Friday, August 31, 2012

WOW or "Wow-Effect"?

"It is generally agreed that "Hello" is an appropriate greeting because if you entered a room and said "Goodbye," it could confuse a lot of people." ~ Dolph Sharp, Author
There is a difference in a real "WOW" and just the wow-effect.
While it may be tempting to quickly tell a client or customer "sure, we can do that" because you want to get the business, or to say "I am not sure if we can do that" because you want to surprise the client or customer when you do get "that" done, are you really being a person who WOWs, or a person of woes who is going for the wow-effect?
Those who WOW go above and beyond, surely, and it is done to care for a client or customer, patient or another person. Wanting to wow is terrific, ensuring a wow by setting something up without an appropriate expectation (what I call the "wow-effect") is setting you, and your clients/customers/patients up for woes eventually.
Appropriately promise and appropriately deliver (Instead of under-promise and over-deliver, also know as "sandbagging" or over-promise and under-deliver, AKA "here comes the excuse") so that your WOW moments come in things that are truly special extras, and not just based on timing that you manipulated or inflated in order to have the wow-effect!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Character Creates Community

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." - Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
While your house can become your home with your personal touches, your surrounding area can be more than just a development or can really become an extension of you, it can become your community.
Community is a word often used for an geographical area, and not so commonly felt by the people who live near one other yet share no common purpose or drive.
So how does one become part of a community? Here are my ideas on sharing your character, taking action, and really generating the sense, the feel, and the belonging of COMMUNITY:
C - Care with compassion. O - Offer time, opinion, input. M - Mentor someone else. M - Meet your own goals. U - Understand the strengths of the area. N - Now is the time for you to decide if you want to be a real part of the community. I - Invest in your area...personally and/or professionally. T - Tell the story of the community each chance you get. Y - You'll benefit too, and yet it won't even be about you!
When you care, offer time, mentor others, meet your goals, understand the strengths, know that now is the time, invest in the area, tell the community story, and see the benefits to you, it will be a labor of love for your community...a real flexing of your character muscles!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recommendation Letter Considerations

"One should not confuse the craving for life with endorsement of it." - Elias Canetti, Swiss Author (1905-1994)
Since I have applied for organizations and an appointment recently that required letters of recommendation, and having been asked for letters of recommendation half a dozen times in the recent months, it seems timely to "talk" about considerations for such letters. If you are seeking something...a job, admission into school, membership, etc., you know the most about the opportunity, and about you, so please consider the following guidelines for seeking and/or providing a letter of recommendation:
1) Ask more people than required (some people will not respond or participate).
2) Plan ahead with dates and times as requests, so that you can also send kind reminders without a panic.
3) Write a draft of the letter yourself if you are the seeker. (Yes, you write it, as you do not want to impose a huge time request on the person you are asking, and you know the two to four highlights you want to cover for the particular position/opportunity you are seeking.) If someone asks you, reply back to the person by asking that person seeking the letter to draft a letter first.
4) Start the letter with anything other than "I". Beginning with "Having had the pleasure of working with So-and-So" since...". or "So-and-So is someone who demonstrates..." is a positive, powerful way to begin!
5) Address the letter to the reader "To the Board of XYZ", or "To the XYZ Selection Committee" versus "To Whom it May Concern".
6) Provide more than one paragraph...and no more than four.
7) Change the letter to your liking once you receive it as the person being sought for a recommendation. Apologize for nothing you change, as to be sincere and keep your integrity, you want the letter to reflect what you feel/think. The seeker writing the draft is just an outline for you. Ultimately, it is your word, name and endorsement that is being recorded.
8) Proof the final product for dates, spelling and overall validity.
9) Ensure the letter is on letterhead and signed (even if scanned and emailed versus mailed).
10) If you are the seeker, if possible, plan to mail the hard copy yourself to ensure you know what product is going in, and that it is completed.
By allowing time and energy to spent on the letter of recommendation that you are seeking, you are likely going to get appreciative and eager supporters sharing in your journey instead of quick notes or the reply "I'd love to, but I just don't have time", or worse yet, something you are not proud to submit. Additionally, for the recommending party, you have made the effort minimal, and the participation and results will be maximized!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Appreciation Options

"Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune." ~ Sam Walton, American Businessman and Wal-Mart Founder
Today is the 223rd day of 2012, and for each day this year, I have shared a note of gratitude through my "Attitude of Appreciation 366" personal project whereby I send a handwritten note to someone (or multiple someones) every day including Sunday for an entire calendar year. This has been a great experiment in my attention to others, and a great experience in the personal rewards gotten from feeling good about others. I share this with you not so you can feel bad about not sending note cards or tell me how many you have sent, rather this is one approach to appropriately appreciating others. Appreciation can come in the form of verbal, written or what I call "carry forward appreciation".
Verbal appreciation is well given and typically well received if you state something like "NAME, you are ____________". This way, the message is not "I think you are ____________", and it makes it more about the other person than you (and isn't that where you'd ultimately like the focus to be?).
Written appreciation can be in an email, note, card, or document to a team. The same approach of using the person's name, sharing something s/he did that was impressive, kind, or otherwise, will go a long way. Make every effort to respond to someone within 24 hours and minimally within a week following something you'd like to ensure the person knows you appreciate.
Carry-forward appreciation is the referral or the complimenting of a person to another person whether the subject of your appreciation is present or not. Carry-forward appreciation is much like "spreading a good rumor" as it is fun to do, and impacts both the person hearing you and the person about which you are speaking. Telling someone "NAME, you may already have a physician, and if you are looking for someone for a second-opinion, who is highly qualified, won't keep you waiting, and has tremendous interest in patient's well-being, you may want to consider Dr. XYZ, as s/he has been all those things and more to me."
Whatever style fits for you, please do show appreciation often. When done sincerely, it is the no-cost way to increase the value of your relationships. Expect nothing in return, and likely your appreciation will offer a lot more than just the words to the recipient, and will still bring so much back to you as well!