Skill……And Will

Let’s get one thing straight…we all begin as a NOVICE.

No one – let me repeat that – NO ONE starts as an expert. We all have to learn to walk, talk, eat, swim, count, write and read. We all start at zero, the bottom, from scratch, zip…with absolutely no knowledge, experience or understanding of the “THING” we are about to learn.

So, then the journey begins: your progression from being a Novice, to being Average, then Skilled, then a Specialist and finally an Expert is all up to you. I really like the title of “EXPERT” because it has to be earned. You can assign someone a title of Vice President or Sales Manager, Boss or Director…but EXPERT – that title is something to be revered, respected and admired.

EXPERTS have put in the time, effort and study to EARN the title. They have dealt with the pains, frustrations, exhaustion and stress that come with obtaining the title of EXPERT. In fact, it’s really not a title at all, it’s a designation or confirmation that the person you are dealing with is very, very good at what they do. I like being around experts, because they have traits in their character that can do nothing but help me.

You see, to be an EXPERT you have to have passion, conviction, focus, discipline, dedication, drive, purpose, commitment, spirit, determination…and the undeniable WILL to perfect your SKILL.
According to the American Society for Training & Development, American workers average 6.5 minutes per day developing their skill. That statistic alone explains why there are so many average-performing people. Most people just aren’t WILLING to put in the time and effort needed to raise their skill level.

Your success has a great deal to do with your level of SKILL, but not everything. I know a lot of talented, smart, well-educated people who have in no way come close to reaching their full potential.

You have the FREE WILL to succeed, if you have the WILLINGNESS to do it.

The big question is WILL you? Who would have ever thought such a simple word as WILL would have so much to do with your success. Here are a few quotes I want to share with you that should hopefully broaden your perspective on how important WILLPOWER is to your success. They are by people you may have never heard of – de Balzac, Min and Crowley respectively – but the brilliance of their words is indisputable.

“There is no such thing as great talent without great willpower.”

“Lack of willpower leads to more failure than lack of intelligence or ability.”

“In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talent is wholly worthless.”

Anyone can go from Novice to Expert if they have the WILL to do it. But the “Skill Knob” can only be turned to the “Expert Notch” if you have the WILL to make it happen and the discipline to study, learn and practice.

Robert Stevenson

Four Ways To Get More Performance, Productivity And Profit From Your Team

  1. Your Team Needs To Learn Together

Rarely do teams learn together. Too often, increases in skill are confined to individuals. Sometimes that can become a barrier to teamwork: because there are dramatically different knowledge and skill levels, some team members aren’t able to keep up. When an individual attends a course or discovers a useful practice, he or she should be encouraged to share it with the team. And periodically putting the entire team into a learning environment is critical.

  1. Peer Recognition Is Powerful

If you’re a team leader, understand that despite your best efforts, you will be incapable of adequately recognizing every team member’s efforts and contributions. Good work will slip by and go unrecognized. If this happens often, the team member may well become disillusioned. Relieve yourself of the burden to be the sole dispenser of recognition: ask team members to recognize each other. Make it a team expectation to thank other team members for their assistance and to look for opportunities to catch each other doing something praiseworthy.

  1. To Win More Together, Think Together More

Have you ever held a team retreat? When was the last time your team came together for the express purpose of thinking about the work you do? Do you periodically pause as a group to reflect on what you’ve learned and internalize the lessons? Do you meet to consider opportunities, and not just to solve problems? The team that thinks more wins more.

  1. You’ve Got To Expect It And Not Tolerate It If You Don’t Get It

Some managers, knowing how difficult it can be to create great teamwork, undermine their efforts by making teamwork “optional.” That is, they appreciate the people who are good team players but they tolerate those who aren’t. As the old adage goes, what you allow, you condone. Those on the same team should know that figuring out how to get along and work with other teammates is their responsibility. Those who refuse to be team players should at the very least not enjoy the same benefits, and at worst, should be removed. It might sound harsh, but it is necessary if you want teamwork to work.

