Prepare1's Eight Trends for "Business and Social Media"

Prepare1 has noticed the following 8 social media trends and business:

1. Businesses are still new to Social Media

2. Businesses focus on the top 5 Social Media Platforms

3. Businesses are Broadcasting vs. Connecting

4. The confidence Mark is around 2-Years

5. Social Media Adoption Obstacles

6. Businesses Turn to Internal Sources for Social Media Support

7. Lack of Social Media Measurement

8. Businesses Lack Confidence in Their Social Media Strategy.

This matter of social media is becoming more and more prevailant and important. Almost two years ago a Richard Balius with Sales Management Academy and Brandon Dady told me I needed to get going on Twitter and LinkedIn. I wasn't even sure what they had just said, but trusting both, I began exploring and dipping the preverbial toe in new waters. Without a doubt it has and will continue to be a very important part of my marketing.

Blair Ball writes and practices extensively about social media strategies to increase business sales. For more about this important subject, go to and following



Elvis Presley - If Everyday Were Like Christmas

I've always enjoyed Elvis' Christmas songs and found myself recently pondering the lyrics to If Everyday Were Like Christmas.

"..what if everyday were like Christmas,
why can't that feeling go on everyday?
Yes...what a wonderful world that would be!..."

Many around the world don't know what this feeling is like, but it's likely that those reading this do know......some of us even get the meaning of the season mixed up, or not. But the season, Christmas-time, has a certain feeling. Everyday would be something like this; Listening to special songs that bring back special memories, traditions for shopping (all on Christmas Eve!), special foods (chocolate covered cherries, candied yams!), a season of music that brings back certain memories (hopefully good ones), just having a glow (that you can't explain) that fills your heart, the sound of singing, opening gifts, gift wrapped packages (of candy) talking to you from across your desk..., saying thanks for gifts we don't need..or even want, everyday; and lights...the lights are amazing...even the gaudy ones; excited about getting up every morning; people trying to get along for the sake of keeping the peace; more gifts, more cheer, food, and naps! everyday.

And, everyday most of the free world would celebrate the birth of God who became man. Everyday.

What if everyday were like Christmas...what a wonderful world this would be!

I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas free of family quarrels, anxieties, and uncertainties; that your Christmas be one of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

God Bless,

Danny and Cathy

Continue to Follow Well, Staying Naked

At a training class a few months ago I was asked "have you read Getting Naked." Ha! While others in the room were a bit shocked at the title, being the Patrick Lencionni follower that I am, I knew it was the title of his new book. My answer was no, but I've been keeping up with Lencionni on web and carry around a white paper he's written on the subject.

I have since read the book and it is a great read for many reasons; it's filed under my "about following" category. Those that know me know that I believe we need to be excellent followers in order to EVER get close to being a good, much less, great leader.

Getting Naked was an easy book for me to digest because it fits my style of work. I'll regularly start doing work for someone before we ever get into a financial engagement; normally that works out well.

A current client recently stopped the use of my services because he did not feel he had gotten the full benefit of the money he had paid me; the market is a bit different than what he'd thought and much of the work was research, the research itself he thought would bring about some different results. I was notified of this in an email response to my request to get with him to discuss the status of the project. Besides stating he had not gotten the results he had expected, he did let me know half way through the month in which he had already paid for services and I did appreciate that.

Hopefully, he is happy with my response, which included a quick note of understanding, plus the fact that I would continue to complete the work we'd agree on (though I don't believe he expected me to) plus I would forward results of that work to him as long as it continued to come in.

That's being a good follower, that's staying naked.

To that end.....

Right People,
  Right Place

Intro or Extro Verts: Which Makes the Best Salesperson?

If you're an Extrovert, you just laughed and thought "you've got to be kidding?"

Introverted sales're shaking your head because you know you are but also know the extrovert believes he is.

Tanveer Naseer writes "Are You Fitting Employee Personality Into Your Leadership Puzzle?" and I add "and your sales type puzzle?"

In Good-to-Great, Jim Collins gave us very tangible evidence that a Level 5 leader was very rarely a charismatic person and many of us think of introverts as charismatic. At an off-site meeting of some 18 company leaders I showed a film where Collins talked in depth about Level 5 leaders and at least one person in the room needed counseling afterwards. A very charismatic leader, he had built his career, sparadic at best, on that strength and was at first appalled that someone was saying such, but came to the realization of its truth. At my encouragement, he tried to overcome his weaknesses, through coaching, teamwork, and technolgy. That was difficult for him and we stopped working together a couple of years ago; progress had not been good. Many of his charismatice ways kept rising to the surface and wore others out; lots of start, not near enough finish.

But is that normal? Yes, it very well can be if your personality doesn't fit with the job. This person was a great starter and connector. He was not a good finisher. Naseer points to a recent study by Adam Grant, Francesca Gino and David Hoffman and "where the researchers pointed to particular situations (I say jobs) where certain personality types can help leaders better manage the collective efforts their teams."

This is where my everyone that connects with a client is a salesperson, or should be.

The Austin American Statement ran a series of articles back in the early '90s with the results of the interiews with numerous sales managers. The reporter asked the managers "what type person makes the best sales person? Introvert or Extrovert?" The article was heavily favored towards the driven introvert.

By-the-way, Naseer's article is very good. You can read it on his blog at

Remember, pay attention to what your selling, because you are.

To that end.



I stepped into a mess of problems recently and have had all but said "no" to working with them. The players are three different entities looking at how they might combine their resources and work together. Yet, they aren't communicating. There is undoubtedly differences of opinions and processes that need to be discussed and reconciled, but.....!

Lencionni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team come to mind and they aren't even a team yet. Here's Patrick telling a bit about these dysfunctions. I'm recommending these parties watch this and read the book.

These are really good people and they want to do well. Hopefully they'll pay attention to what it takes to become a team.

Hidden Agendas

I received an email yesterday morning from our Neighborhood Group; not an association because it is an informal entity. There is an issue with a piece of property being sold and will be used for what appears to be non-allowable purposes (according to deed restrictions).

The first few emails were intended to alert people of the pending sale and the email and phone numbers of the parties involved, along with an urge for all of us (50 or so) to call and email.

Personally, I felt there are some questions that needed to be asked, and answered, about the sale, how it violates the deed restrictions etc. So, I asked those involved to explain some things, including how the deed restrictions would be violated.

I clarified that I was simply asking questions and appreciated the dialog.

Wow. What a bunch of spin. I can only imagine the hidden agendas when people aren't willing to be transparent and just answer questions. I've been ignored, accused of not wanting to follow the deed restrictions myself, and even asked why I moved here 12 years ago if I didn't like the deed restrictions.

Ha. Obviously, some  didn't want to explain anything, only spin a bunch of others up to fight for them.

Trust but verify Mr. Reagan said. Sometimes that's hard to do when others won't answer your questions.

So...don't trust 'em.

K. I can do that.

Sales: Is Math and Logic Important?

Math and logic competence has proven to be an important part in how well a sales and marketing person performs. Individuals who engage in logical and critical thinking recognize patterns and provide a way to use those patterns in order to solve problems or to answer questions perform well in a sales and marketing postion.

