Titles That I Get

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems the more creative the title someone has, the more I’m left scratching my head about what exactly it is they do…

Senior Creative Logistics Consultant
Knowledge Transfer Consultant – South Region
Midwest Compliance Promotion Officer

Hmmm….

Plumber – they do plumbing
Sales – they sell
Accountant – they do accounting
Engineer – they engineer

Now these I “get.”

If the company has to be creative in figuring out your title, maybe you better get serious about bringing some real value to the organization or you may find yourself with a new title.

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Three Questions

What is it that you or your company does really well?  I’m talking about that one thing that brings forth your absolute passion and where your God-given talents are obvious.

Next question: what do you or your company need to do to get more of that work?  If this is your passion and your calling in life, then you need to focus your energy on using this talent – more!

And the final question: what is it that you or your company needs to stop doing or chasing right now?

You have a limited budget, limited hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year, and years in a lifetime.  Use them all wisely.

Shhhhhh – Listen

There are certain people that you really look forward to speaking with – and maybe you never considered it before, but it may be that the reason you look forward to speaking with them, is simply because they are excellent listeners.

“Listeners” are rare, but a true joy with which to converse

  • They listen and ask questions
  • They don’t interrupt you
  • They give you their undivided attention
  • They show genuine interest in what you are saying
  • They don’t try to “one up” your story
  • Their attention isn’t dictated by your position in life
  • They are genuine and humble

And what is one of the hallmarks of the best sales people?  Yep, listening…and whatever your “called” profession might be– sales, management, product or service, public or private sector, blue or white collar, profit or non-profit – you are selling!

So are you listening?

 

 

Life happens, don’t miss it

Many of us are “wired” to achieve and we quickly become distressed when we are not any closer to that next milestone.

But I think we need to live our life somewhere between “I will not accept that this is the best I can do,” and embracing the moment and not allowing the present to be wasted with discontentment…

I know I will not remain where I am, and yet I know I must learn from where I am.

Don’t get so focused on the next achievement that you forget to enjoy your family and friends, the blessings that are unique to this moment in time, and appreciate all that you have done…so far.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

24 Habits & Tips

Over the years I have learn a lot from others and a lot from my own mistakes.  In no particular order, here are some habits or tips that I found helpful in my career.

1. Network (get involved with trade groups, business groups, alumni groups…)

2. Work Hard (there is always a choice the easy way or the right way – always give your best effort)

3. Work Smart (what is the most important thing on your list today, this week, month, year?)

4. Keep Learning (take classes, attend training, learn, learn, learn!)

5. Build Relationships (with clients and colleagues)

6. Help others (really help others, even when you will never benefit)

7. Be a Resource (be the go-to person at your company or in your industry)

8. Be Reliable (when you say “I will” then you better “do,” meet your deadlines, and communicate!)

9. Never Gossip (especially in front of your clients and prospects)

10. Be a doer not just a planner (if good ideas made you rich there would be no shortage of wealthy people, those that do are the influencers)

11.  Face it (when a plan doesn’t work, when it’s time to give up on a prospect, when the market is dying…)

12.  Develop a good attitude (most are not “born” with a good attitude, we have to work at it)

13.  Be adaptable and accept change (things change and we MUST change or be left behind)

14.  Take care of yourself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually (the best performers have their life in order)

15. Attend to your appearance (not obsessive, but dress for the occasion)

16.  Forgive others (we offend one another, we are human. Forgive)

17. Forgive yourself (we will make mistakes, learn, make adjustments, forgive yourself and move on)

18. Be persistent (success requires a plan and persistence)

19. What do you need to eliminate? (what are you doing that you don’t need to be doing anymore?)

20. Be on time for every meeting (internal or external – it is disrespectful to be late)

21. Admit your weaknesses and improve (if you don’t think you have any weaknesses, you have at least two problems)

22. Know your strengths (use your strengths to your advantage, they are gifts)

23. Be Humble (no one likes arrogant – confident yes! Arrogant, no)

24. Be Nice (treat everyone with respect and dignity – you are not all that special)

Doggedness

Sometimes you reach a point where the best thing to do is to say, I gave this my best effort, but it didn’t work. It happens.

But, sometimes even though it defies logic at all indicators say, cut your losses and move on, you decide to persist and do “it” anyway.

