Archive for April, 2010

Good Manners Do Matter In Business
April 21, 2010

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.

Manners in business just like in life are much more than knowing which fork to use at the table or whether to kiss, to bow, or to shake.  That’s why I like Emily Post’s quote at the introduction of this blog.  It reminds us that there is a common thread of humanity that spans across borders, cultures, and classes – respect.  Over time, whether your are defined as well-mannered or ill-mannered will depend on how respectful you are to your fellow-man. This involves understanding that the rules of etiquette are but one small component of good manners.  Being respectful is the key component of good manners; if you must abandon one to enhance the other, always abandon the rules of etiquette, for ignoring the rules of etiquette is laughable, but disrespect is unpardonable.  In business, knowing when to bow and when to shake might be admirable, but good manners are more than just a collection of rules on etiquette.  Good manners do matter in business, and the reputation of being well-mannered is something you earn, not something you check off a list.




Humility has its place in business
April 18, 2010

Many people assume that humility belongs in the home and at church but not in the workplace. This is very unfortunate because the lack of humility in the workplace is why many people don’t like going to work. Why would someone want to spend 40 hours or more at a place where the promise of dignity is absent. Try it out for yourself this week. Practice the art of humility at work and see how people respond. My guess is they will react favorably to your humble gestures. For instance, spend a few minutes talking to the receptionist on your way to your own office, see how their weekend was, and share a tidbit or two about yourself. Just don’t make the mistake in believing that humility is weakness. This myth perpetuates the idea that humility doesn’t belong on the job. Be humble at the office this week – you might be surprised by the results. Maintain an attitude of humility and expect that doors will open. This has certainly been true for us at BlueLeaf Realty.  Granted, it’s not always the easiest path between two points but it’s always the right path.  Watch for the next RealtyExpress blog about the power of good manners in business.

The Atticus Factor – Humility Revealed
April 17, 2010

If you’ve read the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, or watched Gregory Peck in the movie version, the name Atticus Finch certainly rings a bell.  Atticus Finch stirs our imagination.  Throughout the story, you witness Atticus practicing the art of humility and you learn that practicing humility is more of an art form than a science.  There is no rule book, that when followed, will lead to humble behavior 100% of the time.  Being humble is a challenging virtue.  Lean a little too far this way or a little too far that way and you miss the mark entirely.  We see in Atticus someone who hits the mark most of the time, perhaps because he is so capable of seeing things from the other person’s perspective.  Early in the novel, Atticus counsels Scout to practice putting herself in other people’s shoes, a common thread throughout the novel.  For example, in the movie version Scout learns how pride and humility are intertwined.  Walter Cunningham, a poor but prideful farmer, is unable to pay her father for his legal representation.  In order to repay his debt, Mr. Cunningham periodically visits the Finch’s house and, without knocking, quietly leaves produce at the back door.  The well-mannered and well-intentioned Scout catches Mr. Cunningham in the act of delivering some pecans one afternoon and shouts his name.  Although Scout is unable to identify the source of the tension, she is astute enough to realize that she has crossed over an invisible line and has wounded Mr. Cunningham’s pride.   After his departure, Atticus explains to Scout why Mr. Cunningham always leaves things at the back door rather than coming to the front door like an ordinary visitor.  Atticus challenges Scout to think beyond the obvious to see why true humility extends well beyond formality, courtesy, and manners.  Scout learns the art of humility requires that you absorb the nuances of a particular situation and then act accordingly, even when it means, as is often the case, breaking with tradition, custom, or courtesy.  That’s practicing the art of true humility; that’s the Atticus Factor.

