How to leave a voicemail that prospects will bend over backwards to return

Humans are really easy to understand if you think about what makes us tick, gets us excited, scared, angry, etc.  Yes we are emotional beings.  And we only care about ourselves.  I know, someone out there is saying to themselves right now.  I don’t only care about myself.  I put others before myself. Blah, Blah, Blah.  Maybe you do.  But what if I told you your were fired.  You wouldn’t be thinking about the money you spend each month on your charity of choice.  Nope. The first thing you would think about is how you are going to pay your mortgage, car, or put food on the table.

This week, I was reminded again, how selfish most humans really are.

As a sales manager, I not only sell but I also manage a sales team.  In my business, some sales reps stay for a while and there are some that stay for a season and move on.  Thats okay.  It happens, what we do is hard.

I get the resignation letter and we have a conversation. The employee tells me they are willing to work out the two weeks.  I really needed that person to do that so we could get things in place to make a smooth transition.  They weren’t going to a competitor, so I was good with it. We get three days into the two weeks they are to work, and the person goes awol.  They don’t return my phone calls. They are not sending emails or returning my texts.

Look I am a pragmatist.  I have been in business long enough that I understand that when people have made a decision to leave their position, in their minds they have already left the position. Most likely, they left the position weeks or months ago. But now it is just final, because they finally let their manager know.  So the fact they weren’t returning my calls. I understand.  No hard feelings.  We will both move on.  However, don’t expect to get a two-week paid vacation; in between jobs at my expense.

After the third day of no return calls, texts, or emails. I left a message for the sales rep.  It sounded something like this.

“I was just calling to let you know that this will be your last day on the payroll.  I appreciate your willingness to work out the two weeks, but it is evident that you have already moved on.  And that is okay.  But we will be ending your employment as of today.”

Again, I am not upset at this point. We both are moving on. That is life.

So after leaving voice mails for three days and not getting any response. I leave the above voicemail. And wouldn’t you know, I get a call back within one hour of leaving the message.

So we talk about what needs to happen and everything is ok. They were a good colleague and in the future we will most likely do business together.

But as I was talking with a colleague of mine about this situation, they reminded me of what a great illustration of how to leave a voicemail that the person receiving the message will actually care enough to return.

As my story illustrates very vividly.  When we leave a voicemail with someone we must communicate what we offer and how it could directly impact their bottom line, as it did in this case, it creates the urgency for them to take action.  I have no idea why they didn’t return my calls the three days prior, and it doesn’t matter.  However, when you do finally strike a nerve that impacts them directly, emotionally, and in this case financially, it will cause action to occur and they will return your phone call.

So today as I making phone calls to prospects I will be reminding myself constantly about this interaction. If I want to get my phone call returned, I must leave a message that states how the person can either benefit by calling me back or lose something if they don’t call me back.  We are all interested in anything that can help us.

To your success and your future.

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Are you overpaid or underpaid?

Question for you:  Are you overpaid or are you underpaid?  Be honest with yourself here.  Now why did you choose overpaid or underpaid? What are you basing your answer off of?

Let me ask you this.  Did you consider the following below before you chose your answer overpaid or underpaid?

Skills:  What is your level of skills in these areas?

  • Problem solving
  • Leading
  • Ability to make decisions
  • understanding of the whole picture
  • Organized
  • Effectively Communicate
  • Good Listener
  • Selling your ideas
  • Managing your time
  • Setting Goals
  • Avoiding and limiting conflict
  • Constant Learner
  • Persuasive

Attitude: What about your attitude?

  • Positive
  • Team Minded
  • Coachable
  • Teachable
  • Committed
  • Dependable
  • Conscientious
  • Responsible
  • Confident in yourself and others
  • Cooperative
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Fun to be around

Knowledge: What is your education and knowledge?

  • It could be level of education (degree, certificate, etc.)
  • Technical skills (writing/math)
  • Computers
  • Software
  • Comprehension
  • Experience with position

So I come back to the original question.  Are you overpaid or underpaid?  Under the area of Skills, Attitude, and Knowledge. Where do you rate yourself in each of the attributes?   Can you rate yourself objectively?  The answer is most likely no, you can’t.

It’s not your fault either, most people can’t see themselves objectively.  So instead of you rating yourself.  I would ask that you allow your spouse, partner, colleague, or maybe even your boss rate you.  I don’t care how you rate yourself. It could be 1-5, or High, Medium, Low.  It’s not the point.  The point of the exercise is for you to see for yourself whether you are overpaid or underpaid.

