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Thinking NAKED has nothing to do with what you’re wearing and everything to do with the thoughts that are wearing you down! When you strip off negative and habituated thoughts and limiting beliefs, you open yourself up to unlimited possibility. This in turn benefits your customers.

Here’s 5 ways that Thinking NAKED helps your customer service:

1) You listen – with the intent of completely understanding what it is the customer is asking for. Since your mind is open to possibility, you are solution oriented, not policy and procedure bound. When this is true, you turn your imagination loose to discover new ways to delight your customers! You view complaints as gifts, as opportunities for continuous improvement.

2) You become externally focused – You let go of antiquated and internally oriented rules, and find ways to profitably satisfy your customers. You don’t settle for offering GOOD service, you search for ways to offer GREAT service!

3) You concentrate on adding value – this allows you to separate the actions that customers are willing to pay for, from those that add no value. This is the waste that you can take steps to eliminate.

4) You seek to give rather than get – You regularly give away service, advice, support and smiles. You constantly ask yourself how you can better serve others. You pay no attention to the state of the economy, knowing that your needs are always met.

5) You ask for feedback – You ask customers for advice on how to improve your service and products, and you take action as appropriate.

Best of all, because you’re thinking NAKED, you’ve dropped all your excuses and justifications, all of your
complaining and procrastination. Your customer service is improving, almost without any effort!

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a goal that seems unachievable or an obstacle that seems unconquerable,  I hope you’ll consider these summertime heroes, the challenges they manage to overcome, and the life lessons they teach us.

Life Lesson # 1 – Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream! Human engineers say it is impossible for bumblebees to fly.  They claim that the bumblebee body is too big and heavy and the wings too light to lift them off the ground and sustain them in flight. But bumblebees can’t read, so they continued to fly!  Be a bumblebee and hold fast to your dream, not matter what the so called experts tells you.

Life Lesson #2 –   A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! This is a well stated adage by Confucius, but it should be the mantra of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. They normally spend the winter in Central America. From March through May they migrate north, some through the eastern two thirds of Texas, some through Cuba and Florida, and some fly directly across the Gulf of Mexico.   Hummingbird.net states that many Ruby-throated Hummingbirds travel nonstop for 18-22 hours in order to migrate.  Imagine weighing anywhere from 2 to 20 grams and completing a nonstop journey over 600 miles! I don’t know about you, but I find these facts both mind-boggling and motivating.  Better yet, my own flimsy excuses for not pursuing a goal tend to pale in comparison, and I use the image of that small bird on its migration to get myself moving on my own journey to success.

Life Lesson #3 – You can overcome dismal surroundings, if you are willing to change! At one time or another you may have admired the giant Swallowtail butterfly, known as Heraclides cresphontes or Papilio cresphontes. You might not be aware that as it emerges from its dark and confining chrysalis it must hang vertically to allow its wings to expand and dry.  The process can take a few hours, which may not seem like much to us. But consider the plight of the butterfly, hoping its’ wings dry before a predator finds it and wondering if (or when) it will be able to fly off.  Like the butterfly, we sometimes find ourselves in the throes of a precarious change. It can be comforting to know that if we just hang in there, we can emerge in a better state than we could have ever imagined.

I hope these simple lessons from the smallest of creatures will help guide you to the success you dream about!

1) Collaborate. Thanks to the internet and social media, it is easier than ever to collaborate on projects with others in your industry or field of expertise.  The result can be a new product or service that can benefit your career and lend credibility to your resume.

2) Give your knowledge away. I know it sounds crazy, but sharing your knowledge in the form of a blog, ezine, magazine article, or Twitter page is another new way to brand yourself as a subject matter expert.  Just be sure that the information you share is your own and not the intellectual property of your employer.

3) Volunteer. Giving away your time can pay off in spades!  You will be able to learn new skills and hone the skills you already have.  Most associations, church, youth, and civic groups are always in need of volunteers and are usually quite willing to teach you the basic skills necessary for your volunteer position.

4) Keep an updated catalogue of your accomplishments. Include all new projects you complete and skill sets you acquire on the job or through volunteering.  Review your catalogue at least once per quarter and make sure you don’t overlook anything, including those volunteer efforts.  It’s easy to overlook those skills or discount their value in the business world.  But roles such as little league coach, scout leader, producer of a church play, or programs director for an association require many business skills.  If possible, ask for a job description when you take on the role and a letter of recommendation once you complete the assignment.  Place it immediately in your skills catalogue.
5) Ask to cross-train in other departments.  Don’t immerse yourself so deeply in your own department that you fail to recognize the efforts of your coworkers in other departments.  Ask your boss if you can spend a small amount of time learning the basic responsibilities of your colleagues.  Offer to help others learn your job as well.  You will not only develop new skills, you’ll view the company from a different perspective, and you may find ways to improve the interaction between yourself and your coworkers.

Goal setting is vital to the success of any team, and to your success as the leader and business manager. If you know how to set goals that work, you’ll help your team, and the organization perform at its best!

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.  Here are examples of how to set SMART goals:

Specific this describes the target condition exactly.  If you want to increase sales, you must state how much of an increase you expect. For example: “our goal is to increase sales by 15%”.

Measurable –In order to know when they’ve arrived, your team will have to know the starting and ending conditions.  Using the example above, you would state: “sales are at 100K, let’s set a goal to increase sales to 115K”.

