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Olympic athletes at the US Olympic Training Center have the opportunity to utilize a sports psychologist to help them bring home a gold medal.  A couple of weeks ago I was able to spend time with one of center’s psychologist to learn more about what creates the difference between an Olympic medal  winner and one that wins no medal. What I learned is that 50% or more of the reason athletes lose is due to their mental state.  Some of the things that get in their way are:  fear, self-doubt, personal beliefs, negative thoughts, lack of focus, and the most surprising thing is a lack of hydration.  A lack of hydration (water!!) reduces metal focus, and a reduced mental focus creates self-doubt, fear etc.  Therefore a lack of hydration can be the difference between winning and losing.  That is an easy thing (one would think) to control, but it is a common cause for losing.

This concept is just as true for the business owner as it is for the well trained athlete.  It does start with the assumption that you are good at your sport.  No matter how much focus and hydration I have, I could not win an Olympic Gold Medal at running.  It isn’t my passion, and I am not trained for it.  However, as a business owner and coach, I train on a regular basis for my “sport”.  I can win, I do win, yet all the things that get in the way of a sports athlete can get in the way for every business owner as well.

Question for you:  What is the dialogue in your head right now?  Is it filled with positive, challenging, focused thoughts?  Or is it filled with all the things you do wrong, did wrong, will do wrong, full of self-doubt, fear and lack of focus?

Your business and personal results will be impacted by your self-talk.  Change your self-talk and you will change your results.

If you want some ideas on how to make that happen, send me a note, give me a call.  I look forward to our conversation.

In the past I loved multi-tasking.  The more I had going on at the same time, the happier I was, the more productive I felt , and my satisfaction level was high – because I thought I was getting things done faster and more efficiently.  After leaving corporate employment, I began doing research on the true efficiency of multi-tasking.  Here is what I found out.  I was wrong!  How could that be?  Multi-tasking doesn’t make me more efficient?  Switching between 2 or 3 or 4 things (emailing, while talking on the phone while listening to another conversation) isn’t truly productive?  Delusion – the art of telling ourselves one thing when reality is another was rampant in my life.  I came by it honestly – I truly thought that my multitasking made me and my company more productive.

Here is what research has proven:

  • The mind cannot truly multitask.  What the mind does is actually switch from one area of focus to another – very quickly, but it doesn’t do two things at once.
  • Your productivity, and especially quality, goes down significantly when you multi-task.
  • It takes around 10 minutes for your mind to refocus if you are working on a problem, get interrupted then need to refocus back to the same level of concentration.  No wonder productivity is slipping for many people.

Here is a video I recommend you watch – see how you do on his quiz.  It might just change how you work and increase your productivity!

Myth of Multi-tasking Video

Have you ever wondered what percentage of the wealthy actually wrote out goals, created a plan of action and diligently followed their plan through to completion?

Goals are like a little compass in your mind. They keep you going the right direction. Once your brain knows where it’s going, it has a better chance of actually getting you to your destination. But not just any goals will work; you need SMART Goals.

SMART Goals are:

  • Specific
  • Attainable
  • Measurable
  • Time-based

Specific: Saying that you want to increase revenue in your business is an ambiguous goal, but it’s not a specific one.  A specific goal is one that states you want to increase revenue by five percent this fiscal quarter by engaging in newspaper advertising.

Attainable: An attainable goal is something you can actually achieve; it is within your ability to accomplish within the time you allotted and within the framework specified. It’s a goal that won’t make you work eighteen hours a day, but it will be a challenge to reach.

Measurable: A measurable goal is one that is clearly visible; you know what you need to do and how to evaluate if you accomplished your mission or not.  More importantly, your clients will also see or experience the benefit of you reaching your goal. Customers know when you’ve worked to improve your business and it often creates sense of loyalty within them.

Time-based: You need to accomplish your goal in a reasonable amount of time. For example, it shouldn’t take six months to add a phone line. If it does, you are either procrastinating or you need to find a new phone company!  Establish when you want the goal completed and state a date or that you want it done tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

When making plans, set goals using the SMART Goal system. Where do you see your business in 90 days? How about six months? Six years? Do you see yourself twice as big, or do you see yourself as twice as small? What goals need to be established to reach your business plans?

Why is it important to make goals? Why does this matter? Why go “goals digging”? An MBA survey a group of students compared their wealth over a span of 25 years. Of the students participating in the survey, 70% had no goals at all, 27% had verbal goals, and 3% had written goals. The last 3% had 98% of the wealth of the group. Now the question is, “When are you going to start planning out your own goals? Will you start today?”

Have you ever watched a three-year-old play?  They have no fear.  They will jump on a bed until they fall off, throw rocks until they hit an object, and have an imaginary tea party with Mr. Potato Head and call him a princess.  Where along the way to adulthood do we lose this wonderful lack of fear? 

