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30Jun 2015

Head in Hands“I’m disappointed.” These are two painful words for anyone to hear whether you’re a child, employee or spouse. Disappointment is one of the most unpleasant things to experience.

When you disappoint someone at work (it is inevitable for us all), how can you address disappointment to rectify the situation in the quickest and most productive way?

  1. Apologize – If you are responsible, apologize for the disappointing behavior. If someone is disappointed, they are upset. Getting defensive will only cause the situation to get worse. Apologize for your role in the shortfall of expectations and look for ways to address the situation.
  2. Understand it – What happened to cause the disappointment? What did you do or what did the other person perceive? Was it a simple misunderstanding?  Could it be something simple, like you rushed through a project or forgot to check a detail of the project that made a significant impact later?  Maybe you took on more than you could handle and this is a wake-up call to scale things back. Find the cause so you can understand how to go forward positively.
  3. Identify a fix – Come to the table with possible solutions to prevent a repeat of the disappointment in the future. This has the potential to immediately reduce the disappointment and negative emotions. The person you are working with will be relieved to know that you are taking them seriously and willing to prevent future disappointment.
  4. Accept—nobody is perfect. And the fact you feel badly about disappointing someone is a sign of maturity. You are the kind of person who is intentional about keeping commitments and doing a good job.

No one wants to intentionally disappoint another but there will still be situations where it occurs. When faced with the challenge of falling short, use these four ideas to minimize the downsides and pave the way for future improvement.

23Jun 2015

5-friends-banner-mark-sanborn

Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Scott McKain:

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My buddy, former Vietnam POW Charlie Plumb, called me last week.  “Since you’re in town, why don’t you come over for dinner?  My friend Dick, you and I can grab something.”  Sounded like a plan!

Imagine my surprise to arrive at Charlie’s house to discover his friend is Dick Rutan – the aviation legend who flew around the world, non-stop, without refueling.  His plane hangs in the Smithsonian.

“Did you enjoy the feat while it was happening?” I asked.

“I was afraid every moment – I honestly thought I was going to die,” he responded.

“If you were convinced you were going to be killed…why did you forge ahead?”

He replied, “As a leader, for me to have to face those who followed and say, ‘I quit,’ was an option worse than death.  I couldn’t stand to think for the rest of my life I would look in the mirror and shave the face of a leader who quit on his team.”

Unfortunately, a trend I see is “leader as celebrity.”

Many see the “rock star” corporate leader and desire that fame…but won’t consider the commitment associated with it.

Real leaders understand their enormous responsibility to their followers – just like Dick Rutan.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com.


From Randy Pennington:

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Leadership hasn’t changed. It is and has always been about influencing people to do something because they want to do it.

Sorry. “Cutting edge” ideas like communicating the why; building trust; engagement, and building culture have existed forever.

King Solomon taught the importance of focus and understandingthe why: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Napoleon gave advice on building engagement: “A leader is a dealer in hope.”

The idea of treating people with respect isn’t new. Dwight Eisenhower said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.”

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu taught that the best leaders walk beside those they serve. And, the early legends of American business—such as Harley Procter of Procter & Gamble, Thomas Watson of IBM, and James Cash Penney of JCPenney—believed that success ultimately depends on a strong culture.

Three things are changing: follower expectations for involvement and connection; the absence of a common set of values; and the complexities of operating in a 24-7, global marketplace. Leaders must be more intentional and creative than ever about fulfilling their responsibility. The “how” evolves, but the job of leadership never changes.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change and disruption. He is an award-winning author, speaker, and consultant. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.


