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Observations, Thoughts, Lessons

"I meet thousands of people over the course of a year with whom I engage through work, travel, or social. Each and every one of them has the potential to inspire, teach, and transform others through their words, experiences, and wisdom. These quotes are a collection of my 'take' on those interactions."

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s not true.

You pick up a book on physics and you don't understand the concepts, do you blame the writer for poor writing. Of course not. You can attribute your inability to understand the material to how challenging it may seem to you. Have you found yourself blaming the "messenger" when you are presented with a new concept or idea to you? An early publishing editor of Paid to THINK emphatically claimed that the Goldsmith Productivity Principle (GPP) was wrong because she lacked the background to quickly grasp its meaning; but was it actually wrong, or did she simply need to take a little extra time to understand a new idea?  If you find yourself feeling agitated or dismissive when you come across the unfamiliar, pause and ask yourself if perhaps you need time to digest the new ideas - which may take hours, days, months or even years to process. Though this lesson may seem obvious, we're all subject to making this mistake. The remedy: observe yourself more objectively by being more open-minded when new information comes your way.

Life typically doesn’t reward you for effort; it rewards you for results.

One day while traveling, Lorrie made this comment over the phone. I just loved it, because how often do we feel the pang of disappointment when we work really hard toward the desired outcome and the results just don't pan out as we had expected. While effort is respected, effort alone won't necessarily produce intended outcomes. Life's just not fair that way, sometimes.

Win by a nose, lose by a nose.

The high-stakes world of horse racing isn't the only sphere where victories and defeats are determined "by a nose"—when one horse crosses the finish line just a split second before another. This scene might evoke memories of instances where you lost a prime parking spot to another driver who arrived just a moment sooner, or when you managed to secure a coveted item by placing an online bid a fraction of a second before another bidder.

In the workplace, wins and losses often hinge on slight advantages that incrementally push us toward our goals. Even the smallest enhancements to our skills can yield significant returns. Consider, for instance, what it truly takes to clinch a sale. Have you always far outstripped your competitors, or have there been occasions where you just managed to eke out a victory? Similarly, life demands us to make split-second decisions—whether it's to purchase a ticket, tell someone they're wrong, or decide to make a call tonight instead of postponing it till tomorrow, all of which contribute to an image of effectiveness.

In the realm of sales, a loss "by a nose" often equates to a total loss, encompassing not only the sale itself but also the time, energy, and resources that have been invested over months in trying to secure it. One error can wipe out six months of effort. This stark reality underscores a vital principle in any competition: to clinch a win, you don't have to be ten times better than your rivals. You just need to edge them out, even if only slightly.


Location, location, location has been replaced by access, access, access.

While conducting research for my 2005 presentation at the Terry Lundgren World Retail Conference, I came upon an insightful shift in the well-established mantra of "location, location, location." This principle, which had long served as a cornerstone in defining the value of real estate, had undergone a significant transformation to fit the evolving business landscape in our digital world.

In my presentation, I introduced to the conference participants a revamped version of this age-old axiom. The crux of my argument was that in today's context, the concept of "location" had been effectively supplanted by "access." The value and success of contemporary business ventures now hinge not on physical locale, but rather on the capacity to provide and leverage "access, access, access."

This shift emphasizes the power of digital connectivity and the ability to network on a global scale. It underscores the fact that we're operating in an era where 'access' has dethroned 'location' as the primary driver of value and business success.

You can't fix yesterday; you can only create tomorrow.

While the quote "You can't fix yesterday; you can only create tomorrow" may appear self-evident, it is not readily implemented in real life. Humans tend to dwell excessively on past failures and shortcomings. However, we are already well aware that the past is immutable. Perhaps this tendency stems from our human inclination towards complaint and wallowing in regret.

Instead of replaying yesterday's sorrows, it would be more productive to pause, reflect on the past, and forge a new path forward. Undoubtedly, we all have faced situations marred by poor decisions, unfulfilled promises, and unforeseeable events like a once-in-a-century storm. Acknowledging these circumstances and devising a new strategy is the key to progress.

Here is where many falter: instead of forming a new plan, they jump straight into action. It's crucial to invest some time—though not excessively—based on the situation to outline what should be done next. Our past actions, decisions, and events are etched in stone. However, we wield the power to shape our future, constructing the "tomorrow" we desire through our decisions and actions in the present.

This quote is a potent reminder to concentrate our energies on what we can manipulate—our present and future—rather than brooding over the unchangeable past. Let us harness our capacity to shape our destiny, steering it with intentional and well-planned actions. (One of my favorite quotes)

People fall in love with their own ideas.

Beware of the natural tendency to fall in love with your own ideas. It clouds your judgement and prevents you from accurately considering risk or pitfalls when you embark on new endeavors. In as much people try to be objective, I've often found that those who create ideas tend to support them often to a fault. A safeguard: acquire strong thinking and leadership "tools" that channel your ideas and aspirations into reliable processes that 1) move you in the direction of your desired outcomes, and 2) vet and filter for flaws or hurdles that emotions allow us to overlook. For example, a tool like Paid to THINK's ET  New Product and Service Development Funnel serves as a mechanism that produces results and prevents you from falling in love with the bad-boy idea that will leave you high and dry one day.

All things are never equal.

How often have we heard someone lead off with, "All things being equal..." and proceed to make their point? My opinion is that "All things are never equal." No two companies are the same. No two operations work the same way: two organizations' products may be strikingly similar, but one's methods of delivery may be superior; two potential management hirees may be equally impressive on paper, but in reality, one may elicit greater degrees of loyalty and productivity from their staffers. So before you start to look at situations, opportunities, and challenges in terms of "all things being equal", focus instead on assessing which "things" -debt, cash flow, numbers of warehouses, lines of credit, response times, media exposure,etc. -are actually your best options.

I’m not competitive as long as I win.

While collaborative efforts in the workplace and society at large are laudable, there is undeniable value in channeling our competitive spirit to push ourselves further. I first coined this quote in 1975, a light-hearted way to articulate how I harness my competitive nature to excel in various facets of life. Over the years, I've used it countless times to subtly express my approach to life, chiefly the internal competition with myself to continually enhance my skills and improve my outcomes.

However, the essence of this quote often gets misconstrued. Winning is subjective. There were times when I played basketball with my son - when he was half my size - and I'd let him make the basket or win, letting him taste the sweetness of victory. Similarly, in team scenarios, if a colleague proposed a solution that was workable, even if not the best, I would step aside to let them have their win so they can grow. A win does not always necessitate my triumph. A win, to me, signifies a sense of satisfaction with who I am and the experiences I've gathered - it's about feeling great as a person when all is said and done.

Everyone wears some “scars” from living; winners persist in spite of them.

No one is excused from facing challenges in life. Therefore, it's up to each of us to gain lessons from our tribulations and see the "light" from our experiences, both good and bad. Originally, this quote was, "The person who goes through life with the least amount of scars wins," but in reality, the wins come from how we choose to move forward despite the number or severity of our "scars".


The person who goes through life with the least amount of scars wins. ™

Through life's journeys, I’ve found that no one is excused from facing challenges. Therefore, it’s up to you to see the world in a positive light as some of the best lessons and experiences come from living life to its fullest. What is often overlooked is that so many people have internal scars and yet appear to be happy.. Hence the expression, “The person who goes through life with the least amount of scars wins.”


