Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Training and Event Updates for August 26 2008

After a glorious 2 weeks, the Olympic Torch has been extinguished until 2012 when it will burn in London. The Republican and Democratic Conventions are now taking over video coverage. Personally I'd prefer to have one more week of athletic competition.

Anyway, here are this week's updates for personal performance programs in the Ohio Valley area.

Interpersonal Communications, Leadership and Public Speaking

Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communication and Human Relations

Strictly Business: The Dale Carnegie Immersion Seminar

Sales and Sales Communication

The Sales Advantage

Make Sales: How to Jump Start Your Selling Career

Leadership and Management

Leadership Training for Managers

The Leadership Advantage

Group Communication, Public Speaking, Presentation and Platform Skills

High Impact Presentations

Supplemental Events

The Marshall Goldsmith Seminar: What Got You Here Won't Get You There..

McGohan Brabender: Recruiting & Hiring Sales Talent

McGohan Brabender: Negotiation - From Conflict to Collaboration

McGohan Brabender: Planning and Execution

Dale Carnegie Seminar: How to Keep Your Staff Engaged, Energized & Motivated.

Dale Carnegie Seminar: How to Cold Call to Build New Customers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

6 Requirements For Building Any Team.

To work as a team you will need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates and communicate effectively to reach a common goal.A few days ago, the track and field action for the Americans was fairly dismal.

First American hopeful Lolo Jones hit a hurdle at the 100m hurdles. It was enough to throw her off balance and slow her down just enough to take her out of first place and dump her into 7th.

Then we watched Sanya Richards, the favored in the Women’s 400m, loose steam as she came to the end. While she said her hamstring tightened up halfway through the race, it looked more like someone tossed her a piano, and she tried to carry it to the finish line.

That piano was making the rounds that night because Jeremy Wariner, the favored in the Men’s 400m, ran the last 100 meters of the race as if he was dragging a boat anchor.

But hey, these are the Olympic Games held once every four years, and Murphy is always out hunting for victims. If anything can happen, you can count on it happening and at the worst possible moment. The only thing you can do is to try to be prepared for it.

You have to be prepared if you happen to eat something that you aren’t accustomed to and it puts you out of commission for 2 days. You have to be ready if a stray flu bug happens to nest in your lungs and leave you with a fever for 3 days. You have to be ready if jet lag and lack of sleep disrupts your schedule.

Stuff happens. You try to do everything to maintain your schedule and your routine. But there will always be stuff that you can’t control. And sometimes it takes you out of play.

So you focus and work on the things that you can control. Like passing the baton!

The two events that the American teams were heavily favored to take were the Men’s 4 X 100m relay and the Women’s 4 X 100m relay. Yet, both teams failed to make it past their qualifying rounds. They didn’t just miss the required time, they were disqualified because of bad baton passing between the 3rd and the 4th leg of the race. They “dropped the ball”.

All members of both relay teams are extremely good at what they do. They run “real fast”. But the relay team depends on all members working in conjunction with each other.

And in order to work well together when it counts, you need to practice as a team. Both of these “teams” looked like they had no time to work together as a team.

In every team sport, there needs to be some team practice to make all of the parts work together well. In these shorter races, it’s exceptionally important to shave off every last bit of overhead in passing the baton so that the team can squeeze out its fastest performance. Anyone who has participated in any kind of relay event knows that there are all kinds of things that you need to keep track of to get that baton transferred within the zone as smoothly and quickly as possible. You can’t just throw four exceptional performers together and expect smooth transitions, a world record time, and a gold medal.

Yet it appeared to be what the team and coaches attempted in the 4 X 100m relay races.

What are some of the ingredients needed to make a good relay team? Probably some of the same ingredients needed to make any good corporate team.

  1. Individual talent. You need some raw material to work with and that comes from the individual.

  2. Individual direction. In his book, “Good to Great”, Jim Collins talks about getting everybody on the bus. The individual’s goals and direction has to be aligned with the group’s goals, but the individual has to be the owner. The individual contributor can’t say, “Yes I believe in what the team stands for” when they really just want to be accepted into the group so they can leverage the relationship for their own hidden agenda.

  3. Communication. Team members need to communicate between themselves.

  4. Practice time working together. Time together under a variety of circumstances gives each member the ability to know and understand the strengths and limitations of their teammates and to adjust their own game accordingly.

  5. A common goal. There has to be a reason for the team to exist. Even people who get together once a week to have coffee have a reason for getting together.

