Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lessons in Mentoring - PJM

Tell Me, Show Me, Let Me, Correct Me - Lessons in Mentoring by Paul J. Meyer

My father told me again and again to never take a job unless I was willing to be mentored. He knew that knowledge was not enough. He knew the value of repetition and mentoring in the learning process, and he modeled that for me from my earliest years. His learning system was simple. He would:
·tell me
·show me
·let me
·correct me
My first bike, for instance, was a junkyard rescue. My dad and I picked it up, brought it home, and took it apart. He patiently showed me how to put it back together - how to fix the brakes, build a gear, and put new spokes on the wheel. That hands-on learning taught me a great deal, but just when I felt I had conquered the bike, he made me take it all apart again. My dad understood that repetition was a powerful ingredient in the learning process. I took that bike apart and put it together so many times that I could have done it with my eyes closed! Sure, I was sometimes frustrated, but I learned.
My dad did the right thing: he provided structure and follow-up, making sure I understood the correct way of doing it from the very start, and then allowed me to repeat the process with his "mentoring." He supervised my practicing until he felt I could do it on my own.
Dad did this with everything in life. I remember when I got my first car - I had to have it towed home! I knew nothing about cars, but dad taught me everything. He taught me the difference between the transmission and the master cylinder, the headers and the exhaust pipes. He taught me what made the car work and how it all fit together. Together we took each piece apart and he'd tell me what it was, show me how it worked and was put together, let me try to do it on my own, and then correct me so that we could begin the process again. Finally, when we had finished and I knew how to put every piece back together, he took it completely apart again, smiled, and said, "Put it together, and it's yours!"
It was a challenge, but I did it and learned a lifelong lesson about learning, "Successful people yearn to learn and have a plan for learning." Unless people have a plan for learning and are motivated to do it right, it isn't very likely that they'll hang in there and do it. My dad created a need and a plan for me with that car, and to this day, one of my saddest memories is the day I joined the military and had to sell that car.
In my own companies, I maintain my dad's learning system with one small change. As I got older, I realized the power of positive reinforcement and praise in the coaching/mentor relationship. My dad was a great teacher, but his correction didn't always involve encouragement. So we've modified it a bit:
·tell me
·show me
·let me
·observe me
·praise my progress and/or redirect me
Having a coach or mentor accentuate the positive as you journey through the learning process is vital to success!
I am who I am today largely because of the lessons I learned from my own father. I understand how to learn and activate that knowledge because my dad modeled that for me. As you seek to grow and learn, remember the power of repetition, the importance of follow-up, and the value of coaching and mentoring.
About Paul J. Meyer
Paul J. Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Leadership Management Institute, Inc. and Success Motivation Institute, Inc. He has mastered the power of spaced repetition, using it to grow his businesses and change the lives of countless people. For more resources, and to order Know Can Do, visit the LMI bookstore.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Keys to personal leadership success

Personal Leadership is needed - and demanded - now more than ever.

These are random thoughts on the keys to personal leadership success.

1) Recognize EVERYONE is a leader. Whether you wear the title of CEO or bottle washer, you are a leader.
2) True personal leadership has nothing to do with managing others. It has everything to do with influencing others.
3) True personal leadership starts with self and works outward.
4) True personal leadership has a vision for themselves and encourages, supports and engages the vision of everyone else.
5) True personal leadership doesn't wait to be managed.
6) True personal leadership has a humble sense of being. They are comfortable in their own skin and don't depend on others for their identify.
7) True personal leadership is self-accountable. Their standard is beyond doing 'enough', meeting the 'base' requirements or satisfying the 'expected' results. They continually raise the bar of performance on themselves and, by influnce, those around them.

You become a true personal leader by your behaviors and not by your titles.

So - let's all take a little more ownership and become the leader you want to follow!

I need your help - those are my random thoughts on the subject - what can you add to the list? This isn't the complete list.

