Whose Story Are You Writing?

It saddens me to see how far we have digressed as a nation and as human beings in just the past few years alone.

As a society, we have become far too negative and polarized, fixated on the trials and misfortunes of others. The daily headlines are littered with less than flattering photos of Kate Gosselin 40 lbs. heavier, the latest break-up or trip to rehab by some Hollywood star, and unabashed criticism of our country’s leadership. The seemly endless stream of “Reality TV” shows that glorify bad behavior and amplify the worst in people, are a further reflection of the moral decay within the fabric of our society.

What has happened to the proud America I grew up in where people went out of their way to help their neighbors and to lift others up? We were once the land of opportunity that served as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. Where is that America today? Continue reading…

Play Your Square Yard

Some of my fondest memories are of my children playing sports. When our son, Daniel, first began to play select soccer, I remember how much my wife and I enjoyed watching the boys compete and grow together as teammates.

Several of the most competitive matches my son’s club faced in both league play and in Chicago area tournaments were against a club from Mundelein, Illinois. The Mundelein soccer team was coached by a gentleman originally from Scotland. His players were very disciplined, particularly for their age group, and their transitions on the field and overall teamwork were amazing to watch.

Recalling the memories of how well these U-9 and U-10 soccer players worked together made me think, “Why can’t business, education and government in the U.S function this cohesively?” If these 9- and 10-year old boys can do it, why can’t we figure out how to come together to unify America? Continue reading…

Five “Bees” of Selling to Executives

One of the toughest challenges sales people face is penetrating the C-Suite and successfully selling to C-level executives. Why? According to comments directly from C-level executives, “sales people focus the conversation on their product or service, and not what is important to them.”

So, what are the five “bees” of selling to executives or to business owners you need to know?

There are five critical areas that you must address in order to “bee” successful in selling your product or service to C-level executives or business owners: Continue reading…

Business Survival Checklist

All business owners are looking for ways to improve top-line revenues, reduce expenses and increase profits in order to grow their respective businesses. However, the troubling economy and other factors have forced many of these same business owners to replace the word “grow” with the word “survive”.

The business owner’s I have met with in the past 12-18 months all responded with the same answer when I have asked them, “what is the one thing that is critical to your business success”. The simple answer is “more customers”. More customers are the life-blood for any viable business. And every successful business has a universal checklist of things that are central to acquiring new customers, growth and yes, survival.

Here is my list of ten things that should be included on your Business Survival Checklist:

  1. Business/Marketing/Financial Roadmap. What is your existing plan to deliver maximum ROI performance in the next 12 months, 1-5 years, 5-10 years and 10+ years? The roadmap for your business, at a minimum, should address the next two fiscal years. Don’t be too optimistic – it is much better to over-deliver on your projections than to fall short. Continue reading…

Want to Buy a Toothbrush?

Traditional sales and selling techniques have changed dramatically over the years.

Fading fast are the door-to-door canvassers, dinner-hour telemarketers and transactional salespeople who appear to be interested in only making a quick sale and then moving on to the next one. The so-called  “trickster” sales companies who rely upon sleight of hand selling approaches and gimmicks to entice you to buy are also dying out as consumers become better educated and informed about the products and services they choose to purchase.

One of my favorite stories from sales lore reflects the progress we have made over the years in changing the dynamics of the buyer-seller relationship. It’s the timeless story of a toothbrush salesman who consistently failed to meet his quota and was told by his boss at a trade show that if he did not achieve his sales goal for the event he would be fired. After delivering his stern ultimatum, the salesman’s boss left for a series of meetings, but told him he would return in a couple hours to check on his progress. Continue reading…

4 Words Everyone Must Delete …

It’s official, the 2nd half race to the finish line began in earnest last week. Those little internal alarms started to go off soon after the Fourth of July fireworks celebrations were complete. We now have less than six months to meet our personal, business and financial goals for calendar year 2012. This means more hard work and longer hours to get there, right?

With the prolonged economic downturn, many of us are working longer hours, much like our parents generation, in an effort to someday improve the quality of our lives and achieve our goals. However, what kind of lives are we building, really? More importantly, what values and traits are we passing down to our children and to future generations? Keep working those long hours and one of these days it will pay off for you. Well, how’s that working for you so far? Continue reading…

How Should We Respond to Change?

The only constant in life is change. Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, known for his doctrine of change. He believed that change was central to the universe, and fundamental to the natural order of the cosmos. Well, if change is central to the natural order of the universe, then why do we still continue to struggle with change in our lives today?

One of mankind’s greatest contradictions is that the majority of us seeks change in our lives daily, both professionally and personally. Yet, we fiercely resist change when it does occur. President Obama won the presidential election largely because the electorate felt he embodied the change most voters needed in our country. Now, the two political parties are tearing themselves and the country apart as a result of the changes made during Obama’s presidency. Is this an appropriate response to change? Hardly. Continue reading…

Faith, Free-Will and Leadership: Our Dilemma?

As business leaders and private citizens, most of us struggle with a dilemma when it comes to faith, free-will and leadership. Proportionally, where should the emphasis be placed with respect to each of these three areas when making life-changing decisions? Do we make these life choices guided by faith, based solely on our own instincts and experiences, or do we seek out the advice and counsel of others. And how much control of the outcome are we willing to give up in the process?

In reality though, the decision-making process is really not that complicated, is it? Far too often we’ve heard people say “it is in God’s hands now” when they are faced with life-altering challenges or major decisions in their lives. I’m not saying that we should not seek God’s guidance and favor through prayer. Quite the opposite. However, are we not denying our own free-will and right to choose by placing the burden for decisions within our control solely upon our Heavenly Father? Continue reading…

Four Keys to Going Up

Like many of you, I have had my share of horror stories over the years when it comes to working with contractors. The past two weeks in particular, have been challenging for me in attempting to schedule routine maintenance and repairs around our home.

I won’t belabor you with all the gory details. Suffice it to say that if you are a contractor or business owner and are serious about growing your business, then I hope you will find the content of this article from a customer’s perspective to be beneficial.

For businesses of all sizes, I believe there are four keys to “going up” and achieving success that are integral to sustainable business growth and will generate higher customer satisfaction ratings, referrals and more repeat business: Continue reading…

Restoring Trust in America’s Leaders

One of the most pressing challenges America faces today is restoring trust in its leadership. Growing up my generation was blessed with iconic leaders in all areas from government and politics, to sports and religion. There were numerous examples of role model leaders including Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden and many others.

Who are the trusted leaders of today?

A better question might be, Why does leadership matter? We look to those in leadership to set the tone by providing focus and clarity, vision, goals and direction, motivation and to be the catalysts for change. Unfortunately, too many of today’s leaders don’t measure up to our expectations because we tend to hold them to a higher standard than we do ourselves, and this goes to the root of the problem. Continue reading…