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That "EXTRA" Question

September 30, 2018

When I started the #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book Reading Challenge, I thought I had an idea of the kind of books I would read for the year. If you have been following my trend, you will realize that I started mostly with personal development books because that is what I really needed; to develop myself to become a better person in every aspect of my life. I understood that if I wanted any area of my life to change, I had to start from within. For instance if I wanted to improve my relationships with other people, I first needed to improve my relationship with myself. 


Yes people, you cannot relate well with others when you can’t relate well with you! You cannot give to people what you do not have yourself; that is akin to stealing! Pause and think about that. 


If you want to be genuine in and about your relationships with other people, you have to be genuine with yourself. If for instance you know you are lazy about things that concern you, trust me you will be lazy in the same things when you will be relating with other people. Why? Because you cannot give what you don’t have. You only give what you have. So if you are lazy guess what you will be taking to that relationship? You guessed it; laziness.


Anyway, my point is, if you want to see any kind of change in your life, the change has to start with you before it extends to other people and places surrounding you. Like someone said, “You can’t change what’s going on around you until you start changing what’s going on within you”. That’s why I had to start with personal development books. I needed some serious work in me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and most definitely financially. Not that I have finally sorted out all those areas, but at least I can say like my favorite Televangelist Joyce Meyer says, “I'm not where I need to be, but thank you GOD, I am not where I used to beI am ok and I am on my way.”In other words, I am ok with where I am right now because I know I have come a long way. I am grateful to God because I know without His help I would not have made it this far. But I am not stopping here, I am still on my journey to being the best version of myself I can ever be.


Going back to my story about books, as weeks have turned into months and as I have continued to read more books, looking back I now realize that I have gradually been gravitating to business related books. These books have been an eye opener to me in many ways and in many areas of my business dealings with others. I have learned how to be a good negotiator where instead of being the overall winner, both I and the other party end up satisfied with whatever deal is on the table. I have learned a lot about sales and marketing, and even though I know I am a natural in sales, there are some interesting secrets I have received from the various business books I have been reading. If previously I could sell milk to a cow, I believe I can now sell it shoes too (if I wanted to). In other words, some of the books I have been reading have opened up my eyes and mind in ways I didn’t think existed. And I am still reading...


The reason I am referring to the reading challenge is because someone did something to me this last week that reminded me of something I had read in one of my book recommendations earlier in the year. The book in particular is called The Power Of Habits by Charles Duhigg. This book stands as one of my top 10 favorites out of the books I have read this year. In this book, Charles describes how habits are formed and how people become attached to certain habits. I was surprised to realize that most businesses actually use the power possessed in habits to grow their businesses. Question is, what habits is your business promoting?


The Power Of Habits gives the reader a synopsis of how McDonald’s Food Chain more than doubled their revenue in a certain year. All McDonald’s did was to ensure that they had a SYSTEM that worked for them. The system included training its staff to ensure they had the best customer service, ensuring they had the customers’ orders within the stipulated minutes, among other key elements that distinguished them from the rest. 


The one thing that blew my mind away though was the one simple question the workers were trained to ask every day....Would you like this with that? For instance, if you went there to buy a burger, they would ask, “would you like a coke and some fries with your burger?”, and in most cases, 90% of the people asked that question would buy the coke and fries, and the rest would at least buy either the coke or the fries. That one question became the one strategy that gave the fast food joint some insane turnover in one year. 


I have been thinking about this for a while now and wondered how the same strategy can be applied by other businesses. Then a few weeks ago, I drove into the PUMA petrol station on the new Bagamoyo road in Mbezi, just before you get to the road going to Goba, and the attendant there pulled a McDonald’s on me. As he was fueling my car, he asked me to open my bonnet just to check that everything under the hood was ok. A few minutes later, he came back and told me that my break fluid and power-steering wheel (PSW) fluid was low. I was in a hurry plus I didn’t have cash on me that day, so I told him I’d go there another day.


Last week, I realized I was low on fuel and needed to fuel. Fortunately, I was going to use the same old Bagamoyo road I had used that day and so I decided to go fuel at the same PUMA petrol station. This time round, I was served by somebody else. However, what thrilled me was to discover that he too told me the same thing the other one did. He asked me to open my hood so he could take a sneak peak. After a few minutes, he asked me to step out of my car because he wanted to show me something. So I stepped out and he progressed to show me the low quantities of the break fluid and the PSW fluid. The difference between this guy and the previous one is that this one continued to explain to me the dangers of driving with such quantities when it was clear there was a certain level the fluids should be at. Needless to say, I spent about $25 that I would not have spent had he not asked me to open my hood. Now, imagine how much money that pump attendant made for PUMA if he did that to all the cars he attended to on that day. Imagine if all the attendants were aggressive as he was and they all did the same thing he did, how much money do you think that specific PUMA would make in just one week, one month, one quarter?


It all started with going an extra mile, in this case, asking an extra question. 


Like I started by saying for any change to happen around you, you must first start by changing you. How you look at yourself, your work, your colleagues, etc. I believe the PUMA attendant did what he did not just because he was told to do it, but because he appreciates his job. Not only that, I believe he understands that through his job he can offer help to motorists (especially women who are almost always clueless when it comes to things under the hood) which would lead to saving their lives as well as saving money they would have spent repairing stuff under the hood whose spoilage they could have prevented by taking good care of their cars. I am not just saying this hypothetically about this attendant, but I am saying this because I actually asked him why he told me what he did, and whether he does that to everyone.


And just like that, PUMA Mbezi have a new customer.


Change starts with you. So if you want to see change in your organization, start with you. If you want to see change in your business, start with you. If you want to see change in your relationships, start with you. Whatever change you want to see, it has to start with you. 


By the way, do you know that Change can actually become a strategy to grow your organization/business/yourself from one level to another? There’s this book by Brian Tracy I am reading right now called Business Strategy. You need to pick it up and read it for yourself to understand what I mean. This book basically talks about change. Strategy is always about change. If you want to see a different result it means you must have a different plan. According to Brian Tracy, a strategic plan helps crystalize the future of an organization-mapping a clear path from where the company stands today to where you wish it to be. It may sound complicated, but Brian Tracy knows how to make it simple. 


Everyone in business (whether for themselves or as an employee) needs to read this book.


As for me, let me say this, in order to get yourself (you as a person) from where you are today to where you want to be by the end of this year you need to have a strategic plan i.e. change needs to happen. Question is, are you ready to change? 


Please make these remaining months of the year count for you. Take responsibility for whatever happens to you from this minute onwards.


Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.





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