Blog

February 2012 - PS Insights

MANAGING LIFE

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Motivational guru Tony Robbins likes to say “it’s not what happens to you in life that matters—it’s what you do with it.” In the world of “beauty’s only skin deep,” be comfortable in your skin, make the most of all your assets, don’t be envious of the next guy or gal. They’re likely obsessing about something you feel very confident about. At the poker table they say “good players play their good hands. Great players play the hand they’re dealt.” Play the hand you’re dealt. Play it very well.  What physical or emotional obsession can you let go of today?

EVERYONE COUNTS

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We’re constantly amazed in business how many people brush by, ignore or try to dismiss the people who they think stand between them and their target customer. Service people, support people, receptionists, secretaries (are there still any out there called that?) and assistants are not only people too, they’re the keepers of the keys. It not only doesn’t hurt to be genuinely embracing of everyone within an organization, but it will much more likely get you to the person you want to reach as well as make you feel a whole lot better about yourself every day. Who have you most recently embraced…or ignored?

SYMPOSIUM

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We went to a symposium recently. We mused about the name of the engagement. “Symposium” feels so much more important than “meeting.” Can you elevate your meetings to the importance of a symposium? You’ll have better participation and bigger outcomes.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

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They have a place in business. What we’re talking about is alliances that can be mutually beneficial. Sometimes called Frenemies – but they don’t have to be competitors; they can just be people, companies or organizations that can be mutually-beneficial. It’s as simple as a phone referral from someone you do business with to something as elaborate as a two-company point-of-purchase promotion (think summer barbeque events where the charcoal maker and condiment company offering a shared coupon). Start thinking strategically: Who do you know with whom you should do business to the benefit of both of you?

THE CURSE OF E-MAIL

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We have gotten so digitally dependent that increasingly we choose texting and e-mail over personal communication. Get out of your chair. Pick up the phone. And reinvigorate something very basic: the conversation.

OPEN PLAN

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More and more businesses today are tearing down the walls and moving to open-plan seating. It certainly saves them money on rent or real estate and it brings everyone out in the open. The idea is to maximize efficiency and communication. Does it? Make sure you and your people have the space, the environment and the interaction to work most happily and effectively.

WORDS ABUSED AND MISUSED

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Language keeps evolving and political correctness continues to take its toll. ESPN fired its editor who used the headline “Chink in the Armor” to describe Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin’s weaknesses. There’s no question that “chink” is a pejorative, racist word in regard to a person of Chinese descent. But what about the usage? Will any usage of the word chink now become verbotin? It’s happened to other words, as well. “Niggard,” or “niggardly” which means stingy and is Middle English in origin – having nothing to do with the pejorative term for a person of African descent – simply isn’t used anymore. We’re not language purists, but we’re fascinated by the way English continues to dynamically evolve. After all, we can be happy, but one can’t be gay any more, unless of course you are!

THE 1-MINUTE INTERVIEW

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We’ve interviewed hundreds of people. 70% of all candidates strike out in the first 60 seconds. Everything about how you present yourself — from the opening “hello,” handshake, smile and attire matter. Every presentation starts before its formal beginning. Make every meeting moment count.

BLAMESTORMING

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It’s easy to cast blame. It’s much more difficult to own a problem as a team. Both take energy. But, casting blame also spreads bad feelings. Owning problems enables them to be fixed more readily. How big a person are you in embracing problems and motivating your team?

THANKS FOR THE HELP

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We wrote about consensus vs. slash-and-burn the other day. There’s a third alternative that’s just as valuable: Get the input, then make your own decision. That’s also valid, but if you want to keep your troops loyal, make sure you give them the credit when you take their suggestions.