Category

Motivation

lead yourself with systems and regimens

Leading Yourself

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

Often we talk of leadership as a way to take a group or team from its current state to a better one. What we often fail to recognize is our personal success depends on our ability to lead ourselves.

 

It is the human condition to desire improvement. At a fundamental level, we all want to reduce pain and increase joy. The concept is rather simple: “Personal leadership is having the strength of character to take your personal performance from where you are to a better one.”

lead yourself with systems and regimens

Leading yourself is not much different than leading others. It requires defining your direction and plan and then creating systems and accountability checks to keep you on track.

 

I have found that one of the biggest ways you may be derailing your personal leadership is your lack of routine and regimen.  Often as an entrepreneur, you are wanting the freedom to determine your own destiny, but then that same desire for freedom is sabotaging your success. You want to follow your gut and do what feels right without depending on what has worked well so far. You abandon what works for what feels right.

 

So my challenge to you today is to develop your regimen and then hold yourself to it. From the way you start your day, make sales, deliver value, etc.

 

If you want to try something new, do it as an experiment against what is working – not a complete abandon of your regime.

Atlas

Excellence

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

Seeking excellenceI have recently been listening to an audio version of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I am only half through with this massive book, but realize the common theme: the conflict between those that seek excellence through achievement and those that wish to gain power through manipulating regulation and taxation in the name of “the greater good.”

 

It has put my mind to thinking about excellence and high productivity.

 

Being human, we don’t always produce the results in as excellent a way as we would like. I recently had a challenge where my efforts did not produce the results I had planned. As I reviewed what went wrong, I found five basic things that are common in most failures:

 

  1. Incorrect assumptions
  2. Impatience with planning
  3. Poor follow-through
  4. Communication break-down
  5. Just plain laziness

It is a frustrating and demoralizing moment when you realize that you have run into a brick wall – a wall you placed there.

 

So how to avoid it? Get help. Have someone look over your shoulder. They can often  provide you feedback and point out your oversights.

Positive Employee Turnover Because of Great Leadership

Postive Team Turnover

By | Accountability, Hiring, Leadership, Motivation | No Comments

Positive Employee Turnover Because of Great LeadershipI’ve talked quite a bit over the last few weeks about how bad hires happen and how to avoid them. I’ve also discussed what to do when you have a rotten employee.

 

However, not all turnover is bad turnover. Here are some positive turnover situations:

 

  • Self Promotion – What a great moment for a leader when he sees that a team member has learned and grown so much, that they are ready to take on a better position outside your organization!
  • Dream Launch – Similar to the self-promotion above, the team member has been building up to launch their own business and wants to continue the business relationship and not as a competitor.
  • Promotion Within – A team member is ready to take on a leadership role within your organization.
  • Life – Sometimes an employee leaves us because their life changes: a family move, parenthood, marriage, volunteer work, etc.

The challenge is to celebrate with them and don’t rain on their parade because you are inconvenienced by their growth. Unless their departure requires an immediate change, a team member leaving your ranks is glad to help you select and train their replacement.

 

The hardest part, though, is setting the expectations for the new team member coming in. Most frequently, the new hire will need some time to get ramped up – especially if the person leaving had been there for a few years. Give them the necessary training and a step-by-step expectation to get up to speed.

 

Happy Hiring!

no-silver-bullet

No Silver Bullets

By | Accountability, Follow-through, Motivation, Strategic Planning | No Comments

no silver bulletThere is something in the business building and advising industry that many coaches, consultants, and gurus know. It’s a dirty little secret that keeps many clients and “followers” constantly on the hook for more.

 

I have been victim to it and I am sure some of you have, too. It’s all because of one tendency many of us have. We all tend to seek education  – expanding our knowledge of the world or techniques that will move us forward.

 

Education and developing your abilities is great and very important. However, few actually implement. Of those that implement, fewer implement well.

 

Here are the biggest trip-ups I see and what business leaders tell themselves:

  • Silver Bullet“There has to be a secret out there. If I can find the one trick that is going to transform my business, my life will improve dramatically.”
  • Strategy of the Week“Hey! There’s something I haven’t tried yet. I think I will give it a shot. All the other things I have going on can wait.”
  • Failure to Launch“I want it to be just right before I put it out there.”
  • Overwhelm“I have so many ideas, I can’t seem to decide which one to do.”

 

Now since I have diagnosed the problem, here are the remedies:

  • No Silver Bullets – There are as many paths to success as there are definitions of success. The key is measured implementation of one sound strategy.
  • Follow Through – Constantly changing tactics and strategies is going to get us no where but with a shop full of half-completed projects. Pick one and stick with it until it is operating on auto-pilot
  • Just Put It Out There – A friend of mine told me recently that “version one is better than version none.
  • Get Organized – Most people who talk about having too many ideas never write them down and therefore cannot prioritize them. Keep a notebook of ideas handy and write down anything you come up with. When putting together an annual plan, prioritize them and pick only the ones you can implement well.

 

Much of my time as a coach is not spent in education (though there is some of that). Most of what I do is help people get past the challenges they face above. You know what should be done, they have tons of ideas. But you have not figured out how to implement well.

 

Sometimes it’s just about picking something and implementing and re-implementing until it works.

 

Manage your stress with personal systems

Stress

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

And

  • 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!

Hope

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?

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.

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?

stirthepot

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.