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I love our people!

“Once you get to the point to where you see your people like I see the Citgo sign, you will know exactly what I am talking about.”

Okay, work with me here (all of you that are not from the greater Boston Area). There is something about that sign (and every city has its own landmark). When you see the Citgo sign, you know you are in one of the greatest cities in the world and right around the corner from the legendary Fenway Park. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, brings back great memories, and is just simply awesome. Ever since I was a boy (my wife might argue that I still am one), this sign has been a back drop for the home runs over the Green Monster. Somehow that backdrop also brings good summertime memories, and for anyone who loves Boston in general, the sign has huge value.

Some of you may not be as fortunate as I am in regards to employees. My employees are probably some of the best people in the business. Both personally and professionally. They have a bounce in their step, have tremendous integrity, are hard-working, like their job, and generally are happy to be alive. Sometimes I wonder if this was orchestrated or if is just by chance that this caliber people are working side by side with me every day. Either way, I’ll take it.

I challenge all of you managers, supervisors, and executives alike. Get out of your office. Say hello to all of your people daily. Call them by name. Get to know them. Carry their burdens (to an extent) and share in their victories. Trust them. Train them. This will help you keep them. You might find this to be a secret weapon, as many employees don’t quit companies, they quit supervisors, managers, and executives.

Once you get to the point to where you see your people like I see the Citgo sign, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Saints Wanted?

How can we shine the light brightly then, if we are placing objects in the way that diminish it?

The notion that nothing good can be learned from a human being unless they have an impeccable and uncheckered past, is preposterous. It is just as crazy to assume that everything they have to say, or do, is now somehow void due to a checkered past. I recently had a friend challenge a quote I posted of MLKj – “the time is always right to do what is right.” He mentioned MLKj’s numerous affairs as if it somehow voids the wisdom of the quote or makes his efforts, vision, and life mission and empty endeavor.

I understand the overall concern, and recognize he was not perfect. But do his shortcomings need to be restated in an attempt to nullify the wisdom of the statement? I certainly don’t agree with some of his actions, but if we threw away wisdom based on the sin of the person, we would be left with nothing. Heck, even Solomon had 300 concubines, which is much more than Dr. King; presumably. We wouldn’t discount his wisdom based on his sin.

The Word of God states in Romans that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

How can we shine the light brightly then, if we are placing objects in the way that diminish it? Therefore, I recommend edifying the wisdom, the mission, the cause, or the character (if possible), and staying away from finding the shortcomings of something that has already been discovered – because the time is always right to do what is right.

7 Intentional Sales Steps to a Great 2020

Follow me here through the steps: Pun intended. All kidding aside, if you follow the seven steps outlined below, you will have a better year in 2020 than you have had in 2019. Remember, your steps must be intentional, not an accident. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started today and everyday thereafter.

Decide to Have a Good Attitude — Always

I use the word decide, because it is always a choice, and certainly cannot be a byproduct of your circumstances. Learn to have a good attitude in all situations. Trust me: it can always get worse. And if it were to get worse, you would wish that you were back in this present situation. I am not saying you have to like a bad situation. But learning to control your emotions and your attitude in spite of the situation you find yourself in will pay dividends.

Read Positive Material

Your mind is like a sponge. The same sponge that can soak up clean and refreshing water, can also soak up damaging and dirty chemicals. Your brain is no different. Feed your brain positive material by people just like you and I, who have succeeded or have overcome a tough situation. Read about others who have won awards, or have accomplished something wonderful. Read success stories, testimonials, spiritually nourishing books, and more. Stay away from the negative, such as the news or newspaper — as they all preach that the sky is falling.

Find Positive Reminders Every Day in What You Do

Maybe it is a reoccurring calendar reminder or a post-it note with an inspiring message or quote from a leader you look up to. You can print articles or pictures where you can see them that inspire you. You can keep the thank you cards from your happy customers or family/friends. The method does not matter, but the principle is a crucial step in keeping your focus on your goals.

Focus on Opportunity, Not Failure

Every customer is your opportunity. The town you live in is your opportunity. The state you live in and the country you live in is your opportunity. The world-wide-web is your opportunity. What you decide to focus on becomes your reality. Focus on failure, and get more of it. Focus on opportunity, and the more of it you will see available to you. Think it through; the person who has the money to spend on your product is asking you to help them spend it. They are never a nuisance. Ever. Yes, customers can be a royal pain, but if you can only sell to nice people, your pool of opportunity shrinks dramatically. Think of it another way — picture walking down a very long corridor with hundreds of doors that are all closed. Many are locked but some of them are unlocked. If there was a hundred dollar bill behind every unlocked door, you would simply run down the corridor twisting door knobs. You would never stop at the first locked door. Therefore, just start twisting the proverbial door knobs, as sales is simply a numbers game. Some doors are locked but the reward is only found behind the unlocked ones. Focus on the opportunity.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments, No Matter How Small They May Seem

When you were a baby, your parents or guardians celebrated your constant attempt at walking, even though there was more falling down than walking going on. They were encouraging you to keep trying, knowing that if you failed enough, you would eventually succeed, as long as you didn’t give up. Take the time today to celebrate your accomplishments and learn to focus on progress, not failure. As I have said in the past; inch by inch its a cinch but yard by yard its hard.

