Creating Company Loyalty

If this was truly a post about creating more loyalty for your organization it would be done now. That’s because people will never be loyal to a company or an organization. People are loyal to people. They are not loyal to things. Companies and organizations are things.

Some people become “loyal” to a product because it has benefited them in someway. Other people may be “loyal” to a product or service because some famous person they like recommended it. Some of those people feel a sort of kinship with that famous person if they drink the same beer or eat the same food. Seems silly to me but companies don’t use celebrities in their ads for the heck of it. 

But Authentic Loyalty requires some emotional attachment and that requires human interaction. The actual definition of loyal is “faithful allegiance.” 

Loyalty rarely happens by accident. Loyalty is the result of intentional actions. Earning someone’s loyalty means you’ve taken specific actions to show them you are worthy of another person’s faith…hence the “faithful” reference, 

Earning loyalty begins by always doing what you’ve said you would do. When you’ve said you would do it. The foundation of loyalty is built upon trust and reliability. If you skip those, your foundation will collapse at the first sign of trouble. 

You must honor every commitment you make to the people you lead. Anything said in confidence must remain confidential. If you tell even one other person, it is no longer “in confidence” and you have broken a trust. Loyalty floats away on the river of broken trust. 

Judging people is a part of leading. Leaders need to weigh their people’s strengths and weaknesses to make certain they are placing people in roles where they can excel. Leaders with a loyal following make judgments about their people without being judgmental. 

Judging someone is a rational process based on the individual’s performance, both past and present. Being judgmental is rushing to judgment without reason. If you’ve ever said “all” anything or “all” any group then you’ve been judgmental. Because “all” people with tattoos are not the same. “All” republicans and all democrats are not the same. All white people and all black people are not the same. If you want to build loyalty then stop being judgmental and start seeing people for who and what they are. 

Since people can only be loyal to people you need to be the real you at all times. You need to walk your talk. You need to admit when you’re wrong. You need to be okay with admitting you don’t know it all. You must give credit where credit is due. You must hold yourself to the same high standards, or higher standards, that you hold everyone else to. 

Finally you must understand that you can’t do the heavy lifting of building loyalty while you’re holding a grudge. Let past slights and offensives go. To build the loyalty of your team you will need to accept every apology, even the ones you weren’t actually given. Petty grudges and past grievances, real or imagined, put walls up between you and the people you would lead. Walls that loyalty simply can not penetrate. 

Building loyalty amongst the people you lead is not easy. Authentic Leaders work at it because they know absent loyalty they run the risk of disengaged people who do only what’s required of them and never more. Disengaged people have always been around, looking for someone they could be loyal to. The only difference is, these days we call those folks “quiet quitters.” 

If you’re in a leadership position and you have quiet quitters in your organization then maybe it’s a loyalty issue. If it is then that’s on you, not on them. 

So lead. Lead Authentically. Authentic Leadership doesn’t fix everything but it sure does seem like it does. So lead, LeadToday.

A Daily Dose of Learning

I’m mildly impressed with people who have lots of formal education. It depends a bit on why they continued with their education. I went to college with a guy who was still in school 10 years after we graduated. He kept getting one degree after another because as long as he was in school he didn’t have to start repaying his student loans. 

The problem with that strategy was obvious to everyone but him. I bet I don’t even have to tell you. But here’s a hint…all that extra schooling wasn’t free. 

So I’m not as impressed with all his degrees as I would be with someone who was trying to educate themselves for the benefit of others. But generally speaking, I’m impressed with anyone who never stops learning, no matter where their education comes from. 

Cause the reality is the odds of them being highly successful is much greater than the people who decide they know enough. 

I graduated from college with an engineering degree. My first job out of college was with a company designing high tech currency validation equipment. I wasn’t all that good at design but I could fix anything that broke. Better and faster than almost anyone. I almost instinctively knew that if this was happening with a piece of equipment then this component was causing it. 

But I was not a repair technician, I was a design engineer. One who didn’t much care about designing. I just wasn’t curious enough about how stuff worked to design new technologies. I could “reengineer” design faults and make improvements to other people’s designs but I had little interest in designing something from scratch. So, through no fault of my own I found myself selling the stuff other people designed. 

It turned out I was very curious about the purchase decisions people made and the way they made them. That curiosity about people and their buying habits led me right to where I am today. While I had learned enough about electronics to last me a lifetime, I discovered will never know enough about people to stop learning. 

