German car manufacturers like Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Audi teach us a valuable lesson about quality. All of these car manufacturers are obsessed with quality. They now dominate every segment of the car market in all countries. During the 70’s and 80’s, Italy and France had brands like Fiat and Peugeot who fell short on quality because they were preoccupied with design.
We too must take some lesson out of this. If you want your organization or business to thrive then you must be obsessed with quality first and the customer ‘design’ experience second. Both are important but quality is of paramount importance.
If you want to lift your energy and unlock your creativity go on an adventure that inspires you. Go to a museum or the art gallery. Go climb the harbour bridge. Or visit a clothing boutique of a brand whose design inspires you.
Making people smile or laugh is the easiest way to build a connection. You may be fortunate enough to work in an industry where you interact with each other and customers daily. What a perfect opportunity to add richness to your life through the power of laughter.
Life is Beautiful
Emerson wrote: “Without the rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar”.
I couldn’t agree more. Don’t chase fame or fortune. Be more interested in simple things like the beauty of watching a sunrise or eating a fresh bowl of colourful fruit. I have learned that the greatest of pleasures is the simplest of pleasures
I hate cliche titles like this. But hey, there’s no other way to put it. I notice that success factors change every year. What is cool one year is not so another year. I believe this year its been all about the following:
Master the art of reading people: People around you are always giving out tiny signals and if you are able to read their body/word language you will learn to predict what they are going to do before they actually do it.
Don’t waste time trying to explain problems, fix it instead without fuss or fanfare. People (including your boss) appreciate that most. In the time poor society that we live in, every second counts and a second spent talking rather than doing is a second wasted.
Sometimes being cocky is okay – If you’re good at what you do, there’s no reason why you can’t brag about it sometimes; but do it only in front of close friends and family. Strangers will only think you are tool.
Stay ahead of your competition. Keep learning the landscape in your industry.
Appearances are important – Look and feel your best. Understand that the way you look has a direct impact on the way others perceive you. First impressions are everything and the way you present yourself to a prospective employer or client has everything to do with whether or not they choose you. And its not just about the threads, its about your energy level. So hit the pavement, hit the gym or hit a punching bag. Fitness is king. So is a ‘clean’ diet.
Performance is not a popularity contest. Your job is to get results for your boss or client. Their success is your success.
Be a risk taker – If you never take any chances, I guarantee you will have a dull, boring life.
Try to win big. If you frame your mind in a way that always looks to minimize your losses, you’re never going to make it big in life.
Take control of and own your responsibilities – ‘nuff said.
No one cares about excuses and your personal situation. You are hired for a specific reason, and if you can’t produce results, know that there will be someone else out there who will. Business is all about the bottom line, so if you are unable to produce, then it’s best you look for another career.
Having money, a nice house, car, clothes, etc… is something we all innately strive for. We should not feel guilty for having this natural urge. We are all born with a unique talent which when expressed positively brings us material success.
The following principles are an absolute MUST before we can achieve and enjoy material success. Don’t dismiss them as too warm and fuzzy. We all know that it’s also about hard work and what you learned in your MBA. But I know lots of very smart people with MBA’s and very little material success. Why? They fail to get an MBA in self awareness and never observe their inner limiting beliefs.
1. First and foremost, if you harbour prejudice or ill feelings or resentment toward people or even one person, you will never taste or even smell success. Forgive others quickly. Have love in your heart. The easiest way to do this is to practice empathy regularly (put yourself in their shoes). The best entrepreneurs know that to be in touch with their customers they must have empathy for their experience.
2. Have childlike enthusiasm when expressing your talent. Have the same enthusiasm for a project as your client does. Express it through words and actions. People who are proud and arrogant about their title or position will never know success.
3. Learn to accept whatever flows in life. Trust that something good will come of any circumstance sometime in the future. Not just good for you but it could be good for someone else. We are not meant to win all the time. Sometimes we lose. Acceptance is the key to open the next door of opportunity. You will never take hold of that key if you are always looking back with regret.
4. Be fearless in your execution of achieving your goals. Fearlessness does not mean aggression. It means that you will take action with an “I can’t lose” attitude. Failure cannot be an option in your mind. This attitude only comes when you have love and enthusiasm in your heart. See points 1 & 2 above. If you do fail, see point 3 above.
5. Be grateful for what you will become in the future. This may sound strange but you must not only be grateful for the things you have in your life now. Be grateful for who you will become as a person; i.e. the qualities you will acquire along the way to success. These qualities are more important than material possessions and will make you happy with or without your possessions.
Here are eight agreements you should make with yourself to help you build discipline and willpower in 2012. I do this exercise every year. Whenever I get complacent or fall into a rut I go back to these agreements and remind myself not to break them.
Health – Cherish your body. Nothing else matters more. Focus on the energy you have. Eat well, exercise and relax daily. Fill your daily life with purposeful activities that give your body a reason to manifest energy.
