I was ready to do business with you, but…

Regardless of your culture, upbringing, economic status or stage of life, we can all agree on one thing.  If we are going to spend our hard-earned money with you or your company, you must first listen to us, meet us where we are, provide value to our lives, care about what we need, use the communication methods that are easy for us, do a really good job and stand by your product and workmanship.  If we are super-lucky, you’ll also say thank you and follow up with us in a few months after the sale just to see how we’re doing!
Easy peasy, right?  Sounds good, but all too often that’s not the customer experience journey that most of us encounter.  Let’s talk about a few pitfalls that happen in today’s world before the customer’s pen even hits the contract.

Business owners, relax… watch your blood pressure… and please don’t shoot the messenger.   I get it!  I know you’re busy with what’s in front of you right now.  However, you must always ask yourself, “Am I ever too busy to hear from my potential customer, as this could drastically affect my sustainable success?”  Here’s a quick five reminders from my own (good and bad) personal experiences:

Make customers feel good about what you are offering.  Yes, they are buying your product or service, but they are also investing in you.

Communicate properly (before, during and after the sale) regardless of how busy you are.  C’mon people!!  Follow up!  Stay engaged!  Customers want to know what’s going on!

Show them that you care. Your website can say that you care, but if you don’t answer the customer’s questions, show up when you’re supposed to, etc. – You don’t care and the customer knows it (sometimes before you even sell them anything)!!

Drop the ego.  You may be the top salesperson in your organization or your friends may think you walk on water, but customers don’t have time for that!

Instill trust and inspire the customer to become an advocate for you!  That’s where you will win!

Friends, since Al Gore created the internet (ha!), consumers have had endless information available to them.  As a result, they are educating themselves on how business should be conducted.  Customers are also researching your products, services and ratings.  They have become more demanding because of the “screen education degree” that they received from a YouTube video, slideshare or TV segment.  Whether you like this or not, this new day requires business owners, organizations and their affiliates to step up their game (big time!).  Company leadership must invest time to work “on” the business, instead of just working “in” the business.

They must train their employees that the customer experience is paramount and that without customers there is no need to worry about being busy when the dust settles.  You either focus on your customers’ needs or you will eventually need customers!

The bottom line is that people must ultimately trust you before they do business with you.  What a different world of commerce it would be if most entities understood and did something about this very basic principle.  Will you do anything differently today knowing that customers think before they ink?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Balance well and win every time!

We’ve all seen the gymnast with perfect form, poise, preciseness and execution.  They make it seem so easy and often this gives us a false sense that we could do exactly what they are doing without much effort.

However, we all quickly realize that in time our athletic ability is not what it used to be.  Our discipline to be the best at our craft has slightly slipped.  We are not as tenacious as we once were.  Why?  Because life happens around us.  We get busy, we get distracted, our priorities change and this thing called balance comes into play in a huge way!

What do you mean KJ?  I’m successful, my business is doing extremely well, so I must be in balance, right?  Friends, you may be in balance while you’re on the balance beam, but when it is time for you to successfully stick your landing (when all the eyes are on you) how will you do?  To prepare for a successful landing, let’s discuss some concepts that will change the way you think about personal development, leadership and business.

Let’s begin with the power of connection.  How many of us are self-taught, self-made and have never relied on anyone else for an idea?  Let me answer that for you! NADA!!  Hence the power of surrounding ourselves with people who care about what we do.  Those who are smarter than us and have the ingenuity and the passion to light something within us that will make us better.  Often our busy lives become an excuse for not investing properly in the threads that make up the fabric of our sustainable success.  Just because we have one thread, or two threads, we think we are okay.  But in reality, we give up the opportunity to become a better person, a better team, a better business.  Connections have always mattered and they will always matter going forward.

In addition, I always say, “live life with open palms”.  It’s my opinion that those that take time to give will always find themselves on the leading edge of performance.  Share your experience with a colleague, an apprentice, a mentee or with your entire industry.  What you give will come back to you in spades, believe me.

In addition to giving, don’t be afraid to take a little (but make sure you give first – lol).  Be mindful to check your ego at the door.  Don’t be too proud, bull-headed, close-minded or busy to miss out on best practices, continuous improvement ideas, innovative techniques and things that will transform your life and your business.  We are living with innovation every day.  Don’t miss your genie in a bottle!

Lastly, keep your balance by committing to be a life-learner.  Don’t just pay your membership fees to be emailed the organization’s amazing newsletters or to have your company listed in their directory.  Learn something from the connections, the giving and taking of information and combine that with your desire to be the best and to remain the best in your field.  That’s how you consistently stick your landing my friends!  Now get out there, strike the balance that works for you and win!

