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Archive for May, 2011

The Influencing Option by Libby Wagner

May 30, 2011 1 comment

 

The Influencing Option

In a profit culture, influencing beats commanding, controlling or ordering… every time!

 

And winning over your team is better than ordering or pushing them around.

 

But how to actually talk to your people with a language and philosophy that works for the long-term, supporting integrity and driving commitment? And without relying on conflict, heavy-handed authority or guilt?

 

Never fear, a new book The Influencing Option: The Art of Building a Profit Culture in Business by Libby Wagner just out from Global Professional Publishing can show you how. Candor and specificity, the book explains, should be your guiding lights.

 

 

With the huge loss of faith in leaders today and so many gross violations of ethical conduct popping up all around us, leading with integrity is a must for instilling a “commitment culture” that is at once transparent, participatory and sustainable. Thus to drive a continuously growing and superior profit culture today, influencing is the only way.

 

But do Libby’s ideas have traction in the marketplace? See what this sample of prominent business experts and executives has to say:

 

“If business is art and science, then who better than a consultant and poet to synergize the traits? Libby Wagner’s The Influencing Option is a tour de force!” 
– Alan Weiss, PhD, Author, Million Dollar Consulting and Thrive

 

“Libby has dedicated her life’s work to understanding the importance of working with people to help them better influence and lead more abundant and successful lives. She presents a true gift for those willing to open their hearts and minds to her message.” 
– Laurie Ruffner, Client Partner, The Ken Blanchard Companies

 

“Libby has helped my management team move from an unproductive, untrusted laughing stock to a respected, high-performing team. Trust, morale and productivity have all soared due to her influencing options approach. Hers is not flavor-of-the-month stuff but a process that transforms individual and team character with application at both work and home. I regret not understanding these principles earlier in my life and career.” 
– Michael Hassing, CEO, Family Health Centers

 

Ready to learn how to do it at your own firm? If you purchase The Influencing Option: The Art of Building a Profit Culture in Business by Libby Wagner on Thursday June 9 at Amazon.com, you’ll not only reap the book’s benefits but you’ll also be entitled to a bonus list of valuable professional gifts offered by a formidable array of B2B business experts… at no extra charge!

 

Bonus gifts will include tip sheets, books, articles, videos and more! But remember, these complimentary bonus gifts are yours only if you purchase The Influencing Option (print version or Kindle) on Thursday June 9 from Amazon. My gift is a complimentary audio of my recent teleconference on Crisis Leadership.

 

Just forward your electronic receipt to inq@thoughtleading.com and a downloadable bonus gift list will be emailed to you within 24 hours!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

To purchase The Influencing Option on Thursday June 9, click here.

 

Start building a champion profit culture today!

 

Best,

Dan


Categories: Uncategorized

Memorial Day

May 30, 2011 Leave a comment

This week’s focus point –

Sacrifice.

Memorial Day has over my lifetime been equated with turning three-day weekends into four-day weekends; barbecues and beer; and big sales at malls.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed 25 short days later when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It wasn’t until after World War I that the entire nation celebrated it, moving past the bitterness of the Civil War and to more common ground. In 1971, it was acclaimed a national holiday.

What started out as way to honor those who died in the Civil War has now become a much more “global” memorial for men and women who have given their lives in service of their country. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the war on terror in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan bring into clear focus the true meaning of sacrifice. When I was a teenager, there was no war and this holiday seemed nothing more than my observations in the first sentence of this memo. Today, as I see and read of soldier deaths, I become much more serious about the sacrifices of generations of brave men and women dating back to the Revolutionary War.

This Memorial Day is more poignant for me as we will spend part of the day at my father’s graveside. Even though he never sacrificed his life, he did sacrifice his way of life. To him and everyone else who ever served our country and gave something of themselves…

Thank you!

