Monday, 30 July 2012

20 Favorite Quotes from Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012)

The man is gone, but we still have his wisdom.

Back in 1989, I guess I was one of the first of the millions of people who bought and read Stephen Covey's classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As I began reading, my first thought was: Only seven?

But I discovered that he was really writing about the full range of personal strengths. He wrote to help people grow stronger as human beings. And he did it so well that even managers and employers purchased the book for their employees, and the book became an all-time best-seller. Probably it will never, ever be out of print.

The most thorough student of personal development who ever lived, what he wrote always rang true, because it was true. And he shared his wisdom in a way that made it stick in the mind, so today as I browse through my collection of favorite Stephen Covey quotes, I see that I have over 40. Here are my top favorites.

Covey on self-development...

“Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.”

“If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control - myself.

“To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”

"We are limited but we can push back the borders of our limitations."

If you've read any of his books, you know that what he was trying to do was to help people get their act together - so they'd be able to work on the important things first and get them done. But in doing that, he had a lot to say about character, values and the principled life, because you have to be strong as a person to do the hard things involved in achievement.

Covey on character...

"Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character."

“Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”

Covey on accountability...

"It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly out of one's heart rather than out of pity. A person must possess himself and have a deep sense of security in fundamental principles and values in order to genuinely apologize."

"Accountability breeds response-ability."

“We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.

“You can't talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into!”

“My behavior is a product of my own conscious choices based on principles, rather than a product of my conditions, based on feelings.

More favorites...

COMPASSION - “How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.”

CREATIVITY - "Live out of your imagination, not your history."

DECISIVENESS - "We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice."

FOCUS - “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

OPEN-MINDEDNESS - "Seek first to understand and then to be understood."

PASSION - “Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.”

PROACTIVITY - “Start with the end in mind.”

SELF-DISCIPLINE - "It's easy to say 'no!' when there's a deeper 'yes!' burning inside."

TRUST - “Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

VISION - “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Do they ring true? Pass them along to the people you care about... 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

"Sales Training vs Customer Service"

"The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers!"
Shiv Singh

Since I have been in the retail industry for quite a long time, I have observed that most organizations focus on "Sales Training Workshops" as in how to increase sales but very few request a training for "Improving Customer Service". guess all of us agree increasing sales will keep all of us happy and in business that's the bottom line, right...

However, what if we change our thinking to...  

Providing Great Customer Service in the first place ? 

People still haven't realized is that in order to make 'Sales', you have to provide 'Great Service.' - Preventive action saves time and creates a great company practice.

In sales training people talk about different ways of handling customer objections and using tactics to make a sale, whereas in customer service training you'll talk about focusing, listening to customers and determining what you should offer according or based on their needs. There's a slight difference between the two. One is about pushing the customer to  "BUY" while the other is about building a relationship based on trust and the right information. Sales is a short term numbers game, whereas customer satisfaction is a long term game.

Why not combine "Sales Training & Customer Service" training and make it compulsory for all front-line associates of the organization to go through this training on a regular basis. 

 "People expect good service but few are willing to give it."
Robert Gateley

Do you know of organizations who deliver Customer Satisfaction...? 

Monday, 23 July 2012

“The Ant and the Grasshopper”

Let me tell you an interesting story I came across, which got me Thinking...
There was the Grasshopper, the Ant, and other insects. It was the summertime and the Grasshopper was always being lazy, idle, and playful with his time. The weather was pleasant and he felt he should enjoy it, so he chose to be lazy and not work. But each time he saw another insect they weren’t being lazy, they were working. When he saw the Ant she was carrying food for the winter. He saw the Bee and he had yellow pollen all over his feet from toiling in flower nectar. He saw the Spider and she was threading her web. The Grasshopper was surprised that they were working while the weather was so beautiful. So he told them, “What are you doing? It’s summertime! Put down the work and have fun!” But they all said, “No, no, Grasshopper. We need to work and gather food for the winter! And you need to be gathering food for the winter too!” But the Grasshopper kept playing and never took heed to their advice.
And then the inevitable happened; winter came.
The snow piled and the wind blew and the Grasshopper was left hungry in the frigid cold. He was so cold and hungry that he asked the Ant for shelter and food. The Ant was appalled at the Grasshopper knowing that he spent his summer days in laziness and didn’t heed their advice to work. So the Ant told him:

“If you play all summer, you’ll go hungry all winter”

Summer represents the times that things are easier and winter represents when things are more difficult. Each of these is only a temporary season that comes and goes during our lives. Summer doesn’t last forever and winter is inevitable. When things are easier for us that is the best moment to prepare for the moments they will not be.  Therefore, the best time to ease our sickness (winter) is by preparing ourselves when we are more healthy (summer); the best time to prepare ourselves for difficult financial times (winter) is by saving money when we do have money (summer). The perfect time to gather what we need is during the time we don’t need it.
The Grasshopper didn’t bother gathering his food during the summer. Consequence: when the winter came, he had nothing to eat and was very cold. Why did he end up like that? He spent his days of vitality – when he had the most time and conditions were most comfortable – to indulge in laziness.  We should learn from him, but we should not be like him. Instead, we need to follow the model of the other insects. How so?

Invest our time in accumulating resources of value.

If we do that, the winters won’t feel as cold and hunger won’t trouble as much or at all. As the summer draws to a close, we are reminded that comfortableness is temporary and difficulties are inevitable. I challenge you to reflect upon your last 90 days and think about yourself in terms of your activity. 
Have you been the Grasshopper or the Ant...?

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Key to Leadership

The Key to Leadership
By: Brian Tracy

The Foremost of the Values
Winston Churchill once said, "Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it all others depend." The systematic development of the deep down quality of unflinching courage is one of the fundamental requirements for leadership in any field. Fear, or the lack of courage is more responsible for failure in management, and in life, than any other factor. It is always fear that causes people to hold back, to sell themselves short, to settle for far less than they are capable of!

Eliminate Fear and Doubt
I firmly believe that you can do, have or be far more than you now know if only you could eliminate the fear, doubts and misgivings that consciously and unconsciously interfere with your realizing your full potential.

Unlearn Your Fears
If there is anything positive about fear, it is that all fears are learned, that no one is born with fears, and that having been learned, they can be unlearned. If you want to understand the role of fear in shaping the course of your life, just ask yourself, if you had a magic wand that would absolutely guarantee you success in any one thing you attempted, what goal would you set for yourself.
The Great Question
"What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?" If you had no fears at all with regard to money or the criticism of others, what would you do differently? Most people can think of all kinds of changes they would, or could, make in their lives if they had no fears to hold them back.

The Origins of Fear
The development of courage begins with understanding the psychological origins of fear. The newborn child has only two fears; the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears that we experience as adults are learned as we are growing up, primarily as the result of well-meaning but destructive criticism from our parents.

How Fears Develop
When the curious child gets into things and makes a mess, the parent scolds and punishes the child, eventually building up a pattern of fear connected with trying or getting into anything new or different. As adults, we experience this as the fear of failure, the fear of risking, of making a mistake, of losing.

Action Exercises
Here are two steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, imagine that you had no fears at all. What would you set as a goal for yourself if you were guaranteed of success?

Second, decide exactly what you want and then act as if it were impossible to fail. You may be surprised at how successful you are.
What do you say - have you overcome any sort of FEAR.. & HOW?...