Performing well in this category on the MuRF SMARTS assessment has proven to be an important part in a person's likelihood to be successful. He/she will determine what information, preconceptions, biases, and values are irrelevant or extraneous as well as the way in which these affect his or her thinking. Individuals who think logically and critically can usually see that there may be more than one solution or more than one way to solve a problem. These individuals are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. The top 20% of marketing and sales people tend to approach problems with a high degree of logic and critical thinking.

The person in the example above has scored within the average range of logical math and critical thinking. He will usually approach a problem from more than one point of view. He appears to have a normal ability to solve complex problems through logic, but he may not always use this approach. He appears to possess an average skill level in this area and is somewhat similar to individuals who are usually identified among the top 20% of sales and marketing people.

To learn more about the SMARTS and how you can use this powerful report to achieve better results in your entire organization please contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or

We'll also send you a sample copy of the entire SMARTS report for the asking.

Sales...Gotta Have 'Em

About 10 years ago that I was preparing to go through a transition and I walked up on a group of employees who were making the transition with me to the new venture. Every one's spirits, or so I remember, were generally pretty good. I know mine were.

While everyone was visiting, rambling, just talking, I must have gotten a far-off look because I suddenly realized they were all looking at me and someone said "wow, he sure looks relaxed."

I'm not sure relaxed was exactly the right word, but I was relieved and my reply told what I was relieved from;

"Well, I don't have to sell any longer. That someone else's job now."

Ha!! How naive.

I was a producing manager for a wholesale organization and we had a good track record; production, processes and profitability were all in great order. It was rare that I got a call from my corporate manager and when I did it was to see if I was still alive. While I was the only real "sales" person, I spread the responsibility out among everyone. My goal was to get the business in the door and then KEEP IT!

And we did a good job of that. Our production was not near the level of the company's other 7 such branches, but profit per unit was highest and we were ranked in top 50% for overall profitability.

Years later I realized what an incredibly stupid statement I had made and somewhere along the way I realized that "sales" had steadily moved away from everyone and focused on "salespeople."

A well run, results getting, professional organization needs people selling. Sales people are our most important asset and we will either live or die based on how well everyone is selling.

To that end; sell and be sure everyone is selling.

Top 20% of Sales People......Empathy

Understanding the other person's point of view is a trait that is found in the top 20% of all marketing and sales people.

The MuRF SMARTS (Sales Marketing and Representative Traits Survey) identifies this trait in an individual. The ability to get along with, to develop trusting relations with, and to communicate effectively with others comprises a set of skills that has long been deemed central to the job of marketing and sales.

Taken as a whole, this set of interpersonal communication competencies deals with the person's ability to establish warm, empathic, nondirective, trusting relations with others and with potential and current clients.

In the scale below, this person appears to be somewhat comfortable in expressing his feelings and in understanding the feelings of others. He seems to have a good understanding of the importance of empathetic communication in the marketing and sales profession. He is comfortable when others come to him with strong feelings and will tend to listen.

To learn more about the SMARTS and how you can use this powerful report to achieve better results in your entire organization please contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or

We'll also send you a sample copy of the entire SMARTS report for the asking.

A Baby's Hug

From an Anonymous author…..

A Baby's Hug ~

We were the only family with children in the restaurant.

I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter

And his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?'

Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The Old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty Cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.' Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed.

We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his Repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door.

'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.

His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a Time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'you take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me My Holiday gift.' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was Crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, Forgive me.' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny Child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?'

When He shared His for all eternity.

My Dailies

I have a list of things that try to do everyday. Over the years there have been items on this list that I do even on days I forget to look at the list. I supposed those items have become habits.

Others though, I have to be reminded to do, especially those items new to the list. New items show up and taken off the list based upon the fields I'm preparing, seeds I'm planting, and the harvest that comes from that work and prayer.

I call this list My Daylies; things I need to do everyday. My Daylies are general in nature that drives the "to-do-list."

My Daylies include things like:

1. look at yesterday's calendar,read emails, a couple of websites I need to stay tuned into...
2. make notes from meetings about yesterday's work
3. make a list of follow-up needs on yesterday's work
4. make a list of things to do today
5. prioritize
6. add followers to social media...

Actually, the list is more of a circle that sometimes rolls throughout the day and I'll even start it over on the same day; Collin's hedgehog comes to mind.

This is a weakpoint for me; coaching has helped and I use technology to keep the list in front of me.

I just need to remember to look at the list everyday; it's amazing how I can ignore those calendar/task pop-ups on my phone.

To that end.....


Rambling about Holidays, Business, Goals......

The holidays are an interesting time of the year. Interesting in that I'm always glad for them for many reasons, yet, they also bring about conflicting emotions.

Good emotions because of the time of year; not so good because business tends to slow down, it's harder to get appointments, and I'm rarely ready for business to slow down.

Many of us (you) keep ourselves busy with decorating, shopping, parties, etc etc etc. For years I've cleaned my office during this time of year, especially between Christmas and New years; my methodology has been to file what needs to be filed, throw the rest into a big draw and then file or throw away what is necessary later. Not really a good system.

My friend Blair at Prepare1 sent me a posting by Dan Miller recently where Dan focuses on the next year's goals in November. Wow.

So, for the past 2 weeks, I've been pondering and jotting what I want to accomplish in 2011 and then, taking my own advice and establishing not only what I want to accomplish (vision) but the goals and measurements.

Good stuff to ponder and get done during the holidays when I'm not spending time with family; better than filing the piles.




From guest blogger Steve Heston:

Broke a shoelace at the Milwaukee Airport at 7:30 AM today.

Went to the shoeshine guy to buy a replacement. "Can't sell shoelaces," said the SHOE shine guy. "They don't want us to compete with the gift shops."

Went to the gift shop. (Are shoelaces a good gift, and I just missed that?) "We don't sell shoelaces," the lady said.

So, I walked, slowly, to my flight to Minneapolis. Then, upon arriving at MSP, I walked, slowly, to the shoe shine guy. "Can't sell shoelaces," said the second SHOE shine guy of the day. "They don't want us to compete with the retail shops."

You guessed it. Five shops. No shoelaces.

You can't make this stuff up.

Steve is an executive at Axciom Corporation and a frequent guest blogger at In-the-Box Thinking.

Book: John Newton - "From Disgrace to Amazing Grace" by Johathan Aitken

What a remarkable man, life, and testimony. This is an incredible story of God's mercy and grace; rebelish as youngster and young adult, absent father he was trying to please, and slave-trader. Enslaved himself who came to know Christ after numerous near-death experiences.

Newton turned pastor with a strong bent to be ordained by England's mainline church and later strongly influenced Member of Parliament William Wilberforce. Wilberforce who was later responsible for the abolishment of slavery in England and set the stage for President Lincoln's plan for the United States.

Newton can be described as persistent and purposeful. He knew he was called by the Caller to his life, his marriage, and his vocation. That vocation wasn't just in a pulpit, but to a life dedicated to Christ and that is the way he lived.

Few men have changed history the way John Newton has done. Yet, he has managed to evade much of the publicity.

