Archive for November, 2010

WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM? by Seth Godin

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Where do ideas come from? with tags , , , on November 29, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders…in particular, one of my favorites, SETH GODIN.

WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM? by Seth Godin

1. Ideas don’t come from watching television
2. Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture
3. Ideas often come while reading a book
4. Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
5. Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom
6. Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
7. Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do
8. Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner’s mind. A little awareness is a good thing
9. Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week
10. Ideas come from trouble
11. Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they’re generous and selfless
12. Ideas come from nature
13. Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
14. Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice
15. Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we’re asleep and too numb to be afraid
16. Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we’re not trying
17. Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute
18. Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones
19. Ideas don’t need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity
20. An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn’t join us here, it’s hidden. And hidden ideas don’t ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.

– Seth Godin

If you’d like a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with me, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

Quotes and Images – Updated

Posted in General Management, Inspirational Quotes and Images, Life Management with tags , , , , on November 25, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” – Johannes A. Gaertner

My Quotes and Images page is updated daily.

To see the entire list of 100s of great quotes and beautiful images, please click on this link.
Quotes and Images

I invite you to subscribe to my blog, “Behind the Scenes – Operate at a Higher Level” You’ll find the “Email Subscription” box on each page of my blog. If you have any business questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

IS THIS NOISE INSIDE MY HEAD BOTHERING YOU? by Seth Godin

Posted in General Management, Is this noise inside my head bothering you?, Life Management with tags , , , on November 24, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders…in particular, one of my favorites, SETH GODIN.

IS THIS NOISE INSIDE MY HEAD BOTHERING YOU? by Seth Godin

Not just my head, but your customer’s head and yes… yours.

Everyone has multiple conversations and priorities going on, competing agendas that come into play every time we make a choice about doing, buying, creating or interacting. I think these voices (and a few I missed) determine which career we choose, how good a job we do, where we shop and what we watch. Here are a few:

• The ego–seeks applause and recognition.
• The lizard–seeks safety, wants to fit in and not be rejected or criticized.
• The artist–wants to be generous, creative and make positive change with impact.
• The boxer–wants to poke and be poked, seeks revenge and ultimately victory.
• The zombie–wants to turn off and be entertained.
• The philanthropist–wants to help, anonymously.
• The evangelist–wants to spread an idea.
• And the hunter–wants to successfully track and bring down a target.

There’s a lot of overlap here, no doubt about it. Who’s winning?

– Seth Godin

If you’d like a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with me, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

HOW TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR PERSONAL LIFE SO YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE CAN SOAR by Connie Podesta

Posted in General Management, How To Take Charge of Your Personal Life So Your Professional Life Can Soar, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

HOW TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR PERSONAL LIFE SO YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE CAN SOAR by Connie Podesta

Think your personal and professional lives aren’t intertwined? Think again. Chances are that despite your best attempts to keep the two separate, the quality and stability of your personal life often have a direct impact upon the quality and success of your professional life. In fact, for many people, their professional life mirrors their personal life.

When your personal life is stable and happy, this mirroring is a good thing. Your professional life will be productive and rewarding because you’ll be able to direct your attention and energy to your work, your customers and your teammates. However, if your personal life is filled with turmoil, grief or pain, your professional life will very often suffer. When you’re emotionally drained from hours of conflict, sadness or abuse at home, it’s difficult to focus on even the simplest work-related task. It’s no wonder then that when asked to choose between two equally qualified employees, managers will routinely choose to keep the person with the stable personal life.

To many people, this may seem unfair. After all, your personal life is private and none of your employer’s business. While this is very true, the fact is that many employees do not keep their personal lives private. Instead, they bring their personal problems into the workplace, thus affecting their ability to do their job well. Since organizations must focus on profits and customer satisfaction above all else, they cannot afford to allow unproductive workers to stay on the payroll.

However, many employers do realize that there will be times in their employees’ lives when circumstances beyond their control may affect their ability to perform on the job. In these instances, most organizations not only understand, but are also willing to make arrangements to help employees through these difficult times. With that said, though, the employers also have certain expectations of their employees.

They expect employees to try to deal with their personal problems on their own and to ask for help only with the most serious problems.

They expect employees to make every reasonable effort to get help if they need it.

They expect employees to work with them to find a solution, such as a temporary replacement or a new work schedule, so they can continue to provide the best service to their customers while they work together with their employees to deal with their problems.

Regardless of what may be occurring in your personal life at the moment, there are steps you can take to meet your employer’s expectations while taking charge of your personal life. Following these guidelines will enable you to become the employee your organization fights to keep.

