Author Archives: Lucien Naarden

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The Four Decisions of Career Success

Category:Success Tips

As a business person, there are obviously a number of things you have to do to be successful. However, as we all know, success always boils down to the person’s attitude and motivation in whatever they decide to do. In this regard, there are four decisions that you need to make regarding yourself and your career to become successful. The people who do not reach success and are unable to use more of their potential have not made one or more of these decisions.

First, you have to make adecision about your company, your business, and your industry. You have to firmly decide that you are in the industry and business that you want to be in and are with the company you want to be with. If you do not have total belief and commitment in your products, processes, and business, it will show in every word that you say. Successful business people realize that their personal future, as well as the future of the business, are intertwined together and impossible to separate.

Second, you have to make a decision of what role and position you want to play. In other words, you have to make a firm decision that you want to be in sales, management, etc. You have to make a firm decision that being in the business that you are in is the key to your unlimited success. You cannot just “try” to be in business or “try” to be a sales person or a manager, try implies you might fail. Any doubt, any thought of failure, any entertainment of the possibility of not succeeding of the possibility of not succeeding dooms you to a life of mediocrity.

Third, you have to make a decision that you are going to always under promise and over deliver. In other words, you are always going to provide your customers with more than they paid for. You want your customers to always be “stroke deficit” to you. In other words, they are in debt to you psychologically. They feel they owe you something because of the enormous value you have provided them. This makes them ambassadors for you and your business. This makes them centers of influence and partners in your business.

Fourth, you must make a decision that you are worthy of success. You must take personal responsibility for your own life. You must realize that your circumstances are of your own making, not vice versa. Failures constantly blame their conditions, situations, and circumstances for their lack of success. When you realize that the circumstances you are in are the circumstances that you have drawn to yourself, you empower yourself to change. You provide yourself with the ability to design your own life and your own success. This change creates incredible self image and self esteem which allows you to believe in yourself and believe in your own success.

It is only by making these four decisions clearly and firmly with total commitment, that you can assure your success in your career or business. Remember, if you think you can or think you cannot, you are absolutely right. Make the decisions today that you will be a success in business. Make the decisions today that you will not be your own worst enemy, that you will not be the obstacle to your success, and that you will get out of your own way.

You can succeed, you are worthy of success, and you will succeed if you only decide to.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Supercharge your Goals, Part 2

Category:Success Tips

In last month’s column, I described the first four keys to supercharge your goals.

1. The first vital key is to put your goals in writing. This puts the wheels in motion for your goals and makes your goal as specific as possible.

2. The next key is to take personal responsibility for your goal. You must state your goal in the first person. In other words, always use the pronoun “I” when you are stating your goal. This tells your mind that you are responsible for the attainment of that goal.

3. The third key to supercharge your goals is to always set positive goals. Your mind does not understand how “not” to act. It can only understand how to act. Therefore, you must state your goal in the positive sense of what you will do, rather than what you won’t.

4. Finally, you must make your goals vivid. Make your goal as exciting and sensory rich as possible. It is only when you can experience your goal in advance that it will have the necessary attraction to pull you towards it.

The following are the final two keys in making your goals a reality.

5. Balance your goals. In setting goals, it is important that you set goals in all areas of your life. This is called the “Total Person Concept”. We believe for a person to be truly successful, they must be successful in all areas of life, not just one or two. Too many people set goals only in their financial area, or in some other area that they spend almost all of their waking hours thinking about. This creates a lopsided existence. We feel a person should have goals in six different areas: mental and educational, physical and health, financial and career, family and home, social and cultural, and spiritual and ethical. By forcing yourself to set goals in all areas of life, you commit to being a well-rounded person.

6. Focus. Probably the number one key to achieving your goals is the amount of focus you can put to them. You must be able to focus on your goals and keep them constantly in front of you and in your mind’s eye to attain them. There are two keys here that I have found very effective.

Two Keys for Focusing

Key #1: Limit yourself to one goal in each area of life at any point in time. One of the things that I have done is that I always limit myself to six goals. I can only be working on one major goal in each area of life at any time. This forces me to focus in on those six goals. It is easy for me to always know what goals I am working on, because I am only working on six goals at a time.
If anybody asks me at any given time, I am able to state exactly which six goals I am working on. This creates incredible focus in my life, because I am not scattered trying to pursue too many goals at the same time.

