Tag Archives: Should
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
I’ve followed that nugget of wisdom for almost as long as I’ve been working, and I credit a lot of its impact to the eponymous founder of the Trammell Crow Company, the real estate development firm where I worked early in my career.
I recall back in 1974, shortly after I joined the company, Fortune magazine profiled our founder in an article titled, “Trammell Crow Succeeds Because You Want Him To,” which captured the stories of many people who cheered Crow on to success after success.
It was well known in the industry even then, that Trammell always looked to acknowledge those with whom he worked. I remember one time I commented on a watch he was wearing. The next week, when I returned to my office, I found a new watch identical to it in a box on my desk. No note was attached, but I knew who sent the surprise gift.
I wasn’t alone. Over my 20-plus years at the company, I met financiers and bankers who told me that they were the ones who gave Trammell, a pioneer in commercial real estate, his start with his first loan. These lenders all felt that they were part of his success because he shared it with people and credited them.
This attitude extended to hiring as well. Trammell prioritized human interactions, people skills, situational awareness and emotional intelligence (EQ) in everyone he worked with. Smarts and passion were a given in new hires, but they also had to be the kind of person with whom you’d want to have a beer. They couldn’t be selfish, short-term thinkers, or make their own goals the priority.
The trick, he said, was to find those who have high EQ and want others as well as themselves to win.
I’ve spent a lot of my career looking for these high EQ people for leadership positions and found that they often have the following five traits:
- They’re team players. They don’t have personal agendas that overwhelm others needs. They listen. They don’t view the world only through their own lenses or are overly combative. Unfortunately, even though star solo performers can often do great work on their own, they can also quickly dismantle a team if you’re not careful.
- They’re secure and confident. Brashness usually comes from insecurity. The quiet ones, those who are reserved, stable people, are most often unafraid even under stress. They’re the kinds of leaders people will be willing to follow anywhere.
- They’re visionary. They take the long view. They can “see around corners,” and they anticipate the long-run, second-, and third-order consequences of every action. They also understand the all-things-considered wisdom of reviewing all of the options before them in any given situation.
- They’re nice. They’re kind and thoughtful on a personal level. This behavior is something I saw firsthand in Trammell, but it is something that I truly learned from my mother, who always said that it costs nothing to say a kind word and to lift others’ spirits.
- They’re selfless. They don’t keep score. They do things without any expectation of reward. Those that make helping others succeed a priority often find that it is sometimes repaid. They also know not to change course when the favor isn’t returned. If you can do that, you’ll find legions of fans, friends and teammates who will quietly root for your success.
Conceptually, all of these people-pleasing principles are almost circular in their logic. You’ll want everyone to like you, so that they’ll want you to succeed.
But it’s not that simple.
It’s really about respect. If a tension exists between being respected and being loved, my suggestion is always to choose respect. Eventually, you’ll be loved if you’re respected. But if you’re only loved, respect may not follow.
Remember, too, life is long; it is not a sprint, but is instead an ultra-marathon. You’ll run into the same people over and over, again and again. Make sure they have great memories of you, as a colleague or leader.
They’ll ultimately remember that you were gracious, that you helped them out when they were under pressure, and that you offered a good word on their behalf.
“I got boxes and boxes of notes,” Blake recalls. “They are my most important mementos from my time at Home Depot.”
Those notes brought the spirit of gratitude full circle.
During his seven-year stint as CEO, Blake set aside several hours every Sunday to hand-write notes thanking standout employees for their service. He estimates he wrote more than 25,000 notes to everyone from district managers to hourly associates.
“I’d see the notes framed at the stores,” he told me. “So I knew it mattered.”
Science confirms it mattered. Studies show that employees who feel appreciated are happier, more engaged, more productive, and more likely to contribute in positive ways.
And it’s not just the recipient who benefits. Studies show that people who express appreciation are more optimistic, as well as physically and emotionally healthier.
In other words, gratitude stays with those who give it.
So, as we head into Thanksgiving, here are four tips for using the lost art of letter writing as a way of expressing appreciation to your employees.
1. Be specific about why you’re thankful.
When Frank Blake thanked me via email and phone for writing about this particular topic, it made me smile. We all want to be appreciated for what we’re doing, and when you’re recognized for something specific, it’s even more of a motivator.
Blake says when writing his notes, he stayed away from generalities. Instead of simply thanking employees for their customer service, he told me he’d write: “I heard that you did xyz for a customer recently. Thank you for setting a great example of customer service.”
Lydia Ramsey, a business etiquette expert and author of Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits, suggests mentioning the specific effect on your team or organization. For example, “Thank you for coming in on your day off. You helped us finish our project on time and set a great example for everyone involved.”
