Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Intelligence, not just Our Processes?

The single most disruptive influence on business, as well as society, will be artificial intelligence (A.I.), which includes technology such as machine learning and cognitive computing to name just two. In other words, there is more than one type of A.I. and each represents a new way of doing both big things as well as everyday things in amazing ways. When I say big things, I mean solving highly complex problems such as enabling the development of highly personalized drugs and genetic therapies designed for your genetic makeup. A.I. will keep you from having an accident, whether you are driving your car or not, by knowing the surroundings in real time, predicting a problem, and helping you avoid the accident. Eighty-five percent of traffic accidents are caused by blind spots, and soon your car won’t let you have that accident. The good news is that we don’t need full autonomy to do this, and it will happen faster than you think.

During the next five years, we will have the technologies to transform every business process.

A.I. will impact everyday things such as asking your car or your phone or your (fill in the blank) a question and getting an intelligent answer that is customized for you. Thanks to cloud-based A.I. and devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home, A.I. is quickly being integrated into both business and consumers’ lives at a rapid rate by using your voice as the primary interface, and the impact will be both disruptive and transformational on both a product and service level.

A.I. and other exponential technologies that are enabling a social, mobile, virtual and visual evolutionary revolution in a short time will shift us from a period of rapid change to a period of true transformation. I say evolutionary because the underlying technologies have been in play for a long time. For example, in 1983 I first published my list of 20 technologies that would drive exponential change for decades to come, and on that list were the Internet, digital technologies, A.I., genetic engineering, photovoltaics, fiber optics and more, the very technologies that are driving the revolution today.

So here is a prediction for you: During the next five years, we will have the technologies to transform every business process including how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, train, educate, design, pay for things and much more. That is what I call a Hard Trend that will happen because it is based on future facts—the tools are real and they will be used to both disrupt and transform. Soft Trends on the other hand might happen because they are based on assumptions. The Soft Trend related to business process transformation can best be expressed in a question: Will your organization transform your business processes or only change them? In other words, disruption becomes a choice when you know it’s going to happen ahead of time. That’s why my award-winning learning system, as well as my new book that will be out in the fall of 2017, are called The Anticipatory Organization. Being agile does allow you to react faster than your slower competitors and does help you with unpredictable change. But the new competency that is now an imperative is to be anticipatory, to learn how to use Hard and Soft Trend analysis to anticipate disruptions before they disrupt, problems before you have them so that you can pre-solve them, and game-changing opportunities that you can use to accelerate growth and transform results.

Here is one final Hard Trend/Soft Trend question for you to consider: As A.I. and robotics advance at an exponential rate, will they cause mass unemployment globally? To answer this question, you need to break down the future fact from the future assumption. The Hard Trend future fact is that A.I. and robotics will indeed advance at an exponential rate in the years to come. That will happen. The Soft Trend that might happen is the mass unemployment they will create globally. Even though mass unemployment for both blue- and white-collar jobs is very likely, it is not a future fact. Business and government leaders from around the world could do something about this now before it happens, thus changing this outcome.

For example, we could have all trucks, cabs and busses become self-driving, thus eliminating tens of millions of jobs on a global level. This is not a future fact, but it could happen—technology exists to enable this outcome. A better question is: Do we want this to happen? Before answering, you need to look at a bigger picture. You need to consider that in the past and present it was primarily blue-collar jobs that were replaced by automation. But with the new capabilities of A.I. and robotics to replace white-collar jobs such as accounting, banking, and even sales, to name a few, the unemployment numbers could grow significantly. Do we want that future or a different future? We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. What kind of future do you want? What would we need to change in order to have a better tomorrow than today?

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.

Focus on Completions

One of the most powerful ways to take control of your time is to practice “completions.” Completions, simply put, are a method of segmenting your responsibilities into complete units so that you recognize when you finish a task or project. Completions give you a sense of closure and provide a mental and emotional break. They give you more energy as you move on. Conversely, running through tasks without completions makes you feel tired, weighed down and drained. Time flies by, yet you are no closer to finishing tasks than you were hours ago.

As an author, I acknowledge a completion each time I finish a chapter. As I finish each successive chapter, I gain energy to move on. However, I have found that when I’m working on four or five chapters at once—and none of them are completed—I feel as if I’ll never finish.