Jim Collins has appropriately said that the best leadership books are history and biographies; this book is must read for anyone interested in developing his or her leadership abilities.
This post originally appeared at In-the-Box: Read Well on May 06, 2008

MuRF 360 Evaluation

The MuRF 360 is a powerful professional development tool, that positively impacts an individual’s growth and career, and an organization’s success.

For managers, supervisors, and others in leadership positions, it can facilitate peak performance that generates improved productivity. The MuRF 360 quantifies a participant’s competencies, verifies the results from a variety of perspectives, and identifies ways to enhance skills.

The MuRF 360 Competency Feedback System is a multi-rater feedback process that provides managers and leaders with an opportunity to receive an evaluation of their job performance from the people around them – their boss, their peers, and the people whose work they supervise. From this feedback, managers can compare the opinions of others with their own perceptions, positively identify their strengths, and pinpoint the areas of their job performance that could be improved.

This assessment process is concerned with a manager’s job performance in nine skill clusters:

- Develops Others

- Develops Self

- Focus

- Job Requirements

- Leadership

- Mission and Vision

- Relationships

- Communication

- Adaptability

To learn morenabout how this tool can help you and/or your team, contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or

Thankful for Thanksgiving

It seems a bit corny to talk and write about being thankful during Thanksgiving. I mean, that's what we're supposed to be doing this time of year, being thankful. Right? Oh well, here's part of what I'm thankful for....

I'm thankful for my family, including my third granddaughter. Her name is Autumn. I'm thankful my 93 year old grandmother's beautiful funeral last week; 8 children, 15 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 3 great/great-grandchilddaughters (all 3 mine). I've been to only a few funerals but this pastor and his words about heaven were...well, heavenly.

I'm thankful for God, Jesus dying for the sins of those who believe in him and living forever in heaven with our heavenly Father and I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit.

I'm thankful lot's of other things and people; kids, Cathy, friends, work, freedom, so many vets who have and continue to put their life on the line, did I mention Cathy?, health, struggles, opportunities, UT not embarrassing itself with a loss this past Saturday, Texas A&M doing the state proud (sorry Jim), Lake Travis continuing the tradition, Ty Egbert showing such leadership as Hyde Park fought so hard in their loss this past Saturday, Nolan for making it through the season even though he got up and reviewed films after the last loss, Gary Seale and Blair Ball's counsel and encouragement, Kelley's recovery and his doctors and nurses, Randy's (brother) dedication (praying for Lisa's healing), Steve Heston's Daily DireXion, Cathy, some awesome sermons I've heard on podcasts, people like Monty Maulding, the recovery from the loss of much of the work I'd done on my new website (arg...but thankful!), Bubba (amazing how a good dog can bring a smile to your face), booksbooksbooksbooks, and music - I'm thankful for music, and Cathy - I'm thankful for a great wife. And daughter-in-laws like Amy, and son-in-laws like Curtis; thanks Curtis for being a great husband and dad! And IN-LAWS...I'm thankful for In-Laws that love my kids. Speaking of great husbands and son-in-laws...Thomas Vetters-you're it! And Bryan Anderson, what an amazing dad (husband too I assume. Michelle?).

Ok..better wind down; a couple of posts from the past two or three weeks; I'm thankful for running across these videos. One of them I originally saw 3 years ago and the other Dan Cathy showed earlier this month. I'm thankful for TJ Morelli and Mike Carroll for bringing Dan into the two meetings I was at where he showed the video. Those posts/vidoes are Trust and Every Life Has a Story. If you watch either, or both, I appreciate feedback and comments on what you "got" from them; you can either post a comment on the blog post or email me. Thanks.

Blessings and have thankful Thanksgiving!

Danny Smith

What Kind of Job Are You Looking For?

Looking for a job becomes even more difficult than it already is when we don't really know what we'd "like to do."

Have you ever had someone ask "what do you want to do?" And, not know how to respond? Most, 99%, of us have to admit we really don't know. Or, we know but we are afraid to admit it.

MuRF Workforce Readiness Tool will help you understand what your strengths are and how to reach your highest potential. By understanding how you match cognitively, behaviorally, as well as through career interests, you have the greatest chance at success in life. The Workforce Readiness Tool will take those three key areas and match them to what successful people look like, based on a comparison to jobs listed through the O-Net.

If you looking for a way to establish direction before college, get clear in college, establish a new life-path, or simply verify that you are in the right career type for you to be happy, this tools can and will help.

Three Areas That Must Match Up For Career Success…
  • Cognitive Match
  • Behavioral Match
  • Interest Match
RP2 is offering the this comprehensive tool at $199.00 and including the following -

Personal Coaching: Two 30 min phone sessions, normally $150.00
1 ABC Assessment, normally $95.00
Workforce Readiness Tool, normally $199.00

All for $199.00

This comprehensive tool is the key to unlocking the potential for your future. We would love to assist you in finding your path to success in the future. Call or email us today at 512-773-6528 or

How to Grow, Manage and Optimise Your Internet Empire by ViperChill

This is an abbreviated version of the article posted at ViperChill. Hmmm....I believe you'll notice a similiarities with other parts of life.

How to Grow, Manage and Optimise Your Internet Empire

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 05:57 AM PST

This is an article I’ve been waiting a long time for somebody else to write. Over the years, I’ve changed how I manage my online projects so drastically that I wished someone would come along and say, “Okay, Glen, this is how it’s done.” Sadly, that just never happened.

Instead of waiting around for some perfect solution – though there probably isn’t one – I decided to share with you all, the strategy which helps me to do what I do. Although my system is by no means perfect (and you should really just use the things you think will help you), it is the most effective I’ve found after years of running popular websites. Hopefully I can learn a thing or two from you all in the comments as well.

Day-to-Day Operations

This section is going to look at my advice for dealing with the day-to-day tasks of your online business. It’s so easy to get caught up the finer details and trying to be everywhere that you miss the bigger picture. Trust me when I say that I’ve found, from experience, the finer details should always be your last concern, and trying to be everywhere leaves you nowhere.

  • Don’t Work on Too Many Projects
  • Don’t Only Work on Sites Which Depend on You
  • Create a Space for Important Information
  • Quickly Identify the Best Use of Your Time
  • Limit Your Distractions

Although there’s a stigma against saying that you want to make as much money as you can, the goal with your internet empire should be to do exactly that. Of course; making as much money as you can in an ethical manner. It’s not worth making a lot of money from your audience in one shot if you’re going to dissuade them from making future purchases with you.

  • As Soon As You Make Money, Get Advice
  • Keep Your Strategy In Mind
  • If You Can Do Something Yourself, Do It
  • Track Your Expenses
  • Re-Invest as Much as You Can
  • Don’t Buy Anything You Don’t Need

  • Again, this is a cut and paste (abbreviated) version of the original. Good stuff about running any business.


    Natural Talent is Normally Stuffed....

    Marcus Buckingham, in his bestselling book, “First Break All The Rules”, tells us that it is a fundamental flaw the way businesses have been routinely managing their employees. The atypical business takes an employee's education into consideration during the interview, looks at the experience, and then expects results.

    Yet, as Buckingham points out, it is the rare employer that doesn't neglect the natural talents of its workforce.

    Natural talent is usually stuffed inside the employee and the longer the talent is not used, the more apt it is to not be noticed.

