Good is the enemy of great

Excellence Or Mediocrity: Good Is The Enemy Of Great

One phrase has been recently rattling around in my mind, “Good is the enemy of great” by Jim Collins

This reminded me of the classic quote, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great”,  by John D. Rockefeller.  He believed that the truly ambitious among us have a distaste for comfort. They never settle for good enough, because they know that good enough turns into just okay after a while.

A century later, Jim Collins expands on this concept in his book, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t”, that complacency is the enemy of being great. According to Jim, “The enemy of great is not bad, the enemy is good.”  He believes that at the heart of truly great companies is a corporate culture that promotes disciplined people to behave in a manner towards greatness.

In any business organization where friendships are critical in order to network effectively, it is sometimes difficult to hold their friends accountable for their performance in the group. Many times, historically successful groups will go through a slow phase and be struggling to grow. When I ask these groups why they believe they are struggling, they tend to answer the same way. It is a variation of one of the following themes: “The group is becoming too lax; we’re not following the system very well.” or, “We’re letting people get away with things we shouldn’t accept.”

Accepting mediocrity within the network is often at the core of a group facing challenges. When groups accept mediocrity, growth and performance stagnate. Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. Instead, they are never afraid of giving up the good to go for the great because the good never quite pays off the same way.

Seriously, why accept mediocrity when excellence is an option? People, just like water, tend to seek the path of least resistance. The problem is that the path of least resistance may not be the best. If you expect the best from your fellow members, you will get it. If you expect less than the best from your members … you will get it. Therefore, expect the best. You’ll get better results!

Waldo

Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman – Keynote Speaker on Leadership, Teamwork, & Sales Growth

The 2017 U.S. National BNI Conference was honored to have Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman as our keynote speaker. Most noteworthy, he taught those attending the conference to have a “Wingman”. Hence, someone like a business coach who can fly by your side and hold you accountable. In addition, Business is not combat because combat implies conflict and resistance. It’s about winning, losing and survival. Survival, most of all, is never fun. Rather, business should be about cooperation, communication, and a commitment to a core set of values that serve others.  As a result, Business is about relationships and results.

PUSH IT UP!

Motivational keynote speaker: Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman

Watch his promotional video by clicking here

Especially relevant, Waldo helps people and organizations adapt to change, break performance barriers and improve leadership skills in business and life. First of all, he brings the perfect mix of energy blended with real-world experience to inspire audiences to action. The New York Times bestselling author of “Never Fly Solo”, Waldo is a former combat decorated fighter pilot. In addition, he uses this experience to provide real-world solutions on how to overcome fear, increase sales, and improve collaboration, teamwork, and trust in business.

Therefore, Waldo’s ultimate objective is to raise the performance standards of your team by motivating each individual to commit themselves to excellence. Furthermore, He will prepare those attending for adversity, to overcome their fears, and to build trusting relationships in their personal and professional lives.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman to be your wingman as your keynote speaker at your event. By creating a unique, powerful, and valuable meeting experience, Waldo exceeds expectations, inspires positive change and improves the performance of your attendees.

For more information, please see his website at yourwingman.com

Alex Mandossian Verb

What is Your Verb?

I just spent the five days at my semi-annual TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) event in Mexico.  I come away from each of these conferences with nuggets of great information.

At this conference, one of the presentations that gave me a lot of great nuggets was from my friend, Alex Mandossian.  His talk was called “Discover Your Verb.”  OK, I thought it sounded a bit weird but his content is always so great, so I didn’t care – I had to be there.  I’m glad I was.  It was in fact, amazing.

In his talk he said, the “biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is the one thing that makes a great business person and leader is: movement!”

Albert Einstein once said that “nothing happens until something moves.” This is true in business and in leadership because without movement, change is not possible.

Alex told the story of a legendary ad man, Leo Burnett from Chicago.  He said that “Burnett once put his staff to the task of analyzing 62 ads that failed to move merchandise. Why did they fail?  Burnett said it was due to too many adjectives because adjectives (like “extremely”) don’t move people, instead they spark skepticism and doubt in our minds.  In fact, of the 12,758 words of those failed ads, 24.1% were adjectives! Translation: more adjectives means less movement.”

Alex said that in comparison, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains only 13.1% adjective-to-total-word ratio and Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech has 12.3%.

If adjectives are the problem, then what is the solution?  Alex said that it’s not nouns – it’s about verbs or action words.

Verbs increase persuasion power and move people according to Alex.  The greatest thought leaders in history lived their lives as verbs.

