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Welcome to this issue of "The Achiever," a monthly newsletter brought to you by Optimization Solutions Consulting!

Optimization Solutions Consulting was formed to help organizations achieve improved results by identifying those things that are out of alignment with their strategic plan and therefore working against the success of the organization. We provide tools and processes that are applicable to individuals and organizations that contribute to the development of their road map to success.

This month's articles focus on your individual success and the success of your business. Achieving success is a continuous process. Are you demonstrating the Attitudes and Behaviors that are critical to your road map to success?


Walter Swindell, II - President
Optimization Solutions Consulting, LLC  
In This Issue...

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article1Defining Success Through Relationships

It is often said, "It's not what you know; it's who you know." When defining your personal and professional success it is critical that you focus on who you know!

  • Are you surrounding yourself with winners?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with people who can help you achieve your goals?
  • Are you developing relationships that align with your purpose and passion?
  • Are you connecting with people who understand what is necessary to be successful and are able to support your success?
  • Do the right people know who you are, what your business provides, and the value you can bring to a customer?

Success is defined by your purpose, your action, and your attitude; however your success can and will be limited by the relationships that you create and maintain both personally and professionally.


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article2Creating a New Normal
Is your business stuck? Many businesses of many sizes have spent the last year dealing with the challenging times. Some businesses have failed, many are still floundering, and many businesses are just stuck. Often when we are defensively forced to deal with outside forces we get so ingrained in our defensive mechanics that we get stuck in that mind set.

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article3Success Is

"Success is ... the continual achievement of your own predetermined goals, stabilized by balance, and purified by belief."
-- Resource Associates Corporation

In real life many people get stuck in a professional or personal position where goals are defined for them. The result is frustration where no one feels fulfilled and the goals often are never reached.

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article4Building a Strong Business Relationship
When it comes to business and sales, building a strong relationship is critical. The stronger your relationship is with your customer, the more likely they will be to refer business to you. Every day, make an attempt to build on the relationships you have with your customer. Don't just say hi as they walk in and goodbye as they leave. The last thing you want to do is make your customer feel like a statistic.

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article1_contdDefining Success Through Relationships (continued)

Here is a great story that reinforces this concept:


Swen Nater an orphan from Holland moved to the United States when he was three years old. He grew up in an American home and as a high school junior; he stood 6' 11". One would think Swen Nater was destined for basketball, but he was so gangly and awkward that he didn't make his high school team until his senior year. Instead of going to college after graduation, like some of his teammates, he went to work at a garage as a mechanic.


However, when a local community college coach convinced the towering mechanic to give basketball another shot several years later, his body had matured. Over the next two years Swen became one of the best junior-college basketball players in the country. He was honored with Community College All American his sophomore year. With two years of eligibility left, several smaller colleges became interested in Swen and each offered him an opportunity to shine.


But his coach decided to take a shot at a higher opportunity. He called John Wooden whose current UCLA team was in the midst of one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports. He said "Coach, next year you have a guy coming in that everybody in America believes will be the greatest player to ever play college basketball: Bill Walton who towered at 7' tall. The next biggest guy you have on your team is 6' 9" inches tall. In practice, Bill Walton is not going to get better because he's not going to have any competition so give my guy a chance."


Wooden ultimately agreed and ended up making Nater two promises. "One, you'll probably never ever get off the bench. But two, you're going to get a chance to practice every day against the best player in America." It only took a second for Nater to accept the offered scholarship, and as John Wooden promised, Nater barely played.


Three years later, Bill Walton as a college senior was positioned to be the number one pick in the NBA draft. Everybody wanted to know who was the best center Walton played against during his senior year. Was it that guy at Pepperdine or maybe the guy at Kansas? Bill Walton looked to the end of the practice court and said, "That guy down there, is the best player I've played against. Swen Nater."


And it was true! Swen Nater had gotten so much better by working and playing against Bill Walton that he became the first player in history to be selected in the first round of the NBA basketball draft while never starting a college game.


Swen Nater went on to play 12 years in the NBA and is now vice president of Costco.


You are who you associate with. The people you spend the most time with in your life will significantly contribute to your success or lack thereof.


Instead of having a friend that suggests limitations that are an effort to keep you from harm or to protect you from being disappointed, align yourself with a mentor within your industry or area of expertise to enhance your knowledge and marketable skills. Making the commitment to enhance your marketable skills and having someone to guide you will propel you to higher levels of success.


In addition to reviewing ideas and making decisions regarding personal growth and career development with a family member, spouse, or partner, develop a relationship with a professional coach. Family and partners often times say they are supportive but tend to impose their limiting attitudes to your situation. Having a coaching relationship where the coach's sole responsibility is to focus on you and your objectives will provide an unbiased process, which can accelerate your results.


Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and youth leadership. 


Optimization Solutions Consulting can help you define your success, contact us today!

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article2_contdCreating a New Normal (continued)

Defensive mechanics will not lead to positive growth and/or results. There is no question the business world is in the process of creating a new normal. The question becomes how is your business creating and defining its new normal? What will positive growth and future success look like for your company?


It has been our experience that creating a new normal requires going back to basics.
Here are some thoughts to consider that have helped our clients get unstuck:

  • What is the basic foundation and business philosophy of your company?
  • Why are you in business?

The answer to these two questions will reconfirm or reestablish the reasons your business exists and provide a much needed guidepost. After you reconfirm or reestablish the reasons your business exists take the time to review your vision and values.


Tom Peters said, "A clear vision of the desired future state of the organization is an essential component of high performance." Creating a new normal requires reevaluating your vision of the desired state. Based on the changes in the current business climate, what will your organization look like in the future? The vision statement provides focus for everyone in the organization. An understanding of the vision provides the foundation for day-to-day decisions. A vision energizes action, toward a future that is better than today. How does your company's vision need to change? There is one universal rule in success: you will never be greater than the vision that guides you. Perhaps for your organization, getting unstuck requires revitalizing your company's vision.


In addition to a clear vision a successful company needs to communicate values and principles by which they do business. Values represent your philosophy for achieving success and they serve as important guidelines for everyday behaviors and decisions. How have recent changes in the business world impacted your values and principles? What does your organization believe to be true and non-negotiable today? As Peter Drucker said, "The purpose of an organization is to attract and maintain customers in order to generate profits and viability." Issues such as current customer's expectations, product quality, and service should be taken into consideration in your values statement. Your values should take into account how you feel about and the value you place upon your customers, your employees, your suppliers and vendors, stockholders, the community and all others with whom you interact and do business.


Re-evaluating your vision and values are the first two steps to revisiting your strategic direction. We have found in these ever-changing times that strategic planning is no longer a discretionary decision, and it provides the impetus to getting unstuck. Create your business's new normal by re-evaluating your strategic plan and implementing the critical success factors that will propel your business forward. There is a very high likelihood that what you are doing today and what you did yesterday will not produce the results you want to see tomorrow.


Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and youth leadership. 


Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more about creating a new normal within your organization.


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article3_contdSuccess Is (continued)

However, sometimes developing a successful business does not come easily or in a time frame that is initially envisioned. This is not only frustrating, but often creates self-doubt. Our research shows that one of the key factors to a successful business is the commitment to a plan and persistence to make it. However, there are a set of principles, that if applied will pay rich dividends toward your personal and professional success. These eleven principles will give you some additional direction in creating a balanced, successful life. As you continue to read, challenge yourself to identify which principles if implemented will take your business and life to the next level. Success, accomplishment, and life balance are right around the corner if you choose to do something about it - so - carpe diem - seize the day!


Earn trust by giving it. We live in a cynical world and it is becoming commonplace for people to want to see "it" before they believe "it." Trust in the business world is critical, and you can build trust by being a person of your word and encouraging people to trust you by trusting them.


Take responsibility for your actions. Do what you say you are going to do! Admit it when you are wrong and take corrective action immediately. Make sure your actions are consistent with your values, and remember actions will always speak louder than words.


