Monday, January 31, 2011

A Test of What's Right

The prospective customer wants (demands) to meet tomorrow.

The above sounds like something good. It can be. But what if your team is not available? What if they are serving a customer, a paying customer of yours? What if meeting tomorrow won't allow you the time to prepare?

This happens every day. We want to succeed, we want to respond. Most of the time that's the way to think. But sometimes it's a test. A test of what is right.
Do you forsake your loyal customer for a prospective one?
Do you put the wrong team or wrong product in front of the customer just because they want that?

It's tough, but it's a test, nonetheless. Why work with a customer that doesn't want you to honor your relationships? If you politely demand to have the right team or the right product be available at the right time and that prospect rejects you, then they've flunked the test.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & beyond

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Center

Way back when I had a music career and had a full head of hair (well, maybe a fuller head of hair is more accurate), my buddy Dick and I went to California to meet with record producers to sell our band.

We would eat lunch at a hamburger joint and then make phone calls from a payphone bank (back in the days before cell phones you had to find payphones to call from). While we were on phones calling to set up appointments, we were entertained.

The entertainment? Every few minutes, like clockwork, people would walk by on their way to the plastic surgery center next door. We got to see actors, starlets, rock stars and various famous-types in person, looking like they really look.

What did I learn? Well, some of them were not at all good-looking, in fact some were were downright scary looking. Others looked better in person than I thought they did on camera. Some were not in very good shape, many were very small--one megastar (who is till a huge star) was a pint-sized guy, not the big, robust heartthrob that we knew him as.

They were just people, no different than the rest of us, certainly not close to perfection. They had their own issues, some looked happy, others not. Maybe in a different universe, we'd be the movie stars and they'd gawk at us.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Give your best, expect the best

Do we want more compensation, more credit, more attention, more freedom, more perks, than we do flawless, inspired, complete, on-time, exceptional performance?

Only after we give our best can we expect to be rewarded as the best. And if we consistently want to be rewarded like we're the best, then it's not a one-time thing, it's a lifetime thing.

Barry labov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I don't work after 5:00 on weekdays and never on weekends

I don't work after 5:00 on weekdays and never on weekends, boasted the young lady.

She was drawing a line in the sand with her co-workers and her boss. She wasn't going to let anyone take advantage of her. Her personal life was all hers.

I admit I didn't know exactly how to respond. But after a long time to think about it, here's my take:

We carry pdas, smart phones, BlackBerrys, iPhones and text and call and check emails every waking moment for personal use and it's okay. After all, the movie just finished, let's check and find the nearest Starbucks. My cousin is having her baby and I want a photo asap. The big game is going on and I want to check the score.

I think that we all need a healthy, balanced life. But if we take the technology drug for personal use, then how can we draw the line and not answer the phone or respond to the email when the client is calling for help at 7:30 pm?

We only limit ourselves when we draw a line that doesn't need to exist.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

See success or see failure

If things keep trending as they are, our product will become obsolete
What was once our largest customer is no longer in our top ten
Technology is marching forward and it affects everything
The economy has shrunk, companies have closed their doors

We either see success or we see failure in every scenario. We show confidence or fear in every response.

We don't have to be reckless or blind to reality, we just need to be able to see the advantages to what we're dealing with. And then do something.

Success? Failure? Confidence? Fear?
It's your call.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & beyond

Monday, January 24, 2011

You almost got me

I was about to say yes, but:
then your phone rang
you didn't ask
you didn't solve it
you said you'd give me time to think about it
you offered another option
your voice quivered and you cleared your throat and sounded uncomfortable
you never called back
you forgot me

Most of the time, we're closer than we think, but we stop.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Stranglehold on Clarity

It's so complex and complicated today. The bigger the words you use, the more impressive you sound. The more steps to the process, the more valuable it seems. The more vague the response, the more important the person must be.

All of this interference in our lives depletes us. It weakens us and it keeps us from what's important. Sometimes the complexity is intentional, other times it's not. But it doesn't matter.

We must fight to get a stranglehold on clarity even if it's painful. The more clear it is, the better we can be and the better we'll have it.

Grab for it and don't let go.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The energy of hmmmmmmm

Why do something now? Why not wait till it's perfectly safe? Why not wait until everyone agrees? Why not wait till tomorrow or when you get back from vacation?

There is a reason to do something sooner rather than later:
The energy of hmmmmmmmmm

The energy of mulling over, delaying, avoiding--as you're tapping your lips and muttering hmmmmmmmm--is far greater, far more draining than we realize.

Just doing it, getting it over with, taking the plunge--whatever you want to call it, will take no more energy or time than pondering the move and doing nothing.

Why not do it now? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, January 14, 2011

Learning from Lernos

My twelve-year-old son and I began a project a while ago. We wrote a book together. It was entitled, Lernos. Lernos was the main character in the story, which was a fast-paced epic of numerous beings with special powers galavanting throughout the universe.

Was the book good? I don't know, it depends on who's reading it. Is it commercial? Maybe, maybe not.

But whether or not the book is any good is not the issue. The experience of writing it was a blast. Just like in other endeavors, experience trumps all.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Follow the Love

What do you do?

