Elisabeth Garbeil's blog

Networking Horror Stories

I spend so much time talking about what we should do, that I think it's time to take a break.  I want to know what some of your worst networking experiences are, or your funniest. 

I have tons of them, but the most recent is probably also one of the shortest networking conversations I have ever had.  I was introduced to several attorneys and we were discussing business (shocking, I know).  Not 3 minutes into the conversation, she (yes, "she") looked at the wedding ring on my finger and declared that I did not have to support myself because I was married.  Another whopper followed that, that I was not responsible for others.  I wrapped up that conversation pretty quickly!!  

How about you? 

Taking Responsibility for The Circumstances of Your Life

My friend Linda Anger came to my NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) group Wednesday and spoke about the power of perseverence.  It was a great talk and I really wanted to highlight one of the things she said.  It was a question that I think is critical:

"Are you willing to take 100% responsibility for the circumstances of your life?"

You wouldn't ordinarily expect a question like this from someone like Linda - she's talking partially about her experience with cancer.  So how could she be responsible for her cancer?  Most of us equate responsibility to blame or fault.  The cancer is not her fault, nor is she to blame for getting cancer.  NO ONE is ever to blame for getting cancer.  There are things like diet and lifestyle changes that you can do to improve your chances of preventing some types of cancer, but there are no guarantees. 

However, what about responsibility?   My answer to that is "YES!"   

Jack Canfield has a formula ("How to Build High Self-Esteem" & "The Success Principles")  that states that "E (event or circumstance) + R (response) = O (outcome or result)"     We can't change the event.   Last time I checked, the only place you can go back in time is your memory or a book.  There's no way to stop or change an event after it has happened.   So how do we change the outcome?

Responsibility is really the ability to respond to events (such as cancer) that happens.  That's where the word comes from after all.   Responsibility is the only way to we have to affect the outcome.  The more you are willing to take "response-ability", the more you can change the outcome.  Linda's outcome was great!  The treatment was successful and she looks wonderful. 

The more you want to focus on blame or fault, instead of what you can do to change the situation, the less you can do about it.  And that means your chances of getting the outcome you want go down.  

I'm not much for gambling with things I can't afford to lose, such as my health or business.   I'd rather focus on what I can do to change it.

How about you?

Hire According to Your Core Values

Each organization has a distinct set of core values that contribute to the success of the company.  These core values also help to create the company culture.  If your employees share your company's core values, it will be more successful.  If they don't, your company will find success to be an uphill climb.  You will also have higher employee turnover and reduced productivity.

It can't just be lip service either - your actions and the actions of your company have to be in alignment with what you state are your core values.  This holds true for all sizes of firms, small and large.  In a small firm, not holding true to your core values will diminish your reputation and sales, as well as higher employee turnover if you have employees and reduced quality and productivity. 

It's a lot more likely to see a bigger firm out of whack with it's core values than smaller firms.  Bigger firms often have some layers of bureaucracy that separate employees from the core mission of the company - the bigger the firm the more likely this is.   A smaller firm often can't weather the employee turnover, reduced productivity and sales that a big company can.   Employees are more likely to leave a smaller company when things get bad than a big one.  In a big company, they may have been there for many years and be afraid to change.

A company I worked with years ago had espoused people (their employees) as one of their core values.  They had literature that every manager was required to read about "The Way"  and how important people were.  They had seminars.  They had a goal to educate every employee and they succeeded.  And yet, at the same time, they demanded longer and longer hours from employees,  and started laying people off.   After a few years, no one was happy to come to work and everything people talked about was negative.  And yes, sales continued to go down so the longer hours and layoffs continued.  And, of course, outsourcing.  This was a very big company and they could continue to do this for a long time.  But as they shrank, other companies grew and came to take their place in the market.

So make sure to make your core values explicit and clear to yourself and everyone who works for and with your company - so you can continue to grow.



Date Change for Intelligent Office 7th Anniversary Party from 9/30 to 9/23

Intelligent Office Michigan is celebrating the 7th Anniversary of its Troy location
September 23rd, 2010 8am-10am
900 Wilshire Dr. Suite 202 Troy, MI 48084
Coffee, Donuts, Open Networking and Door Prizes
Please RSVP by phone at 248.519.2300 or by e-mail to pdipace@intelligentoffice.com.
Tanya Markos-Vanno is the Regional Sales Coordinator and can be contacted for questions about Intelligent Office at 248.663.4000

"Endless Referrals" by Bob Burg

"Endless Referrals" by Bob Burg, "Get Clients Now" by C.J. Hayden and "Book Yourself Solid" by Michael Port are among the core books that I use with many of my clients.   In combination, they make a fantanstic business development program for the non-sales professional.  "Get Clients Now" provides the structure, "Book Yourself Solid" provides the focus and "Endless Referrals" talks about how to develop the relationships you need to grow your business.

