Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What people are saying about The Language of Excellence.

I'm on the road, in Sacramento right now. But, I wanted to take time to share with readers what people are saying about The Language of Excellence. 

Gary Slaughter, author of Cottonwood Novels said "I can't tell you how many leadership and management books I have read in the past past 50 years or so, but yours fall in the top 5." He also said its like the "Joy of Cooking" that in the 50's and 60's became a standard in every home--The Language of Excellence is a cookbook for achieving success in business.

Robert Hicks, New Your Times best selling author of The Widow of the South and  A Separate Country said, "Tom Collins' The Language of Excellence just may be the only guide book to personal and business excellence you will ever need to read. Borrowing from a lifetime of achievement, Collins lays out clear guidelines that can help you find your own success while enabling you to offer others the same 'excellence' that has marked both his life and career. A must-read for achievers."

"Author Tom Collins is both left-brained and right-brained. His creative side has given birth to the Mark Rollins mystery series which features the author’s love of wine and mystery, set in and around the Nashville area. His logical side calls upon his vast business experience to offer the wisdom of his years in his latest book, “The Language of Excellence.”-- Donna O'Neil, Author and former Williamson Herald Managing Editor

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Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New CareerMark Rollins and the RainmakerMark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online  store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio editon of The Claret Murders go tohttp://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Plans Cannot Predict the Future, but Planning Can Prepare You for It

Rob Millard, founder and partner of Venturis Consulting Group, once wrote, “All too often, I find myself facing blank stares from clients who want me to help them craft a plan that will lead them to greatness. This is only possible where the future is certain. Which, of course, it is not.”

The point is that strategic plans are based on assumptions about the future, and those predictions are too inaccurate to reliably steer an organization. Thus, if you unwaveringly pursue a plan based on those inaccurate assumptions, you will eventually implement the wrong strategy—you will “successfully fail.”
Now wait just a minute! We know that planning is one of the five things that distinguish successful organizations from the “also-ran” and the unsuccessful. Now you are telling me that following that plan will lead to successfully failing?
You got it. The “plan” must be to change the “plan”! Plans provide an essential fixed point for reacting to future events—for revising your assumptions, tactics, and strategies as the future becomes clearer. You can’t accurately predict the future, but by revising your predictions and your plans, you prepare your organization for it. Make sense?

The inaccurate character of assumptions is why planning must be a continuous
process. Through that continuous process of changing the plan as the future unfolds, successful organizations achieve that success by doing the “right things.” It is because of the continuous nature of the planning process that I emphasize that the tangible product of strategic planning, “the plan” should consist of words, phrases, and sentences, not paragraphs, pages, and chapters. It is the “play book,” that coordinates and shapes an organization’s actions and decisions, and that is changed by those actions and decisions on the front line in reaction to an unfolding future. Taking a line from the Pirates of the Caribbean about the Pirate’s Code, “It is more of a guide than an actual code.”

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“In this exciting age of fast-paced growth and innovative communication technology, Tom Collins has managed to incorporate timeless principles with modern advancements to achieve results-driven success in today’s business world. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be enlightened by its contents.”—Jack Grant, Business Management Consultant

Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes& Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio editon of The Claret Murders go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Exceptional Customer Care—The Mystery Ingredient

I recently sold a vacation home and selected Allied to move furniture from Florida to Tennessee. They were a class act. I will not go into everything that made the organization stand out. I will just focus on the driver and his helper. We were not present when they picked up the furniture, but we met the truck when it arrived at the storage facility we had selected to house the items until needed. Throughout the unloading process, my wife and I were struck by the courtesy (politeness) both men showed to each other. Of course they were nice to us—the customer—but why to each other?

I have always talked about common courtesy as a job requirement in any organization.
Common Courtesy
Customers accept nothing less. If they do not get it, then when they have an alternative, and eventually they will, they will take it. However, this was different. It was common courtesy kicked up a notch—it was “kindness.” Both men showed kindness and concern toward each other and to us. It was something more than just common courtesy.

I decided to do a little research and it lead to a book by Ed Horrell, The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift That Inspires Phenomenal Customer Service. Lydia Ramsey, a business etiquette expert, writing about Horrell’s book said:
“From the rampant indifference that we all encounter on a daily basis, he recommends that companies, large and small, switch to an attitude of kindness. He's not suggesting that the boss simply tell everyone “to be nice.” He states that kindness starts at the top and penetrates every level of the organization. When everyone within a company treats everyone else with courtesy, respect and compassion, that attitude automatically gets passed on to the customers.”
Tom Peters, a writer on business management practices, states flatly that there are only two ways for an organization to achieve long-term durable success. One has to have exceptional customer care and practice constant innovation.

It may well be that “kindness” is the mystery ingredient. I recall the first planning session that I held with the new Juris team. The startup company at that time had only nine employees. When asked what kind of company they wanted us to be, the answer was “We want to be a company that likes its customers and is liked by them.”

How does one achieve exceptional customer care, common courtesy, kindness, and customers who like you? As a leader, you have to practice it yourself. You have to verbalize it and reinforce it through constant communication. It has to be a performance standard. It has to be a “core belief”—a fixed unshakeable point on the moral compass of the organization.

I was not surprised when, upon completing the unloading job and shaking hands with us, the driver said, “When they ask you how we did, I hope you can give us five stars.” That is right; the company measures and rewards performance.

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Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio editon of The Claret Murders go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Listening for 900 Miles

Last week I drove 900 miles from Naples, Florida, to Franklin, Tennessee. I hate driving. However, this particular trip went by quickly. Why?

I purchased an audiobook before starting my road trip. The book turned a normally unpleasant fourteen hours into an enjoyable listening experience. It was one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher mysteries and had a little more splattered brain matter and destroyed knees than I prefer—but then there were a couple of drivers I encountered during the trip that I would have liked to introduce to Jack Reacher in a dark alley.

If you are planning a driving trip anytime soon, consider purchasing the audio version of my book The Claret Murders. Even if you previously read the book, you will enjoy having the mystery and the Nashville flood experience brought to life through the voice of the reader. The audio version is available on Amazon.com or iTunes. Did you know there is talk of TV and movie rights? If you missed it, you can read the announcement for release of the audio edition by going to http://t.e2ma.net/message/vcadh/rptxeh.

While I don’t recommend reading it while driving, I hope you will soon read The Language of Excellence if you haven’t already. It is my fifth full-length book and the first focused on business. I am particularly happy that the book is being talked about as a breakthrough for its clarity and simplicity in its treatment of leadership and management issues. The CEO of LIVESTRONG said it teaches you how to deal with almost anything business or life will throw at you. The book is available in print and eBook formats on Amazon, other online bookstores, and through your favorite bookstore. The Language of Excellence is the perfect gift for someone about to graduate from college or for those already in the business world in pursuit of long-term durable success. To purchase from Amazon go to http://amzn.com/0985667346.
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Tom Collins’s books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer, and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders, go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. The eBook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.