Leadership tips

10 leadership rules to live by

True leaders encompass the aspects of leadership into every part of their life.  Leadership isn’t a mask they wear, but is ingrained into their very DNA.  Following are my personal rules for everyday living.

1)  Lead by example.  Whether at work or at home every action is a reflection of your abilities as a leader and the way you conduct yourself reflects this.  If you are average, your team and social circles will be too.  If you push for performance, so will those around you.

2)  Be clear on your vision.  Provide clear, concise and achievable goals and outline the path to achieving them. Communicate these goals throughout the entire organization and to every stakeholder.  Revisit these goals regularly and assure that your entire group is in tune with what is to be accomplished.

3)  Own your mistakes. We all make them.  Accountability is a real defining factor of leadership.  Don’t let ego cloud your responsibility to do the right thing. Instead, recognize and admit the mistake, learn from it and take corrective action to assure it doesn’t happen again.

4)  Be humble. Listen. Learn.  If you’ve truly done your job of surrounding yourself with gifted people they will have insight that you lack. Seek out that information and use it.  Assuming that you are right without confirming your assumptions can lead to disaster. Take advantage of your team’s “boots on the ground” experience.

5)  Be thoughtful but decisive.  It’s your job to set the direction and pace for your organization. Listen to input, evaluate the various courses of action and consider the results.  Recognize that a given solution may not meet the entire need and, when necessary, accept a plan that gets 80% of the way there. Then, be ready to communicate that plan. Don’t shy away from stakeholder questions. Be prepared for them, welcome them and set the path forward.

6)  Create competition. Nothing gets people fired up like healthy competition.  And nothing shows involvement like a leader who is continually setting tough goals and encouraging his team to stretch to meet them. Create challenges and encourage your team to surpass them.

7)  Create team passion.  Demonstrating how every one of your direct reports is critical to the success of his team and to the overall goals of the company should be a primary objective. Instilling in them a sense of self-worth and showing how their successes relate to the overall organization’s success will provide them with the confidence and desire to surpass their personal goals. This is the path that creates passionate teams who can overcome any obstacle.

8)  Don’t rely on your title.  Your title should only exist to remove obstacles and align resources. A true leader relies on his ability to persuade and to create clear, logical reasonings.  Focus on what motivates your particular group.  Absorb the information they share and scale it appropriately.

9)  Do what you say. Nothing builds trust like a leader who reliably delivers on promises.  And nothing erodes it faster than unfulfilled commitments.  Be ready to make those commitments but understand what they entail first.  If you can’t provide what you’ve promised, communicate that clearly, offer alternatives and get buy-in on the new direction. Make sure they understand why things have changed and what you are doing to address it.

10)   Provide recognition.  Your team’s successes and failures are yours.  Regularly recognize the successes of individuals and share them throughout the organization.  Do this in individual and team meetings, as well as through every other corporate communication method. Make sure people know how good your teams are and what they’ve accomplished.

Conference Room

Key business lessons for success

Some of the most important business lessons were never taught in school. And they might alter your career. Will you suffer failure before you learn them?

You don’t have to experience the loss of a business or failure in your job to learn some of the very best lessons about running an organization.   Following is my short list (a baker’s dozen) of lessons that every leader should know about successful business practices.  And, just for fun, I’ll include three of my favorite business axioms as well.

1)   Personal integrity – While there are courses in business ethics, they generally deal with larger corporate strategic and tactical issues.  What I’m talking about here are personal ethics, which turns out to be the key thing affecting your business career.  Opportunities will present themselves and people will align with you based on your integrity.  Reflecting on how a decision aligns with your personal integrity should guide every decision and every action in your personal and professional life.

2)   Great ideas are never found in presentations- Truly great ideas can be captured in one or two sentences.  But most employees won’t spend the time to create a presentation about them.  And they shouldn’t have to.  Being available to listen to new ideas without burdening the person who is presenting them assures that the tap of innovation will never run dry.

3)   People are absolutely key– Whether you’re starting your own business, part of a large corporation or somewhere in between, “A” caliber people are worth 10 times that of “B” caliber.  All others will, at best, maintain the status quo.

4)   Cash is king– Managers spend a lot of time (or should) examining budgets, cash flow statements, and the financial details of their organization.  Even if you’re not directly responsible for financials you should understand how money moves through your department.  The one thing every team member should be focused on is that cash flow is completely deterministic for a business. Every team member, every project and every department should be familiar with this.  Regardless of size, each member of your team should be able to identify how their work financially impacts the organization.

5)   If cash is king, culture is queen and holds the underpinnings of any business. Work on this diligently.

6)   Your idea is not your IP.  Your execution is the real IP.

