Monday, October 29, 2007

Remember the Role of Luck in Business

W Edwards Deming known for his work on TQM, was only sent to Japan after the second world war to improve their production methods as the US did not feel they needed any help....Deming offered his wisdom, TQM was born and Japan rose to new production heights.

When you are given a task that you are not sure about think how many people have been like the right place, at the right time by accident. Face the challenge with a positive mind...after all you have no idea whether this is your breakthrough opportunity... your TQM!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Tale of Customer Service

A regular listener to The Engaging Brand podcast - Harold Thompson - sent me a wonderful story that is doing the e-mail rounds. I thought I would share it with you as it is a wonderful reminder of customer service
The Cabbie

When I arrived at 2:30 A.M., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.

But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.

In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness.

"It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated".

"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a
driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.

They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door..

The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.

"Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Listening to Customers Costs Nothing

Tonight I have been working on my computer for about 2 hours. During those 2 hours I have received 3 cold calls...well 1 cold call and 2 people surveying what their customers want. Why?

The answer looks build into the products and services for the future?

I suppose...

But what I find strange is that - people pay people to work on a night to ask customers inane questions at a time that is not convenient - it is family time and most people don't want to be interrupted to help you. They don't even give you an incentive or reward for providing the answers...

If you have to spend money doing this as a leader I would be asking "Why spend money upsetting, interrupting customers during their personal time....when we could just listen to them when they are interacting with us! You don't need a telephone you need bigger ears...."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Carnival of Leadership Development

Here is this months carnival of leadership development. Hope you enjoy the articles that we have chosen. Development is the lifeblood of leadership...both for the leader and the followers.

Anna presents 10 Tough Questions to Ask Yourself at The Engaging Brand

Ravi Vora presents 15 Ways To Speak With Confidence and Be Taken Seriously posted at Ravi Vora.

Christopher J. Brunner presents But on the Other Hand . . . (i.e. Exploring Options) posted at GreatFX Business Cards, saying, "Exploring your options is an important part of every decision we make. And especially when it comes to the big ones, such as how to run a business."

Ivan Rios presents Sometimes It?s Better to Quit and Move On posted at

Wanda Grindstaff presents Wealth and Freedom - Get Clear on What they Really Mean! posted at Creating Abundant Lifestyles.

Ivan Rios presents Why Leadership is About Measuring Success posted at

David B. Bohl presents Conflict: Difficult People We Can’t Avoid posted at Slow Down Fast Today!, saying, "There are people who are part of our lives, at least now, not by our choice but by circumstance, and we just have to learn to get along. We do have the option of not getting along, but that rarely feels good or works out well, so I highly suggest learning to deal with these people in a way that causes everyone involved the least amount of damage and turmoil."

Luke Houghton presents The wiki way of thinking posted at Luke Houghton, saying, "The wiki way of thinking challenges fundamental business thinking. Read this to learn more."

GreatManagement presents Tom Peters Recommends The Dream Manager posted at The GreatManagement Blog.

Sue Massey presents How to Write a Business Proposal posted at Business Management Life, saying, "Writing a business proposal can seem like a daunting task. Where do I start? What do I need to say? How do I know if I’ve written a proposal that my customer will understand?"

Tristan Loo presents SMART Goal Setting 101: The Definitive Guide to Goal Achievement posted at The Synergy Institute, saying, "Life Coach Tristan Loo explains how to set and achieve SMART goals. At 4915 words, this is the most comprehensive article on goal setting on the internet. Learn and integrate these powerful goal setting techniques into your life to produce the good that you desire for yourself."

David Kam presents A Generous Leader, A Great Figure posted at

Alex Marlin presents Most Educated People Have No Social Skills posted at Life Improvement Tips For Thin and Small People, saying, "Your are an educated person, so why are you not making it? Learn exactly what is keeping you back."

Rahul Bhambhani presents Take Control of Your Life: Be Proactive » posted at Personal Development Advice, Tools to Improve the Quality of your Life, saying, "All great leaders are proactive. This article explains how to become more proactive, and take control of your life."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of leadership development using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Business Book Giveaway for You

Over on The Engaging Brand there is a chance to win a leadership book from Anna's extensive library!

