Apr 212011

For  a leader, honesty and integrity are absolutely essential to survival. A lot of  businesspeople don’t realize how closely they’re being watched by their  subordinates. Remember when you were a kid in grammar school, how you used to  sit there staring at your teacher all day? By the end of the school year, you  could do a perfect imitation of all your teacher’s mannerisms. You were aware  of the slightest nuances in your teacher’s voice—all the little clues that  distinguished levels of meaning that told you the difference between bluff and “now  I mean business.”

And  you were able to do that after eight or nine months of observation. Suppose you  had five or 10 years. Do you think there would have been anything about your  teacher you didn’t know?

Now  fast-forward and use that analogy as a manager. Do you think there’s anything  your people don’t know about you right this minute? If you haven’t been totally  aboveboard and honest with them, do you really think you’ve gotten away with  it? Not too likely. But if you’ve been led to believe that you’ve gotten away  with it, there might be a good probability that people are afraid of you, and  that’s a problem in its own right.

But  there is another side of this coin. In any organization, people want to believe  in their leaders. If you give them reason to trust you, they’re not going to go  looking for reasons to think otherwise, and they’ll be just as perceptive about  your positive qualities as they are about the negative ones.

A  situation that happened some years ago at a company in the Midwest illustrates  this perfectly. The wife of a new employee experienced complications in the  delivery of a baby. There was a medical bill of more than $10,000, and the  health insurance company didn’t want to cover it. The employee hadn’t been on  the payroll long enough, the pregnancy was a preexisting condition, etc., etc.

In  any case, the employee was desperate. He approached the company CEO and asked  him to talk to the insurance people. The CEO agreed, and the next thing the  employee knew, the bill was gone and the charges were rescinded.

Then  he told some colleagues about the way the CEO had so readily used his influence  with the insurance company, they just shook their heads and smiled. The CEO had  paid the bill out of his own pocket, and everybody knew it, no matter how  quietly it had been done.

Now,  an act of dishonesty can’t be hidden either, and it will instantly undermine  the authority of a leader.  But an act of integrity and kindness like the example above is just as obvious to all concerned. When you’re in a leadership  position, you have the choice of how you will be seen, but you will be  seen one way or the other, make no mistake about it.

One  of the most challenging areas of leadership is your family. Leadership of a  family demands even higher standards of honesty and integrity, and the stakes  are higher too. You can replace disgruntled employees and start over. You can  even get a new job for yourself, if it comes to that. But your family can’t be  shuffled like a deck of cards. If you haven’t noticed, kids are great moral  philosophers, especially as they get into adolescence. They’re determined to  discover and expose any kind of hypocrisy, phoniness, or lack of integrity on  the part of authority figures, and if we’re parents, that means us. It’s  frightening how unforgiving kids can be about this, but it really isn’t a  conscious decision on their part; it’s just a necessary phase of growing up.

They’re  testing everything, especially their parents.

As  a person of integrity yourself, you’ll find it easy to teach integrity to your  kids, and they in turn will find it easy to accept you as a teacher. This is a  great opportunity and also a supreme responsibility, because kids simply must  be taught to tell the truth: to mean what they say and to say what they mean.

Praise  is one of the world’s most effective teaching and leadership tools. Criticism  and blame, even if deserved, are counter-productive unless all other approaches  have failed.

Now  for the other side of the equation, we all know people who have gotten ahead as  a result of dishonest or unethical behavior. When you’re a kid, you might  naively think that never happens, but when you get older, you realize that it  does. Then you think you’ve really wised up. But that’s not the real end of it.  When you get older, you see the long-term consequences of dishonest gain, and  you realize that in the end it doesn’t pay.

“Hope  of dishonest gain is the beginning of loss.” I don’t think that old saying  refers to loss of money. I think it actually means loss of self-respect. You  can have all the material things in the world, but if you’ve lost respect for  yourself, what do you really have? The only way to ever attain success and  enjoy it is to achieve it honestly with pride in what you’ve done.

This  isn’t just a sermon, it’s very practical advice. Not only can you take it to  heart, you can take it to the bank.

– Jim Rohn

Mar 262011

People communicate with each other in various ways for a lot of reasons. And one of these reasons is when you need something from someone. For people in business, this can either be in the form of products or services. You may want to sell a product while the other party must find your product useful for his intention. You may want to offer your services while the other party must be satisfied with the services you render according to his needs. In short, the way to get somebody or anybody to do what you want is to make them want to do it.

