Management Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
think

We Don’t Pay You to Think

Recently, my assistant, Dana made a couple of suggestions to me.  She then asked if I minded her giving these suggestions. I immediately said that not only did I “not” mind her ideas, I wanted her to think and share her thoughts with me.  I then told her the following story about an experience I had many years ago.

You gotta do what you gotta do

When I was 21 years old, I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree in California.  I had scholarships to help but I still needed to work a job to pay for my living expenses.  I found a good paying position working for a large chain grocery store stocking shelves from midnight until 7 am four days a week.  Ugh.  That was brutal.  On some days, I would work all night, go home to get a shower, and then go straight to classes at 9 am.

Even then, I believed that sometimes You gotta do what you gotta do to get to do what you want to do.  Early on, I knew one thing for certain and that was that I did not want to work at a grocery store stocking shelves (at any hour of the day) for a career.  I came to that realization because of one conversation that I had with the “Early Shift Assistant Manager” of the store soon after I started my employment there.

The night crew had some serious quotas for boxes that had to go up on the shelves each and every night.  While it might not sound very hard, the truth is that it was back-breaking work and one of the most physical jobs I ever had. One morning as I was coming off a break, I had a conversation with the Assistant Manager. I suggested to him that I thought would help in moving the many pallets of boxes that had to be taken by dolly to every aisle in the store.  It was a small suggestion but I thought it might help.  That’s when the Assistant Manager gave me a “life lesson” that I would take with me for the rest of my career. He said, “Ivan, we don’t pay you to think!  We pay you to get lots of boxes on lots of shelves every single night.  Now get back to work.”

I Pay You to Think

I remember so vividly standing there and thinking – “Someday, I’m going to own my own business, and I promise that I will never, ever, say that to anyone who ever works for me.  Ever!”  In fact, I will tell them the opposite: “I pay you to think!”  I want ideas, input, and engagement from everyone.

I have no idea where this manager is today but if I ever meet him again, I would tell him that I appreciate that comment because it cemented my belief that managers and entrepreneurs need to do the opposite of what he said to me.  They need to listen to the ideas that employees have.  They may not all be gems but listening shows you care about them and their ideas.  It also gets engagement and possibly even a certain amount of loyalty because the employee feels that their input matters. I may not have applied this perfectly over the years but it is something that I have truly strived to always do with the people who worked for me.

I kept track of him for about ten years after I left the company.  At that point, he had been promoted to the “Main Shift Assistant Manager” and I was well on my way to building a global enterprise that now has operations in more than seventy countries.

I believe that “paying people to think,” is exactly what entrepreneurs and managers should always be willing to do.  Sometimes we get our life lessons from people who give us great advice and sometimes we get our life lessons from people who give us horrible advice.  By applying a little discernment, they can both be a gift.  His was certainly a gift for me.  I did my best to never, ever, follow it.

Census

Census Survivor – 40 Years Later

Your first thought after reading the title of this blog might have been . . . “Census Survivor,” what’s there to survive?”  Well, for one medium-sized suburban district office of the 1980 census, not that much . . . unless you count six dog bites, three car accidents, and 11 attempted assaults (two at knifepoint, four at gunpoint, two with a baseball bat and the rest merely by hand), as well as a census worker who fell down a flight of steps, another who had a door slammed on her hand and, of course, the census worker who fell in a hole in someone’s front yard.

These were but a few of the challenges I ran into when I was the Field Operations Supervisor of the 1980 Census in Covina, California.  It was my first management job. I was a young man in graduate school who had over 500 people who worked for me during this operation.  I actually hired (and fired) more people in those nine months than I did in the next 40 years combined!

Tales of an Enumerator (Census Taker)

The battlefield of suburbia was not the greatest problem faced by enumerators. Maintaining their sanity in the face of adversity was the greatest challenge.

We had water balloons dropped on enumerators at a local university, we did a set of interviews at a nudist camp (OK, in all honesty, the Census taker in that situation didn’t mind it too much), we had enumerators being propositioned–a lot–and we even got information about residents from dog tags!

My favorite tactic was used by a woman who would go to particularly unwilling individuals and sing Happy Birthday To You to the unsuspecting person, who would say, “It’s not my birthday,” to which the enumerator would say, “Really? When is your birthday?” The resident would blurt out the date and the enumerator got some basic information.  Generally, the resident thought that was so clever, he or she would then cooperate.

