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DT’s Tower: Smelling the Roses

According to the calendar Spring is here…

Depends where you are in the country I suppose but looking out my window at the time of writing it doesn’t look like Spring! 😀

Although the New Year is a time for new starts, Spring is the time for new beginnings with subtle changes happening all around us.  As a Lord I’m not the quickest at starting things or even doing things.  In fact with my slow, methodical certainty I have more in common with Winter than Spring!

Saying that though, with my recent thinking on the best way of getting things done I have been reflecting what I can change to improve how I do things.  I’ve looked at focusing on one thing at a time, I’ve looked at the importance of deadlines (and the danger of ASAP!) so I’m now looking at ‘Smelling the Roses’.

The Project Conveyer Belt

Efficiency is great isn’t it?  I like it.  The smooth operation as one project finishes another starts.

But is that really the best approach?  Is that ‘truly efficient’?

Despite all the processes and automation you can have in place the weight of past projects builds up.  No human being is a machine that can go on relentlessly, even a machine needs servicing, maintenance and eventual upgrading.  As I’ve reflected over the past year to try and learn from my mistakes I’ve realised… I haven’t stopped.

I haven’t ‘smelt the roses’!

We all know there is finite time and finite money.  There is also finite brain power.  Project information and concerns build up in your mind over time, affecting future projects.  Like a tea mug that has one cup of tea made after another without washing, the residue of worries, data, people and pressures connected to a project affect the amount of work that can be done in the future.

A Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

The effect of this is best shown by the ‘stress’ analogy of a glass of water that goes round social media every now and again.

The story goes:

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

Remember to put the glass down

Planning to Smell the Roses

This has definitely been me over the past year or so.  I have moved from one thing to another and not ‘put the glass down’.  What I have been doing has been emptying the glass and refilling it as quickly as possible.

What I intend to do is make sure that I plan to have room either side of a project to ‘smell the roses’, enjoy the feeling of success, reward myself appropriately and reflect on what I’ve learned…

Before moving on.

On paper this might not be efficient but it will ensure that I can keep healthy, happy and focused.  That is efficient!  Smelling the Roses is my ‘new beginning’ for Spring!

How about you?  Do you smell the roses or put the glass down from time to time?  Have you any tips or tricks that you want to share?

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Dynamo Joe’s Story: Talent Dynamics for Young People

By Teejay Dowe – Talent Dynamics for Young People

When I profiled Joe he was 8 years old, a little younger than I would normally profile but bright, nearly 9 and eager to learn he was an ideal young man to work with.

Joe’s mum had been profiled through Talent  Dynamics and discovered that she was a Deal Maker it had given her so much insight that she was keen to discover more, especially more about her son who was mixed race and about to be moving schools.

She was concerned that he might be bullied, therefore wanting to find out how she could help him to fit in.

Creator Profile

Joe came out as a Creator profile, tons of Dynamo energy bursting to get out, a lively, high energy little boy, a pleasure to speak with.

His mum thought she knew him but after the debrief told me that she had learned so much more about him and was so proud of the answers that he gave to the questions I asked him.

She really felt that she understood him at a different level. She was so impressed that she was going to pick the next school he would go to by matching the way that they taught with the way that he naturally loves to learn. Dynamo energy loves to learn in a visual way.

2 weeks later I was at a business networking event and Joe’s mum was there. She came over to me all smiles and exited to share Joe’s progress with me. She said ‘TeeJay, I have to share this with you, Since Joe was profiled and I learned so much, homework now – piece of cake!’ Of course intrigued I said ‘Do tell!’


She said ‘Well Joe came home from school this week with  homework that he really did not want to do. He had to write out the instructions about how to make a cup of tea.’


She said ‘I was just about to say, oh, come on, let’s sit down and plan this out together…when I realised that my way of doing it not his! I almost sucked my words back in and instead said ‘Have you ever seen mummy make a cup of tea?’ He said ‘No’

She said’ Ok, go and get the ipad, then you can record mummy making a cup of tea. You can play it back and instead of writing a list of instructions you can pause it at each step and draw it out to give instructions’

He loved it! Homework was done quickly, he loved every minute of it and now homework will never be a challenge again! Mum simply knows how to engage him in his world


Teejay Dowe will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.