Mark Sanborn PhotoMark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international best-selling author and noted authority on leadership, team-building, customer service and change. Mark is the author of 8 books, including the best seller The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, which has sold more than 1.6 million copies internationally. Learn more about Mark at www.marksanborn.com.

 

 

Red Flags Rules Apply to You—Yes, You

red flagWhile many companies think the federal Red Flag Rule applies only financial institutions, if you invoice customers for your goods or services, it applies to you, too.

Regulations designed to minimize identity theft went into effect in June of 2010. Are you complying with them?

The federal government’s so-called “Red Flag Rule” requires all businesses that are potential identity-theft targets develop plans to spot red flags and prevent theft. Red flags include suspicious photo IDs, unverifiable addresses and Social Security numbers, and questionable account activity, to name just a few.

While many companies think the Red Flag Rule only applies to financial institutions, it actually applies to all creditorswith creditors being defined as “businesses or organizations that regularly provide goods and services first and allow customers to pay later,” according to a Frequently Asked Questions guide prepared by the Federal Trade Commission, which will enforce the Red Flag Rule.

In other words, if you invoice customers for your goods or services, you’re a creditorand the Red Flag Rule applies to you.

How can you comply?  You’ll need to have a written policy that specifically addresses how you will prevent and handle identity theft. Other recommendations include data encryption, annual updates of your written policy, and staff training.

While this may seem onerous, you don’t want to ignore the legislation. Fines are $3,500 per violationand the threat of a lawsuit from customers whose identity has been stolen.

Related articles
Do You Comply with the FTC’s Red Flag Fule?

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Don’t Forget To Secure Data When Employees Depart

It’s a fact: Most departing employees take confidential business information with themand today, most of the information is electronic. Because electronic information can be easily transferred and saved in multiple locations without your control, it’s important to protect your data when an employee leaves.

Remember the days when employees kept important information in paper files? They are long gone. According to a study conducted by the University of California at Berkeley, almost all of today’s new information is stored electronically. And that could mean trouble for your company when an employee resignsbecause electronic documents are both easy to copy, and portable. That makes them more prone to theft than paper documents.

Case in point: In August 2009, DuPont filed a lawsuit against a research scientist who allegedly stole more than 600 files by copying them to a portable hard drive. And that wasn’t an isolated incident; another DuPont research scientist was sentenced to an 18 month prison term for stealing proprietary information worth $400 million.

Think employee data theft doesn’t apply to your type of business? Think again. A 2009 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that data theft is rampant in the business world. According to the study, 59 percent of employees who quit or are fired take confidential business information with them. And when the employee works in IT, the access to confidential data is even greater. A 2008 study by Cyber-Ark Software found that almost 90 percent of IT employees would take sensitive company data with them if they were laid off.

The lesson: When employees leave, you must take steps to protect the electronic information they have access to. This may include customer information, financial records, trade secrets, intellectual property, and email lists, to name just a few items.

We recommend that when an employee leaves, you prevent his or her account access, set the account for immediate review, save any necessary files (which may involve consulting with other departments for verification of documents), then delete the account. In addition to protecting data, this will also optimize server space and open up more storage space for the company.

While some employees might argue that they need access to their personal files before departing, and you may grant such access (supervised, on a case-by-case basis), it is not required; any of the information that is located on a company computer is company property.

In a sensitive situation it’s always good to let us know ahead of time so we can help you prepare for a well-managed and secure transition.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Switch to VoIP Phones for your Business

Switch to VoIP Phones for your business and reap the benefits of using a unified network for voice and data. Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) is basically technology that allows you to make and receive calls over data networks.

Instead of traditional phone services which channel analog signals such as the sound of your voice over copper wires, VoIP converts these sounds to digital form firstso that they can be sliced, diced, packaged, and routed over a digital network.

Because VoIP technology uses the same ideas behind data networking, and allows the use of the same networks used by computers, voice traffic can also be routed through the Internet as well. Suddenly you can now dramatically reduce the cost of voice communications, as well as achieve creative combinations of both services to create new applications for use.

