What NOT to Do to Destroy Trust - David DeWolf

What NOT to Do: Take Advantage and Destroy Trust

Over the past several years, I’ve built a trust relationship with a vendor who I’ve relied on over and over. This relationship didn’t start off by producing big dollars for this company. In fact, for the first several years, it was a relationship based upon a free exchange of value.

They began by attracting me with some insights on their blog and over time, I became more interested. I read blogs, looked at infographics, followed them on Twitter, and then, over time, dove in and spent more time reading more in-depth perspectives and opinions, and even reading a book.

My commitment went from five minutes a day to 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Eventually, I made a first purchase. My first purchase was small dollars, but has been increasing ever since. I have trust in that they’ve provided tons of value.

But the trust that you can build in a five-year period of time can be destroyed in a five-minute period of time.

I recently had an experience in which I brought in several other people and began to add even more value to the relationship for this vendor. Unfortunately, they took advantage. Instead of the approach they have taken for years — adding value, building a trust relationship with patience, over time — they decided to get salesy.

I don’t have a problem with making money. In fact, I believe that value should be paid for. But they disrupted the brand equity they had built with me by taking advantage and trying to sell blatantly over and over. They had built a reputation that they were a value-added provider, that they were a partner and not a vendor, that they were about relationship and not transaction.

My most recent experience, in which I brought several others to the table, destroyed that reputation in one period of time. They became transactional overnight. They threw out their commitment to relationship. They decided that immediate monetization and immediate gratification was more important. It’s very unlikely that I’ll invite anyone back to experience them again.

I’m soured myself and am considering whether I should pull back in my most recent thoughts on how I would engage with them again. It’s disappointing. I feel betrayed.

Question: What are you doing to build your relationships? Are you taking advantage, or do you continue to be who you are, even once you’re successful in landing that new client? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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Go the Extra Mile - David DeWolf

Go the Extra Mile

I got a call from a buddy of mine a couple of days ago. He was super excited: he had just hosted his first ever offsite meeting. When the team arrived, there were name badges at the desk. In the conference room I had scheduled, our host had put pads of paper and pens on the table. There was a series of drinks with ice and snacks and I had an agenda for them.

The team was impressed. They thought I had put tons of work into planning this event. The reality was that I had just picked up the phone and asked the host to get us a room. I was lucky, because that tone set the stage for an incredibly productive meeting.

My friend lucked out. The friend he had used to coordinate the room (me) worked for an organization who understood the power of formality.

By being formal and by looking prepared, we stress to our teams that what we’re doing is important. It’s worth it to go the extra mile. It’s worthy of preparing and planning. It’s important enough that we took the time to make people comfortable, to optimize our time, and to make sure we’re on the right track.

If you’re looking to have an impact, for something to be meaningful, think about making it formal. Go the extra mile.

Do you need to get a point across? Don’t just write an email, put together an eBook or a one-page slick.

Do you need to have productive teamwork? Set up your own formal meeting. Carve it off. Create anticipation. Surprise people with how prepared you are.

Do you need to be noticed? Then go over and above. Think of something you can do to go out of your way.

I saw on the news a couple of months ago a company who was prospecting an advertising agency. In order to get their attention, they rented a billboard across the street and called them out. You’d better believe that got their attention. They went the extra mile. They made it a little bit more formal, but they did it in a fun way.

Look for those little extra things that can make a big impact.

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Perspective Is Everything - David DeWolf

Perspective Is Everything

Several years ago, when 3Pillar was in its infancy, we had three clients. One of those clients was responsible for 50% of our revenue. After being acquired, that company was acquired again.

I’ll never forget being asked to meet with the president of the company. My heart sank. My palms were sweaty. I could feel that something just wasn’t right.

Sure enough, our contract was terminated, and we were thirty days from going out of business. We only had seven employees at the time, but four of us were working with that client. It didn’t take long for me to realize that time was of the essence.

Luckily, the CEO of the company that had just sold agreed to go out to lunch with me. It was over lunch that he explained that within two years, I would look back from a different perspective and call this moment the best thing that could have happened for 3Pillar.

Sure enough, in two years I looked back, and I did say that exact thing.

At that moment, the best thing that could have happened to us was us losing that contract. It woke me up. It helped me to realize that my job was to build a company, not to write code.