There is no box!
Unless you've lived under a rock for centuries, you most likely heard the phrase, "Think outside the box." Think about it for a minute. How do you know if you are outside of the box or for that matter inside the box? If I suggested to you that you should use square tires on your car, that would be outside of the box. You’d also think I was nuts. Square tires won’t roll. Sometimes we'd be better off inside the box! If there were any box we can define. Yes, I understand the phrase is used so that people are creative. Then let them be creative and not stupid. Don’t say it anymore.



No one can give 110 percent.

Have you ever used the phrase, “You need to give 110% or some version of this quote. Well, it’s wrong. Think about it. If you run an engine at 110%, what happens? It burns out. Even more importantly, how have you given 110%? Some days you go to the office and you’ll work all day long and not accomplish much. Maybe around 41%. It could just be you’re tired or you found out that your guinea pig just died. Then on other days you might work all day long and then at 4:42 you figure out a logistics problem you’ve been wrestling with for 4 months! The day still was not 100%. If you were to then look at a year of activities and a graph of your productivity or effort I bet you’d see a sign wave and not once did you hit 110%. So don’t ask your employees to do the same. It’s not about energy it’s about productivity during that time. Or gains you’ve achieved. Next time ask for 100% because “You can’t give 110%.”



 It's not about working hard. It's not about working smart. It's about working less.

I heard this from a friend years ago who appeared to be on the fast track. Ironically at about 42 he died on the streets of Chicago while taking a stroll with his wife. His mind was in the right frame of mind.



It’s not for those who don’t know, it's for those who do know.™

Here's a strategy for dressing for success. Get the very best you can afford so that when you're in the right environment, you shine. Does that mean everyone will know you spent $275 on a Facionable shirt, $400 on Prada shoes or $1700 on a Dunhill jacket? Of course not. It's not for those who don't know, it's for those who do know. Those that do will recognize the clothing or brands faster than you can say Ferragamo.



 There is NO such thing as Multi-Tasking.™

The term multi-task has become synonymous with being active and achieving incredible results quickly. The truth: we are not great multi-taskers. When someone multi-tasks they are in essence rapidly shifting from one activity to another very quickly. Something's got to give. That's because multi-tasking typically constitutes activities that are not part of a skill set such as driving a car. Today you might multi-task with phone calls and listening to other conversations while scheduling your day. Tomorrow it's a whole new set of items. This means there are no learned skills that can be done from the subconscious level. What's wrong with this picture is that something's got to give. If you're on the phone and working on a complex spreadsheet some of the focus is split and something's got to give. That's why it's great to have down time when you Multi-Think to complete several tasks. (A woman that multi-tasks is still shifting from one activity to another very rapidly. The minute the tasks become more complex, she, too, must concentrate to get achieve solid returns for her efforts.) If you think you can multi-strategize you might as well get your head fixed. You're messing with disaster.


 The cost of the wrong strategy is disastrous.™

The CEO of a client once finished his presentation with the slide, "The cost of not thinking strategically is significant." I could not help myself but to start my presentation with a slide duplicating the CEO's quote and then mine, "The cost of the wrong strategy is disastrous. 


 Why doesn't matter™

Why, why why? It's the questions that leads everyone down the rabbit hole. In the scope of developing strategy why is backwards thinking and counterproductive. Learn about our tool Redefining and you'll see how "why" does not matter!"


People would rather make money than save money.™

If you were given a choice of saving money or making money, what would you chose? Most people say making money because you don't dream about clipping coupons at night you dream about creating wealth. If you think that making money is better than saving money, then what do you think your vendors, clients, friends wish to do? The same. Why then would anyone want to position their product and services under the umbrella of creating a savings for a client. Often it's just semantics however words control and direct people so semantics matter.


Life does not give you A's for effort. It gives you A's for results.


It’s not about working hard. It’s about working smart to work less.

Mental multi-tasking actually doesn’t exist.

Think before you leap, because the cost of poorly directed busyness can be disastrous.

“Why” doesn’t matter.

Given the choice, people rather make money than to save money.

Consider the ad agency model: charge for ideas and give away product.

When searching for your organization’s gaps, think about how you would advise your competitors to put you out of business.

Relationships are not the most important factor in making the sale.

When your customers brag to others that your organization is great, then your organization is truly great.

Offloading clutter is a sign of having your act together.

Language knows no borders.

Keep a success journal, because we tend to remember our failures and to forget our successes.

You have to look through all the windows.

You’re not going to build and exciting life by watching television; you’ll only experience temporary entertainment.

Assortment, price, and perceived quality are the final variables to consumer and corporate purchases.

Don’t try to raise the water in your glass by trying to raise the ocean.

Great leadership groups are built when you choose your own captains.

Would you rather be pushed by a magnet or pulled by one?

A good strategy executed poorly will create better results than a poor strategy executed well.

Coaches create play books; athletes execute on their plays.

In leadership, someone will always hate your decisions.

The language you use can control almost any situation.

People love change.

People respond more favorably to options.

There’s a difference between being automated and being manually digital, and of the two, automation typically places you in the superior position.

Leaders are always selling.

Executives prefer to hear opportunities rather than to hear about pain.

Your next best move may not be your next best perceived move.

If I called your customers today and asked them if they considered you to be their partner, would they say “yes”?

Projects are the building blocks of organizations.

Your customer is you.

To make great decisions, leaders have to know when and how to push others’ voices out of their minds.

Want to understand how difficult it may be for your stakeholders to learn a new skill? Learn to play the violin.

Marketing is when the sales come to you; selling is when you go get the sales.

Take a fork, give a spoon, meaning when you remove a tool or belief, replace it with a superior option.

Never leave a relationship where you owe something to someone else.

Strategy is where you are going; tactics are how you get there.

Good leaders don’t fight fires; they prevent them from igniting in the first place.

The next frontier of automation—following farms, factories, back offices, front offices—will be the human mind.

You can’t hug and kiss your employees into being motivated.

A truly motivational presenter is someone who inspires behavioral transformation through tools and knowledge, not through rah-rah hype.

The greatest motivator is teaching someone how to achieve their desired outcomes.

Management is a mental game; you must first win over minds before you achieve intended results.

To ensure that customer interactions don’t go awry, play out scenarios replacing “Let me talk to a manager” with “Take me to your leader”.

In every great manager there’s a leader and within every great leader there’s a manager; the functions of the two roles are intertwined.

People follow leaders who take them where they want to go.

When one’s pipeline for new business is shallow, desperation causes them to “beg” for business.

Be mindful of the tendency to make stupid decisions when sales are scarce.

Perpetual sales do not come about by hunting and then looking around as if you’ve done your job. You must always be looking at the next target.

Develop talent quickly by encouraging your people to “steal” ideas and knowledge from each other.

If you wouldn’t be willing to bet your annual salary on your next initiative’s likelihood of success, then you shouldn’t expect your stakeholder’s to bet on you.

The sign of an organization doing everything right is a customer service department that’s free to improve the customer experience, not fend off complaints.

When you make decisions about another person in anger, odds are you’ll only hurt yourself in the end.