You can focus your efforts on customer A, who has great resources, or you can focus your efforts on customer B, who also has resources.

The answer: Choose the one who loves you. That's the one to work with. That customer will appreciate you, your product, and will want to see you do well. The other customer may be ambivalent, or even hostile, and will eventually drain your energy, focus and opportunties.

What if neither love you? Search for customer C.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Out-think the Roadblock

I didn't hear back from corporate
The customer hasn't emailed their response
My boss isn't in the office this week
It's not really my area of expertise

We all say these kinds of things. We all hear these kinds of statements. They are roadblocks. They stand in the way of getting something done. And, in our weakest moments, we like them... Yes, we like them!

Roadblocks allow us to:
Be victims
Be unacountable
Do less
Point fingers
Absolve ourselves

Roadblocks are tests, they are mirrors that we can hold up and look at ourselves with:
Am I doing something to overcome this?
Am I showing my value?
Can I help my customer solve this?

Roadblocks are in front of us every day, most of the time we have nothing to do with the fact they are there. But we can out-think them.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simple isn't it

It's simple, isn't it?
You do a great job each time for your customer.
You do the right thing even when it is difficult.
You offer what you do at a fair price.
You staff the right amount of people for the amount of business you are given.
You focus on the best customers, the best products, and the best employees.

So what gets in our way? What complicates such a simple, clear existence? We do. Our insecurities, greed, worry, excitement, fear, and optimism all clog up the beautiful, clear world we could live in.

We need to de-grease our lives, clean off the gunk we're dragging around with ourselves. It would be scary to have it so simple, wouldn't it?

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's My Job?

Maybe we should all stop and ask ourselves a very important, yet simple, question: What's my job?

Is it my job to be:
Waited on?
Left alone?
Beaten up?
Merely there?

Or is it my job to be:
Of service?

Years ago, a candidate for the Vice President of the US, Admiral Stockdale, asked a question that he was lampooned for: "Who am I and why am I here?"

I'd add to that question: Who am I, why am I here, and why would anyone pay me for doing what I do?

The answer should be telling.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, January 7, 2011

Make No Assumptions

That guy looks strange, I bet he's a weirdo
She thinks she's all that, she thinks she's better than anyone else
The company is holding an employee meeting, they're going to try to manipulate us
The client wants another idea, they just don't appreciate our thinking

We make assumptions every day. Whether it's a person in the supermarket or the guy in the next cubicle or the frumpy customer or the next-door neighbor, we look at people, we observe and we jump to conclusions.

Most of our assumptions are a waste of time, effort and energy. They simply have no value. Maybe we should just take things at face value and not read something into nothing?

Assumptions get in the way of dealing with people and issues head-on. Why not go assumption-free for a day? Can I assume you will?

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sometimes it's where you're coming from

Perspective is everything. I heard this one day:
I expect to be paid every day, whether I do anything to earn it. In fact, the company I work at is lucky I come into work.

That person lost his job. Actually he quit his job. Then his perspective changed, he needed money to survive. His goal was to find work.

A couple weeks later, I bumped into him and he was fired up and happy. He was proud of himself. He had worked hard and found a music gig that would keep him busy for a couple of weeks. It didn't pay a lot, but it was something.

The same person who a month earlier walked out on his job was now appreciative of a short-term music gig. He'll be scraping around for another job in a few weeks and he knows it. But now he's coming from a different place and he's happy for every opportunity.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Standing on your own two feet

We all know someone we work with who needs propping up, a little help, every now and then. In fact, that could describe me and all of us.

But if we need to constantly do that person's job and run interference for them, day after day, then that's a different story. We do that person an injustice by babying them. In fact, they'll just get weaker.

Why do we do that? Maybe we're trying to be helpful, maybe it makes us feel good about ourselves. Nonetheless, enough is enough. We need to show the confidence that we expect that person to pull their weight. And, if they're made of the right stuff, they'll be far more engaged pulling their own weight instead of being coddled.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rock Band Business

Being a washed-up, two-bit, has-been of a musician, I've followed many bands and artists for decades. I've run my company like it was a rock band, which is good and bad.

Rock bands sometimes break up because the musicians begin to compete with each other and focus on the wrong things, such as who gets credit for this song or who sings that song.

In business, if we have a successful team, we need to make sure we're focused not on who gets the credit or the spotlight, but on how strong our performance is and if we're exciting our audience.

Look at the great bands that broke up over nonsense--how many of us now follow David Gilmour, Ginger Baker and Glen Frey instead of Pink Floyd, Cream or The Eagles? In those bands, who was the best talent, the strongest singer, the best showman? The audience didn't care, we just loved their band.

It's not a competition, it's a performance.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, January 3, 2011


If we agree that the economy will not rebound to the extent that we would like in 2011, then we have to realize that being a "me, too" brand or company will not suffice. Being like everyone else will bring little or nothing.

Look around at the numerous brands out there--how many are really different from their competition? Banks, hospitals, wireless companies and grocery stores not only don't differentiate themselves from their competitors, they actually share brand identities with them--there is simply no palpable difference.

We must stake the claim, identify and magnify what makes our company or brand unique and be loud about it. Meek won't cut it, bold is what is required to cut through the clutter and assumptions.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond