Catch Sean McDonald In Action [Speaking Video]

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The Ethics of What’s In It For Me

WIIFM

Before we move onto discussing the ethics of What’s In It For Me (WIIFM,) take a look at the last paragraph from my last blog post on what WIIFM is and why it’s so important.

WIIFM – Answer this question!! The acronym WIIFM stands for “what’s in it for me?” Decisions are made based on the specific answers to that question. Human logic and reasoning are in no small part based on WIIFM Have a GREAT Value Proposition and deliver on that value promise. My upcoming book, “What’s In It For Me? The Driving Force Behind Making Decisions & Better Leadership” discusses WIIFM in greater detail. Keep an eye out for information on how to get the book once it’s published (Spring 2016.)

Human beings are seriously complicated. We do things that make us feel better, look better, be better. We help others, we volunteer serving food to the poor and homeless, we donate to charities, and we drop a few bucks into the Salvation Army kettles at Christmastime.

One might think, “well, I’m just selfish if everything I do, every decision I make, and every action I take is to benefit me.” DON’T FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Look, humans as a species have been doing what’s best for them for many millions of years – it’s called, “Survival of the Fittest.” Perhaps you’ve heard of the concept? WIIFM is not about selfishness. It is about VALUE: finding it, proving it, living by it, loving it, and using it.

Because the WIIFM question has to be adequately answered before your brain will allow you to make a decision does not, in and of itself, make a person selfish. It makes you human. In a world that needs higher ethical standards, I’d say that acting like a human being is a good start.

If you’re still not buying any of this and if by chance you’re still reading this, look at it another way. Let’s say you volunteer at a soup kitchen once a month to serve meals to the poor. The reason you do it could be anything from the act of helping others makes you feel better or more hopeful for the world to you were once in an unfortunate position yourself and this is your way of giving back. No go back and read that last sentence again. The word “you” and its derivatives appear exactly 5 times in a rather short sentence. Yes, you are helping others. But you’re doing it to make yourself feel good in addition to rendering service to the other people. You donate to charity out of a sense of obligation to “do something.” Sound familiar? Each time you give a donation, no matter the size, a chemical reaction in your brain allows for the release of dopamine – that’s the “feel-good” stuff. It happens unconsciously – you cannot control it. But it only happens when your brain is the recipient of something good happening to ITSELF.

There is no need to be ashamed to recognize and acknowledge the possibility that the good deeds you perform provide direct and tangible assistance to others while at the same time make you feel pretty darn good about yourself in the process. THAT’S humanity! And it’s a beautiful thing. It is not something to be skittish about.

For all of its simplicity, WIIFM is an incredibly complex concept, isn’t it?

 

What are your thoughts about WIIFM? Share them by commenting. Let’s get a discussion going!

 

Is your organization’s leadership ready to get ABSURDLY great? Click here for more information about ABSURD! – A Leadership Thought-System. Complete the information form and you’ll receive a FREE preview of the book I mentioned above. I’ll send you the first 3 chapters!! No obligation!

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TRUST (Part 3 of 3: KEEPING It)

Trust

Welcome to part 3 of a 3-part series on TRUST. In part 1, we talked about EARNING trust. Part 2 was all about CULTIVATING trust once it’s earned. Today, we’re going to discuss KEEPING it.

Earning trust can take a long time. Cultivating it is an ongoing process. But trust can be lost in an instant. It can take days, weeks, months, years, etc. to earn it back. Many times, it is never earned back.

So how do we KEEP trust? Here are 3 ways:

DELIVER on the promises you make – It’s important to do what you say you’re going to do when you said you would do it. Simple enough. Then why doesn’t everyone trust everyone else? It’s because as simple as it is to follow through on promises, too many people fall short. Are there legitimate reasons why a promise cannot be fulfilled? Sure there are. If an obstacle arises, it should be communicated effectively – not as an excuse but as a legitimate challenge to getting the job done. Communication helps to build trust. A lack of it erodes trust.

Deliver on promises you DON’T make – Huh? Have you heard the adage, “Under-promise and over-deliver”? This is exactly what we’re talking about here. If you really want to keep someone’s trust for the long haul, get very good at giving more than is expected. Surprise the hell out of people! Be bold. Be forward-thinking. Be creative.

W.I.I.F.M. – Answer this question!! The acronym W.I.I.F.M. stands for “what’s in it for me?” Decisions are made based on the specific answers to that question. Human logic and reasoning are in no small part based on W.I.I.F.M. Have a GREAT Value Proposition and deliver on that value promise. My upcoming book, “What’s In It For Me? The Driving Force Behind Making Decisions & Better Leadership” discusses W.I.I.F.M. in greater detail. Keep an eye out for information on how to get the book once it’s published (Spring 2016.)

I hope you enjoyed this series on TRUST. What are your thoughts? Share them by commenting. Let’s get a discussion going!

