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Posts from December 2012


--- Newtown's small post office has been overwhelmed by calls from people all over the U.S. who want to send letters, cards, care packages and more to the town's residents in the wake of the massacre. In response, the Postal Service has set up a post office box for all mail and packages for the families of shooting victims, first respondents and affected Newtown residents. From there, the USPS will work with local community groups to help distribute the mail. • The address is: P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, CT 06470
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Locations : ConnecticutNewtown


When Giving Isn't Good

In the pressures of today's business climate, sellers are constantly asked to submit their best prices in order to be considered for purchase.   While buyers and purchasing agents have become quite adept at making these demands, much needs to be considered before deciding to play along; and, even then you need to be careful your pricing doesn't undercut your purpose.  
If your plan is to sell high volume, it's likely that you're better positioned to provide competitive pricing.  Even so, you need to be specific as to your absolute bottom line price.
Likewise, those with inventory that spoils and can't be replaced can compete, as they're able to predict future spoilage and could elect to pre-sell that inventory at deep discounts.  If this strategy is sound, pressure will be placed on the remaining inventory allowing you to maintain your desired price levels there.
When you have several competitors providing essentially the same product, demands for lower pricing are greater.  If you don't believe in and are unable to prove your product's superior value and worth, the buyer won't pay a premium price.  You are now commoditized.  
Lowering your price in the hopes of unseating the incumbent creates the risk of hurting your entire industry.  How?  If the client has no intention of ever switching (they're best friends with their current supplier, etc), all you'll do is give them a reason to shop your low price.  The incumbent is pressured to lower their rates to match yours, concessions are made (lower rates, freebies) to keep the business, and then values fall across the board.   
Lastly your loss of leverage must be considered.   Far too often I work with sellers who struggle with this rule of business.  Every time you give something, you must get something in return.  If you must negotiate rate, know what you will ask for in return, i.e., a signature on a long-term contract, etc.  You must also know the pricing threshold you will not cross and be willing to walk away if they ask you to cross it.   This requires belief in your product's value and courage to demand it.

Now more than ever it is critical to have a sales and pricing strategy in place to ensure that your business is presented properly and protected.  It would be our privilege to help you craft that plan.
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Four Ways to Grow Inside Your Box

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle – Napoleon Hill

If you are like me you have heard this statement a thousand times over. And like me, you may have had your struggle with it. The statement has always been presented with good motives usually coupled with a strong dose of motivation. The message is a tried and true standby cliché that managers and leaders readily deploy to fire up the troops. You might even be one of the well-meaning persons who have used it. The statement is simply this, “think outside the box.”

The idea has always made sense to me from a theoretical standpoint. After all, what’s wrong with thinking differently and approaching a problem in a new way? What could possibly be wrong with a fresh approach especially if you happen to be stagnant in your thinking? Change is good. My concern centered around the disconnect that exists at times between good theory and good practice. I didn’t need the theory so much as I needed the “how-to”.
Fortunately, my “thinking outside the box” frustrations ended with a simple but profound discovery. In the book, You, Inc., Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford Beckwith share a chapter entitled “Thinking Outside Your Box.” I found it to be quite liberating.

The thesis of the chapter is that indeed you do not need to think outside your box. They write, “Your box- your way of thinking, working and living- has worked for you. It’s the box in which you were born, a product of your DNA with which you were coded. You can change your box about as easily as you can alter the shape of your head.” Their solution? “To become more creative—always a good idea- don’t try to think outside your box. Instead, grow it. Bring new things in.”

While well-intentioned people may suggest thinking outside the box as a technique to improve performance and production, I think the Beckwith’s approach might actually be more beneficial. Until you are willing to grow as a leader and thus “grow your box”, no amount of thinking outside of it will help. In order to think inside your box you need to grow it. If you grow your box you will be more productive as a leader. So how do you do it? Here are four tips to get you started.

Grow your reading list. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You are the same today as you will be five years from now except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” That is powerful and practical advice. It’s as you commit to a personal and systematic reading plan that you will begin to grow as a leader. There are no shortcuts. Simply put; leaders are readers. If you want to learn how to think inside your box it’s simple -read!

