Archive | August 2010

What one change could you make that would radically transform your life?

If you are are honest with yourself, and if you possess some level of self-awareness, you likely have identified a number of things you would like to change about yourself. Maybe it’s a part of your personality or temperament you wish was different. It might be some bad habit that you haven’t been able to shake that you desperately want to overcome. Perhaps it is a certain relationship pattern that sabotages your friendships.

The idea is to consistently work at self improvement by tackling the bad habits and patterns that hinder our effectiveness. 

Here are some reasons why people don’t change, or find it difficult to change:

1) What we see in other people is very obvious because we can observe it objectively. This perspective is huge. Understanding that what we see is not as obvious to them is vital. Communicating our perception in a fair manner is the first step.

2) We have all been “programmed”. A lot of our emotional habits are formed in early childhood. It took us a long time to perfect these habits, so to just “change them” permanently is not always easy. If you have ever tried to quit a bad habit like smoking or eating sweets , you’ll know that at first it is really hard to just stop. Emotional habits are even more difficult because they are not as obvious. Self-awareness is the key.

3) Sometimes people are aware of their annoying habit or behavior but still don’t change. This happens when the “payoff” for staying the same is higher than benefit of changing.

Think about the person who is notoriously late. What kind of payoff can someone get from being late all the time? Here are a few payoffs that may be keeping them stuck. “I can get a lot more things done during the time I could be early or on time”. “I feel in control”. “Being late is fashionable, I wouldn’t want to appear over anxious or too eager”. “If I’m early I may have to wait for someone else”. Although these payoffs are double standards they are often overwhelming.

The obvious positive payoffs that we may perceive, like “appearing more professional”, “improved relationships” and “reduced stress levels” is what we really should tell ourselves.

So what can you do? Here are some tips to making lasting changes:

1. Change yourself first but state your needs clearly and respectfully. You can only change yourself. This may include letting others know that your needs are not being met and telling them what you require from them. You can say something like, “I have to let you know that when you are late I feel disrespected. My time is important too. In the future, I require that you be on-time or let me know in advance that you’ll be late. Is that something you can do?”

2. Get some perspective. Self-awareness is the key to change. You can’t change what you can’t see. If you require a new perspective on yourself take a look at your life and see what’s not working for you. Then, with the help of some objective and truthful friends, ask them what they think you’re doing to create this situation.

3. Uncover your history to discover your current mystery. Patterns and habits can be deep. Look at your early childhood experiences. Are you a people pleaser? Why? How did this start? Are you shy and withdrawn? How did this start? Finding the root of your emotional habits will equip you to make different choices. Conscious choice is incredibly empowering.

4. Figure out the “payoff”. Leverage is needed to change a habit. There has to be a bigger reason to change than to stay the same. Looking deeper is often the key. Honestly list all the reasons why you may be unconsciously resisting change. Then list the benefits of changing. Seeing both sides of the picture is the only way to “get it”.

5. Do a 30 day challenge. Doing the same thing for 30 days will help you on your way to permanent change.  Track it, journal it or create a spreadsheet. If you can get through that the rest will be a breeze.

I have friends who recently started an intense workout program called “INSANITY”.  Albert Einstein‘s famous definition of insanity is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  In the beginning it was painful and grueling to implement the daily exercise routine. Change can be such an inconvenience! I believe what carried them through is teamwork. Having a partner provides both accountability and encouragement. Another success tip is finding some way to celebrate your new habit. Perhaps promise yourself a reward.

About Matt Sileno: Matt Sileno, the President/Founder of TheIntuitive Group, Inc. is no stranger to hard work and overcoming adversity. He has taken his small Sales and Marketing Firm to new heights working directly with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S.

“Where do I get started…Tell me how to get rich quick!” The Story of the Richest Businessmen

This is a powerful excerpt of an article written in the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I want to share this because the story illustrates valuable insight we all need on building a strong foundation. Truly, the best way to build great sums of wealth is on a solid and strong foundation. Really, those who get rich quick either inherit the money or win the lottery. All too often, a person who comes into a sudden windfall of cash, by an inheritance, a pay raise, or lottery winnings, soon returns into the same financial mess, if not worse than the mess they were in before they received the money.  The problem spurs out of lack of foundation in discipline, responsibility, and financial literacy. The importance lies not in how much you make, but how much you keep, and how many generations you keep it, emphasizes Robert Kiyosaki.

