Rethink What You Want to Do vs. What You “Should” Do

Rethink What You Want to Do vs. What You “Should” Do

Attitude and Mindset, Featured

vacationAre you doing the things you want to do? Or the things you think you should? Sometimes, other people’s wishes tamp down our true desires for our jobs and careers. But dutifully fulfilling others’ expectations is unlikely to make you happy over the long run. To figure out what you’re truly passionate about, try this experiment:

  1. Identify one specific activity to examine, whether it’s something you’re unhappy with or something you want to grow and develop in.
  2. Take a quick inventory of your personal values and passions. What drives you? What would you love to do if there was nothing in your way?
  3. Compare your passions with the activity you’re examining. Is there any overlap between them? If not, it might be time to make a change — and to redirect where you focus your time and effort.
Create a “Yes List” to Break Your Bad Habits

Create a “Yes List” to Break Your Bad Habits

Attitude and Mindset, Featured

yesDoes this sound familiar? You know you have a bad habit (maybe it’s interrupting others, or micromanaging), so you set out to change your ways. At first, you’re full of energy and enthusiasm, but as time goes on you slip back into your old behavior. If you really want to break your habit, try creating a “Yes List” to track and review your progress. Translate your goals into small, measurable tasks. For example, if you want to listen better, your task might be to attend one meeting a day without your computer and phone. Write your tasks on a checklist with a space to mark a daily Y for yes (if you met your goal) or N for no (if you didn’t). Pin your list somewhere visible and fill it out at the end of the day for the next few weeks. After tracking your habits, assess whether there are patterns in all those Y’s and N’s that need adjusting.

Develop Resiliency by Focusing on Three Traits

Develop Resiliency by Focusing on Three Traits

Attitude and Mindset, Featured

resilienceSome people thrive in the face of setbacks, while others seem unable to recover. For example, how would you respond to being laid off or not getting a promotion? Would regaining your confidence be fairly easy, or very difficult? According to the Harvard Business Review, Cultivating three traits can help you become the type of person who rebounds from these types of setbacks:

  • Seeing reality clearly. Resilient people have down-to-earth views on the situations they face. They aren’t overly optimistic, and they don’t deny reality. Instead, they stare down even harrowing situations, viewing them as a way to train themselves in how to survive hardships.
  • Finding meaning in what happens. People who bounce back devise constructs about their suffering to create some sort of meaning for themselves and others.
  • Making do. Overcoming obstacles means having to improvise a solution to a problem when you don’t have what you want. Resilient people make the most of what they do have.
The Difference Between Can’t And Won’t

The Difference Between Can’t And Won’t

Attitude and Mindset, Improvement

Can'tWe hear it from people all the time, “I can’t do it.” Very often what they mean is they won’t. In the past year I have been told by various people that they can’t read more books, they can’t save more money, they can’t invest in their future. Each of them really meant they won’t. The person who “can’t” read more books had plenty of time to watch television. The people who said they “can’t” save or invest more money, had no problem finding the money to spend $5 or more on a cup of coffee every morning.

If something is important to you, you can find a way to do it. It starts with making little changes. If you can find ten minutes a day to read, it adds up. If you can put aside $1 a day, it adds up. You may not have the time to go to a gym, but you can squeeze in ten push-ups during the day.

Changes don’t have to be grand gestures. They can be small steps that lead to bigger gains. You just have to ask yourself, do you really mean can’t or do you mean won’t?

Aim Through Your Target

Aim Through Your Target

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Focus

aim past goalsIn martial arts, practitioners are taught to aim through their target. The reason for this is that people tend to slow or halt their momentum as they approach a target. To hit a target with maximum power, you don’t stop your movement until you are past your target. The same principle applies to business.

In order to get the most out of your goals, aim past them. If you want five new customers, aim for ten. If you want $1 million in new revenue, aim for $1.5 million. By pushing through you are not only more likely to achieve your goal, but exceeding the goal leaves you in a better position for the next goal. Even if you don’t achieve the higher goal, you have achieved your actual goal.

The additional effort you put forth to raise the bar boosts your efficiency, enhances your productivity, and increases your momentum. Push through your goal and achieve more.

To find out how the Modern Observer Group can help you set and achieve goals, contact us here.

How Do You Make Your Customer Feel?

How Do You Make Your Customer Feel?

Attitude and Mindset, Customer, Featured, Improvement

motivatedOn Friday, November 3, the iPhone X became available in stores. As with most iPhone releases, people lined up to get one. Reporters covering the event talked to the first person to get one. He didn’t talk about the technology or the price. What he couldn’t stop talking about was how Apple made him feel. Everything he talked about was about the experience, not the product.

Creating an experience is key to customer loyalty. When your competition is only a mouse click away, that experience keeps a customer coming back. It’s about how the customer is treated, what they see, hear, smell and feel (if you’re running a restaurant it’s also about taste). An all encompassing experience is what gets people to come to your location or event. It’s about the impression you give before the sale and the customer service after the sale.

