Archive for December, 2014

“You Can’t Push A String”

December 31, 2014

You Can’t Push A String


That’s the title of my new book published by Black Opal Press.

It’s a collection of essays related to Communication, Customer Service,

Interviewing Techniques (both being interviewed and conducting them),

and a dozen other topics.

Reader feedback has been very positive.

The book is available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Black Opal Press




Resolutions Or Wishful Thinking

December 31, 2014

Resolutions Or Wishful Thinking


Making New Year Resolutions is easy. Keeping them is the hard part.

Here’s a technique that will help.

Resolving to climb Mt. Everest can serve as a good example. Many people have already done it, of course, but the feat requires finances, physical ability,

training, time, and good weather to name just a few limiters. So, it might be “possible”, but it isn’t “probable.”

By all means set your goals high, but then identify all the steps necessary to reach them.

Many of us get bogged down and discouraged at this time of the year because, after setting that lofty goal, we don’t identify what the necessary steps are., and achieving any goal requires focus and perseverance.

Here’s a less dramatic example of the need to focus – resolving to learn to play the harmonica. It’s easy to buy one. They’re inexpensive and easily available. But, once acquired, what comes next? Take lessons? Read an instruction manual? Get an app? Something else? Maybe just put it into a convenient desk drawer?

Here’s an approach that might help at the start of 2015. Let language assist with the Resolutions. Apply the discipline of writing to stay focused and on track. No one can fool a blank piece of paper or an empty computer screen. The “nothing” will stay there until someone does something about it. So do this.

In a simple sentence, write the goal. (I resolve to _______”) That’s the easy part, but now comes the plan. Write this. “So, first I’ll have to _______” Now be specific and add “by ______.” If there isn’t a date there isn’t a plan.

Next, list what you’ll need. Being realistic here will avoid disappointment and failure later.

For now, forget Himalayas and harmonicas, and look at business opportunities and options.

What can you do to improve business opportunities as well as your personal relationships? Start by indentifying one factor that could have a powerful productive impact. If you had your “druthers”, what would be your fondest wish?

Write it down. Then determine if you can do it or get it? Is it realistic and achievable? What do you need? First? Second?

Now, ask yourself a question we haven’t mentioned before. Is it important enough for you to work at, or is it just a whim?

Those written language exercises will help use time and talent well – and inexpensively, too.

In many business seminars, I’ve asked participants this question. “What has the greatest impact on your business?” The overwhelming response is “Customer Service.” That really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but what is surprising is how frequently we let it slip because we’re busy, tired, or distracted.

A simple fact in business interactions and personal ones, too, is this. Customers don’t care if you’re busy, or tired, or distracted. All they want – and deserve – is included In the designation itself – Service.

Providing that service is perhaps the most important resolution we can make at this time of the year. Don’t leave it to chance, or assume everything will work out. Resolve to do it, and then make quality customer service a top priority every day.

It’s easy when you want to do it, and it won’t be just wishful thinking. It will be a reality. A resolution is much like taking a road trip or a boat trip. At a minimum, you must know two things – your starting point and your destination. Without those two facts, it’s impossible to set a course.

Here’s a bit of whimsy I’ve used in the past to make that point about decisions and destinations. This brief scene in “Alice In Wonderland” between Alice and the Cheshire Cat sums up the essence of focus, resolution, reality, and results.

Alice: Would you tell me please which way I ought to go from here?

Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice:            I don’t much care where.

Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

Consider the wisdom of that encounter as you enter 2015 in our “Wonderful Land.”