This is the story of “The Richest Businessmen”

In 1923, a group of our greatest leaders and richest businessmen held a meeting at the Edgewater Beach hotel in Chicago. Among them were Charles Schwab, head of the largest independent steel company; Samuel Insull, president of the world’s largest utility; Howard Hopson, head of the largest gas company; Ivar Kreuger, president of the International Match Co., one of the world’s largest companies at that time; Leon Frazier, president of the New York Stock Exchange; Arthur Cotton and Jesse Livermore, two of the biggest stock speculators; and Albert Fall, a member of the President Harding’s cabinet. Twenty five years later nine of those ended as follows. Schwab died penniless after living for five years on borrowed money, Insull died broke living in a foreign land. Kreuger and Cotton also died broke. Hopson went insane. Whitney and Albert Fall were just released from prison. Frazer and Livermore committed suicide.

I doubt if anyone can say what really happened to these men. If you look at the date, 1923, it was just before the 1929 market crash and the Great Depression, which I suspect had a great impact on these men and their lives. The point is this: Today we live in times of greater and faster change than these men did. I suspect there will be many booms and busts in the next 25 years that will parallel the ups and downs these men faced. I am concerned that too many people are focused too much on money and not their greatest wealth, which is their education. If people are prepared to be flexible, keep an open mind and learn, they will grow richer and richer through the changes. If they think money will solve problems, I am afraid those people will have a tough ride. Intelligence solves problems and produces money. Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone.

Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much m9oney you make, it’s how much money you keep. We have all heard stories of lottery winners who are poor, them suddenly rich, then poor again. They win millions and are soon back to where they started. Or stories of professional athletes who, at age 24, are earning millions of dollars a year, and are sleeping under a bridge by age 34.

If you are going to build an Empire State Building, the first thing you need to do is dig a deep hole and pour a strong foundation. If you are going to build a home in the suburbs, all you need to do is pour a 6-inch slab of concrete. Most people, in their drive to get rich, are trying to build an Empire State Building on a 6-inch slab.

My challenge to you today is to strengthen your mind and start thinking. Most people don’t realize that it’s their emotions doing the thinking. Your emotions are your emotions, but you have got to learn to do your own thinking.  The human brain is the most powerful computer on earth.  But don’t take it from me or from the world’s greatest leaders and entrepreneurs – try it for yourself!

Do I fit the company? Effect change and add value to your organization.

Everyone wants to feel valued and respected.  But instead of expecting, waiting, and reacting to the changes around you, why not implement a proactive approach?

Look for the “missing skills” in your company: Look for skills and knowledge that are relatively scarce in your society. What is missing? What can you learn to fill the gap? Remember that good talent is going to make the difference in the growth of any organization!

When all is said and done, particularly in sales, results are what count and results come from those professionals like you who are willing and able to do what it takes.

Cultivate expertise: It is not enough to provide just courteous customer service. An extraordinary degree of competence is a must. Employees are encouraged never to stop learning about their job and anything else that might take the team closer to perfection.

What traits do great sales managers share?

I think people have moved beyond the notion that it’s enough to be a go-getter who’s a master of the transaction. Value to the company is demonstrated through empathy and loyalty. A good employee should be a team player and a good culture fit.

What is organizational culture?

At The Intuitive Group, Inc. company culture is very important.  Culture is defined as the environment that surrounds you at work all of the time. Culture is a powerful element that shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, and your work processes.

  • language,
  • decision making,
  • symbols,
  • stories and legends, and
  • daily work practices.

What does it mean for an employee to be the right ‘fit’ for an organization?

Fit is typically defined in two distinct ways: ‘job fit’ and ‘cultural fit.’ Job fit refers to the degree to which the candidate finds the role’s activities and responsibilities satisfying. Cultural fit refers to the applicant’s compatibility with the organization’s values, mission, environment and daily method of operating.

If someone fits into the organization and demonstrates the propensity to develop, the person’s knowledge and skills will change and grow over time. Values and motivations, on the other hand, are hardwired into us and can be almost impossible to change. Cultural fit cannot be developed.

About Matt Sileno: Matt Sileno, the President/Founder of The Intuitive Group, Inc. is no stranger to hard work and overcoming adversity. He has taken his small Sales and Marketing Firm to new heights working directly with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S.

“Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo”

 

 While I’m a firm believer in learning to be content where we are, there must also be a measure of dissatisfaction with things always being the same.

Contentment helps us learn to survive and be happy with what we have. Dissatisfaction helps propel us forward to better things that we know can be achieved. While we cannot live in a state of unhappy dissatisfaction, we can use that dissatisfaction to grow our measure of success.

Aren’t you content? Yes and no, I can let the contentment go by allowing many things to tempt me to step out of contentment, just like you. What things interfere with contentment?  How about stress, anxiety, worry, striving, jealousy, greed, envy, bitterness, angry, fear, insecurity, or uneasiness?  

For many years, I was able to think of contentment only in terms of material possessions.

