Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Two GREAT Books to Read That I Highly Recommend


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The Three Keys to Success in Life and Career

Tom MorrisYears ago I stumbled across a book called True Success by an author named Tom Morris…and it changed my life. I read and re-read it and worked hard to apply the ideas it shared and they made a BIG impact on how I approached my desire to achieve success in my career and life. I then devoured every new book that Tom Morris wrote and continued to learn and grow from his writing. About three years ago I had the great good fortune of being asked to speak at a conference where Tom was also going to deliver a talk. He was amazing…great content, passion, energy, connection – a truly world-class presenter. I approached him after the talk and told him I was a huge fan, we sat down and chatted at length and now I am extremely pleased to call him friend. In this blog I wanted to share a sort of conversation between Tom and I on the three most important elements of creating a successful life. I hope you find this very valuable and share it with your entire network!  Thanks – John

 

John: What do you feel are the three MOST important elements of building a successful life and career?

Tom: Ah! John! You are indeed a master of simplicity. Three things. Let’s see. Ok, here goes: Good values, good people, and good instincts.

Or to put it more fully: Good values within you, good people around you, and good instincts to guide you.

Successful lives and careers are built on the foundation of the right values, perceptive and healthy perspectives on what really matters in this world. Good values to start with will give you a strong sense of purpose, which we all need as a touchstone for decision-making. We can’t just let ourselves unconsciously absorb the values around us, unless we’ve already taken care of the “good people” imperative, and the values that are the most immediately around us are deep and lasting. We need to engage in the age-old process of self-examination that was recommended by Socrates. What are my values? What are my priorities? What means the most to me? Achievement without the right values can be self-destructive. With the right values, it can be deeply satisfying and ultimately fulfilling.

John: Perfect, let me summarize with one of my very favorite quotes, “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” Works well in both business and life.

Tom: It’s also impossible to build a successful life and career without good people around you, people to inspire you, spark you, encourage you, and sometimes question you and correct you. Who counts as good people? Good people are, simply, people with good values, connecting this element back to the first one. Family, friends, great colleagues – these individuals, as life elements, are primary ingredients for personal happiness and also for life and work accomplishment. Rarely does anything worth doing get done absolutely solo. We need other people. And they need us. I’m always saying, “Relationships Rule the World.” And I think that you, my friend John Spence, are a great example of this. You’re a relationship guy. You seek to serve others. And that sets in motion a virtuous cycle where others seek to serve you as well. You don’t do good things for others in order to get them to do good for you, which rarely ever works, in any case. It’s just who you are. You’re a relationship guy. For great perspectives on building a community of such people around us, I’d recommend to your readers the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, and Adam Grant’s new book Give and Take.

John: Thank you for the compliment, I am simply following what I believe is the MOST important thing I have ever learned, “You become what you focus on and like the people you surround yourself with.” A major reason I reached out to you Tom, because of the amazing work you do and the incredible value you and your work has added to my life.  By the way, I would also I would add in Linchpin by Seth Godin, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Tom: Number three: We need good instincts about what’s appropriate, what’s healthy, what’s needed, what’s helpful, and how to get well positioned for attaining our goals. Instincts are taught mainly by being caught. We become like the people we’re around. Great artists, tennis stars, golf sensations, top business builders, and Nobel Prize winning scientists typically get to a point of mastery by hanging out with masters and watching them. I think that intuition or instinct is a natural endowment in us all, but that to be most effective, it has to be cultivated, groomed, and tutored. We become the best by learning from the best, which shows how this element is connected back to the second, good people.  

Good people are individuals with good values, who associate with other good people, and who have good intuitions. And good people with all these qualities tend to be successful in work and life. 

John: This is why I love the idea of building a Mastermind Group – I have about 18 people I deeply respect in my local Mastermind Group that come to my house about every 45 days to discuss BIG ideas, help each other, support each other and push each other. I can say with complete confidence this idea has dramatically improved my life.

Tom: But what about drive, some readers might ask. It’s embedded in good values. How about education? Your instincts can clue you in to what you need to learn in order to pursue the path that you feel is best for you. Or they can connect you with the right people who can advise you in that regard. Of course, many things facilitate success. I’ve spent my career expounding on seven things I’ve learned from all the great thinkers in this regard, in books like True Success, The Art of Achievement, The Stoic Art of Living, and the new ebook, The 7 Cs of Success. But, to specify the three MOST important things? I think that if you have these three, you can discover whatever else you need!

