Archive - July, 2005

Master the short note…updated for 2005

I am a long time, true blue Harvey Mackay fan.  I just read a great post of Keith Ferrazzi’s at http://tinyurl.com/d9k8g  that is the most poignant modern day version of Mr Mackay’s advice. 

Mr. Mackay taught me to be a master of the short note.  A skill I still think is invaluable.  How many hand written notes do you get in the mail these days?  Keith gives a specific example here of how to email a new contact and what elements the email should include.  It’s easy and effective. 

How do you handle the info flood?

Lots of Info out there.  How do you deal with it?  Updates and news bulletins in your email, weblogs, online seminars, continued education, news-feeds, and now pod-casts. 

I try and batch by subject and research area, starting with those things that relate to my primary client list and family first.  Anything after that varies by the idea thread, or occasional distracting URL rabbit hole.  You’ve been down it – 20 sites deep from where you started. 

Tabbed browsing really helps.  Use Mozilla FireFox instead of Microsoft Internet Explorer.  It’ll cut back on your pop-ups and virus vulnerability as well. 

Do you have suggestions?  Need some more info to add to your pile?  A valuable page at Forbes.com that I look at every week is "People to Watch, the week ahead." at http://tinyurl.com/79cgm.

Healthy is Effective

Dr. Roger Brisbane cam to speak at my Rotary Club this AM and said, "HEALTH = our ability to adapt to the environment."  He reminded me of how very connected our physical health, mental health and ability to adapt and deal with change really are.   

A professor at the Wharton School told me, when we discussed my first business in Philadelphia, "You better be in shape if you’re going to run a business.  If you’re not physically fit, you won’t be equipped to deal with the emotional stress."

Thanks Roger, I’m grateful for the reminder.

The integrity of the callback

How do people that don’t follow up stay in business?  Have you ever wondered why someone that you’re doing business with can wait so long to return a phone call, an email, thank you for a referral (or not thank you at all – whoops!).  Easy to do AND easy not to do – but it makes all the difference.  Sometimes it contributes so much to your relationship that it’s more important than your capability. So where does the integrity thing come in?

Integrity is not just "being honest," although that has something to do with it. According to Roger Merrill, co-author of many good books about character and quality of life with Dr. Stephen Covey, "Integrity is acting in accordance with your deepest values without compromise."  This means keeping promises to ourselves as well as others.  We all have a "personal integrity account," Merill says.  We constantly make deposits or withdrawals.  Whether our account is in the red or black affects our stress, confidence, creativity and ability to relate meaningfully to others. 

In everyday life this means you have to do what you say you’re going to do.  How many times have we heard that?  I’m pretty sure I heard it from my father most of all.  Calling back is a deposit – it’s an easy one.  So is saying thank you.  So is replying to an email in a timely fashion – even if it’s a short note that says you need to think on the matter and will reply later in more detail.  Don’t wait a week to reply at all!  And, never, never, never, skip hitting reply.  People need to know you got the message.  Even if you just say, "Got this!" – it’s a deposit, and we all need them.

show up and have fun

I had a wonderful time last night on a date with my wife, Liz.  We enjoyed a terrific dinner at Pachanga, a swinging place in Folsom, CA.  Owners Larry and Erin, and infamous bartender Brian, will take great care of you.  We then went to visit our friend and fellow Rotarian, Tom Paniagua.  He had his beautiful photography show on display at American Visions Art Gallery.  This gallery is a Folsom staple of fine art.  It’s the place to visit to browse or buy if you’re in town.  It’s also a fun place and not too stuffy due to the spirit of Director, Giovanna Stark and daughter Ginessa (ask her about her memory!)  We were pleased to run into a number of friends that came out to support Tom.  Rae Howard attended, another Rotarian with a Sacramento growth business specializing in home cleaning called The Team Cleaners. She was there with Deborah Grassl who does terrific work for the Folsom History Museum.  Our club, The Rotary Club of Historic Folsom, is raising money for the museum through our "Brick Project."  I appreciated the loyalty and friendship that I witnessed all evening.  Folsom is made up of great people that help and support each other.  And, Rotary is a wonderful organization that truly fosters "Service above Self."

Liz and I went upstairs to My Brother Vinny’s for dessert and drinks and were joined by friends Gordon and Lola Purdy (truly busy folks out showing support for a friend!). It’s worth mentioning that My Brother Vinny’s is a class act with great food including wonderful desert by chef Erin and the famous Gelato of co-owner Tony Barton…mmm…Cannolis too!

Left my shoes at home…

I spent Sunday night, 7/17 at the San Francisco Airport Hilton.  I was there to attend a leadership forum for LEAP practitioners.  I include macro economic financial advice and the LEAP model in my practice.  It’s a great place to start with a small business owner.  I learn so much about how they manage their business from the character decisions they make with money and family.  I don’t always do it, but when I do, the relationship, and, therefore the help, can be that much deeper. My Sunday night distraction, though, was that I forgot my shoes for my Monday outfit.

