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Monday the 29th Thoughts For The Week – SALES 101 ONLY!!!

Posted on June 28, 2015 under Sales 101, Thoughts for the Week.

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Check The Link Below And Then Ask Yourself These Questions Daily – Without Fail!!!

And then, based upon your answers  –  TAKE ACTION!

 

http://lnkd.in/dc2MKQm

Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802

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Thoughts For The Week – Be Memorable!

Posted on June 22, 2015 under Thoughts for the Week.

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Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802

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Things I’ll Teach My First Kid Or, 14 Reasons Why I Suck

Posted on June 17, 2015 under Life 101.

I really wish I was insightful enough to have written this, but credit needs to go to Evan Porter; please take the time to read – trust me, it’s worth it .

When I found out, I was holding a six-pack of beer.

“I’m pregnant,” she said. Words I knew would be coming one day soon, but not this soon. I always pictured hearing them on a sunny front porch, wind gently rocking a wooden swing back and forth. Or something like that. And there’d be music. Something upbeat and hopeful like what plays before the final credits of a Zach Braff movie.

I never thought I’d hear those words standing in the doorway of our dark, half-packed apartment, weary from a long day. My wife, Sarah, eyes puffy and mascara-soaked from her own shitty day, and then again from crying tears of joy, holding not one, but two pregnancy tests as proof.

My first thought was that we were about to miss our fantasy football draft.

My second thought was to open a beer.

My third thought was, “I can’t believe those were my first two thoughts.”

It takes a moment like that to realize how woefully unprepared you are to be responsible for another human being. How terrifying it all is. And I’m not talking about waking up in the middle of the night to sooth a crying baby. I’m not talking about changing a dirty diaper or saying goodbye to your “raucous” social life (Sarah and I watch, on average, ten thousand hours of TV every night; so, that shipped sailed a while ago).

I’m talking about when your child learns to talk and what you say to him or her actually matters. When you have to start really thinking about how you want to raise them. What you’ll tell them when they get picked on at school. What you’ll say when they take a philosophical stand against the concept of homework.

It makes you question your values. Or wonder if you even have values to question.

And this line of thinking has led me to believe that I am already a terrible father. Because when I think about the things I want to instill in our first child, I realize that I embody exactly none of them.

But here they are, anyway:

I’ll say, listen, kid, not everyone has to like you. Speak your mind when you know you’re right. Tell friends the truth even when they don’t want to hear it. Don’t just nod and “see both sides” and give pity laughs to people who make bad jokes.

I’ll say, work hard in school. Not so you can make money and not for the bragging rights, but because if you don’t, one day you’ll look back and wish you’d made yourself proud.

I’ll say, clean your room. I’ll say, you see this 6-inch pile of dirty clothes next to my bed? It makes me feel horrible every time I look at it. You’d be surprised how accomplished seeing your bedroom floor can make you feel.

I’ll say, always finish what you started. There’s a reason I can only teach you to be “pretty good”, and not great, at guitar, or photography, or card tricks, or any number of things I picked up and abandoned. If you have a talent for something, don’t ever waste it.

I’ll say, don’t wait so long to get comfortable in your own skin. Phases are great and all when you’re a teenager, but there’s a fine line between exploring things and getting caught up in fads. Don’t ever feel like you need to fit into a mold or a category to be accepted.

I’ll say, take care of your body, because you only get one. Floss every day. And don’t drink so much soda and Red Bull. You can’t ever undo the cavities they’ll give you.

I’ll say, force yourself to experience new things. I know that people who studied abroad in college are obnoxious, but I don’t care; you should do it. Because when they’re yammering on about their summer in Madrid, you’ll roll your eyes but you’ll really just be jealous that you spent your summer watching TV.

I’ll say, don’t get so uncomfortable around homeless people. They’re not going to rob you. Be better than that. Treat them with respect. Buy them a sandwich if you can. And give to charity as often as possible. You’ll always have a few bucks to spare.

I’ll say, pay attention to the news. And politics. Don’t spend all your time on social media and TV and movies and sports. Devote your attention to things that actually matter. Be informed and well read. Don’t ever be forced to stealthily object from conversations about current events.

