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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.
Top of Mind: June 1, 2017
June 1st, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

How to Get Better 

The old adage that “practice makes perfect” needs some serious reconsideration. Practice is great if we’re practicing the right things. Unfortunately, most of us keep practicing the wrong things and wonder why things don’t get better.

So instead of “practice makes perfect,” we should think in terms of “practice makes permanent.” It’s particularly true in business. We keep doing the same things over and over again somehow believing that things will change. We wonder why business doesn’t improve, why employees don’t get along, and why we fail to make bigger sales. But we don’t analyze why these things occur, and we often do nothing to try to change the outcomes.

We also try to maintain the status quo, somehow believing that things won’t change. Things always change, but they seldom change for the better unless we take action. We want to lose weight but we don’t change our eating habits. We want to improve our golf scores, but we do little to improve our swing. We want to read more books, but can’t get started with the one at the top of our stack.

If this sounds futile, it is because we need to practice those things that make us better, not just permanent, let alone perfect. Practice won’t make us perfect at anything because perfection is an unattainable goal. But practicing the right things in business and in life will make us better. And better is what we want.

 

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

Business Tips:

  • Partners with complementary skills are great for business if their views are not so extreme as to cause more problems than they solve.
  • Your employees will emulate far more of what they see you doing than what they hear you say. If they don’t, well, enough said.
  • Customers seldom know what they want when they enter a store. Great salespeople establish rapport and tell them what they need.

  

Life Tips:

  • Believing you can succeed at whatever you’re doing is the key to succeeding at it. Have faith in yourself and just do it.
  • Mature people control their emotions through reasonable actions and reactions, rather than outbursts that take people down.
  • Most of us should try to listen more and be less defensive. Listening gives us a chance to learn about the other side of issues.
Top of Mind: May 18, 2017
May 23rd, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Don’t Let Life Pass You By

Too often we major on minors.  We bury our heads in our smart phones and miss a beautiful sunset.  We overeat (or drink….) at a party, and miss a quality conversation with an interesting person.  We exercise on a machine indoors and never jog on a trail to observe nature’s wonders.  We multi-task while watching a game and miss the live action because we know we can rewind the play.  We snap at a family member or associate and fail to be gracious.  And we do all these things because we’re preoccupied with ourselves or what we’re doing instead of looking at life through a wider angle lens.

With all the focus on having an “experience” today, you would think we would slow down to enjoy some of life’s little pleasures instead of running around without any thought of what we’re missing.  Life is not a straightaway that you drive down aimlessly.  It’s more like a windy road where you slow down for the curves, not knowing what will be around the bend.

So the next time you get in too much of a hurry, stop to listen carefully to the person with an idea to share.  Take the ocean route or the mountain road instead of the freeway.  Pull over to read the historic sign or view the scenic vista.  Notice the flight of the flock in the distance and how perfectly they coordinate their turns and synchronization.  And then you’ll be enjoying life and not letting it pass you by.

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

Business Tips:

  • Don’t confuse working hard with working smart. Being busy doesn’t necessarily lead to the results you are looking for.
  • Many business owners look deeply into why things aren’t going well, but seldom look in the mirror to discover they are the problem.
  • As a leader, if you aren’t challenging people to be better and motivating them to peak performance, you aren’t doing your job.

Life Tips:

  • Persistence is as important as performance. Greatness is seldom achieved on the first try. Never give up on your goal. Never!
  • The past is usually filled with regret, whereas living in the present helps you create the future. The past is just that, the past.
  • When was the last time you distanced yourself from the hectic day-to-day grind just to think and reflect on life’s imponderables?

 

Here is a past article related to the message….

No Regrets

Top of Mind: May 4, 2017
May 4th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Commitment

Recently I rented a car out of state, but when I got to the rental car counter at the airport, the representative told me he was out of cars. I told him I not only had a reservation as a VIP client, but that I paid for the car in advance. The representative said he was very sorry but there was nothing he could do. I then went to another rental car counter – now teeming with people – and tried to wait as patiently as I could when I saw my rep waving me back to his counter. He had (miraculously?) found a car for me. I was delighted, if not curious, but it didn’t matter. I got my car at 10pm that night, and that was all that mattered.

This experience, though disturbing, reminded me of how important our commitments are in business. Imagine your customers’ frustrations when you can’t deliver on something that was promised. Or what about when you tell your staff they’ll get a promotion or a bonus and then retract it for no apparent reason.

