Leading Value to Your Target Customer

Leading Technology

Leadership metrics are almost always visible from an organization’s bottom-line. And nowhere is this more clear than in sales and growth figures.

But how does a leader retain existing customers and grow with new ones?

Reeling in a new customer and getting them to commit to buying a product or service takes time and money, and it can be kind of tricky since customers can be forgetful, finicky and often have no loyalty to a business.

It is really up to an entrepreneur or business employees to create that loyalty and make sure a great long-term relationship with the customer.

Re-Targeting Your Target Customer

If you’re looking to do this, make sure to re-target any potential customers in a tactful, inexpensive and efficient manner. Of course, this is easier said than done as it is not that easy to do without the possibility of causing some strife with the customer.

With this in mind, here is a quick guide on re-targeting a customer.

Follow-Up Phone Call or Email

When selling a product or service, a business should not stop at this point. No, instead, an employee should call the client and ask them if they have any questions, need any help or want to buy any more products. Now, when doing this, it is important to make it sound genuine and not like a sales call.

Customers will catch on and will grow frustrated with a sales call in the middle of the day.

However, when making it about the customers’ needs and wants, a business will go a long way in closing another sale and creating a better relationship with the customer. There are massive amounts of data available on when to do a follow-up call or email.

Mail

With a simple postcard, flyer or letter, a company can reach out to a current satisfied customer. With a target direct mail list, an entrepreneur will be a step ahead of the competition who is lost when looking for clients. In the postcard or letter, a company should send a coupon discount code for the current client.

At the same time, it is wise to stay cordial, respectful and informative.

To do so without spending a lot of money or using much effort, one should also keep it personal and put the first and last name of the customer on the letterhead. Otherwise, with an informal and indirect approach, one will possibly anger the receiver of a letter. Remember, a wise customer will sniff out a promotional flyer, and a business that can fly under the radar will enjoy a higher conversion rate when using direct mail.

Email

In this day and age, email is popular and most people will have an address or two. For this reason, this is a cost-effective and easy medium for one to communicate with clients. Now, it is important to avoid sending out spam messages as people will quickly tire of sales pitches or marketing material. Instead, when sending out emails, a business should opt for a calm approach and try to give value to the client.

The easiest way to do so is to offer free shipping or a coupon code for a discount on a future purchase.

By doing this, and complying with all spam regulations, a company can reach out to clients without spending much money or time. At the same time, customers will appreciate freebies or discounts as most people love a good bargain.

Social Media

Now, more than ever, one should use social media to communicate with current and potential customers. Just like with email, it is wise to avoid annoying or otherwise bothering customers. However, when offering true value or support to a client, one can go a long way in securing another sale.

Since social media is relatively new, most people will not have a problem receiving marketing messages as it is a cool and unique way to communicate. Of course, a company should keep it tactful and avoid sending out too many messages to followers.

When running an organization, it is crucial to re-target old customers. Without this step, a business will have to spend too much money on marketing and will likely have a hard time finding success in its niche.

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———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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Hey Leaders: 5 Tips to Positively Powerful Presentations

Public Speaking

Great leadership requires great communication skills.

And one of the most challenging forms of communication is presenting in public!

Public Speaking

Hosting a work or group presentation often comes with a great deal of anxiety attached. Many people do not like to stand up in-front of groups because they wonder how they are going to sound and if the audience will enjoy the presentation.

Fortunately, preparing yourself to properly articulate words and capture the attention of your audience will help to chase some of these fears away.

5 Tips to Positively Powerful Presentations

Plan The Right Way

Speaking extemporaneously is a gift that some people have. However, chances are you don’t have this talent if you are afraid of public speaking. Start drafting ideas for the presentation once you receive the assignment. By having at least a structure in place when you sit down to complete the bulk of the work, the presentation itself won’t seem so overwhelming.

Use notecards if permitted during the actual speech, and put cue words and phrases on them. Writing out your entire presentation and reading it word-for-word is not the best idea. Not only will the speech sound robotic, but you will be more focused on reading a single word than anything else.

