by Kelli C. Holmes and Rayleen Kerr
Most of us don’t realize it, but as children we were taught the essential ABC’s of networking our way to success in business! In a salute to Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” we offer some important life lessons that we learned as kids. These lessons apply as much today in our adult lives as when we were children. The following sixteen examples of Robert Fulghum’s life lessons will clearly show you how it applies to today’s successful business professional.
1. Share Everything
Definition: To enjoy with others all possible.
If you are willing to help enough people achieve what they want you will achieve success. This old concept is best known as “what goes around comes around”. Many of us learned about sharing as children from our parents. Even though the setting has changed from the days we shared toys in the sandbox, the same concept applies today in our workplace. Sharing knowledge, contacts or referrals with others sets the pace for your success.
2. Play Fair
Definition: To operate free from fault.
Live by the “Golden Rule” of treating people as you wish to be treated. Follow this code when someone gives you a referral. Treat that referral, as you would want the most important people (clients, friends, family members) in your life to be treated. If you deliver excellent service to them, you will not need to worry about your abilities and you are paving the way for a new, more powerful relationship that can pay out dividends in the future.
3. Don’t Hit People
Definition: Avoid harming others.
Bad business practices or questionable business tactics are like hitting someone. Don’t be a sales “hitter”.
4. Put Things Back Where They Belong
Definition: To replace or return.
The relationships, contacts and networks that you build will be established over a long period of time, you need to nurture them. Nurturing a relationship or your “network” is done through reciprocating. Replenish your relationship on a regular basis by giving back as much or more than you get. Build an orderly network. Build it so you can bank your networking contacts and so that you know where your network contacts are when you need them.
5. Clean Up Your Own Mess
Definition: Undo your mistakes and free yourself of clutter.
Take responsibility for your mistakes, after all, we are only human. In order to preserve our relationships we will need to acknowledge our shortcomings and strive to learn from our mistakes. It is okay to make a mistake, just not the same one twice! By acknowledging our mistakes and learning from them, we free ourselves from their cluttering up our lives.
6. Don’t Take Things That Aren’t Yours
Definition: Thou shall not steal.
There is enough business to go around! Especially when you’re doing business through relationships. Don’t resort to unethical tactics like client stealing. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. A “Jack or Jane of all trades”, is a master of none. Trying to do a little bit of everything takes away from your area of expertise. Work as a team.
7. Say You’re Sorry When You Hurt Someone
Definition: Swallow your pride when you know you are wrong.
Referral business comes from relationships and relationships often have hurdles to overcome. Networking and developing business relationships means you have individual personalities that may sometimes differ. Be first to apologize and your relationships will be strengthened immensely by such a simple gesture. Acknowledging your wrong doings takes courage and it will diffuse bad situations.
8. Wash Your Hands Before Your Eat
Definition: Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Prepare before you do something important. Success is said to be 10% inspiration and 90 % preparation. Prepare for your presentations, meeting with clients or important events. Being unprepared always shows. Successful networking is a skill that requires honing… daily. To not be prepared will erode your business. Brushing your teeth daily prevents tooth decay and preparing for your networking prevents business decay!
Definition: To cleanse.
Inevitably there will come a time that you can no longer do business with a person who you are in relationship with. This relationship may effect your reputation and the most important people (clients, family and friends) in your life, adversely. You need to flush them from your network. People change, as do relationships. Don’t hold onto a relationship too long. However, get out of the relationship with dignity so that you don’t burn your bridges. You never know when someone (even an old acquaintance) can be helpful in the future.
10. Warm Cookies and Cold Milk Are Good For You.
Definition: Reward yourself for a job well done.
Doing things that make you feel good is an important part of your work and business life. In order to excel at what you do and inspire people to network with you; a certain amount of enjoyment must come from your professional life. Recognize when you have accomplished good work and reward yourself. If you earn a little extra, treat yourself to something on your wish list. This will put a smile on your face, which will help you generate even more contacts and success.
11. Live a Balanced Life
Definition: To render in equal proportion.
Family, business, friends, spiritual life, health and happiness are all important activities to participate in everyday. Your success is truly a reflection of how you balance each of these scales. This is life. Create goals for each of these life areas. As a goal oriented person, you will appear to “know where you are going” and not be a “wandering generality”. People tend to gravitate to those who appear to know where they are going.
12. Take a Nap Every Afternoon
Definition: Refresh and re-energize yourself on a regular basis.
Do something everyday to replenish yourself. Activities outside work can re-energize relationships. Combine golf and business or enjoy a great meal while holding a business meeting. These activities will make you appear more successful. Remember when you had to take a nap and didn’t want to? You fought to keep your eyes open. Now we are so busy and would love to take a nap! It is hard to squeeze in the time, so do the equivalent to napping. Eat lunch outside, take an extra 15 minutes and drive the scenic route. Call your best friend in the middle of a workday to just catch up. Take mental naps!
13. When You Go Out Into the World Watch Out For Traffic, Hold Hands and Stick Together.
Definition: The buddy system.
Surround yourself with business professionals whom you trust and will watch out for you.
You can’t be everywhere and know everything. This is why it is so important to cultivate your power partners. Utilize all of your networks and relationships. Be prepared to help others so they will want to help you. (Teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect!). Consider a partner or associate.
14. Beware Of Wonder
Definition: Know when remarkable things are happening.
Opportunity is everywhere. There are those in life that:
a) watch things happen
b) wonder what happened
or those who…
c) make things happen!
You need to decide which role you are going to play. People are attracted to those who make things happen and are leaders.
15. Goldfish, Hamsters, White Mice, Seeds, They All Die and So Do We.
Definition: All good things must come to an end.
In order to leave a legacy; treat your relationships as though they will live on forever. Share throughout your life and follow the motto: learn, teach, laugh and live. William Wallace once said, “Every man dies, but not every man really lives”. Know when it is time to let go and move on to the next phase in your life. New life enhances your life attitude.
Definition: To turn ones eyes upon.
The opportunity to acquire the secrets of success is learned by watching others. Observe what the truly successful people are doing and emulate their actions. Surround yourself with the best people possible, watch and do what they do. Tom Connellan best describes this in his book Inside The Magic Kingdom. “What you do thunders above your head so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” If you do successful things, your actions speak for themselves. By acting successful, the self-fulfilling prophecy will kick in and help you to be successful. “As you act so shall you be”.
How To Succeed In Business: These basic principals were taught to us at a tender age. However, we have forgotten most of life’s important lessons. We seem to get caught up in the hectic routine of everyday life. Success is truly simple when explored through the wisdom of a child’s eyes.