The happiest, most productive people are masters of completion. They are just as busy as everyone else, but those people have learned that by giving themselves completion, they reset their internal clocks and are ready to handle what’s next.

Example: A former client of mine, Olivia, used to turn in reports to clients on time, but she would wait to tie up the loose ends later, after she’d already started on other tasks. As a result, she always felt harried and behind. Eventually, she built time into her schedule to finalize all the details before she sent reports to her clients.

Now, she has the time to have her reports bound in a nice cover and to send them through the mail instead of via one-day courier service. She even calls clients a day before the reports arrive to let them know they’re coming. Olivia has compartmentalized and given herself completions for what she does. Now she is energized, uses her time more wisely and is also more successful with her work.

Of course, learning how to do that takes a little discipline, but it’s worth developing. Olivia realized that there were problems with the way she had been working. She wasn’t acknowledging the totality of the project. Before, when she had “finished” the report, she had not wrapped up all the loose ends. Now she builds in time and acknowledges all components of a project. So when she turns in a report, she is completely finished with it and can move to her next assignment with a clear mind and 100% focus.

Start operating as Olivia now does, and when you finish a project, you will be mentally clear. Completing a project will feel like a mini vacation. Follow these tips:

Break large projects up into units. Focus on completing every task and finalizing every detail of one unit, before you move on to the next.

Set a time frame for each unit. Estimate how much time you will need to complete each segment of a project. Some tasks take seconds to finish; others take years. Schedule deadlines for tasks to stay on track.

Focus on one or two major completions to work toward at a time. If you do more than that, you will be pulled in too many directions at once, and you won’t reap the benefits of a full completion.

Jeff Davidson, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” has written 59 mainstream books, is an authority on time management, and is an electrifying professional speaker. He is the author of Breathing Space and Simpler Living. He believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his books, ebooks, and articles; videos, audios, and iPhone apps; and his keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and seminars.

A Happy Worker is a Productive Worker

Marilyn Tam, Ph.D. is a Speaker, Author, Consultant, Board Certified Executive/Corporate Coach, CEO of Marilyn Tam & Co. and Founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation. She was formerly the CEO of Aveda Corp., President of Reebok Apparel and Retail Group; Vice President of Nike Inc. and also a successful entrepreneur who has built four companies. Tam wrote her new book, The Happiness Choice – The Five Decisions that Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be so that others may benefit from what she learned, often through painful experience on how to be happy, healthy, productive and have a dynamically balanced life.

Ed Rigsbee is the author of PartnerShift-How to Profit from the Partnering Trend, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. He has authored several video and audio programs. With more than 1,000 published articles to his credit, Rigsbee is a regular contributor to business, trade and professional publications throughout North America.

Unhappiness among workers in America is costing a shocking $300 billion per year in lost productivity, the Gallup-Healthways estimates. Their recent Well-Being Index shows that Americans are increasingly unhappy with their jobs and work environments. When people aren’t happy about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, and their work quality suffers. A recent Harvard Business Review article stated that the level of happiness has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality.
Current American Psychological Association research findings show that people want contentment, love and happiness derived from meaningful work. They want nourishing personal relationships, a healthy mind and body, a spiritual core, and a reason for living. But with only 24 hours in a day and all of the competing demands of modern life, the question is–how? Is it even possible? How can you as a manager facilitate your employees’ happiness and consequently increase your company’s success as well as your own?
First you as well as your company need a defined mission/reason for being. With an established purpose, you can manage and prioritize the energies and resources to best fulfill the mission. Work and life have meaning when we feel what we are doing creates worth and is in alignment with what we value. There are five life factors that need to be kept in dynamic balance to achieve and maintain happiness and productivity. Understanding people’s motivators will help you structure the work environment and to develop products and services that truly serves your customers. 
 
Money and other Means of Value Exchange
In today’s world, money is the primary, and sometimes the only form of work compensation. Yet surveys have now shown that the most effective motivator for increased performance and creativity is when one feels that their work have meaning and value. Understanding what drives people is helpful in the design of incentive programs to increase satisfaction and consequently performance. Show people how their jobs impact the overall success of the company’s mission, and tie their remuneration to their contribution to the objectives of the organization. That way they can comprehend how their efforts are intrinsic to the wellbeing to company and be motivated to fully contribute to its success.
 