Friday, July 17, 2009

5 Pillars of High Performance

1) Crystallized thinking - You must have clarity of direction and goals in business and life to perform at your peak.
2) A dynamic plan of action - getting to your desired future faster requires focused action around defined plans and an accountability system to support it.
3) Possibility attitude - You must always find ways to make it work. Everything is good that happens.
4) Personal, internal motivation - You must become self-driven not reward driven or externally motivated.
5) Dogged determination - Passion and power to overcome any obstacle, barrier or road block, even yourself.
Less than 3% of the population really have built these pillars. They don't happen overnight. You must develop them and constantly improving them or they crumble and fall.
Give me a call and we can discuss how these can become part of your personal leadership fabric.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Managing Your Time Well

By Paul J. Meyer
Your success as an effective team leader or team member requires a wide range of skills, but one of the most important is how you manage your time. Knowledge of the work itself, skills in interpersonal relationships, and the development of creative and useful ideas are essential to your success.
It is time management that determines the efficiency and the effectiveness you achieve in each of these important areas. The effectiveness of the activities in each hour of the day - not the number of hours you work - determines the results you and your organization accomplish.
Effective time management can give structure to your day. Several time-management methods have proven effective in all types of organizations and at every level. Use these three important methods to manage your time:
Set priorities based on high-payoff activities. The most successful people are those who carefully identify their priorities and use them as a basis for making decisions, preventing problems, facing and resolving challenges, and planning the day's activities.
Work every day from a written plan based on your priorities and goals. Use a calendar system that works best for you. Make a list of all items of work you must complete during the day to meet a deadline or to prevent some serious consequence. These are your "Imperative" items. Next, write down all of the work you could do today, but could finish any time in the next two or three days without causing serious problems.
These are your "Important" items. Then, within both categories, assign each item a priority. Tackle your high-priority items on your "Imperative" list first. As each item is completed, go to the next. When all "Imperative" items are completed, move to the "Important" items.
Set challenging, but reasonable target dates for every project. Recognize and respect the value of deadlines and target dates. There is a saying that work expands to fill the time available. Without deadlines and target dates, your work may be stretched out over too much time. Deadlines push you to move forward.
Improved time management offers one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective strategies for improving productivity and increasing results.
To learn more about LMI's Proven Personal Management process, check out our Time and Results Workshop.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Delivering Tough Messages in Tough Times

By Dr. L. Todd Thomas

Communicating change during tough times can be one of the greatest challenges facing leaders today. Change is always uncomfortable—even when it is for the better. But in the current environment, economic uncertainty and the far-reaching implications of the recession give a greater sense of general stress to the organization. Leaders are faced with the need not only to communicate change but to somehow engage their followers at a time when there are few things that can be stated for certain. This is not a feel-good exercise—it is a time to focus on the future.

Communicating change in times like these may be difficult but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. It means that change communication has to become part of a strategic plan. It requires forethought and a commitment on the part of the leader to openly and honestly address concerns and set direction. The following four principles can help leaders navigate the challenges of not only sharing information but engaging employees in the direction of the future.

1. Define the changed condition. Too many times, leaders jump into a “reporting” mode and share a lot of data and information with employees without providing the necessary interpretation. Your employees have access to the same public information you do: they read the same blogs, watch the same television and read the same magazines and newspapers that you do. Simply reporting information only highlights uncertainty. Take the time to consider what the impact of the situation is going to be and provide employees with a way to understand the impact.

2. Know what you are after. It is also important to determine the purpose of your communication. What is it you would like to accomplish with this communication? If you need to address rumors that are circulating in the organization, prepare to do so with some level of proof and understanding as to how those rumors might exist. If you want feedback from employees, consider what the key issues for feedback might be and how the input is going to be used. There is no right or wrong answer here, but it is crucial that you decide on your purpose before you start your communication.

3. Give employees multiple channels for feedback and dialogue. By the nature of being a leader, you have more information and you have it sooner than those who follow you. Some may be comfortable speaking up in a town hall meeting while others need the opportunity for one-on-one discussion. Small group discussions where employees meet together and identify their top two or three concerns can also be an effective feedback mechanism. Again, there is no perfect answer. Providing multiple avenues respects the needs of employees and allows them to choose the channel with which they have the greatest comfort.

4. Establish actions your employees can take. One of the greatest challenges for employees is in knowing what to do as a result of the information they are receiving. Your followers are looking to you for direction. Telling them to “Keep doing what you’re doing” creates a conflicted message because on the one hand you are talking about change and on the other you are saying stay the same. Don’t create busy work but use the unique talents and strengths of your followers to create a change environment. Perhaps you need employees to listen more closely to customer comments, or you want them to form some focus groups to identify the challenges for the future. Employees can only be engaged in moving the organization forward if they are actively invited to do so.

About the Author:

President of IMPACT consulting and Development, LLC ( Dr. L. Todd Thomas is a speaker and coach and author of several books, including The Leadership Integrity Quotient (TM): Establishing Trust as Your Trademark Strength and Stop Wasting Your Time: A System for Creating High-Impact Meetings. Contact:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why seminars, training and workshops fail!

