Blogs

Thoughts on Starting the New Year ... with Emotional Intelligence

I find the Christmas Holiday a fascinating time of year from a business and management perspective.

A whole host of companies basically shut down (I bet their fiscal year doesn’t end 12/31). Many in professional services look at the year-end as a time to catch up, clean up, clean out and organize. It is a time for planning and preparing for a new year, a fresh chance at improving, and resolving old problems once and for all.

Lessons in Effective Communication

A few recent anecdotes:

I once managed a salesman who, whenever I started to discuss with him a performance issue and my dissatisfaction with it, would complain that I “never told him that before.” As though every discussion had to have a predecessor to be valid. So each of those discussions would end with, “Well, I’m telling you now!” And what started as constructive criticism took on a much greater edge.

It’s about attitude.

Thanksgiving … Giving Light and Hope to Others

Please bear with me a bit, this one’s personal.

A couple that I know – a great couple – fun, bright, attractive and successful when I knew them in my younger years, before I moved away, recently experienced a tragedy. It made me think long and hard about Thanksgiving. Its meaning. Its essence of our culture and mindset and how we look at life in the USA.

Sales and Emotional Intelligence – The “Wow!” Factor

Sales and selling is often a maligned profession. It’s as though the sales professional is out to “get” the buyer and brings no intrinsic value to the interaction other than a necessary evil. On the contrary, it is one of the most difficult professions and one that should be respected as more of a challenging job than a dirty job.

Understanding and Fulfilling Client Needs vs. Wants

I have been thinking about a few instances lately where our team – myself included – felt we were in good shape on a project, that we had what the client wanted. I think this perception was based on what we believed the client needed. In the end, we were listening to ourselves and not the client. After some stresses and strains, we understood and delivered, but there was pain that could have been avoided or at least mitigated better.

The Corporate Moral Compass: Upholding Core Values

Values, Mission and Vision statements are widely used and a common practice in organizations. The creation of them is often a painful process when done by a committee, as it reminds one of the camel being a horse designed by a committee – it’s hard to agree on the exact wording and priorities. That said, once established, how well does the organization actively promote them?

Trends in Contract Terms and Conditions

When I started in sales some 30+ years ago, many of Austin’s design and construction projects were completed under a simple agreement between Austin and Owner. Austin’s standard agreements were simple layman’s contracts that explained costs, payments were based on Advance Fund Schedules (we were paid in advance for the work to be performed), limitations of liability and warranty, and cost protections the Owner and Austin agreed upon.

Building Belief in Sustainable Design

The Austin Company recently nominated Judi Szabo-Stull, Manager of Facilities Development in our Cleveland Operations office, for a Green Building & Design 2015 Women in Sustainability Leadership Award. For Judi, this is a much-deserved recognition – internally to Austin and more broadly within the industry. Good luck in the process Judi!

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