Are you lucky?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by John Wooden.  He said this “When opportunity presents itself, it is too late to prepare.”  What he is saying is that every day you must prepare for the next, because when an opportunity presents itself you better be ready so you can capitalize on that opportunity.

Do we even know what the next is?  Most of the time I don’t think we do.  Sure some of us may have gone to school to be a doctor, lawyer, a chemist, an engineer, a mechanic, and I could go on and on.  However, I have seen that for the majority of us.  Especially people in business that you really don’t know what the next is.  Especially if you have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Over the last month or so, I have had some significant opportunities come my way.  Some of them I knew would present themselves and others, well, I had no clue, and some I had thought that the opportunity and come and gone.  However. I just continue to prepare, plan, and do.  I haven’t changed what I do.

I was on the phone with a good friend of mine the other day and he reminded me of a quote that I know and I try to live my life by.  He said Brian: Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.

Here is my question for you today:

Are you putting the time in and preparing, doing the work, doing what is hard and difficult so when the opportunity presents itself you are ready?  I do a lot of hiring of leaders.  The first question I ask them is what have they done to better prepare themselves as a potential leader.  What classes have they attended.  What books have they read.  What seminars have they watched or purchased.  You have to do the work on the front end to reap the benefits on the back-end.  I can’t think of anything worthwhile that this is opposite of that.  You must always work hard, put in the time, and do what is necessary to prepare to reap the benefits on the back-end.

Are you lucky?  The answer to that is yes.  If, and only if, you do the work and you prepare daily, weekly, monthly, you will be prepared. And when opportunity presents itself, you will be ready, and we will let the people who wont do the work tell you it was luck.

To your success and your future.

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The Human Development Index, what is yours?

The first Human Development Index was introduced at the United Nations in 1990.  Economist Mahbub ul Haq started working on this concept as far back as the 1970’s.  He and other economists said that basing a person’s well-being on their countries GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was not a very good indicator, because it didn’t attribute for well-being of the individual.  Gross Domestic Product looks at daily stock market results, consumer spending levels, and national debt figures. But these numbers provide only a partial view of how people are faring.

If Human Development’s definition is to be defined as the process of: “enlarging people’s freedoms and opportunities and improving their well-being. Human development is about the real freedom ordinary people have to decide who to be, what to do, and how to live.”

To develop the Human Development Index economists use Capabilities a person has to help determine the index.  Capabilities are what people can do and what they can become-are the equipment one has to pursue a life of value. Basic capabilities valued by virtually everyone include: good health, access to knowledge, and a decent material standard of living. Other capabilities central to a fulfilling life could include the ability to participate in the decisions that affect one’s life, to have control over one’s living environment, to enjoy freedom from violence, to have societal respect, and to relax and have fun.

The Human Development Index was developed as an alternative to simple money metrics. It is an easy-to-understand numerical measure made up of what most people believe are the very basic ingredients of human well-being: health, education, and income.

Health: The most valuable capability people possess is to be alive. Advancing human development requires, first and foremost, expanding the real opportunities people have to avoid premature death by disease or injury, to enjoy protection from arbitrary denial of life, to live in a healthy environment, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to receive quality medical care, and to attain the highest possible standard of physical and mental health.

Education/Knowledge: Access to knowledge is a critical determinant of long-term well-being and is essential to individual freedom, self-determination, and self-sufficiency. Education is critical to people’s real freedom to decide what to do and who to be. Education builds confidence, confers status and dignity, and broadens the horizons of the possible—as well as allowing for the acquisition of skills and credentials. Globalization and technological change have made it extraordinarily difficult for poorly educated Americans to achieve the economic self-sufficiency, peace of mind, and self-respect enabled by a secure livelihood.

Income: Income is essential to meeting basic needs like food and shelter—and to moving beyond these necessities to a life of genuine choice and freedom. Income enables valuable options and alternatives, and its absence can limit life chances and restrict access to many opportunities. Income is a means to a host of critical ends, including a decent education; a safe, clean living environment; security in illness and old age; and a say in the decisions that affect one’s life. Money isn’t everything, but it’s something quite important.

Most people would agree that a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent material standard of living are the basic building blocks of well-being and opportunity. They are also the building blocks of the American Human Development Index as well as the U.N. Human Development Index upon which it is modeled. These three core capabilities are universally valued around the world, and measurable, intuitively sensible, and reliable indicators exist to represent them—two critical considerations in the construction of a composite index.

The Human Development Index is now a measurement that we use to measure cities, states, and countries on.

I pose a question for you.  I live in America.  Looking at the Human Development Index we are ranked number 5 with a very high Human Development Index.  Here is the link to the chart. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

The question!  Are you taking advantage of all of the opportunities you have?

Reference: http://www.measureofamerica.org/human-development/

To your success and your future.

