performing well ahead of other highly regarded, “more talented” combine performers.

How many people do you know who did terrific on the SAT or have even have a PhD that have not achieved success?

How many hot-shot performers have you seen come and go in your career, especially in the sales arena? Talent can be an blessing and the key is what you do with it? How do you practice and perform when no one is watching? Once the test is over, what do you do?

There is a local kid named Charley High from Christian Academy of Knoxville. He is a QB and the Division 1 schools are not giving him a look. Here is what he has done in high school. He completed 74.4 percent of his 1,040 attempts for 10,978 yards and 131 touchdowns. He was intercepted 22 times. His career completion percentage was recognized as an official national record for high school football by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), as was his single-season mark (minimum: 275 attempts) from 2012 of 76.2 percent (378 of 496). Oh, and he lead his team to back to back state championships.

Why are they not giving him a look? Because they say he is too small. Didn’t play tough enough competition…..blah blah blah. What they underestimate is how hard this kids works, his dream to play at Tennessee, the quality of his parents, his understanding of how to play the position and his character. Charley is going to walk-on at UT and complete against the “more talented prospects”. It will be fun to watch how he does. I predict he will make it at Tennessee and become the starter as a sophomore. Be careful who you weed out because they did not perform well in your short term test.

 

 

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Who is the role model?

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

  I am getting a little tired of all the shows highlighting people who have lost a tremendous amount of weight. Their stories of people can serve as motivation and provide guidance to those who need it. 35.7% of the people in the USA are obese and an amazing 68% of Americans are overweight.

My point is this:

What about the people in who have done what it takes and made

the decisions to be in shape their entire lives?

Where is the show about the people who have always lead a healthy lifestyle? Only 3% of Americans lead a healthy lifestyle according to the Michigan State study. I am proud to have been a 3%’er my entire adult life and have worked hard to guide my family the same way.

Wouldn’t it be very useful for to study the 3% of people who have

been in shape and NEVER gotten out of shape?

How were they raised? What did their parents do to create the environment where they exercised together, purchased the right foods, purposely DID NOT have the house choked full of soda, chips, whole milk and processed foods?

I think it would be more valuable to make it the cool thing to be a 3%’er than having being overweight and obese as the norm. It has not always been that way. From 1950 through 1960, 33 percent of U.S. adults were overweight and only 9.7 percent were clinically obese, with body mass indexes above 30, according to doctor and author Jeffry Weiss. Obesity was not yet recognized as a disease in the 1950’s.

That is interesting to me…”not recognized as a disease in the 1950’s.”

Obesity was not a disease back then.…is it now? Have they changed the definition?

The answer is yes, the question is why? I always thought a disease was something that happened to you that was out of your control, not something you did to yourself: smoking, over drinking, drug dependency, obesity, lack of maintaining your body.

Did you know you can go on disability for the rest of your life and get paid by the government if you are obese. Check out this page from the web site DisabilitySecrets.com – that web sites exists to help people get on disability. Obesity is responsible for the largest portion of new disability claims by far and is growing rapidly. There is an entire industry working to get people on disability. There are of course many reasons to legitimately qualify, do not misinterpret my argument. The reality is the rate of people going on disability has outpaced the number of people getting jobs the last five years. That is not a good trend.

If you are not a 3%’er, get started now and see what impact it can have on your life. Share what you do and how you do it with others and be in inspiration!

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Don’t Be a Seagull

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 4 comments

When your day starts off well, isn’t it downhill from there? How can you set the tone in your entire office? Even if you are not a leader you might soon be if you follow this best practice. If you are a leader and work in an office situation I want you to think about this:

What do you do the first 5 minutes when you get to the office?

how-to-poop-seagull-midNow – stop doing that! Do not go into your office! Start connecting with your team – be positive, present, energetic, be specific with your praise, great eye contact, uplifting tone of voice, physical touch where appropriate.

Thank you for…I need you because…I am proud of you because…

I believe in you because…I appreciate you for… You make a difference when you…

 

Keep it positive to create momentum. Do not be a seagull! Seagull Managers tend to swoop in, tell everyone what they are doing wrong, squawk and complain loudly, crap all over everyone and they fly back into their office. They tend to make a bad situation even worse.