Developmentalist will tell you it happens as children experiment and are told by others that it isn’t right, good enough, or to do “it” exactly the way the grownup wants it to be done.  This usually takes place between the ages of four and five.  But ah the three-year-old, no fear here, and if you try to tell them how to do it, they just ignore you and go about doing it their own way. 

Are there lessons we could learn from the three-year-old?  Let’s explore a few traits of a toddler:

  1. Taking risks, like jumping on a bed until you fall off, is dangerous.  But taking risks within defined boundaries or perimeters is healthy and vital for a growing business. 
  2. Throwing rocks without care will almost always end in a disaster.  However, having a target you are aiming at, a goal that is well thought through and executed makes a huge difference in a leader that succeeds and those that don’t.
  3. You may not have tea parties with Mr. Potato Head any longer, but using visualization to dream and envision the future of your business can be extremely beneficial.

Maybe we need to bring the inner three-year-old out of us a bit more.  Take a few more risks and dream a few more dreams.  

The dictionary defines Empower as a verb and meaning to delegate power or authority to authorize or to enable or permit.  Interestingly the word has become a contemporary buzzword. Yet the word empower is not new, having arisen in the mid-17th century with the legalistic meaning "to invest with authority, authorize." Shortly thereafter it began to be used with an infinitive in a more general way meaning "to enable or permit.

Being empowered provides people with a great deal of ownership, authority, and responsibility.  Yet, often people are empowered to make changes yet, don’t take advantage of that responsibility and loose the opportunity being presented to them.

Being empowered really has two aspects.  One is being empowered – someone else provides you with the power.  The second is where I believe many are missing the point.  That is empowering themselves and making things happen.  We have the power within ourselves to do far more than we think we can.  What stands in our way are often false walls and obstacles that we believe stand in our way.

For example, one of my clients wanted and needed to hire someone else in her department.  She continued to work long hours and cover for the shortage of staff and never considered that she had the power to actually make a hire.  Now she needed to do the homework, show the need, lay out the responsibilities of this new hire and present it to the President. She never believed she could even ask for the new hire.  Our conversation really took her back to why did she not believe she had the power to even ask.  The answer was – the president knew of the shortage of staff and if he wanted to hire someone it should come from him.  Wrong.  Our conversation essentially empowered her to make the case.  End result was she not only got one person, she got two. 

Another example is a friend of mine was talking about writing a cook book, since she is a wonderful chef.  In asking why she had never written it, she stated she didn’t know how to get it published.  My response was, just write it, I will help you get it published.  She had been empowered all the time to make something happen, but had let a false wall and obstacle stand in her way.  I removed that wall, but it is something she could have done.  Now the question is whether she will really make it happen or if the not knowing how to publish was just an excuse.  That is an entirely different discussion.

My challenge to you is how are you pushing away the empowerment you have been given.  Stop letting things stand in your way.  Empower yourself and make things happen.

I just returned from a refreshing five day journey visiting colleges in California.  It was refreshing in multiple ways.  One was the weather, (Colorado was being hammered by snow), but more importantly was actually seeing an excitement for learning on each campus.  Hearing a student talk about how much they have learned, how excited they are to learn, and how they want to continue their education was inspiring.

Why so inspiring?  We all need to continue to have a desire for learning long after we have gotten out of school.  How about you? Do you continue to have an excitement to learn new things?  Do you acknowledge that you don’t know everything and embrace the journey to learn more?  The continued hunger for learning new things will enlarge who we are and what we will become, and needs to be central part of our daily lives.

Some people still have that yearn to learn.  Some never acquired the desire to learn and some hung up the learning hat the day they graduated from school, whether that was high school, college, or graduate school.  They felt they were done!  We have all had a sense of that feeling.  YES – no more classes, papers to write, or professors to please.

My challenge to you today is to develop a continuing education plan.  What do you want to learn in this next week, next month, next year and next 30 years?  I often speak of setting goals for your business and your personal life.  Now I challenge you to set learning goals as well.  

If you want some ideas of good books to read, then send me an email.  I will help you create a learning plan to last a lifetime.

An executive I was coaching was in a high pressure job.  She had people, email, phones and work all demanding her attention on a regular basis.  Her interrupt factor was extremely high, but since she worked in the contract department of her company, her ability to focus on the details was critical.  We first met in a group setting where the topic was time management and how to get more accomplished in the time available, without working an 18 hour day.  That wasn’t my title, but it is what she was looking for.

