:::: MENU ::::

The Heroine’s Silence

By Diego Nascimento

For my special October Rose

Track with me: Ruth, a biblical character, faced the scorching sun to look after her mother who at that time were widows. Eleanor of Aquitaine died at eighty-two years and was one of the most prominent queens of the Middle Ages, where she oversaw a historic government marked by her intelligence (she was fluent in eight languages). Queen Victoria I of England ruled the United Kingdom for more than sixty years during the 19th century, and the Industrial Revolution was one of her greatest legacies. Princess Isabel, Brazilian royalty, signed the Golden Law in 1888 and took over the Empire during a very challenging period. Carlota Kemper was an American educator and entrepreneur who has changed the lives of many Brazilians. In 1869 she founded one of the oldest schools of the country; she died at the age of 90 in Minas Gerais with a glad heart for all she had accomplished. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean in 1928; she disappeared with her plane in 1937 trying to travel around the world. Winnie the Welder was one of the 2,000 women who worked on ships during World War II. Rachel de Queiroz, a writer, was the first woman to enter the Brazilian Academy of Letters. The Santa Catarina Zilda Arns broke all paradigms on taking over an international dimension project; she lost her life during an earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Maria da Penha leads movements in defense of women’s rights and gives her name to the law that increases the severity of punishments in cases of violence against women; she is in a wheelchair because of an attack by her spouse. Nilza is my mother. Today I woke up early to prepare breakfast, “wake up the house” and go to work.

I agree with you: the list is great but it could be much, much bigger. Throughout this month I have recorded videos and prepared messages that address the role of men and women in the workplace. During a recent broadcast I showed how women have an active participation in entrepreneurship, proven in numbers and international studies. My goal is not to say who is better or who comes out ahead; the point is to understand that the workplace is looking for talent and in this case, men and women are equal. There is room for everyone.

Recently I taught a lecture on “Teamwork” for an association of craftsmen. Over 90% of the audience was composed of female homemakers, who played a role in leadership and in some cases were providers at home. This scenario is repeated in every corner of the country. If we go to the executive branch, we will increasingly see women taking charge of important negotiations, mergers, etc. … It is evident that each group has its own peculiarities, but they lose too much time on unnecessary discussions because of prejudice (on both sides).

In my 15 years in the workplace I need to say and recognize that women have contributed significantly to my professional growth. They are part of my life and that includes those who are in my family. I am well aware that most will never be magazine cover stories or reports. So I titled this article the “The Heroine’s Silence.” There are many who fight silently for the sake of family, development, harmony, and in the deep abyss wipe away the tears originating from harassment, physical and verbal aggression, or simply indifference.

I would like to close by taking the liberty to once again change the traditional phrase quoted in speeches:  “It is not behind every great man there is a great woman; it is beside them or often ahead of them!

The Seven Techniques of a Conquest

by Diego Nascimento

I think many people opened this article expecting to get tips on flirting. I’m sorry, but I am not going to talk about romance. The conquest of which I speak is connected to the world of sales. What is the secret of selling more? The answer is more complex than you think. Walk with me in this article and you will understand.

I must confess I’m a fan of grocery stores. Simply walking down the aisles, even if I do not buy anything, usually is more refreshing than swimming on a hot, sunny day. It is one of the biggest learning experiences for those who sell products or provide services. It is here that one of the most tragic situations in my life happened as a consumer (pretty dramatic, right … ha, ha). I went to buy a simple pop, and hunger suggested I widen the list. I did not have a lot of knowledge of the store layout, and I asked an employee where was “such and such.” Without looking at me she said, “I think on the other side.” I thought it was strange, but I followed her suggestion, but it turned out to be wrong.  I spent precious time trying to find that particular “such and such.” To complete my search, I reached the checkout and came across a strange scene:  the clerk did not notice my arrival because he was too busy telling a colleague where he had gone for the weekend (I even remember the name of place …) … feeling I had been too patient, I “stepped up” to the mat and made my presence known, left the soda and never returned. The worst thing is that this has happened before in the same supermarket chain.

