Saturday, January 3, 2009

This Blog has migrated! to

By Jim Cathcart

During December 2008 I converted all of my blogs and websites to ONE comprehensive new website/blog at Or just type in "" and most browsers will take you there.
The new site has 138 blog posts on it (all of the older ones plus some new ones) and
it has over 50 pages of data, lists, photos, video clips and links for you.
Please explore it and let me know what you think. I'm eager to make it the perfect resource for you and self-expression vehicle for me.
Email me your comments at

Have a very happy 2009!
In the Spirit of Growth,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Intelligent Motivation: Tips for Tough Economic Times

By Jim Cathcart

Every interview I've done recently has led with the same inquiry, "What would you tell people who are having a tough time in the current economy?" 
Here is my answer: 
  1. Increase your discipline 
  2. Spend more of each day in business building (sales) 
  3. Be more vigilant 
  4. UpServe your existing customers 
  5. Build learning into all the gaps 
  6. Stay humble 
  7. Increase your gratitude 
Increase your discipline: 
When revenue is scarce and people are afraid to make purchases it becomes vital that you make use of all your resources; tools, time and people. Take a look at what time you begin your productive work each day; make it earlier. Become a strong task-master of yourself. Make sure you do your work well and promptly. Don't allow follow-through to be delayed. Go back to the discipline you had early in your career. Be a go-getter again, develop your "productivity muscles." 

Spend more of each day in business building (sales) 
In easier times you can do what you used to do, but for now you will need to increase the number of minutes in each day that you are in direct contact with someone who can say "Yes." 
Start keeping records of your sales minutes. Track your numbers each day and improve them. Your sales success will directly depend on the number of people and amount of time you devote to helping others buy. Shuffle your duties so that your administrative actions can be done during non-prime selling time. When people are accessible be sure that you are out there seeking access to them. Ask yourself, "Does what I'm doing right now lead directly to a new sale?" If not, postpone or delegate it. 

Be more vigilant 
There are times when we have the luxury of being lax, but this is not one of them. When the threats of a poor economy are at your door you need to be sure you don't allow any of them in. 
These include: fearful thinking, delays in decision making or taking decisive action, pessimism in all of its forms, people who drain your energy, TV shows, radio shows, newspapers and online sources that feed your fear. Get these influences under your control. Reduce your exposure to fear, doom and doubt. Increase your exposure to optimism, plans, new ideas and happiness. You will reflect the people you listen to and associate with . Control the input. 

UpServe your existing customers 
Ask yourself, "How can I increase my existing customers' satisfaction?" Look for ways to add to their happiness about doing business with you. Do things that don't cost you but still give value to them. Communicate, reach out, compliment them, reassure them, offer new tips and information, service their products, show them new uses, be on their team. Help them succeed. Do NOT seek a new sale when doing this. Accept them if they come but sustain the spirit of service as you seek to UpServe. 

Build learning into all the gaps 
Add learning to your wake-up time, your drive time, waiting time, and relaxation time. Use online resources like and recordings, books and podcasts to help you gain new ideas and insights. Fill your day with new information and refreshers of past information. Stuff new information into all the gaps in your day. Let a CD play as you get dressed, listen to them in the car, put books on tape into your MP3 player. Learn more every day without having to spend more time doing new activities. Play the same messages over and over if they are valuable to you. Spaced repetition and multiple exposures will increase your retention. 
Try new things and get even better at the old things. 

Stay Humble 
Humility is one of the most attractive qualities you can have. Humble people learn from everyone. They aren't "above" doing hard work nor are they "beyond" dealing with others who don't have much power. They are caring people who are eager to listen and learn. They share the spotlight and brag about others. They don't interrupt with a compulsion to talk about themselves. Others love to be around them. Be one of them. 

Increase your Gratitude 
The most magnetic of all emotions is Gratitude. The thankful mindset draws energy to it. Think of the power of gratitude on you. How do you feel toward people who are truly grateful for what you have done for them? You are drawn even closer to them. You want to do more for them. The same is true for others. They will love your grateful spirit and seek even more ways to be helpful to you. In the "Law of Attraction" the first principle is definite purpose and the second is gratitude. Know what you want and give thanks for it even before you have received it. 

The net effect of following this advice will be that you will feel more in control of your own life and career. Your clients and coworkers will find you even more pleasant to work with and the marketplace will trust you more. You may not be able to control the results you get but you can certainly control the contribution you make and the effort you invest. This investment WILL pay off! Be the kind of person others want on their team and you will get what you desire. 

In the Spirit of Service, 
Jim Cathcart 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Intelligent Motivation System (IMS)

By Jim Cathcart

Intelligent Motivation(tm):
is determining what is important, 
identifying what action is needed and 
doing what is necessary to generate and 
sustain that action. 

