Give NO For An Answer

No blocksYou know that expression, “Don’t Take No for an Answer?” Great advice on persistence. Keep moving forward, assume the sale, don’t stop when people reject you, persist, persist, persist.

Yes, that is great advice in many situations. Persistence is a powerful force that helps less talented people out-produce their competition. But sometimes the more powerful technique is just the opposite.

Instead of not taking ‘No’ for an answer, how about giving ‘No’ for an answer?

Here’s what I’m talking about. I had to get my car towed recently. I had $75 of towing coverage with my insurance, so anything more than that would come out of my pocket. called around and found prices from $90 – $130. Then I called the insurance company. They offered to set it up for me for $130. It would have been the easiest way, the path of least resistance, and they had it all lined up for me to say ‘Yes’.

But ‘Yes’ would have cost me $40 more than if we went with the $90 company. My insurance company was not concerned with my out of pocket expense. They were just doing what was easiest for them. So I paused a moment, then did something real smart.

I gave ‘No’ for an answer. Continue reading Give NO For An Answer

The Final Piece of The Plan

If you spend any time in Corporate America you’ll hear this phrase over and over: “What gets measured gets done.” The reality in today’s metric-crazed business climate is that you have to measure things or people won’t do them. Lots of sad truth to that.

Often it’s just about focus. Most people are assigned more work than they can finish, so they make sure they finish the things that are going to show up on some muckity muck’s scorecard. Everyone knows that when a muckity gets a bad score, someone has to pay. And since, as they say, sh*t flows downhill, it’s probably going to be you. So you make damn sure you get those visible, measured and punishable things done, stat, above all else.

But this same dreadful principle that sucks in business, can help you win big with your personal goals. You won’t have to worry about being punished, either. Because when you measure and get things done for you, you’re the big winner, not some glad-handing, credit-stealing, kiss-up kick-down Vice President. Continue reading The Final Piece of The Plan

What I Learned From Xerox On Making Resolutions Happen

XeroxWearing my best suit, clutching 25 copies of my resume and flat broke, I approached the Xerox booth at the SF Job Fair. They were the big blue- chip firm at the fair and had the longest line in the hall. I left to visit the other company booths until the Xerox line died down, then stepped up to take my shot.

I looked the sales manager in the eye, shook his hand and handed him my resume. He looked me and my suit up and down, then said, “Why do you think you could work at Xerox?” No doubt that question had thrown a lot of people back on their heels, causing plenty of bowing and scraping throughout the day.

But I was having none of that. I reached into my pants, hoisted my balls onto the table and replied, “Why would I want to work for Xerox? I’m a closer, and everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve made people money. What would Xerox do for me?”

That’s all it took.  He handed me his business card and said, “Call me first thing Monday morning.” He hired me Monday afternoon.

I learned three important things in my time as a Sales Rep for Xerox:

  1. I was not cut out for life in a huge multinational corporation
  2. My title of “Reproduction Specialist” was very misleading
  3. You can’t manage results – you can only manage activities

Continue reading What I Learned From Xerox On Making Resolutions Happen

Resolutions

ny reso

The end of the calendar year has always been a time for me to wrap things up, enjoy some down time, and get ready to start the new year strong. I know some folks believe that New Year resolutions don’t work, but they do for me.

I do an annual review and assess where I’ve been, where I am, where I want to be, and which course corrections I need to get me there. The symbolic starting point of January 1 always helps me re-commit to new and better habits and goals. Sure, I often fall off as the year grows, but that good start always helps me with whatever I’m trying to accomplish.

It also helps me create some urgency in my life. Why do that? Well,  we just don’t know how much time we have left. No matter your age or physical condition, your expiration date is still a mystery. Sure, you can improve your odds with good, healthy choices on diet and exercise, but even then, those are just odds, not guarantees. If you have more to accomplish in your life, then you’d better get to it, ‘cuz you never know when you’ve seen your last New Year.

Just ask Kathy Baker. She was doing everything she was supposed to do. She went to college then worked hard for years to become CFO of the prestigious Lawrence Livermore Lab. She was an accomplished and well liked  leader, and very disciplined about her exercise. 3-4 times a week she went to the gym for a 6:00 am class before heading to the office at 7:00 am. Every week. Like clockwork.

Until about three months ago. Continue reading Resolutions