A Great "How-To": Are You Ready For The Yes?

This is the first book I have read in a long time where I actually studied as if I was preparing for a college exam! Usually I'll read through a book and highlight some key points to refer back to later for myself and/or for my clients. Are You Ready For The Yes? was totally different. It started with me reading 1/2 the book during a recent flight and realizing that I was highlighting entire pages at a time instead of my usual line or two here and there. I couldn't wait to get home and tackle a few more chapters that night. That is until I realized while unpacking that I had left the book in the airport! I immediately put in a lost-and-found claim and went right back to Amazon to order another copy just in case it was never found. The content was too good to "wait-and-see" if it would turn up at the airport. I finished the book in record time - for me - and then immediately proceeded to implement the strategies that are outlined by Audria Richmond.

Are You Ready For The Yes? shows you how to prep your personal brand for lucrative opportunities, as it says right on the cover. The step-by-step nature of her recommendations make it easy for anyone to start from scratch or take the next step in the quest for personal branding. It is obvious that Mrs. Richmond is speaking from experience and transfers that experience to the reader in a manner that makes her words create action. The steps that she outlines in the opening chapters of the book align with the steps I took to launch my personal brand. (Click here to check out my blog post "Tighten Up".) I'm looking forward to studying this book with the fever of a Doctoral candidate as I prepare to catapult my own personal brand to the next level! I highly recommend picking up your copy of this book by Audria Richmond today!

Worth Doing Wrong by Arnie S. Malham - A Must Read!

Worth Doing Wrong by Arnie S. Malham was recommended to me by one of my mentors who has successfully utilized the teachings in this book throughout his career. Mr. Malham has tackled one of the easiest things to influence in business yet is also the topic that is focused on the least: culture. Let me start by saying that this book is an easy read. At only 113 pages with a pleasurable font, even those that don't like reading will find themselves finishing this book in record time. The content flows from cover to cover and is filled with real-life examples that can be put into action immediately.

Now for the "meat and potatoes". The tone is set early on with three simple words: "culture reflects leadership". Culture is one of those intangible parts of business that can be hard to describe yet easy to feel. Have you ever walked into an establishment and it just "felt" right? The vibe was good...the place was clean...the staff was engaging. On the contrary, some places immediately turn you off the minute you cross the threshold. This is an example of culture. So how do you as a leader mold your culture into what you want it to be? Worth Doing Wrong provides us with a long list of initiatives that we can begin today such as themed work days, make-your-day gift cards, first-day welcome baskets and free monthly lunch with the boss (just to name a few). 

The vast majority of the "problems" that businesses face can be solved by instituting the right culture. Employee turnover, low profit margins, customer (dis)satisfaction, decreasing market share, etc. are all a direct result of the wrong culture. As stated earlier, culture starts at the top. The book opens up with "You can't not have a culture". So either the culture of your company or department -or even family - is "by default or by design". Those images that we've all seen of tech companies that have employees riding around on skateboards in their sneakers with bean bag chairs sprawled throughout is a designed culture that stimulates creativity for those team members. When you go to Chick-Fil-A and you hear them sincerely say "My Pleasure", that is a designed culture. A default culture usually occurs when there is a lack of training, the employees have no genuine interest in the success of the company and everyone involved has a WIIFM (what's in it for me?) attitude!

Simply by taking the time to read this post means that you are interested in creating or being a part of a culture that you can be proud of. Notice that I said "be a part of" as well. Arnie Malham also breaks down ways on how you can begin to mold the culture around you without having the official title of Manager/Supervisor/Leader. So if you want to go to work everyday to a fun and productive environment - and who doesn't want that? - I suggest that you grab a copy of Worth Doing Wrong today and begin a quest that will change your life forever! 

I'm Just Taking Notes

At some point, all of us will have to deal with an unsatisfied customer over the telephone. This can be a very uncomfortable experience for both parties if not handled properly. I will share with you some steps that I learned from one of my mentors on how to diffuse the situation and get the customer back in your good graces.

  1. Listen to hear, not to respond.

    • Most customers just want to vent to somebody and once they know you are listening, they will many times even apologize to you for their initial behavior.

    • The moment you try to get your point across or interrupt them, you have just added fuel to the fire by implying to the customer that their voice doesn't matter or that they have talked enough. 
    • Interruptions also consist of agreeing with the customer because it can break the flow of their conversation.
  3. "I'm Just Listening and Taking Notes"

    • If you have done the first two steps correctly, this step will seal the deal! Since you have not responded with even the occasional "Uh-huh" or "I see", the customer will eventually run out of things to say and ask  "Are You Still There?". 
    • They have probably had people hang up on them in the past so they will check to make sure that you haven't done the same. (And they are preparing to "rip you a new one" if you did.)
    • After the question "Are You Still There?" is asked, your response needs to be, "Yes, I'm Just Taking Notes".
    • At this point you will feel the customer take a sigh of relief and you can now get to addressing the reason for their call.
  4. Try not address the issue right then and there unless it is something with a fairly common solution, i.e. they simply need to schedule an appointment and were unable to in the past.

    • The best way to handle the issue is to let the customer know that you will take your notes, gather some more information and then give them a call back later that day. As long as you call them back as you promised and have a solution to their problem, you have most likely saved that customer!

Have You Been Down "Someday Aisle"?

One of the biggest hurdles that we deal with as entrepreneurs is procrastination. Myself included, we tend to act with delay when it comes to most initiatives. Someday I'll get into shape or go on that diet. From personal experience, it took me years to finally take the step to launch my business. Someday I'll start my own business. And even now I find myself stalling at times when I know that I should be doing something to promote myself and my business. Someday I'll make that phone call. I believe it's human nature to put off things that we know we should be doing presently. Someday I'll start eating healthier.

Someday I'll become financially independent.
Someday I'll be a millionaire.
Someday I'll achieve my goals.
Someday I'll stop procrastinating!

Someday Aisle is an easy path to take but it is seldom the easy paths that provide us with the results that we seek. Many of my clients also fall victim to procrastination at one time or another. Most of us business owners started our companies because we have some idea or talent that we want to share with others. The challenge becomes when we need to become diligent with meetings, deadlines, projects, etc. that we have determined will push our businesses forward. Our procrastination only prolongs the time required to make our dreams come true. 

When you find yourself walking down "Someday Aisle", turn around and go back to a place where you can stand and say "Not Someday...TODAY!"

Living Forward - Get The Life YOU Want!

This is by far one of the most influential books I have ever read and should be required reading for any high school and college student! I can only imagine the direction my life would have taken, in a positive way, had I read this book 20 years ago. Living Forward provides insight in how to plan everything in your life that is important to YOU. Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy have written an easy-to-read manual on how to steer every facet of your life to your desired outcome in the areas of self, marriage, finances, relationships with others, hobbies, career, and more. I highly recommend that you read this book ASAP and begin writing your own Life Plan immediately!