Key #2: As I said at the beginning of the article, it is important to put action behind your goals and one of the ways you can do so is to write your goals out. I have found that to really supercharge your goals, it is incredibly effective to write your goals down every day. In fact, I usually try to write my goals out twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. By forcing myself to put my goals in writing twice a day, I am taking action on my goals every day. It is also burning the goals into my conscious and subconscious mind. There is no question as to what I want to achieve. There is no doubt in my mind as to specifically what I want in my life. This focus creates incredible power and attraction to bring those goals into existence. It is almost as if it is impossible not to achieve those goals.

If you follow the above keys, you have done almost everything you can do to virtually guarantee the achievement of your goals. The only thing you need to do now is act. Get started on your goals immediately. Don’t wait. If you can get started on your goals, you are already half the distance toward achieving them.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Supercharge your Goals, Part 1

Category:Success Tips

Many people set goals on January 1 for the new year. They all have good intentions to make significant changes in their lives. However, by the end of January 2, and for many people by January 2, these goals are a distant memory. Why is it that when people set goals, a large percentage fail to achieve them? What can a person do to increase their odds for success at achieving their goals?
In working with people around the world on goal setting and goal achievement, I have discovered a few key principles to “supercharge” your goals and make them much more effective.

1. Put your goals in writing. One of the keys behind goal setting is that you must take action. The first action you want to take on any goal is to write it down. The simple act of writing puts the wheels in motion for your goals. In other words, you have already taken some small action toward the achievement of this goal. This “act ionizes” the goal and gets everything in your life working toward the attainment of that goal.

2. Take personal responsibility. In achieving any goal, you must adopt the attitude that “If it is to be. It is up to me.” All goals are personal. In other words, you cannot rely on other people or other events to make your goals happen. You must take total responsibility for the attainment of your goal. To do this, always state your goals in the first person and always use the pronoun “I” when you are stating your goal. If your goal is to exercise every day, you would state your goal as, “I exercise every day.” This clearly communicates to your mind that you are the one who must make your goal happen.

3. Only set positive goals. One of the main reasons that people fail to reach their goals is because they set negative goals. In other words, they set goals to stop doing things or for something to stop happening. A good example of this is a goal to lose weight. People say they will stop eating, or stop doing this, or stop doing that. But, it is impossible for your mind to visualize what “stop doing something” looks like. Your mind doesn’t understand the words won’t or don’t. All your mind understands is doing. Therefore, you must state your goal in the positive sense of what you will do or will eat, rather than what you won’t.
Another good example of this is golf. I love to play golf, and I try to play as often as possible. In playing golf, you always want to focus on where you want to hit the ball. Too many people focus on where they do not want the ball to go. For instance, if there is a water hazard or a sand trap, they keep saying to themselves, “Don’t hit the ball there.” Well, of course, that is usually where the ball goes because your mind does not understand the word don’t.

4. Make your goals vivid. You must bring your goal to life. It must have a magnetic pull to it for you to make the commitment necessary to achieve it. The only way to do this is to make your goal as exciting and sensory rich as possible. To do this, you must make your goal as vividly real as possible as to what it will be like when you achieve the goal.
The only way to do this is to state your goals in sensory terms. What will the goal look like? What will it smell like? What will it sound like? What will it taste like? What will it feel like emotionally? It is only when you can experience your goal in advance that it will have the necessary attraction to pull you toward it.

In the next month’s column, I will explain the remaining keys to supercharge your goals.
Life is too short to spend constantly missing your goals. Take action now to supercharge your goals and start living the life of your dreams.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Striving for Excellence

Category:Success Tips

I have been working in the personal and organizational development industry for over 14 years. During this time, I have had a chance to interact with a wide range of people. All the way from the very top performers in business down to people who fail miserably. I always try to analyze what separates the great performers from the mediocre and “also-rans.” I have discovered six characteristics or qualities that I have found in almost every top producers. These qualities are either missing or not completely developed in people who are not considered top level producers.

1. Focus:

All top performers have an unswerving singleness of purpose. They are 100 percent, full-time committed to their chosen pursuit. The reason for this is they have an unbridled enthusiasm for what they do. They absolutely love it. They do not even consider work as work, it is play to them. Their vocation is actually their vacation. This enables them to be macro-thinkers or big-picture seers. In other words, they are able to see long-term, see the total picture, and they do not get bogged down in details. They have two rules:

Don’t sweat the small stuff.
It’s all small stuff
In other words, they are focused on what is important. They are focused on what pays off, they are focused on success essentials.