To get something you want through intimidation or violence is to invite trouble.  Yes, it’s possible but not advisable to use forceful methods because the results are undesirable and at times disastrous.  Imagine if you force an employee to take a leave of absence for having apparently violated a company rule. The relationship between management and the employee, or perhaps between management and union (if the employee is a member of it), is likely to be severed.

To get what you want, give people what they want. Just what do people want? Physical health, family ties, financial security, spiritual growth, peace of mind, a successful career, and fame are the basic needs of people. There is one important yet intangible thing everybody wants and that is appreciation.  Being appreciated and complimented makes a person feel important.  When you feel important, you feel needed and wanted, and this gives you a whole lot of reason for existence.

Just how do you give somebody the feeling of importance? Say it, act it; just give it freely, honestly, and wholeheartedly. As literal as it is, saying how appreciative you are for a favour received, makes the other person feel important. You may not be able to describe exactly in words the feeling of importance when you’re in the shoes of the recipient. But definitely, what you cannot describe is real and priceless.

Appreciation may not necessarily be in words.  A smile and/or a pat would suffice and they can come from both giver and recipient.  The giver shows his feeling of being appreciated. The recipient shows his feeling of appreciation for the gift. Somehow magic or chemistry takes place. It’s a feeling both parties would enjoy happening many times over.

Are you aware that the feeling of importance, brought about by compliments and appreciation, is good for your health, mentally and physically? Whether you are the giver or recipient, it is good for both. There are medical findings that substantiate health effects brought about by positive emotions like compliments and appreciation. Frequent doses of the feeling of importance activate the brain cells and various harmonies in the body that promote good health. To put it plainly, the feeling of importance is the antioxidant of life.

Can you think of a better way to nourish other people’s feelings than to show your concern and appreciation? Well, you can show something better than appreciation, and that is – a truckload of appreciation.

You know what you and I and everybody else should be doing right now?  We should go out there and show our feeling of appreciation to everything and everybody. Let’s go and do it!


Feb 162011

“I hate this job!” You hear this often from people who are not satisfied with the job they hold.  But they can’t take this thing called “job” away from them because it brings food to the table, buys them clothes and shoes to keep them in fashion, buys medicine to keep them healthy, and pays for almost everything they need on a day-to-day basis. Technically, it’s ironic that something like a “job” would be hated by so many people when it can bring them many benefits.

Psychologically, if you hate your job, it only means it’s something you do against your will.  Anything that resists a flow makes the flows difficult.  Similarly, anything that assists a flow makes the flow move faster.

Equating this with the way you may think about your job, if you put “love” instead of “hate” to your job, work becomes easier for you.  This will make you more productive. The company will profit more. As a result, they will pay you more.  Then, everybody becomes happy.

If you are the employer, you can also do many positive changes that will benefit your employees.  In the end, you will be the biggest beneficiary of this change.

You can start by putting up slogans around the walls of the workplace.  These slogans may promote unity and harmony between management and staff where everyone will benefit out of it.  The slogans may suggest positive attitudes that will form part of their work habits.  There is power – a guide for people to change in positive ways. It would be wise to turn these words into action.  In time, the “I hate this job” chant becomes “I love this job”.  This improvement in work attitude will be reflected in turnover of employees. As an employer, you will find less people leaving the company and more employees being satisfied.

Visitors visiting your company will be impressed with the slogans you place on the walls of your work place. So make them as meaningful as possible.

If you’re the employee, a change in the way you think about your job will bring a different result.  It cannot be denied that hating or loving a job has a lot to do with the way you treat it.

There are many instances where an employee does not see the good side of his job until he has left or lost it.  You need not wake up one morning to this kind of circumstance. Let the good side of keeping your job pervade your thoughts.

Treat your job as though you are doing voluntary work.  Think of your job as though you are helping the needy without expecting anything in return.  You will be astonished with the result it will bring to your heart, health, and pocket.  Treating your job as a volunteer work makes you work wholeheartedly, without any resistance.

It’s either you keep your job or you don’t.  Hating it is not an option.


Nov 052010

When the first generation of women entered the workforce in earnest in the 1970s, they succeeded in the only way they could – by imitating men.  Authoritarian leadership and tight control was the hallmark of business style back then, and women were not exactly welcomed into the ranks of management.  Well ladies, that was yesterday, and today is today!