 

Is your organization’s leadership ready to get ABSURDLY great? Learn more about ABSURD! – A Leadership Thought-System. Complete the information form here and you’ll receive a FREE preview of the book I mentioned above – I’ll send you the first 3 chapters!! No obligation!

Posted in Accountability, Building Relationships, Business Process Improvement, Change, Coaching, Collaboration, Conflict, Cross-Selling, Decisions, Employee Development, Employees, Experiences, Gen X, Gen Y, Human Resources, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Marketing, Millennial, Motivation, Networking, Performance, Productivity, Professional Development, Training, Trust | Leave a comment

TRUST (Part 2 of 3: CULTIVATING It)

Trust

Welcome to the second in a 3-part series on TRUST. In part 1, we talked about EARNING trust. Now, let’s discuss CULTIVATING it once it’s earned.

You’ve earned another person’s trust. CONGRATULATIONS! But now it’s important to build upon or CULTIVATE that trust so it isn’t lost.

How is trust cultivated? Here are 3 ways:

Don’t rush into anything – just because someone has granted you their trust doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to start asking for things. Take it slow. Take it easy. How?

Continue with open dialogue and more detailed Q & A – this is the “getting to know you” phase. Now that you’ve earned someone’s trust, chances are pretty good that they’ll be willing to share more details about their goals and desired outcomes with you. Pay attention! You don’t want to miss anything. Listen intently and make sure that the other person knows you’re listening by using both verbal and nonverbal cues (body language.) Lean in, keep eye contact, and repeat what they’ve said. Think of this as Listening 101 because that’s what it is.

Give more than you take – find opportunities to do something for the other person before you ask for anything from them. If you’re cultivating trust with a business owner, ask him or her about their ideal customer and if possible, refer someone you know. Build a network of referral sources. Pay for that first lunch meeting, take them to play golf, bring them to a networking meeting as your guest and introduce them to people with whom they might want to do business. Be a connector. Show good faith and good will.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for Part 3 in this series on Trust: Keeping It.

What are your thoughts on TRUST? Share them by commenting. Let’s get a discussion going!

 

Are you ready to take your leadership to an ABSURD level?  ABSURD!- A Leadership Thought-System can help! Click here for more information.

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TRUST (Part 1 of 3: EARNING It)

Trust

Welcome to the first in a 3-part series on TRUST. Let’s talk about EARNING it.

By far, this is the step in the process that takes the longest. It takes hard work and considerable effort. Trusting others and being trustworthy yourself are so very important to operate a business successfully. After all, if you can’t trust the people with whom you work or if people don’t trust you, nothing else will ever fall into place, will it?

How is trust earned? Here are 3 ways:

Open dialogue – Being able to have open, honest discussions is paramount. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not in the espionage business so there is no need to keep secrets. Strengthen your ability to start meaningful conversations. Talk about things that are relevant to the tasks at hand. Share insights, goals, objectives, worries, and challenges. Become very good at having this kind of discussion.

Get thoroughly interested in other people – without becoming nosey. It is important that you endeavor to understand other points of view. If you want to build trusting relationships with others, you must become interested in what is important to them. What do their jobs entail? How do their responsibilities compliment and interact with your own? Dale Carnegie tells us to get to know other people. His book, How To Win Friends & Influence People, has been on the bestseller list for decades. I think he was onto something important. What do you think?

Be grateful– if you have been able to earn someone’s trust, embrace an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful that someone thinks highly enough of you to trust your opinions and viewpoints. Operate as if that trust can be shattered in an instant if you don’t work hard to cultivate it (more on this in parts 2 & 3 of this series.) Show other people that you are truly thankful for the trust they’ve put in you.

Be sure to check back early next week for Part 2 in this series on Trust: Cultivating It.

What are your thoughts on TRUST? Share them by commenting. Let’s get a discussion going!

 

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3 Most Effective Ways To Coach Employees

Coaching

Recently, I was sitting at the bar at an Applebee’s in Flowood, Mississippi – having dinner by myself (as I often do while traveling for business.)   It wasn’t very busy at the restaurant – it was me and another business traveler at the bar and there were a few people dining at tables and booths. The restaurant phone started to ring. And it continued to ring. And ring. And ring. I was getting annoyed – one of my biggest pet peeves is an unanswered phone at a place of business. Finally, the caller either hung up or someone answered – I couldn’t tell. As I sat there digging into my Thai Shrimp Salad (fabulous, by the way,) a gentleman who I assumed to be the Manager began to speak softly to the young lady who was tending bar. Since it was so quiet in the place, I heard the entire conversation. It went something like this:

Manager: “Is there any reason that you didn’t answer the phone just now?”

Bartender: “My job is to tend bar. Not to answer the phone.”

Manager: “Actually, we’re a team here and your job is to do whatever is necessary. Plus there are people sitting here at the bar, customers who most likely noticed that the phone was ringing while you were watching the TV. Don’t you think that sends a bad signal?”