Achievable – The goal should stretch your team, but be within reach.  This provides the motivation that activates the brain chemistry necessary for team accomplishment.  If you were trying to set a goal for a 100% increase in sales, your team might not believe it was possible, and give up before they got started.

Realistic – Your team must have the skills, time and resources to accomplish the stated goal.  Increasing sales by 15% might be realistic if they have product, marketing material, access to customers, and a reasonable amount of time for achievement.

Timed – Goals must include deadlines. Without a deadline, your goal is too vague, and will likely produce vague results.  A time frame provides the  finish line, which motivates and drives action.  It allows your team to know that they have arrived at the desired destination!

It’s been said that if we realized how damaging our negative thoughts were, we’d never think another one of them.  My campaign to get individuals and corporations to just let go of the limiting beliefs has been dubbed (by me) “Think NAKED”.  I’ve made it my campaign after observing the effect negative thinking has on my family members, friends, colleagues, and my workshop participants.  My goal is raise the emotional intelligence of myself and others by encouraging everyone I know to just dump off the negative thoughts and emotions, and replace them with powerful and positive beliefs.

Here are 5 thoughts and thought patterns I believe harm us the most:

1) “I can’t”.  This thought actually weakens your body!  “I can’t spell, sing, find a better job, etc, etc.  Does it sound familiar?  “I can’t” usually means we don’t know how or we choose not to do something.  Try turning your “I can’t” statement into an “I won’t” statement and feel the shift in power you feel once you turn that small phrase around.

2) “I’m not”  Once again you can fill in the blank with your own “I’m not” thought.  Have you tried to convince yourself that super successful people are that way because they have more talent, money, lucky breaks,  and powerful friends than you?  Well, it isn’t true!  The super successful achieve more because they don’t waste their time worrying about the things they don’t have, they focus on using the talent, abilities, and other resources that they do have.

3) “I’ll never”.  Examples of this deadly dogma are “I’ll never get rich working here”, I’ll never convince my spouse to support me in this”, or “I’ll never be able to speak in front of a group”.  Unless you have a crystal ball and can see into the future, you can’t absolutely know that any of these are true, but you can sabotage your chances of succeeding and you can make yourself miserable in the process.  Challenge this thought and ask yourself if the thought is moving you towards your goal or away from it.  Pick the thought that moves you in the direction you want to go.

4) “No one wants to help me”, “buy from me”, “promote or hire me”.  Unless you’ve asked every single person in the world, multiple times and  in multiple ways, you can’t possibly know this is true, so why bother holding onto the thought?  Throw it away and ask another, and another, and another, until you find that person who will help, hire or buy from you.

5) “It’s impossible”  Like the thought above, we really can’t know for sure whether or not something is possible, can we?  Christopher Columbus, Roger Bannister, and Mother Teresa are just a few of the successful  folks who refused to believe that their dream was impossible.  Tell yourself you can, and you’re half way to achieving your goal.  Ask for help, from others and from above, and you’re closer than you think.  You can do it, if you just believe!

One way to define Lean manufacturing or Lean productions, is to say that Lean means to create more value for customers with fewer resources.  Lean principles are being adopted by a wide variety of industries and services, including healthcare, as a means of improving efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.  A cornerstone in most Lean programs is 5S, a simple set of techniques that remove waste from the workplace through better organization and housekeeping.  Because each of the pillars of 5S begin with the letter S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain), the program was named 5S.

What if organizational leaders could help their workforce learn to apply these same concepts to the thoughts they think and the actions they take?  What if we all could learn to harness our minds and eliminate wasteful, negative thoughts so that we added value to every interaction we experience?

I think we could transform our society if we all learned to blend Lean thinking, Strategic Planning and the techniques outlined in Jack Canfield’s bestselling book, “The Success Principles” into the fabric of our lives.  I believe that we could  eliminate the wasteful thoughts and resulting actions that sabotage our efforts to achieve greater health, wealth and happiness for ourselves and others.

My goal over the next weeks and months is provide a series of blog articles and Facebook postings that you can adopt and share with your friends, families and coworkers.  These articles will condense the essence of Jack Canfield’s Success Principles, Best Practices of Strategic Planning, and Lean Principles of waste reduction into a 3S framework to Sort, Support and Sustain your efforts to achieve the success you envision in all areas of your life.

1) When you’re at work, be fully present.
This may sound too simple to be useful. But all too many of us worry about our home lives while at work, and then we worry about work when we’re at home.  Make it a habit to give your boss 100% of your time and you’ll make yourself an indispensable member of the team.
2) Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do an honest and thorough examination of your skills, then develop a plan to accentuate the positive and improve upon the negative!
3) Invest in yourself. Using the information gleaned in step 2, make plans to further your education. It’s never too late or too foolish to improve your skill sets, or to develop new ones.
4) Seek out a Mentor. Jack Canfield is fond of saying that success leaves clues.  Find someone who has accomplished what you would like to accomplish and ask for advice.  Odds are they will be more than willing to help you, and will give you plenty of advice and guidance.  Just don’t forget to follow it!
5) Network, Network, Network.  There are all sorts of ways to build a network of colleagues and associates who can help you accomplish your goals.  But network with the honest intention of helping others, and watch your success skyrocket!