Love – Love yourself by looking after your health and guarding your mind against negative images, negative thinking and negative associations. Look your best by wearing clothes that make you feel attractive. Have the courage to show and give love to your life partner, whether or not they give it back. Tell your partner daily what you love about them – words are powerful. Work just as much on your love life as you do on your work.
Family – Support your family at all times. Give them the confidence to pursue their goals and dreams. Help them overcome obstacles. Focus on their strengths and their good qualities. Remind them daily of that. Tell them you love them no matter what happens – whether they succeed or fail at anything. Spend time developing a relationship with all family members.
Work – Choose to love your work. Always do your best. Focus on the difference that your product or service is making to society. Have empathy for your customers. Value the privilege of serving them from the heart. Be grateful that you live in a society where there is the opportunity to work. At all times be honest in the execution of your work. Master your job by constantly learning and evolving. Always ask yourself, ‘can I do this job better?’ Be impeccable in your conduct at work. Be fearless in your execution.
Friendship – Let your words, laughter and charm bring a smile to others. Help your friends see the lighter side of life and not take themselves too seriously. Act with integrity and hold true to your standards and beliefs. Never compromise them to be popular. Never pre-judge others. Be open to new friendships. Always greet people with a smile and a friendly hello. How others respond is their own reality and has nothing to do with you.
Learning – Commit to 45 minutes of learning daily about every aspect of your life and not just your work and wealth. Limit watching TV and other popular media. Watch uplifting talks by great thinkers on TED.com. Read books from pioneering minds. Attend courses and seminars organised by people who care and have something unique to share. Listen twice as much you talk. Discover your talents by having self-awareness for your thoughts and feelings. Live a conscious life where you decide what you want to listen to, read and watch.
Wealth – Invest in yourself first before you invest your money. If you have a business invest in your own field of dreams first before investing with others on the stock market. Live a frugal lifestyle and reduce your dependence on money. Spend less, save more. Say no to consumerism and your addiction to buying more and more things that end up collecting dust in the attic. But don’t skimp on things that improve your life.
Charity – Learn about the plight of others in need. Don’t shut yourself out to other people’s suffering. Help others by giving your time and/or money. Charity does not have to be grand. A simple kind word of support is sometimes all that someone needs. Help a team member at work. Share an idea that can help a friend live a better life.
If you own a business or manage a business unit for a major corporation these following tips will shelter you from the storm that’s heading our way.
Look after your loyal staff – but start planning cuts. This is inevitable if you want to survive. I know this sounds a little ruthless but when the crash is over, you owe it to your hard-working loyal staff to maintain a healthy company. Focus your energy on partnering with your loyal staff. Pay what is fair and necessary to keep the talent you have but don’t tolerate mediocrity. Expect and demand excellence.
Start a rainy day fund – Put money aside – put 30% of your profits for the next 6 months into a reserve fund. After 6 months reduce it to 20%. After 12 months reduce it to 10%.
Bullet-proof yourself from the Tax Office. Ensure that your bookkeeping is accurate and up-to-date. During tough times the tax office will be looking to get it’s revenue any way it can. Anyone with a weak set of financial statements will be vulnerable to an audit that will drag on and on and take you away from managing your business.
Spend less on new technology – extend your hardware warranties and do not upgrade your software unless you absolutely have to. Software upgrades not only cost you more in fees but also in implementation and training.
But, don’t save money by doing something that costs much more in time. Don’t skimp on purchases that will otherwise make you more efficient.
Move operations out of expensive CBD rentals. If you are in retail, boost your online presence and turn your CBD retail space into a showroom as well as a point of sale. The Apple store is one perfect example. So is the Nespresso store.
Cut your lease time – If you rent showroom or office space, make sure your lease allows you to leave on short notice or allows for rent reductions in line with the market.
Do not renew all your supply contracts just yet. There will be bargains for real estate space, telecommunications (voice and data), computers, office machines etc… Try and not lock in for longer than 12 months. If suppliers insist on a 24-month contract ask for a cost review clause in 12 months.
Hire staff from your local area. People that spend too much time commuting are much less effective at work, period!
Cut down on unnecessary business travel. It’s costly and takes your staff away from their families; which is not good for morale. Happy family equals happy work. Use teleconferencing or video conferencing.
Sell your business – If you have been thinking of selling your business, don’t wait any longer. Today’s circumstances may be your best opportunity for a long time. If you decide to hang on and ride out the storm, then read the following 8 Tips to Business Excellence.
Reduce Inventory – If you are in retail, reduce your stock levels. However, if your business relies on the supply of specialty items that are difficult to obtain, stock up.
Delight Your Customers Even More – The customer will be even more ‘king’ as business competes for a dwindling share of wallet. Share of heart will become more important. So do what the likes of Apple and St George Bank do. Go beyond the call of duty when serving customers. The 9th and most important tip for Business Excellence.
Start planning for the upswing, but don’t be premature. The media will be quick to talk it up because that will be the sexy story. Don’t be the first to jump in and be bullish. Wait for two quarters of good economic data before you upscale and invest in new capital. Being in the right position could ensure success for years to come.