Innovative Solutions __________August 2005
In this issue
-- Feature Article: 3 Keys to Building and Keeping an Impeccable Reputation
-- On a Personal Note:
-- On the Lighter Side:
-- Article Policy

Welcome to the August 2005 edition of Innovative Solutions, the monthly newsletter from Innovative Thermal Solutions. If you find this information interesting or useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Word count approx. 715
Reading time approx. 3 minutes.

Feature Article: 3 Keys to Building and Keeping an Impeccable Reputation
Over the years I’ve developed these 3 keys to building and keeping a solid, impeccable reputation. Whether you are dealing with a customer, a client, a supplier, your neighbor, your wife or your kids these 3 simple, though not always easy, keys will always serve you well.

1. Be open and honest.
Whenever you communicate with anyone, you make the underlying assumption that what you say will be believed. It’s fundamental that for real communication to occur, the listener has to believe what the speaker is saying. Otherwise, everyone is just wasting his or her time. Always be open and honest. This doesn’t mean to be belligerent or insensitive. You should be polite and tactful. But always be honest. Never plant a seed of doubt in your listener’s mind.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Now that we know what it takes for meaningful communication to occur – use it. Never assume anything. You know the old saying “no news is good news”? Not! Wrong! Don’t you believe it. I think it’s just human nature that most people assume the worst. Don’t let it happen. Write status reports. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Use the cc: field on those emails. It’s a great way to give the same message to a lot of people at the same time. Most importantly, talk to people. There is still no better way to communicate than face to face. Eliminate assumptions. Too often assumptions lead to misunderstandings, which in turn lead to hard feelings, mistrust and ruined reputations. As I said in the 10 Laws of Design and Development if there is a problem, reveal it. If you have bad news, better that everyone learns it from you. Communicate!
3. Under promise and over deliver.
Personally, this is the hardest key for me to master. I firmly believe that man’s reach should exceed his grasp. We will always achieve more if we push ourselves to accomplish the difficult. However, while we want to push ourselves, we must be careful about how we communicate and how we set the expectations of others around us. Here is a great example. There are two suppliers who are almost equal in every way - quality, price, etc. The only difference is schedule and delivery. Supplier A promises to deliver in 3 weeks, but actually delivers in 4 weeks. Supplier B promises to deliver in 6 weeks, but actually delivers in 5 weeks. Which company will enjoy the better reputation as a quality, dependable supplier? Supplier B will. Even though in terms of real performance Supplier A is better. Supplier A will almost always be viewed as not meeting their commitments. Some will even say they lied to get the business. So always take your commitments seriously. Under promise and over deliver!

On a Personal Note:
The vineyard continues to exceed my expectations. Even though we continue to battle the Japanese beetles and the lack of adequate rain, the vine growth is more vigorous than I expected. I mentioned a while back that we are growing cold hardy varieties. These varieties are fairly new in the world of viticulture and oenology. Therefore I haven’t been able to try many wines made from these grape varieties. I just trusted what I read and chose varieties accordingly. But, that leaves a degree of, if not self doubt, at least curiosity about what kind of wine these grapes are going to make. Early this month, Linda and I took the opportunity to travel back to Wisconsin to attend the retirement party of a very dear friend of mine. We also took that opportunity to visit several Wisconsin and Minnesota vineyards and wineries to sample some of these cold climate varieties, hoping to find some of what we have planted. Success! We were able to taste (and purchase) several versions of Frontenac and other varieties. Not bad, not bad at all. In fact, I enjoyed them all.

On the Lighter Side:
An executive was interviewing a nervous young woman for a position in his company. He wanted to find out something about her personality so he asked, "If you could have a conversation with someone, living or dead, who would it be?" The girl quickly responded, "The living one."

Article Policy
© 2005 Innovative Thermal Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You are free to use material from the Innovative Solutions newsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

The attribution should read: "By Bob Utter of Innovative Thermal Solutions. Please visit Bob's web site at for additional articles and resources on engineering services and new product development." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

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