PERSONAL COACHING SERIES #3 – STUDENT EDITION

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After the overwhelming response that we received for the first student edition workshop, we are happy to inform that a second workshop is now confirmed. Details as follows:

  • Date: 20 Dec 2018 (Thursday)
  • Time: 9am – 1pm (4 hours)
  • Venue: Mercu Summer Suites, KL
  • Price: RM120/pax; open to only six (6) students
  • Price includes course materials, light refreshments and certificate
  • Dress code: Casual (but no shorts, tank tops or flip-flops)

This workshop is suitable for those between the ages of 16-21 who find public speaking, attending interviews, presenting in class or speaking up in a general a challenging thing to do. The workshop covers topics such as:

  1. 7 C’s of Effective Communications
  2. Understanding misunderstanding – why miscommunication happens
  3. Tips and exercises to help you present and speak to a crowd
  4. Handling nerves and stage fright
  5. Learning to receive and process criticism and feedback
  6. Role-play

Seats are limited so please contact Didi (m) +6011 0725 3075 or (e) kreatifmegamas@gmail.com today.

 

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PERSONAL COACHING SERIES #2 – STUDENT EDITION

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  • Do you struggle with having to present assignments in front of your class?
  • Do you find standing up and asking questions in lecture halls nerve-wrecking?
  • Do you feel your speaking style and presentation skills can be improved?
  • Do you get nervous when asked to clarify a point in meetings?

Due to demand for classes designed and aimed at students and the younger crowd, we are pleased to offer a personal coaching workshop called EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS FOR BEGINNERS.

The workshop will be conducted by Kreatif Megamas’ Director, Ms Rafizah Amran (see her credentials below) and in order to keep it personal and effective, it will be limited to six (6) persons only. Fee includes course material, refreshments and certificate. Additional coaching, one-on-one and/or bespoke group sessions are available upon request.

For more information and/or to register, contact  +60 11-3725 3075 (Didi) or email rafizah.amran@consultant.com. Seat is offered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS FOR BEGINNERS (RM120 PER PERSON)
1 December 2018; Mercu Summer Suites; 9am – 1pm
Learn to improve your personal communications style that will allow you to gain confidence and interact more effectively with your audience. The workshop will include the do’s and don’ts, practical tips on public speaking and a recorded role-playing session so that you can identify your barriers to effective communications and develop ways to overcome them.

Participants will be asked to come dressed as they normally would when attending job interviews or doing presentations to their lecturers. The class is suitable for those between 18-27 years old, particularly those who are in college or graduates who have just joined the working force.

Workshop will be conducted primarily in English, with some parts in Bahasa Malaysia particularly on the topic of dealing with Government agencies and regulatory bodies.

Topics include:

  • Identifying your triggers: why your mind goes blank and you get nervous in front on people.
  • Body language matters: how to manage the way your body moves to inspire trust and confidence.
  • Learning to listen: how to separate good information from bad ones so that you can answer or react more effectively.
  • Tips & tricks: how to nail public speaking and keep your jitters in check.
  • Role-play: mock presentation and interview session that will be recorded and critiqued so that you can improve your communications skills and style.

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ABOUT THE COACH:

Rafizah Amran is a marketing communications and public relations specialist with over 20 years experience across several industries including pharmaceutical, healthcare & nutritional consultancy, FMCG, finance, entertainment, broadcasting, tourism, aviation and non-profit. She has been featured in many corporate and personal coaching sessions, international conferences and seminars as well as sat in judging panels for marketing and public relations campaigns for various industry awards.

She possesses both agency and corporate experience with extensive regional exposure. She has been responsible for marketing and communications function for companies and subsidiaries located in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, with dual-reporting function to the individual Country Director and Global Chief Communications Officer (Hong Kong) and matrix reporting to Group CEO (Malaysia/Singapore).

Rafizah has also been involved in start-ups and Build-Operate-Transter (BOT) projects for both commercial and non-profit organisations; served in the secretariat and steering committees for nationwide initiatives such as Bright Start Nutrition (Nutrition Society of Malaysia), Positive Parenting (Malaysian Paediatric Association), World Health Day (Yayasan Jantung Negara), Fight Against Diabetes (National Diabetes Institute), Make It Safe for Kids (Johnson & Johnson), Children Fun Time and Dutch Lady Nutrition Centre (Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad), Junior Jet Club (AirAsia) and Equal Sensicare Bureau (Merisant Co).