1. Separate the “Big” Stuff from the “Little” Stuff
If you’re constantly upset, depressed, stressed or involved in a life “emergency,” your job performance will continually decline and your employer’s patience will finally wear thin. No organization should be expected to accept a drop in work performance for every stressful event that comes along. Your employer counts on you to deal with most situations on your own, most of the time, without affecting your ability to have a positive impact on customers and co-workers. Before you bring your most current “crisis” into the workplace, decide whether it’s big enough to warrant assistance. While you can expect compassion and help for dealing with big problems, such as the death of a spouse or a catastrophic illness, you can’t expect the same kind of support for little problems, such as the dog being ill or your child’s softball game being rescheduled. Once you learn to separate the big stuff from the little stuff, you can keep your personal life in order by reacting to the problem appropriately.

2. Get Help If You Need It
As understanding as employers may be, they can only do so much to help you. Ultimately it’s your responsibility to make every effort possible to work through your crisis, even if it means getting help from outside sources. However, the hardest thing for many people to do is admit they need help. They mistakenly believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, when in reality the opposite is true. For the most part, people who ask for help tend to be very strong and determined not to become victims of abuse, neglect, violence or tragedy. How willing are you to get help when you need it? If your personal life is in turmoil, then you may be able to benefit from some of the many excellent services available in your community or through your organization. Remember, whether you solve your problem yourself or with the help of others, the results are worth the effort: peace of mind, healthier relationships, a new outlook on life, and of course, better on-the-job performance.

3. Work with Your Organization to Find a Solution

When you do have a “big” problem that justifiably affects your job performance, let your manager know about it as soon as possible. Trying to keep it a secret or hoping no one will notice may increase the stress already induced by the event. But instead of revealing your situation and then waiting for your organization to come up with a solution, bring to the meeting some possible solutions that would work for both you and your employer. Perhaps you could be temporarily transferred to a department that requires less customer contact, or maybe you could make arrangements to switch schedules with someone in order to give you the time you need to deal with your problem. When you show your employer that you respect their objectives and are prepared to do what it takes to get your personal life back on track, there’s usually little they wouldn’t do to help you.

Today’s organizations expect their employees to come to work ready to put their full effort and energy into the task at hand. Maintaining a stable personal life is one of the surest ways to accomplish that. But while no one’s personal life will ever be perfectly in order, being able to separate the “big” stuff from the “little” stuff, asking for help when you need it, and working with your organization to find a solution for your problems are the keys to weathering any crisis. Always remember that when your personal life is in order, it will be reflected in your work and in your ability to ensure your future employability.

– Connie Podesta

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

HOW TO CALM AN ANGRY PERSON by Redford Williams

Posted in General Management, How to Calm an Angry Person, Life Management with tags , , , , on November 17, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

HOW TO CALM AN ANGRY PERSON by Redford Williams

When someone is angry, our instinctive reaction typically is to get defensive (if the person is angry at us) or to give advice (if he/she is angry at someone else). These responses are not useful — they do not resolve the situation and even may inflame him further. More effective…

WHEN YOU ARE NOT THE TARGET

The best way to calm someone who is angry at someone else is to let him vent. Don’t interrupt or tell him why he shouldn’t be angry or that he should let it go. Don’t talk about the time you got mad about the same thing — this implies that your reaction is more important than his.

When he has talked himself out, acknowledge his feelings — whether or not you agree with his views.

Example: “Wow, you’re really angry with your boss. I can see how upset you are.”

After listening and acknowledging, ask if there is any way you can help. In many cases, the other person will say that you have helped just by listening. You also might be able to assist with brainstorming and problem solving. But if you try to solve the problem before hearing the person out or without his approval, he most likely will feel angrier.

WHEN THE ANGER IS DIRECTED AT YOU

When someone lashes out at you, the primitive part of your brain is activated. This creates the impulse to defend yourself from attack by telling the other person he is wrong or irrational or by getting angry yourself.

Instead, before responding, pause for a few moments and silently ask yourself four questions…

1. Is this situation important?
2. Is my reaction appropriate?
3. Is the situation modifiable?
4. If so, is taking action worth it?

To remember the four questions when you are under stress, use the partial acronym I AM WORTH IT. I stands for Important… AM stands for Appropriate and Modifiable… WORTH IT, of course, stands for the last question.

If the answer to all four questions is “yes,” then assert yourself by telling the person…

* Exactly what he is doing.

* How it makes you feel.

* What, specifically, you would like him to do differently.

Keep your voice fairly quiet and your tone neutral. Describe behavior, not motives or personal characteristics.

Example: My wife used this technique when I came home in a bad mood at the end of a tough day. Virginia was preparing dinner. On the kitchen counter was a big stack of mail-order catalogs that she had promised to look through a few days earlier. I snapped, “What are these damn catalogs doing here?”

Virginia didn’t say a word for about 20 seconds. Then she replied calmly, “Redford, you just walked into the kitchen and said, ‘What are these damn catalogs doing here?’’ (She told me what I had done.) I came home early to make dinner, and now, I am feeling hurt, unappreciated and, frankly, angry at you. (She told me how it made her feel.) Would it be possible for you to come home at the end of the day and not have the first words out of your mouth be something critical?” (What she would like me to do.)

