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Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

The Advancing Woman – Kat Cole

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

In his classic, The Science of Getting Rich, written way back in 1910, Wallace D. Wattles explained a key principle for advancement in business, regardless of where one starts or how little money or connections they begin with. One advances… by advancing (providing value to) others:

“And, in so far as your business consists in dealing with other people…the key thought of all your efforts must be to convey to their minds the impression of increase…convey the impression of advancement with everything you do, so that all people shall receive the impression that you are an advancing man and that you advance all who deal with you…You can convey this impression by holding the unshakable faith that you are in the way of increase and by letting this faith inspire, fill, and permeate every action. Do everything that you do in the firm conviction that you are an advancing personality, and that you are giving advancement to everybody…feel that you are conferring benefits on all.”

Kat ColeI recently read a fantastic article on Time.com written by Charlotte Alter. It describes the journey of Kat Cole who began as a hostess for Hooters at age 17 and became CEO of the billion dollar-plus Cinnabon, Inc. at the age of 32. How she did it was textbook right out of the pages of Wattles’ book. (Though it wasn’t actually her goal – at 18 she was waiting tables there in order to help pay for college where she was studying to be an engineer.)

Earlier in his book Wattles discussed a concept he called being “too big for your present place”:

“You must begin to do what you can do where you are, and you must do all that you can do where you are. You can advance only by being larger than your present place…The world is advanced only by those who more than fill their present places.”

This is a key concept and had much to do with Kat’s rapid rise to success. If you read the above-mentioned Time.com article you saw that everything she did was not just beyond but way above and beyond her job description. Thus, she became too big for her present place. She had to advance. And, she continued to advance. She was… the advancing woman!

Exceptional Value And High Character

Kat certainly embodied “The Law of Value” from John David Mann’s and my, The Go-Giver, which states, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

But, let’s look at another aspect of Kat’s advancement. “The Law of Influence” from that same book says, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” This does not mean you are self-sacrificial; it does mean that focusing on bringing value to others is congruent with your values.

One of Kat’s personal values is loyalty. Although she was offered a great job by another private equity firm that she wanted and was about to accept, when she found out the current company was about to be sold (which would be a bad time to leave them), she stayed to help them through the sale. Doing so entailed detailing with 14 other firms.

The result was that she became known as a person of huge value by the other firms as well and suddenly her influence grew exponentially. Now she was in greater demand than ever!

As Wattles succinctly stated in his chapter entitled, The Advancing Man:

“No matter what your profession, if you can give increase of life to others and make them sensible of this gift, they will be attracted to you, and you will get rich.”

Great things don’t happen in a vacuum. People create these opportunities for advancement. And, they do so, as Wattles stated, despite their circumstances. (You can read more about Kat’s personal situation in the Time.com article.)

An Advancing Man?

As I pulled up to the drive-through window of the local fast-food restaurant I sometimes frequent, I was greeted by a smile from a young man, probably not much older than the previously discussed hostess. He read back my special order to me, making sure he had it correct. I thanked him for caring enough to make sure he got it right.

“That’s our job, sir. We want to make sure it’s perfect and that you enjoy your meal.” He said it as though he meant it, and I have no doubt he did.

I was impressed. More than just the desire of my happiness with the dining experience, he knew how to communicate his desire for my happy dining experience.

He provided me with great value via his attitude. He gave me the impression of increase…I suspect he’ll be advancing soon.

One Mom’s Very Persuasive Questions

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

What More Can I SayOne of the golden rules of human nature — as so perfectly illustrated by Dale Carnegie in his classic, How to Win Friends And Influence People — is that, “Ultimately, People do things for their reasons, not our reasons.”

As such, in order to elicit a person to make a decision and take the action you feel they should…they must feel they should. And, this will most likely only happen as a result of you asking the right questions.

Communication Authority, Dianna Booher suggests that “Questions allow the other person to collaborate on the data you’re collecting. That done, people {rarely} invalidate their own data when you use it to ask them to consider a change.”

In her new book (her 46th book, actually!), What More Can I Say: Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It, Ms. Booher provides a wonderful example of a mom who did just that with her teenaged son and his choice of cars:

“I recently overheard a mother using a series of questions to lead her sixteen-year-old-son to trade in an older-model sport car for a newer sedan, not quite the model the teen had in mind:

“‘What kind of gas mileage do you get in the sports car? What kind of mileage does the Kelley Blue Book estimate for the sedan? So, at the current price of gas, how much would you save on gas per year with the newer car? If you sold your used sports car and invested that money until graduation, plus the gas money you’d save between now and graduation, how much money would you have to buy a brand-new car for college?’”

“The teen opted to save for the newer car at graduation.”

Whether you’re leading a huge team, a small committee, or…a child, if your goal is to elicit the other person to willingly commit and buy-in to your request, rather than to make them grudgingly comply (and, we all know how that usually works out), then you need to help them see why it is in their best interest to do so.

And, as is usually the case, questions are the answer.