7)   Technology is changing exponentially – This certainly wasn’t taught when I was in school and it isn’t taught in many places now.  But it’s a key tenet of businesses today and it fundamentally affects every single business that has any hope of surviving, let alone thriving.

8)   Constant ideation and implementation is critical for businesses to succeed. Work this into your functional plans.

9)   You can’t get there when you’re not sure where you want to be. Always be planning.

10) Have a back-up plan- Know how you’ll respond and recover when new information alters your path forward.

11) Networking is essential.  Think of it as a survival skill. Go alone if you prefer to go fast. But if you want to get far, find friends who will hold your hand along.

12) Always keep the buyer in mind. How many companies would still be around if they’d done this?

13) Cleaning up a failing department/organization/project requires you to get your hands dirty. Good leaders always will.

 And my three favorite axioms that drive excellence:

 a)   Pay it forward with people, always.

b)   Break rules and encourage them.c)    Never hire a satisfied sales guy, an arrogant engineer or a know-it-all manager.

The United States Congress

Many individuals, if not all, would surely desire for prominence, power, control, to take on challenges, to obtain benefits and the like. Moreover, most individuals would love to be recognized, supported, looked up and handle certain responsibilities and roles to boost skills and abilities. Further, a number of individuals seek to extend help and assistance to those who are in need and the equivalent. All these objectives may be met and achieved by running for a position in the congress or government.

Certainly, there are a thousand reasons why individuals desire for a place in the government. Nevertheless, those motives would include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

To Gain Power

This is the main reason why individuals want to run for a position in Congress. It enables one to obtain power and authority over a number of certain jurisdictions. Having power translates to several benefits most of which are geared towards personal advantage and the equivalent. After all, it feels totally great to have control over a lot of things.

To Support and/or Boost a Business

Obtaining a position in Congress allows one to sustain and/or boost one’s own business. There are more than a few businessmen or business tycoons who have explored the Congress to achieve leverage in the field of trade or commerce and industry, where they can set up or found new laws as well as manipulate existing ones for the benefit of one’s personal business undertaking. This kind of practice stretches from a varied lot of industries, from bartending to bowling alleys.

To Earn Profits

It is essentially true that getting hold of a position in Congress paves the way for one to realize and amass profits beyond what is rightfully and legally due i.e., salaries, related benefits and the like. How? Congressmen may allocate budget for their specific projects but nevertheless, overstate the same so the excess funds can be personally utilized. For instance, a congressman may request for a road and bridge reconstruction budget which is pegged at $2,500,000. Nonetheless, the congressman and his members or allies contracted this particular project at an amount less than the budget, say $2,000,000 but still manages to obtain supports and liquidation of expenses accruing to $2,500,000, as though fully expended. With the use of one’s power and authority, a congressman can execute this form of misappropriation with absolute concealment.

Another one concrete example or method of embezzlement is improper utilization of “pork barrel”. By the way, a pork barrel is an allocation of government spending for regional projects, which is to send in money to a congressman or representative’s locality. This pork barrel could be exploited for personal gains by inventing ghost projects and the equivalent. Others embezzle government funds. All in the name of getting ahead!

Congressmen and political representatives may also accumulate funds or resources from organizations and/or businesses. Normally, most businessmen would want to obtain connection in the government to attain protection and support, in any kind, for the benefit of their respective businesses, and this is best carried out by remunerating congressmen and/or political representatives. Generally, government officials would draft or repeal laws so as to address the specific needs of businesses in return for the money or funds obtained from them. As a matter of fact, there are a number of illegal or unlawful trades which are secretly sanctioned and supported by certain local governments considering that those undertakings provide the seated government officials personal benefits, in whatever form it may be.

To Help Those in Need

Of course, this planet is not without sincere and honest politicians. There are a few individuals who would want to run for congress to use power in helping to build a better community. These are political aspirants who wish to impose changes to alleviate the worsening conditions of the society or improve the lives of their constituents through:

A. Providing health care facilities and hospitals that extend utmost services yet considerably economical or free of charge if possible. This is very crucial as those within the poverty line can hardly afford this basic need.

B. Putting up schools and strengthening education by initiating knowledge and skills development programs for the teachers and students. Education is the key and the first step towards addressing poverty.

C. Improving employment and introducing job opportunities, especially for the needy or less fortunate ones.

D. Helping to build homes for the community.

There are certainly more things or aspects to consider in addition to those enumerated above in which a politician may focus into. These are perhaps one of the topmost priorities or reasons why an individual wants to run for congress.

To Destroy Others

One of the reasons why an individual opts to run for congress, in rare cases however, is for him to use his power and authority to destroy others or a competitor, in one way or the other. Obtaining a seat in the government is one of the topmost positions, if not the uppermost rank, an individual could probably reach, and that spells having enough power to gain advantage over ordinary citizens. Normally, individuals would run for a position in the government or congress to tear down competitors in business, work and other related areas through manipulation of law and the like to achieve that end.