I turned around, walked out of the kitchen, came back in and said, “Mmm, smells good. What’s for supper?”

When I first arrived home, Virginia could have fueled an argument by snapping back, “What’s the matter with you, coming home and criticizing me?” Instead, during those 20 seconds of silence, she asked herself the four questions. Then she made a specific observation and a request for change.

If you need to respond to an angry outburst in a setting where expressing personal feelings is not appropriate — for example, at work — use a results-oriented word, such as “helpful.”

Example: “Bill, you just told me that my marketing idea for the new product is the stupidest thing you ever heard. I need to let you know that calling my suggestion stupid isn’t helpful. If you could give me some of the reasons you think it won’t work, I’d appreciate it.”

If your answer to any of the four I AM WORTH IT questions gets a “no” — focus on controlling your reaction. Don’t say anything to the person. Instead, if the situation isn’t important or can’t be changed, say to yourself, “Hey, it’s not that important,” or “There’s nothing I can do to change this guy.” If requesting change isn’t appropriate or worth it, you can distract yourself by thinking about something pleasant or doing something else… or by taking a few deep breaths and thinking the word “calm” as you inhale and “down” as you exhale. This is not the same as passively giving in. You are evaluating the situation and making a rational decision.

– Redford Williams

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

JUST BECAUSE HE’S ANGRY by Seth Godin

Posted in General Management, Just Because He's Angry, Life Management with tags , , , , on November 16, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders…in particular, one of my favorites, SETH GODIN.

JUST BECAUSE HE’S ANGRY by Seth Godin

… doesn’t mean he’s right.

… or even well-informed.

Something to think about when dealing with a customer, a leader or even a neighbor.

It’s easy to assume that vivid emotions spring from the truth. I’m not so sure. They often come from fear and confusion and well-told stories.

– Seth Godin

If you’d like a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with me, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

THE 5 WORDS NEVER TO SAY…DURING A JOB INTERVIEW by Dr. Paul Powers

Posted in General Management, Life Management, The 5 Words Never to Say... During a Job Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

THE 5 WORDS NEVER TO SAY…DURING A JOB INTERVIEW by Dr. Paul Powers

Job hunters greatly outnumber openings these days, so even a seemingly minor slip of the tongue can cut short your employment opportunities. The five words that can undermine your job chances…

1. CRISIS

Job applicants often trumpet their ability to respond calmly and intelligently to workplace challenges. Trouble is, when they use the word “crisis” to describe a past professional challenge, they send exactly the opposite message. Epidemics and hostage standoffs are crises — an employer’s budget crunch or public relations headache is not. Calling an ordinary workplace situation a crisis will make you seem like an alarmist — the sort of employee who will blow problems out of proportion and infect those around you with panic. You’ll seem more poised and reliable if you instead use words such as “challenge” or “problem” to describe these situations.

2. PEOPLE PERSON

Interviewers often cringe inside when applicants describe themselves as “people-oriented” or “a people person.” This is like saying that your worst flaw is that you work too hard — it’s such a cliché that it will make you seem uninteresting or evasive to an experienced interviewer. Worse, “I’m a people person” is so general and unverifiable that it tends to be offered up by applicants who have no real skills or accomplishments to discuss. Saying something similar could cause the interviewer to subconsciously associate you with this group even if you have an impressive résumé.

If interpersonal skills are an important part of what you have to offer, find a more specific, less clichéd way to convey this. You could identify your talent as “conflict mediation,” “coordinating teams” or “soothing upset customers.” Cite specific examples of the times that you have used this skill successfully.

3. CAN’T

Using negative words and phrases such as “can’t,” “there’s no way” or “impossible” during an interview could make you seem like a negative person. Few qualities turn off potential employers faster than negativity. If you must tell an interviewer that what he/she wants is impossible or that you need a larger salary or budget than he is proposing, find a way to phrase this in a positive way.

Example: The interviewer says that the company is looking for someone to expand its Web site, but your experience tells you that the budget or time frame being discussed is insufficient. Rather than say, “It can’t be done,” or “That’s not going to work,” you might say, “Let’s discuss some of the options we would have for getting that done.” Mention outsourcing certain functions… or focusing initially on only the most important elements of the project.

4. IRREGARDLESS

It isn’t really a word at all. The correct word is regardless. If the interviewer is a stickler for grammar, using this nonword might create the impression that you are ignorant. Another frequently misused word that could hurt your chances is “literally,” which often is used by people who mean figuratively.

Example: “I was literally putting out fires all year.” No, you weren’t — unless you were a firefighter.

5. FIRED

Interviewers often ask applicants why they left their previous jobs. It’s fine to say your position was eliminated in a workforce reduction or that you were laid off, but never say that you were “fired.” Though you might consider “fired” and “laid off” synonymous, the former has a much more negative connotation — that you messed up — in most people’s minds.

– Paul Powers

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.