Relationships
Human beings are inherently social, we need honest and positive connection with others to survive and thrive in the workplace as well as in our personal lives. Healthy relationships will build trust and enhance openness and collaboration instead of fear and reluctant compliance. Structure a participatory workplace environment and allow for some flexibility in work hours so that your associates have the ability to adjust their schedules when it is needed. When people feel that they are respected and trusted to perform at a high level, it encourages them to strive to do even better. Understanding human relationships we can plan and act accordingly in business and life for greater productivity and satisfaction.
 
Body
The American Psychology Association tells us that stress is the biggest cause of illness today, and oftentimes workplace stress is the primary culprit. Sick or unhealthy workers are unable to function optimally and their performance suffers. Unhealthy workers also cost the company more in healthcare costs and absenteeism. Encourage everyone to take their allotted vacation days; time away rejuvenates the mind and body, and they will return refreshed and energized. Ensure that the mission of the company is clearly shared with everyone so that they understand that their work has meaning. People are happier and can do more when they feel that they are contributing to a worthwhile purpose.
 
Community
Human beings need community in order to survive and thrive. When your company is actively involved in the surrounding community you have a source of local support. Your community is also an excellent place to get input and feedback on your products and services. In today’s global economy, your community encompasses the whole world, and that perspective will help you develop your company’s offerings to best suit the market. Encourage and support volunteerism in the communities your company works in. Connect with nonprofits and other organizations that serve your market. For example, if your company sells products or services to small businesses, volunteer and affiliate with SCORE, the SBA’s non-profit consulting arm to small businesses. This will contribute to the wellbeing of your community, and also give you valuable input about your customers’ needs and concerns while strengthening your business network.
 
Spirit
A belief in something greater than ourselves sustains us when we are in pain, scared or in dire need. That same power enhances positive experiences and gives us more joy, compassion and energy. Recognizing the power of beliefs can guide your work policies to honor others’ beliefs and facilitate their practice of them. When people feel respected for who they are and what they believe, they are happier and more productive individuals.
Increased productivity through happier employees can be realized with a modicum of energy exerted, by you and your organization’s leadership, in the above five areas.

No One Writes Notes Anymore. Do You?

Bruce Turkel has helped create some of the world’s most compelling brands including Miami. Bruce has worked with Hasbro, Nike, American Express, Charles Schwab, Citicorp, Discovery Networks, Bacardi, Sol Melia Hotels, Azamara Club Cruises and many more great companies.

A captivating speaker and author, Bruce has spoken at MIT, Harvard, TEDx, and hundreds of corporate and industry conferences. Bruce appears regularly on FOX Business and has been on CNN, ABC, CBS, and NPR. He has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, Communication Arts, and AdWeek.

When I walked downstairs to grab my mail today Shelly told me that I had “won the mail sweepstakes.” Sure enough, my mail slot held the biggest pile on any of the shelves. “Of course,” Shelly added, “most of it is junk.”

But hidden amongst all the trash were three hand-addressed envelopes. Coincidentally, I had also dropped three hand-addressed envelopes into the outbound mail that morning.

According to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual survey, the average American home received only one personal letter every seven weeks in 2010, down from once every two weeks in 1987. If that’s the case, is it any wonder that a handwritten note gets such attention these days?

One note was from Ron, thanking me for some help I’d offered with a project he’s working on. One was from Brian, complimenting me on a presentation I’d given the week before. And one was from Michelle, introducing herself and letting me know that we would meet in July.

Here’s the best part. I opened those handwritten letters first and actually thought about the people who sent them, even putting the notes aside to make sure that I respond in a similar fashion. Because a recent study quoted in the Harvard Business Review showed that the average corporate email account sent or received more than 100 emails per day, and that Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 now send or receive nearly 100 texts per day, I took the time to count the number of electronic messages I received. At 7:00 PM, the count was 127 emails (not counting pure spam) and 42 SMS texts.

Included in those 127 emails were three notes from kids who are looking for internships and seven sales pitches from companies looking to do business with us — certainly requests that might have been worth the time it would take to send a handwritten note. Truth be told, when I receive those types of emails I often wonder if the sender could have possibly made less of an effort to get my attention.

Thank-you-Note Indeed, that investment of time and effort is part of what makes a hand-scribbled note so valuable. The person who wrote it had to dig up some stationery, find a pen, and actually scratch their thoughts onto paper. And without spell checker or the AutoCorrect option, they might have even had to write the note more than once. Then they had to put the note in an envelope, look up and copy down the correct address, affix a stamp, and even lick the flap. What could be more personal – and more intimate – than that?