 

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The Fear of Criticism is a disease

We all have a fear of not being accepted at times.  It is human nature.  In Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs he states it as being one of the primary motivators for humans.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs  One of the major influences in all of our lives is to “belong”.  It is just human nature to want to belong to a group a community.  However, to be succesful and to accomplish things you want to accomplish, you have to fight this fear and step out and take risks and not fear criticism, this includes going against the group and doing things that you think are right or you think is a better way.

I have spent a lot of time reading some of the business classics such as “Think and Grow Rich.”  Every time I read this book, I take a new nugget of wisdom from it.  It has been around for many many years on the Top reads list for a reason.

Here is what Napoleon Hill http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_Hill the author of Think and Grow Rich says that the fear of criticism will do to us:

SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS:  This is when we question every move we make.  We are afraid to speak up because we are afraid of what people might say in response to what we say or what we do.

LACK OF POISE:  When you are questioning every word that comes out of your mouth because of your self-consciousness, you will not speak with confidence or passion, and your presence will not be very appealing and you will not be very credible.

INFERIORITY COMPLEX:  When we fear criticism we sometimes over compensate by going the other way.  Which includes not using words that we would normally use.  Not acting like we normally act.  To overcome your own insecurities you try to be something you are not, which in turn impacts your fear of criticism even more, because your are not being yourself.

EXTRAVAGANCE:  I have seen people do things that they wouldn’t never do, never say, never buy, never be involved in, all in an effort to keep up with the Jones’.  Be yourself and live within your means, your abilities, your skills, do what you want to do, who cares about others. Who knows maybe they are even living a life that isn’t really who they are.

LACK OF INITIATIVE:  If you are over conscious and worried about what you say and do, and how you look and sound.  Over time you draw back.  You don’t get involved.  You don’t take risks.  You become a hermit and don’t do things at all.  It really is a disease and can eat at you where you wont attempt anything, which means you definitely wont accomplish anything.

Are you fearful of criticism?  Lets be honest, I do at times.  I have to be aware of it and manage it.  Take a look at the above items, is your fear of criticism causing any of these things in your life to occur?  What can you do today to change this?  I challenge you to make those changes, I know I am.  We have to change to have a better future if this is what you desire.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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Get back on track

Today has been a great day!  For some reason at the end of 2014, I had a lot going on and I had nibbled away from some things that were really important and really make a difference in my life.  Did you catch my excuse?  I did, #noexcuses2015

This morning I had a chance to get back in to the thing I had nibbled away from.  It was an awesome thing!  They welcomed me back with open arms, I don’t know if they missed me, per se, but I know I missed them.

We all nibble away from time to time don’t we?  At times we might take a few days off from eating well.  Or we might not be as diligent in cutting our expenses in our household.  You might not be as focused at work as you said you were going to be.  You might be complaining more, after deciding to complain less.  You don’t spend as much time with your kids as you said you would.  You aren’t finding the time to prospect as much as you committed to.  Whatever it is for you, you can get back on track starting today, right now!

25 days ago today, maybe you made some decisions.  And if you are like most people (if you are reading this blog you aren’t like most people) however, you may have already nibbled away from some of those decisions you made.  Did you establish some goals and commitments for 2015? Are you still on track?

Just like I decided on Friday that I would get back on track for something that is important to me, that I had nibbled away from.  You can decide as well.  You just have to decide and make it happen.  Nothing is stopping you, except for you.

To get back on track go back to the reason “why” you decided that the “thing” was important to you in the first place.  Once you remember that “why”, write it down again.  Then make the plan to hold yourself accountable to getting it done.  What do you have to change again to make it happen?  What do  you have to do differently than you have been doing?  Do it now!

I made the decision on Friday to get back on track and I managed that decision all weekend.

 

To your success and your future.

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What is your online Reputation?

The Reputation Economy; How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation is Your Most Valuable Asset. The author Michael Fertik is the CEO and founder of Reputation.com the world leader in digital reputation and privacy management.

The book highlights the benefits and the negatives in the current world we live in with social media, media, and how everything we do anymore creates a digital foot print.  He makes the case that your reputation is as good as cash in your wallet and you must manage your reputation and protect it.  In this summary I will highlight the main points of the book and illustrate a few stories that will make you think “WOW”!

We’re in a new world of reputation, where reputations are made and lost in an instant, where everything you do will be tracked, calculated, measured, and analyzed, and where anyone can find out nearly anything about everyone else with just a click.  And while there are plenty of things you can do influence the conversation and shape public perceptions, at the end of the day the best reputation management strategy is simply to earn it by bringing more value to your employer and your customers, treating others well, and being socially and environmentally responsible.  If you embrace the Reputation Economy, make sure you advertise your unique skills and talents, generate enough fodder for those reputation engines we keep talking about, and carefully curate the reputation you have.

  • A human blink can take up to four hundred milliseconds, in that time, an average laptop computer can perform almost one billion calculations.