  6. A hearty desire to reach the common goal.
There are others factors that come into play naturally. But if you want to see what a team looks like when all of these pieces come together, just look at the Women’s Beach Volleyball team of Misty May and Kerry Walsh.

  • Individually, they know what their strengths are and what they want.

  • They use a variety of communication techniques.

  • They have over 10 years together as a team practicing under all kinds of conditions.

  • They have a seriously competitive spirit and a strong desire to win.
The result?

108 consecutive wins and two consecutive Olympic Gold Medal wins.

Nuff Said!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Too Old For This

As long as you are alive, you have a shot at your dream.  Never use the age excuse to settle.In my last post, I wrote about Constantina Tomescu-Dita winning the Women’s Marathon in the 2008 Olympic Games.

What I failed to mention was that she was 38 years young when she did it!

In a venue where the young have the edge, collect medals like candy and blast world records into oblivion, Tomescu-Dita won the race by a hefty margin.

That should come as no shock. The marathon is one of those events where contestants get better as they get older. It takes a little bit of time to develop the stamina needed to maintain a steady pace for two (or more) hours. And because the race is so long, the best runners have the experience and wisdom to run a strategic race instead of just a tactical one.

So how do you explain Dara Torres, Silver Medallist in the 50m Splash and Dash?

This is Dara’s 5th Olympic experience. She is 41 years old and she competed against women who were probably young enough to be her daughter. In an event that is supposed to favor the strength, power and speed of the young, Dara jumped into the pool and proceeded to show everyone "who’s the boss".

In an interview after the race, Dara’s parting advice was, “…don’t put an age limit on your dreams.”

She’s right. Too often, I’ve heard people say, “I’m too old to [fill in the blank]”, or “It’s too late for me to [fill in the blank]”. Some of them were even in a couple of my classes!

You will face some challenges. There will be some events that stand in your way. That’s all a part of life. But the only thing that really stops you from reaching your goal, is you.

Age does play a factor in physical and mental performance. However, the more important factor at play here is the attitude of the performer. As I was telling my buddy Mike, “It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get the job done.”

But don't take my word for it. Go ask Torres.

Less than 10 minutes after receiving her Silver Medal in the 50m Freestyle Sprint, she was back in the water to anchor her team in the Women’s 100m Medley Relay.

They took the Silver!

Who’s Your Mama?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quote for August 19 2008

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today."

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Secret To Success Is Simply Running Your Own Race

Success in life depends on persistence, resolve and stamina like the Women's Olympic Marathon champion Constantina Tomescu-Dita.Well, it’s good to be back in the saddle. Although I must confess that I have been captivated by the Summer Olympic Games (and a couple of other projects to boot).

As with the past summer and winter games, these are proving to be quite exciting. Being somewhat enamoured with endurance sports, I typically wait until the second half of the summer program for the track and field events, in particular, the women’s and men’s marathons.

This past Sunday morning, or Saturday evening for us on the East Coast, saw the running of the Women’s marathon. It started out at a fairly pedestrian pace with no real leader emerging to take charge. Mind you, a pedestrian pace for these women is more like a killer pace for part-time athletes, weekend warriors, and us mere mortals. Only about halfway through the race did we see someone take a risk and step forward.

Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania separated herself from the group and over the course of the race, succeeded in putting a minute between herself and the rest of the lead pack. Even when there were only 5 miles left in the race, no one in the lead pack stepped forward and said, “Hey, we need to turn this into a race and catch the leader.” It was as if everyone was expecting Tomescu-Dita to blow up and fall out of the race. After all, she's done that in some of her past races.

But not this day and not this race.

After all, these are the Olympic games where once every 4 years, the world’s best athletes get together to compete and discover who is actually the best athlete that day.

So you steel yourself against the discomfort and pain, and you take a chance with the stuff that you have.

On Sunday, it was Tomescu-Dita, who assessed her resources, took a chance, ran her race and ran away with the gold.

Kind of like life.

So many people get tangled up in the belief that if you do what other people are doing then you will be successful. So they suppress their own gifts and talents and try to follow a formula for success. In the process, they turn into a robot and blend into the rest of the background business machinery.

They end up running in the pack, waiting for something to happen. They wait for somebody to rescue them, that big break that’s due, or that one big client that’s going to put them on the map.

They wait for the economy to turn up, their business partners to get on board, the right business conditions to happen, or to get everything else in their life fixed up.