That moment put me out and set me on the path of turning things around. It was a wake-up call. It helped us to grow. It helped us to build. It helped us to gain momentum.

It made me a CEO as opposed to a developer, project manager, product manager, or architect. It forced me to lead, to work on the business instead of in the business.

Trials and tribulations happen to us all the time. Sometimes, the biggest punches to our gut become the biggest accelerators in our lives. It’s all about perspective.

What will you decide to do? Will you have the perspective to turn a trial into a life-changing moment?

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The 3 Ways to Handle a Mistake - David DeWolf

The 3 Ways to Handle a Mistake

My friend, Scott, loves his Lab, Charlie. It’s a young, chocolate Lab, with tons of energy and a playful spirit. Unfortunately, over the past couple of weeks, Scott’s neighbors have been complaining that Charlie is a bit too rambunctious. He has been blamed for tearing up their yards, scaring their cats, and licking the front doors.

Last weekend, I ran over to Scott’s house to drop off something I had borrowed. As he opened the door, Charlie snuck out, ran to the neighbor’s yard, and started chasing their cat. Darting in and out of every barricade she could find, the cat took led Charlie on an adventure. Through a garden, between the bushes, and around the house. When the cat finally got away, there were trampled flowers and dirt spread across the driveway.

Scott was beside himself and knew his neighbor would be irate when he arrived home. He had three options, all of which reminded me of how service providers can handle issues when they inevitably occur while serving their clients.

Be Proactive

You can acknowledge the error, proactively fix it, and put together a plan to ensure that it never happens again.

Imagine what would happen if Scott had cleaned up the driveway, replaced the flowers, and headed over to greet his neighbor as he arrived home.

“Joe, I wanted you to know that Charlie got out again this morning. I went ahead and cleaned up the mess and took the liberty to replace your petunias. I couldn’t find the same color yellow, but I hope that the white and pink ones I chose are alright. I also wanted you to know that I’ve called the fence company and they are coming out next week to give me an estimate. I know I need to figure out how to contain Charlie. I’m going to have one put in as soon as possible”

How could Joe respond? He could be an ass, but it’s not all that likely. He’d most likely be gracious, accept the apology, and let Scott know that he shouldn’t worry about the color of the petunias.

Be Reactive

The second way to handle a mistake is to be reactive. You can apologize when you’re confronted and do what you can to make it up.

Imagine what would happen if Joe got home and confronted Scott about Charlie. “I’m sorry Joe, let me come over and help clean it up. I’ll make sure to go out tomorrow morning and look for some new petunias.”

Joe would be frustrated. He’d have a right to be upset and even if he were gracious, he probably wouldn’t be all too happy with Scott. At the very least, the experience would leave a bad taste in his mouth that would have to work itself out over time.

There’s nothing necessarily anything wrong with handling things this way, but it’s not confidence building.

Be Oblivious

The final way to handle it is to be oblivious – not to what has happened (that’d be just flat out wrong), but to the impact.

Imagine what would happen if Joe returned home and confronted an oblivious Scott about Charlie. “Huh? He’s just a youthful dog. This kind of stuff happens in life. What’s your problem? If that stupid cat of yours didn’t dart out of your yard, he would never have gone over there”.

Being proactive strengthens a relationship. Being reactive puts it on ice. Being oblivious can and will destroy it.

Question: How do you respond to your mistakes – even if they are not really your fault? Are you up front and proactive? Do you take responsibility and proactively solve problems? Or do you hide from the truth? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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The Four Freedoms of True Wealth - David DeWolf

The Four Freedoms of True Wealth

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled my way into a large group discussion. Thinking I was in a group of like-minded people, I was surprised to see the conversation quickly shift to a predominant focus on wealth creation, wealth-building, and monetization.

There’s nothing wrong with wealth creation and, as an entrepreneur, I understand that monetization is not only desirable, but necessary.

But money is not the end, and when it’s made the end – or, the primary conversation point turns to making more of it – things quickly get off track. After the conversation had ended, many of those involved reached out to me in order to express how put off they were. They felt like they were constantly being sold by others. They felt as though they had been pulled into a money-making scheme. They lost trust in the host and that he had their best interest in mind.

Wealth is an abundance of what is truly valuable. In many regards, money is valuable, in many others, it’s truly not.

True wealth is greater than money. In fact, money doesn’t make you wealthy at all. Money can support your wealth, but it can’t create it and it may even take it away.