John: I have read (and re-read) each of those books and they have all had a profound impact on how I live my life. I have used True Success and The Art of Achievement with many of my clients and my Mastermind Group is currently reading The Stoic Art of Living. Actually, my new eBook, Strategies for Success is based a great deal on your teachings and I use one of your main ideas: Creating a PLAN for your life. Thanks so much Tom, I look forward to continuing this conversation!!

*** To my blog readers – if you enjoyed this article please share it with all of your contacts – thank you — John

Creating Better Presentations

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This post was drawn from the teachings contained in Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer Sell Like a Superstar by John Jantsch

I’m sure you’ve probably sat through a number of really bad presentations, so the ultimate goal is not to be one of them. Laziness is usually the culprit behind bad presentations.  It takes some real strategy to create a great presentation, but well worth it because you want your audience to walk away having positive feedback, not feeling that they just wasted their time and money.

It’s very helpful to think, what is it that you want your audience to walk away with? Do you want them to be entertained or do you want them to understand a once complicated topic? Figuring out this goal and getting clear with your mission will help you give a successful presentation.

Start in Analog

Make sticky notes and a big white board your friend before you jump the gun and start creating slides.  Outline the entire map of your presentation- move things around and rearrange the order of things before you commit to putting it in presentation software.

What’s the Journey?

 People need to believe they can use the information you give them, otherwise it won’t matter how good the presentation is.  A great presentation takes the audience to a whole new world; it opens the floodgates of new knowledge and new perspectives. Most people come to hear someone speak because they are seeking a solution to a problem or want to be shown a new way of doing something. So you need to win them over and lead them along the way. This is why great presentations end with a logical call to action.

Tell your story

 Who doesn’t like a good movie? Great presentations have a lot in common with great cinema in the storytelling aspect. You want to keep your audience engaged and a great way to do that is by storytelling. Telling stories moves people and makes them want to adopt your point of view. The audience will have more of a personal connection to you if you present your information in a narrative format. It’s ultimately more interesting than just hearing statistics and it’s easier to digest.

Less is more

 Use your slides to help your audience remember key points. You want your slides to be one word or show images that reinforce the point you are trying to make, not teach it from scratch in that moment. Use you slides as a partner tool, not a crutch. Also, remember to practice with your slides so that your presentation is a well-oiled machine by the time you get up to the podium.

Book recommendations

 I firmly believe that you should read these two books if you are going to be a presenter.  Resonate and Slideolgy, both by Nancy Duarte, are fantastic at giving the necessary steps one needs to be an effective presenter. She gives tools that will help you craft and present your ideas that will help make your message matter.

Virtual Speaking

 Giving a presentation these days can mean that you are doing so virtually. You don’t have to be in a big board room or auditorium, you can be looking right into your computer’s camera and giving an effective webinar that has very big benefits.

 MeetingBurner, GotToWebinar, or AnyMeeting are services you can use that can have as many as 1,000 people participating as audience members. Although being in person has its pluses, many people find that giving presentations virtually has a high degree of success as well. Sometimes, people like being in the comforts of their own office or home, without having to leave to attend a presentation in person.

 Being a presenter is more than just standing in front of a room spouting out facts and figures.  You need to really draw the audience in and give them something to take away that they can implement right now.  Use these tips for your next presentation and see the difference it makes.

 

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar is available online and in bookstores May 15.

Important Business Idea: The Second Machine Age

toprank-poll-2010This is an Important business idea: How the Second Machine Age will dramatically change the way we work and learn.

I watched this video earlier this week and it absolutely has my head swimming. I also bought the book and am about halfway through it – fascinating! This is a topic I have been following pretty closely for the past three years, I believe it will have a PROFOUND impact on all of us. The video is an hour-long, but truly worth every minute of it. Think about YOUR job and what YOUR future will look like (and if you have kids this should be even more impactful)  if / when these things come to pass…

I very much look forward to your comments on this important business idea! What do you foresee in the Second Machine Age and how will impact your job, your business, your life and the global business arena????

