Published - January 2002

By Dave Jakielo


Welcome to January 2002. How many of you made a few New Year's resolutions? How many of you have already broken all of them?

Isn't it wonderful that we live in a culture where we are free to choose? We can decide to do something or we can decide not to. It may seem like a simple concept but never forget that we still have free choice. Therefore you can choose to read on or chose not to. I hope you go with the first option.

A resolution that many make, sometimes annually, is a vow to improve oneself whether that is physically, mentally or spiritually.

For those who are serious about improving themselves in 2002 here are four areas that you should concentrate on to achieve your goal.

  • Take an inventory of your skills.
  • Examine your style.
  • Concentrate on your development.
  • Understand your responsibilities.

It is imperative that you address all four of the above areas and understand their importance on the road to success. Working on just one area may help lead to a minor improvement but to make a radical improvement all four areas play an integral part.

Below, I have expanded each area and have given further details or as I like to say, I've developed a "Roadmap" to success.

Skills that are necessary for your success:

  • Become a better Listener. Remember we have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. Listen twice as much as you speak.
  • Learn to Delegate. I know you don't want to hear this, but there are tons of people out there who really can do it better than you can. Let them.
  • Generate Ideas. Quit doing it the same old way. In the words of Tom Peter's one of America's business gurus, "If it ain't broke, break it."

Style is important; people cannot be motivated by fear over the long run. Bob Nelson says, "You can't light a fire under people, until you light a fire in people." Therefore examine the following:

  • Are you a Screamer or Explainer? If you want to surround yourself with quality people you need to be an explainer.
  • Are you easy to talk to or does it take days for people to work up the courage to bring an issue to your attention?
  • Do you show enthusiasm? Do you wake up each day saying, "Good morning God." Or do you say, "Good God Morning." Remember, enthusiasm like negativity is contagious.

Development, we are either moving forward or backward so feed your mind as much or more than your feed your mouth.

  • Set Goals. If you don't know where your going, how will you know if you get there?
  • How do you spend your time? The average American watches 4 hours or TV per day. Only five percent of Americans ever read a non-fiction book after their formal education is completed. In which group do you fall?
  • Network. Get out meet people. Share ideas. Ask questions. Don't have a mushroom mentality. Mushrooms stay in the dark and get feed manure. While it helps mushrooms grow, it doesn't do much for people.

Responsibility is a lost word in the English vocabulary. Most folks have replaced any sense of responsibility with some of today's more familiar quotes like, "It ain't my job", "They don't pay me enough." Or one of my favorites, "No one taught me, I had to figure it out for myself, so you should too." However we do have responsibilities, which are:

  • Provide Feedback. How can people adjust their behavior or learn anything if we don't provide them with feedback.
  • Become a coach. Don't tell people what to do, sell people on what to do.
  • We must have Integrity. As former Senator Alan Simpson said, "If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters."

Hope the above has helped to give you a bit of inspiration on your road to continuous improvement. My sincere wishes that 2002 is your best year yet.

Keep in mind I'll be happy to address any issue of importance to you. So keep your questions and suggestions coming. Send inquires to any of the following. David Jakielo, Seminars, Training & Consulting, 86 Hall Ave. Pittsburgh PA 15205. Email -, 412-921-0976 or visit my web page at

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