Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the tag “focus”

Learn about how to take control of your quality of life


Learn about how to take control of your quality of life 

When your life suddenly changes because you have just found out you have a challenging medical condition you can either keep feeling sorry for yourself, or you can already see the new path and plan that goes along with it. Some folks just get stuck in the anger, grieving, and resistance mode: “Why did this happen to me?”, “I just do not believe this!” It can lead to a state of utter confusion and self-pity. Another major issue is being overweight. Do you expect your doctor to do something about this, or is this not up to you to ponder and figure out? It is time to take action yourself!

Feeling sorry for yourself however wastes time and lets your brain go on a down spiraling path to severe depression. Neither is helpful if time is of the essence. I will never forget the incident where my mom was sharing a hospital room with a woman who was exactly in this state of mind. Her illness was severe and her outlook on how long she was to live did not look great at all. When nurses and doctors asked her what she wanted to do she constantly changed direction. When she was alone with my mom or visitors she was constantly complaining about the medical staff, her condition – nothing seemed to work out right for her. It was painful to watch, especially when she snuck out the room to go downstairs for a quick smoke in order to “calm her nerves down”. Calm your nerves down, but stress your body even more with the effects of smoking? The woman went in a circle of self-destruction – she got really busy dying.

Compare this with my mom who had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer 9 months prior. At the beginning of her journey of the long goodbye that is cancer, she had been given a few weeks to live. Not our mom, nope, she would have none of it. Hope and faith let her go through the anger, grief, and resistance time period really quickly. Plans were made to see specialists, treatments, and she even got new glasses to be able to see and read better. She had not gotten new ones in decades.

In the end cancer finally claimed her life 10 months after diagnosis. At the time the above mentioned story happened things were already not looking good at all, but my mom found the time helping the woman with advice, thoughts and prayers. The irony puzzles me to this day. Bottom line though was that mom was always busy living.

When things look bleak it may be easier succumbing to self-pity. Two processes are at work here. One is how a sudden major change goes through a U shaped process (explained here in more detail) and what you are going through is normal: Resistance, anger, grief, etc. That is the downward side of the U on the left. There comes a time when you hit the bottom of the U (figuratively speaking). You can either swing back up to anger etc, or start looking at the upside to the right leg of the U. It is the onset of careful optimism, hope, and exploration of opportunities. The other main process is that you have a choice. Are you choosing to get busy dying, or are you choosing to get busy living? What will be your choice?

Ralf

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6 ways making deadlines work for you


6 ways making deadlines work for you 

Photo credit: Ralf Weiser

It may not always come down to a few minutes until a deadline comes your way, but have you noticed how much activity goes on leading up to one? It proves one thing: No deadline means that very few goals would ever get achieved. There is a way channeling this phenomenon working for you.

There are some famous instances where last minute deadlines brought on an unbelievable amount of work. I was vividly reminded of this visiting the Air and Space Museam near Dulles Washington DC Airport (see photos). Many artifacts were the product of super tight deadlines – the planes and rockets etc were essential for the war efforts. I remember one particular experimental plane took 100 days from concept to being ready to physically taking off. Imagine this today where so many project run over their allotted time and cost goals.

Now look at examples from work or your social life and I venture saying that you will not have to look far for finding similar situations. Have you ever gone through a planned software change at work? Fun stuff, huh? Not really, but there is usually one faction who would like to make sure that the switch over is flawless and hence they are never done. It typically takes someone drawing a line in the sand declaring a time and place when it finally will occur. Trust you me, most places will not get into overdrive mode much before about a month or two are left until the start deadline.

How can you make this work for you?

  • Make sure you always think about having a deadline with any project that you want to kick off.
  • Have a few checkup dates leading up to the due date
  • Plan on needed about 20% more time than what you thought initially
  • Have a backup solution handy in case anything goes wrong
  • Define a point of no return
  • Clearly communicate if and when folks are expected telling you when things go off course

No matter how much you may dread significant up and coming changes and their inevitable implementation due dates. Instead of fighting them, embrace them. Don’t be the problem, instead try finding solutions and then make sure there is a deadline. Without a commonsensical solution and a time challenged implementation plan success will likely never find you.

Ralf

If you are in sales then you had better read this about making calls


If you are in sales then you had better read this about making calls 

Don’t miss the link at the end of the post – it’s a game changer.

The vast majority of sales folks still think that “cold” calls on new prospects is a necessary evil – it just comes with the territory of being a professional sales person. Wrong! That is absolutely incorrect unless you are part of a meat grinder called “call center” where your job consists of pestering unsuspecting professionals at work, or families at home during dinner. There is no such thing as a cold call unless you want to go in cold.

If you read or follow Jeffrey Gitomer you probably know about his philosophy of you creating so much value to existing customers in a way that you earn referrals and recommendations. To him there should not be anything like a cold call period. He abhors this concept altogether and often asserts that that practice is only for mediocre sales folks. How does one get enough prospects and then customers in the first place though?