She was responsible for a Group-wide restructuring and rebranding exercise for a public-listed company and its subsidiaries which included an investment bank, financial advisory services arm in Hong Kong and Singapore, commercial property development, and hotel and resorts that spanned 4 countries and over 52 branches across SEA region.

Highly proficient in integrated consumer marketing, Financial PR, investors relations and stakeholder engagement, in the last 14 years Rafizah has been sitting in senior management positions in public-listed holding companies and GLC-subsidiary with intense involvement in formulating strategies, growing revenue and creating new streamlines in addition to providing counsel and overseeing special projects for the Board of Directors.

Rafizah is also a published author with 5 books under her belt. In her spare time she writes for a food and travel blog as well as contributing articles and reviews for various inflight magazines and video games e-zines.

END

 

WHY DO I NEED TO LEARN CHEMISTRY?

 

close up of drinking glass

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I was asked recently on how to give a talk about Chemistry to a group of 16 and 17 year olds and make it exciting.

I answered truthfully — I don’t know.

When I was 16, I had a Physics teacher who caught me writing graffiti on the laboratory’s desk instead of doing the experiment. He reprimanded me and while he was talking I interrupted him and said I would finish all the experiments in the Physics workbook in a month if he could explain to me how Physics is relevant to my ambition of being an accountant. He could not and I got out of doing Physics homework for the rest of the semester.

So if I am asked to give a talk to 16 and 17 year olds about the importance of a certain subject that they take in school, I would not be able to answer. But I can certainly answer what are the skills that you need to master by the time you finish secondary school that would be useful in college and at work.

1. TIME MANAGEMENT. Completing various homework and getting the correct results within the stipulated time are actually a good training to meet deadlines and managing your resources. Later in life you will be constantly asked to multi-task or take on more responsibility that you are comfortable juggling. You need to learn which ones need to be completed first, and which ones could be done later. You also need to learn how to do things correctly the first time so that you minimize wastage. If you use this frame of mind when you are tackling your lessons (or a Physics experiment), you will get better at getting the correct results, and getting them in the allotted time. Deadlines are real, stress is real, being overwhelmed is real. Start preparing now so that you are better equipped to handle challenges that you meet along the way.

2. BEING PREPARED. I never bothered to read anything up before I went to any class so as a result, I went unprepared and could not absorb much of what was being taught. I didn’t understand that I had to do the work myself and then flag areas that I did not understand so that I could use the time in the classroom to seek clarification from my teachers. Well, try walking into a meeting or seeing your client unprepared! Make it a habit to prepare prepare prepare and be ahead of the curve so that you can identify your problem areas and get help to rectify them. At school, just like at work and in life and everything else in between, you will find that you will be asked to learn or do a lot of things that you hate or are not trained for. The subject doesn’t matter, it could be Chemistry or Physics or even Geography…whatever. What matters is that you gear yourself up to tackle it and that’s by being prepared.

3. LEARN TO LISTEN AND TAKE NOTES. If there is only one thing that you could learn from your school life, make it this one. When I was a student, I didn’t take notes, I transcribed everything that my teachers said word for word. This habit continued in university. Like a court reporter, I spent all my time writing and writing and writing. As a result, I didn’t distinguish between what is important and what is not because I simply wrote everything down. When I started working I realized how useless my writing skill was because I did not learn how to listen. Often I found myself in meetings where several people would speak at the same time and many ideas or suggestions were being thrown into the hat — without the ability to listen and take notes, these quickly became overwhelming, particularly if you were assigned to take the minutes. So use the time in school to hone these skills. Hold the the pen on the ready, but listen to what the teachers are saying and decide whether it is important to be written down before you write anything. You will find that some teachers are just reading out texts from books (in which case you should not write them down, just get the books!), some teachers are just feeding you answer keys for you to memorize so that you can regurgitate them later during exams, and some teachers teach.

Use the time in secondary school as your training time. Remember: 10 years from now, the subjects don’t matter but the skills are (unless you want to be Chemist that is, then Chemistry absolutely matters!).

END

What Would Be Your Strategy to …….?

 

activity business calculation chart

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During meet-and-greet sessions, I am always asked this question.

“If we hire your company as our consultant, what would be your strategy to help us ……?

The blank part could be any of these:

  1. raise awareness about our brand.
  2. increase sales.
  3. promote positive corporate culture.
  4. ….and so on.

I am sure when you go to job interviews, you get these kind of questions too.

My answer has always been the same: I am unable to answer that adequately  until I understand the company and industry better and been given a briefing on its challenges, KPIs, strategic and business goals and its immediate and mid-term marketing direction.