During that time, if you asked me why people are not content, my automatic answer was, “Because they want more and more stuff without appreciating what they already have.” Unfortunately, my canned response didn’t bring me much comfort as I worked through my own issues with contentment.

I never struggled with wanting a larger home or fancier car or designer labels in my closet. My challenge was fretting over whether our lives would work out the way I thought they should. I was raised with the belief that if you work hard and stay out of trouble, you will get ahead in life. As good as this notion sounds, unfortunately it has not always been our experience in real life.

 In the same way, your contentment issues may have nothing to do with material possessions but rather with circumstances challenging situations in life that haven’t improved despite your best efforts.   There needs to be a balance between satisfaction with fine accomplishments and striving to do better.  That’s where my organization is right now. We want to grow and expand.  A lot of good companies go bad because they do not go outside of the box. Blockbuster is an example of a company that used to be the #1 movie rental store.  However innovators such as Netflix and Redbox quickly emerged, making it cheaper and easier for us to rent movies. Each found their own niche, i.e. Redbox machines at the local grocery store and gas stations and Netflix mailing movies to people’s home and now  leveraging XBOX and Wii to capture more clients.

 

Evaluate the status quo

This aspect of leadership concerns the mandate for change.  Leaders should strive to create “a burning platform” for change.  The status quo, or current state of affairs, must be carefully described and evaluated.  Two aspects of this challenge are conducting the diagnosis and creating dissatisfaction.

 

Diagnose the status quo.  Leaders must first diagnose the status quo and determine why change is necessary.  Leaders should assemble evidence in support of the change.  This begins with the leader taking stock of his or her own role in the change.  Accountability on the part of the leader will result in more credibility when the leader asks for others to be held accountable.  In addition, the status quo should be evaluated for the overall organization as well as its component parts.  In diagnosis, leaders must draw attention to performance, which should be described with objective metrics.   

 

Create dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Performance metrics are also useful for creating dissatisfaction with the status quo.  A sense of urgency will come from understanding how performance will suffer if the change does not occur.  It is important for leaders to create dissatisfaction with humility and without assigning blame.  Change is a necessary part of every organization.  Everyone involved in the change effort must be “in the same boat” and understand why the status quo will lead to failure. 

Many people are stuck between satisfied and dissatisfied, but won’t make the change.  If you want to be happy in all areas of your life – get dissatisfied with the status quo.

 

About Matt Sileno: Matt Sileno, the President/Founder of The Intuitive Group, Inc. is no stranger to hard work and overcoming adversity. He has taken his small Sales and Marketing Firm to new heights working directly with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S.

How to recognize opportunity and plant seeds of success

When it comes to goal setting, we often don’t know what we don’t know. And, what you don’t know can- and most likely will- hurt you by limiting or compromising your success.

Therefore, in order to achieve success by goal setting, it’s important to follow these 3 steps:

  • First, recognize opportunity.

Well, how do you recognize opportunities? Why not start on focusing to create opportunities for others. Some of your best opportunities will be born from your desire to create opportunity for others. Work at building relationships with people, and opportunities will follow. Many people allow opportunities to pass them by or just don’t see them at all because they are focusing in the wrong direction- inwardly!

Some entrepreneurs will tell you that if you see a growth opportunity that you should risk it all and jump in with both feet. However, I am more prone to be cautious. Use your personal discretion.

Nevertheless, the fact is that the world is plump with opportunity. With boldness and conviction, stick a fork into the goals you want by being decisive. Look around, opportunity is knocking – are you willing to open the door and let it in?

  • Second, form plans and strategies that leverage the opportunity.

It’s easy to come up with goals, but not having a plan and a strategy is like setting sail without a map!  Having a goal and having a dream produce different results. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • Develop the necessary skills needed to execute those strategies.

This is often the hardest part for most people because it requires work to achieve those goals.  Even the best ideas in the world are of no value until they are implemented.  It’s essential to become a resourceful person and to learn from other people’s experiences.

In order to achieve success in business and in life, you’re going to be required to work hard and be resilient (because there are going to be long days where things don’t go as planned).  Flexibility and the ability to bounce back is a wonderful personal quality.  Flexible people are able to adjust to changes and adapt to transitions.  They do not entrench themselves in restrictive, reactive attitudes and opinions.  They are quick to embrace important and necessary adjustments.  They don’t feel the need to fight, resist, contend or rebel.  They respond to change positively and enthusiastically.

Flexible people are more productive, happier, and more helpful than rigid people.  They are team players.  They have a genuine “whatever it takes” attitude.

Overall, goals are the seeds of success- you become only what you plant. The quality of your harvest is a direct reflection of the quality of your seeds!

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