New Thinking

Most people like to hang around with people who are like them. They listen to people who think like they do. They talk to people who talk like them. They believe people who believe the things they believe. 

 

It is reassuring to have someone tell you that your thinking is correct. It is confidence building to have someone you think is often right tell you that you also are most often right. 

 

It is comfortable to not have your thinking or beliefs challenged by someone who thinks or believes differently than you do. 

 

It is also very limiting to your success. 

 

The most successful people listen to new ideas and concepts as often as they can find them. They listen to opinions different than their own with as open a mind as they can muster. They do not dismiss another person’s ideas because the person “is not like them” or because they have a very different background. 

 

The most successful people know that everyone they meet knows at least one thing that they don’t know. They are always on the lookout for that one thing. 

 

Successful people understand the reality that they will learn far more from people who think differently than they do then they will learn from people who think and act just like them. 

 

New thoughts and new ideas come from new listening. They come from interacting and conversing with people who might never be your friend but who can certainly be your teacher. 

 

Who knows, you might discover you have more in common than you would have ever imagined. If fact, you may have a new friend in the making. Get out of your comfort zone and reach beyond your circle of like-minded friends. If you want to expand your thinking then you will need to expand the type of people you let inside your head. 


New success seldom comes from old thinking. Refresh your thoughts and you just might discover a whole new level of success. 


Your Attitude is Your Choice

It’s tough to figure out which news is worse. Maybe it’s the severe flooding around the United States. Maybe it’s the incredible damage from the Typhoon in Mozambique. Maybe it’s the man made disaster in Venezuela. Maybe it’s the Brexit mess or the ugly political climate in the United States. 

 

Take your pick. It’s not hard to see how easy it is to develop and maintain a negative attitude.      

 

Lots of people have kind of thrown in the towel and are waiting for “things” to improve so their attitude can improve too. 

 

Think about that – they want something or someone else to fix their attitude. I hope you’re not one of the people waiting for someone to fix your attitude, but if you are here is some advice: Stop waiting, it ain’t going to happen. The only person who can improve your attitude is the one who looks back at you when you stand in front of the mirror. That means if you’re going to have a positive attitude it’s up to you, and you alone to make that happen.

 

Expose yourself to positive people. Surround yourself with positive information. Stay away from the nattering nabobs of negativism. Stay close to people who believe in you and will help you choose a positive attitude. 

 

I’m not talking about burying your head in the sand, I’m just saying to make sure the positive “inputs” in your life outweigh the negatives. That’s something you have complete control over.

 

Don’t wait for someone else to provide you with an attitude adjustment. The only attitude adjustment you need, and the only one that works is inside you waiting to be unleashed. Let it out and you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.


A positive attitude is a choice and it’s a choice that must be made. Failing to intentionally choose a positive means you will subconsciously allow “stuff” and other people to choose your attitude for you. And that attitude is not likely to be positive. 

Do You Know What People Buy?

I was being interviewed a while back for a magazine article and the writer asked me a question that I had to think hard about before answering. 

 

She asked in all my years of working with professional salespeople what surprised me the most. 

 

I couldn’t boil it down to one thing. There are two. One is that in all my time in sales and sales training I’m surprised by how many salespeople are unprepared to respond to customer objections. Even objections they hear over and over again like the price objection. Each time it comes up it’s like the first time they have ever heard it. A sales professional should have a thoughtful, well prepared response that speaks to value.  Instead many salespeople stammer and stutter and basically begin the negotiations process. 

 

They will not receive full price in return for the full value they offer. 

 

The other biggest surprise in all my years of working with salespeople is also the reason salespeople hear the price objection so often. The second surprise is that the vast majority of salespeople have no idea what they are selling. 

 

Charles Revson was the founder of the cosmetics giant Revlon. He was once asked what business he was in. He said that “in the factory we make cosmetics; in the store we sell hope.”

 

If you understand his answer then you might be a successful professional salesperson. If you don’t understand his answer then your success in sales will always be limited. You’ll also hear a whole lot of price objections. Your customers will want a reduced price regardless of whether or not your product is the least expensive in the market. 

 

Charles Revson understood that no one buys cosmetics because they want to spend hours a week applying chemicals to their body. They buy what the cosmetics do for them…which is make them more attractive in the HOPE of attracting the attention of other people….maybe even that special someone.

