Posts Tagged ‘Business Success’

Many books have been written about success. Some are based on studies of successful people (Naploeon Hill), and others are based on who knows what. Most people who have managed to achieve a lot in life will tell you they had plenty of failures, but they obviously learned something along the way.

In my mind, “The Secret” to success is the following:

  1. Plan, don’t just visualize
  2. Act, don’t just think
  3. Look for opportunity, don’t just wait
  4. Create, don’t just observe creation
  5. Be fearless because mistakes can be disguised opportunities
  6. Learn from your mistakes
  7. Don’t give up. Where there is a will there is a way. Continually look for “other ways”
  8. Always be willing to adjust your plan: e.g., visualizing about selling something to a non-existent market will not make it happen. If you can’t create the market, then you have to be willing to sell something the market has a need for.
  9. Don’t work alone. You can’t be successful without support from others. Build a support network of people who can benefit you in some way.
  10. Give. If you don’t give, you will never get. In this world what goes around, comes around. You must give unconditionally in order to receive.
  11. Be patient and determined. Sometimes we have to follow a long path to get to where we want to be. Everything happens for a reason. Know that there is a wisdom behind the things you must endure in life, even when that wisdom is not immediately apparent. This is just another way life disguises opportunities.

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In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill suggested that people who want to be successful in business assemble a group of like minded business people and form a mastermind group. Mastermind groups, are essentially support groups. No one can be successful on their own, so a mastermind group is a wonderful resource for entrepreneurs. It is a place where business people can get advice, build strategy and become more effective.

I’ve recently started running mastermind groups for people who want to improve their business results. I love these groups! There is nothing like being able to benefit from the experiences of other people. It is also wonderful to be able to interact with people who are as interested in your success as they are in their own. Not all entrepreneurs have a supportive and understanding family, so getting support from like minded individuals can be vital to creating a successful business.

There are many kinds of mastermind groups. Some focus on building a particular element of a business (like my sales and marketing groups and my leadership groups) while others keep a more open format and use it as a forum to receive input from others regarding nagging problems. Whatever the focus of your group, it is important that all members have the right attitude. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when using mastermind groups to support your business:

Be willing to give. Your input is essential to the success of the group. Be willing to offer advice, give referrals, or do whatever you can to help other members of the group.

Be willing to receive. If members are expected to be generous with their time and advice, then as a member, you must also be willing to receive input from others, even when it may seem a little harsh. The higher purpose of the group is to create a foundation for success. If you are unwilling to accept the advice and assistance of other group members, then you shouldn’t be there.

State your challenges and ask for help. In a mastermind group, every member of the group will have an allotted time to state their challenges and ask for help. Doing this will help you grow so don’t be intimidated. Take the floor when you have the opportunity.

Keep your co-members secrets safe. The mastermind group is meant to be a safe haven for its members. No member should ever disclose what happens in the meetings. If members are to be open about their business goals and challenges, then it is essential that each member is honoured by keeping secrets confidential.

Set goals. Every meeting should provide members with a set of goals to work on. Your group leader along with the other members of the group can help you clarify your objectives. Once you know what they are, write them down and treat them like a homework assignment.

Create an action plan. Use your time in the meeting to create an action plan. The other members of the group, along with your leader will hold you accountable. If you’ve ever had difficulty committing to goals and following an action plan on your own, then the group will really help you achieve things!

Have fun! Take the opportunity to enjoy being among a group of helpful, success oriented people. Be open to developing lasting relationships with the group members and be prepared to have a good time together. We are most creative when we are relaxed and having fun. Let the group bring out the best in you!

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I am so proud and happy to report that my new book, Engaged for Growth is getting top ratings from Indigo shoppers. Feel free to check out the listing, make a purchase and post a comment for the world to see. The book is a quick read and is meant to give the reader the most important things they need to know to get their people engaged at work. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Engaged-for-Growth-Ren%c3%a9e-Cormier/9781897453285-item.html?ref=Search+Books%3a+%2527renee+cormier%2527

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By: Renée Cormier

The road to developing extraordinary customer experiences shouldn’t be riddled with pot holes, but it often is. Managers want to know how to get their people to care enough to go the extra mile while customers are fed a line of excuses that would choke a bull. “We’re so busy.” “The truck didn’t come in.” “We only do what we are told.” “That’s our policy.”

