Sneak Preview of My New Book

Hello everyone!  In this post, I wanted to give you a sneak preview of my new book that is due out a little later this year.

What follows is the Introduction  section.  I hope you enjoy it and will be eager to see more. I also welcome your comments and feedback – let me know what you think!

Introduction

The process of decision-making goes something like this:

It starts with a spark- a person wants something.

Up next is the debate that happens every time (whether consciously or subconsciously.) But it does indeed happen EVERY TIME.

Then there’s data collection. This is the information-gathering stage. (You may be thinking that the data collection happens before the debate stage. Incorrect. Keep reading to understand why.)

Now comes debate #2 – the Great Debate. The first debate was your brain’s way of deciding whether or not to enter into the data collection stage. Compared to the Great Debate, this first one is almost inconsequential. Very few decisions are stopped cold in their tracks during the first debate. But this one, the Great Debate, is the critical juncture. It is the crossroads of the decision-making process. And it has several stages that go something like this:

Need vs. Want – The classic scenario that we’ve all heard so much about.

Now or Later – This could also be considered the “is it the right time” part of the Great Debate. Throughout human history, fortunes have been won and lost at this stage.

Why this product, service, or action? Are there alternatives? This is the height of the bargaining phase – when decision-makers look for the same kind of product, service, or action that may be cheaper. Or they look for shortcuts to achieve the desired results. During this phase, the old saying, “you get what you pay for” is sometimes ignored or is otherwise lost to oblivion. DISCLAIMER: It should not be inferred that the most expensive option is the best or the least expensive option is the worst. However, there have been and will continue to be instances where both consumers and businesses realize that there is some truth to “you get what you pay for.”

Is this a priority? This is a critical phase. Prioritizing needs, goals, and desires leads to better decision-making. If something isn’t identified as a priority, then any decision-making with regard to the non-priority item should be put aside to allow the priority items or projects to assume……well….priority.

Finally, the decision-maker comes to the final and most important question of them all. This is the question that your brain REQUIRES you to answer before all of the wiring (and whatever else goes on up there)  will allow you to make a decision to buy, sell, do, invest, create, destroy, build, write, say, sign, hire, fire, ………the list goes on and on….and on.

For the consumer, it is the most important determinant as to whether he or she will buy anything. For the business owner, it’s what will ultimately lead to a decision regarding whether or not to do business with a vendor or service provider. Foe everyone, it is the very nature and basis of every single decision that we have ever made or will make in the future. The question that must be answered is simple enough in its wording but stunningly profound in its effect on human events ranging from the mundane and routine to the life-changing and significant.

That question is: What’s In It For Me? Or, WIIFM. for short. The acronym WIIFM will be used copiously throughout this book so remember what it means!

In the following chapters, we will explore how WIIFIM affects everything that we do. We’ll look at how a thorough understanding of WIIFM greatly benefits business owners that are trying to attract more business, service providers that are in the market for new clients, entrepreneurs that boldly go where they’ve never gone before, leaders that manage employees who are responsible for executing on action plans and reaching goals, and employees that want to further their careers and lives through professional and personal development.

By the end of this book, you’ll have a better understanding of WIIFM, its psychological underpinnings, and its role in your life, your business, and your career. You’ll be more equipped to understand how you and other people come to the decisions that are ultimately made – decisions which alter the course of both the present and the future for better or for worse.

Let’s begin.

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3 Really LAME Excuses to Avoid Making Decisions

The most effective leaders in history have a lot of things in common. To name a few: a great work ethic, high moral and ethical standards, an understanding of the principle of accountability, the ability to assemble a team of close advisors, etc.

There is another that is sometimes overlooked. Nevertheless, it is always present. The most effective leaders aren’t afraid to make decisions.

Here are 3 of the lamest excuses that ineffective leaders use to avoid any semblance of making a decision.