The chances are as you go through this exercise you will see that Skills and Attitude are more important than knowledge.  Sure, you must have a certain amount of knowledge to have a certain position in a lot of cases.  It could be education level or experience.

However, the way you get promoted, which usually means more money, is your ability to develop your Skills and Attitude.

When is the last time you made a conscious, intentional effort to work on your Skills and your Attitude?

In a study of successful executives across companies around the world.  The data showed that most of the executives all had the same knowledge as the people within their company.  Things such as credentials, education levels, and experience.  However, what separated these executives within their companies, and allowed them to rise to the top of their organizations was their development of their Skills and Attitude.

I have done this same study at least 100 times in seminars.  Where I ask participants to describe the attributes of successful people in their organizations.  The feedback is always the same.  If there are 30 people in the seminar and they give me 30 attributes of an individual they know within their company. They without a doubt, 95% of the attributes they state are in the area of skills and attitude, not knowledge.

My final question for you: Do you want to be overpaid or underpaid?  Hey, you might be happy exactly where you are. But, my guess is that you would like to become overpaid for what you do.  To do that you have to continue to develop your Skills and your Attitude.  The good thing is you can develop both of these as far as you want.  You just have to make a decision to do it.

Dale Carnegie Training has been helping individuals develop their skills and attitude for over 104 years.  If you would like to learn why what we do has worked for so long, contact me by following up with me wherever you read this article.

To your success and your future.



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Primed to Perform book summary and notes

To build a high performing culture, you must first understand what drives peak performance in individuals. The answer sounds simple: why you work affects how well you work.

In their book Primed to Perform; How to Build The Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation, the authors Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor take a look at research and case studies of successful companies and successful leadership that have created motivational environments for their employees. They call it TOMO (Total Motivation) You can find the book here

Here are the questions leadership should be asking about building a high performance culture:

  • What leadership style should you use?
  • How do you design motivating jobs and career paths?
  • What is the best way to establish core value and build a strong sense of community around them?
  • How should you manage the performance of your people?
  • What is the fairest and most effective compensation philosophy?
  • What is the best processes for managing culture?
  • And, how do you change a culture that is already in trouble?

All companies need a purpose a reason the company exists.
There is a spectrum of reasons, or motives, for why people perform an activity. The first three, which we will call the direct motives, are directly linked to the activity and drive performance. The next three, the indirect motives, are further removed from the work itself and frequently harm performance.

Direct Motives:

PLAY:  You’re most likely to lose weight, or succeed in any other endeavor when your motive is play. Play occurs when you’re engaging in an activity simply because you enjoy doing it. The work itself is its own reward. Scientists describe this motive as intrinsic.

  • Curiosity and experimentation are at the heart of play. People intrinsically enjoy learning and adapting.
  • We instinctively seek out opportunities to play.
    Because the play motive is created by the work itself, play is the most direct and most powerful driver of high performance.

Purpose: A step away from the work itself motive, is the purpose motive. The purpose motive occurs when you do an activity because you value the outcome of the activity. (versus the activity itself). You may or may not enjoy the work you do, but you value its impact.

  • The purpose motive is one step removed from the work, because the motive isn’t the work itself, but its outcome. While the purpose motive is powerful driver for performance, the fact that its a step removed from the work, typically makes it a less powerful motive than play.

Potential: The third motive is potential. The potential motive occurs when you find a second order outcome (versus a direct outcome) of the work that aligns with your values and beliefs. You do the work because it will eventually lead to something you believe is important, such as your personal goals.

  • Ex: you may work as a paralegal to eventually get into law school. Dieters are motivated by potential eating healthfully to achieve others things they care about, such as to run faster to keep wth their kids. Another example: Stepping stone jobs.

The potential motive is not as powerful as play or purpose, since it relates to a second order outcome of the work, which is two (or more) steps removed from the work itself.
We call play, purpose, and potential the direct motives because they’re most directly connected to the work itself. As a result, they typically result in the highest levels of performance. Remember this from Primed to Perform, a culture that inspires people to their jobs for play, purpose, and potential creates the highest and most sustainable performance.


Emotional Pressure: When emotions such as disappointment, guilt or shame compel you to perform an activity, this emotional pressure. These emotions are related to your beliefs, (self perception) and external forces (the judgements of other people). The work itself is no longer the reason you’re working.

