Saturday, September 8, 2018

Is it time for some new definitions?


Is it time for some new definitions?

Tim Connor

Let me ask you – how many friends do you have on Facebook or LinkedIn that you don’t know, have never met and have never talked to?

If I had to guess, I’ll wager it’s most of the people on the various sites you are connected with.  Am I right?

OK, so after several years of social media redirecting and controlling our lives I believe it’s time for a few new definitions.  Agree, disagree, like, don’t like – doesn’t matter – I will guarantee how you define the following has changed in the past few or several years. I’ll give you the traditional (dictionary) definition first them mine. Feel free to add yours if inclined.

Friend

Traditional – a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Mine – Someone who knows you, trusts you and supports you, believes in you, is with you in the good and the bad, and want’s the best for you.

Acquaintance

Traditional – a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend.

Mine – Someone you have connected with at some point in your life and from time to time – reconnect in some way.

Stranger

Traditional – a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar.

Mine – Anyone who crosses your path – in an airport, restaurant, business meeting, while on vacation or a first date and you never see them again.

Associate

Traditional – a partner or colleague in business or at work.

Mine – Someone you have a common and mutual bond with, in a professional way.

Connection

Traditional – a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

Mine – Anyone you meet where you have something in common and develop this in a mutually positive way as time passes.

Foreigner

Traditional – a person born in or coming from a country other than one's own.

Mine – Anyone not from the country they are currently in whether they are visiting, are on vacation, are running away from home or are looking for a new or different adventure.

Immigrant

Traditional - a person from a country who comes to live permanently in a different or foreign country where they were not born or were a legal resident.

Mine – I agree with this one.

I’m sure some of you might take issue with some of my definitions and that is your prerogative.  The only reason I have written this is to ask you how many social media so-called friends do you actually know or who know you?  So, Tim – what’s your point?

No disrespect to anyone, but on a recent birthday I received over 300 birthday wishes from social media strangers (so-called friends) and I personally knew 12 of them. One of my social media “friends” has over 495 photos on their social media account. I see people who go to the trouble every day to keep us all informed of their lives as they progress from day to day.  One person every day for a week actually complained about how they had been dumped in a relationship. Does your world of “friends” need to know?  Do most of them really care?

Who has time for this – to either list them or look at them?  And we wonder why we have lost the “human touch” in relationships.  I am by no means suggesting that all or any social media sources, everyone that is on them or those that use them for personal or business gain have no value or use.  I’m sure lots of people have gained fame, recognition, made new “real” friends, have made legitimate revenue and any number of other positive benefits or results

My only point with this article is to bring some reality (from my unique perspective – not saying I am right and anyone else is wrong) to this process or definition of words we are calling “friends” etc.

I’m sure some of you who may have finished reading this article may be taking issue with some of my remarks and are defining me as – “out of touch, uncaring, unsupportive, irresponsible, stupid etc.” I am guilty.  I have no idea why I have over 4500 friends on FB and over 2500 connections on LinkedIn, but I do know this – most of them don’t give a “real” rip about my life circumstances, issues, challenges or what I had for dinner last night.

Many words today are being used and interpreted differently than they have in the past and if this process keeps changing even more in the future (and trust me it will) – at some point we will all need to carry a personal amogie and/or a word dictionary with us at all times so we know what people are saying, implying or mean! We (most of us) are letting social media dictate and control many aspects of our lives – starting with how we define basic words. This my friends is a very slippery slope. . .

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Why do organizations fail?


Over 250,000 businesses in the US failed last year and do you know the common reason?  Well, it’s obvious none of them did. If they had paid attention to what was going on around them they would not be only a statistic today.  We are also on track this year, regardless of a positive economy and economic outlook, to lose thousands of more businesses, clubs, associations and even churches.  Why, well, it’s simple but also complicated.  What makes it simple is what it is.  What makes it complicated are the steps to take to avoid it.

I’ll keep this short and to the point – every organization that fails does so for one primary reason – they lose market relevance.  They stop providing what their customers want, and; how they want them, where they want them and what they are willing to pay for them.

I could give you dozens of examples going back, oh, let's say fifty years.

Howard Johnson’s is gone.  Do we still have restaurants?

