Archive for category Personal Development

Beyond the motivator, the ‘just do it’ theory.

Just a theory but I like how it fits. It’s all to do with what causes us to do things.

On the one side we have Drivers (have to do a task) – on the other there are Motivators (want to do a task).

Clearly if someone is motivated to do something they want to do it and that probably means they will do the task with interest and enthusiasm. On the other hand if someone HAS to do a task, they could try to put it off to the last minute and have to be driven to do it (no choice, must be done not matter what).

All of that is okay, but I got stuck, in the middle part, where I could not decide if I wanted to do a task or if I was driven to do a task, it was a ‘no mans land’. And yes I was seriously STUCK, things that I should do but was neither motivated nor driven to do. I floated, wondering what will drive me to do the task, or motivate me.

For a long while I was perplexed and on the odd occasions people would suggest ‘Just do it’ but being a thinking person, I was too busy considering “how come I’m not motivated or driven?”

Finally I got to the “Just do it” stance, and then it hit me. Just do it is in the middle, and I see it as a pendulum moving a bit either side, perhaps there would be times when I would just do things and have moments of feeling motivated or driven. Nice distinction me thinks…

The main thing, if a task needs doing, ‘Just do it’. Who knows, the ‘just done thing’ may lead us to explore the task from a more motivated or driven position, the possibilities from there might be endless.

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Training to Win…

Yes I figure business is like a game, there are winners and losers, so train to win, heck who wants to lose right? But before you jump in with “Oh but I don’t have time to train people and I don’t know how to… Don’t think you have to do it, or do it all, there are plenty of external organisations who can do it for you.

BUT you need to do some things, like setting up the system you want to follow to ensure you get the best results for the investment you make.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Create levels – from apprentice to master, there are levels, you should do the same and create a a range of options, a progression if you like.
  • Points to cover – At each level there will be things you need to cover, so jot them down in point form so you can develop the details later.
  • Measure – Competency and then proficiency, just one on it’s own may not be enough, especially if it’s an essential skill.
  • Record – How you measure things is one thing, but how you record the details is another, so create a system to effectively track each persons progress at each level.
  • Acknowledge – How will you let people know they have attained a set level? a certificate? or… make sure it’s worth it!

All these will be useful starting points to developing a training outline for your business, so go and take action to make it happen.

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Successful Communication – 4 Key Categories

There are four key categories to remember when thinking about whether you are maximising your communication with your target market. Within these categories there are many variations on how a message can be conveyed, or a channel for dialogue opened. However, if you keep in mind the 4 groups, you will always maximise your opportunities for communicating your message.

1. Develop the Information/Message

If you have information you would like to convey to your customers and clients, in how many fundamental ways could this be presented?

  • Newsletters
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Emails
  • Web site
  • Music or message on hold
  • Company profile documents
  • Products & services lists
  • Product specifications
  • Company stationery
  • Brochures
  • Direct mail pieces
  • Copies of press coverage/press releases
  • Articles
  • Invitations
  • Speeches

Presentation of your message is critical. Please keep some of these considerations in mind:

  • Always think in terms of your customers’ perspectives. What is interesting and useful to them? Be genuine. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. If you’re not genuine it will be apparent.
  • Focus on consistency of presentation, of message, of image, of how you are being perceived by your customer.
  • Know who your customers are. Don’t use humour which would only appeal to a small group of people, don’t risk using any message which may offend, and always be mindful of different religious and cultural perspectives when appealing to a broader segment of the local or international market.

2. Open the Communication Channel: Events and Networking

This category of communication is ‘up close and personal’ between you and the customer or potential client. The message may be specific, or non-specific relationship building communication. Some options within this category are:

  • Client lunches
  • Launch events
  • Entertainment events
  • Industry events (exhibitions, conferences etc.)
  • Association or Institute gatherings
  • Organised sporting competitions between companies

Again, remember that your clients and customers are typically not all men, or all women, they are not all the same age, they do not all have the same interests, they may not all have families, and their idea of a great time may not be the same as yours.