    Hence, a good SWOT analysis; determine your strength, weakness, opportunities and threats by completing a good assessment, survey or evaluation. These talents we have are many times hidden in our blind spots right along side un-used strengths and they're hidden by our weaknesses.

    If you'd like a free Assessment of Behavioral Characteristic, email me at; no charge, no obligation (limited offer expires 12/1/2010). You can read more about this and other assessments at


    Prepare to Number Your Days

    from guest blogger Blair Evan Ball @ Prepare1

    Prepare to Number Your Days

    by Blair Evan Ball on November 12, 2010

    Prepare to number your days. A few years ago while listening to one of the speakers at a seminar, I was taken back as to his approach with the remaining years of his life. While certain not a Gen Xer, his philosophy could have been compared to those with only a short time left here on earth. He had a large jar of marbles in his bathroom, and each week he would withdraw one marble. This was a constant reminder to him, that life has only so many years, make them count!

    In today’s fast paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of our goals. One day melts into the next, and one day we wake up and wonder what happened to our plans and dreams. read more plus obtain a Free Report: "Quick Start Guide to Social Media Marketing" @ Prepare1 .

    Making the Business Case for Assessments - Concern #5

    The following is Concern #5 of an excerpt of Making the Business Case for Assessments by Ron Tepner and Dan Lezotte in Human Resource Executive Online.
    Concern: Does the assessment really work? I'm pretty good at reading people and generally know who I should and should not hire.

    Response: .....our hiring success prior to using assessments was less than stellar, although the success rate varied across our 2,300 stores. Too many new hires in the technician/mechanic position left within the first six months on the job, so we were always looking to bring in new technicians.

    We needed to show our field managers that more patience and care in the selection of technicians would pay off for them in the long run through lower turnover and greater productivity, leading to fewer open positions. To do this, we needed to demonstrate the value of assessments in a language they understood -- that is, the way assessments could help them grow their business.

    We believed that a clear demonstration of the value of assessments to business outcomes would allay most, if not all, of their concerns.

    To demonstrate the value of our assessments for the technician position, we conducted, with the help of our vendor-partner APT, a comprehensive validation study. For test developers, our approach would be referred to as a "predictive, criterion-related validation study."

    This study also provided our legal defensibility in the event our selection processes are challenged under Title VII....And, since we knew actual out-of-pocket costs associated with bringing a new hire on board (about $2,300 per hire), we were able to convert the differential turnover rates into a dollar amount. We conservatively estimated we could save $1.5 million in turnover costs by using the assessment and avoiding hiring those applicants in the bottom quartile.

    Ron Tepner, the vice president of human resources for Bridgestone Retail Operations, headquartered in Bloomingdale, Ill. Daniel Lezotte is Darien, Conn.-based APT's vice president for the Midwest Region.

    Making the Business Case for Assessments - Concern #4

    The following is Concern #4 of an excerpt of Making the Business Case for Assessments by Ron Tepner and Dan Lezotte in Human Resource Executive Online.

    Concern: The assessment will take control away from me in making hiring decisions. What if I really want to hire someone but the assessment says I can't?

    Response: As the positive impact of less turnover and higher productivity takes hold, the candidate pool will be populated with more qualified candidates from which to select. If the assessment results suggest a candidate is not a good fit, the manager will have several other qualified candidates from which to choose.

    (Note...remember that this is a tool that you choose how to use. You can hire whomever you'd like.)

    Making the Business Case for Assessments - Concern #3

    The following is Concern #3 of an excerpt of Making the Business Case for Assessments by Ron Tepner and Dan Lezotte in Human Resource Executive Online.

    Concern: Our applicants will not put up with an involved, time-consuming selection process -- they'll just go somewhere else
    Tepner and Lezotte's Response: One of the few advantages of a down economy is that more qualified applicants are available for open positions. While we should always be sure we are hiring the best person for the job and a person who has a high probability of success in the job, having a larger applicant pool provides us the luxury of being even more selective. In fact, we have found that many applicants (who are now employees) viewed our organization more favorably as a result of having gone through a rigorous selection process. We also believe that it honors our existing workforce to not just allow anyone into the camp and expect good folks to work with those who are not the best.

    Making the Business Case for Assessments - Concern #2

    The following is Concern #2 of an excerpt of Making the Business Case for Assessments by Ron Tepner and Dan Lezotte in Human Resource Executive Online.

    There is a shortage of available talent for our open positions and we can't let anyone "get away;" we don't have the luxury of being selective.

    Tepner and Lezotte's Response: The benefits of being selective outweigh the perceived lack of luxury. The new practice of requiring the assessment assures a larger population of more productive, longer-tenured employees who help create customer loyalty.

    Making the Business Case for Assessments - Concern #1

    The following is Concern #1 of an excerpt of Making the Business Case for Assessments by Ron Tepner and Dan Lezotte in Human Resource Executive Online.

    Concern #1: There is a shortage of available talent for our open positions and we can't let anyone "get away;" we don't have the luxury of being selective.

    Tepner and Lezeotte's Response: The benefits of being selective outweigh the perceived lack of luxury. The new practice of requiring the assessment assures a larger population of more productive, longer-tenured employees who help create customer loyalty.

    Making the Business Case for Assessments

    The following is an excerpt of Making the Business Case for Assessments by Ron Tepner and Dan Lezotte in Human Resource Executive Online.

    The authors argue that, especially in a poor economy, assessments will show a positive link to the bottom line. They relay several arguments they needed to overcome when rolling out and generating buy-in for their company's plan.

    It is particularly important to "make the case" for assessments in a down economy where we have the unusual luxury of more applicants than openings, and the opportunity to be very selective in our new hires.

    And, we can ill afford hiring mistakes, or failing to maximize our selection effectiveness, in an economy where productivity and customer service are critical to overcoming the economic challenges that have created a very fine line between success and failure.

    As a human resource function, it is our objective to provide our field managers with tools to help them grow their businesses. However, we must first overcome perceived and real obstacles by demonstrating the value of the tools we are offering before we can expect our field managers to fully buy-in.
    I'll post these additional parts of this article, along with the corresponding responses, over the next few days:
    • There is a shortage of available talent for our open positions and we can't let anyone "get away;" we don't have the luxury of being selective.
    • Our applicants will not put up with an involved, time-consuming selection process -- they'll just go somewhere else
    • It's too inconvenient and time-consuming to ask an applicant to drive to a district office or testing location to take an assessment. We need them to start right away.
    • The assessment will take control away from me in making hiring decisions. What if I really want to hire someone but the assessment says I can't?
    • Does the assessment really work? I'm pretty good at reading people and generally know who I should and should not hire.
    To that end.....

    Exit Interview can be a Farce

    The number one reason a resigning employee gives his/her manager or HR person for leaving is "money."

    Yet reality is that most employees are not recruited to leave their jobs. The employee typically decides to look for a new job and interviews for the change. More money is sometimes offered, but not always. Even when money was the reason, the decision to leave was made long before the money was discussed.

    Our Online Exit Interview allows an organization to uncover what lead to the employee wanting to leave in the first place, thereby enabling the company to make the necessary adjustments to keep key talent.

