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Do I Smell Bad: Lessons From The Deodorant Isle

Posted By Michael Roby | October 13th, 2017

Next week I travel to New Orleans to speak to an audience of CEO’s in a Vistage Group facilitated by Joe Liss, CPA. Joe has been a good friend and mentor for many years. Back to this audience. These people own their companies. CEO’s expect performance. They want good ideas and hate wasting time. They want me to give them great, actionable ideas to help them sell more, lead their teams, hire better people, and grow their businesses. This won’t be 30,000 foot platitudes. It will be rapid-fire, actionable ideas… for three and a half hours. The pressure is on. I must stay cool, calm, and collected.

I believe in system redundancy. I insist in having two bottles of roll-on deodorant; one for home and one for my travel bag. This morning I used the last of one bottle. While I am not obsessive-compulsive, I did run into Walmart on the way to my office, and here is what I saw:

What was amazing is they didn’t have my brand! So I left. I’ll try another store, probably today. What lessons came out of this 6:45 AM jaunt into the largest retailer in the world?

  1. We live in a great country. We grow enough food to feed ourselves and the world. Most people can work if they want to work. They can freely practice their religion. Americans have a greater choice of products and services than anywhere in the world. And more brands of antiperspirant / deodorant exist than one could try in a lifetime.
  2. As Sheena Iyengar, a professor of business at Columbia University and the author of “The Art of Choosing,” demonstrated in her 1995 study, we are paralyzed by too many choices.
  3. People are brand-loyal. The vast majority of U.S. Adults want “their” brand (82%) and “their” retailer (84%) according to the 2017 Study by the International Council of Shopping Center.

These facts raise an interesting question:

What is your brand?

A brand is a relationship between a provider and their buyer. Brand creates a feeling in the buyer. Brand creates a pride of ownership, a status, a comfort level in the user. If you don’t purposely create, reinforce, and manage your brand with your client you are just another Fill-In-The-Blank commodity.

Build your brand. Be your brand. Sell your brand.

That’s all for now; I need to run to CVS…

Work Hard & Have Fun!™

Barbershop Wisdom: Self-Discipline

Posted By Michael Roby | October 9th, 2017

This morning I went to the barbershop in for my weekly haircut. Over the last four years, my barber Matt and I have organically grown a relationship which transcends that of customer-vendor. While we aren’t pals, since 2013 we have spent upwards of 50 hours discussing family, friendship, football, faith, and business. Matt develops deep relationships with his customers, and I would guess he sees upward of 60 – 70 people like me even week.

This morning we discussed football, and the discipline demanded by Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide of his players. Matt said something that was genius in it’s simplicity:

“Discipline isn’t pretty but the results are so worth it.” ~ Matt The Barber

Often mundane, incremental activities provide no immediate results. We want immediate gratification, and when it does not come, we quit. Dieting, exercise, prospecting, sales calls, writing, building relationships; all of these provide exceptional long-term benefits and measurable results. The only problem we face is doing them long-term!

However, when we commit, and stick with it, the execution of small, achievable activities, pointless things done over and over provide meaningful, sometimes life-changing results. Long-term, metrics provide evidence of the worth of our efforts, and justification for our persistence and patience. But the daily grind, the chipping away, saw-sharpening, and relentless pressure to perform make pressing on difficult at best. What provides the necessary drive to stick with the ordinary and tedious daily activities and disciplines long enough to see meaningful results?

Keys to Self-Discipline:

Principles – Most people find choices of activities provide good results when based upon principles. Principles act as our personal and professional compass, helping us to make responsible decisions in the midst of stress or emotion. Principles are fundamental, primary, or general laws or truths.

Passion – Passion releases significant energy we can direct toward goal achievement. Passion creates enthusiasm, and a willingness to do whatever needs to be done to achieve a goal. It allows you to confidently step forward into the next big thing. Passion fuels persistence and perseverance.

Purpose – Humans are, to the best of our knowledge, the only species which contemplates purpose. Purpose means having a goal, objective, or situation for which you strive. Purpose rises above instinct. Purpose says if we have a strong enough why we can figure out the how. It doesn’t happen; Purpose, by definition, is intentional.

The pain of discipline is temporary. The pain of regret lasts forever. Matt was right; discipline isn’t pretty but today’s discipline gets you to tomorrow, and repeated daily ultimately get you to where you want to go!

Work Hard & Have Fun!™

 

Honor versus Privilege

Posted By Michael Roby | October 5th, 2017

Words have meaning. In a world of text messaging, social media posts, and emoji’s we misuse words to the point of confusing others about what we mean. It’s not uncommon to hear a common phrase when people accept an award, or when they are introduced as a performer, speaker, or host. This opening line is so common, it is cliche. Sometimes the person means what they say. Often the individual means something very different. How does this common opening line begin?

“I’m honored…”

These words seem grateful, humble, or even magnanimous. The speaker means well, but they convey an attitude that seeks into other areas of our lives. That attitude, while seeming gracious and grateful, forms a foundation of some of the world’s greatest problems. Many quickly attribute this attitude to other generations, (such as millennial’s), other ideologies, competitors & colleagues alike. What is this attitude?

It’s all about me.

If you say you are “honored”, what does that really mean? Honor conveys merited respect, or that one is a person of distinction, with integrity and a certain exalted nobility. All of these attributes man apply to the person in question. However, when we receive a award or host an event or speak from the platform, consider opening your remarks from the perspective of a different paradigm. A life of service represents the ultimate in calling. To be certain, one does not need to be a pious monk, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther Kink, Jr., or Ghandi. A business owner providing quality products or services and jobs for others, a highly compensated doctor who helps heal others, or a blue-collar worker giving an honest day’s labor lives a life of service if service is their life-view.

When I speak to audiences, it is not an honor to speak to them…really! So what do I say? What are the words?

“It is a privilege…”

Regardless of the occasion, be it it for recognition or reception, the person on the platform is privileged to be front-and-center. Working and interacting from the perspective of Privilege versus Honor helps us serve more deeply, and set an example to others about a life of service. Speaking and acting from privilege provides an element of power as well. The humility of knowing one is privileged to participate, play, engage, or receive recognition also leads us to additional opportunities to make an even greater contribution as a result of service.

Over the course of a year, people hire me to help them in a variety of ways. It’s not an honor to speak, to write, to coach or consult.

It is a privilege.