♫ Get a leg up
What’s the matter
Are you shy, shy, shy? ♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by: John Mellencamp.
In an article entitled: 5 Rules for When to Listen to Advice (And When Not To) in Inc. Magazine, Matthew Swyers, the Founder of The Trademark Company
stated (here I am just going to summarize) the rules as to determine if advice is worth anything:
- Context: Determine the weight to be given to advice from the context in which it is given.
- Unsolicited Advice: Determine why someone is giving you advice.
- Motivation: What is the person seeking who is giving you advice? Matthew says, “What is their end game?”
- Knowledge: How reliable is the advice that you have been given?
- Experience: What experience does this person have relative to the advice that they are giving?
All this is to put the following advice in context. Peter Legge, O.B.C, CSP, CPAE, HoF, LLD (Hon)
is an author, a very successful businessman, a community leader and an incredible presenter. I went to one of his presentations years ago and just rediscovered his handout: a publication entitled “97 Tips: Doing Business in Tough Times, Proven Strategies that Work“. Since the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates slightly on Wednesday, which I understand is bad news for the Canadian dollar and economy, I thought it was appropriate to post some of his 97 tips here that deal with leadership and personal conviction. Full disclosure: I went up to Peter after his presentation and asked if I could republish, with attribution, some of his tips and he agreed. I assume that this approval and consent has not expired with the passage of time. After all, Peter’s advice is timeless:
- Be positive. You become what you think about. If you refuse to accept failure and if you think like a winner, you will be one.
- Be decisive. Take action. Nothing kills a good idea or an opportunity faster than procrastination. Survey the options, make the call, move on it, and never 2nd-guess yourself. There’s nothing to be gained from regret.
- Achieve. Do not try hard, do not make excuses. Do what needs to be done. “Sometimes you have to do your best, but sometimes you have to do what is required,” said Winston Churchill. This is the time to execute with conviction.
- Know what’s important. No matter what kind of challenge you find yourself up against, always face it with absolute clarity. Be specific about what you want to accomplish and be sure you are perfectly clear on what’s most important.
- Don’t be afraid. Remember, everyone around you has fears, phobias and doubts. Rise above your worries. Think about the example set by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on September 11. The people around you are losing their cool, show them that you are not afraid. Face your fear and do it anyway.
- Stay true. These may be tough times indeed, but when it comes down to it, nothing has really changed. It still all about doing business the best that you can. So, stay focused on your organization’s mission, stick to your core values and don’t waver from your goals. Stick to your knitting.
- Be unforgettable. When clients are looking for a product or service, make sure they think of you first. Be appreciative, considerate, courageous, positive-thinking and excited.
- Small can be beautiful. Don’t let yourself get too big for your britches. Successful small business is infinitely preferable to a big business that has been marginalized by undisciplined growth. Grow when you’re ready.
- Handwrite thank-you cards. Write 5 thank you notes daily. Don’t think people via email. Handwritten notes have become a rarity. Send personal greetings for important occasions as well as lesser ones.
- Take time to think. Slow down. Don’t be rushed or pushed into making the wrong decision. Look out the window and take 30 minutes a day to think about your challenges. Your decisions will be much better in the long-run.
- Be thoughtful and courteous. Courtesy is a hallmark of a distinctive approach to business. People are drawn to doing business with the people they like and who treat them well.
- Be kind. People will forget what you said. The will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel. Learn how to listen. Be sensitive to the needs and expectations of people.
- Make yourself heard. Marketing costs are often the 1st expenditure to be cut when money gets tight. But this is the time when you actually need to increase your marketing efforts, not cut them. After all, if your competitors stop advertising while you continue to trumpet your own business, guess who’s message customers will notice?
Thank you Peter in helping all of us keep a clear head, set our compass and take your advice on how to get a leg up and not be shy!
(p.s. If you want to get the rest of Peter’s tips, you should be able to order them from Peter Legge Management Co. Ltd at 604 299 9188.)
-David J. Bilinsky, Vancouver, BC.