Controlling life’s outcomes

April 19th, 2011 No comments

“Things do not just happen, they are made to happen.”

~John F. Kennedy

Sooner or later each of us has to deal with a life outcome that we didn’t anticipate, plan for or expect.  Life is filled with surprises both negative and positive.  It is interesting to note however how many of these so-called negative outcomes came from positive causes while some of the positive outcomes came from negative causes.  If this is true how is anyone to understand the real meaning of life’s events over the long haul?

It usually comes down to your life philosophy and there are as many life philosophies as there are people reading this message.  Life can be perceived as a wonderful adventure or a series of – one negative life drama and trauma after another. So, who is to say which is better and why?  Every life has its struggles with: growth, understanding, acceptance, tolerance, adversity, discouragement and too many more to list.  Every life also has its share of: achievement, love, friendship, joy, blessings, success as well as many others.

In the end, life outcomes are the result of several factors. Here are just a few to think about:

 

-Your life’s decisions and choices along the way -Divine providence -Luck, timing or synchronicity -Your personal perspective -Your working life philosophy or approach to circumstances, events and  people.

-Your goals, plans, dreams, hopes and desires -Your early environment and conditioning -Your self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-love -Your need to learn certain life lessons -Your attitudes

No one can predict the future of a life.  No one knows how his/her life will turn out next year or in 20 years.  No one is privy in advance, to all of the events, circumstances, people and conditions that will cross his/her path as his/her life unfolds.

Our job is to take what we are given and build the best life we can with what we have at the time with gratitude, love, acceptance and joy.  This does not mean we take negatives lying down.  It does not mean we don’t try, hope, plan and have desire.  It does mean however that certain things are not always within our control and we often need to let go and surrender to the divine purpose of our life as it unfolds day by day, year by year.

In His service, Tim



Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Compromise

April 15th, 2011 No comments

One of the hardest things for people to do in relationships is to compromise their needs, expectations, wants, desires, values and beliefs.  I am not suggesting that any of these are wrong or need to change.  I am suggesting however, that if your unwillingness to be flexible with any of them – other than those that are entrenched in your DNA – you will experience a great deal of frustration, anxiety, stress, resentment and even anger in your relationships with others.

When you and your partner disagree and end up in a conflict I would recommend that you first look at what opinions, expectations, needs etc. that you are bringing to the table rather than what he or she said.  It is always easier to point the finger at someone else and say:

– You are wrong
– You need to change
– I am right
– My way is better
– I don’t need to change
– You just don’t understand

Everyone has personal emotional blind spots.  These are areas where you believe or feel that you are right or your way is better.  Since you are often not accurately in touch with them, often your partner will unconsciously act as a mirror because he or she doesn’t have the same blind spots as you – but they do have their own as well.

When there is a conflict in your relationship the first thing you might want to consider is look inside rather than outside for how your beliefs, expectations, attitudes or values are contributing to the conflict.  For most people this is a very difficult first step because they tend to take ownership of their own opinions and expectations. Therefore their first reaction is to look outward toward their partner for the cause of the problem.

The second thing is to ask yourself a question, “What is my partner seeing in me that I can’t – relative to my own beliefs, values, attitudes etc.

The next thing is to ask yourself, “Am I willing to be flexible or compromise in this expectation, value, opinion etc?”  If you aren’t and he or she isn’t the conflict will tend to continue.  If both of you are willing to look inside first and then evaluate your inside stuff with integrity it will give you the opportunity to take your relationship to a new and deeper level of understanding and love.

No one likes to let go of an expectation, belief, value, opinion or attitude that they believe is right. No one likes to give ground unless they are pushed into a corner.  Most people get emotionally defensive when asked to change.  There are many ways to approach these changes, but one way for sure that will guarantee a lack of success is to invalidate your partner in the process.  You invalidate them when you say or imply that they are wrong and you are right or they need to change implying that they are not OK the way they are.

I would suggest that each of you make a list of those topics or relationship issues where you currently have differences and spend some time discussing each other’s list.  Remember – stay neutral.  Just listen.  At this point it is not about change but understanding.  It is about growing not digging in your heels.  If you can get past this step with success you are well on your way to understanding that compromise is not a loss of self-esteem but progress towards a more fulfilling and less confrontation relationship.

In His service, Tim

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Mid-Week Motivation Booster from Tim Connor – 4/13/11

April 13th, 2011 No comments

“Cheerfulness is health; its opposite, melancholy, is disease.”

