Understand The Past – Know The Present – Improve Intermediate – Aim For A Better Future!

One of the greatest potential dangers to meaningful, effective leadership, is the unwillingness and/or inability, to perceive and conceive of the numerous obvious and potential ramifications of a variety of actions (or inactivity), as well as the tendency to overly focus on either the glorious old days (the history), present issues or concerns, intermediate impacts (generally considered to be from 3 to 5 years), or the long-term ramifications, needs, and sustainability of the organization into the future. Quality leaders know it’s important to know and have a handle on current needs, concerns, issues or priorities, but to avoid taking the proverbial band-aid approach, and acting, with a keen eye on the future. True relevance only comes from evaluating every alternative, from the perspective of whether it builds upon the positives from the organization’s past (heritage), resolving and addressing current needs, addressing where to take the group in the next three to five years, and how to do so, to assure a relevant, sustainable future.

1. Understand the past: Groups rarely flourish when they throw the baby out with the bath water. Significant organizations promote their heritage, as a way to attract their niche member, etc. That history generally is extremely relevant, in terms of better understanding the group’s mission and purpose/focus. When the heritage is forgotten or trivialized, there is often a concurrent loss of a number of long-term supporters/members. Why would that make any sense?

2. Know the present: Although the past is relevant, one must avoid wallowing or getting hung-up in an over-focus on what has been, rather than what should be! Be careful to listen effectively, keep your eyes wide open, and resolve current priorities/concerns, in a timely, well-considered manner.

3. 3-5 years, goals and plans: Before any group can become truly relevant and sustainable, it is necessary to enhance and improve the present and the intermediate-term. Leaders must proceed in an organized, well-considered, step-by-step approach.

4. Longer-term strategy, planning and vision: Our greatest leaders are always the ones who articulate their vital vision, in a vibrant, motivational way! This must be done in a strategic, clear-cut manner, and requires a discipline and focus on planning to lead. If one does not plan to lead, he rarely will do so effectively. Only when the plans move the group forward in a sustainable manner, will the group assure its viability and relevance.

Avoid myopic leadership, yet at the same time, be careful to avoid skipping any steps along the path to a brighter future. Effective leaders develop, articulate and communicate their love of the group’s heritage, but at the same time the need to evolve, and thus introduce their intermediate and longer-term views, and take present actions to assure they get where they want, and need to be!

Sad Sales Negotiators Do a Bad Job

In the quest to do a better job at negotiating deals, sales negotiators have been known to do some pretty wild things in order to condition themselves to perform at a high level – extreme exercising, exposure to hot / cold temperatures, and even eating some pretty weird things. However, is it possible that they’ve been overlooking the most important thing – how happy they are?

The Power Of Sad

Dr. Robert Cialdini has spent a lot of time studying how we can persuade others and how they can persuade us. In fact he’s written a popular book on the topic titled Influence: Science and Practice in which he talks about what causes us to do things that we may not be giving a lot of thought to.

When it comes to sales negotiations, Dr. Cialdini and his peers have done some interesting studies that should cause all of us to sit up and take notice.

The Big Guess

The social scientist who were doing the research started with the hypothesis that when we get sad, we get motivated to do something to change our current circumstances in order to get out of our sad mood.

They took this thinking one step further. They also guessed that sad buyers would be willing to pay higher prices for a given product and sad sellers would be willing to sell a product for a lower price.Ã’Â Do I have your interest now?

The Experiment

The cool thing about being a social scientist is that you get to test your hypothesis on people, not rats. In this case the scientists had their (human) test subjects divided into two groups. One group watched a sad movie and then wrote a paragraph about how the movie made them feel. The other group watched a movie about fish (!) and then wrote about what they had done that day.

Next, both groups were once again divided into two groups and one group was asked to mark on a piece of paper what price they would sell an item at and the other group was asked to mark on a piece of paper what price they would buy an item at.

What the scientist discovered just might scare you. It turns out that their original guess was right: sad buyer ended up being willing to spend 30% more for an item than emotionally neutral buyers. Likewise, sad sellers were willing to sell an item for 33% less than emotionally neutral sellers. The really spooky part of all of this is that the sad buyers and sellers had no idea that their sadness had affected them so much.

