The stories we tell can make or break our ability to see, and take advantage of, opportunities that present themselves every day. Sometimes they’re the stories we tell others, and sometimes they’re the ones we replay in our heads.
Take leadership, for example. There’s a leadership story in everyone’s life, often with many chapters. Whether you have an official title or you’re leading your team of me, myself and I, that story plays every time you have the opportunity to step up.
That story tells you, and whoever you share it with, who you are as a leader and what got you to this state of mind. Knowing your leadership story and sharing it with others strengthens the power it holds over you.
Read the full article in Leader Up! e-zine. http://bit.ly/XCW3j4
Have you ever walked through a mall or driven down a street when something caught your eye and pulled you off course? The moral of the story is, “Feet (or cars) go where attention goes.” Or, as some unknown person put it, “Energy flows where attention goes.”
Like birds, people are attracted to bright, shiny objects. People with a strong entrepreneurial spirit are particularly vulnerable to their effect.
And, there’s an almost unlimited supply of shiny objects – information, technology, programs, organizations – all helping to generate more shiny objects – projects, publications, new programs and so on. They certainly aren’t in short supply, and they lead you on a trail of unfinished or unfocused programs and projects.
Ultimately you find yourself with stacks of unfinished or unfocused programs and projects. Eventually the volume becomes overwhelming. Your field of vision narrows. Procrastination sets in. You lose faith in yourself and your word, and your relationships start to suffer.
Don’t wallow. Throw yourself a lifeline.
Read the full article in Leader Up! e-zine. http://bit.ly/14G6aGX
Who are the easiest customers or clients for you or your business to get? They’re the ones you already have. And what’s the best way to retain them? Provide them with outstanding customer service while they’re doing business with you.
Customer service means different things to different people. Providing outstanding, memorable products or services on a consistent basis is great customer service, of course. It’s just not the whole picture.
People are people, and everyone has the potential for being your customer or client. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may have internal customers and external customers. If you want to stretch, even family members can fall into that category.
Leaders treat all of their customers, internal and external, with respect and professionalism.
Focus on the relationship, not just the sale. Starts with the bigger why — the reason you’re in business, the problem you solve, and the emotional connection that links the two.
Make time to develop a rapport with your customers. Talk to them, ask them open-ended questions (questions that can’t be answered with yes or no) and listen to their responses. Learn what their issues are and offer solutions to their problems. Treat them the way they want to be treated, given where they are today.
Of course, surprise and delight your customers by going an extra mile. Provide a level of service that will make them remember you. This is important when things go right and even more important when things go wrong. Little problems fester and grow into major issues when they’re not addressed promptly.
Be as grateful for the customer who doesn’t complete a purchase as you are for the one who does. Learn from the experience.
Show the customer how much you appreciate their business by staying in touch. It’s a challenge that’s worth the effort. Deepen the relationship.
EXERCISE – Clarify Your Customer Service Position in Leader Up! e-zine… http://bit.ly/W1g046
Have you made New Year’s resolutions yet? It’s time to change them to commitments.
Local governments pass resolutions regularly. Last week, I heard a resolution written by a church committee which I still don’t understand. Resolutions sound impressive and they direct attention in honorable directions, but their worth is sometimes debatable. How many of us have made the same resolution year after year, only to forget about it after a few weeks.
Resolutions keep you in thought. They’re not inherently bad, but they’re not enough. They don’t have any real teeth.
Commitments keep you in action. They’re purposeful. They lead to measurable outcomes. There are consequences to not keeping them. You’ve made a promise to someone.
Leadership and commitment go hand in hand.
For some ideas on where to start, check out this week’s edition of Leader Up! e-zine… http://icont.ac/1tt32
PLAN PLAN B
Having a Plan B for your business or career is essential to maintaining credibility. Appearance is important, and that includes composure and control.
Read the full article in this week’s Leader Up! e-zine. http://icont.ac/1mZCN
Sometimes, in our busyness, we focus on our lists of things to do and measure accomplishments by the number of items we check off. Just as business owners need to know what business they’re REALLY in, and not just the products and services they provide, on a personal level we need to do the same with our actions. The deeper knowledge will help us stay engaged in activities that bring more value into our lives.
For the full version of the article in this week’s “Leader Up!” e-zine, go to http://bit.ly/Ali5kq.
The first step is always the hardest.
In this case, it’s putting up my first real blog post. Ever.
Writing isn’t a difficult task. But sharing it? Well, that’s an entirely different story. Remember Indiana Jones, in the “Last Crusade”? I’m thinking about his step over the edge of the cliff in faith, trusting that his next step would appear. You get the picture.
So often we get paralyzed by analyzing too many what ifs or trying to answer what’s next. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith, to find that compelling reason and just step out.
We have one obligation to live up to, 24-7. That is to be the best we can be, our individual best. Part of being the best is developing the right kinds of relationships – with others, of course, with your business or profession, and with yourself.
So, how are you getting along with yourself and the rest of the world today?
For the full article posted in the February 1, 2012 Info to Act on bi-weekly e-zine, go to http://bit.ly/zfbrI0.
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