From Larry Winget:

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I am a political junkie. I watch everything about the declared and still-undeclared candidates. As I watch the responses to the overly-abundant crop of Presidential wannabes, it’s been interesting to see what resonates with people. Trump, Christie, Jeb, Walker, Perry, Rubio and Hillary are candidates that speak to what we are looking for or looking to avoid in our leaders. Boldness, straight-talk, same ol’ same ol’, unafraid, old school values, fresh new ideas, and trustworthiness are words being used to describe these candidates (same order btw). I believe the new trends in leadership are going to be based on this list of descriptions. Too bad that many of these words have gotten to the point of being called “new” and might create a leadership trend (which speaks volumes to how low we have sunk.) All too often our leaders have none of these qualities or only a few. Too bad we can’t play Mr. Potato Head and create the perfect leader. Instead, we can only try to emulate these qualities in our own lives. Followers/employees/voters/constituents want a trustworthy, straight-talking, bold, unafraid leader with old-school values and fresh ideas. We want this from both our political and our business leaders.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.


From Joe Calloway:

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I saw continuing evidence of a trend in leadership this week with one of my clients.  Joseph Choi is a new franchisee for Shelf Genie. As he built his business his strategy was to focus on one thing: culture.  Joseph believed that if you build the right culture, that everything else will fall into place.

Shelf Genie executives say that Joseph’s business is off to a record start and they credit his success to the incredible culture he has built.

From large companies like Tractor Supply Company to smaller businesses like my buddy Marty Grunder’s landscaping company, the evidence is clear.  If leaders create the right culture by design and with intention, success is sure.  Without the right culture, it’s almost impossible to succeed.

What used to be considered the “soft stuff” is now being correctly recognized by effective business leaders as the “main stuff.”

“Engaging the hearts, minds, and hands of talent is the most sustainable source of competitive advantage.” – Greg Harris – Quantum Workplace

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission.”  – Jack Welch

“To make customers happy, we have to make sure our employees are happy first.” – Zappos

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com


From Mark Sanborn:

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“I can now say without hyperbole that leadership is dead.”

Warren Bennis said that…in 1999. He then went on to write more books and articles about leadership.

Leadership is not dead, but followership might be. The biggest change I see in leadership is how those we lead view themselves.

Increasingly many view the concept of a single leader skeptically. They know someone may be charged with leading— a department, project, process or organization—but they know things of complexity and magnitude take lots of leadership from many involved to achieve success.

So leaders shouldn’t think of those they lead as “followers” because those they lead don’t think or act that way. Especially among younger employers, “follower” seems too subservient, just as nobody in customer service wants to be thought of as a “sevant.” They consider themselves “contributors,” “team members” and “colleagues.”

Words matter and in this case reveal the leader’s orientation. As a formal leader, I prefer to lead a team of contributors where everyone knows their role and when it is appropriate for him or her to lead.

Leaders still need to lead, but the followers of old now need to do more than follow.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

16Jun 2015

UntitledIn our lifetimes, phone communication has moved from landlines to pagers to flip phones to iPhones and Androids. And we’ve become inundated with emails. Just 20 years ago all mail was printed or written, but today we are bombarded with hundreds of emails daily. Ironic, isn’t it, that the very transitions that brought us closer together as a society have also moved us farther apart?

While much personal connection has dissipated, one area in particular that is being “recaptured” by society is the art of the thank you note.

In the past, thank you notes were a cornerstone of society. Social events and networking opportunities alike benefited from the art of the thank you. Now, we contact our friends, colleagues and potential business partners by clogging up an already noisy portal of their lives with easy to send impersonal messages. You can cut through the noise, if you embrace the art of an appropriate and personal thank you.

Handwriting a thank you note can make a significant impression. It shows that you made time to express appreciation rather than taking the easy route of email. The personal touch stands out in an often impersonal world.

Here are some ideas you can use:

  1. If you are working with a donor or client, send them something that thanks them for their commitment to your organization. It will speak volumes more than an email or social media post.
  2. Calling someone who you met at a conference is a pleasantly surprising way to make new contacts.
  3. Send a thank you note to a potential client expressing appreciation for the consideration they’ve given you and your firm.
  4. Try a note of appreciation to a friend or spouse who needs to know how much you value them.

