Do You Strive To Give Clients What They Want?

Again I found this week’s interesting content through my connection with my coach and mentor, Benjamin Hardy. Many of you will remember him from previous issues (examples here and here).

Benjamin Hardy holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology. He’s also the author of Personality Isn’t Permanent and several other books exploring personality change. He knows what he’s talking about!

The guy whose work we actually focus on here is Steve Sims. Steve began life dirt poor in East London, the son of a bricklayer. At the age of 17, he began work as a bricklayer’s helper.

Michelangelo’s “David” by Elena Ruggeri on Unsplash

He quickly tired of carrying 80+ hods of bricks up a ladder, so he quit. He got himself to Hong Kong. As a doorman at a bar, he devised ways of making the bar experience exciting and exclusive for the right people, turning away the wrong people, especially those who were already drunk.


That was the beginning of Steve’s founding an elite concierge service, called The Bluefish. He specializes in smiles. His “secret sauce” has two main components:

  • Believe you can do it!
  • Give your clients what they want or need, and more. What they ask for is only a small hint to what they really want!

On this YouTube page, in Steve’s interview by Brendan Carr he tells of arranging a dinner at the Accademia d’Arte museum in Florence, Italy for a wealthy client.

What had the client asked for? A fancy dinner in an exclusive restaurant in Florence. Steve knew that restaurants in Florence aren’t really exclusive. so he contracted with this world-class museum to close and entertain the dinner, at the foot of Michaelangelo’s famous sculpture, “David”.

To top it off he convinced Andrea Bocelli to come in during the dinner and serenade the dinner party.

Many of his other signature events are described on The Bluefish website.

As the interview continues, Steve talks about passion, communication (including the unsocialmess of “social” media, a topic I focused on a couple of years ago).

One of Steve’s quips is “He’s low on IQ and high on I CAN.” Another suggestion is, when you start a conversation with someone who doesn’t know you, especially a powerful person, make it clear very quickly what’s in it for them.

Steve says at one point, in passing, “I consider myself an educated man. School has nothing to do with that.” Many people have focused on the low value of most organized education.

Steve talks about the value of relationships. He likens a relationship to an oak tree. When it’s young, it’s extremely vulnerable to damage. When it matures, it has the strength to weather all sorts of negative influences. Relationships are like that.

This is a rambling, incomplete introduction to a guy who’s deeply impressed me. If you go to his website, I think you’ll get infected with the guy’s brilliance, insights,and enthusiasm. Not to mention his complete political incorrectness!

Don’t Waste Your Time!

Recently I’ve happily discovered Medium.com. It’s a refreshingly open-minded site where people can post their writing about pretty much anything.

You might find some things there that will offend you with vulgarity, “forbidden” topics, “out-there” opinions, or whatever. Nonetheless, I applaud a site where people can post what they choose.

I just ran across a good article on avoiding time-wasters. Probably more people than not waste time on one or more of the pursuits Sean Kernan discusses here.

Protester Holding sign by max-bender-ODotTSKv_BI-unsplash.jpg

Of these three time-wasters, it seems to me the “elephant in the room” is reading and posting negative chatter on social media. As Sean points out, people are more willing to blurt out whatever’s on their minds when they feel anonymous.

During my years as a professional pilot, I heard many stories of quips offered by pilots on the radio. Unless a pilot chooses to give his or her call sign, no one knows where a radio transmission comes from. Many of these stories were quite amusing, some downright slanderous. Of course, I heard a few of these anonymous remarks first-hand. Of course, some stories no doubt “enhanced” the truth!

One crucial thing comes to mind here. When you speak what’s on your mind, it’s a whole different experience for you than just entertaining a private thought. We all think thoughts that should never be voiced. That’s natural – our minds wander. With that said though, steering your mind in a positive direction is a worthwhile exercise. Think of the glass as half-full, not half-empty.