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Corey’s Story: Talent Dynamics for Young People

By Teejay Dowe – Talent Dynamics for Young People

This is the story of Corey who’s mum and dad were worried about him because he was struggling at college, spent too much time alone in his room and was generally uncommunicative. Well, that’s what they thought anyway.

Corey’s Story

Corey’s mum had had a Talent Dynamics profile test done 12 months before and loved the difference that it made to her when she discovered she was a Mechanic profile. Because her son was doing engineering, seemed to like to be by himself and didn’t really engage that much in conversation she assumed that he must also have a lot of steel energy and be either a Lord or Mechanic and in order to try and get through to him both mum and dad communicated with lots of details, facts, figures, measures and so on.

And wondered why they just got a grunt back! A few weeks ago, when things were really coming to a head at home and at college Corey had the opportunity to be profiled too. And boy were they in for a surprise that was! He is not a Lord or Mechanic, he’s totally a Star!

The Talent Dynamics for Young People Profile Test

Mum and dad were really shocked at the time but then, it all started to make sense!

“Out of curiosity they began to change their communication style with him started to show him information, talk to him bigger picture and not go in to lots of detail about everything”

Low and behold he’s starting engaging in the conversation again to their delight. Mum realized that the exams that he had really excelled in had been oral exams where he had to present the topic and speak about the subject and he loved the attention and found it really easy. It made her think back to when he was little and would read him stories and it was the short stories he loves not the long ones with lots of facts in them. She thought back to his prom and how he was the one who had chosen not only a really loud suit to wear but insisted on the awesome top hat that went with it.

Beginning to Change

With this new found knowledge of who Corey really is life is beginning to change. Not only are they talking to him in different ways but they are encouraging him to explore job roles that are more in line with his star profile. If he is going to do engineering as a career perhaps his role will be in promoting new ideas, new systems, shining the light on the engineering world and it’s accomplishments. They are encouraging him to start a video blog reviewing and promoting new games, and advancements in technology.

“He has a great way with words, loves to be on camera and is awesome at sharing what’s good about a product and how to make it even better.”

Plus he has the technical knowledge to add credibility to his passion and therefore be really influential.

Really Starting to Shine

She told me that they had limited him in their expectations because of their assumption about who he was. Its funny, now that they have given him the gift of the profile, they said they couldn’t believe that they didn’t see it before and that they totally see the Star – they can’t believe they missed it. Well, maybe that’s because in trying to get him to live as someone else the Star lost his shine and now he’s getting it back again and life is easier, more exciting and definitely more in flow for him.

I wonder how many other young people are there like Corey who are struggling because we have judged them for who we think they are or expect them to  be instead of who they really are and should be allowed to be?

Teejay Dowe will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.

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Nicci’s Call: Trusted Sales Story of Zappos

By Nicola Bonfanti – Talent Dynamics for Sales

All of the Talent Dynamics for Sales programmes are based on the 5 steps to Trusted Selling

  1. Transparency at all times
  2. Respect and rapport with prospects and clients accelerated by using their Talent Dynamics profile
  3. Understand the needs of the customer and put them first
  4. Share the journey for long term relationships
  5. Trusted advisors more than salespeople

To illustrate 3 of these points there is a lot we can learn from the online shoe store, Zappos. It is in the media for it’s holocratic (no job titles, no managers) culture of happiness and it’s amazing customer service but they are also incredibly successful at selling – turning over $1 billion a year. So whatever business you are in, their sales and marketing strategies are worth looking at.

Transparency at all times

Zappos has shown equal transparency in delivering both good and bad news. In January 2012, the company’s accounts were hacked – making 24 million customers vulnerable.

Rather than attempting to ignore this situation, Zappos openly admitted to the crisis and encouraged its customers to change their passwords.  Likewise recently Kayne West (singer) accused Zappos publicly of selling sh*t product. Rather than shying away from this – Zappos posted a toilet for sale on their website to join in with the publicity.