  • When your motive to work on anything; work, dieting, etc. because of emotional pressure, your performance tends to suffer

Economic pressure: Economic pressure is when you do an activity solely to win a reward or avoid punishment. The motive is separate from the work and separate from your values and own identity. Money alone isn’t the only cause of economic motive.

  • From the research we expected to find that people with the least income experienced the highest economic pressure. Instead they learned that income and the economic motive were statistically unrelated. People at any income level can feel economic pressure at work.

Inertia: The most indirect motive of all is inertia. With inertia, your motive is so distant from the work itself that you can no longer say where it comes from, you do what you do simply because you did it yesterday. This leads to worst performance of all.

  • Ex: A college student may continue to attend school purely because of inertia, they are on the path, so they just continue slogging. An executive continues on their job not because they are engaged in it, but because he can’t think of a good reason to leave.

Why we work:

Direct motives typically increase performance and indirect motives typically decrease it.
The more directly connected the motive is to the activity itself, the better performance becomes. Play is the motive that is closest to the work itself, so its the most powerful. Purpose is on step removed, so it is the second strongest. Potential is two or more steps removed from the activity, so it is the third strongest.
These two insights define total motivation. (TOMO for short) High levels of total motivation occur when a person feels more of the direct motives and less of the indirect motives. Total motivation is the foundation of any high performing culture.

Direct motives typically enhance performance while indirect motives decrease it. Second, the closest the motive is to the work itself, the better the performance. Play is the strongest motive. Then purpose. Then potential. Inertia is the most destructive, them economic pressure, then emotional pressure.

Tactical performance:

How well a person executes a plan. Every job requires specific actions to be done in specific ways. EX: a certain number of calls, or emails for a sales person. Tactical performance is productivity, efficiency, and control.
Adaptive performance:

Someone having the freedom and ability to make adjustments to their job while they are doing to account for things that change and processes to be changed.
The military uses the phrase VUCA to describe limitations of tactical performance and why adaptive performance is so crucial. The letters in VUCA stand for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Tactical performance is not enough to address VUCA. People and organizations need to adapt.

If a job only has tactical performance behaviors, then you can create performance through indirect motivators. When a job has the need for more adaptive performance, like problem solving, indirect motivators can make performance worse.

As total motivation decreases, adaptive performance decreases with it, and maladaptive performance takes its place.
As total motivation increases, so does adaptive performance. Adaptive performance is the secret sauce behind innovation, creativity, great customer experience, distinctive salesmanship, and may other outcomes that have remained a mystery for so long.
Culture: Is our shared set of values and behaviors within an organization.

A high performing culture is a system that maximizes adaptive performance through total motivation.
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest thats survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.–Leon Megginson

Managing culture is like managing your finances, it is a never ending process.

Four Types of leaders:

Quid Pro Quo leaders: Definition of quid pro quo is latin for something for something. This is how these leaders lead. They believe in giving rewards for good behavior and punishments or threat to control bad behavior. They produce high levels of emotional pressure, Inertia, and economic pressures.

Hands off Leaders: They use neither direct or indirect motivators. They tend to get involved only when there is a problem. Like most people, many hands off leaders have good intentions. They believe their teams want lots of space. The problem is they’re wrong. Teams perform best when the leader is involved.

Enthusiast: There isn’t a motivator an enthusiast won’t try, direct or indirect. Problem with this is the indirect will cancel out the direct.

Fire Starter: They use direct motivators and do what ever they can to eliminate the indirect motivators.

Fire Starters: Play

  • Provide you with time, space, and encouragement to experiment and learn.
    Makes it clear on what it looks like to performing well.
    Challenges you to solve problems for yourself.
    Fire Starters: Purpose: The blame bias makes us believe that everyone works for solely money. Fire starters hep you see and believe in your works purpose:
    Helps you see the work is important and meaningful.
    Role models and expects you to live by positive, comsisitnet, values in a common sense of a purpose.
    Puts the customers interest first.
    Fire Starters: Potential: Help you connect your work to your personal goals and needs. They show your investment in your work is also an invest meant in yourself.
    Actively links the work with your personal goals.
    Helps you to develop and focus your time on your strengths rather than to your weaknesses.
    Provides you with more responsibility as your skills grow.
    Fire Starters: Emotional Pressure: Reduces the potential for feel of fear, shame, guilt, or peer pressure.
    Ensures targets and goals are reasonable.
    They are fair and transparent.
    Enables friendships at work.
    Fire Starters: Economic Pressure: Avoid using rewards or punishments to coerce people to work. Ensure you are evaluated holistically.