Scenes like this are more common than you think. They may occur in the pharmacy, beauty salon, fast food, the furniture store, car dealership and so on. The secret of sales is connected to the famous customer service. Serving well is not a virtue; it is a must. Offering the effect of ‘continuity’ is the trump card of the seller. Imagine you represent a makeup company. Certainly you want that lipstick to produce, in the future, more sales including creams, perfumes …. I agree that the quality of the product or service contributes to a new acquisition. However, the attitude of the seller before, during and after speaks volumes. Thinking about this, I suggest:

Observe and evaluate your potential customer. Profiling will help in your approach.
Keep on schedule. In a world where everything is urgent, recognize that time is precious.
Speak the truth above all. Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.
Have limits: Avoid contact when your client is at work, unless you have authorization and tools for this (SMS)
Be discreet:  Steer the conversation to capture future opportunities which may arise (new sales).
Be proactive: Never wait for the client to manifest a need to purchase. Keep a sincere and attentive dialogue as to the next need.

Be humble: never try to make the sale through force. Major negotiations are marked by serenity.

I will conclude by saying that the secret of sales conquests is associated with good habits. In the Bible in the book of Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 1 it says, “A good name is more than great riches; enjoying a good reputation is better than silver and gold.”

Happy selling!

Completely “Clueless”

By Diego Nascimento

Many times I have written in my articles that posts on social networks can have serious consequences. Whether in your personal life or in the workplace, it’s true that certain posts often tarnish your resume. I would like to list some of the gaffes that give sleepless nights to anyone:

1) Grammatical errors:  The Portuguese language is a challenge, and I know it. But there are people who post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (and the list goes on …) words and phrases totally wrong in verb/noun agreement and spelling.  I have to say that this is very sad.

2) “A picture is worth a thousand words”:  In some cases this is true, but you still have to be careful. We are in the “era of the visual,” but that does not mean you have the right to post whatever photos you feel like. Your privacy is included in this statement. Recently I was astonished to see that a couple decided to recreate the “Garden of Eden” and took photos of themselves behind bushes, playing Adam and Eve.  Needless to say, this picture is already one of the gems of the digital world.

3) Read It Before You Send It:  The content of a single flier that in the past took weeks or even months to get to Japan, for example, is reduced in travel time to only a few seconds on a global scale. Pay close attention to what is entered/recorded. After you click “Send,” your career may be at stake because of something done on impulse.

4) Manage your Time:  Your mobile device is no longer just a tool to make calls or exchange SMS. Through it, we pay accounts with banking apps, we work, we stay ahead of traffic, watch movies and so on …. but certain functions do not require an exclusive dedication that force you to stayed “connected” all the time to other people.  I know situations of people who were so wrapped up in it that customer service was left behind or reports that needed to be prepared were left undone while they were distracted browsing on social networks during working hours. There is a time for everything!

5) Lack of Caution:  Posting everything you do throughout the day will not make you more special, neither will the label “plugged into the network.” There is nothing wrong with “sharing,” which many times is healthy, but there are situations that concern only you, your family, and your marriage that do not require an audience.

I could extend the list, but I prefer to keep to these five points. Computers are a blessing; the Internet is also. Social networks are part of my daily life, and by the way, are my work tools. Take joy in sharing happy moments. Linger on posts which call for reflection. The biggest problem is not the cable connection or Wi-Fi, tablet or laptop device; the problem is who is behind the screen. Unfortunately, even in the postmodern era, we find many people intransigent and, as they say, “clueless”.  Run from it. Let us make a difference in a simple way, in a world where the apparent normality has led people to a pace of life where momentary happiness fades in an attitude hangover after being “clueless.”

Proverbs 21:23 says: “
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Think about it.

Say It by Spelling It Out

by Diego Nascimento

For many, teamwork is in the human DNA, period. Apparently it’s an easy rule to follow, and in places where it occurs, the harmony and the smiles on their faces is something constant and natural all the time, right? Not always! Teamwork is a daily challenge and requires patience, humility, punctuality and concern for others. This includes the millions of televisions and/or mobile devices that are tuned in to the Olympic Games Rio 2016. A considerable portion of this audience certainly saw what an individualism attitude can cause within a competition and leave years of work destroyed in seconds.

The athletes Ingrid Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso of the diving team were the subject of reports in various media. A fight between the two, preceding the Olympics and aggravated during the event, made them looked like they were “only out for themselves” and forgot that they were representing almost 250 million Brazilians. Although the main reason for the misunderstanding I did not address in the text today, I want to draw our attention to action and reaction. Stay calm: I will not be teaching a physics class; let’s talk about relationships.