2. Integrity:

Top performers understand that success in business comes from establishing trust with prospects and clients. This trust only comes if the person believes totally in what they do. Top performers, almost to a fault, are congruent in their words, beliefs and actions. They use their own products. They are their own best client. They walk the talk. They do what they say they will do.

3. Service:

This could also be called win-win relationships. Top performers understand that for future success, it is absolutely critical that their clients are happy.

To do this, top performers do three things:

They study their clients’ business. They learn the language, they learn the problems, they learn the chal- lenges, they learn the competitors, they learn the dynamics. They know their clients’ business almost as well as the client.
Top performers are masters at asking questions to find out if and how they can help prospective clients. Top per- formers understand that the client will show them what they need and
how they want to buy, if they only ask the right questions.
Top performers under-promise and over-deliver. They make sure thateverything they commit to is done and then some. Their goal is not a satisfied client, but an absolutely excited, happy, thrilled and over-joyed client.
4. Relationships:

Top performers understand that they are not selling products, they are creating relationships. Top performers know in their hearts that their success is deter-
mined by the quality of these relationships. Consequently, they network, they seek referrals and they constantly build up their relationships. They turn clients into centers of influence who become ambassadors for their business. They measure their success not by their bank accounts but by the size of their client and prospect list.

5. Smart Hard Work:

Top performers understand that it takes a lot of hard work to succeed at anything. They also work very smart. But they understand that they cannot rationalize hard work away just by saying they are going to work smarter. Top performers develop and follow a system. They also keep very detailed and accurate records and statistics on their activities and results. Top performers pay the price.

6. Continuous Improvement:

Top performers are never totally satisfied with their performance. They are always looking for ways to constantly invest in themselves. They study their industry. They always set goals to beat their best. They are always working on ways to improve the system – not to change the system, but to improve it, to optimize it, to maximize it, to multiply it. Top performers are a lot like ducks. They look very calm and smooth on the surface, but underneath they are paddling like the world is coming to an end.

I would very much recommend that you look at these six qualities and rank yourself from one to ten on each. Set a goal to improve in these areas. Find out what qualities are missing or lacking. Our lives are racing by us at lightning speed. Life is too precious to be only mediocre, to be average, to be only so-so, to be only okay. Make a decision now to fully commit to your dreams, goals and aspirations. Make a decision now to incorporate, believe in, trust and live by these success essentials.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Recommit Every Day

Category:Success Tips

In my previous series of articles on the Keys To Your Future, I have outlined the first four keys to your success: Focus, Unique, Teamwork, and Urgency. Focus is what keeps you concentrated on your goal; Unique describes the unique gift or talents that we all posses for achieving our goals; Teamwork is the vital ingredient for an organization’s success; and Urgency is the fuel that causes you to act to achieve your goal. The fifth key to your success is to Recommit every day to your goals.

In working with our representatives around the world in over sixty different countries, I have had the opportunity to observe both very successful people as well as people who haven’t realized their goals. If I had to pinpoint one reason why some people don’t achieve the level of success that they aspire to it is because of a lack of commitment.
Every great success involves dedication, singleness of purpose, and an overpowering desire to accomplish the goals that you set out. This is what commitment is. There are a number of keys to making commitment work for you in your life.

1. Crystallize your thinking as to exactly what you want to achieve in life. It is impossible to be committed unless you know exactly what you are committing to. Consequently, the first step in developing total commitment is having a clear mission, purpose, and goal for your life. If you haven’t decided what you want to achieve in life, it is fruitless to try to develop commitment. Commitment is a result or by-product of intense desire. Desire is only developed by a clear focus on exactly what you want to achieve.

2. Once you have crystallized your thinking and know exactly what goal you want to accomplish, the next step is to set up a specific daily action plan to realize your goal. You must know very clearly what you need to do each day to move you in the direction of your goal and ultimately reach your goal. There are many people who set great goals, who know what they want to achieve, who aspire to fabulous levels of accomplishments, and yet, never move off of the starting line. This occurs because, when it comes to actually doing something, they don’t have a clear plan and don’t know what they need to do today to realize their goals in the future.

3. The third step to developing total commitment is to make the conscious decision that you will take the daily actions necessary to realize your goal. This is the essence of commitment. It is making the dedicated, concentrated, and determined decision that you will do whatever you need to do each day to reach your goals. This dedication, this focus, this total commitment is the common denominator of success.