The timing isn’t quite right – Human beings are imperfect. Therefore, we are unable to do anything perfectly. That includes making important decisions. If leaders continue to use this ridiculous excuse to “kick the can down the road,” what they’ll find is that the opportunity that they did have is now gone because they put it off while waiting for the “time to be right.”

It might not work – It might not. Plenty of decisions have been made and the results weren’t exactly what were expected. That’s life. That’s business. But if you want to be an outstanding leader, you must accept that part of your job is to make the decisions that you think are the right ones by analyzing the potential services or solutions, trusting your gut, and taking action. Many organizations are stagnant. They are rudderless. They merely exist. More often than not, one of the biggest reasons for these unfortunate situations is that there exists a crippling fear of doing anything different because “it might not work.” Leaders that continuously use this crazy excuse need to step aside and make room for people that aren’t afraid to take calculated risks.

We have too much going on right now – that’s a good thing! Would you rather have the alternative? It’s perfectly acceptable and necessary to prioritize tasks. However, once you’ve decided which projects are the priorities, it’s important to move on those. But what happens sometimes is that people use this lame excuse to avoid moving on anything. A lot of organizations conduct planning retreats after the summer to prepare for the next year. This is the perfect time to identify the strategic initiatives that are the priorities for the organization. Once identified and agreed upon, make sure to budget for the various action steps for each initiative.  Will things “come up” that may need immediate attention? Of course! That’s why you also budget an appropriate amount of money and resources for those items. But you make every reasonable effort to not let this extra “stuff” get in the way with the existing priority list.

No more excuses! Trust your gut, rely on your experience, gather all of the pertinent information and then…..DECIDE!

 

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Strategic Planning season has already started! If you’re still looking for a facilitator, perhaps Your Full Potential, LLC can help. Click HERE for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

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Is The Paper Resume Dead?

Originally posted on CU Insight – 5/22/2014

Not yet. But I think that day is coming. Frankly, I’m not too upset about it either.

I have never been fond of deciding whether or not to grant a job applicant an actual interview based solely on what he or she wrote in a resume. Anyone that knows me or has heard me speak at conferences on the subject of recruiting will also tell you that I have strong opinions on relying solely on the number of years of experience that an applicant has to in order to decide whether to grant interviews. I think both of these tactics are foolish. Here’s why:

In the past, people (myself included) were told that you have to fit everything on ONE page or your resume will be immediately tossed. I remember trying to do that early in my career. I was no stranger to 8-point fonts. As an executive, I also remember trying to read such resumes with squinted eyes and in some cases, a magnifying glass. How ridiculous! But, it all had to be on one page, right? While the one page rule has been relaxed a bit over time, there are still people that cram their whole lives into their resumes. And it’s just silly.  To be honest, I don’t care what you did on your summer breaks 15 years ago and I certainly don’t want you to have to try to fit what you think are the most important achievements of your career onto just one page.

As for experience – how many qualified, smart, and passionate applicants don’t even bother to apply for a position because they see that spirit-killing last line in the posting? You know the one: “must have XX years experience.” Don’t get me wrong; experience is indeed necessary for many positions. I am not arguing otherwise. However, I don’t think that a candidate should be disqualified solely because he or she only has 8 years of experience rather than the requested 10. Sadly, entirely too many professionals are subject to “weeding out” based on that one criterion, i.e., number of years of experience.   Never mind that in those 8 years, the applicant has achieved more than many people do in their entire careers. Never mind that due to his or her achievements in those 8 years, the applicant commands more respect as a leader than the guy with 25 years of experience that will eventually land the job. There is no possible way that a recruiter can learn everything there is to know about a person from a resume. There is no way to effectively gauge a person’s entire skill set, personality, passion, drive, commitment, and ability to do a job from reading a few words on a piece (or pieces) of paper.

So, what will happen to the paper resume? We are already starting to hear about organizations using more advanced tactics to find job candidates. An applicant’s social media footprint is being looked at. More employers want applicants to provide a video or another kind of media besides the resume. As the marketplace continues to evolve and professionals become more tech-savvy, I think that the days of the paper resume are numbered. And I hope that intuition and gut-feeling take on bigger roles in selecting job applicants for the next step.

