Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Does Kindness Impact Your Bottom-Line?

September 11, 2015

Kindness-Quotes

Kindness…is it a lost art because the impact and benefits are not immediately visible? Are we  so rushed, overly-busy and emotionally exhausted that we no longer have the mental bandwidth to consider an act of kindness? And if so, what is the lack of acts of kindness costing us personally and professionally?

In the last several months, our company has been discussing how many of our clients have transformed their own organizations.  We provide consulting services to corporations, non-profit organizations and churches. Most of the time we are asked to come into fairly healthy organizations to assist the leadership team with creating and implementing strategy; however, occasionally, we are called in to help settle major leadership disputes, potential church splits, murmurings of labor organization, and just plain bad Vibe on teams.

These dilemmas are almost always given birth in poor conversational skills and someone’s inability to extend tenderness and gracious hospitality to another.  A harsh comment, a lack of recognition, or a leader’s inability to care for those they lead can foster hurt feelings, resentment, disengagement and even begin thoughts of either leaving or lawsuits.

Lack of kindness kills profit and organizational impact.

The Challenge
When was the last time you did something thoughtful for someone you work alongside, or someone that reports to you? Do they have a sick parent? Bring a meal. Are they juggling too much in life? Find them some assistance.  Are they struggling with a personal issue? Ask what you can do to be helpful.

The easiest, least expensive form of kindness with the highest return? Genuine appreciation expressed in writing. When you write it down, they can read it over and over and relive the feelings of warmth and gratitude for the rest of their lives.

It’s funny…I never remember an employee complain to me that their boss or co-worker showed them too much appreciation.

Want to change the Vibe in your workplace? Do something kind for someone else…do it often and watch the culture of your company change.

I spoke to an attorney down the hall from my office and he said, “Every single lawsuit could have been avoided with quality communication skills and small acts of kindness.”

Quality conversations are the key to healthy culture.

Look back on the major disputes, miscommunication and even, lawsuits, your organization has been involved in, and ask yourself…What difference would care, concern, and kindness have made early in the development of this situation?

How much money and distraction would have been saved?

It is never too late to begin extending care, grace and thoughtful kindness to the people with whom you share your day.

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Easy Elevator Pitches

June 28, 2014

 

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How is your Elevator Pitch?

We complicate our business elevator pitches….and then we stink at them. We sound awkward, clunky and unnatural.

At least that was my experience this week…with my own pitch (if I am honest.)

I spent this week in Philadelphia, PA with my good friend Imelda Alejandrino, CEO of AP42. We attended and co-exhibited at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Conference (WBENC).  It is a phenomenal gathering of the Supplier Diversity Managers of major corporations and sales representatives from Certified-Women-Owned business.  Many corporations have made a commitment  to award a number of vendor contracts to businesses owned by women and minorities.

Everyone needed to have a good pitch to share about their own business.

We set up a booth dedicated to coaching people on how well they “pitched” their products and services.  We had a ball! Our booth was constantly full of teachable people hungry to learn memorable ways to talk about their offerings.

We made it simple.

For quality promotion, just answer 3 questions and do it as succinctly as possible…

  1. What do you fix?
  2. Who do you help, and/or
  3. Why are you different?

If you can answer those questions in that order…you will stand out.  The biggest mistake we observed is that people tried to include every possible scenario their company could address in their pitch.  Remember, a pitch is merely a conversation-starter, a way to inspire curiosity and invite further conversation, not an entire marketing campaign.

Here are a few examples:

Some of these people started with lengthy explanations about their business. We helped them whittle them down to:

  1. I put fashion and style back into the world of ugly uniforms. (Uniform Supply company)
  2. Do you ever worry that your personal information will fall into the hands of the wrong people? We fix that. (Document Shredding company)
  3. We breathe new life into old equipment for big companies. (Equipment refurbishment company)

These communication teasers were easier to remember and more fun to say, which immediately increased the amount of enthusiasm in the delivery.