And sometimes, they wait for someone else to take the lead, tell them what they should be doing and that it’s time to get going.

All the while, they never assess their own strengths, resources and capabilities. They never look at the environmental conditions for themselves. They never trust their own instincts. And they never take the big risks that will produce the life changing results that they keep expecting.

Constantina didn’t wait. She took a chance, took off, and took the prize that all of the other runners dreamt about but weren’t willing to leave the comfort of the pack to make happen.

Don’t wait for your dream to come to you. If you want to win big, you have to play big.

Go make it happen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Training and Event Updates for August 11 2008

After a rousing motivational effort from the Men's Gymnastic Team, here are this week's updates for personal performance programs in the Ohio Valley area.

Interpersonal Communications, Leadership and Public Speaking

Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communication and Human Relations

Strictly Business: The Dale Carnegie Immersion Seminar

Sales and Sales Communication

The Sales Advantage

Make Sales: How to Jump Start Your Selling Career

Leadership and Management

Leadership Training for Managers

The Leadership Advantage

Group Communication, Public Speaking, Presentation and Platform Skills

High Impact Presentations

Supplemental Events

The Marshall Goldsmith Seminar: What Got You Here Won't Get You There..

McGohan Brabender: Planning and Execution

McGohan Brabender: Negotiation - From Conflict to Collaboration

McGohan Brabender: Planning and Execution

Dale Carnegie Seminar: How to Keep Your Staff Engaged, Energized & Motivated.

Dale Carnegie Seminar: How to Cold Call to Build New Customers.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Secret For Managing your Time

Two nights ago, I was digging through a box of old junk, searching for an item for a Dale class starting on the 27 of this month. While doing so, I came across my personal copy of Super Self, Doubling Your Personal Effectiveness, a book written and published by Charles Givens back in 1993.

As I thumbed through the pages and perused the content, I could easily identify all of the points I had considered important back then by the marked up pages, the notes in the sidelines and the highlighted text. Some of what I had identified back then seems to be common knowledge in today’s environment. Some of it, however, just seemed irrelevant for the times that we live in now and the information we have concerning human behavior and performance development.

Nevertheless, I was amazed at some of Givens’ insights and the observations.

For example, Givens wrote about strategies to control your time. Hey, it’s your life and your time. Why not take control of it. But to do that, we need to first know what we are currently doing with it.

Givens started with the basic assumption that everyone has the same number of hours per week, 24 hours a day for 7 days giving 168 hours a week.

He then goes on and starts subtracting time for the mundane but necessary activities that we need to do. For example, he assumes that the average person sleeps 8 hours a night. Personally, I think that number is way to high, but lets say it's right for now. That comes out to 56 hours out of that 168 leaving 112 hours in the week to get things done.

Then he assumes that it will take the average person about an hour in the morning to get prepped for the day. That is from the time the opportunity clock goes off to the time we get our bodies out the door. For those of you with children, it will take a little longer. But for the sake of argument, we’ll hold to an hour to shower, shave, brush the teeth, comb the hair, eat breakfast and find the keys.

He also assumes that the average person will take about 30 minutes to rewind the process at the end of the day before going to bed. That amounts to 1.5 hours for 7 days, or 10.5 hours out of the week.

If we take out those 10.5 hours, we are left with 101.5 hours out of the week.

Then there is the commute to and from work. Givens assigns 45 minutes to a one way trip or 1.5 hours round trip for 5 days during the week. I know that if you live in California, that commute can be upwards of 2 hours… one way!

I once did some work for a guy who lived in the Central Valley and commuted 3 hours one way every day into the Bay Area. Why? Because the Central Valley was the only place where he could find a decent house at a reasonable price.

Anyway, 1.5 hours for 5 days amounts to 7.5 hours out of our week leaving 94 hours.

Then there is work.

Givens assumes an 8-hour workday with an hour for lunch for 5 days or 45 hours out of our week (again, a number that is way low) leaving us with 49 hours to use.

Then he assumes that the average person will spend about an hour every day eating dinner for 7 days. Obviously, the man never heard of the Happy Meal or Dashboard Dining. But lets go with it and take out another 7 hours for dinner. That leaves us with 42 hours (less than 2 days) in our entire week to devote to the other stuff in life like:
  • Our significant others
  • Our children (that’s where the Happy Meals come in)
  • Television
  • Hobbies and personal interests
  • Exercise (Happy Meals do not help out here)
  • House cleaning, yard work, home maintenance, laundry, and the honey-do list
  • Time for our friends
  • Extra errands
And we haven’t even included the things that are really, really important to us like our personal dreams, goals and personal improvement.

