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Fun Friday | Why don’t people return phone calls?

It’s remarkable that so few people return their phone calls on a timely basis. Why is that?

Are we just lazy? Too busy? Did I mention lazy? Don’t give a rip? “If it’s important, they’ll call back?”


fri blog one ringy dingy

Are you eyeballin’ me? Of course not … not you. You return all your calls. Right?

Wanna think about all the time we invest in phone tag? Nah, me neither.


Ok, let’s do it anyway. Talk about a time sink … keeping track of all those who …

  • don’t return the call,
  • are out of the office,
  • traveling,
  • on vacation,
  • sick,
  • already on the phone …

… what a bother, huh?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably got dozens of these floating around at any one time.

What if they don’t return phone calls at all?

Keep reading if you need a few more reasons to NOT return phone calls


What do people see when they look in your window?

Do people see exactly what you want them to see when they look in your window?

I’m sure we can agree on this: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.


Back when I was a bank teller ….

Just after the dinosaurs became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, my first assignment in the Management Training Program of the bank I joined right after college, was as a teller at one of their branches.

Some of you may never have been inside a bank branch, but back then, they were the center of your personal and business banking universe. There was no online capability and everything had to be done face-face.

I won’t belabor my experience … making sure the transactions at my window, and in the entire branch, were balanced before anyone could leave the branch … the often tedious nature of handling deposits or standing around waiting for one … but I remember vividly one of the most powerful lessons I learned on my first day:

If you care about what people see when they look in your window, keep reading


Get More At Bats

A good hitter knows he has to get more hits to be great. A great hitter knows she has to get more at bats to get to the Hall of Fame.

In the wake of the fading scars from the recent recession, most companies have turned their focus to revenue enhancement, a fancy term for “get more sales”. What are the key metrics that will help you drive that achievement?

Get More At Bats - Exkalibur.com

What could be easier than to focus on top line growth?

There is probably no clearer metric to measure and analyze. Check the ledger: sales are up or they’re not.

But, where do sales come from? From Prospects who become customers … so if you’re not tracking how you’re developing Prospects, and treating them as importantly as customers, your sales are unlikely to grow much.

Here’s the real key to getting more sales

Get more at bats.

If you need more customers, find more prospects.  If you own stores, figure out how to get more people through the door.

If you don’t have enough prospects, find more suspects.  If you sell services, talk to more people.

Sales result from developing Suspects … nurturing them to become Prospects … all the while recognizing most of them never become customers   …  but without them, there will be no new customers at all.

“At Bats” are not the same as “Plate Appearances”

Baseball distinguishes between “plate appearances” and “at bats”.

Just showing up at the plate isn’t enough. Keep reading so you don’t miss the metrics checklist…

12 Holiday Morsels to Strengthen Your Business

Yes, the holidays are here and already the list of things to do continues to grow – completing the annual budget, planning parties, visiting with friends, figuring out what to get who for when … and so it goes.

Yet, my spirit remains strong, so I’ve prepared a menu of 12 holiday treats that I hope will slide down like Amaretto eggnog in front of a winter fire.

I’ve even scoured some of my earlier columns to find the most delectable morsels.

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — Yogi Berra

So, here’s a smorgasbord of lessons learned – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence  — that should grace your executive table for 2015.

1.     It’s never about you.

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?


2.     If you don’t think you’ll ever have a management succession problem, you already have one.

Keep reading. There are 12 days. Remember?


Lose $1Million in 1 Day – and Still Become a Champion

Focus - 5 Images Portfolio

Focus. Focus. Focus.

I never thought that Rory McIlroy, a PGA golfer, would be the subject any article I ever wrote, least of all 2 of them.

What a difference a few years makes!

When I wrote about the Magic of True Grit, Rory appeared in an ignominious way.

What do you do when you totally screw up?

In 2011, Rory entered the final day of the Masters Tournament with a 4 stroke lead … and watched it quickly evaporate as his game imploded.

He shot 80 on that final day, the worst score of anyone playing on Sunday. He finished 10 strokes behind the winner, a Masters rookie, Charl Schwartzel.

(The Masters tournament doesn’t like to talk about such crass subjects as money … but the one day cost of that catastrophe to Rory WAS OVER  $1.3 MILLION!)

He was heartbroken over his performance that day, but held his head high with these words: Continue reading to see the Big Change …


You can certainly sing this! The 12 Pains of Christmas

The holidays are here and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to get it all done.

So, instead of asking you to work at something – anything – I’ve decided to give you a gift of holiday music.

