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Being Extraordinary

Many parents experience the angst of their child heading off to college. Between the worries of “How will they survive without me?” and “I can’t believe I have a child old enough-or that I am old enough to have a child going to college”, there is the underlying hope that they will transform from being your baby, into a successful and happy young adult.

When my oldest was heading to college, I had the opportunity to join her at High Point University, for a very special, invitation-only, weekend. Besides the obvious honor of being invited to attend and the chance to meet some wonderful families, the highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to hear the president of the school, Dr. Nido Qubein speak. His philosophy and guiding principle that he teaches and preaches is the idea that we should all be “extraordinary”. He weaves this philosophy into the way he runs his school, hires his professors and ultimately teaches all High Point university students.

As I sat and listened to this exceptional speaker I started to think, are we all leading extraordinary lives? If we apply these lessons to our businesses, how much better would we be for it?

So what does it mean to be extraordinary?

  1. Expect the exceptional and settle for nothing less – This philosophy starts at the top, you must lead by example. If you expect your staff to treat your customers with respect and give great service, make sure you are doing the same to your staff. Go that extra mile.
  2. Never use the words “I can’t ” or “I will try” – Change your thinking. The words you choose dictate your mindset. When a situation arises, say “how can I make it happen”. Obstacles occur all the time. The difference between those that succeed and those that don’t is that the successful ones don’t look at a situation and say “that won’t work”, they say “how can that work”. It allows their brain to rethink the situation and offer solutions. Encourage your staff to overcome obstacles that are presented and think of new ways to do business. You may be surprised at what they achieve.
  3. Remember to have fun and be happy – Ultimately we all work hard every day, we have stresses that we encounter that can seem overwhelming at times, and sometimes we just don’t want to even get out of bed. But at the end of the day, we have to find some time to smile, to laugh, and to have fun. If the people that work for you enjoy what they are doing and coming into work, they will deal with the everyday issues better. Think of ways to have fun at work. Whether it is after work “parties” every so often, rewarding your staff with a dinner or lunch, or just remembering to smile and say hi when you walk in the door in the morning, little things can go a long way.

Ann Arnold is an expert in manufacturing, finance, and strategy. She earned her CPA working for Deloitte, and was the VP and later CEO of Lieberfarb, a US based manufacturer of wedding and engagement rings. This 27-year industry veteran is currently the owner of Arnold Advisory Group, which provides comprehensive, scalable, industry solutions that deliver dramatically improved performance to businesses in various industries and the owner and CFO of H. Arnold Wood Turning.

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