But there’s another side of letter writing that’s important too – the pleasure the sender gets in indulging in such an anachronistic activity. Maybe it’s because I love to doodle and draw, but I really enjoy pulling out my stationery and my dad’s fountain pen. I notice the texture of the pen and the flow of the ink. I pay attention to the way I craft my letters and I even try to find stamps that make an aesthetic or social statement. And because I’m left-handed, I’m forced to write slowly so my hand doesn’t smear the drying ink.

Dropping the weighty envelopes in the mail feels like I’m actually putting a little bit of myself into every letter I send. And I feel the same sense of personal connection when I open and read someone else’s carefully crafted note.
By the way, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the value of handwritten communication. In January 2012 I wrote a post about the GMCVB’s CEO, Bill Talbert, and his branding tips under $100. Tip number two was titled: No one sends personal notes anymore. Except Bill.

Bill is one of the most tech-savvy CEOs I know. But whenever you spend time with him, you can expect a personal handwritten note to show up in the mail a day or two later. Bill knows that as the world gets more and more high-tech, the way to break through the clutter and make a statement is with high-touch. Not a phone message. Not an email. A handwritten letter. With a signature. And a real stamp on the envelope.

And when the news is really important? Bill takes a tip from Michael Gehrisch, CEO of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), and sends it in a FedEx envelope. After all, what other correspondence gets brought to your desk the minute it enters your office? It’s a heck of a bargain for 15 bucks, I think.

What do you think? Write back and let me know.

The Power of Perspective

From military officer to corporate executive, Jim Bearden has learned why some people step up and others don’t. An advocate for the heroic effort, Jim helps leaders close the gap between what sounds good and what gets done: Jim works with companies to unleash the hero in your midst

Jim Bearden’s many rich life experiences form the basis for his anecdotes, his humor and, most importantly, the insights he shares to create hero-friendly environments.

Here are three of the premises on which I base my approach to the topic of accountability:

1. In the real world, setbacks are inevitable

2. We always make choices about the setbacks we encounter

3. The mental choices we make about the setbacks we encounter are influenced more by our perspective than they are by the setbacks themselves

When asked, most people use phrases like “point of view”s or words like “outlook”to describe perspective. Both make reference to the visual, the things that are looked at.

Intentional Networking: 9 Effective and Efficient Steps to Success

Patti DeNucci is a business networking and referral attraction expert, professional speaker, and award-winning author of The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. She is a founding board member and current president of the Austin chapter of the National Speakers Association. www.IntentionalNetworker.com

Ed Rigsbee, CAE, CSP, is the author of several books and over 2,000 articles on business growth through collaboration and strategic alliance development. He travels internationally lecturing on the topic and helps organizations to reach farther through alliance relationships. www.rigsbee.com

Ever wonder why some people are so powerfully connected, are the first to hear about great opportunities, and earn more quality referrals? The answer may surprise you. To attract more success in business, you don’t have to network more; you just have to network more intentionally. This means becoming more focused, engaging, trusted, and memorable. And not necessarily with more people, but with “your people”—meaning the people who naturally bring the most value into your world.

After years of experience and study, we’ve discovered your networking success boils down to nine critical steps. Here they are for you, presented in their most basic form and derived from Patti’s award-winning book The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business.

1. Know yourself. It truly is not selfish or narcissistic to practice self-awareness. This involves knowing your strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, passions, preferences, and traits. Fact is, knowing yourself is a key component to creating success and building connection. It breeds authenticity, enthusiasm, and discernment, which helps others see and “get” the real you more readily.

2. Know what you want. If you are vague, ambivalent, scattered, or unsure of your vision, intention, and goals, then you are likely drifting along, preserving the status quo, and possibly even invisible to others. Clarity and focus go a long way to helping you become more memorable, which in turn means others are clearer and more focused on how to help you.

3. Show up in alignment with the above two points. Everything about you, from your attitude and appearance to your correspondence and conversation, gives off messages. What’s more, you have mere seconds to make a first impression. If your image doesn’t line up with whom you say you are and what you aspire to, then confusion, disengagement, and distrust can result. Be sure everything associated with you and your career or business is congruent with who you are and what you want.