Closing the "Knowing - Doing Gap"

Have you ever tried to learn something new and it just doesn't stick? You send lots of energy on learning new skills and better habits, but you keep falling back into your old way of doing things. Most of us lack effective strategies for retaining and applying all the helpful information we take in (like this blog!).

In his book Know Can Do!, bestselling author Ken Blanchard and Paul J. Meyer, founder of Leadership Management Institute, use the storytelling method to explain why this occurs and how to be a more effective learner.

Know Can Do! chronicles a motivational/leadership author who is frustrated by the "knowing-doing gap" - The chasm between all the great ideas and advice digested from books, seminars and workshops and the actual actions and behaviors we do. All too often, in spite of their most sincere efforts, what people learn just doesn't stick. It's an endless source of frustration for individuals and for organizations as well.

This gap is one of the key reasons the "training budget" gets cut when a business looks to trim expenses.

Seeking a way to close this gap, the author sets out on a journey to find a solution. He soon meets a legendary businessman who teaches him the three reasons people don’t make the leap from knowing to doing:

  1. Too much knowledge—information overload
  2. Too much negativity—an inadequate filtering system
  3. Bad habits—an inadequate learning system

The key to overcoming these roadblocks, the author learns, is spaced repetition. Important information must be repeated over time if it’s going to impact behavior.

People who have mastered learning are free to be creative and make big things happen. In fact, John F. Kennedy once remarked that "leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." This book helps people at all levels develop the mind-set and the skill set to achieve extraordinary results.

Know Can Do will show you how to avoid information overload by learning "less more, not more less." You'll find out how to adjust your brain's filtering system to learn many, many times more than ever before, ignite your creativity and resourcefulness with Green Light Thinking and master what you've learned using spaced repetition.

At last, an answer to the question, "Why don't I do what I know I should do?" Read this book and you will!

PS - Sales pitch - this is what LMI has been doing for 43 years. So you can either try and do it yourself or you can partner with someone who has perfected the process!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Is Your Sales Force Wasting Valuable Time and Effort?

This is a great article on how to increase sales by increasing productive behaviors.

Is Your Sales Force Wasting Valuable Time and Effort?

If you want a winning sales force, here are answers to some questions, courtesy of the book Building a Winning Sales Force. Written by Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer, the book offers powerful strategies for driving high sales performance to maximize results.

As the authors observe:

Are important customers getting enough attention? Many salespeople spend too much time with comfortable and secure accounts, while others spend too much time catering to small but demanding client segments. Yet, a company’s most important customers aren’t always its most loyal or most difficult ones. Make sure your sales force is devoting ample, proactive attention to high-potential and high-profit customers.

Are important products getting enough sales effort? When given an option, most salespeople will focus on products they find easy or fun to sell. They’re also influenced by contests or incentives aimed at boosting short-term sales of specific products. As a result, products with strategic importance sometimes get overlooked. Strive to balance your sales force’s time and efforts between established core products and exciting new ones.

Is the sales force engaged in the highest-impact sales activities? Time spent on planning, training, travel, and other activities besides selling should help make salespeople’s time with customers more valuable. When salespeople waste hours sitting in sales meetings, answering internal e-mails, feeding data into awkward CRM systems, checking their sales numbers against incentive payouts, chasing invoices, and crafting sales proposals that could have been adapted from company boilerplate, the company loses money.

Do salespeople have appropriate expectations? Even the best salespeople are likely to misallocate their time if they are unclear about what the company wants them to do and expects them to achieve for each customer, market segment, or product. Clearly communicate priorities and objectives to your sales force and provide salespeople with goals that encourage desired behaviors. Also, measure how salespeople are spending their time and tracking their sales and provide them with ongoing feedback on these metrics.

Do salespeople have the information they need to do their jobs? Sometimes salespeople know what the company wants them to do, but lack the information they need to do it. If salespeople are not sure how to go about identifying good prospects, for example, a mandate like “develop business with new customers” offers no guidance. To keep salespeople informed, invest in developing and maintaining up-to-date customer databases. Provide quick and easy access to detailed product information and arm salespeople with the high-tech tools and the bandwidth to leverage the information they need to do their jobs better.

Do salespeople have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful? When salespeople know what the company wants them to do and have the information they need to do it but continue to avoid important customers or products, they likely lack confidence and specific sales skills—such as how to negotiate effectively or how to close a sale. The remedy for both is targeted sales force training and coaching.