Use Audience Interaction

Think about what you like when you go to a presentation or listen to a speech. Sitting in silence for a lengthy period isn’t fun for even the most attentive of audience members. Find a way to incorporate audience interaction into your presentation.

For example, you might start by asking a question of the larger group, or, if time permits, plan out an activity where the audience divides into smaller groups to discuss an issue.

You could have them fill out surveys or answer quiz questions as an ice breaker or as an introduction to the topic you are going to discuss.

Harness The Power of Visual Aids

Visualization is an extremely important component of a strong presentation. Audience members can hear what you are saying, but that doesn’t mean they will retain or fully comprehend the information. A presentation that delves into statistics needs to have charts and graphs to properly display them.

You can pass this information around to the audience members so that they have copies to take home. Use pictures to depict a new plan for a management team, or show images and video clips of a new product or service that your company is launching.

Know How to Speak

Even if you have spent the last few months preparing and you have the coolest graphics in the world, people aren’t going to listen if you don’t have some basic speaking skills in your pocket.

  • Your voice needs to be loud and clear enough for everyone in the audience to hear.
  • Looking into the audio devices available well in-advance of the presentation date is wise.
  • Make eye-contact with the audience members.
  • Know what language the audience speaks, and do not use words that they are unlikely to understand.
  • Find a tone somewhere between boringly formal and overly casual that addresses your goals while engaging the audience.

Strong Introduction and Conclusion

You want to make sure people are listening when your speech starts, and you want to make sure that they take something away from it when it is over.

  • Use a hook question or a quotation to grab their interest at the start.
  • When you near the end, reiterate your main points, and let them know how to contact you for more information.
  • Opening up a question and answer session helps audience members to recognize you care about their absorption of the material.
  • If you are selling something, give free samples.

Being a Trained Professional

Creating a strong presentation is important because this is the first impression you’re providing to the audience members. Using these tools helps to let the audience see that you are a trained professional who cares about his or her purpose and goals in the presentation.

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———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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How to Be a Rock Solid Leader

Rock Solid Leader

The en masse exodus of Baby Boomers alarms some in the business community as retirement encroaches. Varying reasons exist for the multiple reactions to retirement. The energized and ready can’t wait to quit the daily pace of dutiful work obligations in exchange for a more relaxed pace. Others are uncertain, wary and intimidated about this forthcoming season in their lives. 

The question arises, how do you stay a rock solid leader after retirement?

Leadership Validation Is a Core Process

Before a leader can navigate his retirement, an important and often overlooked step is the leadership validation process. This is the process of confirming that a job was well done. Meaningfulness becomes increasingly important as one becomes more experienced.

A rock solid leader who validates the claims of leadership manifested in the working years gains more assurance and is emotionally ready for the exit.

For many, this validation is unnerving:

  • How do they know if they were meaningful?
  • How do they know the caliber of their followers?
  • Or, what is the caliber of their potential successor?

The validation for leaders of core competencies is critical in all phases of the business and personal life cycle and increasingly important near retirement. This translates into core validation being essential from the first interview to the exit interview.

At my firm, we have found that we can confirm core competencies better with 3-D assessments and our clients gain a competitive advantage. This approach provides a much more realistic understanding of the leaders and how best to go ahead.

Leadership Validation

Essential for Rock Solid Leadership

Executive coaching, leadership assessments and evaluations and performance reviews are often the tools used by consultants to help investigate and test the leader’s hard and soft skills. The typical pen and paper approach has brought in results; but limited insights.

A better approach is the 3-D assessment that utilizes video as the main medium.

How to Be a Rock Solid Leader

Under pen and paper, the list of questions is often answered individually. Each response comes from how the leader sees themself. This self-evaluation is a good tool but limited. The way others view a person is critical. First impressions are important. Therefore, undergoing a comprehensive assessment is a better approach.

What variables validate core leadership competencies?