You can’t say something stupid if you don’t open your mouth.

It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you.

Before you say something, ask yourself if what you’re saying actually adds value to the conversation.

Building relationships with others comes easiest if you’re more willing to listen to them than to impress them.

Are you in business to fix problems or to make money?

An expert sees the invisible while the leader makes the invisible visible.

A great leader or manager is always adapting new strategies and tactics to reach a desired objective, knowing that the landscape is constantly changing.

Think “challenges” rather than “problems”.

Goldsmith Productivity Principle: 80% of an organization’s performance is driven by the systems and structure put in place by leadership; only 20% is driven by the people themselves. Even the best talent can’t perform optimally without the 80%.

The best way for leaders to “manage time” is to plan their priorities and schedule the night before a work day to hit the office prepared. Besides, you’ll sleep better.

Great leaders and managers work mentally in the future, not in the present.

Management’s job is to solve challenges permanently.

Look both ways before you make a decision.

You would be surprised how much impact one individual has within an organization; a top executive can change the whole in a heartbeat.

The best option may not be your best option.

Create the right model first.

Always deliver overwhelming value.

Everything within an organization must support its higher value.

Volunteers work for a non-monetary fee; to motivate others, leadership must understand what that “fee” is.

The next time you analogize business to team sports, realize that more than 70% of people have not participated in sports since elementary school…and most were not great team players!

Once strategy has been determined, management’s role is to select projects and guide their execution to completion.

If an organization completes no new projects and retains status quo day after day, the organization degrades and eventually peters out.

Management can build or destroy faster than any employee.

If you change the pace, you must upgrade the tools.

Pet the dog, wave to the crowd.

Life situations, unlike math, have more than one right answer.

Assess the big picture before attending to details.

Don’t fix a blame.

There is an “I” in team; I will be responsible, I will contribute, etc.

You’re paid to think.

The “cream” doesn’t always rise to the top; sometimes it simply leaves the organization.

Sub-value is a misdirected effort, whereas higher value is the reason people take action.

Farmers measure what they harvest, not what they plant.

People will think on information and act on emotion.

Work as hard as if you were 24, with the fearlessness of someone who can’t feel pain, and with the wisdom of a sage.

Stop and enjoy someone else’s experiences.

I’d rather be given an average team with a great strategy than a great team with a poor strategy.

People don’t show up to work to screw up; when they err, it’s because they don’t know better.

Be careful what you say, because there may be others who take your advice to heart.

Products can be commodities, but the companies that sell them don’t have to be as such unless leadership believes they are.

An un-competitive industry is a dead industry.

When you’re engaged with someone who needs to save face, give them a “way out” and then move on.

Not everyone has $1M to donate to others, but everyone can make one act of kindness that has the power to touch millions of people in a positive way.

It is a waste of time to address a perceived challenge.

Confirm facts and challenge assumptions before you diagnose a wrong.

Manpower, time, and capital are solutions, not problems.

Opposites often work better together.

Service and quality are ambiguous offerings; be specific to stand out in the crowd.

Less is more.

Always use the simplest form.

There’s always a better way.

Too often, organizations lose more business out their back door than their front door; support your front-line sales personnel by building a strong organization.

To lead others, replace “telling” with “transferring”—transferring tools, information, knowledge, methodologies, etc.

In today’s world, leaders must think “globally”, even if they’re only delivering locally.

Regret is counterproductive; instead, always remember that you made the best decision you could at the time in which you made it.

If leadership thinks in silos, their people will work in silos; silos cheat organizations out of opportunities bred from cross-functional interaction.

What you wear may open the door, but the contributions driven by how you think determine whether the door remains open.

Stakeholders are more likely to fall out of love with organizations that don’t continually improve.

Leaders who perpetually learn and hone their skills make more good decisions than bad.

While hard work is a virtue, make sure that you don’t keep your nose down so long that you miss the wonders around you.

Seize opportunities when you can, for you never know when or if you’ll have those opportunities again.

Transparency and connectivity are sledge hammers to organizational silos.

Once a technology exists, someone will use it.

Sometimes you have to lose to win.

When you reach an impasse, momentarily turn away from your own reality and address others’ realities to clear the path of progress.

Some details are not worth worrying about.

You may soar with eagles yet you know you are not one of them.

If you say you want something and then don’t do anything to achieve it, then you don’t really want it.

A general does not need to know how to drive a tank to use it in battle.

To be edited yet not worth leaving off the list until  they have been edited.  They are raw!
An advertising agency charges for its ideas and gives away products. Promotional products firms give away ideas and charge for their product™


An advertising agency charges for ideas and gives away its product, most firms charge for their product and give away their ideas.

The first time I used this phrase was to outline how promotional-products companies spend a tremendous amount of time giving away suggestions on how to improve a business and then settle for a US $144 coffee mug sale. Depending on your business model, you have to make decisions like determining your real value in the transaction and making sure you find clients that can financially support what you offer. The education director loved it and has since used it throughout the organization in an effort to explain the differences between consultative selling and product sales. 



Relationships are not the most important part of the business. 

Read our article on how relationships are not the most important part of sales or business development. One editor said it was one of the most powerful articles he's ever read. Click Here 


 If YOUR customers are telling other people you're great, then you are truly great. 


 Language knows no borders.

Although English is currently the world language, people would be wise to question the American Position that everyone must speak English. Not because I love another language, it's just that around the world you see signs in English, Chinese, Spanish, etc as other cultures realize that you can't force someone to speak only your language. Yes, it would be easier for everyone to get along. But that's not the point. White Americans will not be the majority in the US in the next few years and that one sector, the minority, will have to adjust to doing business with the majority. Besides, in the future voice translators, such as the type being created by Ray Kurzweil, will create a technological leveler making the issue moot.



 We tend to remember our failures and to forget our successes.

Try this. Think of 5 successes in your life. Then think of 5 failures or open-ended situations. My guess is that you're going to be searching long and hard for both (Assuming you don't name the typical successes, spouse, kid #1, #2, #3, it's going to be a challenge. Go for 10, and it's going to be work.

Since failures are not as important to me as successes, years ago I started typing my successes onto a list. I found a few things. First is that I could not remember as many successes as I thought I could, and second, I realized that a success today tended to no longer be a success tomorrow. (Your kid can walk today and it's a big deal. Same big deal as an abled 18-year-old?) By creating this success list, by year, in order, I'm now able to see my past to help me to keep focused on the future. For example, there are days that I ask myself have I been slipping or falling backward. It takes no more than a few minutes for me to review the years before to see how full my life has been while also reminding me of all the experiences I've had in my life. I'm always thankful and willing to move on again. 


 You have to look through all the windows.™

I've heard too many times that companies have made poor decisions in the selection of vendors, often with disastrous results. In this context, you must look in all the windows before you make certain decisions. It would mean not just trusting salespeople to tell you everything you need to know and expect it all to be true. Especially around technology issues and mission-critical applications. 


You're not going to find excitement on television, only entertainment. ™

The other day someone commented that they could not find anything exciting on television and as a result they felt a little down. To which I replied with the above comment. Excitement will never be found on television until it becomes interactive and even at that point you may be channel surfing to find the excitement you're looking to achieve. Ever watch someone play X-Box for 5 hours and then watch TV for three then you know what I mean. Personally, I believe that life gives so much more exciting if you are participating in the experience while growing at the same time.