I’d like to say that I miss this experience but . . . I don’t. It was trial by fire. That said, I am very glad I went through it. It gave me an opportunity as a young man of only 24 to manage and supervise over 500 enumerators. It was an experience I will never forget and always be grateful for . . .  mostly. 

business blueprint

Build a Better Business Blueprint

Take the time to re-examine your business blueprint biannually.  It is important to not only set your goals for the year but to review those goals in six months and take action to refocus yourself on these goals. Plus, I recommend that you look at why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you do what you do is more important than the actual doing of it.  You may think you know why you’re in business, but perhaps it’s been years since you gave it serious thought.

Ask yourself the following questions to create a blueprint for a successful business strategy. Do not rush the process. Take the time needed to write your answers and really dial in to your business mission and personal vision when answering these questions.

What is my business mission?

Beyond simply making a living, what are my long-range professional goals? Do I wish to become the standard by which my competitors are judged? Is it my dream to help make the world a better place?

Where is my organization going?

Am I achieving my mission? Am I making plans to accomplish it? How can I change policies, procedures or personnel to improve my chances of achieving my mission?

What environment is my organization operating in?

Are the current social, economic and technological trends effecting the way I do business and my progress toward my goals?

What is my marketing strategy?

Do I have a social media plan to support my business and do I manage this plan well? Is it time to get someone to assist me with this?

What are my core competencies?

Do I like to do what I am doing? What is it that I do better than my competitors? Do I have the skills to grow my business or do I need to hire someone with these aptitudes?

Is my business blueprint mission compatible with my values?

I’ve seen too many business professionals and companies make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. Starting out with the fundamentally sound goal of finding a niche that will make them successful, they go astray by changing direction every time a customer or associate suggests a new product or service. The mission gets lost in a frantic scramble for business before the original idea ever gets a chance to pay off.

So, even if you think you know your mission, it will serve you well to pause periodically, analyze your business blueprint and, if necessary, refocus on your mission and philosophy to stay on track. Share which of the above questions you struggle with most in your business. We are here to help you to stay on track.

MINO

MINO: Members In Name Only

Being a member of the group is not enough. What I called a MINO (Member In Name Only)  If you are not contributing then why are you there.

Whatever the issues are, just ask, “How can we help?” If we respond negatively, they become defensive. The power is to focus on a constructive approach. If you ask them, “How can we help you?”, their answer will always be either a “Can’t do” or “Won’t do” answer. The person will either explain why they are having difficulty with the situation because they “don’t know how to” address it effectively, or they will give an answer that illustrates that they “don’t really want to” do this for some reason or another. If they are going to say they are really challenged: I can’t do.

How to handle a “Can’t do”:

The printer in a chapter was dead last on P.A.L.M.S. report. We did not tell him that he was dead last. Instead, we asked him, “How can we help you?” The print shop is new, I don’t understand networking. I sleep at my print shop. I do not know how to do this networking stuff. This is a classic “Cant’ Do” response. It is our job to teach them. We were all “can’t do” when we first started. We all make tons of mistakes. When someone alleges they can’t do, they are open to being coached. It is our job to teach them.  If we were just negative and told them they were dead last, he would have quit. Pour into them and help them. They become champions in BNI.

We came up with this together and brainstorm the idea. Not my idea, but I helped. Where the clients come into the lobby area of his shop, he put up a sign where everyone could see it with slots for the BNI members’ business cards. Get 20 copies of everyone’s business cards to fill signs with only the cards from BNI members. Tell them that Bob’s printing referred you. If someone not in BNI wants to give you their cards for the sign, invite them to the next BNI meeting. True story! Nobody just took a card and left. They asked Bob his opinion on each of these. He gave a testimonial with everyone he had cards for. Bob went from last to number one in giving the most referrals. He went from being embarrassed to the top referral giver within 6 months. Bob was the winner of the year. He now loves BNI. We changed his business by coaching and mentoring Bob.

How to handle a “Won’t do”:

It’s too difficult. They give excuses, they are busy, I’m different. With a clear-cut “won’t do”, you open the door for them. They will leave on their own. “I understand your frustration, it is ok to leave the group, feel free to come back if things change”. If you kick them out, they will become defiant and negative towards BNI. They blame and claim it is everyone’s fault. It’s ok to leave on top. If they don’t save face, they will fight you all the way. They don’t hate you if you give them the option to leave in a positive manner. Throw them a “retirement party”. You can cut down the percentage that will require a tough conversation by 90%. Then only 10% of the time you need to have the tough talk about opening their classification and not renewing their membership.

