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?



Good Follow Through Is Critical for Business

Follow Through

By | Accountability, Follow-through, Leadership, Operations, Systems | No Comments

Good Follow Through Is Critical for BusinessIn 1994 I was in St. Louis wrestling in the AAU national wrestling tournament. I had done well and made it to the quarter finals. However, I lost that match by two points – the only points scored in the match. I had shot in on his legs for the take down, but somehow, he countered and ended up taking me down. 


I rarely did this, but I was so baffled by it that I found him afterward and asked what happened. “You hesitated after the shot. It was just enough for me to counter.” I hadn’t followed through with the take down and lost the match.


In business, poor follow through is one of the most common mistakes businesses make.


Some say this is a question of integrity. I think it moves beyond that. It is a question of systems and habit. We have every intention of following up after the service, calling that lead one more time, or getting back to someone. Often when a ball gets dropped, we have a tendency to just leave it and hope no one notices. Eventually they do. We judge ourselves by our intentions, but the world judges us by our actions.


As a business, balls get dropped by the team because we have not put together the processes and not created good accountability. Creating a habit for our team and a culture that enforces those items are the key to creating a business that exceeds expectations.


So what now? How do you follow through better?


Take a look at your habits, systems and accountability. Pick one, work at it until it improves. Then, move on to the next.

The Magic Bullet of Success

By | Accountability, Follow-through, Leadership, life style, Marketing, Motivation, Strategic Planning, Time Management, Uncategorized | One Comment

What's the secret sauce?I’ve been reviewing the many clients I have had over the years and looking at what the difference has been between the ones who grew their business and those that did not.


As I developed my list, here is what I have determined made them successful:


Follow-Through – This was the single most important factor in who succeeded and who did not. The ones that I saw increase their sales, hire better employees, and create exstatic customers were the ones who put into action the things they committed to doing. 


Burning Desire – not a passing craving, or a “that-would-be-nice” motivation. They were almost obsessed with changing their business to become something incredible.


Willing to Be Challenged – they did not mind having someone challenge their way of thinking. They were humble and wanted to learn. However, when they would defend an aspect of their business, they had a well thought-out reason and could logically defend why it was that way. Emotions were important in the decision, but there was  logical basis to it.


Time to Think, Plan and Dream – Successful clients I have worked with took the time to think through what was happening every day. They (usually) did not allow everyone else to dictate their schedule or the just rely on their to-do list to determine what would happen next. Dreaming was an important aspect as well since it allowed them to re-focus on what they wanted to accomplish (see “A Higher Ideal” below.)


Support – As a coach, I help provide support and provide accountability. Those who are amazingly successful, however had another person or group that was cheering them on.


A higher Ideal – The success of the business was merely a symptom of something bigger. Successful people started their business because it was their passion. They did have to find a way to monitize and leverage it for it to be able to grow. Sales became easy then and their focus became more about doing what they love – the money followed.


Faith – Faith in something greater than yourself is critical. I don’t mean an ideal or a passion. I mean someone or governing power that controls the universe. Faith in God is an easy one to identify. Some of my succesful clients have been agnostic or aethiest, but they believed in something – that people are basically good, natural energy, etc.


Creativity – The ability to see potential in the mundane is key to any success. People that I would deem successful were able to look beyond what is right in front of them and finding value where others could not.


Discernment – Beyond seeing the potential in the mundane, the people I know who have moved to great heights are those who can push away the distractions and the waste of time. They did not spend much time on failing efforts. They either changed it or abandonded it.


Courage – I don’t just mean the courage it takes to branch out on your own. I mean the quite courage it takes to do the most important thing when no one is looking or holding you accountable to it.  


So the challenge for today is this: What are you missing within yourself that is keeping you from growing?


Shake It Up

By | Leadership, Motivation, Operations, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

stirthepot“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”


Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
3rd president of the United States

Lately, I have been reading (or rather listening to) the book “Work The System”. Something the author says repeatedly is to look at your internal systems from “a slightly elevated and slightly removed point of view.” By looking at your business from the outside looking in, you can better work on your businesses instead of in.