Develop a Cheerful and Outgoing Personality

Simply put — Be cheerful. People like to do business with people they like. AND, they buy more frequently and spend more money per transaction with less hesitation from happy people. Be that happy person. I have found that if you count all of the things you have to be thankful for, being cheerful and positive is much easier. Also, your associates will appreciate the breath of fresh air. It is easy to like someone who smiles, is happy, and is thankful.

Remember to Take Care of the Customer

Do you enjoy the niceties in your life? If you boil it down, the customer paid for it. Without the customer, we all have nothing in a free enterprise market. In my entire career, I have fired less than 7 customers. These customers were not fixable, they were toxic, and they were opportunists who were looking for someone to extort. So, I fired them. Most customers who seem unreasonable just want to be heard and helped. So, take care of the customer. Thank the customer. Appreciate the customer. Honor the customer.

Dick Chitty from Lexus had three rules that he shared with the dealer network to become successful in the car business. Rule #1 – Take care of the customer. Rule #2 – Take care of the customer. And rule #3 — you guessed it.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s get intentional in 2020. It will be well worth it.

Average + Passion = Above Average

Never underestimate the power of passion. I am not talking about a fabricated rah-rah session; rather genuine passion that come from down deep. Passion always tips the scale. Passion changes history. Passion starts a movement. Passion is a game-changer.

Passion starts from somewhere inside and cannot be hidden. In fact, it is like trying to hide the proverbial elephant in the room. When you are passionate about a thing — it shows. You tend to talk about what you are passionate about; think about what you are passionate about; and dream about it all-the-more. You literally live it and breath it every hour of every day. And when these things happen, the work becomes easy because someone who is chasing their dream never feels like the work load is too heavy. The work never seems to too big, if the dream or reward is bigger — much bigger.

Many average people have been considered great in their field because they lived day and night for their passion and by doing so became great in the process. But what is the genesis? Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round and was the 199th overall draft pick — meaning no one really thought he would be anything special. Walt Disney was fired from an advertising agency for not having enough creativity. These men had a different idea of who they were, and they were determined to make their dreams come true. Their dreams were fueled by a passion that was deep inside of each of them. And the rest is history.

It is rumored when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack wrote in his diary, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The same goes for Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and Tom Brady — someone awoke a sleeping giant in their life, and its name was Passion.

So be careful not to squash your dreams or count yourself out. Because if you have a measure of passion, the odds just might be in your favor because average plus passion equals above average. Not passionate? Get a bigger dream and get passionate about accomplishing that dream.

Game of Inches

It has been said – inch by inch it is a cinch, yard by yard it is hard. In business, like football, the goal is to move the chains down the field. The primary focus is to keep moving in the right direction inch by inch.

Now, I am assuming you have surrounded yourself with a winning team. If you have not; what are you waiting for? President Calvin Coolidge said “nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” Complacency is the prime suspect in the death of potential. Sometimes, you need to replace the complacent “superstars” with people that have the desire to move the chains forward. Many of the self proclaimed “superstars” would actually be superstars if they applied all that they claim they know. I would rather have an average but hungry participant than someone who basks in the glory of their accomplishments from days gone by. If you have talented team members that are complacent, you will not be as strong or successful with them on the team. Make the change and make the change quickly. Let them be someone else’s problem.

Fast forward to a team that is engaged and everyone wants the same result. Once that happens, it is the small changes or adjustments that will pay huge dividends. If everyone on the team is committed to get a little better every month, the results will be astounding.

A little better at negotiating, a little better at getting an offer, a little better at making appointments, a little better at follow up AND BOOM: the entire team is well-oiled and having strong results.

So don’t lose focus on moving forward an inch at a time. Do this often, and you’ll have a winning team. Because inch by inch it is a cinch.

Want to be Unknown?

Recently I paid a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It is not the first time I have visited this location, but I will tell you, it never gets old. I grew up in a patriotic home and have always had a reverence for this nation. It dawned on me as I was watching the guard perform his duties flawlessly, that we are all called to a similar mission.