 Don't try to raise the water in your glass by trying to raise the ocean. ™

I love this one. The reason being I was consulting with a client and after a few minutes of conversation, I realized that the marketing approach for this several hundred million dollar firms was to help the industry increase awareness about its products. You may have done the same. Trying to "educate" the buyers. When push comes to shove, and American expression, it's very difficult to raise everyone's education level just to put more in your cup. The advice was to focus on delivering to their client's solutions and marketing concepts that place them in a unique position to an industry. Once I told her to stop trying to raise the water in her glass by trying to raise the ocean, she got it. It was no longer about being on the national board of directors of the organization and then spending an incredible amount of time trying to create awareness. The same energy needed to be directed inwards and the returns would be tenfold. 


 You choose your own captains.™

Time and time again I've heard management complain about the management they inherited when taking over a new position. Their main beef is that their perception is that their team might not be completely loyal to the direction and for that matter to them personally. It's why new CEOs bring along players from their past.

From this position, there are two alternatives. The first is to attempt to make converts out of those with the highest potential to turn. If successful, great. The second is to consider the phrase, "You chose your own captains." Meaning that as management you always, and I mean always, must create your own best-supporting staff otherwise you're never going to create the returns you aspire to achieve.

Consider that the role of a manager is similar to that of someone going into combat. If you had your druthers, I bet you'd chose your own team. One that you feel may fight the hardest and protect you with their lives. True?

In management, the same conditions apply. One last caveat. Choosing your own captains does not mean that you have to love everyone. It does not mean you can't take advice from others. The phrase also does not mean you know best. It means you are the one responsible and that everything begins and ends with you. 


A good strategy executed poorly will create better results than a poor strategy executed well.

Consider that you're in NYC and you desire to go to Florida, several thousand miles south, you create a plan that takes you up Interstate 87 North. You get in your car and follow the plan exactly. Staying within the speed limit and watching all legal regulations. How long will it take to get to Florida? A very, very, very long time. If you had a great plan, go south down toward New Jersey, even if you screwed up you'd be at least somewhat closer to your goals.


Coaches create playbooks. Athletes do not. 

Have you ever seen a coach request that his/her team help to create the playbook for a team? No, you have not. In sports (and in music/band) the role of the coach is to create the strategies for the athletes to follow. When the season starts the coach may run plays and then get input from the athletes however the role has not changed. The coach's role is to create the plays then plug the athletes into the plays. When it's game time the coach is then the person that selects which plays to run to ultimately win.

An aside, you don't see any player coaches on any professional team!


Someone will always hate your decisions. 

Hey, you're in the role of management and often in the position to make tough decisions. If you've got your head on straight and well-thought-out strategies and tactics this shouldn't bother you (and yet it may make you feel bad).


The language you use can control almost any situation.

Ironically I learned this the long hard way. While growing up I was not always the best writer and therefore did not pay much attention to the words I used to present what I wished to convey. Words were just words. As I started writing for our consulting business I quickly learned that every word used creates some type of reaction and hence a reaction. The same can be applied to verbal activities. For example, if someone said to you, "You're really screwing up." You'd react in one fashion. If the same person said to you, "Our customers are leaving due to late deliveries, how might we solve this?" You'd react differently. Possibly to the same situation. Try the same thing in sales. Ask your next client what they'd want if they could be "King for a day" and watch the reaction. This little attention paid to language controls the reactions of everyone around you and if used properly can give huge rewards.


 People love options.

Want a yes-no answer, give a yes no question. What to change the tables, give people options. They love them and will often select the option you desire. "We've got three options as I see it. Option one is that we terminate the deal and let go of six months of negotiations. Option two is that we compromise and settle on the deal we created last week and move forward. Option three is that we spend one more day and finalize the agreement we've already put together for the merger. Which one do you prefer?" If you stick to options you'll find the person receiving them will feel that they've got control and you'll win. 


 There's a difference between being automated and manually digital 

When you have to type, monitor, input, direct systems and tools within your organization you're not automated. What you are is manual with a technological twist. Consider that you have to input orders, print out schedules, track customers. If you really want to be the 21st century one action should complete several actions. Case in point. You hire someone and input the data for the individual for the first time. After it's completed a barrage of activities should be done all at once to be truly automated. All 21 HR forms are filled in with as much data as possible and then forwarded to the assigned computer and email box that has been auto-generated by the system. The room assignment, desk, telephone, cell phone are all scheduled into the appropriate functional unit for completion. Even the website could be updated with the photo and current information for everyone to see you've hired a new VP of Operations. The point, don't confuse the two.

 You're always on sale.

If you're in a leadership position you are always on sale. There are times that you need to be the salesperson and there are times you are being watched by those who want to "buy" your services. And by buy I mean that others, whether you are aware of not, others are making decisions about you and how they intend to work with you in the future. For example, you may be being considered for partnership when you least expect it. You may be being watched by a head hunter at a time in which things are going wrong. You may be being observed by your staff and your employees, media, and partnerships when you go about your daily business. To this end, you are always on sale. 


 Executives always prefer to hear opportunities compared to hearing about their pain.

I've heard so many sales trainers and sales management teams speak about pain and saving money when teaching sales. Ironically the same people would prefer to make money versus saving money in their everyday life and yet they act counter to their own beliefs. It makes no sense. If you want to be truly great, and wish to stand out, focus on opportunities because that's what future-oriented decision-makers are thinking about every day. It's their desired outcome. To some degree it's semantics, the words you use, which makes the difference. 



 You are great when customers tell other customers about you.

Don't listen to your own praise.


If no one else is talking about you then your most likely average. 


 People would rather make money than save money.

If you had a choice of saving money or making money, what would you choose? Do you dream about the new Ferrari or cutting coupons. In my audiences, no one ever says saving money. Then if you don't want to save money as a priority then what do you think your customers desire? Now ask yourself, is the basis of your sale based upon saving money for your clients. Want to create a neat paradigm, start talking about making money for your customers and clients. Sometimes it's just semantics or an angle yet the rewards can be incredible.



 The best move may not be your best move. 

This happens so often. The BEST move for your business may be to hire that new executive or purchase that new hardware. The problem is you don't have the cash flow to sustain either choice. Therefore YOUR best move is a completely different decision.



 If I called your customers today and asked them if you were their partner, would they mention your name?

Don't be confused about being a vendor and a partner. Food for thought. If you're so confident, test your own theory. You may be surprised. 


 Projects are the building blocks of any business.

If your organization did not work on any projects your organization would be exactly as it was today, tomorrow. The only way to change a business then is to do projects that alter the face of the business. A new software program, distribution facility, trademark, incentive program all continue to transform a business. It's the backbone of change and it's the role of management to achieve.

 Your customer is you.

I don't know how many times I've told audiences that "Your customer is you." If you wouldn't buy it or from it why would you expect your customers to do the same? In a particular presentation, I had 300 executives and management from one of the largest insurance companies in the United States present when I asked them who would purchase insurance from their own website? Less than 10% said yes! The challenge however runs much deeper than thinking that you are the customer, it requires that you truly understand how and why you do what you do removing assumptions you believe to be true. Like the saving money, making money quote above. So many salespeople quote and reference how they can save a prospect money and yet the typical person would rather make money than save money. The difference is huge. The selling assumption twists management into believing that their strategy is on track.

