Make the JUMP to Better Decisions
Posted at 3:07 PM on Friday, April 25, 2008
In 1919 Leslie Irvin made a decision. He decided to jump from an airplane. He wasn't the first to jump from a plane; and it wasn't even the first time he jumped from a plane - in fact he had been jumping for five years.
But on April 28, 1919, Leslie did something no one had ever done before.
He made a premeditated, free-fall, parachute descent with a pack on his back. After he left the plane, he pulled a ripcord to deploy the chute, and he broke his ankle when he landed. Before this, parachutes were deployed from canisters on the plane. This had become the standard approach in the fledgling flight industry as a safety measure for pilots.
So imagine when Leslie jumped - with no attachment of any kind to the plane - hoping his new parachute would open.
He took the kind of jump that day that most of us wouldn't take - on many different levels for many different reasons. But that jump led this young stuntman into business - a business that continues today as the Irvin Aerospace Company, specializing in parachutes and other life saving equipment.
While Irvin didn't design the new parachute or the process, he did make a critical decision - whether or not he would make the jump. In retrospect, given the short synopsis I have just shared, it seems the jump was absolutely the right decision, yet at the time, I'm guessing nearly everyone thought it was crazy, rash, or just plain stupid. (Can't you just hear Leslie's mother saying, "You are going to do what?")
There are hundreds of decision making tools available; however, in honor of Leslie and his fate-filled jump, here’s a simple acrostic to help you be more thoughtful and complete about the decisions you make - large and small.JUMP!
When making decisions, you need to JUMP!J
You will make better decisions when you consider the situation from a variety of perspectives. What would others think, how would others respond, and what would their reactions be?
The various perspectives you consider in different situations likely will be quite different (perspectives on deciding where to go on vacation versus deciding on which job offer to accept would probably vary widely, for example), but the approach holds.
Whether it's a highly structured review or a quick overview, considering multiple perspectives will provide you a new vantagepoint from which to make your decision.Uses of JUMP
You can JUMP on any type of decision, but here are some times when JUMP-ing might be especially helpful.
Considering a change? Perhaps your organization or team wants to change a procedure or approach. Rather than taking your own beliefs as your sole determinant, be open and ask questions of others. Consider their perspectives as you consider your choices related to the change.
Leading or proposing a change? Multiple perspectives here is critical both to proposing the best change option and to communicating it successfully to others. You will communicate and lead change most effectively when you communicate it from the perspective of others. You can't do this very well if you haven't taken a JUMP.
Making a critical decision of any sort? Looking at it from a variety of angles will help you make a more informed, and likely better, decision.
Trying something new? Consider the advice and perspective of experts in the area, and perhaps non-experts as well. A multitude of perspectives will offer a more balanced view to consider the risks and rewards to your new idea.
Leslie Irvin jumped from a plane in a new way, something most of us will never do (in a new way or not!). While we'll never know how he made that decision, we all can make better decisions - and honor his spirit - by making a JUMP, judge using multiple perspectives.Potential Pointer:
Decisions are made every day, usually relying on past experience, intuition and quick judgments to decide. Some decisions, especially those relating to new ideas, are better decided after an intelligent JUMP rather than jumping to conclusions.
Labels: decision making, risks
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We - The Ideal Customer Relationship by Steve Yastrow
Posted at 2:26 PM on
Who doesn't want the ideal Customer relationship? What would ideal Customer relationships do to your bottom line, your salary, or your enjoyment and satisfaction at work?
Regardless of your role, you have Customers and they play a significant role in your success - however you define it.
Steve's book defines the ideal Customer relationship as a "We relationship", provides you with the rationale for having "We relationships" and then gives you the building blocks for creating them. Resting on the concept of Encounters (defined as interactions that improve your relationships), the book provides a logical sequence to help you build these relationships and ultimately for your relationships to build them with each other.
This book is full of thought provoking ideas and is rich with examples from Steve's real-world work with his Customers. It is clear that he walks his talk; he clearly has the We relationships he writes about.