To Seek for Professional and/or Personal Development

Holding a seat in congress or government, regardless of the position, allows one to exercise his leadership skills at its finest. Being a politician entails having to shoulder great responsibilities and roles, as well as meet the expectations of the society. As the old saying goes, “leaders are born”. Yes, only few are capable of handling leadership positions and it is considered as an innate ability. Nevertheless, the same idea may not apply currently as “leaders are made” nowadays. Anyone can be a leader in his own right as long as the passion to lead is present and he takes it by heart. Anyhow, running for a political position and executing the functions are never easy, and these would automatically and clearly lead to development of one’s leadership skills and the like.

To Seek for Challenge

As emphasized earlier, running for congress and assuming the role of a political leader invokes for great responsibilities. It goes without saying that running for congress translates to having a big challenge. There are a number of individuals who are always motivated by undergoing challenges as they would bring out the best in them, and running for congress is deemed to be one of the best challenges any man could take up. This is also seen as one of the reasons why an individual would love to run for congress or for a position in the government.

Nursing home

Long Term Care tax deductible and other questions

As the 2018 midterm elections approach the senior vote as always will be important in the November elections. A common question for senior voters is how to plan for long term care in their retirement and what if anything can the government do. Here’s a q’s and A from a voter on all things including if Long term care insurance premiums are tax deductible.

Q and A blog to post:

Long Term Care Insurance Companies agent:

  1. We’d still be your agent and involved going forward and help with claims if needed. You of course could also deal directly with the company for anything you need in the future. To this day I have clients who bought from me back in 1999 who I still help and are in contact with.
  2. They all will still be in business in 20 years in my opinion. There has not been one major life insurance company that has failed and not paid claims that I can think of in 100 years. Not to say it could never happen but it would be highly unlikely because the insurance companies are required to set aside reserve money that they must invest in safe things like T-Bills, plus they also re-insure one another in a system called the Guarantee Insurance Association. With that said, Mass Mutual clearly has the best financial strength and would be the one I’d go with.
  3. Yes, the word should be changed to best deal. Mass Mutual combines a good price with much better financial ratings than Genworth. Genworth is the lowest financially rated company of the group and I feel rate increases would be more likely with them vs. Mass Mutual. (see attached current financial ratings)
  4. We can add that with any of the companies but if you heard the merits of that rider from another agent, they types often lead people to believe it will save them money have a shared rider added when in fact it adds about 20% to the cost. When you compare the cost, it’s about the same price to shares six years’ worth of benefits than to each have five years’ worth individually. I’d rather have the later but of course we can design it however you like… I just wanted to give you the other side of the coin.
  5. Sure, see attached.
  6. $200/day in new attached quotes

As far as us being out of town, our advantage over most all agent is objectivity, experience, and sheer volume of sales. We work with all companies so can call the balls and strikes as pitched. Another agents who maybe sell just Genworth and Mutual of Omaha might leave out the negatives that some companies have because they can’t sell all of the companies like we can, in this case Mass Mutual. They might not tell you that Genworth’s stock price fell to $1.58 just a month ago (now about $2.70) down from $18.00 a year ago. They might not go over the past rate increase history of the companies., etc.

The low stock price does not mean Genworth will fail  because of the firewalls I mentioned in number 2, but rather lead to rate increases if they don’t get their act together. I’ve personally been selling this since 1998 and that gives me an advantage over most agents. I’ve actually been in the trenches with boots on the ground and seen the trends of the industry first hand which enables me to help my clients predict what’s going to be their best path forward.

Lastly, most local agents sell maybe 20 policies a year because they just work their one area. I personally sell over 300 a year and my company LTC Tre over 700 a year. Not to brag, but it’s like a doctor who has performed 300 hip replacement surgeries this year vs. one who just has performed 20. The sheer volume of sales we are able to achieve selling in all 50 states gives us a huge advantage on advice and product offerings. (off soap box) Ha-ha!

Client:

We have finally collected and reviewed all of the data and have compiled a few questions before we proceed. Please excuse us if we ask a silly question or two.

  1. Once a policy is decided on and sold to us by you, the people that we will work with from that point on will be the LTC Carrier and their representatives? Correct? You will be out of the loop?
  2. In your experienced opinion, which Carrier will still be here in 5, 10, 20 years? It will not be a pleasant experience to be forced to convert or change to a different Carrier when we are older!
  3. Reference “Plan A” and your cover letter to us: you stated that “Mass Mutual has the best rates”. However, Genworth is nearly $200 less ($4,383 vs $4,563). What did I miss here?
  4. Regardless of which Carrier we decide on, the feature of “shared benefits and waiver of premium is a must have!
  5. is it possible to provide a “mixed” set of quotes, based on the following criteria:

-Keep the 3% Inflation Factor and 90 day Period

-A THREE year Term for Ken ( which you provided) and provide a new FIVE OR SIX year Term Quote for Penny?

