Behind the scenes of a business deal – From a CEO’s perspective.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) hold the proverbial keys to the kingdom of success of a company in numerous ways. However, their company is only as strong and successful as the management team they are working with, and whether this team is fully invested in supporting their CEO. One large mistake CEO’s have been known to make is to not take the time to meet with and have a conversation with each of their management executives to find out the driving forces and motivational reasons behind why they work for them, and the company. Excluding a descent salary, there need to be other factors behind what will allow the CEO to have a high retention rate on their team. Having a high retention rate will be critical to the CEO and the Board of Directors in numerous scenarios, one of them being when the company is doing a “big deal”, and this can be a sales deal, a partner deal or perhaps ultimately selling the company.

Besides having a strong valuation on paper and revenue numbers which are attractive from an investment perspective, one of the key elements to why one company would be interested in another is what I will refer to as the “story telling” ability. Often the CEO or COO is responsible for being able to articulate and verbally paint a picture about why their company is so desirable and why their value proposition sets them apart from their competition. There is clearly an art to storytelling, and if a CEO or the person in charge of telling the “story” is not practiced and strong at doing this, their company runs the risk of being overlooked, or worse, dismissed from moving onto the next phase of where they desire to be.

When a company is jockeying for position to be sold, it is critical the CEO sheds their “selfishness cape/coat”, and thinks and takes into account how many other people contributed to getting them to the place they are. No one person is ever 100% responsible for the success or demise of a company, but the success of a company is largely dependent on having one or two people on the executive management team who can guide the CEO, particularly when they are in situations they have limited to no experience in.

The skill elements required from those who provide guidance to the CEO are numerous, but at the top of the list is being a good listener. Possessing a high emotional intelligence level, being strategic, having the ability to see the “big picture”, knowing how to guide the CEO and company via transitions and understanding the tangible and intangible aspects of the business and its valuation are also essential skills. Fully having mastered the art of hiring, motivating and managing human capital while also having mastered the science of business operations skills are critical too.

It is also imperative for the person guiding the CEO to know how to grow a small company into a mid to large size company, have the ability to wear many “hats” within the organization as required and appreciate and acknowledge the hard work and skills required by others to perform well in their roles. Additionally, it is critical to know how to motivate both the CEO and the rest of the company members – especially when they are working exceptionally hard or in phases of growth which are difficult. Helping the CEO to keep their eye on the “end game” or ultimately what would be the best outcome for both the CEO and the rest of the management team and company is also essential to the demise or success of the company.

So, when a deal of any kind is about to transpire, it is critical for the CEO to remember who helped them to get to the point they are at, especially since the people who do so are like their second family. If the CEO does not think their employees are like their second family, then they need to do some serious sole searching, as the people who work for them are not working for them simply because they like to work there. They are working either to support the CEO, the product or because of the company value proposition and mission, or some form of a combination of these.

Taking care of your “family” is always the right thing to do, so make sure this is fully understood, embraced and put into practice by the CEO. Having your “work family” to support you in times of need are critical, and having them there to celebrate with you in times of when you can be celebrating is the best feeling ever. No amount of money will ever make celebrating alone worthwhile or meaningful. Ultimately you want your employees to be well taken care of, and only the CEO has the final say of making this a reality. Don’t make the mistake of being greedy, as it will never provide you with satisfaction, and you will likely need key members of your “work family team” to help you in the future. As the old saying goes, “don’t ever burn your bridges”, especially over money matters.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

What Others Think of You – (3) Tips on How Not to Care About This.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

I learned a long time ago it really does not matter what other people think about me, as long as I am confident in myself and comfortable with the choices I make in my personal and professional life. However, I do not believe my thinking is as common as I would expect it to be with other. I also regularly have conversations with people about how they are “worried” about what others will think about what they are going to be doing, or have already done. This seems like an exhausting way to go through life, and it certainly is not productive in any way. So why do so many people care about what others think of them?

Perhaps people care about what others think about them because they lack the confidence they should have to rise above and not concern themselves with others perceptions of them. In fact, what other people think about you is really none of your business, and I almost guarantee you it is not accurate. Most people are generally not good at being self-aware let alone mastering the art of fully understanding why other people do what they do and why they do it.