Final Thoughts

Although we often get caught up in preparing for our next sales negotiation, what the social scientists have discovered is that we bring everything else that is going on in our lives to the table with us. On a similar note, the other side of the negotiating table does the exact same thing.

Before you start your next sales negotiation, you need to take a minute or two and evaluate how you are feeling. If there is anything that is bringing you down or making you depressed, then you have got to try to find a way to resolve it or at least make it better before the negotiations start. Learn to do this and it will allow you to close better deals and close them quicker.

Offline Porn Use on an Office Computer – The Presentation

Most people using company computers for work keep away from accessing pornography on the web. They understand that IT departments can watch what you’re doing online as easy as they can see the history of what you’ve done online. But what about the person who has a laptop, and they’re traveling with it for a week or a few days, and they decide they want to take along a thumb drive with porn they’ve downloaded from their home computer, or maybe they decide at some point to view a pornographic DVD on their computer in their hotel. I actually worked with a guy who was doing just that. He knew that even if he deleted the history of the web browser, it wasn’t safe to surf porn sites on the company computer, because the porn site information is stored in various locations, in different folders, throughout the hard drive. Not to mention what the porn sites can put onto your computer, something that can turn up at any time, much to your embarrassment.

What this guy was doing was accessing porn sites at home on an older desktop computer. He would download images and movies from porn sites to CDs and portable hard drives. Then, when he would travel, he would take his company laptop and simply access pornography that he’d already saved by using the CDs, DVDs, or portable drives with his company laptop.

The night before a presentation to clients, he spent two and half hours viewing pornography on his laptop. He put off much of his preparation, thinking he would finish with the porn quickly, then prepare for the presentation. But minutes turned to hours, and before he knew it, he was exhausted and it was one in the morning. He crammed what he could for the presentation, then got a few hours of sleep before he had to get up at six. When he got to the presentation at 7:30, he was very tired and had trouble getting alert. He drank as much coffee as he could, then set up his computer for the presentation as the people filed in, chatted, drank coffee, and eventually sat down. His laptop was hooked up to a projector so that the room could view his presentation as he talked. The projector turned on and he looked at it to operate his computer. He clicked the Start bar and opened his Recent Documents folder to find the presentation. As he scanned the folder for the name of the presentation, he noticed, along with that presentation, were eleven file names of the porn he’d been viewing the night before. The file names for the photos and movies were blatantly sexual. Heart in his throat, he jumbled to exit the Recent Documents folder, and looked around to see who’d has seen him open it. Most people were talking, but three or four had been looking at the screen. Had they seen the file names? Now, his confidence was shot, and he was embarrassed. His face turned red, and he was not even sure if anyone had seen or read the file names. As a result of all of this and his lack of sleep, his presentation went terribly. He had trouble focusing on the flow of what he had to say, and stumbled over basic questions.

And yet, what this man found was that this situation was happening time and again. He figured out quickly to delete all the files in his Recent Documents folder, but he still procrastinated preparing for meeting clients by viewing porn for hours on end. Eventually, this behavior eroded his ability to do his job. His confidence began to buckle over time, in everyday situations. He would blush for no reason, He would stammer where before he could soar through discussions with clients. Where he was strong, now he was weak. And the weaker he became, the more he depended on viewing pornography to numb his feelings of inadequacy.

In addition, at some point a member of the IT department approached him quietly and told him that they had seen evidence of pornography on his computer. Files he’s missed, things he’d forgotten or didn’t even know about, that he should have scrubbed, but that turned up easily when IT people were working on his computer. And while IT was discrete, the incident further eroded this man’s confidence, and he eventually had to quit his job. He hoped that if he went somewhere new, with all new people, that he could start again, and that he wouldn’t use porn and he would get a fresh start. Except that when he got that next job, and met those new clients, and worked with the new co-workers, he found himself in the same boat in less than four months.

That’s how the damage of addiction, and the damage or pornography works. Slowly. Over time. Chipping away at a person’s success, replacing it with fear, insecurity, and failure. If you find yourself in this position, take action now to build up your resistance to porn, while you increase your ability to succeed, and your ability to deal with challenging situations. The slippery slope to porn addiction is easy; climbing out and building up your inner capability is more difficult, but it pays off exponentially more. Like anything, if you follow a simple process, you’re much more likely to attain your goals.