Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reading for the Month

I am so lucky that Don Kardux, Business Navigators,  is willing to review a favorite book of his each month.  Enjoy and hopefully get inspired to read, too!

Here's the August edition of what Don has read!

In July of 2013 I reviewed Ken and Sheldon’s book “Raving Fans” which focused on helping customers turn into full fledged fans of a company. This book does the same for employees and is well worth the read.

Both books read like short entertaining novels.
In “Raving Fans” the mentor to the “Area Manager” is Charley his ‘Fairy Godmother’ and in “Gung Ho! “ Peggy Sinclair, new General Manager of Walton Works #2, has as a mentor an American Indian department head, Andy, who learned the secret of “Gung Ho! from his grandfather.

You see, first Peggy learns about the ‘Spirit of the Squirrel’ the ‘Way of the Beaver’ and the ‘Gift of the Goose’  

Like “The Goal” this story is incremental. Peggy’s fear and confusion at times is ultimately replaced by positive anticipation and clarity of purpose.

The end of the book has some very useful summaries and insights.

On page 169 is the Gung Ho game plan diagram which after reading the story is an excellent visual reminder of what can happen.

Page 170 summarizes ‘The Spirit of the Squirrel’ WORTHWHILE WORK and includes:
A.                  Knowing we make the world a better place
B.                  Everyone works toward a shared goal
C.                  Value guides all plans, decisions and actions

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

It's Not What You Think

Below is Don Kardux's newest book report.  I always look forward to seeing what Don brings us to think about each month and July's offering, Our Iceberg is Melting, by John Kotter, continues to serve in that way!

Don begins, "See, this book is a fable. It’s not real. It’s about penguins not people.

Well, this story is about penguins who kinda act like people.

That’s beside the point. 

Nope, that’s not right, it is the point.

Fred was a penguin who was bit of an odd bird. While diving, under their colony’s iceberg he made the discovery of a cave that shouldn’t have been there. This cave was caused by iceberg erosion which would undermine the integrity of everything, break the iceberg apart killing a lot of penguins and nobody but Fred knew it existed.

How will Fred get other penguins to believe him and feel a ‘sense of urgency’?

What can they do to fight those who don’t want to change?

Is there a strategy that will allow the colony to not only survive but, flourish?

Well, this is a fable so, of course, many good things occur, they live happily ever after and as everyone knows that isn’t the way it is in ‘real life’. It’s just a good story to tell.

 John Kotter, the author and storyteller, writes on page 126:

The End

(of the story, but not the book)”

In the following 21 pages, Kotter, shows us that there are connections between Penguins and People.

He believes we can apply ‘lessons learned’ on the ‘berg’ to the ‘business of life’

Beginning on page 130 we see ‘The Eight Step Process of Successful Change’ and two pages later we can explore the roles of ‘Thinking and Feeling’.

This relatively short book reflects accurately my experience of being a ‘Change Agent’ for the past thirty years.

It’s deceitful simplicity masks and then reveals the complexity of change and is best visited several times."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Table Sponsorships That Don't Work

I was at a chamber lunch where the sponsor of the lunch was a large law firm.  There were 17 attorneys from this firm at the lunch and when each one was introduced, they were all sitting at one of two tables.  I couldn't help but wonder what bang they were getting for their marketing buck by sitting with each other.

What would have happened if instead, the 17 attorneys sat at 17 different tables?  Do you think their ability to gain a positive return would have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled?

I can never understand the concept behind a company "paying for a table" at an event and then not even thinking about how to use that to their best advantage.

A couple thoughts beyond the one above are:

  • They could invite an equal number of clients to sit at the table so a table of 10 would have 5 from the company and 5 outsiders.
  • They could spread around to multiple tables, but each staff person can ask one client and one prospect to sit with them.  The client can tell the prospect how wonderful it is doing business with the company!
  • The staff person again sits at a table and invites four to eight people, either clients or prospects or friends, who benefit from meeting each other.  Have all sit at the staff person's table.  The staff person gains ginormous bonus points!
I'm sure you can come up with more ideas.  Share them with us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Apple Tree

It's funny how real life provides great example of business sense!  This is all about my apple tree.  So first let me digress.

In the word-of-mouth marketing world, someone who provides multiple and ongoing referrals is nicknamed an apple tree.  The person who buys is the apple.  Good analogy, right?

Well, enter my apple tree, an heirloom, Arkansas Black.  It is a couple decades old.  It didn't start producing till about 2 1/2 years ago and then by golly, it gave us so much that we didn't know what to do with all of the apples.  Same last fall, only I think there was more fruit.  We have given it minimal care, but it is protected from the winter's evil winds and is a tree that the grand girls love to climb.  It
gets plenty of water where it is located.

