The Most Important Factor of Success
by Kevin D. Crone
Yesterday, I was talking to a fine, wise lady named Roses Straughan, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a beautiful, refined lady who grew up on a large cattle ranch in west Texas. She was a pilot by the age of 15 and learned what it took to build a family and create wealth with her partner and husband of 50 years, and my best friend, A. Lee Straughan. As we spoke on the phone, she told me about the principles she lives by which are respect, loyalty, communication and integrity. The years on the ranch were hard but those principles got her family through those tough times and prepared her for a successful and fulfilling life.
She worried out loud, “Do people believe in those principles today? What happened to the belief that if we went to a good school and studied success, especially Dale Carnegie’s’ principles of dealing with and communicating well with people, you couldn’t help but succeed?”
It’s been proven over and over that you will make more money, be more fulfilled and be happier if you build your emotional intelligence and skills in dealing with people rather than just focusing on being smart and technically competent.
In many studies, those who are extremely successful rate emotional intelligence and people skills as their most important factors. Roses said that she sees a different world where everything is about being smart and a lot of emotional intelligence is missing and people are being bluffed out, not realizing how important it is. “No one wants to build the right habits and apply the discipline it takes to develop more of it,” she said.
Just look at the posts in blogs. It’s as if there is a race to see who can complain the most and is the most cynical and sarcastic. It’s disturbing to read such nonsense that adds no value to anyone and is all about tearing down. It’s so depressing and our spirit is zapped and replaced by worry.
Roses is concerned that young people have more tools to communicate but don’t lift their head from their phone long enough to show their genuine interest and respect. And it appears that there is too much greed and unfairness showing up everywhere. “Who shows class and respect for others? Where is the integrity? Who stands up for it?”, she asked.
I remember when I took the Dale Carnegie Course as a 21 year old and feeling like the light went on for me how to regulate my emotions (important because they come up in my brain before reasonable logic), how to perceive the emotions of others and how to say or do things that influenced people for the better, for them and me. No one knows what you are thinking (well maybe my dog pal, Bentley does). You must communicate your feelings and thoughts the best way you can. It’s the how! I realized that no one likes complainers. I was a fool for choosing criticism as a way getting what I want. And not being a genuine, interested person through my listening and actions kept me from building lasting relationships whether it be family, customers, friends, and associates. I wanted to succeed and lead a business and needed to have others follow me. I began to realize that no one wanted what I wanted. They were interested in what they wanted. For me, I began to listen, ask and watch out for what others wanted and were feeling. Helping others get what they wanted became my way of getting what I want. I took that magnificent program a long time ago and I am still working at it. Yes, I fail at all of the above at times; I let my emotions get the better of me from time to time. But Dale’s principles give me a foundation and a centred place to get back to when I mess up.
So Roses asked, “Aren’t these principles and many similar ones important today?”
Well, I listened to Bryce Hoffman, author of the book, “American Icon”, which is about Ford Motor Company’s turnaround and the leader who created it, Alan Mulally. Ford was the only American automobile company that didn’t go bankrupt after the 2008 financial meltdown. Bryce explained how Mulally engaged the entire organization in a vision of what had to be done. Mulally declared we have the talent to change, to give people cars they want, to be more productive and cost efficient. He listened by bringing employees together and asked questions. He stated, “We love our suppliers” and brought them together in Detroit. He did the same for dealers. He built on the strengths of the entire team, gave lots of praise about the slightest progress, and respected the union enough to get a deal that kept Ford from moving to lower cost locations. They changed without a handout from the government and the author said openly Mulally used Dale Carnegie principles to do it. Today, Ford is quite a success. Over and over these principles will work and especially in uncertain and tough times.
So yes, Roses, it may seem that narcissism, criticism and worry rule the day but some great leaders will have to be born, raised, taught and developed in order to take our world forward, and get things done. Human nature, our common feelings and needs won’t change. Our young people, and all of us, engulfed in these turbulent times will discover it, or rediscover it. Maybe the hard way, but we will learn it.
So don’t lose faith everyone. Become even more aware of your feelings, and develop new skills and habits of how to manage them and most importantly how to act in such a way that you build genuine relationships. Be of integrity. Be a person that garners enthusiastic cooperation from those around you and will follow you just because you asked. Face fear, communicate your feelings well. Inspire others. Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic. All this still works even if you don’t realize it or have forgotten it.
• Roses takes a stand – will you?
• What has occurred to you this morning about you?
• What are you going to do?
Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
(905) 826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032
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