    To learn more about this important tool, contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or


    In their landmark Built to Last study on the successful habits of visionary companies, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras noted that corporate industry leaders made “bold commitments to ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ (BHAGs).”

    FranklinCovey in a 2002 published paper stated "not only must lofty, compelling goals (BHAGs) be well articulated and coordinated, they must also be translated into Specific Daily Activities and Behaviors (SDABs) that reach to the individual employee's job function. When the CEO announces the BHAG to increase revenue growth trom 7% to 15% per year, employees want to know answers to the simple questions, How? and What Am I Supposed To DO?"

    Corporate Goals (BHAGs) must be converted into Employee Behaviors (SDABs) in order to achieve Performance Results.

    This goes for individuals also. I posted recently about being able to measure how well you accomplish your mission statement.

    Stating and publishing mission statements and setting goals is very important, but just as important is accoumplishing both.

    1. Write your mission statement; keep it short - verb, action, result

    2. Measure it

    3. Set your goals

    4. Measure it

    5. Develop the behavior

    6. Evaluate and Correct 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

    Treat these things as a "circled list" and as Collins would tell you about those that had great companies; "keep going around and around the circle, ...faster and faster you go around, the faster you'll get better results."

    To that end.......

    Multi-Tasking...friend or foe?

    How many things are your doing? Right now? Are you a mult-tasker? Do you do it well? Are you sure?

    My neighbor, Tom, told me a few months ago about a client of his that was teaching its employees NOT to multi-task. He mentioned an article that notated evidence of mult-tasking causing short-term memory loss. I was doing something else, I don't remember what, and don't remember the name of the article.

    Emails, webcams, phone calls, texting, youtube training, open-door policies....we take it as a matter of doing business that interruptions are normal and a mandate for getting it all done. But, this fast-paced/multi-tasking culture, according to research (google for articles), is hampering our productivity.

    From Microsoft to Vanderbilt to Stanford and points between and beyond, the facts are proving that multi-tasking causes distractions, additonal time to get the same amount of tasks done, makes even simple tasks more difficult, and you to get worse at it the more you do it.

    Multi-tasking; Not a good part of your box.

    To that end...focus

    What Do You Say When You Talk To Yourself?

    "What To Say When You Talk To Yourself," by Shad Helmstetter, was the first book my wife Cathy ever saw me purchase. That was almost 25 years ago and what I say to myself is as important today as it was back then.

    What are you telling yourself? Be mindful and purposeful, because it matters greatly.

    I know that if you're having problems you keep thinking about problems.

    Please don't develop a "whatever will be will be" mindset, or attitude.

    Struggle through your problems; don't waste them.

    But think great thoughts.


    Plus...when we're in the right job, we're just happier people!

    Research has demonstrated that the level of job satisfaction an employee experiences is directly related to the quality of the job fit. It has also been proven that unexpected turnover is very often a function of job dissatisfaction. Our assessment tools are designed to maximize the capability of a company to accurately fit an individual to a job. These assessments are effective in accomplishing this task for three important reasons.

    1. they measure the level of satisfaction and the reason(s) for dissatisfaction throughout the entire organization.

    2. these tools enable you to dig further into the perceptions of individual leaders held by their circle of influence.

    3. the tools allow an organization to identify potential candidates who have the workplace qualities that have been proven to predict both success and satisfaction.

    Plus...when we're in the right job, we're just happier people!

    For more information about how these tools can help you and/or your organization, please contact Danny Smith @ 512-773-6528 or

    Speed coaching: Advice that's good, quick -- and free - Related Stories - SmartBrief on Entrepreneurs

    Speed coaching: Advice that's good, quick -- and free - Related Stories - SmartBrief on Entrepreneurs

    Every Life Has a Story

    I've had the pleasure to hear Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, speak twice this week; once at a Business Missions gathering and then at our local mortgage bankers luncheon. Dan showed this video at both gatherings.

    After the luncheon, I had someone walk up to me and say "wow, I have some people in our office that sure need to watch that video, because they don't get the fact that we have real people we are dealing with."

    We should all recognize that everyone has a story and the results of that story, and how we deal with it, is what we bring to the table of life everyday. This comes through in how we influence others with our words; both spoken and in email.

    We are all sales people because we are all influencing.

    Mr. Cathy said many things that we really good, but one thing he said was simple, but profound. "How we treat people, even those we have minor contact with, might not change their circumstances. But it can help or hurt how they cope."


    Trust. What Does It Mean to Sales, to Conflict, to Followership?

    One of my "daylies" is to think about the recent past and what sticks out at me about meetings, appointments, conversations, etc, etc. I'll then right down those thoughts and compare to any notes; typically this takes 3-5 minutes and I move on. Ever so often, something causes me to pause and dig deeper.

    This morning was one of those ever so oftens. My thoughts kept running to sales, conflict, sales, following, sales, conflict...

    For whatever its worth, those thoughts led me to this video about trust. I first saw it almost 3 years ago when I was going through Covey's Speed of Trust train the trainer in DC. Let me know what you think.


    No Matter How Dorfed Up Things Are....Vote

    “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

    “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
    - Winston Churchill

    Thanks for this post from Guest Blogger Steve Heston, VP at Acxiom Corporation

    No matter how dorfed up things are, and no matter whom you blame for how dorfed up things are…democracy is still the best thing going.

    Today, people will head out to the polls, hopefully, in record numbers. By exercising their obligation to vote, they’ll make their wishes known. Once it’s all over, some people will get to go represent us, and some people will lose their right to do so. Some of the new people won’t be as good as we pray they will be, and some of the old people will prove to not be as awful as we thought they were. Some of the new people will prove to be as good or better than we hope, and some of the old people will prove to be every bit as bad as(or worse than) we thought they were. It’s sort of a crap shoot, isn’t it?

    Still, we get to vote. We get to vote without fear of someone killing us because we voted, and without fear of someone killing us for simply trying to vote. We get to vote. There are other places besides the polls we get to vote. We get to vote at home. We get to vote at church or by deciding where we spend our money. We get to vote at work. We get to vote multiple times each day, and when we do, we inform, influence and, to some degree, dictate what happens next.

    Voting is our means of exercising choice. Our choices create our tomorrows. And we do get to choose.

    We don’t get to choose everything, just like we don’t get to choose what the people we vote in to office today will actually do tomorrow, but as Winston said, while it ain’t perfect, it’s still pretty good. The same is true of our worst days, compared to the majority of the world. While they ain’t perfect, they’re still pretty good. Our worst days are better than some people’s best days. And a lot of that is because we get to vote.

    Since we get to vote, today is more than pretty good, and it’s a pretty good day to make something incredible happen…

    Thanks for this post from Guest Blogger Steve Heston, VP at Acxiom Corporation

    Moving Forward: Where Are You?

    In any environment there are plenty of people who don't like their job. Yet it is especially interesting in times such as we have today where so many are unemployed. Two years ago when unemployment started rising it was the lower wage earners being laid off, then that trickled, or flooded in some cases, all the way to the upper wage and white collar executives.

    And we still have people with jobs who don't like their jobs; attorney's, clerical, nurses, business owners, underwriters, sales people, accountants, pastors, doctors, and the list goes on.