Walt Disney never put too much focus on the number of years of experience a person had. He wanted to know if the person had the right attitude and the potential to do the job well.  And as far as successful employees are concerned, he did pretty well.

Perhaps recruiters and human resources personnel will consider these criteria in addition to the others.

 

 

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3 Simple Steps for Market Growth

There are a lot of ways that organizations can increase their market share.  With all of the additional competition, companies must find ways to make consumers more quality-conscious instead of being price-conscious.  Here are 3 steps that, if executed properly, should lead to more business:

Brag – when promoting your business, you may have to throw humility out the window.  I’m not saying that you become arrogant or offensive.  I am saying that there is nothing wrong with letting everyone know just how great you really are.  Consumers want to know exactly how you plan on improving their lives.  So tell them.  Don’t be shy.  Be bold, be confident, and undeterred in this regard.

Ask your best patrons to become your company’s Ambassadors – The most effective and reliable marketing is word-of-mouth.  You want people telling everyone with a pulse how great your organization is.  Encourage them to do so.  Reward them for their loyalty and their efforts.  The more you show your appreciation, the more appreciative and generous they will be!  

Understand your market better than anyone else – I’m often amazed at how many companies create marketing and market penetration plans without having conducted any research at all on the markets that they want to serve.  It is imperative that you collect and analyze market data.  You will need to identify your company’s target market (based on the data) and only then will you be in a position to create effective and appropriate marketing plans.

Until next time….

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Bridging the Skills Gap: 2 Proven Tactics

There’s good news and bad news. That sentence, in a nutshell, is my humble opinion regarding the economic recovery. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Perhaps. But if you were to review all of the latest economic data, you would probably come to the same conclusion. For this post, I just want to look at one set of data.

The facts are that while there are a lot of job openings, companies are not hiring at as fast a pace as the experts would like. There are a myriad of reasons for this but there is one that I keep reading about consistently. Namely, that the people applying for these positions do not have the required skill sets to get them from the application stage to the interview stage. Their resumes don’t pass muster. (I have some pretty strong opinions on the effectiveness and even the usefulness of paper resumes – those will be covered in a future post.)

Let’s get back to the “skills gap” that is leaving so many job applicants out in the cold. The global economy and the career marketplace have changed and will continue to evolve at light-speed. There’s no easy way to put this next statement so I am just going to lay it out plain: If you are not constantly learning more, getting better, challenging yourself more, and positioning yourself as irreplaceable, you simply won’t have the skill sets that are needed to survive in the ultra-competitive, interconnected, and revolving global economy.

Here are 2 proven tactics that will help you along:

Do more. Business owners should be looking very closely at the people that are doing more than is asked or expected. Unfortunately, many supervisors spend more time scrutinizing non-performers and seat-warmers. It’s just easier that way. So you should strive to make it impossible for the boss to NOT notice the great things that you are doing. Be bold, be brazen, be confident, and make sure that the people that need to notice are indeed noticing. If you make it all but impossible for people to ignore your efforts, they’ll have no choice but to recognize and reward them. If they fail to do this, start to consider bringing your skills to a place where they will be appreciated.

Create the opportunities that will make you better. If you want more opportunities, generate ideas and tasks that will provide you with those opportunities. If you want and believe that you deserve a promotion, do the things that tend to lead to those promotions.   Don’t wait for training or professional development opportunities to “come along.” If you want to get better in a certain area or learn a new skill set, do some research, find appropriate training programs, and just do it. Yes, this might mean that you have to pay for it yourself. Oh the horror!! Let’s be real here….if you’re not willing to invest in your own development, it might be time for an “Analysis of Self.” (More on that concept soon too!)

Go!