This book is valuable for more than just marketers or those who deal directly with Customers. It is filled with useful ideas about improving all relationships, period. I plan to make it required reading for my team.
Learn more and purchase at Amazon.com.
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Customer Relationships are Recession Busters
Posted at 9:26 PM on Sunday, April 20, 2008
This post is about two things: recessions and a solution to them.
Don't worry this is not an economic treatise about the definitions and causes of economic downturns sometimes called recessions. Rather, it is an explanation of how we can think about these events differently and, when these circumstances surround us, how we can improve our results regardless of what the media tells us.
While regional, national or global level economic indicators can show that an economy is slowing down, that people are losing their jobs and the like, I believe that for individuals, a recession is little more than a change in circumstances that we can choose to participate in or not. I would argue that recessions don't even exist for us as individuals, unless we allow them to.Recessions and Our Response
First, if you are reading this and have lost your job or are facing significant changes in your situation due to the events being labeled "recession", please don't get angry with my comments, but continue reading with an open mind. Use these ideas to be proactive in dealing with the opportunity you are now facing.
The media and/or politicians may say we are in a recession. And yet, businesses are still buying products and services (though perhaps a bit less than 'normal') and businesses are still hiring employees and moving forward.
The key for you and your business is to be the one who gets a larger percentage of the orders or the interviews or job offers that are available. In this proactive way you can choose to recognize that recessions are macro not micro events. You have a choice about how you will view the event the media calls "recession."
What I'm saying is that times might be a little tougher and that it might not be as easy as it used to be (or will be again), but so what? You can succeed through a better plan and a bit of persistence. When things are a little tougher, it simply separates out those who are prepared to work harder and more creatively.Our Best Response
After you have readjusted your views on what a recession is, and how you can most proactively view those circumstances, your next actions should be focused on the source of your income and profits: Your Customers.
You may call them something else: Clients, Patients, Students, Participants, Users, or Participants. Or you may be thinking, "Kevin I work inside the organization, I don't deal with our paying Customers." That’s fine, you still have Customers. Other departments, the people who you give your work to, the people who give you work, all of these people are your internal Customers. (If you "only" have internal Customers, read on, apply the points and wait for a special message for you before I close.)
Whatever you call them and whoever they are, your Customers are your personal recession buster - but only if you focus on them more completely, deeply and consistently than ever. Think about it this way - your Customers are the source of all revenue for your organization; your Customers write your paycheck. It makes sense to build and deepen your relationships with them always, but that is never more true than in times where they are buying less and probably distracted by the economy themselves.
Your Customers are looking for new solutions. Your Customers want help. Your Customers need you.Five Ideas
Here are five ways you can focus on deepening your relationships with your Customers, starting right now.Get in touch.
Stop by, make a call, send a handwritten note, send an email (in that order of priority - the further up this list the more valuable the contact will be). Let them know you care, take the effort to be connected.Stay in touch.
Don't make this contact a one-time event but part of an ongoing process of staying in touch, connected and at the top of the mind for your Customer.Ask how you can help them.
No strings and no qualifiers. Do you appreciate it when someone offers to help you with something? So will your Customers, even if they don't take you up on the offer.Educate them.
Send an article, share an idea. After you know how you can help or what their challenges are, it will be easier to determine the best things to share based on their interests and needs.Focus on serving not selling.
People buy from those they like, trust and respect. Sales will come. Focus on the person, building the relationship and serving them.
These are just five ideas - you probably can come up with fifty-five more. Your challenge is to find ways to be relevant, helpful and available to your Customers.A Final Thought
Before I close, I promised those with internal Customers a final thought. If you will do the things above, you will help your internal Customer better serve the paying Customer. When you sparkle in these efforts, they may even get ideas from your actions to apply with their Customers.
Regardless of where you sit in the organization you can have a direct impact on business success by your actions. Focus those actions on improving relationships with your Customers, whoever they are.