Peer evaluations have often been used to check the team or the leader. The problem is that they are often subjective and not good evaluations. So, the first key in gaining a tier-one evaluation is to make sure that the person diagnosing the skills is not a part of the team or related to the company. An outsider’s objectivity provides a level of analysis that cannot be attained by co-workers.

So this begs the question:

What leadership skills should you get assessed?

Leadership Potential

New and Underdeveloped

The skills gaps in the rise of new leadership is an increasingly challenge for many companies. The new enthusiast wants to lead well, but often lacks the knowledge that comes with hands-on experience. Thus, two categories of skills exist and assessed in a comprehensive leadership skills assessment to confirm core competencies.

Technical Gaps:

  • Computer
  • Engineering
  • Mechanical
  • Electronics
  • Math
  • Computer Programming

Interpersonal Skills:

Certain aspects of leadership depend on qualities – often subtly displayed – that others perceive someone to have. Leadership awareness of soft skills can be difficult to assess, so an effective way requires an in-depth probing and understanding to check core competencies.

This type of “deep-dive” assessment observations and resultant data explain feedback with a higher level of accuracy.

  • Critical Thinking
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Active Listening
  • Sales Techniques

In fact, many qualities are visible with 3-D analytics; thus increasing the effectiveness of each assessment. Now, you can know if you are a rock solid leader.

A Twist in the Leadership Validation Process

Many companies have focused on leadership development and training for the newbie. However, this is only a partial solution. 3-D analytics work for senior management too.

Good companies know the value of their human capital; the experiences of a mature leader adds wisdom to the organization.

Increasingly, the en masse exodus of senior management has upper management more aware of the knowledge loss with retiring senior management. The challenge is to capture and assimilate the knowledge of these retiring seniors. Their successes are what make a leader rock solid.

Rock Solid Leader Plans

The cycle of a leader begins with initiation into authority and continues until retirement. Throughout the business cycle a good leader should confirm his or her core competencies to strengthen weaknesses and strengths. A

potential leader is usually provided training and guidance to increase his skills. An experienced leader, yes, a rock solid leader guides others to maturity. Thus, the question becomes for a company how to keep the knowledge of a rock solid leader?

Succession Planning

Continuity of leadership is a challenge. This is one reason succession planning is fruitful. Succession planning helps find new leaders and explores ways to capture the knowledge of the predecessors.

  • How well is your company positioned to transition its rock solid leaders?
  • Has your company started its 5-year succession plan, yet?
  • What steps are missing to getting your plan on paper and into action?

I share effective succession planning to help prepare executives, leaders and management with programs for custom exit strategies that validate core competencies.

Q: So then, what is the best way to find a rock solid leader?

A: Please post your comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Loreen Sherman

Loreen Sherman is CEO of Star-Ting Inc | Executive Coach | Sr. Mgmt. Consultant
She serves clients with a 3-D Analytic Assessments and Succession Planning
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403.289.2292

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Wise Leaders Embrace “Benign Subversives”

Benign Subversives

We all hate naysayers, snipers and back room gossips. They subvert our vision, undermine our message and divert attention from our objectives. They must be rooted out, disciplined, fired!

“Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.” ~ Henry Steele Commager

Valuing the Truth

I understand you, I really do. But if you are to excel as a leader you must develop a taste for high quality. sometimes unpalatable,  knowledge about the “State of the nation.” You need to discern clearly between corrosive people and other people who simply don’t see it your way, but are nonetheless well-meaning and really want the organisation to succeed. These are the “Benign Subversives.”

As a leader, you should embrace them as important allies, uncomfortable as it may be at first!

Recognizing the Benign Subversives

How can you recognise Benign Subversives and how best to employ their energy? The answer is to re-frame your impression of them and their objectives and see how you can learn from them in support of your own strategy and aims. History is littered with examples of leaders, organisations and even governments whose drive to uphold an increasingly untenable core vision mutates into self-fulfilling “groupthink.” The organisation ends up assuming the best of everything and never prepares for the worst. Schlomo Ben Hur, Nikolas Kinley and Karsten Jonsen describe this destructive scenario wonderfully in their paper “Coaching Executive Teams to Reach Better Decisions.”