How You Can Become a Time…Multiplier

Friday, December 26th, 2014

He earned over $250,000 while in college selling magazine subscriptions during his summer breaks. In his 20′s he co-founded Nashville, Tennessee- based Southwestern Consulting. And, again he’s done something special.

Yes, leave it to 30-something uber-successful Rory Vaden to take a subject like Time Management and turn it on its head. Actually, he equips even the most time-challenged person to have more confidence in their ability to get the significant things done, and done right. More so, without sacrificing peace of mind and happiness.

In today’s world of technology, we find ourselves being pulled in more and more directions with less and less time to do that which we need do and do well. That kind of thinking keeps us stuck. As Rory says, “Creating the next level of results requires the next level of thinking.”

In my chat with Rory earlier this year regarding his New York Times Bestseller, Take the Stairs, we learned his very effective principles for self-discipline.

His new book is Procrastinate on Purpose: Five Permissions to Multiply Your Time. While the title is obviously counter-intuitive, the methodology he espouses — and learned/systematized due to his own needs — is brilliant and right on the mark.

In this chat, Rory will share wisdom from his terrific new book, including:Take The Stairs

  • The main difference in thought processes between ultra-successful people… and everyone else.
  • The biggest killer of getting the right things done.
  • What you thought you knew about time that just isn’t so.
  • Multiplying your time.
  • The all-important Focus Funnel.
  • The 5 Permissions that will turn you into a master of time rather than a victim of it.

Rory Vaden

Yep, my inspiring young friend, Rory, did it again with this book and shares some terrific wisdom here. Enjoy!

Remember, the goal is not necessarily to fit more in! The goal is to produce more results.

Will you begin to take the steps toward becoming that Time Multiplier that you now know you can be?

Rory will help you get started via this special video at www.ProcrastinateOnPurpose.com


TECHNICAL NOTE: If you are having trouble playing the interview, please make sure Adobe Flash Player is installed in your web browser. If not, then download Flash Player. Or right-click here and select “Save Link As…” to download the audio file to your computer.

Curing The Leadership Crisis

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

John Allison: The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market CureWould the principles that make one an effective, successful and happy individual create those same results for a company, and for society as a whole? In this absolutely terrific book on leadership, the author says that yes, indeed they would.

The following is from John A. Allison’s introduction to his recently-released, The Leadership Crisis And The Free Market Cure:

“{T}here is a set of ethical principles that is consistent with the laws of nature and the nature of humans that is the foundation for individual success and happiness. These same principles are applicable to organizations and to society.”

“The ultimate goal in life is to achieve happiness {in terms of} a life well- lived.” … “In this overall context, this is a book about leadership in the pursuit of happiness, at the individual, organization, and societal level.

“The foundation for this concept is self-leadership, which is essential for organizational leadership. Most failures of leadership are failures of self-leadership. And, most organizational failures are caused by failed leadership.”

It’s safe to say that Mr. Allison knows from whence he speaks. The prestigious Harvard Business Review named him one of the decades top 100 most successful CEOs.

More importantly, for 20 years he served as Chairman and CEO of BB&T, one of the largest financial institutions in America, growing the bank from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets during his tenure. And, they were hugely successful during a time when many banks failed spectacularly.

But, perhaps the banks’ huge profits came as a result of cronyism and sub-prime loans?

Actually, no. BB&T was one of the few banks that did not involve itself in sub-prime lending, writing only conventional mortgages. Mr. Allison was very outspoken against sub-prime lending, as well as cronyism in all its forms, including that between Washington, D.C. and many of the major banks.

When the bubble burst and banks were going under, he and his bank were left standing tall; not only in reputation…but in profitability, as well.

How Was This accomplished? Through rational, long-term thinking combined with a desire to provide exceptional value to customers, employees and shareholders alike.

And…by acting from a base of uncompromising values.

Now CEO of the highly-regarded libertarian think tank, Cato Institute, Allison approaches life and leadership from a very practical, logical, and rational viewpoint. He also approaches his relationships with employees and customers with an extremely benevolent, win/win mindset (as he referred to it, “getting better together”) always at the forefront.

Like the vast majority of ultra-successful people I’ve known and in this case, studied (I’ve been a fan for quite a while), he understands that happiness is the ultimate goal; that financial success is just one aspect of overall success and happiness. And, that all leadership begins with self-leadership; mastering ourselves and our character traits.

Two Distinct, But Integrated Parts

Part One, “Values in the Pursuit of Happiness” includes a chapter on each value that he deems vital and necessary to one’s successful pursuit of happiness. They were also the principles he used to lead at the bank.

They include being Reality Grounded, Reason (Objectivity), Independent Thinking, Productivity (Profitability), Honesty, Integrity, Justice, Pride, Self-Esteem (Self-Motivation) and Teamwork (Mutual Supportiveness).

According to the author, “Not only are these values not contradictory but they are integrated. Failure to execute on one value will make it impossible for you to execute on another value.”

Part Two, “Leading for Personal, Organization, and Societal Greatness” is really a Masters Degree in business leadership. That it’s told from the personal experiences of a man who has been there, done that very successfully, and is willing to share exactly how, is truly a gift. Absolutely fascinating and enlightening.