4. Focus on quality, not quantity. People often believe that doing lots of networking and having hundreds of contacts and connections equal greater success. Not so fast! Rather than adding more new people to your network, invest some time identifying your most valuable connections; the ones who not only bring you referrals and opportunities, but also provide you with valuable insights, information, and support. Focus on these top connections for a while.

The same goes for your networking activities. Which ones really bring energy, value, and results to your career or business? Next, make a list of the traits that make these top people and events valuable to you. Note for future reference how you originally met or heard about them. This information will help you recognize and attract more of the same. You’ve just created a faster track to your success!

5. Say no with grace. Once you identify your top contacts and networking activities, you’ll start to see who and what no longer serves you. It will be easier to prioritize, which is crucial to your networking efficiency and success. Figure out who and what needs to be edited out (or given less attention). Gradually—and graciously—back away from those who drag, drain, and disenable you.

6. Focus on your best connections. Stay in touch with your best connections. This means reaching out and staying top-of-mind on a regular basis. Invest a few minutes each day to sending friendly, helpful, grateful, congratulatory, or supportive notes to your valued connections. Set up one or two weekly strategic coffee or lunch dates. Attend a few targeted business or association events each month. Organize and make time in your weekly routine to follow up and succeed utilizing the above. The key is doing these things regularly and consistently.

7. Stand out in the crowd. You just never know where or when an important conversation will take place, when an opportunity will arise, or when you will run into a valued colleague or customer. Be ready, alert, and aware. Live your brand and allow it to guide how you show up and conduct yourself. Show genuine interest in other people by being the first to say hello, offering a professional handshake, and engaging in friendly conversation. Ask questions that show interest. Then take the time to actively listen to what others have to say. With a little extra effort and courtesy you can make connections and meetings so much more memorable and valuable, for you and for others.

8. Give first. This isn’t about giving away your expertise or time randomly. It’s about offering a positive attitude and a willingness to listen and offer ideas to those you meet. This dramatically separates you from people who focus only on themselves. Certainly it’s okay to be purposeful and focused on what you’re seeking, but sincere acts of generosity are rare and endearing.

9. Reap your reward. Consistently practice steps 1 through 8 and you’ll be on your way to making more powerful connections, earning more likability and trust, and attracting more referrals. But add one more step: thoughtfully, concisely, and most of all humbly (and without assumption) educate others on what you’re seeking and what constitutes good opportunities and referrals for you. If you are generous in giving to others, help them respond in kind.

Working Your To-do List When Surprises Arise

Each day when you compose your to-do list, and begin merrily proceeding down the list, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we compose our to-do lists, and how productive we are in handling the products and tasks on the list, within the course of a day, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions and other developments arise that are going to throw us off.

What is your reaction when you are humming along and all of a sudden you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Or, a client calls. Or, something is returned to you that you thought was complete.

If you are like most professionals you will immediately become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to quite accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

I believe there is, and it involves first making a mini, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task you need to handle. Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction. It reduces anxiety and increases the probability you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion, and be able at the time of its completion to turn back to what you were doing.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unforeseen challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list you were working on.

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unforeseen situations and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, such as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not so wired. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we had so wanted to follow, and tend to be at least temporarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an intrusion of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large the intrusion will be, but it will pull you off course.

The key question for you is: Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions? The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

Jeff Davidson, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” has written 59 mainstream books, is an authority on time management, and is an electrifying professional speaker. He is the author of Breathing Space and Simpler Living. He believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his books, ebooks, and articles; videos, audios, and iPhone apps; and his keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and seminars. 

Giving and Taking – 5 Keys to Better Relationships

Dr. Alan Zimmerman believes you can achieve astonishing results if you know how to communicate with yourself and others. By focusing on such topics as self-esteem, motivation, teamwork, conflict resolution, and change mastery, he teaches people how to bring out the best.

In a Wichita State University survey, employees rated a manager’s “thanks” as THE MOST motivational incentive of all. Unfortunately, 58% of the employees said they rarely received a personal thank you.

From the employees’ points of view, their managers were takers. They took their employee’s efforts but didn’t give much recognition in return.

Author Dr. J. Allan Peterson discovered that the same thing happens in our personal relationships. Sixty-nine percent of married people do not work at building their marriages. They simply take each other for granted.

He says the average husband has the attitude of, “Why do you have to chase the bus once you’ve caught it?” And the average wife has the attitude of, “Once you’ve caught the fish you throw away the bait.”