As I looked his analysis, something struck me. There are 45 hours taken out of play because they are devoted to work.

Givens’ wrote and published his book back in the early 90s when we were just coming out of the money centric 80s.

Think "Wall Street", Gordon Gecko, and his speech on how greed is good for America.

People worked because they wanted money. And they worked for money so that they could have the time and freedom to do what they wanted, and the power and recognition that came along with that. The focus was definitely on getting a "good" job and moving up the corporate ladder.

Problem was that most of the people who lived in that era woke up from that dream and found that the ladder of success that they were so busy climbing was leaning up against the wrong wall. Oh, they got what they were striving for, but when the actually got it, they discovered that it wasn’t really what they wanted, and they didn’t enjoy the journey in getting it.

I know so many people who just woke up one day and walked away from six figure incomes because they weren’t feeling fulfilled and they didn’t like the person that they had become.

What if, that 45 hours you spent on the job, was actually time that you enjoyed? What if you were actually learning something and doing something that was aligned with your goals, dreams and vision?

You probably wouldn’t spend your time trying to manage (or cram) your life into that leftover 42 hours.

Here is a suggested course of action:

Take 2 to 3 hours out of that leftover 42 hours in your week, sit down and ask yourself, "What is the vision I have for the rest of my life? What do I want to accomplish in the time I have left in this world? What do I want to do, be and have and how can I use my resources to make it happen?"

Once you have identified what is important to you, you will be amazed to find the rest of your resources, like your time, being aligned to assist you in reaching those targets.

In the Leadership Training for Managers, program, we do an exercise with value identification. In that exercise, we give the participants a set of value cards where they can identify and rank the values that are important to them. If you go to www.dcarnegietraining.com next week, you will find these values listed on our site for you. Take the time to identify your values, rank them in order of importance, and then create your vision of the life you want to live, filled with the stuff that gets you excited.

You can’t steal too much time from the 56 hours you need to sleep. Studies have shown that doing so can shorten your life span. But you can align those 45 work hours more along the way you want to conduct your life.

Remember, it’s your life and life is too short to be miserable.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quote for August 6 2008

"I have found that if I have faith in myself and in the idea I am tinkering with, I usually win out."

-Charles F. Kettering

The Secret to a Fulfilling Career

Enjoy your career and you'll never have to work a day in your life.

Well, it finally happened.

My laptop, an IBM ThinkPad, is pushing 3 years old and as you may be aware, 3 years for a laptop is about the equivalent of 100 years in human years.

It’s getting up there and it’s showing signs of old age. The screen is doing random and increasingly long blinks and the keyboard has taken a beating. In fact, the "j" flaps at me regularly, and on occasion it jumps right off the keyboard and performs back flips in the air. And while it hasn’t "blue screened" in a while, I have seen it shut down by itself.

Not a good sign.

So this past week, I went off to one of my favorite toy stores, Microcenter, looking for a suitable backup unit or possible replacement.

On my first trip to Microcenter, I met Raymie in the laptop/desktop bullpen. He introduced himself, and was pleasant enough. So when he asked what I was looking for that day, I hit him with my primary criteria, asking him which machines already had Vista Business loaded.

That narrowed the field considerably. He pointed out 3 of his business class machines. The rest had Vista Home Premium loaded. Those were the big screen devils that doubled as a poor man’s home theater.

I asked Raymie a few more questions, outlined some of my other criteria, and then, as I was in a little bit of a hurry, asked when he was going to be back in the store.

Hey, he did help, only fair to make sure he got his recognition for his part in making the sale.

I was originally planning to be back on Friday, which turned out was his day off.
So instead, I went back the next day. The floor was a little more crowded, but amidst all of the chaos, there was Raymie, enjoying himself. He was helping someone else set up a refurbished unit.

"Raymie. Remember me? I was here yesterday talking with you about that business laptop."

"Yes, I remember you." He said. "Give me one second while I get this guy set up and I’ll be right with you."

Raymie continues to help this guy initialize his refurbished unit while I looked over my "soon to be new toy". I could hear him working with the guy, making jokes and being light about the tasks that this guy faced with his unit.

After about 5 minutes, Raymie was at my side reviewing the specs on the machine.

