Staying In The Moment

If Steve and Mary are having lunch in a crowded restaurant and Steve is constantly looking over Mary’s shoulder, scanning the room for other people he knows, she notices. Mary feels slighted and a bit of trust is lost.

Or, if Mary is pushing to end the conversation, cutting Steve off or regularly checking her watch, Steve notices. He feels hurried. He can tell she doesn’t really want to be there or has somewhere more important to be. Again, trust trickles out of the relationship.

Instead, Steve could stay with the conversation. He could give Mary his undivided attention for 45 or 60 minutes and make her feel that he cares deeply about what she is saying, asking questions and listening. If he claims ADD as his excuse, he could take the seat facing the wall to help maintain focus or pick a quieter venue.

If Mary has a tight schedule, by all means, she should stick to it. She could simply give Steve the courtesy of letting him know she needs to leave at exactly 12:50. She could set the alarm on her phone to give them a five minute notice.

Each moment of every conversation counts. Each moment either builds the relationship up or breaks it down.

Hello 2014!

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s nearly February. But I haven’t been around for a while and I’ve missed this. I’ve missed creating. I’ve missed you.

I took a break from regular posting shortly after I returned from Thailand a few months ago. I was sick and beat up from the long trip, work piled up and then suddenly months had flown by. I would like to blame the circumstances, but I lost my discipline.

Well now it is 2014 and it is time to get back to it. In hindsight, I really needed the break. I had been wanting to shift the focus of this site for a while but I wasn’t spending the time to decide on a direction. The break gave me the time to think about the possibilities and narrow it down.

Late last year I began to address the role of service professionals. I’m going to continue this in a bigger way in 2014. For a while I avoided writing about my day job, but I’m going to write a lot more about it. I will still write a fair amount about leadership, it just won’t be the sole focus.

From now until whenever I feel the need to change again, this site will focus on two areas:

  1. The Work I Do Every Day
  2. Personal Interests (Occasionally)

The Work I Do Every Day

My title is investment banker, but I won’t so much get into the nuts and bolts of the business or markets. I’ll be exploring the tougher aspects of what I do that most people avoid discussing. The three main areas are building relationships, advising businesses and leading change.

Building Relationships: I still believe that life is all about people. Thankfully I’m in a business where building relationships is a big chunk of my work. Solid working relationships are what makes service businesses sustainable over the long term and it is a privilege to spend time with amazing leaders and business owners every day. I’ll be writing more about why relationships are important and how to build them for the long term.

Advising Businesses: Investment bankers are advisors, just like accountants, lawyers, consultants, marketing professionals, etc. I love being an advisor and helping people achieve success. I will be writing more about the role of advisors and to be better.

Leading Change: Leadership is such an important part of any service business. I was convinced several years ago that everyone is a leader or a potential leader and I still believe this to be true. Leadership is not a title or position, it is a mindset. It is about courage, faith, service and belief in other people. It is such an important topic to me so I will continue to share my thoughts on it.

Personal Interests

I have occasionally shared stories from my personal life to illustrate points and I would like to do that more. Being authentic and transparent is part of who I am. I enjoy sharing my failures and struggles. It feels good to get it out in the open, but I’ve also been told that others appreciate it. I think it helps for people to know they are not alone. I’m happy to share more and only hope I can make it interesting. And I promise not to make this my personal journal – I use a notebook and a pen for that.

Thanks for reading and sticking around this long. I really don’t know where this site is headed over the long term, but I’m glad to be back. I hope to hear from you soon.

#058 Why Your Skills Are Not Enough. Plus, Adventures in Thailand [Leadership Success Podcast]


Just having skills or competence is no longer enough in the service business. There is more competition than ever and it isn’t difficult to find someone who does a good job. Technology has leveled the playing field and has given rise to competitive services, networks and a robust DIY community. In order to raise yourself above […]

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Small, Significant Interactions

I’m a giant sap and am easily sucked in by good storytelling. It happened again when I saw this video – it made me tear up in the airport. The irony is that I first saw it while in the airport waiting for my flight to Thailand. Enjoy. This simple, beautiful ad reminded me of […]

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#057 The Secret To Finding Profitable Clients That Won’t Drive You Crazy [Leadership Success Podcast]

Working with certain clients is a pure joy. You get along with them personally, they are easy to work with and they seem to make you look better than you are. These clients are usually more profitable for you. Other clients are a complete nightmare. They may be mean, unreasonable or irrational. They prevent you […]

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Continuous Improvement – How Much Do You Want It?

David Mariano

Most business leaders claim they want continuous improvement, but saying you want it and pursuing it with tenacity are worlds apart. If you want your team to improve it begins with you. You have to be critically honest with yourself and be willing to change. The more public the better. When you do this your […]

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#056 You Mean No Harm, But Your Core Values Are A Lie [Leadership Success Podcast]

Growing up, I recall certain family members making claims or giving advice that, I later found out, just weren’t true. Claims such as, if you cross your eyes they will get stuck, or don’t leave the cat alone around the baby because it will try to steal its breath. Sometimes these “lies” were meant to […]

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Pricing and Confidence

David Mariano

In most businesses, and especially for service professionals, pricing should be a reflection of the value created for clients. But too often, fear takes over and the final price becomes a reflection of the confidence in the value created for the client. When you cave on price, you may be communicating that you don’t believe […]

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So You Were Asked To Speak On A Panel … Don’t Blow It

David Mariano

As a service professional I attend a fair amount of networking events. Some events are organized around a theme and often include a panel discussion. The relative ‘fame’ of panel participants varies, but the panelists are usually well-known and respected people in the community. After having witnessed plenty and even participating in a few, I […]

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#055 Great Leaders Are Master Craftspeople [Leadership Success Podcast]

You have probably heard the term “natural born leader” before. It seems to be used to describe someone with charisma, someone who is more outspoken or is maybe a great storyteller. A person who seems to have some intangible trait that is difficult to even name. Although this seems to be conventional wisdom, I don’t […]

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