Pan Am is gone. Can we still fly to different places?

Blockbuster is gone.  Can we still watch videos?

Oldsmobile is gone. Can we still buy cars?

Toys “R” Us is gone.  Can we still buy toys?

Borders is gone.  Can we still buy books?

Need I go on?

Keep in mind that your; size, history, market, customer base will not prevent failure.  I don’t care if your revenue is in the billions or thousands, if you market is Toledo or the world or you have been in business for a week or a century.  None of these matter when you lose relevance.

So, to summarize, what are a few of the common reasons why organizations lose relevance?

-They are run by an ego driven senior management team or board.

-Management in these organizations is out of touch with market reality.

-The organization is stuck in what it used to make or sell and how it used to sell it.

-There is a serious disconnect between the employees and management in the organization.

-Their sacred cows (policies, procedures, products etc.) are still their driving forces.

-They are not paying attention to trends and changing customer buying patterns.

-They are unwilling to re-invent themselves.

As a global speaker for over 35 years, this topic for the past several years has been my most requested one both domestically and globally.

But, knowing and doing all of the above and even more will not guarantee you do not lose market relevance and fail if you avoid one critical step.  Do you know what that is?

If you don’t permanently change the mindsets of management and employees to one that learns to embrace uncertainty, change and consistent transformation as a positive, consistent  and necessary mental tool and process, sooner or later no matter how much you try, you will lose relevance either from the top down, bottom up or inside (the organization) to outside (the organization).

Don’t believe me? Just consider a few businesses in your industry, geography or market place who have failed or are failing.

Need a proactive speaker for a meeting on this topic?  Contact me.




Sunday, September 2, 2018

So much life is wasted - waiting . . .


So much life is wasted – waiting . . .

Tim Connor

Waiting for the right job.  Waiting for the perfect relationship.  Waiting for the right weather.  And, even just waiting for the right email or text response.

Ever waited for something and in hindsight realized how much time was wasted?  I know I have and I also know the pain of not being able to recapture those lost minutes, weeks or even years – they were gone forever.  But it’s not my intent to be morbid here but to suggest some creative, positive and even risky thoughts on what lies ahead, what is real, what you can control and what can or will elude you no matter how hard you try or how long you wait.

First of all, there are three types of waiting – waiting for something to begin, waiting for something to end, or waiting for something to improve, change or maybe even recover.

But regardless of the waiting or what we may be waiting for the consequences are always the same – frustration, disappointment, regret, fear, and even anger and yes, even more, depending on the magnitude or significance of what we are waiting for.

Waiting for Mr. or Ms. right until you are in your seventies is not a wise move.  Waiting for the right career position after bouncing from job to job for twenty years might get in the way of the right one showing up. Waiting years for a bad relationship to end or for the other person to end it when you both know it isn’t or wasn’t meant to be or was not a wise decision you previously made can cause a lot of stress, resentment, and bitterness.  Waiting for your kids to finally get the concept of responsibility?  Waiting for your employees to finally have some respect, loyalty or motivation?

Waiting till you retire for the vacation of a lifetime? And then your partner dies before you get to go.

Waiting for decades for a promotion, recognition or raise – well maybe it’s time for a change.  Waiting to really live and have fun until you win the lottery, well, you might want to re-think your life purpose.  Waiting weeks or even months for the right client or customer to show up – well you might want to rethink your sales or marketing strategies.

Need more examples or have I made my point?

Having said all of the above I want to be clear that I am not against waiting – for the right reasons, for the appropriate amount of time or for the right, best or suitable outcomes.

Are there common emotions, expectations or attitudes that can contribute to a waiting mentality? From my experience, I believe there are ten major ones; hope, fear, desire, insecurity, self-esteem, ego needs, impatience, the need for control, dreams and or arrogance.  I don’t have the time and I’m sure you don’t either for me to dig into each of these in detail so let me see if I can give you a few summary points to consider if you have been guilty of unnecessary waiting, are waiting for something now or will, notice I said will and not might, wait for something in the future.

