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CYA: Does It Pay?

You’ve probably encountered people who never take responsibility for ANYTHING. That’s what sparked today’s blog –

Does it pay to shift the blame?

On the show, Mary-Lynn said that she believes it DOES pay.

She said she is not a blame-shifter herself, but she has worked with them. In her experience, they often get away with it. Sometimes they even get rewarded with promotions or a better job!

George retorted that it may work short-term, but it DOES NOT pay in the long run. He talked about a manager he had who never accepted responsibility. He knew that meant one of two things – either she wasn’t doing anything, or she was passing the buck. So he fired her.

It hurts morale when employees see people getting away with not accepting responsibility. George said he learned this lesson the hard way – after firing an employee, another employee asked why it took him so long!

As an employee, you don’t have many options when you’re working with a blame-shifter. However, there is one thing you can do – document, document, document. You don’t want to get blamed for THEIR mistakes.

However, as a leader, you can create a culture where it’s okay to accept blame. That’s important because your employees are often afraid of the consequences of owning up to their mistakes.

So focus on fixing the problem, not the blame.

To rephrase an old saying, “It’s amazing how much gets accomplished when no one cares who gets the blame.”

In our society today, we seem to do the opposite – we rush to find SOMEBODY to blame, rather than fixing the problem. Mary-Lynn said that’s why it pays to be a blame-shifter.

George said he remembered an employee who always blamed something or someone. George told him that he had a lot of potential. He wouldn’t get fired for making a mistake, but he was going to get fired if he didn’t start taking responsibility.

He became one of George’s top managers. That won’t work with all employees, but it will work with the ones you want to keep.

Admit your mistakes
Lead by example – when your employees see you admitting mistakes, they’ll feel safe doing the same.

Distribute the credit liberally and focus the blame conservatively. Give more credit to your team; accept more blame yourself. You’ll win the hearts and minds of your team when you do this.

How to get away with shifting the blame
George said that there was one way you might get away with always shifting the blame.

Be a moving target.

If you’re constantly moving from job to job, company to company, place to place, you might get away with it in the long run. But do you really want to live that life – always looking over your shoulder, always worrying that you’ll be found out?

Mary-Lynn responded that blame-shifters do move – and it’s usually UP – to a better job!

What do you think? Does CYA pay?

Our bigg quote today is by the great writer, Oscar Wilde.

“It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you place the blame.”

 
In the game of life, great teams experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat together, not as individuals.

Next time, we’ll discuss what you can learn from jugglers. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Recession Progression

Pretend that we could eat as much as you want, of whatever you want, whenever you want, with no consequences. What would a lot of people do?

Probably eat a lot of their favorite foods!

Of course, in the real world, we know that if we do that for any period of time, we’ll have to go on a diet.

That’s what a recession is – the economy going on a diet.

It’s just the business cycle. Things go well. People get over-exuberant. Too much debt. Bad investments. Then a recession gets rid of the excesses. It’s part of the evolutionary process.

So today, we want to discuss how to survive and thrive in a recession.

How to survive a recession

  • Develop a contingency plan.
  • Start by asking yourself, “What if …?”

    What if you get laid off?
    What if you have to work longer hours because other people got laid off?
    What if your time gets cut back?
    What if your benefits get cut?
    What if your business takes a hit?

    You know your situation. Think about the most likely scenarios and develop a plan for them. Then, do what you can now.

    For example, why put off updating your resume until you need it? Do it now! Most people wait until they need it. You’ll be a step ahead.

  • Watch your spending
  • Businesses cut spending to get through a recession. We should take a clue. Try to avoid making long-term commitments. In times of uncertainty, wait until you’re more certain before making major purchases.

  • Don’t panic.
  • Resist the urge to drastically change your retirement plan and other long-term investments. You need to look at the specifics of your situation. However, as a general rule, if you won’t need the money for five or more years, you should probably stay the course. Historically, that’s been the best thing to do.

    If you need the money before that, you may want to deploy another strategy. Check with your financial planner to figure out your best option.

How to thrive in a recession

  • Take advantage of low interest rates.
  • Interest rates tend to go down during a recession. So consider refinancing your mortgage and other debt. Business owners may have prepayment penalties, but it may still make sense. In both cases, you need to analyze your specific situation.

    Let’s assume you refinance. Use what you save each month to 38 build your passive income].

  • Keep investing in yourself
  • Once again, let’s take a clue from businesses. Businesses that thrive, after a recession, are often those that kept on investing, during the recession.

    There are a lot of opportunities once a recession ends. Position yourself to thrive – take a class, attend seminars, and go to conferences. You’ll build skills and make great contacts. One of those contacts may lead to your next bigg opportunity!