Three GREAT Business Success Books!

Three superb business books that will help you have more success.

 

Hope you enjoy these books!!!


Free eBook Link for Building and Sustaining a Winning Culture by John Spence

Every Business is in the TRUST Business

Seth-GodinWhile flying to Boston today I was listening to the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership  podcast (absolutely fantastic ) and his guest was Seth Godin.   I have to be very honest and say I am a big  Seth Godin fan and  I was extremely impressed with his comments on marketing and sales during the podcast. One comment he made struck me especially hard and it was that your customers pay you in three ways:

Money

Trust

Referrals

Seth went on to say that trust is really the most important one because, as a customer, if you violate the trust I have extended to you then I will feel like I paid too much money and I will never refer you. But, if you build and sustain STRONG trust with me, then price is not that important to me and I will gladly refer you to everyone I know!

 

In other words…

Every business is in the TRUST business!!

 

Let that sink in for a minute or two…

 

It reminds me of what my good friend Tim Sanders said in his wonderful book, Love is the Killer App, that the key to building a successful career is KNL.

Knowledge – you have to be VERY good at something that is highly valuable in the marketplace.

Network – a lot of right (well-connected) people need to know that about you.

Love – and they also need to know you’re an honest, high-integrity person of love.

If the right people know that you are uber-talented at something that is highly valuable and you are also 100% honest, kind and loving …you have a VERY strong foundation for success.

So a few extremely important questions you need to ask yourself at the end of every day are:

What did I learn today?

Who did I meet today?

Did I live my values, tell the truth and build more trust today?

I think if you focus on those three questions, you will be spending time on high-value activities and building a superb platform for business and life success…and I can say that with great conviction because it is exactly what I have based my business on for nearly 20 years!

I hope you found this blog of value and share it with your network – thanks — John

Customer Service: It Will Save Or Kill Your Business

defining-it-project-successAbout a week ago I got an e-mail from an author I’ve never heard of, Kirt Manecke, asking me if I would like a copy of his book so that I might do an honest review on Amazon (it is one of the best perks of my job that I get offers like this all the time – and who in the world am I to pass up free book?).  A few days later a small 89-page book entitled: “SMILE – Sell More with Amazing Customer Service” showed up in my mailbox. On the cover it touted that it was, “The Essential 60-minute Crash Course,” so I shoved it in my briefcase to read on the plane during my two week speaking tour across Canada. Well, it didn’t even last 60 minutes; I read it while on the tarmac waiting to take off from my hometown of Gainesville – 45 minutes tops.

To be frank, the book was a little fundamental, extolling such basic customer service practices as: smile, answer the phone with a smile, say please and thank you, make good eye contact, be enthusiastic, dress for success, keep professional, don’t make the customer wait… stuff that every single customer-facing employee on the face of the earth should know and do for every customer. However, in the last few days since I left for this trip I have wished to God that someone had given this book to every single service provider I have dealt with. I have been met by rude attendants, uncaring employees, unprofessional staff, long waits, and generally crappy service at nearly every place I’ve been in the last week. If only someone had made them sit down and read this little book – twice or three times – I feel they probably would’ve done a much better job and I might actually be going back to some of those establishments and giving them my business again!

Let me make this as Awesomely Simple as I can: for the vast majority of businesses today the ONLY competitive differentiator you have is the level of service you deliver to your customers. People can copy your product, your price, your location, your hours, your decor, your uniforms, your marketing and advertising… they can copy just about everything you offer… except the quality of the service your front-line employees deliver and the relationships they build with your customers. For many of you reading this blog, Amazing Customer Service – or lack thereof – will be the sole determinant as to whether you are successful in your business or not. Please take a moment to read that last sentence again and think about it very carefully!

As your Trusted Business Adviser here’s what I’m going to tell you: make sure that you spend a significant amount of time, energy, effort and resources training and retraining your customer-facing people to deliver absolutely world-class service –PERIOD. I highly recommend this book as a perfect “handbook” that every one of your service folks should read, but don’t stop there… show them videos, send them links to blogs, send them to training classes, reward them when they do a great job and quickly point out when they’re not delivering the service-level expectations you have set.