Wow!  My tree is just like a the business apple tree.  It didn't produce overnight, in fact, in the referral world, I probably would have not gone the extra years to get to production.  With people "apple trees" they are a long term project.  They have to get groomed and talked to to develop the strong relationship before that first referral is ever issued.  But if we stay long enough, the apples are so many that we just have to keep calm and enjoy the abundance.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

What Could Make You Happier?

I am excited to again bring the reading knowledge of Don Kardux, of Business Navigators, to you with his monthly book report.

Don says, "John Bunyan and Dan Harris have something in common.

In February of 1678 Bunyan published an allegory titled ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’.

Three hundred and thirty six years later Dan Harris published ‘10% Happier’.

  • In each book the central character is in search of relief from the burden they carry..

  • In each book they meet an assortment of good and bad characters.

Bunyan’s characters are clearly defined by their names, Evangelist, Mr. Goodwill, Mr. Legality, Mr. Worldly Wiseman and Mr. Giant Despair (who lives in Doubting Castle).

Harris also meets interesting characters who are not so clearly defined, Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer, Peter Jennings, Ted Haggard ( a Christian preacher), Eckhart Tolle (an expert in meditation) and Deepak Chopra to name a few.

But it’s Dan’s journey to get relief from his burden and the steps he takes and the people who help (or don’t) is what makes this twentieth century ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ fascinating and a great read.

Dan says, “According to the Nielson ratings data, 5.019 million people saw me lose my mind. It happened on June 7, 2004 on the set of  Good Morning America”.
Yep, Dan Harris, our author was and still is an anchor on Good Morning America.  You can see him most any day.
And that’s part of the fun of this book. Television personalities become, for many of us, very real in a personal sort of way and so reading how Dan got into and finally out of his “Valley of the Shadow of Death” is significant and enlightening.

For Dan the answer was a form of Buddhist meditation. It made him 10% happier.
The appendix: Instructions is a practical way to implement this approach. 

My son Chris introduced this book to me and says that it works. I believe him.

Finally Dan has these thoughts on the last page of the book.
“Forget your preconceived notions. Forget the dopey packaging and the unfortunate cultural baggage. Meditation is worth the work- even if you’re too embarrassed to admit to your friends that you’re doing it.
Under the sway of the ego, life becomes a constant low-grad crisis. You are never sated, never satisfied, always reaching for the next thing, like a colicky baby. Meditation is the antidote. It won’t fix everything in your life, make you taller, or (most likely) land you in a state of bliss on a park bench. But it can make you 10% happier, or maybe much more.”
I urge you to read this book. It might make your life better."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Many Heads Make it Better

Being a one person organization, I need the thoughts and feedback of outsiders.  That's why I have a group of people that meets monthly with me.  Most people would call them a board of advisers, but I have named them the Board of Action.

Let me tell you a very specific instance where they helped me to think bigger and broader.

One of my networking contacts, a grad of our course, suggested that we might become
a provider of Connect4 lunches, since the local chamber is no longer offering them.  I called the company to see if we could become one of their providers.  The answer was no, that they only market to chambers of commerce.


So I reported that information at the next BOA meeting.  Basically I just wanted them to know.  But here's where it gets great!  My members said, "Well, why can't we just do it ourselves?"  Yeah!  Great question.

As a result of having more than one brain helping in my company, we had our first Fantastic Four Power Hour lunch on Monday.  We have sixty registered participants, so I guess there was a demand.

How do you get help in your company?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Who Owns the Poster??

For years now, Dave Achen, Edward Jones Company, has been the "poster boy" for Connext Nation.  He took the  course years ago under duress, not happy about it at all. He had been in the business for decades, been to lots of training courses and didn't see how CN could possibly be of help.  Dave did a 180 and ever since has proclaimed and owned the poster boy status.

Dave, I'm sorry to say that someone may be moving you over!

And he is not even a CN grad.

You see, Joshua Klein, is a young man who wanted a job.


Josh has a speech pattern that makes it challenging for him to easily communicate, but with a degree  in accounting from Lourdes University, he would be behind the scenes in his work.

Josh pushed himself to attend networking groups and events and with one of his connections he landed a job.  He is doing great at the job because of his attention to detail.  He also volunteers with United Way during tax season.

But what has won him super poster boy status?  With almost a year of work experience behind him, he continues to email the people who he says helped him along the way to give them updates of where his journey has taken him.  I think in the year I have received two or three very nice email communications from him, letting me know what's going on and how his job is playing out.  When I read them, I feel like I'm talking to Josh.

Every time I get one of those notes, I think to myself, "When was the last time I updated everyone important in my life?

Josh Klein, Super Poster Boy!