For example, if the company wants to promote its new e-commerce platform — for the sake of this post, let’s call it ShopNow — I need to know what’s happening in the e-commerce landscape, how is ShopNow better than its competitors, what is it that ShopNow want to achieve first:

(a) Get more vendors to sign up as sellers?
(b) Get more people to come to ShopNow and browse?
(c) Create word-of-mouth for ShopNow so that people start talking about it and recognize it as a brand?
(d) Get more people to buy from ShopNow vendors?

There is no blanket strategy that can cover everything; and there is no on-the-spot answers that can adequately cover these either. I think anyone who tries to answer this off-the-cuff is doing the company a disservice as they would not have enough information to answer it adequately. Or, they will use big words to try to appear clever. Listen carefully and you will realize that these are just words.

On the other hand, you, too, should not be asking this question in order to assess an agency’s suitability for your company. You can ask them for their opinion on where they think the industry is headed (this will tell you if the agency has taken the trouble to at least research the industry you are in) or what the agency think is the biggest challenge in creating brand recognition in a market where new products are born every second (this will tell you if they are aware of market conditions that consumers are facing every day). These will give you a taste of their strategic hat and whether they are genuinely interested in the company (not just in the money that you can pay them!).

When formulating a communications strategy that supports brand growth and marketing KPIs, writing articles and getting the press to publish it or organizing press events are actually a very small component of the whole machinery. I’ve had clients coming to me and saying things like “Agency A came up with a very good idea and proposed that we do a roundtable with the press,” and I always have to pull them back gently and ask “But what is the topic that we want to discuss at the roundtable? Why would this topic be interesting to the intended audience? What do we want to achieve from it? How does this roundtable support the overall business goals?”

Lots of people are interested in the “what can we do” but not enough on the “why do we do?”. As a result, communications team is always seen to be working alone or doing its own thing instead of working together with the marketing and executive teams. More often than not this leads to communications department becoming a service provider or a “vendor” to the marketing team (“Hello Comms Dept, please write a press release for our new product.”) rather than a consultative, strategic partner (“Hello Comms Dept, can we meet up to discuss about the launch and publicity strategy for our new product?”).

Obviously there are many ways to skin a cat. However, asking “What would be your strategy to help us ……?” should not be the magic question upon which you decide if an agency (or potential employee) is right for you.

Focus on the WHY, not on the WHAT. Asking the right questions are just as important as getting the right answers.

Top 3 Tips to Prepare for a Presentation

woman standing in front of sitting people

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Having to present your paper, or chair meetings, or even answer a question during a discussion can be intimidating and make you extremely nervous. This is because we don’t want to say the wrong things, or appear un-knowledgeable, or because we feel our grasp of the language is not good enough and people might look down or laugh at us.

These would be my top 3 tips on how prepare when having to present or speak to an audience:

  1. MOCK Q&A: The night before, write down 10 potential questions that you think you will be asked about. Then, spend between 10-15 minutes before you sleep answering these questions ‘live’ i.e. don’t write the answers down but try to answer them off the cuff. It will force-learn you to think on your feet and test your level of preparedness. Go to sleep and let your subconscious work it out. If you are still stumped, then use the time the next morning to brush up on these “weak” areas. The best way to maintain confidence when facing a tough crowd is to know your stuff.
  2. CREATE ELEVATOR STATEMENTS: If your problem area is not knowing how to put a story together in your head, then try to do this every day. Pick a subject that you are very good at, set your watch to 2 minutes and then practice explaining this subject in that time frame.  These are called “Elevator Statements” i.e. explaining a concept in an concise way as if you are asked about it during an elevator ride. For example, I would challenge myself to imagine that I have to explain the plot of various Final Fantasy games to a group of non-gamers. This exercise forces me to think about the game, summarize the storyline so that I capture only important points, and simplify my language so that my audience understands me. This exercise is harder than it looks. I would repeat it a few times until I am satisfied (or tired) and then try again the next day and the next day until I get it right. I use the same technique when explaining more difficult concepts like Game Theory or Maslows hierarchy of needs. Setting a time limit of 2 minutes helps me get rid of unnecessary chatter and focus only on important points.
  3. NUMBER THEM: Practice to think in term of numbered list. Sometimes a question has many layers and you can get flustered trying to remember them all. What I usually do is to write down key words in a numbered list. For example, if I am asked why we should open a certain project up to public tender when direct award is faster, I would write these on my notepad before I answer:
    1. Evaluate competitiveness – cost, time, effort. Existing vendors may pitch at price that they know we can afford; we need to check if these are fair and at market value.
    2. Transparency – eliminate any accusation of favoritism: contract will be awarded based on merits, not on existing relationships.