“Leaders can get stuck in groupthink because they’re really not listening, or they’re listening only to what they want to listen to, or they actually think they’re so right that they’re not interested in listening. And that leads to a lot of suboptimal solutions in the world.” ~Jacqueline Novogratz

The Benign Subversive is Your Antidote

Leaders readily employ expensive external executive coaches to assist in their personal quest for understanding and success. They accept their challenges and inconvenient observations and pay highly for the privilege.

Great coaches act like human mirrors showing their clients the truth in their thinking, feeling and acting.

If you re-frame each internal Benign Subversive in this role you’ll see them as a positive force for purposeful change not an enemy.

Recalibrating Your Team

If you publicly affirm their valuable contribution and encourage them, the quality of their contribution improves as they become more internally motivated.

What’s more, other less assertive people will begin to contribute.

The richness and utility of this transparent information stream is the granular intelligence that great leaders and organisations thrive upon. For a research perspective De Dreu and West concluded in 2001 that, “minority dissent stimulates creativity and divergent thought, which, through participation, manifest as innovation.” What the Benign Subversive observes may remain inconvenient and uncomfortable, but is a vital contribution to avoiding failure or achieving success. Rely on them to give you another view, one which would otherwise be invisible to you. As leader you then have the choice to accept or reject their views but at least your decisions will be based on more complete information. Remember this…

“It is easy to believe in freedom of speech for those with whom we agree.” ~Leo McKern

Taking the Next Steps

Now consider this:

  • Notice who in your team or organisation exhibits the characteristics of a Benign Subversive. How do you view them – problem or solution?
  • Gently encourage objective, non-judgemental observation and criticism; how do people respond? Decide how best to exhibit meaningful responses.
  • Notice the balance between your positive constructive versus negative destructive criticism is response your team or organisation reports to you.
  • How do you react emotionally to a report who disagrees with you or brings you inconvenient news?
  • Notice what happens when you receive objective criticism with a simple “Thank you I will definitely consider what you say”.

Recommended Reading
Managing Corporate Communications in the Age of Restructuring, Crisis, and Litigation: Revisiting Groupthink in the Boardroom by David Silver.
Get your free mini-version of “Your Personal Leadership Book of Days – Avoid Cookie Cutter Solutions by Using Your Adaptive Intelligence

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——————–
 Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
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A Regular Winston Churchill: Leading with the Strength of Communication

Winston Churchill

We hear time and time again the key to success of any kind is good communication. If we want to have healthy personal relationships, effective teams, or become a great leader, we have to learn how to communicate effectually.

Yet, for some reason, most of us struggle with this so called “communication” stuff.

Communication Strength

Not only do we need to find the right words to say, we have to be conscious of our body language, tone, and posture because those make up a large part of our communication.

Why is it so difficult for a large portion of us to get the message from our brains out of our mouths, while some of us seem born to orate?

Well, perhaps some of us are! That infamous co-worker, the one you always send into the boss for important pitches and conversations, is probably operating under their Communication strength.

L2L Discussion Please Vote

Metaphors, Similes, They Love All Of These!

Not only are people with this strength good at public speaking, they are very capable storytellers and writers. Instead of recounting their trip to the grocery store as a list of events, they find the language and phrases that have the ability to capture your attention and have you hanging on every word.

They have the ability to take a dry idea and add life to it by creating images and using metaphors.

In an age of information overload, it’s important for them to get their information across and for it to stick. They seek to inspire people to act. They draw people to them with their vivid word choices and clever turn of phrase.

A Leader Like Winston

Winston Churchill is arguably one of the most famous orators in recent history. From his epic World War II speeches all the way to his cheeky sarcastic remarks, there is no doubt Winston had the strength of Communication.

His ability to capture an audience and make his words memorable undoubtedly played a key role in his success as a leader.