 The world is in your head. One day you will learn to push everyone out.

Great leaders and managers can't always make decisions based on what other people think. When you've got the ability to listen and learn then make your own choices, those you believe in, you'll find your decisions will have more impact and others will greater respect for your abilities Granted your decisions must work. 


 Want to understand how difficult it may be for those around you to learn a new skill, learn to play the violin.

Chicago 1983. My girlfriend at the time suggested we spend the evening listening to classical music at the open field Ravinia Concerts. After a wonderful evening of beautiful music, I decided to pick up a memento of the visit. One poster caught my eye. It had the fret portion of a violin pictured where each fret had leaves growing off the side. My interpretation was simple, the music helped one to grow. Taking this one step further, when returning to college, as an elective I selected violin classes. The professor started the class by saying that the violin is one of the most difficult instruments to learn. She was dead on. The lessons for me were agonizing. I had the violin talent of a rock. Since that day I've compared those lessons with other activities that I picked up in minutes realizing that those I work and live around don't always have the same skills that I do. For that reason, when someone in leadership or management can't understand why their staff or employees have difficulties learning new challenges I recommend picking up the violin to learn patience and how the feeling of struggling impacts another human being. 


 A general does not need to know how to drive a tank to use it in battle.

A very simple concept and one often lost by those on the front lines. Just because a leader or manager does not know how to do a job does not mean the individual does not have the ability to utilize the skill, tool or information to achieve desired objectives. I don't know how a printer works and yet I use it all day.

 Marketing is when the sales come to you and sales are when you go to get sales.

I often joke that salespeople are lucky. That's because if marketing could put together the ultimate marketing strategy there would be no need for salespeople. The business would flow in the door. Salespeople could be replaced with order takers. In essence, the sales would be generated by a pull approach. Salespeople on the other hand must look outward to generate revenue. They must make calls or visit their prospects to create a final order. It's not to say that one is better than the other, it's to understand that even though they typically work in unison there is definitely a different approach from both disciplines. 



If you take a tool or belief away you must fill it with something comparable or better.

Imagine you look over and notice that your eighteen-month-old baby is playing with a fork. You could run over and take the fork out of their hands and cause an eruption of emotion causing a half-hour of turmoil, or you could bring over a soft cuddly new interesting object as a substitute for the fork. The result, a smooth transition. The same could be said of the role of the leader or manager. It's not to run over and tell employees they are wrong in the way they are thinking or performing their jobs and then running off to the next assignment only to leave the employee wondering where to go next. If you use this take-give philosophy you'd then make sure to fill the void created with a new and better way to address whatever you're looking to correct. One approach leads to confusion and frustration. The other leads to improvement and progression. You chose. 


 Strategy is where you are going while tactics are how you plan to get there.

 Someone will always hate your decisions.

During several presentations, I've thrown up a slide with the above text in big bold letters as a quote of mine, and without fail either some comments or audience members laugh. Almost as if it's a realization that in the role of the leader-manager not all decisions will be embraced by everyone. Don't fret. It's part of the job.



 Decision-makers are not hired to fight fires. They are hired to eliminate them from happening in the first place.

As yourself, why were you hired? If you waddle through all the mumbo jumbo you'll realize that any decision-maker is brought on board to create opportunities, to develop strategies and tactics, systems and structure that create opportunity, and not to put out fires. Managers and leaders who believe differently walk the halls of the organization looking for places to take out the fire hose and save the day. Those that can make the transition build fireproof buildings and then never have to worry about fires again.


 We've automated the farm, the factory, the back office, and now the front office. The natural progression is that we next automation of the human mind in order to strategize at the same speeds as all the other functions.



You can't hug and kiss your employees into being motivated.

Too many leaders and managers believe that if they are kind to their employees they will repay them in increased performance. Typically this doesn't happen. The end result is that little gains are achieved. If you really want to improve returns first look at the tools they've got to do their job, the incentives they've got in place, and the workload you're requesting they accomplish. Once this is in order, all the fluff works wonders otherwise it falls on deaf ears.



 By default, any good business presenter that's good is motivating.

I'm often told that meeting planners and executives are looking for a presenter that is motivating. The irony is that if a presenter is good he/she by definition must be in some way motivational. The issue then there lies in how the motivation is delivered. Some presenters are motivational because they yell and screen on stage while others are motivational as a result of their ability to present information that is useful to the listener. As an expert who's spoken to over audiences the size of 12 CEO's to 1000's of employees there is no difference between what I do and what any presenter must do and that is to create some sort of change in the audience. If there is no change then the presenter is just an entertainer and while the differences are often blurred, those wishing to do their jobs well must straddle the line where listeners become engaged. Warren Buffet Alan Greenspan and Bill Clinton are extremes and yet they are all motivating. Where do you stand?



 The greatest motivation you can offer someone is new information that helps them achieve whatever they wish to accomplish.


 Management is a mental game that if done right enables you to win the physical game

Management and leadership are more about the future than about the present. Good managers and leaders take the time to play out all the strategic and tactical scenarios in their heads (or on paper) before any physical activity is acted upon. Those that can think through a scenario with the best accuracy have a great advantage of being able to insure followers that what they say will happen will. The result will be that these efforts, done politically correctly, will inspire others to follow their lead and in the end, they will win.


 The correct phrase is, "Take me to your leader."

When things go wrong in business, and they often do, the phrase most often used is, "Let me speak to the manager." The belief being that the individual your working with does not have the ability to take action or probably more so than not, the belief is the individual is an idiot and can't understand your request. What's funny is that this saying is relatively new to the world. Prior to the 1900s and the invention of management you'd most likely speak the words, "Take me to your leader." The person in charge and making the decisions about the future of the organization. I also believe that "take me to your leader" puts a little more pressure on the individual to actually do their job which is a combination of leading and managing. Both intertwined.

Management is only 100 years old. Prior to that you never heard, "Take me to your manager."


 In every great manager is a leader and in every great leader, there is a manager.

How can you separate the two? Being a great manager involves leadership skills as defined by the bastardized definitions of both roles. A good teacher, franchise operator, marketing manager, division chief, director, governor, PTA parent....are both a leader and a manager. If you placed a leader on one end of a continuum and a manager on the other end, you'd find that in no case, can someone great, not be a combination of one and the other. The actions and skills are to intertwined.


 People will follow you because they believe you will get them where they want to go.

As much as one would like to believe that titles mean everything, there are countless examples where the person with the title is not running the show. Where the employees are acknowledging the person with the title and yet acting on behalf of someone else's directives. From this perspective it's important to understand that every moment in the role one plays within the management and leadership of an organization, they are being tested with the ultimate test being, "will the individual, title or no title, get me where I want to go in my life." Consider being in the military and having the option of choosing a commander to follow into battle, would you follow the one that had the highest title or the one you believe would save your little butt as you encounter the enemy. I don't know about you, but I'm going with the one whom I feel will get me home safe. Even though this scenario does not happen in business with such finality, the same is happening, individuals will only follow someone for as long as they can get what they wish to achieve, once the individual feels differently, or options arise to achieve their outcomes faster, they move on.