The best part about BNI is friendship; the worst part is the friendship. Ice hockey without rules would be boxing on ice. Without rules, your networking group would be chaos.  You want to be invested in their success. Being a member of the group is not enough.   If you are not contributing then why are you there? Do not become a MINO.

Elevator Pitch

Seven Rules for an Elevator Pitch

I used to hate the expression “elevator pitch.” It just drove me crazy. But now that everybody’s using it all over the world, I officially give up and am going to go with it. The metaphor developed out of the hypothetical that you are literally in an elevator with one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that this is not a sales pitch; it is a creative and succinct way to generate interest in the listener.

With that in mind, here are my seven rules for creating an engaging elevator pitch:

Don’t do your elevator pitch in an actual elevator.

An unsolicited pitch in an elevator is basically face-to-face cold calling. I’ve been a victim. Don’t be a perpetrator. Unless someone asks what you do, just say “good day” to them. The elevator pitch is meant to be taken out of the elevator and into the right environment.

Make it tight.  

It needs to be short. This is a quick pitch, not a reading from War and Peace. Your pitch should be more like a work of art than a science project. It should be succinct and expressive, something you practice carefully and present cohesively and professionally. You also need to be natural. You want to rehearse, but not sound rehearsed, and avoid sounding staged and canned.

K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the short amount of time you have. It will either be too much information (breaking rule number two) or too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have more of a chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity and create interest in your product or service.

Don’t use jargon.

If at any point someone has to say, “What does that mean?” you have officially lost them. Push the button for the next floor and exit now. (I know, you’re not really on an elevator, but you have really lost them.)

Share your USP.

A USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. One example of how to craft a pithy USP is to alter a bland, general statement such as, “I’m a coach and consultant” to something like, “I help people work less, make more and create referrals for life” instead. This is short, powerful and informative, i.e. the perfect combination for part of an effective elevator pitch.

Consider starting out with precisely how your listener will benefit.

My friend, communications expert Andy Bounds, calls this “the afters.” For your elevator pitch, this could be something as simple as, “I help people increase their sales by 33 percent, improve their closing ratio to 80 percent or double the number of new clients they take on per month.” In other words, focus on the “after” effect of the product or service you provide.

Pass the eyebrow test.

Another good friend, Sam Horn, author of Someday is Not a Day of the Week, writes about the “eyebrow test.” If what you say in your elevator pitch causes the listener’s eyebrows to go up, you’ve got ’em! You’ve left the listener wanting more, and that’s precisely what you want to accomplish. On the other hand, if the listener’s eyebrows scrunch down, you’ve just confused them. Find a new pitch.

Keeping these seven rules in mind when you create an elevator pitch will set you apart from the crowd. Now it’s time to press “Open Door.”

Steve Farber

Steve Farber says “Love is Good Business”

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, talks to me about focusing on finding love in business. Steve is one of the best speaker’s I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful. When we were in Cancun together last week, he talked to me about love being a part of your every day mantra as a business owner.

It’s true. Love is just damn good business. Here’s the logic:

1. You have a massive competitive advantage when your customers love your product or service.

2. The only way to create that experience for customers in a meaningful and sustainable way over time is to create an environment or culture that people love working in.

3. You can’t create that kind of culture unless you love your business, your team, your colleagues, your employees, your customers, yourself, first.

4. Employees will model how they are treated by their leaders.

Love being part of our every day business

Businesses that promote love and celebrate love still need profits to keep their doors open, but they understand the powerful connection between loving what you do in the service of people who love what you do. It builds strong relationships, trust, loyalty, and the commitment that allows a business to not only make money but make a difference. Love being part of our every day business is no more complicated than the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Steve Farber, founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, is a popular keynote speaker and leadership expert. Steve’s been featured on my blog before. He’s the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. Learn more about Steve on his website at stevefarber.com

Think of this the next time you order a pizza. It’s a great example of “love is just damn good business” in action. 