Remember: You can only hold people accountable to deliver the level of service you have trained them to deliver, and the service expectations you have set for them, so use this book, use other books, use every resource available to set exceedingly high service expectations and then hold your people fully accountable for delivering them flawlessly for every single customer, every single day.

To me, this is one of the most powerful strategies for creating a highly successful business, one that everyone knows, but so few businesses do – which means it is a great opportunity for you to create a powerful and valuable differentiator in the marketplace.

***Quick gut-check: on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being world-class, what would you honestly score your business right now on the overall level of service you deliver to your customers? Even more important, what would your customers score you??

To buy the book on Amazon click here…

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Free eBook Link for Building and Sustaining a Winning Culture by John Spence

The FIVE Keys to Business Success

Success

 

 

 

 

Several years ago I wrote about this business success list, but I just have to share it with you again because it’s so incredibly powerful and vitally important. 

I can count on one hand, with several fingers left over, the number of businesses that I deal with that deliver consistently superior customer service.  On the other hand, I do have a list as long as my arm… down to the ground… and about a mile down the street, of businesses that consistently disappoint me.  I will bet that you do to: the service repair person who says they will be at my home between nine and five… what, am I supposed to spend the entire day waiting around for them?  I’m the customer, I’m trying to give them money and they treat me like this?  Or the restaurant waiter who is rude and inattentive and then angry when they don’t get a 20% or greater tip?  The doctor who keeps you in their waiting room for three hours then only spends 10 minutes with you; the real estate agent who does not return your calls; the hotel maid who bangs on your door even though you have the “Do NOT Disturb” sign out; and don’t even get me started on cell phone companies. 

So let me tell you the secret of how to dominate your marketplace, how to do something so outlandishly different, unique and special that you will be loved by your customers and they will tell everyone they know to do business with you.  I got this little nugget from one of the most expensive books I’ve ever bought ($50.00 for a 29 or so page book) called: “How The Best Get Better,” by  Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan.  It may have been quite expensive on a per-page basis, but it was worth every penny because this idea can make you rich.

If you want to drive lots of positive referrals to your business you need to do only FIVE things (Dan recommended four – but I added a fifth):

1.  Show up on time.

2.  Do what you say you will do.

3.  Finish what you start.

4.  Say “Please” and “Thank You.”

And added by me…

5.  Give a little more than expected.

Now you’re probably asking yourself?  “Why did Spence get me so excited about this amazing success formula and then disappoint me with such a pathetic list?” Let me tell, that if you consistently did these five things for every customer, every time…you would need to invest in a dump truck to bring your cash deposits to the bank. 

Just five things…it is so awesomely simple, but incredibly powerful.

So I challenge you to take a good, hard, honest look at your business and see how well you truly deliver these five things…consistently.  I promise you that if you work hard in improving each of these five areas, you will look up and in several months your business will be doing dramatically better, your customers will be much happier, you will have lots of new customers, and you will be making much, much more money.

Let me know how it turns out – I wish you great success — John

A.G. Lafley on Strategy

John Spence

 

 

 

 

 

I recently read A.G. Lafley’s excellent new book on strategy: Playing to Win  (I highly recommend it). A.G. is the CEO of Procter & Gamble and definitely knows a thing or two… or three… about setting corporate strategy. At the most simplistic level A.G. points out that strategy boils down to just five key questions (info in parentheses added by me):

(1) What is your winning aspiration? (Sort of like a BHAG)

(2) Where will you play? (What industries, niches, target markets, locations, countries…)

(3) How will you win? (What is your valued differentiator)

(4) What capabilities must be in place? (What resources, capital, people, partnerships are required)

(5) What management systems are required? (How will you structure your business – what is your unique business model)

But A.G. and his co-author Roger L. Martin also focus on an idea that is near and dear to my heart… EXECUTION!!! As I have said 10,000 times before, even the most impressive strategy in the world is useless if it is not effectively executed.  To me, it is just as important to spend equal time on a creating a focused and clear “Strategic Execution Plan” so that you can make sure you have the ability to turn your really cool ideas… into successful and profitable action in the marketplace!

Please take a moment to watch the brief  video interview with A.G. below, I think you will find it of value.

Your thoughts?