Also posted in Customer Service
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One Degree Connected - A Tool for Making Powerful Personal Connections
Posted at 9:17 PM on
Would you like more business?
Would you like a new job?
Would like to be mentored by someone?
I'm guessing the answer to one or more of these questions is yes.
Here's just one more question.
Who would you like to meet?
Whether you answered yes to any of the other questions or not, we all have people we want to meet. And for those who did answer yes to the first questions, consider this:
- The best way to build new business is through a personal connection to decision makers.
- The best way to find a new job is through a personal connection to someone doing the hiring.
- The best way to find or connect with a desired mentor is through a personal connection to the potential mentor.
The common thread here is personal connections. One Degree Connected is an online tool to help you make those connections (and make connections for others too).
It is not Linked In, My Space, Facebook or any of the dozens of other networking sites in that it is focused on creating real-life, offline connections. Members contribute by offering their network of contacts (which are completely secure and safe - other members can only get your contact's information through you).
When you are looking for a connection, you simply search on a specific name (if you know exactly who you want to meet), company, job title, etc. If another member is connected to that person, the search lets you know and you can then request a connection (or introduction) from that member.
In other words, One Degree works like networking in the real world, where we give referrals and make connections all the time - yet it brings the power of databases and the internet to multiply the speed and reach in making those connections.
Unlike most other networking sites, One Degree does have a fee, but when you see the power it can bring to you, the investment is a no-brainer.
Making connections and building relationships can make your life richer in a variety of ways. One Degree Connected is a powerful new tool to help you do those things faster and more broadly. I encourage you to take a look at this truly unique service. Use referral code KE-33 when you sign up and we’ll send you a special bonus from us.
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Daily Learning Habits
Posted at 10:19 PM on Sunday, April 13, 2008
In my last post
, I shared a powerful daily habit with you. There are lots of other daily learning habits that we can invest in. Here are two others . . .Word of the Day
For many years I have asked people "what's the word of the day?" It has typically been a way to greet people and get people thinking. This could however be a powerful way to build your vocabulary. Think about how your vocabulary would expand if you learned just one new word a day. While there a likely many tools for doing this online, I've subscribed to A Word A Day
for many years. I highly recommend it.A Picture a Day
My intern for this coming summer, Abby Hoye was apprised of my "what's the word of the day?" question during a discussion with another person on the team. Since then she has shared a couple words of the day with me. Then, last week I received an email from her with the subject line: Kevin Eikenberry-isms. Here is part of the note:"You have your word of the day correct? Well I have come up with a very similar, but slightly different "of the day" thing. It's a picture of the day. I take one picture every day with my cell phone to sum up my day and send it off to people."
This seems fun, creative and another possible daily learning habit. What if the picture related to a life lesson, important value, or something along those lines. The picture of the day could be connected with the word of the day (a picture that relates to your word of the day) or to the daily learning question as well. These pictures could form the basis of a great personal journal or blog.
I know there are many other daily learning habits. Consider these just a start. What are your daily learning habits?
Also posted in Learning
Labels: learning habits
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Improve Your Tomorrows By Asking One Question Today
Posted at 8:23 AM on Friday, April 11, 2008
If you are a parent of school-aged children (or have ever been a school-aged child), I would bet you have asked or heard this question every single day: "What did you learn in school today?" And when those same children roll their eyes or say "oh Mom!" those same parents persist; asking a follow up question like, "You know you learned something - you were there all day, c'mon, what did you learn?"
After some prying and cajoling, the children answer with some morsel or lesson learned during the day. The kids are relieved, and the parents are happy. This scene plays out in cars and homes all over the world, and yet this question that seems so obvious to parents seems to escape our thoughts for ourselves.
The modified question you could ask yourself every day is: "What did I learn today?"Why This Question Works
Parents ask school children about what they learned at school because they expect them to learn at school. But somehow after graduation, people stop thinking about learning as their daily task. And yet, human beings are learning beings. Our bodies and brains are constantly learning.
If you are constantly learning you might wonder why you need to ask this question at all (and that is a good question itself!).
