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Tip Sheet

How to Eat an Elephant and More Tips for May

Including knowing when to cut bait on a lost cause and a nifty little trick for checking a candidate’s references that is completely above board.




man digging underground

TIME MANAGEMENTKnow When to Fold ’Em

Perseverance isn’t helpful if you’re digging a hole. Canadian researchers found that even when inventors are advised to give up on a hopeless project, 29% continue to invest money and 51% continue to invest time. Marty Seldman, Ph.D., coauthor of Executive Stamina, recommends continuously reevaluating projects to see if they’re worth the effort — or even achievable. “Understand sunk costs,” he says. “Don’t get caught up in the investment you’ve already paid.”

MANAGEMENTGrow One Bite at a Time

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, goes the old joke. Achievement expert Brian Tracy’s Continuous Improvement Formula is based on similar thinking: Incremental improvements can have huge benefits over time. Tracy urges you pick an area that’s important to you, find a way to measure it, and then aim to improve by just one-tenth of 1% a day. If that sounds too small to make a difference, consider this: After one month you’d have improved by 2%. After a year, 24%. Allowing for compound gains, you would actually double your effectiveness in 2.7 years. The idea is not that you just try to work that much harder but introduce systems that allow you to boost output by these small amounts.

SALESSow Seeds

Do you end customer interactions with something like “Thanks, please come again”? If so, Bob Phibbs, “the retail doctor,” suggests trying something more assertive, like “Before you go, let me show you your next purchase.” “This sets the right expectation and plants a seed for satisfaction and return sales,” he says.


HIRINGReference Right

Pierre Mornell, author of 45 Effective Ways For Hiring Smart!, suggests calling candidates’ references around lunchtime and try to voicemail. Then leave this simple message: “Jenny Jones is a candidate for a position at our store. Your name has been given as a reference. Please call me back if the candidate was outstanding.” The results are usually revealing, “If the candidate was a top performer, eight out of 10 people will respond quickly and want to help … However, if only two or three of the references  return your call, this message is also loud and clear. And yet no confidence or laws have been broken,” Mornell says.

SALESConsumer Stimulants

If you’ve read INVISION over the years, you probably noticed a surprising number of successful retailers telling how they offer baked goods to customers. Now there’s evidence from the men in white coats that this pays off. A study in the Journal Of Consumer Research found that women were more likely to make impulsive decisions when exposed to “appetitive stimulants” such as the smell of chocolate chip cookies. So, start baking if you want your customers to feel safe and hungry for the pleasure of a purchase.


Traditional networking events are actually a bad place to network, or so says Stephanie Palmer in Good In A Room.

That’s because every relationship you form is transparently a business relationship, she argues. Better, deeper relationships are formed in different ways. “More business starts from casual interactions than anywhere else,” she says. So develop your skills so that you can handle meetings that occur unexpectedly, like on a plane, at a party, or in a waiting room.”network


Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at


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