April 29, 2014
by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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Make Monday Your "Barter Day"
It's a continuous challenge for
independent retailers to remain competitive as the mega-stores
continue to expand their reach. In order to survive in today's
environment, smaller stores must trim overhead, provide better
service, purchase wisely, and advertise carefully.
Another idea that makes sense, and a
way to overcome the slowest day in retail, is to designate Mondays
as "Barter Sales Day." Having a Barter Day will set you apart from
other retailers, and bring in a different client base ... one that
makes trade purchases.
The extra trade sales income made on
your Barter Day can be put to use on new tests for your advertising,
marketing and promotion efforts. Over the long run, you'll find your
Barter Day efforts can be another investment in your company.
BarterNews.com — World's Largest
Hundreds of valuable articles,
techniques, and strategies are found in the following various barter
Offset & Countertrade,
Restaurant & Entertainment
Categories are found on the horizontal bar at the top - 3rd
button from right.)
Money-Making Reports Available From BarterNews
"A" Factor: 16 Accountability Killers To Avoid
It's easy to assume that you're an accountable
person, if you don't tell outrageous lies and
generally follow through on your commitments. But authors Julie
Miller and Brian Bedford say
that even small lapses can affect the way others see you. Here, they
list 16 common
"accountability killers" you might otherwise be tempted to overlook.
Without Accountability — What's the Fix?,
Miller and Bedford examine what can happen when businesses,
teams, families, and individuals shirk accountability. The book is
full of real-life stories of what accountability looks like and what
can go wrong in its absence. It offers a proven process for
installing an accountability-based culture, a platform for success
in business and in everyday life.
Here, in no particular order, the
authors share a list of their personal "accountability killers":
up late. Sure,
there are legitimate reasons why even the most responsible person
might be running late: a fender bender, a sick child, an unfortunate
coffee spill, to name just a few. And yes, everybody gets a pass on
this one from time to time, when life's curveballs happen. But if it
happens again and again, you've got a problem.
tardiness is a habit — if others expect it
from you rather than being surprised by it — you're not being
accountable," says Miller. "In effect, what you're saying is, 'I
don't value your time. I believe I'm more important than you' — or
at the very least, 'It's not important to me to honor the agreement
you'll do it — and then not doing it. Again,
sometimes life happens. But if you fail to meet your commitments
more than once or twice, you lack accountability. "If you find
yourself constantly making excuses, asking for more time, or
expecting others to understand why you 'just didn't get around to
it,' it's time to make a change," comments Bedford. "Either start
pushing yourself harder or stop making promises you can't keep."
offended by the truth. When
someone calls you out — for dropping the ball, for behaving badly,
etc. — how do you react? "If you're indignant or offended instead of
accepting that the other person has made a valid observation, you've
just killed your accountability," points out Miller.
up mistakes. The
fact that others don't know about a slip-up doesn't mean it didn't
happen. "If nothing else, your accountability will suffer in your
own eyes," asserts Bedford. "Do this sort of thing enough times and
the tendency to cover up becomes a habit," he adds. "You get away
with it so you start to think it's okay. But if your actions do come
to light, your public reputation will take two hits: one for the
original mistake and one for trying to hide it."
so-called "blame game" is one in which nobody wins — least of all
the person pointing the finger. "Even if the fault lies with someone
else," says Miller, "part of being an accountable person means doing
your best to offer solutions in addition to pointing out problems.
And if the blame does lie
with you, it's dishonest and reprehensible to attempt to shift it to
Even if you experience unpleasant short-term
consequences, you'll build an overall reputation for integrity when
you 'fess up' to your mistakes."
others to cover for you. "I
have to leave a little early to run errands — will you just tell the
boss I wasn't feeling well if she asks?" Although this may sound
familiar, that doesn't mean that asking someone to deflect blame,
conflict, or questions from you is acceptable.
makes you worthy of shirking responsibility when everyone else on
earth has to face the music?" Bedford asks. "When you behave this
way, you bring the 'coverer' down with you, down to your low-level
of honesty, which damages both of you.
bare minimum. Is
your M.O. to do just enough to get by and then hope no one calls you
on it? Do you ever withhold information or shoot down ideas that
could make a project better because it will require you to do more
so, not only are you preventing yourself from giving and doing your
best, you're also making yourself look bad in the eyes of others,"
says Miller. "Trust me, you aren't getting away with anything.
