Potential is one of the most often misused words when looking at performance.

The word potential simply means having the possibility to achieve (at least that is the definition I’m using).

Given the choice between someone with potential and someone with no potential, of course I’m going to be interested in the person with potential. However, just because someone has the potential doesn’t mean they will ever achieve anything.

You can go to any big city in the US and there is at least one park that has basketball players who had the potential to be pros. They had the size, the speed, the skills but that doesn’t mean they ever did, or ever will realize their potential.

Too often, we give people with “potential” too many chances because we hope they will realize their potential while at the same time, we ignore the people who are regularly producing.

How many screw ups is the person with potential allowed before we realize that in most cases, potential without discipline and leadership is frequently never realized?

Have a great day!


Do you ask customers their opinion?

If you run a camp and want to decide things your camp can do better or things your camp can do differently, who do you ask?

It seems many people ask their employees or other people who run camps or they ask their friends or, they do the most common thing and don’t ask anyone and assume they know what is best.

Wouldn’t it make sense to ask the kids who are attending the camp? They are the ones who truly see how things are going and they are the ones who you want to come back.

If you run a business, the same questions apply. Do you talk to the employees to see how things are going or do you ask the customers?

Many organizations will use “surveys” to gather their customers opinions but, in my opinion, there is a MUCH better way to gather this information. Just a warning, this method costs very little money (and possibly nothing) but can cost you a bit of time and also a bit of ego. Rather than sending an anonymous survey, pick up the phone and call a couple of customers. You could have a secretary do this but it will be more helpful coming from a person higher up. Have a couple of questions planned but make them open ended. Rather than the typical survey questions that asks things on a scale of 1-5, simply ask what they liked, what they didn’t like and what can be done better. Remember, this is NOT the time to argue if you don’t like what they have to say.

If you run a camp, ask for the 5 things like they best and the 5 things they disliked the most. Allow them to elaborate and be willing to problem to get more information (for example, if one of the things they disliked the most was “food” find out if it was the quality, the quantity, the location etc.

If you are a realtor after you close on a property, do the same. Find out what the customer feels went right, what went wrong and what could have been better. The key here is NOT to always ask the people you know had a good experience. Be willing to contact someone who pulled their listing from you. This is the only way to get complete answers.

If you are involved in the running of conventions, if there is a some down time, talk to a person in the hallway. Ask if there was a way registration could have been better. Did the presenters meet their expectations? Then, a few days after the convention, call a few others.

You will get much more accurate and helpful information using this informal technique than you will from a formalized survey.

What is the best way to make your customers happy? Ask them!

Have a great day!


Do you have a support group?

When something goes wrong, do you have a person or group of people you can talk to?

When you have a tough decision to make, are there people you can discuss the decision with to get outside help?

Sometimes, we try to do everything on our own because we think talking to others or needing advice from others is a sign of weakness. The reality is, if you aren’t open to discussing issues with others, THAT is the real sign of weakness.

If you have a support group to discuss issues with, you might get some ideas that hadn’t occurred to you before. Other times, just hearing yourself explain the issues to others will make you think of different options or possibilities.

A friend of mine is part of a group that meets every Saturday morning at 7 AM. They gather at the same IHOP each week and it gives them the opportunity to discuss problems they have encountered and issues they need to deal with. Sometimes they have major issues to discuss and other times, nothing major is happening and they get to sit around and enjoy breakfast and each others company.

When things are bothering you, rather than internalizing everything and trying to deal with it yourself, discuss things with your support group and many times, what might seem like a major issue, can be resolved quite simply.

Have a great day!


Reasons Praise Isn’t Given

1.I expect perfection so when it’s achieved, there is no need to reward it since that is what was expected in the first place.
2.I didn’t have time.
3.I could have done even better myself so why would someone expect to receive praise if it’s not as good as I could have done on my own.
4.I think punishment is more effective than reward.
5.I don’t like showing my emotions.
6.I didn’t notice anything worth praising because I don’t spend much time with them.

If any of these are your reasons for not giving praise, YOU ARE WRONG!

Most people want and need praise and if you are a manager and aren’t giving praise because of any of the above reasons, you need to reconsider how you are managing!

Have a great day!


Don’t assume you know what I want

Recently, I met with a salesperson who was trying to sell me on his firms services. He started by telling me everything they could do for me yet he never once asked what I actually might be interested in.

Unfortunately, for him, what he was trying to sell me on wasn’t of any interest to me at all. Might he have had something I would have been interested in? Possibly. However, he never bothered to find out as he assumed he knew what I would be interested so never took the time to ask.

I could have told him at the end what I was interested in, but by that time, I had lost all interest in anything he had to say.

If you are trying to sell something (and don’t kid yourself if you think you aren’t a salesperson, as EVERYONE is selling something), don’t assume you know what other people want, ask them.

Have a great day!


There is no such thing as standing still

Flat screen TV’s are getting better and cheaper.

Medical researchers are learning new things every day.

Athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster.

People in every field are improving.

If you aren’t improving, you are falling further behind every day. There is no such thing as standing still, if you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backwards.

Just a thought.