Speaking to an audience requires practice. Try these and see if the tips would help you in your next presentation.

PERSONAL COACHING SERIES #1

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Due to popular demand, we will be offering personal coaching workshops on the following topics. Each workshop will be conducted by Kreatif Megamas’ Director, Ms Rafizah Amran (see her credentials below) and in order to keep it personal and effective, each one will be limited to six (6) persons only. Fee includes course material, refreshments and certificate. Additional coaching, one-on-one and/or bespoke group sessions are available upon request.

For more information, contact  +60 11-3725 3075 (Didi) or email rafizah.amran@consultant.com. Register now to avoid disappointments.

7Cs OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS (RM120)
29 September 2018; Mercu Summer Suites; 9am – 1pm
Learn to improve your personal communications style that will allow you to interact more effectively with your audience. The workshop will include the do’s and don’ts, practical tips on public speaking and a recorded role-playing session so that you can identify your barriers to effective communications and develop ways to overcome them.

Topic include:

  • Raising your brand
  • What makes communication ineffective
  • Verbal, written and non-verbal communication
  • The 7Cs in practice

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RAISING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND (RM200)
6 October 2018; Mercu Summer Suites; 9am – 1pm
Personal branding is about being authentic to who you are and positively amplifying it to help you grow from strength to strength. This workshop will help you identify and craft your master statement and narrow the reality vs perception gap so that you own a strong personal brand. While the specific circumstances and goals vary by individual, the overall concepts and process will be relevant to everyone irrespective of the industry or career.

Topics include:

  • Organizational level (how you fit in and bring value to the organization)
  • Experiential level (how to manage people’s experience and perception when interacting and communicating with you
  • Identity level (appearance, personality, communications style)

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ABOUT THE COACH:

Rafizah Amran is a marketing communications and public relations specialist with over 20 years experience across several industries including pharmaceutical, healthcare & nutritional consultancy, FMCG, finance, entertainment, broadcasting, tourism, aviation and non-profit. She has been featured in many corporate and personal coaching sessions, international conferences and seminars as well as sat in judging panels for marketing and public relations campaigns for various industry awards.

She possesses both agency and corporate experience with extensive regional exposure. She has been responsible for marketing and communications function for companies and subsidiaries located in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, with dual-reporting function to the individual Country Director and Global Chief Communications Officer (Hong Kong) and matrix reporting to Group CEO (Malaysia/Singapore).

Rafizah has also been involved in start-ups and Build-Operate-Transter (BOT) projects for both commercial and non-profit organisations; served in the secretariat and steering committees for nationwide initiatives such as Bright Start Nutrition (Nutrition Society of Malaysia), Positive Parenting (Malaysian Paediatric Association), World Health Day (Yayasan Jantung Negara), Fight Against Diabetes (National Diabetes Institute), Make It Safe for Kids (Johnson & Johnson), Children Fun Time and Dutch Lady Nutrition Centre (Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad), Junior Jet Club (AirAsia) and Equal Sensicare Bureau (Merisant Co).

She was responsible for a Group-wide restructuring and rebranding exercise for a public-listed company and its subsidiaries which included an investment bank, financial advisory services arm in Hong Kong and Singapore, commercial property development, and hotel and resorts that spanned 4 countries and over 52 branches across SEA region.

Highly proficient in integrated consumer marketing, Financial PR, investors relations and stakeholder engagement, in the last 10 years Rafizah has been sitting in senior management positions in public-listed holding companies and GLC-subsidiary with intense involvement in formulating strategies, growing revenue and creating new streamlines in addition to providing counsel and overseeing special projects for the Board of Directors.

Rafizah is also a published author with 5 books under her belt. In her spare time she writes for a food and travel blog as well as contributing articles and reviews for various inflight magazines and video games e-zines.

2 Lessons for Women at the Top

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On a recent coaching session, I was asked what are the common mistakes made by women in senior management. I responded by saying that I will share the two things that I feel women in senior management need to learn.