 When one's pipeline for new business is shallow, one begs for business.

A desperate person gives off a different sense of confidence when they feel threatened. They call contacts with time frames too short, give discounts when none were necessary, and behave in a way that often signals to others, something's wrong. That exact same person, given a sense of strength will often make different decisions in the same situation causing others to react differently. When prospecting for business this is a significant difference. That's not to say, "you can't fake it." or consciously modify your own behaviors. The difference is one is real and the other takes energy. If you've ever walked away from a situation because you knew that you had enough business in your pipeline or not called someone back with bad business because you were too busy, you know this feeling.



 If your pipeline is shallow you may make stupid decisions.

Similar to above.



Business is not about hunting then looking around as if you've done your job.

Too many business people believe that once they secure a project or a job that their next step is to just look around. Those that are successful are always keeping their eyes on the next target.



People love change.

They love new cars, clothing, vacations, the birth of a child. What they dislike about change is when the change is affects them negatively or when it's unexpected, and affects them negatively. 


Want to develop talent quickly, encourage them to steal from one another.

I've used this concept while teaching and it works like a charm. Let everyone you manage know that it's all right to use great ideas from others in the organization and those that initiate the great ideas will be rewarded. Soon you'll start finding one manager saying to another, "I'm going to steal that from you." The message being, we're on the same team so we need to be using the best technologies to accomplish our goals. This only works if you praise and reward those who initiate the process. You're all working together.



Would you be willing to bet your year's paycheck on your next initiative? If you wouldn't then why would you expect your employees to bet on you? By default, their future is in your hands.

Job is to create the strategy that would ensure that you get the returns you set out to achieve. In this way, if you asked an employee to do an additional project and you'd give them $2000 just for completing it to spec then you should know you're going to get an additional $30,000 per year. The next time you offer the employee the same thing, $2000 for the project which includes some late nights and extra work, they will try to get it done as fast as possible. Soon you'll have everyone asking to help grow the business. 


 If your doing everything right no one will call your customer service department!!

NOTE: Customer service is not sales.

Think about the reasons that someone would call a customer service department. The couch is late, the order is late, the product is not working, the invoice is wrong, the individual did not do the job right, etc. The list is endless. Consider if your firm did everything right. Orders are taken correctly, payments are posted in the right place, it's easy to find out the status of an order, phone calls are returned, then there would be no reason for people to call your company. Strive to eliminate your customer service staff and you'll have achieved greatness.



 When you make decisions in anger, about another person, the odds are you'll only hurt yourself in the end.™

There are probably situations where anger has turned into a positive experience and yet the odds are greater than the decisions made are going to be revengeful and not positive. If the anger and frustration are towards an experience or a situation this energy however can be turned positive as a call to action may be achieved.



 You can't say something stupid if you don't open your mouth.™

Maybe it's my age but I've learned that if you don't open your mouth you can't say those little things you regret later. Besides as I've closed my mouth I've witnessed more people opening theirs at the absolutely wrong time. Please however understand that this comment does not mean to be unsocial. It's more about thinking about what and when to speak.



It's not whom you know, it's who knows you.

It's easy for anyone to say, "I know (insert name)." to increase one's value in the eyes of others. The real power is when the individual named uses your name as someone they know. The difference is not only that there's a truth, but it's also that you're important enough in their database to think of you. An even higher accolade.



Before you say something, ask yourself if what your saying actually adds to the conversation.

Have you ever thought about what you're adding to a conversation? If you use this strategy of stopping and thinking about what value your information adds, you might change your mind more than you think.



The people you're trying to impress may also have achieved impressive achievements.

If you've ever been in a one-up match where you're trying to prove to someone else that you've achieved great things, stop and ask yourself, "What have they accomplished?" The next step is to ask them about what they've done as you'll find most people enjoy talking about themselves and fewer enjoy hearing you're stories besides your mom.



Are you in business to fix problems or make money?

It's ironic that the lexicon of fire fighting has shifted management into believing that if their good at fixing problems they are talented. In truth, this type of individual is only so talented. If another individual comes around that can make the organization money or eliminate problems all together then this person going to walk away with the golden key.



 An expert sees the invisible while the leader makes the invisible visible.™


 A great leader or manager is always adopting new strategies and tactics to reach the desired objective knowing that the landscape is constantly changing.

(The average leader or manager gives up only after a few obstacles. What you may see however is not that the manager has given up, it's that you are now back in charge as you tend to be taking on more than expected while feeling the shift in control. 


 Think "Challenges" - not problems.

Some people disagree with this approach, that problems should not be called anything but problems. My opinion is that a challenge fulfills all the requirements of a problem or an opportunity. The only difference is that the mindset becomes that it's solvable. Read the next sentence and you'll feel the difference. "We've got a problem with the customer delivery date." How do you feel? Now try this, "We've got a challenge with the customer delivery date." Do you feel the subtle difference? Bet you did. The difference may be that employees lock up and nothing gets done versus everyone taking on the challenge.



 80% of a companies ability to compete is driven by the systems and structure in place and only 20% by the people placed in these systems. The people that design the 80% are extremely important.

There's a phrase that people are the most important part of the business. They are right and they are wrong. Yes, people are the most important part and yet it's not all the people but those that set up the systems and structure in an organization that produces the largest returns. Take an individual who's working as an engineer. If the computers are slow, the phones don't work and the email system goes down all the time, then even the most talented engineer will be less than talented. Put a manager or leader in place that creates infrastructure and policy that supplies everyone with the right tools at the right time with the right strategy and the operations run like a charm. 


Time management works best when you plan your day the night before otherwise you'll get caught up in the day-to-day once you hit your office. Besides, you'll sleep better. 


Great leaders and managers work in the future, not in the present.

Those that understand their job the best realize that the main job of management and leadership is to think about tomorrow and create a better tomorrow for everyone. The present can't be fixed. So when a manager is working on it today it's due in part by some error made yesterday or years ago yesterday. The more one spends in the future BUILDING systems, tools, strategy, proper tactics, the better off everyone will be. 


Management's job is to solve challenges permanently.

Funny, some people think they do a great job at managing because they can put out fires. Greatness is when they never happen in the first place OR when one does occur the root cause is fixed and it never happens again. 


 Look both ways before you make a decision.

While talking with a client of ours, the CEO of a bank, I made the comment that when making a deal he must look both ways before moving forward. Aking to looking both ways when you cross the street. In this scenario the comment referred to the bank's responsibility to not only look at the deal but to look at the future of the industry and who's connected to the industry while at the same time looking at vendors who might impact the success of the deal. If the bank was looking to fund new building construction and potentially sees that their customers might have trouble with purchasing their product or that a supplier industry is in dire straights, he should make adjustments. Immediately he knew the message.



 You would be surprised how much impact an individual has within a firm. A top executive can change a company in a heartbeat. 