2. Set up a system.
When Blake sat down every Sunday to write his notes, he had a process for identifying the recipients: Each store would collect specific examples of great customer service. The store would send those names to the districts. The districts would send their top picks to the regions. And the regions would send their top picks directly to Blake.
“I figured the advantage of this is that it created an atmosphere of people being on the lookout for recognizing great behavior,” Blake says.
Regardless of the size of the company, he advises bosses to develop a mindset that focuses on identifying employees who put in extra effort, and then a system to recognize those employees.
3. Keep note cards handy.
In this digital media age, it’s easy to skip the pen and go straight for the keyboard. But when was the last time you put a text or an email in a keepsake box? There’s just something about a handwritten note that creates a more meaningful connection.
To avoid the temptation of dashing off a digital thank you, have fun picking out some note cards that reflect your personality, and stash them in a convenient place in your desk. That way, “you don’t have to hunt them down, and you can write that note immediately, while the act is still fresh in your mind, says Ramsey.
4. Go beyond gratitude.
Making employees feel appreciated goes beyond thanking them for a job well done. It can also include recognizing and acknowledging significant events in their lives like birthdays, engagements, work anniversaries, kids’ graduations, and even family illnesses.
Regardless of the precipitating event, Ramsey calls handwritten notes “a chance to build positive relationships with employees.”
And since fewer and fewer people are putting pen to paper these days, you’ll stand out with each letter you write.
Letting people know you’re thinking of them creates a chance for meaningful connection. It also creates a keepsake they can look back on and remember that you took the time to reach out.
“There’s something so powerful about the written word,” says Blake.
Four years ago, almost to the day, it was obvious that Snapchat should have taken the money: $ 3 billion Facebook offered to acquire it. But, no, the company’s founders insisted that it would be a bad move. Co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel and, presumably, others were sure it was worth more. Not according to the earnings release today by parent Snap Inc.
Snap’s 2017 third quarter results were egregious. It was like watching the Coyote in a Road Runner Cartoon stop off the edge of a cliff and keep moving for a bit until, looking down, it realized the situation.
Revenue was up by 62%, which is wonderful. Only, analysts expected nearly $ 237 million in revenue instead of the $ 207.9 million the company had. There was little change in the number of users, and when you depend on advertising revenue to grow the business, that’s really bad. The quarter’s net loss of $ 443,159,000 was more than 3.5 times larger than the same period last year.
The company uses the non-standard measure of “adjusted EBITDA” to measure its, uh, success. Net income or loss excluding interest income and expense, other income or expense, depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation and the related payroll tax expense, and “certain other non-cash or non-recurring items impacting” the bottom line. Even with that twisting, there was a $ 178,901,000 loss, which tells you just how many contortions it takes to massage the real loss.
Wall Street is not happy and Snap’s stock price dropped by 20 percent inside an hour. Spiegel and his co-founder, Bobby Murphy, are probably not happy either: Between them, their stock holdings lost $ 1 billion in value before the Coyote could finish the long drop with that soft pooft at the end.
If only Snap were an aberration on the West Coast tech scene. But it’s not. There’s billions of investment money in Uber, which is in the red a couple of billion dollars a year at this point. Juciero and its crazy-expensive juicers and juice packs finally packed it in a couple of months ago when it was clear few people were crazy enough to spend many hundreds on a machine and then $ 140 to $ 200 a month on juice. Heck, you could invest the cash and start your own small juice bar at that rate. And Juciero had only $ 118.5 million in venture money.
There’s an old saying: owe the bank $ 100 dollars and it owns you; owe it $ 100 million and you own the bank. This is what Silicon Valley and U.S.-style tech investing has come to. Forget a Microsoft of Apple or even a Facebook, where the companies went public after they were making real money. They build businesses that understand the profit concept, not almost eternal indebtedness that was supposed to turn the corner one day.
Here’s the difference: Snap’s founders lost a lot in paper worth on a company that, if you took away all the venture money, would be out of business. Microsoft launched Bill Gates who, back in 1986 when he was 30, was “probably one of the 100 richest Americans,” according to Fortune. Now he’s the richest man in the world.
Investors have been entranced by companies that seem like they should be worth billions and billions because they have scalable architecture and, doggonit, people like them. But it’s not enough to have a likeable business. Attention isn’t enough. Do VCs and money people not know the history of the dot com bubble? “Eyeballs,” a former crazy measure of success, don’t count for squat unless you have a solid business model that can create revenue and, eventually, profit.
Entrepreneurs would be better off to forget the nonsense that has passed for business acumen all too often and instead focus on the three basic questions: What needs to people have, what can you do to solve them, and how will you get paid? If you can’t answer all three, better keep working on the idea.
