Friday, May 25, 2007

Help Others....Help Yourself

One of the greatest secret of success is helping others to succeed. Your chances on success increase exponentially when you help other people attain success. Someone once made an observation that has become a signature on my emails. He said “when a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package – and that package contains an unhappy person” Think about it for a moment: Have you ever known a genuinely happy self centered person? I doubt.

I once read a story about a man who was hiking in the mountains. He was taken by surprise in a sudden snow storm and quickly lost his way. He knew he needed to find shelter fast, or he would freeze to death. Despite all of his efforts, his hands and feet quickly went numb. In his wandering, he literally tripped over another man who was almost frozen. The hiker had to make a decision: Should he help the man or should he continue in hopes of saving himself?

In an instant, he made a decision and threw off his wet gloves. He knelt beside the man and began massaging his arms and legs. After the hiker had worked a few minutes, the man began to respond and was soon able to get on his feet. Together the two men, supporting each other, found help. The hiker was later informed that by helping another, he had helped himself. His numbness vanished while he was massaging the stranger’s arms and legs. His heightened activity had enhanced his circulation and brought warmth to his hands and feet. Isn’t it ironic that when he lost sight of himself and focused on solving another’s problem he solved his own problem?

Hakeem Olajunwon is the all pro centre for the Houston Rockets, the world’s champion of the National Basketball Association in 1994 and 1995. The year before they won their first championship against the New York Knicks, Hakeem realized that because he was a team leader, his responsibility was more pronounced than anyone else’s. He recognized that he had a weakness in his game, which was the fifteen-foot jump shot. Think about it. He earned a multimillion dollar income and had been all pro for six consecutive years. However, he felt that the team would never win a championship until he improved his shooting from fifteen feet

Before the 1993-94 seasons, he went to the gym everyday and practiced five hundred fifteen-foot jump shots. That’s an incredible test of building strength, endurance and improvement in performance. In 1994, when the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks in seven games, there was only one game with more than a five-point difference in the score. Replays revealed that had Hakeem not improved his shooting percentage from fifteen feet, the New York Knicks would have won instead of the Houston Rockets.

Here are some questions for you to think about: First, do you believe that Hakeem is popular with his teammates as a result of the extra efforts he made to help bring the championship to Houston? Second, do you believe Hakeem was thrilled to win the world championship ring? And third, do you understand why he got a significant raise when his contract was up for renewal?

It is true. You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. Hakeem helped his team mates, the owners and the fans gain that championship. He won big-time because he, too, was part of the championship team and as a matter of fact, was named the most valuable player for his tremendous efforts.

The fastest way to reach the mountain peaks of life is to forget about self and help other people reach greater heights.

See you at the top.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ideas - The Currency Of The Future

I recently read a story about Bill Gates, perhaps the richest man in the world that interested me. He was traveling through a particular airport and was asked by the custom officers if he had anything to declare. “Nothing, but a billion dollars worth of ideas” he declared. Interesting, isn’t it?

Take a moment and look around your environment. Everything you see from your laptop computer to Post-It Notes® started as an idea. The universe itself started as an idea in God’s mind. Even you were an idea at one time in your parent's minds. There is nothing you will see around that was not first an idea in the mind of someone.

The software in your two and a half pound brain spends twenty-four hours per day producing and processing ideas. When your brain is in sleep mode we call the idea production "dreaming." When you are awake and looking out the window, we call it "daydreaming." When you are awake and focused on a task we call it "thinking."

Enlightened managers now recognize that the assets of their employee's minds exceed the assets of their organization's bricks and mortar. When you take away all the assets of a company by any means and still leave its people, it will just take a while before that company springs up to life again. The people’s minds are the most valuable asset of any company that will succeed in this age and time.

The greatest problem faced by developing countries is not money problem. It is not power problem. It is an idea problem. Ideas are superior to money. They bring in money. Ideas are more powerful that the best currencies in the world. Infact, permit me to say that ideas are fast becoming the currency of the future. For example, exchange an idea with an associate at lunch. You both walk away with two ideas. If instead, you just exchanged one dollar bills at lunch, you'd both walk away with one dollar. Ideas rule the world.

Let me tell you a story I heard some years back. It is about a man by the name Asa Candler. Does the name sound familiar? I doubt. In 1889, he bought a formula and a 3 legged brass kettle containing a mixture of lime, cinnamon, cocoa leaves, and the seeds on a Brazilian shrub from a druggist, Dr John Pemberton. Together with an idea he had about marketing, he turned this formula into a money spinner. Today, the content of that kettle has grown to be the best known trademark in the world. It is sold in about one hundred and forty countries to 5.8 billion people in eighty different languages. It is today, one of the largest consumer of glass and a heavy consumer of sugar. You should be able to guess the product I am talking about by now. I am talking about Coca Cola. Indeed, ideas rule the world!

So, tell me why you won’t make it in life? Are you still sitting down there complaining about not having money or even the right connection? Do you have a great idea big enough to draw resources towards you? This is what really matter. Money will flow in the direction of good ideas. Ideas are like magnets. They attract money!

Be a magnet for ideas. Set aside 5 minutes each day, at the same time, and if possible in the same place, to think about new ideas. Ideas are the key to success and it only takes one to make you rich. By setting up a time and place to generate new ideas, it becomes one of your goals and by acting on it, it will happen. Just a few good ideas will set you apart from your competition and propel you towards your goals.

However, having ideas alone will not get you anywhere. You will need to work on your ideas. You will need to put them into action to get anything out of them."Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied." says Arnold Glasgow. Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference. The value of an idea lies in the using of it. A lot of people have great ideas, but nothing in the world is cheaper than a good idea with no action.

The real bankrupt is he whose expenditure of speech exceeds his income of ideas.

