Posted by: maureen in scenery, routine, answer on
Sep 8, 2012
“My stomach isn’t bothering me at all.”
That was Darrell’s report after we’d been at a conference for a few days, away from home and our routines.
“Okay, what’s different about how we’re eating?” That’s the question that popped into my mind immediately. The answer came almost as quickly: “No milk.”
And that’s how we discovered Darrell was lactose intolerant.
We went from a six-gallons-of-milk-a-week family of three to much, much less. Darrell misses cheese and ice cream, but not enough to indulge so much as a taste of either for the most part. He feels so much better, now.
Let’s say you’re at a conference. You’re working as hard as ever--maybe harder--but you’re having a great time. It isn’t the change of scenery, you’re sure. You don’t like to travel, and the food sucks. But you’re having so much more fun than you do back at the office. Maybe you even think, “My stomach isn’t bothering me at all.”
So you ask yourself, “What’s different?” And you realize, “My boss isn’t here.”
The thought of going back to that office--heavy with tension--makes you more than a little sick to your stomach.
You’ve isolated the problem, now.
What you do about it is up to you.
Posted by: maureen in strength, question, answer on
Apr 18, 2012
If you ask someone who’s applying for a job with your company what his three biggest strengths are, you’re wasting time. Leadership expert Drew Dudley
says invariably you’ll get an answer like, “Well, I’m a good communicator and I’m really organized and I work well in teams.”
Which is what every other applicant will probably tell you, Drew says. The basics. So what?
“What makes you extraordinary
?” That’s the question you should be asking.
If you’re on the receiving end of it, you don’t have to know how to answer. Drew says that’s what friends are for. Ask three or four of your best friends what you bring to their lives that no one else does. Their answers are…your answer.
What makes you extraordinary is also what the world needs. So don’t hold back. Let the employer know just what a gift she would have in you.
Next up, how Drew made a checkout gal cry--and why that wasn’t a bad thing.
Posted by: maureen in review, question, answer on
Dec 6, 2011
You’ve had a long string of great reviews, but a new boss breaks your streak. You’re still doing the same great job. What gives?
That’s a question posed in the latest Guerrilla Marketing
book, Job Escape Plan
. Co-author Andrew Neitlich says a woman who worked in public relations got a lousy review from her new boss, and marched right into her CEO’s office to ask him about it.
“Look,” she said, “if you can’t explain why this bozo gave me a bad review when I’ve been doing the same great work, I’m out of here.” The CEO didn’t have an answer. So she quit, and started her own PR firm.
She was apparently confident she’d be just fine on her own. Sounds like someone you’d want in charge of public relations!
Posted by: maureen in question, interview, answer on
Feb 28, 2011
"Tell me a little bit about yourself."
Have you ever been tempted in a job interview to respond with, "What would you like to know?" Knock 'em Dead
author Martin Yate
says while there's nothing really wrong with that question, it might backfire on you. His guess as to what the employer will think? "I want to know that I haven't wasted my time inviting you in for an interview." Here's what he suggests you
think: "I'm going to give you a quick answer that shows I know how to solve your problems."
It’s fine to qualify a question, Martin says. You'll probably get a more specific question, know better how to respond, and have more time to come up with an answer. But if you do that too early in the interview you'll just look like a weasel.
My word, not Martin's!
Posted by: maureen in worth, answer, action on
Jan 5, 2011
“Advice is what you ask for when you know the answer but wish you didn’t.”
Ever heard that one?
It's worth pondering, I think, if you find yourself taking another poll instead of taking action.
Posted by: maureen in service, competition, answer on
Nov 9, 2010
You’re working on a problem. You come up with a solution. You’re set, right?
Not so fast.
John Putzier is the author of Get Weird!--a book about making your company a great place to work. “We tend to jump on the first solution that comes to mind,” John says, “because we want to check it off our to-do list and move on to the next thing. But that’s usually the least creative, the least effective solution. It’s what anybody else would’ve done.”