~Haliburton

 

Weekly TimBit

Happy people take themselves lightly.

 

Most people take life far too seriously. You and I are not going to get out of this life alive – so why not enjoy the gift of life today as if it were your last?  One day you will be right. In my book, The Road to Happiness is Full of Potholes, I stress that one of the key traits of truly happy people is their ability to have fun.  Laughter is medicine for the soul. It helps reduce the negative impact of the stressors in your life, as well as see the problems you may be facing for what they really are – temporary teachers on the path of life. Remember, rather than saying “this too shall pass”  how about “this too shall prepare me!”

 

Special savings offer this week – when you order my latest book on my website www.TimConnor.com – Fail Often So You Can Succeed Sooner – I’ll include my best selling CD with your order – Success is a Decision (a $20. value “on me”. This offer expires on the 15th.)

 

Question for the week

 

How happy are you, really?

 

Recommended reading

 

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, Livingston

 

In His service, Tim

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Test your Accountability

April 11th, 2011 No comments

One of the major challenges facing organizations today is to ensure consistent accountability between employee behavior and the organization’s policies, procedures and philosophy. Over the years, I have seen numerous instances where there are rules, standards, expectations and policies that are continuously ignored, sabotaged, and/or broken for ant number of reasons.

As a manager, business owner or executive, ensuring that what you expect is actually happening on a routine basis is often a difficult, yet necessary, task.

Some examples where there is a lack of accountability are:  favored employees, ego-centered management style, inconsistent discipline, expecting behavior without taking the time or effort to inspect that the behavior is actually happening, and an out-of-control arrogance mindset by members of management.

You can’t manage your organization, department or group from behind your desk.  You must circulate, be visible and get to know your people. This takes commitment and time, but I guarantee it will pay positive dividends in the long run.

Perceptions become reality in the minds of employees. It doesn’t matter if what they believe is true or not. If they believe it is true in their minds, then it is true and they will behave accordingly.

One of the best ways to determine the prevailing perceptions and attitudes throughout your organization is to conduct an employee perception and attitude audit. To be truly accurate and effective, I recommend you retain an outside organization to conduct it. It should also be confidential. The employees must feel free to share reality without the fear of retribution or punishment for delivering bad news.

There are three premises for your consideration when it comes to accountability.

One, expecting different results from repeated behavior is a mild form of insanity.

Two, you get the behavior you reward in your organization. If you want to change behavior, you must change the reward system that is in place that is reinforcing or rewarding this behavior.

Three, all culture flows top-down. You can’t change an organization from the bottom-up.

In His service, Tim

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Are you watching the trends?

April 8th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Sales Tips

One of the mistakes many salespeople make is that they fail to take the time to study important trends, such as:

  • economic ones
  • market ones
  • technology ones
  • buyer attitudes
  • product evolution
  • service needs/expectations
  • buying groups
  • competitor approaches

There are many more, but I am sure you get the point. If you knew what the world was going to look like in five, ten or even twenty years do you see the benefit of positioning yourself or your business today so that you could take positive advantage of them and experience greater success as these trends come to fruition in the future? I can tell you that over 75 percent of my business today and for the past thirty-five years has come from only six major industries – and I selected those industries in 1973. Was it luck? I am not that lucky. Was it brilliance? I am not that smart. No, it was research into what I believed at the time would be long term trends. That decision years ago has permitted me to keep my new sales acquisition costs to a minimum for over thirty-five years and allow me to focus most of my effort and resources to ensuring success year in and year out. Yes, there were a few years where these industries (markets) tended to fall short of my projections, but over the long haul the benefits more than outweighed the downside.

How did I do it? I still do it today. I read the books, articles, case studies – whatever I can get my hands on – by the futurists. Who are they? Here are a few of my favorites:

Marvin Cetron
Roger Herman
Carolyn Corbin
John Naisbitt
William Strauss
Willis Harman, PHD
Paul Kennedy
Daniel Burrus
Pine/Gilmore
William Bridges

Do you want to outsell the competition in the future? Do you want to guarantee your future career or business success? Then I recommend you read at least 2 books a year by any of the notable futurists.

You have nothing to lose.

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Mid-Week Motivation Booster from Tim Connor – 4/6/11

April 6th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Quote

The one thing God is after is character.”

~Oswald Chambers

Weekly TimBit

One of the biggest challenges in relationships is the unconditional acceptance of another person’s beliefs, attitudes and behavior.  Having had a number of relationships with a variety of people: friends, employees, clients, children, supervisors, suppliers and audience members I can tell you from vast first hand experience that some people are easy to accept while others can bring us over the top of the emotional barometer when it comes to stress, anger and their ability to push our buttons.