In the Reputation economy it is like cash, putting it up as collateral to secure your debts and to make transactions you could never otherwise make.

All data is stored and is permanent, cheap, and ubiquitous.

  • Twitter generates over 400 million tweets of data everyday. , the US Library of Congress is permanently storing every public tweet send on Twitter, regardless of its contents.

Everything that can be collected and aggregated will and it will be scored.

  • Every piece of information you provide to a computer with a click of your mouse is reduced to a number that its algorithms can manipulate. The machine means no insult, but it has no other way to represent you, its understanding is limited to math.
  • Computers and scoring can come from any data that you put into Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other media or website you use.  Additionally all of your loyalty programs you are apart of at your favorite retailers.
  • Computers can take all of this data and create a Reputation score for you or a credibility score.  In the future and in many ways already being currently used to analyze your buying habits.
  • Companies will soon be issuing credibility scores, which they’ll use to determine your eligibility to participate in social sharing services like car sharing, apartment sharing, and so on.
  • A high credibility score could be based on a squeaky clean credit, an accident free driving record and a history of always paying your bills on time.
  • Health and Longevity scores issued from insurers to investors and employers.  These scores will be determined by your television watching habits and your fast food consumption.
  • A California woman was convicted of workers compensation fraud after she typed more than two hundred posts to Facebook after claiming that a wrist injury prevented her from typing at work.
  • Your friends and who you associate will be scored online as well.  You are usually the same or similar to your friends, so who your friends are will also dictate your reputation and credibility score.
  • The next generation of reputation scoring will go further than ever before aggregating information about you, the joke is “We know what you did last summer” technology.
  • The best strategy is to carefully curate your digital footprint so that positive information will eclipse and counterbalance all the negative data that you don’t have control over.

Don’t stop believing in the power of Reputation to shape your career.

  • If you have searched for a job lately and have applied to a company using their automated application process, you have already been apart of algorithms determining whether or not you get the job.  A lot of companies are already using basic systems to search for keywords and other attributes to determine if you would make a good employee for that company.
  • Some companies have used these algorithms to prevent any kind of discrimination in their hiring process.  The computer doesn’t look at black or white or any other race, it just purely looks at the data to determine if you meet the qualifications, and it is all done by a computer with no human interaction, so companies are safe from biases that could occur
  • In many jobs your career growth is more important than your current position.  Smart algorithms are starting to learn the difference between a candidate who has stagnated and a candidate who has worked their way up.
  • No matter what profession or industry you’re in, a good reputation can open doors that you never knew existed.  But your career is far from the only are of life you can stand to profit from a good reputation.

Disrupting Education as we know it.

  • Your reputation score will be so disruptive to higher education because the technology is quickly developing to allow your unique reputation to become  stronger signal of employability than the name on your diploma, or even whether you have a diploma at all. These signals will be less expensive than ever for employers to find.
  • A new thing called microcredientials are already being tested and used in various of job fields.  Microcredentials can be a course, a test, or something quick that says you “know” this.  This could be the future of education.
  • In a world where predictions about your future job performance are increasingly made by computers, your ability to demonstrate the value of your education in actual skills will far more valuable than the traditional signals of a GPA and a fancy degree.  Racking up as many credentials as possible that can be digitized, quantified, and measured will be crucial to launching a successful career in any field.
  • In the Reputation economy a poor decision to wreck a hotel room, will be felt across many areas of your life (you’ll get a score for it, which may affect your financial scores as well)
  • In 1997 a study reported that half of bankruptcy filers found out that personal bankruptcy was an option from a friend or relative.  A paper from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that you are more likely to file for bankruptcy if you have a friend who has declared bankruptcy.  So who your friends are and your twitter followers, and who you interact with online could determine your eligibility to get a home loan.
  • A company by the name of Movenbank (now Moven)works somewhat like a traditional bank.  They offer checking accounts and other financial products, but unlike traditional banks they are strictly online, they are pushing to replace plastic credit cards with smartphone applications  Their most controversial difference is they use a reputation score to determine who gets credit.  They call it Credscore.  An applicant with a top CREDscore gets more exclusive offers, lower fees, and possibly even better customer service.  They build the CREDscore by looking at a customers social networking accounts Linkedin, Facebook, and so on.  An algorithm analyzes the data related to your job,  Are you stable?  Consistent with the income you declared.  They have not stated whether or not it relies on the creditworthiness of you friends for your CREDscore, but it is very easy to get that information and why wouldn’t they, they know who your friends are.
  • A machine is making important financial decision based on your reputation and the reputation of your friends, without any interference from humans.

The major point of this book is that anything and everything you do online leaves a trail, it creates a digital footprint.  Every Facebook post, every tweet, every purchase you make online, every time you use your loyalty card at your favorite retailer, every online dating site you sign up for, every LinkedIn connection you make, every pic you post online, etc.  As illustrated in the book summary some companies are already using this data to allow or deny you to do business with them, in the future what will it look like when everyone is doing this.  Is this a good thing?  It can be.  You have to control your own conversations and your own digital footprint. Be aware of what you are putting out there, be careful of what you share.