The Atticus Factor – The Art of Humility
April 13, 2010

I’m not sure how humility is defined in Webster’s but I do know that it’s easy to spot when you see it in real life.  Here are two definitions of humility to consider: the art of leaving another person’s dignity intact; God’s grace stamped on humanity.  Witnessing humility played out always has a profoundly positive affect on us.  No one teaches us about humility better than our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who demonstrates humility throughout the New Testament.   Humility also reveals itself in characters from great works of fiction.  One such character is Atticus Finch from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird.    Like Jesus, Atticus counsels humility even when it requires going against the norm or customs of his day.   In what is probably my favorite part of the book, Atticus teaches his daughter Scout a timeless lesson about  humility.  In an upcoming blog entry, I’ll share the lesson that is as applicable today as it was when Harper Lee created one of the most memorable characters in modern literature – Atticus Finch.  Until then, keep practicing the art of humility…

Defeat – A Building Block
April 9, 2010

What do Seabiscuit, Cinderella Man, and Butler University all have in common? They all represent that special breed of winners that defy the odds and overcome huge obstacles, including defeat.  They remind us that greatness occurs in spite of the circumstances not because of them. So why do some people, some teams, and some organizations rise above the fray in spite of the odds?  The recipe for their success is hard to emulate because it’s a little sprinkle of dedication mixed with a splash of enthusiasm and a pinch of stubborn determination thrown in for good measure.  It’s people like Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, and Rosa Parks who understand that some causes are bigger than self. It’s teams like Butler that realize that it’s not about one player, it’s about playing together as one. Great people and great teams don’t wait for the right circumstances, great teams and great individuals seize the moment to demonstrate their abilities.  Most importantly, greatness recognizes there are times when things don’t look good.  In fact, there are times when things can look very bleak, but great teams, great organizations, and great people understand that defeat is not a destination, it’s merely a building block.

Finding The Echelon Formation
April 6, 2010

Looking for clues on how to get ahead in your industry.  Look to nature to provide some clues.  In nature, many animals utilize the echelon formation to capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.  Dolphins and birds illustrate this idea of finding the echelon formation or slipstream.  A newborn dolphin can be seen swimming right alongside its mother in the ocean.  In essence, a young dolphin can keep up with its mother in the ocean because it swims in its mother’s slipstream.  As a result, the young dolphin’s speed is enhanced because drag on the calf is reduced.  Birds flying in a v pattern also utilize the echelon formation.  In fact, they may well have perfected the strategy.  Birds flying in the v formation can fly much farther than a single bird flying alone can.  Both birds and dolphins have much to teach us about finding our own echelon formation or slipstream.  Most importantly, they teach us that working together or with a partner instead of alone is much more efficient.  They also encourage us to find a niche and do what we do best.  Finding your own echelon formation is hard word but harnessing the power of the echelon formation is the difference between gliding and crawling to the finish line.  I hope you find your echelon formation and prosper.

David Vs Goliath
April 5, 2010

In the sport’s world it’s fun to cheer for the underdog.  This year, Butler, a true underdog, takes on Duke, the Goliath of college basketball.  Duke has a great basketball program and consistently churns out a winning team.  Butler, on the other hand, is a small university in the Mid-West.  The two teams are set to tip off in 24 hours.  24 hours  from now Butler will try to slay the giant.  Excitement and adrenaline will be coursing through the player’s veins on both sides of the court.  Calming those nerves will be crucial before the players on either side can execute the team’s plan.  The business world is no different.  Underdogs in the business world must execute on their plan every day.  Just like small businesses facing down the Goliaths in their industry, Butler players will have to be precise, mistake free, and execute the plan precisely.  Go get ’em Butler!

Full Steam Ahead
April 1, 2010

Lately, I’ve been asked by several people if I plan to take a vacation after the tax credit expires.  Although a vacation sounds great, I anticipate that it will be business as usual for me and my fellow real estate agents after the tax credit expires.  Like other real estate professionals, I know that people will still need to buy and sell real estate after the tax credit expires.   Although the tax credit has helped the real estate market,  it can’t take the place of job growth and job security.  In addition to job growth, attacking the foreclosure problem will pave the way for a substantial recovery.    The big question on everyone’s mind is whether the American economy can gain enough traction and move full steam ahead without the aid of subsidies like the tax credit.  The question will be answered soon.  As for me, however, it will be business as usual at BlueLeaf Realty after the tax credit expires.  No vacation in the works…