What is unconditional acceptance?  I am not referring to what John Powell discusses in his great book, Unconditional Love.

It is simply the willingness and ability to understand that just because someone is different, has opposing views or has behavior we disapprove of – to realize that they are not right or wrong.  They are just being who they are as a result of their unique life.

Question for the week

Can you accept others unconditionally?

Recommended reading

Healing Words, Dossey

In His service, Tim

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Success Rituals

April 4th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Success Tips

One of my heroes, Ben Franklin, who was one of the great minds of his generation over 250 years ago had a simple program for success, wealth and happiness. As one of the people who shaped the United States in the 1700’s he put forward the following approach to achieve success in any area of your life. I felt so strongly about them that I put them in chapter one of my current international best seller Soft Sell over 25 years ago. I have not changed my mind. You might feel that one or more no longer applies in today’s world however if that is your feeling I would ask that you not discard his message too quickly, but look just a little deeper into your belief system for your reasons.

What Franklin proposed was to take a total of thirteen virtues and live with each of them for one week. Integrating them, applying them, thinking about them and making them a part of your consciousness. At the beginning of the second week you would move on to the next one repeating the process. When you completed the thirteenth virtue you would go back and begin the process again. The result is that during the course of one year you will spend four weeks living and breathing each of the thirteen. At the beginning of the next year you repeat the process again. You can’t imagine the power of repetition and what it can do for your attitudes, behavior and over all well being and success. Here are his thirteen virtues:

Temperance – Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation.

Silence – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself.

Order – Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.

Resolution – Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

Frugality – Make not expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.

Industry – Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful

Sincerity – Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly.

Justice – Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Moderation – Avoid extremes.

Cleanliness – Tolerate no un-cleanliness in body, clothes or habitation.

Tranquility – Be not disturbed by trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Chastity – Rarely use venery but for health or offspring – never to dullness, weakness or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

Humility – Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Another way to use this approach is to develop your own list. For example one of the ways I use this concept is in developing my business. Each week I pull, at random, one of thirteen activities written on a small piece of paper out of my jar labeled This Week’s Focus. Some of them are: Sell more, promote better, Prospect creatively, appreciation more and so on. Why not create your own list of attitudes or behaviors that you want to become a routine part of your life. It works.

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Mid-Week Motivation Booster from Tim Connor – 3/30/11

March 30th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Quote

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope.”
~ Dumas

Weekly TimBit
One of the critical skills for ongoing success is the ability to bounce back from adversity.  Sooner or later in life everyone experiences failure, disappointment, setbacks or the desire to keep on keeping on.  Success and failure are neutral concepts.  What makes either of them positive or negative in your life is not the event, circumstance or situation but what you do with them along the path of life.  No one that I have ever met has had a life filled with nothing but failure or only one success after another.  Resilience is your ability to keep coming back, again and again and again.

Question for the week
How do you tend to handle adversity?

Recommended reading
Wherever You Go, There You Are, Kabit-Zinn

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

The 6 critical factors of employee performance

March 28th, 2011 No comments

During my 35+ years of working with clients worldwide I have come to believe that there are 6 critical factors that determine employee performance and long-term organization success. There are numerous other factors. I could create a list too long for you to read but I believe that almost all of them will fall under the following 6.

1. Corporate culture
2. Management style
3. Training or the lack of it
4. Communication patterns
5. Corporate direction and focus
6. Feedback style, timing and mechanisms

Let’s look briefly at each to see what impact they can or do have on employee productivity, moral and effectiveness. These are not in order of their importance or their impact. This will depend on a number of variables both inside and outside the organization that are influencing the organization’s environment, activities and results.

Corporate culture: Everything flows from the top down. I have a saying, “if there is anything that needs fixing or changing in an organization you need to look up the ladder not down.” Corporate culture is at the root of all behavior, attitudes, outcomes, opportunities embraced and challenges or problems ignored or repeated. Culture is why and how people treat each other. It is the unwritten rules of the road. It is created and reinforced at the top and fostered and carried out throughout the organization by decisions made or not made and actions taken or not taken.

