Dig your well before you’re thirsty

January 11, 2018

If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it is the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts. Although I never met David Rockefeller, he certainly would have fit in this category.  When he passed away in March 2017 at the age of 101, “Bloomberg News” revealed that he had an “electronic Rolodex” of 150,000 people.  “The Wall Street Journal” recently reported it was 200,000.  He was a master networker during his 24 years as the head of Chase Manhattan Bank and 60 years […]

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A new year brings change

January 4, 2018

A new year often brings new beginnings.  I was intrigued to discover how one company used a novel way to motivate employees to think about new ways of doing things. Here is the approach practiced by Chiyoji Misawa, who founded the largest home builder in Japan, Misawa Homes, more than 50 years ago.  He “died” at least once every decade to arrest the momentum of out-of-date assumptions and policies.  He sent a memo to his company that formally announced “the death of your president.” According to Robert H. Waterman, Jr. in his book, “The Renewal Factor,” this was Misawa’s way […]

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Putting the fun in fundraising

December 28, 2017

A little girl asked to see the president of a large company.  She explained that her club was raising money and asked if he would contribute. Smiling, he laid a quarter and a dollar bill on his desk and said, “Take whichever one you want.” The little girl said, “My mother taught me to take the smallest piece, but I’ll take this piece of paper to wrap it in so I won’t lose it.”  Smart kid. Fundraising is one of those necessary tasks that enable great causes and scare people silly, all at the same time.  Even when needs are […]

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Look for these traits in future leaders

December 14, 2017

I don’t care if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a small business owner or a manager or supervisor; you are only as good as the people around you.  In other words, it’s important to surround yourself with success-oriented people.  When hiring, always try to pick future leaders.  They may not be easy to recognize, but they’re crucial to an organization that wants to be innovative and intrapreneurial.  Here’s a list of factors that can help you identify and develop potential leaders on your staff: Collaboration.  Look for employees who communicate well, delegate effectively and build strong personal […]

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How to deal with disappointment

December 7, 2017

His team was behind one run in the ninth inning, the bases were loaded with two out, and the leading hitter on the team was coming to bat.  The crowd sat on the edge of its seat as he swung two bats in the on-deck circle, picked up the rosin bag, dropped it, straightened his helmet, knocked the dirt from his spikes, wiped his brow, raised the bat over his shoulder and wiggled it, pounded it on the plate, dug his spikes in, reached forward – and then watched the pitcher pick the runner off third base. We all deal […]

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Curiosity can set life on path of discovery

November 30, 2017

Thomas Edison once visited Luther Burbank, the famed horticulturist, who invited every guest who visited his home to sign the guest book.  Each line in the book had a space for the guest’s name, address and special interests.  When Edison signed the book, in the space marked “Interested in,” Edison wrote:  “Everything!” Thomas Edison, who was awarded more than 1,000 patents, was a prime example of curiosity.  He said, “The ideas I use are mostly the ideas of other people who don’t develop them themselves.” That was an understatement.  In his lifetime, Edison invented the incandescent light, the phonograph, the […]

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Why do we need a sense of urgency?

November 16, 2017

The founder of a highly successful company was asked what it took to succeed.  He answered:  “The same thing it took to get started; a sense of urgency about getting things done.” The people who make things happen share the same sense of urgency.  Ask any entrepreneur to list the keys to getting their company off the ground, and urgency will be among the traits listed. No matter how intelligent or able you may be, if you don’t have a sense of urgency you better start developing it now.  The world is full of competent people who honestly intend to […]

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Perspective deserves a second look

November 9, 2017

A woman hired a bricklayer to build a wall outside her upscale home.  Talking with him while he worked, she was amazed to discover he was the brother of a brilliant concert violinist whom she’d recently seen perform.  “Oh, you’re so lucky to have such a talented brother,” she said.  Then, fearing the man might misinterpret her remarks as being critical of his manual labor job, she added:  “Of course, we can’t all be equally talented.” “You said it, lady,” the man responded.  “Take my brother; when it comes to doing something important like building a house, he’s useless.” And […]

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Kids teach us great lessons

November 2, 2017

A little girl visited a farm one day and wanted to buy a large watermelon. The farmer said, “That will be $3.” “But I’ve only got 30 cents,” said the young girl. The farmer pointed to a very small watermelon in the field and said, “How about that one?” “Okay, I’ll take it,” said the little girl.  “But leave it on the vine.  I’ll be back for it in a month.” Now there’s a young girl who is destined to succeed. Children teach us many lessons.  For example, kids are more creative and are more imaginative.  Children don’t know what […]

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For best results, avoid temptation at work

October 26, 2017

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city and attached the following message to his windshield:  “I have circled this block 10 times.  I have an appointment to keep.  Forgive us our trespasses.” When he returned to his car he found this reply attached to his own note along with a parking ticket:  “I’ve circled this block for 10 years.  If I don’t give you a ticket, I lose my job.  Lead us not into temptation.” We are all tempted in many ways.  We want to purchase something, but don’t have the funds.  We know […]

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Appreciation increases your value

October 19, 2017

A man attending a seminar on interpersonal relationships became convinced of the need for him to begin showing appreciation to people.  His family seemed like an appropriate place to start.  So on his way home, he picked up a dozen long-stem roses and a box of chocolates.  This was going to be a real surprise, and he was excited to begin showing his wife how much he appreciated her. Arriving home, he walked up to the front door with his hands full, rang the doorbell and waited for his wife to answer.  Immediately upon seeing him, she began to cry. […]

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First impressions last

August 31, 2017

There are many things in life that you can do multiple times.  Making a first impression isn’t one of them. First impressions are lasting.  Once a first impression is made, if it’s less than great, unfortunately it takes a long time to change it.  Experts say it takes between five and 15 seconds for someone to form a first impression about a person.  According to William Thourlby in his book “You Are What You Wear:  The Key to Business Success,” the first time we meet someone, we’re trying to size them up.  People look at socio-economic status, level of education, […]

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Brevity is the soul of communicating

August 25, 2017

A third grader had to do a book report, and he chose a Socrates biography.  His report consisted of three succinct sentences: Socrates was a philosopher. He talked a lot. They killed him. Not much more to say about brevity.  Maybe that’s why U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Be sincere.  Be brief.  Be seated.” Another U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson once said:  “If I am to speak for 10 minutes, I need a week for preparation; if 15 minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”  This is a good explanation for […]

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Sales techniques that work as hard as you do

August 17, 2017

Whether you run your own business or work for a company in a sales-related role, you’re always looking for sales techniques that work.  I’ve developed and learned many over the years from readers providing great advice. One person advised me to ask yes and yes questions.  He worked for Hyatt and asked himself, “What else can I do for Hyatt?”  Then it hit him – “Increase the average check price.” He said:  “Restaurants are always looking to grow the average amount of money their diners spend.  Usually, they do this by pushing wine and other alcoholic beverages, and dessert.  But those weren’t options […]

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Decide to be a decision maker

August 10, 2017

A confused young man went to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist intently listened to his patient and then offered his insight. “It appears to me you have trouble making decisions.  Would you agree?” The young man pondered for a moment and then responded, “Well, yes and no.” Many people struggle with making decisions.  Whether the issue is personal or professional, the inability to decide on a course of action can ruin relationships or careers. “Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail,” said leadership guru John Maxwell.  “Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific […]

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