Fire Starters: Inertia: Remove obstacles from your path and make sure your work will have impact. Makes it easy to get things done and you don’t waste time doing it.

If you hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.

From the testing, we learn that flexibility in how people work, rather than where or when they work is key. People who had freedom in how they worked were more motivated.

What the research found:

  • A job designed to enable experimentation increase motivation by 68 points.
    A job designed to enable learning through a variety of increase motivation by about 68 points.
    A job designed to make you feel a sense of purpose increases motivation by about 64 points.
    A job designed so that you do not work alone increases motivation by about 36 points.
    While money is poor motivator, it can be an effective activator, overcoming ones inertia.
    To be perfect is to change often-Winston Churchill.

As you an see by the book summary here the main points of the book are the motives of why people are motivated on the job. Play, Purpose, and Potential being the main reasons for motivation at work. These motives allow for flexibility and adaptive performances where the employee can be creative and do what they feel like is necessary to get the job done within the parameters of the company. And the person who is responsible for setting yp this Total Motivation enevirnemnt is the leader. In this case the call a good leader a Fire Starter. Meaning a good leader gets the team (fire) started and the allows the team (fire) to take off any do what they need to do.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary. For more book summaries and notes from other books I have read and really enjoyed, checkout


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Quit lying to yourself and do this instead

This year will be different… I am going to do this… And I will quit this… I will commit to making sure this happens… And I will finally finish this…

Question:  How are you doing on these things?

Answer: Well this year has been different, because…. I was going to do that, but… And I quit doing that for a few… And I still have time to finish that…

Does this sound like you? Or someone you know?  If it does, I am sorry.  Because lets just be frank about it.  If this sounds like your or someone you know the chances anything will change is really slim to none.

So why won’t things change?  Well, unfortunately, your track record tells us everything we need to know.  Your decisions up until this point tell me that you aren’t willing or aren’t capable of doing whatever it is you said you were going to do.  To actually commit and accomplish, yes the most important word here is accomplish.  Anything you set your mind to, is first you must commit to it.  And when I say commit to it, I mean write it down and say I will complete this or accomplish this and I will not stop until….I do it.

If you aren’t willing to take the time to make a commitment on paper or on your computer of your goals, then the chances are very high you won’t be willing to commit to what it will take to accomplish the goal either. We both know the writing of the goal is the easier part here, however, it is one that most people fail to do the most.

I have talked about the magic of writing very specific goals before.  Something truly magical happens when you write a goal down.  By doing this you are subconsciously telling yourself that this is something that is important to you and that you want to achieve it.  The brain is a very powerful thing.

Your subconscious kicks in and you don’t won’t to disappoint yourself.  Nobody does.  We all hate disappointment, Don’t we?  The worst kind of disappointment is the kind of disappointment that we know we have control over the outcome. So when we write the goal down we will do whatever it takes to not disappoint ourselves.

So here is your challenge, I have a goal setting plan for you.  It is pretty simple. But it requires a lot of work on your end.  We can start small and build from there.  If you are interested in learning more about the goal setting plan reach out to me by email or respond to this post.

To your success and your future.



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The Four Agreements; book summary

As a reader I read lots of books that are sometimes complex and take too long and too many pages to make a simple point. Then there are times I run across little gems that are quick reads with a strong, straight to the point message.

On of my most recent reads The Four Agreements was one of the latter. It was a quick read with a powerful straight to the point message with very specific action steps.   I guess that is why it was on the New York Times Bestsellers list for over seven years.

You can find the book here

The author outlines four basic agreements that we all must have with ourselves.  These agreements are between you and you.  Which means you can control them.

Here are my notes as well as mini book summary of the book itself.

  • The need for attention is something that all adults have and is something that is ingrained in us in childhood.
  • Most of the agreements that we have accepted in our lives were established when we were young.  Think about it, you accepted your own name.  You had no decision in your own name.
  • Children don’t usually get to choose their own beliefs.  Instead we accept the beliefs of our parents or others as we are growing up.
  • To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive–the risk to be alive and express what we are. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other peoples point of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good for someone else.
  • The way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed.

The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your word.