Get the facts before making a decision. Take the necessary time to collect the facts in order to make the best-educated decision. However, do not overdo it-too much information can cause paralysis by analysis, which causes inactivity, and inactivity causes failure.


Go the extra mile. Decide to make a difference! Go the extra mile for your customers, your family, and yourself. The little things always matter and they will add up to a stronger business and better relationships.


Put first things first and last things not at all. Use your "must do" and "should do" lists effectively. Focus on the activities that will impact your business and life goals-let the rest go. Simplify your world by knowing what is important to you and prioritize accordingly.


Accentuate the positive. Focusing on the negative will always net negative results as well as make everything seem incredibly challenging. Focusing on the positive will unveil new possibilities and opportunities that will directly link to your goals ... and it just feels much better.


Center your life on specific goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistically high, and time trackable goals are the key to success and the fulfillment of your purpose.


Devote yourself to lifelong learning. What goals have you established to exercise your brain muscles? If you are unclear about the answer to this question develop those goals now! Develop goals that will force you out of your own comfort zone-it will be a liberating and exhilarating experience.


Discover and follow your calling. We refer to it as discovering and following your passion. Understanding your passion is critical to your success and living a life of balanced fulfillment. Living your passion is not the impossible dream; however, it will always require focused commitment and the desire to be the best you can be.


Concentrate on what you do well. Everyone has been given specific and unique gifts. Determine what yours are and maximize them. Do not try to be somebody else-work on being the best YOU! Listen to others, learn from others, but follow your unique direction.


Pour a solid foundation of hard work. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Hard work is essential for a successful business. Hard work is required for success in personal relationships. Hard work is required for any kind of worthwhile goal accomplishment, however, some of the hardest work I have had to do, I enjoyed the most.


So which of the eleven principles did you make a written note to address as it relates to improving your business, your life, and your current level of accomplishment? One of them, half of them, all of them ... the number you selected is irrelevant. The commitment to take action is the most important step of all. Success in life is a continuous and evolutionary process. There really is no destination; there are only self-imposed limitations. Every day provides new challenges and if you are looking in the right places, life also provides the necessary solutions.


Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and youth leadership.


Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more about how you can develop a successful business.  


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article4_contdBuilding a Strong Business Relationship (continued)

Let them know that their business with you is appreciated. Talk to them, strike up a non-business conversation with them. It could involve just about anything, such as the weather, sports, a movie, pets, etc.


Non-business conversation puts your customer at ease and gets them talking. The more they talk to you, the more they will open up to you, opening the door for more sales opportunities.


Or, you can keep it simple. For starters, get to know you customers by name, than address them by name. Say things such as, "how's it going today?" Or "how was your weekend?" Or "is there anything I can help you with today?" Make your presence known and felt.


Your customer wants to be appreciated, so take a few minutes of your time to show them that you care about them as a customer. Another way to strengthen your relationship with your customer is to keep a Rolodex handy with a list of all of your customers' birthday's, anniversaries, and special events. Keep your eyes and ears open for when customers talk about up-coming events in their lives, such as children's birthdays and graduations.


When the appropriate date approaches, send your customer a card, whether it is a holiday card, a birthday card, a graduation card, or a congratulatory card. Just send it. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you remembered them on their special day. This will only strengthen the relationship you already have with them.


There are many reasons to build a strong relationship with your customer, but two of the reasons are key.


One main reason is that customers value and appreciate good customer service. They want the piece of mind of knowing that if something ever happened with their product or service, that they would have you to turn to as their go-to person. This is extremely important because your customer will have this in mind when your competition moves in to take them away. And believe me, your competition will try to take them away. As long as you provide excellent customer service, your customer will stick with you.


There is no substitute for excellent customer service. Customer service is the most important thing to a customer, even more important than fees.


The second reason building relationships is so important is because of the referral process. A customer who is treated with respect and is provided with excellent customer service will most assuredly refer their family and friends to you. Why wouldn't they?


Your most important asset is your customer, so build and strengthen the foundations you have with them. By building strong relationships, you will be building your sales.  


Good luck.


Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more about how you can develop strong relationships with your customers.  


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