Many of my clients often find themselves jumping from one appointment to the next, taking care of whatever is next on the to-do list, or looking for an excuse to work on trivial, easy things.


It takes a kind of courage to step back and look at your business from the outside looking in. It requires you to not just admit your faults, but to look them in the face and commit to change. A better process. An improved system. A better business. Owning a business, not owning your job. A better lifestyle to do what you wish with more money and a lot more time.


It might be time to “shake it up,” look from the outside in, and improve your system. You will never truly own a business until you do.

I want my business to

system failure

By | Cost Controls, Leadership, Operations, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

gears“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. ”


—Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) from the movie The Departed

Many of you know about my two years in Southern Mexico as a missionary. In one area I served I cam across two families that stand out in my mind as stark contrasts.


The first I met in a cab ride from the bus station to the apartment in my first hour in this area. He drove the cab and I later found out that he was a science teacher for one of the local prep schools. His wife was due to have their second baby in a couple of months. He worked hard and was just starting out as a husband and father. He did not have to drive cab, but he did want to improve his situation. 


The other family I met was completely opposite. His wife worked hard selling in the market to earn enough to buy the necessities of life. I once approached their house to see him laying in a hammock with a “caguama” (a beer of about 32 oz). All he could say was, “No hay trabajo” – there is no work. 


One system created opportunity (the first eventually bought a home and became a community leader) the other created stagnation. We can shake our head at the second, but his “system” was to have his wife work while he drank in the shade bemoaning the economy. Guess who made a bigger impact in the world?


The economy, taxes, politicians, the system, big business, and the boogie man. The next time you want to blame some out-side source, figure out what is happening with your own systems that did not prepare for the influence of these outside influences.


Are you positioned to take advantage of circumstances whether they are good or bad? The difference is the systems you have in place and the quality of execution.





Get Surrounded

By | Accountability, Accounting, Leadership, Marketing, Operations, Systems, Uncategorized | No Comments

support“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”


Colin Powell

Retired four-star general and former Secretary of State (2001-2005)


In the last few weeks, I have repeatedly come in contact with businesses that have achieved a level of success and want to take the next step, but can’t get through it. Often their biggest obstacle is getting the right people on the team.


This was emphasized in the Kitsap Business Forum on Tuesday. It seemed we kept coming back to the same point:


You shouldn’t do it all yourself.

This does not mean you have to hire and replace yourself in your business – at least not right away.


It means finding the core team you need to make your business a success. Here is my list of professionals you need to be successful. There are many others, I suggest every business owner have the following.


  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Attorney
  • Insurance Agent
  • Banker
  • Marketing Expert (actually a team of experts here)
  • Cooperative/Complimentary Business owners
  • Accountability Source (Master Mind, Coach)


Surround yourself with great people and great minds. If you are surrounded by people or businesses that you do not wish to emulate – it’s time to get find a new group.


Don’t do it alone! Entrepreneurship is lonely enough already.




By | Hiring, Leadership, Leverage, life style, Operations | No Comments

leverage yourself

“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.”

Archimedes (287 BC – 212 BC)
Regarding the power of the lever


Programmer ‘outsources’ his own job to China to laze around at work

The mid-40s software developer, named only as ‘Bob’ in the report by Verizon’s Risk Team, paid programmers in China one-fifth of his salary, and spent his work days browsing the internet.


Did you see this article!? I first heard it on the radio this morning and later read the whole thing this afternoon in one of my news-feeds.Here is a quick link to the article if you did not get a chance to read it.


I found it interesting that he was considered one of the best programers in the company. He was probably considered one of the most productive – until they discovered that he spent all day watching cats say “I haz cheezberger??”


It got me thinking about all the things we do that take up our time that prevent us from having the business or lifestyle we want.


All businesses struggle with leveraging regardless of the size. Not only does hiring someone mean an increase in expense, but it also means letting go. When we are passionate about the success of something, we have a hard time letting it go. 


A few questions to ask yourself when you start thinking about leveraging:


  • Is there someone who can do some of my billable work for less?
  • Is there work that I do now that takes me away from creating more revenue?
  • Who do I know that is better than me at this that I can collaborate with – allowing us to do what we each do best and creating even more value?