  • The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create events in your life. You can speak. What other animal on earth can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human.
  • The word can kill millions of people or save millions of people. Choose your words carefully.
  • Impeccability means “without sin”. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.
  • So when you are impeccable you do not do anything that goes against yourself.
  • Self-Rejection is a mortal sin, this is the sin that most humans inflict on themselves.
  • Changes must first occur with yourself so later you can make changes on how you deal with others.
  • What you say to yourself and how you say things to yourself is why you must be impeccable with your words. Never do yourself harm with your words.

The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally.

  • Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.
  • Nothing other people do is because of you.
  • You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others, you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
  • By following this second agreement you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear.

The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions

  • We all have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.
  • We make assumptions about what other people are thinking or doing–we take it personally, then we blame them by reacting.
  • When you make assumptions, you are asking for problems.
  • The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
  • We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking things personally.
  • We make assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.  
  • We overestimate and underestimate ourselves because of the assumptions we have made.
  • If others change, it’s because they want to change, not because you can change them.

The fourth agreement: Always do your best

  • This fourth agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.
  • Under all circumstances always do your best.
  • Remember that your best will and can vary depending on that moment.
  • When you always do your best you learn to accept yourself.
  • Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way we deny life.

There is no way. If you are impeccable with your word, if you don’t take anything personally, if you don’t make assumptions, if you always do your best, then you are going to have a beautiful life. You are going to control your life 100 percent.

  • Who stops is from being free? We blame the government, we blame the weather, we blame our parents, we blame religion, we blame God. Who really stops us from being free?  We stop ourselves.
  • Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change. If you are not aware that your mind is full of wounds, and emotional poison, you cannot begin to clean and heal the wounds and you will continue to suffer.
  • First Mastery of Awareness: This is to be aware who we really are, with all the possibilities,. The second is Mastery of Transformation–how to change, how to be free of domestication. The third Mastery of Intent. Intent from the point of view is that part of the transformation of energy is possible; it is the one living being that seamlessly encompasses all energy, or what we call God. Intent is life itself; it is unconditional love. The Mastery of Intent is therefore the Mastery of Love.
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal.  We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves.
  • It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the human. 
  • Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer or to live and be happy. To live in hell, or to live in heaven.

As I read this book I was reminded that when I apply these four agreements everyday that  I will live a happier and less complex life.  These four agreements are areas that I have full control over in my life.

To your success and your future.

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The ONE word that I didn’t really know the definition of until now.

Have you ever watched a dog chase its tail?  Come on, yes you have.  We all have. I did this for many years.  I felt like I was working hard and doing exactly what I was supposed to do. But I wasn’t accomplishing much.  Your definition of accomplishment and my definition of accomplishment can have two totally different meanings.  So you need to decide for yourself what your definition is.

Get up, take care of my family, work hard, make money, save for retirement. All of the things you are supposed to do in life.

Then I was introduced to the word “Investment”.  Now I am not stupid, I had heard the word investment before.  However, the word investment to me was a word that rich people used, not people like me.  Not people who were in my situation.  I was just a guy who worked hard.  Investment meant money, dollars to me. I assumed you had to have the money to invest.

That is what investment meant. “Money”.  If you look up the word “invest” or “investment” in the dictionary it says to allocate money into something that will provide a return at a later date.  I’ll let you look up for yourself.

Then what happened to me was I learned the real definition of the word “investment”.  I learned that money wasn’t the only resource that could be invested. Nope, I learned that if I wanted to have more money I first had to learn how to invest other resources and those investments would lead me down the path to money investments.

What I learned is that I could use the definition of “invest” and input other words instead of money into the definition.

For example: Instead of investing money with the expectation of seeing a profit.  I could invest my time in to something with the expectation of seeing a profit.

Then I learned that if I invested enough time into certain activities and actions that I could see a return, a profit, from those actions.  Actions such as investing more time in to my personal development, my continued education, my relationships, my health, my family, myself.

Once I started investing my time, efforts, and actions into the right activities, I realized that investing is the word I should have been using all along. Instead of saying I am just working at this place or another place.  I started saying I am investing my time and skills at this place until I get promoted or a better offer.  Instead of saying I have to attend this training seminar.  I started saying I am investing my day into this seminar.

When we start using the word “invest”, instead of spending, using, attending, applying, working, etc. It changes our mindset to say, “I am doing this now, to get a return in the future on this investment of my time or other resource.”