Are salespeople motivated to do what the company wants? Lack of sales force motivation is one of the most notorious wasters of time, sales talent, and potential profits. To get salespeople motivated, tie incentive plan rewards and align the criteria for nonmonetary recognition, like membership in the President’s Club, to the desired sales activities. Another effective motivational strategy is demonstrating to the sales force how a failure to grow business leads to lost market share, insufficient word of mouth among customers, and a decrease in long-term income for salespeople.

Do you have the right salespeople in the job? In some companies, sales resource misallocation is a matter of having people with the wrong capabilities or characteristics in the job. The solution is improving recruitment and retention of top performers. Start by changing your hiring profit to reflect the capabilities and characteristics of your best reps. Evaluate current salespeople and encourage those who lack what it takes to succeed in your sales organization to seek other jobs. Finally, work on changing your sales culture so that salespeople with the right capabilities and characteristics will want to join and stay with your company.

(From Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance by Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer. Copyright 2009, Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. lorimer. Published by AMACOM. is published by AMACOM, a division of American Management Association. For more information:

About the Author:

Andris A. Zoltners is a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a founder and co-chairman of ZS Associates.

Prabhakant sinha is a founder and co-chairman of ZS Associates where he has consulted on sales effectiveness for more than 200 firms in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And the beat goes (Speeding) on!

And the beat goes (Speeding) on!

Every single day we get bombarded with messages about how "business has to change!"

There are a TON of "You have to's" like...

  • You have to do more with less
  • You have to think outside the box
  • You have to increase your activity level
  • You have to outperform the competition

The buzzwords go on and on (and on.) BUT, how do you tap into your resources so you can achieve all the "have to's"?

LMI has the answer!

Three Very Simple Keys to Success


Become Goal-Directed

Goal-driven people focus on the critical few instead of the important many.

The economy can be robust or slow, on fire or dried up, it makes NO DIFFERENCE. Take the "noise" out of the system and be free to say "no" to good intentions and "yes" to great actions.

  • Goals produce focus.
  • Focus produces drive.
  • Drive produces results!

It’s that simple.


Implement an Accountability System

We have to accept the fact that we are responsible for our own economy.

Yeah, yeah – nobody wants to be held accountable - whether it is in business or life. Our natural tendency is to look to the government, our "boss", the consumer, our spouse or even "the devil" for someone to be responsible.

We can't control the market, the government, the consumers or even the "devil". We can, however, control our action, behavior and attitude.

  • Accountability is the road to higher achievement.
  • Higher achievement produces higher results.
  • Higher results give you greater success!

It’s that simple.


Instill a Positive Expectancy

A "can do" committed to success NOW attitude is the motivation to make goals and accountability work.

You get what you expect. Positive expectancy is the spark that ignites the passion and builds commitment.

  • Positive expectancy creates resolve.
  • Resolve overcomes daily obstacles and roadblocks.
  • Overcoming “noise” delivers results.

It’s that simple.

Yep, these three keys ARE simple, but it’s extremely hard to put them into practice. Studies show that only 3% of the population uses these keys all the time.

You probably recognize these individuals. They’re the "lucky" folks. Things go right for them. They don't join "the sky is falling" bandwagon. They have a clear head in the midst of negative messages. They face reality with clarity and purpose.

How do you become part of the 3%?

NOW WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE SIMPLE ANSWER -- combine LMI’s unique process (implemented by 100,000’s of individuals across the world) with your desire to improve. You will develop the three keys to success that will last you a lifetime.

Are you a "3%"?

Join the next LMI Catalyst Club to move your performance to the next level or would you like to become one of the elite! Join the LMI Catalyst Club to begin the journey.

Michael D. Diercks, Regional President, LMI - Serving Columbus for 40 years!
(614)823-8150 - - -

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to Market in a Recession

By John A. Quelch and Katherine E. Jocz

Recessions change consumer attitudes and consumer behaviors. Sometimes these changes are just transient coping mechanisms that will disappear once the recovery returns. But the current recession may be so long and so deep that the attitudes and behaviors of a large percentage of consumers will change permanently, and in ways that will challenge marketers.

Understand Consumer Behavior
The starting point for any recession-based marketing plan is the consumer. As consumer confidence evaporates, their price sensitivity increases. Even those who can still afford to spend become bolder in asking for deals, empowered by the expectations of lower prices that accompany any economic slowdown. Higher price sensitivity leads consumers to spend more time searching for the best deal and evaluating the price/performance trade-offs among alternative brands. Consumers typically make fewer purchases on impulse and spend more time planning ahead. Those who still have cash on hand may stock up when promotion offers are especially attractive.