Management style: The world is changing and the average employee profile is changing. You can’t continue to manage a group of baby boomers the same way you do the folks under 30. Both groups have individual agendas, expectations, needs, desires, goals and attitudes. If you attempt to create one management style that will work for all I guarantee you will enjoy a great deal of stress and frustration. I am not implying that you need to cater to the whims, problems or unique behaviors of each employee. You have to have standards, rules and expectations, but you also need to understand that every employee is motivated by something unique to them. Discover it and you will have a dedicated, loyal and effective employee. Fail to either know it or apply it and you will spend a great deal of time dealing with motivation/attitude issues.

Training or the lack of it: Yes, I am in the business of teaching people how to sell more with bigger margins and manage and lead more effectively. This is not included as a ploy to get more business – it is a fact of life if you want employees to manage better, sell more, make better decisions, manage their time and resources more effectively etc. You have to show them how – you have to train them. They must have the skills and the use of these skills needs to be reinforced, inspected and coached. Just giving people the training is not enough. You don’t change behavior because you put someone in an all day seminar expecting them to improve ot change behavior or attitudes. Support materials, reinforcement and accountability are critical if you want to ensure your training investment really pays off.

Communication patterns: Information moves in a variety of directions as employees go about their normal routines. There are a variety of ways people receive information: rumors, meetings, e-mail, memo’s, casual conversations in the hall, telephone calls etc. Every one of these has the potential to confuse, irritate, invalidate, educate, inform, on and on and on. The problem with communication is it depends on a number of factors: 1) You can’t legislate or demand people give you accurate information on time. 2) Life is perceptual and everyone interprets and reacts to everything differently, 3) Personal agendas and ego can get in the way of an accurate and effective exchange of information. 4) Most people are poor listeners. 5) Politics and position authority can cause people to dit information. 6) Communication will never be perfect. My only concern is when poor communication negatively impacts customers, profits, sales, competitive position or overall success and positive and healthy growth.

Direction and focus: After interviewing over 5000 employees in a variety of organizations in a number of industries during my career – this one is a biggie. It is difficult for employees operating at the 500ft. level or 20,000ft. level to function effectively if they are kept in the dark about where the organization is heading and why, how they fit into the big picture and what impact their decisions, attitudes and actions have on the organization as a whole. I am not suggesting that you open the books to every employee every month, only that if you want a motivated, dedicated effective employee base they need to know where you are going and why and how. Direction and focus are close cousins. One contributes to the other and without both they sabotage each other. You need both and they must be communicated, reinforced and lived. I am not talking about mission or vision statements here. These are valuable tools only to the degree they are in alignment with or contribute to your focus and direction.

Feedback style, timing and mechanisms: You get the behavior you reward. Behavior reinforced is behavior repeated. In other words, if you don’t like the behavior – decisions, actions, attitudes etc. of an employee or group of employees you must look at the direct or indirect reward system that is in place that is reinforcing or contributing to that behavior. For example if you have an employee that is constantly late and you say nothing – don’t act surprised when that employee continues to be late. You also send a message to other employees that being late is acceptable behavior. So, guess what? You start to get it from them as well. Surprise, surprise!

Ask yourself – how are we doing in these 6 critical areas. Need some help? Give me a call.

In His service, Tim

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn
 

Product Knowledge

March 25th, 2011 No comments

“If you think education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance.”
~ Derek Bok

People need to know how much you care but they also want to know that you have the competence to guide, direct, recommend or select the best option or choice for them regarding your product or service. Product knowledge is a vital sales requirement if you are to compete successfully.

There are a variety of things you need to know from a product knowledge standpoint. You need to know:

-What your product or service does.

-What it can’t do or isn’t.

-What your competitor’s product/service can and cannot do.

-Your unique selling positions.

-What your competitor’s unique selling positions are.

-How other customers have uniquely used your product/service to improve their business or personal life.

-How your prospects have uniquely used your competitor’s products/services.

This is just a start. The key is to know what you need to know and what your prospect needs you to know to address their needs, questions, challenges or problems. Winging product knowledge is no longer an acceptable strategy. It never really was but many salespeople have falsely heard – fake it until you make it – not so in today’s competitive world.

This is especially true when you are dealing with a complex product/service and have knowledgeable and sophisticated buyers.

Don’t fake product knowledge. Learn what you need to know as quickly as you can. Product knowledge does not make up for poor people skills, selling skills or poor attitudes, but if you have all four you can achieve greatness in selling.

In His service, Tim

Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of over 80 titles. Box 397, Davidson, N.C. 28036 USA, 704-895-1230 (voice) tim@timconnor.com (email) - www.timconnor.com (Website) Why not connect with me on: FaceBook/LinkedIn