Check out other book summaries at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

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Sure it is uncomfortable, its new

Are you willing to give up the comfort that you know to get the life that you want?  This is a question that we all must ask ourselves.

  • It is uncomfortable to work all day or all night and then go to school.
  • It is uncomfortable to implement an exercise routine when you have never done one before.
  • It is uncomfortable to stop smoking when it is something you have done for 5, 10, 15, 20 years.
  • It is uncomfortable to meet someone new and get to know them and see if this is a person that could be a potential partner in your future.
  • It is uncomfortable to quit the job you have been doing for so long that you are not growing in, to pursue a totally different profession.
  • It is uncomfortable to cut out expenses in your budget for things that you have always had.
  • It is uncomfortable to tell your kids “no”, we can’t afford it.
  • It is uncomfortable to alter the life you have always known or have come to know and flip it around to fit in new people, new things, and new initiatives.

We all know we must get out of our comfort zones to grow, to take risks, to see something new, experience something new, to possibly find someone new. But the little voice in our head, the habit, the comfort, tells us that it isn’t the right time. I am scared, I am not sure I want to work that hard, I am not sure I can do it now, starts to take over and it is real.

I have some major goals in 2015 and in my life that I plan on accomplishing.  I am sure you do as well.  I am making the commitment to do things that make me uncomfortable starting today, are you?

To your success and your future.

 

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Keeping AVERAGE away today

In a world where average is the norm and pretty much everyone you come across is pretty much average. I thought today would be a good day to discuss some ways that I plan on keeping the average away today.  Average is easy, Average doesn’t take much effort, Average well, is just average and nobody really wants to be average.  The tone that average comes off of my lips when I am saying the word just brings me down and makes me feel, average.

Here are six things I am doing today to ensure I keep average out of my life today.

1.  Don’t take advice from people who are average:  Everyone has an opinion, but I believe you must have earned the right to have an opinion. How do you earn the right?  That is a complex question with many answers, but it starts with competence and character first.  Secondly, Results.  Yep, I don’t take health and exercise advice from fat people (no offense) and I don’t take financial advice from broke people.

2.  When I don’t feel like doing the task, I am going to do it anyway with speed and efficiency:  It is 6:27 am as I am typing this blog.  There have been three things already today that I didn’t really want to do.  Meaning if they would have gotten done without me doing them, I would have been fine with that.  But that can’t happen.  I am the only one that can do those three things and I did them.  I am going to keep that my focus all day.

3.  Seek excellence in what I do: Since it is easy to beat most people’s expectations, again no offense, but most people have low expectations.  I am going to continue to set my own expectations, because they are much higher than anyone else’s.  I am going to pursue excellence in my personal life and career life. If you aren’t seeking excellence, get out of my way.

4.  Work towards my own personal goals first:  Sure I have a full-time job with goals and expectations.  I will complete them all today, without a doubt.  However, I will also ensure that my own personal goals for my health, my wealth, my education, my own personal interests are pursued and accomplished as well.   

5.  Take a few risks:  I have on the schedule today to take a few risks.  I know what a few of them are and I am still contemplating on the others.  Since one of my overriding themes for 2015 is NOEXCUSES, this will require me to take a some risks.  I may have to say something unpleasant to someone, I may have to invest some time in a new area, I may have to put some money up.  Whatever it is I know for me to get to the next level I have to take some risks. No risk, no reward, couldn’t be a more truer statement. 

6.  Help people who want the help and those who need the help:  Since my time is very valuable and yours is to, it is hard to allocate the time to necessary to everyone who wants it or needs it.  So today I am going to spend my time with those who really want it and I am going to find a way to provide some time for those who need the help and maybe cant get the help they need.

This blog is all about the success journey and I hope you see value in it.  Please share this blog with someone you know.

Also check out other resources I have at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

 

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THE BALD TRUTH, SECRETS OF SUCCESS FROM THE LOCKER ROOM TO THE BOARD ROOM

The Bald Truth; Secrets of Success from the Locker Room to the boardroom was written by David Falk.  He was the agent for Michael Jordan.  He was also the agent for Alonzo Mourning. Which was the first 100 million dollar deal ever done in the NBA.  He was Patrick Ewing’s, John Thompson, and Mike Krzyzewski to name a few other of the other big names he represented.  The foreward in the book was written by Michael Jordan.

In my pursuit to excellence in 2015, I am attempting to read books from people, or about people who pursued, showed, and demonstrated excellence.  This book was a great read because it really gives the behind the scenes look into agents and how they create and get these major deals for sports athletes.  Mr. Falk puts it in simple terms and at the end of each chapter he has something called “Falk’s Fundamentals” that summarize the chapter.  I have included in this book summary the “Falk’s Fundamentals”.  Mr. Falk’s insights on business and people make this book relevant and a great read.

