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Leading a team through change is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Even though the team knows that change needs to happen, they will resist it the most. Here is where you will begin to make some of the most difficult decisions in your business.

Manage Change

By | Leadership, Operations | No Comments

Leading a team through change is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Even though the team knows that change needs to happen, they will resist it the most. Here is where you will begin to make some of the most difficult decisions in your business. Leading a team through change is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Even though the team knows that change needs to happen, they will resist it tooth and nail. This is where you will begin to make some of the most difficult decisions in your business.

As a leader you will need a large dose of humility. It can be a blow to your ego to know that some of your pet projects are not only superfluous, but detracting from your continued growth. Reevaluate what is most important to the business. You’d be surprised at what will really makes your business successful. Be ready to let go of your own thoughts and ideas about how things should work.

Getting an outsider’s professional view might be necessary. You can be so close to the problem that you can’t see the solution. Depending on your team and the culture you’ve created, they may not be able to see it or feel uncomfortable cluing you in. If you haven’t already, identify a consultant, coach, mastermind group, or all of the above that you will use.

Note that by implementing these changes you will purposely take your team from the Norming stage back to the Storming stage as they try to hash out their new roles and how they will work together. This will create conflict – which will be good. But knowing how to manage your team through the conflict and avoiding complete nuclear warfare will be your challenge. 

Know also that there will be people that need to leave the team. Be comfortable with that. Their departure does not mean that they are a bad person (though some might be) or that you are a bad leader. Sometimes people refuse to grow with the company. It’s OK. But if they cannot grow with you, then it’s time for them to find a place where they will be happier.

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Hiring the right person is only the beggining. You have to give them the right tools and train them to your standards.

Getting the New Guy Started

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

Hiring the right person is only the beggining. You have to give them the right tools and train them to your standards.When I first started managing and supervising others, I thought it was about giving the person the tools, telling them what I needed done and letting them loose to carry it out.

You’re probably chuckling to yourself because you thought the same thing in the beginning.

You and I have both realized that there’s a lot more to it than expecting them to “just do their job.” There has to be accountability and frequent check-ins to make sure the project is on time, on task, and exceeds the quality your customer expects.

Every employee needs to be provided the tools to succeed and the accountability that motivates them forward. Great training does both.

I’ll bet you teach them how, let them do it a few times and then walk away. How many times have you done that and then come back to a disaster after they found an “easier way?” You didn’t hold them accountable and instill that they did it your way.

So let’s put together a training program that gives them the tools and accountability they need to be succesful.

Here is how:

  1. Using your interview question, create a list of core skills that the worker must have to be successful.
  2. Now map out how quickly you want them to show expertise in these skills. Using time frames like 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months and a year work pretty well.
  3. For each skill, create a measurement that the person must meet to show their expertise. Usually this includes quality and timeliness parameters.

Just making the checklist won’t work. You have to use it for every new hire – regardless of their credentials or experience. When the journeyman with 25 years of experience rolls his eyes at it, you continue to press him to sign off the expertise. It communicates very clearly that you have areas you will not compromise on. It also tells the old-timers that it does not matter how it was done someplace else – it’s done your way and to your standards. If they want to improve the process, then they need to first do it your way. They can propose their way after they have signed off on yours.

I use this competency punch-list in the interviews. Revisit it occasionally with the guys who have been with you for a while. You would be surprised at how quality and timeliness improve by using training this way.
is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Choosing an employee requires a strategy and more than just finding someone to fog a mirror. I can provide the business coaching you need to make that happen.

Hired!

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

Choosing an employee requires a strategy and more than just finding someone to fog a mirror. I can provide the business coaching you need to make that happen.There just aren’t as many skilled and experienced employees in the market as there once were!

When the economy tanked in 2008 – especially for the housing and building industries – many skilled workers went back to school or found a job in a different industry. Those that did stay in the game are now demanding more cash and can be hired away at the drop of a hat for a little more an hour.

Hiring young workers and training them seems more frustrating than losing your quality employees.  The basic skills taught a few decades ago are not being taught so readily to the new generation. How to drive a straight nail even seems foreign to many workers entering the market.