There are also Seagull Parents. First thing in the morning or when they get home.  Instead focusing on what their kids were excited about for their day or what was great about their day they immediately jump on what they did not do, forgotten to do or what mistakes they made.

Being a Seagull is a momentum killer and is unhealthy not only for the Seagull but everyone around them. Not to mention a messy clean up! If you have that tendency you need to interrupt your pattern of behavior. BEFORE you go into the office or the kitchen, STOP, look up and smile and take a breath. Think about what you are about to do and the impact you want to have. Feel that emotion and smile. Ask where is my energy on a 0 -10 scale? Get to a 10! Clench your fist and say YES!  Change your focus from what is wrong to what is right.

 

Bring the energy with you before you engage!

 

no-seagull-midAs a leader, do the same thing the last five minutes of the day. Do the same routine and set the tone to close out the day. What went really well? What are they proud of about today’s performance? What are they excited about for tomorrow?

You do not have to be sick to get better. We all have our “seagull” moments. Recognizing it is the first step to recovery.

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92.4% of businesses need to do this better, do you?

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

 When you made your last purchase on Amazon did you check the reviews before you bought? Before you hired that service company did you check them out online – Yelp/Angie’s List/Google Reviews first or ask for past customers you could call? Before you booked that trip or vacation did you check out the hotel/resort on Hotels.com/Priceline/ Trip Advisor first to see what others said about their stay?

The Law of Social Proof is vastly underutilized by most businesses in person or on their web site. The law states that when someone is unsure how to proceed they will look to what others have done previously to help them make a decision. Have you ever gone to a move, play or new restaurant because someone told you it was fantastic? Have you ever not gone because someone told you it was terrible?

i-love-you-man-midI am a big believer in the power of documenting your success and what makes your product or customer experience superior, engaging and of great value. For me, I will get a call from a meeting planner who had a fellow employee who saw me speak at an association meeting they attend and insist the meeting planner book me for their companies next convention. That is social proof in action. To verify their decision they will often look for other validation.

On my website use social proof by placing quality written testimonials and video testimonials on my site. I have also just started a Yelp listing recently. Kind of unique for my business, but I wanted to get ahead of the curve. If you loved what I do at your event, I would be honored to receive your recommendation on Yelp.

What are doing to use the power of social proof?

Do you have a compelling, short video that will engage the viewer and tell your story? Do you have written testimonials and pictures with them? Do you have videos (under 90 seconds) of customers raving about you? Do you have case studies, free reports, “how to” articles sprinkled with how you have made a difference with past clients?

For more advice on this check out my article – Proof Positive: A Good Story Can Be Telling.

Let your thrilled customers/members know that documenting your success is important and where they can do it for you. If you are a retail business, have a quality YELP sign customers can see. If you are a service business simply ask them? When you exceed their expectations will they take a picture with you and give a quote you can show other thrilled customers? Will they let you take a short video of them? Let them know they can leave a review for you and where. It is important to have many reviews because if one person or a competitor leaves a bad review it will look bad. If someone has a problem engage them quickly to take care of it.

Examples:

– the Dive Shop that markets several trips a year to exotic locations has videos of the trips they have taken on their site showing people loving the experience.

–   the Cabinet Maker/Home Improvement Company who takes before/after pictures of the job and gets a final picture in the new kitchen/room addition WITH the home owner and a quote documenting their amazing experience.

– the Software Company who has case studies documenting what the customers experience was like before their software was installed and the massive improvement after it was integrated for the client – ROI, Total Cost of Ownership.

– the Business Broker/Realtor/Sales Person who has received quality recommendations on LinkedIn that prospects can review to help them make a decision. They also have quality testimonials, pictures, stories, case studies they can show in person too. Document you are worth your fee!

The key of course is to do the little things consistently to surprise the customer and generate massive value and a compelling experience. My unscientific poll says that 92.4% of you can do a much better job of using social proof. What can you do to improve now?

What unique ways are you using social proof?

 

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Sitting is killing you! Get off your ass, change your life!

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 1 comment

How much of the day are you sitting or not moving? For many it is 30, 40 or more than 50 hours a week. Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, a researcher at one the nation’s leading obesity research centers says that sitting, not weight or exercise, is a key factor in determining a person’s overall health. According to Katzmarzky,

treadmill-mid“The evidence that sitting is associated with heart disease is very strong. We see it in people who smoke and people who don’t. We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren’t. Sitting is an independent risk factor.”

