Monday, August 29, 2016

If You Build It… Will They Come?


Probably not. Well… they might if you’re Richard Branson, Tony Robins, or Oprah, or if you have a few thousand friends on Facebook, or a sizeable email list. Your family and friends will probably help you too, but most of us have to come to terms with the idea that when we’re starting out, if we want people to know how great the information we’re trying to share is, it’s up to us to get what we have to offer in front of others….     
          
… And now you’re probably groaning with the thought that this post is going to be about marketing, and how to market. It isn’t, because there’s a piece of this puzzle that is so much more important than marketing.

If you want people to purchase your services or products, you want to grasp the reality that people buy things because they’re inspired to do so. Think about it. When you buy something—even when it’s a necessity—some type of inspiration accompanies that purchase. Take toothpaste for example. We don’t just buy toothpaste because we want to have healthy teeth and gums. We buy it to have fresh breath and a nice smile too. With those two things, we are more confident about interacting with people. In a very real way, the knowledge that we have fresh breath and a nice smile inspires us to buy the toothpaste. 

The same goes for when people are looking at our books, products, and/or services. They want to be inspired with thoughts of how much better some aspect of their life will be if they do business with us. But here’s the catch:

If we aren’t inspired by our own products or services, no one else will be either.

Most first-time authors are inspired when they’re starting out because it’s easy to be excited when everything is new. But sooner or later, even our most inspired and well-intentioned work has to go through the “construction” process of making it assessable and available to others. This phase of the work is more about getting the job done than it is about inspiration, and it can be easy to get caught up in the physical logistics of bringing something to market. If we “forget” to remember how inspired we were when we made the decision to help others by sharing our information, strategies, ideas, products, and/or services, our potential clients and customers will sense it. 

I’m not suggesting that anyone should start jumping up and down to catch someone’s attention. I am suggesting that you create a collection of mental thoughts and images of the successes people will experience during their journey with you. What will they be inspired to do as a result of reading your books and blog posts, taking your classes, or working with you directly? How will they be able to pay it forward after they’ve absorbed your information? How many lives will improve as a result of the time and energy you focused into getting your inspired work to market so that the benefits could be shared directly—and indirectly—with the world?

Your work has value. It can change lives, and I don’t have to know you personally to know that. When you are inspired to help others succeed, your inspired action is like a shining beacon of hope and possibility to others. When you’re inspired belief is that you’re work can make a difference in someone else’s life, you’re inspiring the people you’re engaging with to believe that they too deserve to have, do, or be more than they are right now. That's when people will start finding you and your work. And that’s when our collective journey to a better life begins. 


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Before You File For Divorce From Your Job, Try Using The 80-20 Rule.







Would it surprise you to hear that 2.9 million people in the US “divorced” their jobs in June of 2016? It surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t have. People spend a considerable amount of time at work. It’s quality time too—time when we’re alert and engaged. Unfortunately, when our workday is done, we’re often too tired to enjoy what’s left of the day. And, if we aren’t happy with the way our job is progressing, all those quality hours start evolving into one long painful rerun of the movie Groundhog Day where every day starts and ends in the exact same place.
It’s understandable why someone might decide it’s time to quit their job: low pay, unreasonable expectations, inflexibility with scheduling, lack of support or teamwork, etc. I get it. But quitting a job comes with its own bucket of stresses. There will still be bills to pay, and we all have to eat. Yes, quitting is always an option—especially if it’s time for a career change—but before you decide to “divorce” your employer, use the 80/20 rule to establish some clarity.
Make a list of all the projects you’re working on. Once you’re done, take the list and go somewhere where you won’t be interrupted while you’re working on it.  
If you look carefully at your list, you’re going to see projects that are actually other people’s projects. Put a line through them. Next, look for projects that are going to move you ahead. Put a star next to them. Now here’s the trick: Cut your starred list by 80%. I know exactly what you’re thinking, “Oh crap. I can't do that." Yes, you can.
The data being collected about multitasking is piling up—it doesn’t work. Having a planner that’s as busy as downtown Chicago in rush hour traffic doesn’t mean you’re better at your job. It probably means you’re saying yes to everybody else’s priorities, and not leaving yourself enough time to focus on what you need to get done so you can:
  • Enjoy your work
  • Excel at your job by doing what you do best
Once you’ve identified your 20%, schedule hard completion dates for each item, and commit to those dates!
Remember that neither your boss nor your coworkers will know you’ve taken this step. That means being prepared for their interruptions. Politely ask coworkers if you can get back to them later. If your boss wants to add another project to your pile, skillfully ask him or her how it ranks in priority compared to the other work you have to do.
Take the time to, as Steven Covey puts it, “Sharpen the saw.” Your work may be just one aspect of your life, but it’s a pretty big aspect, so it’s important to schedule time to revisit your project list every so often to make sure it’s on track with both your work and your personal goals.
No one should have to “divorce” their job because some parts of it aren’t working at the moment. If you enjoy the job, and you don’t really want to quit, identify your 20% and put your valuable time, energy, and focus into those priorities. If your employer doesn’t respect your methodology, you can quit with a clear conscience.
On the other hand, using the 80/20 rule to set yourself up for success could put you in a position where you once again enjoy the sound of your alarm clock signaling the start of a new day!

