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Since our goal improve to bottom line for every business we touch, we have posted articles on this site that you can freely use on your own website (any article written by Don Doman or Justin Tyme). Simply give proper credit (and links to www.ideasandtraining.com) and you can use these articles for your website, your newsletters, and your ezines.

  • The Beatles, Musical Spoons, and Market Research
  • Delegation Trains Everyone
  • The Dreaded Blue Stuff and Market Research
  • Hints For Working with People with Developmental Disabilities
  • Hot Buttered Customer Service
  • Slap in the Face Recognition
  • Time Management Training Skills, Suggestions and Tips


    The Beatles, Musical Spoons, and Market Research
    by Don Doman

    Beatles, Musical Spoons, and Market Research, market research Business Training Article.On the Graham Norton Show, a popular British cable-TV talk show, Graham asked guest Paul McCartney if the Beatles had ever participated in local talent shows before they became famous. They had. Graham then asked if they had won. Nope. McCartney explained, "There was this old woman who played the spoons and she always beat us." It sounds ludicrous that the band "considered by many as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era" lost out to a woman who played the musical spoons, but it's true. A lesser band might have given up, but the Beatles continued as a group from 1960 to 1970 and eventually had sales of over one billion units (as estimated by EMI Records).

    Think of other efforts that might have been abandoned in the face of seeming failure and humiliation. Imagine an artist displaying a creative painting in an exhibition and getting an honorable mention or no recognition at all, while the blue ribbon is given to someone who paints cats with big eyes, dogs playing poker or tropical scenes on black velvet. Imagine a computer programmer who comes up with a cell phone application to help diagnose signs of a medical condition but gets snowballed by an app that connects people to sites with the latest shoes. We must all judge our efforts/results based on what we know and believe.

    We can't completely ignore what others say or how they will react, but we should at least reflect on them. There's an old Spanish saying that I've always liked, something like this, "If one person calls you a jackass; never mind it. If two people call you a jackass; think about it. If three people call you a jackass; start looking for a saddle."

    If you defend your music, your service, your product and achieve a little success to fuel your passion and then you lose out to someone playing the spoons, don't be disheartened. You may not have found your market yet. Seek consensus among people you trust, rather than just opinions; that's just good market research. Then double your efforts; but always think about those potential saddles as well.


    Delegation Trains Everyone
    by Justin Tyme

    The inability to delegate is one of the most common problems of managers. Management and leadership is all about getting results by organising and supervising a workforce. Poor delegation or no delegation is inefficient and expensive. And the worst thing about not delegating is that managers are losing wonderful training opportunities for their workers.

    Managers have many reasons for not delegating:

  • They feel at ease doing routine tasks rather than supervising the work of others
  • They aren't familiar with the skills of their workers and therefore unsure of other people's ability to take more responsibility
  • They hate correcting other people's work
  • They know they can do some things better than others

    Delegating is hard work, but it's work that is needed to help an organization grow and improve. You can tell people what to do, you can show people what to do, but by far the best way to teach people is to simply let them do the work themselves. Delegation provides that training avenue.

    There are basically two good reasons to delegate: One - It gets the job done more efficiently Two - It provides training and new experiences for members of workteams

    Writer Andrew E. Schwarts says, "Too many managers waste both time and energy performing tasks an employee could perform just as well, thereby lowering productivity while raising operating costs. The answer to the problem is easy--delegation. However, many managers still limit their own effectiveness, create imbalances in the organization, waste their department's time and energies, and fail to develop their subordinates by either ignoring or mismanaging the techniques of delegation."

    The ability to delegate tasks and control productivity simultaneously is an essential skill for managers. It's kind of like juggling three or four balls in the air, while ordering fastfood out your car window and talking on a cellphone at the same time. There are many pitfalls that can undermine efforts to delegate, but there are also some basic steps to help managers ease their workload through delegation while maintaining control.

    There are six functions of an effective delegation and control system:

  • Planning and Goal Setting - If everyone is involved in the planning and goal setting of a project, it is more likely that everyone will buy into the work involved to bring the project to fruition -- which makes delegation easier.
  • Responsibility and Authority - Before delegating, everyone needs to know which way the responsibility flows. Who reports to who? That question must be answered for effective delegation. James G. Patterson, a business writer and faulty member of the University of Phoenix, advises, "Be prepared to supervise. All projects require regular monitoring - especially in the beginning stages. So do all employees. But some projects require more scrutiny than others, and some employees demand more direction. Here, too, it's a matter of matching the task with the person."
  • Negotiation - "Can you do this?" Give and take is part of the delegation process.
  • Management by Exception - Only the unusual problem or case is brought to the top.
  • Consultation and Coaching - Think of consultation as a the bedside manner of a physician taking the pulse of a family member. The manager needs to know how the patient is doing, and must make suggestions to improve the overall health of the individual.
  • Review and Control - This is kind of like consultation and coaching, but from a step back. Reviewing project aspects and controlling the work and schedule insures continued progress toward worthwhile goals. In reviewing the project the results should be addressed, the methods that were involved should be not critized very much, if at all.