People are often given career advice that says they should follow their passion. That sounds much better than it works. Many people who try to turn their passion into a career may make themselves a career but way too often they fail to make themselves a living. 

Better career advice might be find something someone needs and figure out a way to deliver it to them. If you can do that you’ll have plenty of time to pursue your passion and you’ll have the money to do it with too. 

Some people are indeed lucky enough to be able to blend their passion into their careers. I believe I’m one of those. I help people in the areas of sales and leadership. Both heavily involve people and I’m passionate about knowing everything I can about how people act and what drives them to do the things they do. 

I do everything I possibly can to learn something new about people every single day. Many days I’m surprised by what I learn and some days I’m even shocked. But it is that learning that allows me to stay relevant. It is that learning that allows me to help other people. It is that learning that keeps me interested in learning even more. 

Whatever your career path, you will do it better if you provide yourself with a daily dose of learning. You may even find a career that is more suited to you. You will likely have better relationships, at work and at home. The drive to learn will help you meet new people. It will help you understand people so you’ll have far less need to judge them. 

A daily dose of learning is your stepping stone to success. But it’s something no one can do for you. You can sit in a training class but the presenter cannot make you learn. You need to have the desire to learn. 

If you have that desire no one can stop you. If you lack that desire, no one can help you. Give yourself that daily dose of learning for this one simple reason…you deserve it! 

Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

How to Lead and How Not to Lead – another post in that periodic series 

As usual, let’s talk about the how not to lead first…

Leadership without integrity is an impossibility. So if your goal is to NOT be mistaken for a leader then don’t worry about saying one thing and doing another. Things change. You also have the right to change your mind any time you want to. For any reason you want to. It’s nobody’s business but your own. 

As someone in a leadership position you owe no one an explanation for saying one thing and doing another. If someone doesn’t like it that’s their problem, not yours. People who you are supposed to be leading should learn your word is worthless. They should just fall in line and go with the flow.  

Everybody knows that sometimes keeping your commitments is impossible and people need to be adaptable. Honoring commitments is so old fashioned that it’s hysterical anyone still expects it. People who expect you to actually lead need to get a clue! 

Trying to explain your decisions or thought process to the people you are supposed to be leading makes you look weak. It makes you look foolish. Worse yet, it makes you look like someone who might care about what your people think of you. 

Never forget, the people you boss around are the “little people” and there is no point in trying to explain your big thoughts to the likes of them. 

Of course, there is also the possibility that you actually DO want to lead. In that case you may want to do things a little differently. 

Things do indeed change and when they do you should be the first one to acknowledge it. You MUST alert people the instant you become aware of the change. Delaying only casts doubt on your credibility. You need to explain why the change is taking place and how it will affect your people. 

If you can’t honor your commitments, you need to apologize. That apology is not a sign of weakness. It is exactly the opposite. It is a sign of strength. It is a sign of your authenticity as a leader. You should also explain why you can’t honor that particular commitment and reaffirm the importance of your overall commitment to the people you lead. 

Failure to do any of that will result in a lack of respect and loyalty. It will also destroy your trust producing credibility. It erases your integrity. 

Authentic Leaders know that absent credibility, trust, and integrity, there can be no true followership. And without followers you are not a leader, no matter what your position and title says. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

The Space Opportunity 

We all have a tremendous amount of power over our lives. That is true even for people who don’t believe it. People who do believe it, and use that power, are happier and often more successful. In fact, I’d say being happier is in itself a great success. 

One important area where that power exists is the space between something that happens to us and our response to it. The incredible author Viktor Frankl describes that power like this: Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. 

Think about that. That power gives us the opportunity to grow from whatever it was that happened to us. That power can give us freedom over a set of circumstances that may well imprison other people who don’t realize that power exists.  

To make that power work for you the space between the stimulus and your response must be as large as possible. That means you should not react instantly to the stimulus. 

That stimulus could be anything from someone insulting you or causing you harm, either emotionally or physically. The key to growing from that situation is taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and not say or do something that you will regret. 

While our responses frequently happen in the moment the consequences of those responses can be long lasting. Some of those responses can even lead to permanent regret. People are frequently imprisoned by those regrets. If they had slowed down a bit to grow that space between the stimulus event and their response there may not have been any regrets to worry about. 