Now instead of chasing my own tail around and around, I have now discovered that when I invest my time, my skills, and ultimately my money in to the right things I can get a return that is greater than the original investment that I allocated.

Are you investing or spending?

To your success and your future.

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6 absolutes you must remember as a manager of people

I am finishing up a great read on coaching from a managers perspective.  The book is titled Coaching For Improved Work Performance; Increase productive, raise quality, reduce absenteeism, get more creativity, increase sales.  The author is Ferdinand F. Fournies.  He has written several books around the this topic.

What is a management?

1. We can all agree that management is getting things done through others.  This is the basis of all management.  Which means you must equip the people you manage so they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Picture this:  It’s a Monday morning at 7:00 and you (the manager) can’t make it to work that day.  You are sick.  So you call in and don’t show up.  What happens that day at work while you are gone?  There is a high likelihood that if you manage sales people, sales will still be made that day by your team.  Outbound phone calls to potential customers will still be made.  If you manage a customer service office. Customers will still be serviced by your team.  If you are in manufacturing, whatever it is you manufacture will still be manufactured.

Now lets flip this scenario upside down.  Lets say its Monday.  You have a few people on your team that are sick. So they call in and are unable to show up.  What happens to the work that day?  Do the calls still get made to the people who want to buy?  Do the customers still get serviced at the level they expect with fewer people there?  If you are in manufacturing, do the things you manufacture still get manufactured?  The chances are, none of this happens.  Production is stalled because you are missing your team.

So lesson number #1 in management is this.  You need them more than they need you.

2.  Management is a series of interventions.  It is based on the things you do and the way you interact and behave as a manager.  Everything you do on the job is being interpreted by your team this way.  “Is this for me or against me.” So you must do things the right way every single time.

3.  Something I have been guilty of is trying to be an amateur psychologist.  We don’t have to be psychologists to be effective managers, nor should we.  There is no such thing as an amateur psychologist.  You either have your PH.d in it or you don’t, the chances are you don’t, so don’t try to be one.

4. In management, you are not buying people, or their minds, their values, you are only renting their behaviors.  Managers jobs are not to change people or their values.  Management is to change people’s behaviors and get them performing the behaviors you are renting from them.

5. Back to being an amateur psychologist which you aren’t.  If you are trying to determine why or why not people are doing the things they are doing, just stop it. Instead ask them why they chose to do this, instead of doing that.  Most of the time people don’t know what to do, because they only know what they know.  Your job as a manager is to make sure they have enough information to pursue alternatives in their decision-making process. If you want people to make better decisions on what they do, be sure they have as many choices as necessary to choose from.  Yes this requires training.  Training helps educate employees in the different choices they can choose from when making decisions and performing the behaviors you are paying them to perform.

6. In scientific management we use a term called behavior modification. Most managers are equipped to deal with behavior modification because we can look at a behavior and determine whether it was correct or incorrect. We can also measure it, and ask for them to correct it if necessary and we have the ability to see when it changes. People management is managing behaviors.

This book is a great read and these six absolutes can get you back on track as a manager if you have inadvertently gotten away from what your job is as a manager.

To your success and your future.

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Did you know that is tweetable?…What is that?

At times in our lives we all have a chance to talk to and be around people who are much wiser than we are.  Sometimes acknowledging and noticing this, and then trying to use this information to your advantage, can lead to more success for you. You just have to be aware when you see this.

I recently had this opportunity. As the manager of Dale Carnegie Training for Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Southern Ohio (Cincinnati), it is my job to insure we have a pipeline of people interested in attending our programs. Recently I sent out an email promoting our programs and I received this response back. With this response, I had to know more, so I asked the gentlemen if he would meet with me over the phone and allow me to ask him a few questions.

Here is his response to my email:

Dear Brian,

I have been most interested in the recent emails I have received from Dale Carnegie. About 45 years ago I was a graduate of your “general” course, which was 12 or 14 weekly courses in length, and was based on Dale Carnegie’s book “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. I attended these sessions at your offices on Paddock Rd. in Cincinnati, OH. I found the entire course a great eye-opener, and it influenced me so greatly that I often divide my life into Pre-Dale Carnegie and Post-Dale Carnegie eras. I gained so much, and – even to this day in my retirement years – I find myself, conscientiously or not, applying many of Dale’s principles.