“Can't do” or “Won’t do”

Helping others depends on either a “Can’t do” or “Won’t do” answer

Whatever the issues are that are holding someone back, focus on a constructive approach. If you ask them, “How can we help you?”, their answer will always be either a “can’t do” or “won’t do” answer. The person will either explain why they are having difficulty with the situation because they don’t know how to address it effectively, or they will give an answer that illustrates that they don’t really want to do this for some reason or another.

How to handle a “Can’t do” answer

Once there was a printer that was dead last on P.A.L.M.S. report in a local BNI group. We did not tell him that he was dead last. Instead, we asked him, “How can we help you?” His response was that his print shop was new and he admitted that he did not understand networking. This is a classic “Cant’ Do” response. It is our job to teach them because we were all a “can’t do” when we first started networking. We all make tons of mistakes. When someone says they can’t do something, they are open to being coached. It is our job to teach them.  If we were just negative and told the printer he was dead last, he would have quit. Instead, if we pour into them and help them, they become champions in BNI.

Where the clients come into the lobby area of the print shop, we recommended that he put up a sign where everyone could see it with slots for the BNI members’ business cards. He was instructed to get 20 copies of everyone business cards to fill sign with only the cards from BNI members. When someone took a card, they were told to say that Bob’s printing referred you. If someone not in BNI wanted to give him their cards for the sign, the printer was instructed to invite them to the next BNI meeting instead. True story! Nobody just took a card and left. They asked Bob his opinion on each of these. He gave a testimonial with everyone he had cards for. He went from last to number one in giving the most referrals. He went from being embarrassed to the top referral giver within 6 months. He was the winner of the year. He now loves BNI. We changed his business by coaching him.

How to handle a “Won’t do” answer

In this example, they give excuses: it’s too difficult… they are busy…I’m different. With a clear-cut “won’t do” answer, if you open the door for them they will leave on their own. I recommend saying, “I understand your frustration, it is ok to leave the group, feel free to come back if things change”. However, if you kick them out, they will become defiant and negative towards BNI. They blame the chapter and claim it is everyone fault. Therefore, if they don’t save face, they will fight you all the way. On the other hand, they don’t hate you if you give them the option to leave in a positive manner.

Here’s a suggestion. On rare, rare occasions – when someone is a “won’t do” but they don’t want to leave.  Tell them you appreciate their involvement and that you’ll throw them a “retirement party”. OK, not a real party – but recognize their past participation in the group and thank them for their involvement. This should be done rarely but it allows them to save face and leave. With this advice, you can cut down the percentage that will require a tough conversation by 90%. Then, only 10% of the time you need to have the tough talk about opening their classification and not renewing their membership. You want to be invested in their success, yet cut them loose when needed.

Being a member of the group is not enough.  If you are not contributing then why are you there? Being complacent is what I call a “MINO” (Member In Name Only). How can we help you to get more engaged? How can we help you to… bring more members? …bring more visitors? …bring more referrals? Whatever the issues are, just ask, “How can we help?” Their answer will tell you if you can help them.

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!

https://ivanmisner.com/the-p-r-i-c-e-of-referrals/

The P.R.I.C.E. of Referrals

The PRICE system is a commonly known management tool for tracking performance in a business context.  People who want to track, analyze, and manage their performance or the performance of others can use this system as a tool for accomplishing that. Many members of BNI have asked me about tracking the referrals they receive.  The PRICE system can be an excellent tool for you to manage and assess your referrals in BNI.  Furthermore, the system can be applied to individual members or the progress of an entire Chapter, whichever you prefer.

PRICE is an acronym for Pinpoint, Record, Involve, Coach, and Evaluate.  

Pinpoint – involves determining the general theme(s) of the goals and objectives that you or your Chapter may have.  It may be as simple as the total referrals you wish receive.  It can however, be more specific by breaking it down into inside or outside referrals (referrals from members or from people that members refer).  You can even decide to track referrals by the actual value of the referral.

Record – involves taking your goals and putting them in measurable and observable terms.  Measurable terms include things such as quantity, quality, or time frame.  This part of the process involves tracking your goals in writing.  It requires that you take the actual quantity or value of the goals you have established over a time period that you determine (we recommend one year) and record them as they occur.

Involve – requires clear communication and providing feedback to the other members of your Chapter.  Share your PRICE goals or develop Chapter PRICE goals that can be distributed and discussed at the Chapter.  Discuss progress over time and make sure to review and discuss your PRICE goals regularly.

