Archive for the ‘Self-Growth’ Category

Follow through to get the bang for your training buck

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
© Jgroup |

© Jgroup |

One semester in middle school, we had the option of taking a bowling class for gym. And I remember clearly, as my ball headed into the gutter time after time—the instructor kept harping on one thing: “Be sure to follow through.”

Follow through? Why? It never made a lick of sense to me. Once the ball is out of my hands, what difference does it make what my arm does?

Finally I got sick of scoring in the low peanuts every game and thought I’d try it. I let the ball go and allowed my arm to continue in a perfect arc.

I can still hear the sound of that strike.

According to the American Society for Training & Development’s Benchmarking Forum, the average annual expenditure per employee on training was $1424 in 2005 (the last year of complete data). But the most successful and productive companies invest $1616 per employee.

Coincidence? You wish. Training provides the best ROI of any investment you can make in your business, period. But there’s something else those high-performing companies do—they follow through after the training is complete. The best way to get results from your training dollars is to expect and measure immediate application of what is learned. Measurement and celebration of the results from the training program need to start within 24 hours of a session or the application of the learned material drops like a stone.

When you work with a training consultant, make sure they don’t pull up stakes and head for the hills five minutes after the last session is over. Good training ALWAYS includes a specific, detailed follow-up plan—or it’s not training. It’s flushing.

Create Better Results by Revisiting Your Company Values Part II – Video

Saturday, April 17th, 2010
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The values you stand for as an organization are what everything else is based upon and what drive your results. Let’s talk about some specific company values that are crucial to achieving better results.

Did you watch part I of Create Better Results by Revisiting Your Company Values? If not, you may want to check it out and then continue with this post.

Dealing with conflict directly. There are a couple of ways to deal with disagreements. You can directly approach the person and tell them you disagree and what you recommend. If instead you decide to gossip and talk about it with everyone else BUT the person you disagree with, you are going to have a mess.  People gossip because they don’t feel good about themselves so they think they must put someone else below them to fix the problem.  How do they really feel after they’ve done that? Even worse about themselves. Listening to gossip is just as bad.

Living your word: Meeting deadlines and commitments. What does living your word mean as a value? If you know there’s no way you’re going to get a project done, before you miss the deadline you say, “I just wanted to let you know I’m behind and don’t want you to be surprised. Here is my massive corrective action plan.” What do you do after you miss the deadline? Bring it up, don’t cover it up. Say, “I’m behind. Here’s what I’m doing to get caught up.” Not doing that in your weekly report is incongruous with integrity. We don’t expect perfection, but we do expect honesty and integrity and living your word. We all blow it sometimes, but are you admitting it when you do? That’s what living your word means.

What values do you stand for as an organization? Leave a comment and let me know!

Point of Clarification—Honest Courage in the Service of Clarity

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
© F4f |

© F4f |

I had a colleague years ago named Sandra.  Sandra had a very special skill.  It’s one part honesty and three parts courage—and it made her an indispensible part of any meeting.

I remember one meeting where a consultant kept using a word that no one in the room knew.  Not that anyone admitted this, of course.  We all sat there like lumps, all assuming that we were the only ones who didn’t know the word, and all afraid to show it.

“You have to realize that the customer may be coming to your brochure with an entirely different hermeneutic framework.”

“It’s essential to take the hermeneutics of your ad campaign into account.”

What worried me most was that this word “hermeneutic” kept coming up alongside words like “essential” and “crucial.”  But did I raise a hand?  Not on your life.

“Excuse me,” Sandra said at last. “You keep using that word—’hermeneutic.’  I don’t know what that means.”

The reason I know for certain that no one else in the room knew the word either was the sudden, visible relaxation of all shoulders around the table, accompanied with a dozen little sighs of relief.  We were going to learn the meaning after all, thanks to Sandra’s honest courage.

The next time you find yourself in the same situation—not understanding something, and certain that all those around you do—know that the likelihood that others are also sitting in silent incomprehension is somewhere around (hmm, let me do the math here…carry the six…) somewhere around 100 percent.  And if everyone else DOES happen to know what’s going on, know that it is 100 percent permissible to reveal that you don’t know everything because NO ONE DOES.

So do everyone a favor.  Be like Sandra.  Be the one who is honest and courageous enough to ask for clarification.  You’ll be an asset to workplace communication and a hero to your colleagues.

Oh, and hermeneutics?  The consultant said it means “interpretation.”  Why he couldn’t just say “interpretation” in the first place is a topic for another day.

The Terrible Trio—Vampires, Victims, and Whiners (oh my!)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
© Khz |

© Khz |

Part 1:  The Energy Vampire™

“They are Vampires, and their modus operandi is not to steal your blood but rather, your precious energy. Your life-force. Your mojo.  To drain you emotionally and psychologically. To frustrate you with their repetitious, self-indulgent, attention-seeking diatribe.”—Craig Harper

She doesn’t wear all black.  You can see her reflection in mirrors. She likes garlic just fine.  Yet her coworkers know she is a vampire as soon as they open their mouths.  But it’s not blood she’s sucking—it’s positive energy.

“I’m up for a promotion,” you say. “Isn’t that great?”