At the root of almost every relationship and teamwork problem is the fact that there’s too much taking and not enough giving.

The bottom line is simply this. Any good relationship, at home or on the job, is built on a foundation of giving. So what does it take to become a genuine giver rather than a selfish taker?

I’ve found five strategies that givers (and winners) use.

1. Decide to Be a Giver.

Every day you make dozens of decisions. You decide everything from the foods you eat, to the way you treat your customers, to the time you go to bed.

If you’re like most people, however, you live on autopilot. You don’t even think about the decisions you are making. You may not realize that you are making dozens of decisions throughout the day that will affect your future forever.

Make a conscious decision that you’re going to live your life as a giver and not a taker. It will make all the difference in the world in your relationships.

2. Give Now.

Don’t wait for a special occasion to give. If you wait until a team finishes its entire project before you celebrate the progress it’s making, if you wait until your spouse’s birthday before you pass along some affection, you lessen the impact of your giving. They already expect to receive something on those “special occasions,” so that lessens the impact of your giving. Give now.

It’s like the cow and pig having a discussion. The cow talked about how she gave milk and cream every day. But the pig was angry. He said, “I give my all–ham, knuckles, even my skin for brushes. So why do they love you so much more than me?” The cow replied, “Maybe it’s because I do my giving when I’m living.” She gave now.

That’s what Brenda Sutherland, a multi-year winner of the ‘Fitness Instructor of the Year’, decided to do after attending my Journey to the Extraordinary program. She applied what she learned to her relationship with her son. As she wrote,

“Hi Alan, I want to inform you that my goal of coaching my 25-year-old autistic son to lose 20 pounds has come to fruition … a week earlier than the goal I set at the Journey … and I might add, he actually lost 20.4 lbs. in 7 weeks.”

“I used the tools that I learned at the Journey to help him achieve this goal. And we have both learned so much from his achievement, about each other and ourselves. Our relationship has grown from one of mother/son to one of great friends who share a mutual respect. He said that the greatest tool that I shared with him were the pages from the Journey manual regarding the benefits of a positive attitude. He now has set himself a second goal and wants me to keep on coaching him. WE ALL WIN!!”

“There is no greater reward than riding alongside someone who has struggled many times and failed and then seeing them transform all areas of their life. I came to the Journey to the Extraordinary to become more successful in my work and more effective in my life. I certainly learned how to do all that, but I never expected your material would spill over to my family in such wonderful ways. Thank you once again, Alan, for making a great life that much better.”

Wow! That’s the power of the Journey and the power of giving. So I urge you to register for my next Journey to the Extraordinary program coming to Minneapolis on May 4-5, 2017 while the great Early-Bird Special is still available. Click here for more information or to register now.

3. Give Fittingly.

In other words, give what the other person would appreciate. Give what fits with the other person’s interests and likes.

You see, no one tries to be insensitive, but it happens all too often. I see it when the boss gives his employees tickets to a baseball game, but some of his employees don’t even like baseball. I see it when a husband gives his wife a new TV set, but he’s the one who does most of the TV viewing. You’ve got to give what the other person would appreciate.

Lisa Whicker’s children didn’t understand that. While she was shopping with her three small children at the mall, a window display of lingerie caught her attention. As she pointed to a lacy teddy and matching robe, she asked her kids, “Do you think Daddy would like this?” “No way,” her horrified 6-year old son replied. “Daddy would NEVER wear THAT.”

One gentleman understood the necessity of giving what the other person would appreciate. Every morning he passed by the house of a lonely, elderly widow and would give her a rose.

One day, as she was entertaining a visitor, she said, “The rose comes from his garden. Here he comes right now, taking a walk with his friend.”

And sure enough, the gentleman handed her a beauty. With a gallant bow, he said, “I grew this one just for you.”

As the gentleman and his friend walked away, the gentleman explained sheepishly, “I’ve never been in a garden in my life. I buy her a rose in the florist shop down the street every morning. It gives her such a happy look for a few moments.”

Give what the other person would appreciate.

4. Give When You Don’t Feel Like It.

Sometimes you simply don’t feel like giving. It would take too much work, you think.

However, it is sacrificial giving … when you don’t feel like it … that brings the best results.

Cecil Osborne discussed that in his book, The Art of Understanding Your Mate. He discussed the case of a woman who said, “I hate my husband. I can’t stand him. I not only want to divorce him, but I want to make things as difficult for him as I can.”