For example, Alex said: “Rene Descartes is “Father of Western philosophy.” His verb was: THINK! (“Cogito ergo sum”) “I THINK, therefore I am!”

  • Einstein believed if you stop learning you start dying. His verb was: LEARN!  “I LEARN, therefore I am!”
  • Maria Montessori believed in teaching philosophy that bears her name today. Her verb was: TEACH!  I TEACH therefore I am.
  • Walt Disney believed in dreaming. His verb won him 22 Academy Awards!  “I DREAM, therefore I am!”

Alex said, “it’s a one-word language that moves people and causes permanent and positive change!”

So – what’s your verb?  Alex asked us to pick our verb and put it on a sticky note.  I chose “collaborate” but my wife, Beth, told me that she didn’t think that was my verb!  I said, “what do you mean, my business is all about collaboration.”  She said yes that is how I operate but that is not the big picture of what I do.  I asked her what she thought I did and she said – “you inspire.”  She said that Alex told us that our verb had to be something BIG.  It had to be the big movement that we have with the people we work with.  Beth said that my role is to inspire people to collaborate.   I’d like to think she was right so – my verb is “INSPIRE.”

What is your verb?  Think BIG.  It’s the big movement that you make in your community and your world.  What is your verb and why?  Share it here.  I want to know.

Your Business is Not an Ugly Baby

When was the last time you heard someone say, “Wow, your baby sure is ugly!” If they’re smart, probably never.

How about this one? “You’re clothing, marketing message and overall business image are not referable?” Ouch.

We occasionally think this about people we meet, but will rarely say it out loud. Which is why you are responsible for making sure your business, your “baby,” is in the right condition for receiving referrals.

I’ve seen thousands of people join networking groups and focus heavily on building their network but forget to take a good, hard look in the mirror, both at your self and image and your businesses. I’m challenging you to make an honest appraisal of yourself and your business and ask, “Am I worthy of business referrals?” If you’re not sure how to start, here are five ways to get you going.

1. Define your Emotional Charged Connection (ECC): If you are asked seven times this week, “What do you do for a living?” do you respond with seven different answers? Your marketing message should be clear, concise and consistent; it should also tug at the heart strings a bit and have some ECC. This combination will leave a lasting impression and, most importantly, give others a clear way of explaining your message to others.

2. Walk your talk. Do what you say in less time than promised. Be on time for meetings, don’t check your phone while others are talking to you–and follow up with everyone and everything.

3. Dress for success: If you’re a mechanic and you wear a three piece suit to a business meeting, one might assume you’ve just come from court. Whatever people in your profession typically wear–uniform, polo shirt and khakis, suit and tie, dress and heels–just be sure to wear it well. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe, but make sure what you wear is clean, wrinkle-free and tucked in. You want to look sharp, because your first impression when you walk into a meeting is a lasting one. If you’re messy or too casual, people might assume you have the same attitude about your business. board man

4. Be self-aware: Eighty percent of someone’s perception of you are based on your nonverbal cues, including eye contact, facial expressions and mannerisms. Ask someone you trust to simulate a meeting or pitch with you and have them point out what they think is working–and what’s not.

5. Keep your social media presence professional: It’s vital to remember that your professional image exists on and offline. That’s not say you can share a funny joke or have fun on social media, but be aware that people are judging you by your online behavior. Two of every three posts should be about something personal, but don’t make controversial statements or divulge every intimate detail about your life. In this digital age, if you are what you say, you are also what you post.

Your baby is not ugly, it’s beautiful. Your business image is not ugly, it’s also beautiful and worthy of referrals. But nothing else will matter unless our personal brand and referability are in order. After all, we are our biggest advertisement.

Four Keys to Becoming a Networking Catalyst

ID-100227642I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no mechanic. In fact, when I was a kid, my father (who could fix just about anything) took me out to the garage one day and said, “Son, you’d better go to college because you’re never going to make a living with your hands.” Well, that was great advice, Dad. And I think things have worked out pretty well for me as a result of your suggestion.

Despite my lack of skills as a mechanic, I can, however, tell you how a catalytic converter relates to networking and your business. By definition, a catalyst is an agent that initiates a reaction. In networking, a catalyst is someone who makes things happen. Without a catalyst, there is no spark, and not much gets done. So what does it take for you to become a catalyst for your business and your network? Four things: initiative, intention, confidence, and motivation.