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new

product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at Luoma@snet.net 




Sunday, August 14, 2016

$16M Jury Award is a Victory for Healthcare Consumers

Truth in advertising matters in healthcare. An Alabama hospital recently got that message loud and clear with a $16 million jury award against it. The verdict in the Malatesta vs. Brookwood Medical Center court case also sends a message to healthcare consumers that they have a powerful tool for holding facilities and providers accountable for the promises they advertise.

Caroline Malatesta was swayed, in 2012, by an enticing advertising campaign to switch hospitals for the birth of her fourth child, from one that offered a restrictive model of maternity care to one that claimed to offer autonomy and personalized birthing options. The care that she received during the birth, however, was more restrictive and medicalized than her previous birthplace, and resulted in a permanent injury. She took the hospital to court for fraud and on August 5, 2016, a jury awarded her and her husband $16M. That sum includes punitive damages in the amount of $5M, which were awarded for reckless fraud directly relating to the advertising campaign which promised more natural birthing options.

According to a blog post on the Malatesta’s law firm’s website, the Brookwood Medical Center ads emphasized a mother's choice, individual birthing plans, freedom of movement and even mentioned water births. Yet, when Caroline was in labor there she was not allowed freedom of movement or access to a birthing tub, and she was forcibly restrained by nurses, who held her baby inside her for six minutes until a doctor arrived, causing a type of permanent nerve damage. Reports state that water births had been banned internally in the facility since 2013, yet advertisements still included it as an offering at the time Malatesta filed her suit, nurses had not received special training in managing natural births, and the depositions show that there was not a system in place to alert staff that a patient was planning a natural birth. A nurse reported that the messages about natural birth in the advertisements were not communicated to the staff.

In interviews Malatesta has said that she tried to talk with the hospital administration to get answers about what happened to her, but they were not responsive. "Unfortunately I felt like I didn't get any real answers. And they eventually just shut me out. That was when I realized the only option was litigation," stated Malatesta in one of her interviews posted online. One of the claims the lawsuit alleges is that Brookwood “[marketed] natural birth services without sufficient coordination to ensure that the medical staff and other caregivers were aware of, trained in and committed to providing the services advertised.”

Malatesta reluctantly pursued litigation, but she did so because her injury was so debilitating and expensive. Once the media picked up her story, she heard from other women who had also been duped by Brookwood’s advertising campaign and received poor quality care there. In one article she says, "It's meaningful to me that so many women have contacted me and told me that the verdict was their validation that they never got. That gives meaning to an injury that's hard to come to terms with – a bigger meaning than myself."

In addition to Malatesta and the numerous other women who were drawn in by Brookwood’s false advertising and now feel that justice has been served, other healthcare consumers may benefit from this verdict. As healthcare consumers become better informed about their options, competitive hospital markets may be tempted to use “buzzwords” that appeal to savvy consumers without backing up their claims. Competition between hospitals can be intense in many communities, and marketers may be tempted to tap into the latest healthcare technology and trends being hyped in the media without the staff or facility being able to support that type of care. But, large jury awards like this one put the healthcare industry on notice that they must provide what they promise, or risk being held accountable. Also, cases such as this one set legal precedent, paving the way for other similar cases. The fact is, the legal system is one of the few ways that individuals can sway the actions of large corporations for enforcement of laws and standards of care.

While all healthcare consumers won’t get a piece of the monetary award in this case, they will benefit from the awareness that is raised when a large sum is awarded in a legal case, and they will benefit from the precedent that’s been set for truth in advertising about healthcare services. For those who have suffered injury as a result of the medical decisions they made based on the promises of a healthcare facility that didn’t live up to its promises, this case can serve as a reminder that the legal system can help individuals in getting justice in when dealing with giant corporations. 

 

 Michal Klau-Stevens is a professional speaker and healthcare consumer advocate. She is a Past President of BirthNetwork National, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and mother.  Her website is TheBirthLady.INFO. Find her on LinkedIn and on Facebook at The Birth Lady page!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Do You Rate on Employee Morale?