Think about the complete experience your customer has. It goes well beyond the sale and will bring them back for more.

To see how The Modern Observer Group can help you create a customer experience, contact us here.

Reduce Your Options

Reduce Your Options

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Improvement

optionsWhat drives some companies to succeed while others languish? Why does Kmart struggle while Wal-Mart and Target thrive? What the former lacks — that the latter have nailed — is focus. Wal-Mart focuses on “always low prices.” Target caters to a similarly cost-conscious market but focuses more on image and design. You can’t be all things to all people, so you need to make decisions about how you will provide differentiated value for a specific set of customers. This requires deciding what your core competencies are.

Your core competencies determine what you are best at. By focusing your business around them, you provide a clearer picture of who you are and what sets you apart from your competitors. But this isn’t the only place that too many options are not a good thing.

When building operational processes, you need to simplify them as much as you can. If a process provides too many options for a set of circumstances, the process becomes inefficient and confusing. A+B=C is clear. A+B=X or Y or Z doesn’t provide a definitive answer. Your process should as straightforward as possible. Even when there is a choice, those choices must be limited. If a = yes do this, if a = no do that. It’s fine for the next step to also be a decision, but break down the options to their simplest form.

To see how The Modern Observer Group can help you streamline your options, contact us here.

It’s Okay To Fail

It’s Okay To Fail

Attitude and Mindset, Featured

failureOne of the things that keeps entrepreneurs from succeeding is that they’re afraid to fail. This fear keeps them from taking the creative risks that are necessary to innovate and succeed. To succeed in business, you need to overcome that tendency.

Realize it is okay to fail. The only people that succeed at everything are people who never take risks. If you want to make a difference, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and take that risk. Every successful business has failed at one time or another. Think about Microsoft Bob, Apple’s Pippin, Google Wave, New Coke, etc. Each of these companies took big risks that failed, but the companies are successes.

Look at failure as a learning tool. Samuel Beckett wrote “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Through failure you learn what doesn’t work. As long as you don’t keep trying the same thing in the same way again and again, failure gives you insight into what will succeed.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is an essential part of success. Learn from mistakes and take risks. Nothing ventures, nothing gained.

To see how The Modern Observer Group can help you with mindset coaching, contact us here.

Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership

Anyone who has spent time in a medium to large organization over the last ten years has probably heard the term “internal client.” The idea is that you should be treating your clients like royalty and your colleagues deserve the same treatment. This is an excellent idea, in theory. There are, however, big problems that develop when the idea is translated to the real world.

When you communicate with a client, you likely have on your “game face” and project a high degree of professionalism. This should definitely be carried over when you communicate with internal colleagues, suppliers, partners, etc. Whether you are talking with an assistant, your boss, or the CEO of a client, it pays to be thoughtful and articulate every time. When you ask a question, make sure it’s a smart one. When you present an analysis, spend a few minutes thinking ahead about your key message, supporting details, and follow-up or action items. This shows your team that you have respect for them. It also shows people that you are smart and competent.

The key word in the above description is not client. It is team. When you work with partners, whether they are in your company or outside suppliers or contractors, you are a team. As a team you share goals, attitudes and burdens. When you start to use the “internal customer” model, an “us vs. them” mentality evolves. After all, if the customer is always right, the give and take of a well-polished team goes out the window. Teammates have to work together to ensure that all their responsibilities are met, all their goals are achieved, and everyone comes out a winner.

Forget treating colleagues like customers. Treat customers and colleagues like team members. This way when one of you wins, all of you win.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help your team function better, contact us here.

Why You Should Want To Put Yourself Out Of Business

Why You Should Want To Put Yourself Out Of Business

Attitude and Mindset, Customer, Featured

It may be one of the strangest concepts a business person can encounter, but to be truly successful your goal should be to put yourself;f out of business. I can hear you saying, “Why would I ever want that?” It comes down to the core reason any business exists: to solve a problem.

You are in business to solve a problem. If you’re not solving a problem, why would anyone do business with you? However, if you take the concept of problem solving to its logical conclusion, if you can solve that problem for everyone you will no longer be in business. Can you run a profitable business without solving the problem? Of course. That’s the basic business model for most pharmaceutical companies. They don’t cure the disease, they treat it so you have to keep treating it. There is nothing wrong with treating a problem rather than solving it, but which would your customer rather have?

The fact is if you solve a problem, it is unlikely that you will reach the point where you solve it for everyone. When you solve a problem, your customers will bring you more people with that problem, expanding your customer base. They are also more likely to come to you with new problems, giving you new target markets and potential products or services. Your business will be able to adapt to new circumstances to become a new company. When telegrams were no longer necessary, Western Union was able to use the same systems to transfer money.

So aim to put yourself out of business. Your customers will reward you for it.