Albert E. N. Gray, who wrote The Common Denominator of Success said, “The single thing that determines success and failure is that successful people develop the habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people won’t do.” In other words, successful people are willing to do the daily actions necessary to realize their goal. They have the commitment necessary to do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. Why do some people have this commitment and others don’t? This is the fifth key to your future: to recommit to your goals every day. Many of us take time to set our goals and even develop a plan, but once we do this, we often just set this aside. Whenever you set your goals and plans aside, you gradually lose your commitment to them. You must refocus and recommit to your goals every day. Every day when you wake up you must reaffirm your goal to yourself. You must visualize achieving your goal in the future. You must see yourself in possession of your goal. You must see yourself enjoying the benefits of attaining that level of success. You must believe in your heart and know in your mind that you will reach your goal. This is only attained by recommitting yourself every day to your goal. Don’t let yourself slide or miss even one day.
The world famous concert pianist of the early twentieth century Ignace Paderewski once told an interviewer, “If I fail to practice for one day, I hear the difference. If I fail to practice for three days, my friends can tell the difference. If I fail to practice for one week, the whole world knows it.” Paderewski knew the importance and value of daily commitment to practice and action steps to achieve his goals.
If you fail to recommit to your goals for even one day, you will know the difference. Decide what you want in life. Plan how you will achieve it. Then, every day recommit to your goal. Every day, rededicate yourself to your purpose. Every day, re-concentrate on who and what you want to be. Every day, refocus yourself on what you need to do to achieve success. Recommit every day. It is an absolutely vital key to your future.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Specialize in Everything You Do

Category:Success Tips

Every person wants to be successful in their chosen career. Why, then, doesn’t everyone succeed? Clearly, there’s no single reason. I do believe, though, that one of the primary reasons is lack of focus.
A problem facing every businessperson, every salesperson, every leader, and every manager is having too many options.

There is a wide array of different products.
There is a myriad of different marketing methods.
There is an unlimited diversity of prospects.
There are vast underdeveloped market territories.
In talking with many different people around the world, I have listened to countless grand schemes to sell everyone everywhere in every situation every conceivable type of product. The problem with such plans can be summed up in an adage; “A jack of all trades is a master of none.”
To succeed in any profession, a person must become a master of it. It is even more important if you want to not only succeed, but to reach the pinnacle of your profession.

Professional football players don’t try to play professional golf on the weekends.
Open-heart surgeons don’t practice dentistry in the afternoon.
Top-flight lawyers don’t moonlight as fire fighters.
The top architects don’t try to be part-time psychologists.
In fact, not only do top professionals concentrate on their chosen vocation, they even specialize within their field:

The medical field is broken down Into numerous specialties – General practitioners, surgeons (heart, brain, transplant, etc.), pediatricians, obstetricians, gerontologists, gynecologists, optometrists, podiatrists, etc.
The legal field also specializes – corporate lawyers, trial lawyers, civil lawyers, family lawyers, etc.
This is also vitally important for anyone in their business. To succeed in any business, it is crucial to have a detailed business plan. A business plan is a blueprint or a map that outlines exactly how you intend to operate your business. The critical questions a good business plan must answer are:

What specifically is your product?
How specifically do you intend to market the product to the final user?
Who specifically is your target customer or prospect?
Where specifically will you market your product?
As a leader/manager/entrepreneur, you must have a clear and specific answer to each of these questions. Only then will you be able to specialize within your business and become a master of your profession. It will also help to put these questions in the context of your business.
By confining yourself to one type of product, one marketing method, one group of prospects and one geographical area, you are able to concentrate your efforts and perfect your technique. The benefits are many:

You become an expert in your chosen method of selling.
You become familiar with the usual objections and how to handle them.
You understand your prospects’ buying motives and needs.
You know how and when to close and to ask to buy.
You understand your prospects’ business and how to talk their language.
You don’t waste time traveling between appointments.
You are better equipped to service your prospects’ needs and goals.
You make more sales and more money.
After you master your profession in a specific area, you are then able to successfully expand into other areas. Expanding before you’ve mastered your techniques is simply compounding your problems.
Remember, to become a master in your business, you must focus, concentrate and specialize in everything you do.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Believe Yourself to Success

Category:Success Tips

“Supreme confidence coupled with your ability to succeed is what propels you forward to achieve your goal. You must develop an ‘I will not be denied’ attitude.”