Putting a thought into spoken words is totally different. The person receiving your message may not know who the message issuer is but, if it’s you, you know who sent it. If it’s a negative message it affects you as much, probably more than if you received it from who-knows-who.

You can quickly dismiss a negative comment from someone you don’t know, or even someone you know but mistrust. When you send a comment, you remember that comment. If it’s negative, it can poison your mind (more than the receiver’s) for a long time.

Two rules to live by if you want to be viewed positively – by others and, most importantly, by yourself:

  • Maintain a positive, productive mindset by keeping your negative thoughts to yourself. If you wouldn’t say what you’re thinking to the other person’s face, don’t post it! (Productive dialog with someone with whose opinion you differ is fine – and positive.)
  • Don’t waste your time reading others’ negative dribble. It too will poison your mind.

To me, reading negative comments on social media or anywhere else has a parallel effect to watching shoot ’em up movies or playing that kind of video games. It can make the reader, viewer, or player begin to believe nasty comments or randomly shooting people is maybe not so bad! I’m convinced the experiences with violent games and movies are behind some mass shootings.

Sean’s article mentions two other pursuits that can sap your time. I haven’t dwelled on them here, since I think the internet drain overshadows them. Nonetheless, these others can drain our time reserves if we ignore the advice Sean offers.

  • When a relationship is dead, save yourself hours of anguish by letting it die. You’ll know if it’s honestly recoverable, but don’t delude yourself.
  • Passion is a wonderful thing. Temper it with consideration of the consequences of mindless passionate actions. Those actions might cost you many hours, dollars and anguish!

Be A Leader, Not A Manager!

A leader doesn’t tell people what to do! Does that strike you as a contradiction? Read on.

In these letters, we’ve often examined aspects of what constitutes genuine leadership. Recently I listened to one of the best in-depth looks at this issue I’ve come across.

We’ll learn that the leader’s job is to provide the vision and why that vision is powerful, and what success looks like. Then he or she must get out of the way and let people do their jobs.

People may come back with questions. Of course, those questions must be answered. If they need support, emotionally or functionally, it’s the leader’s job is to provide that. The point though is that the leader doesn’t manage. The leader empowers people to do their work in a supportive environment.

Here’s Ben Hardy, one of my favorite sources for inspiration and great unique ideas, discussing truly great leadership. The idea of leading without managing is one of the cornerstones of modern leadership theory. Sadly, it gets more lip service than true adherence.

Useful background for what I’m about to offer can be found in my several-weeks-ago issue. There we discussed Ben Hardy/Dan Sullivan’s book, Who Not How. Ben refers to it often in today’s video.

Benjamin Hardy holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology. He’s also the author of Personality Isn’t Permanent and several other books exploring personality change. He knows what he’s talking about!

The three things people need to do their jobs are:

  • Competence to do the work, and confidence in their competence.
  • Autonomy – the authority to apply their skills. They must be in control of how they do their jobs.
  • Connectedness – Being connected with team members is highly empowering.

One who takes any of this away is disempowering the worker and stripping them of the important elements they need to carry on effectively. The person guilty of this is trying to be a manager, and is not a leader. “Managing” people is an inefficient way of trying to get anything done. It usually results in the loss of the best talent, and the remaining people are unmotivated.

Ben discusses three stages of human development, a Robert Keegan model. I’ll briefly describe them here. He does a much better job of imparting a full understanding of them than I can do here in a few words,

  • Dependence – The socializing self – taking all sense of identity and direction from others.
  • Independence – Self-authorship – having one’s own goals and pursuing them without relationship with others. The only relationships an independent person engages in are those he or she believes will further his or her goals.
  • Self-transforming stage – two or more people share goals and solutions, neither imposing views on the other, but sharing views to result in the best solution they can see together – the team is better than the sum of the members.

In that third stage, mutual respect and trust are vital. If one party tries to dominate the goals, visions, and outcomes, the effort breaks down.

Be a leader! Don’t be a manager! Learn the psychology behind this here.