How big is your idea? Go act it out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Longitude And Attitude ?

A recent survey of consumers shows that customers frequently quit a business for the following reasons.

1 percent - die
3 percent - move away
5 percent - other friends
9 percent - competitive reasons
14 percent - product dissatisfaction
68 percent - indifferent attitude of employee

Sixty-eight percent of all lost business results from the indifferent, uncaring attitudes of employees toward customers. Developing and maintaining a positive attitude toward yourself, your customers and your job is the first step to developing excellent sales techniques.

The President of the Bank of America told the following story which took place some years ago.

The Los Angeles branch of the Bank of America is housed in multilevel building with a parking structure on its lower floors. The large sky scrapper housed many businesses. For many years, customers using the bank would not be charged for parking if they simply presented a ticket to the teller for validation with any transaction.

Over the years however, people began abusing the privilege by making small or insignificant transactions at the bank, then spending the rest of the day shopping at other businesses in the building. Due to frequent infractions by shrewd customers, the bank reluctantly discontinued the privilege of validating tickets for free and unlimited parking. Validated tickets will henceforth be charged at a discounted hourly rate.

One morning, an elderly man dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt waited his turn in a long line of customers. The line slowly inched its way forward, until he made his way to the next open teller’s booth. The man made a small deposit and presented his parking ticket for validation. The teller stamped his ticket and informed him that he’ll have to pay a small amount for the parking. “Why? You’ve never required this before.” The elderly customer replied. The teller, faced with a crowded bank full of impatient customers, snapped, “Well, that’s the new rule. I don’t make them. I just dish them out.” “But I’ve been a customer in the bank for many years” the man persisted. “The least you can do is to validate it like you used to.” “You heard me, Mister. You got a problem with that, see the manager. I have a lot of people waiting behind you. If you could move along, that would make this morning go a little easier.” The flannel shirted gentleman made his way to the end of the long line of waiting customers, and once again inched his way back towards the teller’s booths. When he finally arrived, he approached the first available teller, withdrew $4.2million and went across the street to deposit it in another bank.

The teller’s attitude cost the bank $4.2 million! Never underestimate the destruction that can be wrought by a poor attitude.

I will pay a man more for his attitude and his ability to get along with others than for any other skill he may possess.

Yesterday, I had an experience with a taxi driver. He picked me up in front of my hotel room to see a friend in what I’ll later find out to be the remote part of town. We agreed on a price (which in my opinion was already on the high side) and then we set off. We spent over 30 minutes trying to locate the place all to no avail. Network was bad there also, so I couldn't call. This guy kept turning, reversing and asking people for the place. There was not a single time in the trip when he complained! Not once. Even when I gave up and told him to head back to the hotel, he insisted we try one more time. That was when we were able to locate our destination. The guy opined that since it was already late, he’ll wait and pick me up if I didn’t mind. “Of course not” I told him. Throughout the time I was with him, he left a positive impression on me about having the right attitude. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if he went on and on complaining. I was already doing that! When he dropped me at the hotel, he asked me to please add some money on top of our previous arrangement. I paid him more than double what we agreed and still felt I had not paid him enough. I wasn’t paying for the ride. I was paying for his attitude!

Attitude can make or mar your business. As a manager or an entrepreneur, you need to be careful who works for you and with you. My advice is that you value attitude even more than skills. Your employees attitude is even more important that technology. John D. Rockfeller once said, “I will pay a man more for his attitude and his ability to get along with others than for any other skill he may possess”.

Attitude is a critical factor for success (personal and business) and the one we have the most control over. As Earl Nightingale once said, "Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us."

Go and win with the right attitude

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hard Life….The Substitute To Hardwork

It was another holiday in Nigeria yesterday. We marked Nigerian Workers Day. I guess it will be right to start by saying Happy Workers day to all Nigerian workers. Since the year began, we have had over 10 holidays in this country. Now, don’t think I hate holidays. I don’t. However, I think we’ve had one too many. The ratio of work days to holidays between Jan and April is approximately 8:1. It’s like having a holiday once every 2 weeks! For me, that is an invitation do disaster. It’s a reflection of the state of our economy. Our over-dependence on oil gives us liberty to declare public holidays at will. Whether people are at work or not, the oil wells are producing oil!

Consider that for a moment. If our economy is largely dependent on human capital and we loose so much of money when people don’t work, then we will realise the value of work. There is dignity in labour. Infact, the dignity of labour is the greatest of all dignities. One of the greatest problems facing our nation and our continent is that we have too many people who are not working. Some may even go to work but are still not working (visit some government secretariat and you will need no further proof). We are lazy people both in the use of our hands and of our minds. This is a tragedy!

Many people think that hardwork is a curse. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Hardwork is the only substitute to a hard life. Either your work hard or you live hard. The choice is yours. Golden opportunities are nothing to laziness but hardwork makes the commonest chance golden. Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top. Believe me.

The dictionary is the only place in the world where “success” comes before “work” just because of the alphabetical arrangements of things. Work always comes before success, anywhere in the world. Show me a lazy man and I will show you a man who has kissed success goodbye. A wise man puts it in a wonderful way “show me a man who is diligent in his work, I will show you a man who will stand before kings and not before ordinary men”. The diligent and hardworking hand will always bear rule.

Many believe that success is just being lucky. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Success comes by consistent hardwork. I like the way Alan Bond puts it. He said “I've always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got” If you believe so much in luck, it’s important to remember that hardwork increases your chances of being lucky. Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful women in the world puts it in a way that I like. She said “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work”.

In the words of Vince Lombardi “I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious”

In the school of success, there is no substitute to hardwork. Nobody becomes great without hardwork. Nobody! So, get ready to work. Everything works for him that works!

Stay on top!
You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!