As outlined and discussed in three previous articles, the first three essential keys to success are know your goal, know your plan and know why you want to achieve your goal. The fourth imperative step is to know you can – to have the self-confidence and belief that you can achieve your goal.

Supreme confidence coupled with your ability to succeed is what propels you forward to achieve your goal. You must develop an “I will not be denied” attitude. Confidence and belief in yourself is what keeps you pushing forward, conquering obstacles in your way instead of retreating. Confidence is the backbone behind your ultimate success.

In order to build belief in your- self and supreme self-confidence, you must do the following:

Recognize You Are Already Successful

Everyone had had both successes and failures in life. To build self confidence, you must make a firm and conscious decision to focus on your successes and not your failures. Other people and society in general will tend to focus on your failures. If you listen only to them, you will never develop belief in your potential. You, and you alone are responsible for deciding what to believe. If you listen to successful self-confident people, you will notice that they almost never say they failed. Instead, they will call it a mistake, a foul up, a delay, a misunderstanding, a hiccup, a challenge, a bump and even an opportunity. In other words, they refuse to recognize failure.

Develop Written Goals and Plans

Having a clear-cut plan of where you want to go and what you need to do to accomplish your goals provides a feeling of self-assurance. Just by having a plan and crystallizing your thinking, you automatically provide yourself with the confidence of knowing how you can achieve your goals.

The greatest obstacle to self-confidence and belief is fear. When you fear the outcome of some course of action, you lack confidence. Fear comes from the unknown. Fear thrives on cloudy, hazy, misty and fuzzy planning. The way to annihilate fear is to crystallize your thinking on exactly what you want and specifically how you will attain it. The best way to do this is to write it down as detailed as possible.

Know Yourself

In order to invoke real and long-lasting change, you must change your attitudes and your habits. By looking at yourself and gaining the self-knowledge that you must make internal attitude changes in order to act in new and different ways, you have laid a framework for building confidence. Knowing where you stand now in your beliefs and where you want to go is a major step in developing your assurance that you can get there. Practice the habits and attitudes that you want to develop. The best way to learn is by action, not just words.

Gain Experience

Practical experience is by far the best tool for developing a supreme belief in your ability. A person who has been in a situation is infinitely more confident when faced with the same situation than a person who only has second-hand knowledge.

Don’t shy away from seemingly difficult or challenging tasks. Even stressful situations can be catalysts for tremendous self-confidence. If you put yourself in situations that push you to your full potential, your confidence and personal leadership will grow exponentially. In addition, you will be much more likely to tackle new experiences with enthusiasm, rather than fear.

Belief in yourself is one of the greatest assets that you can have in life. It is the cornerstone of success. Without self-confidence, you are doomed to a lifetime of mediocrity and fear of winning. Fortunately, if you do not have confidence in yourself, you can build and develop it. By focusing on past successes, crystallizing your goals and plans, knowing yourself and gaining experience, you are well on your way to supreme confidence – and ultimately to success.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company


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Believe Yourself to Success

Category:Success Tips

“Supreme confidence coupled with your ability to succeed is what propels you forward to achieve your goal. You must develop an ‘I will not be denied’ attitude.”

As outlined and discussed in three previous articles, the first three essential keys to success are know your goal, know your plan and know why you want to achieve your goal. The fourth imperative step is to know you can – to have the self-confidence and belief that you can achieve your goal.

Supreme confidence coupled with your ability to succeed is what propels you forward to achieve your goal. You must develop an “I will not be denied” attitude. Confidence and belief in yourself is what keeps you pushing forward, conquering obstacles in your way instead of retreating. Confidence is the backbone behind your ultimate success.

In order to build belief in your- self and supreme self-confidence, you must do the following:

Recognize You Are Already Successful

Everyone had had both successes and failures in life. To build self confidence, you must make a firm and conscious decision to focus on your successes and not your failures. Other people and society in general will tend to focus on your failures. If you listen only to them, you will never develop belief in your potential. You, and you alone are responsible for deciding what to believe. If you listen to successful self-confident people, you will notice that they almost never say they failed. Instead, they will call it a mistake, a foul up, a delay, a misunderstanding, a hiccup, a challenge, a bump and even an opportunity. In other words, they refuse to recognize failure.

Develop Written Goals and Plans

Having a clear-cut plan of where you want to go and what you need to do to accomplish your goals provides a feeling of self-assurance. Just by having a plan and crystallizing your thinking, you automatically provide yourself with the confidence of knowing how you can achieve your goals.