While you are constantly learning, the things you are learning are subconscious and therefore not necessarily accessible to your conscious mind. Also, the things you are learning by just going through your day may not be the things you most want to learn. So, by asking the question, you are making your learning more conscious and intentional.
As you ask it more frequently, you will begin to see your daily experiences as learning opportunities and those things you most want to learn and improve will become clearer.How This Question Works
As you begin to think of life as your own personal learning laboratory, you can expect ideas, lessons and discoveries each day. The question plays to that expectancy.What did I learn today?
When you ask yourself this question, you are expecting that there is learning to recall! When you create the habit of asking, you begin to create a habit of looking for the things you are learning. And, as you expectantly look, you will most certainly find lessons and learnings.Where This Questions Works
This question works in every part of your life!
Consider asking the question to help you learn:
- In your personal life
- In your professional life
- As a team member
- As a leader
- In pursuit of a specific goal
Based on your needs you may choose to ask the generic question about your entire day, to focus on one of these areas specifically (i.e. what did I learn today to make me a better parent, or what did I learn today to make me a better salesperson), or to ask the question multiple times, once for each important role or learning goal that you have.
However you choose to apply this question to your life, the power will come from asking it consistently.
To make your results even more satisfying also add the habit of writing down your answers each day. The process of writing will further clarify your thinking, and you will have a permanent record of your lessons, ideas and learning.
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Lessons From Great Lives By Sterling Sill and Dan McCormick
Posted at 8:20 AM on
This book authored by Sterling Sill was originally published in 1981 but has long been out of print. Entrepreneur and speaker Dan McCormick credits Lessons From Great Lives as one of the most influential in his life, so he arranged to have it republished with some additional material.
The book's premise is that there are lessons to be learned from the lives of others - especially the lives of people who made a difference in the world around them. It attempts to distill lessons from 19 such people into a short and easy to read tome.
It is hard to argue with the people selected. They include da Vinci, Emerson, Lincoln, Gandhi, Churchill, Socrates, Napoleon and many more. (It is always a good sign when people can be identified by just one name!). It's even harder to argue with the premise.
The book reads a bit like drinking from a fire hose - there is so much information and so many lessons written rapid fire that it made me tired. So, I slowed down my reading approach. This is not a book to read on a short plane flight, but rather one to savor, reading a few pages or one biography at a time to allow some of the lessons to soak in, and the ideas and connections you will gain to emerge.
Regardless of your approach to reading it, the lessons that can be gleaned from these great lives are amazing - and for that reason Lessons From Great Lives is worth reading and considering how to apply in your life.
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I Want to Win! - The Power and Pitfalls of Competition
Posted at 9:10 PM on Thursday, April 03, 2008
This is an appropriate title for me because I have thought and said "I want to win!" many times in my life. Ask those who know me best and they will tell you that I am a competitive person in just about any facet of life. Ask those who've known me my whole life and you might even hear some stories of competitive board and card game play that I’d prefer not be repeated.
As a younger person my competitive nature led me to want to win every game of HORSE, Scrabble, Euchre; every foot race or contest that I entered; and score the highest on every test. While I was taught to be (and think I mostly was) a good sport, my focus was most always on winning. And looking back, I can point to both the power and the pitfalls of this competitive nature.
I married someone much less competitive, and I have a son who takes more after his mother than me in this area. I also spend my time with people and organizations who are trying to improve their results. These facts have kept me pondering and exploring competition throughout my life.
This exploration and self-examination as well as a lifetime of observations have led to some specific beliefs about competition:
Everyone is competitive at some level and in some ways.
The intensity of your competitive feelings drives your thoughts about competition.
Your thoughts about competition and your competitors influence your behavior.