Today’s CEO/entrepreneur can no longer tap his/her company’s full potential using a “command-and-control” style.  The 21st century business woman needs to be able to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, then help her partners and staff fulfil that vision.  She must draw on a wide range of skills to get to the top and stay there.

Following are 7 Key Characteristics that are essential:

Sell the Vision:

A leader with a fresh, independent plan for her company’s growth and future has a distinct advantage in luring and keeping great talents and investors.  Vision is not some lofty ideal, but an obtainable concept that is easy to understand and will make the company grow to another level.

Reinvent the Rules:

While women have traditionally been socialized to please others, the 21st century leader knows that good girls rarely post great returns. The strong managers/owners today not only anticipate change, they create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation.

Achieve With A Laser Focus:

Take the path where others fear to tread!  Being aggressive and ambitious has long been considered male traits, but they are key qualities for new leaders.  Today’s business woman has the ability to home in on opportunities that others may simply not see, and then excel in that uncharted territory.

Use High-Touch in a High-Tech Era:

When a number of leaders are conducting business by e-mail, voice mail, passwords, and PINs, the female entrepreneur succeeds because she guides with a strong, personal, bed-side manner.  Today’s business woman is just as technologically savvy as her peers, but her skill with staff and customers is “high-touch” which gives her a critical edge and separation from the “pack”.

Challenge or Opportunity?

Women are great at turning a challenge into an opportunity instead of using the “slash-and-burn” approach.  They are able to make bold strokes, but they also win the cooperation of others in the organization in making any transformation a success.

A Customer Preference Obsession:

In this information age which makes it easier to shop around for the best “whatever”, businesses must work harder to give people what they want before their competitors do.  There is no substitute for spending time with clients to become expert at their businesses and learn their demands.  Female leaders are almost intuitively adept in doing just that, and without the client even suspecting.

Courage Under Fire:

Show me any career woman or female entrepreneur today that isn’t able to “stand-the-heat” in any tough-call situation.  Their decision-making skills are rooted in a high level of confidence, because they’ve had to weather and surpass any and all “corporate” storms they’ve encountered over time.

It takes a certain mindset for anyone to start their own business and succeed, but it’s even more difficult for a female entrepreneur.  Let’s face it, ladies!  We’ve always had to be twice-as-smart and twice-as-confident as any male counterpart in the corporate world.  After all, if we can bear and raise the future generation, how can running a successful business scare us?

Jan 132010

One of the quickest and most versatile forms of communication today is the Email.  Most people have at least one email address, if not two or more.  However, email can be counter-productive if you don’t manage it properly.

Here are some practical suggestions for increasing YOUR email productivity:

Strive to keep your Inbox “clean” Do not use your Inbox to store your old emails.  Instead, use your Inbox only for emails that you still need to process or follow up on.   Alternatively, use a separate folder to store emails that you need to respond to.  However, remember to set up regular times to go through and respond to these emails.

Turn off the auto-check feature Most email programs check for new mail automatically at regular intervals.  This serves no useful purpose unless you are waiting for an important email.  It can be very distracting.  Instead of letting the computer decided when to check email for you, turn the auto-check off and do it consciously at pre-determined times during the day.

Keep your email organized Create folders and sub-folders to store messages in a way that makes sense for you.  You can set-up message rules that deliver them directly to these folders.  Organising your email is a balance between making it easy to file new emails as they arrive.  Also, you will be able to find what you are looking for faster.

Use templates for repetitive emails Use templates if you frequently send emails that are the same.  Just type the part of the message that remains the same and leave space for variable such as the person’s name.  Then, when you need to send the email, just open the saved file, paste it into the email addressed to the recipient and add the person’s name.

Use technology to your advantage Spam is annoying and a waste of time.  It can be dangerous as some spam contains viruses or links to malicious websites.  Do no open them!  Use filters to keep most of the garbage out of your Inbox.

Use effective subject lines Some people get dozens of emails per day.  Hence, they have to pick and choose which email they want to read.  You need to use a effective subject line to catch the eye of the recipient or your important message could get lost in the shuffle.  On the other hand, if the subject resembles spam, it will probably be deleted! (if it makes it to the recipient’s Inbox in the first place!)

Email is not always the best method to communicate.

Sometimes it is much more effective to pick up the phone and call someone directly 🙂