Grow your interests. The older I get the more I get this truth; life’s short. Often our box is too small simply because we’ve lost our sense of adventure. Have you grown too comfortable in your box? The Beckwith’s suggest that if you read Vanity Fair, read In-Fisherman. If you read People, scan The New Yorker. If you attend the theater, catch a NASCAR race. It’s when you welcome new things into your box that it begins to grow and it releases new passion to think creatively. In other words, tinker with your box!

Grow your relationships. It’s when you grow your friendships that your box begins to grow. The perspective that you may lack can often be found with a friend.  Friendships expand your box and broaden your perspective so bring in more people. Build it on purpose and with diversity. You do not need more people in your box who look like you and think like you. It’s when you grow your friendships that the words of Solomon ring true, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Grow your giving list. At first glance it might sound like a contradiction in terms. But I believe the secret to growing inside your box is when you discover the joy of helping others grow theirs. Growing inside your box begins when you get the focus off yourself and discover the joy of giving. When a leader is generous with his time, talents, and resources, he will soon discover what true leadership is all about.
It’s time to grow your box!

© 2012 Doug Dickerson
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Westboro Baptist Church Says Will Picket in Newtown to Praise Massacre

Members of Westboro Baptist Church are stirring outrage again, after saying they would picket in Newtown to celebrate the school massacre. The extremist, Kansas-based hate group, which calls itself a church, but is mostly made up of a single extended family, is best known for picketing at soldiers' funerals, saying that the military members' deaths are God's punishment for America's acceptance of homosexuality. Their right to hold such funeral protests was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the church, tweeted less than a day after Friday's massacre: "Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment." What the HELLO is wrong with these fanatics? What do they want except publicity? What really bothers me is that they call themselves a church!
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This is the craziest thing I have heard in QUITE a while! You see, if you’re feeling less than impressed by what you see every time you head to the bathroom for a No. 2? It's time to add a glamorous touch to your poo with Gold Pills from Tobias Wong. No, seriously! They’re 20mm-long, 24-karat gold-leaf capsules that promise to "turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth." They sell for $425. Wong conceived them as part of his INDULGENCES line that comments on society's "ever-expanding market of luxury items." Pills that make your poop sparkle and "turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth." The invention was part of a project commissioned by San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art. The goal was to create desirable goods for rich kids who already have it all. No, I don’t know where you can get ‘em! Come on now, would you poop away hundreds just to pop a pill for precious poop?
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Lack of sleep has been linked to overeating, and researchers say your bedroom may be to blame for your sleep issues. Psychologist and sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus says you should assess your bedroom by looking around it and seeing how it makes you feel. He says things like too much light, too little or too much noise, and your choice of mattress and sheets all affect how you sleep. He says we should use a 40-watt bulb in our bedside lamp, listen to ambient noise or turn on a fan, and invest in a quality pillow that fits you and your sleep needs to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly. (Fox News) How do YOU sleep? As I get older I seem to sleep less and less and quite frankly, I’m okay with that. Love the EARLY mornings and get SO much done while others are sleeping!
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The popular book, "Twas The Night Before Christmas" has been revised "by Santa Claus for the benefit of children of the 21st century." The original version of the famous poem included the line, "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath." The new version omits the line and a picture of Santa smoking a pipe. Publisher Pamela McColl said, "There is a huge debate raging. I have been called every name in the book. One person said the only wreath they want to see this Christmas is one on my grave. Shame, shame, shame on you is the most common." (Oregon Live) So, does it offend you? Come on! Get the heck over it! This PC Baloney is driving me up the wall!
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Topics : Hospitality_Recreation
People : Pamela McColl



Dutchman Johan Huibers has launched a full-scale, functioning model of Noah's Ark. He’s a Christian and has spent the last 20 years using God's instructions to Noah from the book of Genesis to build the vessel. By modern measurements it’s 427 feet long, 95 feet across and 75 feet high. It may not contain 2 of every animal but it does feature a petting zoo, a restaurant and a movie theater. (AP) Can you imagine spending 20 years of your life doing this? Bet his neighbors, like Noah's, thought he was crazy!
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End of Year Morale – Don’t Scrooge it Up!

The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Two recent studies have put the spotlight back on employee-employer relations and more specifically the issue of performance and morale. The two separate reports combine to give us a snapshot of some very revealing issues all leaders need to be mindful in the run up to 2013.

First is the release of the 10th Anniversary edition of MetLife’s annual study of Employee Benefits Trends. A key finding this year is that 60 percent of surveyed employers recognize the precarious economic climate, rather than reducing business focus on employee benefits, actually creates opportunity for benefits to drive human capital. In addition, the Study found employees are less committed to employers, but at the same time, highly dependent on their workplace benefits.

