Posts tagged ‘success’

September 2, 2012

Wisdom from the Original of the Mad Men

George Lois is known as the one upon whom the Mad Men, the popular cable series, is based. In his recent book Damn Good Advice, he offers a number of tips for success, with foundations in the advertising industry, but applicable to all types of businesses. Some of those tips are summarized in this Fast Company online article, which includes excerpts from the book.

Sound advice from the guy who created the brand names “Lean Cuisine” and “Aunt Jemima”, and the cult ad phrase, “I want my MTV!”.

September 1, 2012

Fruits of Your Labors

It’s Labor Day weekend; I hope you’re all enjoying it, before the school year starts up again in earnest. Thoughts of Labor Day tend to remind me that it’s labor that bears fruit. Success and results are rarely attained without the labor behind it. So if you’re considering a business method that sounds like “success with only 3 hours a week”, “6 figures with push-button software”, or “no experience necessary”, then it sounds too good to be true. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Get your R&R this weekend, and resume your labor next week, to work toward your goals!

August 30, 2012

Working Out Makes You Smarter?

Apparently, exercise and working out make you smarter, according to information presented by, as summarized by Morgan Clendaniel of the FastCompany Co.Exist website. Check out this point of view — it makes for another reason to keep up your exercise routine.

What a deal: work out, look better, and be even smarter!

April 29, 2012

It’s Not How Busy You Are…

There’s an epidemic of “busy busy” going around. A lot of people are saying how busy they are. Sometimes, they’re using that as an excuse for not doing something they should have done, like answer an email that contained a specific question. Or returned a call left in their voicemail box.

Some of these folks think that this makes them look good. It’s anything but, because it’s not how busy you are, it’s what you get done. I’ve met many people who say how busy they are, yet they don’t seem to get much done — they’re not that productive. I’ve also met some folks who I know are very busy, yet if I call them and leave a message, or send an email, they always have time to respond in a timely manner. And these folks always seem to be unhurried, like they have all the time to spend with me.

Of course I wouldn’t take any more of their time than I should, but boy does that make me feel special. Think about it. Try not to catch the “busy busy” going around.

January 29, 2012

Apologizing the Right Way

Ever run into the situation where you screwed up, and created an issue for a customer? Well, maybe you never have, but others certainly have, including yours truly. What to do? Should you act like it never happened, and hope that time heals and forgets? Or should you bring it out in the open, risking it getting bigger than you want it to?

The answer is, it depends, but it’s somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. In any case, you shouldn’t act like it never happened, because if you caused it, the customer is bound to point that out to you sometime. And if you didn’t take care of it first, he could think you’re trying to cover it up. That customer will start telling other folks, who might have been thinking of becoming your customers, too, until they heard from the unhappy one.

So if you’re in the (unlikely) event where you caused a mess for a customer, here are 3 things to do, in the form of 3 “A’s”.

  1. Acknowledge it. A simple statement will do, like “I realize I misspoke during our last conversation, and didn’t mean to say what I did.”
  2. Apologize for it. Again, keeping it simple, as in “I regret that, and apologize for being out of line.”
  3. Ask what you can do. “I hope I didn’t cause any undue harm. What can I do to rectify this?”

Then just do it, assuming it’s a reasonable request. Make it right, then move on. Don’t pine over what happened, or seek forgiveness. Even the best and most successful people make mistakes. A professional apology quickly delivered can help both of you move on and let time help the healing.

January 12, 2012

Off to a Good Start

I hope the holidays and the ringing in of the New Year were good to you. I also hope you are off to a good start, for what you need to do to start the year. To be sure you’re off and running, look at what you need to do, or were planning to do, and do something. Not sure which of the 3 or 4 things you’re considering to start with? Just pick one — any one.

You could always change course if you need to. Just get rolling. More people miss their goals, not because they take the wrong action, but because they take no action.

As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

November 16, 2011

The Pitch – Whose Is It?