As we live in a democratic society, it is essential to understand that the achievement and maintenance of customers is something relational and not specifically material. How many people choose to pay a little more for a certain product or service simply to receive a quality service? Or let’s go in another direction and reflect on how many potential customers failed to make the purchase because the employee there at the “counter” made it seem like a hard process and the sale was lost.  This happens every day everywhere (as you read this email someone is suffering from it). In the case of the athletes, the result was to be expected: they were in last position in the ranking and announced a separation.

Let’s face it: with or without a crisis, we do not have the right to go against common sense. I always say that what you do has an impact on a much larger group, with positive or negative consequences in the short-term, medium-term and long-term. Teamwork is something serious and promotes growth, development, profitability and good impressions, if performed in the right way.

I conclude by quoting the most spectacular set of books already released: the Bible. In the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 7 and 8 says: “Serve your masters willingly, as serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether slave or free.”

So I’m spelling this out for you: open your eyes while there is time. There are people watching you!

The Secret Begins with R

By Diego Nascimento

I was invited to talk about international relations to a group of graduates at a traditional Brazilian university. I accepted on the spot. I could not hide my pleasure in talking about this issue. I deal with this at work every day, and I believe strongly in the benefits of globalization and English as a second language. I confess good college memories washed over me when I entered the room. I made found a seat under the watchful and curious stares of those future managers.

The fact that I also work as a university professor afforded an extremely pleasant participation. Unlike a lecture where there is a time of explanation and a time to answer questions, my entire talk was fielding questions from students about the benefits and challenges of working internationally.

The fourth question came from a very nice lady. With a smile on her face, she asked what was the main tip in regard to the success of external relations. I immediately said, “The secret begins with an R.” Whatever the language, geography, political system or religion, I pointed out that RESPECT does not single out a continent. The absence of this attribute has been and continues to be responsible for numerous troubles around the world. I made it clear that this attitude starts at home and is directly reflected in our professional daily work. RESPECT fits every situation.

You may be thinking, “Today Diego is talking about something that is not news to anyone.” Yes, if that was your reasoning, congratulations! It is entirely correct. My warning is not about the meaning of the word but of its practice. We live in a society where being educated is a virtue. This is not normal. Education is a basic part of life, and from the moment it is considered a differential, something is wrong.

After a good time sharing experiences with international relations and connections with different people, I emphasized that the fight against individualism is one of the great challenges of our time. To think about yourself and forget each other explains why so many companies face internal problems and some groups still lose opportunities for cultural, business and social exchanges. After nearly sixty minutes with those students, I realized that in an age where the Internet has redefined the meaning of distance, we need to open our eyes to the attitudes that can transform our thinking.

I conclude by asking you to reflect with me. The exercise of RESPECT begins with those who live under the same roof with you, expands to work relations, studies, lines at the bank, lottery sales, and even at church. Next time someone asks you if there is a path to success, say, “The secret begins with R.”

The Headache

by Diego Nascimento

As a child I had constant headaches. I went to the doctor and after several tests nothing was found. As I grew older the headaches diminished, and now in my 30s I have perfect health, but when they come I know it is a result of a sleepless night, excesses in front of the computer screen and sometimes even indigestion. A good nap (when possible) and the traditional aspirin a day (with my doctor’s knowledge) are able to leave my mind like new. Still I know more difficult cases that require a detailed diagnosis and treatment. But if you think that today’s article is about health, you’re wrong.

To use my headache as an illustration, I want to highlight that they are temporary and treatable. But this same tendency is present in daily personal and professional tasks. Who has not said, “Wow, this situation is giving me a headache …” or “I never thought that the decision I made would cause such a headache.” In this case, the pain as mentioned is not physical, but emotional. It is caused by choices made on impulse and sometimes in an apparent justification of freedom and autonomy. What leaves us more puzzled is that many of these symptoms are not the result of “being caught unaware” but by a lack of wisdom. It is this rhythm that causes blunders which can occur when leading a team by creating customer service standards, expanding responsibilities without proper preparation or the shipment of an order which causes anxiety among co-workers, without even meaning to. It is literally “acting without thinking.”