People are noticing your laziness, and it will affect your
reputation, which can lead to very negative consequences in your
offering an explanation for bad behavior.
that the fault was yours is the first step," explains Bedford, "but
only the first step. If you don't truthfully explain why you
acted as you did, others might still question your accountability."
others' bad behavior.
"Here's a reality check," says Bedford. "Ignoring someone else's bad
behavior is just as bad as committing the act yourself. When people
see you ignoring these problems, especially when you're in a
position to do something about them, they think you're approving the
bad behavior. They assume you're the same kind of person as the
manager yelling at his employees. Don't be guilty by association.
Speak up and show that you value fairness and respect."
Communicating in an immature manner. Gossiping
at the water cooler. Sniping at your spouse instead of having a
mature discussion. Making jokes at your brother's expense. Giving a
friend the silent treatment without explaining why. Making faces
behind the boss's back. The secretive nature of such communications
is what makes them immature—after all, adults confront problems
head-on — and indulging in it really eats away at your
to take — or give — feedback. When
you can't or won't take feedback, you communicate to others that you
aren't interested in improving your performance. That's pretty
obvious. But there are also accountability implications associated
with being unwilling to give feedback
— it shows that you're concerned with only your piece of the puzzle
instead of the big picture. Plus," says Bedford, "you've forfeited
your right to complain when the finished product fails to meet
an "A" for effort. Accountability
isn't about following orders. It's about meeting expectations. If
you ever find yourself using the "I did what you said!" excuse, know
that you're killing your accountability. "Expecting to be praised
for doing what you were told to do, even though the end result
completely misses the mark, won't win you many friends in your
professional or personal life," says Miller. "You have the
responsibility to speak up when you suspect that something."
others to remind you to act. A
colleague sends you several emails, prompting you for the feedback
you promised. A friend sheepishly reminds you that you owe her money
for several meals she covered. Every other day, your boss has to
tell you to act as though serving customers is a privilege, not a
chore. "Whenever you force someone else to remind you of an
obligation you're fully aware of, you're springing a leak in your
accountability account," Bedford explains.
victim instead of a solution finder. Sometimes,
the bad things that happen to you really aren't your fault — like a
fender bender or the flu. But guess what? The way you choose to
handle these situations can still add to or detract from your
accountability. "After you've vented your feelings, do what you can
to find a solution and move forward," suggests Miller. "You can
either be known as a problem tackler or a problem wallower. Let
others see that you're willing to take responsibility, even when a
problem wasn't your fault."
Having a "me-first" attitude. During
a night out, Bozo zips into the last parking space in a crowded lot,
conveniently ignoring a driver who had been waiting on it. On the
way home, he encounters a car trying to merge onto the freeway, but
speeds up instead of yielding.
he sounds like quite a jerk," acknowledges Bedford. "But most of us
have been rude or inconsiderate one point or another. A 'me-first'
attitude, especially if it willfully hurts or inconveniences someone
else, hurts your accountability — because you're showing yourself to
be uncaring, selfish, and maybe even dishonest."
In conclusion, Miller emphasizes, "If
you want to build genuine, lasting success in any aspect of your
life, you need to be someone whom others can trust. Anytime you give
another person a reason to question your honesty, your
dependability, your intentions or your values, you'll incur
consequences. The good news is, most 'accountability killers — as
well as their ramifications — are preventable if you're willing to
look closely and honestly at your own behaviors."
(In 2001, drawing on their respective
years of experience in senior global leadership at Motorola, Julie
Miller and Brian Bedford joined forces to establish MillerBedford
Executive Solutions. MillerBedford helps businesses and
organizations improve strategy, culture, and leadership, while
addressing issues that limit success. And their clients actually
have fun in the process!)
For more information,
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