LESSON ONE

Women need to learn how to debate, and how to accept it when you lose a debate. Notice that I use the word debate instead of argue. For some reason, a lot of women take the word “argue” or “argument” to mean combative and that it will result with one party winning, and the other losing. This is not true. In the context of senior management especially, where consensus is rare and hard decisions need to be made quickly (and often, forcefully), being able to debate an issue and then accept the outcome of that debate is an important skill to learn. Too often I find that women need a lot of time to lick their wounds – and in the meantime they would avoid bumping into the “winning” colleague at the corridor; they would turn down invitation to socialize; they would limit interaction to absolutely essential work matters.

But I see this behavior rarely in men. They take their defeats, brush it off and then move on to the next task. We should learn how to do this i.e. to accept that losing an argument does not define who we are, it is not a criticism of our personality, it does not belittle the quality of our work or our intelligence – that it is a contained incident and should be left at that. Of course some decisions are harder to accept than the rest, but women need to learn to bounce back and bounce back quickly and the way to do that is to learn to debate and accept the loss (if at all) gracefully.

LESSON TWO

Women need to know how to manage up. This is something that I struggled with earlier on in my career. I had a boss who once told me that I needed to learn to buy him a drink or dinner once in a while. When I shared this incident with a male peer from the same industry, he told me that there is a value in learning how to manage up. However, I was not able to shake the feeling that in doing that I was kissing up and trying to get into the boss’ good books — ie where I would be leveraging on our good “relationship” to get easier buy-ins or approvals as opposed to getting them based on the merits of the projects or my capabilities as the project lead itself.

As my experience and skill sets grow, I now understand that “buying the boss a drink or dinner” does not mean exactly that. It means, once in a while, I should casually check in with the boss in order maintain open communication. Once in a while, I need to check the temperature and seek his opinion on whether I am on the right track or if I need realignment to ensure that I am on the course that he’s charted and have not veered off into a different direction. While the work relationship could always remain at  arms-length, I should learn to talk to my boss on matters other than the immediate work requirements. By that I mean I should not see him ONLY when work requires me to do so like when I need him to sign something.

Unfortunately, lots of women still find opening up to the boss about the problems and challenges at work equals exposing one’s weaknesses and would diminishes one’s value to the organisation. This is not true. Well, certainly it is not true anymore in this day and age where most bosses are hugely invested in being the catalyst to push you to do greater things or helping to remove roadblocks so that you could progress further. Having a coffee session with the boss is still considered as a “bro” thing to do. We women need to get over that.

Your thoughts?

Key Opinion Leaders vs Social Influencers

Influencer-Marketing

In recent times, I find the confusion between Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and social influencers (SI) increasing. To me, KOLs are certainly social influencers; however, social influencers are not necessarily KOLs. Yet many equate the two as being one and the same (like how in the past people used to confuse Public Relations with Advertising).

KOLs are respected leaders in the field, or industry or the subject matter at hand. In many instances, their opinion cannot be bought — they support a brand, cause, activity or charity because they believe in it, not because they are paid to hawk it. Whenever they use their platform to advocate or debate, the intention is always to educate, raise awareness, clear confusion or shine a light on a matter that they are passionate about or things that they are experts at. For example, a KOL won’t advocate a particular brand of running shoes, but will advocate running and the importance of choosing the right shoes if running is your thing.

SIs on the other hand, are people with a captive audience (be it on social media or in real life). While not all SIs do this, most sell their opinions for a living so, typically, their glowing recommendation for a product or service or their presence at your events can be bought. They don’t necessarily have to be the subject matter expert or the leaders in the industry, but they certainly wield power over their audience’s opinion and purchase decisions. So, they may advocate running, and in addition to that they may also state that they use this brand or that brand (whether they are paid to do it or not) and reasons why these brands resonate with their lifestyles as that’s what social influencers do — they influence people to covet their lifestyle and aspire to be like them.

How do you differentiate the two and choose what’s right for you?

Consider these examples.

Through his ‘Not Our Watch’ campaign about the genocide in Sudan, George Clooney is a KOL and uses his position and infamy to bring attention and advocate and influcence his audience to contribute significant funds towards lifesaving, humanitarian, and emergency programs in the Darfur region.

In his work with Nespresso, George Clooney is an SI, promoting the product and becoming the global brand ambassador for its advertising campaigns. At the same time, he serves as a member of the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board, collaborating on ideas and solutions towards improving the lives and futures of coffee farmers. But whether he is a KOL in the board and can influence pricing policies and purchase decisions for Nespresso, I don’t know. What is certain is that when (and if) he speaks about sustainability pratices for coffee farmers, he could only speak on behalf of Nespresso, but cannot do so on behalf of fairtrade farmers in general. Well, he can, but will people listen?

