I think this topic could require a dedicated daily blog – I am not that blogger.
However, associations are a major focus of my professional life and the main topic of my weekly blog. Associations (groups of people or companies with similar interests, similar professions or similar industries) are part of the backbone of America. In fact, throughout our country’s history, dating back to the colonists – Americans have been “joiners”. Americans want to come together to network, learn, get motivated and achieve results.
Well, OUR government – the one that our Founding Father’s designed to represent US – has proposed new rules to limit or even eliminate the ability of government employees to attend and participate in association events. In fact, trade associations are specifically excluded from a published list of types of organizations that can extend invitations to government employees.
The proposed rule states, “Trade associations may sponsor educational activities for their members and even the public, but the primary concern of such associations generally is not the education and development of members of a profession or discipline, which is the focus of the proposed exclusion.” In other words, OUR government doesn’t think the education provided at trade association events is beneficial to individuals but rather to companies or industries. I wonder if the government realizes the educational events produced by trade associations result in industry and product standards that protect the public. I wonder if the government realizes that these same educational events result in product innovation that keeps America on the cutting edge of technology.
The government is basically saying – So Americans – don’t join. Don’t come together to network, learn from each other, develop world class products, develop life saving standards, offer input, advice and counsel to your government. Together, your voice is too strong. Together you might actually influence the government to make decisions based on facts and fiscal realities – like businesses must. No America – you cannot do that anymore.
What would our Founding Father’s think of us now?
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As business and association leaders we all receive and send hundreds of emails daily. Including junk/spam and legitimate emails, I receive 300 emails daily on average. I send on average 50 emails daily. If it takes av average of 30 seconds for me to review and take action on emails I receive (obviously some take much more time and others take much less) then I spend two and one half hours daily reading and responding to emails. Holy cow! I’ve never done that math before. What an incredible waste of time.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know email has created efficiencies in my work day that have saved me plenty of time over the years. Rarely do I write letters anymore. I don’t make and receive as many phone calls as I used to – phone calls certainly take longer than emails. (Though I truly believe the personal touch of a phone call is better than an email for many situations – that’s for another blog)
One of my colleagues shared the following “Email Charter” with me. I am passing it on to you in the hopes we all may decide to adopt its principles and save each other time. You can find the charter here.
Let me know what you think.
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I recently read an article about how “high achievers” can overcome burnout. It assumed (and I happen to agree) that people who work at a fast pace and under significant stress (call them leaders) can sometimes tire from their work and if they don’t deal with the exhaustion properly, may become ineffective. A few of the author’s suggestions for overcoming burnout included:
1. Delegate more.
2. Take breaks between big projects.
3. Control your electronic devices (turn them off more often)
4. Socialize with people outside your work life.
I think these are all good suggestions. Not sure I can do all of them – especially turning off the devices – I find myself checking email on my phone at the strangest places sometimes; my daughter’s soccer games, while at stop lights, and even on the way out of church this morning.
Here are a few suggestions I have for overcoming burnout as well:
1. Find something you enjoy doing and do it often. I love to play golf and basketball. I try to hit balls on the driving range or play basketball instead of eating lunch a few times a week.
2. Do something physical. Most of us get burned out mentally but physically we haven’t even exercised our body. Go for a run or a bike ride. Lift weights. Do something to break a sweat.
3. Go home one night and force yourself not to even think about work. Find a good book (that has nothing to do with work) and read it.
4. Go for a long walk.
These are all things I like to do to overcome burnout. What are some of the things you do?
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One of the many common traits of great leaders is they have a vision for their business and it includes a succession plan for themselves. They are positioning their business to succeed without them.
Though many entrepreneurs are great leaders, some are not by nature – but they can be. To be great, however, entrepreneurs need to develop that exit strategy.
It can be the most difficult thing for an entrepreneur to do – after all their business is their baby. Many times they built it from merely an idea. They built it with hard work, perseverance and ability to get others to buy into THEIR vision. When an entrepreneur is able to exit their successful business and succeeds without them, I think that entrepreneur has been a great leader.
What do you think?
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My job requires me to travel a lot. I see many hotels all over the country. I am loyal to certain hotel brands.
What makes me loyal to those brands? It’s not the quality of the beds, its not the quality of their food or the size of their workout facilities.
Sure, those things can make a difference but if all else is equal, there is only one thing that makes me loyal to a hotel brand – the quality of the service I receive when I’m there. Frankly, it all starts at registration.
When I register at a hotel, if the person behind the desk smiles, is courteous and friendly and shows they are interested in making my stay enjoyable and comfortable, I am much more likely to return to that hotel or one of its sister properties. When they go that extra mile and ask probing questions to find out what my interests are and then offer suggestions to fulfill those interests, they create a customer for life.
Let me give you an example. The other day I checked in to a hotel late at night. My trip had been long and full of delays. I was exhausted and ready to unpack and relax before my meetings started early the next morning. I had to wait in line for several minutes before getting to the registration desk. When arriving at the desk, I pulled out my drivers license and credit card as I always do and told them my name. The registrar welcomed me to their hotel with a smile, looked me in the eye and called me by name. While checking me in, instead of ignoring me, the registrar conversed with me – mostly asking me questions about where I was from, what brought me to their hotel, how long I had been traveling and when my meetings started. After answering her questions, she quickly realized I hadn’t eaten all day and their restaurants were closed. She could have easily told me where the most local restaurant was and put me in a cab.
Instead, realizing I was very tired and had an early meeting, she offered to call in an order for me from a local restaurant and went to pick it up and deliver it to my room. Now, whenever I have the opportunity, I stay at that brand of hotels.
What makes you loyal to a brand?
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I have been thinking about the way people interact with each other. Not the ways in which they interact but HOW they interact – how people treat each other.
I am disappointed with the way we treat each other, in our business and our personal lives.
It seems to me every generation of people have become more and more selfish – while we should become more selfless. Don’t think so? Observe people for just a few minutes on the freeway, in the grocery store or even in your next meeting.
I think you will find cars in a hurry to beat you to the next red light; people willing to cut you off in the checkout line to save a few minutes; and people interrupting others in mid sentence and not caring to listen and really understand the thoughts and opinions of their peers.
It’s a sad state of affairs. I would like to offer these simple suggestions to help each of us be more selfless:
- Slow down (just a little).
- Next time you arrive at a stop sign or the grocery store checkout line at the same time as someone else, let them go first.
- Next time you’re in a meeting, listen to what your peers are saying and ask follow up questions so they (and everyone else) know you are interested and are really considering their thoughts and opinions.
Let me know what you think about this list and add to it. Let’s see if we can use this blog to create best practices for interacting with others.
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