True wealth consists of the following freedoms:

Freedom to live your values

Values are those things in our lives that are core to our being. We believe that they are foundational, goods in and of themselves. Regardless of the ramifications, we adhere to them. True wealth provides the freedom to live our values consistently.

Freedom to be who you are

We can allow ourselves be defined by others, by ourselves, or by our very nature. But who we are is really the only thing we have in life. True wealth allows us to be who we are, who we are called to be, and who we want to become. It gives us the freedom to be ourselves.

Freedom to relate with others

At the end of the day, it is our interactions with others – the community within which we live – that make us human. Our relationships with others are far more valuable than any possessions we could ever collect. True wealth provides us with the opportunity to be in relationship with those that we love.

Freedom to pursue your passion

Passion is associated with what we care deeply about. Pursuing our passion brings joy to our lives. True wealth exists when we are able to recklessly pursue our passion. It is the freedom to do what we love, for the sake of itself.

There’s no doubt that each one of these freedoms can be supported by money, but if money becomes the ultimate end, it can also take these freedoms away. We can become slaves to our pursuit of money, and in the conversation I experienced a few weeks ago, this is what many people began to notice. The passionate pursuit of money for its own end had begun to take away from the true reason why money had any worth. It seemed to become more important to some than the freedoms it had the potential to afford.

Question: Have you gotten intentional about your values, your life, your relationships, and your passions? Do you know what it is you’re pursuing, or are you caught in the pursuit of money, thinking that it will buy you what you’re ultimately after? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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Align Your Expectations in Marriage and Life - David DeWolf

Align Your Expectations in Marriage and Life

This past weekend, I blew a gasket, and in doing so, I almost blew up our marriage.

Over coffee just a few days in advance, Teresa shared with me that she intended to take Catherine to the final out-of-town soccer tournament. We had been trading on and off: one would go to baseball, the other to soccer.

With baseball ending the weekend before, despite it being my turn, Teresa was making herself available to take Catherine to soccer. I understood it. Being with her daughter and having dedicated time together was important to her.

But I was also upset. There’s nothing I love more than having those dedicated moments myself, and combining that with an athletic tournament where I get to see my kids having fun and living life, competing with the same vigor with which I pursue my own life, gives me great joy. It is the single biggest thing I look forward to in my life: watching my kids compete, have fun, and use their God-given talents on the the sports field.

I shared with Teresa that I really wanted to go, that I didn’t want to miss it. She explained that there were multiple activities. We decided together to look for different ways for me to somehow be involved.

Over the course of the next few days, my work exploded. There was a ton going on and I simply couldn’t find ways to clear my calendar. I had asked Teresa to send me the schedule and I had asked her to think with me how we might find alternative plans. But by Friday night, nothing had been put into place.

I was furious. There was no way for me to make it to the out-of-town tournament. I made known my displeasure. I blew up.

Looking back, with the problem solved, I realize that my frustration stemmed from having great expectations. I have always had this perception in my head that it is Teresa’s responsibility to figure out logistics for our kids. I consider it part of her job to find ways for our family to operate, to prioritize our time with the kids, and to figure out how we will spend it. I consider carpools and babysitting to be her job.

Teresa, on the other hand — and rightly so — perceives my responsibility to be that of a helpmate. She knows that the busyness of our life is largely due to my schedule and my desire for the kids to be able to participate in the activities they love. It is stressful for her to consider all of the moving parts of a weekend away. She has homeschooling activities and many other things to do throughout the day.

As a result, her expectations are out of sync with mine, and mine are out of sync with hers.

The deep fight that we had over the weekend was due to an underlying mismatch of great expectations. I was furious that Teresa failed to recognize my desire to be with Catherine and understand that that was more important than anything else we had going on over the weekend. I perceived it this way because of my expectation that she was responsible for making all of the logistics happen.

Teresa, on the other hand, perceived in me an unreasonable expectation of her having to do it all. She felt backed in a corner, as though she had to pick up the pieces for the demands I was putting on her. She has an expectation that, as helpmates, we work together and that I participate in the logistics of the family.

It’s important in a marriage and for the sake of the kids that we figure out how to align our expectations, get on the same page, and communicate without blowing a gasket.

Question: Have you faced a similar misalignment of expectations in your marriage? How have you dealt with it? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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