Consider the last time you had some type of evaluation either by your boss, or informally by your family or your significant other. Was their opinion and recent commentary about you 100% accurate? I doubt it, and yet did you push back and ask them why they perceived you the way they did? In general, this would be considered confrontational behavior, and the majority of people do not like confrontation, but I also know plenty of people who do. My commentary on being confrontational is that if it is constructive information being shared, then it is acceptable behavior. However, if it is not, and is verbally harmful and not constructive, this is when people get into difficult communication scenarios, and when what the other person thinks of you causes problems and friction.

My advice to you if you are the type of person who is perpetually worrying about what others are thinking of you is to do these three things:

  1. Think about why you are so concerned with what the person or people are thinking about you. Ask yourself the question – Why does it matter and will it change anything if I keep thinking about this?
  2. Is this a good use of my time and energy to be concerned about what others are thinking about me? This is a rhetorical question, and the answer is “no”, so apply your time and energy towards something or someone else which is more constructive.
  3. Write down five reasons you are “awesome” and read them out loud to yourself. This will help to divert your mind from your negative thinking and worrying about what others are thinking about you, and refocus you on why it does not matter what others are thinking about you.

Simply because you think others are thinking of you does not mean they are. Have you ever considered the fact that others if they were thinking about you might actually be thinking something positively about you? Why do humans have more of a tendency to assume others are only thinking negatively about them? If people are in fact thinking negatively about you, it really should not matter to you, because it is more important for you to be spending your time and attention on not caring what others are thinking, unless it is constructive feedback or a compliment they wish to pay them. A personal example of this is when I had been seeing a woman at my gym who was clearly trying to get in better shape and health. I have seen her at the gym on a regular basis for about six months, and she has probably lost well over 50 pounds during this time. I was thinking how inspirational she has been to me on those days I do not want to go to the gym, so I walked up to her the other day and told her this, and complimented her on how fabulous she looked and told her to keep up the great work she was doing. She thanked me profusely for telling her this, and flashed a million dollar smile at me and said I made her day.

Can you stop caring about what others are thinking about you and perhaps help someone else to do so too? Think of how much better you and they will feel when you each focus your energy and thoughts on something more worth your time and attention. Seriously, now go put this into practice.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Tips on Electronic Etiquette

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Besides your license, credit card and keys, what is the one item and gadget you always have on or near you? Most people will tell you it’s their phone, or some version of an electronic device they use to keep in touch with the rest of the world (e.g., Smart Phone, iWatch, tablet, etc.). With electronic communication technology advancements, we are able to keep in touch 24/7 with virtually anyone else who is connected to a mobile communication device. There are clear advantages to this, but there is also a downside to always being “in touch”, and it is easy to lose sight of what the “unwritten rules” of electronic etiquette might be. Actually, do they really exist, and who is the “keeper” of these rules? If there are electronic etiquette rules, do you know what they are, or have you considered whether you might be breaking them on a regular basis?

In doing research on this topic, I was surprised to find that Forbes Magazine last published an article back in 2010 called Top 10 Electronic Etiquette Faux Pas This article covered a variety of electronic gadgets and the faux pas noted were reasonable and exercised common sense, but I am going to focus strictly on our Smartphones, and offer (5) tips on how not to offend others if you do any of these actions with your phone.  I know most of these will make you roll your eyes, but I guarantee you many of you have done at least one of these things in the last day or two. Don’t try to admit you are not guilty, as I have seen just about everyone breaking what I will call the Top (5) Smartphone Etiquette rules. Here is my version of the unofficial Smartphone Etiquette rules which if applied, could up the ante on our professional behavior to a whole new level of being polite and more aware and respectful of others around us.