One of the most brilliant books of personal and professional administration that I have read is Proverbs, a book in the Holy Bible. King Solomon, who is recognized as the wisest leader ever, left a remarkable record fully inspired by God. In chapter 3, verses 5 and 6 it says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” This is nothing more than seeking a worthy reference to be followed, to plan and anticipate potential risks. Even in 2016, the so-called post-digital era, there are people who insist on venturing through inadequate conversations, in a manner of life guided by the “majority” and ignoring the position and responsibility of moral values as touted by a weakened society which stumbles and falls.

Whether at work or in your life think “a million times” before saying something, making any decisions or embarking on any project. Integrity is an appreciated value and needs to be taken into consideration on all sides: in leadership of a team and on the part of the team towards the leadership, and I believe it influences even the financial results of the company. Regardless of where you are, do your best. You are being watched. Be careful:  There are headaches that last a lifetime.

You can

By Diego Nascimento

Today I want to be objective when offering tips that can change the course of your professional life. I know people who have “climbed a mountain’s worth of obstacles” but are rewarded with a great view when they reach the top. On the other hand, there are people who have gone straight to the bottom through completely unnecessary uncertainties and risks; some adventures are not worth it. Thinking along these lines, I created a TOP 10 list called “You can.” Pause, assess, plan and take action:

1) You might think that investing time and financial resources in professional qualifications is unnecessary, after all, you have already collected diplomas and certificates.  Be careful: Intellectual arrogance often causes disastrous tumbles.

2) You may think you’re on the right track only to find that an apparent success (fame, finance …) requires the abandonment of noble values such as honesty and respect. If so, I suggest you turn around and take another route.

3) You may think that authoritarianism and arrogance provide an image of dominance and leadership but, in the end, you realize that the workplace and social circles do not sustain lasting relationships with individuals who are worthwhile.

4) You may find that studying a second language is a luxury and ostentation; on the contrary, it is a necessity and when you least expect it you might remember this warning.

5) You may find that a large monetary sum in your bank account will solve all your problems. This is a sad mistake: Many great solutions recorded throughout history did not have any cost; they have been resolved through frank and sincere conversation.

6) You can justify undue and uncontrolled postings on social networks based on the freedom of expression provided by law, but in reality the possibility of “burning a bridge” or losing friendships are very common inside and outside the professional environment.

7) You may find that what you just read in item 6 is not true. Understand that many recruiters observe the online profiles to evaluate resumes. I’m one of them.

8) You might think that following the rules is a part of leadership models of the past. Wrong thinking: Even large corporations are recognized internationally for moments of lucidity during working hours and make it a point to schedule their “professional duties.”

9) You may find that gossip is commonplace and innocent. A Big Lie: Sowing discord is a negative action and condemned in the Holy Bible itself.

10) You can choose to run away from books and embrace forms of empty and momentary entertainment. Afterwards do not complain of “roughing it” to write more complex texts in sales processes, customer service, procurement, etc.

You can reflect on these points or simply ignore this message. It’s a matter of choice. I confess that I am not the owner of this reasoning, but fifteen years in the workplace have offered unique opportunities for observation, learning and practice. Growing in life takes time and includes a long journey towards a gentle mind with wise answers. I choose this road. Let’s walk together?

The Weight of Responsibility

By Diego Nascimento

You know that organizing lectures and training is part of my professional journey. Once, when I asked a group what they thought the real reason was for working hard, I received several responses. One of then hit me hard:  a middle-aged man said he wanted to attain the most wealth he could to ensure a comfortable life for his children in the future. The others offered similar aspirations, but no one understood the main point. I gave them a hint; after all, I was at the beginning of training and there was still a lot of ground to cover.

The reason for my concern is abstract and not concrete, but first I want to make something clear:  I see praiseworthy attitudes in the character of the workers from the first paragraph. We work for various achievements and this includes that dream house, a car or motorcycle in the garage, an unforgettable trip and yes: the well-being of our children.

Returning to the subject of my concern: I consider it a legacy when your name is brought up in a situation and people think of a certain set of values. Surely you’ve heard: “So and so was an example … The way he/she dealt with the challenges was amazing …” or things like, “I haven’t seen him in a long time… which is good … he just talks trash.”  And don’t tell me you have never heard these types of things.  This happens in the workplace all the time.  Clearly it’s easy to understand the importance of references at the time of hiring.  Recruiters are experts at this.

