Thursday, 28 March 2013
Use your Intuition and Instinct

I used to think “stick with facts” and you will make the best decisions. Then early in my career I had a real wake-up call when I hired the “perfect candidate” for a position and it wall went in flames a month or so later.  My instincts said this was not a fit but the facts on the resume said this was a perfect fit.

That lesson put me on a path of blending the facts with how I feel about the situation. The same could be applied to any decision – personnel, strategic, or financial.  In making product line decisions at Tractor Supply we would often hear “but we can sell that” and in fact we could sell that. However sometimes my instincts would lead me to question whether that was the right product and did it fit our image in the eye of the customer.

The message here is not to skip the facts in decision making but to blend the facts with your instincts which are likely be of great value. Your instincts are the sum total of your life experiences and sure should count in your decision making.
Posted on 03/28/2013 9:30 AM by Joe Scarlett
Thursday, 21 March 2013
Attitude is contagious

Your attitude defines you in the eyes of everyone who comes in contact with you. A positive attitude projects a healthy view of you. A bad attitude says “stay away from that guy.”  These words are just basic common sense.

So, how do you measure up? Do have bad days and send negative messages about yourself to your team, your peers or even worse to your boss? If you answered “yes” go look in the mirror and ask the next question “who is responsible for this bad attitude?”  The answer is you!

Only you can control your attitude. Your attitude tells others all about you. Good attitudes encourage collaboration, respect and hard work. Send the message you want sent by demonstrating a positive attitude around the clock. There should be no “time out” for an attitude shift.
Posted on 03/21/2013 1:31 PM by Joe Scarlett
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Meet strangers and have fun at the same time

I remember a story my friend Joe Calloway told during a motivational speech to Tractor Supply store managers many years ago.  Joe was challenging the group to network, get engaged and generally get out of your shell. He made the point that there is so much to be learned from simply talking to other people. So here is his challenge:

Next time you are in an elevator move to the front, turn around, face the other people and find some way to start a conversation.  Comment on the weather, talk about lunch, compliment someone on their apparel, or just about anything that enters your mind.

Sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? It is really fun – I’ve been doing it for years and have fun every time. Not one person has ever gotten upset. People love it and you become sort of a mini-star in the elevator. Try it – you will likely have fun and may even meet a business prospect.

Posted on 03/19/2013 1:29 PM by Joe Scarlett
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Do not underestimate the power of a smile

The first time you lay eyes on a new face you form an immediate impression based on what you see. Overall appearance, cleanliness, dress, hair, facial expression, etc. sends data to your brain that is translated into a conclusion about this new face.  Certain observations may be an immediate turn off for you but one thing that will always send a positive message is a smile.

When I am giving a speech the one thing that sends me a message of comfort as I look at my audience is a smile.  When your kids smile you feel good. When your spouse smiles you feel good. When anyone smiles it sends a message of warmth and friendliness.

So in business if you want to get off to  good start, begin with a smile. It does not make any difference whether you are the boss, a peer or a worker bee – a smile goes a long way to build trust and understanding. My advice: start every conversation, meeting, gathering etc. with a smile. Smiling is a winning formula in every situation.

Posted on 03/13/2013 9:03 AM by Joe Scarlett
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Manage your personal finances

Basic economic principles of business pertain equally in your personal life.  Sounds pretty good but we so often hear about professionals who can’t seem to figure out their own finances. Life is not that complicated – If you spend more than you make sooner or later it will catch up with you.

Everyone needs a budget. List your income in one column and right next to it, list your expenses. If column one is greater than column two you have some money left over for saving, celebrating or buying a goodie.  If column two is larger you need to cut back on some of your expenses. Warning: building credit card debt is expensive and stupid. A good financial rule of thumb: “if you can’t pay for it now don’t buy it” with the exception of a reasonable priced home and a good car.

If you spend more than you make you will likely have increased stress in your life.  When your employer finds that you are not personally financially responsible that may slow your career growth and you might not even realize it. Demonstrated financial responsibility in your personal and business practices speaks well of you as person and as a leader.
Posted on 03/05/2013 3:40 PM by Joe Scarlett
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