How is your elevator pitch? Need some help? Send either Imelda or myself and email and we would be happy to help!

Happy Pitching!

 

Be Ruthlessly Relevant to Your Clients…

February 27, 2014

One of my favorite authors, Jill Konrath of Snap Selling coined the phrase, “Be ruthlessly relevant to your clients.”

It continues to amaze me how easy it is for sales professionals to book more business when they make the effort to be a little more intentional and a little more relevant.

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Whether you are a mother working to convince your child to eat more vegetables, a college student selling gift items at a flower store or a consulting firm specializing in big government contracts, you are constantly trying to influence people to do something.

Who do you influence?  Are you good at it?  This is what real sales is about.

Sales is NOT trying to get someone to do something they don’t want to…sales is providing solutions to people who have a need. (Kids just don’t know how much they need the broccoli.)

Just this simple mindset shift makes the difference between a 1970’s used car salesman and a trusted adviser.     Image

 

Quality sales people have the uncanny ability to uncover what motivates, drives and inspires their particular prospect. Then they make the effort to connect the dot between what is important to the prospect and the solution offered.  Too many salespeople just present their features and benefits and make the prospect do the mental-dot-connecting as to how this is a relevant solution.

Stop the madness!

Before your next presentation, take a moment to sit on the other side of the table. Step into your prospects shoes and look at your potentially boring or arrogant presentation from their perspective…then remove the “ick” factor…everything that isn’t tailored specifically to your client’s most pressing priority should be completely removed.

Now you have time to really connect…to ask better and more insightful questions…and to provide your solutions in a way that is fresh, relevant and more appealing.

This is when quality sales becomes fun.

Happy Selling and remember to eat your broccoli!

 

 

A New Year’s Resolution to Becoming an Undercover Boss

January 5, 2011

  Have you seen the new show on CBS called Undercover Boss? It is one of the best new reality shows on TV.  Sorry, no drunken cat fights, no one living in a house with too much time, money and mirrors available, no Snookie (there’s a name to make a mother proud,) and  no cheating spouses caught in the act.  Some of you will quit reading at this point and some will be relieved at the above list!

If you work in an organization that has been impacted in any way by the economy, the new year provides a great opportunity for a new perspective. On the show, the CEO of a company alters his/her looks and goes to work in the lower ranks of his company. Carefully edited to make each CEO look completely incompetent at any position, the opportunity unveils critical areas needing improvement. Each CEO seems to finish the show proclaiming it was “the best experience” of their lives.  They uncover seemingly hidden treasures called hard-working dedicated employees who usually receive a promotion or fabulous vacation when the CEO comes clean about his/her identity.

So let’s imagine you have the chance to go undercover at your own organization. What would you find? 

 Here is my challenge: Conduct business with your own company as a customer or client normally would.  Call on the main phone line, walk in the front door, encounter your employees.  Don’t look for what is working fine, rather “Declare War on your Company Comfort Zone!” says Mark Stevens, author of Your Marketing Sucks…followed by the sequel, Your Management Sucks.  (I highly recommend both books but they are tough to give out without initially offending people.)

Look for the areas where complacency has begun  to grow like a new seedling and is ready to pop its sprout of “I don’t care that much” out at any time.  What are the little areas that  have gone unnoticed but could begin to have a big impact?  We call these the Sour Notes of business.  You may or may not notice them, but enough of them put together kills your company Vibe and ruins the experience of your audience.  

Here are a couple of real-life examples of sour notes:

  • Poor telephone answering skills, no on-hold experience, a monotonous voice that communicates lack of concern
  • Sloppy construction workers that leave a mess behind
  • Doctor’s who don’t apologize when little things go wrong, like accidentally puncturing a lung in surgery
  • Websites who bury and hide customer service phone numbers
  • Any restaurant with a dirty bathroom (must mean the kitchen isn’t very clean either, right?)
  • Churches with information display windows that haven’t been cleaned in years and sun-faded promotional pieces displayed

…and these are just a few from my last week of experiencing different organizations. 