  • Look for great deals.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities may present themselves during a recession. People are often more willing to negotiate. You probably won’t find your great opportunity advertised anywhere.

    So how do you find it? Network, network, network! You’ll most likely be surprised by it, so keep your eyes and ears open. Your accidental discovery will be the result of your active searching!

Our Bigg Quote today is by an unknown author.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”

So keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Be ready for detours so you don’t have to come to a screeching halt!

Next time, we’ll look at the question, “Does it pay to blame others to cover your backside?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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What’s Your Pick-Up Line?

We know … we know … pick-up lines are for social settings. However, a great opening line helps you professionally as well.

Listen to the show to hear our opening line. It doesn’t translate well to print. Mary-Lynn also shares the “cheesiest” pick-up line she ever heard.

The paperboy who became a billionaire
W. Clement Stone sold papers as a kid. He became a billionaire by selling insurance door-to-door. He documented what he learned in his great book, The Success System That Never Fails.

Picture this – you respond to a knock at your door. You open it to see a young man pointing to a list of names. You recognize quite a few of them – they’re your friends and neighbors. All this has happened within a split second as he begins to speak:

“I believe this will interest you also.”

He didn’t tell them his name or say, “Hello.” He didn’t ask them how they were doing or talk about the weather. No! He had tested … and tested … and tested.  He knew this was his best opening line. It was part of his success system.

Let’s look at three essential components to a great opening line.

#1 – Take the “you” view.
You have to think from the other person’s point of view if you want their attention. You’re probably familiar with the acronym WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Immediately address it because everybody is so busy.

#2 – Engage them.
W. Clement Stone’s opener is intriguing, isn’t it?

You ask yourself, “Why does he think that I’ll be interested? Why were my friends and neighbors interested?”

It’s a disturbing comment! That’s one way to engage people. You may also ask a disturbing question. “Ever notice” how Andy Rooney, with 60 Minutes, does this? Can you hear his voice?

One example of a disturbing question is to ask something that doesn’t ring true. We recently did a show / blog entitled 112 Does It Pay Be Smart]?

You say to yourself, “Well, of course it does! So why are they questioning it? What‘s the rest of the story?” Go ahead … check it out …. you know you want to!

You can also engage people by telling a short story that is humorous, gripping, or inspirational.

#3 – Appeal to their emotions.
Let’s go back to the W. Clement Stone story. Picture him at your door again. He delivers his opening line – “I believe this will interest you also” – as he points to his list of your friends and neighbors.

Do you start to worry that you might be left out? That fear of being excluded gets you into the conversation.

This great opening line worked wonders for retailers
Michael Gerber wrote the phenomenal book, The E-Myth Revisited. The “E” stands for entrepreneur, by the way. He talked about opening lines that sales clerks use.

When you walk into a store, if you’re greeted by a clerk, what do they say?

“May I help you?”

How do you respond? Perhaps something like …

“No, thanks … I’m just looking.”

Gerber advised his retail clients to change the question to:

“Have you visited our store before?”

That’s still a simple “yes” or “no”. However, if the customer said, “Yes”, the sales associate would respond:

“Let me show you our specials for regular customers.”

If the customer said, “No”, the clerk replied:

“Let me show you our specials for first-time customers.”

Doesn’t seem like much of a change, does it? The results were anything but small …

Sales increased 16 percent, on average!

What’s your opening line? What works for you? Leave your suggestions in our comment’s section.

Our Bigg Quote was made over 2,500 years ago by Pythagoras, the mathematician and philosopher.

“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.”

A great opening line will open doors for you. Next time, we’ll discuss how to tap into your hidden potential. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Should You Count On Your Counter-Offer

Bigg Challenge:  We received an e-mail from Patrick, who was approached about a job. He met with the prospective employer and accepted their offer. Then he got an unsolicited counter offer when he told his current employer that he was resigning. He wants to know if he should accept it.

Bigg Advice: Congratulations, Patrick! Isn’t it nice to be wanted? It sounds wonderful, but the reality is that it can be quite stressful. We feel the need to preface our comments – we can give you general advice, but only you can decide which offer you should accept.

  • Why did you accept the offer from your prospective new employer?
  • It’s unclear from the e-mail why you wanted to leave. There are many possible reasons why you may have been drawn to your prospective employer’s offer. Was it money? Maybe you were unhappy at your current job – you just hadn’t started actively searching yet. Perhaps the new job seemed like a better opportunity. We’ll assume that if was a combination of these factors.

