Monday, April 30, 2012

Lost in Translation

By now you know that I have been traveling internationally for the past 4 months ~ with that in mind, you must also know that I need to have my nails done, hair colored and I run out of the usual amenities such as a "razor." This is where I find how much we have in common but how different we communicate. When my co-worker called down and asked for a razor, the bellman brought an "eraser." When I tried to explain that I had a "cow lick" in my bangs when getting my hair done, the stylist brought me a "food magazine with a picture of beef" on the cover. Although very funny - it just goes to show that we are still very close but oh so far away. And this my friends was just about personal needs, not about corporate business, politics or heavy conversation. That is where things really go a miss. So today try to communicate with a global touch. Ask deeper questions, try to understand each other in their own world and be a "teacher." Try and help others out and learn to take their help as well. Your way is not the only way and when you live like a global citizen you learn to love "all people."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When Do You Walk Away?

There are times in business and in your personal life when you feel you have done everything you can do to get to a certain goal. How long do you strive? How much effort do you put in, before you finally give up? Knowing me, like most of you do would imagine that I would say NEVER – Never Give Up! But that brings up a good point. What are you missing while you continue to try and reach a goal that looks like it will never be achieved? Goals must be aggressive but realistic at the same time. Did you consult with anyone before setting your goal? Did you look at what worked in the past and what did not work? In sales, we sometimes are told what accounts to go after, what market share to steal without a lot of direction. You can’t achieve your goals if you are doing what you have always done. The same thing applies to your personal life. You will never lose the weight, quit smoking, start exercising, live a healthier life style, save money or buy that house, if you just keep doing what you always have done. Get bold and place your top 3 goals on a large sheet of paper and place them where everyone can see them. Then ask for feedback. Give everyone Post-It notes and ask that they write down ideas for you to help get you to your goal. You will be amazed at the results. Much more than that – you will be blown away at how real your friends, colleagues and family will be as they call it like it is and set you on your final path to reaching the goals that you have never achieved. So yes – NEVER GIVE UP – but start asking for help!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Everything I Learn About a City, I Learn at the Beauty Salon!

I believe that the “real” people of a city are the employees who are least likely to be asked about where to eat, shop and what the best sites are in a city – these people are the doorman at hotels, sales clerks in stores and for me the hairdresser at a beauty salon! Yes it is “Steel Magnolia” – I know that is what you are thinking. I have begun to spoil myself and when I arrive in a city I go and have my hair blown out – just like the movie stars! I talk to my stylists, the shampoo person and the receptionist. I ask about their favorite local restaurants, where they get massages and what would they suggest we do for the weekend before we start work on Monday. Without fail, I find the best spots -- The local foot massage in Hong Kong which costs 150 HKD vs. the hotel spa where the cost is 900 HKD. I guarantee you if you visit me in my home town I will show you the best spots – not the most expensive. So, even if you don’t get your hair done all the time I invite you to talk to the locals and find out what is really the best in the city you are visiting. Remember who wants a concierge on auto pilot. The real passion is the person who loves their city!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Self Promotion

So... I am reading a leading sales and marketing magazine and there is an entire 4 page article dedicated to the subject of “How to Hire the Best Sales Trainer for Your Sales Team.” As I read the article, I realize that the author is actually a sales trainer and everything he is suggesting is promoting himself. Here is where I think that some “subject matter experts” have become vanilla in the world of professionalism. Sure, I can write a great article about why you should hire me – but in my mind that would be considered a promotional piece – not an editorial by a “subject matter expert.” The time has come for the charlatans in business today to be recognized as self promoting corporate cowards! I know this is strong language – but nothing is more aggravating than listening and reading about people that self promote without calling it that. We live in a world of organizations that recognize each other constantly, awards are given out to each other by each other, and even some organizations have figured out ways to pay for customers to post great things about them. Enough is Enough! Can’t we just win fair and square? Hard work pays off and the customers know who they can depend on. Promote yourself all you want – I do believe in self promotion but at least call it that and not an editorial.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fly The Friendly Skies!

Let me be the first to say that I love flying. I love the time to read, watch movies, listen to music and catch up on the all important sleep. BUT… let me also be the first to say that I love – and I mean love talking to people.

Now of course some of you reading this are thinking – “Please don’t talk to me.” But, then again you must be a person who doesn’t “need” anyone! I am the opposite. I “need” everyone. I believe strongly in serendipity or the random moments of connection.

Of course, you are a weary traveler – you made it through security without the “friendly pat down” or 'TSA Massage' as I call it, you got a bite before the flight, bought the most recent magazines and are all settled in. And then you meet Cindy!

At least introduce yourself to your seat companion – “Hi my name is Cindy, looks like you have some great magazines for the flight.” You may be thinking – no way, but I challenge your thinking. You are going to be sitting next to this person for a few hours and in my case sleeping next to this person on long haul flights. I think it is only polite to say hello.
I look for some common interests. Recently on a flight back from the Middle East I sat next to a gentleman who was carrying a guitar. Of course I mentioned the guitar and asked what kind of music he played and where he was playing on this trip. He said we are with a band that plays Persian music and I said, oh I used to go to a Persian restaurant in Irvine and I loved their music. This created a great conversation that lead to many more interests and now a new customer for our restaurant.

Of course, there is always time to read your book, watch the movie and move into your “zen zone.” But I will argue with anyone that doesn’t want to talk to people on planes. Likeminded people find common interests and they find new opportunities. Unless you love pounding the pavement for new contacts and new business I would suggest saying hello to your seat mate on your next flight.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Leader of the Pack Makes All the Difference!

As I sit with yet another client (not mentioning who, what, where or when) I find it utterly ridiculous that a senior leader could be so detrimental to a team. A leader who comes in and sits down with a new team of people and runs the meeting like this:
• “I am here to change things up and (points with a finger) you, you and you need to change how you are working right now”

• “I don’t care how this makes you feel – this is who I am and this is how I work – take it or leave it!”

• “This is not personal – it is work”

So I ask you as a reader of my blog – how does this make you feel? Even if you were taking over the toughest, worst and unproductive team of people, would you start like this? How dare anyone in a leadership role today treat people so poorly? People, I might add, are what make a company function – a leader alone can’t produce the results needed. Maybe this leader has a lot of work to do and doesn’t feel the team in place can do it. How can this leader make this decision so fast?
So my message today for any of you taking over a new team –
• Start with a clean slate
• Give a motivational and energetic welcome to all employees
• Lay out your plan to make some positive changes that will affect everyone in a positive way
• Share your ideas of how you are going to turn things around for more productivity
• Meet individually with all your direct reports and have a candid, open and honest conversation while listening to them as well
• Attend each one of your direct reports first meeting with their departments to hear how they give “your message” and correct any of the “he said, she said” stuff
• Treat everyone as if they are the most important person on your team and give them solid feedback and direction so that they understand what is expected of them so they can live up to it

At the end of the day, you can continue to replace “people” but who may need replacing is the leader that just doesn’t get it!