Being a leader with Communication is a priceless asset. As a leader, you are able to:

  • advocate for yourself and your team clearly
  • your words are well-chosen, and therefore effective
  • capture an audience and present your ideas in a well understood manner
  • create safe places through rapid and effective conflict resolution
  • express concern and enter crucial conversations well prepared in an easily receivable manner

Communication Importance

While that may come as second nature to you, it is extremely difficult for many people. Make sure you are available for coaching, especially for those without Communication as a strength.

It is never advisable to have someone spend a lot of their time working on a weakness, but the importance of communication at work, or life in general, necessitates some focus on strengthening Communication.

Being a leader, or even a peer, with this strength will make you valuable to your team!

Talks Too Much In Class

Now, the dark side of Communication would suggest that there is a limit to how much, when, and where all that communicating is appropriate.

A common barrier label for Communication is “blabbermouth.”

This loving term isn’t just reserved for verbal communication either; be careful when you’re writing e-mails that you aren’t going on and on, people will definitely stop reading. Having a way with words does not necessarily mean you need to speak at every given opportunity!

If you use this strength in a sophisticated manner, you won’t have to wait long before people will come to you asking you to speak. There is no need to run to them, for you risk appearing as though you simply enjoy the sound of your own voice. Listening is just as crucial to conversation as talking.

Remember, the pendulum swings both ways. As Winston himself once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand and speak up; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”.

If you have this strength, how would you advise someone who is struggling to communicate at work? As a leader, how has this aided you and your team? How has Communication stood in your way, if at all? Have you found that you have to adapt your Communication style to the person or situation?

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———————–
Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP
Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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On Leadership, Sherlock Holmes and The Analytical Leader

Sherlock Holmes

Being Holmes

Known particularly for his shrewd logical reasoning, Detective Sherlock Holmes most certainly possesses a strength both envied and despised. Despite the efforts of those he seeks to thwart, Holmes’s uncanny ability to weed through the details of a case, find the facts, and solve the puzzle has proven he is the best at what he does.

Some might call his methods perceptive, systematic, logical, or even rigorous.

In the Strengths world, however, it is known as Analytical.

Being Watson

One must wonder, what’s it like to work for someone who is Analytical? No one knows the answer to this better than John H. Watson, Holmes’s very own assistant.

As an Analytical leader, Holmes constantly challenges others, following the motto “Prove it”.

When developing a theory of his own, Watson can count on Holmes to ensure his thinking is sound and essentially bullet proof. In Holmes’s more unsophisticated moments, Watson is also aware his ideas may be destroyed. In fact, if Holmes allows his Analytical to run amuck, he may all but completely deter Watson from speaking his mind ever again.

If you’re like Holmes…

Chances are, if you’re Analytical, your work rarely (if ever) has a mistake. You base your conclusions on proven data and facts, rather than “what ifs” and possibilities. You are able to create patterns and make connections to provide solid, agenda-free solutions, making you extremely valuable to your team and organization.

To others, you are unbiased, meticulous, and logically sound; for these reasons, you are the go to person to diffuse “fanciful thinking” and implement concrete ideas.

As a leader, you are able to provide your team with:

  • Substantial support for the bottom line
  • Relatively error free production
  • Trust worthy decision making
  • Stability in data based solutions

As with any Strength, you also need to be aware of the dark side of being Analytical.

Effectively Leading Watson

Below-the-line perceptions can be extremely powerful when leading your team. Not everyone on your team will have Analytical anywhere hear their top five, much less their top ten, so it’s critical that you understand how your feedback and/or direction are received.

Possible below-the-line perceptions are:

  • Paralysis by Analysis- too many reasons why a plan WON’T work
  • Seem argumentative
  • Ask too many questions
  • Struggle with Abstract thinking
  • Dream killer

Though your intention is to help Watson develop a sound theory, you may actually be creating an unproductive work environment for him. If Watson is high in the themes of Activator or Futuristic, your tendency to get “stuck in the weeds” will be very frustrating.

