12 Things To Do BETTER In 2015!!

It’s that time of year – time for cheer, being good, forgetting about our Cleanse, Mediterranean, Atkins, South Beach, (fill in the blank here) diets, packed malls and parking lots…..

And of course, my annual list of suggestions and tactics on that organizations can take to make 2015 great.

This year, I’m using the “12 Days of Christmas” theme so please SING ALONG when you read this.  It will just be more fun that way!  Here goes:

The first step in O’15 that would be great to do…make sure your staff is happy!

The second thing for O’15 that is priority…great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

Want to grow in O’15 exponentially….take more risks great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

Also on the list for O’15 should be….integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

O’15 will be a waste if you don’t have this too…. TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

In O’15 do not neglect to bring these in line ….drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

O’15 will be boring if you can’t create this….customer loyalty, drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

An easy way to achieve a fulfilling O’15….empower workers, customer loyalty, drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

Back to the loyalty to build in O’15….customer focus, empower workers, customer loyalty, drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

Answer this question for your patrons in O’15….What’s In It For Me?, customer focus, empower workers, customer loyalty, drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

In other words for O’15, this better be solid too….your Value Proposition, What’s In It For Me?, customer focus, empower workers, customer loyalty, drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

And for O’15 this and the rest will take you to the top….Peace and Harmony, your Value Proposition, What’s In It For Me?, customer focus, empower workers, customer loyalty, drive and ambition, TECHNOLOGY, integrity, take more risks, great leadership, and make sure your staff is happy!

Did you sing it – well, did ya??

Happy Holidays everyone!

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90 in 90

90 ideas in 90 minutes. I’m writing this in a hotel room in Harrisburg, PA. When I went in search of my morning coffee earlier, I saw a bunch of signs for an event called “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes.” I had to know more. Here’s the short version – a group of industry leaders get together and listen to 9 of their peers (who have been pre-selected to speak) share 10 ideas on topics ranging from increasing productivity to staying motivated to strategizing.

This blog has offered several posts encouraging business leaders to cut back on the time that they spend lamenting about what’s holding their organizations back and to spend much more time deliberating about what can be done to make things better. So this “90 in 90” concept is like a triple shot, extra hot, skip-the-whip, non-fat something or other. After doing some research, I found that most of these kinds of meetings are done first thing in the morning (think breakfast or before.) Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to network before the program actually begins. Then, in rapid-fire-succession, each of the 9 speakers stands at the podium and lists their 10 specific items.

Think about your organizations for a minute. Honestly answer these questions: What kind of strategy meetings do you have? How productive are those meetings? Do you even have strategy meetings or are you too busy dealing with the daily grind? Do you just have that one big strategic planning session every year? If so, do you supplement that session with others to help manage projects, track progress, and discuss new ideas?

Is your organization conducive to sharing ideas, innovation, and creativity? Do the employees know that their contributions are valuable and that their suggestions will be considered? How do you celebrate success? What kind of culture and environment have you created?

Perhaps it’s time for a “90 in 90” type of program at your organization. Or are you just too busy?

Posted in Building Relationships, Business Development, Collaboration, Conflict, Decisions, Employees, Global Network, Human Resources, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Networking, Performance, Productivity, Strategic Planning | Leave a comment

Your Full Potential, LLC Has Relocated!

Hello everyone!

First, allow me to apologize for the lack of new posts recently. For those that also receive YFP’s monthly newsletter, the next issue will be sent to you in December.

I am happy to announce that Your Full Potential, LLC has relocated from New Jersey to Kingwood, TX (a suburb of Houston.) The new mailing address is 4630 Magnolia Cove Drive, #1222; Kingwood, TX 77345.

The address isn’t the only that’s changing either. Keep an eye out for some exciting new offerings, enhancements to our training packages, and my new book (due to everything related to the move, the publication date has been pushed back to early Spring 2015.)

I am also proud to announce an additional resource for my clients and blog readers. So many organizations understand the importance of digital marketing. But many of those same organizations lack an effective digital marketing strategy.

Folks, you need to work with an expert to get this right. My good friend, James Robert Lay, the President of CU Grow helps organizations prepare for and execute digital marketing strategies for organizations throughout the country. Recently, he told me about some fantastic new programs that he and his team have developed related to telling stories through digital, creating web content that sells, and building websites that shine.

These 2-3 day conferences are packed with workshops that will lead to greater success for your organization. More good news!! YFP’s clients are entitled to a special discount towards registration for each of these events. The links to the workshops are below. Be sure to use the discount code YFP2015 when registering.

Tell A Digital Story That Sells

Build A Website That Sells

Generate Leads With Content Marketing

That’s all for now! Until next time…..

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Are You Really Listening?