Don’t be a prisoner of your own reputation: Succesful people remain consistent in their value system but flexible in reaction to changing market conditions.

Don’t try to be a spiritual advisor: A leopard doesn’t change its spots.  People don’t change leopards.

Don’t try to run a democracy: Treat everyone fairly but don’t treat everyone equally.

Its better to have a good enemy than a neutral friend:  In crutch time you must know how the people around you will react.  The most dangerous enemy is an ally who deserts you.

A combination of creativity and preparation is essential: Practice make perfect as long as you don’t do it the same way everytime. preparing for major negotiation or representation develops confidence, but preparation without inspiration limits your ability to adapt your performance to unexpected challenges.

Sacrifice short-term benefits for long-term success: The Spurs have been the most successful franchise in the NBA the last few years.  The Spurs have learned how to lose games during the regular season in order to be well rested and primed mentally in the postseason. Don’t with the battle, win the war.

Long term success demands discipline and accountability:  Winning a marathon requires complete discipline mentally and physically.  If you alter the strategy in response to short-term bumps, you probably wont finish the race.

Be true to yourself: A jack of all trades and master of none is known as a dilettante. Play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.  Be authentic.

Know when the race is over: Great coaches learn to not run up the score. Whatever temporary satisfaction you might derive from a rout you will likely pay for the next time you face the opponent. Win the game and then walk alway gracefully.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say: If the truth is hard to find, players will run from the coach instead of running for the coach.

Business is not a popularity contest:  In the final analysis, it’s not what they want to hear. It’s what they need to hear.

The truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth: The truth is the most powerful medium of persuasion. “Actually sir, it’s not like a Xerox. It is a Xerox.”

Don’t just see what is happening; anticipate what will happen: Individual who can anticipate what will happen next can translate that opportunity into success.

Limitations are obstacles, not barriers: Even the most careful planning cannot preempt last-minute changes that challenge execution. Successful managers see these limitations, whether they be increased competition, regulatory changes, increased time constraints, or any number of business issues, as challenges not barriers. Their ability to shift on the fly enables them to navigate these limitations that act as total obstructions to less nimble operators.

Intuition and ingenuity define the road ahead: Since what lies ahead of us can’t be determined with certainty, successful managers will find their way paved only be creativity, feel, and ingenuity.

Understand the long-term impact of your actions: The most basic law of physics dictates that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  But like energy stored up in a volcano, the reactions sometimes takes place years in the future and with unexpected force.  Don’t expect that the only impact of your decisions will be then knee jerk variety.  It is more likely to be the ripple effect across the entire pool of your business.

Brand your product to differentiate it from the competition: Imitation is the highest form of flattery. We live in an age of brand names that competitors try to mimic, and often the lines between Bentley and Chrysler are blurred. Learn how to separate your company from the competition through creative branding so that the boundary between your products or services and the competition will be so distinct as to require a separate language and customs.

Stay true to who you are: Long term productivity requires that we operate within our strengths even if our critics find fault along the way. Changing your operating style to satisfy short-term criticisms threatens the long-term stability of your organization.

Don’t win the battle only to lose the war: In the history of NFL football league, only one team has every enjoyed a perfect season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  As recently as 2007, the New England Patriots didn’t lose a single game in the regular season, but the pressure mounted to eclipse the Dolphin’s record and the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl.  Success is generally defined by reaching specific goals but often we must sacrifice certain short-term success in order to arrive at our desired destination. Did chasing a perfect season interfere with the ultimate goal of winning a championship?

You must be willing to walk away: Negotiation 101: In order to attain the ultimate deal, you must be willing to walk away from intermediate opportunities.  The necessities an honest appraisal of the strength of your position. A mon on life support can very well afford to pull the plug.

Goodwill is the currency of relationships: In an age of instant information and access, competing parties will frequently find themselves in very comparable negotiating positions. What enables them to cross the divide is goodwill.

Goodwill is the lubricant that greases deals: Highly intelligent and successful people are unlikely to persuade colleagues and competitors of a similar bent through facts, figures, or even negotiating ability to do something they don’t feel comfortable doing.  What enables them to fuse two very powerful and competing forces is goodwill.

Goodwill can be your most valuable asset: Unlike cash, inventory, or other hard assets that can be measured with tradition metrics, goodwill frequently can be the ultimate determinant of success and failure in business.  Developing and maintaining a reservoir of goodwill among employees, collage agues, and even competitors is often more valuable than more tangible assets.

Goodwill must be earned before it can be employed:  Goodwill is most often earned by doing the right thing when there is no pressure to do it.  By going the extra mile to be supportive, respectful, generous, and loyal, and en executive earns the most valuable commodity.