So I encourage you to go on a hunt for sour notes that are affecting the experience of your customers.  Do it by the end of the week and…

There’s a Reward for you to participate!

You will be rewarded for participating!

 For the first FIVE people who find and fix sour notes in their organization, I will send you either a copy of our newest book, “The Social Cause Diet” with 45 inspiring stories of people who volunteer time to help others, or a $500 gift certificate that can be used toward one of our three most popular workshops:

PERSONAL VIBE  Our newest Personalities Workshop!

DELIBERATE DIALOGUES   How to engage in the most needed conversations without them getting personal.

WHAT’S VIBE GOT TO DO WITH IT?  Just like a jazz band, every organization gives off a Vibe. That Vibe directly impacts your bottom-line either positively or negatively. This workshop teaches everyone on your team how to be intentional about building your company’s Vibe!

Just send me an email at jody@jazzbc.com and let me know what Sour Notes you found and fixed and either you will receive the prize of your choice listed above…or you will receive an encouraging email from me along with seeing a positive impact on your business.

I look forward to hearing from you soon! Happy New Year!

Vibe of Being Alive!

June 25, 2010

Relay logoTonight my family and I watched the movie Extraordinary Measures with Harrison Ford and Branden Fraiser. It is the story of the great lengths a Father will go to find the cure for the disease that threatens to take the lives of two of his kids. This weekend, there will be many of us walking, decorating luminaria bags, buying tee-shirts and bake sale items and many other things to raise money….so that we can stop cancer from taking the lives of so many that we love. I will walk in celebration of being alive! Because of all of the cancer research that has happened already, I get to watch my beautiful teenage daughter get on her first cheerleading team. I’m alive to see my son Sam pick out cool sunglasses and my step-son Colin prepare to leave for college. I got to take pictures of my 17 year old stepson Cameron take his gorgeous girlfriend to prom. I celebrated my wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. I coached a client on how to communicate with an employee to make work a better place. I helped a friend who had lost a job and another who lost a marriage. I got to contribute to this wonderful, painful, joyful, frustrating, laughable thing called life. All because people walked, prayed, donated, and cared. If you have ever been touched by the effects of cancer, please join my huge family of survivors and those that support and love them, in walking and Smiling for a cure this weekend at Los Medanos College on Saturday at 9:00am to Sunday at 9:00am. We will have at least one person from our team on the track for 24 hours. Please come join us…even for just a few laps. If you can’t join us, send your prayers…and send a little money to help the fight.   And thank you….from all the people like me who will live because of people like you…
God Bless!

Jody Bagno-Dill

Click here to visit my PERSONAL page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLFY10CA?px=11411686&pg=personal&fr_id=20310&fl=en_US&et=jaiA1cxOKXrY9f7qoI9GlQ..&s_tafId=405749

Click here to view the TEAM page for SMILING FOR A CURE #1
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLFY10CA?team_id=686994&pg=team&fr_id=20310&fl=en_US&et=aQJHxTNOnqG6UwzdVpgWKQ..&s_tafId=405749

Vibe and Wise Counsel

January 29, 2010

Business people running the raceDid you ever hear a great speaker and become so energized that all you wanted to do was to get out there and “run” armed with  your new knowledge?