Originally posted on CU Insight – 9/26/14

My late mother had a favorite saying – “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.” In other words, “shut up and listen!” I’m sure that we’ve all found ourselves in the middle of a discussion where the other person is talking and while we are supposed to be listening intently, what we’re actually doing is preparing our response – formulating what we’re going to say and how we’re going to say it.

Organizations across all industries will inevitably have to address complaints and concerns from their patrons. It’s going to happen. Many organizations put a focus on customer service training, which includes of course, handling complaints. The problem that exists with such training is that many companies don’t include any serious training on the art of listening.  Instead, employees are given a folder or binder full of potential complaint scenarios as well as scripts or “comebacks” to handle those situations. NEWSFLASH – the consumer is smarter and savvier than ever before in history. They know when they are being fed a line.

Here is a list of phrases/comebacks that should NEVER be used:

“There’s nothing we can do” – Awful. There is always something you can do. It may not be exactly what is requested but at least make the effort to find some kind of solution. Consumers come to you for solutions. They want you to empathize. Many times, simply offering tiny concessions can diffuse anger and ease tension that exists in a difficult situation.

“It’s our policy to….” – NEWSFLASH! No one gives a damn about your policies. Don’t get me wrong – it is important to have policies in place in order to protect the integrity of your business and to ensure that the organization remains viable. But for goodness sake, don’t point to a policy as a way of getting out of listening to someone that is asking for help!

“Unfortunately…..” – Say this and you’ve already lost. Using “unfortunately” to begin a response basically sends a message to your brain that it’s going to be disappointed with the rest of the response so it stops listening! What happens instead is that the consumer gets a rush of adrenaline and, like a lion about to pounce on its next meal, as soon as you’re done talking (or before you’re done talking) the unmistakable displeasure of an even angrier consumer will be thrust upon you. If you’re in the service business, eradicate “unfortunately” from your vocabulary.

 

Need training?? HINT: every organization should be developing its employees! Take a look at our customizable training packages.

 

Posted in Building Relationships, Business Development, Conflict, Credit Unions, Employees, Gen X, Gen Y, Leadership, Management, Marketing, Performance, Productivity, Training | 1 Comment

Co-Working: A Different Meaning

Excuse me, but how can there be a “different” definition of co-working? It means working with other people, doesn’t it? Yes, it does indeed; however, when people use the word “co-working,” they are usually referring to the people that work at the same company as they do.

I was recently traveling to see a client by way of Amtrak was thumbing through the on-board magazine, Arrive. I came across an interesting article entitled, “Officemates Wanted.” I was intrigued so I continued reading. The article provided information on a new trend in the corporate space.   Co-working is shifting from those you work with to those you want to work with. Allow me to explain:

People that work at the same companies are often put on the same project teams or are encouraged to brainstorm and collaborate with each other. Many times, this is a “forced” scenario. As you know, this can sometimes cause friction and negatively affect productivity.

But what a lot of companies are doing (some Fortune 500s are on the list) is giving their most innovate employees the opportunity to meet with likeminded people or groups from outside. That is, they are forming what has been referred to as a “mastermind” group. These groups meet once a week or a couple of times per month to share ideas, get the creative juices flowing, and just “be” around other people who are just as passionate, excited, and enthusiastic. Please note that this is NOT a description of networking groups. Those serve a different function. In the “co-working groups,” there are no strings, no expectations or pressure to try to get new clients. It’s just likeminded professionals sharing ideas.

There are a couple of Apps that help to bring these professionals together. Two that were mentioned in the article are WeWork and NextSpace.

The marketplace has changed drastically and will continue to do so. As a result, the business model has to adapt. Perhaps you can find a way to introduce this concept to your company’s executives or bring it to your local Chamber of Commerce. But just remember the rules: no soliciting, just share ideas.

Here is a link to the article in case you want to take a look:

http://www.arrive-digital.com/arrive/20140607?pg=60#pg58

What are your thoughts about this concept?  Share them by commenting on this post!

Posted in Building Relationships, Business Development, Change, Collaboration, Conflict, Decisions, Employees, Gen X, Gen Y, Global Network, Human Resources, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Networking, Performance, Productivity, Strategic Planning, Training | Leave a comment

Experiences Sell Better Than Products

(Part 3 of 3 in a series)

Disney’s “Magic,” Southwest Airlines’ “Company Spirit,” and Zappos’ “WOW Philosophy.” These and other great organizations don’t necessarily focus on the products they sell. They know that if they are able to provide a memorable and extraordinary experience, the products will sell themselves. Sure, they have product development teams. But any products that are developed must enhance the experience that the companies are providing to consumers. If this isn’t demonstrated, the products simply aren’t rolled out.