    Many of us have based our careers on competence; we have, or can gain, the talent, aptitude, skill and knowledge to do the job. Thus, that is what we will do. Wrap that up with family, house, debt and expectations and we can have a bundled mess.

    I've repeated many times the phrase you'll be in the same place five years from now as you are now except for what you listen to, watch, who you associate with and what you read. And, as important as that is, trusting and knowing who you are, and who others believe you to be is more important.

    Brad McCoy, Colt's dad, says "prepare the children for the path, not the path for the children."

    Knowing your behavioral characteristics, seeing them written in a report generated from what seemed to be a silly group of questions, is eye opening.

    Our ABC Assessment -
    • identifies a person's primary behavioral tendencies when working with others
    • identifies the way in which a person will respond to stress, conflict, leadership, and followership
    • provides a tool for how to better manage one's behaviors for the benefit of the individual and the team.
    If RP2 Development can help you or your organization, call or email us at 512-773-6528 /

    To that end, search the matter out and know yourself; reveal your blind spots and learn your true self.

    The Difficult Employee Dilemma

    The first step toward solving this simple and painful problem is coming to the realization that it is a false dilemma. The decision should not boil down to keeping or firing a difficult employee. In fact, the manager should avoid engaging in this line of thinking in the first place. The real question a manager needs to ask is "Have I done everything I can to help the difficult employee?" Based on my work with leaders in all types of organizations and at all levels, the answer to that question is usually a resounding "no." Patrick Lencioni writes. Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek


    In-the-Box Development has teamed up with MuRF Systems, Inc to offer a number of products and services to asssit organizations in hiring and training the right people.

    The Buddy2Boss training and development system is perfect for manufacturing, hospitals, banks, mortgage companies, school districts, insurance companies, high tech industries and any other industry that has human resources that must be motivated, supervised, evaluated or led.

    The curriculum includes the following major divisions and related subjects:

    Relating to Others
    Generational Differences
    Employee Motivation

    Managing Your Time
    Personal Goal Setting
    Group Decision Making
    Time Management

    Thinking Clearly
    Problem Solving
    Ethics and Values
    Conflict Resolution

    Building the Team
    Corrective Counseling
    Building Effective Teams

    This training program is designed for present and future supervisors is designed for present and future supervisors and managers. It is focused on the responsibilities within the organizaion and how to balance one's personal life with the organizational demands.

    For more information contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or

    Business Strategy 101

    Tim Berry, in his blog Planning Start-Up Stories started off a recent post with a Bill Cosby quote - “I don’t know the secret to success; but the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.” Tim then added one of his own - "Amen to that. In fact, you can package that up and call it small business strategy 101."

    'nuff said.

    Practice Accountability

    For others to trust us, we have to allow them to hold us accountable. Trusting without accountability is hope. Some though, don't take well to being held accountable and will say things like "all that I've done and you question me?" This type of questioning at all shows a couple of things;

    Verifying, hold someone accountable is smart trust. Not practicing smart trust will get bad results because agendas change and when agendas change, behaviors change. When behaviors change, results change.

    Be agreeable to either accountability or questionable behavior and bad results.

    To that end....practice accountability.

    Hope Is Not A Good Business Strategy

    Success is more likely to happend if the desired results are defined, a plan is layed out, evaluation and correction is done and we work hard at staying in that box. Or redefine the all the above.

    We get outside that box when we try to shoot from the hip, or...when we attempt to circumvent the plan.

    We want things to go well, people to get along, and just get the job done. Or...that's they way the Type A, Dominant personally, boss wants it. Right?
    Yet....we have to do the basics of defining the box we have to work in. We have to write the policies and procedures, explain to all involved what we want to happen. People must be held accountable to their actions but they can't be held accountable to "things" we haven't explained very well..if at all.

    Peter Drucker wrote, way back in 1967, that "a good manager has to manage by walking around, and he has to repeat his desires over and over again. And if he doesn't keep repeating himself people will not believe he is serious."
    I've been told there is a book titled "Hope is Not a Strategy." The book is probably about managers lead (or not) by hoping someone will adhere to a policy or procedure that hasn't been written. There's very likely a chapter on those that think something really needs to get done but doesn't take time to tell anyone else and instead hopes it happens.

    I bet there's even a chapter on two people working on a procedure together, implementing that procedure, and hoping it is correct....even though other people in authority over the procedures actions haven't been consulted.

    To that end....define your box.


    "What If You Train Your Employees and They Leave? What If You Don't?"

    a Zig Ziglar quote

    You spend money on systems, new equipment, marketing, compliance, accounting, more new systems and hire more people. Yet, do you train your people?

    Statistics continue to prove that the more training a company provides, the more productivity, the more trust, and the better overall results. Companies that have training programs rank over 70% higher in local and national best places to work surveys.

    RP2 Development provides classroom, online training and collaborative focus groups. Course titles include:
    • Trust Matters
    • Personalities at Work
    • Communications
    • Setting Goals
    • Priority Management
    • Employee Motivation
    • Generational Differences
    • Problem Solving
    • Ethics and Values
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Corrective Counseling
    • Building Effective Teams
    • Coaching Managers to Coach
    • Prospect-2-Profit
    Companies can choose a combination of online and classroom settings. The classroom settings are 2-7 hours in length while the online training classes are 6 hours. An online class can be taken in multiple settings.

    To learn more about these classes, contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or

    Don't Give Cash Bonus While Loosing Money (including Start-Ups)

    I got a call yesterday asking advice on giving bonuses; when, how much, etc. That call, and prior problems for me in that area, led me to an article by Michael Fertik. The following are highlights (in italics)  of that article: (my comments are not italics)

    Bonuses, particularly performance bonuses, negotiated up-front, are standard and reasonable fare in established businesses. Some smart people think they're a good idea in start-ups, too. The basic argument is the same for start-ups as it is for other companies: incentives focus and motivate managers and individual contributors alike; tying compensation to goals stimulates performance.  I'm all for profit-sharing, but only when there's a handsome-enough profit to share. Until your company is generating a bonanza, you shouldn't consider doing anything other than reinvesting the cream in your growth. And I think cash bonuses are a particularly bad idea when your start-up is losing money.

     The chief economic reason your team should be at the start-up is the long-term upside, the equity, the Shangri-La over the mountain. Rewarding people with cash payouts dilutes the mission.  Connecting individual performance to that stock value — with initial and even additional "bonus" grants, for example — is a terrific motivator consistent with your message. Cash bonuses do nothing for esprit de corps. An emphasis on equity, by contrast, reinforces the understanding that we are all in this together, that our successes and failures have mutually felt impact.

    I am especially opposed to cash bonuses for senior management in loss-making start-ups. Even among top, high-integrity professionals, upcoming cash bonuses become short-term focuses for executives and their families. They come to plan on the anticipated income. They tend to work hard toward their individual measured objectives so that can get the cash. Drucker-style management by objectives — what economists would call a "non-cooperative game" — works reasonably well in large corporations.

    But giving incentives for self-interested behavior kills small companies. You need your executives to benefit from a "cooperative game" that focuses them both on themselves and on the good of their tribe. Individual executive performance cash bonuses directly undermine this cooperation objective.