We had a lunch like that today. Our three owners of Jazz Business Consulting had lunch with a man we have respected and admired for many years, Sam Beler. Sam is a wildly successful business man with a passion for God and his lost people with almost an equal passion for Jazz music. Last year, as the Executive Producer for Unity Music (his side job),  he orchestrated a Johnny Cash-like concert with Jamie Davis and some guys from the Count Basie Orchestra to be held at Angola Prison. This prison was at one time known as the most violent prison in the country. However;  under the direction of a new warden, the prison has experienced an amazing transformation in the last 15 years.  This is another story of great leadership….but back to our lunch.Unity Music Logo
Originally we invited our friend Sam to lunch to give us experienced and wise counsel in launching our new business. He asked great questions and had each of us explain what we do. Although we only were able to share slices of how our team goes in and works with leadership teams to transform the culture of organizations, Sam kept coming up with ideas on how he could help us build our company and connect us with quality people so that we could help them.  Sam loves our tag line of “Change that creates great Vibe!”  We loved his enthusiasm.
I asked Sam what were the things he did right in his early years of business building. He named three key things:
  1. He didn’t build his company alone. He started with a great partnership with a quality man…Check! I’ve got Yvonne and Roger.
  2. He built a company that was totally focused on serving clients. Check…Isn’t that a given? “No,” says Sam. “So many organizations focus on selfish motives, agendas and greed! Look at Wall Street.”  Note: Sam’s company is  an investment firm (PTLA) who grew substantially last year. Trust me, it has everything to do with his integrity, people skills and what he calls, “the Lord’s Favor.”
  3. Care deeply about your people (employees, friends and clients and family).  Be there when they need you. Your life scars are what give you the ability to serve your people with genuine heart. Be there when they experience life’s tragedies.  And be there when you can support the growth of their dreams…Observation: wasn’t that exactly what he was doing  for us?

Wow…in a nutshell. The observations of a wise, loving, smart, genuine and caring man. A man whose life had been an accumulation of experiences lived within the framework of the 3 keys above.  A wealthy man, wealthy in family, many many friends, wealthy in the amount of respect  he had from people all over the world….and richly wealthy in the size of his heart and the amount of generosity he shows in every opportunity he gets.

All three of us left that lunch knowing we had experienced a “kairos moment.” (a life changing moment). It isn’t often we get to sit at the feet of wise counsel and have someone speak into our personal and work lives this way. We also know that the greatest way we could honor that moment, was to allow it to change us, to shape our outlook and perspective on what is most important. And then to live out the lessons we had learned.

Thank you Sam….Thank you for your kindness and for sharing yourself the way you did today. None of us took it for granted as just another business lunch. It truly had life changing implications. Sam…you’re the best!

Medical Vibe…really?

November 18, 2009

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The journey through treatment for breast cancer can be terrifying a bit scary…unless you are lucky enough to receive your treatment from one of the terrific doctors at John Muir, like I did two years ago. Today was one of the routine check-ups with my fabulous Radiation Oncologist, Dr Michael Levine.  Dr Levine is not only a great doctor, he is a great man. After examining me, I got to ask him about his recent success in securing the largest financial gift ever given to this health care system. I asked what he would attibute his success to. Now stop for a second….would you ever consider this kind of doctor to be a salesman of any type??? No Joe Girard training for this guy! He never attended, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” with Dale Carnegie…and yet he convinced some generous couple to hand over $10 million (no typo there) to a hospital…receiving nothing in return…except the good feeling of having a positive impact on a community. That’s what I call…SALES! at its finest! I said, “How did you do it?”  Wearing only recycled kleenex  a hospital gown, I listen with great anticipation to hear the ultimate secret.  “Well, he said…as though it were nothing more then shooting a couple of baskets, “it was really a matter of developing a relationship. I have genuinely cared (aka:played tennis, ate fabulous meals together, listened to concerns about politics, celebrated birthdays, drank wine, encouraged) about these people for several years. They have given a few gifts over the years and then I had the opportunity to serve them in a professional capacity….and they chose to give.”  Genuinely caring about people and investing in the relationship…..hmmm, what a novel idea.  It was obvious that he was truly friends first with whomever these giving angels were, before any giving…. the gift was not the focus, merely one of the fruits of a long relationship of caring.Dr Michael Levine

Bravo Dr Levine….I continue to learn from you. Thank you for sharing the wisdom and insight. And thank you for taking such good care of us patients. You are the best!

Who do you care about? Who do you invest in? What can you do to invest in an important relationship today?

Dr Levine invested…and now there will be generations after generations who will be blessed with health because of one friendship.

That’s a legacy.