While again, logic and reason are very important to the author, his writing is warm and thoughtful, and he certainly understands the dynamics of emotion and human nature; that most people make decisions based on their emotions being in control. Yet, as he says, “Emotions are not a valid means of knowledge.”

So, how does he suggest we don’t make counterproductive decisions based on this fact?

“The goal should be to train your emotions so they automatically support the conclusions that your rational mind determined.”

Powerful!

One of my favorite points had to do with the importance of understanding the relationship of value and money, and that a business only makes money to the degree they focus on bringing value to their customers. I loved this gem:

“In the 1960′s, the CEO of General Motors announced that the mission of GM was to ‘make money.’ Shortly thereafter GM’s earnings started to decline. GM was created to make cars in a variety of price ranges and quality categories. Its real purpose is to make ‘good’ cars, and when it does this very well, it gets to make money. At BB&T our real purpose is to help our clients be financially successful and economically secure, and when we do this well, we can make money for our shareholders.”

He also warns about what he calls the “ultimate psychological sin of evasion.” This occurs when we choose not to explore what we know we should explore because we are afraid the information will not concur with our already-established views. Evasion has a dramatically negative impact on one’s happiness, as well as the success of a business or a society.

The author is very firm regarding the importance of staying focused on truth. He says, “When we evade, we are detached from reality and cannot learn or grow.” True both for individuals and for businesses. And, for society? He asks, “Do our political leaders make decisions based on reality?”

The pages of my copy of the book are filled with notes and underlines as well as starred and bracketed sentences and paragraphs. I simply cannot do this book justice in a single post. Let me suggest — if I may — that you purchase this book, read it, study it, and then buy it as a gift for all the leaders and potential leaders in your life.

There are a lot of excellent leadership books on the market and I’ve benefited from reading many of them. This one might just be the most important one yet!

—–

P.S. Here are just a few more gems from the book I couldn’t resist including. And I worked hard to whittle it down to just these: :-)

“It is a significant error for a leader to promote a vision and not deliver. This is a fundamental breach of trust with the organization’s constituents.”

“The organizing principle of human action is purpose….{W}e are purpose-driven entities.”

“If your work is just ‘work,’ you are missing a lot of what life is about.”

“The ultimate societal incentive is freedom.”

“It is noteworthy that we seem to tolerate a level of dishonesty in politicians that we would not tolerate at work or with our friends.”

“It is irrational to expect someone to change his or her behavior based on nonexistent feedback.”

“The primary manner in which you earn self-esteem is by living your life with integrity and living your life consistent with your values.”

“Much of leadership is based on the ability to integrate multiple specialists to accomplish complex work that no single specialist could achieve alone.”

“Successful communities (teams) are created by voluntary mutual consent…Successful teams and communities cannot be built using force.”

“The compound self-esteem impact of working to your potential day in & day out is significant.”

“Earning money is tremendously rewarding, even if you give it all away. Earning money in a free society is a symbol of productivity and has a meaningful psychological reward. It is the earning, not the having, that is valuable.”

“Remember human flourishing — happiness — is the end of the game.”

The Continuum of Thought

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Feel Good!Yes, thoughts are things. And, each act of human creativity, every invention; indeed, all progress is preceded by thought.

Thought, combined with correct action and fortified by burning desire, belief, determination, and dogged persistence is almost unstoppable.

However, on another level, in this case an emotional level, let’s look at three different types of thoughts and how they serve or do not serve us.

Productive Thoughts: These make you feel good; they are empowering. Thoughts with positive, uplifting feelings put you in a good place for personal productivity, accomplishment, and overall happiness. While these good thoughts can simply happen on their own, by and large they are the result of choice and conscious awareness (and, in my case, a yellow sticky note on my computer that says, “FEEL GOOD!”)

Productive thoughts are also seeing the good side of something rather than the bad (congruent with reality) such as judging someone favorably when you don’t know their intent. And, very importantly, feeling gratitude for the many blessings in your life, big and small.

Neutral Thoughts: These bring forth neither good feelings nor bad. They’re not negative and they’re not positive. It’s not so much that they are realistic as much as they are without conscious thought.

Counterproductive Thoughts: Anger, resentment, ingratitude, grudges, etc., can absolutely eat away at a person. They result in bad feelings and, unchecked, can only undermine happiness. As one who for many years lived like that it’s still very easy for me to allow myself to fall into the trap. When this happens, I am now able to catch myself quickly (usually) and consciously interrupt the pattern.

These negative thoughts and feelings are fed through actions such as gossip, complaining, judging others unfavorably, victim-hood, accumulating debt and more. They also go hand-in-hand with poor self-esteem.

Every morning I read the brief email from Abraham-Hicks. Nearly 100 percent of the time, the message has to do with allowing yourself to feel good; consciously deciding to feel good. I read it so that I remember it. Without these reminders I find it too easy to forget; yes, despite the above-mentioned sticky note.

So, in the continuum of thought, from helpful to harmful, where do you usually stand?

How do you keep up the productive thoughts and good feelings? Any suggestions?