Understand the “No” (WT539)

Understand the “No” (WT539)


If you’re like me, I’m guessing you don’t like to hear the word “No” when you make a request.

In fact, I don’t know too many people who do, unless of course, they have read “Go For No” by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, but that’s a whole other Weekly Thought.

Today, I want to focus on understanding what’s behind the “No”.

Salespeople are taught to keep questioning until they understand the reason for the “No” and then, if they can, help the prospective customer overcome their objection, to make the sale.

I’m intrigued that we don’t do this with our employees.

For most of us, we simply get frustrated and do our best to either convince our employees or worse, order them to do what we want.

This week I had the opportunity to observe an employee’s reaction to a request to hire more people.


“Why not?”

“If we do, they won’t stay.”

“Why won’t they stay?”

“They want a permanent position.”

The penny dropped for me when I heard this. The employer was offering to hire a “casual” employee. I knew that the employer wasn’t attached to having a “casual” employee, rather they were looking to find the best solution to ensure that clients were being looked after without overworking or overwhelming the current employees.

“What if we offered permanent part-time, instead of casual?”

Now we got an entirely different response.

Name, I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen, really listen to understand what people are telling you.

The misunderstanding here, like most misunderstandings, occurred because we hold a different perception.

Your job this week is to understand the “No”.

What’s really behind the “No”?

I encourage you to put your “Patient Hat” on (patient as in giving someone time, not seeing a doctor – just so we’re clear) and take the time to really listen and understand the “No”.

You might be surprised at how quickly you get to a “Yes”.

You Don’t Have to Do It – Why Do You Do It? (WT538)

You Don’t Have to Do It – Why Do You Do It? (WT538)



Sitting at my computer, on a deadline to write this week’s thought, I looked to Ross for inspiration.

“What can I write about this week?” I asked.

“Why don’t you write about the Weekly Thoughts”, he replied.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you don’t have to do them, you know.”

I was aghast.

“Of course, I have to do them.”

“Why? Nobody is making you.”

Whoa! That was confronting.

It is true. Nobody is making me write these thoughts nor have they for the past 10 years.

“Why do I do it?” I wondered to myself, which then led to even deeper questions, “Why do we do anything?” “What motivates us to do the things we do, especially when no-one is holding us accountable?”

Now they’re questions worth pondering.

Dan Pink, in his book, “Drive” talks about “AMP”; Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

He explains the difference between carrots and sticks to motivate us to do things that are repetitive as opposed to tasks that require creativity and problem solving.

Writing the Weekly Thoughts certainly requires creativity. It also gives me a sense of purpose because I love writing for you and giving you something to think about. I am also my own master. Ross is right. I don’t have to do them if I don’t want to. I have complete autonomy about what I write about and when (as long as they are delivered on time) and finally, they require some sort of skill or mastery.

Pink explains that we experience deep satisfaction in our work and will do things, even when we don’t get paid, if we experience Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. As an example, he cites Wikipedia. Here is a knowledge base, freely available to anyone with the internet updated by volunteers. Think back to the days when door to door salespeople did their very best to sell World Book Encyclopaedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica containing volumes and volumes of information that quickly became outdated and which employed many many experts to compile the volumes.

Pink also goes on to say that when you include Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in your work environment, “Across the board, productivity goes up, worker engagement goes up, worker satisfaction goes up, turnover goes down.” 

That’s why I write the Weekly Thoughts.

How about you?

Why do you do what you do?

What things do you do, even if you don’t get paid? Why?

If you’re interested to learn more about “Drive” and motivation, especially if you lead a team, here’s a link to an 18 minute Ted Talk by Dan Pink.

Don’t Let Them Leave Without Paying (WT537)

Don’t Let Them Leave Without Paying (WT537)


Don't Let Them Leave Without Paying

You might think that the title of today’s weekly thought is about people stealing. It’s not.

Last weekend we went for a ride on our motorbike and came across a great little community market.

Across the road from the market was an historic railway and to our delight the trains were running that weekend.

The next train ride was scheduled to leave in an hour.

We hadn’t had lunch and we were only about 10-15 minutes ride away from where we were staying, so we asked the cashier if we could buy a ticket and come back.

“No. It’s first on, first served and when the train is full, that’s it.”

“What if we buy a ticket now. Will that ensure we have a seat?”

“No. Just make sure you’re back at least 15 minutes before the train leaves and you can buy your ticket then.”

We left without paying. We left without buying a ticket.

You know what happened. Of course, it started to rain a little on the way back and when we got to the bottom of the hill we saw the train stopped at its final destination before heading back up the hill.

It was only a 3.5 km track. It was an old steam train, so our interest was mainly in seeing a little bit of the geography and learning about the history.

We got back and had lunch.

We didn’t go back.

I thought to myself, he shouldn’t have let us leave without paying. If we had paid we would have gone back.

How about you?

Are you guilty of letting customers out the door who actually want to buy?

If so, you’re actually doing them and the business a disservice.

Next time a customer wants to pay you, say thank you and take their money.

They’ll thank you for it because they’ll get to experience the product or service that they wanted and the business will thank you for it because you’re generating revenue.

What Did You Used To Do? (WT 536)

What Did You Used To Do? (WT 536)


WT 536 What Did You Used to Do?

Catching up with one of my legends over the past couple of weeks, he was sharing what he did over the weekend.