This has created a huge gap in many industries. Not enough experience to hold the quality end up, higher labor costs, and little new talent coming through the door.

Time for a “Hiring Strategy.”

It feels like more work than it’s worth, but if you can create an incredible strategy for finding, hiring and training excellent people you will save yourself weeks and months of lost productivity and revenue.

Actually, a hiring strategy is not very different than a marketing strategy. It boils down to several questions you need to be asking that you probably are not:

What are the key, measured results that I want from every worker?

  • Besides experience, what are the key values my ideal worker will bring to the table?
  • What can we teach and – more importantly – what can we not teach?
  • What can we do to make the hiring process more detailed instead of just hiring the guy that can fog a mirror?

Hiring for experience is good, but hiring a team member who has a great work ethic, a desire to learn and a drive to succeed will be a better employee every time. Some of the best people I have ever hired had zero experience. Why? Because they had a drive to succeed. Granted, certain positions require specific qualifications. I won’t hire a doctor without a degree or license to practice but a great attitude. However, once the minimum qualifications for a position are met, the rest can be taught.

A mistake I often see in hiring is not doing your due diligence in the process. Put your people through the ringer. Do multiple interviews, perform a “working interview” by requiring them  to “ride along” for a day. I even suggest that you know their spouse or someone important in their life. You don’t want the employee who has a crazy person at home draining the energy they should put into their work.  And of course, check references, review backgrounds, and have drug tests performed.

Ultimately, you have to have a process for hiring. Just like your sales process, framing a door, booking a patient, or wiring a house. There are certain principles to use and can be adjusted for the job you need done. But when you start short-cutting the process, you start short-cutting your results.
is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.

Product Before Marketing

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Operations, Systems | No Comments

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.Time to stop worrying about “satisfied customers:” customers that will pay for what you give them and be content with the transaction. If you are in a market where there is good demand and little competition, that’s all you need. However, add a couple competitors and your service becomes a commodity as customers feel they can get a “better deal.”

To avoid the race to the bottom, you have to create what Ken Blanchard calls “Raving Fans.”

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.

What additional “wow” are you giving your customer? If you’re a barber, give every client a beer. If you clean houses – leave a $2 flower in a vase with your logo. Realtors can have the clients’ favorite coffee or treat in the car before looking at their list of houses. The most simple way to keep a customer coming back is to treat them as an individual.

While you’re creating your amazing experience, also look at the things customers hate about your service or industry. I hate going to the cheap, quick, drive-up oil change businesses – sitting in a dirty waiting room with uninteresting and out-of-date magazines. Why not be able to listen to my radio and read my favorite newspaper, magazine or open my tablet and get some work done? That is exactly what one particular oil service does with their oil change service. Even though the service is more expensive than the other places – every dock is full when I pull up! I know I will get someone in their flat cap (once it was a woman) and an offer of my favorite newspaper or magazine to read. I don’t even have to leave the car. By the way, the newspaper is for sale if I want to take it with me – they will just add it to the bill.

Many of my clients fist come to me asking for marketing. They don’t realize that they don’t need more promotion. The reason they don’t have enough customers is because their business is a revolving door. Their customers leave as quickly as they come in. With a little effort, they could simply close the back door and keep the customers they worked so hard for in the first place!

You can get more ways to develop word of mouth by downloading the free ebook “3 Easy Ways to Get More Referrals” on the left-hand side of this page.
is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Do It, Delegate It, or Dump It

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

Few things in life are equal to the joy of a job well done.

But for most business leaders, we feel the job is never “done”.

One day I was sitting at the table with my family. Sarah (my lovely and patient wife) was telling me about her day. Suddenly she says:

“Care to join us?”

I had drifted away from my family to think about the concerns I had at the office. I was steeling time from my family. This was not a one-time occurrence.

It was then that I decided I had to change a few things.

I started re-evaluating what I was doing and decided that I needed to train my staff better. It was relieving to discover how effective I could be – and I wasn’t overwhelmed.

