Three truths you need, but you don’t want…

On a daily basis it is my job to give others, feedback in areas of their life and their career.  Most of the feedback I provide is not harsh, but it is usually met with some resistance.  Now I know it is important to give the good feedback with the bad. However, most leaders/coaches are either good at one or the other.  Most leaders are either good at telling people how great they are.  Which means the person thinks they are good at everything.  Or you have leaders that all they do is point out the faults or shortcomings of the people they lead.  There has to be a balance.  You have to do both.

In my business, I spend most of my time giving truthful feedback in these three areas.

  1. You are capable of more: I understand you are busy.  You have a lot to do.  Everyone does.  The question I have for you though is,  “Are you efficient with what you have to do?” And secondly, how much of what you are doing, should you actually be doing. I don’t know you or your business.  However, if I were to guess, the chances are you, especially if you are a leader in an organization, are currently doing a task, or job, that you should have someone else doing.   Thats first.  Look at all the things you are doing and ask yourself.  Is this what I get paid to do?  Or am I focusing on things that I should be delegating to others?

    The second reason you are capable of more. You are not maximizing your full potential. Sorry, you are not.  Humans are the only species on earth that can decide to slow up and coast.  The chances are you are doing the same job you have always done. Maybe in a bigger company with different challenges, but it is the same thing you have always done.  It is not stretching you and getting you outside your comfort zone causing you to develop new skills. The goal here is to develop new skills.

    Most of us get to a satisfactory and acceptable level of performance in whatever it is we do, and we just stay there.  But you don’t have to.  You can become more than you are today by learning and doing more than you are currently doing. You have the capacity.

  2. You are not as good as you think you are: The chances are you have never been given the feedback you need to get you to change who you are.  Like I mentioned earlier, most leaders don’t give the critical feedback that is necessary to get you to grow.  So, instead you go through your daily life in business and even personally, thinking you are great at…. whatever it is. And the reality is, you are not that great.  I am sure you are a great person, all of us are, or at least we want to be.  We just aren’t aware of our own shortcomings until someone points them out.
  3. You can change:  As you already know some people just aren’t willing to change.  They honestly believe that they are either on the right path for success and they can continue down this path.  Or they just don’t see the need to change.  Here are the four questions I ask to determine if a person can change.  If they can answer yes to the first two questions, then there is hope.  If they don’t answer yes, it is going to be a struggle.

    Need:  Does the person see a need or have a need to make changes?
    Want: Do they want to make a change?
    Can: Do they believe they can change?
    Will: Will they do what is necessary to make changes?

The chances are if you have made it to the bottom here and are still reading this blog.  It tells me that you realize that you are capable of so much more.  You agree that you aren’t as good as you can be. And you know you can change and are willing to do whatever it takes to make a change.

Now the question is, “What are you going to do about it?”  Dale Carnegie Training is the original Thought Leader in the Training and Development space.  For over 104 years, we have focused on changing behaviors that are holding people back from having more self-confidence in themselves. Changing behaviors to enhance their ability to have stronger and deeper relationships with people. We have also equipped people with the processes to communicate more effectively that has allowed them to have great impact and influence with everyone around them.

If you have a need or see a need in any of the above three areas and know that right now is the time for you to make a change. Connect with me by responding to this post wherever you read it.  Or reach out to me directly at

To your success and your future.

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.

The Four Self’s

In the Leadership Training for Managers course from Dale Carnegie  we discuss the Empowerment Cycle that managers can use to coach employees to improve their performance.

The empowerment cycle can not only be used as a manager or leader, but we can use it to improve our own performance in our everyday lives.

1st Self:  Self Confidence:  It all begins here.  You must have the self-confidence to take the initiative to improve in your business, your life, your relationships, and in anything else you want to attempt.  If you haven’t attempted it before, will your confidence be high?  Nope, but the key thing is to just do it.  Most things happen when you just start doing versus just thinking about it.

2nd Self:  Self-Direction:  We all must be self-directed.  How do you become self-directed?  You set goals and have a vision for your future.  Check out my previous blog on this topic  A person that wants to accomplish and improve their own performance will always be seeking a new direction, a better way, a better approach.  Don’t allow life and circumstances determine your direction.  Take the wheel and you steer the car where you want to go.

3rd Self:  Self-Evaluation:  Now that you have built up the confidence to take some iniative, and you have set some goals, and started the pursuit towards these goals.  Now you have to evaluate how you are doing, how you are progressing, and is it working for you.  My mentor says it like this.

Q:  How long do we allow someone to stay in the fourth grade?

A:  One year, right?

How do we know when it is time for them to move to the fifth grade?  We give them a test and evaluate them.  But we don’t wait until the end of the fourth grade year to do so, do we?  Nope, we evaluate all year-long to see how they are progressing.

You have to do the same thing in your life.  You must self evaluate and see how you are doing.

4th Self:  Self-Correction:  You must evaluate your progress and then make adjustments to the course if you are not heading in the right direction.  Self-Correction is one of the most important steps here, because you cant expect to do the same things the same way and get a different result.  You have to make corrections along the way, no body will do it for you.  BTW:  Number one thing I have learned in life is this “Change before you have to”.  When someone comes along and tells you to change it is most likely to late.  More on this topic later.

The fifth self:  Is it begins back at the beginning of the cycle.  Which is Self-Confidence.  Every time you go through the four step cycle your confidence will build and you will get better.

Take the Four Steps above approach today to your work, to your personal life, to your finances, and see how it works and then tell us about here at the SDA blog.

To your success and your future.

Are these 7 things holding your business back?

In 2012, Dale Carnegie and associates conducted a study in over 80 countries and across businesses large and small.  This study was conducted to see what the needs were in all of these organizations across the world. The most valuable asset in any company are the people who make up the organization.  A company can only be as good as their weakest link.

