Success Is Out There Waiting For You To Join It!
It can be argued that people from New York always seem to be in a hurry to get things done. I began to travel on speaking tours and for business almost twenty years ago. Those trips took me to every continental U.S. State and most Canadian Provinces. Because I elected to drive on most of these jaunts as opposed to flying, I tended to spend more time in a particular area then someone who might just fly in and out. This gave me a good perspective of the business culture in communities throughout North America. But what I found wasn't always heartening.
Being from the New York City area, I was used to dealing with people in a hurry that got things done right. Although annoying at times, the philosophy of getting it done fast and getting it done right has always been of the fuels that's propelled the business economy in the northeast to such great heights. While traveling, I tended to find that most large corporations had their house in order when it came to the productivity and work ethic of their employees. I believe this is partly due to successful profit sharing plans that many companies have wisely introduced so employees feel more like business partners, then just hourly wage or salaried servants. Sadly, dealing with many smaller companies or some individuals not properly prepared to do their job became a daily exercise in frustration.
Having served in the armed forces, I learned a lot from being a Marine. The first thing I learned was to get organized. I already had a work ethic and a strong urge to succeed when I joined up, but soon learned that it's not enough to want to be a success at something, you have to develop the skills needed to get the job done. From the moment I arrived at Boot Camp, an emphasis (and that's a polite word) was placed on speed. You had to get things done fast, but also do them correctly. Although I spent just a short time in the service and decided not to make a career of it, the use of time and organizational skills I developed as a result have proven to be invaluable. Having those skills makes it easy to recognize people who don't because they haven't bothered to develop any.
I have three rules which help me keep things straight in my personal and business life. THINK, ACT and FOLLOW-UP. Most of the problems I witnessed in my travels involved people who took no personal responsibility for their actions. They would not think things out before starting a task, often acted without a plan and refused to follow-up by assuming that everyone else involved was automatically going to do their job right. While some might argue that follow-up is merely a mask for micro-managing things, unless you do the hiring and firing and have absolute trust in everyone that works with or under you, follow-up is a necessary evil.
A few years ago I attended two sessions on The Art of Negotiation in New York City. To my disappointment, most of the lecturers featured in the first session were motivational speakers who had little practical experience in what they were attempting to teach. But the second session was a completely different story. The organizer of the event was a personal friend of famed Entrepreneur Donald Trump. Everyone attending was both surprised and delighted when Trump became the surprise lecturer for the second session. Having come to speak just after recovering from many problems in his personal and financial life, Donald Trump told us how he overcame his problems and prospered. "You've got to consider every option you have, take the time to weigh the consequences of each, make the decision yourself and then act decisively, in a timely manner, with no regrets!"
Most people that I have dealt with who dropped the ball from a business standpoint did exactly the opposite of what Trump suggested. They constantly procrastinated, assumed that instructions had been received and acted on, made spur of the moment decisions without any planning or thought, and refused to take any responsibility for mistakes once everything feel apart. I have met my fair share of folks like that at home and in my travels. Most lacked a basic business skill that, like a house of cards, made everything else they did fall apart.
Attention to detail is a lost art. In an office culture almost anyone who tries to fully concentrate on what they are doing and follow up on each level of what needs to be done gets labeled as 'anal retentive' or becomes known as a micro-manager. In reality, any small business owner that has ever had everything fall apart around them would be glad to testify to the office crowd that the likely cause was a lack of attention to detail. The problem in an office environment is that there's always enough people around so that when things go wrong, there's likely to be a Pass The Buck party.
Recognize the individuality of the deal. It's not enough to develop good business skills, you've got to be flexible and considerate of what each deal may require in terms of time, follow-up and attention. Probably the most frustrating aspect of the Speaking end of my business is organizing any sort of large meeting, With few exceptions, dealing with banquet or meeting managers requires the patience of Job and the foresight of Nostradamus! Some had been promoted from the kitchen staff and lacked experience, while others knew their job, but were unable to have the set-up staff get things right.
The big issue for me was having a room ready for hundreds of people by a certain time. I knew that no matter what a banquet or meeting manager said, they almost always lacked the force of will or staff to get things set up by the time I wanted. So I started paying extra fees just to have the room ready one or two hours before I actually needed it, and many times they still botched it all up. On more then a few occasions a/v equipment that I required would be missing from the room, the number of chairs needed were simply unavailable or beverages were not served at the proper time or at all. More then once I found myself clearing tables and setting up meeting room chairs before Speaking.
Because the meetings are normally in the evening and most banquet or meeting managers are long gone by the time set-up starts, I make a point of meeting the actual people that perform the set-up a day or two before the meeting. I explain my needs to them and that helps in most cases. I often do part of the banquet or meeting manager's job to insure that my guests will not have to pay in terms of comfort for someone else's incompetence. I never want to have to offer an apology for a meeting room that isn't ready or correctly configured. That would reflect badly on me, even though I have nothing to do with the set-up process apart from ordering the room the way I want it. Sometimes you have to step in and take charge of what others should be doing to save your own reputation. In business, your reputation is all you have.
It's not enough to say that a form was filled out correctly, directions were given or phone calls were made. Part of attention to detail and recognizing the individuality of any business transaction or deal is making sure that all parties involved have lived up to their responsibilities and are satisfied, as much as possible, with the outcome. Good intentions are merely half the equation when it comes to doing business. The other half is assertive action. Motivating ourselves and others to a level of excellence in performance in a sure recipe for making money and becoming successful.
I doubt that there is even one person out there who could not turn their business or personal life around by applying these principles and skills to their own situation. Instead of procrastinating, start now. Think before you act and consider the consequences of each avenue of choice. Once you act, act decisively so that everyone else involved is inspired to do likewise and knows that you mean business. Never back track once things are set in motion and follow-up to be sure every one and every thing involved is performing or operating just the way you intended. Part of being a stand up, successful person is using good people and business skills to break out and move up. Success is out there waiting for you to join it! All you need do is develop good business skills and learn how and when to practically apply them.