They say that hope is the last to die; I prefer to believe this instead of “throwing in the towel,” at the exact time that you and I have to make a difference. That’s why we follow along with training, lectures, and consulting. Regardless of the function that occupies, either standalone or within a business, remember: the burden of responsibility is on your shoulders. Do and say something worthwhile. It’s that simple!

I Would Read This If I Were You

By Diego Nascimento

Last week I went to the grocery store to buy some items. Walking through the aisles I was startled by two things: the first was the price of the goods, which showed in a practical way the brazilian economic instability. The second was an easy display of bad manners and complete lack of leadership. This is how it happened:  I was comparing the price of popcorn packages (like traditional packages prepared without the use of a microwave), when I saw the silhouette of a woman next to me. Just a few meters away a store employee was organizing the products on the shelves, and when I looked into her eyes I began hearing a coarse conversation. In a few seconds I realized they both already knew each other (they worked in the same grocery store but in different areas) and for whatever reason they decided to have this conversation right there. This vulgar conversation came to an abrupt end when they became aware of my presence.

In an instant I realized something that I want to share with you:

• Appropriateness:  Rain or shine your workplace is not your bedroom. Sensitive issues are (or should be) discussed away from the professional environment.  As much as one might think they have control over the situation, it is not worth the risk.

  • Vocabulary:Fortunately, I was raised in a family environment which believed swear words would pass away. I don’t even know some swear words. I’m sure this is a reality for many people. I would argue that even a “good argument” between parties requires class.
  • Common Sense:This is becoming increasingly rare nowadays. A quick rise to aggression and lack of self-control shows the need for training or replacement of both employees.
  • Leadership:The store manager, alerted by the “heat of emotion” of the unhappy duo, went to the aisle but acted with indifference. The question that arose in my mind was: “Is this something commonplace around here?”

This appalling story shows that, in fact, many companies, regardless of size, are still home to people who forget the limits. At the same time, these things cause real harm, and many can “save themselves” from behavior like this.  That’s why I continue my journey giving lectures and courses. Transforming the status quo of a professional life for the better is priceless.

I would like to finish this article quoting Zig Ziglar, author of Self-Motivation, High Performance: “Optimists are full of passion. They believe they are on this earth because of a purpose and have no intention of stopping until that purpose is fulfilled. The attitudes of optimists are positive. Their perspective is of eternity, and the enthusiasm they show is contagious!

To infinity and beyond!

You and I

by Diego Nascimento

I was 22 years old when I climbed the Andes for the first time. As the path reached higher levels, the cold became more intense. The peaks covered with snow exhibited an amazing spectacle of nature, but also warned of the dangers of going too far. At a certain stretch of the journey I saw a rustic house made of stone, a small building which was visibly old and had profound meaning.

Once I reached three thousand meters of altitude I asked the natives who were closest to my group what that stone hut was doing there. The answer was remarkable: the house served as a refuge for any who chose to continue their journey or who needed shelter, especially during periods of snowfall. Most impressive is that temporary guests had the habit of leaving blankets and food for the next travelers or sportsmen who needed shelter. A true and deep sense of community.

This account demonstrates an increasingly scarce attitude in the professional environment. The “I” is more important than the “we.” The workplace has no room for “people who don’t need anything or anyone.”  No one lives alone. We are part of a chain of actions which join us together. Regardless of the size of the company or project to be undertaken, it is critical to think that being a team is the key to success. Unfortunately, there are people who do not think this way and make individualism their trademark.  Consider the example above: outsiders who use the cabin have no idea who will be the next guest but still make a point to share their food with them.  Would that every company would have teams that follow that same thinking. How many victories would we share on a daily basis?

The saddest thing about this is that the professional individualism has reached to the family. I know people who are able to cheat out their own mothers just because of a selfish desire, forgetting that family is also a team.

I am an observer. Within a few minutes of conversation I am clearly able to get the sense of individualism or community of the people. Their words convey feelings and body language as well. We have to be careful in our daily lives. The workplace is too precious and important to waste time with feelings of pride and selfishness.