 The BEST move may not be YOUR best move.™ 


 You must create the right model first.™ 


 Always create overwhelming value.™ 


 Everything within an organization must support it's higher value.™ 


 You're only truly great when other people tell other people that you're great.™ 


 Volunteers work for a fee.™


 The next time you create the analogy between business to team sports realize that more than 70% of people on the planet have not engaged in this activity since they were in elementary school...and most were not great team players! 


 The cost of the wrong strategy is disastrous. 


 The role of management is to create and finish projects 


 If a firm completes no new projects and does the same thing every day, it will look the same in a year as it does today. 


 Projects are the building blocks of business. 


 Management can build or destroy faster than any employee 


 If you change the speed you need to change the tools

Example is about driving at 30 MPH vs 75 VS 125 MPH. The faster you move the different skills are necessary to drive at these speeds. Besides the faster you go the more you need to think faster, look as far into the future and concentrate. It's why planes at 400 MPH don't count on the pilot's eyes as the minute they see them it's to late. A drive must change the turn angle to not roll 


 Pet the Dog, Wave to the Crowd 


 There is more than one right answer...except in math. 


 Look to the big picture before the small 


 Don't fix a blame. 


 Someone will always hate your decisions 


 There is an I in team 


 You're paid to win. 


 The cream does not always rise to the top, it often just leaves the company. 


 Subvalue is a misdirected effort. 


 Higher value is the reason people really take action 


 Farmers measure what they harvest not what they plant. 



 People with think on information and act on emotion (Logic makes people think, emotion makes people act) 


 Work as hard as if you were 24, with the fearlessness of someone who can't feel pain, and the wisdom of a sage.


 Stop and enjoy someone else's experiences.™


 You're paid to win.™ 


 I'd rather be given an average team with a great strategy than a great team with a poor strategy. 


 People don't show up to work to screw up and fight fires 



Be careful what you say as there may be others that take your advice to heart.

Not a very radical quote but one that I said to Lorrie after I made a recommendation to an individual going through a significant life transition. I said this to myself as a reminder that while I don't see myself as anything special, that's not to say that others don't feel differently. They often see me as someone jet-setting the world, speaking in front of crowds of thousands, and having advice on both life and business that transforms organizations. This means I have a responsibility to all that I say. (Funny, I just had this conversation with a consultant a few weeks ago and he commented something to the effect that he does not think that a consultant is responsible for the outcomes of the advice, that his job is to just offer the advice. I adamantly said that I see the success and the failures as part of my responsibility all while knowing that the client has the last say.) In a roundabout way, I think that anyone in a leadership position should not discount their words and advice as something that is just in the here and now. People post the words you say on their walls and in their minds. (Yesterday I had lunch with two men, both stated that that high school coaches say things they should not say to anyone, anytime. One said that his high school coach of over 30 years ago should not have been a coach because of what he said to his team. WOW)






 Products can become commodities and yet the companies who sell them are not unless they believe they are. 


 All things are never equal. 


 There's no such thing as an uncompetitive industry unless it's a dead industry. 


 Always try to give people a way out so they can save face and then move on. - Need to be reworded 


 As leadership and management Your Paid to Think 


 You may not be able to donate $1 million dollars to help others in your lifetime and yet you can touch a million people just by doing something kind to one person on any given day. It's your call. 


 You cannot fix a “blame” 


 You cannot fix a perceived problem. 


 Look to the big picture before the small picture 


 Confirm facts and eliminate assumptions 


 Why does not matter. 


 Manpower, time and capital are solutions not problems 


 Opposites work better 


 Service and quality are both personal and ambiguous. 


 Less is more 


 Always use the simplest form 


 The best solution may not be YOUR best solution 


 There always is a better way. 


 I'd rather be given an average team with a great strategy than a great team with a poor strategy. 


 People don't show up to work to screw up. 


 Most companies lose more business out their back door than their front door. 


 Don't tell... Transfer! (Leading others) 


 You've got to think global even when selling local. 


 Think global even when selling locally. 


 All things are never equal 


 Always remember you made the best decision you could make at the time in which you made it. 


 There is an I in team 


 Higher value is the reason people really take action 


 Subvalue is a misdirected effort. 


 The cream does not always rise to the top, it often just leaves the company. 


 You're paid to win. 


 If you teach in silos, people work in silos 


 People think on information and act on emotion (Logic makes people think, emotion makes people act) 


 Farmers measure what they harvest not what they plant. 


 What you wear may open the door, but what you say and think is what keeps the door open. 




Falling out of love Syndrome

During college, I dated a girlfriend from Chicago for 2 years and then like many relationships things started to change. At first, they were small changes and often were rekindled for one reason or another. Over time the rekindling experience grew further and further apart until at one point I knew that no matter what happened we would not longer be as we were. I had fallen out of love. Life has these exact same experiences all over. Employees work for an organzation until one day no matter what is offered or changed the individual will not stay. Customers meet this point when they say, "I'm sorry, we can't do business anymore." While striving for keeping others from falling out of love is a low bar to set, looking for symptoms and behavioral changes, if address accordingly can help to perpetuate the love. Keep the love.


 Great leaders make more good decisions than bad.

There's no leader that's not mad a bad decision. The key is to make more good than bad so when you do make a decision that does now work your way, you're superseded by your good decision. Googles a classic example. They built Google which makes a fortune and then they've made countless acquisitions, new product launches and most have produced no economic return. Google makes up for all the other decisions. 


 Wipe everything off the table so that you're competing 


 Always remember, that you made the best decision you could at the time you made it, based upon the conditions you were facing at that time in history.

We often forget the conditions surrounding the decisions we make because history is often fuzzy. Did you not purchase a great deal on the car because you were foolish? No, because at the time you were waiting for a check and the timing was just a few days off. You didn't go back to college not because you didn't wish to do so, it was because the recession hit, your father got sick, your son needed help at school. With this quote, you don't look back with regret, you look back with understanding and that understanding allows you to move forward once again. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself nuts in hindsight. 


 We tend to remember our failures much more than we do our successes therefore it's important to keep them right in front of you so you don't forget. 



 Humans remember their failures more than they do their successes.

Try this exercise. Think of the last three things you did not complete or failed at in your life. Now think of your last three successes. Most people have trouble with successes and not the failures. It's my belief that because we play over and over again what we failed at or there is unfinished business in our own heads we remember these far more then any success. I suggest that people keep a running success log, (not blog) Just a list with the year and the accomplishment so that you can look back and see how much you've accomplished. Don't be surprised that what you considered successful 7 years ago would not make the list today. You've grown.



 Most companies lose more business out their back door than their front door. 

If every company never lost a customer and that every customer was a repeat customer business would be easy. The fact is that businesses do lose business because of mistakes in production, shipping late, accounting errors, the lack of new products, order processing errors, etc. The list is endless. And yet, leaders often look to sales as the problem for a drop in sales. Yes, there is something to be said for the responsibility of the sales team to do their job while at the same time the organization must also live up to the truth that they are just as much the challenge. So next time you're about to pounce all over the sales force, remember customers leaving the back door far exceed what the salespeople could do. Just imaging if marketing kept every customer coming back!



 Think global even when selling local. 

