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Saying Thank You

Guest post by Patty Azzarello

I was doing a series of leadership workshops last week and one of the things we talked about was creating a thank you habit in the organization.

Create a “Thank You Habit”

What I mean by a Thank You Habit, is to make it known to everyone that the organization wants to acknowledge good work.

Make it clear that the executives want to be informed when good work happens, so they can personally say thank you.

This in itself builds good will, and a helps build a culture of trust.

Create a process for recognition

I don’t think organizations are necessarily stingy with saying thank you, the problem is that good stuff happens all the time and you don’t know about it.

Everybody’s busy, people travel, people are in different sites, so great work happens all the time and you just don’t see it. All you need to do is create a simple process for any individual in any location to feed a suggestion for recognition of a peer up the management chain.

Make it personal

Commit that when a thank you request comes in, an executive will personally say thank you to the individual, whether that is by a drop-in, a phone call, or a hand written note. (Notice I did not say email).

The more personal the thank you is, the more value it has.

If an executive goes to an individual and recognizes the good work personally, not only does the individual feel great, but everyone in the group is left saying “Wow, they actually know what we do here!“.

It costs nothing

Many organizations over-engineer their recognition programs and it becomes a exercise in spreadsheets and gift certificates.

If you have a reward system in place, that’s fine, but don’t forget about the personal part — the part that takes more time and trouble, but costs nothing.

Make a genuine connection with someone who has done something you appreciate and let them know.

Act on the Thank You

We all fall victim to appreciating things people do for us and never saying anything.

I have a far from perfect record on this myself. But I find that it helps to create a task for yourself that turns into a habit — when you feel gratitude or apprecation, always say so. So finally…

Thank You!

I am very honored that so many people read my blog and my book, and share it with others. THANK YOU.

I am very grateful for those of you that hire me to come and speak to your group or work with your team. THANK YOU.

And I am very thankful for all the kind words, feedback, and ideas you share with me. Thank you all.

And to those of you in the US,

Happy Thanksgiving!

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About Patty

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Adviser. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk) You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…How to Be Really Successful at Work AND Like Your Life.

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Activities that build relationships

We all know that it’s easier to do business with someone we know, at any level, than with a cold contact.

Often, however, I struggle with finding and getting to know “new people” to expand my circle of relationships, which is critical to growing my personal and professional network, and hence, my business.

This morning, during my daily study time, I found a great list of “ice-breakers” in Keith Ferrazzi’s fantastic book, “Never Eat Alone”.

From the chapter, “Share Your Passions”…

Your passions and the events you build around them will create deeper levels of intimacy. Pay attention to matching the event to the particular relationship you’re trying to build. I’ve got an informal list of activities I use to keep in touch with my business and personal friends.

Here are some things I like to do:

1. Fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee. It’s quick, it’s out of the office, and it’s a great way to meet someone new.

2. Conferences. If I’m attending a conference in, say, Seattle, I’ll pull out a list of people in the area I know, or would like to know better, and see if they might like to drop in for a particularly interesting keynote speech or dinner.

3. Invite someone to share a workout or a hobby (golf, chess, stamp collection, a book club, etc.).

4. A quick early breakfast, lunch, drinks after work, or dinner together. There’s nothing like food to break the ice.

5. Invite someone to a special event. For me, a special event such as the theater, a book-signing party, or a concert is made even more special if I bring along a few people who I think might particularly enjoy the occasion.

6. Entertaining at home. I view dinner parties as home as sacred. I like to make these events as intimates as possible. To ensure they stay that way, I generally will invite only one or two people I don’t know that well. By dinner’s end, I want those people leaving my home feeling as if they’ve made a whole new set of friends, and that’s hard to do if it’s a dinner filled with strangers.

Of course, we all need to schedule the appropriate time with friends and family, as well, or just to read or relax.

So, how about you? What are some of your favorite activities that build relationships? Please tell us about them, below.

– Perry

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
By Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz

“Your network is your net worth. This book shows you how to add to your personal bottom line with better networking and bigger relationships. What a solid but easy read! Keith’s personality shines through like the great (and hip) teacher you never got in college or business school. Buy this book for yourself, and tomorrow go out and buy one for your kid brother!”

—Tim Sanders, author of Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

John Maxwell on paying the price

What do you think about aquiring?

Here’s my own story about paying the price,  please feel free to share yours with us, as well.

“Brick & Stone”

Perry P. Perkins
Sassee Magazine, July 2009
Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Resolutions, 2010

When I was a boy, my mother had a small plaque that hung in the kitchen of our tiny apartment.

It read: A house is made of brick and stone, but a home is made of love alone.

My wife and I had planned on being the typical American couple. We’d get married; work for a couple of years (to earn some stability and get to know one another), and then start our family. We had seen our friends follow this same agenda, and it seemed simple enough.

We learned it was not always so simple…

Years of self-doubt, frustration and bittersweet smiles as we held the new-born babies of our closest friends, all the while agonizing over the empty place in our own home and hearts, the frustration of not being able to give each other the baby we wanted so badly, while longing to be the parents that we KNEW God had made us to be.

Finally, after a decade of trying and reaching the ripe-old age of thirty-eight, we realized that having a baby just wasn’t going to happen the “old-fashioned way.”

