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Archive for the category “people planet profits”

3 motivation and attitude improvement rules that are still totally overlooked and underused

3 motivation and attitude improvement rules that are still totally overlooked and underused Ralf a

Today’s post relates to our thoughts and how they either will let us feel great and motivated, or just the opposite. A thought is just a thought and definitely not who you are. Cool thing is that if we take a deep breath and give our brains a quick mental break we can always manage our thoughts. So here are three basic thinking rules for your viewing pleasure.

  • Laugh at yourself once in a while.   It is what you do, not who you are.

At the beginning of my career I worked in customer service for 17 years. The first couple of years were very intimidating, when dissatisfied customers would call and simple let me have it. Often times, I felt personally threatened or at least attacked. As a result I would try defending my or the company’s position, which occasionally lead to the proverbial pouring oil into the fire scenario. By staying on the defensive side, the customer would think I did not care and thus give him even more to yell about. Which in turn, lead me to dig in even further. Quite a while back, the company I work for sent me to a customer service seminar. Amongst other things, the speaker taught us about the mental approach of separating what it is you do for living, from who you are as a human being. He suggested looking at what customers are really mad about. In almost 99% of the cases people are mad about everything else but you personally. He also recommended trying to look up, and start laughing at oneself. Sometimes, we get so entangled in our daily lives, that we take our oh-so-important problems way too seriously. Customers usually do not take well to taking yourself too serious during a telephone conversation, as they called to get their problems addressed, and not yours. I tried this theory out the very next day with amazing results. Regardless of how bad they sometimes vented staying focused on the customer’s issues, defused the once very polarized situation.


  • Rather be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Looking like a fool does not improve your attitude and motivation. This rule I picked up along the way of getting promoted all the way into management functions at work. With the added responsibilities, came a steady diet of meetings. Meetings have become a staple of my daily schedule. All these people gatherings have a profound common denominator: they are based on personal interaction. The part I was struggling with the most was listening to what was being said. I was listening to respond more than listening to understand. Unfortunately, proper listening skills do not get taught in high school or during college. It was also not part of the on the job training program. So in one-on-one as well as large group meetings, I used to jump to conclusions, rather than waiting for everyone to finish the points they were trying to make. This was a very foolish thing to do. In hindsight, I should have sat on a rock, and thought about my actions a lot earlier. Then one day, I reflected on a meeting that had gone badly. I asked myself what I could have done better. This is when I realized my habitual mistake, of interrupting other people’s conversations. Changing this habit was tough but worth the effort. I look foolish a lot less often nowadays.


  • Choose your attitude! Be there! Play! Make their day!

The phrases above are part of a rule that I keep honing and refining throughout my life. They key to success in life is your own motivation and morale, as well as that of i.e. your family, friends, peers and people that you serve.   Quite a while back, I was watching a motivational and morale boosting tape called “Fish”. It struck a chord with me, as I finally was able to express in short terms, where motivation comes from. To me it always starts with you and thus with me. Choose your attitude well after you get up in the morning. This is a simple yet effective mind game; it really is your choice to either feel upbeat, or be moping around all day. Usually, everyone will most likely be impacted by, if not mirror, your attitude. Sounds like a no-brainer to me, right? Well, it is indeed tough and easier said than done. “Be there” is all about paying attention, while someone is trying to communicate with you. Have you ever done it? It sounds simpler than it is. After all, most of our interactions are caused by interruptions from people who just want a “minute” of your time. It is much simpler to half listen and to keep on going with whatever you may be doing at the time. But it shows no or little respect to your counterpart. But respect is what every one of us craves. Also, respect is a keystone of keeping up a high spirit. So give them what they need, without dilution. “Play” deals with having fun during the day and committing acts of random kindness. Jokes, even pranks or practical jokes go a long way to loosen up our work. “Make their day” is sprinkling a dash of servant leadership around you. Do things no one expects you to do. Walk in someone else’s shoes for a while; realize how tough her or his job is. It really helps staying focused on what is important in life.

One of my favorite and local leadership people I follow by reading his books and Tweets is Pat Croce. He was the owner of Philly’s own 76ers and also is a great businessman. Check out his book I Feel Great and You Will Too!: An Inspiring Journey of Success with Practical Tips on How to Score Big in Life. You will find a smattering of other great nuggets of advice improving your motivation and attitude. Here are two great video clips featuring him about motivation and staying positive. Discover Pat on Motivation and Attitude.


Living the legacy of the Triple Bottom Line – #PeoplePlanetProsperity

Living the legacy of the Triple Bottom Line – #PeoplePlanetProsperity Smaller FB

This is my invitation for you to ponder how you can be yourself and stand up for something. What is your personal brand? What will your legacy be? Are you just swimming with the stream, or do you rock the boat and swim against the stream when need be?

I am happy to say at Aerzen USA we have been swimming against the stream with a big payoff – high morale and an increase in business. When we decided to be congruent with our values of our triple bottom line (we want to something for People, Planet and attain Prosperity in the process), which is essentially and win-win-win scenario for all stakeholders, we decided that where we work must resemble these values. We have one of the few if not still the only Green LEED Gold certified manufacturing buildings in PA. Vendors, Customers, government representatives (local and international) as well as school students alike have been inspired by coming and touring our facility. It has been 7 years now since we moved into the building and we have had record numbers of visitors. The image and commercial impact used to be difficult to measure. One thing we could always rely on were the people’s reactions when they meet with us; they do mention how this has positively changed their own journeys.