The counselor wisely perceived something else was going on. So he said, “I have an answer for you. When you leave my office, I want you to go home and start catering to your husband’s every whim. Love him. Compliment him. Pamper him. Make life as easy and wonderful for him as you possibly can. Then when he gets to the point where he needs you and is flowering in the glory of your attention, file for a divorce. That will devastate him.”

The woman left, and for months Osborne did not hear anything from her. One evening at a social event, however, he saw her across the room. He asked, “I haven’t heard from you since we talked. Did you divorce your husband?”

“Divorce my husband,” she gasped. “I love my husband. I took your advice. Every bit of it. We’ve never been happier.”

The counselor’s strategy worked. When the woman gave when she didn’t feel like it, when she didn’t want to, when it wasn’t easy, the relationship improved.

5. Try Giving Experiences.

Many organizations make the mistake of giving their people “things” instead of “experiences.” They give their employees a decent salary, a few benefits, and an occasional T-shirt with the company logo.

That’s fine. But strong, healthy, lasting work relationships need more than things. They need their organizations to give them some positive experiences as well. Gilmore and Pine make that abundantly clear in their best-selling book, The Experience Economy.

You even see this in parent-child relationships. Some parents are more likely to give their children things than they are experiences. They mistakenly think that’s what the kids want and need. Then, when the kids grow up, they have nothing to remember.

One jokester put it this way. He said, “When I was a child, my parents gave me a bat for Christmas. Unfortunately, the first time I played with it, it flew away.”

Don’t underestimate the power of giving experiences, like diplomat Charles Frances Adams did. He wrote in his diary, “Took my boy fishing today. A wasted day.” His son, Brook Adams, wrote in his diary the same day, “Went fishing today with my father. Greatest day of my life.”

Final Thought:

Taking may help you get what you want … temporarily … but giving is the surest way to lasting and positive relationships.

Do the Messages You Send into the Marketplace Match What You Want to be Known For as an Organization?

Dan Coughlin is president of The Coughlin Company, Inc., a management consulting firm focused on improving executive effectiveness and significance. He serves as a thinking partner for executives and business owners toward improving their most important desired business outcomes. Visit his free Business Leadership Idea Center at www.thecoughlincompany.com.

Every company regardless of its size or industry shares several common factors.\

Intentionally or not, every company has a reason for existing beyond making money, a strategy, tactics, operations, a level of execution, leadership, teamwork, and interfaces with people in the marketplace. In this article I want to focus on that last item.

No matter how well the organization does things internally it is the ability to interface with people outside of the company that will largely determine its success. And there’s one primary test that you should consider in all of these marketplace interfaces:

Does the message that is being sent from your company match with what you want to be known for as an organization?

Intentionally Work to Try to Build Your Brand

I define a brand as the value people think they receive from an organization when they buy its products or services. I also define a brand as the value people think they will receive if they do buy from that organization.

No company owns its brand because its brand exists inside the minds of its customers and potential customers.

All you can do is try your very best to send messages out into the marketplace that represent what you want to be known for.

Here are the steps involved in intentionally working to grow your brand:

  1. Write down what you want your organization to be known for?
  2. Think about every interaction any one in your organization has with people outside of your organization?
  3. Work to influence how people in your organization think so they consciously deliver messages that represent what you want your organization to be known for.

Let’s say a local grocery store wants to be known for highly personalized service with good products at reasonable prices.

The store interfaces with the marketplace through advertising and through what its employees say to their neighbors and people they interact with in the community. They need a consistent message to deliver in all those interactions. Perhaps it is simply, “Our store is not as well-known as the bigger chains, but when you come in someone will ask your name right away. And then people will ask if you need any help finding an item. And in a lot of cases they will offer to run and get what you need so you don’t have to go all over the store looking for it. I doubt you will ever find a friendlier or more personalized service in any grocery store.”

There’s the message. It’s consistent with what the store wants to be known for.

Then you can hire and fire people, provide professional development sessions, develop tactics, focus on execution, build teamwork, and lead in ways that support being a very friendly grocery store that provides extraordinarily friendly service.

This same process applies for Fortune 50 companies, medium-sized businesses, and small businesses.

Take the Time to Answer the Questions for Your Organization

Take out a sheet of paper. Write down your answers to these questions:

Question #1 What do you want your organization to be known for?