All she wants you to do is to leave a comment suggesting a party game for the holiday season for leaders to play with their teams. This follows on from the post "What bad leaders might play at the office party..." Here are some of her suggestions

Pass the Message (Parcel) - Don't communicate directly, just pass on a message and let people pass on what they think they have heard!
Hide and Seek - Say you are a people person but hide in your office.
Pin the Tail on your Objectives - Give a general idea and then let people fumble about in the dark trying to work out what is expected of them.
Musical Chairs - Set a goal then keep taking resources away until there are none left
Charades - Say one thing and do another!

Have you got some ideas, have you some positive ideas as well as tongue in cheek ones if so pop over and see if you can win a book too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Keep Employees Blog Carnival

Welcome to the October 10, 2007 edition of how to keep employees.

Anna presents Allow Your Employees to Fly posted at The Engaging Brand.

Charles H. Green presents How Sales Contests Kill Sales posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Instead of burning out your sales force with destructive sales contests, here's how to make both your sales team and your customers happy."

Wayne Hurlbert presents Staff training: A business essential posted at Blog Business World, saying, "In the hustle and bustle of a daily business routine, proper training of the company staff is often forgotten. Whether the personnel requiring instruction are new hires or long time employees, good staff training is essential to business success. If an employee is unable to do the job assignments, simply as a result of not knowing how to complete the tasks at hand, the company bottom line can experience some severe damage."

Karel Vandenberghe presents 5 Essential Thoughts for Open Source Innovation posted at Open Innovators - Open innovation and crowdsourcing, saying, "An essential way of empowering employees is to involve them in new, open innovation processes. This article present 5 thought to stimulate open source innovation."

GreatManagement presents How Not To Give Staff Feedback posted at The GreatManagement Blog.

Leo Blanco presents How Employee Recognition Affects Your Company | Logo Design Works posted at Small Business Tips.

Doris Chua presents How Do You Manage Your Employees? posted at A Meeting Place for All Home Office Women.

Tupelo Kenyon presents Choose the Companionship of Positive People Who Inspire You posted at Tupelo Kenyon, saying, "If the people you spend the most time with are inspiring, supportive, encouraging, and they demonstrate qualities you want to emulate – great, you are on the right track. If not, it's up to you to do something about it. Life is too short to put up with other people's pity parties, bitch-and-moan marathons, and oh-woe-is-me clubs"

Ivan Rios presents Why Leadership is About Measuring Success posted at

wilson ng presents Incompetent Bosses, Inutile Employees, Messed up Systems posted at Reflections of a BizDrivenLife, saying, "What destroys company value faster? A system with established process/brand name but with a bad boss, or an excellent boss but bad systems. In many ocassions, there might be a limit on what a good CEO can do in the face of inutile processes."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
how to keep employees using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Developing Cool Products

I just love this quote from Hugh Macleod from the Gaping Void blog

"If you wanna have a cool product, you gotta do cool sh**!"

I just love this quote and have it on my desk......the more you read it, the more sense it makes.
Doing cool stuff means taking a few risks, but without risk you won't get cool stuff.

I will extend this quote now

"If you wanna be a cool leader, you gotta take a risk and allow people to do cool sh**!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Believing in Your Goals

I don't know anyone who has had a dream, who has achieved it with absolutely no you?

The way we think about setbacks and how we cope with setbacks is often the difference between success and failure. A little story...

Michael Jordan, in his biography explains his mental approach to a painful foot injury. He didn't want to miss any basketball games so tried to keep playing but the pain got too much...he had to miss the rest of the season.
During rehab, he didn't get down, he didn't feel that his career at the top was over...instead he visualized himself taking jump shots, making passes and eventually winning a championship! He kept a positive mind set all the way through the recovery process...he believes this positive approach brought him back quicker and stronger.

Setbacks will happen...when they do visualize the way through rather than mulling over how it the difference in your career success.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Carnival of Leadership Development

Welcome to the October 5, 2007 edition of carnival of leadership development. Here are various articles submitted by readers who want to help you achieve that career success that your potential deserves!

Louise Manning presents Reducing stress posted at The Human Imprint.

Charles H. Green presents Business Ethics and Self-Orientation posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Ethical business leaders are distinguished by their conscience and intrinsic orientation towards others."

