Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 2

What does honesty really mean?  Here’s the real truth.kid sneaky

Being honest is a learned behavior.

How it begins:

It’s a natural instinct to be untruthful. It starts when we are young, we make a mistake, break something, go against our parents’ rules and then we lie about it. We don’t want to be punished or end up losing our privileges so we learn how to get away with our wrongs by covering them up with lies. Eventually our subconscious mind ties honesty to penalty. In our adult years, we continue to carry on this behavior when we deal with our friends, family, colleagues, employers and customers. We tell people what they want to hear even though we know we should tell the truth. We disguise lies as “keeping the peace” or trying not to hurt someone’s feelings. We tend to conveniently blur the lines between being positive and being dishonest.

The older we get we have more at risk; such as security stability, social status and livelihood. These are the things we fight to protect. The greater the loss, the greater the lie; we begin to convince ourselves one cover up after the next is a justifiable sacrifice to remain comfortable. Eventually lying becomes an excusable behavior; after all we are only protecting that which we consider valuable right? To guard our future, we make this “sacrifice” as a resolve to error, failing to realize dishonesty is actually a hindrance from progression. It is a temporary fix and when carried on it multiplies, eventually interfering with our would-be promising futures.

A lie will eventually catch up with the initiator.

You see, once a liar feels like they are getting away with such behavior, it becomes a game or often second-nature, so much so that they forget about the repercussions and begin to feel comfortable with the risk of being caught. In business, no such risk is a smart decision. Even if a business is flourishing now, built on a foundation of lies it will eventually come crumbling down. Look at companies like Enron, or deceivers like Madoff. The bigger you are, the harder you fall. The more money you make, the greater risk there is. Keep it honest and you’ll never have to look over your shoulder worrying about when you’ll get caught.

Just as we develop a behavior to be dishonest, we can also develop a behavior to be honest.

We can learn to be honest just as we learn anything else, through practice. The key is to challenge ourselves to become more and more honest in our reactions to others and really think about our responses before we open our mouths. Granted, this is much easier said than done, but it is something we can work towards each day. Eventually, it will become a way of life and you’ll find being honest is much more rewarding long term vs. the temporary satisfaction dishonesty provides.

Have you read part 1? 

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 1

MDD-160Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

5 Reasons Why Social Media is Good for Business

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Social media has changed the way we do business. It has expanded the local entrepreneurial reach and is the cause for many successes in business. According to LinkedIn recent study, 9 in 10 small businesses say they are currently using or plan to use social media to expand their business.

Most people, after meeting you and/or learning the name of your company, within seconds hop on Google to see what appears. What do they see about your personal brand or business? More importantly, what do you want them to see?

According to the Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic.

86% of marketers say that social media is important for their business.

89% of marketers say that increased exposure was the number one benefit of social media marketing.

A recent LinkedIn study showed that 94% of small businesses using social media use it for marketing and 3 in 5 says social media helps to attract new customers.

With social media, you can brand your business on a wider scale, thereby connecting with consumers whom already use social media platforms personally and professionally. If they like what they see, they will connect with you and from there you can develop a stronger connection and business relationship. Here are some ways social media can help grow your business.

1. Exposure. Your reach is significantly further with social media. Social media is a global platform that allows you to connect with people all across the world. Hashtag’s are big in social media platforms such as Twitter and Google+. Create your own hashtag to put a stamp on your brand. Most companies use a hashtag vs. a slogan because it quickly identifies the company and it is easier to remember.

2. Developing Relationships. Connecting with people is essential in gaining new business. Utilizing social media will allow you to relate to your current customers and form new customer relationships. Release content that is relevant, funny, informative or controversial to start up conversation. Interact with your customer base by responding to comments and insight. Many company’s hire a social media person or team to keep the conversation going and remain engaged with their audience.

3. Access to Networks. Through social media, you and your company can develop connections with other networks and organizations. Building relationships on a higher scale by affiliating with well-known experts in your industry is a plus. More often a simple follow from a well known and recognized individual or organization can drive attention to your business and brand.

4. Remaining Relevant and Current. We know that most people check a company’s online presence before doing business with them. Not having current and relevant content and news on social media pages will create a wedge and disconnect between the company and its customers. People want to know what is currently happening and what is to come. Often they look to companies they trust and do business with to deliver this information.

5. Knowing Thy Competition! If you want to remain competitive, you have to be willing to step inside the sand box to find out what’s going on in your industry. How can you compete without knowing what you are up against? Many businesses use social media as a platform to announce new products and services, even before they publish such information with a newspaper or television network. Want to grow? Stay in the know!

To remain successful, it is important to recognize and adjust to industry changes and standards. Growing requires change and change is a necessary element of sustainability. So get out there and tweet, google, facebook and link up on LinkedIn! See you soon!

Profile-Pic.jpgMary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter@MVDavids.

Brand New – Brand You!