I’ll say, be ruthless. Don’t go with the flow. Find something you want and put in the work to become exceptional. So many people dream big, but they’re afraid to sit down and do the work. Don’t be one of them.

I’ll say, don’t text and drive. Seriously. There’s nothing that can’t wait. I mean it.

I’ll say, put your family first, above everything. When they need you, be there. Don’t ask questions. Don’t let being tired from work become an excuse. They’re all you have.

I’ll say, don’t ever wish you were anything or anyone else. Embrace your flaws, because everyone has them.

And I’ll say, if you fall short of anything, even everything on this list, that’s alright.

I’ll still love you.

I’ll always love you. People keep asking me if I’m scared. And I guess — even in light of everything I said above — the answer is no.

I know that there’ll be times when I have no idea what to do with this kid. When I reach into my bag of morals and values and come up empty. And for times like that, I’ll look to my wife. I’ll remember how, standing in our dark, half-packed apartment, on one of the most important nights of our life, she put the pregnancy tests down on the table, smiled, and said:

“Of course we’re still doing the fantasy draft.”

A small reminder of why we fell in love in the first place. That what we’ve created together didn’t happen in spite of our flaws.

It happened because of them.

And knowing that, there’s really nothing to be scared of.

Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802
 

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Can Small Businesses Afford To Adopt Sir Richard Branson’s Approach To Employee Benefits?

Posted on June 11, 2015 under Sales Management 101.

From Chris Myers, a contributor to Forbes.

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Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported on Sir Richard Branson’s bold decision to extend a full year of paid parental leave for new moms and dads working at Virgin Management. This wasn’t the first time that Branson unveiled an extravagant benefit for employees at Virgin.  Back in September of 2014, he announced that he would be adopting Netflix’s policy of unlimited vacation for salaried employees. Pronouncements such as these tend to get a lot of attention because they question long-held beliefs about the nature of the employer/employee relationship and give us hope for a brighter future workplace. However, not every organization is as large and progressive as Virgin. In fact, over 99.7% of all employees in the U.S. work for small or mid-sized businesses. This begs the question. Can small businesses afford to offer these types of extravagant benefits, or do you have to be a giant corporation to pull it off?

It all comes down to culture.

It is important to look past the specifics of what Branson announced and instead focus on the ethos he’s trying to cultivate.  On many occasions, Branson has stated, “If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.”  Virgin has a long history of putting its employees first, dating back to the launch of Student magazine back in 1968.  Throughout his life as an entrepreneur, Branson has made an effort to connect with employees on a personal level.  The scope and scale of that effort have grown alongside Virgin, resulting in the grand gestures we see today. The key is that the employee focus has been front and center for Branson since day one.  Once you realize that, announcements like what we saw yesterday seem like less of a revolution and more of a natural evolution for a company that has built its foundation on employee success for over forty years.

It’s incredibly easy for small and mid-sized businesses to dismiss the idea of extraordinary employee benefits on the grounds of cost or logistics.  However, I believe that if they’re viewing it as a cost issue, they’ve already missed the point.  Obviously, most small businesses with only a handful of employees can’t afford to give their team members a full year of paid parental leave. That isn’t the issue.  Rather, the real issue is whether or not that small business can afford to not take exceptional care of their employees and put them first. It doesn’t matter if you’re a company of ten or ten thousand; it is up to the leader to decide what kind of organization they want to run. 

It isn’t about the money.

Nothing frustrates me more than leaders who blame their decision to neglect their team on a lack of funds or authority.  At the end of the day, money and authority have little to do with how you support your employees.   It comes down to having a genuine interest in their lives and wellbeing.  If that interest exists, you’ll see it manifest in the daily actions of the leader and the company.  Perhaps it’s a personal note to congratulate a teammate on a job well done, or taking a few minutes out of your day to counsel a coworker who is going through difficulties in their personal lives. Remember, if a leader is caring and engaged when it comes to the small things, you can rest assured that they’ll do the same thing when it comes to the big things.

 

You can (and should) scale your benefits as you grow.