Like it or not, we all pitch. I don’t mean a baseball, I mean pitching to convince someone of your particular point of view. Whether it’s pitching them to accept your suggestion, buy your product, bring you in for an interview, or extend an offer of a job, at some point you pitch. But whose pitch is it? Yours?

Nope. It’s theirs. The pitch has to make sense to them. It has to make them realize that it’s about them — what they can gain from what you’re pitching. If you want them to offer you a job, they need to know how they benefit from you taking that job. Or, if you want them to buy your product, they need to visualize how your product makes their life easier/better/cheaper/whatever.

They’re thinking in terms of the famous FM radio station that too many people forget: WIIFM, or what’s in it for me. When you think of what’s in it for them, you stand a greater chance of them coming to the conclusion that whatever you’re pitching is right for them.

Even though you’re giving the pitch, it’s all about them. Remember that.

October 3, 2011

Be Apart from the Pack

I recently saw a sound byte on YouTube from Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of resort and casino properties in Las Vegas and around the world. He summarized his advice for success as this: “Just do things in life, the way other people don’t do them. Change the status quo.”

And that’s what I mean too, in the subtitle from my latest book where I say “don’t be a part of the pack, be apart FROM the pack.” Whether you’re looking for your next job, looking to grow your business, or hoping to start one, think of doing things in ways that make you stand out. Don’t do what everyone else is doing.

Here are just a few things to get you thinking:

  • Send a handwritten thank-you note instead of sending an email.
  • Pick up the phone to call someone you haven’t spoken with in awhile, who isn’t someone you want something from.
  • Instead of complaining about something, think up a solution for the problem.
  • Don’t be a victim of whatever situation you’re in. Take charge and take action.
  • Know what you’re good at, then seek or create opportunities for you to apply what you’re good at for someone else’s benefit.

C’mon, stand out from the pack! Do things differently.

September 30, 2011

Never Give Up

Two nights ago, on Wednesday night, was the most amazing night for baseball, possibly in the history of the sport itself. Whether you follow baseball or not, you can’t help but carry some of the inspiration over to your own business or career pursuits.

Late in the night Eastern time, in a span of just a few minutes, two favored teams, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox, lost their chance to go to the postseason. Both teams had leads greater than 9 games ahead of the next contender, as recently as 30 days prior. Both teams lost those leads by playing poorly in September, and because of tremendous play by the contenders, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Even more improbably, Tampa Bay played themselves into the playoffs by defeating the New York Yankees, despite being behind 7 to 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. They ended up winning 8 to 7 in the 12th inning.

What’s the carryover for you? Never give up. Keep grinding. You might just make it. Everyone counted out the St. Louis and Tampa Bay teams, but they kept grinding away. And while these teams have their own teammates to lean on during hard times, you be sure you do too. Lean on family, close friends, or even a career or business coach.

And be sure to take action, pronto.

June 14, 2011

Burnt Bridges Harder to Fix

Even superstars can’t get away with burning their bridges — ask LeBron James of the NBA’s Miami Heat. Still dealing with the fallout of losing to the Dallas Mavericks in this year’s NBA championship, James had to do some damage control on something he said was quoted out of context. But championship win or lose, he probably wouldn’t have to be dealing with this if it weren’t for the bridge he burned with his previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I’m much more an observer than I am a fan of the sport, but to me, LeBron’s announcement last summer about “taking his talents” to Miami is what burned his bridge. Apparently this announcement came without even the Cavaliers’ owner knowing in advance of his decision. Lots of fans think James burned his bridges by leaving Cleveland, but that’s not a fair position to take, since he, and any other NBA player, should be free to play wherever he’d like to.

It’s the manner in which James departed Cleveland that blew up the bridge and mobilized armies of LeBron-haters across the country. And even his superstar status couldn’t bridge that gap. So if you’re a superstar in your own right at a company, and are thinking of taking your talents elsewhere, be sure you handle your announcement the right way, and not LeBron’s way.