John’s a fan of what he calls the Second Right Answer.
Sure, you can send your full-service gas station attendants to still another training session on customer service. Or you can employ the Second Right Answer one attendant came up with to remember customer names after a single transaction. Just copy the name from the credit card onto a little piece of masking tape and stick it to the gas cap--where a full-serve customer isn't likely to see it.
Do you sell air conditioners? You can try the same old “we will not be undersold” pitch during the first heat wave of the season. But John says with so many retailers using that pitch, the goal is to have people stop shopping once they visit your store. One dealer’s Second Right Answer? Offer a free gallon of ice cream with purchase. Bingo. Who wants to keep shopping with a gallon of ice cream melting in the trunk?
A locally-owned pizza place was having difficulty competing against a big chain with the huge ads in the local phone book. That Second Right Answer? Two pizzas for the price of one if you bring in the competitor’s ad from that phone book. Sales soared as the competitor’s advertising disappeared. The media jumped on the story and the rest is history. Or make that, the competition was history--in this town anyway!
Posted by: maureen in question, love, answer on
Oct 20, 2010
"Am I trying too hard to make this work?"
I love questions like that. They help me decide if what I’m doing is worth the cost.
Motivational speaker Leigh Anne Jasheway says the road to a lighter load is paved with the answers to a few other questions. Like, “Can it wait?" That one reminds me of something I once heard, that if you keep something long enough you can throw it away. Wait long enough to do something, Leigh Anne says, and you might decide it wasn’t worth doing after all.
“What would happen if I do nothing?” is another point to ponder, Leigh Anne says.
And how about, “What good would come if I do it?”
If you’re still committed to whatever it is and still think the world will be a better place if you step up, Leigh Anne wants you to ask whose help you’ll need.
She thinks the journey of a thousand miles is a whole lot easier with good company.
Posted by: maureen in help, guide, answer on
Sep 14, 2010
You walk into a store. The employee asks if you’d like any help. You say, “No, thanks. I’m just looking.” The employee smiles and walks away--nowhere to be found when you do need help, eventually.
Has that ever happened to you?
I can’t remember the last time it didn’t happen.
Next question. Have you ever thought about how it would feel to be the employee, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, never being taken up on (well, almost never) that offer of help?
Um, not usually. No wait. I take that back. Lately I’ve been softening my answer. When someone asks if I want help I’ll say, “Do you mind if I let you know in a few minutes?” That feels kinder.
Bob Phibbs, author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business, says he has a way around this dance that leaves both employee and customer feeling much better about themselves--and each other. I’ll tell you about it in my next post.
Meanwhile Bob has a free quiz you can take that may help you decide if it’s time to fire someone. You might also be interested in his take on Grouponing.
Posted by: maureen in path, care, answer on
Sep 7, 2010
The odds are good you'll have a flat tire someday. Drive without a spare, and you're begging for it.
Let's say you puncture a tire when you drive over some nails that fell out of a pickup. You can rail against the pickup driver--who probably didn't even know about the nails--and blame that person for all the others who didn't stop to help in time for you to make your big meeting. You can take that driver's name in vain when you pay what amounts to highway robbery to get your tire fixed, eventually. And you can take out your frustration on everyone else who crosses your path that day.
Or you can say to yourself, "Wait a minute. Who was being careless here? Who was that?"
I love it when the answer is me. It's a lot easier to fix myself than it is to get someone else to care about my tires as much as I do.
Posted by: maureen in sense, friend, answer on
May 12, 2010
"Why do you insist on taking the blame for this?"
A good question from a good friend, who had the good sense to stop there…and wait for my answer.
Well? What was in it for me to make someone else's bad behavior my fault?
"If it's my fault," I finally said, "I can keep it from happening again."
Maybe you’ve been wondering how to improve something at work. And maybe, just maybe, you can’t.
Have you ever heard this one? “If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.”