Notes don’t need to be long although writing specifically and personally makes the sentiment more powerful.

Want to improve your relationships, reputation and business results? Get personal and start with some stationary.

 

09Jun 2015

5-friends-banner-mark-sanborn

Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Mark Sanborn:

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My father spoke much good advice with me, but he demonstrated even more.

What impacted me most happened one holiday season when I was a boy.

My father was a loan supervisor for a federal agency. It was against the rules to accept gifts of any kind, even if those gifts were given in sincere appreciation. Loan approvals had to be made fairly and without any expectation of reward from the borrower.

One day I came home from school and found a giant gift basket of fruit, candy and other goodies, beautifully wrapped and sitting on the porch of our home.

I was examining it closely and even considering opening it to grab a treat when my dad came out of the house.

“Don’t,” he said. “It’s a gift and as much as I appreciate the gesture, I can’t take it. I’m sending it back.”

What I saw that day was my father living with integrity. I will never forget the advice of his example.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.


From Scott McKain:

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It’s impossible for me to describe how popular my father was back home.  Suffice it to say that if I were elected President, my hometown news would proclaim, “Dallas McKain’s Son Wins!”

Our family owned a grocery in Crothersville, Indiana.  The way my Dad treated people and served customers not only helped us survive when a supermarket came to town – we thrived to the point that the larger retailer closed.

The McKain’s had a country music band — Dad sang and played lead guitar, with brothers on bass and rhythm. (And, for several years in my teens – me on drums!)  We played just about every local dance, wedding, and event you could imagine.  We opened concerts for Hall of Fame performers – and in some of the worst clubs you could imagine.

Regardless of the size of the venue, status of the audience, or condition of the crowd, I saw Dad engage every person with respect, giving attention to anyone who wanted his time.

When Dad passed, his obituary was the front page of the local newspaper.

Dallas McKain’s best advice was that his life taught me that the highest calling is to serve – and demonstrate that you care about – others.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com.


From Randy Pennington:

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Like many in his generation, my Dad taught a lot without saying much. Here are four important lessons I carry with me today:

  1. There is nothing nobler than hard work flawlessly executed. My Dad worked hard all of his life. He left home at age 16 to help support his family by working in the CCC camps. I took my first summer job at age 12 because he expected me to work. Starting at age 16, I was expected to work at least a part-time year round.
  2. Live your beliefs – don’t talk about them. My Dad had a strong faith, but he never broadcast it. And, he would never publicly condemn others if they didn’t share his beliefs.
  3. Help others when you can. I remember my Dad walking out on the front porch; taking $20 from his wallet; and giving it to an employee he supervised to help him make it through the week.
  4. Create a life of happy memories. The evening before he died, my Dad closed his eyes, recounted his life, and gently whispered, “Happy memories. So many happy memories.” That is the true testament of a life well lived.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change and disruption. He is an award-winning author, speaker, and consultant. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.


From Larry Winget:

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My Dad was full of great advice. He never went to college or made much money but was full of love, laughter and country boy wisdom.   These are some of my favorites:

“Smile, it don’t cost nothing.”  The grammar isn’t right, but the message is.

“The lazy man works the hardest.”  This one has a couple of messages: 1. A lazy man will work harder getting out of work than he would have if he had just done the work.  2. Respect the task enough to give it the necessary time and effort. I heard this one when I would try to carry too much so I wouldn’t have to make two trips. Then I would drop stuff, maybe breaking it, and end up taking longer than if I had just made two trips.

“If you go to work for someone, give them their monies worth.”  If you don’t, you are a thief because you are stealing their money by stealing the time you are being paid for.

“A man is only as good as his word.”  This one shaped me more than about any other set of words ever spoken to me.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.


From Joe Calloway:

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“How much money have you saved up for it?”

That’s what my Dad would say when I told him that I wanted a bicycle, a motorcycle, a set of golf clubs, or whatever it was that I wanted at the time.  The message, both spoken and by example, was simple:  Go to work.