When you think of it like that you can see that Viktor Frankl is exactly right in his statement about the power that exists in that space. 

Creating space between a stimulus event and your response requires discipline. Discipline to “hold your fire” and not necessarily say or do the first thing that comes to mind. It requires the knowledge and understanding that not everything that happens to you, or around you, even requires a response from you. 

The space between what happens to you and how you respond gives you the opportunity to consider the consequences of the consequences of the consequences to any response you may have. It even gives you the opportunity to decide if any response is required. 

Highly successful people make use of those opportunities. That’s something to consider the next time you’re about to blurt out something you will later regret. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Are Customers Liars?

When I do Customer Service Workshops or Sales Training I often ask if any of the participants have been lied to by a customer. The response is often nearly unanimous. It’s a big yes!

So why do customers lie? Or a better question is, do they lie? 

In the technical sense of the word yes, customers do lie sometimes. They withhold truthful information. They “misrepresent” their situation. They sometimes exaggerate the seriousness of their problem. And yes, sometimes they intentionally tell a lie. 

So why would they do that? Why would anyone lie to a person who is trying to help them solve a problem? How can they expect to get help if they won’t be honest about the help they need?

The first part of that answer is simple. They don’t expect to get help in the first place. Many people don’t see a salesperson or customer service representative as someone who is there to help them. That’s likely because far too many people in those positions are not there to help them. They are there only to sell them something or deal with a problem as cost effectively as possible. 

Customers exaggerate the scope of their problems because they don’t trust the customer service representative to act with the urgency the customer wants and often needs. So they say things like this about their 3 year old product, “this thing hasn’t worked right since the day I bought it, it’s complete crap.” 

Now obviously it must have worked for some of those 3 years so why would the customer say that? Because they don’t think saying, “it’s been working great up until the last few days, now I can’t get it to do anything right,” will get them help. They believe their truthful and accurate description will get their problem “back burnered.” So they try to instill some urgency into the conversation. They likely believe they will be back burnered because that has been their experience in the past. 

Here’s what you need to know about customers who lie. They do NOT lie to people who they see as trustworthy. People who they sense are sincerely interested in helping them achieve their goals and solve their problems. 

As a salesperson or customer service person you must also know that because you’ve never lied to a customer that doesn’t mean your customer has never been lied to. Sales people, and to a lesser extent, customer service representatives, have a reputation for lying. Even if you’ve never lied that reputation precedes you. 

It’s beyond frustrating for the majority of sales and service people who are honest and have their customers best interests in mind. But it is what it is. Trust must be earned, even by the completely trustworthy. 

If you want to be trusted, in sales, service or life in general, then you must make certain that your words match your actions at all times. When you say you will do something you must do it, when you said you would do it. EVERY SINGLE TIME. 

If you’re in sales or service and you’re being lied to buy a customer you need to understand that you, or someone very close to you in your organization has earned that lie. They, or you, have earned that lie by not following through. Maybe by not honoring a commitment. Maybe by exaggerating, even a little bit. 

If you’re a professional you will not get upset or frustrated with a customer who is less than truthful with you. You’ll simply work harder to earn their trust so that you’ll be better able to help them in the future. 

Remember, the customer doesn’t really owe you the truth, you have to earn it!

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

What Are You Worried About?

Is it just me or is there more to worry about these days than ever before? The list of world events and likely, events in your own country, to worry about seems to grow longer every day. Plus, we have our own stuff to worry about. Money, work, family, health, pets, cars, and of course, what’s for dinner. 

Some people seem to enjoy worrying. Or at least “helping” other people worry. They enjoy it so much that when they don’t have anything to worry about they make something up. 

Research shows that 40 million Americans are virtually paralyzed by worry and fear. They worry about everything. 

The same research shows that 40% of what people worry about, never happens. That number seems low to me but even at 40% it’s substantial. 30% of the things people worry about can’t be changed. And the saddest statistic of all is that 20% of our worries are focused on other people’s opinion of us. We worry about what other people think of us. Often people who are merely passing through our lives. What their opinion of us is doesn’t matter one bit and still, we worry. 

But 10% of our worries are legitimate. Health issues lead the way closely followed by financial concerns. In some parts of the world, like the United States for instance, it is issues with health that lead directly to the concern about money. 

So what can we do with those legitimate reasons to worry? 