Conscious, Intentional & Relentless Action 

Firm Standards, Clear Agreements, Meaningful Work, 
Accurate Measures, Appealing Rewards 

The more I work on "Intelligent Motivation (tm)" the better shape it takes. 
There is now a System to bring it together. Whenever I consult with a client organization these are the areas upon which I focus. 
  • Firm Standards 
  • Clear Agreements 
  • Meaningful Work 
  • Accurate Measurement 
  • Appealing Recognition & Rewards 
In order to truly motivate people there needs to be a comprehensive approach to the task. 
Motivation requires "Motives" and for people to have the right motives we must assure that they understand the purpose and value of what we are asking them to do. 

When people find meaning in what they do they tend to add more value to what they do. 

Firm Standards: 
If you study the world's most impressive and successful organizations you will invariably find that they have high standards and they stick to them. At Disney, Hallmark, Four Seasons Hotels, and many more top companies the insistence on high quality work and adherence to rigid guidelines is NON-NEGOTIABLE. You either do it their way or you find somewhere else to work. Period. The same is true for the U.S. Marines. 
"If you don't belong here, see ya'. "
These high standards are what allows the organization to produce a consistently high-quality result. If they were to relax the standards to accomodate some less prepared or under-privileged person then their product would suffer and ultimately, so would their reputation. On some things we can never afford to compromise. On others, discussion is still open. 

Clear Agreements: 
A familiar organizational problem is Missed Expectations. 
Someone did what they thought was expected and found that their leader was expecting something else. Why? Because people don't often clearly communicate their expectations. 
How many times have you heard these words, 
"But I thought that's what you wanted me to do?" 
What an avoidable problem! There are proven ways to avert this and to develop better communication processes. One of these is the use of "Role Agreements." 
A role agreement is similar to a job description except that it doesn't describe tasks. Instead it defines three items: 
1. What the person is paid to accomplish. 
2. An overview of their areas of responsibility. 
3. A description of what you expect from them and of what they expect from you. 
This is not "given" to them, it is created with them so that they own it too. 
When expectations are clear, problem solving is easier. So is performance evaluation. 

Meaningful Work: 
People need to understand the value of doing a good job. They need to see how their work will make a difference to someone somewhere somehow. Without this they are just a machine producing "output." That is a pretty depressing role for anyone. 
"Does this really matter to anyone?"
We, as leaders, need to define the meaning in every aspect of our operations. All employees and participants need to see the value they are passing along. This gives them a sense of purpose, and purpose is motivating. When we talk about how our customers benefit from our product or service, when we tell stories of the value we provide, our people take more pride in their work and feel more dignity in doing it. 

Accurate Measures: 
Things that are measured tend to improve. Whatever you measure becomes real and tangible. People start to take it more seriously and they can see the relationship between actions and outcomes, causes and effects. If I know that you are measuring the times I arrive at work each day then I'll pay more attention to being prompt. If I don't think you measure the cost of goods used in producing my work then I'll probably have more waste than the person who closely monitors the cost of goods. 
In sports the statistics are pure gold. Batters know how success they have been against left handed pitchers in the first 50 pitches versus the last 50. Golfers and runners keep statistics to see whether they are on target or getting off track. 
Winners keep score...of everything! 
We can practice Behavioral Economics in many areas beyond the usual statistical reports and balance sheets. I believe we should be seeking to quantify everything reasonable. For example: we can measure the number of compliments we hear on the job each day, the frequency of do-overs (more than double the cost of work done right the first time), the number of new ideas we get in a given month for process improvement, the amount of time we spend helping others solve problems, etc. Everything we track causes us to notice more about it and to make better decisions related to it. 

Noticing More: The person who notices more see more options and possibilities, and that person has an edge over others. 
The more you notice, the more you know. 
The more you know the more options you see. 
The person with the most options usually prevails. 

Appealing Rewards: 
When we design an awards program or a recognition system it should be comprehensive and tailored. Comprehensive enough to utilize all of the available forms of recognition and reward, yet tailored to the unique interests, values and personality of the person being recognized. 
This requires some creativity and empathy. We must get to know each other better and we must think beyond the usual "box" of rewards. 
"But that's not what I was working for."
John may be very motivated by a trip to Hawaii and Janelle might find it unappealing. She, however, might respond well to a scholarship for advanced learning while Jason might not. Some people love plaques and certificates, some don't. Some get turned on by the offer of a bonus check while others respond better to a pat on the back and a sincere thank you. 

The system we design for motivation needs to incorporate all of the foregoing elements. 
This needn't be daunting. We can keep it simple and systematic so that nobody has to go back through intense training just to get this done. It is just a matter of making everything work together for the good of the Cause. 