This week’s quote – “They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast, and their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Photo is courtesy of Alan Weiss. This photo is taken at U.S. Cemetery in Normandy

Categories: Extra Points

Leveraging the Power of Referrals: Consultants Helping Consultants

May 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Referrals are the platinum-standard for acquiring new business. This concept is as old as sales itself. There are three key principles to getting and leveraging good referrals…

  1. You need to be referred to the economic buyer. If the person you were referred to can’t write a check or have the authority and budget to have one cut, you’re wasting your time.
  2. The buyer must respect the referral source. If they run screaming from you when you mention the name, or worse yet, never return your call, you’ve got a bad referral.
  3. They must be in need of your help. Now, that doesn’t mean today or tomorrow. It could mean in 6 months or a year. However, they must be a business or individual that can gain value from what you provide.

In the nearly 6 years since I started my practice, I’ve mined referrals from clients, prospects, CPAs, attorneys, bankers, friends, family, acquaintances, and just about anyone else who had a pulse. That being said, one of my best referral sources (and perhaps THE best after clients), have been consultants. If you’re a consultant and you’re not actively receiving referrals from your colleagues in the consulting world, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Here are areas you gain leverage…

  1. New business. The clients referred to you by consultants have one giant obstacle eliminated – they already are used to working with consultants. How many times have you had to fight the battle of persuading a business owner that working with an outside source is an investment rather than a cost? Now, you can get right to showing your value and how to improve their condition.
  2. Speaking opportunities. Two weeks ago, I was at the Alan Weiss Mentor Summit and re-connected with a colleague out of San Francisco. She mentioned that last year she’d spoken in Bogota, Colombia for a conference. I was intrigued because I’m half-Colombian. She gave me the contact information for the organization and I contacted them immediately. I’m now scheduled to speak at their conference in Bogota in August in front of 350 buyers, plus get to do it in another country. This offers the potential of global expansion and more speaking possibilities.  That’s opportunity!
  3. Marketing gravity. Another colleague from the Mentor Summit happened to get an e-mail from Help a Reporter Out (HARO) with a query ideal for what I do. He sent me an e-mail asking me if this would be a good lead to follow up on. Turns out I was in transit home from Seattle on the ferry. The deadline was quickly approaching so I contacted the reporter. I will now be quoted in Entrepreneur.com on a topic in my area of expertise. Now, I may have seen this query when I got home OR over the weekend. It may have been too late. Leveraging my relationship with a fellow consultant so he knew exactly what I do and what my target audience looks like is priceless. When thanking him for his generosity, his reply was “We have to watch out for each other’s backs.”

Garnering a steady stream of referral sources from consultants takes planning and consistent contact. Here are 5 ways you can best leverage your opportunity…

  1. Clear value proposition. Like my last example, your colleagues must know what you do. If you’re not clear, concise, and value-laden, they may not be able to identify those people in their community who need you.
  2. Consistent messaging. I had someone once tell me they thought I had a highly effective “drip system.” I’m glad they didn’t mean the plumbing at my home! What they meant was I have a regular method for contacting colleagues with my value proposition, intellectual property, and new offerings.
  3. Give to get. You can’t be just a taker. You must reciprocate. When relationships are a one-way street, you’ll soon find yourself driving down the wrong way. You must understand their value proposition and how they can help your clients. It’s a win-win-win because you will continue to get referrals, look like a hero to your client, and help someone else in their career.
  4. Create a “rap sheet.” This is basically a one-page that is meant to be given to your consulting pals so they will know a referral for you when they see one. Include your value proposition, your ideal client, your target audience, your typical client results, and testimonials.
  5. Take care of their clients. Treat those leads like gold. Contact them within 48 hours; provide value right from the start; and ensure they get their issue solved, or are added to your mailing list.

BONUS: Always send a note of thanks (not just an e-mail) to your colleagues. That little extra level of gratitude goes a long way.

These steps are painless and easy to implement. In addition, you will gain new friends and forge remarkable relationships. Take the time to meet, network, and share with other consultants. The results will be a bigger pipeline, more clients, and accelerated growth for you and them. And that is a win-win-win proposition!

