News and Thoughts for These Economic Times

Random observations:

  1. WalMart just announced, surprisingly during what appears to be a great season for them, that their CEO will step down in February. Why? Because they are replacing him with more of an internationalist. The company feels that its future is global.
  2. Look for the silver linings. The holiday season may be the worst on record, but who will do well? Discounters, consignment shops, those selling “do it yourself” goods, inexpensive gifts (subscriptions, memberships), and so forth. There are loads of people and organizations that need your value. HP is doing splendidly while Dell is suffering. Even within industries, there are standouts in this economy.
  3. I keep looking at my watch waiting for the martini hour when someone in coaching tells me that “business is down.” This is the time that coaching and counseling should be thriving. Broaden your appeal, market more aggressively (too many coaches rely solely on referrals), and diversify your offerings to include varied delivery options. People need someone to talk to!
  4. If you do have more “down time” than usual, then you have no excuse not to finally get that hairy project accomplished. I’m publishing a minimum of five books over 18 months, all commercially. (I prize volume over accuracy.) Why aren’t you writing your book proposal, creating new intellectual property, improving your web site, and so forth?
  5. I’ve hidden here in number five the most important thing you can do: Establish regular interactions with others in your profession, BUT, BUT, BUT, here’s the key. Do so only with strong, successful people, not “victims” and commiserators. I’ve seen magic happen when a group of good people combine to test each other’s approaches and preconceptions.
  6. The businesses I observe doing the best are those with the most loyal customers. The most loyal customers are the result of service and relationship quality, not merely product quality. The better the relationship, the more you get the “benefit of the doubt.”
  7. We just left a breakfast restaurant where the good service was even better than usual. We found out when we left that everyone was asked to fill out a comment card with the server’s name, in return for a credit for any future meal. They were getting close to 100% response. If you want to impress a client, use metrics to demonstrate your contributions and your progress. Measurement affects both performance and perception.
  8. The more you help others, the more you’re helped. Now is a great time to offer pro bono services, contribute to charities, and provide others with counsel and support. You will find yourself better off as a result.
  9. Top ten lists are alliterative bunk, with stuff thrown in just to reach ten. Do the eight things above, or at least consider them in your work, and you’ll do better than you might think.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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