The effect that low employee morale can have on your company can be devastating and should not be taken lightly. The command and control stance that is common to many companies suggests that employees listen to their manager without questioning them. So managers spend the majority of their time delegating and seldom take the time to listen to their employees.

Morale is what drives your company to reach its goals or what adds to employee disengagement that results in lower performance and productivity, increased absenteeism, increased conflicts and higher employee turnover.  Often your employees leave their jobs because they are unhappy with their boss, do not feel valued or they do not feel involved or challenged in their day to day work.  If your employees do not feel valued, they do not put forth their best efforts for your company.  Conversely, when employees are engaged in their jobs, they take pride in their work and actively seek out best practices to reach your goals.   Employees show a willingness to go the extra mile by taking on a more active role, in communicating their ideas with their co-workers and managers as they like feeling like they are a part of the solution and ultimate success of the company.

Once low morale has taken hold in your culture, it can be tough to get rid of.  This occurs regardless of your company’s latest cutting edge technology or the intentions of your management team.  If your employees lack motivation, your company cannot be at its best.  To build up employee morale it is important to have a climate of trust.  This can be accomplished through the consistent actions of management in doing as they say they are going to do. Management needs to open minded and accessible.  Secondly, your communications must have a clear meaning that allows your employees to openly talk about the issues that they encounter by openly discussing and asking questions regarding company messages.  Challenge your employees by giving them an opportunity to grow and learn new things and recognizing their achievements.  You can drive morale and accountability by capturing and implementing the ideas of your employees.  This will emphasize that they are heard and valued.  Holding weekly meetings with your employees and showing the impact of implemented ideas and employee accomplishments will further strengthen morale.

Your employees are your most valued asset and once they believe that you value their unique talents and contributions, they will drive your organization forward.

Idea Share of the Month!
As employees come together to discuss and implement ideas; they learn about one another’s strengths and weaknesses and communicate like never before – with the added benefit that each employee becomes a resource to others based on their expertise.  Turn everyone into a go to person!


Frame of Mind Consulting understands the unique DNA of your organization, which is necessary to turn any organization into one capable of leveraging the full idea potential of its employees.  Would you like to drive connectivity and ownership throughout your company?  Contact me at (860) 559-7942 to set up your complimentary consultation during which you will receive some invaluable tips that you can apply to your business right away.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Putting POSITIVITY and NEGATIVITY in PERSPECTIVE: TAKE the CHALLENGE...

For the last couple of years, I have branded myself the "Happiness and Success GPS". True Success cannot be achieved without Happiness preceding it... The components for "Happiness and Success" are the 4 "Ps": Purpose - Passion - Positivity and a Plan. Of the 4 "Ps", Positivity is the foundation for the other 3 because Mindset (positive or negative) is a choice and one cannot achieve Happiness with a negative Mindset.

The outside world of expectations, opinions, judgments, comparisons, complaining, media coverage, etc.,  is primarily negative. We have NO CONTROL over this perceived negative world, yet many live day to day CHOOSING to let their lives be run by it anyway... The reality is that we own our reactions and that is all we control. Positivity is the OPPOSITE CHOICE to negativity and can overpower it. Notice that I said "overpower"... While negativity never goes away, it is no match for the power of Positivity. Here's a way to prove it to yourself:

Chip's Positivity Challenge: Build a Positive Mindset and maintain it for a month... Here's the process:
1.      Write a Victory Log: this is ALL the great things that have happened to you in your life: relationships, accomplishments, awards, recognition, experiences, talents - you get the drift. This WILL be a long list. Read it over and over again - celebrate and be unconditionally grateful for the unique and magnificent you! Yes, we all have faults, but we self-sabotage ourselves by constantly thinking about them - our minds are our own worst enemies...
2.       Start a Gratitude Journal: every day, write down a thing or three that you are grateful for and pause to FEEL the gratitude.
3.      Write a Negativity List: this is everything that you think is wrong with you, others and the world.
4.      For the  next 30 days, ADD TO ALL THREE... I guarantee that you will find it easy and personally fulfilling to add to your Victory Log and Gratitude Journal. I'm also quite positive that when you look at your Negativity List, you will begin to realize that most of what is there, instead of being reality (which your Victory Log and Gratitude Journal absolutely are), is a list thoughts and misconceptions that are only real because you let them be. Instead of adding to that list, you will likely find yourself crossing items off and feeling good about doing so. Doing these daily exercises will put things into REALITY perspective: there is a whole lot of positivity in you, others, and our world (you are proving it every day through your journaling), and negativity exists mainly in our thoughts, which can be overpowered by positive ones.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Look in the Mirror and SMILE uncontrollably - there is someone AWESOME who you need to love, appreciate and celebrate smiling back - know that you are a unique and amazing gift to the world. Take the Positivity Challenge and encourage others to do so. Change your perspective - help others do so - and watch your world shine...