    Delegation can result in some mistakes being made, but mistakes can also be learning opportunities. Praise should be given for jobs well done. Each time delegation happens there is a chance that everyone will improve their standing in the organization.


    The Dreaded Blue Stuff and Market Research
    By Don Doman

    In 1859, miners around Mt. Davidson, Nevada were panning and slucing 18 hours a day for enough gold to pay for grub and drinks. They were hampered in their mining by blue clay. The blue stuff clogged their equipment, interferred with their efforts and made mining for gold darn near impossible. Finally, one man had the dreaded, awful, ugly, blue stuff assayed. To his surprise the results estimated the blue stuff's worth at $3,000 a ton! The blue clay was extremely rich silver ore.

    News spread fast and speculators headed to Nevada. One miner didn't get the news soon enough. He sold his claim for $450 and ran through the streets laughing and proclaiming that he had tricked the Californians.

    He ended out his career as a peanut vendor.

    The person who bought his claim became one of the wealthiest men in the world.

    It's too bad that the poor goober hadn't heard of market research. If he had thought about his complaints, done some brainstorming, searched for product information, or even just conducted a simple survey -- he may have seen other options and opporunities. Had he done just the tiniest bit of market research, he might have owned the richest silver deposit on Earth instead of settling for peanuts.

    Market research can be done simply and effectively and the results can save money and effort. Almost anyone can conduct their own research projects . . . and find a silver lining.


    Hints For Working with People with Developmental Disabilities
    By Justin Tyme

    Here are some ideas to help you and everyone get along with people who have developmental disabilities. I ran across these while visiting a friend. I looked at them and I realized that these ideas are great for getting along with everyone -- in almost any situation. See if you're already using some of these in your work areas. If not, you should be.

    Tips and Suggestons:

  • SMILE and be friendly.
  • Focus on abilities, not disabilities.
  • Remember a person is a person first with a disability second.
  • Be positive, have a good attitude and be patient.
  • Encourage by praising good behavior.
  • Assist by explainging what to do, rather than what not to do.
  • Make instructions simple and clear.
  • Speak clearly, and slowly, be specific.
  • Talk to and with people -- not at them.
  • Redirect challenging behavior.
  • Establish routines and prepare people in advance for unexpected changes in routine.
  • Be observant and aware.
  • Establish limitations and maintain them.
  • Be fast, firm and fair.
  • Be consistent.
  • Keep the atmosphere relaxed and happy.
  • Be aware of your voice tone.
  • Provide opportunities for choice, decision making, to express oneself.
  • Encourage confidence and self-esteem.
  • Learn new skills and develop leisure interests.
  • Reduce stress and decrease aggression.
  • Increase communication skills.
  • Provide ways to release excess energy.
  • Provide opportunities to experience challenge.
  • Improve overall quality of life, making life happier more meaningful and worthwhile.

    Although these hints are aimed at working with people who have developmental disabilities, they actually work well with everyone.


    Hot Buttered Customer Service
    By Don Doman

    "Sixteen squirts."

    I didn't know what my wife was talking about. I was busy counting out money for my popcorn at the AMC refreshment stand. "He put sixteen squirts of butter in your popcorn," she answered my confused expression.

    I looked over as the movie attendant filled my small bag of popcorn with more popcorn and then squirted in more butter. I had asked for "lots of butter." I don't usually get it. This time, I got it.

    I received the bag and carried it like a bag of gold dust. It was almost that heavy. The bag was warm and a wonderful smell drifted up to my face.

    I entered the darkened theatre and walked down the aisle lifting the bag to my mouth so my tongue could pick up the fluffy popped kernels as I looked for a seat. I felt like an anteater at a buttered ant buffet.

    I sat down and began my meal.

    Food for the gods. Ambrosia. Richness you can only dream about. Each flavorful handful made its way to my mouth. Ecstasy. It was as if each individual piece had been hand-buttered. Perfection only lasts for so long, however . . . even in a movie theatre. As I got down a few inches, I had to shake off the excess butter. When I reached the half-way point, I had to squeeze out the butter so that I could make it to my lips without dripping all over my shirt. I made it to the three-quarter point and my hot buttered popcorn had turned to fondue. I wanted to continue, but I had to stop. Manfully I thought of drinking it, but reason entered the picture. I put a wad of napkins inside and folded over the top of the bag. I sat it down beside my seat. The buttered popcorn was on my mind for the rest of the movie.