 

No one buys a drill, they buy the hole it makes. No one buys a book, they buy the adventure or information contained within it’s pages. No one buys a picture frame, they buy a place to display their precious memories of events and loved ones who make their life matter. 

 

No one buys your product because they want the product, they buy it because they want what they can get from the product.

 

The vast majority of salespeople do not fully know what their customers want from the products they sell. The professional salespeople who do understand what their customers want discovered that information by asking questions. The type of questions that less successful salespeople didn’t ask. They didn’t ask because they were lazy or they didn’t have the courage to ask or they just didn’t care enough to ask. 


Salespeople who don’t know what their customers are buying have no way of knowing how to present their products to people who want them. That is very surprising to me and it’s most certainly not a recipe for sales success.

 

 

Does Trust Really Matter?

I heard the Secretary of State for the United States give an interview the other day. He said that “we” don’t always get to choose who the United States negotiates with. He said some of the people the US government talks to are pretty awful people. He also said it doesn’t matter if they are trusted or not, we still have to talk to them. 

 

That makes me glad I’m not in government. I get to choose not to talk to or do business with people I don’t trust. I hope that is true for you as well. 

 

It’s also true of most people you know. If you want to be trusted you’ll need to earn it. There are some people who freely give their trust to anyone until it’s proven a person can’t be trusted. These days however the people who make you earn their trust far outnumber those who give it freely. 

 

How do you earn trust? Well the simplest way is to do what you say you will. Always! Tell the truth. Always! When the truth is hard to tell you must tell the truth anyway. Always!

 

Building trust and credibility takes time. 

 

And sincere effort.

 

The fundamental beginning to developing trust is being genuinely interested in other people. Asking pertinent questions while listening with complete attention demonstrates that they matter to you. It shows their importance in your life. It reflects your interest in developing a real relationship with them. 

 

It really is just that simple.

 

Trust matters. If you’re a leader and your people don’t trust you then they absolutely will not follow you. If you’re in sales and people don’t trust you they will go to great lengths to buy from someone else. 

 

When people in general don’t trust you then you miss out on the deep relationships that make life so meaningful. 


Don’t expect people to trust you because you think you’re trustworthy. Make the effort to build trust every time you interact with another human being. It’s worth the effort because trust matters in everything you do.

Are You a Boss?

First a disclaimer: this is NOT a political post. One of the Democrats running for President in 2020 gave an interview the other day. During the interview she provided a great example of the difference between being a boss and being a leader. This is a person I first met many years ago and occasionally come across at an event if we both happen to be attending. This is a person I mostly admire. This is someone who seems to me to be a nice enough person who is intelligent and hard working. 

 

This is also a person who projected a very poor image of herself in the interview. And I don’t think she knows it. 

 

Much of the early publicity surrounding this candidate has been focused on her reportedly poor treatment of her staff. Her office has one of the highest turnover rates of any member of Congress. She is apparently more than a little challenging to work for. 

 

She was attempting to defend herself in the interview and in doing so she demonstrated not only why she was a difficult boss but a poor leader as well. 

 

She said she was a boss and as a boss she had to be hard on her people. She said she had high expectations for her staff and when they let her down she let them know about it. She said she expects her people to produce a good “product” and that oftentimes the product was her image.

 

I wondered, I was amazed actually, how someone who has accomplished so much could possess such backwards thinking when it came to leading her staff. 

 

The mindset of a boss says it’s the workers job to make the boss look good. The mindset of a leader says it’s the leader’s job to help their people succeed. If you think there is a fine line between the two then you may be a boss, you may be an excellent manager but you are most definitely not a leader. 

 

A typical boss will drive and push their people to achieve results. A leader will push, pull, motivate and sometimes even carry their people to success. They frequently do it from the middle and sometimes from behind. They most often do it while being along side their people.

 

A leader knows that they are responsible for the success of their people. They know that they can’t succeed unless their people succeed. They don’t try to “make” their people succeed they “help” them succeed. 

 

Too many bosses try to force their people to drink from the well of success. Authentic Leaders walk with their people to the well while helping them develop a thirst for success along the way. 

 

If you are someone who believes that you must be hard on your people because you are “the boss” then you will always have problems with your people. They will underperform as long as you’re their boss and you’ll be even harder on them as a result. 