But, too many investors will keep hoping for the magical company that will make their fortunes, and too many entrepreneurs will want to be the mighty captain of industry. Things won’t change until a couple of these unicorns go spiraling into the desert floor so hard and fast that it makes a Coyote landing look like a short drop to a fluffy mattress.
There are many business degrees and classes you can take as an aspiring entrepreneur. However, not all of these courses will be able to teach you valuable lessons only an experienced business owner would know.
Owning a business isn’t easy. It takes a lot of different skills and experience to lead an entire team, meet deadlines and complete several day-to-day tasks.
Whether you’ve recently launched a business or are in the process of opening your own company, there are important lessons you need to know. It can take years, even decades to grasp an idea or strategy that can help you and your business grow.
Here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. Family comes first.
The first lesson is the importance of family. Yes, your business is your baby, but you have to prioritize the people you love.
When you’re at home, focus on relaxing with your family and spending quality time with them. Time can fly by when you have a million things going on at work.
Use your time with family to rest and make the most of every minute. Family time is precious because at the end of the day, they’ll always be there for you during the good and bad times.
2. The lows are rock-bottom lows.
Many entrepreneurs will go through rock bottom lows. Whether it’s losing your biggest client or struggling to put food on the table, your lows will force you out of your comfort zone and push you to your limits.
You may experience “make or break” moments. You must power through, no matter how difficult it is.
Over 20 years ago I failed miserably on the first business that I opened. I had clients and cash coming in, but I had to close the business. I didn’t understand cash flow, operating expense, budgeting, or any of the other numbers.
Understanding the language of business–including financial statements–is essential.
The great thing about these rock bottom lows is you can use these tough lessons to embrace the suck and become a wiser person. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
3. The highs are extremely rewarding.
Just like you may experience rock bottom lows, you may also experience extreme highs. Winning a client, expanding your business or being able to afford your own jet are just a few of the many successes you may experience as a business owner.
I’ve been fortunate with my success. My business has expanded to include speaking, online training products, books, webinars, and conducting mastermind groups, all as a way to serve more clients and keep up with demand.
Celebrate the wins and take note of what got you to that point. Learning from your best experiences are just as important as learning from your worst.
4. Little victories can turn into major victories.
Have a new customer? Made a new friend at the networking event? Hired a sales coach? If so, that’s fantastic.
Small victories can go a very long way. You never know when new customers will tell all their friends and bring you a lot more business. The new friend you made at the convention may bring you more prospects than you ever dreamed of.
I’ll say it again: Celebrate the little victories. You don’t know what new opportunities they may bring.
5. Mentors are necessary.
Whether it’s an executive coach or a former boss, mentors are necessary for ultimate success. To reach your full potential you’ll need someone there to guide you on your path.
Owning a business isn’t easy. Having someone always available to give you advice and keep you accountable will give you the support you need to achieve your vision.
6. There’s no “9 to 5.”
Your office hours may be 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but that won’t always be the case for entrepreneurs. You can certainly devote yourself to work strictly during these office hours but you can’t expect to not work outside that time.
Some clients may expect you to be available or be able to answer urgent questions at any given time. A crisis may erupt at 6:00 a.m. and you may have to jump on it. It’s important to balance your work and home life but as a business owner, you must understand the term “office hours” may not apply in some situations.
These are just a few of the many lessons I’ve learned throughout the years. Unfortunately, some lessons are best learned with experience but hopefully I’ve saved you some trouble while you work your way towards success.
Never give up if something becomes tough, just power through it, surround yourself with support and you’ll always end up learning and becoming a smarter business owner. Best of luck!
Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Homecoming composer Michael Giacchino (Up) just put up a lovely 30-second video on Twitter of the orchestra currently recording the score to the film. They’re playing a wonderful arrangement of the classic theme song from the ‘70s Spider-Man cartoon, and it’s so good we can’t stop listening…
Yet another fear among scientists and climate activists has become reality in the era of Trump.
Years of research and data about carbon emissions, other greenhouse gases, and more was hidden from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website by the Trump administration Friday as the climate change webpage goes under “review.”
Adding insult to injury, this comes on the eve of the People’s Climate March.
Climate change activists have been wringing their hands ever since Inauguration Day, fearing that the new administration would do something just like this. The EPA has been chipping away at climate change mentions on its website since January, but Friday’s takedown seems to be the biggest step yet. Read more…
This year, everyone’s crazy for retro phones. LG slapped competitors in the face with a surprisingly solid flagship. A futuristic-looking, hyperconnected car debuted at MWC instead of at the Geneva Motor Show. And there were just enough weird gadgets for us to geek out over while we sped through the Fira Gran Via’s sprawling convention center halls.
Travis Kalanick: “this is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help.”
The OpenStack cloud computing platform — some call it a cloud computing operating system — has been around for several years. Adoption has been …