As I see it there are three common denominators in all of the above reasons, mindsets or rationales; 1) insecurity – or the need for approval, the need for acceptance, a mindset of unworthiness or conflict avoidance. 2) fear – or the willingness to face reality, uncertainty or unknowns in a common sense or reality-based way. 3) Ego – or an unhealthy definition of what you feel you deserve, you are worth, you are worthy of or you don’t deserve.

In the end, waiting in most situations is life wasted.  The current lifespan average of Americans is 77.3 years.  So, regardless of your age whether you are wasting days, weeks, months or years, in the end, will leave you with memories of regret, resentment, apathy and or disappointment.

Is it worth it? Was it worth it? For me, looking back, in some cases it was, and, in most cases, it wasn’t, but that’s me.

Here are a few things to consider if you are a “waiter”.

-Create a list of potential gains and losses for whatever you are waiting for. Then weigh them appropriately for both the short and long term.

-Talk with people you respect who have had similar experiences or have insight into what you are considering waiting for and ask them for guidance. You don’t have to follow it, but it can help you make better decisions.

-Start a decision journal and start keeping track of every decision you have made and their outcomes or consequences and I’m not referring here to where you decide to go to lunch or what color dress to buy.

-Meditate on all major decisions and listen to your inner guidance system’s or spirit’s suggestions or inclinations or whatever you want to call it.

-Keep a list of all major life decisions and their eventual outcomes - if and when they ended; like a business, career, job or relationship.

-Don’t make choices or take actions while under stress or emotional unrest.

-Be willing to admit mistakes.

-Learn to learn from everything regardless of the outcome whether positive or negative.

-Declare emotional endings before starting new beginnings.

-Read the book – Transitions by William Bridges.

-Pray about it.

These should get you started and, on the way, to better outcomes and less wasted time and life.  I can only say in conclusion that I wish I had done many of these earlier in life.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Does success require humility?


Does success require humility?

Tim Connor

Are all successful people humble? Are all humble people successful?  Ever even thought about this idea?

Before I share with you what I think are the important points regarding this concept;

Humility (Dictionary) - a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.  Or – modesty, weakness, humbleness or Unpretentiousness.

Agree with any or all of these?

I don’t always agree with the general dictionary definitions of words for a variety of reasons but let’s just say that these regarding humility tend to imply weakness and I have never viewed humility as a weakness but a strength.  How about you?

Since this definition and your definition are a foundation for what follows we don’t have to be on the same page, but we do need to be open and receptive for a different viewpoint.

For me, humility is a sign of strength simply because it takes courage to demonstrate it in times of outside pressure from others, inside pressure for the need to fit in and belong and social pressure to not show weakness.

Keep in mind I am not referring to humility here as backing down, giving in, or any other form of consolation or concession when what you are standing for is right, noble or grounded in truth and or principle.  I am not saying we should all give in no matter the circumstances. What I am suggesting is that the ability to stand strong without letting your ego, arrogance, supposed intelligence take over for whatever reason that demonstrates that we have the ability to accept failure, adversity or trials with patience, wisdom, and common sense.  We have the ability to know when to fight back and when to let go of the need to stand strong.

OK, now that I hope I have that out of the way back to the title.

Is humility a part of or necessary for real success?  Noticed I added the word “real” to the question.

Success – (Dictionary) the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  O.K. how about the self-help industry's definition – it’s the journey, not the destination.  O.K. here’s mine – The direction (outcomes) in life you want to achieve and as the journey progresses you are accomplishing the desired and established benchmarks along the way.

Yes, there is more to success than my above definition but for the sake of brevity, I kept it short.

So, given the two definitions what is your answer to the above questions – Are all successful people humble? Are all humble people successful?

Let’s take the first one first.

During my global speaking career, I have known hundreds of successful people in a variety of industries and positions who were all extremely successful when it came to finance, reputation, power, and influence but lacked any degree of humility for any number of reasons.

And yes, I have also met many who had all of the above outcomes and traits and yes also had humility as a major portion of their personality and style.

So, from personal experience, the answer to the first question is – no.

What about the second question.

If I used the same criteria as above I get the same outcome. Some humble people are successful while some are not.

“So, Tim, what’s the point of this article.  It would appear that humility is not a trait that needs to be considered to achieve success.”