Cost is always a concern. Some work-arounds for these might include temporary help, subcontractors, or virtual assistants.


One thing is certain: It is nearly impossible to do everything and become successful.


Get some help.




The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is now taking RSVPs for the Kitsap Business Forum to be held January 22 at 7:30 am in Cavallon Buiding 3rd floor conference room (2011 NW Myhre Rd, Silverdale, WA).


Our first forum is a panel of experts – facilitated by yours truly:


Kelle Kitchel-Cooper (Rockfish Group Marketing )

Dennis Bryan, CPA (Parker, Moores & Cena)

Jeff Reed (State Farm Insurance)

Lisa Jewett (Customer Service Specialist)

Wayne Sargent (Express Personell)

Dan Martin (SCORE)

Diane Russell (Attorney)


Bring your business and local economy questions for the panel to answer and debate!


Eventbrite - Kitsap Business Forums - Panel

or call:

(360) 692-6800


Goodbye, Norman Schwarzkopf

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

DesertStorm011“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in battle.”


Norman Schwarzkopf (AKA:”Stormin’ Norman”)
Commander, US Central Command
Commander, Coalition Forces – Desert Storm
Died Yesterday (12/27/2012)

I remember seeing “Stormin’ Norman” on TV during Desert Storm. He calmly explained how new technology in weaponry was allowing U.S. and allied forces to steer a missile directly through a window and into the target of choice. We saw how the camera on another missile destroyed a bridge just before an Iraqi military vehicle started to cross. I was 14 at the time and just beginning to take notice of the outside world.


It seemed like everyone liked Schwarzkopf. Why was that? 


Very simple reasons:

  • Integrity played an important role in everything he did. There have been many commanders of our US forces that have had their integrity questioned – some of them very recently. I believe it was his integrity that led him to decline a promotion to Chief of Staff of the US Army and to his retirement in August after the end of Desert Storm. In retirement, he didn’t abuse his notoriety for his own self aggrandizement, but to promote causes he believed in. 
  • He communicated well with everyone. He shared as much information as he could. Never did you get the feeling he was holding something back. He held many more press conferences regarding Desert Storm than was expected and provided ample information and access to those seeking reasonable information.
  • He expected the best from himself and everyone around him. In his autobiography “It Doesn’t Take a Hero”, Schwarzkopf relates how he risked his own life to save his soldiers in a minefield in Vietnam. Crawling through the minefield to an injured soldier after he himself had been injured, he pinned him down so the flailing man would not set off any more mines.

He later told his men regarding how strict he was: “When you get on that plane to go home, if the last thing you think about me is ‘I hate that son of a bitch’, then that is fine because you’re going home alive.”

I admired him. A leader in every sense of the word. We need more leaders like him in our government, our communities, our businesses and our homes.



Do You Have One Yet?


Accountability Groups are starting to form! These groups are more than a social club for business. Get a sounding board and a committed professional group to help you reach your potential in 2013.


Learn more at the Accountability Partners Website!



A Hunch

By | Leadership | No Comments

“I go by instinct. . . . I don’t worry about experience.”


Barbara Streisand  


I sat with the pen in my hand staring at the form. Something in me could not fill it out. This had been my dream I had worked so hard for. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do.

I started wrestling at nine. I was a short, skinny kid; and an easy target for bullies.

My parents couldn’t afford martial arts or boxing. My mom stumbled on an introduction to wrestling class with the Parks & Recreation Department. I stepped on the mat looking for the ropes and the turn-buckles so I could become like Super Fly Jimmy Snuka of WWF fame. Instead I discovered a passion that I still carry today. It took two years before I started winning, but I loved it.

Many years later, there was the form: a walk-on offer from a college. With any luck, I could earn a scholarship before the end of the first year. I knew it wasn’t the right thing for me. I opted instead to start junior college and worked my way through getting my MBA with part-time jobs and student loans.

Looking back, I am grateful I didn’t take the plunge. My academics would have suffered. I would have never met my wife. I may have never found the path to becoming a business coach and consultant – something I love more then wrestling. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.


Call it intuition, a sixth sense, your gut, Karma, or the Holy Spirit.


Whatever you call it; Trust it.