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Asian business man try his best to do the time management. Photo compilation using the same model.

Better! Results Idea #7: Ask How

Jeremy worked long into the evening. Headed home at midnight, he felt confident that his supervisor would be pleased with his project results. But in the morning, reality dealt him a crushing blow. His boss glanced quickly through the report, then tossed it on the table and said, “This isn’t what I wanted you to do! You’ll have to start over.”

The subsequent autopsy on his efforts showed Jeremy what he had missed: finding out not just what his supervisor wanted but also exactly how the work should be performed and presented.

Rework is inefficient. Repairing trust with disappointed supervisors drains our limited time and energy. And often, it’s all so easy to Partners shaking hands after successful negotiationsavoid through a three-letter word: “How?” For example:

• When given a new assignment in your work, certainly seek to understand what the end product of your efforts should be. But always ask the extra question, “How would you like this work to be performed and presented?”

• When reviewing the positive results of successful people we admire, seek to find out exactly ‘how’ they got those results. What specific steps did they use? What sources of information did they use? What actions did they take at decision moments? What were they careful to avoid?

• Likewise, when giving assignments to students, subordinates, or anyone else, endeavor to be absolutely clear about not only what you need, but how you would like the assignment to be tackled and completed.

As they say, “The devil is often in the details”. And making assumptions on details creates the unnecessary risk of flawed results.

Improve your results. Avoid needless mistakes. Remove ambiguity and doubt.

When assigned or assigning new projects or tasks – at work, home, school or anywhere else – clarity is king. Ask or explain “How!”

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Be generous with gratitude, for it is contagious - an inspirational quote

Better! Results Idea #6: Say Excuse Me, Thank You and Please

My work requires extensive travel. Crowded airports, thousands of very busy people, too much human activity jammed into too little space. The result is a noticeable decline in basic human courtesy. Not just in travel situations – in virtually all business and personal encounters.

Others who can impact our opportunities judge us quickly. They evaluate the way we carry ourselves, the way we present our ideas, even our appearance. I’ve witnessed it hundreds of times in recent years: you prepare, present, and patiently wait for positive feedback that does not happen. Often what was missed was attention to basic courtesy.

It is challenging to objectively witness our own behavior. But pay attention for one full day in your work and personal interactions. Do you have a habit of consistently saying these three expressions of courtesy?"feel better," a message written in the sand at the beach

Excuse Me

I board my flight early and sit on the aisle. Beside me are two empty seats. Down the aisle comes a man or woman carrying a computer bag and pulling a suitcase. They stop next to me, point and say, “That’s my seat.” This often happens without them even saying a word – just a point of the chin at the vacant seat (as they continue to speak loudly into their cell phone) as if I am to interpret this rude gesture as a command to stand and get out of the way so that they can get to their seat. Twice in the last week, I’ve had someone say nothing at all and literally just begin to climb over me in the small space.

Whatever happened to “Excuse me” as the opening line in this brief human encounter? In business conversations, high-rise elevators, telephone conference calls and a hundred other daily moments, when did the phrase “Excuse me” first become a casualty to getting what we need?

Thank You3D Be Better Crossword on white background

Over and over I see it. A simple courtesy is extended. The holding of a door or elevator. Sliding one’s chair slightly to make room for a newcomer. Remaining silent so that a co-worker may express their idea or opinion. Making room for another driver trying to merge into heavy traffic. Most times a simple thank you word or gesture is offered in return, but not every time.

As personal entitlement continues to trump cooperation in our busy business and personal lives, saying “Thank You” has become an inefficient afterthought. Result: hurt feelings, a discounting of the value of the offending party’s ideas or actions, and a small but growing barricade to progress. Remembering to always say thank you raises your value in the eyes of others. It’s not why we should do it; it’s the extra bonus you get when you do it by habit.

Please

The simple one syllable word “Please” is like the magic grease that slides your ideas and needs forward. “Please” recognizes that you are in need of someone else’s assistance and encourages them to recognize your request and respond positively. “Please” tells someone that you are aware of and appreciate their efforts or moment of attention.

better skill or products development improvement of skills or product quality

“Please” helps us get what we need. Failing to say it blocks what we need.

Why would we ever want to give another person a reason to discount what we say and who we are? Why should we give them a reason to be closed to our ideas?

Let’s not give anyone a reason to block our progress. Present yourself well in every interaction with every person who crosses your path. Breathe new life into a dying human courtesy. Say excuse me, thank you and please, and do it with a smile. You’ll stand out from the crowd and find supporters every time.

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Closeup portrait of young couple, man and woman ; one being excited, smiling, showing thumbs up, other serious, concerned, unhappy showing thumbs down, isolated on white background. Emotion contrasts

Better! Results Idea #5: Respect Opinions – Seek Facts

“You can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts.” This well-worn line has been used by politicians for decades. In reply I say, “Amen. I hear you. I agree.”

There’s a big difference between opinion and facts. Both have their place in pursuing our goals. Opinions and preferences provide the emotional soul needed to set goals and advance confidently in their direction. Facts are the solid foundation we build on as we take action. In chasing our dreams, opinions are important, but facts are critical.

Facts are objective. They are honest. They are proven. They are true. And they are absolutely required when evaluating action options. Do you agree?

Consider these questions.

In your work life, have you looked at what has provided consistently positive outcomes in the lives of anyone you identify as successful? Specifically, what specific action steps do they take each day? How and when do they act? And just as Headshot beautiful woman with puzzled face expression and question marks above her head looking up, isolated grey wall background. Human emotions, feelings, body language, problem solution conceptimportant, what do they avoid doing?

In your relationships, do you research what has been proven by experts to produce the best results in communicating with your spouse, partner, children or parents? Or do you rely on your gut feel, emotions and ‘energy state’ at the moment?

