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Success Advice

How to Make Rules That People Will Follow



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Businesses are having to make a lot of decisions and impose a lot of rules right now. Maybe it’s rules to keep customers safe, to make sure employees are well taken care of, or perhaps to be in compliance with state and local laws to help control the pandemic. Or all of the above. Every public-facing business has had to introduce a change of rules and new protocols.

There’s nothing wrong with imposing new rules, especially when they are in the best interest of others. The problem comes in when imposing rules without context. When there isn’t context, the backstory behind the rule, you are less likely to get people to follow along.

Give people a reason to follow

There was a church with a beautiful lawn in a park-like setting that local residents enjoyed walking their dogs. Unfortunately not all dog lovers are responsible parents of their fur-babies and were leaving piles of dog poop around which became a problem for the church. They put up signs asking people to pick up after their dogs. It didn’t help. They added signs that warned of a fine if they didn’t pick up after their dog. Have you ever seen that enforced? Most people know that’s an idle threat so as you might expect, the signs and threat of a fine were ignored. Until someone had an idea. Signs were posted that said, “Children play here. Please pick up after your dog.”

Apparently the dog poop problem stopped. It’s because people were given a reason to follow the rule. The signs, “Children play here” provided context. Without context people will often not only ignore the request but it can also incite resistance. We humans don’t like to be told what to do without some explanation and reason for the request. The problem is we have many businesses now, as this church was doing initially, imposing rules and not providing a compelling reason to follow the rule.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Eliminate confusion

I sat outside a retail store the other day watching a young lady try to manage customers entering the store. There was one set of double doors to enter the store and one set of double doors to exit the store. All in an attempt to count and manage how many people were in the store at one time to keep everyone socially distant. To enter the store, there was a designated pathway, sort of a rope-line as you would see at an airport TSA. Simple enough it seems. It’s not like we haven’t seen it before. 

But not everyone is used to this new pattern when shopping and many people tried to enter through what was now the designated exit. She had to stop every person and redirect them to the end of the line. To make matters worse for reasons I still don’t understand, beside her was an entrance into the rope-line which dead-ended. The shopper needed to walk all the way around to the beginning of the line on the other side. The whole process was unnecessarily confusing. 

Why the entrance into a dead end? Why was the entrance into the line the opposite side of the entrance? This added complication was painful to watch and I could see emotions for the young women and the customers getting elevated in frustration.

Provide an explanation

In another instance I sat at a table enjoying a cappuccino, or should I say trying to enjoy, as customer after customer tried to enter a store in front of me that had the entrance locked. No sign as to why the door was locked. Once again, it was a means to control how many people are in the store by limiting access to one entrance where someone can count. That’s simple enough. 

People will likely follow along if you explain it. Put a sign on the door explaining as much. In this case, they needed a sign that read, “Please enter on the first floor where we can count how many customers we are serving to keep you safe.” They also weren’t doing themselves any favors because if you didn’t see customers through the glass doors you might assume they were closed. A simple explanation and perhaps signage goes a long way.

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden

Get everyone on the same side

A salesperson in a men’s clothing store was explaining to me the strict rules they have about trying on clothes. The fitting rooms are closed and now the sales people have been asked to not allow people to try things on in the store. Apparently, some guys are just dropping their pants and trying things on right there on the sales floor. Furthermore, they are not allowing customers to try anything on over their clothes that requires sliding it over your face, such as a sweater that you might want to try on over a shirt. He mentioned that customers are really getting agitated. 

I suggested he get the customers on the same side. My suggestion was to say to the customer, “I know it’s frustrating and we feel the same way. But here at xyz store, we have chosen to be part of the solution and not the problem so that we can stay open and so that you can continue to shop.” Providing some context will get everyone on the same side, set a common goal and explain the bigger issue. We want to stay open so you can shop. Most customers want that too.

I’m all for businesses doing the right thing during these times and being a part of the solution. In the long run, it will expedite when things can get back to normal, whatever normal will be. I’m also certainly in favor of businesses, particularly small businesses, reserving the right to be autonomous, make decisions in their best interest and setting rules. But it’s up to businesses, the ones imposing the rules, to provide some context. Explain the bigger picture of the rule. If rules are tossed out without sufficient explanation you can be assured of resistance and disobedience. Providing context goes a long way.

Whether it’s during a time of necessary changes or at any time a business needs to impose some rules, the key is to inspire compliance with a compelling reason, eliminate confusion, provide sufficient direction, get everyone on the same side and make everyone’s life easier.

Small business consultant, and speaker, Jeffrey Shaw is the author of LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible and The Self-Employed Life: Business and Personal Development Strategies That Create Sustainable Success. Jeffrey's TEDxLincoln Square talk is featured on and he's the host of the top-rated podcast, The Self-Employed Life. Please connect with Jeffrey at or Instagram.