Elmo did it, so did Ren & Stimpy, Winnie the Pooh, Shrek, the Muppets … so with animated competition like this, what can go wrong with my first effort at song-writing?

There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

Yeah, I know, don’t quit your day job.

So, feel free to sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. Key of D Sharp, please.

All together now:

The first thing in business that’s such a pain to me… is the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The second thing in business that’s such a pain to me … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The third thing in business that’s such a pain to me … meetings, meetings, meetings … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The fourth thing in business that’s such a pain to meKeep going … there’s more pain coming …


Top 5 Reasons You Will Love the Exkalibur.com Transformation

The Transformed Leadership Web Site at Exkalibur.com

This is one happy visitor!

Practical Strategies to Help Leaders Get Real Results

In truth, I realize you really don’t care that we transformed our web site.

You shouldn’t.

You should only care if you can find what you want when you want it.

I only care about what will really help YOU!

Yeah, I know that’s easy to say and you probably hear it from almost everyone.

But, think about it. I don’t need to visit my own website to find articles I’ve already written … and probably no one knows my website more intimately than I do. And, with the administrative dashboard, I can find virtually anything I want, anytime.

So, this really is only about you and I hope we’ve been successful at creating a rich and appealing experience … to help you find what you’re looking for … and to discover new and valuable materials you didn’t know we had.

We worked hard so that Exkalibur can become an even more valuable and trusted resource for you … just as you work hard to become a more effective leader and build a successful business.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein

Practical Strategies to Help Leaders Get Real Results

You might have noticed that we also changed our tagline. Check out the Top 5 Changes …


Leadership | One Simple Way to Trash Your Brand Anthem

Any chance that you’re tone deaf?

A brand anthem expresses to your customers the core values related your brand and products, much like a vision statement expresses the core values of your company.

Are you trashing your Brand Anthem?


I was sitting in an exceptionally beautiful church on Easter Sunday morning.

There were garlands of fresh daffodils and orchids draping the sanctuary.

Easter lilies were everywhere, consuming the floor of the chancel and the empty spaces on the altar rails. Small children were dressed in their Easter finery, sitting awkwardly in their new suits and dresses anxiously awaiting the Easter Egg hunt following the service.

Time for the Processional Hymn

Christians everywhere know that the hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” also starts the Easter service and marks the procession of ministers and laity down the aisle to the altar.

It is unarguably the best known Easter hymn, a holiday staple like O’ Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World and other holiday songs at Christmas.

I’ve pretty much know that Easter hymn by heart … sang it every year as a child … and can’t imagine an Easter service without it. (more…)


Leadership | Why I changed the Exkalibur Facebook page to “Building a Business”

 The Exkalibur Facebook page is now

 “Building a Business”

For years, I have used Facebook simply to replicate the articles I’ve published on Sword Tips, the Exkalibur blog.

I rarely provided anything else on the Facebook platform to help you and other business leaders solve their everyday problems … even though that’s what I do every day everywhere else.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

That’s not really what I intended, but it was early in the Facebook lifecycle and I wasn’t sure what I should be doing differently on the Exkalibur Facebook page.

Maybe you’ve faced the same questions as you’ve surfed the Internet waters, uncertain about what you may find where and what you can do to more efficiently to find just that exact piece of information to help you with a particular issue?

Don’t you think we’re both trying to figure out how to manage the information tsunami flowing from blogs, RSS feeds, Facebook pages, twitter feeds and a host of other sources? (more…)


Flush the recession Kool-Aid! Create your own demand!

“Teach a parrot the terms ‘supply and demand’ and you’ve got an economist.”

~ Thomas Carlyle

A lady walked into a neighborhood market one day and spoke loudly over the counter to the head butcher.

“Your prices these days are atrocious, Sal. Joe’s Deli across the street is selling your $10 chuck roast for only $5!”

“I know, Mrs. Haggle. I saw the sign. The thing is . . . Joe doesn’t have any chuck roast.”

The law of supply and demand still rules

So, the law of supply and demand rears its head again, some days a beautiful vision, other days an ugly hag. We’re surrounded by her mystique everywhere we go. Traffic is tied up because there are more cars than highway space. Starbuck’s is backed up because people want coffee faster than it can be made. There are no paper clips in the supply room but there’s plenty of fruitcake left in the kitchen.

Even for tickets to a free concert?

Supply and demand drove markets long before economists appeared … and its jarring prevalence is unavoidable. One of my favorite examples is (more…)

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