Oct 17 2011


Welcome to the world’s first

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES of blog posts — 




 Does it make a big difference if I tell you 

to do something . . . or ask you to do it?

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Telling you what to do might work out fine in the military, or aboard a plane or boat, or operating heavy equipment . . . or if you’re a prisoner, a horse, or a Cocker Spaniel.

But, in business, unless you –the owner or manager– need to prompt cooperation with others to get a job done, the results you’ll trigger by giving directives cannot compare with the response you’ll get from making a request, which can be astonishing. And when was the last time you got great results from giving orders?

US President and General Dwight David Eisenhower taught his senior officers how to exercise leadership by pushing a tangle of string across a tabletop vs. taking one end and pulling it, which of course ended with the string in a straight line moving in a single direction, instead of a jumble going nowhere.

Yes, sincerity, genuineness, eye contact, backpats, your posture, tone of voice, and and smiles often make the difference. So does the reputation you carry for having integrity and authenticity — perhaps the two most important qualities an entrepreneur can have on the road to success.

And, interestingly, integrity and authenticity are ever too late to cultivate.

Well, okay, you know all that, but how far must you go with the “please” and “thank you” routine? Truth? You’ll never go far enough, and if it’s actually become “routine,” go back to your cave.

Here are a few treasured learnings I can share:

  • Even when we think we know, little do we ever really know about what life circumstances will bring, and where we’ll end up with our businesses in the years ahead.

  • I have seen discounted, dismissed, dissed and insulted employees turn up years later being the bosses of those who once humiliated and looked down on them.

  • I have seen long-term top customers walk away from businesses in an instant after learning about relatives (a son, in one case) who worked for the provider business, unbeknownst to the boss, who were routinely berated, chastised, scolded, yelled at and wrongly blamed for screw-ups.

  • I have personally watched businesses run by owners who were rude, constantly preoccupied, always angry, and routinely barking out orders . . . go down and under.

Do you –like the carpenter and heart surgeon– make a practice of measuring twice and cutting once? Do you think twice before speaking once?


you can delegate authority,

but you cannot delegate


Responsibility is yours alone.

When you ask peopleto get things done, asking nicely is not manipulation, it’s respect. Use words that inspire and that demonstrate your passion for your business: opportunity, challenge, reward, investment, courage, pride, workmanship, spirit, spunk, gumption (add your own) . . . the right words make your passion contagious.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0911

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Feb 21 2010

Lessons From Construction Guys

“Spread out the tools,

then go for donuts!”


No, those eight words are not part of what construction guys can teach to small business owners. In fact, those eight words may account for the building industry employment transience we so often hear about.

No, I’m talking about seven (7) magic words!

Did you ever have a house built? (No not those seven words.) If you’ve ever had a house built and asked something dumb like “Gee, when do you guys put in the main water pipe and wire connections?” (“Oh yeah! Plumbing and electric? No problem; we can run those lines after the house is done; we’ll dig the yard up again and re-cement the concrete foundation we’ll have to break, along with maybe a wall or two, but don’t worry!”)

Did you ever have an addition put on your house? (“Uh, what cough, cough, dust is that, cough, cough, that you didn’t expect? I, cough, cough, don’t see any dust!”) Was your builder marching to his own drummer? (“Duh, what blueprints?”) Odds are the lesson you learned was to never do it again, right?

Well, let me tell you that there are two great lessons to be learned from construction guys that can make a life or death difference for small business owners. One, which comes from such an unlikely pair of experts as a carpenter and a heart surgeon — but which probably started with the carpenter since carpenters have been around a lot longer than heart surgeons:

Measure twice. Cut once.

This little 4-word gem of a mantra is the unspoken guideline for many successful small businesses. It’s one way of making sure there’s minimal or no waste of time, money or effort. It’s also expressed as “getting it done right the first time” (or “haste makes waste” as Granny used to say).

It’s the idea that we can actually help ensure maximum productivity with minimum expenses and liabilities. It’s all about making sure there are no rocks under the water we’re diving into. This little piece of reassurance can have untold value and appeal to a small business owner’s wallet and sense of well-being.

And what are the other three words of wisdom?

Chunk it up!

Whether you’re overwhelmed with a ten mile-long “to-do” list or a project with altogether too many parts, or you’re looking for a value-added way to entice customers by offering them a staggered payment plan, construction guys score again!

They don’t kill their customers with the whole monster total price to pay at once, they charge you what? One third up front (to cover the costs of materials), one-third half-way through the job (to cover salaries), and one-third on completion with satisfaction (to cover profits).

If they only get the first third up front, they’ll never wind up on the short end of a parts/supplies bill. If they get the second third halfway, they can only not make a profit, but will have paid for all materials and labor and put money through their bank. This approach works for nearly all business services and most large ticket item products.

The customer is happy to not commit all their money at once and will prefer a pay-as-you-go option to keep more control on the work that’s booked. 7 words: Measure Twice. Cut Once. Chunk it up!

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302.933.0116 Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US

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

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

One response so far


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