I have a granddaughter, recently graduated from college, who I think would benefit greatly from such a course. and I would like to forward this email to her, but first I would like to ascertain three things:

1. Is this type of course still available from your Institute? (I can’t help but think that it must be.)
2. Does this introduction session described below cover such a course and its benefit?
3. What is the cost of this course? I would like to assist in sharing that cost, but have no idea how much this is currently.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Donald G. Engelhard

Come on.  After reading this email you would have to call and ask him further questions, Right?  So I did.

Here is our conversation.

Me: Mr. Engelhard tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Your profession? And anything else personal.

Mr. Engelhard: I grew up in Chicago, Illinois.  I attended and graduated from the University of Illinois as an Architectural Engineer.  After I graduated, I got a job offer from a company in Cincinnati, Ohio. So my wife and I moved to Ohio.

Me: What prompted you to take the Dale Carnegie course?

Mr. Engelhard: The firm I was working for. Everyone in the company, including the partners, had to take the course and suggested that I take the course as well.  So in 1969, or 1970, I took the course.

Me:  What did you think about the course from what you can remember?

Mr. Engelhard: I found it to be very beneficial immediately.  The stuff we were learning and practicing weren’t things that were taught in college.  In college you learn technical things, but you don’t really learn how to treat people and how to talk to people.  I am sure in some college classes it may be an effect of the course, but no college course has a main objective in doing so.

Me: What specifically were you learning that made you a better communicator and a better person as a whole?

Mr. Engelhard: I learned the art of listening to people.  To keep my mouth shut and to genuinely care about others, which means allow the other person to talk about themselves and their problems. You impress people more, when you allow them to impress you. 

Me: You impress people more, when you allow them to impress you.  Mr. Engelhard, you know that is tweetable.

Mr. Engelhard:  What?

Me: Nevermind

Me:  What else did you learn in this course?

Mr. Engelhard: Get out of yourself, work around, and learn about someone else’s needs.

Me: How did this help you to be more successful in your job?

Mr. Engelhard: When I talked to our clients, and they wanted to build a new building.  I would just let them tell me exactly what they wanted, instead of me talking, I would just let them do all of the talking. This is what allowed me to build good rapport with them, and   this, in turn, allowed me to know exactly what they wanted. Then we would deliver what they wanted.

Me: You said in your email that you break your life in to two parts: Pre Dale Carnegie and Post Dale Carnegie.

Mr. Engelhard: I may be overstating a little. However, the course taught me the principles from the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  Those Human Relation Principles helped me in the job as well as in my personal life. Re-reading the book and other books over time really ingrained the principles in my life.

Me: Could you place a value on the course?

Mr. Engelhard: That is hard to do. I do know it allowed me to be more successful in life and on the job, and whatever the course costs is well worth it. You just don’t get this information in school.

Me: Some people think this a public speaking course. What do you think?

Mr. Engelhard: I believe that is a secondary benefit in the course.  The primary objective and benefit of the course, and what I got out of it the most, was the confidence in myself to do what I know needed to be done.  I also learned to enjoy people more. And this is what makes you successful in life.

Me: Why do you want your granddaughter to take the course?

Mr. Engelhard: I just know how valuable it was to me.  She is a recent college graduate, and she doesn’t know what she really wants to do just yet.  It could provide her with some clarity on what she wants to do in her life and where she wants to go.  I am willing to pay part of it for her, but I also want her to pay for some of it herself.

Me: Well, Mr. Engelhard thank you for your time.  I really appreciate your testimonial.  Do I have permission to use your name and share this story with your name?

Mr. Engelhard: Absolutely.

Dale Carnegie and the methodology we use in our courses have been delivering these kinds of testimonials for over 100 years.  For me, they never get old.

How many people can remember a math course, english course, or any other kind of course they took over 45 years ago? The answer is probably not very many.

Contact me if you want to have results individually or in your company, just like Mr. Engelhard.  

To your success and your future.

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A leadership lesson from a Gangster and a stripper

I have to admit I am still obsessed with watching the Soprano’s.  The show has technically been off for almost a decade now.  I have watched each episode I can’t tell you how many times, lets just say it is a lot and I still do watch them.

One of my favorite episodes (Lets be honest, I have several) but in episode 32 Ralphie one the members of Tony’s crew is in a relationship with Tracee, a stripper from the Bada Bing, Tony’s strip club.

You can click here to get the summary of the entire episode.  Ultimately the stripper gets pregnant and Ralphie kills the girl before the end of the episode.