Your behavior leads to your results.Competition as a GIFT
Since competition can impact our results, it makes sense to me to view it as a gift that we have been given. How we use and direct our competitive nature is determined by four components that make up the word GIFT.Goals
- competition is defined by goals. The goals you choose are critical to harnessing the power of competition. Having a goal - a profit target, grade, score or time – sets the stage for competition, regardless of who you are competing against. Consider your goals from the perspective of how they stoke your competitiveness.Intent
- your intent will determine how you compete. If your intent is to win at all costs, your behaviors will be different than if you want to do your best, or improve since your last effort. If my intent in a board game (or life) is only to win, my thoughts and behaviors will be different than if my intent is to improve on past performance. Both intents produce a result – one might produce a better, healthier and more sustainable long-term result. This concept of intent is an important one to consider in relationship to competition.Focus
- who you are competing against. You can view yourself, others, other teams or other companies as your competition. If you see the person in the next cubicle as your competition, you may not share information or resources. You may be less likely to build relationships. Why would you want/need to? They are the competition, after all! If you think of another department, another shift, or another region as the competition, you certainly may build great team pride and unity, and yet work at cross purposes with those other groups. Why? Because you want to win! Where ever you place your focus determines who you are competing against. This is a critical component in the results you will achieve. Think carefully about who the competition really is before ramping up your competitive juices. Do not misunderstand this point. There is nothing wrong with internal competition, just make sure the focus is on overall goal achievement not just winning for the sake of winning.Timeline
- where you place the competition finish line. Do you consider it winning only when you reach a life-long major goal, or can you revel in and celebrate small wins along the way? Where you place the finish line determines how often you can win. If you want to win an Olympic medal, you would have many competitive finishes before reaching that large goal wouldn't you? While you can have (and need) the long-term, big, competitive aspiration, you must set many smaller, intermediate opportunities to win along the way.
I hope you can see how the choices you make and the perspectives you take on these four GIFT components will determine your results.
Register now for the next Leadership Training Camp in Newport Beach on June 23-24. Early birds save $200. Learn more and register today for two jam packed days of learning with Kevin.
Take some time to consider the role that competition plays in your life and your results. Reflect on these ideas regardless of how competitive you are.
Competition is truly one of the most powerful human forces. As a leader, as a teammate, and as an individual, it is important to consider how you can use this competitive fire to create the results you really want.
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The One Minute Entrepreneur by By Ken Blanchard and Don Hutson
Posted at 9:01 PM on
The One Minute Manager
defines the genre of business fiction or the business parable. In fact, most people in business have at least heard of it, whether they’ve read it or not.
One of the reasons for the familiarity is that author Ken Blanchard smartly extended the One Minute brand with a variety of other books and co-authors. The One Minute Entrepreneur
is the latest in that string of books.
Written with his friend and successful speaker and businessperson Don Hutson, The One Minute Entrepreneur
follows the familiar short story model as a way to share the most important points.
The subtitle of this book is Discover Your Entrepreneurial Strengths, and the book does a nice job of identifying 20 of those strengths. Readers can also take advantage of an online self-assessment to help them better understand their personal strengths. This is a nice addition to an enjoyable and valuable book.
My major reflection on the book though goes beyond entrepreneurship. Yes, the story is set over the career of a person who becomes an entrepreneur. Yes, the context and messages are shared from that perspective. But the overall message, ideas and thoughts on life balance and perspective are valuable for anyone. It is for those purposes, as much as the business lessons, that I plan to share it with my fifteen-year-old.
If you are or are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, are interested in your own self development (even if you never want to own a business), or know someone who is graduating from high school or college this spring, this book would be a great choice.
Like other books in the series and genre, you won't have to invest too much reading time - it is an easy and quick read. And, like the best books in this genre, it provides lessons and food for thought that will last long past the short, enjoyable reading time.
This book isn't yet available yet (I read a pre-publication copy), but you can get The One Minute Entrepreneur
now as a part of a very special promotion. If you order through this special offer for $39 you will get the $19.95 book, a $99 CD/DVD downloadable training package featuring Dr. Ken Blanchard, and a $59 DVD featuring Don Hutson (total value: $177.95 for just $39). Learn more and take advantage of this offer
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