Marc Hamilton is a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. As he told Men’s Health, ” a man who sits 60 hours at a desk job but still works out for 45 minutes a day five times a week still has a sedentary lifestyle.”

David Agus, MD reports, ” if you sit at your desk 6 hours a day is the equivalent of SMOKING a pack and a quarter of cigarettes!” It should be obvious now that TV watching is strongly associated with obesity and weight gain, independent of diet and exercise.

Yikes! Those three quotes should get our attention. The question is what can we do about it now?

Commit to a minimum number of days a month you will get 30 minute sessions to get aerobic sessions ideally in the morning. Aerobic means “with oxygen” – aerobic exercise is crucial to building your heart/lungs and immune system. Track your commitment and LIVE IT on the Get Switched On Energy Schedule on the mirror in your bathroom.

If you work in a typical office situation try these ideas:

Rethink your office – Start having some meetings where you are walking and talking rather than being in a conference room. For some it is literally possible to put a treadmill in your office. I have a Crescendo mini trampoline in my office, (9″ high/36″ wide) that easily stands up and takes very little room. Jumping on this for at least 5 minutes several times a day will make a huge difference in your energy level. Turn on some music and get jumping.

Sit/stand desks – having the ability to stand AND work ergonomically at your desk is catching on quickly. I am looking for a unit that will work with my existing desk set up. If you are in a big company, there are many options for you that are amazing.

Motion creates emotion!

If you move you will also feel better and can quickly change your attitude from negative to positive.

Leverage technology – On your next con-call can you be taking a walk at the same time? Use wireless technology to get out of the office when possible to move and get some sunshine.  Use a wireless headset that allows you to move and stand when you are on a phone call.

Change your routine – Take more small breaks during the day to manage your energy better. Get up to move and stretch or a few yoga positions, walk up or down the stairs, park far away and walk instead of as parking as close as you can, take the stairs not the elevator, get off the bus one stop away and walk the rest of the way, some can ride a bike to work. Bring a small cooler to work and have healthy munchies with you all day and less access to junk.

At home – if you have kids, this should be easy. Play with them outside, invent games, jog, ride bikes, jump on the big trampoline, take walks, play tennis, WALK when you play golf, do your own yard work, do exercises/push up contests during commercials when you watch TV. Have a daily walk alone or with your spouse. To make it aerobic you will need to move quick enough to elevate your heart rate.

Instead of watching all of the football game, try listening to the first half on the radio on a long walk and watch the second half.

I guess it comes down to this – how long to you want to live?

What quality of life to you want to have when you get there? Are you on track now? If not, make some changes to get moving! Keep me posted on your progress.

Please tweet this to your followers and post on Facebook. You might save a life!

 

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Does a college education prepare you for a career?

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

There are now 111 universities that cost over $50,000 a year to attend and that does NOT include room and board. What is amazing is that number has DOUBLED in just three short years! Yikes! If you are like me and have multiple children approaching college age, it is a real concern. When I went to the University of Oregon in the early 1980’s I believe my out of state tuition was under $7,000 a year. Is a college degree today worth it or more specifically, does what you will learn in college really prepare you for a career?

The word education is derived from the Greek word educare,  which means to ‘draw out from within’ or to ‘lead forth’. The implication is that the purpose of education is to l ead the young out of their ignorance , draw out their potential, teach them to think and have the ability to learn. Are colleges doing that effectively? I do not want to get started discussing the “left leaning bias” of many teachers in the classroom and the goal of drawing out ignorance. I love this classic picture of John Belushi from Animal House. The movie was filmed at U of O the year before I arrived.

belushi-1-mid

You have seen reports that debt from student loans has now surpassed the total debt from credit cards. How many do you know with a college or even advanced degree that have a huge loan debt only to graduate and get a job for low pay or even worse are unemployed?

A recent article, Colleges Get Career-Minded, reports that finally some universities are now reconsidering what they teach. What skills do you learn that will really help you in a future career? What are they educating for? Some schools are working closer with employers in the classroom to define the skills the students really need.