Surprising where a little self discovery will come from.  I called my wife, the stores closed, what should I do?  I spoke with the hotel, I paced in my room.  I needed to get in front of my laptop and finish a proposal and a few client deliverables for the week.  I was about to be in conference for most of Monday.  But I’d have to wear my casual Keens (comfortable shoes – great company – founder Jim Van Dine is on my “aspirational contact list”) with my dress slacks.  Ugh!  Nothing I could do…

How silly is this i thought the next day.  Bob Castiglione, brilliant Economist and creator of the Lifetime Economic Acceleration Process, is about to speak in a relatively intimate venue, and I’m distracted by my shoes.  I also had people that I knew were attending that I had planned to seek out.  It occurred to me, in a moment where I may have laughed out loud, just how ridiculous I was acting.  Focus – you’re hear to learn and connect.  And I did – it was a great day.  I scurried back to the Historic District of Folsom to head out with the culinary cowboys.  We had a cool invite to a brewery for a private BBQ.  I made our limo pick-up and there were friends waiting for us.  Great time.  The cowboys met, as is our new habit, the following morning to collaborate on our article for Folsom ElDorado Hills Style Magazine.

The week has continued to be a busy tour of trying to be productive and proactive.  And, I occasionally find myself thinking about how important it is to stay focused and not let the little things distract you and pull you of the course of connecting your activity with what you really want.

A good day in San Jose

Amtrak to San Jose from Sacramento was going to be so late that I had to drive to make my first appointment on-time.  So much for hours of focused reading and writing.  I had thinking and catch-up phone calls in traffic instead.  It was worth it.   I had wonderful meeting with an old acquaintance and a new one (that I met through linkedin).  It was that first meeting
that made my day.  You know the feeling when you make the right connection with someone?  And you realize that there is HARMONY (one of my favorite character traits for effectiveness) with the potential to do great things together.

My meeting was with Michael Gaines, a Principal of John Epperheimer’s company, Workpath Group.  I know less about Workpath than I do about Michael and his enthusiasm (I had planned to read lots of stuff about them on that train!) – and that’s what really made me want to do some work with Workpath.  Michael is a sharp guy with a unique ability.  He whittled the capabilities of mine to fit best with areas where he could leverage my talent based on what he gleaned from my story and passion.   Effective, efficient, productive, and fun.

Think you can do better?

Have you ever sat in a restaurant, visited a store or stayed at a hotel and thought, "boy could I do this better!"  Hmmm…well, perhaps it’s just me but my experiences with customer service have made me say this very thing under my breath quite a bit lately.

My family stayed at a cabin on the west shore of Lake Tahoe this weekend.  A nice, private celebration of our wedding Anniversary and Hannah’s first Birthday.  The operation is run like a bed and breakfast without the availability of the owners.  Our local experts to ask questions and provide us with a connection – a sense of belonging – were never available.  What a mistake!  We had other challenges but that’s enough to keep us from coming back.  We didn’t feel like welcome guests.  If we had, we could have overcome the other stuff.

This happens at all manner of business locations.  The businesses that gets my business are the ones where the owner makes me feel like a welcome guest AND I get introduced to his/her other guests.  This should happen where I get my haircut, eat my lunch, or buy my suits.  Will I recommend a place to eat if I know you’ll be treated well and introduced around the room?  You bet!  And, what if the owner comes to your table and says, "Welcome, how did you find out about us?  What do you do?  What kind of folks do you like to meet?"  When I call you (on purpose) and say, "How was your lunch," How will you feel?

We all need to pay careful attention to each and every one of our clients and customers and always consider them as our guests.  At the same time, find out who they like or want to do business with and make the introduction!  Your guests will love that you’re keeping their best interest in your heart and mind.

The 7 Ps: Updated

I originally posted this years ago.  I’ve since learned that the 7Ps have been around for a long time, and repeated often.  The Air Force, the Boy Scouts and countless project oriented companies use this as a constant mantra.

I had the pleasure of attending a Microsoft Live Meeting this week entitled 7Ps: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance“Relationships For Revenue Growth,” featuring speaker Keith Ferrazzi.  Keith is a friend and author of a great read, Never Eat Alone.

[Keith has since published Who’s Got Your Back and has an exceptional blog at www.keithferrazzi.com.]

The meeting was energetic and focused on concepts I evangelize daily in my practice.  I did want to pass along Keith’s reminding me of something I hadn’t heard for a long time but just love – it’s the 7 P’s:

Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

I assure you that the 7Ps are a great acronym to keep in front of you.  Keith was referring to preparing in advance and making the people you meet intentional.  Learn about the person in advance – ways to make a cold call never really cold.  In either case, planning sounds so basic but it is so taken for granted.  Don’t waste your time climbing the ladder only to find it’s leaning up against the wrong wall.