    While periodic performance cash bonuses can be bad in start-ups, other forms of bonuses can be useful. These include:

    Sales commissions. Sales teams should always be motivated by performance; most of the best salespeople are highly focused on quarterly commission checks. (You have to be careful to not over-pay on commissions. Commissions need to be relevant to other aspects of your sales strategy. For instance; are your commissions the driving "competitive advantage" for attracking your sales force, or do you have othe "competitive advantages" that will allow you to pay less commissions.)

    Spot bonuses for killer team members who have excelled at their jobs or overcome huge hurdles. These should generally be small, on the order of $1,000 to $3,000. (Be very careful that you have defined "killer team members." Too often, the killer team member is not a team player and his/her behavior is draining other resourses. Behavioral patterns in these type people, and the people the managers/owners that think so much of them, are too emotional in nature.)

    Mini "gifts" for team members who have worked especially long hours. Think of an Amazon gift card of $50 to $100 to send the message that their efforts are appreciated.

    Goal-related bonuses for engineering only. (I believe this goes for sales types also, but the goal has to cause them to stretch to achieve....don't pay bonuses for business you are going to get anyway.)

    Referral bonuses for good hires. Excellent people are always hard to find, but hiring is especially difficult during tough economies for loss-making start-ups, because candidates are more averse to risk than usual. Offer your employees bounties for bringing in great additional hires. It's a huge savings over recruiter fees.

    To that end.....

    Right Job, Right Fit

    No matter what side of the hiring desk you are setting on, job-fit matters. If you are the job seeker, I understand you need the money and will sometimes take what job you have to take in order to bring in the bacon! And sometimes, the employer just needs a warm body.

    But don't kid yourselves. Be upfront to yourself, and preferably to the other person(s), about why you are taking the job or person.

    The more you lie to yourself, the more you'll distrust yourself. The more you distrust yourself, the more you'll distrust others. The more you distrust others, the less effective you'll be in everything you do. And the ball keeps rolling downhill.

    The right job? The right fit? Seek out answers to who you are and what you are meant to be.

    If you are in a job you aren't right for, and there are ways to determine such......DO A GOOD JOB WHILE YOU ARE TAKING MONEY FOR IT. And please, don't complain. Just do the job, and search.

    Proverbs tells us the glory of kings is to search the matter out. Most of us have severe blind spots about ourselves and our situations. Search the matter you are in out. Ask questions about others. Learn who you are and what you are meant to be. I'll give you a free online personality assessment; email me at No charge, no strings. I just want to help you know who you are. After using over 3000 assessments in the past 15 years, I've found these to be a very effective tool.

    To that end.....

    How'd This Thing Know That About Me?

    Here are some comments from folks this week after reading their ABC personality assessment:

    Whoa! How that know that about me.

    Thanks, this pointed some things out to me that I really had not consiously thought about....and they are true.

    I gave this to my wife to read to see if she agreed with it, and I was surprised that she did. I was surprised because I didn't agree with all of it. I guess I need to pay attention to some things.

    Gulp. Are you kidding me! This test can tell all this about me from those questions? If nailed me.

    I'm curious. If your assessment can tell this about me, does that mean others can see through me also. Maybe this is why I'm struggling so much.

    We used something like this in our marriage small group and it has been wonderful to help us know each other...after all these years!

    If you'd like a free online personality assessment, email me at


    Hiring and Developing Employees

    This is a great video put out by the Small Business Administration on the importance of hiring well. Though it does leave out the details, they do stress the importance of hiring well and geting rid of the wrong people quickly.

    Good interviews with real people running real businesses.


    Social Media Sites for Teachers

    The following is post from a site I follow (SmartBrief).

    Great stuff on how teachers are embracing social media, instead of complaining about it.

    Remember, we live in a culture, not a vacuum.
    Howard Hendricks


    7 social-media sites for teachers

    Mashable is recommending seven free social-media tools for teachers, including EDU 2.0, which is similar to Blackboard and Moodle, and an organizational tool called SymbalooEDU that allows teachers to store their work and share it with others. Two recommended blogging sites are Edublogs, which allows students and teachers to create blogs, and Kidblog, which is a simple platform that is good for younger users. Mashable (10/16)

    Teachers can search National Archives using online tool

    A new online tool called DocsTeach recently was launched by the National Archives and provides a resource for teachers to search more than 3,000 primary-source documents. The site also includes seven tools for teachers, including one that customizes history activities to individual classroom needs. School Library Journal/Never Ending Search blog (10/18) , eSchool News (free registration) (10/18)

    Other News

    How educators are using social media to communicate with college students

    eCampus News (free registration) (10/15)

    Again, great stuff.
    To that end...............

    Empowering the Workforce, or Not?

    Empowering the workforce is essential for a number of reasons, including 1. continuous improvement and 2. achieving good results in times of a crisis.

    A company's email going down is a crisis in today's culture. It staying down for hours and hours is a major crisis. If the company depends upon email for transfer if "lots" of information (pages and pages of attachements), and the email is down for 2 days, the crisis is of huge proportions........IF, the people doing the work are not empowered.

    If people are empowered, the crisis is minimized, they will work through such a problem (the crisis) and find ways to achieve good results. 

    How do you know if people are not empowered? You'll hear and observe certain things during a crisis. Such as;
    • Let me go ask if we can do that
    • We don't like faxes, we want it emailed (remember, email is down)
    • I know there is an upload available though the internet but we don't want to use it
    • Some people seem happy that the crisis is happening (they think, management just thinks they have things under control!!)
    • Apathy
    • This is the way we've always done it, can you overnight the documents?
    • After being shown a work-around they say something like -  you are the only ones that knows how to do it and we want everyone to be treated the same, so no....we can't do it again even though we are still having problems
    • Let me go ask if we can do that
    Dennis Bakke, in his book Joy at Work, tells how a seperate manager should take over during a crisis period. This manager, and all locations and job functions had someone such as this identified, would take over, get things out of the crisis mode and go back to his/her normal job.

    Regardless of whether or not we have a crisis manager, as leaders and followers we must lead and follow courageously. To be courageous the team, the workers, must be empowered to do their very best job.

    To that end....

    The Hidden Soft Costs of a Hiring Mistake

    Hiring the wrong person, or having the right person in the wrong seat, is costly to the company and all individuals involved. Jim Collins, in his bestseller Good-to-Great, had more to say about this subject than any other single factor.

    Here are some of his points -
    • Get the wrong people gone
    • Hire the right people
    • Determine the right seat for the right people
    • First who, then what
    • Make good decisions at all time concerning people
    • Compensation is not about getting the right behaviors
    • Compensation is about getting the right people
    • The right people are your most important asset
    Hiring the wrong person is costly in many ways and trying to keep the wrong person increases those costs. Here are some "soft" costs you might not easily track:
    • Lost productivity - not only from the wrong person but also from those training and/or correcting the mistake. A wrong hire also causes a lack of productivity from others due to the associated problems involved
    • Lost business opportunities - the wrong person causes problems that permeates up and around and can cause a lack of focus in developing new business
    • Increased workload on others as adjustements are made for the wrong person and/or replacement
    • Lower company morale - the wrong person can affect the moral of an entire staff. Gossip and insecurity among co-workers can develop, which is a major cause of job dissatisfaction
    • Poor customer service
    • Increase Emotional Stress for Managers
    Very few managers, including HR types, are properly trained in hiring the right person for the right position. My personal experience is that few managers are not doing much more than filling seats, training the best they can, and terminating when they have to.