  1. Initiative. Catalytic people don’t sit still—they make things happen in all aspects of their lives. As networkers, they stay alert for a problem that needs solving and then spring into action, calling on someone from their network to solve the problem. They operate with a “get it done now” mentality.
  2. Intention. Catalytic people operate with intent and are goal-driven. As networkers, catalytic people have both business and networking goals. They learn the goals of others so they can help people achieve them.
  3. Confidence. Catalytic people have confidence in themselves and in the players on their team. This helps ensure that the task at hand will be accomplished with stellar results.
  4. Motivation. Catalytic people are not only motivated themselves, but they also spur others on to perform at their highest potential. These people encourage others to contribute, sharing their energy and excitement through their words and actions. They are motivated by personal and professional rewards that they can’t wait to share with others, and they desperately want to help others succeed.

To set your network in motion toward helping your business, make it your goal to become a catalytic person. Think of your network as a row of standing dominoes. Each domino will remain standing until you act on the first domino. As a catalyst, you must tap the first domino to watch the chain reaction of tumbling dominoes. Your network is standing in place, waiting for you to set the pieces in motion.

But what if you’re looking at your rows of dominos and realize that there are serious gaps that will disrupt the chain reaction? Or maybe you don’t have nearly as many dominos as you thought. Even if you are a catalytic person, you first need to have a well-rounded and sufficiently populated network.

Never Stop Educating Yourself

ID-10041080I’m a huge believer in the value of continued education. No one is ever at a point where they can stop educating themselves, and if you do stop, you’ll surely fall behind in your field.

We can’t always be enrolled in a higher education course, though, so what is the most logical way to continue educating yourself well into your professional life? While the best way to learn indefinitely depends on your lifestyle, your specific field, and your learning style, here are my three favorite ways to keep on top of new (and old!) developments in business.

Read articles and books. Thought leaders are always writing articles and books about their fields, sharing their perspectives on the ins and outs of their specialties. While these pieces will always have some degree of opinion in them, and you won’t always agree with everything you read, well written articles and books will get you thinking, get you interested, and leave you wanting to do your own follow up research.

Attend conferences. When you attend a conference and you listen to the keynote speaker, if those in charge of organizing the event did their job, the speaker not only taught you a little something, but got you fired up to go out and learn more. Not only is the keynote speaker a great source of continued education at conferences, smaller sessions and even other attendees can help get your gears turning, and teach you something you didn’t know before.

Practice practice practice. You probably haven’t reached the point where you can do anything perfectly every time, and even if you have, going without practice can cause you to lose your skill. How can you get better at something if you don’t do it? What’s more, talk to colleagues, people you respect in your field, or consult the internet for new techniques as you’re practicing. If you keep practicing something the wrong way, you’ll get really good at doing it wrong. If you practice something in new and different ways, you’ll be more likely to round out that skill level.

How do you continue your education? Let me know in the comments below!

Three Reasons Why Your Mentor is Your Greatest Asset

Where is your cell phone? Close by? Some of you may even be reading this on your phone right now. Most professionals will have easy access to the internet, and so many of us will jump straight to Google when looking to answer the simplest of questions.

mentoringGoogle can’t always answer your questions, though. Articles and message boards can only get you so far. Occasionally you will have a question or concern in your business so specific that you would really benefit from a direct answer to your situation. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons why every successful businessperson could benefit from a mentor. So why should you have a mentor? Here are three reasons why a mentor could be invaluable to your business.

Hone your craft

Your mentor will likely be someone who has years of experience on you in your field. They know how to accomplish tasks that you might not, and as a person who has a genuine interest in you and your success, they will teach you how to communicate more effectively, succeed at a networking event, or set worthy and empowering goals. Whatever your hurdle is, your mentor can help you overcome it.

Access to relationships

So often we forget the power of the network those in our network have. As you are networking and working to grow your business, your mentor once upon a time did the same for their business. Their network is a powerful resource to you, and they would likely be more than happy to get you in contact with members of their network as need arises.

Building your confidence

Having a mentor can help build your confidence in numerous ways. For one, having an individual that you trust and respect backing you, perhaps someone with a reputation in your industry, can help you feel as if you have made the right decisions. Additionally, hearing their stories from when they were at the same juncture in their career can help you see your situation with a different clarity, and help you feel empowered.

Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you the most? Leave your comments in the field below!

Whatever You Do, Make a Difference

Sometimes it’s easy to wonder if anything you do makes a difference in the world.  When I feel like that I remind myself of this story adapted from a story by Loren Eisely:

differenceA young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them.  In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

What do you do to make a difference, even a small one? Leave your comments in the field below!