Many of us as business leaders assume too much accountability. I’m not saying responsibility because we are always responsible for what occurs under our leadership. I’m saying that we do not share accountability with our team – or we fail to make a team that we hold accountable. By delegating and holding our team accountable, we can move the business forward without getting bogged down.

I often talk about the business leader who is still “swinging the hammer.” Instead of running a business, he has positioned himself to be the business. He has not developed a team that will allow him to delegate and leave him with the most important tasks – developing the business.

Even if you are a “one-man-army” there are ways to delegate and develop a team. There are great resources of bookkeeping/accounting, webdesign, setting appointments and even answering your phone. You can out-source these locally or use services like odesk.com, elance.com and Fiverr.com.

Remember you don’t have to go it alone. Do it, delegate it, or dump it.

 

 

Stop satisfying customers. Amaze them

Amazed

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Operations | No Comments


Quickly write down how you are different from your competitors. (Don’t cheat by looking ahead)

Did you use any of the following three words?

  • Quality
  • Service
  • Cost

Most businesses say something like “we provide the best quality with great service at the best price.” They don’t have any other way to explain it.

If that is what everyone is telling their Stop satisfying customers. Amaze themcustomer, the only way a customer has to define the difference is the cost. When you are defined by cost, you become a commodity and are now involved in “Price Limbo Competition” – how low can you go? The business that wins the race to the bottom of the price race is the biggest loser.

So – what is the #1 way to differentiate yourself?

Here it is. It’s simple. It will require more work on your part.

 

Create an amazing experience.

 

Forget quality.

Forget service.

Forget price.

I am not telling you to give crappy quality or service.  What I am saying is that you SHOW quality and service through an enhanced experience for your customers.

The first step is to remove what frustrates your clients. One of my favorite examples of eliminating frustrations is Oil Can Henry’s. They have eliminated the dullness from getting an oil change. You stay in your car and enjoy the most current periodical of your choice (which is available for you to buy and take with you.) No need to sit in a dingy and cluttered 10X10 room with outdated magazines that don’t interest you anyway, cold coffee, or another re-run of Jerry Springer on a TV that doesn’t change channels.

What is the biggest discomfort you can eliminate from your service?

For two more ways to create a great experience – check out FREE eBook, “3 Easy Ways to Get More Referrals,” on the right-hand side of this page.

What do you plan to change for more referrals?

Word of mouth marketing lining people out the door

Referrals and Word-of-Mouth

By | Marketing, Operations, Systems | No Comments

Great word of mouth marketing gets them lining up out the door.There is a GREAT taco place just around the corner from my office. The good news is they have some incredible food, great service and not too expensive. The bad news is that they are so easily accessible, that I eat there too often; and even though they are delicious, it’s not the best choice for my weight management.

There is something else about this place: lunch has a line out the door every day, rain or shine.

They do not have a website and I have never seen any advertising. The only advertising I have seen is their Facebook site. So how do they do it?

They have a simple recipe:

A Great Experience: Going to this taco place is more than just getting great tasting food. The décor, environment, the people, even the selection of drinks (home made horchata or Jarritos sodas) and sides give their customers a feeling of stepping into a Latin-American taqueria. It’s more than the food – it’s an experience that gives you a mini-vacation.

Consistency: I know exactly what I am getting when I get my favorite dish. It doesn’t matter who is at the register or who is cooking that day. I always get what I want.

Encouraging Word of Mouth: They are involved in their community. I frequently see posting about activities in their church and charity events they are supporting. They are also located close to the largest employer in the area – allowing employees to easily walk to their mini south-of-the-border vacation.

The most important marketing you can do is to keep your customers coming back. Give them more reasons to come back to see you and bring their friends– besides price.

 

If you are interested in creating an incredible experience that keeps them coming back, let’s talk.

delegate

Don’t Abdicate

By | Accountability, Hiring, Leadership, Leverage, Operations, Systems | No Comments

Ever delegate something only to discover it never gets done? How long did it take to discover that the task was not completed? Was it because the person failed or because you did not create a way to follow-up and make sure it was done?