Anna Farmery presents The Heart of an Employer Brand posted at The Engaging Brand

Warren Wong presents A Lesson In Standing Up For What You Believe In posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "An inspiring story about a father teaching a son how to stand up for what he believes in."

The Career Counselor presents Four Ways to Recognize an Office Liar posted at ask the CareerCounselor.

Tupelo Kenyon presents Make Assumptions Obsolete by Communicating posted at Tupelo Kenyon, saying, "We assume because we don’t know. We don’t know because we don’t ask. We don’t ask because we act as if we already know. Or, we don’t want to appear stupid. So we make an assumption. Then we forget it is merely something we made up, and we behave as if it’s a fact. When the facts are known, it would never occur to us to assume. The solution is clear communication. When we know the truth, assumptions are forever unnecessary."

Arin Vahanian presents How One Quote Can Change Your Life posted at Super State.

Marc and Angel presents 15 Key Qualities that Offset Job Experience Requirements posted at Marc and Angel, saying, "Never let the supposed job qualifications or experience requirements stand in your way of applying. If you know you can handle the job, you are probably the employee the employer wants. All you have to do is make them aware of your potential."

Christopher J. Brunner presents What Successful People Do - Part 1 posted at GreatFX Business Cards, saying, "Part one in a two post series - According to Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life, successful people exude similar qualities that make them a success."

Terry Dean presents Finding Your Unique Ability posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Ivan Rios presents How To Make Your Team Happy posted at

Randy Nichols presents Fast Paced Success - Considering a Career in Business posted at Career Advice by Randy, saying, "Whether you have relatives who have entered the field ahead of you or you are simply looking for a field that will always provide you with challenges, careers in business are definitely one way to go!"

Chris Tackett presents Cold Calling - Does It Work Anymore? posted at Direct Marketing News, saying, " Here are just a few of the different ways you can generate leads or prospects."

Jason Rakowski presents Critical Priorities for Extraordinary Service Quality posted at Learn Good Customer Service, saying, "What are the vital few ideas and actions that really made a difference with the customers and clients? There are thousands of tiny things that made a necessary and positive contribution, but here are five areas that are make or break."

Chris Russell presents Boldy Go Where No Has Before - Prepare to Do 20 Times More by Looking Five Years Ahead posted at Productivity Planner, saying, "The steps for creating a 2,000 percent solution (accomplishing 20 times more with the same time, effort, and resources) are listed here...

John W. Furst presents Touch It - Do It - Get It Done - Part 2 posted at E-Biz Booster Blog, saying, " I introduce very simple rules and exercises that will get you started quickly. Start using your time more effectively now."

GreatManagement presents Management Bureaucracy Gone Mad posted at The GreatManagement Blog.

Ralph Jean-Paul presents Develop Mental Toughness posted at Potential 2 Success, saying, "MVPs, CEOs, extraordinary leaders, and successful people of all kinds have it and so should you. Develop, strengthen and master your ability to perform under pressure, bounce back from failure, and excel in life."
Rodney Burge - Marketing Strategies presents Managing a Mutlicultural Workforce posted at Jinsoo Terry - Multicultural Education, saying, "Multicultural Education Expert Jinsoo Terry gives five tips to become a more effective manager within a multicultural workforce."

Luke Houghton presents 8 things I have learned about success posted at Luke Houghton, saying, "Success often is pictured as being material or financial. What I share in this article is eight things I have learned about success. I went from being a high school failure to being a lecturer."

Daylle Deanna Schwartz presents Don’t Reduce Your Price! posted at Lessons from a Recovering DoorMat, saying, "If you don't value yourself, people will perceive you as a discount brand. Making yourself priceless begins with knowing you're priceless. You can teach yourself to be that way!"

Arin Vahanian presents How to Build True, Lasting Confidence posted at Super State.

Scott Lee presents Creating Social Value in Your Identity posted at Scott Free Thinking.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of leadership development using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Friday, October 05, 2007

How do you inspire innovation?

Do you ask for ideas? Do you hold creative sessions? Or do you speak like Jeff Immelt of GE who asked his teams for

"breath-taking, mind blogging, word rattling, technological innovation"

Now that is inspiring talk, that is helping people not to have an idea but to have a create something special. Both approaches are asking in reality for the same thing, but one uses words that stir emotion, that stir the company to want to create success.