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Archive for December 2010


Ideas & News — December 2010

Welcome to our erratically-published newsletter for fans of our books, Made to Stick and Switch! Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season.

Read on for tips on making your New Year’s resolution work. Really. This is the year you’re going to stick to it.



1. Don’t be ambitiousWhen change is hard, aim low. A friend of ours, the editor of a wellness magazine, has a “1-Song Workout” that she does on days when she doesn’t feel like working out. She tells herself, “All I have to do is work out for one song,” but of course she often gets in a groove and finishes a full workout. So don’t set an ambitious New Year’s resolution like “I’ll work out four times a week.” Instead, plan to do “1-Song Workouts” on Monday and Thursday. Leave yourself room to overachieve — that feeling of “nailing it” is what will keep you hooked.

2. Watch for bright spots. If you’re trying to eat healthier, for instance, don’t obsess about all the times that you slip and eat an Oreo. Instead, keep a constant watch on what does work. If you ate healthy food all day yesterday, how did you get away with it? Was it because you had healthy “heat & eat” food that was easy to fix? Was it because you never let yourself get so hungry that you’d crave fatty foods? Did you avoid the office lunch at the Mexican place? If you can understand what allowed you to succeed, you can do more of it. That’s bright-spots thinking. (Need a refresher on “bright spots”?)

3. Make simple tweaks in your environment. If you’re trying to increase your savings, pay with cash and leave your cards at home. If you’re trying to diet, carry around a Ziploc of apple slices. If you’re trying to jog, lay out your clothes the night before. If you’re trying to stop oversleeping, set up a double (or triple?) alarm system. (Or buy a Clocky with your Xmas gift cards!) This stuff sounds insignificant, but it will make a big difference.

4. Rely on planning, not willpower. Your Resolution calls for a new way of behaving. And that’s a challenge because you’ve been practicing the old way of behaving for a long time. The old way is well-paved and familiar and comfortable. So you can’t just bet on willpower or good intentions to ensure your success. Use your planning skills. Get yourself on the hook for something! Don’t plan to “learn Spanish.” Register for a Spanish course at your local community college. Do it right now — you’re already online. Or don’t “try hard” to go to the gym in the morning. Email your friend, right now, and tell ’em to come get you at 7am on January 3.

5. Publicize your resolution. We all know peer pressure works. So use it on yourself.  Tell everybody you know what your resolution is. They’ll bug you about it, and you won’t want to disappoint them. Just knowing that they know will make you more likely to succeed. Hell, if you want, tell us. We won’t bug you about it, but we’ll silently root for you.


The Leadership Secrets Of Santa Claus

This delightful book is still available on Amazon. Use my marketplace to order a copy for yourself. Over the next several weeks, I’ll update this post with a few more tidbits. For the whole secret… Please support the author and grab a copy.

1. Build A Wonderful Workshop

Santa Claus has a very specific mission. Make the mission the main thing. Make sure your staff can quote the mission verbatim and explain it’s significance. Make the mission a core component of decision making and work planning processes. Do you think the elves know the mission and it’s significance?

Focus on your people as well as your purpose. Santa Claus is the kind of manager who cares as much about his elves as he does the work that they perform.

Let values be your guide. The pillars of respect, integrity, quality, customer service, responsibility, and teamwork are paramount to building a wonderful workshop.

2. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely

Hire tough so you can manage easy. Santa doesn’t have time to deal with problem reindeer, or elves. Face it, When you spend all year ramping up for one big day – and then have to circle the entire globe making deliveries… You get the idea.

Good pullers don’t always make good leaders. Make sure that when you make a promotion, it’s the right person – for the right reasons. Make a list and test your candidates for both the tasks involved and the characteristics of the position.

Go for the diversity advantage. Fresh blood and a different way of thinking can be a great thing.

Five Business Killers

An interesting article by Verne Harnish recently appeared in Fortune magazine, listing five ways to cut your endless to-do list and get your business life in order. Here, I present that list along with some of my thoughts:

  1. Stop paying attention to the bad news. I have been an advocate for focusing on “my economy” rather than “the economy” for some time now. Take the time you would normally put into watching the news or reading the paper and do something positive for your business instead.
  2. End a contentious relationship. Do you have any clients that just put a drag on things? Would you rather replace this client, or a few of your best employees? Pull the plug on the relationship with this client and find someone easier to work with. You’ll be happy that you did.
  3. Quit selling some of your products or services. Are you being pulled in too many different directions? Are some of those less profitable than others? Lighten your load and focus on what you do best. Give your attention to the products and services that you can really make a difference with.
  4. Don’t answer your own email. Some executives are handing their email off to assistants, freeing their time up to actually spend face to face time with members of their team! Other ideas range from using folders to really organize your in box, to closing your mail application and only opening it once every two hours – during the business day. It is far to easy to get distracted by the “You’ve got mail!” chime going off.
  5. Stop eating alone. Scrimp on business lunches – as so many companies are doing – and you’ll lose vital business leads. One business owner interviewed has broken bread with professional contacts and employees every workday since 1984. Imagine the the exchange of ideas, comrade, and contacts that have occurred for him!

Use this list as your catalyst to find the activities that are draining the productive energy from your business. Stop!

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