Bob Burg was here in June with Motor City Connect. Don't worry if you missed him.  You can find everything he talked about in his books.

All three books talk about the "know, like and trust" factor that's mandatory for anyone who sells a service, such as an attorney, chiropractor, coach or consultant.   "Endless Referrals" focuses exclusively on it.   Bob talks about how to get to know people enough to be able to ask for and get quality referrals, and maintain that relationship over time.

The first few chapters talk about building rapport, the process of developing trust.  He gives 10 'Feel-Good Questions©'  that help you get to know someone and create a connection with them.  He also guides the reader on how to adjust these questions for social events of any kind using the "F-O-R-M" (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Message) method.  I highly recommend studying these questions and using them at your next networking event.  Watch your network grow as you get proficient at this process.  This is by far the clearest process of how to create connection with someone that I have seen so far.

The next few things Burg focuses on are how to ask for referrals so that you actually get them.  Most people just aks if you know "anyone."   I have news for you - there is no one by that name.  It's not likely to get you referrals because it's too general.  He shows you how to narrow it down so that you make the frame of reference manageable for most people without making it too narrow (Tina Morrow at XYZ Company).

Burg also talks about how to get a testimonial that actually supports your business.  I really appreciated that section, after receiving some testimonials that were either unreadable or not what I do. I'm sure you've gotten a few of those too.

I would go to other resources rather than "Endless Referrals for information on internet and other business development strategies, but there is nothing better than "Endless Referrals" for how to build trust and follow up. 

"Endless Referrals" is not the only book you need for your business if you provide a service, but it's a good place to start. 

Dealing with Business or Job Loss - Allow Yourself to Grieve

I have talked to a large number of people who were laid off over the course of my career.  One thing I have consistently noticed is that the vast majority have not yet moved on - they are still emotionally stuck in their previous job.  And, yes, I am deliberately using the words "laid off."  I believe that 'in transition' is a euphemism that doesn't do anyone other than the company who laid off the person in question any good.  It's an effort to shield you from the pain or stigma of being laid off.  In other words, any effort to avoid dealing with the emotional consequences of being forced out of a job you didn't choose to leave.  The same holds true if your business failed.  My guess is that you would have chosen to have it succeed.

Yes, some people take classes and change careers, but even most of those do so out of reaction - not from the basis of desire.  Do you think this is a very powerful way to live your life?   More the opposite.  What you choose out of fear isn't very likely to be what you really want.  It's either going to put you right where you were before you got laid off, or in an even worse situation.

Not only that, but when you do go on interviews, you take all the emotional baggage of the last job and how it ended with you.  Trust me, this does not make for a good or exciting interview.  It will also make it a lot more difficult to get said job.  Even if you don't say anything, you will still be projecting and filtering based on that previous job.  It's a lot like going on date with someone right after they broke up with their significant other.   Might be not be bad, but not someone you'd want to get into a relationship with. 

Allowing yourself to to through the full grieving process after a job or business loss allows you to process all the emotions and thoughts that come up so that you can move on and base your future and your planning on what you want, not what has happened in the past.  You will be able to be excited and interested in what's happening instead of what's in the past.  The last job or business is like last week's lunch.  It may have been a great meal, but you don't necessarily remember what you had.   Wouldn't you rather be excited about your future?

No one really talks about grieving in relationship to job or business loss.  Generally people are just expected to move on immediately.  Here's the rub - we're not robots, we're human.  Your relationship to your job or especially business may have been more long-standing than your relationship to your spouse or children, and just as close in many ways.   And not only don't we talk about it,  most people haven't a clue HOW to grieve and move on.  We're not taught deal with grief effectively in most cases when it comes to people and pets, much less jobs.   Has anyone ever told you "Don't feel bad, there's other jobs"  or something similar?   It wasn't particularly helpful, was it?

