By | Leadership, Operations | No Comments

Last year, I had the opportunity to do a turn-around of an Assisted Living facility in Texas. Often with a turn-around the problems are deeply entrenched in the culture and processes.


The people working there know there’s a problem, know that something has to change, but generally blame everyone else – especially leadership.


When problems are this entrenched, it becomes a vicious cycle. Unfortunately the people are the problem, and a turn-around often involves turn-over. Not because they are bad people, but the change required is too difficult for many employees to make.


With this particular project, I had to be a bull in a china shop.


You can't move forward with a team until you have the right team.

The first employee I fired at the facility was for tardiness and call-ins only a couple of days after I arrived.


One particular employee was fired within a few weeks for gossip.


Guess what: I had very little problem with attendance and gossip after that.


Before I left, only 4 of the original 15 employees still remained.


The most difficult and most important part of building a great team is having the right people in the room.


The more quickly you can help someone find a more appropriate place of employment, the sooner you can move the team forward and find the right person.


A great leader is able to quickly see how someone will or won’t match the rest of the team.

Manage your stress with personal systems


By | Motivation, Stress Management, Systems, Time Management | No Comments

I am just as guilty of letting stress get to me as anyone else. Which is why I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Leslie has some great insights into being a more effective leader by being a more whole person.


We all have ways that our stress affects us. I know that stress sabotages me with:

  • Staying up late to Manage your stress with personal systemswind-down. I then am too tired to exercise the next day and overeat in search of more energy
  • Losing my temper with my family – particularly with my kids
  • Distracting me from giving my full attention to the most important things – causing my wife to shutdown after the third empty “uh-huh” because I am not really listening


  • Looking for an escape in entertainment instead of taking care of my home.

Many times we create our own storm of stress. I teach my clients when they complain of this to develop personal systems to minimize their self-imposed stress.


In case it helps you, here are my biggest sources of stress and how I minimize them.


Problem: Setting unrealistic deadlines for myself.

Solution: I try to add about a fourth more time than what I really think.


Problem: Allowing the easy jobs to take all my time without touching the most important.

Solution: Plan the day before I start and schedule a time for the most important tasks


Problem: Failure to delegate.

Solution: This is part of “planning my day”. The things that need to get done, but don’t need me directly are determined while I am planning.


Problem: Not living in the moment

Solution: I have to eventually unplug and engage when it is time for my family, volunteering, or personal time. A deep breath and an intentional re-focus brings me back.


So what stresses you out and how do you handle it? Please share with us below!

Have you leveraged yourself through technology yet?

Leveraging Technology

By | Leverage, Operations, Systems | No Comments

Today, you’re getting this email – however, I wrote it Monday night.


You see, I took advantage of Spring Break this week and disappeared into the back woods with my kids for several days. I would like to report that it was great and that we got back late Thursday, but it hasn’t happened yet. I took advantage of the scheduling aspect of the iContact email system I prefer to use. 


Have you leveraged yourself through technolgy?One aspect of leverage that we often overlook, is that of technology.


Technology cannot take the place of intelligent design or good people. But with the proper application, it can take care of menial and repetitive tasks and give you freedom to pursue other avenues.


However, there are those who will spend all their time trying to find an easier way to do it through technology – when it would be faster to simply do it.


Which camp are you in?


By | Follow-through, Leadership, Motivation | No Comments

I officially declare that Spring is here! 

Spring is about re-birth, energy, and hope. It’s about opening day, grass between your toes, and sunshine on your face.

Hope: For a brighter day. For a better world. For a stronger future.


Hope moves us forward. Hope to change our selves, our business, our lives.

I recently read about a study done in the late 60’s about hopelessness and dogs. The researches would ring a bell and quickly follow it with a mild electric shock. At first the dogs looked for a way out, but could not find one.


After a few days of this, the researchers split the area in two. One side was insulated and would keep the dogs from being electrocuted. A small barrier was placed in between the areas that the dogs could easily overcome.


What surprised the researchers, was that the dogs never attempted to jump the barrier to the “safe” zone. They had accepted their plight and had no hope to alleviate it. Without the hope that they could change their situation, improve their world, they simply gave up and accepted the pain imposed on them.


The good news – researchers worked with these dogs to show them that moving to the other side of the barrier would alleviate their pain. After several attempts, the dogs discovered they could control what occurred and began jumping the barrier.


Hope moves us forward. Hope to change our selves, our business, our lives.

What have you just accepted in your business? Have you give up trying to improve it? What causes you “pain” in your business and what do you need to alleviate it?

All the Wrong Things

By | Follow-through, Time Management | No Comments

focused on non-productive thingsI picked up my kids from school the other day. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I asked how their day went.


My son started describing his day, when his sister started arguing with him about whether he had played tag or wall-ball during recess. There did not seem to be any point to the argument besides who was right and who was wrong. It was merely about who would win the “uh-huh/nyu-huh” war.


After a few seconds of the back-and-forth I asked, “Is anyone going to be injured by whether Josh played one or the other today?” No. “Is there something that will be damaged?” No. “Is anyone going to hell because of it?” Definitely no.


We had a quick conversation about what is important and what we spend our energy on. That got me thinking about what we all seem to spin our wheels on.


We often find a way to keep our selves busy; somehow believing that because we are busy, we are productive. Often we busy ourselves with the wrong things – like my kids arguing about something that has no relevance besides feeling they bested the other in their “who is right” contest.


Are you the right kind of busy? Can you see sales growing, service improving, teams developing, and profits improving?


Time to refocus priorities.


Effective Sales Letter That Really Sells

By | Marketing | No Comments

A couple of months ago, I saw a news article on a job application cover letter that went viral. Whether it was intentional or not, I can’t tell. This kid nailed writing copy for a sales letter that most businesses and marketing managers should take note. (Click the picture to connect to the original article.)


internship coverletter


So here is why this letter was so effective:

1) He immediately makes a personal connection. The chances are pretty good the hiring manager does not clearly remember the young man he met on the tour two years ago, but the guy does remind him that he was sent the letter specifically and it did not go to just anyone.

2) Creates a personal, conversational tone. This is a breath of fresh air from the stuffy, professional tone of most cover letters. He automatically separates himself from other applicants.

3) Addresses concerns and doubts that the customer (Hiring Manager) may have about his product (being an intern)

4) Explains the direct benefits to his particular brand. Forget learning from the manager, this kid is eager to “fetch coffee, shin[e] shoes, pick up laundry, and will work for next to nothing.”

5) Again separates himself from the competition by acknowledging their “crapp about how [their] past experiences and skill set allign perfectly.” He follows directly up with why he is qualified. 

6) His call to action is simple. He has a lot going on this fall, but for this summer he can be your lackey. Call or email for more information.


If you don’t have a sales letter, I would suggest you copy his format, add your own details and send it off to a list of your ideal prospects. I bet you would get a healthy response.


Do you think you can write a cover letter like this for your business?


Admitting you might be wrong

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

By | Accountability, Leadership | No Comments

Admitting you might be wrongI have rarely met someone that admitted they did not want to learn – unless they thought they knew better.


I have worked with highly intelligent people who have a firm grasp of their area of expertise.


Unfortunately, their intelligence, knowledge or skill does not guarantee they can run a business successfully. I have met many doctors, lawyers and other highly paid professionals that couldn’t seem to make it work without help. Some of them went broke.


I have also found high school drop-outs who dominate their market.


Willingness to learn is only a small part of what makes the difference.


The larger part of success is the ability to admit we are wrong. Before you can recognize that you are wrong you must be open to the fact that you might be wrong. It’s one thing to seek out new information or practice a new skill. It’s completely different to take a long-held belief and turn it upside down. Few things bruise the ego quite so dramatically. Humility is more than being teachable.


Don’t get me wrong. If you are confident you are right, prove it. Fight for your ideas, values and dreams.


What I am saying is that you have to have a small opening in the back of your mind that you could possibly be on the wrong side of the argument.


If you are reading this thinking “I’m glad that’s not me,” you might be wrong.


You have to find desire from within to be successful

motivational theory

By | Leadership, Motivation | No Comments

You have to find desire from within to be successfulNothing gets me going more than knowing I have made an impact in the world. It’s why I volunteer for organizations that I believe have an impact. It’s also why I get up every morning and am excited (and even obsessed) about business coaching. I feel I make a difference in the world.


Motivation is a funny thing. Really, you can’t “light a fire” under someone for a lasting effect. You have to keep feeding that fire in order for it to continue and eventually that person will burn-out.


Lisa Earl McLeod, in her book Selling With a Noble Purpose, describes how sales people who feel that the product or service they are selling fulfills a higher purpose out-perform sales people who are only motivated by quotas, commissions or incentives.


True motivation comes from within. Your burning desire is something you have to let grow inside you – no one else can give it to you. Not until you can internalize it, does it become your own. You have to believe that what you are doing has a lasting impact on what matters to you.


Are you lighting a fire under your staff or are you giving them a purpose?


Are you going through the motions yourself or do you have a burning desire to make a difference?



Success in business is defined by the measures you put on it.

What a Succesful Business Looks Like

By | Accounting, Follow-through, Motivation, Strategic Planning | No Comments
Success in business is defined by the measures you put on it.

Stop chasing the horizon.

Almost everyone wants to be successful. I say almost because I have met many that would be content without it.


Most people look back over a day or a week and see all the things they didn’t accomplish or complete. Or they look at the mile marker they had set and measure the distance between where they are and where they believe they should be. They measure their success by what the didn’t accomplish – which only discourages them.


Most people don’t know how to measure success.


I once heard Dan Sullivan, the creator of Strategic Coach, explain that success is like the horizon: you can never really “arrive.” 

I feel that it is much easier to set a mile marker and see how much closer you can get to it than yesterday. Don’t measure the distance left – look back at the distance you covered and the obstacles you passed.


What are you mile markers? 


When working with new clients, I often find they are not keeping track of how they are winning. Most are balancing the books on a regular basis – but they cannot tell you their margins, their COGS ratios, or what it costs to provide their service. A budget is the first mile marker you business should put in place.


The other problem I see is that many chase the wrong mile markers.


Define what your mile markers are. Make sure they are going to lead you to the right horizon. Then when you measure your progress towards success, consider the distance and the victories. You’ll be surprised.