Here’s the thing about customers: they don’t care why you can’t do something, or why you failed to deliver. They only care that their expectations were not met. They also get really annoyed when they spend money doing business with you and are treated like an inconvenience, or worse, like they have a mental problem.

Customers may not always be charming to deal with, but you should always be charming when dealing with them. Most of us know that. Still, doing what is unexpected and positive is the best way to charm your customers. That’s called going the extra mile. Seeing something that needs to be done and doing it, even though the customer did not ask for it. Taking time out after hours to make sure your customer has their order on time, because you value the needs of your customer and understand that the health of your business depends on their happiness.

Here’s a fact: There is a direct correlation between engaged employees and customer loyalty. It’s not hard to figure out why. Disengaged employees don’t care about the results they create. They are merely putting in time. Therefore they never consider doing anything that would pleasantly surprise a customer. They deliver service that is mediocre at best, and sometimes downright horrible!

Many companies think that by offering extensive Customer Service training they can fix their Customer Service problems. The trouble is the training is only beneficial after the manager has been trained in how to engage employees. If you’ve ever wondered why “training doesn’t work” that is part of the problem. You need to get to the root of the problem. Bad managers create disengaged employees. Sometimes, in fact, often times, the whole company is comprised of bad managers and that is where the real problem lies.

Getting your customer service staff in gear to exceed your customers’ expectations is key if you want to have an edge over your competition. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

Draw the Line: Some people just don’t get the relationship between behaviours and outcomes, so in a non threatening way, it is important to draw the line, so to speak. Let your employees know how important excellent customer service is to the health of the company (and their jobs). Your front line people are extremely vital in keeping your business afloat. They need to know the value of the role they play in realizing the mission/vision!

Hire Smart: Never hire anyone for any position in your company simply because they are willing to do the job. Customer Service people need to have an attitude of helpfulness and an eagerness to please (as should everyone else). If you hire people with the wrong attitude, you will drive your customers away.

Show Great Appreciation: Given the nature of Customer Service work and the important role your CS staff play in your company, it goes without saying that you must show them appreciation. It is imperative that you make sure they know how important they are and are shown appreciation for their efforts daily!

Outstanding Moments: In the name of delighting your customers and reminding your CS staff how important it is to deliver outstanding service, have a brief meeting after shifts to allow your people to share their outstanding moments. Asking your Customer Service staff to talk about how they went the extra mile that day will inspire their co-workers and reinforce the right mentality. It will also provide the manager with the opportunity to congratulate and openly express appreciation for their efforts, thereby driving up morale and engagement.

Look Inward: Great leaders strive for continuous self-improvement. They are not afraid to let go of their ego and reflect on their own mistakes. As long as you are asking your employees to tell you how they were outstanding each day, you may as well do the same in the confines of your brain. Do take the time to reflect on how you were outstanding each day in the eyes of your employees, and where you could have been better. Make a plan to improve and follow it. No one wants to follow an arrogant leader, so this is a really important exercise to perform.

Train, Train, Train: Ok, now I’ll give myself a plug and tell you to train your people! We all need reminding and there is always something more to learn. Start by getting Leadership and Communication Skills training for your managers and Customer Service and Communications Skills training for CS staff. Yes, it is among the many ways I work with companies to help them achieve employee engagement and positive bottom line results!

Renée Cormier is the President and owner of POWERHOUSE CONFERENCES, a company dedicated to working with businesses to increase efficiency, productivity and profit.  A specialist in the area of Employee Engagement, Renée has spent the last 12 years as a training and development professional. She has been an entrepreneur, worked for both large and small companies, managed both people and sales effectively, and developed systems and habits that brought her much success. Renée uses her experience in Business and Adult Education to develop and implement training programs that show business leaders how to engage their workforce and get guaranteed bottom line results! Clients say her learning sessions are lively, engaging and valuable. POWERHOUSE CONFERENCES is a member of the Canadian Society for Training & Development.