If you had $200,000+ saved for college is it a solid investment anymore? What are the alternatives? Could you spend much less and get the same result? If you had $200k saved could you buy a business and teach your child to run it with a mentor? Are kids learning how to show up on time with a great attitude, work hard for 10 hours and not complain, deliver amazing service and have the heart of a servant? Are they learning how to write and speak with precision and passion? How many are learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur and take an idea from start-up, to funding to fruition?

A new model is needed for colleges and universities to impart the skills and mindset to succeed in the future without loading a student with a debt it will take them 20+ years to pay off. Students and parents deserve a  clearer and quicker ROI.

A recent WSJ article reported a 5% vacancy rate in manufacturing jobs that means 600,000 jobs right now are unfilled because they can not find employees with the right skills: machinists, craft workers and technicians. Almost none of these high paying jobs requires a college degree.

What are you considering now for your kids and college or vocational/technical training?  I am looking at all my options and networking for potential internships. Are you considering any alternatives? What do you think colleges should focus on teaching now?

 

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In case of emergency…

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

Sometimes great advice can come from unlikely sources. Have you ever been white water rafting? My first time was on the Ocoee River in North Carolina with some good friends before a wedding. There are some class III and IV rapids with a couple V thrown in for good measure. If you do not have a reference point for what that means, imagine you were sitting in the bottom of a six foot pool and the waves are as high as the sides. It will push most anyone out of their comfort zone quickly.

raftOur guide told that if you get thrown out of the raft, try to get a good breath and keep your feet up. That way you will not get them stuck in a rock. Then he said something I will never forget;

“In case of an emergency, you must take an active role in your own rescue.”

Good advice under most circumstances, but especially if you’re about to transit a raging river.  Well, we were about halfway into the adventure and we when into a massive rapid aptly name Devil’s Hole.  I was front left and I tried to hold on with my feet, but I went flying out of the boat.  They said I was underwater for almost 15 seconds.  All they could see was the top of my paddle.  Finally, I popped up, remembered to keep my feet  up.  I fought hard make it back to the raft and got help to get back in. I had to take an active role in my rescue and work hard to get back to the raft.

What rapids are you facing right now? Are you still in the boat or have you been thrown out and fighting to get back in?

We got a wake-up call in the near melt down of fall 2008 a nd for many business has been changing ever since. I know what I do has gotten consistently more difficult and the advice of that guide has been burning my ears.

Take an active role in my own rescue.

With career, marriage, children, money concerns, health issues, community or church obligations and whatever else you’ve got going on, it can be challenging to pop back up, stay calm, fight to get back into the raft and get moving again.

Here are 3 things you can do right now:

1. Take a deep breath and relax. It will be OK. Look up and smile for me. You have what it takes to get through this. Have absolute faith in your abilities. If you need to laugh, look down for me. Can you see the ground? Yes, congratulations, you are still above ground and in the game.

2. Swim like hell and fight! You have more reserve energy and passion than you realize. Now is the time to take great care of yourself and be in top condition. Drink more water, cut out the soda, drink the Get Switched On Smoothie 4 days a week, log at least 15 aerobic days a month on your Get Switched On Energy Schedule, read/watch/listen to positive material and spend time with supportive people.

3. Make a decision and take decisive action now. Is there a brutal fact you must confront? What can you decide to do right now that will make a difference? What is your first step? Create your plan of action and get moving.

Let me know what you think.

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Are you chopping with a dull axe?

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

Are you chopping with a dull axe?

Many experienced professionals don’t see the need for continuous improvement. They often think, “I’ve been doing this for fifteen years, so I must be great.” The number of years experience is not a measure of excellence – any honest golfer knows that. Such thinking can limit you from achieving a higher level of success. It is like the lumber jack who works non-stop and never takes the time to sharpen their axe.

Just because you’ve been doing something for years doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t need to improve. Oftentimes, people get satisfied at just being good at what they do. A sales person who stops doing all the little things that made them great, such as using a pre-call checklist, asking for referrals and testimonials, conducting timely follow-up, and sending thank-you notes. But these little things make the difference between good and great.

In fact, a great chasm exists between good and great performance. Realize, however, that this doesn’t mean you have to work harder. Rather, you need the discipline to execute the little things in an extraordinary way every day. Consider U2 front man Bono’s example of taking something good and making it great.

“An early version of our first single Vertigo was massaged, hammered, tweaked, lubed, sailed through two mixes, and got U2’s unanimous stamp of ‘very good.’ Very good is the enemy of great. You think great is right next door. It’s not. It’s in another country,” Bono told USA Today.

