Stephen R. Covey, author of a number of excellent books, including my favorites The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a must read for everyone who is alive…) and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (not as famous, but incredibly valuable to help families be happier and more cohesive) passed away from the effects of a bike accident (biking at 79, my kind of guy!)
Dr. Covey was a professor at my undergraduate university, and I had the privilege of literally sitting at his feet (I attended a special seminar he taught where we were out of chairs, so I ended up sitting on the floor and spent the day trying to not get stepped on.)
I’d like to share two key things (of the many) that I learned from Dr. Covey.
First – the concept of constant improvement. I have in my files at least 3 different versions of the 7 Habits book that I received as texts and handouts from his classes – each building out the best points and abandoning the weakest.
Here’s the key – he didn’t throw something together and say “that’s it, now I’m on to the next thing.” He kept working on the project, refining it, editing it, making more valuable and more relevant, and that’s what has helped 7 Habits be on the best-seller list for years and helping it sell over 20 million copies.
Second, he taught a great concept that has helped me immensely in my life – the concept of an emotional bank account. He teaches that relationships are like bank accounts. Into each we can make deposits by being nice, remembering names, complimenting them, helping dry the dishes etc. We also make withdrawals, when we criticize, argue, speak in a harsh tone of voice, don’t keep our word, etc.
And, just like a bank, if the withdrawals exceed the deposits, the account can be closed, removing our access to that relationship.
Think about this in your family relationships – where does your balance stand right now? What can you do to improve that?
It’s also important to recognize that withdrawals carry far more weight than deposits in emotional bank accounts. So you can have incredible relationship-building experiences for months, then have one fight and go back to zero or a negative balance.
This applies to social media in a very powerful way. Every time we try to sell something via social media, we withdraw some of the trust that we have built with our audience. However, it is important to be able to make those withdrawals if we wish social media to be profitable. So our job is to deliver powerful deposits of information and other trust-building elements in social media on a regular basis so that when we do post a selling post, the trust exceeds the negative created by that post.
That’s why I recommend that we only post promotional content once every 50 to 200 posts. By doing so, we hopefully will have a positive trust relationship built to the point where the negatives are outweighed by the positives and the emotional bank account will stay open.
Thanks Dr. Covey for all that you have done to shape my life and the life of millions of others. You left the world a better place!
Think about it – how are you going to apply this in your business? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to like and tweet this!