With today’s advancements in technology, and the constant lowering of prices as technology achieves mass adoption, VoIP is now within easy reach for most businesseseven small ones. In fact, many have already made the switch to an all-VoIP infrastructure, using a combination of VoIP phones and VoIP communication systems.
Here are ten reasons why you may want to consider switching to VoIP for your phone and office communication systems:

  1. VoIP can allow you to dramatically reduce the cost of communications, especially for interstate or international communications, since everything can go through the Internet instead of having to go through expensive long distance toll charges.
  2. You can make and receive calls from multiple devicesfor instance, on a dedicated phone, your PC via a software-based phone, or even a mobile phone with VoIP capabilities.
  3. It’s easier to add extensions to your phone. You can provide a local number or extension for all your staff without additional costs or cabling.
  4. VoIP allows companies to maximize investments already made in their network infrastructure. The same network that handles the flow of data such web access and email can now accommodate voice as wellno need to add and maintain additional wires and devices.
  5. VoIP allows your employees to be more productive and efficient by giving them the ability to receive and make calls anywhere with a data connection.
  6. VoIP reduces the complexity associated with having to manage multiple networks and devices for communication. A company can potentially set up their office network so that each employee can use a single device such as a computer or a smart fixed or mobile phone to handle everything from email, chat, messages, faxes, and more.
  7. You can use VoIP as a tool for real-time collaboration along with video conferencing and screen sharing.
  8. You can potentially unify your communication channels, streamlining communications and information managementfor instance, marrying email with fax and voice in one inbox.
  9. You can employ presence technologies that come standard with VoIP phones and VoIP communication systems. This technology can tell colleagues about your presence or give you info on the status and whereabouts of your staff.
  10. You can employ intelligence into how your calls are handled, such as: providing automatic call routing based on the number, time of day, etc; providing an interactive voice response when a call comes in, such as voice prompts that guide callers; call reporting; and more.

VoIP is certainly a technology that has come of age. It’s cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to use. Interested? Contact us and we can help you make the switch to VoIP for your business today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

The Lighter Side: Happy Cookie Month!

  • cookiesThe most popular type of home-baked cookie is the Chocolate Chip cookie.
  • Over-mixing the dough or adding too much flour can result in hard, tough cookies.
  • The first animal crackers were produced in the United States by Stauffer’s Biscuit Company in 1871. Nabisco’s Barnum’s circus version hit the market in 1902.
  • The modern version of the Fig Newton was created in 1891 and is named for the city of Newton, Massachusetts.
  • The Oreo cookie was invented in 1912.
  • Ladyfingers are used in tiramisu because the cookies so readily absorb the sweet syrup and liqueur used to make the traditional Italian dessert.
  • While Italians use the word “biscotti” to refer to all types of cookies, Americans think of “biscotti” as the long, dry cookies that are served with hot drinks for dunking. The name is derived from “bis,” meaning twice, and “cotto,” meaning cooked. Baking the cookies twice results in their hard, crumbly texture.

On Demand Answers, Inspiration & Screaming Goats (And Some Funnies with Will Holmes)

lliam-jenniferTo answer your questions, Lliam & Jennifer began a weekly video series late last year and well—it’s been a phenomenal hit. By far one of the best videos was on the subject of How To Hit A 10X Bigger Goal Without Freaking Out. Contrary to popular belief, when you aim for a 10x bigger future, everything gets easier. Dan Sullivan, creator of the Strategic Coach® Program, explains why. If you are serious about hitting a 10x bigger goal or growing your business 10x, watch this powerful clip at: http://www.mis-solutions.com/free-stuff/video-tip-of-the-week/ (watch video from July 19, 2013).

To check out the latest tips or subscribe, go to www.mis-solutions/free-stuff/video-tip-of-the-week or send an email to Jennifer@mis-solutions.com. Feel free to share these videos with others on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media sites. And if you have questions, topics or other ideas you’d like to learn more about, email Jennifer@mis-solutions.com. We love to deliver content that YOU want, need or will just make you laugh out loud. Oh, and the screaming goat shenanigans—that’s all Will Holmes (mini-me Lliam) aka future President of the United States of America.