Instead of releasing the song at “very good,” the band returned to the studio and took it apart. They rearranged Vertigo with new melodies and new arrangement and new rhythms. They soon discovered untapped reserves of ideas and fortitude, and the song went on to become a number one hit, win the Grammy for song of the year, off the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb that won the Grammy too.

Has your performance been “good” or “great”? Have you been on cruise control in your job? When was the last time you went back into your “studio” and reevaluated what you do and how you are doing it? Ask “What Can I Do Better?”

When was the last time you asked a client what you could do to improve his or her experience with you? Years? Months? Never? Some companies like my client PwC have an exhaustive process to make sure they deliver maximum value to their customers. If you want to continuously improve your sales skills, your clients and prospects will have the most valuable insight into how you can become better. So make it a priority to regularly ask them for their suggestions on how to improve and add more value. Sales managers should ask their sale people, “You have worked with me know for three months/three years. What can I do to be a better sales manager? How can I support your more?”

The same question is just as powerful with your family. When is the last time you asked your kids, “What can I do to be a better mommy or daddy?” How about asking your spouse? I guarantee they will have some feed back for you. It take courage to ask and really listen to the answers. You tendency will be to defend yourself. Instead SHUT UP an dd say thank you.

What you often find is that is will be little things they want you to do more often that you did not know where that important. Recently with our middle son Davis the answer came back have more fun. I have been so focused on driving hard as the school year finishes I needed to lighten up!

Although asking “What can I do better?” is an excellent way to continuously improve your performance, asking is really only the first step. The key is to listen when someone offers a suggestion. When a client starts talking, don’t try to defend yourself or justify your actions, just listen to what he or she has to say. Take your client’s/wife’s/husband’s/daughter’s/son’s suggestions seriously and follow up with the them later to ensure you make progress.

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Was I out of line?

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Written Blog | 0 comments

phoneDoes customer loyalty count for something? Don’t you hate it when you are the current customer of a company, maybe even for many years and you see a special incentive that company is offering new customers that they did not offer you? I hate it when that happens! Cable TV companies are famous for that.

I love it when a company I have been very loyal to, like American Express (since 1983), helps me out when I need it. When I was traveling and was a few days tardy on a payment they will not charge me the interest for example. I have been flying Delta for almost 2 million miles and am Diamond level status. They  always go the extra-mile to help me when there are travel problems from a weather or maintenance issue.

I have been a Sprint customer since 1999 – I have never left them.We have six lines and our bill is about $300 a month. Last week I was looking for a little help on something I thought would not be a problem. My wife has a Galaxy Tablet with a $30 month charge and a 2 year contract. Sprint sells the iPhone but not the iPad. She is a Realtor with Sotheby’s and needed to upgrade to the iPad. I called Sprint customer service, reminded them of my loyalty and history with them. We would have gotten the iPad and service from them but it was not an option. I asked them to let us out of the last 7 months of the contract on the Galaxy Tab. It was either pay for another 7 months or pay a $70 penalty to get out of it.

This was not about the $70 bucks to me. It was the principle that I am a valuable customer and deserve a break. No was the answer. I went to he next level. No. Although I did find out they are no longer charging for the Air Rave booster service I have in my home to boost the signal. They would not charge me anymore for that, but would not credit me for all the months they had been. At the next level the I talked about my loyalty and the approximately $35,000 I had spent with them over the years. The rep said I appreciate that BUT, wait for it…

We have to treat all our customers the same.

I admit I lost it when he said that. That is like telling your spouse I love you BUT.…..I believe I said that is bull poo poo or something similar to that. I asked him, really?  A customer with one line who has been with you a year is as valuable as I am? Silence…..he could not answer that one. I asked to talk to his supervisor. They were busy and would call me later in the day. I looked forward to their call.

I had to start over of course with the whole story and again, was told, we can not let you out of the contract. That is funny because we both know that anything is possible. I understand a reason for that policy AND not all customers are the same, are they? I do not think so. So, what happened? They would not let me out of the contract or the penalty and they did find a creative way to make me whole where I actually came out ahead. It was so complicated that I did not understand it.

It was a creative solution that could have been resolved on the first call. Was I out of line? Do you treat all your customers the same?

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