Coach – is one of the most important parts of a successful PRICE system.  Share your PRICE goals with your local Director.  Ask for their feedback.  Use the live internet BNI-Yahoo Chat site and bulletin board to get feedback on your program (see page ______ for more details).  Ask the Leadership Team of your Chapter for assistance, seek out a mentor from your Chapter to help you (or volunteer to mentor someone else).

Evaluate – involves summarizing the data after a year to take a look at your progress.  Make sure to recognize your successes and determine future strategies to improve performance.

The best management tool in the world – is the one that is used regularly.  There is no magic to setting and tracking performance.  It is accomplished using simple but specific methods that are used consistently.  Success is the sum of small efforts that are repeated day in and day out.  Tracking your success – is done the same way.

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

VIDEO BLOG:

Culture is a blend of attitude, beliefs, mission, philosophy and momentum. As a result, culture helps to create and sustain a successful brand. The way people interact with one another and the overall growth of your company is affected by culture. What creates organizational culture? Culture is key in an organization for long-term success. It is the most important thing in an organization and it applies at all levels, from the top of the organization all the way down.  Rules, regulations, and operating standards are important, of course, because you have to have systems in place to guide activities. But culture is the factor that stands above all others.

The factors that go into building the organizational culture and will make your company successful are…

  1. TRADITIONS AND CORE VALUES
  2. VISION
  3. ENGAGEMENT

Please watch my video to learn more about these factors and share your comments below.

Hold that Door! Ivan’s 5 Rules for an Elevator Pitch

I used to hate the expression: “Elevator Pitch” − it just drove me crazy. But everybody is using it all over the world, so I now give up − I’m going to go with it!

id-10074213The expression developed from the idea of literally being in an elevator with only one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that your elevator pitch is not a sales pitch . . . it is a creative and succinct way to share who you are and what you do that generates interest in the listener.

With that in mind, here are Ivan’s 5 rules for an engaging Elevator Pitch:

 

1) Don’t do your pitch in an elevator! The elevator pitch is meant to be taken out of the elevator and into the real world. And, although you must practice it carefully to be able to present it cohesively and professionally, you also need to be natural. You want to rehearse not sounding rehearsed, if you know what I mean. I’m sure you’ve all seen people who, when they do theirs, you can almost envision them as being back in that elevator: you just press a button, and they are off! You want to avoid sounding staged and canned.

2) K.I.S.S. Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the short amount of time allotted. It will either be too much information or be too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have more of a chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity, and create interest in your product or services.

3) Remember your USP? I’ve written about this before. Your Unique Selling Proposition can serve well in your Elevator Pitch. One example of how to craft a pithy USP is to compare a bland, general statement such as “I’m a coach and consultant” to saying instead “I help people work less, make more, and create referrals for life.”  This is short, powerful, and informative − the perfect combination for an effective Elevator Pitch.

4) When crafting your Elevator Pitch, consider starting out with precisely how your listener will benefit from your product or service. My good friend, Andy Bounds, calls this the “Afters.” For your Elevator Pitch, this could be something as simple as, “I help people [                 ].” You fill in the blank: increase their sales by 33%, improve their closing ratio to 80%, or double the number of new clients they take on per month, whatever your “After” may be.

5) Pass the eyebrow test. Another good friend, Sam Horn, author of Tongue Fu and Pop!, writes about the eyebrow test. If what you say in your Elevator Pitch causes your listener’s eyebrows to go up, you’ve got ’em! By doing this, you literally will leave the listener wanting more, and that’s precisely what you want your Elevator Pitch to do.

Keeping these 5 rules in mind when you create your Elevator Pitch will set you apart from the crowd. It’s time to press “Doors Open” and step on out of the elevator. Enjoy!

Sometimes, the Best Addition is Subtraction

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is let go.

Let’s say you’re in a networking group and you have hit a plateau. You can remember a time when your group was on fire, when you all had passion and excitement and you couldn’t get to your meeting fast enough. Now, you all seem to have lost steam, and things just aren’t what they used to be. The referrals aren’t being generated, the 1-2-1’s are happening, and the group seems to groan a little every time the meeting begins. You want to regain the passion and help your network grow, but how?

Like I said–sometimes, the best thing you can do is let go.

If you want to add value to your group, you need to take away the things–or people–that are making it dysfunctional. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you want your network to grow, you may have to cut it back.

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