Goodwill cuts both ways: By falling to recognize the small things that you can do to creat goodwill, executives often plant a negative seed that grows into reverse goodwill.  When the leader most needs to call upon his troops for support, a vote of confidence, or double duty mission, the obvious prior failure to do the right thing, to make the small gesture, rebounds with unexpected negative force.

Don’t be afraid to let the customer know when he’s wrong: In an age of increasing specialization, customers look to their dealers, brokers,a nd advisors for specialized advice. Often the customer has strong opinions about his purchasing options and just as frequently these opinions are based on a faulty set of assumptions. Never let your desire to please the customer interfere with your responsibility to give him candid advice about his decisions. Otherwise his next purchase will be his last purchase.

Short term pain often translates into a long-term gain: Most individuals steer a wide path to avoid confrontation.  But a trusted advisor is like a personal trainer, sometimes where there’s no pain there’s no gain. In order to avoid a result that would ultimately constitute an unacceptable level of risk or damage to the client, the advisor must be willing to deliver the hard facts up front.

Truth or consequences: While experience is sometimes the best teacher, there are situations when a bad experience can be fatal.  An individual facing such a critical decision must be informed in the strongest terms that a wrong turn will lead right over the cliff.

Remember the Golden Rule:  He who has the Gold Rules: Your ability to reach a successful conclusion is a direct result of the amount of leverage you have and your ability to communicate that leverage.

Know when to hold: A great point guard never gives up his dribble. Control of the ball gives him control of the game.  When you have the leverage you should never settle for second best.

Know when to fold: Modern fighter jet costs upwards to 100 million dollars.  Their pilots are trained to control the aircraft under all types of adverse conditions. However, when certain indicator lights come on they are taught to press the ejection seat.  The same is true in business.

Know when to walk away:  In Vegas the house always wins. A savvy gambler knows when to get up and leave so they keep their money.  When you’ve attained most of what you need to make a good deal, learn to walk away and be a good winner.

If you have the power you don’t need to use a hammer: In fashion it is said “If you’ve got it flaunt it”  But in business if you’ve really got it, then everyone knows you’ve got it and there is no need to flaunt it.

You control your own destiny in a negotiation: Almost every variable in a negotiation: where you meet, how you dress, how many people are in the meeting, has an impact on the final result.  Take control of the variables and you will take control of the deal.

Avoid unnecessary confrontations: Really successful negotiators show who smart they are, not how tough they are.

Both sides have to win:  In business even if you win the fight, it is important that your opponent wins some points in order for him to accept the deal.

You need a game plan for success:  A successful negotiation depends on a well thought out game plan that conceptualizes the path to a deal.

How do you spell success? The last player to hit .400 in Major League Baseball was Ted Williams more than sixty years ago. In other words, Williams failed to hit in 60 percent of his plate appearances.  Nevertheless, hitting .400 is considered iconic achievement in baseball.  Learn to define what success means in your business.

Conventional wisdom is just an element of the status quo:  Successful people continually challenge the status quo:  Some people see things as they are and ask why?  Others dream things that never were and ask Why not?  Dare to be great.

You must know the difference between talent and value:  Talent is a constant, value is a variable. Being cognizant of market forces and trends enables is to differentiate our product.  The textbook case is Starbucks selling a 20 cent cup of coffee for $3.

Artificial constraints don’t work:  In a free market economy, external regulation distorts the natural equilibrium of the market. The distortion creates opportunity. Look for pressure points in the system.

Preparation, instinct, and confidence are the keys to success:  The most instinctive hitter in baseball still studies the pitcher.  His intense preparation enhances his confidence on his own abilities and bolsters his performance.

Print yourself a coy of the Falk’s Fundamentals and put them on your office or on your refrigerator, or some other place where you can look at them everyday.  What if you implemented some of these in your life, what would be the results.  Please share this summary with a friend.

Check out other summaries at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

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The Speed of Trust; The One thing That Changes Everything, summary

The Speed of Trust; The one thing that changes everything was written by Stephen M.R. Covey.  He is the son of Stephen R. Covey the author of the monster successful book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Check out Mr. Covey here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Covey .

In the Speed of Trust Mr. Covey the younger makes the point and outlines a solid game plan based on his own experiences and the experiences he has seen over and over throughout his years in leadership and working with companies.

The book starts off with what Mr. Covey calls the economics of trust.  He uses this formula to make the point.

  • Trust is low =  Speed goes down and Cost goes up
  • Trust is high = Speed goes up and Cost goes down

Think about the above formulas for a minute.  Think about in your current work environment, or maybe in an organization you are in, or your relationship with a boss.  When the trust is low, things you are trying to accomplish get slowed down, and in turn costs go up.  However, when trust is high, you can see that things speed up, which in turn costs go down.