Yes, you are right if you only consider the above traits I mentioned.  But, what if we added; happiness, inner peace, contentment, a lifelong legacy and a few others - would the outcomes change dramatically.

Just because you have fame, power, influence and wealth can’t and should not (in my opinion) be the only factors when considering and defining success.

What about ethics and integrity?  What about charity and generosity?  What about spiritual values? 

Want proof – hundreds of very successful people over the years according to the first set of criteria have – committed suicide, ended up in prison, spent years in mental institutions and ended their lives in pain, sadness, loss, and mockery.

Were they a success – sure.  Was it worth it – who knows, or only time will tell.

Let me end this diatribe with a simple idea – as your life progresses would you rather have it end with fun, happy and wonderful memories or ones that caused you stress, pain, uncertainty and a loss of connection to those you loved or knew?

I’m not suggesting by any means that it isn’t possible to have all of the positives.  So, decide – what do you want your path to be like – filled with all of the positives and negatives or just all of the positives?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Just because it feels right - doesn't make it right.


Just because it feels right –

doesn’t make it right!

Tim Connor

You would be amazed at how many people let their feelings rather than common sense or reality determine their attitudes, behavior, and decisions.  Now, I’m not implying that all feelings are not appropriate or don’t have value when it comes to life and career choices and actions but in a world driven today by so many emotional circumstances you might just want to pause or even check your feelings at the door before you make serious decisions or react or respond to various situations.

Let me give you a couple of real examples that I have witnessed in the past several days while on the road speaking in several states.

Flying back from Oklahoma a few weeks ago, the gate agent seemed to be in a depressed mood.  They just weren’t very friendly, accommodating or interested in my question. So, being who I am I tried to make them laugh with a simple and straight-forward comment (innocent and non-threatening in any way). Well – they jumped all over me with “Who do you think you are talking to me that way?  I don’t have to put up with your crap. I can’t believe anyone could be that insensitive.”  Etc. Etc.

Needless to say, I ended the conversation and headed back to my seat and opened my book and started reading.

While eating lunch at a restaurant I overheard the couple behind me give the server the “you better or else” treatment because they didn’t bring the bread to the table fast enough.  They then complained to the manager (where everyone within earshot could hear) about the experience and saying the person should be fired.

Ever had anyone blow up at you when what you said or didn’t say or did or didn’t do that was as kind, compassionate, simple etc. that even someone from another planet would not interpret incorrectly but they did?

Folks, just because you are in a hurry and behind me in line doesn’t mean I have to rush the person in front of me.

Just because it’s raining, and you don’t like rain doesn’t mean I have to listen to your ranting and raving about rain.  Just because I am an insensitive idiot doesn’t mean you have to put up with me and don’t have the right to walk away or leave the room.

But, it doesn’t help when we “lose it” regardless of the importance or lack of it in any situation.  And believe me, we are living at a time when a lot of folks have really thin skin or any number of rules, expectations or guidelines as to what is acceptable or even allowed currently in today’s world according to their values, beliefs etc. no matter how far out of reality they might be.

Don’t believe me?  I have over 3000+ articles on a variety of various global websites and add several new ones each week and believe me – I get at least ten emails a day from someone around the world who takes issue with what I have said or how I have said it.  Get over it . . .

Trust me – I’m not implying that I am right, the smartest person in the Universe, the most experienced, the best at anything or even smarter than you – but I do have the right to share my opinion, idea, comment – whatever – and yes you have the right to comment back to me about it – but let me ask you – do you really think you help your cause by making it (your disagreement with me) public to everyone – everywhere?

When we let our feelings – which are nothing more than internal emotional expressions of beliefs, values, attitudes, expectations, rules etc. shared in an external way – we might want to consider that the person in front of us, behind us or even next to us, just is not interested in our ranting, raving or our opinion.

I have seen more people on social media sites share personal stuff that I just can’t believe that they would want out there in public.  Do you really think most people care that you were dumped? Do you think most people care that I am lonely, angry, frustrated – whatever?  Yes, maybe a few close friends, relatives or maybe even co-workers or clients might care or have an interest – but the whole world?

Do you really need that much attention?  Are you really that insecure?  Are you really that needy?  Are you really that narcissistic?