Zappos understood that transparency, regardless of whether the news is good or bad, is the right way to do business to win and keep clients.

Share the journey – long term relationships

Zappos does not sell discount or unique products. They have no competitive advantage when it comes to products yet they still make over $1B in sales. How?

Their secret lies in customer service and word-of-mouth referrals from people who have been absolutely delighted by their purchasing experience. Zappos invests heavily in creating experiences for its customers in the buying and service process.  This is responsible for their incredible word-of-mouth sales success with 75% of their sales coming from returning clients.

Their CEO, Hsieh says:

“I think the main thing is just trust [the customer service reps] and let them make their own decisions. … we generally try to stay away from policies, we just ask our reps to do whatever they feel is the right thing to do for the customer and the company.”

Trust within your staff spreads to your clients and increases sales. That’s a good place to start.

Understand the needs of the customer and puts them first

Zappos pride themselves on their communication. Call centre employees don’t have scripts, and there are no limit on call times. The longest call reported is 10 hours 29 minutes.

If a customer calls for a product and Zappos does not have the product in stock, they recommend a competitor who has it.

The CEO, Hsieh says that, while Zappos will lose the sale, in the long run it’s best for Zappos because the customer appreciates the help and tells their friends the story. It creates positive word of mouth publicity. The money they would have spent on advertising and marketing they invest in making the customer’s experience so amazing that they tell their friends and come back for more.

Are there any lessons there for your business?

Nicci Bonfanti will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.

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DT’s Tower: Trust and the Boy Who Cried ASAP

With the tickets for the Trust Conference 2014 going on sale this month and my last blog post about the power of ONE, my mind has been bouncing between applying Trust and the best way to get things done.

One of my little pet niggles is ASAP or A.S.A.P.  We all know that on the surface ASAP stands for ‘As Soon As Possible’ (or humorously ‘As Slow As Possible’).  Some of us pedants might also know that ASAP is a military acronym first appearing in print from Captain Annis G. Thompson’s account of the Korean War, The Greatest Airlift, 1954:

“Emergency drops required no paperwork, merely a telephone call from the 8th Army in Korea. Most drops were made on an ASAP or ‘as soon as possible’ basis.”

So the root of ASAP is connected to an emergency situation.  Re-prioritise everything with this at the top,.  The problem I have with ASAP is that it is waaaaay overused.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone else… but I’m trying!

What ASAP REALLY means

When we say ASAP we want it to mean urgent.  As in now.  Yet not many of us in business work in a military environment.

‘As Possible’ is open to a degree of interpretation.

Is that ‘your possible’?  Or is that ‘my possible’?

If we mean ‘my possible’ then that destroys trust as the key quality of transparency is missing.  We are not thinking about the other person’s timetable or schedule.  It also breaks flow in the same way a massive rock falling into a stream disrupts the flow of water.  This creates stress.

Then multiply this by the number of people who use it i.e. everyone.  How do you prioritise multiple ASAPs?  Is it really a matter of life or death if these ASAPs aren’t done now?  Also think about how often someone might hear ASAP.  That is going to diminish the importance of the phrase…

‘Oh yeah?  You want it ASAP?  Cool, I’ll just put that behind all the other ASAPs that are needed this morning.’


Well what about ‘your possible’?  I have to admit this is how I use/ take it most often.  And I’m a Lord.  Unless you light a fire under me (and give me some detail baby!) I will review the schedule, consider the possibilities and consequences, set a deadline and then move on.  Its unlikely I’ll let you know when I have set the deadline as I have done EXACTLY what you have asked.  This will be done ‘As Soon As Possible’ for me.

Problem is this breaks trust as well.  There is the disconnect between your expectation of ‘possible’ and my expectation of ‘possible’.  Someone is going to end up being disappointed.

Where ASAP REALLY comes from

To my shame I have used ASAP.  I haven’t come from a military background.  I have never had to use ASAP in a life or death situation.