RE-BRANDSix Ways to Re-Brand Yourself and Create a Competitive Advantage

When you re-brand yourself you are essentially telling others what you want them to know about you. By taking control of how others view you, you are laying a solid foundation to create a competitive advantage in today’s job-market.  Re-branding yourself takes time and requires serious thought and discipline. Here are some key tips to get you started.Businessman in a tight cardboard

  1. Highlight your uniqueness. Think outside the box. What makes you stand out among others within your industry? Are you resourceful, connected, intuitive or collaborative? These are key words to differentiate you from others. Find out what it is you offer that makes someone want to connect with you to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
  2. Be clear and consistent. Your message must be clear and consistent to your brand. For example, if your desire is to become a photographer every conversation you engage in should include a mention relating to that. When you are passionate about your work, it becomes second nature to mention it when speaking with others. Hone in on areas that interest your target audience and strive to become a recognized leader within the community. Regularly provide insight about hot-topics in your specific industry; share your opinion and engage in conversation with your audience.
  3. Create awareness. Start a blog; contribute to a local newspaper, e-newsletter or write a book. Re-introduce yourself to your friends and family and ask for their support to help build awareness about your brand. Get involved locally by attending networking events and creating relationships with local business owners who may need to use your services.
  4. Build an Alliance. Connect with like-minded professionals within the same or similar industry. Develop relationships by seeking their input on industry changes and bounce ideas off them as you are going through this transition.
  5. Form a Following. Need I say it? Create a profile on the leading social media platforms and engage with your target audience. If you have a current page that doesn’t mirror what you want your brand to look like then change it. Granted you may lose people who connected with you previously but re-branding yourself requires change. Remember – you are growing. You can’t take everyone one with you and those that really matter will jump on board the train anyway.
  6. Develop new skills. Don’t be naïve when re-branding yourself. You can’t expect people to just accept you as the new leader in the industry. Proving yourself requires you to develop new skills. Perfect your craft and give those in the industry a run for their money. Changing your brand requires you to invest in yourself. Learning new skills shows you are committed and serious about your brand.

Make no mistake about it; re-branding yourself is no small job. Laying the ground-work, remaining consistent and engaging with your target audience requires discipline and sacrifice; but I’m sure you are up for the challenge. See you at the top!

Profile PicMary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids.

Is Entrepreneurship for You?

I often see advertisements with posts after posts of people marketing and claiming they can offer the best advice on “How to Become Your Own Boss“. Sure, on the surface, it sounds great; you can work for yourself with no boss to report to, you come and go as you please and make your own rules, but the truth is; starting out as an entrepreneur requires much more from you than you may think! In fact, you may end up working harder than you have in your life and to top it off, you will still work for someone else; your customers.

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. There are many workers that find it much more rewarding to be part of something great without having to actually be the creator or the one entirely responsible for its existence. Entrepreneurship requires a significant amount of your time and it demands you make yourself available at all times (especially in the beginning) since you may be the only point of contact. You must be readily available to handle all matters regarding your business and always, always, always with a smile! Now I am in no way attempting to dissuade you from taking such a leap, I am merely painting a clear picture for you before you make such a life-changing commitment. 

If you are undecided about becoming an entrepreneur and need some guidance, here are a few things to take into consideration:

  1. Do you have the time? As I mentioned, entrepreneurship is time-consuming. It requires access to your life during all times of the day and week. One of the most important factors to consider is sacrificing family time. Many entrepreneurs have the benefit of being single, but others have families that require their undivided attention. It can be a challenging adjustment to balance family life and work life when you are an entrepreneur. You see, it is hard to just stop working at any given moment because you are the business. It is your problem and it is your job. If you don’t take the time to handle any pending issues or answer any pending questions at any given moment, then you are directly affecting your bottom line. It is all in your hands and the risk of shutting off work for life and tending to family is significantly greater.
  2. Do you have the resources? Entrepreneurship is all about having connections. Who do you know and how can you utilize that relationship to build your empire. Vendors that will work with you to deliver contracts, blueprints, presentations and the like are important to have an established relationship with. Especially just starting out, you may need to pull some favors that require people to work late to execute your request. This is only happening when you have built a firm relationship with those you need to help run your business.
  3. Have you any experience in marketing and networking? If you want to start your own business but don’t know how to get the word out or where you need to start to gain exposure, I suggest taking a course or two on marketing and sales. Marketing is an essential part of growth and sustainability. You don’t want to become the best kept secret; it’ll be difficult to make money when no one knows who you are and what you can offer. Beef up these skills before you buy the office space!
  4. Can you afford it? Calculate your minimum desired annual salary necessary to support your lifestyle. If you start your own business, how soon can you bring in that profit? Not just your bills and savings, but to really live the life you live now. Can you afford to stop working your full/part-time employment and go in one-hundred percent?
  5. Are you disciplined enough to work for yourself? Keep a one-week journal of your daily activities. It may surprise you seeing how much time you spend doing leisurely activities. Being your own boss must replace those activities if you want to start your own business. Are you willing to give that up?

Ask yourself these questions and do a serious analysis of your lifetime goals to see if entrepreneurship is the right avenue for you. If you are truly willing to give up the leisure things you do and replace them with value adders then you may be ready to start your own business.

A memorable statement that has always stuck with me: “If every morning you get up and you can’t think about anything else but writing, then you’re a writer.” No one is in more control of your life than you so make a conscious and informed decision to do what is best for you and everything else will fall into place.

All the best,

Mary V. Davids

Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Stop Socially Networking when you are Socially Networking!

It burns my very soul to attend a networking event and see people (often who have paid to attend) standing on a wall socially networking about being at a networking event! Really? Networking is about connecting with people on a personal level; eye to eye, brow to brow, “Mano-a-mano”, not through a technology box.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe technology is great for many things, but there is a time and a place for it and those places should not include networking events. So please my dear and beloved colleagues, friends and soon to be clients, for the love of all mankind I beg you; please put down your gadgets, give your thumbs a rest and get back to the basics! Image

That’s all for now.

All the best,

Mary V. Davids