Here are a few benefits if you decide build your brand in a similar fashion:

  1. Without having to resort to polarization (good vs. evil) you take a stand and tell people where you stand.
  2. You will be recognized as a leader. You cannot lead from the rear of the pack; you do need to be one step ahead at least with your thoughts.
  3. Thinking about this will almost automatically make you a subject matter expert. That is a good position to have. Only when you do solid and objective research will you be able to influence people.
  4. You will inspire people to do the same as you. You never know who listens to what you have to say.
  5. The more you practice, the less afraid you are about criticism by others. There are always people who value you and your input.
  6. All of this leads to a much richer and more balanced life. That can mean wealth too. The power of a brand fills the Web with business every day.
  7. All of the above leads to a great degree of sustainability.

Our building was featured in a PBS special a while back and our straw bale construction conference room was shown during the construction phase. Our section starts at minute 9.20min where you can see Aerzen USA’s manufacturing plant come alive. http://www.pbs.org/video/1088152802/ Do not waste any time building your own brand – do the things that only you are meant to do.


Believe what I believe, or I will kill you; terrorism is all around us

Believe what I believe, or I will kill you; terrorism is all around us Ralf a

I am not sure if you have been following the court case of Mr Breivik in Norway who killed a total of 77 people because they were endangering his country’s mono culture – well, according to him. If not, you should because there are many different people and organizations worldwide that think, feel and act similarly. They choose any ways possible to terrorize others. Though it could be argued that the person in question may be insane enough such that he will spend the rest of his life in a closed psychiatry facility, the jury is literally still out on that. Where is the fine thin line between sanity and insanity? Where the even thinner line that separates how much radicalism is too much? The answer should be that no one should cause anyone any physical or psychological harm. Yet, the harsh weekly reality has been that there are many people who crossed the line all the way.

How many folks have you encountered that hold very radical views and try imposing them on you and the folks around them? It makes me wonder often how many of them would be capable of snapping and doing harm based merely on different beliefs and core values. If you are like most of us, we tend to ignore and avoid people like this and that partially explains why some perpetrators are not caught well in time before anything dramatic happens. Recent shootings here in the States, hate crimes in Germany and France unfortunately seems to prove me correct on this.

Really upsetting is when religious groups follow a path of radicalism. I do not care what denomination you follow, but you had better allow for tolerance, temperance, empathy, compassion to never permit you hurting others when you practice your own beliefs.

This is a mere request to ponder what your tolerance level is for radical people like this and to active get involved when they cross the line and start bullying others. Prevention is the key to avoiding major regrets and excuses later.


Discover how to get in front of the coming tsunami hitting our work places

Authentic leadership will rule our Generation Zers – Discover how to get in front of the coming tsunami hitting our work places authenticity-png






Photo credit: https://everydayvenn.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/authenticity-png.png?w=460&h=372

Aren’t you getting increasingly sick about the overused phrase authentic leadership? Sure, I have used it here and there too. It was not until I read a few posts online that extensively harped on it before I finally got confused what this really mean. More importantly, how can you learn and be authentic?

Along with this phrase come a few more buzz words that are also non-descriptive. The leader ought to be authentic, she should provide contagious energy, she should be engaging the audience’s senses, she should be demonstrating vulnerability and perseverance, she should be exuding confidence, she should be personable, she should be believable, she should be a great listener, and have a load of charisma if at all possible.

Isn’t it hilarious how these adjectives are very descriptive and yet meaningless as they are not really all that exact? It is all subject to individual interpretation and yet every one of us kind of sort of knows what it is supposed to be about.

In short all of the above describe a state of being. As such it proves the adage of all nonverbal communication driving more than half of what people see. Roughly a third is your tone of voice and only a small amount of communication is through the actual words that you have chosen to convey your leadership.

It is something that one has to experience personally in order to really understand it and how to learn it and then practice it daily. So what we are talking about here is appealing to the senses of our counterparts: Tone of voice, demeanor, mannerisms, facial expression, gestures, choice of words, etc.

To demonstrate this I have picked two random videos of CEO’s; not just any CEO, but airline ones. Just about all airlines claim how they love their customers and employees and invite us to fly their friendly skies. How does Delta’s own Richard Anderson strike you (Click here for the video)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrZmgIaO7Hc Now compare this to Southwest president Colleen Barrett (Click here to watch her in action)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BZw_TDCfek

Fascinating, isn’t it? When you unravel why Colleen is fairing so much better you may have noticed the traits that let her stand out:

  • She is totally focused on others and not herself.
  • She shows vulnerability by being moved by the contributions of her team members.
  • She makes the speech all about them and not herself.
  • She makes eye contact with her team members.
  • How many things can you point out?

Why is she so much more believableauthentic – than Richard? At the bottom line it shrinks down to one thing for me and I am hoping that I have stirred your snow globe a little with this again: It’s her servitude. How willing are you to serve others before yourself?

She is going through great lengths making the event to be for her team members and not all about herself. That is so different with Richard. He sits in the middle of everyone’s attention and when you really listen to the customer conversation with him, even that sounds fake and forced.

Did I mention that this makes your more successful too? You have not heard about how greatly successful and admirable Delta Airlines is, right? There is a reason why they are where they are and why Southwest is such an admired and overall successful brand.

Surprising, isn’t it? Being an authentic leader boils down to serving others with your brain, heart, and soul; then it will become organic and long term sustainable. Parking your ego will be the first and most important step you can take. Don’t you like the simplicity of this concept?


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