Aug 28 2010


Sounds like a plan . . .


There’s something in your mind that you

want to go after and try to make happen?


You’ve been dreaming about it for, it seems, forever. You’ve been careful about not telling too many others, but those you do mention it to give you the same 3-way response: a “that’s nice” smile, an agreeable nod of the head, and a pointed effort to steer the conversation in a different direction. They humor you. They don’t get it.

If you’re in big business or government work, those responses are enough to douse your fire. You get second and third thoughts and then back away and abandon your idea. You’re too invested in your own job security to dabble with ideas that will preoccupy your mind and lead you too far astray from your 401k and pension plan payoffs when you retire in twenty years.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t much care what anybody says, nor with whether they “get it” or not. You’re going to make your idea work regardless of the odds, the opinions, the financial insecurities associated with developing things to a startup stage, and beyond. Retirement and payoffs –even profits from sales– are the farthest thing from your mind.

The corporate executives and government administrators measure their innovative thinking in terms of whether the ideas they come up with fit into the grand scheme of long-term and strategic plans that blanket the organizations they serve. Entrepreneurs innovate without plans. Entrepreneurs have goals. They seek only the “end-result” of making their ideas work.

The odds for reaching a destination point are dramatically increased when goal-setting meets certain requirements and, once acknowledged, the focus is on each step that leads to the goal —- instead of on the goal itself.


For goals to be meaningful, they must satisfy all four of these criteria:

 they must be realistic, specific, flexible, and have a due date.


Many people give up on goal-setting because they don’t want to feel like failures if a goal is not achieved. If it’s flexible, that won’t happen. Flexible goals can be redefined and be given new dimensions and new due dates. A goal in concrete is not a goal; it’s just a pile of concrete. Those fear-of-failure folks also need to be reminded that fear is a behavior, and behavior . . . is a choice! 

Those who think they have goals, but don’t adhere to all four criteria, have only wishes. And wishes only work for Disney characters!

Reality dictates that what “Sounds like a plan” rarely ever is, and what trys to pose as a goal without being specific, realistic, flexible and due-dated is simply a self-absorbing waste of time and energy, and often of money. Reality calls for disciplined action backed by burning desire. Reality is the stuff entrepreneurs are made of.

Entrepreneurs, some would argue, don’t plan; they just act. This is often true when it comes to describing the ways entrepreneurs appear to function in their business activities, but when it comes to getting started, and their daily pursuits, those who are most successful will inevitably point to having and constantly adjusting genuine goals to make their ideas work! Sounds like a plan, eh?  



Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Aug 08 2010




and Tire-Kickers


Do Not Make For Productivity 


FAR beyond the vast sea of incompetency that floats the government boat, and WAY past the time-wasting frivolity of corporate giant muckity-mucks, America’s 30 million small business owners–together with countless millions of managers and sales professionals–live with the day-to-day reality that TIME is money!


Time (yes, it’s worth repeating) is money!

Why the big lead-in? Because time is not money for the politicians who pretend to be running the business of managing the country (unless it’s electiontime!). And because big business CEOs, CFOs, CITs, CMOs, COOs, and all the other Cs out there are preoccupied with how to justify their 9-5 existences, instead of how to make the most of all available time — including nights and weekends! 

Now that that’s settled, lets’ move to those who invest themselves in wasting other people’s time. Retailers are used to them and happily accommodate them because the tire-kickers and window-shoppers will almost certainly return some time to make an actual purchase if their non-purchase trip is a rewarding enough, pleasant experience.

BUT B to B services can die long, slow, painful deaths by dealing for too prolonged a time with this mentality.

In other words, customer service begins at the front door of a retail business and it really doesn’t matter if the individual coming in, is there to ask for driving directions or is going to be walking out  with a $1,000 purchase. “Kill ’em with kindness and bend-over-backwards service” is the rule.

When you’re selling services to other businesses, however, customer service begins AFTER the sale is made, so the qualifying-of-the-prospect need is to be courteous and expedient. Prospects need to be qualified and then dealt with accordingly. To let someone who sends an email inquiry or who calls in a telephone request for a customized proposal (a particularly common occurrence in consulting) — especially when fees and rates are asked for — jerk you around for an hour or two is a bit masochistic on your part.

People who pull this stunt are usually looking for free . . . free ideas, free outlines, free plans, free approaches, free advice, free services. Many of them will call half a dozen sources and combine responses to set a budget for themselves and use the input for criteria in setting the stage for another competitor to do the job. 


