The difference between a dreamer and a believer

In a nut shell is a DECISION to ACT and follow through until your dream is realised. If you are feeling trapped by your circumstances and resolve there is no way out, think again as you are taking the easy road. You need to make a decision, decision is the ultimate power. Decide today and give yourself the fuel, the power to move in the direction of your dreams. You owe yourself the opportunity of exhausting every possible avenue, in every shape and form imaginable. When you are at your lowest point, at breaking point, do not quit, hang in there, you can do it!

“Having the confidence to speak up and challenge the ‘status quo’ is critical in today’s ever changing business environment”. Why? Because it ensures robust discussions are put on the table, fosters critical thinking, challenges your own thought process and most importantly, it generates momentum and gets everyone-involved. – Lilianna Kovacevic

Mastering the art of assertion

Whether you are interacting in a social or professional environment, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to master the art of assertion.  People often confuse assertiveness with aggression or intimidation but that couldn’t be more further from the truth.  To me assertiveness equals determination.  In my experience, assertive people know what they want, are very determined and clearly define their boundaries.  If you are hesitant or reluctant to leverage the assertive you, others will pounce on you, as they will see this as a weakness.

I recently read a great article by LinkedIn influencer, Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO of WPP who talks about the “7 qualities that will get you hired”.  The second being:

The ability to argue

It’s annoying when people disagree with you, but an argument is usually a more constructive exchange than a conversation in which everyone wholeheartedly agrees with each other.

If a leader is surrounded by yes people they learn nothing. Good people know how to stand their ground and make their case – even (especially) when others don’t want to hear what they’re saying.

I couldn’t agree more!  Next time you find yourself unable to say no or disagree in a situation, have a go at practicing the art of assertion in order to boost your confidence and get what you want out of life.

 

When you are confident, you are truly unstoppable – Lilianna Kovacevic

I’m not just saying this to sound amazing, trust me it took a lot of experimenting to get to this very noble quote. I can honestly say that once you resolve to do something, and achieve it against all sceptics along your journey, you will feel unstoppable!

For me, all of my success is attributed to challenging the status quo. Now in order to challenge the status quo requires a great deal of confidence. How does one attain such levels of confidence? Speaking from my own experience, in order to boost your confidence, you need to explore your appearance, attitude and behaviour (AAB).

When I enrolled at Curtin University there were so many hurdles to overcome. I needed to look the part, play the part….be the part (enter my AAB model). Most would have given up.  Today I proudly display my degrees to all the sceptics who doubted me. Another milestone was receiving my promotion last year when clearly told I wasn’t experienced enough nor ready for one. By challenging the status quo, I self-promoted myself into a Senior Business Analyst role. Again this required a good level of confidence coupled with persistence and being at the right place at the right time. Regardless of what others might think, ultimately what matters is what YOU think and what you are going to do about it.

Now I’m not talking about arrogance or being too big for your own shoes, but more along the lines of genuine confidence, the kind that delivers long-term results, and can only be achieved if you are willing to work hard for it.

Reflecting on my own experiences, each aspiration which ran through my mind required a level of confidence to achieve.  Remember you are in control of your confidence…..this is within YOUR power.

Whatever your desire might be, it requires a level of confidence to achieve.

Make a decision today to boost your confidence and achieve your goal(s) for 2015 and beyond! Because if I can, so can you.

Have a great week!

Lilianna

 

Consumers need to speak up and hold staff accountable for lack of customer service

I am no stranger to poor customer service so it didn’t come as a surprise to me the other day when I was at my local Woolworths store.  So about my experience….well everything was going great until it came time to pay, and I realised I’d misplaced my rewards card. I thought no biggie, I’ll just come back with the rewards card. Let’s face it, every point counts towards something.  I proceeded with the transaction and decided to go home, find my rewards card and bring it back to claim my points!

I got to the customer service counter, and in fairness, was approached by a very young employee.  I explained the situation to her and the response was:  “no I don’t believe we can do that and if we did we would have to re-scan each and every item…sorry can’t help you”…with an attitude to boot. First impressions were pretty grim…..to not even say let me see if we can do something…let me check with my manager or a colleague for you…just a straight out no. Time to challenge the status quo of course.