Different products and services are more or less vulnerable to changes in consumer behavior. People will still buy essentials such as toothpaste and basic food products, but even here, consumer behaviors may change. The purchaser of organic produce may trade down to nonorganic; the purchaser of frozen vegetables may trade down to canned; the purchaser of a brand like Green Giant may switch to a store brand instead.

Perhaps the most vulnerable categories of consumer goods are durables. Their purchase can be postponed and, in some cases, may have to be postponed if consumer credit is not available. The precipitous decline in auto sales is mirrored in corresponding declines in sales of new kitchen appliances, aggravated by the fall in new home construction. In normal times, many durable goods sales depend on new products with new features accelerating the purchase cycle ahead of consumers’ existing equipment breaking down. In a recession, consumers will hold on to their existing equipment longer. That’s good for repair services, but not for new product sales.

Services can also fall into the categories of essentials and postponables. Instead of that dream Mediterranean cruise, a consumer may have to settle for a seaside rental closer to home. On the other hand, disconnecting your cell phone service is unlikely. Though certain add-on, discretionary features might be cancellable, many consumers have monthly bank or credit card autopayment of their telephone charges, so the effort involved in switching or changing service becomes a barrier to behavior change. Nevertheless, NetZero has recently run an effective campaign advertising the lower cost of dial-up internet versus broadband.

It is essential that companies understand how its core consumers are thinking about the recession. This requires investing in new market research studies, understanding the evolving price elasticity of demand for your brand and your product category, and perhaps even developing a new consumer segmentation typology based on price sensitivity, value orientation and buyer confidence.

B2B marketers need to apply the same discipline to their customers. Some customers will be cash poor and looking for supplier credit and extended terms. Other distributors will be cash rich but will still cry poverty to extract better terms from their suppliers. B2B marketers must appraise the financial viability of their customers and align themselves with those that will survive and, indeed, gain market share during the downturn. Particularly during a long, hard recession, it is inevitable that some customers and distributors will fail. While the good marketer—whether B2C or B2B—should try to hold the customer’s hand to get through the tough times together, he or she must be careful not to ship product and extend terms to customers that are poor risks.

Deliver Value
During a recession, marketers—even those selling luxury merchandise—should emphasize value more than ever:

  • The typical appliance product line will emphasize stripped-down models with fewer bells and whistles and built-in options.
  • Products and services will be unbundled to permit cash-strapped customers to pick what they truly need.
  • Multiple purpose products such as Vaseline Intensive Care or Nivea become more attractive compared to special purpose creams.
  • Individual package sizes of candy bars or the number of cans in a Pepsi multipack may be downsized to enable the manufacturer (and retailer) to continue to hit attractive retail price points.
  • Liquor marketers may launch a fighting brand to provide the price sensitive consumer with an attractively priced alternative so the premium brand’s price (and profit margin) does not have to be slashed to maintain category share.

But whatever adjustments companies make to their product portfolios, quality must high. To do otherwise will be to risk eroding brand equity and shareholder value for the long term.

Marketers must also reassess the allocation of their marketing expenditures. In some cases, it will be necessary to shift some portion of the budget from franchise-building brand advertising to short term promotion activity that will move product, on a pay-as-you-go basis, next Monday morning. Consumers clip more coupons, fill out more sweepstakes entries, and go after more deals in a downturn. They are most interested in immediate cash savings at the point-of-sale that require minimal effort to obtain but many are also more willing than ever to fill out the forms to qualify for mail-in rebates.

The traditional media advertising budget is always under pressure in a recession. Like new product research and management training, advertising is vulnerable because expenditures cannot be linked clearly to sales. What companies need to know is that a sustained (rather than stop-go) investment in advertising builds brand equity and shareholder value; that when competitors are cutting back, just maintaining your ad spend will increase your share of voice and therefore your opportunity to capture more market share; and that the cost of capturing an additional share point in a recession is invariably lower than when times are good.

Typically, a recession is unlikely to induce experimentation and adoption of innovation. However, for several reasons, we expect this recession to accelerate the growth of digital marketing. Consumers will be spending more time at home in front of their computers rather than going out on the town. They will be researching best value products using Internet price search engines. Worried about their job security in the face of economic gloom, they will be staying close to friends and building their virtual networks through Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites. The average American spends around 25% of his or her media interaction time on the Internet, yet only 7% of U.S. media advertising is assigned to the Internet. It’s time to close that gap. Those marketers bold enough to build their digital brand presence, encourage user-generated content, and create powerful brand communities during this recession will emerge stronger on the other side.