So, we sought help.

Only to find that “help” is expensive…help is very expensive.

The process of IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and a subsequent pregnancy and birth would cost tens of thousands of dollars. We had three hundred dollars in the bank.

It was a long night at the dinner table. There was anger, and there were tears. How could God put such a burning desire, such a lifelong goal to be parents in our hearts, and then make it impossible to achieve?

We didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars…we didn’t have one thousand dollars…but we did have our house.

Years of scrimping and saving, driving clunker cars and brown-bagging lunches had allowed us to pay off our school debts and save just enough for a down payment on a beautiful little three-bedroom, two-bath house on the outskirts of town.

Vickie and I both worked full time, living in tiny apartments in bad neighborhoods to save money, crunching numbers until they squeaked and jumping though every hoop imaginable for ten years to buy that house. It wasn’t much, but it was ours. For a kid who’d never lived anywhere but apartment complexes, it was everything – a place to have friends over, to plant our own flowers, and to paint the walls whatever shade of purple we pleased…a place of our own. It had been like a dream come true when, three years before, we’d signed papers and moved in, and now it was being made clear to us…

We could have our baby…if we gave up our home.

The market was ripe, and our agent assured us that we could get our asking price, which would leave us just enough to pay off our few remaining debts, complete the IVF process and find a small apartment near our jobs.

We talked. We argued. We cried.

Finally, we prayed.

That’s when we realized that everything we had scrimped and saved and sacrificed for had been leading to this moment. We weren’t being forced out of our home; we were being given an opportunity to have the child we’d always wanted…

…and all we had to trade for our miracle baby was this block of brick and stone.

People all over the world suffered through childless lives, and we had been given a blank check. A check with three bedrooms, two baths and a garage…

…all we had to do was sign it.

And we did.

More sacrifices were made, possessions were sold, and more tears were shed when we stood in the living room of yet another, tiny two-bedroom apartment. Then the innumerable trips to the doctor, the embarrassing medical tests, the extremely candid conversations with nurses, and the seemingly-unending “are we” or “aren’t we” months of limbo, hope and heart-break.

It’s been three years since we sold our dream house, and our daughter Grace just turned one. Nothing about her addition to our family was easy, not her conception, her birth or her first weeks at home, but she has brought light to our lives that no windows could and colors to our world that no flowers can ever match…she is truly our miracle baby.

We’re saving again for a house, and we’ve moved to a larger apartment, where I work part-time from home and take care of our daughter. Sometimes we talk fondly about our dream house and the memories are bittersweet.

Then baby Grace smiles and laughs and hugs our necks, and we remember that it was just a house, brick and stone, and that this is our home…these aging rented walls, because they have been made of love.

Customer Acquisition Training – 11/07/2011

Wow, what a great time I had last night!

It was my privilege to share some tips and insights on customer acquisition and retention (doesn’t THAT sound exciting?) for our business group here in Portland.

We took a look at sales, and customers, from the standpoint that you don’ have to SELL, if you’re the kind of person that people want to be around and be friends with.

Nobody wants to be sold to, but be a guy people can like and trust, and they’ll typically like and trust what you have to offer.

We also shared some practical applications and tips for preparation, making the customer call, research, writing the quote, and follow-up. I seem to remember that we talked about Facebook a lot, as well, and the subject of toilet paper came up somewhere along the line… I’ll post the audio soon, and you can listen for it!

Here’s the MP3: PerkinsCustomerAQ

As promised, here are my notes and the slides:

Customer Acquisition Slides

Speaking Notes PDF

Weekly Customer Aq Planning Form

And here are a few of the books we discussed…

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
By Bob Burg, John David Mann

The Go-Giver

“This modern-day business parable, a quick read in the spirit of The Greatest Salesman in the World and The One Minute Manager, should do well with eager corporate-ladder climbers … Over the course of five days, a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial advisor, a real-estate broker and the mysterious “Connector” teach Joe about the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity and receptivity—concepts that make more immediate sense in this fictional context than they would in a formal business book.”
Publishers Weekly

Imparted with wit and grace, The Go-Giver is a heartwarming and inspiring tale that brings new relevance to the old proverb “Give and you shall receive.”

Go-Givers Sell More
By Bob Burg, John David Mann

Go-Givers Sell More

Most of us think of sales as convincing potential customers to do something they don’t really want to. This mentality sets up an adversarial relationship and makes the sales process much harder than it has to be.  As Burg and

Mann demonstrate, it’s far more productive (and satisfying) when salespeople think like Go-Givers. Cultivate a trusting relationship and focus exclusively on creating value for the other person, say the authors, and great results will follow automatically.

Drawing on a wide range of examples of real-life salespeople who have prospered by giving more, Burg and Mann offer tips and strategies that anyone in sales can start applying right away.

Never Eat Alone

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
By Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz

“Your network is your net worth.  This book shows you how to add to your personal bottom line with better networking and bigger relationships.  What a solid but easy read!  Keith’s personality shines through like the great (and hip) teacher you never got in college or business school. Buy this book for yourself, and tomorrow go out and buy one for your kid brother!”

—Tim Sanders, author of Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

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