Here are 3 ways that your organization can concentrate on providing experiences:

Be crystal clear on your value proposition.  Lofty talk won’t get you very far.  Consumers need to understand the value of a product before they will use that product.  A memorable experience can help communicate that value. Put a greater focus on the entire experience of doing business with your organization rather than pushing product. Believe it or not, consumers really care about value and brand. They need specifics.  They need clarity.  They need reasons. Give them what they need.

Have a thorough understanding of your target market.  Think about this – if you are a student in a classroom, you want the teachers/professors to have a thorough understanding of the subject matter, right?  You want them to have certain skills, abilities, and credentials.  Most of all, you want them to relate to you in some way.  Consumers need to believe that the companies with whom they do business understand what they are experiencing, know about their surroundings and circumstances, can relate to their challenges and share their successes.  If your organization has not done research studies related to demographics, consumer behavior, household financials, and employment on its service area, target market, or community – it will be more difficult to relate to the consumers in those markets.  How can you possibly create a memorable experience without knowing what makes your target market happy?

Position your organization as a “solutions-provider.”  Consumers with problems are looking for one thing: someone or something to solve their problems by providing a viable solution.  Economics 101 tells us that people buy product to fulfill an immediate or perceived need. By their very nature, these needs are fleeting. The consumer may or may not come back to you when another need arises. However, if you are diligent in not only providing product but you also create an atmosphere that exudes your organization’s commitment to service, solutions, and experience, the likelihood that consumers will continue to do business with you increases exponentially. There are a lot of people looking for solutions right now.  If your brand reflects that your organization can provide those solutions, people will take notice.  If all you do is talk about your products, your message will get lost in the shuffle.

I hope you enjoyed this series of posts! I welcome your feedback and comments! Let’s continue the discussion.

 

Posted in Branding, Building Relationships, Business Development, Cross-Selling, Digital Marketing, Gen X, Gen Y, Innovation, Leadership, Marketing, Performance, Productivity, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Shift In Branding

(Part 2 of a 3 in a series)

The best organizations are encouraging and rewarding their customers for helping them to build their brands. In essence, the ecstatic (not merely satisfied) customers are becoming unofficial employees and very official brand ambassadors for the companies.

How can you create that dynamic at your organization?

Here are 3 suggestions:

Generate & maintain enthusiasm – this doesn’t only go for your employees. The enthusiasm has to be the contagious kind that spreads outside your 4 walls. In order to shift your branding from being just about “us” to being more inclusive of “them,” they have to share the passion and enthusiasm. Then they have to be willing to communicate the same to others that need to hear it! If you’re not fresh, fun, creative, and evolving, it will be difficult to achieve this. How do you go about it? Read last week’s post on “experiential marketing.”

Reward loyalty – your organization should take steps to identify your very best patrons. Pull some research reports – find out who’s “buttering your bread” and take appropriate steps to reward that kind of loyalty. The airlines do it through their Rewards programs – most of them now include a dollar-spend requirement to qualify for the different tiers (silver, gold, elite, diamond, etc.) It’s not just about how many miles you fly anymore. A lot of people were pretty upset when these changes were announced. From a consumer perspective, it can indeed seem that you’re being short-changed. However, from a pure business perspective, it makes perfect sense. Think about this – a person could fly from New York to Hong Kong once and be very close to achieving rewards status because of the number of miles flown. But they were able to get a great deal on the fare and only paid $750 for the ticket. By rewarding those that fly often and spend some significant coin on travel, it becomes easier for the airlines to justify giving out freebies. If you take steps to recognize and reward those that are most loyal to you, they will be more likely to become your brand Ambassadors.

Create experiences instead of products – my good friend Mark Arnold commented on last week’s post that introduced this 3-part series. His feedback read: “If consumers truly love you and are more than “satisfied” with you, they’ll have more products and services. For example, I don’t just love Apple–I have like all their products. So how is your product penetration looking these days? Increase engagement and you’ll increase sales.”

Apple is a perfect example – when you walk into an Apple store, they don’t just want you to buy a product. They want you to take you through a unique purchasing experience. The dumbest question that any retail sales associate can ask is “can I help you find something?” Why? Because the default answer that is given 98% of the time is “no thanks. Just looking.” Right? Apple associates let the products speak for themselves. They bring personal engagement and involvement to a different level. About a year ago, I converted to Apple products. As long as the experience of being an Apple customer continues to evolve and get better, Ill stick with them. It’s not just about the product. Could a better experience with another company come along? Absolutely! It’s the same with your organization. That’s why it is so important to keep the experience at the forefront of your strategizing.

By the way – my writing about Apple on this blog qualifies me as a “Brand Ambassador” which illustrates exactly what I mean by the term.

How can you create the experience? Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series that will be published next week!

Happy Labor Day!

Posted in Branding, Building Relationships, Business Development, Collaboration, Credit Unions, Employees, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Marketing, Performance, Productivity, Strategic Planning | Leave a comment