The messages that marketers send to their consumers may also need a rethink. When times are tough, never use fear appeals and zany humor. Ads that emphasize value combined with the reassurance that comes from using a reliable, trusted brand are more appropriate. Procter & Gamble’s Ivory dishwashing liquid currently allocates a third of its media advertising messages to ads that show how many more dishes it can clean compared to cheaper, lower quality private label look-alikes. A similar side-by-side comparison ad demonstrates Bounty’s superior absorbency compared to private label paper towels. In another category, the “That’s Value. That’s Aleve” campaign stresses that the consumer need take only one pill every twelve hours versus one every two to four hours for Tylenol and Advil.

Consumers may become more hard-nosed about functional benefits and price-performance trade-offs during a recession, but they still need emotional support. Ads that show how using the brand can promote family relationships and friendships are especially appealing. Just as Pepsi built its “new optimism” project around President Obama’s inauguration, Coca-Cola’s new “open happiness” campaign targets consumers longing for comfort and emotional support. And there is always room for a creative and emotionally uplifting ad such as British Airways’ depiction of its new Terminal 5 at Heathrow as a wondrous aquarium.

Control Costs, Seize Opportunities
Tough times call for tough actions. The drive for value delivery provides the perfect excuse for tightening cost controls. Cash is king and marketers must work closely with the finance department to lower their cost structures and to understand the balance sheet as well as the income statement implications of their marketing initiatives. Marginal or unprofitable products in the portfolio should be weeded out to reduce complexity costs. Tough conversations should be initiated with unprofitable customers to see how to reduce the cost to serve them. Marginal distributors should also be cut, along with underperforming suppliers and underperforming staff. New sales promotions should be simply designed so as not to reduce manufacturing efficiency.

Companies should aim to reduce fixed costs through disposing of noncore assets, closing excess capacity, consolidating suppliers and outsourcing so long as quality control is not jeopardized. Some ways to shift fixed costs to variable including transitioning salesperson compensation from salary to commission and shifting media spend from advertising to direct marketing and promotional offers tied to individual products. Companies with the leanest cost structures in their industry can be transparent in their pricing and will stand to gain share over those with frills. For example, Wal-Mart can be expected to outperform Target in a recession, but vice versa when the economy is doing well.

Companies should be wary of overshooting in their cost-cutting. They should take a scalpel to their budgets, not a sledgehammer, cutting the fat but not the muscle. No one knows quite when the economic recovery will begin. When it occurs, the speed of recovery may be dramatic. To the extent that competitive conditions permit, marketers need to retain some slack in their planning process so that they can respond promptly to the uptick in demand when it occurs.

Concluding Thoughts
There are opportunities in a recession:

  • It provides any company with the opportunity to rebase its cost structure.
  • It may provide an opportunity to pick up market share at low cost.
  • It may motivate a useful reassessment of the organization’s business model.

It’s worth remembering that many brilliant commercial ideas have been inspired by the need to find better ways of delivering value to customers during economic downturns. Jack Bogle formed the Vanguard mutual fund group and Charles Schwab set up Schwab & Co. in the face of the recession of the early 1970s. Bill Gates launched Microsoft during the recession of the early 1980s. That’s why the Chinese characters for “crisis” also translate as “opportunity.”

About the Authors:

John A. Quelch is the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is coauthor, with Katherine E. Jocz, of Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy, published by Harvard Business Press.

Katherine E. Jocz is a research associate at Harvard Business School. She is coauthor, with John A. Quelch, of Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy, published by Harvard Business Press.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Are you ready to exit?

From our Kent Frese, LMI partner in PA, who specializes in Exit Planning.

Do you have a plan to exit your business on your terms? There are three key areas that need to be examined and strengthened: financial, management and legal.

You may want to consider the following from a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers Family Business Survey for 2007/08:

"..While many entrepreneurs happily devote their time and energies to building a business, they pay less attention to what will happen when they are no longer running the show. They find it difficult to address issues like illness, incapacity, retirement and death, and therefore postpone dealing with such problems..."

  • One-quarter of the family firms in the survey are due to change hands within the next five years.
  • Half of those companies are expected to remain in the family. Yet almost half of all responding companies have no succession plan, and the percentage is even higher in small firms or those that have been in business for fewer than twenty years.
  • A surprisingly high percentage of family business owners have also failed to gauge their potential tax exposure, and are unaware of the domestic capital gains tax or inheritance tax liabilities they may have accrued.
  • Eighty-four percent of the respondents aim to pass their companies on to their descendants.
  • Two-thirds of family businesses have no defined criteria for choosing which family members who want to take an active role in the company should be allowed to do.
  • More than half also employ relatives without requiring them to compete for their jobs on the open market.
  • More than two-thirds of companies in the survey had no procedures in place for dealing with disputes between family members.
To learn more about Exit Planning, contact me or Kent to discover how you can control the process!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

HELP - We need leaders!