The point is, learn about your customers as much as you can, so they join in these events willingly and enthusiastically, so everybody gains something from it. Finally, events and networking are about communication, but what will be remembered is what is different, amusing, and interesting. Add value and your message will be remembered.

3. Involvement from your Clients and Customers

Events and networking functions involve your customers at some emotional level and build the relationship you have with them. However, communication that elicits involvement and follow-through communication from your customers is different, in that there is some notion of commitment to do business with you.

Specific tools to communicate with involvement from customers and clients are:

  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • New product/service test programs
  • Writing up testimonials from your customers
  • Case studies on your customers’ businesses and their relationships with you and your business
  • Ask customers for feedback on new developments, such as your web site for example.

Inherent in this type of activity is ongoing involvement and relationships. This is the primary objective of successful communication.

4. Follow Through Communication

One-off communication is not enough. One-off communication does not build relationships. A message can be conveyed by communicating it only once, but will it be remembered? How many times have you seen yet another ad on television and not known who the advertiser was because it didn’t register? The message needs to be clear, repeated, and followed up. Ideally it should also be humorous, of interest or value, and have some differentiating factor.

Don’t stop communicating:

  • thank your clients
  • send notes of congratulations when appropriate
  • send information in which they may be interested
  • send them leads
  • follow up on your survey
  • follow up on the new product or service launch
  • send them a copy of your first newsletter, brochure, etc.
  • proactively call them once in a while to touch base and ask how they are, and how business is

The cycle must continue in order to be successful. “The little differences make all the difference”.

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Bitter, grumpy annoyed… get over it!

I have been on about good customer service for years now, and while I recognise it can take a lot to make it happen, it’s a thing, which needs to happen.

In my more recent travels I have noticed bitter, grumpy and annoyed people operating businesses. It’s one thing to have grumpy staff, but quite another to see the operator of the business in this “state”. Seriously if you want to be in business and be a grouch stay out of site of the customers…

I guess it’s in part due to the Global Financial Crisis or at least compounded by it, to the point where people are wondering about where the next customer and cash is going to come from. Okay so you may not be able to do much about that, (especially if you have spent all your marketing budget already!) So you have to sit and wait… BUT if that can’t change, what about you?

To alter being a “grump” you may have to take a stance and force yourself to be happy. try a few of these.

  • Write a sign for yourself “Be Happy!” and put it where it can be seen by you and not the customer, make a bunch of them, put them up and act on them.
  • Make a list of things that make you happy and each day “do” something on that list somehow… and DON”T give me the line of “Oh I don’t have time…”
  • Get or make a CD of a bunch of funny things, jokes etc by comedians you really like and laugh at even though you have heard them a zillion times, play it on the way to the office, and LAUGH heartily!
  • Look up, yes it’s that simple, look up and try to not feel good, hard to do eh? Note how glum people tend to look down a lot, makes sense right…
  • Tell  your staff to tell you to smarten up… Go on I dare you to.
  • Make a list of the things getting you down, now write a bunch of ways to fix them, then act on it… go on do that now! Keep adding to the solutions list.
  • Take a five minute stroll, go out of the office or store, walk briskly and get the blood pumping.
  • De stress, mediate or do whatever thing helps you to de stress (without hurting others or things…)
  • Get an unreasonable friend, one who can hold you to your promises, and chat to them about ways to work around your challenges, share a few jokes etc.
  • Kick a footy, It won’t de stress everyone, but It might work for you, heck even going to a sports shop and buying one might break your routine enough, no cash? Borrow one off a kid in your street… hey imagine going door to do and asking “Does your kid have a footy I can borrow for an hour?” Heck that kid has probably been looking for a kick to kick friend for ages.
  • Go to an Art Gallery or five for a few minutes, I used to do this when driving around in a van all over the city, I would drop in to see contemporary art, (no cost!) and I knew where heaps of them where so I could get to one fast for a break in routine. Oh and turn your mobile off for the few minutes you are there. 😉 Seeing other people’s “views” on and about the “human condition” can be useful.
  • Put a picture of yourself up on the fridge at home and yell at yourself… Did you like that? Now think about the last time you yelled at someone, did that feel good? Perhaps for you, how about them? Get the point, it’s not good.
So make yourself a “grump free zone” and get out amongst the customers with a happy disposition and see if that impacts well on sales or even just staff morale.