In your thinking, brainstorming and decision-making, do you perform research of the results obtained by others on a similar path before plunging into a plan of action? Do you strive to objectively evaluate the benefits and risks of alternatives?

Do you have sources of truth and fact in the key areas of your life? Family, friends and co-workers you can depend on to tactfully tell you the truth no matter the issue? Objective coaches and mentors you lean on for business planning, decisions and action?

Stoke your passion and let it motivate you to move confidently forward. But find critical balance in reliable sources of truth and fact all along the way.

Find your own reliable sources of truth. In business, in the news, in politics, in your relationships, and especially in taking action toward your goals.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Half truth and half truth does not equal truth on white screen

Better! Results Idea #4: Demand Truth

The November 2014 mid-term elections in the US were finished and the west coast polling places had closed a few minutes before. The talking head commentator on the TV stared into the camera with smug confidence on his face, and made a statement that was an outright lie. A falsehood. A fabrication. A twisting of the facts to support a conclusion reached long before an analysis of the facts was even physically possible.

And the sad part is, thousands – perhaps millions – of viewers listened, digested, and believed what they heard. With no interest in first verifying facts.

This is the power of those in positions of influence. Broadcasters, leaders in politics and religion, corporate executives. Even parents. What they say, we often take as fact, even when they are wrong.

This issue strikes at the very heart of my work. Simply because to succeed, to move forward, to get useful input and feedback, and to make effective decisions you must have sources of truth. You must have honest experts who can assist you, concerned coaches who will nudge you along the better path, and a personal and professional support team of individuals you can rely on to tell you the truth.

I write about this critical foundation issue in my book “Do What You Can!”

Having sources where you find absolute truth is critical to your ability think realistically, evaluate options and capabilities, make accurate decisions about what you can accomplish, and create an action plan for positive Business man with fingers crossed.change.

How honest are you about yourself? What are your most reliable sources of honest feedback?

Do your best to have truth in your thinking, your skills, your data, and the measurement of your results. Find and face truth.

Eliminate the lies you tell yourself along with the payoffs you believe you get from accepting deception.

That’s strong language and raw advice. But this isn’t an issue where sugarcoated phrasing holds any value.

To move forward, to successfully and confidently pursue our worthy business and life goals, it’s absolutely critical that you and I find, cultivate and listen to our sources of truth.

Don’t accept less than truth from others. Don’t accept less than truth in your own thinking, decisions and actions. Be truth. Demand truth.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Why Many CFO’s Avoid Getting Help With Fraud Prevention

Chief Financial Officers are busy people. The financial, information, technology and other business risks they manage require constant attention. So it’s no surprise that proactive management of their fraud risks often gets consciously or unconsciously pushed to the bottom of their action list.

Over the years, I’ve dug deep into the real reasons why these finance and business controls experts often avoid facing up to fraud exposures. While being busy is certainly part of the equation, there are actually four other much more compelling reasons why CFO’s avoid seeking outside help with fraud risk management.

Reason #1 – They Can’t Admit They Have A Fraud Exposure Problem.

Very few financial leaders start their career in finance or accounting with a strong background in fraud risk management. And fewer still pick up this expertise over many years on the job. After all, if they aren’t facing fraud incidents on Fraud Riskmost days, why worry about it. As a result, I find that CFO’s have no idea just how large their fraud exposures are, and have no compelling cause to admit that they need help.

Most organizations have fraud losses in the range of one to two percent of total revenues. But since it’s not labeled as ‘fraud expense’ and losses are buried throughout the balance sheet and income statement, CFOs and everyone else in charge have no idea just how much they’re bleeding. Death by a thousand paper cuts is still death.

Reason #2 – Professional Embarrassment.

Suddenly your hard work has paid off, and you’re given the responsibility of managing the financial infrastructure that’s the critical backbone of any business organization. It’s expected that you’re the all-seeing and all-knowing expert on finance, accounting and related risks. But fraud risks are different.

I’ve found that even when a CFO finally comes to terms with the idea that wrongdoing and misconduct may be eating away at their profits, there is a natural human resistance to acknowledge that they have been missing this problem for so many years. Result, modest quiet efforts to get their hands around their fraud risks rather than what’s needed: A robust, comprehensive Anti-Fraud Campaign.

Reason #3 – They’ve Been Misled by the Large Firms.

Large accounting firms conduct the bulk of the financial statement audits. And CFOs rightly believe that their CPAs are looking out for ‘material’ fraud exposures. Good firms with solid auditing leadership do just that: they audit for CFO Word Cloud Concept in black and white with great terms such as leader, finances, goals, profit and more.accuracy and errors in financial statements. But their assurance work is limited to material issues in the audited financial statement environment. They do not cover ‘immaterial’ fraud, misconduct, and wrongdoing that when added together can be significant. (If you’re not sure, ask them!)

The big accounting and consulting firms are part of the solution. But a much smaller part than most CFOs realize. Effective fraud risk management starts and ends with CFOs stepping up and driving the bus.

Reason #4 – Other Insiders Won’t Tell Them the Truth.

Why would the head of sales, or technology, or inventory management, or procurement come to the CFO (or internal audit team!) and say that there is a significant fraud exposure that isn’t being controlled? 99 times out of 100, it just isn’t going to happen. These other leaders are much more inclined to keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best. Right up until the moment when everything goes wrong.

Be honest. Do these four reasons sound familiar to you? If so, it’s time to step past excuses, take a deep breath and ask for help. Driving Fraud Risk Management Campaigns is a technical business specialty. Most CFOs and other senior leaders simply don’t have the skills or the time to learn them.

Take a shortcut and ask for help. Give me a call and we’ll get started with the brainstorming today.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

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