Contact: renee@powerconferences.ca      Phone: (905)593-2778 www.powerconferences.ca

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By: Renée Cormier

Did you know that an important part of securing employee engagement means making sure your employees have the tools to do their jobs effectively?  In spite of this, a surprising number of companies force their employees to wing it. It seems ridiculous that sales managers would send their reps out without the benefit of a presentation binder or a script to work from, but many do. Similarly, it is pretty common for employers to force their people to work with computers that continually crash, or software programs that do not quickly and effectively produce necessary reports. Ineffective tools and systems waste time and money and will most certainly lead to employee frustration of mammoth proportion. Those frustrated employees become quickly disengaged and will ultimately harm your business results!

If you think you are saving money by not purchasing top notch equipment for your employees to use, then you are sadly mistaken! As an employer, anything you do to help your employees be more effective is money well spent. Here are some areas to keep an eye on in your company:

Sales: Since I spent many years working in sales roles, I know how important it is to have a structure to follow. Now, I know many sales people complain about having to follow structure, but you will find that the most successful sales people will tell you they use a presentation binder and they know exactly what they are going to say when they go into a sales meeting. Professional selling is a process. It doesn’t happen by accident. Skilled sales people follow a finely developed process that works. If your company hasn’t developed a process, then doing so is a must! It is also important to make sure your people stick to it. If you have developed a process that doesn’t seem to work very well, then get input from your people to help you fine tune it. You’ll be glad you did!

Customer Service: Sales people always complain about the gap between what they promise customers and what actually gets delivered. Interestingly, Customer Service people complain about the same thing! Part of providing excellent customer service is getting everyone on the same page. Each department in your company is dependent upon the other. No one can function efficiently without the support of others, and your customers will most certainly be let down if your various work teams are not in sync. Successful companies have solid systems in place for taking orders and delivering products and services to their customers (both internal and external). If something is not working, then the whole team needs to get together to see what tweaks can be made to the existing system to make it more effective. Striving for continuous improvement is a vital part of creating engaged employees and securing customer loyalty!

Continuous Improvement Systems: Toyota implements 99% of the suggestions received from employees. The result of doing so has paid off significantly. The people who actually use your systems and equipment are in a much better position to tell you where you need to improve than any “Lean Expert” or consultant. Just look at GM and Ford. They employed tons of Lean Manufacturing experts, and most likely forgot about the people running the equipment.  The moral here, is develop a system that allows employees to help you improve all of your processes, and then implement the best suggestions. You will be more likely to have effective systems, and your employees will know they are valuable to the business. Valued employees are engaged employees, and as long as you are striving for continuous improvement, you will continue to rise above the competition!

Meetings: In many companies meetings are a great way to waste time and talk about what needs improvement. Meetings should be a springboard for action, not a forum for inaction! Structure your meetings so that you have objectives. Do not have a meeting just because it’s Friday and you always have meetings on Friday. If you’ve got nothing to address, then you don’t need to have a meeting! If you do have issues to address, don’t add too much variety to the agenda. In fact, the fewer items you address in a meeting the better. Many companies save a whole bunch of items for a long and boring meeting and then wonder why they never act on anything that was discussed. The reason is that you will be more likely to take action on the one thing you discussed than on the twenty different items you discussed. It is far better to have several short meetings that end with an action plan, than one big one that ends in, “I can’t wait to get out of here!”

Remember, successful companies are all about structure! Develop systems that work, support your people, and give them the opportunity to be the best they can be. Of course, you can always call me if you need my help!

Renée Cormier is the President and owner of POWERHOUSE CONFERENCES, a company dedicated to working with businesses to increase efficiency, productivity and profit. A specialist in the area of Employee Engagement, Renée has spent the last 12 years as a training and development professional. She has been an entrepreneur, worked for both large and small companies, managed both people and sales effectively, and developed systems and habits that brought her much success. Renée uses her experience in Business and Adult Education to develop and implement training programs that show business leaders how to engage their workforce and get guaranteed bottom line results! Clients say her learning sessions are lively, engaging and valuable. Contact: renee@powerconferences.ca

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