Interesting read. They say that Lee Iacocca paid back every bit of the money he borrowed from the government to save Chrysler. Now he's written this book and it looks like a good one.

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes? He's now 82 years old and has a new book, 'Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Lee Iacocca Says:
'Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.'

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned, 'Titanic'. I'll give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the bums out!'

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of the 'America' my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have. The Biggest 'C' is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C's of leadership, with crisis being the first.) Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here's where we stand.

We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.

We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble.

Our borders are like sieves.

The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you've got to ask: 'Where have all the leaders gone?' Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo? We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina.

Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm. Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again. Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when 'The Big Three' referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it? Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity.

What is everybody so afraid of, that some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough? Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope - I believe in America. In my lifetime, I've had the privilege of living through some of America's greatest moments. I've also experienced some of our worst crises: The 'Great Depression,' 'World War II,' the 'Korean War,' the 'Kennedy Assassination,' the 'Vietnam War,' the 1970's oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.

If I've learned one thing, it's this: 'you don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a "Call to Action" for people who, like me, believe in America'. It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had 'enough.'

Make your own contribution by sending this to everyone you know and care about. It's our country, folks, and it's our future. Our future is at stake!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Best Investment During a Recession!

The Top Five Reasons NOT to let the “R” word stand in the way of investing in your organization's development in 2009...

· Reason #5: Since you don’t dare invest money anywhere else right now, you might as well invest it in yourself, your know-how, your self-improvement, and your business.

· Reason #4: You aren’t going to get a “bail-out” from anybody but yourself!

· Reason #3: “All weather is local.” What happens in YOUR business, YOUR finances, and YOUR life has much more to do with how YOU think, what information YOU acquire, who YOU connect with, and what YOU do, than with the goings on in Washington or on Wall St.

· Reason #2: You can’t just ‘wait this out’ and hope everything will soon return to ‘normal.’ An entire New Economy is developing, presenting new challenges and new opportunities, requiring new strategies, which is why we feel it is critical that you start now with a serious analysis and optimization of your ‘process’ so that you can create the future you dream of.

· Reason #1: Only the Best and the Brightest invest in their own development, it’s how they create that ‘slight edge’ difference between them and the next person which when compounded hour by hour and day by day and week by week allows the few to blow the doors off the many. Learn more about the slight edge at

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A miss is as good –or bad -- as a mile!

A miss is as good –or bad -- as a mile!

In 2004, Smarty Jones was America ’s favorite racehorse. He nearly won horse racing’s Triple Crown, losing by only a length in the third race of the series, the Belmont Stakes.

Consider the facts:

  1. This horse went undefeated in 6 previous major competitions
  2. Combining all three legs of America’s premier horse racing title, he was leading all the way for over 514,800 inches of track
  3. He missed winning the Triple Crown by about 96 inches, or about 2/100ths of one percent of the total.

That tiny percentage of failing to lead, according to some sources, may cost the horse’s owners as much as $100 million in lifetime breeding fees!

It’s the same in business!

Studies show to beat your competition, you don’t have to be twice as good as they areyou just need to be 3% better!

Usually, the measure of whether we are that critical 3% better depends not on your product or service but on how your prospect views your team.

Business Excellence is a direct result of Leadership Excellence. Leadership Excellence is what gives you and your team the "3% edge" in business. The "3% edge" performer knows how to win by not letting the distractions and noise of daily life interfere with reaching their goal.

What’s the Magic 3% answer?

It’s simple -- combine LMI’s unique performance improvement process (implemented by 100,000’s of individuals across the world) with your business expertise. That will give you the magic "3% edge" formula for success.

You might even OVER-achieve! The performance gains of LMI clients are often far greater than that magic 3%, and grow consistently with continued over time. Most other businesses will NOT be gaining – and will lose the race.

As the cartoon to the far left makes clear: A little bit of difference can mean a lot of money, in horse racing or in the real world of your competitive business!

Discover your "Magic3% edge" with LMI!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Power breakfast with business masterMind group
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone with SprintSpeed

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hanging out at the new Dublin Entrepreneurial Center
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone with SprintSpeed

Monday, March 16, 2009

Serving those who suffer with arthritis by helping to organize the annual
Classic Auto Show -

Michael D. Diercks, Regional President, Leadership Management Institute -
40 years of
leadership in Columbus!