This young lady clearly hadn’t come across this situation before, had no training or experience on how to handle it, so chose to ignore it. One of my biggest pet peeves of all time is when people in the service industry fail to show any interest in trying to resolve or find a mutually beneficial outcome for both parties.  Playing the ignorant or I couldn’t care less card is just not going to cut it.  What to me seemed like a pretty reasonable and straight forward resolution…i.e. scan my receipt and claim against my loyalty card, seemed all too hard for this young lady. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first customer to forget their rewards card…nor the last.

Clearly I wasn’t going to get anywhere with the young lady so I asked to speak to her supervisor. Her manager approached me as the young lady was explaining my request and the manager shook his head as he walked towards me saying to her “yes of course we can do that for the customer” and he proceeded to show her how to do it. All I said to the manager was, you should ensure your staff are trained to deal with such a request as I’m sure it will come up again.

Its really disappointing as this was a good example that we are not teaching our up and coming generation the importance of providing good customer service. Don’t get me wrong it’s not always the young generation that lets the service industry down (and there are times when consumers are out of line and unreasonable…I get that) but at least if we speak up and hold management accountable, our young generation stands a chance to make things right by genuinely caring about the customer needs and accepting that it’s a balance between everyday standard processes and the occasional exception to the norms.

The takeaway for those residing in Western Australia….if you happen to forget your Woolworths Everyday Rewards Card do not panic as you can  go back with your receipt and claim back your otherwise lost points!

Do you speak up when you receive poor customer service and equally inform others when your shopping experience exceeds your expectations?

Farewell to 2014….a great time to reflect on lessons learned throughout the year

As 2014 comes to an end I took the time to reflect and take note of the lessons that stood out for me this year:

  1. The importance of family. With the passing of my father-in-law, it reminded me that life really is too short and to take each day you spend with your family as a blessing. To make time for family, as we cannot get it back.
  2. Giving unconditionally. To give from the heart without any strings attached.
  3. To be more grateful for the things I do have.
  4. To smile. There is so much anger in the world…yet we forget just how much you can achieve with a simple smile. To me it’s the biggest offer of kindness you can give.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff otherwise life will pass me by. Choose what’s important to me.

Wishing you all a safe and Happy 2015!

To boosting your confidence and breaking barriers by challenging the status quo and getting what you want out of life.

Lilianna

Can a strong business acumen be taught by teachers and/or professors?

Sure we need the academics in our world, I’m not questioning that. My question is more around whether this theory focused cohort can really teach our children how to apply years of infinite theory into practice, once they enter the workforce? Once they graduate, do our children have the confidence to truly immerse themselves into any working environment (physically, emotionally and intellectually)?

Rather than wrapping our children in cotton wool we should shift our focus on enabling our children to transition into our communities armed with more than just theory. We need to teach them how to apply all that knowledge into practice. To experiment, to have a go at being responsible for more than just completing their homework on time or acing a test.

So how does one develop a strong business mindset? That unpredictable grasp of supply and demand without some serious knowledge transfer from those who have failed and/or succeeded before us?

I am not ruling out a good education but I have certainly observed over the past 20 years that those who finish an apprenticeship are more likely to develop their interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, efficiency and customer focus as a result of being thrown into the thick of things through a practical hands on approach, rather than theorising what could, should, would or didn’t happen.

Imagine if you had an entrepreneur as your teacher/mentor to guide you and transfer that wealth of knowledge acquired as a result of either failures or successes, as both are equally important lessons.

My only squabble with schools and universities is that they teach us to do much of the same though theoretical examples of how things should be done, to blend in with the majority. Whereas entrepreneurs teach us to push the boundaries, to think differently and become unique in our own way. This attribute creates strong survival instincts that go beyond theorising. This attribute delivers results so that you can improve in real time rather than speculate based on ‘majority rules’ and/or ‘statistics’.

Schools and universities need to engage the services of successful entrepreneurs in order to truly prepare our up and coming leaders of the 21st century. To give them the confidence to make decisions regardless of success or failure.