Strategy – Alignment – Execution! #letsgo

Okay friends, raise your hand if you are tired of hearing all the business buzzwords that relate to an organization’s strategy. While the mission, vision, values, quality policy and purpose statements of organizations are critical, they are often misaligned when compared closely with the consumer’s reality.

How can this be? Well, I read this on the internet, so it must be true (Ha!). According to Larry Myler, in his article Strategy 101: It’s All About Alignment, Larry quoted the following statistic:

Wow! Who knew? Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all know this to be relatively true. However, as leaders, the real question we must ask ourselves is, “How do we obtain proper alignment and remain properly aligned?”

I’d like to challenge you to think about the following C’s as it relates to alignment:

Character

We all say we have it! We all say we do it! But, we are all human, and by the very nature of admitting such, we often fall short on delivering consistently on character. Before you get upset with me, let me clarify my position. It is easier for an individual to have character, versus the organizations that we work in and work with on a daily basis to have character.

Is it impossible for an organization to align its character with what is plastered all over the corporate office and its website? Of course not, but that is where true leadership comes in. Yes, leaders must have authority to develop strategy, but they must also work tirelessly to gain influence and buy-in with all constituents who are both front-facing to the consumer as well as those who support the organization behind the scenes. An organization without a consistent alignment of character will find themselves only as good as its weakest touch point.

Culture

You’ve heard it! “We must all be on the same page.” “We must all row in the same direction.” This is 100% true, however you must first pull back the covers on the real culture of your organization. What do you mean Kevin? I mean you must realize that your company’s traits can change your company’s atmosphere, which ultimately can and will change the outcomes of your strategy. To tackle this, you must be totally honest with yourself about how well you communicate, accept change, break down silos, embrace diversity and create an environment conducive to winning. Your consumer will see and feel your culture before you do! Take time to work on your culture. It’s not a set-it and forget-it discipline!

Capability

Once you have the strategy figured out and you have the culture to support it, you must execute. Execution requires capability. Capability requires passion and care for your craft and for the entire progress of the organization.

Before you stop reading this article, let me clear something up. I’m not saying that everyone in your organization must be great at strategy, but I am saying that everyone must be capable of moving the organization forward in their own way. Not by passing the buck, or saying “that’s not my job”, alignment requires leadership, understanding and collaboration of everyone to achieve what you said you were going to do in the first place.

So, why the disconnect? It’s strictly due to alignment! If one of your four wheels is pulling to the left or right – guess what? – the entire car will pull to the left or right, even when the strategy clearly says to stay straight ahead.

Alignment is the bread and butter of business success. Give it its proper attention if you really want to succeed! #letsgo

http://thepositivityguru.com/

“C”​ your way to a greater influence!

Have you ever seen a leader who is on fire? A confident, charismatic, contagious and consistent winner? Well, this person probably has mastered the “C’s”. Here are a few of them!

Connection:

Great leaders realize that their success was not achieved purely based on their skill, efforts or great looks. The connection with like-minded partners, colleagues, friends and mentors all play a critical role in the development of a leader and their associated teams. However, the contrary is also true, so please be mindful. Surrounding yourself with those who may not have your best interest in mind, or who do not fit into your value system, could contribute to your demise in the long run. Start making appropriate, powerful connections today!

Confidence:

True confidence comes from failing forward and getting back in the game. It comes from hours and hours of preparation and practice in and on your craft. It hails from the acknowledgement of self-worth that you’re worthy of this opportunity and that you should be in this space at this appointed time. Confidence is knowing that you must bring your “A” game and that you are willing to put in the effort consistently to do so. We must be confident every day in our approach because the opportunity in front of us right now may never present itself again.

Credibility:

#1. Be the best at what you do. #2. Never stop at #1! Always be on time, on purpose, on budget and on point! Listen intently to your customer’s desires and do what you say you are going to do when you said you were going to do it. This sounds extremely simple on paper, but unfortunately most miss some very key elements in the delivery of service to their customers. If you or your work are not credible, no one will ever listen to you, take you seriously and hire you to fill a void – period!

Control:

Be careful what you post. Be careful who you host. Be careful what you like. Be careful what you say on mic. Be careful what you tweet. Be careful what you eat. Be careful what you say. Be careful how you spend your day.

Regain control, as there are many things that are designed to trip leaders up in today’s society.

Charisma:

Many leadership authors talk about gravitas. If you don’t know what it is, google it! People and organizations who have a magnetic approach will always leave a positive long-lasting impression on you. All leaders should research and practice the traits of a charismatic person (humility, maturity, bringing value and substance to those around you). This is what gets you the job, the promotion, the deal you wanted or simply the satisfaction that you have moved something forward in the right direction.

Don’t you clearly “C” now? Influence is necessary to lead. Make a difference by focusing on these “C’s” in the next few weeks. You’ll be glad you did!