My Dad was a country banker.  He also had a small dairy farm, which meant that before sunrise we milked the cows, took the milk to the processing plant, then went home and got ready for school and work.  Same thing in the evening.  We milked the cows.

The advice of “you can have and accomplish pretty much anything you want if you’re willing to work for it” imbued me with a work ethic that runs from my head down to the tips of my toes.  If the sun is up, I feel the need to be doing constructive work.

Sometimes, it’s been almost to a fault.  It’s taken me a long time to learn to chill out and not feel guilty for not working all hours of the day.  But, trust me, I’ve gotten pretty good at it now.

“If you want it, work for it.”

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

01Jun 2015

How do you “delete” a customer or client?red-delete-square-button-md

Here’s an example:

I found a great masseuse near my office. Getting older and living in airplane seats makes therapeutic massage a necessity for me rather than a luxury.

I liked the online scheduling option so used it to make appointments. Last time I tried to schedule, nothing happened. So I emailed her directly to inquire about an appointment. I never heard back.

My guess was she might have moved her practice. But even if that was the case, wouldn’t she let me know where she’d relocated? I needed and wanted her professional service and may well have been willing to drive the extra distance.

A few days ago I learned that the business where she leased space was closing at the end of the month. The masseuse was relocating by necessity.

But I’d already been deleted. When we ignore a customer or client, for any reason, it is tantamount to deleting the relationship. The unspoken message is, “I have no need to do business with you anymore.”

Unreturned phone calls? Delete.

Unanswered questions? Delete.

Lack of follow through? Delete.

Finding and keeping customers is difficult and expensive for most businesses. Don’t accidentally or inadvertently delete the customers and clients you have.

26May 2015

5-friends-banner-mark-sanborn

Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Joe Calloway:

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Scout is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He teaches three great lessons:

Be glad to see everybody. Scout breaks out into massive and enthusiastic tail-wagging no matter who comes around. Certainly with any of the family he’s goofy with joy to see us. But it extends to our friends and even total strangers. Scout is always willing to give anybody the benefit of the doubt and expect the best from them unless proven otherwise.

Accept the love. People are sometimes uncomfortable accepting compliments, good deeds, positive attention, or expressions and demonstrations of love. Scout has no problem with any of that. He lives his life as if it is utterly, totally normal for everybody to absolutely adore him. When he gets gooey attention and affection from everyone, his attitude seems to be that everything in the universe is in perfect order. All is as it should be.

Tend to people when they need it. Scout has an uncanny sense of when one of us doesn’t feel well or is upset about something. If Cate, for example, has been crying, Scout will go straight to her, rest his chin on her leg, and just sit with her until she feels better. Now that’s a lesson.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com


From Mark Sanborn:

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We own two Toy Fox Terriers. They are little mutts that weigh about 5 pounds each. Grace and Bella are beloved family members and they continually remind me of three very important things:

Happiness in the moment. When I get up to feed them in the morning they couldn’t be any more happy or excited even though someone feeds them every single morning. Seeing them zip around and jump up and down in anticipation brings a smile to my face even when I’m tired and grumpy.

Laser-like focus. Obviously, these mutts love to eat. They eat with ferocious abandon. They lick their bowls until I think they’re going to wear a hole in the metal. Then they search thoroughly to make sure they haven’t missed anything I might have dropped. I’d like to always bring that kind of focus to the important things I do.

Reciprocal love and affection. We love our dogs because they love us. Even when we fail or are unpleasant, they still love us. How many other people or creatures can we say that about? Their reciprocity is proof that to have more love in your life, be more loving.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.


From Scott McKain:

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Ironically, I had just started to write this, when I looked and saw that our 7-month-old puppy, Lucy, had her eyes half-shut, and was about to topple over.

As she is usually non-stop energy, Tammy and I tried to awaken her and see if we could figure out what was wrong – to no avail.  Scooping her up in my arms, I ran to the car to make the quick trip to our nearby pet hospital.  I thought she might have been bitten by a snake, or somehow found a pill accidently dropped.