    I thought about the popcorn, the young man who applied the rich buttery coating and their relationship to customer service. It's not often we get what we ask for. Our wishes and desires are granted so rarely that we are unprepared for it when we find it. That's why when we receive great customer service - someone actually listening to what we're saying and requesting, and then delivering it - we're completely surprised and gratified.

    After the movie I picked up my bag and took it out into the hallway. I opened it up and looked down into the glowing golden soup. The napkins had wicked up some of the liquid. I threw them away. The bottom two inches of the bag, which amazingly enough wasn't leaking, was more butter than popcorn. I reverently folded up the bag and reached down inside the garbage container and placed it on the bottom. I didn't want to spill a drop.

    Sometimes customer service means just giving a few more squirts of butter.


    Slap in the Face Recognition
    by Justin Tyme

    William came back from vacation. He walked into the office and was told that there was an envelope and a silver colored cardboard box on the safe for him. He opened the envelope. It was a form letter congratulating him on thirty years of service. In the box was an award pin in honor of his thirty years. William's supervisor just dropped everything off on his way through town, while William was on vacation. No personal effort was ever made to thank William for his dedication. No handshake. No phone call. Not even an email.

    William took the envelope and box and threw them in the trunk of his car where they remain. I asked him why he didn't take them out. He responded, "I don't even want to touch them. They make me feel dirty." William is not a problem employee. He knows his job and has never been counseled. Each day he comes to work and does his job without supervision. His supervisor works in an office over one hundred miles away. Most companies would be thrilled to have employees that take no supervision. Many companies recognize that motivated employees are an important part of the work team. Some companies show care and concern for their employees. Some have too many cracks that let recognition opportunities slip through.

    The company William works for is not a small company. It's a national company. You would recognize the name. Recognition can be one of the easiest things to accomplish. It lets people know that their work is appreciated. Lack of appreciation is a slap in the face.

    William says, "Just when I think I can't think any less of the company and management, they come up with something new and my opinion is lowered again." William didn't have long to wait - just a couple of months.

    On a Wednesday, William reported to work and was told to call about a large luncheon in a nearby city to honor all employees with thirty years of service. The president of the company was even flying in to speak and honor those dedicated employees. People were coming from hundreds and thousands of miles away. Nice. Right? The event obviously took planning and coordination. William was told on Wednesday afternoon. The big deal special luncheon was on Friday, less than two days notice. Somehow, William was overlooked . . . again.

    William tried to act like the events didn't bother him and that he wouldn't have gone even with more notice. In reality, he was depressed. "In my mind I saw the silver package in my trunk and just kept thinking about wasting thirty years of my life," he confessed.

    There is no happy ending to this story. As a matter of fact it got worse. Adding insult to injury, later that day William didn't collect enough from a sale and finished up with a shortage at the till . . . which he had to pay.

    In a USA Today article, A snub really does feel like a kick in the gut, writer Maggie Fox says, "The feeling is familiar to anyone who has been passed over in picking teams or snubbed at a party - a sickening, almost painful feeling in the stomach." Maggie was writing about social distress. A study has been done with functional magnetic imaging that proves that the brain reacts to rejection and snubbing in the same way it reacts to physical pain. The study was published in the October 2003 issue of Science.

    "A social snub and a big-toe stub can generate a similar response in the brain, suggesting emotional and physical pain are more closely related than was previously thought."
    -- Anna Salleh ABC Science Online

    While no one in today's business world condones physical violence, it's amazing what stress and pain can be inflicted by managers who are ill-equipped, ill-advised and ill-prepared to deal with social interactions and situations in the workplace. William should have been recognized for his thirty years of service. He wasn't. He should have received positive reinforcement for his dedicated work. He didn't. A few kind words could have soothed hurt feelings. Kind words never came. Recognition motivates. Thoughtlessness produces just the opposite affect.


    Time Management Training Skills, Suggestions and Tips
    By Justin Tyme

    We all have the same amount of time to work with, so how come some people can accomplish so much more than others? It's not the amount of time we have that's important, it's the effective use of time that matters. Here are some excellent suggestions and tips for time managment that can leverage your time and make you more productive.


    Remember, just simply give proper credit (and links to www.ideasandtraining.com) and you can use these articles for your website, your newsletters, and your ezines.


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