Why things Catch on (and become Contagious) – Video Book Summary

Motivational Quote: Don’t stop

Just keep peddling“Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you stop.” Claude Pepper, American Politician

The Benefits of External Focus in Business

Your Customers needs“If you focus on solving your customer’s needs first, they tend to help meet (or exceed) your needs.” – Richard Elmes

How Communication is like Football

With the Super Bowl 50 coming up this weekend, I thought I would explore how throwing a football (sorry American football to soccer fans outside of North America), is like the communication process. Enjoy.

You may be the smartest salesperson in your industry. You may have a great product, and your product knowledge may be outstanding, but if you can’t communicate this to your customers in an easily digestible manner, you won’t be very successful.

“The thinking human being, not able to express himself, stands at the same level as those who cannot think.” Pericles

Communication is vital!

Denver Broncos vs Carolina+Panthers

One way to think about the process of effectively communicating with someone, is to think about Football.

So how are Football and Communications alike?

  • The quarterback is the sender of the message
  • The football is the message
  • The pass is the medium (or delivery mechanism) of the message
  • The defence, the crowd noise, the cute cheerleaders,  the sun (or stadium lights) in the receiver’s eyes are the barriers that get in the way of the message being delivered
  • The Wide Receiver receives the message.
  • What the Wide Receiver does after catching the ball provides feedback

In football, you can have a quarterback (Peyton Manning / Cam Newton) who can throw the ball 60 yards down the field, but if the receiver doesn’t catch the ball, the team doesn’t advance.

While communicating, if the message is delivered, but not received as intended, communication breaks down and the relationship doesn’t advance.

“The only way he could have said less would have been to talk longer.” Charles Jarvis

Seven key ways to improve your communication with your customers are:

  1. Reduce technical jargon
  2. Unless you are 100% sure they know what the acronyms mean, use the long forms (i.e. C.P.S.A – Canadian Professional Sales Association , N.S.A -National Speakers Association or N.F.L – National Football League)
  3. Get to the point quicker
  4. Tell a (short) story that makes your point
  5. Try to reduce distractions (i.e. noise in a crowded room)
  6. Check for understanding
  7. Use analogies that they are likely to understand (i.e. Communication is like Football)

So next time you are want to communicate think of football because it can help you score with your customers or anyone you want to connect with.

 

 

How to make effective New Years Resolutions

Many of us who are looking forward to the future have made New Years resolutions

.New_Year_s_Resolutions

You know those grand plans that we come up with, that if we follow-through, will make our life more fulfilling. Unfortunately, they are also the same plans that are usually forgotten by the 3rd week of January. If you don’t believe this just check the classifieds in February for used exercise equipment.

Common resolutions like “Quit Smoking, Lose Weight or Save Money,” may sound great, but they aren’t very successful. Using the following 7 steps will help you design more powerful New Years resolutions.

1. Develop S.M.A.R.T. Resolutions

Specific: You must specifically and clearly identify your target because you need to know what success looks like.

Measurable: Clear destinations and checkpoints along the way provide stepping-stones,  that are easily attained and provide victories that keep you motivated.

Action Oriented: Effective resolutions require action, they are doing resolutions, not being or having resolutions.

Realistic: You design resolutions to solve a problem or to achieve a dream. They should stretch you outside of your comfort zones, but if you make them completely out of reach, you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Timely: They need to be important to you at this time in your life, if it is not, you will not do the work necessary to succeed.

 

  1. Identify what’s in it for you: If you are going to follow through with your resolution you need to be excited about the benefits it will bring. Visualizing yourself fitting into those jeans that “shrunk” or driving that new car are powerful motivators.

 

  1. List the obstacles that stand in your way: Knowing what the obstacles are can help you determine how to get around them.

 

  1. Consider who can help you: You need to carefully identify friends whom you can trust to share your goals with and who can check your progress and encourage you. These people enable you to maintain your focus and keep your eyes on the goal itself.

 

  1. Consider what resources are needed: Knowing what tools and knowledge you’ll need to help you accomplish your goal will increase your chances of success.

 

  1. Develop an Action Plan: There is something so powerful about putting your resolutions down on paper, but this is the step where most people fail. I think Denver Broncos football coach Mike Shanahan put it best when he said, “If you have a plan, and if you have your direction laid out. You can chart your progress to your dreams at each stopping point along the way. And just as important, all along the way you can see how far you’ve come”. Developing your action plan will give you the road map to your dreams.

 

  1. Set a deadline for achievement: Resolutions without deadlines are only dreams. Deadlines are another powerful motivator. Also when you are setting deadlines add the phrase “on or before” ie. “I will acquire 20 new clients on or before July 1, 2016”

 

So this year make those New Years Resolutions stick, and reap the benefits. Because the best way to predict your future, is to create it yourself.

What Amazing Bosses Do Differently

Worlds Best Boss

This blog post was from the Harvard Business Review and written by Sydney Finkelstein author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent where he talks about 5 things Amazing Bosses do differently.

We all know that job satisfaction often hinges on the quality of the relationships we have with our bosses. Yet in today’s rapidly evolving, 24/7 workplaces, it’s not always clear what managers should do to create the most satisfying work experiences and the happiest employees. My research into the world’s most successful bosses has unearthed some common practices that make work much more meaningful and enjoyable. If you supervise others, make sure you do the following:

Manage individuals, not teams. When you’re under pressure, it’s easy to forget that employees are unique individuals, with varying interests, abilities, goals, and styles of learning. But it’s important to customize your interactions with them. Ensure you understand what makes them tick. Be available and accessible for one-on-one conversations. Deliver lessons cued to individual developmental needs. And when it comes to promotion, look past rigid competency models and career ladders for growth opportunities tailored to the ambitions, talents, and capacities of each person.

Dr. Paul Batalden, a professor emeritus at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine, who previously worked under Tommy Frist at healthcare giant HCA, told me that his former boss was “such an unusual CEO” of a company that size. “You could always get to see him. He always had time.”  Samuel Howard, another Frist protégé who is now CEO of Xantus Corp, added, “when you asked him to do something, he would roll up his sleeves” and work with you to get it done.

Go big on meaning.  Most employees value jobs that let them contribute and make a difference, and many organizations now emphasize meaning and purpose in the hopes of fostering engagement. But this is also the manager’s responsibility. You can’t rely on incentives like bonuses, stock options, or raises. You’ve got to inspire them with a vision, set challenging goals and pump up their confidence so they believe they can actually win. Articulate a clear purpose that fires your team up, set expectations high, and convey to the group that you think they’re capable of virtually anything.

Legendary bosses like Bill Sanders in real estate, Julian Robertson in hedge funds, and Bill Walsh in professional football all communicated visions that entranced employees and left them hell-bent on success. Scot Sellers, a protégé of Sanders who went on to become CEO of Archstone before retiring in 2013, recalled that his former boss “would lay out his vision and say, ‘I would like you to be a part of it.’ You were so honored to be asked… that you just wanted to jump in and say, ‘Sign me up!’”

To read the other 3 things that Amazing Bosses do differently click here:


 

Sydney Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management in Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent (Portfolio/Penguin, February 2016) from which this article was adapted.