We need to take our commitments seriously. When we cancel things at the last minute, miss deadlines, make excuses, or fail to come through for people, we let them down and we most certainly let ourselves down. We diminish our business even more than we inconvenience or upset our customers when we can’t live up to our commitments.

So the next time you break a commitment, think about how people might eventually forgive you, but will likely not forget what you did. Then think about how that affects your integrity and your reputation.

 

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

Business Tips:

  • It’s a leader’s role to use resources in such a way as to benefit customers and ultimately benefit the business and its employees.
  • As a leader, when you can get people to appreciate their own vested interest in the business, performance will be enhanced.
  • Word of mouth referrals are the best form of advertising. They cost nothing, but provide powerful testimonials that are priceless.

 

Life Tips:

  • Truly mature people live by their commitments, not by their feelings, which can be as varied as the wind.
  • We lose the will to win when we become so overwhelmed that we no longer believe the goal we had originally is achievable.
  • One of the keys to enduring success is the ability to stay positive even during the most stressful and challenging circumstances.

 

Here is another article related to customer service….

Did You Impress Them?

Top of Mind: April 20, 2017
April 20th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Culture

The culture of any business is created by its founder and nurtured by its current leadership. A brand, an image, or a reputation can attract a lot of people to want to work for a company or organization, but it is the culture of the place that keeps people happy. What you really want are people so pleased with the workplace that they fall in love with it, and tell others about it.

The way this “love affair” starts is through a company’s culture. Talented and success-oriented people want to work around other talented, success-oriented people. They also want to invest their time (and their life) at a place where they feel in synch with the values and direction of its leadership. The key aspect of this lies in the leader: his or her philosophy, temperament, and credibility. No amount of money can keep someone happy if the desire to work is outweighed by the problems at work.

Even the traditional elements of good leadership, performance recognition, effective communication, and a collaborative environment aren’t necessarily enough anymore. People now seek fun environments where genuine appreciation is the norm and a work-life balance with reasonable flexibility is encouraged. All of this is established and nurtured by ownership and leadership, and leveraged to form a culture that is invigorating and worthy of peoples’ time.

What is the culture of your workplace? Can it be improved? Are you the one responsible for it? How can you impact the culture and those within it, even if you aren’t the one responsible for guiding it?

 

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

Business Tips:

  • If morale in your business is great, peoples’ needs are being met, enthusiasm is high, and productivity is likely flourishing.
  • New ideas are almost always created by people outside of your industry. They lack built-in bias about the old way of doing things.
  • Anyone who thinks he needs a title to have authority deludes himself. You earn authority by winning peoples’ respect.

 

Life Tips:

  • Simplify life by taking a hard look at what is important and what is not. Drop the unimportant, and get closer to an ideal lifestyle.
  • Instead of trying to compete with everyone or keep up with what they have, simply try to become the very best version of yourself.
  • The best way to win the hearts and minds of people is not through pressure or embarrassment, but by showing them that you really care.

 

Here is another article written by Bill….

Be a Leader People Follow

Top of Mind: April 6, 2017
April 6th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

No Regrets

We all have friends and family in the latter stages of their life.   It is important that we encourage them to do those things they really want to do.  Is there a place they haven’t been where they really want to go?  Is there an activity or a practice that they want to take up? Is there someone they want to see again who they long to visit?

We should always encourage people who need a little push, who could do more if we just helped them get there.  Often people wish they could have or would have done something that they later regret in life.  Sometimes it’s too late to do anything about it, but many times things can still be done if we are creative about it.

The goal, of course, is to try to live a life with no regrets: To do and say those things that make a difference in someone’s life, or maybe even your own.  Is it time to think this through?  Help someone today so they can avoid regret.

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

Business Tips:

  • As a business owner, if you can’t attract and retain great people, you will never be able to relax and enjoy what you have built.
  • People wait too long to ask for help when they need it, be it personal problems, career direction, or business challenges.
  • If you want to climb the ranks in business, do so well in your current job that management can’t help but promote you.

 

Life Tips:

  • Your circumstances are a result of the past. Your actions are a result of the present. But your aspirations are all about the future.
  • Achieving a major milestone can only be accomplished by breaking it up into smaller goals. Small successes lead to bigger ones.
  • The best way to get what you want is to give it away: be it love, money, trust, or faith. Just give it away, and get it back in return.

"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