By our arrival, Lucy was coming around a little. After an examination by the veterinarian, we’re still at a loss as to what happened.  Perhaps a seizure – maybe a circulation problem?  We hope to know more soon.

What I’ve learned – reinforced just today– is the depth of caring we have for our dogs.  Immanuel Kant wrote, “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

It’s not a coincidence that my friends here all have similar attitudes about their dogs that I do concerning mine. The caring they have – as I have for Bonzo and Lucy – hopefully reflects how we feel about the world.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com.


From Randy Pennington:

Pennington

Jackson is a Parti Poodle. Regular Poodles are one color. Parti’s are bred to be black and white. Every dog has a unique personality, and Jackson is no different. Here are three lessons he teaches:

Keep your eyes on what’s important. Jackson’s favorite toy is a ball. And, he always knows the location of at least one of them. If it is important, keep your eyes on it.

Stay close to those you love. Jackson has loved my wife since the day we picked him up. He lives in our home, but he is definitely her dog first. He spends 98 percent of his day on my wife’s desk, curled up in a box under her desk, or on the sofa across the room so that he can keep an eye on her.

Sometimes you have to say “Screw it. I’m going for it.” Jackson is a bolter. He knows that he’s not supposed to run loose in the neighborhood, but there are times when he can’t help himself. He pauses for a moment like he knows he will be in trouble and then goes for it. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.


From Larry Winget:

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Ralphie is an Engligh Bulldog. Gus is a French Bulldog. I am a Pitbull. All of these bulldogs love each other unconditionally. My boys have taught me much about life and relationships. If you have a dog, you will recognize these lessons.

  • Eat when you’re hungry and quit when you’re full.
  • Naps are good.
  • When someone wants to pet you, slow down and enjoy it.
  • Be nice: there might be a treat in it for you.
  • Going for a walk makes life better.
  • There is plenty to be excited about; especially, the doorbell.
  • Don’t hold grudges.
  • When someone is mad and screaming, it’s not always about you.  Stay out of it.
  • A ball is more fun than TV.
  • I don’t care who you are, what you do for a living, how much money you have or what you’re wearing; if you are nice, I’ll like you.
  • Always be ready for anything: if you aren’t, you might miss something.
  • Snuggling on a rainy day is a hard thing to beat.

Look! There’s a bird!!!!!

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

19May 2015

How do leaders accomplish more than others? And how do they achieve

IQ bulb great things with others? I believe a leader’s success is due to his or her IQ: implementation quotient. That is the difference between common knowledge and consistent application. Implementation isn’t just about having good ideas; it is about acting on them.

In a longitudinal study by Fortune magazine, 70% of CEO failure was because of his or her failure to deliver results. Many leaders start with grandiose visions but depart their positions with dreams unfulfilled.

If you desire to achieve more, you can easily increase your IQ. Here’s how to do it:

1) Dream big.

Don’t become a victim of puny dreams. Not only will those dreams fail to compel others to action, they will also fail to ignite and maintain your own passion.

Little dreams are almost as bad as no dreams at all. My friend Erwin McManus says it well: If you’re big enough for your dreams, your dreams aren’t big enough for you. Dreams should challenge us, not comfort us.

2) Plan small.

This step is critical. Once you have the dream, you need the details. That requires asking four key questions.

What compelling reasons do we have for doing this? The power to achieve any goal lies in the purpose behind it. Compelling reasons are the fuel of motivation.

What needs to be done? Identify the specific steps and components of the project that cumulatively are necessary for success?

Who will do what? Identify who is specifically who responsible for each piece of the project. This is essential to create accountability. Many projects have failed because everybody thought somebody else was doing what needed to be done.

When will things get done?
The timeline for a project is another aspect of accountability. The goal is timely completion. By developing a timeline of completion, it is easy to track progress towards the goal.