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Free Training YAY! ??

Local paper, classified training section, courses on offer with local accredited training org’s there are free courses in pre apprenticeship training, and various others to assist to up skill people… seems good, fairly non eventful stuff. It looks like the government and trying to boost things along with the freebies (have done for some time now…

However I looked down to see a small business start up course to explore new biz ideas, read through, looked okay but you have to pay… hmm at first I ranted and raved to the wife about “THIS SHOULD BE FREE!! dammit!” then got the raised eyebrow and a chat about “yeah, yeah… bla blahhhh… get over it..” and I stopped, then thought…

Hmm they should pay but then at the successful completion of the course get their money back… a money back redemption, perhaps a discount or a carry over to another course to take the idea further, or better still a chance to thrash the idea out that bit deeper with a mentor.

A nine week program, Perhaps I should go along and play devils advocate… thoughts?

Falling? Then get up…

I’m always finding myself saying “Fall down 5 times then get up six times…” But I can’t say it as well as this guy!

In times of challenge you need to be in the right frame of mind to come out on top, check the video and let me know what you think…

Change Happens, Handle it…

With lots of things happening in the world it makes sense to get a perspective on things, some change you are experiencing may be good, some the opposite. Here are a few things which you may find of value in changing times.

  1. Be positive and have a sense of optimism – So things are changing… You can say “Oh woe is me…” or you can say “Whoa! Things are changing WOO HOO!” the choice is yours, an optimistic approach generally works out for the better, it puts your “spirit” somehow into the right frame to handle and accept things.
  2. Change can be good – Ignore it and it can be bad too… – You need to decide fast what’s happening and what fits to your core values and beliefs, if it fits well then go for it, if it doesn’t consider taking another path.
  3. You have a range of skills to handle change already – You’re an adult right? You have fallen over and picked yourself up from an early age, some of us may seem to fall over more often, so some of us may have more skills to deal with the situation. Reflect and remember all those things you have overcome, were you stronger at the end of it? Chances are yes… Tally up the skills you have, now put them into action.
  4. Not letting excuses and negative emotions stop you – Feel the fear and do it anyway can be useful at times, and this may be one of them. Ask yourself what are my excuses and negative emotions around this issue and what would I prefer them to be? Go on write them down so you can tackle them HEAD ON.
  5. The more you resist change, the more things may not happen how you want – I am not saying this is always the case but often it seems this way, and have you ever met someone that said “I should have done this earlier?” uh huh… and where would you prefer to be, starting out early or late? And ask this was anything I resisted in a change way in the past ever really that bad?
  6. What stories are you telling yourself? – Your self-talk is the one thing, which might just be holding you back, check out No: 4 again… is it your self-talk trying to “protect you?” from what? The unknown? Is it really unknown? Or is your self-talk wanting to “set you free” and explore everything this new change may bring…
  7. Deeper meaning, is it part of that? – Some of you will have a faith, which may suggest you are part of a bigger plan, some of you may have figured it out for yourself… Some of you look at the chaos and challenges and say meaning is impossible, check out No:1 again and ask “Which do I want to be part of, a bigger plan or not, Chances are  your “gods” (or demons…) will make sure it happens for you the way you want.
  8. Get a support team – Ask who can help me, who will understand? Then take a leap of faith to get them on board, they might be an email contact, a person to call on the phone, a buddy you can catch up with live. Whoever and however, carefully consider getting a team, a rock solid positive team of people who can hold you to the standard you want to be held to.
  9. Create a plan and take action – If you have not started jotting down things from the above list already I would be surprised. I care not for what sort of plan it is, but write it down! Perhaps keep a plan journal, consider reading your key plan points daily, or a wall plan, gather photo’s and collage a new you lifestyle plan on a wall chart… Keep it simple, real and vibrant. It’s your life, live it the right way, the way that makes the most sense to you. Oh and yes, take action, all the best thoughts in the world are worthless without action.
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