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Success Advice

How Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success

Your life is dictated by beliefs and biases that drive your thinking, behaviors, and decisions



Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success (1)
Image Credit: Midjourney

Pause for a moment and ponder two pandemic-era beliefs: First, closing schools will control the spread of a serious virus. Second, the consequences of such school closures—particularly social interruption and the prevention of immunity—are worse than becoming sick with the virus. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Break the Cycles of Mediocrity and Manifest Your Greatness

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity



Image Credit: Midjourney

In just a few weeks, we will be wrapping up 2023. Can you believe it? This year has been absolutely incredible for me.

I have seen amazing doors opened, new relationships formed and I am seeing dreams realized in my life. While this seems like the hallmarks of a great year, this has also been the most challenging year of my life. With all of the change happening in my life, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and challenged to grow in every area of my life.

I can truly say that I have made the most of my moments this year and I have used everything as a catalyst for maximizing my greatest potential.

As a revolutionary leader, I have the pleasure of consulting and advising leaders around the world to fulfill purpose, realize their greatest potential and make an impact.

I want to share some insights with you that will help you to break cycles of mediocrity and manifest your greatness

Everything legal must come through the matrix

I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am using the term matrix. However, what you have to understand is that I am trying to make a highly complex spiritual principle practical to understand.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, every life has an origin and I believe that origin is divine and begins with eternity. You are birthed from eternity and into time to fulfill a unique purpose and assignment in your lifetime and generation.

The matrix is simply the portal or vehicle that brings something out of the invisible realm and into tangible form. The problem with much of the teaching today is that it excludes the matrix. We are told to believe that success is instantaneous and overnight.

Nobody talks about how a dream progresses through stages beginning with visualization and ultimately culminating in manifestation. Without a matrix or portal then everything that you attempt to birth and build will be illegal.

The matrix not only makes you legal but it gives you the authority and power to function as the greatest expression of who you were created to be. 

Every matrix has an incubation process

While many people admire and respect me today, I remember a time when nobody knew who I was or the significance of my message. How did I get to where I am today? I got here through an incubation process.

In other words, everything that has been destined for your life is incubating and awaiting a set time of manifestation. The problem is that most people live their entire lives idle and never initiate the incubation process.

What do I meany by that? Most people are living reckless and very few people are living intentionally. I am amazed at the number of people I have conversations with that have no vision, goals or strategies for their lives. They show great promise and they have undeniable potential.

However, without development they will die with their dreams still in them.

Everything that has been destined for your life must be incubated and converted to become realities born to time. 

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

You must give expression to that which is not yet born to time

When you think about a matrix or a prophetic incubation process, you have to understand that potential is often unrealized and untapped. In other words, your potential is in raw form and your potential cannot serve you as long as it is untapped.

The thing that makes me valuable is that I have the ability to convert potential into power. I have done it in my own life and I have empowered leaders around the world to do the same. How do you convert potential into power?

First, it is important to note that you have to perceive potential. If you cannot perceive your potential then you can never cultivate your potential. In addition, you must take the time to cultivate your potential. We often get excited about our capabilities; however, we never expand our capacity in order to realize our greatest potential.

In other words, the strength of your potential is only discovered through your willingness to stretch. The more we are challenged the more we are empowered to expand our capacity for greatness. Most of all, you must begin to express your potential. The expression of potential is different for every person.

For example, the expression of my potential is best demonstrated through the thoughts, ideas, products, services, books, etc.

For another person the expression of potential may look like a screenplay, artwork, sports, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, etc.

Regardless of the form of expression, I know that you will live empty and unfulfilled until you make the decision to express your potential. The expression of your potential gives voice to your dreams, life to your vision, significance to your moments and activates your true power.

You must manifest your greatness

As a revolutionary thinker and leader, my work has impacted people around the world. I am grateful that my life is a source of empowerment to so many people. However, before anyone could ever benefit from my life, I had to make a non-negotiable decision to become who I was born to be.

I wish I could tell you that this journey is easy and that you will get there overnight. However, in a world that celebrates us for doing we are often criticized for being. As a result, I wasted a lot of time trying to be who other people wanted me to be instead of being who I was born to be.

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity. It is through our bravery to be vulnerable that we ultimately manifest our greatness. We do not bless the world by being a duplicate. We bless the world when we honor our difference. When you honor your difference you honor your potential.

Ultimately, your difference is how you manifest your greatness.

When you present anything but your authentic self to the world, you are playing small and you are robbing the world of your significance. Manifesting your greatness requires you to master your gifts.

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Success Advice

Here’s a Young Man’s Antidote for the Uncertainty of the Modern World

Why do a lot of young guys lack confidence in today’s world? 



How to boost your confidence
Image Credit: Midjourney

We all have been told that confidence is a key factor in achieving success and happiness in life. But what is it exactly? (more…)

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Success Advice

Toxic Leadership: 5 Ways to Identify a Bad Leader

if you have a leader who displays any of the toxic traits, it’s time to move on to greener pastures.



Toxic leadership
Image Credit: Midjourney

Let’s be honest, we’ve all crossed paths with a toxic leader in our careers at some point. Unfortunately, while some toxic leaders don’t even bother to hide their behaviour, some know very well how to conceal their true selves behind a strong-built facade. The latter is the most dangerous of the two. (more…)

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