On the tomb itself, it reads –HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD. Although the cemetery is filled with heroes, there is an emphasis on the ones that fulfilled their duty in an unknown fashion.

In business, there are too many of us clamoring for the next level, and waiting for the bronzer to call to ask which pose we would like be cast in, for the statue on the front lawn of our local town hall. Harry Truman said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” If we put our heads down and look to the common goal without looking for a continual praise parade from those below, around, and above us, we could and would accomplish so much more.

If we would take this approach in our church, and fulfill our duty as a Christian without looking for the recognition, imagine what could happen. As Christians, we are all called to die to self and follow Christ, but too many times, we are too worried the cares of this world. If we were focused on His life, His things, and His agenda, there just might be more light in the world. The Bible places a special  emphasis on those in Heaven who have been martyred for their faith. Now that is something to be celebrated — The tomb of the unknown Christian — if you will.

So, whether in protecting our nation, moving up the corporate ladder, or standing in the gap in our local church, I encourage all of us to take a sober look at ourselves and be willing to be unknown. It just may not be as bad as we imagine. After all, the least will be exalted over the greatest in end.

 

Assuming the Familiar

“Doctor Jones. Again, we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away” (Raiders of the Lost Ark pun.)

As I was getting my coffee at a national chain today, I was once again greeted by an employee that does not know me, but feels it is okay to call me “coach, pops, pal, my-man, my-brother”, among other cute names that escape me at the moment. I also noticed he does the same thing with each and every customer, each and every morning. I by no means deserve some kind of preferential treatment, as I am much less important than probably many of the customers that frequent this location. However, he does not know me, my name, or my background.

If we were watching a re-run of Friends, we would assume that everyone is addressing each other in the familiar, or even one step further — with nicknames.

Welcome to true life. In true life, the familiar is just fine if you have been given permission. Permission grants access to the familiar. However, until permission has been granted, the full measure of respect should be shown. If we are speaking to someone we do not know (or know anything about),  we should address them with sir, madam, miss, or ma’am at the very least.

Assuming we know a little about them, we should respect titles until we are instructed differently by the person we are addressing. If they are a doctor, we should address them by including it in our greeting, such as “Doctor Jones. Again, we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away” (Raiders of the Lost Ark pun.) If they are a lawyer, it may be “attorney Jones, so nice to see you.” If they are a representative in Congress for your state, it may be “Congressman Jones, I hope your day is great.” If it is our next door neighbor, perhaps “Mr. Jones, your lawn looks great.” And, it is our Priest or our Pastor, it should be “Father Jones/Pastor Jones, good morning.”

If we are sure to show respect, we may be corrected by Dr. Jones with him telling us, “call me Henry.” BUT, until we are given permission to address him by his first name, we should always call people by their title, sir name, or at the very least the prefix of sir, madam, miss, or ma’am. Assuming the familiar is not polite and lacks social etiquette at the bare minimum.

The Top 3 Things You Must Do to Stay Married (to your spouse or your job)

Let’s face it, getting married is easy. Staying married is not. Whether we are talking about our spouse or our job/career, the principles are the same. SIDE NOTE – There are many spiritual components to a marriage as well, but we will only cover the non-spiritual.

Stop Looking

The first thing we must do in order to stay married to our spouse or our job is to stop looking. Looking is very dangerous. People all over the US spend millions of dollars each and  every day of the week in retail stores across the country. Remember, they are not buying (at first). In fact, they even say the actual phrase; that they are “just looking”. “Looking” leads to buying. Period. If you are on Indeed or CareerBuilder for the next best thing, you are already in danger of “buying”. They say the grass is greener where you water it. I made the fatal mistake a few years back by “looking” myself into a bad career move. Be thankful for what you do have and always give it 100% without looking for something better. In most cases, it is never better.

Remain Loyal

The second thing we must do in order to stay married to our spouse or to our current employer is to remain loyal. You may not be the one “looking”, but that does not mean that someone else isn’t looking at you. If you are good at your job and your head sticks above the crowd in relation to results, be sure that someone will contact you for an opportunity. Learn to not be flattered. Learn that every opportunity looks great until the newness wears off. Your spouse and your employer have likely poured into you and invested much time and effort. The person looking to woo you away has nothing invested. Remember that the next time someone is trying to get your attention.

Give More Than You Expect to Get in Return

Lastly, speaking of being invested; we must give more than we think we can, no matter if it is returned. Stop keeping score and just give. When you are done giving, give some more. You will then find that 25 years have passed and anniversaries have been celebrated. Everyone will look at you and think you had it easy or it was just “meant to be”. Truth being told, it will be because you stopped looking, remained loyal, and gave more than you expected to get in return.