What Footprint You Leave Behind?

Recently on our company event we discussed the topic of our “sales footprint”. What is the impact, impression we leave after our sales encounters.

Do our footprints get washed away by first wave, or we leave a lasting impression?

It’s very important to clear out for yourself, what YOUR impression is about. Are you professional, creative, innovative, structured, inspiring, hardworking…? What are the characteristics you leave behind?

For me my footprint is defined by my ambition, my goals. So here are couple of methods I find useful in defining my footprint:

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT:

I made this exercise of setting up my personal “mission statement” some months ago. It’s inspired by the 7 habits book by Stephen R. Covey. For me I have 3 roles, 3 types of impressions I want to leave with people I meet and projects I get involved with:

CONTRIBUTOR – a person who gives in the best possible contribution to the idea that matters.

CHANGE AGENT – someone who helps driving positive change and generates the change in others.

LIFELONG LEARNER – someone who is willing to learn and improve for whole life and inspires others to do so.

You can also read more about my mission in this presentation.

BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL:

When I was still active in AIESEC we were putting together the ambition for year 2015, something like a long-term vision. The interesting concept we used was BHAG = Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

BHAG, as Wikipedia defines it “is a strategic business statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.”

AIESEC set it’s BHAG as “Engage and develop every young person in the world.

My BHAG is to significantly help 1.000.000 people.

It does not matter which way you choose to define your footprint. It’s important to define it, commit to it and act on it.

So what is your footprint?

The Spark In The Eyes Makes The Difference

Last weekend we were running an innovation workshop for the guys from AIESEC Slovakia. As a part of it we had a short presentation from a Jozef Porhincak from Challengest project.

What mostly inspired me about his talk was not the content. Though the idea and success of the project are really interesting. What caught my attention was the spark of enthusiasm and full commitment that he displayed.

It’s great to see people fully devoted to the idea they believe in. And it makes me think “what does make me feel this way”? What is the thing that would light the spark in my eyes?

Do you have something that lights your spark? If yes, what do you do about it?

The Simplest Advice On Customer Care

Companies spend a lot of time and money on figuring out how to make their customers happy. People spend a lot of effort on trying to crack the code to good relations with others…

The key to all relations (with clients, friends, family…) is to actually CARE. Care for their problems, for what is happening in their lives.

Every person likes to feel the real, authentic interest. Show that to those whom you want to win. Show interest. Care. It will make them happy and it will help you win their loyalty and love.

It is not about claiming that you do care. It’s about acting. Listening with attention. Speaking with right intention. Offering and actually delivering your help. Searching for options. And being personally happy for the chance to help.

Acting vs being

Have you ever wanted to be different than you are? For me it happens. Mostly when I’m disappointed with what I have / haven’t done.

In fact, I think when we wish for being different, what we really mean is that we would want to have acted differently. When we wish to be more “outgoing”, what we mean is “I wish I would have gone out and spoke to those people.”

We are the sum of our habits. And habits are formed by actions.

So if you want to BE different, just ACT differently.

Observer mentality and call for your action

Today I want to talk to you about little something I call “observer mentality” and I want to ask you for one simple step to take.

OBSERVER MENTALITY

Have you ever been for a football match in the lowest league in the country? It’s not a pretty picture. Not because of the football quality, but because of the fans around there. They display one of the best examples of “observer mentality” that I’ve ever seen. You hear nothing from their mouths except of swearing on the players. And all of them seem to think they are 100x more capable of playing than those 22 guys on the field.

Problem is, none of them actually does play. Moreover, none of them does anything to improve the play of others. They are just great at being critical observers.

Let’s look at what I see as typical for people with “observer mentality”:

  • they know the best way to do something, but they don’t do it
  • they are constantly proclaiming how someone is doing it wrong
  • they find pleasure in criticising every move
  • they take no action to improve the situation, rather wait
  • they usually blame others for own failures
  • if confronted, they don’t propose suggestions
  • if asked to help, they back-out, it’s not “their job to do”

Critique is important. If it is constructive and well aimed. 

I believe in criticising with good intention and a suggestion how to improve (just as I wrote in my do-not-do list). I hate observer mentality and I have a constructive suggestion for all those “observers” (and I suggest you forward it to any of those around you):

Either act with aim to change it or shut up!

This action does not need to be taking over full responsibility. Small steps are enough: talk to the player after the match and give him some advice, become an expert in the tactics and talk to the coach on how to make the starting line, raise some money to hire better players…

I’m not saying speaking-up about what bothers you is wrong. It’s great! But speak up with the right intention to the right people with right information. 

Just don’t spread all-knowing words without constructive action!

CALL FOR YOUR PROBLEMS

Constructive Meet-up Cover

I’m tired seeing observer mentality around me and sometimes stepping into it myself.

That’s why in 4 days I’m meeting with couple of friends for our first “Constructive Meet-up” – a meeting to generate solutions to problems and take them forward.

Thank you Lubica for co-organising it with me.

Now a request towards you – take first step to sort out things that  bother you. Let us know. We’re looking for problems that we can solve on our meet-up. So if you have something that bothers you, go ahead and let us know in questionnaire below or on this link.

Couple of rules:

  1. insert problems, not solutions
  2. be specific
  3. don’t go into politics or religion (we don’t want to deal with that)
  4. take time and fill in ALL 10 QUESTIONS (we need quantity)

Most probably we won’t be able to cover all the topics, but we will cover some. It’s a start. Your input will not be forgotten and we will look at it.