Partnering with Leaders to Increase Results and Enhance Value!

(614)823-8150 - - -

This information and any attachments may be confidential and/or privileged.
If you are not the intended recipient you may not read, copy, distribute or
use. If you received this in error, please notify the sender email and
delete all copies.
"Many people are anxious to improve their results, but they're unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound." - James Allen

Friday, February 27, 2009

Forty Year of Leadership in Columbus

Columbus, OH, February 27, 2009 -- Leadership Management Institute (LMI) celebrates 40 years of service in Columbus.

LMI is based in Waco, TX and offers leadership development across the world helping leaders and organizations improve performance results.

The LMI Columbus region was established in 1969 by Lou Cummins, who led the organization until 2003 when Michael Diercks become the Managing Partner and Regional President. In addition to Lou and Michael, there have been many key contributors who have made LMI a major player in the Columbus business community over the year.

During those 40 years, LMI has provided leadership training and support to a host of public and private organizations throughout the Central Ohio area, including Attorney General of Ohio, State of Ohio - State Highway Patrol, Children's Hospital, Ernst & Young, Ohio Education Association, Ohio School Board, Commerce National Bank, Hopewell Federal Credit Union, Ohio Savings Bank, Winfree, Ruff & Associates, Ltd., Abbot Labs / Ross Products Division, Best Lighting Products, Inc., Equity Real Estate, T&R Properties, Aetna Building Maintenance, Rescue Rooter, Time Warner Cable, AEP, White Castle, Worthington Industries, Key Blue Prints, Liqui-Box Corp., Stouffer Hotels, Kokosing Construction Co., Highlights for Children, Chesrown Oldsmobile, Speer Industries, Midwest Acoust-a-Fiber, Sharper Impressions Painting, US Tank Alliance, Cartridge World, Midwest Electric, PuroClean, Swan Cleaners, Superior Die Tool & Machine, Sterling Process Engineering, Caspan Software, Columbus Port Authority, Safelite Auto Glass, Daniel Logistics, and Rosati Windows.

LMI stands ready to provide benefits to the leaders of any organization. For further information and to discover how your organization could benefit from Leadership Management Institute, please contact the local LMI office at 614-823-8150 or visit us on the web at and discover how the forty years – and continuing – of LMI service can help you and your company improve performance.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Yes, the economy in the tank!

Yes, the banks are holding on to “their” money!

Yes, businesses are going belly up!

Yes, stocks are plunging into the tank!

So – it’s time to stop spending money!
or is it?

Does the copier jam every once in a while?

Are your computers still running old software that should be updated? Does your equipment need some adjustments? How about your fleet of trucks, do they need an oil change?

It would be shortsighted not to fix these problems.

Continually unjamming the copier - time waster and frustration.
Computer software that isn't up to date - invalid data or erroneous reports sent to the IRS!
Not fixing your equipment - major customer problems and financial disaster.
Not servicing your trucks - breakdowns and delays.

Maintenance is simply the cost of doing business following the idea of "you can pay me now or you can pay me later". It is inconceivable that you would run a business without maintaining the assets that make the operation run efficiently.

Yet, when it comes to our people – “our greatest asset” – we treat them like liabilities.

On the one hand, we stop “maintaining” our employees, let alone try to “enhance” our employees. On the other hand, we expect them to …

"Do more with less!" "Be a team player!"

"Adapt to change!" “Just work harder!”

"Get out there and sell more!"

Instinctively, we know that our employees have potential that isn’t being utilized. Somehow, we believe if we say the right words, create enough motivation (“you still have a job, don’t you?”) and assume that everyone will step it up, our problem is solved.

This thinking is kind of like expecting the copy machine to fix itself by run more copies or software to correct the data on its own by blindly using the system. I call this the “hope-a, hope-a, hope-aleadership style.

Sorry but lectures, motivational speeches, and platitudes are not enough. People need to hone their current skills and develop new skills.

The good news is, some organizations are on top of this incredible need. We've already seen a change in 2009. The right type of training builds trust, loyalty, and confidence—not to mention competence. It assuages fear and worry.

The right training will do two things for a company.

1) Help facilitate change so they can survive and grow in this economy.

2) Position the organization to explode when the economy turns.

Make no mistake; all recessions go away. All sour economies rebound. So the only question is, will you be prepared? You will if you believe …

It's Time To Train!

Michael D. Diercks, Regional President, LMI - Serving Columbus for 40 years!

Partnering with Leaders to Increase Results and Enhance Value!

(614)823-8150 - - -