We all have life issues, challenges, problems, disappointments, failures, losses, frustrations etc. But do you really think the entire world gives a crap about all of your stuff?

Again, it’s simple – if you don’t like my article – stop reading.  Throw it away. Delete it - whatever.  If you don’t like the movie – leave.  If you don’t like the TV show - use the remote.  If you don’t like the noise in the restaurant – leave.  If you disagree with someone on a social media site – delete them, unfriend them, unfollow them.

It’s not that complicated.

If I care, I care and if I don’t I don’t.  If I do it’s because you and I are emotionally connected in some way.  If I don’t that doesn’t make me disrespectful, uncompassionate or any other negative emotional response.

There is an incredible amount of pain and suffering everywhere in the world today.  I’ve seen it in every one of the 45 counties I have spoken in or visited. Hunger, death, pain, loss, suffering etc. is rampant everywhere in the world and even in our country. I can’t be there for everyone, but I can be there for the people that matter in my life or I know personally.  This doesn’t mean I am not aware or sensitive to all of the global, national or community pain and wrongdoing but none of us have the capacity to spend our time and life just feeling for what everyone around us is feeling or experiencing while disregarding our own lives.

I don’t care if it’s the ASPA, St. Jude, Shriners or Savelives.com.  I can’t be there for everyone and everyone can’t be there for me.

I don’t know about you but the continuous expression on social media by people who feel they are experiencing unique life challenges that the rest of us have never had to deal with – well, trust me – I’ve been there and so have you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A few stupid words


A few stupid words

Tim Connor

Ever heard anyone say – “but”?  How about “someday”?  Or two of my favorites – “You need to, or you should.”  I could go on for hours about all of the dumb things people say either with negative intentions to hurt others or out of sheer ignorance on the impact that a few words can have on a relationship, a person’s career or even their future.

Think I am kidding?

How about you - ask someone to marry you and they say “maybe!”  Think that ever happens?  You would be amazed.  Or can I have a raise or a day off or can I attend a seminar?  I’ll let you know!

How about you ask your spouse – how do you think we are doing in our relationship so far?  Response – well, it depends.  Or, I need to think about it.  Or, some stuff is ok, and some stuff is not ok.

Do you want to hear from your dentist when you have significant pain – not sure what’s causing it.  Or, from your cardiac doctor, they don’t know why you are having shortness of breath.  Or from your banker, I’m not sure we can give you this loan, I’ll have to get back to you.

Have I made my point yet?  The words we all use have an impact either on others – positively, negatively or can contribute to create increased uncertainty, fear or any number of negative emotions.

Let me ask you, do you think about your words, responses to others or do you just throw out whatever words come to mind without reflection or concern they might have?

I was once asked by a client who was giving an annual speech to all of his employees to be in the audience to evaluate the relevance, effectiveness, impact, and interest of his employees in his message.  At the conclusion, he asked me, “well, how did I do?”

Well, during your 45-minute presentation you invalidated your employees 18 times with your comments. 

“How did I do that?”

“Here are just three of the ways. 1) You kept saying ‘I hope you all can rise to the challenge’.  ‘I think you can achieve……’ and, ‘I know it’s been a difficult time for many of you because of the uncertainty . . .’

‘What was wrong with any of these, I was just telling the truth?”

Since I am running out of time I’ll just respond to one of these.  ‘I think you can.’

Keep in mind there are five elements in all communication – intention, subtleties, interpretation, emotional state of both and perception.  The intention of the sender, the subtle messages or hidden agendas behind the message, the interpretation of the receiver their (vocabulary, state of mind, the history of the relationship, expectations etc.), the emotional state of both whether grounded in negatives or positives and the perceptual interpretation of the receiver.  For example - if I said he was a young person – what would be your answer, what number would you give me, and do you think everyone’s answer would be the same?  NO, because we all define or describe young individually, personally or uniquely based on our own interpretation).

OK, Tim, I get it but why are you calling these words stupid rather than – wrong, inappropriate, etc?  It’s simple – I used this word to get your attention to attempt to get you to read the article.  If I had titled it “interesting, unique, fun or some other word would you have read it?  Probably not.  See what I mean, I just invalidated you by implying that you needed a certain word in the title to be interested in it.  I’m suggesting subtly that I am or might be smarter than you.  Or, you needed to read this article for some reason. Or – whatever.