3) Collaborate with others.

Encourage and appreciate the people on your team. If you’ve “planned small,” each team member knows what he or she is responsible for doing. Track individual progress and regress, and monitor the timeline.

Make people accountable for results rather than activity. People can look busy and accomplish little. Measure what you treasure –results.

4) Implement boldly.

Remember that people will be watching your performance. How you act will greatly influence their enthusiasm and commitment. The quality of one’s performance is the best indicator of his or her commitment and belief.

Whatever you choose to do, do it like there is nothing else you would rather be doing.

5) Keep striving.

Jean-Pierre Rampal, a renowned flautist, said “There are nights I go out and play a piece perfectly. Then the next night, I go out and play it better.”

As you and your team execute the plan, keep looking for ways to make it even better. Completion is the goal, but the higher goal is to achieve the best possible results.

And if things get off track, convert discouragement into determination by focusing on what has gone right, and what can be done to address what has gone wrong. Complaining identifies obstacles, but leadership overcomes them.

When you do these things, you will achieve the kind of results that most people only dream of attaining.

Adapted from You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Positive Difference by Mark Sanborn, Currency.

14May 2015

In the most recent Five Friends post, “You’re Fired,” there is a common thread.5 friends commentary

The situations and the kind of people or organizations who got fired vary greatly, from a landscaping company to a restaurant chain to a medical doctor.

The reasons for the firings vary, too. Some were triggered by something relatively small like a lack of responsiveness or food wrappers in backyard.

Others were caused by something significant like the lack for care for a patient’s needs and a nightmarish attempt to collect money that was owed.

What all had in common was this: each situation created negative emotion.

The deciding factor in business is usually how people feel about doing business with you, regardless of the product or service you provide.

When customers leave happy, they tend to come back.

When they leave unhappy, they tend to leave forever.

Make a customer angry enough and he or she will formally fire you.

Here are three questions to consider:

  1. Are customers happier when they do business with you? If not, what will you do differently?
  2. Are customers unhappier after they do business with you? If so, what will you do to change?
  3. What are you doing to teach you team how to create positive emotions and experiences and prevent firings?

Bring Mark Sanborn to you: for information click here.

12May 2015

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Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.


From Randy Pennington:

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We fired the service that had done all of our lawn care, landscaping, tree trimming, and holiday lights for 17 years. There wasn’t one single incident that caused us to leave. It was the culmination of a number of little things over an 18 month period.

In the beginning, the owner closely supervised the crews, paid attention to quality, and was excellent in following up and communicating. Then again, his business was new and hungry.

Over the years, the service level and responsiveness diminished. Emails and telephone messages went unanswered for up to a week. The quality of the work became inconsistent, and we could no longer count on him to follow-through on requests without constant prodding.

And yet, we weren’t really looking to change. He’s a good guy, and we tried to understand when he told us that he had so much business that keeping up was difficult. But we fired this provider for the same reasons that many personal relationships fail – inattention. We felt ignored and taken for granted. Someone made us feel wanted by asking for our business, and we said, “What have we got to lose?”

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.


From Joe Calloway:

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A couple of years ago I fired a company that had become irrelevant to me, but the ensuing madness and incompetence was almost beyond description. I will never do business with them again. I had a telephone line with AT&T for my office – a land line that I almost never used. Finally I pulled the plug, cancelled the service and that was that. Not.

For six months I dealt with AT&T reps who threatened me with collection agency action for my unpaid bill – on a line I had cancelled months earlier. One rep would say “I’ll take care of it.” The next day I’d get a letter from their legal department saying “You’re delinquent on your bill – we’re suing.” Back and forth, to and fro, one rep more incompetent and uncaring than the next.

I think the two, big, common mistakes that AT&T made were 1) having a system in which one department had no idea what another was doing, and, 2) hiring people who simply didn’t care about the customer.

I guess if I were to boil it down even more, I’d say to AT&T, “Don’t be incompetent. Don’t be mean. Don’t be stupid.”