The best resource I've seen yet for dealing with loss (whether it's a job, a pet, a spouse, etc.)  is the Grief Recovery Handbook by John James and Russell Friedman.  It actually defines grief and forgiveness and walks you through a fairly straightforward process for dealing with loss.    I came across it through the book When Children Grieve, also by John James and Russell Friedman.  I checked When Children Grieve out of the library to help my son deal with our dog, who has cancer.  I  knew that what I learned about loss and grieving from my parents was not helpful to me (it basically consisted of "Don't talk about it") and I wanted to do better with my son.   When Children Grieve was immensely helpful in giving me some tools to work with my son, but it was also invaluable to look at where I hadn't dealt with loss in my own life.   

I highly recommend purchasing the book or checking it out of the library.  I can't do justice to the full process in a blog post.  You can also visit the website at www.grief-recovery.com.

My advice is work through your job or business loss before moving on to what's next.



My Experience with the 7-Day Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise

You have all heard me talk about how important self-care is.  As a business owner or professional, your business depends on feeling good.  You won't get clients or achieve your goals if you have no energy and you feel lousy.     Well, one aspect of that is diet.  I am always looking for ways to improve my diet and maintain my health without huge expensive supplements, dangerous diets or treatments.   Well,  I hadn't looked at this one because it seemed to fall in the fad diets category, which are usually dangerous in the long term.  A friend told me to take a look at it, so I did.  And I tried it for a week.

The benefits of the diet, from what I can tell, are that it does reduce your sugar intake and it does encourage eating high-fiber carbohydrates, something that most high protein diets don't usually do.  If you follow his eating plan strictly, it is also fairly low calorie, so it makes sense that people would lose weight on  it.   I did indeed lose 3 pound in a week.   However, I got very sick from this diet the following week and did not lose a pound, even while still following the diet.   I typically eat a fairly low fat, high fiber, low animal protein diet, which this definitely was not.   I found that I actually ate much less fiber on this diet than I normally do.

There are 2 big concerns I have with this diet:  1)  A lot of the meals and recipes contain very high amounts of saturated fats such as half & half or heavy cream.   Saturated fats are usually not recommended for anyone in great quantity because of their contribution to heart disease.  You can be very thin and still have heart disease.   This is not a practice you would want to continue long term.    2) It discourages eating more than a little bit of fruits and many vegetables because of their sugar content.  I believe that this is not a good thing.  The kind of sugar found in fruits and vegetables,  fructose, is metabolized slowly and does not cause insulin spikes. Most fruits and vegetables are considered to be safe to eat for diabetics for this reason.  They are considered what is called low glycemic foods. (See the American Diabetic Association Website ).  The American Diabetic Association considers monitoring the total carbohydrates you eat more important in managing blood sugar, and thus insulin levels, than focusing on the type of carbohydrate.  Fruits and vegetables are also important in preventing and treating cancer as well as many other illnesses.

Jorge claimes that most belly fat is caused by eating too much sugar.  He doesn't distinguish what kind of sugars cause belly fat, but labels all sugars as bad.  It is certainly simpler than looking at the type of carbohydrate and what you eat with it to monitor blood sugar, but in simplifying it, I think he throws out the good with the bad.   

Another concern with the diet is that it is very high in protein as well as fat, which can be hard on the body over the long term.    ( See the Mayo Clinic website )

If you are interested in checking out the The Belly Fat Cure: Discover the New Carb Swap System and Lose 4 to 9 lb.s Every Week by Jorge Cruise, you can find the book on Amazon and Jorge Cruise's website  www.thebellyfatcure.com.    You can also find a review of his book on webmd.com.  I encourage you to check out the review before buying the book.

I didn't lose the 4 to 9 pounds that Jorge claims, and I believe that the weight I did lose was more a result of the tightly restricted calorie intake that week than avoiding sugars.  I have since gone back to my normal low refined sugar, whole grain, low fat diet and I feel much better, something very critical to my business.

What are your diet strategies for feeling good?

Women in Insurance Networking Event Presentation July 14 A Success

The presentation last week at the Women in Insurance Networking Event was a great success.  The event, organized by Amanda Bobrovetski of Action Benefits, drew about 25 women insurance agents.  The other speaker, Tiffany Otis-Albert of Blue Cross Blue Shield, did a great job as well.  The audience really enjoyed both the food at Quattro and the presenters.  The feedback has been great.   I spoke on business development, based on the Get Clients Now!(tm) program.  The women were excited and several realized where they needed to focus more in the coming months.

If you are interested in having me present at your event, please contact me at (810) 560-7181.  



The Real Magic of Business Development is Consistency

I was talking to a client the other day and she said, "I guess I was looking for a magic bullet or something."   I see that a lot when I talk to people.   It shows up in all sorts of areas, not just business development.  Weight loss, job hunting and career planning are all great examples of where I see this mindset.  They are looking for an easy, simple solution. 