 

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Deadliest 100 Days Right Around the Corner

May 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Monday is Memorial Day. It is just a little more meaningful for me this year as my father passed away ad was a 30-year veteran of the United States Navy. Memorial Day is an important holiday for us to honor our heroes. It’s also a terrific day to enjoy family, friends, and food.

However, it does mark a very dangerous time.

The 100 days in between Memorial Day and Labor Day in September are the most deadly for drivers on our roads. These 100 days see the most accidents and resulting injuries and death. There are many good reasons why…

  • Increased drinking and driving
  • More traveling for vacations
  • Distractions of good weather
  • More young drivers on the road with school out of session
  • Increased road rage issues

The bottom line is this – whether you’re a business owner or parent, understand that your sense of defensive driving must be on high alert for the next 100 days. Be careful, be attentive, and by all means be smart!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Mentoring

May 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been very fortunate to be part of Alan Weiss’s Master Mentor program since March of last year. Two weeks ago, I attended his Mentor Summit in Las Vegas, where I hung out with about 70 of the best consultants in the world.

Mentoring is crucial in any line of business. Whether you’re a CEO, sales professional, entrepreneur, or magician (he’s had one in his program), you can gain tremendous value from mentoring and coaching. Here are a few of the values you get…

  • Honest feedback and input to your questions.
  • Unvarnished critique of your intellectual property, programs, proposals, web site, marketing materials, and anything else you need evaluated.
  • Strategy on the big picture, global view for your career.
  • Access to the “smarts” of someone who’s done or is doing what you want to do.
  • Help in overcoming a challenge, facing crisis, or gaining understanding.
  • Someone to share in your successes and joy
  • Focus and clarity

Everyone needs a mentor or coach. Every star athlete has one. In fact, the athletes are almost always BETTER in the skill than the mentor or coach. What they receive are the same bullet points you see listed above to help them ignite their talent and maximize their potential. What are you waiting for?

“I have enjoyed working with Dan. He is very insightful and has helped me create a plan for the future. He has great energy and is a wonderful net worker which I really appreciate. He helped provide clarity, during a time I needed an unbiased professional opinion.” Carolyn Frame, Seattle, WA

To inquire about being mentored by Dan, click here, or call him at 360-271-1592.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Tornadoes and Earthquakes and Floods, Oh My!

May 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I occasionally offer guest blogs from my colleagues to help you in your business. Rick Pay is an outstanding supply chain management consultant out of Portland, OR. He just wrote an excellent brief on the subject of supply chain risk management. Since this is up my alley, I wanted to share it with you. To learn more about what Rick does, visit his web site.

In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy exclaims “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” as she starts her journey down the yellow brick road. She hadn’t actually seen any lions, tigers, or bears, but people said they were there and she feared the unknown. She famously overcame her fears by partnering with three co-travelers.

Recently The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week and other business news sources have reported that supply chain interruptions caused by natural disasters are revealing the flaws of JIT inventory management. Just as suddenly, industry speakers have taken up the topic of supply chain risk, how to manage it and why increased inventory is essential.

I maintain that properly constructed supply chains are almost entirely disaster proof. By developing strong supply chain strategies, using supplier partnerships, and building risk management plans, companies can avoid the dangers in the supply management forest.

Why We Should Keep JIT

A few weeks ago during an interview, a CNBC commentator suggested that the Japanese earthquake’s impact on supply chains could prompt companies to shy away from JIT. The interviewee responded that JIT’s potential to help cash flow will keep it in use in the long run, and that reversing JIT would require too much cash, making it impractical for companies to make the switch.

I agree that companies should keep JIT for many reasons. JIT is more than an inventory management method; it is a management philosophy that focuses on eliminating waste in every aspect of the business. The bottom line is to produce or purchase only what you need, when you need it, in the correct amount. This brings about overall operational improvements, including lower inventory. Quitting JIT impacts much more than just your current inventory levels.