As a leader you have a tendency to delegate it and forget it, without responsibility or follow-up. Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth, calls this abdication. It’s a roll of the dice if it gets completed.

Delegate, Don't abdicate wither it wont get done, or it wont get done right.Some of the first things you’ll want to delegate as a leader are the things you don’t like to do or that you don’t do well. Because you don’t like the task or don’t know how to complete it ourselves, you hope that the task gets completed without your involvement.

This is why a system of follow-up and accountability becomes essential to leading your team. You’ve heard “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” – if you are not measuring the progress of your delegated tasks, you are sure to be blind-sided by the fact that it was never completed.

If you are ready to start delegating and having the task done right and on time? Get on the call here.


Getting It Done

By | Hiring, Leadership, Leverage, life style, Operations, Stress Management, Systems | No Comments

If you were to watch my 10-year-old son eat, you would think we only fed him a few times a week. He often acts like he is starving to death. He will sometimes shove so much food in his mouth, he can’t completely close it. He is in such a hurry to eat he makes a mess of his clothes and the table, chokes, and actually takes longer to eat.

As entrepreneurs, we tend to do the same thing with our to-do lists and the commitments that we make to customers, suppliers, our families and to ourselves. We take on so much, we end up making a huge mess, burn ourselves out and take longer to get the list done.

However, much of this “over-stuffed to-do list” is born out of necessity. In order to stay competitive and fulfill expectations, we commit to early mornings, late nights, skipped meals and then neglect our personal well-being and relationships.

Eventually we have to get it done, and getting it done requires time. I see many of my clients suffer from the over-commitment dilemma. There is one solution, however, that is the most over-looked: Delegation.

The problem that most entrepreneurs have with delegation is that they wait too long before they begin thinking about it – and when they do, they do not have the right people or systems in place to ensure that the job is done as well or better than the leader herself would have done. The result is that it just seems easier for you to do it yourself – creating the vicious cycle of overwhelm to start again.

Break the cycle:

The first step is to create a list of everything you are currently doing yourself. Next, sort this list into three categories: outsource, hire, and keep.

The question now becomes what can you afford, both emotionally and financially, to remove from your list and forever place them on the “outsource” and “hire” lists?

Ask yourself this question: What will allow you to increase your cash flow the most?

Is it someone to do the technical work that will allow you to do more bids? Is it sales that will allow you to do more of the technical work that can only be done with a license or specialized training? Or is it the office work like bookkeeping, data entry or answering the phone that will allow you to generate more sales?

Get off the overwhelm cycle here:

 

Job Training

Teaching Systems

By | Accountability, Leadership, Operations, Systems | No Comments

One of my first potential clients several years ago mentioned that she and her husband were considering hiring an employee and might need me. I had a hard time getting in touch with them for a month. When I finally had a chance to speak with her, she let me know they had already hired someone and fired them. “I’m never hiring anyone again,” she informed me.

 

Job TrainingAs I dug deeper, I discovered a few key elements that she missed in the hiring and training process. She told me that this employee had mishandled invoicing and collecting payment (in a rather suspicious nature), was chronically late for service calls and didn’t follow through well with clean-up and other key follow-through items.

 

I know I beat this drum often. Without a doubt, it boiled down to systems and the system to train a new employee to follow the systems.

 

  1. The business owner had not verified the quality of the employee’s work. The work they were performing was very technical. Because the employee had several years of experience in the field, the owner had assumed the employee would do well. A ride-along in the interview process and an expectation for the new employee to shadow in the beginning would have saved them time and money.
  2. They did not develop a clear system that created double-checks and accountability in how invoicing and payments were to be handled. They expected the employee to get them the payments “when he could” since he would sometimes be on a service call until late into the evening. There were too many opportunities to lose payments or simply “borrow” some of it for a beer on his way home.
  3. The owner had not developed any level of clear “service standard.” When an employee has not been given clear expectations and no process to be held accountable to them, they create their own standards.  

 

In order to create an incredible experience for your customers, consistency in your systems coupled with a system for training and a system of accountability will create an incredible operation and value for your customers. Ultimately this creates value for you when its time to leverage and sell your business.