Monthly archive

We’ve all heard the axiom that “it’s not always what you say… rather it’s how you say it”. I believe this to be absolutely true. The way that you deliver your message has a direct impact on the perceived content of the message.

Just today I hung up the phone and commented to an acquaintance that “she sure sounded like she knew what she was talking about!”  Why would I have this impression? It was likely because this companies’ receptionist spoke with energy and in a very positive tone. Every syllable she uttered seemed to say “I believe”.

A successful team is made up of many parts. There are role players, “glue” guys and stars. It’s sometimes easy to recognize the stars and forget the other players. Each individual that works for you should be providing an important and necessary function to the success of your team.

Frequent readers know that I am constantly stating that we learn our best marketing lessons when we look outside our own industry. I was reminded of this again this week when reading of the passing of Allen Bernstein, former CEO of Morton’s Steakhouse. He was the chief architect of their expansion from one Chicago location to 77 locations worldwide with sales of nearly $300 million last year.

One great benefit of being in the training field is that I come in contact with many successful business owners and managers. Some of their stories are truly remarkable. To reach the levels of both sales volume and longevity that their firms have attained, they have obviously done a great deal of things well in their history.

In many flooring businesses, it seems that sales personnel are too often operating without knowing where the “goal line” is. Imagine a football player who is running with the ball down the side line not knowing how far he has to advance to score a touchdown. As he runs by the coach he might hear “run as far as you can” or simply “keep going. I’ll let you know when you get there”. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? How is this player supposed to stay motivated when he doesn’t know what his target is?

There is a saying “if written directions alone would suffice, the library wouldn’t need to have the rest of the school attached”. This should serve as a clear reminder to all in management who are guilty of directing novice staff members with comments such as “it’s in your manual” or “the information is online”. While this may be true, I believe it also to be ineffectual.

There is a saying that one should “never confuse activity with results”. We all know someone who is just “busy, busy, busy” all day long, but at the end of the day they never seem to have gotten much accomplished. As I often say, “they were majoring in minors”. If the saying “perfect practice makes perfect” is true, I believe there should also be a similar saying stating “positive activity produces positive results”.

When my daughter was young, my wife insisted that she eat at least three bites of everything that she was served for dinner. She did this partially out of principle, but largely to ensure that she was getting a balanced diet. I particularly remember one night when she finally ate three spoonfuls of by then cold peas, long after the rest of us had left the table.

One of the perils of traveling frequently is that you are constantly exposed to others who can make you sick. They won’t infect you in the typical way with their germs, but rather with their bad attitudes. If you spend much time at airports, hotels and restaurants you will be exposed to enough indifference, phony smiles, self-centered behavior and downright rudeness to put even the most positive attitude at risk.

As I write this on the Tenth Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies, it seems impossible not to feel patriotic. How sad is it that most of us are moved to feel this way only when reminded of one horrific Tuesday morning. Why can’t we show the unity and patriotism that was exhibited in the days and weeks after the crashes on a typical Tuesday?