The funny thing is that most solutions are simple.  What they are usually not is easy.  It's simple to lose weight - eat less and burn more calories. It is not easy to lose weight.  There's a fairly simple process for finding a job - again, simple not easy.

What usually makes it difficult is all the things that get in the way of you doing it in the first place or you wouldn't be struggling.  There is no quick answer to weight loss, finding a job or growing a business.  It takes time and consistent work.  You can make the work more efficient and effective, but it still takes consistent work over time. 

For business development for professionals, the formula is simple:

  1. Be very clear on who you want to work with (your ideal client) and focus on talking to them.
  2. Be clear on what solutions you provide to their problems.
  3. Focus on building relationships and providing value, not selling.
  4. Communicate to your ideal clients regularly and often.  They must know, like and trust you before they will be ready to buy from you.

The hows might vary slightly - you might prefer to blog, rather than do public speaking for example, but basically that's it.  Simple, but not necessarily easy.  Most people do not track their business development activities, so they often think they are doing more than they are.  It takes an average of seven to nine times of contacting someone before they are ready to buy, but most people give up after the third or fourth time.

Having a system and support to keep you on track and accountable really helps create consistency.    There are many different kinds of systems.  You can create your own and or use something someone else has created.  I use "Get Clients Now!" Outlook, and other tools.  It really doesn't matter as long as you do something that allows you to measure and track your activities.  Ideally, it will make it easier.

Also resolve and deal with the obstacles that come up when you start using your system and working on your business or career development.  If it's fear, get support and work through it.  If it's time management, stress or other issues - identify the problem and get help to get a solution.  Don't let it derail you.  There are always obstacles and for every obstacle, there is always a solution, and usually more than one.

Be consistent and use a system - there's your magic bullet.

The Responsibility of Freedom

Happy 4th of July, everyone.

Today, I just want get on my soapbox for a few minutes - please humor me.  One of the things that I have been been very unhappy to see in the last few decades is the decline of personal responsibility.  When I say personal responsibility, I am talking about taking ownership of your life and what happens in it.   This was the norm up until the second world war and even through the fifties.   It used to be you were held accountable for everything you did, regardless of the circumstances.   People used to have a sense of shame.  Somehow that changed radically, to the point where my husband and I have been thanked because we took our son out of a restaurant when he threw a temper tantrum.  Apparently it is very uncommon not to subject your fellow diners to your child's misbehavior.  I was stunned the first time it happened (when someone thanked us - not at my son throwing a temper tantrum).  I call it the Jerry Springer generation - I'm sure I didn't make that one up. 

I believe this directly relates to what happening in this country - we take our freedom and resources for granted.  We live in one of the richest countries in the world and we don't take care of it, as if it's going to last forever and requires no maintenance or work. We're spoiled rotten.  If you don't take care of your lawn by mowing, watering and weeding it; all you end up with is weeds.  I believe that's where we're headed with the country if we don't start taking care.  

The first step is to become educated about your government and how it works.   That includes the constitution and basic civics. I have absolutely cringed at the things some of my associates have said at times - and there's no way I can politely correct such absymal ignorance of what our constitution says.  The associates I'm talking about are well-off too - they had this stuff in school.  If you don't make an effort to become somewhat educated and remain that way - and it's as simple as what most of us should have learned in grade school and high school - you are an easy target of those on all sides who will take advantage of your ignorance to persuade you to things that are not only not in your best interest, but actually harmful to you in the long run. 

If you don't participate at all, you leave it up to special interests to influence the decisions that affect us.  That becomes government for the minority at the expense of the majority and other minorities.  It becomes the government of those that have the resources to make the most noise.  I think we've been headed down that road for quite a while now.   I believe democracies only work well if citizens participate.

Then you need to take the responsibility to vote, and vote regularly.  Make sure that you become educated on the issues.  There are many resources both liberal and conservative to gain a good understanding of what the positions of candidates and issues are.  Some are the League of Women Voters website (just google it), the Christian Science Monitor for international issues, NPR, CNN, many papers; local, state, and federal websites; and many very good independent websites such as factcheck.org.  This is hardly the tip of the iceberg.  Choose several resources and check them against each other.  It really doesn't take too long.

I believe we have a responsibility to take an active part in our government - it is a freedom that is rare through out the world and we should not take it for granted.

Okay, I'm done.  Have a great weekend.

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