Giving away what you make a living 

 at does not make for productivity

under any circumstances . . . .

except perhaps for charity

— when it’s affordable.


The solution is to quickly qualify prospects to determine the seriousness of their intents by promptly informing them that you will be happy to do as requested the minute you can get an advance of $500 or $1000 to cover your costs, and that that amount will be credited against any work you end up doing for them.  

Your job is to make sure the “inquiring minds that want to know” are serious and committed to doing what they claim to be interested in doing, and that they’re willing to pay for your time to help them figure out how to get started. Without this, you’ll end up with enough ankle bites to drop an elephant (which, in case you never noticed, have really fat ankles!)

And it’s hard for business owners and managers

  and sales pros with bitten ankles to run full speed.


 # # # or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

God Bless America and Our Troops.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Feb 02 2010

Your Business’s Psychological Health

Is Your Business


A Headcase?


The word therapy may sound ominous to the business mind. It evokes the specter of illness, or worse, of craziness. That should not be. Therapy is part of education. Therapy teaches us through personal experience about who we are and how we became that way. Therapy teaches us how personal responsibility plays a role in who we are. Therapy teaches us how we relate to others and how important other people are in the conduct of our lives. And therapy helps us claim our freedom and take charge of our lives. These are all elements of growing up and getting a complete education.”

–Dr. Peter Koestenbaum, in his groundbreaking book of 1987: The HEART OF BUSINESS

     If this seems like a strange and out-of-place subject for you, let me assure you that it is extremely relevant. Why? Because every business –like every human– has problems to solve that have been created and nurtured internally. And, more often than not, a great many of these are denied and consciously or inadvertently glossed over by the boss.

     If you were to distill down all my years of diverse career experiences into one defining function, it would be that I have been a reality therapist to businesses. Powerful corporate executives, entrepreneurs, sales and healthcare professionals alike have called me in the middle of the night, reduced to tears. They have called on the verge of lighting fuses to blow up their businesses.

     I’ve seen business temper tantrums where filled file folders, office equipment, and even scalpels were flung in rage across offices and into doors. Because businesses that needed therapy, that were being run by owners and managers who refuted the need for it, had no place else to bury upsets but inside the troubled stressed-out minds of their leaders.

     Every person and every business, I believe, can benefit by some degree of professional therapy engagement at some point, perhaps continuously, in their lives. Therapy need not be as threatening or embarrassing as Hollywood would have us believe, nor as intimidating as the naysayers around us claim.

     The truth is therapy can be extremely enlightening, masterfully empowering, and a magnet for improved mental, physical, and emotional good health — the secret keys to increased sales!                  

     It may be useful to pause here and be reminded that the feelings of being threatened, embarrassed, and intimidated –like those feelings of enlightenment, empowerment, and improved health — are all behaviors and all behaviors are choices. Why choose negative over positive? Because of some fear? If the fear is not genuine, realistic, and physical, it is imagined; it is fantasy; it is also a choice!

     Many businesses fail because the leaders operate under a self-fulfilling prophecy that a business is beyond repair and nothing can be done to save it. The economy. The bank. The landlord. Lousy sales. Lazy employees. Products or services without real benefits or competitive advantages. No future. Poor track-record. They fail.

     The fix? Hire an informed, experienced, fresh, outside perspective to shrink out your business and coach your leaders.

     Savvy business owners and managers recognize that the business needs to be considered a living, breathing organism, and treated as if it were a separate individual entity apart from the paperwork, computer files, and physical workspace.

     In this context, business therapy can be a healthy and productive intervention capable of turning problems into opportunities. The distance from survive to thrive is measured in receptive leadership that’s willing to explore and innovate.


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

2 responses so far

May 09 2009

The 5 W’s Breed Problems. HOW? Solves Them.

Forget The 5 W’s!

     Asking and answering: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? is the stuff that reporters and PR people feed on…it’s the cornerstone of a weak corporate management mentality, and of (even weaker) government managers and directors.

     Constant attention to answering these five questions makes for useless, time-wasting pursuit for business owners, managers and entrepreneurs. Any entrepreneur worth her or his salt will typically respond “So What!” to those who exert themselves trying to provide the answers to them.

     Asking associates, employees, customers and vendors to give you the answers to Who? What? When? Where? and Why? is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to uncover the person and circumstances to place blame on when something doesn’t go right…usually as a way to cover one’s own butt! 