 

When they eventually leave and go to work with an actual leader they will begin to reach their potential. You’ll be left to wonder why they wouldn’t work that hard for you. You’ll become a resentful boss and push the people left around you even harder. And the cycle will continue as long as you think being a boss means being hard on people. 


I’m going to bet that this particular candidate is like the vast majority of people in leadership positions. The vast majority of people in leadership positions have zero leadership training. It doesn’t make them bad people, it doesn’t make them poor managers, it doesn’t even make them poor politicians. It just makes them exceptionally poor leaders.


It’s Not My Fault

“It’s not my fault” are some of the most dangerous words a person can string together. They cause a ton of damage to your relationships, to your ability to lead and to your personal ability to learn and grow.

 

When you’re in sales and something goes wrong you can’t say it’s not my fault. You have to accept responsibility or you damage the credibility of others in your organization. To me accepting responsibility for the mistakes or failings of someone else is one of the greatest challenges a professional salesperson must face. It’s not easy to stand in front of an angry customer and be chewed out for something someone else did. 

 

It is easier however when you stop trying to assign blame for a problem and start looking for solutions to the problem. The fact is, no matter who’s “fault” it is you as a salesperson are responsible. You sold the product and whatever outcome, good or bad, comes with it. Trying to offload responsibility for it makes you look less like a professional and more like a mere product peddler. 

 

When you’re a leader and something goes wrong you definitely can’t say it’s not my fault. Blaming your people for mistakes or problems will damage your credibility with everyone, not only the person you’re blaming.

 

The truth is that if you have a person that is mistake prone, or someone who is underperforming in their role it IS your responsibility as a leader. Either you’re not providing the person with the training and tools they need to succeed or you’ve put them in a role where they can’t excel. Both those circumstances are your responsibility. 

 

If you have the audacity to call yourself a leader then you must accept the awesome responsibility that comes with it. One of the major responsibilities of leadership is ensuring the success of the people you lead. 

 

The most successful people, in any walk of life, care less about assigning blame for a fault. They care more about finding solutions to any problems caused by the fault. 

 

“It’s, not, my, and fault” are incredibly destructive words when strung together. They limit the potential of the person speaking them. Those words together cause the person speaking them to accept their circumstances and walk away from potential growth opportunities. Those words, when strung together have never been known to solve anything.


When anyone says “it’s not my fault” someone loses. All too often the person who says it loses the most. Remove that combination of words from your vocabulary and your entire outlook will improve for the better. 


Which Table are You Sitting At?

Playing it safe is comfortable. Playing it safe is easy. Doing what you’ve always done is both comfortable and easy. 

 

Being comfortable and doing what’s easy are also the fastest way to have less of everything in your life than you deserve.

 

Almost every person on earth wants to be “better” tomorrow than they are today. Everyone defines “better” a little differently but for everyone tomorrow’s “better” means different than today. So for anything to be better tomorrow something must change today. 

 

Change often comes with risk and most people don’t particularly like either one. So they hope for something different while lamenting the sameness of their every day life. 

 

I’m okay with hoping but change doesn’t come from hope. “Better” doesn’t come from hope. Change for the better only comes from action. If you’re not willing to act then hope all you want but don’t expect to have anything better tomorrow than you have today. 

 

You must be willing to accept the risk that comes with trying something new if you’re going to do more than just hope for something better. You must be willing to accept some risk in your life if you want something or someone new in your life. 

 

Don’t stop hoping but add action to your hope. Having better requires doing better. Having more requires doing more. Your dreams won’t come true unless YOU make them come true. 

 

Hope by itself is not the answer to any shortcomings you may have in your life or business. If you’re not eating your meals at the table of risk then you’re dreams are almost certainly on the menu. 

 

Someone else’s menu.

 

Either accept some risks and take action to achieve your goals or you will find yourself being hired by someone else to help them take risks to achieve theirs. It will be one or the other…it is always one or the other. 

 

Which one do you think is more rewarding? 

 

Don’t sit in the comfortable chair at the table of safe. Move to the table of risk and give yourself a real chance at “better.” Pick the small table at first if that helps you make progress just make sure it is not too small to lead to success. 


Remember, it’s by risking nothing that you actually risk everything!