How to Combat the Fear of Failure

We all deal with the fear of failure from time to time.  I know I certainly do.  It’s a part of life and it can sometimes cripple us to the point where we’re so afraid of failing at something that we’d rather not even try.  So, what can we do about it?  How can we move past it in order to achieve our greatest goals, dreams, and desires?

Well, the answer is simple.  We stop worrying about whether or not we are going to fail because–guess what?–we very well may and that’s okay!  It’s inevitable; we are all going to be successful at some things and we’re going to fail at other things.  The key is to refuse to define ourselves by our failures and commit instead to both learning from our failures and defining ourselves by our successes.

In this video, I tell a personal story about a time when I was virtually frozen in fear because I was so preoccupied with the prospect of failure, and I explain how it helped me to realize the key to combatting the fear of failure.  The fact is, if we always try, we can eventually win.  But if we let fear keep us from even trying, we will fail without a doubt.

Is there something that you currently want to accomplish, big or small, but haven’t attempted to start because you’re afraid of failing?  If so, make a list of one action you can take each day (no matter how small) for the next week which will help get the ball rolling and move you toward accomplishing what you want to do.  Then, when the week is over, repeat the process of mapping out and completing small daily actions every coming week–before you know it, you will have made real progress!

If you have a story about a time fear of failure stopped you from doing something, or a time you overcame your fear of failure and accomplished something important to you, please share it in the comment forum below–I’d love to hear from you!

Who Cares about Your Business?

Do you know who really cares about your business and wants to help you?  Realistically, there are only a few basic ways of motivating people to care about and help build your business.  Basically, it comes down to relationships and rewards.  

Photo courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some folks, usually friends or family, will simply want to help because they like you and want you to do well.  These people will be motivated by the relationship itself.

But in most other cases, the long term motivation to build your business is not based primarily on whether or not the other person likes you.  Business partnerships, including referral relationships, almost always include some form of mutual reward; typically in the form of social or financial gain.  Both you and your networking partner have something to gain, and you are both eager to help each other achieve it.

Some people are motivated by the potential for business referrals you can send, while others are motivated by the prestige and opportunities created by having a relationship with you.  Regardless of the underlying motivation behind them, relationships can take time to prove profitable in a substantial way, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth cultivating.  Ultimately, strong relationships will steer back opportunities because of the nature of networking itself and of the endless variety of products and services to which it can lead.

I firmly believe that most relationships will probably prove rewarding in the long term, even in cases where you don’t receive referrals in return.  There are a few super successful people to whom we send referrals who’ve never reciprocated with a referral back.  We’re motivated to continue helping them in any way we can simply because they will work with people we refer to them.  That makes us look good, because it’s very difficult for the average person to start a working relationship with these very successful, very busy people.

If we refer someone, it opens a door that might never have otherwise opened.  The new person that we are referring to our very busy friends or associates is the one who now goes out of his way to reciprocate.  That’s our motivation; helping our networking partners achieve their goals.  And, of course, in one form or another, it winds up coming back in some way.

What are some experiences you’ve had in which you’ve benefitted in some way or another as a result of truly caring about others’ businesses and helping them to grow and achieve their goals?  I’d love to hear your story/stories so please share your experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

The Success Principles

In this video, I talk to my good friend Jack Canfield about Jack’s just-released updated edition of his bestselling book, “The Success Principles.”

Watch the video now to hear the truly amazing story of a man whose life was completely transformed as a result of following the principles in Jack’s book and to get both  Jack’s take  and my take on what it takes to be truly successful in any given area of life.

if you’ve read the earlier edition of Jack’s book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Please share your feedback in the comment forum below. Thanks!

To learn more about the newly released edition of “The Success Principles,” please visit www.TheSuccessPrinciplesBook.com.

Promote from Within

In this video, I explain how it can benefit both business owners and employees when business owners promote existing employees from within the company whenever possible as opposed to hiring outside individuals to fill higher positions.

In almost 30 years of running my international networking organization, BNI®, I have largely taken the approach of hiring new employees to fill lower level positions and then promoting them over time to higher and higher positions. To exemplify how this has proven beneficial, I tell the story of an employee I hired over twenty years ago as a receptionist who is now the third highest ranking executive in my company.

I firmly believe that actively looking for opportunities to promote people from within a company not only increases morale within the entire company, it also motivates employees to grow their skills and experience and perform at an increasingly high level.

What is your opinion on promoting from within a company as opposed to hiring from the outside whenever possible?  Do you have a story about an employee or employees you have promoted who have proved to be irreplaceable assets to your business?  I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

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