And I’m guessing neither have you. 😀

When I have used ASAP it is usually because I haven’t thought about when I realistically need it.  I just want it done quickly so I can scratch it off my to do list… which probably has more than ONE thing on it 😉

Yet ironically, if a little time is taken to apply a deadline that works for both, this builds trust.  A specific date and time shifts the request from ‘what needs to be done’ to ‘how it needs to be done’.  This means that it will more likely to be done when it needs to be done.

Which in turn deepens trust.

So this is your chance to confess, like me!  Have you ever used ASAP without thinking about it?  Is there a time where ASAP should be used?

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Trust and Mind Mapping

By Janine Clark

Trust is core to the Talent Dynamics model and it has been interesting to have a recent experience with the value of trust.

Here is some background to trust. Think of a child you know who is about four years old! They are cute, possibly mischievous and it’s a stage of life where there is lots of learning about the world. At this stage little people may seem very young and innocent but they develop a key ability that keeps them safe in life. It’s the ability to ‘mind map’.

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is the ability to read and track the intention of another. On a simple level it’s the skill you use to buy your friend a present that will delight them. It’s also the skill we use to map trust, to know someone’s intention.

I class myself as a very generous and open person with most people, including or especially with clients.  Recently I noticed myself feeling edgy and ‘out of flow’. I hadn’t noticed that a breach of trust had come onto my radar, yet my ability to mind map was warning me.

The long story short is that in this case I was on the receiving end of a client breeching my trust, and I was able to observe the generosity the client missed out on as a result. It reminded me of what I could miss out on if I don’t build that trust with my clients.

My clients can map my intention so best I make it a great one, with their success soundly positioned at the centre. That way we all win..

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Teejay’s word: A gift for young people

Teejay Dowe of Talent Dynamics explains Talent Dynamics for Young People and the amazing results that the project is delivering

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Una’s Spotlight: 3 Common Mistakes Leading a Team

Una Doyle of Talent Dynamics lists the 3 common mistakes made by team leaders and explains the solutions that can stop them from happening

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DT’s Tower: The Power of ONE

I’ll give you a warning.  This post is a bit on the hard truth side.  If you want to read something uplifting don’t read a Lord’s blog in the New Year!

Resolution: Clarity or Disparity?

January is easily the month of ‘to do’ lists.  We start out with such good intentions and make resolutions.  Do we keep them? 🙂

I’ll throw some statistics at you… the chance of you keeping your New Year’s resolution through the first week?


That means that 1 in 4 of us don’t make it past the first week!  By the time a month has gone by (so about now) only 64% of us are keeping firm to our resolutions.  And I bet we feel a bit smug about it (its OK we’re human)… yet according to Forbes only 8% of us will ever fulfil our good intentions!

That means only 8 out of 100 people will do those things that they feel strongly enough to say at the beginning of the year THIS needs to change (gym’s and fitness centres look to your Direct Debits!)

So if that is the chance of us achieving personal goals we feel strongly about… what chance does our business to do list have?

TO DO: Write a TO DO list

Most ‘to do’s’ aren’t really objectives.  They are ways for us to feel like we are exerting control over our environment and to move something from our head to something physical.

So we can forget about them.

Or so we feel productive rather than be productive.

Harsh truth maybe but I think something we can all relate to.

(by the way writing a to list should NEVER be on a to do list)

ONE Thing

Good advice from Jack Palance!  Although we don’t have the luxury of only doing one thing in business what a lot of to do lists do is overwhelm us from the important tasks.

“Sorry but that to do list will never be done.”

More things will add to it and some will fall off as circumstances change.

Scan through your to do list and ask what ONE thing makes a real difference.  Quickly work out what that difference will be in tangible terms (more opportunities, more revenue, more time etc)  Then get it done.  Don’t try and get rid of your to do list  as soon as possible.  Get that ONE thing done.

Then repeat.  Get another ONE thing done.

The way I look at to do lists is that they are a list of ONE things.   Each makes a real difference.  The sense of accomplishment of being productive and the benefits of the tangible results fire me up and moves me on to the next ONE thing.  Which means I get more done.