Finding himself with some time to himself he decided to go for a drive and a bushwalk.

He ended up sitting by the ocean at the end of the walk and as he sat, almost meditatively looking out over the ocean towards the horizon, he became aware of all the things “he used to do”.

These were things that he used to enjoy, like bushwalking and playing sport.

As he sat and pondered on this, he wondered why he had stopped doing the things he loved to do.

It’s a great question.

What did you used to do that you enjoyed that you no longer do?

I used to enjoy sewing. When I was younger (a lot younger), I used to sew a new blouse or skirt or dress each week. I used to feel so good to have something new to wear each week, that hardly cost anything and that looked and felt great. I designed and made my wedding dress and my cousin’s bridesmaid outfit. You may not know this about me – I studied dressmaking at TAFE for about 4 years and completed a teaching degree to become a High School Home Economics teacher.

I used to love to cook and sew.

What happened?

Saying we have no time is no excuse. We always seem to find the time for the things we want to do and if we don’t then it could be a limiting belief that goes something like, (and remember it’s often unconscious), “I don’t deserve to enjoy myself.” “I feel guilty if I enjoy myself.”  “I own the business, I have to work hard. I have to be a role model.”

This week I invite you, on behalf of Mark, (thankyou Mark) to ask yourself the question and then to be open to exploring the answers.

Are you carrying around some limiting beliefs?

Will you allow yourself to do the things you used to do that you enjoyed?

Remember, everything we want comes from a powerful state and one of the best ways to get ourselves into a powerful state is to do things we enjoy.

It’s the weekend. Please do something you enjoy.

Permission to Speak Freely (WT535)

Permission to Speak Freely (WT535)


WT535 Permission to Speak Freely

This week Ross and I hired a room at the local library to create some training videos for a 9 Day Business Freedom Challenge I’m about to launch (for just $9 if you’re interested).

Following my Blueprint for Business Freedom, the very first step is to Know Yourself.

As part of the challenge, participants are encouraged to raise their self awareness by asking team members and family and friends to give them some feedback about how they show up in the world.

I referenced the military term “Permission to Speak Freely”.

All too often I find that people at work will not speak freely. This distresses me because I have the belief that there isn’t anything that can’t be cleared up in conversation. (Yes you can reword that to be in the positive, however I like it expressed that way.)

Time after time I attend meetings for clients and team members speak freely to me and yet when they have the opportunity to address their colleagues or managers, they fall silent.

As leaders it is our responsibility to create a safe space.

If we don’t encourage our people to speak up, we lose the opportunity to understand what’s really going on and to be able to resolve any issues.

It’s too late after people have left. I remember when Ross resigned from one of his positions, his immediate supervisor actively avoided conducting an exit interview, even though Ross requested one. The supervisor was not open to hearing the feedback. Of course Ross has completed our Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience so he was able to assert himself without being inflammatory, however he wasn’t afforded the opportunity.

What’s happening in your organisation?

Are you actively encouraging people to speak freely or are you unconsciously telling them that you don’t want to hear the feedback.

My best clients are those who are open to the feedback. They don’t always like it however they listen and then take action. I’m the same. I don’t necessarily enjoy receiving negative feedback, however I do appreciate it because it gives me the opportunity to improve and to fix things.

So you have permission to speak freely to me.

Are you up for the challenge? Will you give your team the same permission?

I Don’t Even Know What to Ask (WT534)

I Don’t Even Know What to Ask (WT534)


WT534 I Don't Even Know What to Ask

During the week one of my friends rang me out of the blue.

She lives in Queensland and it was lovely to hear from her.

She’s normally jetsetting around the globe running events, which have all been put on hold, of course, until we can travel again.

“Shirley, it’s the school holidays in a few weeks and we just need to get away, so I’m looking at hiring a motorhome”, she said.

“Wonderful! Where are you planning to go?”

“We want to go to Airlie Beach and up and down the coast. The thing is I’ve never done this before so I thought I would ask you for some advice. I don’t even know what to ask”, Sandra replied.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the conversation and the questions she didn’t have or the advice we gave. That’s not the point of the thought.

The point is, I am always so impressed with Sandra’s openness to ask for help. She is a very smart woman and understands the power of having people in her network.

She doesn’t have any limiting beliefs about having to do it all herself. She doesn’t have any limiting beliefs about asking questions or what people might think of her when she does ask. She simply calls and asks.

How about you?

Do you understand the power of your network?

Are you open to asking for help, even when you don’t know what you don’t know?

More importantly, do you take the advice and act on it?

In fact, I had another conversation with a colleague today who also mentioned how supported she felt these past few weeks, as she realised the power of her network and the willingness of the people in her network to help her as she and her family navigated the purchase of a house in a different state to her home state.

When you’re doing something new or going somewhere you’ve never been before, it’s okay to ask for help and advice. This is something that Ross and I have learned over the past 18 months as we’ve travelled around.

We’d never driven or camped in a motorhome before. Heck, we left the tap fittings on the tap at the first caravan park we stayed at and didn’t realise until we got to Canberra and had no pipe fittings. Luckily for us, the chap in the van next to us had a spare and loaned us one until we purchased one and a spare the following day.

It’s okay to ask, even when you don’t know what to ask. Go ahead and ask anyway. You might be surprised at how much joy your network actually gets from helping you.

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