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South Burlington, VT

Value Creation Blog

Is Your Spouse Your Most Trusted Advisor?

adviceI hope the answer to this question is yes.  I know Suzanne has the most to lose if I decide to make a really boneheaded move.  She might not have the same technical knowledge as others.  At the same time she is more likely to ask me tough questions I need to answer.

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Topics: business relationship management, advisors, spouse

We Don’t Live In A Zero Sum World

zeroA few weeks ago I wrote a post on why I believe it’s important to go for win/win or nothing.  Win/win is where you get what you need and I get what I need.  We both walk away happy.  There are other options and the result is often not very pretty:

  • Win/Lose - I get what I want and you don’t.  When this happens I always have to worry about what sort of revenge you might be planning for me.
  • Lose/Win - You get what you want and I don’t get what I want.  This might just a problem for you.  You’re going to have to spend a lot of time wondering whether I’m going to sue you or I just might go for plain old revenge.
  • Lose/Lose - It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to do this, but it happens more often than we think.  This is where compromise lives.  It’s when we both decide we would be better off if we both don’t get what we want instead of looking for a 3rd alternative.

Are you a zero sum person?

If you allow win/lose or lose/win to exist in your life you just might be a zero sum person.  Zero sum people think there is only so much in the world.  Zero sum people believe that resources dwindle and I have to get mine before they run out.  They believe that markets are only so big and that there isn’t enough business for all.  They take all of the business they can get just because they believe there might never be another customer that walks in their door or signs a contract with them.

Zero sum people are not bad people.  They just have a belief system that forces them to see the world as one with diminishing opportunity.  In my opinion this comes from a headset that sees the world in a way that evidence shows is false.

If this belief were true, it would have been impossible for billions of people to join the middle class over the last fifty years.  If you and I look at the facts we will see that this is patently not true.  In fact, billions of people have joined the middle class and it looks like billions more will in the next fifty years.

But if everyone can win won’t we ruin everything?

This is the belief of some environmentalists and some in our own country who think we have to “police” the rest of the world.  Both camps come from a zero sum belief system.  They believe there isn’t enough and as a result we either have to deprive ourselves (lose/win) or we have to forcibly take what we want (win/lose). 

Both models in my opinion are faulty.  Technology has saved us over and over for the past two hundred years.  It looks like it just might do so again.  At the same time, we have to be aware there are bad people in the world and we have to mindful of where we live and take care of our environment.  Both can be accomplished with a mindset of expanding opportunity and prosperity. 

Expanding our belief system is the opposite of zero sum.

The only way we really can believe there is a world of expanding opportunity is to always go for win/win or don’t play.  It’s a choice.  You can decide to not participate with those who don’t work towards win/win.  You don’t have to associate, work, or do business with those who want to take advantage of you.  You don’t have to compromise to move forward.  If you spend time looking at the core values of what you both want, you can move forward.

If you decide that you really do live in an expanding world, being a little magnanimous in how you work will play to your advantage.  You’re likely to be able to get what you want and need and not have to take the last crumb off the table.  The choice is yours.  Which path will you choose to follow?

I’ve written a special report on relationship and roles in your business.  I think if we understand what roles we play and how those roles control the relationships with have with our business it helps us move forward to be in expanding what we can and might even want to do.  To get this report, click on the button below.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.


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Topics: for business owners, business relationship management, roles

Stop Doing Employee Reviews - Coaching

employee review resized 600I believe that one of the big problems smaller businesses have is they don’t have the resources that larger companies have.  This is especially true in the realm of performance reviews.

Have you ever asked yourself why do you do reviews and what do they accomplish?  I know that I have and in every business I’ve been involved in the review process has been tortuous and at best marginally useful.

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Topics: business coaching, mission vision values and goals, business relationship management

Stop Selling And Start Listening

Sales PersonYou’ve had it happen.  You walk into a store.  You want to buy whatever it is they sell.  A salesperson walks up to you and you feel slimed.

What do you think happened?  The salesperson was likely more interested in selling you something than in solving your needs.  Or, the salesperson just didn’t believe in what they were selling.  Or even worse yet, the sales person was trying to pull the wool over your eyes and wanted to take advantage of you.

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Topics: value creation, business relationship management, effective communication

Community Building and Why It’s Important for You

business tribe niche resized 600I’m involved in an online writing class.  This class has become much more than being about writing.  It has put together a diverse group of people.  We come from different ages, businesses, business experiences, and expectations.  We’ve also become a group of people who have learned to trust and respect each other; a tribe of sorts.

You might ask how did this happen?  You might even be very skeptical that an online writing class can get to the point where many of us go way out of our way to help others. 

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Topics: business coaching, business relationship management, trust, niche management, niche

Why You Should Care About A Fiduciary Standard

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Topics: jargon, for business owners, business relationship management, trust

3 Ways to Improve Your Communication with Others

business communicationI’ve been a fan of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) for years.  One area of NLP is the study of communication between people and how it can be improved.  I find that when you practice finding ways to build rapport with others you improve the chance of having your message heard.

This is obviously important to you if you work in sales.  It’s also important as a supervisor or manager in your company and most importantly with your family.  I know that from time to time I’ve totally missed it when trying to talk with someone else.  When this happens it’s usually because I haven’t communicated in a way that the person I’m communicating with receives information well.

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Topics: communication, business relationship management, trust, unique ability

Feeling Burned Out, Here Are Some Ideas For You

burnt out resized 600Sometimes I get a phone call and the person on the other end of the phone’s first words are, “I need to get out of my business.”  When this happens I’m reasonably sure I’m dealing with someone who is burned out.

I can hear real pain in that statement.  You might have felt the same way.  You might even be feeling that way right now.  

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Topics: time, for business owners, business relationship management

Do You Guarantee Your Work?

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Topics: value creation, business relationship management, build trust, selling, professional relationships

5 Ways To Make Yourself More Referable

Accountability resized 600You’re heard it before and you know it’s true.  Referrals are how you grow your business.  Businesses that get referrals are easier to run, have an easier time getting new clients, keep the clients they have, and are often more profitable.  You would like to just snap your fingers and have an unending stream of referrals fall in your lap.

I must get at least one email a day promising me that if I just sign up for their program referrals will come flooding in.  Even better, I won’t have to do any work for this to happen.

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Topics: communication, business relationship management, build trust

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