We’ll likely never completely eliminate the worry but the worst thing we can do is only worry. 

Here’s a few proven effective suggestions from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start living. 

When facing trouble he says to, ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?” Then prepare to accept the worst. Next, we should try to improve on the worst.

Following that suggestion will cause us to take some action or at least think more strategically about the situation. That’s way better than being paralyzed with worry. 

He also suggests that you remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health. Worry often begets more worry and it quickly becomes a downward spiral. If we can keep busy and focus on the things we can control it will lessen our level of worry. 

We should never give a problem or situation more worry than it’s worth. Here is a basic technique for analyzing worry to help us avoid that trap. 

  1. Get all the facts.
  2. Weight all the facts — then come to a decision.
  3. Once a decision is reached, act!
  4. Write out and answer the following questions:
    What is the problem?
    What are the causes of the problem?
    What are the possible solutions?
    What is the best possible solution?

Again, those problem solving questions lead directly to action being taken to control the source of our worry. Often they lead us to determine there is no real cause for worry.

Worry is a part of life. The key to a happier and more successful life is to take charge of worry before it takes charge of you. Just remember, that’s a choice for your life that only you can make. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Look Around

Many years ago, I’ll bet at least 30 years, I was listening to a futurist speak. If you’re wondering what a futurist is they describe themselves as “being to the future what an historian is to the past.” I’m not sure I entirely agree with that description. A historian documents events that actually happened. It’s usually easy to determine if their documentation is accurate or not. 

A futurist studies current events and trends and then predicts what will happen in the future. They often say things like “in twenty years this will happen.” They get paid for saying those things and I’m betting their paycheck is completely spent before anyone has a clue about whether or not their vision of the future is even close to accurate. 

Anyway, this particular futurist said that by the year 2010 the greatest challenge humans would face is determining how to use all the free time that would be created by technology. He predicted great advances in all kinds of technology. Truth be told he was spot on about most of what he said. 

But the “free time” prediction was a huge swing and a miss. While much of the technology has no doubt been beneficial it has also greatly increased the speed at which we work and live. We now live in a world where “Minute Rice” takes way too long to prepare. We want instant results. 

The lines that used to separate our personal lives from our work lives are very blurry these days. A quick peek at our cell phones during dinner can pull us right back into work mode. If not physically at least mentally. 

Technology has done anything but bury us in free time. It has made us busier than ever. 

But has it made us more productive?

There are an endless list of apps labeled as “productivity apps” available today. I’ve got a bunch of them on my phone and iPad. But I’ve discovered one weakness to all of them. You have to use them for them to be effective. Actually, I can’t say that for sure either since I’ve never really used them but I’m taking the app developers at their word. 

There are also a ton of “automation” type apps. Apps that claim to do things for you, like turning off your lights, and starting your coffee maker before you’re even out of bed. Some of my favorite are the reminder apps. They are effective at reminding me of all the stuff I once thought it would be good to get done. 

There’s even a brand new app that helps you “reboot you age” and help you live as if you’re 50 years younger. I’d imagine that’s not recommended for people under 50?

But not one of those apps can help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. Not one of those apps will have the influence on you that the people you spend your time with will.

So if you truly want to be more productive and successful then look around. Who are the people around you? Who are you listening to? Who are you allowing to put thoughts into your head? Who are you modeling yourself after? 

There are likely two main groups around you, those who promote your purpose and those who pervert your purpose. The first group helps you be more successful. The second group is, frankly, an anchor around your productivity. They are holding you back. Their influence robs you of both productive time and free time. 

The people in your life who pervert your purpose do so because they have not identified a purpose for their own life. The only way they can have “friends” is to hold them back at their level. 

If you want to achieve your full potential then you need to recognize which of the people you’re hanging around with are promoting your purpose and which ones are not. When you surround yourself with supportive individuals then your productivity explodes. You accomplish more in less time. You have a chance to become who and what you were born to be. 

I don’t know if technology will ever create more free time for us but this much I do know. When your productivity increases so does your free time. You will discover you can do more in less time. You’ll discover that you do in fact have time to spare. Time to do what you wish. Maybe even time for yourself. 

It would be nice if an app could one day do that for you. But for now it’s up to you and it begins by choosing the people you allow into your life more wisely. You are very much a compilation of the five people you spend the most time with. 

Choose those five people very very carefully. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.