Every day I will guarantee that you invalidate another person – customer, child, boss, employee, spouse etc. with your words and probably not even being aware of it but I’ll guarantee this invalidation over time will have a negative impact on the relationship.  I’ll also guarantee that every day someone invalidates you in some way with their words.

Don’t believe me – for the next 24 hours pay attention to the words others use towards you or with you and I’ll bet your answer will be – wow.

None of us are geniuses when it comes to communication.  We all say dumb, inappropriate or hurtful words sooner or later. And we always do so.  But what we can do is pay attention and live with awareness when it comes to what we say.  We can also, let others know when their words were invalidating, hurtful or inappropriate.

Please – I am not referring here to “political correctness” because if we all have to edit what we say according to what society, politics, religion or even conventional wisdom tell us are the do’s and don’ts - sooner or later we won’t even be able to have an opinion about the weather without offending someone.

Be you, share your feelings, be honest but also know that there are several ways to say the same thing that will get your message across but in a validating and respectful way.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The seven-step decision process


The seven-step decision process

Tim Connor

Ever struggled with a decision? Dealing with one now?  Ever made what you thought was a poor decision that turned out well? Ever made a good one that turned out poorly? I’m sure you don’t need my repetitive babble as you have better things to do today, like spending time deciding or maybe spending over ten hours of your life today interacting with a device! Yep, these ten hours on your iPad, iPhone or computer etc. are decisions made on how you choose to spend your time whether wisely or aimlessly.

Making decisions is the easy part of the decision process and as a result, you would think most people would be able to handle this first step in life’s decision process.

A process is a series of steps in every area of life whether – cooking, exercise, travel, health, relationship building, career development, business growth etc. and decision making is no exception.  To achieve a favorable outcome from any decision, each step in the process must be taken in order and with thought, evaluation, and purpose and all driven by pre-determined desired results or outcomes.  But first a quote from one of my mentors, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones – “Stop trying to make right decisions, make the decision and then make it turn out right.”

So, what are the seven steps to an effective and successful decision process?

-Consider the process: desired outcomes or results, potential risks and/or rewards, time-frames, available resources, courage, passion, desire or fears associated with it, previous similar decisions and outcomes.  Get it?  You just don’t make it without a little pre-thought.

-Decide; this is the easy part – say yes or no – maybe is not a decision, not now is not a decision, when things get better or change is not a decision, I hope it will all work out is not a decision, someday I will is not a decision, if my inaction doesn’t work I’ll do something is not a decision.

-Plan; planning is taking all the details, facts, lessons, considerations, resources and deciding on the best, the ideal, the only etc. approach.  Here is where you map out and blend the various steps in the process execution; the expected outcomes, the benchmarks, the guidelines, the rules, how you will handle potential roadblocks, hazards and/or setbacks, mistakes or failures, how to manage resources of time, money, people and any other certain or uncertain resources.

-Act; now it’s time to get moving executing the plan developed.  You begin. You get started; no waiting, no delaying, no excuses, no fears, no hesitation – just get moving.

-Monitor; this is the time for discipline, observation, awareness and record keeping.  Without these actions how will you know what works, what doesn’t, what might have or what needs to be trashed?  This is also a time for monitoring the path to success.  If you didn’t set a timeframe or time or complete time/date you will tend to get distracted, sidetracked and even lose passion, attention or the desire to keep going.

-Evaluate; Now it’s time for review – what worked, what didn’t, what took too long, what cost too much, what took too much time or used too many resources.  What needs to change?  If it is changed how will we know we will get better or different results the next time? Is the entire project, program – whatever – worth it?  Will it pay off adequately with additional time, resources, people or patience?  Don’t skip this step or if something fails – you will tend to fail again if it is tried again in the future.  If it took too long or too many resources how do, we or can we still accomplish it with less or fewer resources?  Important questions if you want a better track record of success and less failure, disappointment in the future.

-Act again; Simple - take the learning from each step above and blend it into your re-try.  But, follow the same steps above or again, if it fails you may never know why and could set yourself up for repeat future failures.