Friday, April 22, 2011

The Story of Collective Wisdom

Thank you for finding this site on the web.

Every once in awhile I need to re-introduce myself and what this site is about.

In 2005 I launched this site to store and share sales tips that I had gathered, and then within a couple years it evolved into what you see today.

My name is Scott Howard. If you Google Scott Howard, I may show up on the first page or 2nd page of results, but there any many, many Scott Howards and so I needed an alternative identity.

Not to hide who I am, but just to create a more distinct name than what my parents named me.

ScLoHo is a mash up of my first, middle and last names and I was using ScLoHo as an email address long before it became a personal brand.

ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom is not about me. I hand select each and every story that appears here. I do not write most of the material, except the introductions, like what you are reading right now.

Simply put, Collective Wisdom is an ongoing collection of wisdom that I place on this site 3 to 4 times a day, 7 days a week.

My areas of interest and expertise are: advertising, media, marketing, and sales. So every morning at 6am, I post a sales tip. There is also an update at 6pm every night. In between those 12 hours, there are 1 or 2 more updates, either one at noon, or if there are two they will be at 10am and 2pm.

This is one of 4 of my own sites that are updated at least once a week, there is a list on the right side of this page of the others with a brief description of each site.

Google gives me visitor stats on all my sites and this one has grown from 5,000 to nearly 10,000 visits a month.

Learning from others is the main thrust of Collective Wisdom, and back when I was 26 I started reading and learning from a few books written by Harvey Mackay. The past few years Harvey has been writing a weekly column and here's his latest:

Take my advice, if you dare

By Harvey Mackay

One afternoon when American League baseball umpire Bill Guthrie was working behind the plate, the catcher of the visiting team repeatedly protested his calls. Guthrie endured this for three innings. But in the fourth inning when the catcher started to complain again, Guthrie stopped him.

"Son," he said gently, "you've been a big help to me calling balls and strikes, and I appreciate it. But I think I've got the hang of it now. So I'm going to ask you to go to the clubhouse and show them how to take a shower."

There is a time to provide advice and offer an opinion, and there is a time not to. Don't be too quick to offer unsolicited advice. It certainly will not endear you to people. Sometimes it's better to wait for people to ask for advice or to be judicious in doling out advice.

Socrates learned this the hard way. The Greek philosopher went around giving people good advice. And they poisoned him.

Over the years I have been asked for business advice, career advice, public speaking advice, writing advice, travel advice, fundraising advice, and advice on topics I've never even heard of. Each time, I take a deep breath and hope what I have to offer will be helpful and pertinent.

As I write my weekly column, speak to a business organization, or choose topics for one of my books, I try to cover subjects that affect businesspeople everywhere. Through stories, examples and morals, I offer my thoughts on how to handle a variety of issues.

I realize that people are reading what I write and figuring out whether they can apply my ideas. If my advice is helpful, I have made a friend for life.

Before you respond to a request for advice, heed habit five in Stephen Covey's classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

When you have the strong urge to make someone understand your point of view, you should always step back and think before you speak. Why? Because you need to ask yourself what kind of situation you are commenting on. Has your opinion been requested? Do you have the experience or authority to offer help?

If you give advice, will it be appreciated-or rejected without being considered? If the other person truly is seeking help in solving a concrete problem, then advice might be appreciated. But if not, then you should consider that the other person might merely be looking for someone to listen to what his problem is. In this case advice is not usually appropriate or desired by the other party. This is a skill that is learned over time: determining the best response to another's needs.

Consider also the wisdom of Richard Saunders who said, "Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand."

And never forget, the real secret of giving advice is this: once you've given it, don't concern yourself with whether it is followed or not, and refrain from saying "I told you so." When advice is freely given, the receiver is free to use it as he or she sees fit.

The bottom line is to be picky about to whom and when you give advice. If you are concerned that your words may make you responsible for undesirable results beyond your control, think twice before you speak. If you know the person is asking for your insights just to be polite or politically correct, don't feel obligated but decline graciously. You might say, "I'm not sure I'm qualified to help you."

And as you are choosing your words and who will benefit from them, keep this in mind: The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others. If you wouldn't follow your own advice, you shouldn't share it.

A man went to see a doctor after feeling out-of-sorts for a month. "Have you been treated by anyone else?" asked the doc.

"No, sir," the man said, "but I did go see a pharmacist."

The doctor scolded him for seeking a layperson's advice. "What kind of idiotic advice did he give you?"

The man thought for a minute. "He told me I should come and see you."

Mackay's Moral: A person is silly who will not take anyone's advice, but a person is ignorant who takes everyone's advice.

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