Change your perspective, change your life

January 12, 2017

Perspective has many definitions, such as the ability to understand what is important and what isn’t.  And the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. Consider this excellent example of how differently people view the same subject in this ancient fable.  Four blind men were asked to examine an elephant and to describe its appearance. The first blind man felt the elephant’s leg and declared that the creature was like a tree. The second blind man felt the elephant’s enormous side and said that it was like a wall. The third man felt the tail and […]

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How to set your voice free

January 6, 2017

When I was embarking on my “second career,” public speaking, I had a little experience under my belt – member of a Toastmasters group, graduate of Dale Carnegie and a long list of speeches I’d made to community groups, plus various causes like getting a stadium built. Sometimes I would speak several times in a day, trying to reach as many groups as possible.  My message was often only as good as my voice. So I did what I always do when I know I can do better:  I went out and hired a public speaking coach.  As it turns […]

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Game plan for success

December 29, 2016

My definition of success is having a predetermined plan, successfully carrying it out over a long period of time and having a good time doing it. That’s what John Calipari does as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.  Coach Cal is able to recruit the country’s top high-school talent with this simple message:  “Commit to each other, be about each other without sacrificing your goals and by doing this you can achieve all your dreams and more.” Because many of his players are one and done – meaning they leave for the pros after their freshman season […]

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Innovation is the path to growth

December 22, 2016

The Hewlett-Packard Company was famously founded in a one-car garage by William Hewlett and Dave Packard. It has become one of the world’s most innovative and successful technology companies, but it’s never lost sight of its founders’ original vision. According to legend, these rules on innovation were posted in the garage: Believe you can change the world. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever. Know when to work alone and when to work together. Share tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues. No politics. No bureaucracy. The customer defines a job well done. Radical ideas are not bad ideas. Invent different […]

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Creativity can be a life-saver

December 15, 2016

We take many everyday items for granted, but when these items were introduced to the market, they were anything but ordinary. Have you ever wondered how you got along without a specific product, a must-have invention … or the latest version of your smartphone? Somewhere between necessity being the mother of invention and pure creative genius, all kinds of useful products have come into our lives. Were their creators inspired by a burning desire to get rich? Did they have years of schooling or technical training? Were they part of huge corporations with unlimited research and development budgets? No. They […]

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Create a ‘trust fund’ with your team

May 19, 2016

I am convinced that T-R-U-S-T is the most important five-letter word in business – not sales or money or any other replaceable commodities.  Trust can be fragile, especially in the workplace.  Once it’s broken, few companies, managers or employees ever win it back. At every level of every organization, workers need to understand the importance of keeping their word and living up to the organization’s values.  Customers and co-workers want to know they can depend on management.  Trust between managers and employees is crucial to the long-term enthusiasm, loyalty, and productivity of the company. If you have ever been on […]

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Communication is a vital management skill

May 12, 2016

A construction worker walked up to the reception desk at a doctor’s office and was asked why he was there. “I have shingles,” he replied. She asked for his name, address and insurance information and told him to have a seat. Ten minutes later, a nurse called his name, took him back to the examining room and asked him again why he came to the office.  Again, he answered, “I have shingles.”  She asked him some medical questions and told him to stay there until he could be seen. Another fifteen minutes passed, and a different nurse entered the room, […]

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I’ll never forget what’s-his-name

May 5, 2016

A man had gone to a circus as a small boy and decided to return years later.  He was sitting in a cheap seat when an elephant came along, reached up into the stands, wrapped his trunk gently about the man and carried him over to the best seat. The man turned to his neighbor and said, “That elephant remembered the last time I was here years ago.  I fed him peanuts.”  Just then the elephant came back, lifted his trunk, pointed it straight at the man and blew a stream of water in his face.  “I forgot I gave […]

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Slow and steady wins the day

April 28, 2016

You might have heard the saying:  If you are persistent you will get it.  If you are consistent you will keep it. This statement describes professional golfer Jordan Spieth to a tee.  Spieth was the defending champion of the Master’s Golf Tournament.  He led this year’s tournament for the first three rounds and had a five-stroke lead going into the final nine holes. Then things began to fall apart.  He proceeded to bogey two straight holes and then had a disastrous quadruple bogey on the 12th hole from which he never recovered, losing the tournament to Danny Willett. Spieth was […]

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Volunteerism: You often receive more than you give

April 21, 2016

Years ago, my father sat me down and gave me what was some of the best advice I have ever received.  It had nothing to do with making money but everything to do with getting ahead in the world.  It was self-help advice that really focused on helping others. He told me I would never have any trouble finding opportunities.  And he told me that 20-25 percent of my time should be devoted to this pursuit. “Volunteer,” he said.  Not exactly music to the ears of a broke, fresh out of college, aspiring millionaire.  But as I have come to […]

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Life lessons from the baseball diamond

April 14, 2016

Ah, the joys of spring:  longer daylight, budding flowers, farm babies, and, of course, opening day of our national pastime, baseball.  What a thrill to go to the game and “root, root, root for the home team.” I’ve found a day at the ballpark can also be very educational.  In the game of life, baseball teaches us a lot of lessons.  Here are a few classics: Know what business you’re in.  Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew once recalled playing in the yard with his father and brother.  While the three were roughhousing, Mrs. Killebrew rushed toward them exclaiming, […]

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A sense of humor is no joke

April 7, 2016

There is an Apache legend that the creator gave human beings the ability to talk and to run, and to look at things.  But in addition, the legend says he was not satisfied until he also gave them the ability to laugh.  After giving humans the ability to laugh, the creator said, “Now you are fit to live.” A good sense of humor helps to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable. “A sense of humor is the one thing no one will admit not having,” said none other than Mark […]

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The awesome dividend of self discipline

March 31, 2016

Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning’s determination to win Super Bowl 50 against the favored Carolina Panthers was riveting.  It reminded me of an earlier quote from him:  “Being there every week for my teammates is really important to me.  It’s about accountability.” That’s discipline, and it’s rooted in little things.  Isn’t everything?  Little things sow the seeds.  The harvest comes when you can discipline yourself to routinely face down life’s toughest complications and frustrations.  That’s a crystal clear window on the success of the oldest quarterback in Super Bowl history and the only starting one to win with two different […]

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Selling is not all about the product

March 24, 2016

Over my decades in business, I’ve noticed a baffling trend:  “sales” has become a dirty word.  I’m on a life-long campaign to change that. In fact, many companies no longer call sales people sales people.  They have account executives or account specialists, business developers, client advisors, relationship consultants, territory managers and numerous other monikers.  I even received an email from a radio station saying that they call their sales people business improvement planners. I’m not sure why the word “sales” seems to have such a negative connotation.  I still have “Envelope Salesman” on my business cards – and am proud […]

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Make points with persuasion

March 17, 2016

We are in the thick of the most unusual political seasons I can remember.  Who would have imagined the slate of hopefuls that spans the spectrum?  And what will it take for the candidates to convince voters that they should lead the country? Qualifications?  Sure.  Campaign promises?  Perhaps.  Appearance?   Doesn’t hurt.  The best opposition research?  Not necessarily. But the one factor that will always make the difference?   Persuasion – the same sales skill that sets the successful apart from the competition. Simply said, it doesn’t matter who has the best ideas or the most workable plans or the […]

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