Give me a call and let's see how your own Motivation System can be made more Intelligent. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Intelligent Motivation: 10 Qualities of Keepers (tm)

By Jim Cathcart

"Keepers" is the term I've applied to Productive Employees. These are the folks that you love to have in any company, whether you are a coworker, a customer or its owner.
Keepers are people who you want more of. You want to work with them more often, and you want keepers in every role in the organization. If you could find enough people like them you could change the world. 

Here are a 10 traits that define Keepers:
  • Proactive: They exert initiative; when they see a need they just fill it. They don't wait for others to take action. 
  • Honest: They tell the truth. In business the only news that is useful is the truth. And if it is bad news it is vital that you learn it soon. 
  • Problem Solver: They get the job done. They don't just "try" to do things, they actually do them. Effort isn't worth much if it doesn't produce the desired outcomes. 
  • Self-Reliant: They address their own needs. If they need information they go and get it. If they need resources they find them. If they need rest they pause and refresh. If they need assistance they ask for it. 
  • Cooperative: They reach out to others. They realize that none of us is as smart or as capable as all of us so they think in terms of the entire team, not just their own ego. 
  • Grateful: They appreciate others and are grateful for the "blessings" they have. Keepers are constantly thanking others for the jobs they are doing, thanking their bosses for the support and benefits, thanking their customers for doing business here. Others want to be around them because they exude gratitude. 
  • Positive: They think optimistically. They look for solutions not just problems. They assume that "somewhere, somehow, there is a way." This causes them to see opportunities that others overlook. 
  • Growing: They look for ways to become worth more to their customer and employer. Lifelong learning is their commitment and they don't wait to be sent to a seminar when they can get the information on their own. They realize that anyone who has stopped improving is now slowing dying. 
  • Contributor: They don't waste time waiting to be told what to do. They look for productive ways to fill their time at work, ways to "move the ball closer to the goal." And they suggest improvements. 
  • Curious: They want to learn not just how things work but also why they matter. It is said that, "The person knows HOW may have a job, but the person who understands WHY is their boss." 
Keepers are the people who make this world a great place to be. The more productive employees a business has; the more customers it will have and the less employee turnover. 
Other people like to work with Keepers. 

Atmosphere Matters 

Keepers go nuts in a bureaucracy where there is all process and little production. They need a sense of meaning and purpose, so they constantly seek to make a contribution or produce an outcome. When the boss is unappreciative of their work, they tend to look elsewhere. 

Two things that keep people productive are: Meaning and Appreciation. 
The more meaning we find in our work, the more value we will bring to it. 
The more appreciated we feel, the more we are motivated to earn even more appreciation. 

A business owner friend of mine once said, "I don't give my employees much feedback unless they are on the wrong track. Then I correct them. They know when they are doing right because I don't say anything." 
I told him, "If I worked for you I'd shrivel up and die! I NEED acknowledgement and feedback." So do most people. 

Two things we all want to know are: 
1. Does what I'm doing really matter? 
2. Does anyone here care about me? 

When we get good answers to those questions our world turns bright and our work usually shows it. 

Systems Matter 

The smart companies put systems in place to assure that people always see the value in what they are doing and realize that they are valued by their company and coworkers. 
One of my friends who specializes in this area is John Schaefer. His company is called SRG: Schaefer Recognition Group. He talks about the Umbrella Strategy. 
This is where you take all, and I do mean ALL, of your forms of acknowledgment, reward and recognition and weave them into a comprehensive strategy for showing your people that you care. 
John stresses that recognition programs must be measured. There must be an orchestrated system and all parts of it should be trackable so that you KNOW what is working and how well. 

Why not do an inventory right now of your Keepers? 
Take a sheet of paper and just list all of the Keepers in your organization. Then study the list and reflect on it over the next week. See what you notice. 
I think you will find patterns in your Keepers that can be used to find future Keepers and to develop current team members to the Keeper status. 
If you'd like some help with this process, give me a call. 

In the Spirit of Growth, 
Jim Cathcart 

I'll share one of John's brochures with you so you can see the approach I'm recommending. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Intelligent Motivation for a Challenging World

By Jim Cathcart

Once on a plane my seatmate asked what I did for a living. When I told him I was a motivational speaker he replied, "I don't believe in motivation because it doesn't last." The flight attendant standing nearby said, "Neither does a bath but it's still a good idea now and then."

Of course motivation doesn't last. Nor does eating, emotion, exercise or scores of other things. But they still have value for us.
Motivation needs to be intelligently done. It's not about just generating energy around an idea or getting "pumped up" about something. Motivation is about acting on motives.

Motive + Action = Motivation

Simple motivation is merely generating enthusiasm. It is occasionally useful and effective but hardly lasting or of strategic value. Intelligent Motivation, on the other hand, is determining what is important, identifying what action is needed and doing what is necessary to generate and sustain that action.
Our new Cathcart Institute, inc. by-line is:
Intelligent Motivation
for a Challenging World.