The greatest obstacle to self-confidence and belief is fear. When you fear the outcome of some course of action, you lack confidence. Fear comes from the unknown. Fear thrives on cloudy, hazy, misty and fuzzy planning. The way to annihilate fear is to crystallize your thinking on exactly what you want and specifically how you will attain it. The best way to do this is to write it down as detailed as possible.

Know Yourself

In order to invoke real and long-lasting change, you must change your attitudes and your habits. By looking at yourself and gaining the self-knowledge that you must make internal attitude changes in order to act in new and different ways, you have laid a framework for building confidence. Knowing where you stand now in your beliefs and where you want to go is a major step in developing your assurance that you can get there. Practice the habits and attitudes that you want to develop. The best way to learn is by action, not just words.

Gain Experience

Practical experience is by far the best tool for developing a supreme belief in your ability. A person who has been in a situation is infinitely more confident when faced with the same situation than a person who only has second-hand knowledge.

Don’t shy away from seemingly difficult or challenging tasks. Even stressful situations can be catalysts for tremendous self-confidence. If you put yourself in situations that push you to your full potential, your confidence and personal leadership will grow exponentially. In addition, you will be much more likely to tackle new experiences with enthusiasm, rather than fear.

Belief in yourself is one of the greatest assets that you can have in life. It is the cornerstone of success. Without self-confidence, you are doomed to a lifetime of mediocrity and fear of winning. Fortunately, if you do not have confidence in yourself, you can build and develop it. By focusing on past successes, crystallizing your goals and plans, knowing yourself and gaining experience, you are well on your way to supreme confidence – and ultimately to success.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company


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Consider the Three Common Thread of Leadership

Category:Success Tips

“Leadership is becoming an investment that individuals and companies can no longer afford not to make.”

As CEO and president of seven personal and organizational development companies, I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world to talk with people about their own personal development as well as the development of their businesses. In talking with people from all corners of the world, there have been three common threads, or themes, emerge.

1. Every person that I have talked to wants to be more effective leader. This is true of CEOs of large corporations as well as hourly workersin the smallest businesses.

2. Every person has the potential to be an effective leader. In the course of a person’s lifetime, invariably, they will be put into a leadership position in some situation, whether this be a business, a family, a charity, a church, a sports team, or whatever; most people must fulfill a leadership role at some time in their life. The good news is that everyone can rise to the challenge and be an effective leader.

3. For an individual or business to succeed and thrive in the 21st century, it must develop effective leadership skills. In today’s and tomorrow’s business environment, the person with the best leadership skills will more than likely prevail.

In my discussions with people fromaround the world, there have been a number of questions that have arisen over and over again. The following are some of those questions and my responses:

“Why has leadership become such a hot topic?”

Leadership has always been a hot topic in the sense that it has always been important. The difference today, however, is that we’re being inundated with mountains of information and confronted with a multitude of options – much more so than in the past. John Adair said, “Leadership is about a sense of direction. It is knowing what the next step is.” With the huge amount of information that we have available, it presents many options, alternatives and choices that confront us. Since leadership is about deciding on and moving in a specific direction, the need for effective leadership has become almost desperate.

“What exactly is effective leadership?”

Unfortunately, leadership suffers much the same fate as the concept of quality; “You can’t define it, but you know it when you see it.” Tragically, this makes it that much harder for people to develop their leadership potential. One of my favorite authors, Peter F. Drucker, was right when he said, “It (leadership) has little to do with leadership qualities. Its essence is performance. A leader’s actions and a leader’s professed beliefs must be congruent.”

Leadership actually involves a combination of three separate factors.

Ability or Knowledge

Attitudes or Beliefs

Actions or Habits

To be a truly effective leader, you must have all three working in unison. This, in fact, is why most leadership development programs fall short.

“What is the best way to develop Leadership?”

Traditional methods – books, seminars, university programs, etc. – are woefully inadequate in two ways. First, they tend to concentrate on only one factor – knowledge – while excluding the other two. It’s relatively easy to teach people about leadership whereas it’s much more difficult to get people to adopt new beliefs or change their habits.

Second, if they attempt to deal with beliefs or habits, it’s usually in a way that has no significant or lasting impact. As Warren Bennis put it, “Leadership doesn’t come from genes; it doesn’t come from reading or listening to lectures; it comes through the hard-earned experience in the arena, rather than watching from the balcony.” The reason that we have been so successful is because we have developed a process that produces real and lasting results in all three areas.