Strategy is Your Best Weapon Against Risk

While there are several components of strong supply chain strategy, the foundation is design for supply chain management (DSCM). DSCM builds on the elements of concurrent engineering that emerged in the 1990s during the popularity of World Class Manufacturing. Concurrent engineering:

1) Worked closely with suppliers to select materials that were common, lower cost and easy to source, and
2) Tied materials and engineering together to assure that designs would meet supply chain management objectives by reducing the number of parts and selecting materials that could be easily sourced.

One of those objectives would be to choose parts that help lower the risk in the supply chain. This might include using parts with suppliers in different locations. One of the problems after the Japanese earthquake was that the only two plants that made a certain coating for silicon wafers were both in the earthquake zone. When they shut down, there was no back-up. Designing products with supply chain risk in mind is vital for risk mitigation.

Weaving a Safety Net with Supplier Partnerships

Careful selecting and certifying key suppliers helps move your company toward a lower risk supply strategy. In adherence with the folk wisdom that tells us not to put all our eggs in one supplier’s basket, many companies will dual source a part, using three, four or even more suppliers. Not only does this practice raise the cost of materials, but it makes your supply chains unnecessarily complex.
There is another, more advantageous strategy than multi-sourcing each part. It springs from the collaborative mentality of forming sound supplier partnerships for long-term competitive advantage. I call it dual sourcing the technology while single sourcing the part. For example, if you have two aluminum extrusion parts, one could be sourced from supplier A and the other from supplier B. Both suppliers are now pre-qualified and relationships – including billing – are set up with both, paving the way for a smooth transition.
Dual sourcing the technology mitigates risk, still limits the number of suppliers, and allows the company to reap cost advantages by sharing forecasts with suppliers and involving them in the design process. You could even select suppliers in different geographic areas to guard against the risk of natural disasters.


Risk Management Plans

Lots of things can interrupt supply chains just as dramatically as an earthquake. Suppliers can have fires, labor strikes, or their own supply chain problems. Storms, floods, and accidents can interrupt logistics. Breakdowns, mistakes and misunderstandings can all interrupt the chain. Your materials staff should meet with each key supplier to review risks and establish a written mitigation plan that covers equipment back-up, buildings, raw material suppliers, and labor.
Companies that don’t have back-up and risk reduction plans for supply chain interruptions will pay the costs when the inevitable happens. Every business – from manufacturers to distributors to banks to service organizations – that uses outside suppliers would be wise to examine their risk management plans and make sure they are prepared.

Extra Points – The Post-Rapture Edition!

May 23, 2011 Leave a comment

This week’s focus point –

Post-Rapture Special – Cliffhangers.

Hello? Hello? Is there anyone else out there?

If you’re reading this, either the rapture didn’t happen “as expected” or you and I are in the throws of a planet upheaval over the next 5 months, if I read the article in the New York Times on Friday correctly. It would certainly figure that the end of the world would come right when the Seattle Mariners are playing great baseball. wouldn’t it?

It would also mean that I would miss out on all the great shows I enjoy watching that have major cliffhangers that just aired and won’t be solved until September. I think the 1980’s iconic series Dallas made cliffhangers a “must” for all serious dramas on television.

In business, you can learn from cliffhangers. A terrific season finale will create curiosity, emotion, suspense, foreboding, and an actual passion to find out what happens. If you’re a speaker on any professional level, you must create that same emotional response to engage your audience and have them focus on you, not their text messages. If you’re in sales, you must know that logic makes people think, and emotion makes people act. Creating curiosity, suspense and passion will more quickly get you the business than spouting out statistics. What can you do in your business to create the same emotions the great television dramas do that keep their audience coming back for more? If you can figure that out, then you have your own hit series!

That is, unless the calculations are a week off and the end of the world is actually next week instead. I think I’ll still keep my golf tee time just in case…

This week’s quote – “If evil be said of thee, and it be true, correct thyself. If it be a lie, laugh at it.”
– Epictetus (Greek sage and stoic philosopher from the 2nd century)

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved