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Top of Mind: October 19, 2017
October 20th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Play to Win

We’ve all seen it.  A football team is ahead by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter only to lose the game.  A basketball team is up by 10 points with three minutes to go but loses.  A golfer is ahead by four strokes going into the final round of a tournament and loses to a player who finishes strong.

We see it in sports all the time because the team or individual in front gets too conservative and loses.  It doesn’t make sense to abandon the one thing that got you a lead for a strategy that tries to keep you from losing.

It’s the same way in business.  We fight hard to become successful and then we become complacent, thinking that what got us to where we are will keep us there.  Trying to maintain the status quo – and playing it safe – will cause us to fall behind.  Every business needs to constantly innovate and experiment with new ideas and strategies.  Not every new concept will work, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

So instead of playing “not to lose,” we need to “play to win.”  Winning involves continuous learning, constant experimentation, and relentless innovation.  It isn’t enough to be good.  We need to strive to be great.  It’s the only way to stay ahead in the game, and win!

Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • Good leaders maintain a sense of urgency with controlled energy. They never get too high or too low. They operate like a thermostat.
  • Organizations, boards, and businesses struggle without new blood adding new ideas to the conversation and the strategy.
  • You can’t get hung up on what your competitors are doing. Be aware, for sure, but don’t let it get in the way of what you must do.


Life Tips:

  • If you know you’re biased, take yourself out of the decision. If you don’t know you’re biased, well, that’s a different problem.
  • Wisdom comes from living life skillfully. Experience matters and self-reflection assures introspection.
  • Behaviors – even immediate, automatic reactions – can learn to be controlled and modified if we recognize the choices we can make.
Top of Mind: October 5, 2017
October 5th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Food for Thought

  • If you want to be liked, you have to be likable.
  • If you want to be loved, you have to love others.
  • If you want to be respected, you have to respect others.
  • If you want to be noticed, you have to be out there and noticeable.
  • If you want a raise, do more than is expected.
  • If you want a promotion, prepare yourself for the job you want.
  • If you want to build loyalty, be loyal.
  • If you want people to believe in you, care about them.
  • If you want to have more meaningful relationships, be nicer.
  • If you want to show integrity, don’t put others down.

If you don’t believe any of this, well, that’s a problem.


Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about…

Business Tips:

  • Build a good name. Keep it clean. Don’t worry about making money yet. Do good work. Your name will become your currency.
  • To get more time in your work day, analyze everything you do. Eliminate time-wasters, delete unwanted emails, and reduce interruptions.
  • Keep your day job. The routine is good for you, even if a little boring. Boredom forces you to take risks. Risks take you to new places.


Life Tips:

  • Insecurity is a debilitating condition. Why choose to be around people who have to put others down in order to prop themselves up.
  • Materialism is getting things for yourself. Generosity is giving things to others. There is no better time to give than now.
  • You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it good. First impressions have lasting value, good or bad.
Top of Mind: September 21, 2017
September 21st, 2017
by Bill Boyajian


Motivating staff is one of the most vital elements of good leadership. Here are some keys to doing it right:

  • People are more highly motivated through positive daily interactions than the occasional “home run” you might hit.
  • It isn’t always money that does the trick. Public recognition, sincere compliments, praise for work well done, and regular thank yous go a long way to keeping people happy.
  • People play off a leader’s own attitude and motivation. So be “up” throughout each day.
  • Creating a fun environment does more to motivate staff than almost any other aspect of a business.
  • Encourage people with small wins.       They lead to bigger wins.
  • Reward people when they least expect it. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of it.
  • Create structure around clearly defined goals. People want to do a good job. Help them out by setting realistic expectations and holding them accountable for the role they play.
  • “Team” wins build moral. Be creative in how each person contributes to the “whole.”
  • Keep people informed about what’s going on in the business. People in the dark can get uneasy about what is ahead for them.
  • Acknowledge people and give them your undivided attention.
  • Show your gratitude on a consistent basis. Your staff will then go to great lengths to help you.
  • People are your most valuable asset, but your best people are multiple times more valuable. Take care of them.


Business Tips:

  • It isn’t enough to simply expect your staff to do their job and not thank them for doing it well. We all need positive reinforcement.
  • Employees who threaten an owner with ultimatums, lest they leave, must be reminded that they are free to leave any time.
  • Want to be successful in your business life? Then practice the 3As: have the right Attitude, ensure your Abilities, and be Adaptable.


Life Tips:

  • When you help others to grow, you help yourself to grow. Others’ success translates to your success. It isn’t about you alone.
  • Extraordinary people are ordinary — but commit to doing things in an extraordinary way — doing what others simply can’t or won’t do.
  • Unless you’re an Olympic-level athlete, the goal is not to be the best. The goal is to be better each day at whatever you do.
Top of Mind: September 7, 2017
September 10th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Here Comes Generation Z

An interesting phenomenon is occurring that will most certainly create more diversity in the workforce. Generation Z graduates are about to enter the workforce, so for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who are still trying to understand the Millennial Generation, prepare yourself for the next wave of newcomers.

Generation Zers were born between 1995 and 2012. They are the newest employees and consumers to enter the mainstream. With Baby Boomers living longer and working longer, soon there will four different generations in the workforce, each with their own specific views about work, life balance, success, and what it takes to run a business effectively.

Whereas Millennials are all about flexibility, their own self-worth, and entitlement that often gets in the way of reality, Generation Zers are independent, competitive, and highly motivated not to miss out on anything. Every generation is a product of the times in which they grow up, and the circumstances that construct their own unique mindset about life and work and the future.

So with four distinct generations with perspectives that differ significantly, we are all in store for some interesting times, and some interesting challenges going forward. The key to success will be our ability to understand and cope with such divergent views and to learn to get along despite our differences.



Business Tips:

  • If you have an employee (or a boss, for that matter) who seems rigidly opposed to your idea, look for ways to enlarge his or her view.
  • For a team to display synergy in everything from athletics to business, there isn’t an absence of tension, but a harmonizing of it.
  • Look for trends. Catch waves early. Project where things will be, not where they currently are. Think future before it happens.


Life Tips:

  • Self-confidence produces contentment. If you trust yourself, try to create in you the kind of person you can be happy with for life.
  • If you want to attract people to your way of thinking, say and do what you believe. In other words, be authentic.
  • Failure is success if we learn from it. Failure often means you are pushing the envelope to do something great. Don’t play it safe.
Top of Mind: August 24, 2017
August 24th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

That Special Business Experience

I recently had dinner with some friends in a nice Italian restaurant I frequent in a city I visit on occasion. The owner always greets us at the door and even remembers us when we come in. He takes great pride in his menu, his décor, and his service to patrons. You can tell he loves what he does and delights in the nice comments he receives about the delicious food he serves.

It reminded me of how special it is to be greeted by an owner of an establishment and to be given that extra special touch that makes coming back so rewarding. Today we read about how people are enamored with the experience they get in almost any type of business. I suppose this is true, and people are certainly focused on how businesses differentiate their operations and activities from others with which they compete. But I sometimes wonder if it hasn’t always been like this to some degree.

I’ve always enjoyed receiving personal attention from the owner or manager of an enterprise. I’ve always appreciated someone remembering me when I patronize an establishment. And I’ve always enjoyed that special feeling of a unique experience when I receive it. I just haven’t always been as conscious of it as I am today.

It’s the little things that make the difference in every business. Take some time today to think about what makes your business special to people. Maybe that will be the difference between running a business and loving what you do.


Business Tips:

  • People who lead well inspire us to follow. Such leaders share why they believe what they believe, and people follow because of it.
  • To coach associates effectively, vary your leadership style to what is needed for different people to best follow your advice.
  • The balance between business life and home life is more blurred than ever before. When hiring, be balanced with your questions.


Life Tips:

  • The ability to create meaning in your work and in your life, no matter how mundane things can be, is a key to being happy.
  • Instead of retirement, try semi-retirement. Never stop the 4Cs of life: creating, changing, contributing, and caring.
  • Learn to measure your success in life by what you give away. This kind of success produces a life of significance.
Top of Mind: August 10, 2017
August 10th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

In Pursuit of Retirement?

People dream about the day they’ll retire when life won’t be dictated by early morning alarms, regimented commutes, hassles at work, and limited free time. But retirement may not be all it’s cracked up to be if you aren’t prepared for it.

Most of us need the kind of daily structure that work provides, or at least some semblance of it. And we often derive a great deal of satisfaction and sense of purpose through our work, which can leave a huge void if not filled by something of similar value. Sometimes it depends on whether we are retiring from something or to something.

People who are happiest in retirement already have hobbies and extra-curricular pursuits well before retiring. Now they just have more time to enjoy them. But those who retire and spend the first year traveling, spending time with grandchildren, fixing up the back yard, or cleaning out the garage, are often left with the challenge of what to do next.

We all need a reason to get up in the morning and the opportunity to be constructive with our lives. Why not consider applying some of your considerable talents to helping a nonprofit with a mission and cause you believe in? This will give you a continued sense of purpose and will be good for your psyche, too. You made a difference in your working career. Why not consider making a difference in your retirement?

So instead of fretting about what you’ll do when your career ends, try to figure out how to continue your contribution to society in some meaningful way. Just do it on your terms, not someone else’s. The last third of your life can become the most fulfilling and enjoyable, and much richer that you might imagine. Our future can be more exciting if we find new ways of building upon what we already know and giving back in ways that can be very rewarding.


Here are some Business and Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • Passion is the feeling you have when you are doing what you love. It’s what you would do for free, yet someone pays you for it.
  • You don’t always need a so-called expert to do the teaching. Small groups of peers can learn a great deal from each other.
  • The best way to better your life is to support your friends and colleagues. Try giving more than taking. The return will be greater.


Life Tips:

  • Volunteer your time to worthy nonprofits because they need your support. It also makes you feel good to know you’ve made a difference.
  • To say you don’t have time for something is flawed. What it really means is that you have chosen to spend your time elsewhere.
  • Achieving a major milestone can only be accomplished by breaking it up into smaller goals. Small successes lead to bigger ones.
Top of Mind: July 27, 2017
July 27th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

In the 1980s In Search of Excellence author Tom Peters made famous the notion that people want to be part of a winning team, but a hero in their own right.  A generation later Mark Zuckerberg tells Harvard Business School graduates that they should want to make a difference and become part of something bigger than themselves.  The words have changed a little, but the essence is much the same.  That’s because human nature hasn’t changed all that much in several millennia.

We hear a lot about the new Millennial generation these days.  Yes, they think a little differently than past generations, but every generation is defined by the times in which they live and the circumstances in society that formulate the way they think and act.  In my book on leadership, I wrote about a few non-negotiables that are part of every generation.  Here are some of them:

People want to know that the effort they put in is appreciated and makes a difference
People want and need to be recognized in their work as contributing to overall success
People need to know where a business is going and how the owners plan to get it there
People want to be “in on things,” and they should be because that’s how you build loyalty
People don’t care how much an owner knows, but whether he or she really cares about them

These fundamentals may seem trite and insignificant to some, but I challenge you to think about them.  Even ask others (perhaps Millennials?) what they think.  You just might be surprised at what they say.


Here are a few Business and Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • If people work for you because they believe what you believe and why you believe it, you will have their heart and soul in the firm.
  • Employee retention is a huge issue when an employer’s primary way of addressing performance is through intimidation.
  • Inform people of what they need to know, but don’t bore them with everything you know. Endless talk to fill time gets old quickly.

Life Tips:

  • If you’re in a position of influence, your challenge is to encourage people to follow not because they have to, but because they want to.
  • Try measuring success by what you can do for others. Over time you will achieve significance and priceless personal satisfaction.
  • When you sow a seed of doubt, you tear down. When you sow a seed of praise or encouragement or kindness, you build up.
Top of Mind: July 13, 2017
July 13th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

The Reason a Sale is Made, or Not

It’s easy to get puffed up when we make a sale, and even easier to get deflated when we lose one. But do we really know why a sale was made, or why it was lost? Often we don’t.

Seldom do we ask why a sale is made because we know better than to question it. The best thing we can do is stop talking and write up the order. But we should always review every sale to make sure we know what triggered our customer’s decision to buy. Understanding the motive, the reasoning, and the decision-making process is a key to securing the next sale.

And when we fail to make a sale, we should always ask ourselves why. Unless we understand the cause of the loss, we will never be able to learn from it and improve our delivery. We need to dissect the sale process to see what went right and what went wrong. Did we fail to sell ourself, the store, or the product? Was the customer really ready to buy or were they just looking? What would have pushed the person over the edge to commit to buying?

Unless we investigate both our successes and failures, we will never get better. Often we learn more from our failures than successes, but I think we can learn a lot from both. So take the time to review every sale. It’s worth the effort you put into it.


Business Tips:

  • Your best customer is an already satisfied customer. Try selling more to people who already trust you. The barrier to a sale is far less.
  • Caution: don’t take your best salesperson and make him a sales manager. Great sales traits seldom translate to managerial traits.
  • If someone you are close to or work with always insists on being right, ask him if he wants to right all the time or, simply, successful.


Life Tips:

  • Don’t be too proud to secure help when you really need it. Everyone needs a mentor to provide advice and counsel.
  • If you’re uncomfortable meeting people, try asking questions that get them talking. Most people like to tell their story.
  • Care and credibility are keys to all meaningful relationships. Conveying these two essentials to people will build lasting relations.
Top of Mind: June 29, 2017
June 29th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

10 Ways to Know Whether People Think You’re Kind

  • You know their name.
  • They call you by name.
  • You smile when you see them.
  • They smile when they see you.
  • You offer help.
  • They offer help in return.
  • They take on more responsibility even if it’s not their job to do so.
  • You ask if they want something like coffee or water, and you get it for them.
  • You listen to them.
  • They listen to you.

These aren’t all the ways you’ll know if people think you’re kind, but they provide a good start.







Business Tips:

  • What if we gave each day our very best? Chances are, our relationships with co-workers and success at work would skyrocket.
  • If you want to lead well, learn to listen. As importantly, learn to be the last to speak so you don’t get in the way of others’ opinions.
  • People often advance in their work without ever advancing in the way they think. They aren’t listening and learning from others.


Life Tips:

  • It is better to be kind and gracious than to try to be right all the time. Too many have insisted on being right, to their own demise.
  • Relationships don’t just go sour overnight. They erode over time because of people who are unwilling to bend to the needs of others.
  • Forgiving and forgetting are very different. You don’t have to forget everything that’s happened, but you should try to forgive.
Top of Mind: June 15, 2017
June 15th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Memo to Millennials

I handle many family transition issues, the coaching and mentoring of family members, and succession planning for businesses. One of the things I see most often is that young people coming into a business are not there as a first choice. Sometimes they feel guilty that they should help their parents. Other times they have nowhere else to go.

Young people should work outside of their family business before they join it. Sometimes it’s too late for that, and there is little recourse but to continue on. But this often leads to problems, uncertainty about long-term commitment, and resentment about not being able to choose one’s own path in business and in life.

Young people deserve the right to follow their passion and to choose their own way. One of the things I recommend to Millennials is to simply write down in one column what you love to do, in another column what you are good at doing, and in a third column whether you can earn a living from either or both. We are usually quite good at what we like to do, and if we can make money doing it, we may have a formula for success.

Sometimes our work is a means to an end and simply a way to earn a living. When this is the case, we often find a hobby where we can unleash our true happiness. Sometimes people can find that joy through their hobby, and also make a nice living from it. It’s hard to do, but perhaps worth trying. If you’re a Millennial, consider this option. It will help you decide what you truly want to do.



Business Tips:

  • Courage without measured caution is a recipe for disaster. Have the common sense to listen to others and consider their advice.
  • When we are too close to a problem, we are blinded by familiarity and proximity, while others can see the issue immediately.
  • We don’t realize the power of our words until we are silenced by the words of others. Be careful about what you say to people.


Life Tips:

  • That uncomfortable feeling when things just aren’t right, is often caused when we get outside of our comfort zone or experience.
  • Humility is not having a low opinion of yourself, but rather, the right opinion. Humble people are comfortable in their own skin.
  • Time is your most precious asset in life. Use it to explore new horizons, discover your passion, and share great moments with friends.

"Bill Boyajian is a leader people follow, with a proven track record of success. He will provide solutions to your biggest challenges and deliver terrific results."

–Howard Herzog
International Jewelers Block Insurance

"A sought after role model, Bill reminds us that how we lead our business has everything to do with how we live a fulfilling life."

– Pam Levine,
Levine Design Group