The author equates trust to paying taxes.  As a tax payer we know that we must pay a certain amount of money to the IRS each year for taxes.  But when it comes to trust, or lack of trust, we are paying a tax and may not even be aware of it.  The taxes you pay in an organization can be hidden.  Think about a project you would like to implement and it is not moving fast enough, you may be paying a tax because for whatever reason there isn’t any trust established with you and the parties involved in getting the project done.  I have seen this scenario over and over in business.

The other equation the author offers is this: Strategy times Execution = Results.  But then he goes on to say this.  (Strategy times Execution)Trust = Results.  Trust is a multiplier.  You can have a good strategy and a great execution plan, but if you dont have trust the project can get derailed.  Trust is the great multiplier.  Trust is the key ingredient for all relationships.

  • Trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivation and inspiration.  People want to be trusted.
  • Who do you trust?  A work colleague. a friend? Your spouse, Your boss?  Who trusts you?
  • Trust is a function of two things: Character and Competence.
  • Also people trust people who can get things done.
  • Leadership theory deals with what a leader is (character) and what a leader does is (competence)

The author breaks down trust in the book this way.  There are five levels.  Self trust, Relationship Trust, Organizational Trust, Market trust, and Societal Trust. 

Self Trust: 

  • The first level is Self Trust and deals with the confidence we have in ourselves, in our ability to set and achieve goals, to keep commitments, to walk our talk, and also with our ability to inspire trust in others. The whole idea is to become, both to ourselves and to others, a person who is worthy of trust. In this first wave the author outlines and explores the “4 Cores of Credibility.”  The end result of high character and high competence is credibility, judgment, and influence.

The 4 Cores of Credibility: 

  • Integrity:  To most people integrity means “honesty”.  While integrity includes honesty, its much more.  Its integratedness.  Its walking your talk.  Its being congruent, inside and out.  Its having the courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs.  Interestingly, most massive violations of trust are violations of integrity.
  • Intent: This has to do with our motives, our agendas, and our resulting behavior. Trust grows when our motives our straightforward and based on mutual benefit, in others words, when we genuinely care not only for ourselves, but also for the people we interact with, lead, or serve.  When we suspect a hidden agenda from someone or we don’t believe they are citing in our best interests, we are suspicious about everything they say and do. Both integrity and intent are matters of character.
  • Capabilities: Capabilities are the abilities we have that inspire confidence, our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and style.  They are the means we use to produce results.  A family doctor might have integrity and his motives might be good, but unless he’s trained and skilled to perform the task at hand (brain surgery for example) he’ll be lacking in credibility in that area. Capabilities also deal with our ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust.
  • Results: Results refer to our track record, our performance, our getting the right things done.  If we don’t accomplish what we expected to do, it diminishes our credibility.  On the other hand, when we achieve the realists we promised, we establish a positive reputation of performing, or being a producer, and our reputation precedes us. Both capabilities and results are matters of competence.  

Relationship Trust:

  • The second level is Relationship Trust and it is about how to establish and increase the “trust accounts” we have with others. Consistent behavior is critical.  The author outlines 13 key behaviors common to high trust leaders around the world. These 13 behaviors are practitioner based and validated by research.  The 13 behaviors can be learned by anybody.  The goal is to increase our ability to generate trust with all involved in order to enhance relationships and achieve better results.

13 Behaviors:  

  • Talk Straight: Be honest. Tell the truth.  Let people know where they stand.  Use simple language. Call things what they are. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions.
  • Demonstrate Respect: Genuinely care for others. Show you care. Respect the dignity of every person and every role. Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you. Show kindness in the little things. Don’t fake caring. Don’t attempt to be efficient with people.
  • Create Transparency: Tell the truth in a way people can verify.  Get real and genuine.  Be open and authentic. Err on the side of disclosure. Operate on the premise “What you see is what you get.” Don’t have hidden agendas.  Don’t hide information.
  • Right Wrongs: Make things right when you’re wrong.  Apologize quickly.  Make restitution where possible.  Practice “service recoveries.” Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up. Don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing.
  • Show Loyalty: Give credit freely.  Acknowledge the contributions of others. Speak about people as if they were present. Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves.  Don’t bad mouth others behind their backs. Don’t disclose others private information.
  • Deliver Results: Establish of track record of results.  Get the right things done. Make things happen.  Accomplish what you’re hired to do. Be on time and within budget. Don’t over promise and under deliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering.
  • Get Better: Continuously improve.  Increase your capabilities. Be a constant learner. Develop feedback systems, both formal an informal.  Act on the feedback you receive. Thank people for feedback.  Don’t consider yourself above feedback. Don’t assume todays knowledge and skills will be sufficient for tomorrows challenges.
  • Confront Reality: Takes issues head on, even the “undiscussables.”  Address the tough stuff directly.  Acknowledge the unsaid.  Lead out courageously in conversation.  Remove the :sword from their hands.” Don’t skirt the real issues.  Don’t bury your head in the sand.
  • Clarify Expectations: Disclose and reveal expectations.  Discuss them.  Validate them. Renegotiate them if needed and possible. Don’t violate expectations. Don’t assume that expectations are clear or shared.
  • Practice Accountability:  Hold yourself accountable.  Hold others accountable.  Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you’re doing and how others are doing.  Don’t avoid or shirk responsibility. Don’t blame others or point fingers when things go wrong.
  • Listen First: Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Listen with your ears and your eyes and heart. Find out what the most important behaviors are to the people you’re working with. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Don’t presume you have all of the answers or all the questions.
  • Keep Commitments: Say what You are going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do.  Make commitments carefully and keep them.  Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor. Don’t break confidences. Don’t attempt to “PR” your way out of a commitment you’ve broken.
  • Extend Trust: Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.  Learn how to appropriately extend trust to others based on the situation, risk, and credibility (character and competence) of the people involved. But have a propensity to trust.  Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.   