At a recent convention I attended the cocktail reception the night before my keynote speech. Upon learning that I was the next morning's speaker a man challenged me with this request, "Since you're our 'Motivational Speaker' how about motivating me?" I smiled and asked, "To do what?" He replied, "I don't know, just motivate me." I playfully replied, "I could do that but then I'd have to bill you." Then I went on to point out that without a clear Motive there can be no motivation.
We must have something worthwhile to act toward and we need to be careful and intentional in selecting our targets. I teach people how to determine what matters to them and how to identify ways to get themselves to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done even when they don't feel like doing it and to still do it very well.
Allow me to repeat that: Self-Motivation is when people Get themselves to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done whether they feel like it or not and still do it very well.
Let's agree that if a person is not "motivated" to do good work then they probably won't do it. And if a person has no self-driven motive for excellent performance then they will have to be continually motivated by others. Motivation is absolutely essential to the success of any endeavor. We've trivialized it for far too long. It matters and it is urgent, not optional.
In a business where there isn't much self-motivation the leaders can never rest because they are the only ones holding things together. Conversely, where the people have been taught how to become and stay motivated the leaders can loosen their grip on supervision and focus on the highest payoff activities for their own talents. The more self-motivated your people become the easier it will be to lead them.
Let's also be intelligent about identifying which goals to pursue and our motives for doing so. Then let's select the best actions to take and the strategies for sustaining those actions.

Intelligent Motivation(tm):
is determining what is important,
identifying what action is needed and
doing what is necessary to generate and
sustain that action. 

When you or your team need some Intelligent Motivation please give us a call, we'd love to work with you.
800 222 4883

Friday, October 31, 2008

What are you afraid of?

By Jim Cathcart

Today is Halloween, so what scares you?
The economy, the climate, the extremists with weapons, the news?

Tonight people will be dressing in crazy and spooky attire and posing the eternal question:
"Trick or Treat?"
Originally that was a Halloween evening request for a bribe to keep "goblins" from doing some mischief. Today I think it's still being asked in far too many ways apart from this holiday. We are being tricked too often.
There are new products and special offers that don't live up to their promise. Vendors are advertising that they truly care about their customers but we find that they treat us like just another revenue carrier, a person bearing money, instead of a client.
As Michael Crichton, the author and screenwriter said not long ago, our biggest challenge is in determining who and what we can trust.

When anyone can put together an impressive video promo, or a fancy press kit with great graphics. When even the crooks know how to look credible and sound trustworthy, who do we trust?
Internet scams, once so transparent as to be laughable, are becoming quite convincing. Most of us know better than to send seed money to Nigeria so that some political refugee can share their millions with us, but it's hard to resist a convincing request for our private data when it comes from a known company with logo, copyright, and wording just like the real thing.

In this environment we all become skeptical. We've long ago learned not to trust what politicians promise us during the campaigns. We've seen decades of infomercials offering the world's greatest hidden discovery for only $19.95...but wait! There's more! Act now and get two of the items plus the special bonus and we will pay the shipping! For the next 100 callers we will....(promise you the Moon).

Trust is and will be the primary commercial currency of this decade. We must not only offer to be trustworthy, we must scrupulously live up to it. We must over-deliver on our promises and guard our reputations as fervently as we guard our money. We've got to learn once again how to be a best friend to our customers and become loyal to them long before we expect them to be loyal to us.
So, let's all pledge to stop scaring people, and start earning their trust.

Happy Halloween,
Jim Cathcart

For the latest ebook version in the Relationship Selling Series: click this link "Customer Loyalty"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cathcart Institute, inc. has a new logo

By Jim Cathcart

There's nothing quite like running out of business cards to make you rethink your "look." I used up the last of my cards from the 2002 Era recently and took a new look, not just at my Press Photos but also at our corporate symbols.
Our primary business is and always has been "Helping People Grow". That was the slogan I adopted in 1976 when I founded the institute. The emphasis of our work is helping people to tap more of their potential and showing them their opportunities for growth.

The new logo uses our Nature Green and Earth Brown colors along with our icon, The Acorn.
And it incorporates a new element, a person.
In a configuration that implies a C and an i, it shows a person emerging from the acorn, arms spread, head up and charging enthusiastically into the future. Since the Acorn is a universal symbol for Nature and Potential, this takes that image one step further and highlights the result of our work rather than just the focus of it.

Our fields of work are still Motivation; through speeches, seminars, books and recordings, plus Strategy; through consulting, coaching and collaboration, and then Training; for sales, leadership, and communication.
We welcome your comments and observations about the new logo and your inquiries as to how we might help you grow your company, your people or your own potential.