I attended a dinner last night for our Business and Professional Women's Week activities and one of our members passed out this commentary she had received through e-mail from The Kansas City Star. I thought it hit home not only for ourselves but really anyone who is dealing with todays issue and something some people have lost sight of.
Commentary: How to Bail Yourself Out--by Bernie Madden, Guest Columnist
Let's face it, business is tough these days. And, of course, we all know who is to blame: Greedy CEOs and shareholders, Bil Oil, crazy mortgage lending practices, wasteful government spending, lying politicians and negative media are all easy targets for a pointed finger.
But might I suggest that we small-business owners and corporate executives point our fingers in another direction? We need to be reminded of what leaders are called to do, such as:
*Stay calm and positive. Panic is the stage set by irrational performers. Effective leaders step into challenging scenes with calm assuredness. We are going to get through this. Be positive. Know in your heart that things will improve. The more strongly you believe that truth, the more your employees and customers will be encouraged. And the sooner your business will start moving forward. Positive energy is contagious.
*Always keep your eyes up. If you are always looking down to see where your feet are on the path, you lose sight of the destination. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to go and let your peripheral vision take care of safeguarding the steps necessary to get you there.
*Turn outward. Get out of your cocoon. Do things. See and be seen. Promote your business and employees with confidence. In your personal life, do something good at the grass-roots level. There is no better feeling than making a positive difference in the life of an individual in need.
*Always surround your self with good people. Hire people you like, respect and trust. Give the others an opportunity to find position better suited to their personality. Spend more time with colleagues and friends who are enthusiastic and upbeat.
*Show employees love. Pay attention to your employees. Get to know them. Listen to them. If one seems down, offer encouragement. Tell why you hired her or write him a note listing the things he does well. Be clear in stating expections and generous in showing ways to improve performance. Humans respond better to encouragement and opportunity than to criticism and limitations.
*Alwaysbe true to yourself. Your mother was right. It's the same in business. Know what your business means to you, your family, your employees, your customers and your vendors. Be that business you can be proud of. Failing a character test=in business or personal life always leads to disappointing outcomes.
*Get better. Work on continually improving every aspect of your business. Reward your customer's loyalty with better products and services. Your competitors will cut quality or service. Let them. They won't succeed in the long run by cutting prices a little and cutting quality or service a little more. Customers want good, fair value, not cheap price.
*Always do what's right. It isn't what you do in life that matters, it's how you do it. Integrity and virtue win out in the long run.
*Look good, feel good. Being well-groomed and well-dressed is a way of not only showing respect to your customers, but setting a tone for your staff.
*Count your blessings each day. Take a moment daily to focus on the good things about your life and business. What you have is more valuable than what you don't have.