    Did you catch and understand the "first who, then wha" from Mr. Collins? Hiring the right person, putting them in the right seat, and getting rid of the wrong people are vitally important to your business.....I don't care who you are!

    To that end....

    Danny Smith
    In-the-Box Development

    Key Sales People Are Those Actually Performing The Service (or is that Key "Marketing")

    I'm off-site most of this week and thought I'd re-post some things that are relevant to my path; sales, the importance of sales and who should be selling; hint everyone should be "marketing."

    Originally posted 30 July, 2010, but with some changes -

    The key salespeople in a professional services environment are those who actually perform the services; they are the key that completes the sales force. And the sales force, and everyone else that touches in of the prospect or clients "senses" but be engaged in marketing at-all-times.

    I've spent most of my career in the mortgage industry and have had an active hands-on roll in all aspects except payment servicing. Some people say I'm a good sales-person, yet I've failed the most at being a loan officer. Or, I should say, I've failed the most at the traditional sales side of being a loan officer. The marketing side, now that's where I've done well.

    As long as I'm thinking about marketing and I've got an active audience, I've done well. Whether delivering the goods as a loan officer or processor with borrowers, or with underwriters or closers or title companies, I've had great results. Talking to the back shops with investors, or with warehouse lines....done well.

    Give me a product and connect me with the person I need to deliver it to...that's my sweet spot. Or put me in a room of people, or one-on-one, to train or coach and I'll develop a relationship and get results through that format; that's good marketing. But don't send me out on the streets or put me on the phone to "just sell." Almost guaranteed failure.

    But, all those years I wasn't "out selling" I still thought of myself as a salesperson. When I had someone on the phone or face-to-face, I was still selling. Whether we call it marketing or selling, every time we talk to someone and hopefully it is with good results in relationship to the product or service our company is attempting to deliver through us. We might pose it as communicating or discussing or some other aspect, but generally we are marketing and selling.

    Mortgage lending's traditional sales people are loan officers and a good loan officer gets the loans in the door. But then, what happens? Most don't even know that the sales process must continue. The loan officer has to "sell" to get the loan application in most cases, and the processor, underwriter, closer, and funder MUST continue what the LO started.

    Most companies have a tremendous amount of assets sitting in their box, but many of those assets don't even know they should be marketing and selling.

    To that end.....

    A Vision of Students Today

    Talent Analytics

    Companies that consistently make a difference and make a profit measure a lot of data and information, but how about their workforce? How do you measure your talent.

    Click here and under the "Name" column, select #214 Talent Analytics and listen to the HBR Podcast and what Tom Davenport has to say about this very important topic. Tom is a professor at  Babson College and coauthor of the Havard Business Review article "Competing on Talent Analytics."

    Sales Case Study: What does sales have to do with Interpersonal Communication Confidence?

    One reason we engage in interpersonal communication is to gain knowledge about another individual. One communication theory says that we attempt to gain information about others so that we can interact with them more effectively. We can better predict how others will think, feel, and act if we know who they are. We gain this information in three ways: passively, by observing them; actively, by having others engage them; or interactively, by engaging them ourselves.

    Darren responded in ways that suggest that he is less satisfied with his interpersonal communication skills than he would like to be. He would benefit greatly from some training in the area of interpersonal communication.

    Darren should focus on improving his skills in the specific situations that make him uneasy. Excessive anxiety concerning interpersonal communication situations can hinder effective marketing and sales performance.

    Sales and SMARTS: Quick Facts

    SMARTS [ Sales Marketing and Representative Trait Survey ]

    Quick Facts

    • Based on research of personal characteristics of top performing sales representatives in multiple industries.
    • Identifies characteristics important to success in both marketing and sales.
    • Gives developmental suggestions for improving the skill level of individuals in sales roles.
    To learn more about SMARTS and the Mortgage LO SMARTS study now in progress, contact or 512-773-6528.

    Want to Get It Done? Hire a Camera Crew...

    I received an email from Fred Rogers at AudioTech a few weeks ago challenging me to set better goals and get involved in the 100 Day Challenge. Now, I'm not all out promoting this company, nor its site, and I haven't bitten on the challenge (yet?), but he did get my attention.

    Fred led off his email with

    What would happen if I were to follow you with a camera crew 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the next 100 days while you went for your your goals? I bet 3 things would happen....

    1. You would START doing the things you say you need to do.

    2. You would STOP doing hte things you know you shouldn't be doing.

    3. You would MAKE monumental performance gains and change your life.

    Then, Fred said......this is all possible through the discipline of accountability.

    Again, I haven't signed up for the 100 Day Challenge, but that word "accountability" carries a lot of force behind its use. Many authors (God, Aristotle, Covey, Peters, Drucker, Augustine....) have written about what happens when it is enforced, or not. John Miller (Twitter @QBQGUY) writes extensively in his book QBQ about personal accountability and says "you don't blame anyone, including yourself." Now that brings accountability to a whole new level (read the book!).

    So, back to the camera. If a camera were following me around today, what would I Start and Stop doing? Is Cathy (my wife) going to see the film? Assessments note that I'm a poor time manager, so I bet I'd get some things done.

    ....better go to work. Cathy's downstairs moving around and I bet she thinks I'm working.

    Gulp. Maybe I'll make some monumental performance gains in my life today.

    Lord help me!

    Everyone else....have a Great Day and remember, you're being watched!

    Update: Mortgage Loan Officer Study

    The study to determine predictable behavioral patterns in successful loan officers has taken a couple of unexpected turns. As with any turn, you slow down and pay attention a bit better. In particular, many people have thought the study would be more about best practices in successful loan officers than behavioral patterns.

    Best practices are very very important and certain best practices transcend all organizations and markets while other practices are dependent upon the types of business and the people involved.

    That's where this study comes in; the people involved. This study is about the people FIRST. The past two weeks has been an education for me as I've talked to a number of readers who have called and emailed about the study and its purpose. This was a blind spot for me because I have been using assessments and job-fit patterns for years and had not considered how this was not something on everyone's mind as it was with me.

    We've started running the assessments on selected loan officers and we are continuing to talk to others. The selection process is dependent upon an LO's number of years in business, overall success, and relative fundings. The selection process does not mandate that we have only high volume loan officers in the control group. We fully expect to find some loan officers that produce a fraction of the loans as their counterparts, but yet have many of the same behavioral characteristics. The study will also include long time career loan officers that produce very few loans. All of this together helps us determine the proper patterns and how these results assist in the right job-fit and training recommendations.

    As to the best practices, because of the wide-spread interest this could be another project we pick up though there are other companies already engaged in such.

    Thanks to those who have expressed interest in the project and the results. Though the behaivoral science guys are the experts and bring the information together, I can see some common traits in the assessment reports we've run so far. It is going to be exciting to see where this information leads us.

    To that end....