Here are the 7 things that the research concluded were the biggest driving opportunities for these companies.

1.  Change Readiness:  People driving change and people willing to change.

2.  Living in Silos:  Collaboration between departments.

3.  Virtual Teams:  Engagement for the team members who work virtually.

4.  Non-Traditional Selling: Team members that don’t traditionally sell, changing their mindset to realize that everyone is in a sales role.

5.  Mid-Level Leadership: Leadership development for mid-level leaders.

6.  Sales Force: Changing the sales force mentality to engage with the client more and challenge their clients with a new thinking style. This requires better questions, observations, and analysis from the sales person. Is your sales force equipped to do this?

7.  Partnerships:  Leveraging relationships in the marketplace and building stronger partners that can assist you in serving your customers.

Each one of these areas are around developing people.  What is your development plan for the people?

As you look at the list above which areas do you believe your company is dealing with the most?  What is your plan to develop in this area?  Individuals who read this blog.  How can you start shifting your mindset to become better equipped to help your company develop in the above areas?  I would love to hear your feedback.  Please email me directly at or post in the comments section.

Brian Willett

Say my name, Say my name

Destiny’s Child has a song by this title.  And I think the song has something to do with a boyfriend not calling his girl by her name nor is he calling her baby like he used to, and she is upset thinking he is cheating or something. I am not an expert on music, especially the lyrics.  But what I do know is that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language as Dale Carnegie states in his 30 Human Relation principles.

I found this to be true in my life as well.  If I go to the grocery and I use the cashiers name, they act differently. They smile, they are courteous. Also, if I am at a restaurant and I make it a point to have a conversation with the server and I use their name over and over throughout our interactions over the course of the meal, I get better service. When I remember and use a person’s name that I met months or even years ago, it makes a huge impression on them.

In all of these interactions by using and remembering a person’s name, I am telling them that they are important and that I do care about them.  In society today, we need more of these kinds of interactions.

How often do we grow through the day and say hey, you, we, them, or just deliberately not use a person’s name because we didn’t take the time to ask them their name and remember it.

So here is a quick guide to remembering a person’s name.

1.  Ask.

Yes! Take the time to ask a person their name.  I prefer servers to have a name tag on, because I can start using it immediately.  But if they don’t have one, just ask them their name.

2.  Once you ask it, remember it. 

I prefer the old method of repetition.  Once a person tells me their name, I say it 10 times in my head. 90% of the time this works.  I also will write it down.

3.  Rhyme/features

Association.  There are multiple ways of doing this, but I am kind of weird in that I like to use a rhyming word that just makes sense with their name.  There are certain words that we all have a natural proclivity to tying to another word, usually because they rhyme with each other.  Watch Family Feud and you will see that they ask this question a lot.  What is a word that rhymes with ______?  And usually the contestants get most of the answers correct. You also associate a person with physical impressions.  Like Fred has a big head. Or short person and think of a word that will allow you to remember their name tied with their height. I like to use a MIC with people’s name that are Mike.  Seems goofy, but it works.  I just picture a big microphone and them saying something in it, then it is ingrained in my head.

Some of you are saying this seems like a lot of work!  Is it really?  Secondly, how much do you care about having better relationships, making more money, and showing someone else that you care enough to remember their name?

Brian Willett


Genuine Appreciation

Most of you who read this blog know that I am certified trainer through Dale Carnegie Training.  Dale Carnegie is 102 year old training company founded by Dale Carnegie and the foundations of all of the training courses are centered around the 30 Human Relation Principles.

As a trainer I continue to see this lesson, this nugget, over and over again.  I am currently conducting an 8 week Sales Course.  During these 8 weeks we teach a five step sales process.  The typical participants in this course can vary from people who are just starting their sales career or seasoned veterans with 40 years of experience.  So you can say it can be a challenging course to tailor to meet everyones needs.

Each week there are a number of contests and awards that are voted on by the participants in the class.  Dale Carnegie Training is all application based.  Meaning each week in class we teach a new concept and then the participants are asked to apply those concepts over the next week and come back in the following week and tell the class how they applied those concepts and the results.  This is what makes the course so unique, is that is all application based.  So we facilitate a format where all participants tell everyone how they have applied the concepts and then the class participants vote on the participant who applied the concepts the best. The votes by the class are counted up and awards are handed out and the end of the class that night.  It is one of my favorite parts of this course and the class, handing out the awards.

In the Sales Course, the Lead Trainer and Course Coaches have something called a Recognition Award that we hand out every week.  The Recognition Award is an award for a person who we feel added a lot of value to the course that day, who is working hard, and going above and beyond to learn the material.  As I mentioned before we have varying levels of sales people in the course.

I recently recognized a person in this course with the Recognition Award.   I believe this person was surprised to say the least.  I typically just say what the award is for and hand it out to that individual.  This time I gave a little pre-amble on why we chose this person.  It really came down to this:  This person was the most skeptic in the beginning.  You get that in training sometimes, people are sent to training because their boss said so.  Even with their skepticism, they come back each and every week and they work hard in the class to learn and apply the material.  Maybe it isn’t perfect they way they apply it.  It doesn’t matter to me, the fact that they are trying hard each and every week matters to me the most.  We made this persons week with this award.  That is powerful stuff.

Genuine appreciation for others can be done in many ways.  I have the fortunate opportunity to teach this awesome material in a course, but we all have the opportunity to show genuine appreciation for our spouse, our kids, our friends, our colleagues, that person in the other cubicle that drives you nuts sometimes, that neighbor, etc.

I encourage everyone to try to show some genuine appreciation for someone today.  Honestly, I like to be honest with you 🙂 when I show genuine appreciation for others, the feeling I get from doing it and saying it, makes me personally feel better.

Brian Willett