Organizational Trust:

  • Organizational trust deals with how leaders can generate trust in all kinds of organizations, including businesses, not for profit organizations, government entities, educational institutions, and families, as well as in teams and other micro units within organizations.  If you’ve ever worked with people you trusted, but in an organization you didn’t, or in a situation where the organizations systems and structures promoted distrust, you will easily recognize the critical nature of the third level of trust. The key principle underlying is alignment, it helps leaders create structures, systems, and symbols of organizational trust that decrease or eliminate seven of the most insidious and costly organizational trust taxes and create seven huge organizational trust dividends.

Market Trust:

  • Market trust is the level at which almost everyone clearly understands the impact of trust. The underlying principle behind this wave is a reputation. It’s about your company brand (your personal brand), which reflects the trust customers, investors, and others in the marketplace have in you. Everyone knows that brands powerfully affect customer behavior and loyalty. When there is a high trust brand, customers buy more, refer more, give the benefit of the doubt, and stay with you longer.  This material will not only help you improve your own brand and reputation as an individual, it will also help you improve your organizations brand and reputation in the marketplace.

Societal trust: 

  • Societal Trust is about creating value for others and for society at large. The principle underlying this wave is contribution. By contributing or giving back we counteract the suspicion, cynicism, and low trust inheritance taxes within our society. We also inspire others to create value and contribute, as well.

Depending on our roles and responsibilities, we may have more or less influence as we move through out each successive level. However, we all have extraordinary influence on the first two levels (Self Trust and Relationship Trust) and this is where we should begin.

My hope is that you can read this book summary and gain a few nuggets.  If you refer back to the formulas at the beginning of this summary.  If you are in sales, how does this question apply to your world?  Do you currently have a sale that has slowed down?  Why?  Have you stablished enough trust yet.  The economics of trust formula applies to business as well as personal relationships and family.

I would encourage you to pick up the book.  I obviously gave you a solid overview about the book, but the book is full of great quotes by great leaders and a lot of great real life examples of where trust was established and where trust wasn’t established and the consequences of both.

Check out thebrianwillett.com for more book summaries.  Also, share this summary with someone who you think can learn from it.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

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Get busy living or get busy dying

If you have cable television you have probably run across the movie The Shawshank Redemption.  The movie is about a guy who is charged with murdering his wife and her lover.  Which in this case, he really didn’t do it.  Andy, played by Tim Robbins who is the banker charged with the murder becomes really good friends with a group of guys in prison.  One of those guys is “Red” played by Morgan Freeman.

Since I don’t want to ruin the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, (which would totally surprise me if you haven’t seen it), I wont tell you how it ends.  I would encourage you to watch it.

In this scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tkzc983aE0 Andy says to “Red” “Get busy living or get busy dying”.  Now keep in mind these people are in prison and when Andy says this, Red is beside himself saying we are in prison, what are you talking about.

I have seen this movie many times since it was first released.  This morning as I was running for some reason this quote was on my mind.

For me at times I feel like I am so busy being busy that I wonder if I am truly living?  Do you ever feel this way?  Are you just getting through the day or are you getting from the day?  Are you designing the life you want to live or are you constrained to live the life and do the work that others want you to live?  Does your work matter?

My goal today, is to do the things I have to do as quickly as possible so I can start doing the things I want to do.  Sure these could be remedial tiny tasks, or things that are part of my job and responsibilities.  However, I am thinking bigger picture than this.  I am going to push everything that average people do out of my life.  I am going to follow a path that is less followed.  The things we have to do are what you think they are.  Get up, go to work, pay the mortgage, cut the grass, clean the house, complete the project, get the job done.  These are all things I have to do, but my goal is to get to the point where I only do what I want to do.

Today get busy living or get busy dying, but I would challenge you to get closer to living the life you want to live and just like in the scene with Andy and Red, ignore the ones who doubt you.

More resources over at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

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