If you like it, share it forward 😉

Thank you for your input and for not having the observer mentality.

PS: if you wanna know more about Constructive Meet-up or you wanna take part in it, get in touch with me. For now it’s a closed group, but let’s see…

Snap! Every Moment Counts In Life

We live in the age of amazing speed. Everyday, every hour, every minute, every second amazing number of new ideas are born.

Snap! The opportunity is lost. Snap! Another one appears. Snap!

Our personal and business success depends on our quick reaction. I used to work for Alcatel-Lucent, whose motto is “At the Speed of Ideas”. But only now working in B2B sales I understand what it really means to be in quick. You can lose an opportunity faster than you think. You need to ack quickly and decisively.

Snap!

The time between “snaps” gets shorter and shorter and we need to learn and act quicker and quicker. We don’t have the time to gather all the information we need. We even don’t have the capacity for that, for the amount of data is enormous. We need to do more decisions in shorter time with limited information.

It’s more costly to hesitate than to risk and fail.

I’m naturally not the most decisive and quick to act. But I have to learn this. It’s a skill just like any other.

I’ve had one business idea in my drawer for almost 2 years. Now a friend of mine came up with a connected idea and within couple of weeks he’s starting to build a prototype of first product. Makes me wonder, where I would be, if I had started acting earlier…

What about you? Are you quick enough to succeed? Do you hear that snapping sound? Does it announce your success or failure to act?

SNAP!

Extremes Can Guide Your Focus

Nothing is black or white. There is a lot of grey area available. Despite that, sometimes it makes sense to think black or white.

Many times I tend to turn into thinking that it’s “more-less okay” or “partially done” or stuff like that.

Black or white, yes or no, done or not done are ultimate statements, but they help to keep my thinking real. Even if I’m working on something that takes time and I “celebrate” little successes on the way, I still turn back to simple question: “Yes or no?”

Going “extreme” in evaluating situation might not be always good, but many times it helps to keep your head straight and focused. Whether in personal or business topics, it can be great guidance.

Jump Over Knowing Doing Gap

There’s so many things we know. We know exercising is healthy. We know taking care for client is productive. We know planning makes sense. We know…

I know for example that to achieve my goals I need to plan and track activities. But still I fail in doing that properly. That means, that my knowledge is useless.

To know is not enough, knowledge has to be applied. Good intention isn’t enough, we must act.

This is the “motto” my boss, Martin, uses. And all our company lives that motto. Whether in work with our clients or in our internal improvement.

Knowing is not enough. The knowledge is as much as passive acknowledgement of needed change. If I know I am not good at presenting, it’s a start. Even if I know good techniques to present, it still is not enough. Until I start using those techniques, I won’t get better. Ever.

Once you acquire some new piece of information, you should ask yourself simple question:

What will I do about it? When?

And then act. Don’t expect the change to happen without action.

It applies to skills improvement, personal change, as well as to company improvement. If you know there’s something that can be done better, but you don’t act, you don’t contribute.

So what do you know and don’t act on?


Short information point (not intended as promotion, just to let you know):
The key thing that distinguishes DEVELOR from other training and consulting companies is the fact that we walk the performance talk. We are one of few companies who are certified by Kirkpatrick Partners to use Kirkpatrick Model of measuring development impact. We know and educate our clients to pay as much (or even more) attention to application of skills, as they pay to “traditional” training of employees. Because even the best training has limited influence on behavioural change and results. To act is necessary.

Simplest Way To Get Some Help

… and it will be given. Or at least it might be.

One thing constantly upsets me: so few people ask for what they want, even when they have the unlimited options available.

When I was still active with AIESEC, we already had a large group of alumni (ex-AIESECers), who were just one phone-call away. Despite that we used to “reinvent the wheel”, because we didn’t ask for help.

Nowadays, when I have the chance to help some of the young guys through my experience, I see that still happening. There’s so few of people who will just pick-up the phone and ask for help or advise (whether from me or from others).

Most of the times if you state your request honestly, you will be treated with respect. You don’t even need to be offering anything in return (though it’s great if you find some benefits for the other side).

In most of the cases, people are keen on helping. Some actually long to be given the chance to contribute to others. Some like to be asked, because it gives them the feeling of appreciation. Some might say no. But many will say “yes”.

Worst case you end up where you have started. Best case, you will get what you want. Everything it takes is to step forward. Without asking, you’ll get a “No” for sure.

So go ahead and ask. It might be given.

Create a NOT-TO-DO List As Well

I already wrote about setting good boundaries. Now I want to share some DO-NOT-DOs, which help me to contribute my best. Maybe you can find some of them helpful:

  • don’t criticise without an alternative,
  • don’t judge before fully understanding,
  • don’t assume you know best,
  • don’t hesitate,
  • don’t underestimate people,
  • don’t argue, use arguments,
  • don’t hurt intentionally,
  • don’t postpone an apology,
  • don’t regret,
  • don’t lie (to others and yourself),
  • don’t repeat mistakes,
  • don’t quit.

Do you have your DO-NOT-DOs? Share some of them 😉

PS: for those interested, here’s a great post by Ivana Sendecka on Why Having “NOT To-Do List” Can Save You (Time).