Remaining Engaged

In order to guarantee Watson remains engaged, and also develops a well-thought out plan, it’s important for you to see the forest for the trees. Remember the bottom line and present him two to three questions that can help him head in a solid direction.

There may be times when it is necessary to deconstruct Watson’s theories and redirect him to a more tangible path; be aware of how you deliver the information.

If you are too harsh, your feedback has the opportunity to be taken personally.

When you begin your line of questioning, be fastidious about which questions are essential to the bottom line. Remember, the big picture is the ultimate result of the details!

If you’re a leader strong in Analytical, how have you been able to balance your need for detail with the essentials of a particular project? Are you able to leverage the talents of other team members to get projects started? Have you found a way to deliver feedback to an employee in a way that is productive and leaves them feeling valued?

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———————–
Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP
Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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Hey Leaders: People Are People

Empathy and Compassion

It’s important to see that people are people. Sounds like an easy concept, doesn’t it?

But it’s not!

On Leadership And Empathy

Viewing people as people means that we understand that others have feelings, we care for them, and we understand that they have needs. When you feel great about your relationships, you intuitively know these things, don’t you?

Your wife has feelings, you love her with all your heart, and you do what you can to meet her needs. You take out the trash like you’re supposed to, you buy flowers for her birthday… you pour yourself into her. It’s pretty obvious that you truly do see her as a special person.

So the other day on your way to work, how did you look at the guy who cut you off in traffic? Chances are pretty good that he may have been on the receiving end of your horn, a selective finger or two, and a few choice four-letter words.

Did you see him as a person? I doubt it.

I bet that you saw him:

  • As an obstacle to what you had to do for the day
  • As a jerk
  • As an idiot
  • As as a danger
  • As anything but a person who has feelings, issues, troubles, and needs, didn’t you?

It’s ok to admit it… it happens to me too.

The reality is that we see the people closest to us as the special people that they are.  But the people that we don’t necessarily have a tie to can become just a “thing” in our minds. Other people tend to become a tool that we measure whether they are helping us achieving our goals, preventing us from achieving our goals, or just noise in the background.

However, these “things” are special people with their own set of issues, feelings, and agendas.

What Are Their Intentions?

What if you knew that man who cut you off was rushing to see his wife in the hospital because she was in a serious accident? Would that change your mind about him cutting you off? Maybe you would have even let him go? You see, we all have our own agendas near and dear to our hearts, but we tend to forget that other people do too.

We will often view people based on how they fit our agenda – if they fit, then we care for them; if they don’t, they’re just getting in our way.

We are all guilty of judging people by their actions and not by their intentions. Those actions can hurt us or let us down. However, we tend to judge ourselves based on our intentions. How many times have you said, “I didn’t mean to do that. What I was trying to do was…”?

If we truly want to be judged by our intentions, we have to start judging others by theirs.

 No One is “Below” You

We are also guilty of fitting people into some sort of an importance hierarchy. Depending on where we see ourselves, our hierarchy may look something like this:

Level 7: The President
Level 6: Me
Level 5: Executives
Level 4: Clerks and assistants
Level 3: Those pesky teenagers in the neighborhood
Level 2: Labor workers
Level 1: The homeless

It seems somewhat absurd when it’s written out that way, doesn’t it? But I know that I’m not the only one that has looked at people with this in my heart. This is exactly what happens when we look at people as “things” in our lives or pieces that fit our agendas.

No one is below you! And, for that matter, no one is above you!

Every single person on that list is a person. There is not a single one on that list that deserves to be placed in the box that we’ve put them in.

It’s About What’s in Your Heart

What is in your heart is what determines how you will see the people around you. If you truly love people, you will naturally see them on a level playing field with yourself, no matter where they may fall in someone else’s pecking order.

  • Their job doesn’t matter
  • Their income doesn’t matter
  • Their looks don’t matter

But what does matter is that they are people. They are just as special as you are, with their own talents and treasures to offer the world. Having the compassion to see people as they really are can make the difference between being a leader of people and just being productive with your own to-do list.

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———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
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