Bartender: “I have no idea. I’ll answer it next time.”

Manager: “OK. Remember – teamwork. And you’re not the only one to whom I’ll be speaking about this.”

Bartender: “OK. Sorry.”

Manager: “It’s cool.”

I smiled. I couldn’t help it. This Manager saw a “coachable moment” and took advantage of it. Sure, he could have spoken to the Bartender in a more private setting. But I doubt he knew that one of the people sitting at the bar was a customer service trainer and might eavesdrop a bit. Personally, I think he handled the situation marvelously. He didn’t raise his voice. He asked for the employee’s input. He reminded her about the concept of teamwork and that ‘it’s not my job’ is never an acceptable response. And he was able to get a resolution from the employee that it won’t happen again.

Here are 3 ways to effectively coach your employees:

Recognize “coachable moments” and address them immediately: It might be necessary sometimes to wait a few minutes, especially if the employee is still dealing with your customer; however, if you have a “coachable moment,” try to seize it right away! Don’t wait. Address the situation as soon as it is possible after it occurs. If you wait too long, the specific circumstances will get lost to memory. Call the employee aside and review the moment. Ask for feedback and input. Get a resolution. And remember that “coachable moments” don’t have to be negative. You can create one for a positive situation as well as a way to encourage employees to keep doing great work.

Look for the good FIRST: Start your coaching sessions with the positives. Find and review the good in what the employees are doing. Then tackle the areas for improvement. Always ask for the employees’ input. But make sure they understand that they’re being held accountable for their work. End the coaching session with resolutions about future performance.

Encourage your employees to start/keep a Journal: This is a great way to include the employees in keeping written records of important matters. When they make those all-important resolutions at the end of your coaching sessions, make sure those go into the journal. Ask the employees to jot down any questions, concerns, or suggestions they have in the journal. Review the contents of the employee journals during every coaching session.

Seize “coachable moments,” follow the good-improve-resolution SYSTEM for coaching, and make use of journals. What other suggestions do you have?

Share them by commenting. Let’s get a discussion going!

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Leaders: Create EXPERIENCES Instead of Products

Fireworks

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.  Yes, we’re talking about this….again. Why? Because it’s important. Simple as that. 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. They need you to answer the W.I.I.F.M. question, “what’s in it for me?”  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.

 

What are your thoughts? Share them by commenting! Let’s get a discussion going!

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Leaders: Here Are The Top 4 Digital Trends for 2016

 

Digital World  The world has gone digital. People can either choose to accept this fact or to try their best ignore it. But numbers don’t lie: over 2 billion smartphones already activated, 1.2 billion + Facebook users, 500 + million Tweeters, Linked In is exploding, and we are seeing large increases in digital marketing budgets. The verdict is that many organizations recognize the power of digital outreach. Research continues to show drastic increases in the number of people who prefer to do business in the digital realm. In order to be effective, leaders must embrace this new landscape and leverage both its reach and potential to remain viable.

Here are 4 trends will be the hottest in 2016:

Content – If you don’t understand how important fresh, relevant, and informative content is, you haven’t been paying attention. Great content must be rendered in a consistent manner. Consumers love content that will help make their lives easier and better. The sales will come if outstanding content comes first.

Data –Marketers must be more systematic and targeted when reaching out to consumers.   Their responsibilities include adding to the bottom line of their organizations. Leaders must ensure that they have hired people with the proper skill sets to get the job done. If the people responsible for digital outreach aren’t trained, you must train them. Or you have to reach out and hire people with the requisite knowledge and experience. It’s as simple as that. There are no shortcuts.

Your outreach discussions must move from ‘let’s design a postcard’ to ‘what is our target market, what do they want, and what is the best way to provide what they want to them using the data that we have?’

Sharing – search engines like Google are constantly creating new algorithms to reward businesses with better SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when their content is shared using social media. Encourage your followers, friends, etc. to share the content that you are providing. The “share” button is great but perhaps you want to take it up a notch – run contests based on the sharing of your content, track the number of shares and design outreach programs to create more awareness and momentum. Leaders – take the first step and make sure that you are sharing your organization’s content – share it massively! Be proud of your content and let people know about it!

Mobile Marketing – the tools are out there but marketing via mobile channels is still not being used to its full potential. Over 2 billion smartphones, people! All of your content must be accessible by mobile devices. If it’s not – you will lose opportunities. Are you using your credit union’s mobile applications to push out relevant content and information? If not, leaders need to start a discussion on this very topic right now.

 

What are you doing to leverage the marketplace’s affinity for all things digital? I look forward to your comments!

Posted in Branding, Building Relationships, Business Development, Business Process Improvement, Change, Collaboration, Credit Unions, Cross-Selling, Digital Marketing, Employees, Gen X, Gen Y, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership, Management, Marketing, Millennial, Performance, Productivity, Uncategorized | Leave a comment