At my company, BodeTree, we aren’t in a position to offer a full year of paid parental leave, but that doesn’t stop us from doing everything we can for our employees.  We subscribe to Virgin’s idea of unlimited vacation time and go out of our way to treat each other as family.  When a team member has a new child, everyone pitches in to help out.  Sometimes that means that a spouse or co-worker will babysit for the day so the new parent can have a break.  Other times, it’s a matter of handing out “no-strings” vacation days or bonuses when someone is feeling overwhelmed.  When people encounter struggles in their personal lives, our team is there, ready to help.  We care deeply about our employees, and they know it.

We aren’t perfect, but we strive to make our company a place where people feel like they’re part of a family.  As we continue to grow, the specifics of how we show that feeling of family will have to evolve.  However, the foundation that we’ve established will live on even when we’re ten times the size we are today.  At that time, I hope to be able to offer as robust benefits as Sir Richard.  After all, like Virgin, BodeTree will have created a foundation that makes such benefits seem right at home.

When it comes to the question of whether or not you have to be a big company to offer extraordinary benefits to your employees, the answer is yes and no.  Not every company can offer the same benefits popularized by Sir Richard Branson.  However, every company can and should take exceptional care of their employees.  It’s a matter of culture, not money or size.  Even the smallest company can create an environment where their employees feel that they are trusted, respected, and admired. Once that foundation is in place, you can scale your benefits as your company grows.  Maybe one day you too can generate headlines just like Sir Richard.

Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802
 

 


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Retirement 101(cont), Life Expectancy & Thoughts For The Week

Posted on June 8, 2015 under Retirement 101, Thoughts for the Week.

Retirement 101

As you, my loyal followers already know, I am  two months into a 6 month sabbatical that I expect to help me crystalize a (highly malleable)  ‘master plan’ for my next 20  years.

Based upon the retirement reading I continue to do, there will be three segments to the rest of my life:  the ‘go-go’ years, the ‘slow go’ years, and the ‘no go’ years.

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I am starting my ‘go-go’ years with a post-4th of July 90 day road trip up and down the East Coast – more on that (and the future of my marriage) to follow.

I am currently working on my plan that will hopefully enable me to maintain a sense of engagement, create a tool for adding value to the community, and make sure that the rust accumulation around my brain is minimal.

I think it is interesting that back in the early 60′s,  President Kennedy held the first White House Conference on Aging (the 6th edition of this conference will be held in July).

In 1961, President Kennedy gave an important speech on aging.  He declared that America was on the brink of a longevity revolution, filled with promise but marked by a gap: We had added “years to life,” he pronounced; now it was time to add “life to those years.”

That was true in 1961, and even  more profound in 2015.

Here are two  cocktail party discussion point that will enable you to dazzle your friends (from the WSJ):  1)   the first person to live to be 150 is alive today and 2)  a person turning 65 today can expect to live an additional 6 1/2 years (on average) longer than a person who turned 65 on 1950.

I’ve known this for some time (remember, this is my second attempt at retirement), but  let me stress to all of  you, A successful, happy, fulfilling retirement is not a ‘slam dunk.

“But both BJ and I have come to realize that as much of a stress producer and a struggle the process of retiring (and it is a process) may end up being, we are being presented with a huge opportunity.   It can be like being back in our late twenties, newly married and deciding where we wanted to live and how we wanted to work and what shape our lives would take.

Now, we  get to ask those questions all over again.

Surprisingly, as we continue down the retirement path (and you are welcome to come with us),  the questions seem more far more important at the end of our lives than at the beginning, when we were too naïve to understand their importance and how critical the choices actually were.”** 

Stay tuned.

Thoughts For The Week

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Craig J McConnell

“Entering Adulthood II”
 
(Continuing to) Make Sales People Memorable
(striving to) Re-imagine Retirement

314-753-2802
**concepts ‘re-edited’ from a piece by Susan Lieberman, Life Coach and End of Life Consultant
 

 


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Making Sales People Memorable

Posted on June 4, 2015 under PGP|SGP BestPractices.

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Since my corporate PrintGrowPro mantra (from day #1) has always been MAKING SALES PEOPLE MEMORABLE, I thought this was great; enjoy.

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