ABOUT CHIP:
Chip, the Happiness and Success GPS, is a speaker, trainer, facilitator, consultant and NETWORKING EXPERT. Everything I do is customized for the group or business I that am working with so let's brainstorm - call me anytime at 860-673-4006 - coffee's on me!

UPCOMING EVENT:
Wednesday, August 24, 7:30 - 9:00 AM: Join me at Atria Hamilton Heights - West Hartford  for the "IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU", a Personal & Professional Development Presentation that also includes Networking Fun!

Click HERE for more information and to register.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Start with Why part 5

Everything that I have mentioned here over the last several months is just the tip of what Simon Sinek talks about in his book, Start with Why. He goes on in his book to give many more examples of companies and individuals who have figured out their WHY, as well as how to express their WHY in a way that people can easily understand. In addition, Sinek also points out many companies that used to know their WHY and how to express it, but have lost either their WHY or their clarity of message over time and are now floundering.
            So, what can we do with the powerful information in Sinek’s book? Well, the first thing everyone should do is go get the book, read it, take notes and then try to apply his wisdom and insight. Get ready though for your mind to be over-whelmed with possibilities of the quality of life you could be living if you can just figure out your WHY and how to effectively express your WHY.
            Finding your WHY doesn’t come from looking forward into the future like some wizard, it comes from looking back. So, look back in your past and take inventory of your life. What were the best times in your life? When did you feel totally in control? When were you absolutely positive that you were doing the right thing and knew you were exactly where you needed to be? Now let me ask you WHY. Why did you feel so good and positive during those moments? Doing this simple exercise will help you begin to find your true authenticity. From the starting point of your true authenticity you can begin to successfully move forward with confidence to better understand WHY you do what you do.
Finally, you will be able to put all your future decisions through your WHY filter thus making your life a lot easier, less stressful, more productive, and more Zen like. I know Steve Jobs would approve of this, but please do shower and keep your shoes on at your next meeting. Figure out your WHY and consistently use your WHY filter for all future decisions and you too will start to attract others like you who can become part of your team in making this world a better place. No more hesitating. Go get the book. Read it and do what you have to do to figure out your WHY, express your WHY and succeed in fulfilling your dreams.


Dan is an award-winning teen leadership author, speaker and educator. You can find out more about Dan at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish?





Nothing. Create Space is Amazon’s online self-publishing platform that’s available – free of charge – to anyone who wants to self-publish their book. Create Space provides:

1.  Downloadable interior and cover templates you can use to get your book into the print-friendly format they require.
2.  A free ISBN (as long as you don’t mind Create Space being listed as your publisher).
3.  A listing for your book on what is arguably the world’s first choice platform when it comes to shopping for books.

Again, all at no cost to you. 

This is a valuable piece of information for every expert thinking about writing a book. It’s also part of the answer to a question I get asked all the time: “How much will it cost me to get my book published?” No doubt your eagle-eyes caught the words “part of the answer.” It’s true that there’s no charge to upload and list your book on Amazon, but listing it for sale and selling it aren’t the same thing. If you want people to actually buy your book, you have to provide them with a book worth buying.

Perhaps the biggest misconception experts have about writing a book is that they have to write every single word of it or else it isn’t theirs. If they get help from someone like a content editor, they feel like that’s cheating, or that they’re compromising their integrity, or that they can’t claim the book as theirs. Bull#&(%! That’s just not the case.

How many years has it taken you to gain the knowledge you’re ready to share in a book? Are you willing to devote the same amount of time to becoming a professional writer just so you can claim ownership of every word? You could, but that would be time wasted – time you could have spent reaching new levels of knowledge and expertise in your chosen field – time you could have spent using your expertise to help others.

Working with someone to get your expertise out of your head and onto the page isn’t selling out. Being attached to your words is about ego. People don’t remember the words. They remember the ideas, knowledge, information, strategies, and insights you shared with them. Which is more important? Your words or your message? Would it really be such a bad thing if someone helped you craft your words into chapters that could change people’s lives?

Having an ego is a good thing. Your ego helped you claim your expertise, but keep your ego in check when it comes to getting your book in print. Before you even start writing, commit to making your book the best book it can be. Commit to finding the right editor to work with. Yes, editors cost money, but if you aren’t a professional writer, and you want to produce a quality book, sooner or later you’re going to want an editor on your team.

Ultimately, an editor is an investment in your future that your readers will truly appreciate.