This is where I believe the answer lies in calling prospects in a qualified manner such that you no longer go in stone cold. Preparation is everything:

  • Value preposition: Know what it is and how your prospects may benefit from it. Prior to taking off on any call do your homework. Do not go on ANY call, if you cannot figure out how you and your products/ services can be used and thus provide a significant value to your prospect.
  • Timing: Some customers have a better time to call on them than others. Take entrepreneurs for instance. Better time for most is after hours. They work hard and typically do their best work when they are alone and without interruptions. Calling them during the middle of the work day may not be the smartest thing to do.
  • Existing customers: When you go to existing customers speak with especially the front desk folks and any other “gate keepers”. Be genuine in treating them nicely when you try to get information about the people who work there and if and how you may be able to provide value to them. They will ultimately lead to other people and businesses. The next call will not be cold!
  • New prospects: Turn any call – even the ones that at first were not successful in securing an order – into a future asset for you. You are doing business with people and not businesses. That means every person you meet has the potential for you getting to know other people and perhaps even the prospects competitors you should be speaking with. Referrals and recommendations are fairly easy to get once you learn how to treat everyone with the same importance. It’s your mindset that makes the difference.

Why am I writing about this? I am so fascinated how many ice cold cold calls I receive. No preparation on the caller’s part – none. My least favorite are folks who call to ask me what it is I and our company does. Say what? Unless you are a friend or a customer I should not have to tell you that at this time and age anymore. The Internet is so jam packed with information about companies and people that this should not be an issue anymore.

Be proud being a sales person and turn ANY call into something that provides value and you will never have to worry about making quota. Do you want to read up on this? Check out Chuck Piola’s “Going in Cold – How to Turn in Strangers Into Clients and Getting Rich Doing it

Ralf

Getting away from micro managers – learn about the antidote


Getting away from micro managers – learn about the antidote 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

There are five key elements to trust: They are sincerity, authenticity, competence, reliability and timely communication. Micro-management is very much at the opposite spectrum of these attributes. Micro managers have the hardest time with especially authenticity and sincerity. But trust is the omnipotent ingredient to leadership. Without trust there cannot be any leadership. Leading people is much more a process than a final result. Trust can only occur when a relationship has been slowly nurtured into existence by long term planning. “Trust is not deserved, it is earned” is what sales consultant and expert Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about trust in his book “Little Teal Book of Trust”. No manager can expect to be trusted just based on a title alone. On the other hand, the manager must trust learn trusting his employees first – only then his direct reports will show the propensity showing trust in a manager.

This process of learning to let go of control and therefore trusting the employee to do a great job takes time and most of all planning on the side of the manager. It is a recurring theme that runs through leadership like a fine red thread: If you want to see a change in others, you must first be willing to change yourself. This is especially true when a micro manager wants for his employees to achieve and learn new skills. It takes ample time to change people and first the manager must first make the commitment to learning just as much and to be patient with his people who probably need some time to achieve these goals. Impatience kills trust in an instant as does not trusting employees enough for placing them on a pro-active training and goal setting time table.

One certain way out of micro managing is to focus on becoming a master communicator. Mistrust leads to issues in the flow of information, because most managers with trust issues would rather keep the information to themselves and not delegate any work either. This is all poison to any organization. It takes a great sense of organizing skills for a manager to find a way out of the downward micro management spiral. Once the manager trusts himself enough to trust others weekly and perhaps even daily scheduled or impromptu meetings with staff helps breaking the mold. Organizing information should automatically trigger the thought of delegating as many day-to-day tasks to employees who either have the skill set or the responsibility to doing them anyway. This shows trust to the employee and can now reciprocate this with the manager who will be able to tend to more managerial tasks – imagine that, more time for organizing things.

Being able to lead people may be something that comes easy to some people. That does not mean average managers or even micro managers cannot improve because they were not born with these skills. Achieving the first step of trusting yourself is most important as it is the jumping board for being able to genuinely apologize for any bad decisions, which in turns provides the necessary feedback to the employees that it is ok to make mistakes. By not including team members in the cause and effect cycle, the managers will most likely promote long term distrust and thus disengage them from team and company goals. The reversal of this issue is just as easy: When making the mistake of not having involved the team in the process, apologize genuinely and timely. It will re-engage people almost in the short and long term.

Finally there is a solid case for developing a sense and company culture of trust. It comes down to the almighty financial rock bottom Dollar. In a recent Gallup poll the cost for lost productivity and employee disengagement has been around $300 billion in the United States of America alone.   Controlling people is all but impossible, but that is not true for controlling the cost and reviewing and managing the engagement and communication with them.

So the simplest way in which to create a trusting work environment is making a list of the worst traits of micro managers you know or experienced. Then start compiling strategies letting you do the opposite of that.

Ralf

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