Saturday, December 31, 2011

Short Course on Corporate Survival

Lesson #1: Time is more valuable than money. The currency of time is getting more and more scarce and thereby more and more valuable. Listen for the clues to time being stolen away from you. “Can I have just a few moments of your time?” and the sneakier and more insidious “I’ll get back to you” and the impossible “ASAP.” There is no such thing as a“few minutes of your time,” How ‘bout scheduling a specific time? ASAP doesn’t mean anything. Use time wisely.

Lesson #2: You’ll spend most of your time making things happen. Come to grips with that reality. Have a well thought out plan sure. But your job is much more about “Just doing it.” If you come into a new job, especially if you fill a position that may have been vacant a while, you’re going to have to execute even before you get a comfortable handle on the big picture.

Lesson #3: Seek out expertise and network. It will pay off. Schmoozing works, sort of. You will always be more trusting of people you know. Networking allows you to get to know people and what they do. It will always be better to know someone than to blindly call someone out of the Yellow Pages in a panic. Best-selling business author Harvey MacKay says “Dig your well before you are thirsty.” I concur.

Lesson #4: You gotta listen first. A salesman called me once offering a service I couldn’t refuse (he thought). “I can cut your customer service costs by 25%” this guy promised me over the phone. How in the world did this guy come up with this as his lead? That pitch turned me off. The audacity of that presumptive sell really burned me up. Wrong message That company needs to find a way to listen first.

Lesson #5: Seek advice. It’s a really good idea. This isn’t the same as networking. But networking is sometimes the gateway to getting the best advice. Businesses is relying on fewer people to do more things you need to have an outside board of advisors you trust Seek help - even on less perplexing problems. Insight and support is good even if it confirms a direction in which you are already headed is the right one.

Lesson #6: Try to look at things differently. A research specialist I met a few years ago described in mathematical terms the lifetime value of a customer. A simple concept really. Armed with a gem like that, you might be able to influence your corporate culture and your brand. That’s something!

Lesson #7: Good ideas can come from anywhere. You have to rely on ideas coming from inside and outside your organization. Next time you have a chance to talk to a customer, ask them about their experience with your company at retail, on the phone, on your website. Use the data you gather to make strategic adjustments that are true to your strategy.

Lesson #8: Be yourself. Simple enough right? Your company doesn’t clones with only one point of view. It’s the differences that make challenges possible and innovation more probable. Lesson #9: Learn something new every day. I believe you can. I really do. It may not always be directly relevant to what you are doing right now. Something new you learn today may become very handy tomorrow, next week or next year.

Lesson #10: Details can kill you. Little things are big things. Make sure they are covered. An example: Proof read your copy one more time. How boring and mundane. Remembere, even an expert skier can break his leg on the bunny hill. Why? Because he/she takes their expertise for granted they are expert and cannot come to harm. Pay attention. Do Great work! Be proud of what you do.

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