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    Setting an Example

    April 16th, 2011

    Setting the Example means that your life is transparent and unified. We can define leadership as a property of the group, and is the act of influencing a group to achieve its goals that defines a leader. Setting an Example is one of the key ways we have of ensuring culture, respect and genuine loyalty.

    While a very simple act on the face of it, none is more important. If you fail to demonstrate this act to your people be that family, employees, customers and the like you will succumb to the potential of negative results. No matter how good your talk is, if you don’t match it with your walk, you will earn no respect and find it increasingly difficult to get results.

    Setting an Example is where you show your values. When you demonstrate values, and that your character has integrity, that is, if who you are the same person all the time then you will accomplish far more than you might imagine. For this kind of leader, they have those actions returned in kind and in results.

    It may be more difficult under some circumstances to set a positive example, but that shouldn’t stop you! Setting an Example is where your actions are centric to your values.

    When you constantly set an  example, you will get the results you want as a leader.

    2011 An Accountable Year

    January 1st, 2011

    The first days of the New Year have always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. 

    There are countless different ways to make resolutions and change.

    I would strongly recommend you take time to write a letter to your future self.

    Doing this exercise is a very insightful experience. Just imagine writing a letter to yourself based on 1 year from now, then opening it at that exact moment 1 year from now to see how much of it you achieved. Writing your Dear Me letter helps crystallize exactly how you anticipate yourself to become over the next 12 month period. 

    At the very moment you are writing your letter, your conscious is captured and stored within the words. Upon opening your letter you get to compare your writings with reality. What was really important to you will have been remembered and achieved. The letter lets you see in totality how much things have changed over the past 12 months – in itself this is an intriguing experience. It’s interesting to just see how much you have grown/changed since you wrote the letter.

    No longer will a Year just drift and unaccountable.

    You begin by writing Dear Carey (in my case) and summarising the year that has just past. An honest assessment of how you saw the year through your eyes.

    Then select your headings – mine are:

                Family            Health            Work            Financial  

    The writings should be totally written to yourself describing what you want to achieve in your selected headings.

    The writing should not be over 2 pages.

    Once you have completed your writing sit quietly and read over them a minimum of 5 times.

    Then it is time to seal up your letter and either place in a secure area or give your letter to a trusted friend to be handed or posted back at year end.

    I know many people who now write a personal letter to themselves every year. It has made a consistent change process for me with a path to follow.

    I am more than happy to provide help with your personal letter or to hold any letters in safe keeping. 

    For more information of goal setting please visit Dwayne Alexander web site at


    My best wishes to you for a successful 2011 and beyond.

    The Ice that Leaders Walk on Together

    February 28th, 2010

    Over the last 15 years I have been in New Zealand our company has had varying opportunities with other companies.  One of the very first of these opportunities was in Christchurch where we looked at a business that had its geographical presence just in Canterbury and we went through and did a lot of work and because of the nature of the opportunity their company also looked into how we ran our business.  The deal didn’t happen.  About a year later one of the people from within the company that we were in talks with used information that he had gained through this period for his own personal commercial advantage.  From that day forward I began to understand about confidence, trust and commercial sensitivity. We did successfully go on to complete another opportunity with the Kent Prier Group – they we the epitome of trust.

    Our business has grown progressively over the last 15 years.  We have taken doubled our marketshare to new record highs through our current membership and organic growth.  The business we are in has had an has a lot of competitors.  Over the years different competitors have had varying degrees of success with their model.  Some of our competitors are no longer here. 

    When you get to a certain level in business (generally leadership) you must look for opportunity.  It is part of growth and the way a business evolves.  When you look for opportunity, you have to talk to people within your own company and those in other companies and in doing so respect of the information that you have learned for your own benefit is of the utmost importance. Ice and thin ice.

    Recently I became aware of another company who have passed information onto their members about a commercially sensitive discussion and for the second time in my career I find myself questioning some of those who are at the leadership level of business.  The best companies build their reputation through their leaders.  The key leadership qualities that are known are trust, confidence and the ability to see the big picture.  A couple of questions arise for me when I deal with people in regards to opportunities.  Firstly, can I trust them?  Secondly, do I have confidence in their ability to focus on opportunity rather than gain? And, do I know that they can look beyond the deal to see the growth? 

    Across the world of business those who can fit these categories will take their companies from good to great.  Those who don’t understand trust, confidence and commercial sensitivity will find their businesses losing opportunity and amongst those that are dropping in marketshare because when it all comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what the colours are or what the brand is, the leader reflects the business.

    Carey Smith on the 4% Rule

    February 7th, 2010

    How do you market a business, a product or a service successfully while keeping in line with a marketing budget?  The first thing is to work out your marketing budget.  I was fortunate to be taught early in my career about percentages.  Understanding of total revenue base and how a business can maintain a profit by working in percentages. 

    I was with my friend this morning and he has a car wash business.  He will have an annual turnover of about $300,000 per year.  He has run this business for just on 3 months.  What should he spend on marketing? What marketing should he do? How does he measure the results? 

    car wash

    When you take into account a business and the three key costs which are generally labour, premises and marketing, usually labour will be approximately 45% of total turnover, premises 5%, and marketing should be no more than 4%.  The balance are generally sundry costs which add up to around 20%.  This gives the business a target of 25% gross to net profit.  If we quarantine marketing then he has a total spend available of $12k.  It doesn’t seem much but there again he is in the business of making people feel good about their car 

    What we all know is who our customer is.  80% of his customers are known.  So immediately he has a target but if he can only spend on average 4% of his total turnover to attract a customer then where does he target it? 

    The best form of marketing for his business is brand marketing through the customers that he currently is getting.  Emphasising loyalty and referral will be the best way for his business to continue to grow at a steady rate.  Remembering that the customer of his business will always want their car washed.  The question for him is “will they come back?” 

    It is important to know the percentages within your business, they are standard and how you market your business or your product, linked with your service, is a key to new customers and customer retention.  In our business of real estate, generally the focus is on the product and rarely on the brand but with many businesses the focus is on the brand and then it drills through to the product.  My recent experience at looking at cars shows an emphasis on the brand which then provides the different products within that brand.  How much do you spend on marketing and is it at the 4% level?


    Carey Smith on No News at Airports

    February 2nd, 2010

    Our newspapers every day are full of headlines about the economy, crime, the political scene and other world events and you read those articles and that is what makes up our news.

    When you go to the airport and you are going through the process of boarding a plane, leaving aside the sometimes frustrating experience that surrounds the process, when you look around at airports, they are an incredible place in the fact that the real news within us could be Departingseen at an airport.  Rarely any other place will you see the emotion of families about to be separated and how that is expressed.  Conversely in the arrivals hall the joy that people have in being reunited with friends and family.  It really is amazing that the real news of the day can be seen at an airport. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

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