Measure twice and cut once…but by all means cut!

Measuring is the easy part today.

How many times has someone visited your website?   You can find that easily, along with what time they visited, their geographic location, and what key words are performing best.

Which pages did they visit?  You can measure that and how long they were there.

How did they find your information, did they forward it, did they like you?  All quantifiable.

Who are your top performing employees?  Who are your most profitable clients?  What service or product gives you the best ROI?  It’s just a couple of clicks away.  If it can be imagined, it can be measured – relatively easily.   Hard, quantitative data can be provided and presented that leaves no ambiguity.

But the hard part has not changed:  What are you going to do about it?

Ask

How much?

Why?

Why not?

Is this correct?

Will you?

What are you expecting?

And if I can?

What should I expect next?

What do you think?

Will you?

May I?

…or don’t and wonder.

Our “Word” is Earned – Good or Bad

“I’ll take care of that.”

At the moment you utter those words, those to whom you have made your promise will think one of two things:

  1. No he won’t.  He never gets anything done on time, and I need to plan accordingly.
  2. That’s a huge relief.  He will get it done, and he will get it done right.

Our “word” is known to our colleagues and clients, perhaps better than it is known to us.

So, is your word your bond, or is your word empty?

Your word is your reputation – guard it… jealously.

 

Be an idiot – it’s the only way to succeed

I had the great pleasure to hear Carla Bailo, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Nissan Americas, speak recently.

Listening to her reminded me that great leaders, regardless of whom they may be leading, have some common attributes.   In particular, I’ve noticed that great leaders make a point of learning from everyone they encounter.  They ask a lot of questions…and really listen…learn…and…apply.

In discussing her five year stint in Japan, Ms. Bailo said when you are in such a new environment; it’s your opportunity to “be an idiot.”  You aren’t expected to know anything, so you can safely ask a lot of questions.  In essence a license to be an idiot.

Ms. Bailo is anything but… In fact, as she provided some of the rules by which she lives, in the recent presentation, her wisdom was evident.   Here is my best attempt to recreate a few of them based on my chicken scratch notes.

Optimism finds a solution, negative is useless

Debate leads to the best decision

Promise and deliver – without fail

Fear and resistance are to be overcome

Failure breads success

Challenge the accepted way

Never forget to have fun

Don’t take everything personally, avoid getting a chip on your shoulder

Don’t regret mistakes, fix them

Treat others as you would want to be treated

Be open to criticism and be willing to change and improve

Listen. Listen. Listen.

It’s easy to see why Ms. Bailo is in the position she is – she is a humble, lifelong learner.   I hope to learn and apply some of her wisdom in my life.  Indeed, we should all feel empowered to be an idiot; it’s the only way to avoid really being one.

Character

Who would have thought this kind of exceptional character from an attorney, a physician, a business owner, a salesman…

Long before we assumed our various titles…

The respectful attorney, was a respectful spouse.

The caring physician, was a caring daughter.

The honest business owner, was an honest employee.

The ethical salesman, was an ethical student.

Our titles don’t create our character, they just amplify it.

Zax, Onychophagy, and Owling

We are the best

We are the BEST!

WE ARE THE BEST!!

Tell somebody who cares…really.

If you have the best zax in the world, I don’t care; I’m not trimming roofing slate.

That you can help overcome onychophagy, is of no interest to me, I’ve never had a problem biting my nails.

Help me with my owling problem? Sorry I don’t own any sheep.

Your message is important…to somebody…

The truth is most people don’t give a tinker’s damn about your product or service.  That’s why you need to spend an inordinate amount of time finding those who not only give a damn, but are just waiting to hear from you right now. If you advertise, use an appropriate outlet. If you email or direct mail, don’t just develop a great list, constantly maintain this list.  Use social media? This hasn’t made marketing easier; it has only made marketing more accessible.

Say it loud, say it a lot, say it with wit and creativity, but say it to someone who cares.

Willy Nilly

We get so busy doing…business.  Looking for clients, doing the work, running payroll, getting more clients, doing more work so we can meet the next payroll…the treadmill keeps going and we stay on this treadmill failing to realize we are not getting anywhere.

I’m a pretty simple guy, and while there might be many nuisances, business planning boils down to

Vision: What you want the company to be.

Strategy: What are you going to do to achieve your dream or vision?

Tactics: How and when will you execute your strategy?

But what happens? We react. An opportunity comes in, we chase it.  Another opportunity comes in, and we change directions and chase that one.  And yet another opportunity comes in, and like a puppy with ADD our attention is quickly diverted.

Vision is lacking, strategy is thrown out the window, and as for tactics? We don’t need no stinking tactics.

Instead of chasing every opportunity, every mode of marketing and just running around willy-nilly with no clear direction and no opportunity for real growth, maybe it’s time to return business 101: Vision, strategy and tactics.

It’s not you, it’s me

Our client or employee gives us their reason for their discontentment – why they are leaving us. While we are disappointed to lose such a valuable client or employee, we reason, at least I know why and I can make adjustments…

So in our state of delusion, we make changes – we feel pretty good about our decisive action, we had market intelligence and we acted!

Come on, really?

How difficult is it to tell your long-time vendor that you are dropping them or for a long-time employee to “divorce” his employer. They want to let us down gently…tickle our ears and make us feel like everything is okay, it’s not your fault, it was just time for a change…

When we lose key clients or key employees it may be time to do some soul searching and dig deep. It may also be time to bring in a third party consultant that can help us truly discover what went wrong.

Put on your thickest skin, find out the real “whys,” and make real change that will help set a new and improved course for your company’s future.

 

Providence Requires Action

If you didn’t have the guts to make that contact five years ago, that first project would have never been a reality.

If you never had that first project, how would they know you can solve such complex problems?

If you never solved their problem, you wouldn’t have such an enthusiastic advocate.

If you didn’t have them as an advocate, how would your new client have found you?

If they had not found you, where would you be today?

Delay no more – make that call.

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.