Peace out.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com


From Larry Winget:

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I set an appointment to buy garage doors.  He didn’t show and didn’t call to let me know he was running late. He didn’t answer his phone when I called. When he got there four hours later, I told him I wasn’t doing business with him because he was disrespectful of my time and that if he couldn’t keep his word about an appointment, then I didn’t trust his doors, quote or delivery date.

An air conditioning company left a mess behind after working on my air conditioner. They could have sold me a new one, but after leaving their food wrappers and wire clippings in my yard, I found another company.

A doctor’s receptionist told me to “go sit down” when I inquired why it was an hour after my appointment time and I still hadn’t been seen.  I’m a grown man; you don’t get to talk to me like I’m 7 years old when I inquire why you can’t keep your word.

My motto: Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it. If you don’t, you’re a liar and we won’t do business.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.


From Mark Sanborn:

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I fired one of my favorite restaurant chains.

I took my family to our local Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen to celebrate a birthday. The experience was a parody of what should have happened: slow service, wrong drink orders, wrong food orders and more. It was exasperating.

A young manager, however, saved the day. She comped the entire meal and provided me a $50 gift certificate to encourage me to return.

I tried to compliment her to corporate. The website feedback form was convoluted but I filled in the required information and praised the assistant manager. The promised “response within 48 hours” never came.

I called corporate to follow up. Whoever I spoke to wasn’t very helpful, so I asked for a manager to call me. Instead the local store manager called and left a message. He said he’d be out of town for a few days and would follow up when he returned. He never did.

When I tried to use the $50 certificate, I found unexpected restrictions. It was the final straw.

At the time I was writing a Five Friends blog about our favorite restaurants. I dropped Pappadeauxs from the list.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.


From Scott McKain:

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My wife and I were sharing with her oncologist about our just-completed weekend in Napa.

The doctor said to us, “Don’t spend your time doing frivolous things like Napa.  Your life will be ending soon.”

I was flabbergasted – why would you not want to enjoy the time you had left?

“Sheri’s situation is terminal and she will be gone soon.”  The doctor was talking as if my wife wasn’t sitting right there in front of her.

Standing up, and looking at the doctor, I said three words to her: “You are fired.”

Her jaw dropped.  “You can’t fire me,” she replied, “I’m a doctor.”

“Call it whatever you want,” I said, “but you will never see us again.”

We found another oncologist – a wonderful, compassionate doctor – and Sheri had another three years of full living, enjoying each day.

Sometimes when we think about firing, we tend to think of the examples of retailers or service providers that are mentioned by my friends here.

Yet, when professionals at the highest level of social respect fail to exhibit empathy, or place themselves on a pedestal that interferes with the experience of the customer, client, or patient – they, too, deserve to be fired.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com.

05May 2015

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a group of seventh graders from Berean Christian School. Their teacher, Kevyn Brown, had them read the Fred Factor and then we discussed the book over Skype. I was really pleased by how well they interpreted and understood the messages of the Fred Factor.  This group of seventh graders truly got the concepts and were able to discuss them in an impressive manner. They shared with me their favorite messages from the book and I have chosen some of my favorites to share with you:

The smallest things can impact people’s lives.Fred Factor Mark Sanborn

Everyone makes a difference no matter how old you are.

How to treat and make people feel good – It doesn’t have to cost a thing. A compliment can change someone’s world.

You can be a Fred even without saying a word.

Being a Fred means fighting the urge to be lazy.

Be a Fred even when no one is watching.

Do more for others than I do for myself.

Be a Fred even if there is no reward given.

Do things that are unexpected.

I like being caught doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing.

Being a Fred means being kind wherever you are.

Each and every student had a positive response to the book. These students now have some incredible tools to make a difference in the world as they grow and mature within it. I hope you will share the Fred Factor with students, of all ages, in your life.

What is your key learning from the Fred Factor?

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