It's a common misconception that thinking global requires you to be selling global. This thinking is far off base. Global in business means much more than geography. Global means cultures, buying patterns, preferences. If you sell in NYC and you think domestically you're bound to make significant decisions about your organization that are inaccurate or in poor judgment. What the statement means is, that in everything you do, the more you can think globally the better your decision will be local. You're creating a new product for NY and you include Polish, Italians, Russian, Brazilian, Chinese, Nigerian, etc thinking into your product and the global thinking now may open up opportunities for hiring, buying, selling and any activity you're engaged in every day. (Global is individual - diversity, religion, gender, etc. Global is organizational - location, products, culture. Global is a world - policy, laws, culture, etc.)



 All things are never equal 

Remember this...there is never, ever, ever a time when all things are equal. Never. You may have three distribution locations and your competition 10. You may have a better accounting method, your cash may be lower, their team may have a trained professional, the product may last a month longer. Even in purchasing what is called a commodity, there are differences. A copy machine company may be willing to talk with you about a repair without an agreement and the company down the street will not. I recommend removing this from your thinking because if you do you'll see and create opportunity. 


 Always remember you made the best decision you could make at the time in which you made it. 

What we should remember....and don't. I always try to remind myself, when I think about what I should have done, that the decisions I made were the best options I could have made at the time. Unfortunately, we forget that someone may have been sick, that the market may have dropped, that an advisor may have suggested a direction, that there was a lot more going on or not going on at the time. To give yourself credit gives yourself the opportunity to move on. 


 There's no such thing as an uncompetitive industry unless it's a dead industry. 

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the expression, "We're in a competitive industry," or "That's very competitive." Here's a secret. Everyone is in a competitive industry unless the industry is in a decline and even then there's competition for those to survive as long as possible. Consider that in every organization within an industry there are forces acting against its domination or success. Often times you may not see the competitiveness from the outside. The competition to the restaurant is a home-cooked meal as well as other restaurants. See the bigger picture.



 Always try to give people a way out so they can save face and move on. 

In the wilderness, you're advised never to corner an animal. Even a cow, an animal one might consider to be tame, will charge if it feels cornered. Now think about mankind. If put in a position where someone feels they have no way out they too will become aggressive given the right condition. If you can, create options that allow people to save face or to take another path. I've often offered three options one of which is, they can say they'd like to move on.



 As leadership and management Your Paid to Think 

The primary role of someone in leadership and management is to think and not to execute. Execution is done after all the thinking has been processed. Consider the reason that leadership and management are hired. They're hired because they have the ability to think something through in a virtual world and then create the plans that others can follow to put them in action. They themselves or people they bring to the table. Either way, it's still thinking. Let me add, changing course midstream because of challenges that happen is also part of the package of those Paid to Think®.



 You may not be able to donate $1 million dollars to help others in your lifetime and yet you can touch a million people just by doing something kind every day.

If you've ever felt helpless to help, remember that the power of giving comes in many forms. You can help a stranger, teach a child, serve food at a food bank. The opportunities are as vast as you're able to dream. The value in doing the little things is that you may have more impact than you might have imagined. Helping one person could result in a child years later who is taught about your act of kindness and as a result becomes an inventor, leader, artist, who touches others beyond your imagination.




When you put your nose down, you may miss all the wonders around you.

On a recent bike ride down the path of the Erie Canal, the canal that transformed New York State in the 1800s, I always find myself looking around while I watch other riders head down and on the move. While there is no wrong or right way to live I have found that with my head up I can see life all around me. On one ride I saw 2 deer, a turtle, what looked like a beaver, a wild turkey (scared me half to death), and a snake that crossed right in front of me with its head standing at least a foot off the ground. I had to brake hard not to hit it. I've known too many people who are living for tomorrow. Their vacation, the weekend, retirement, and yet, I've known several people to die suddenly in their 30's, 40's, 50's, and 60's. No warning at all. It's the reason when I travel I ALWAYS try to do something in the place I land. While in Germany I visited Heidelberg and ran smack into a celebration of Carnival. In Nebraska I visited Fort Lincoln where Custard had his fort (he slept sitting up because it was believed to be healthy), In China, I walked the Bung River and visited the old city and made a friend who brought me to a Chinese Tea House, not one visited by tourists. It's my belief that...

You never know if you'll return to the same place you've visited because a family member could get sick, go broke, get hurt, and besides, if I were to go on vacation I would never put the majority of places I've visited as a vacation destination. So I try to do one thing in every location that I visit and in turn life has become full of memories, often while alone. When I share this philosophy with business people who travel they tell me they've often been to the same places and never had any of these experiences. What they do is travel to a city, spend time with a group of people all day, have diner with them at night, wake up and do the same thing and fly out. That's living with your nose down!




 Transparency and connectivity are the sledgehammers to both corporate silos and company-to-company silos. 

Silos are no longer just a corporate phenomenon that needs to be broken down between units within an organization, there always exists silos between companies/organizations that are working together. This means if two companies are working together they should see the two as one and think in this manner. Not the case. The feeling that one should protect their own is prevalent. 


 Once humans can do something, someone will use it.

For years I've said to people after an invention has been discovered, "Someone will use the technology." Which is often responded to with, "No they won't," or "It's wrong."" or "It's immoral." Yes, I understand the argument and yet the world has over 7 billion people, and the mere fact that a technology has been created or an approach developed means that someone around the world will try to do something new with the technology. For example the concept of human cloning. Someone will try one day even if the word says no. The progress is in place as genetic programming, cloning of animals continue and soon there will be human cloning. Potentially frowned upon by the world and yet someone will use the technology and do it. This happens in every part of life so when making decisions look around and ask yourself should I, will they, or maybe I should keep watching. 


 Sometimes you have to lose to win


 It's not your reality that's important, it's other peoples reality that you must deal with.


 Some details are not worth worrying about. You don't see guests bringing their invitations to the wedding and comparing them to the decorations and yet this is a huge concern for brides. 


 Businesses tend to lose more business out of their backdoor than they do their front door. 


 When one comments that they want to achieve a certain goal and they don't make any progress towards achieving the goal when they have free time, then they don't have the passion they say they have. (Writing a book) 


If you want something and you don't do anything to achieve it then you don't really want it?

Throughout my life I've heard people say, "I want to write a book," "I want to own a business of my own," "Really want to travel." and in each case, their actions speak louder than words. People who want something works towards the goal. You want to live in a major city then you do whatever it takes to secure a means so that you can do it. You want to write a book, then write. Stop sitting in front of the TV, spending weekends at parties, or complaining you're to tired or busy because there is always time to move a goal forward. Always. Even in minute actions. Writing a book does not mean you have to write it all at once. Write a page, draft an outline over 4 months, find out how to start a business by reading up on vendors, laws, processes. Those that truly want something won't let being busy get in their way. It becomes a matter of priorities and the decisions made daily. You want to travel and then you adopt a dog...huh. A dog can cost upwards of $1000 per year and up to $3000 a year when old. They become geriatric animals and may require dental and medical work. Besides, if you have a dog you must be home or keep them in a kennel (We never kept our dogs in a kennel. They were family). Keep this in mind next time you say, "You want to be Vice President, live in a huge house, write a book, live on an island, learn to paint, dance, sing." You're the only one stopping you from moving in the direction and if you've not started, you probably like saying you want to the dream, but you really don't.


Maximize your potential and become the leader you always wanted to be.

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