The second was a survey released by Manpower Group’s own Right Management, which revealed that an unprecedented 86 percent of U.S. employees say they intend to look for a new job in 2013. Only 5 percent say they intend to stay in the current position.  Driving this sentiment is booming stress, flight cognition, and the continuous job hunt. This could also be attributed in part to another survey they conducted which revealed that only 12 percent of companies have a fully implemented talent management strategy in place.

Awareness of these new studies should cause you to take pause and reflect on how you are closing this year and what changes you might want to consider in the next. Because you care about your people, here are three simple considerations to help you build morale in your organization. It is not a complete list but it is a start.

Listen to your people. A troubling trend is that most employers are not even aware they have morale problems. This disconnect is disturbing and if not dealt with it can far- reaching consequences. If the disconnect lingers within your organization it will lead to two drastically different interpretations of your corporate identity and direction. Neither outcome will have a happy ending.

As a leader, when you are proactive in listening to your frontline people who are the face of your brand then morale issues can be dealt with swiftly. Smart leaders have their finger on the pulse of the organization and can make better decisions. This happens when you get out from behind your desk and listen to your people.

Encourage your people. The studies reveal that businesses that took their eye off the ball as it relates to human capital issues had employee satisfaction and loyalty problems. When your people know that you believe in them and know they are empowered to do their job, the level of success they can achieve is limitless. And this is where the heart of the leader becomes the tipping point that moves your organization to a more relational and engaged one.

Encouragement is the fuel that energies your business. It is an awareness of the sacrifices your employees make because they have bought-in to the vision and purpose of your company. Encouragement is the expression of your human capital IQ; it is the sharing of common values with like- minded people who also took a risk by following you. Encourage your team!

Respect your people. Herbert Casson said, “In handling men, there are three feelings a man must not possess –fear, dislike, and contempt. If he is afraid of men he cannot handle them. Neither can he influence them in his favor if he dislikes or scorns them. He must neither cringe nor sneer. He must have both self-respect and respect for others.” When team members feel valued, respected, and included it goes a long way in creating a positive work environment.

Many variables come into play as it relates to morale within your organization. When you listen to and encourage your people you will inevitably develop strong morale. Building morale begins with respect for the gifts, talents, and contributions of all the members of your team. Your commitment should be to make it a priority.

How is your morale?

© 2012 Doug Dickerson
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When to Answer, When to Keep Asking Questions

In the world of sales there are differing opinions about the answer to this question.  Some feel that when a prospect/client asks you a question, you should always answer them.  Others say that a question should always be answered with another question. Still others claim that whenever a client mentions a problem, you should ask at least three questions to get to the root of that problem.  

So, what's the answer?   Well, a combination of all the above, depending on the circumstance, and, most importantly, the client or prospect's mood.  We need to be aware and mindful of the cues we receive to let us know what kind of day our clients are having.  Cues like tone of voice, body language, even words they are using.  

When the client is in an upbeat, or almost playful mood you can answer a question with another question.  If a client asks "So, what are you trying to sell me today?" you can chuckle and answer "What are you buying today?"   

Conversely, an upset client will not tolerate unanswered questions.  In that situation, answer their question, then follow up with a statement acknowledging their feelings and ask another question.  This might sound like "You're correct, we made a mistake, your complete order will not be delivered Friday as we thought, but next Monday instead.  I understand that puts you in a tough spot. I'd be upset as well.  What might we do to make this right for you?"

This approach allows you to accept responsibility (you should), makes the client realize that you understand and empathize with their predicament (strengthens your credibility because you're focused on their needs) and puts them back in control of the conversation (this is always your goal - for the client to be engaged and in the driver's seat).  

Notice that there was no mention as to why the mistake took place, which department/individual was responsible, etc.  Since that information is really of no importance to the client don't bother sharing it.  You'll only sound like you're making excuses or blaming someone else, both of which make you look ridiculous and lead to distrust.  

The art of knowing when to ask and when to answer is one that is perfected over time, with trial and error and numerous attempts.  Remember one important rule-of-thumb.  Just as with your significant other, don't make your clients ask the same question repeatedly without giving an answer - it's best to give an answer the second time the same question is asked.
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