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3 Traits of GREAT Employees

I’ve said it before on this blog. And I’m going to say it again. Your organization’s most valuable asset is not product and it’s not property. No, your most valuable assets are employees that make those things possible. So why on Earth would you not do everything possible to make them loyal? This idea is not new. But we’re still talking about it because too many organizations continue to treat their employees as if they’re expendable. Do you know how much it costs to replace senior-level employees? Some studies report as much as $30,000! For entry level and mid-level positions, the cost is not as high but it’s close. Don’t get me wrong – bad employees need to go. I’m not suggesting otherwise.

Today, I want to talk about your stars, your A-Listers, your best and greatest people. You must make it a priority to make these employees loyal to you and to your organization. Otherwise, you’re in deep trouble. How can you accurately identify GREAT employees? Here are 3 traits that they have in common:

They do more than is asked or expected. You’ve heard the term “above & beyond,” right? I’m not a big proponent of using that term loosely. In my opinion, a person really has to earn that badge. Take a look at your employees. Who is doing more? Who is staying late or coming in early because they have the drive and commitment to getting things done? Who takes their responsibilities seriously? Who asks for more work? Who suggests new ideas and doesn’t wait for official directives to improve the ways that business is conducted?

They ask for professional development opportunities. Your best people will have a passion to get better at what they currently do or will look for training in areas in which they want to become proficient. If you have the resources, provide them with those opportunities. There is an argument that if an organization provides too much training or too many professional development openings, that the employees will just take the training and go work for someone else. They might. But if you don’t provide them with training or encouragement, they’re going to leave your organization anyway. Then you have to replace them. Re-read the first paragraph of this post to remind yourself how much that can cost.

They’re just plain smart. When Lee Iacocca was asked if he could identify the biggest reason for his enormous success, he said, “That’s easy. I was always the dumbest person in the room.” Abraham Lincoln is arguably the most revered President in history. But he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch. And he knew it. So he surrounded himself with people that were smarter than he was. Read “Team of Rivals” by historian Doris Goodwin for a more detailed account of Lincoln’s mastermind group. You want employees that are intelligent, well-read, and who can apply their knowledge in order to make the organization better.

Until next time…..

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Are you ready to make decisions that will move your organization forward? That’s who Your Full Potential, LLC wants to work with.

Contact us today!

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The 3 Irrefutable Laws of Communicating VALUE

Did you know that every decision you make is a result of a very important question being satisfactorily answered by the decision-making part of your brain? It’s true. We would not be able to decide on anything until this question is answered. Usually, the question and answer happen unconsciously and non-verbally. But the process does happen…every time.

OK – enough about the science of the brain. What’s that question? It’s usually represented by the acronym, W.I.F.M.? Or, What’s In it For Me?

Organizations that enjoy the most success do an outstanding job of answering that question for consumers. The answer to that question is known as the organization’s value proposition. Put another way, the question could be “Why should I ever do business with you?”   The delivery of the answer is critical. How it’s communicated is vital. Here are 3 irrefutable laws of communicating VALUE:

The answer must be your own. If your answer to that question is earth shattering, unique, and succinct, your business will grow. If it’s a canned answer or it’s clumsy, your business will fail. Consumers are savvier than ever before. “Caveat emptor,” “Let the buyer beware” means more today than it ever has. Make sure your value proposition is yours. You own it.

It must be easy to do business with you. Competition for consumer business is at an all-time high and the marketplace will continue to get more aggressive. Convenience is King. In some form or fashion, your value proposition needs to include that it is easy to get things done with your organization. If consumers think that it’s difficult to do business with you, if you make them jump through hoops to accomplish anything, they’ll just find one of your competitors and do business with them instead.

You must go further than saying you have the best service. Every business thinks it has the best service. Many businesses like to use that as their value proposition. Sorry but relying solely on your belief that you have the best service is just not enough anymore. “Great service” is a commodity now – everyone is saying it. Your value proposition has to go further. It has to mean more. Consumers are tired of hearing about all of this wonderful service….and then having experiences that are lackluster. Your value proposition should WOW the consumer. It should be emotional so as to create emotion in the consumer. It needs to be outstanding.

Until next time……

 

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