Really think about that and write it down. Get other people involved in this thinking process, and consider their input.

Question #2: What are the messages you want delivered into the marketplace about your organization?

Really think about that and write it down. Talk it over with several key people and clarify what you want the messages to be.

Make sure your organization truly does what it says it wants to be known for.

And then encourage every employee to talk about the organization in the way you want it to be talked about. Make sure every corporate message and every piece of advertising supports the type of organization you want to be known for.

Brands are built in many ways both big and small, and they all have to be consistent with one another.

Look for Disconnects and Address Them Right Away

There are two types of messages that go out from your organization into the marketplace: planned and unplanned.

When a planned message (advertising, official statements, television interviews, etc.) in retrospect turns out to not support what you want your organization to be known for, you can discuss it and make adjustments in the future.

The more challenging messages are those that come from people inside the organization and go out into the marketplace that show a significant disconnect from what you want to be known for. In the world of texts, instant messaging, twitter, Facebook, and so on, it is very easy for a person inside an organization to send a message out into the marketplace that is the opposite of what the organization wants to be known for.

I suggest you meet with that person right away. Ask why he or she feels that way. See if there is a real issue that needs to be addressed within the organization. Let the person know how important it is to discuss these issues inside the organization and not in the marketplace because his or her voice has increased credibility because he or she works for the organization.

If the person continues to send messages into the marketplace that do not support what you want to be known for as an organization, then I think you have to consider whether that person should remain a part of your organization. People have freedom of speech. They can say what they want. You also have the freedom to decide who you want in your organization.

The messages your organization sends out into the marketplace are extremely important. Do they match with what you want to be known for as an organization?

Put a Price Tag on Your Benefits: Association Membership

Joe Rominiecki is a contributing editor at Associations Now, a lifelong Phillies fan, and a proud alum of Ohio University.

Don’t leave the value of your association’s member benefits open to question. Here’s why you should put dollar values on your benefits, plus a few examples of associations that are doing so.

If you’ve read even the most basic advice on negotiation tactics, you’re likely to know about “anchoring.” It’s a simple concept: The first offer made in a negotiation has a strong psychological effect on the rest of the process. Whatever that first offer may be, the negotiating parties can’t help but think of it as a reference point, or anchor, from which to compare all other offers made.

In recruiting new members, stating a dollar value for each benefit takes advantage of the anchoring effect.

Selling an association membership is not a traditional negotiation process, but the anchoring effect proves relevant in pricing situations just the same. In the June issue of Associations Now, I shared the perspectives of Ed Rigsbee, CSP, CAE, a speaker and association membership consultant, who urges associations to put dollar values next to all of their member benefits wherever they are listed or promoted.

“Trade associations and professional societies are having to show, ‘What’s in it for me to join and come and play in your sandbox,’” he says. “Some associations are willing to tell them, and others aren’t.”

In recruiting new members, stating a dollar value for each benefit takes advantage of the anchoring effect. The typical prospect looking at your benefits package will likely have only a vague feeling of the dollar value of each benefit, if the prospect has even considered them that way at all. By putting that dollar value out there, you create that reference point that can subtly influence the prospect’s decision to join.

Rigsbee also recommends calculating those dollar values by asking members about what your benefits are worth to them. That way you can add even more weight to the anchor by explaining that the numbers are based on what current members say.

A little Googling shows several associations are doing this, in varying styles:

Northern California Human Resources Association
Illinois Technology Association
Oregon Veterinary Medical Association
Virginia Society of Association Executives
Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association
Institute of Food Technologists
National Association of Realtors

Meanwhile, NAR’s is an interactive “calculator” that allows members to select the benefits they actually use and see a customized membership value (because most members join for a few specific benefits within your bundle, anyway):
NAR Member Benefits Calculator

Selling membership doesn’t always have to be about dollar values, and sometimes perhaps it shouldn’t. But there is certainly room for a variety of approaches (I tend to think dollar values are more useful in recruitment than in retention), and I doubt tagging dollar values onto your member benefits could hurt. At the very least, the importance of anchoring in price negotiations would suggest that naming a dollar value for your benefits is better than letting prospective members try to imagine what your benefits are worth on their own.

In your member-benefits listings, how do you convey their value to the member or prospective member? If you have a benefits listing with dollar values like the examples above, please share a link in the comments below.

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