  1. I remember and understand that you felt that in our area (150 miles outside Chicago) that we may not need $200/day coverage ($6,000/month). Therefore, your data only includes quotes for $150/day ($4,500/month). To caution on the safe side of inflation, and perhaps a better Care Facility, can you please adjust the quotes to the higher totals and resend?

Lastly, we hesitate to commit and do big dollar business with people from too far out of town. What can you tell us to help make a final decision about someone based out of the beautiful city of Atlanta?

We have also sent our questions to the other groups that we have been in contact with. Once we regather and reevaluate the revised data, we will possibly have one last set of questions for you.

Thank you very much for your help and patience. This is a very costly expense for retired people and we both understand the importance of LTC in today’s world.

Best regards,

Client

Why Others Want to Run for Congress

To Obtain Prominence

For sure, anyone would love to be recognized and honored in one way or the other. Needless to emphasize, fame and glory are seen as reasons why an individual wants to run for congress. Apparently, those in government are highly regarded as supreme, without a doubt, which is why a government position is highly sought by anyone.

To Benefit from Financial Supports during Election

To some, winning an electoral campaign would not matter as running for a government position already induces so many benefits including financial gains. Generally, political aspirants do not run for government positions on their own i.e., without support. Needless to emphasize, political aspirants and their respective candidacies and campaign are financed by businessmen, peers and supporters and this would spell resources in the end. A candidate would take pleasure in enormous campaign, without a doubt, as there would be excess subsidies by the end of the day, and all of these would go into the pocket of the political candidate without notice. Apparently, this is a fine reason why an individual wants to run for congress.

To Address Curiosity

Have you ever wondered how is it like to be in government and handle a position in the congress? This question probably runs wild in the minds of the political aspirants that eventually push them to seek for a place in the congress or government. Men are naturally inquisitive that we want to try almost everything, and running for a position in the congress is worth a try as long as one is financially and emotionally capable of handling the same.

To Attain Security

It is almost automatic that an individual and his family’s security is assured when one obtains a position in the congress or government. It is a given fact that a government official would enjoy the benefits of security (financially and physically) considering that he is surrounded with his own law and can manipulate his own law at the same time. Not only that, most government officials and their respective families are vested by the state itself with protection taking into account the risks their jobs would entail, that the government would supplement security, defense and the like.

Practically, there are countless reasons why individuals would run for a position in the government or congress. Actually, those reasons may not be the same and may vary among different individuals. Nonetheless, the above are basic motives or grounds why individuals would take their journey and chances in the government or congress. The objectives of some political aspirants may not be too appealing apparently, but rather too selfish to some extent, and that’s how it goes whether we like or not.

No Soliciting Poster

How to get rid of Solicitors

Everyone knows the annoyance of having your day interrupted by someone on your doorstep who wants to sell you something or convert you to their religion. Here are some sure-fire ways of getting rid of them…fast!

  • Live in a covenanted neighborhood that doesn’t allow soliciting or flyers. Obviously, this option isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely a good way to get rid of solicitors.
  • Post a no soliciting sign. You can print a free no soliciting sign from the internet, or you can buy the basic plastic or metal version offered in hardware stores.
  • Know your rights. Even if you have posted a no soliciting sign, not all solicitors pay attention to them. In fact, the industry is constantly coming up with reasons to justify their being on your doorstep – reasons such as, “We’re not selling anything, we just want to offer you this free gift,” or, “We just want to talk to you about [insert religion].” However, dictionary.com defines soliciting as “seeking to obtain,” in general. Evidently selling is not the only form of soliciting, as offering you a free gift to try to get you to sign up for a service, or even trying to persuade your personal religious beliefs, still constitutes “seeking to obtain” something. However, some areas have passed laws prohibiting soliciting where signs are posted. Know what your area says about soliciting, and be prepared to confront the solicitor with that information.
  • Just say no. When you are answering the door, keep in mind that this is your house. They are on your property, therefore it is your right to dismiss them when you choose. Don’t worry about being polite to these people – simply by being there, they’ve already ignored common decency. Once they state their business on your doorstep, you are free to say, “No, thank you,” and close the door. Closing the door is important, because solicitors tend to keep talking otherwise, in a desperate attempt to change your “no” to a “yes.”

Your time is important, and there is no reason why you should be interrupted by solicitors. Taking a few precautions can reduce your chances of being bothered, and knowing how to handle them when they do appear can get rid of them quickly.