“Why don’t individuals and companies do more to develop their leadership abilities?”

Primarily because they are operating under the wrong paradigm. Individuals and companies tend to view leadership development as an expense, where the goal automatically becomes to reduce it as much as possible, especially in today’s intense competition. Individuals and companies need to change this paradigm and view their development as an investment. Instead of trying to reduce it, the goal then becomes to maximize the return.

We call it ROPI – Return On People Investment. We are able to show our clients a measurable return of 100 percent to 1000 percent or more, straight to their bottom line. I completely agree with Tom Peters when he says, “Invest as much in human capital as in hardware. Treat people as the company’s most important resource and productivity and profit will follow.”

Leadership development can and should be one of the most profitable investments an individual or company ever makes. In fact, it’s becoming an investment that individuals and companies can no longer afford not to make.

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company.


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Enthusiastic Customers

Category:Success Tips

What kind of customers do you want? How do you want your customers to feel toward you and your product? If you are like most people, your response is probably “satisfied.” We want our customers to be satisfied for having done business with us.

Well, you’re wrong! You don’t want your customers to be “satisfied.” You see, a “satisfied” customer is one who feels he/she received what they paid for. No more, no less. Let me give you an example. If I go to a local gas/service station, clean my own windshield, check my own oil, pump $10 worth of gas into my car and hand the attendant $10 in cash, I’m satisfied. I received $10 in value for $10 in cash. Now, considering that scenario, am I likely to tell you how great that service station is? Probably not. You see, I’m simply satisfied. You don’t want “satisfied” customers; you want “enthusiastic customers.”
The difference is simple but invaluable. While satisfied customers feel they received what they paid for, enthusiastic customers feel they received more than they paid for. Enthusiastic customers tell everyone how great it is to do business with you. And, they show their appreciation by giving you repeat business and quality referrals. Enthusiastic customers will make you wealthy!
So, how do you get your customers to be enthusiastic? Fortunately, the answers are simple but they demand your attention to small details. The key factor in whether a customer is satisfied or enthusiastic is not in your service toward that product.

Always remember the definition: “An enthusiastic customer is one who feels they have received more than they paid for!”
Okay, so what are the details you must pay attention to? Let’s review several principles that are necessary in the enthusiastic customer process.

Principle 1: You must be enthusiastic. Be the kind of person people want to do business with. Be energetic. Get excited about your product and service. No one will continue doing business with a person who lacks enthusiasm.

Principle 2: Never forget a customer and never let a customer for get you! Don’t assume that a customer remembers who you are simply because they have bought your product. In fact, if you assume anything, assume that the person has totally forgotten you immediately after he/she said, “Okay, I’ll buy.” Maintain high visibility with each and every customer.

Principle 3: Set yourself and your customer up to win by knowing before you ever begin what results will be required in order for you to do more business with this company or individual. Simply stated, find out what it will take to make the person ecstatic about your product, you have an enthusiastic customer.

Principle 4: “Perception is all there is.” – Tom Peters. No matter how good you feel your results are, no matter how much benefit the person tells you they have received, no matter how much documentation you have to support your results, unless the customer perceives (sees in the own mind) that your product produced results, you’re dead! Interestingly enough, even mediocre results will produce repeat business if the decision maker perceives your product and service to be valuable. “Perception is all there is.”

Principle5: Keep it simple! How many times have you heard this and yet over and over again, people try to make easy things hard. Don’t complicate your product by adding unnecessary steps and procedures. Your customer didn’t buy instructions, procedures, raw materials, etc. They bought desired results. You simply use your product to help them get what they want. Keep it simple.

The difference in long term growth for your business between enthusiastic customers and satisfied customers is enormous. It might be compared to the difference in the purse between the first and second place horse in a horse race. Many times horse races end in a “photo-finish” – the race is so close they have to determine the winner by an electronic photo across the finish line. In other words, a horse can win by less than an inch, but will still receive 3 times, 5 times sometimes 10 times as much as the second place horse. With your customers, as with the horse race, it requires only a “slight edge” difference by you. Make a commitment today to develop your customers to be enthusiastic about your product, your service, and you. You will then have the “slight edge” working for you!

By Randy Slechta
President of Leadership Management International, Inc.
a global leadership and organizational development company


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