What I am reminded of in this episode is this:  In a quick exchange between Tony and Tracee the stripper, she asks him for his advice.  And during the conversation Tracee tells Tony that she is pregnant and that the baby is Ralphies.  They then have the following exchange.

Tracee: “He acts like he doesn’t care about me or the child.” 

Tony Soprano: “Did you ever think that maybe he isn’t acting?”  

This exchange can pretty sum up most of life in many ways. And that is that people will tell us who they are by the way they act and their behaviors.  They are not acting like an actor does in a movie or TV show.  Nope! We are in real life here aren’t we?  And people who act a certain way, aren’t acting.  They are just being who they are.

As a leader I have to look at a person’s actions and determine if their behaviors (actions, (acting)) is congruent with what they are telling me. In some cases they are not.  Their actions will always tell me exactly where they stand and in many cases so do their words.  Sometimes people will tell you one thing in their words and another with their actions, but most of the time they are the same.

So what do we do?

As always in leadership our goal first is to set the expectations.  Secondly, we establish the measurements by which the expectations will be measured.  Lastly, we hold them accountable.

When a persons actions are not meeting our expectations of them and the job, it is up to us to hold them accountable to the actions and behaviors they are displaying for us on the job.

What are your team members telling you by their actions and behaviors?

To your success and your future.


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7 must haves at work according to employees

According to Gallup, PEW, and based off our own internal research at Dale Carnegie training, the current workforce has a serious disengagement problem.  According to the research it states that only 30% or so of the workforce is fully engaged.  Which means the other 70% of the workforce is just showing up, or even worse they are sabotaging the workforce because they are actively disengaged.

So what does it all mean.

Fully engaged employees:

  • Stay with organization longer
  • Contribute to bottom line
  • Commit to productivity and quality

Partially Engaged:

  • Concentrate on tasks not outcomes
  • Want to be told what to do
  • Do it, get paid, go home


  • Sow seeds of negativity
  • Sabotage progress
  • Express mistrust and animosity

The biggest contributing factor to engagement in the workplace has to do with the relationship an employee has with their immediate supervisor.  If they have a good relationship the employee is more apt to be fully engaged at work.  The feel like they are contributing and they also feel valued as an employee to the company.  The immediate manager has the most direct influence on these feelings.

So what can the immediate manager do:

Know what is expected of them: Against some people’s beliefs, all anyone really wants to know on the job is what is expected of them.  If they know what that is, then they can do it.  Uncertainty or unclear guidelines can be frustrating. Managers must establish this.

How is it measured: After they understand what is expected of them, the second thing they want to know is how are these expectations measured.  Again, clarity is the key.  A manager can say this is what you are responsible for and this is how we will measure whether you did it or not. Pretty simple stuff, so why don’t managers do it?

Have the equipment and resources to do the job:  Now that I know what is expected of me and how it is measured.  The next question is: Will you set me up for success.  Meaning: will you provide me with the equipment, the leads (sales), the tools for me to be successful?  The manager must clearly communicate how the individual will be supported.

Be given the opportunity to do what they do best, every day: I can tell you from my own experience as I am sure you can as well. All any of us want is an opportunity to do the very best we can. Meaning we have the right resources and support in place and then we are allowed to go out and make it happen. This kind of autonomy leads to highly engaged employees.

Have a manager or supervisor who cares about them:  I know some of you read the word care and cringe.  Well, care, means exactly what it means.  However, to take it a step further, it just means the manager or supervisor values the employees contribution to the team and what they bring to the company.

Be surrounded by employees who have a similar drive for quality: Nobody wants to be on a team where one of the team members are not pulling their weight.  We all have seen this before.  In a highly competitive world we truly are only as strong as our weakest link.  The immediate manager must address performance issues head on and quickly before it becomes a major problem.

Have opportunities to learn and grow: One of the basic desires for all human beings, is the desire to continue to grow and take on new challenges.  It has always been the case.  However, it is especially important to the millennial generation. They want to be exposed to more opportunities and they want constant feedback on ways they can get better. They appreciate additional training.

As the Managing Director of Dale Carnegie Training in Kentuckiana and Cincinnati we work with companies and individuals in implementing strategies to fight and correct engagement issues.

We do this by working with Senior Leaders on development plans for front line supervisors as well as the employees to ensure the right kind of environment is created within their companies.

If you are interested in learning more about these topics.  Email me.

To your success and your future.

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