The Power of ONE

Before Christmas I admit I fell into the trap of a massive to do list, trying to get things done before the holidays.  Did I manage it?  Not really… I made progress on everything but didn’t finish anything.  My ONE resolution this year is to not fall into that trap again.  Since focusing on only getting one thing at a time I’ve managed to get more done with better results.

“My to do list was getting in the way.”

Rather than focus on ONE thing I was getting distracted by everything.  Treating my to do list as only getting ONE thing done today meant that I got more done in a day as the amount of time the task takes usually doesn’t take me all day.

I know I’m stating the obvious but we all fall into the trap of trying to get too much done at once.  I also know that this approach isn’t right for all people and certainly isn’t right all the time.  If your to do list is growing.  If you don’t feel like you are getting anything done, focus on ONE thing… and everything that needs to get done will get done.

“Better to get 1 thing done than 10 things half done”

How do you handle to do lists?  Have you ever focused on ONE thing?  What tips can you share for a more productive 2014?

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Nicci’s Call: Do you dare to be Transparent?

By Nicola Bonfanti – Talent Dynamics for Sales

Being honest builds trust, telling lies destroys trust.

Obvious, isn’t it? But are you completely transparent and truthful with your clients all of the time?

“Do you share your pricing and business model up front and openly on your website?”

Or do you still operate with small print clauses that are only revealed once the contract is signed? Do you tell white lies to spare your clients feelings? Do you under promise and over deliver to make you look better when in fact you know what the delivery date is going to be?


‘Transparency’ is a buzz word that is being used more and more these days, especially in business and in politics. Most of the time people associate transparency with the practice of being honest and open about their operations, e.g. being  upfront about their income and outgoings, their funding sources and expenses, their supply chain and their working conditions.

In this sense, Transparency is part of a system of checks and balances to ensure corporate social responsibility.

But I believe there’s another dimension to Transparency. It’s not just about being honest so we can prove we’re not dis-honest. True Transparency is something much more positive and expansive, it’s about putting your client first and sharing the journey with them, being open partners. The reward is honesty back from the clients, a better understanding of their real needs and a higher chance of working together.

“However fear can prevent us from being totally transparent”


Dynamo profiles may fear that they will lose their competitive edge if they share their ideas with their clients. They may not fully demonstrate the value they can give their clients and hold back because they fear the client will cherry pick the best ideas and then turn to a competitor to deliver them. However if they were to be generous with their ideas and transparent about how much consultation you get up front and clear about what added benefits you get  from being a paid client, they are more likely to secure that business.


Blaze profiles may fear that by giving away their secrets people will think differently of them and not respect them, e.g. if they share any aspects of their products or services that are not right for the client. They may hide any aspects of the business that are not suitable for the client, telling white lies to make the client feel good about their purchase. But it is precisely because of their honesty and putting the clients’ needs first by being open and telling them which of their products and services fit their clients’ needs and which don’t that means their clients and prospects are likely to respect them, trust them as their advisor’s and work with them.


Tempo profiles in wanting to be seen to deliver a great service may under promise and over deliver, may give more bonuses than originally declared. This may seem a good thing but it is still not transparent. The client won’t know where they stand, won’t trust your next declaration and assume the delivery will be earlier and the service will have even more added extras again. So you set yourself up for disappointment or confusion down the line. Better to be completely candid and tell the client the same information you have and share any changes along the way.


Steel profiles may fear losing control of the sale. Pricing, negotiating, all become a game with the fear on both sides of not getting the best deal or not getting a fair deal. Creating contracts together side by side, being honest about margins and restrictions is far more likely to not only get the business but keep the business for a long time.

Transparency is scary as it goes straight to the heart of buyer centric trusted selling rather than seller-centric. Do you dare to be transparent?

Let me know what you think.  What stops you being transparent or how you dare to be transparent?

Email: niccibonfanti(at)btinternet(dot)com
Mobile: +44 77 34361923
Follow Nicci on Twitter: @NicciBonf


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