  1. Phone in the bathroom – Talking on the toilet or anywhere inside of a public or private bathroom. Think twice before you do this, and how it could be construed as being offensive on so many levels – hygiene being one of them. I can’t tell you how many toilets I have also heard flushing during conference call meetings, and who really wants to be hearing this?
  2. Bringing your phone to your interview – whether you are the interviewer or interviewee. It seems like common sense for the interviewee not to bring their phone to the interview, and to give 100% of their attention to the interviewer, but I have also witnessed and been thoroughly disappointed by countless interviewers who have brought their phone to the interview, taken a call or two and responded to incoming texts while they were interviewing me, or someone else if it was a group interview situation. Not only is this incredible rude, it is highly disrespectful of the interviewee who deserves your full attention. Think twice about working for someone or a company who has employees who bring their phones to an interview.
  3. Taking calls or texting when you are dining with other people. Maybe they could claim they are addicted to their phone, and I have heard this is possible, but I would say most people are not addicted to their phone although they might feel like they are. The point is, when you are dining with other people, it is one of the less common times you have their full attention, so each of you should be taking full advantage of this face-to-face interaction. If you are on your phone either talking or responding to incoming messages from email or your social media feeds, you are signaling to the person or people you are dining with they are not as important as the attention you are giving to your Smartphone content. Is this really the message you want to convey to them?
  4. Your phone is not going to make you stronger when you talk on it at the gym. I am a big fan of listening to music at the gym or possibly responding to either texts or emails, but it definitely is not a place I want to be hearing other people talking on the phone. Think about this the next time you queue up a phone conversation when you are at the gym. Perhaps you didn’t notice the people glaring at you when you were doing this.
  5. Meetings – When you are scheduled to be in a meeting, the expectation is you are there to be present and to contribute your full attention during the course of the discussion. When you are constantly checking your phone for incoming emails and other alerts which come up, you are essentially indirectly telling the people you are meeting with they are not as important as your phone, or the communications which are coming in. You are also not able to devote 100% of your attention to what is being discussed, as you are in a state of distraction when you switch between your phone and the “live” or “virtual” meeting. Is this the message you are intending to send?

Yes, there are numerous other “rules” I could come up with relating to peoples use of their Smartphone in places or situations they should not, but I limited it to five to give you “food-for-thought” and good fodder for office or social conversations. The bottom line is there are a plethora of other scenarios which are likely putting you in a situation of not being socially on top of your Smartphone etiquette. Do you agree, or do you have other examples of poor Smartphone etiquette?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness

Do you ever think about the concept of Karma and whether there really is such a thing? The Hindu and Buddhism religions do, and they define it like a bank account of positive credits for the good things a person does, and negative debits associated with a person’s less than desirable actions. According to this concept, a human’s future fate will be based on the balance of their Karma bank when they reach the end of their current lifetime. I think there is some merit to this concept from a fundamental perspective of trying to do the right thing, and not causing harm to others, but who is really keeping track of these actions?

In the business world, a company may be judged and perceived as being society friendly or a company which has a positive Karma bank balance if they are overtly giving back to the community. They are earning their Karma credit by making monetary donations or allowing their employees to volunteer their time on company hours to give back to society. Both the company and the employees who are involved with positive community interactions benefit tremendously, and the higher the level the engagement, the greater the positive feeling the employees have about their company as being a great company to work for. Yes, it can be expensive for a company to allow their employees to volunteer their time while they are “on-the-clock”, and not all companies can do this during the typical business day, but they do not have to, as there are other ways to give back to a community. A few examples would be to organize a drive to collect either common food items needed at a food bank, or clothing and toiletry donations for a community homeless shelter for families. Collecting pet supplies for your local animal shelter is also a good option to consider.

Going back to the concept of who is keeping track of the Karma points being earned, brings me to the point of how it really does not matter whether anyone is keeping track. You know yourself if there are days or weeks when you personally, or others around you are earning or having Karma “points” taken out of their Karma bank. On days when you are making more Karma deposits than withdrawals, I bet you feel much better and more fulfilled personally. Doing nice things for other people, especially when they least expect it is what I wish more people would consider doing. Call this “random acts of kindness”, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day each human committed to doing something kind or nice for another person or multiple people?

Yesterday I had an opportunity to do something unexpected for a group of strangers walking through a park. While I was flying a kite, I overheard them saying they wish they could be flying a kite like I was. Being the extrovert I am, I asked them if they would like to really fly a kite, and that I could make this possible due to the fact I had an extra kite in my car. In full disclosure each kite only cost one dollar, but does it really matter how much it cost? The point is these three people were amazed by the fact I gave them a kite they could queue up in five minutes and be flying a kite at the park like I was. The expression on their faces of amazement that I had and was going to give them a kite was such an amazing feeling for me, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw how happy they were flying their kite – and much better than I was. Seeing their kite flying better and higher than mine made me really happy, but I think they might have actually been happier, as it was a complete surprise to them they would be doing this on a Sunday afternoon.