 This is the time for real growth.

Addressing the “Issues” in Life

We had to confront him, he had a drinking problem and his life was spiraling out of control.

She had a drug problem, if we had not intervened, who knows what would have happened.

They “got it,” they had to address their addictions, their problems, their issues, or else…

But…

What about issues of anger?

What about dealing with insecurity and pride?

How about the chronically unreliable?

How unfulfilled is a life that is unwilling to confront these “issues”?

Drugs and alcohol are obvious, they’re killers. 

But maybe we need to confront colleagues and friends, who have within them a world of potential, but you dare not correct them, they are too insecure and their pride won’t allow you to critique them.  Maybe you would ask them to be a part of your project team…if it wasn’t for the anger issues.  And when it comes to making recommendations for that promotion; well, if they were more reliable, you would love to give them your endorsement.

It’s easy to say, we’re not perfect, but are we willing to listen to trusted colleagues and friends and make that needed course correction?

What’s the alternative?

 

Rats, cockroaches, and poo…oh my!

Environmental laboratory and field assistantooh, this job sounded perfect for a hopeful young scientist!  And the job sounds impressive, right?  Well, as it turns out, not so much.  But I wasn’t in a position to be too picky, after all it was a job in my profession and I needed this job desperately to fund my college education.  And so I began my new job with great anticipation.

One of the services I soon learned that we offered was “effluent water quality monitoring and flow measurements.” Translation: We will battle the cockroaches and other vermin in your sewers, stick our hands in water from flushed toilets & industrial waste water, and wade through sewers full of petrified poo and collect samples…

While I’m sure it sounds very glamorous, believe it or not, even this exciting job got to be mundane.

  • Oh, gee another giant cockroach.
  • Hey, here comes another rat toward us.
  • Oh no, you stay behind and let me crawl on my hands and knees through methane filled, crumbling sewers.

And some days I just had a hard time getting excited about exposing my body to toxic wastes — wimp!

But in those times of weakness when I felt like this wasn’t exactly why I was attending the university, my fellow sewer rat and recent college graduate himself, would remind me how important our job was.  He was right.

All kidding aside, our work was the first step in collecting meaningful data.  These data would allow others to make potentially significant decisions about how best to operate their plant and comply with complex environmental regulations.

We were young men and didn’t realize it then, but we were selling our company and ourselves.  We took our job very seriously and there were few challenges we were not able to overcome.  And when our sales team was selling the expensive laboratory analysis, they would add, “…and let me tell you about our exceptional field services team that will collect those samples.”

There are many less than desirable jobs – but there is no job that does not deserve our best effort.  The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were quite appropriate for this chapter in my life,

“If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music … Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Street sweeper, salesman, cook, administrative assistant, accountant, or even sewer rat – it deserves our best effort!

Something Service Providers Must Never Forget

Ask most service professionals (I happen to work in the environmental consulting world) why you should part with your hard earned money and you’re likely to get a litany of (lame) reasons

  • Our prices are really competitive (wow, that’s unique)
  • We’re really good (whatever that means)
  • Excellence is what we are all about (see above snide remark)
  • I have a Masters!
  • I have a Ph.D.!!
  • We’re experts!!!

Not one reason why someone should hire you.

But wait, I went to school and have all these degrees and have written all these books, they don’t count for anything? 

Not unless you can translate it into some tangible benefit for my business.

Never forget this basic principle: People buy for one of two reasons, 1. Avoid Pain or 2. Gain Pleasure.  Service providers are likely helping to avoid pain, our task is to understand their pain and show how we can help provide pain relief.

 

 

Bringing Value to the Marketplace

Being smart isn’t enough; not today, not in this economy.  Now more than ever, you have to translate your smarts into a tangible benefit.  And whether you are personally looking for a job, or looking to sell you and your company, you have to look beyond your knowledge and skills.

There are a lot of people that can solve complex technical problems –

You need to translate that skill into solving business problems.

Everyone wants to tell you everything they have learned –

You need to respond to what people want and need to know.

While you may have built a better mousetrap –

You have to make sure people with a mouse problem can find you.

It’s great to be able to explain –

Where the true value comes is being able to listen.

You can impress by knowing your stuff –

You can eat when you can sell the stuff you know.

What you have to say may be important –

But it’s imperative to realize that what others have to say is even more important.