We talked about the virtues of the machine, how it met all of my requirements and he pointed out some additional things that this machine had and some of the other things it would allow me to do. At one point, I asked him about virus and malware protection, because I saw the infamous Norton Antivirus screen on the machine.

"No, no, this is only a trial version. Most people go with this because it’s easy to upgrade to a full version and it’s already on the system. We typically don’t recommend it because it has a large footprint and it’s heavy, it slows your machine down a lot. Now this is the application we use here. We asked a couple of security consultants to perform some tests and make suggestions and this is what they recommended. This is the stuff that we recommend to our users who want to remove Norton and try something different."

Raymie then went on to explain why this new package was so much better than what was already on the system. He identified some of the things that it had to offer and told me how they were using this package in their home office. It was at that time that we both noticed an older gentleman who had been standing off to the side. I didn’t recognize him, but Raymie did.

He said, "Hold on for a moment, let me take care of this guy…" and then went on to address the older gentleman.

I saw Raymie put on a big smile, approach the gentleman and say, "Is everything ok?"
The man said, "You know that piece of paper with that information you just gave me? Well the wind just took it right out of my hands."

Raymie went over to his console addressing the guy as he went.

"That’s OK." He said. "We can fix you up. In fact, the wind and I have an arrangement. It was supposed to take that information away from you so you could come back and hear that presentation on security software that I was giving that gentleman over there" he said, pointing to me.

The older guy said, "Oh, is that why I needed to come back in?"

"Yes. Now you know that you need security software as well, isn’t that right?"

They both chuckled and as Raymie was pulling up the information for printing out, I heard him say, "I’m just playing with you. You know, we have to have some fun around here."

The older gentleman said, "I know that. And you know what? You’re right!"

You have to have fun!

From the time that I walked into Microcenter to the point I walked out of the building with the laptop. The one thing that I noticed was that Raymie was having fun. He was actually enjoying himself.

I think many of us forget that we need to enjoy ourselves and have fun at work. We get caught up in the concept that work is a four letter word and we shouldn’t enjoy it.

Will there be those tasks that you don’t want to do? Sure.

Will there be those days that nothing goes right? Of course.

Will there be times that you just feel burnt out? Absolutely.

We are human. These things happen and our interests flows to different things at different times.

But work is not a hateful, necessary evil.

Sometimes, in sales, we focus too much on the business and we forget to have fun and enjoy ourselves. We forget to enjoy the process and focus too much on the result, the goal.

Goals are important, but so is the process we take to get to the goal. If you are just going through the motions because some guru said that these are the steps you need to take to be successful, then there is an essential element missing out of the equation; and that element is you.

Here in our call center, our team is on the phone 8 hours a day and they go through some grueling challenges. The CEO of the company, Lance, made it clear that he doesn’t want anyone to turn this into a career stop. He considers our inside sales team to be a small step in a much bigger plan in the development of our people. But it is a step. And Lance is watching to see who is performing, how people are behaving, and who is enjoying themselves.

As such, we do a variety of things to break up the monotony. We have contests, games, training sessions, and fun, lots of fun. If our people were only making calls to hit a number, the job would be boring. And while our team would hit their call numbers, no one would learn anything, no one would make any sales and no one would have fun.

When I was going through my product endorsement, the fourth stage of instructor certification, I spent a lot of the time on edge. I was focused strictly on passing the event and making it to the next level. As I was too focused on the result, I wasn’t spending any "mind awareness" on the process.

At one point during the event, the master instructor pulled me aside and asked me a question. He asked, "Are you enjoying yourself?"

Of course, I replied ‘yes’, although I think we both knew that I was so focused on meeting all of the requirements that I was wound tighter than a cheap mechanical watch. Engineers get that way sometimes.

But he was wise enough to recognize this and told me that I needed to relax, enjoy the process and just not focus on meeting a set of requirements. He told me that if I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, other people would notice that feeling quite easily and they wouldn’t want to be around me. He suggested that I go back read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Then, identify what the worst thing that could possibly happen and accept it. Once I accepted the worst possible situation, I was free to improve my situation and enjoy the process.

Turns out, my best day was the last day of the event, because I was free from stressing out about meeting the requirements and recognized opportunities in other people.

If you are involved in a job where you are too focused meeting a goal or performing a task and you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, it may be time to start looking for something else to do.

Life is too short to spend it in a miserable state of mind.

Do like Raymie and have some fun.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quote for August 5 2008

"There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself."

-Andrew Carnegie