There are merits for using both. But don’t confuse them as using the wrong one may not bring results, or worse, it may hurt your brand!

Top People Leave Their Boss – Not Their Companies

I was asked recently about what I thought are the ingredients to retaining good talent; assuming that the work is the same and remuneration package is fair and on par with the market.

I’ll get to that in a bit. But first, I know that this is true:

People leave their managers and not their companies.

It’s a hard truth.  When great people leave, it’s due to their boss, and not their company.  The idea was first introduced to me in 1999 through the book “First Break All The Rules.”  Since then, I have had the good fortune to build and to lead top performing teams and companies, interviewing and hiring thousands along the way.  Throughout this time, I cannot think of one instance where this hypothesis was wrong.

Does this mean that when a top performer leaves that their leader is bad?  Not necessarily. That is a too simplistic view of one’s motivation (and demotivation).  If a leader is resilient and then learns, evolves, and adapts from the loss, it has the potential to be an essential developmental opportunity.

How do you prevent top people from leaving?

Here are the top ten rules that I follow.  If it helps and works for you, pay it forward.

10. Promises and Commitments – People remember every commitment and promise that was made to them, beginning with the first interview.  Break a commitment and you place your relationship and people at high risk.  People will leave you even years later over an un-kept promise in an interview (also in First Break All of The Rules).  Keep your promises or come clean if you cannot deliver. It’s keeping quiet about it that will make it become poisonous.

9. Ask the BIG question – Are you happy?  People will always tell you the truth, in one way or another, when asked this question.  Listen and watch very closely.  Note:  Do not ask this question unless you are prepared to hear the answer and are equally prepared to do something about it.

8. Optimism – A-players will not work for a leader who is unable to create an environment and culture of optimism. Optimism is at the core of all success and A-players will not tolerate pessimism in their leaders.  They will leave you. Yes leaders are humans too, but you need to always be on your A-game, that is why you are in this seat and not any one else.

7. Differentiation – Your best people, those who make the biggest difference, take the greatest risks, show the most courage, and deliver the largest RESULTS, must be rewarded in a differentiated way.  Top performers earn and therefore should receive the greatest rewards, which doesn’t necessarily mean bigger pay packet or nicer cars.

6. Think Differently About Talent – Look beyond the immediate portfolio of experiences and skills of your top talent.  They have far more potential than they or perhaps even you realize.  Move them into stretch jobs.   Top people stay with leaders when they know they will not get boxed in. But beware of Peter Principle!

5. Winning – When you are the leader at any level, your team must win consistently.  It is your accountability.  Top people typically do not leave winners; the ride is too exciting and interesting.  A strong relationship isn’t enough.  Your team must win as a habit.  Weak markets or whatever excuse for losing, will not be tolerated by the A-players on your team.

4. Purpose – There is purpose to be found in every job and in every endeavor.  It is your job as the leader to sell the purpose of your enterprise and the jobs/opportunities therein.  After basic needs are met (ability to pay bills and such), top people look for meaning and purpose in their work.

3. Time – Leaders make value judgments every day.  It’s a big part of their responsibility.  Invest your time where the greatest pay-off can be had—with the top people who have earned it and those aspiring toward excellence. Do not get pulled into a trap by focusing your time inordinately on average or under-performers.  Your top people will see it and they will leave you.

2. Joy – Be liberal with your celebrations and be a spreader of joy.  Joy is vital.  Create a culture of joy within your team or enterprise and your people will do the same for your customers.  A joyful company is essential for keeping top talent.

1. Learning – Learning and development is an enormous form of compensation.  You must challenge yourself to get better each day as a leader in order to become a better teacher.  Top people stay in learning environments.   Invest in a culture of learning and you will never regret it.

Note that the above holds as true for your top people as it does for your best partners and vendors.  Keeping your best people is up to you, as it always is.

If not now, when?

Be Curious, Stay Curious!

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of highly proficient and successful financial advisers on the subject of “Raising Your Personal Brand” and “Effective Communications”. One last nugget before I called it a day was to tell the group that we must have that magic ingredient in us: curiosity.

Curiosity pushes you to learn, explore, experiment, play.

The best explanation comes from the late Richard Feynman:

Some people say, How can you live without knowing? I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing. That is easy. How you get to know is what I want to know.

So keep your eyes, ears, heart and mind open. There is always new things to discover; new ways of doing things better. Be curious. Stay curious!

Watch the short clip where I explain about this curious principle here: https://goo.gl/WRomw3