  • Why did your current employer counter?
  • We can think of two possible explanations for your employer’s counter offer. First, they may be buying time. Perhaps they’re not prepared to do a search now. The timing is bad because of current business volume. There could be any number of reasons for them to buy time. Just be aware of this. Second, they may truly value you. They really don’t want you to go. They’ve invested in you – you’re part of their future plans. It’s hard to judge intentions. Assume the best, but keep the worst in the back of your mind.

  • Get it in writing.
  • Negotiate your counter offer as if it was a brand new job. If you’ve been promised more money, it will be easy to judge whether they come through. It’s more difficult with other factors. You may want to travel less. Maybe you want more flexibility. Or you need more time off. Perhaps it’s growth opportunities that you seek. These factors are harder to deliver. So ask your current employer to put their offer in writing. Tell them that you appreciate their counter. You want to fully evaluate it. You prefer to stay with them, but you want to know that you’re making the right decision. Seeing it in writing will help you do that.

  • Maintain your relationships.
  • We don’t believe you should let your prospective employer know about the counter offer. They probably expect that anyway. However, you should make your final decision very quickly. Somebody will have a position to fill. Lingering only makes that a bigger problem. Whatever you decide, don’t burn bridges with the affected party.

Thanks for sharing your bigg challenge with us, Patrick. We hope our bigg advice helps you!

Do you have a bigg challenge? We’d love to help. E-mail it to bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Our Bigg Quote today is by Karl Albrecht.

“Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.”

You’ve been dealt a good hand. Play your cards well. Maintain your poker face. Draw from within and then place your bet.

Next time, we ask you, “What’s your pickup line?” We’ll discuss how to grab someone’s attention with a great opening line. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Getting The Credit You Deserve

We’re not talking about credit cards here! We’ll discuss a somewhat common problem – what to do when you’re doing most of the work, but getting very little credit.      

Vicki e-mailed us with a bigg challenge – she recently worked on a major project at work. It was a bigg success – okay, she didn’t say that, but we couldn’t resist! Management is thrilled. Her problem – her supervisor is taking all the credit. Vicki wants to know what to do to get the recognition she deserves.

Here’s what we recommend to Vicki:
Put it in perspective
Don’t forget the old saying: It’s amazing how much gets accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. The fact is you know that you worked on this project and that it was very successful. Enjoy it! You helped your company … you contributed.

Ask yourself if you’re inflating your role? Sometimes we give ourselves more credit than we deserve, especially on successful projects. Make sure that’s not the case. However, from reading Vicki’s e-mail, it doesn’t appear that’s the situation here.

We live in a highly competitive world. You’re a hard worker. You’ve been a part of a successful campaign. Strive to get the credit you deserve. That helps your standing in your company. It 129 makes your job more secure.]

If you don’t promote yourself, no one else will.
We’re not talking about walking around telling everyone how great you are. Don’t undermine your boss. Just understand that you need to make sure you’re recognized for your contributions.

Document, document, document.
As you’re working on projects in the future, keep written notes as things progress. Give credit where credit is due for ideas, participation, and implementation. Follow up – after meetings, face-to-face conversations, and phone calls – with a written record of “your understanding” of the conversation. Get agreement on the facts from your supervisor and/or co-workers.

For the project you just completed, consider writing out your role in the project. Ask your supervisor to review it. Tell him that you recorded the details while they were fresh in your mind. You’re going to put it in your file for your next review.

Don’t just write down what you did – include what you learned. Your company provides you with opportunities for growth. Pat your company on the back for that!

One more thought on documentation – don’t forget to add this project to your resume!

Address the situation at the proper time in the proper way.
The proper time is AFTER you have documentation on your role in a project. Then, if your manager fails to give you the credit you deserve, you’re ready to address it in the proper way.

That means having a conversation, not a confrontation. You won’t accomplish anything by attacking him. Report on the situation with as little emotion as you can possibly muster. Keep this two-point outline in mind –

(1) This is what happened      (2) Here’s how it makes me feel.

You may start with a discussion of the project, what you’re most proud of, and what you learned for next time. Then, you might say something like:

“In our meeting yesterday, when this project was discussed, I don’t feel I was given the credit I deserve. It makes me feel unappreciated.”

You’re not putting your boss on the defensive by saying that. You’re simply, and properly, trying to resolve an issue.

Good luck, Vicki! Thanks for sharing your bigg challenge with us.

What’s your biggest challenge right now? E-mail it to us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Do you have a suggestion for Vicki? Share it with us in the Comments below.

Our Bigg Quote today is more of a riddle …

Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? 
Because you do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit!

You may be an elf now, but if you remember to elf-promote, you’ll be elf-satisfied!

Come back tomorrow to find out if your knowledge is a blessing or a curse. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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