     And besides the fact that absolutely no one cares except those engaged in the game, it’s a complete waste of time, money and energy (and I’ll be happy to prove it; send me an email with your phone number and I’ll spell out the details in a 3-minute call!), it’s also the wrong attitude if you’re serious about growing your business.

It’s one of the most basic differences between entrepreneurial and corporate on-the-job actions, and between entrepreneurial and corporate off-the-job lifestyles.


     Which of these behavioral choices (dogged pursuit of answers to the 5 W’s, OR overlooking the 5 W’s to concentrate on the HOW?) do you think is most productive for the business? For living life? For the personal and professional growth and development of the people involved?

[If you’re not with me here,you’re a 9 to 5 guy and should just stay there, and must have gotten to this blog by mistake, and you should probably “X” out now and go get your rocks off by visiting Facebook or Disney or ESPN or something not so threatening to your mindset.]

     Is PLACING BLAME the answer in your organization? Does it seem to be an S.O.P goal? Maybe it’s time to hit the road and find a place that respects your efforts? Many of the world’s most successful and fastest-growing organizations actually REWARD what most corporate executives would certainly regard as “FAILURE.”

     Not succeeding at reaching a legitimate goal is not failure. It is instead a positive step in the direction of achieving success because it eliminates one pathway that doesn’t take you to where you want to go. So it serves to narrow down your pursuits more meaningfully.

     Still doubtful? Think about the answers you get from any human on Earth when you ask the question “WHY?” Go ahead; think about it! You get excuses, right? “WHY?” is a breeding ground for excuses.

     Try instead asking “HOW?” as in “HOW” can we perform this task more effectively next time (vs. “Why did this happen?”). HOW? “What three steps can you recommend to prevent this problem in the future?” will provide much more actionable information than a long, time-wasting autopsy which will only show what happened and who did what to whom. 

# # #

Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

3 responses so far

Nov 17 2008


This isn’t the movies and


you’re not in Hollywood! 


     What?  You thought you would be finding more hard core “sales-and-business” stuff here?  Well, working on your authenticity is the most genuine and arguably most important sales-and-business stuff you could ever set your sights on. 

     Businesses (and salespeople) succeed or fail based on how authentically they come across to their internal and external markets. 

     What your employees and suppliers think –for example– of the approaches you take to managing your business, or piece of the business you’re charged with, will positively impact your reputation, sales, and of course customer relations, even R&D projects!

     So, don’t be bashful; let’s take a little inventory.  How much of every day do you waste time and energy “playing the boss role” (making power plays, flexing your internal politics muscle, acting controlling, acting like a know-it-all, exaggerating your accomplishments, glossing over your errors) instead of just “being” the leader? 

     How much, in other words, do you try to influence others by attempting to impress them vs. simply gaining their respect by relating to them at their individual levels? 

     This isn’t the movies and you’re not in Hollywood. 

     Regardless of their stations in life, everyone in your daily path brings a certain energy to bear on each issue.  I grew up in an obscure, dilapidated, 3-room, third floor walk-up apartment next to the railroad tracks in one of America’s richest communities. 

     And if that sounds paradoxical, consider that my father was a mailman, whose advice was sought after daily by mayors, police chiefs, doctors, and Congressmen.  He was confided in by top “Fortune 500” corporate executives, and trusted by well-known authors, columnists, and artists. 

     He was a “closet confidant” to many big-name radio and TV personalities who lived in our low-profile, waterfront village north of New York City.

     How was this possible?  Harry escaped the ravages of genocide and came to America as a six year-old waif with a handful of rice.  He had no formal education, but he considered every encounter everyday as genuine and meaningful. 

     Harry listened carefully, spoke and laughed and cried from his heart, and never pretended to be someone he wasn’t.  He was quick to admit he didn’t have all the answers.  He was a character, all right.  He was the Norman Rockwell style personification of humility.

     He would have been a smash success at any business venture, but he liked who he was, he liked what he did, and he respected his “customers.”  In spite of his faults, and too much whiskey, he was nonetheless a success at being himself!  And he made sure his two sons grew up to appreciate the values of authenticity.

     In my thirty years of business coaching, consulting, and training, I can attest to this single quality as that which separates successful people and businesses from the wannabees, hasbeens and alsorans: authenticity.  It needn’t be perfect; but it does need to be vigilently practiced and consistently pursued.  How’s yours?  Halalpiar  

 # # #

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