The element of surprise and delight are two fairly easy things to bestow upon other people. My hope for the future is that more people do their part in trying to add Karma points to their life each day by doing nice things for other people. To add to this concept, I would especially like to see more Karma related examples in professional environments where this concept is often an underserved or underutilized one. So, what can you do for someone today or tomorrow which will cause them to smile from an act of kindness and add some Karma points to your bank?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

Get Ahead by Making Mistakes and Asking for Help.

If there is one thing which I have witnessed for years and which has seriously driven me crazy, it is seeing people; you know who you are, working on something for hours and not asking for help to accelerate the process of accomplishing the task. Yes, I know some people only learn if they “try” to do it themselves, fill in the blank for what that might be, but let’s face it, numerous hours are wasted because people are afraid to ask for help. What they do not realize is how much more they could learn if they asked for help instead of struggling through the task they do not know how to do.

The perception of making mistakes having a negative connotation is also a subject which drives me nuts. If there is one major tip I can share with you about life and business, it is that the best way to “learn” and to advance in your career is to make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough, and are playing it way to safe. Stop playing the “safe game”, make mistakes, and ask for help. Yes, it’s that simple, and you will not be fired for making a mistake, or asking for help. How do I know? I know this first hand because when I have made mistakes, or asked for help, I have always benefitted tremendously from doing so. It was intimidating asking for help, and incredibly scary and humbling admitting I made a mistake, but the net result far outweighed playing the “safe game”. I have also never fired anyone for making mistakes, or asking for help. Actually, I promoted most of the people who did both of these things.

Another “secret” I am going to share with you is that your boss or colleagues really do want to help you. Most people in general have a big heart, and sincerely want to help you. Scientifically there have been studies done to prove that people derive far more satisfaction from helping someone versus not doing so. Think about the last time you helped someone. Didn’t you feel better afterwards? You can thank the natural body chemical called dopamine for this, and it does not cost you anything, but it can be a naturally addictive side effect. Arguably not a bad one considering the negative chemically addictive alternatives. Let’s not go there, as we all know the opioid epidemic is out of control and too many good people and families have been impacted by this negative addiction.

Living in the Northeast part of the United States, there are towns in our region which are especially plagued by the dark side of opioids. Fortunately, there are programs being replicated that originated out of the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department to help address this issue. Thank you to the Gloucester Police Department for spearheading and doing something about and addressing the opioid drug epidemic.

Sorry about digressing from the original topic of why you should make mistakes, and ask for help, but both of these instances could apply to the opioid epidemic too. However, I am sure your situation is not nearly as dire as this example, but illustrates my point of why you should consider my advice. Since we all only have 24 hours each day to make the most of our days, and if you care about making the most of your time and being productive, consider the expression I have heard numerous times of “fail fast”. It is a simple yet impactful phrase, and there is a great deal of merit behind it. When we make mistakes, we typically learn more from making them than we do by sticking to the “status quo” of our routines.

I am still considering whether it is a blessing or a curse, but unless I am trying new things, making mistakes and feeling like I am constantly challenging myself, I feel like I am wasting my time, and quickly become bored. Perhaps this has to do with the fact I am entrepreneurially wired, but I can share with you I have had a far richer professional experience as a result of being this way.

In my first blog article, I shared with you that I am dyslexic. I did not find this out officially until I was 21 years old, but I always knew I learned and thought differently than everyone around me. The good news was as a result of having a learning disability, I knew I needed to ask for help to keep up, or to better understand what I was supposed to be doing – again fill in the blanks on this one. Becoming comfortable with asking for help was an essential survival method for me in both life and business. I quickly realized I did not have to know everything, and also became aware of the fact I should rely upon others who were far better at doing certain things than I was. Appreciating the fact others had strengths I did not have was something I also learned by asking for help, usually as a result of making a mistake. If someone could not help me, they generally knew who could.

In summary, if you want to get ahead in both life and business, please start becoming comfortable with making mistakes and asking for help. It is far easier to do than you might imagine, and I promise you, this is something I wish someone had given me as advice early on or at some point in my career.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.