“Hey, a higher cell in the prison. Congrats on that,” she replies with a smirk.

“Sales are going to be up, up, up this year,” you say.

“That’s only because they were in the toilet last year.”

“My glass is half full.”

“You call that a glass?”

You get the idea.  And you know this person, I’ll bet.  These vampires are as common in the workplace as their bloodsucking cousins are in Anne Rice novels.  Within seconds, they can take your great day and make it miserable.

The vampire’s arsenal is limitless, from rolling eyes and crossed arms to smirks, whining, name-calling…you name it. Whatever the form, know that you have the right to protect yourself and to call the vampire out.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we’ve ALL have had our moments like this—times when we can’t think of anything good to say and seem to want to guarantee the same fate for everyone around us.  But that doesn’t make it okay.

Next time you find yourself on the sharp end of the Energy Vampire’s smile, your job is to suck away their NEGATIVE energy just as hard.  They thrive on commiseration, so deny it!  Answer each pronouncement of darkness with something like, “Oh I don’t know about that—I like working here!”  Then watch how fast they shrivel up and blow away.

Now if the person is part of your responsibility, you’ll need to get serious about this.  It’s up to you to either convert the vampire to a productive human or join the mob with pitchforks and torches and get that person out of the company before their toxic behavior spreads—and you end up with a company full of the walking undead!

Unflippin’ Stoppable

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

He knew his whole life what he wanted to do. He wanted to act in movies. He saw movies as a vehicle not only to escape reality, but also as a way to inspire people to overcome their personal obstacles.

He constantly visited with movie agents. If he had 700 meetings with them, he was thrown out 700 times. He was told by some that he looked stupid. Others didn’t even bother to tell him anything.

Most people with his dream would have quit.

Once, though, after one more rejection, he stayed overnight at the site and, because of his insistence (he tried again in the morning), he eventually received his first offer.

He was cast as a thug. His job was to get beat up. He was only on camera for 20 seconds. Not exactly a breakthrough. But at least it was something.

He imagined it might be the beginning of a wonderful acting career. But it wasn’t. His rejections continued.

He couldn’t pay for heat in his apartment. His wife screamed at him to get a job. He didn’t listen.

One day he went to the public library because it was warm. There, in the reading room, he read the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

He said, “Poe got me out of myself. I learned how I could touch other people and help others.”

He decided to write a script.

He sold a script called Paradise Alley for $100. For him, it was a ton of money for him. But that, too, didn’t lead to anything.

By then, he was so broke he hocked his wife’s jewelry. After that, she really hated him. But his dog still loved him.  He loved his dog, but he couldn’t feed him.

He stood outside a liquor store trying to sell his dog for $50. He ended up selling it for $25. He cried as he took the money.

Two weeks later he was watching a fight and got an idea. He wrote for 20 straight hours. He was shaking at the end because he was so excited.

He tried to sell his new script. He received rejections. People said, it’s predictable. It’s sappy. It’s a cliché, man.

He wrote down all the things they said and decided he would read them the night of the Academy Awards when he won an Oscar. 

Still nobody would buy his script.

Finally, he met some people who actually liked his script. They offered him $125,000. A jackpot for a guy with no money at all. He agreed to the deal – but with one provision. He said, “Just one thing, I have to star in it.”

They said, “You’re a writer.” But he knew he wanted to play a staring role in his own money.

The producers didn’t like the idea. They wanted Ryan O’Neal.

The scriptwriter left with no money and no deal.

The producers came back with a counteroff. They offered the man $250,000 if he agreed not to star in his own money. Again, he answered, “No.”

Then they offered $325,000 as long as he would stay out of camera range.


They compromised. They were afraid to take the risk. They didn’t think it would work with him in the starring role, but they loved the script. So they paid him only $35,000, but at least he was allowed to play the lead role.

For two days, he went back to the liquor store hoping to find the guy who bought his dog.

On the third day, a guy walked by with his dog. He offered to buy him back because he missed his dog so much. The guy told him there was no way he would sell the dog.

The man offered more money. After some negotiations, they had a deal. Sylvester Stallone bought his dog back for $15,000.

True story. The movie Rocky cost $1 million to make. After it opened in 1976, Rocky made more than $100 million

The movie earned 10 Academy Award nominations and won three.

P.S. The dog in the movie is actually Sly’s real dog.

Difficulties seldom defeat people; lack of faith in themself usually does it for them.

Most people are taken out of life’s game by the little things. What ever is inconvenient or uncomfortable is accepted as a reason to give up.

Are you willing to be unstoppable in your attempts to get what you want? Do you stand by your principles so much so that you are willing to take huge risks for what you know is right?

Try this:

• Write down something that you want to commit yourself to accomplish.

• Make an oath to yourself that nothing and nobody can get in the way of achieving what you want. (Even if you never get it, you will live with such power that the other blessings that come as a result will be powerful, too.)

• Make a list of the things that, in the past, haven taken you “out of the game.” Each one of us has patterns that we repeat about why we give up. Whether it’s not enough time, questioning whether you really want it, or it’s just too hard, chances are that your life has consisted of a repeated pattern of the same trigger switch that takes you out of the game. Decide to conquer that pattern. That and only that is the way you are gonna fly now.