Our discussion came to the concept of being able to close the door of her office, turn off email, phones and focus on doing one thing without interruption for an hour.  She erupted.  “That isn’t possible with my job.  People stand at my door waiting for answers, the phone is constantly ringing.  That won’t work!”  I paused, allowed her to finish and asked her a question:  So what is happening right now while you are in this workshop – (which happened to be a 5 hour workshop)?  She was silent for a moment and then stated, “Well things are piling up while I am in here.” My challenge to her was to just try it – if it didn’t work, she could go back to how she was handling things now.  I chose not to challenge her further in front of her peers at that time and we moved on to another topic.

Since I was coaching her individually, the following week during our conversation she started off with an apology for coming on so strong to me during the meeting.  Also, she had tried my suggestion.  The previous day she had communicated to her team that she had some stuff to complete.  She was going to close her door, put a sign on it stating do not disturb, closed email and also put her phone on do not disturb.  In that hour she accomplished more than she had in the previous 3 days and was sold on the value.

The January issue of Success Magazine (which I highly recommend you subscribe to) had an interview with Mike Vardy.  He has done a number of studies that indicate the average executive/business owner focuses on one thing for no more than 11 minutes.  For every interruption they get, it takes about 25 minutes to recover where they were and start making progress.

The concept of multi-tasking is killing our productivity.  It has been proven that our mind cannot multi-task. It actually switches gears from one topic to another, but doesn’t multi-task.  We have all been in situations where we have been concentrating to get something accomplished, been interrupted and then either had to start over our thought process, or really wondered where we were and never get back to that same state.

Mike Vardy also stated in his research that multi-tasking actually diminishes our IQ by 10 points.  Even smoking pot only diminishes our IQ by 5 points.  Chew on that concept for a while!

Yes, there are situations in jobs that require us to juggle a number of things at one time.  If that is your job then great, enjoy!  I use to be called the “queen of multi-tasking”.  I could be processing multiple things at one time fairly well and keep all the balls up in the air.  However, when I needed to focus, complete a project, plan for a conference, review a sales proposal, that was all I did.  The door was closed, email ignored, phones on do not disturb because I knew that missing one small item could be the difference between success and failure.  I also had the benefit of being able to work from home a couple days per week and I scheduled my focus times for those days.

This is essentially about self-management.  Who is running your day, you or others? Do you determine your action items for the day the day before?  If not, then consider planning tomorrow today, next week this week, next month this month.  Make sure you leave time to plan.  Without planning you leave yourself and your life in a reactive vs. proactive mode.  You wonder why things happen to you, why you need to work late, why it is taking longer than you anticipated.  Most of these reactions are due to lack of planning.

So, have you decided if you can manage time?  I often ask this in my workshops and get a mixed reaction of yes and no.  Reality is no, you can’t manage time.  Time moves on no matter what we do.  What we can do is manage ourselves.  Self-management is the most critical aspect.  Like eating frogs – figure out what you are avoiding, do it first get it done.  Plan your day.  You say it doesn’t work, then step back and take a hard look as to why.  You are in a situation with a high interrupt factor, then plan for it.  Get in early and get those projects done before everyone else arrives.  Put on your calendar time to complete your action list for the day.  If you haven’t planned for when the action items will get accomplished you have a much lower chance at getting things done.

 

Leader vs. Manager – Which are YOU?  There are many articles and books written
about both topics.  They focus on how to improve and become the best.  Improving
those skills are at the foundation of becoming a better leader and manager.  Before you begin that journey you must really start at the foundation of the leader and that is YOU.   It is very much like a building, if it doesn’t have a strong foundation – one made of rock and not sand, the building will fail at the first sign of a storm.
If the building isn’t square all other parts of the construction are
harder, and creates more work for those trying to build the remaining
building.  I could even start at the design of the building.  The design needs
to be well thought out, well planned, and then well executed.

If this is true of leadership – which I believe it is, then why do we spend so little time on our own personal growth plan?  John Maxwell highlighted a number of these points in a recent leadership certification program in Florida by introducing
the 15 Laws of Personal Growth.

Let me ask you, if you aren’t growing as an individual will your organization grow?  The first law of Leadership is the law of the lid. Your organization won’t grow past your level of leadership.  I recommend one earlier step – and that is a
personal leadership and growth plan.  One of the first laws of Personal Growth is the law of intentionality.  We must have a plan.  Growth doesn’t happen accidentally.  You must add value to yourself.  After all if you don’t add value to yourself then why should others follow you to the next level?  Here are questions for you to consider:

  1. Do you have a plan which involves getting out of
    your comfort zone?
  2. Do you have a regular plan of learning (books,
    seminars, DVD’s)?
  3. Who are you associating with – do you need new
    friends?
  4. What are your interests?
  5. What physical activity do you include to keep
    yourself physically fit?

The second law is the law of awareness.  Do you know yourself?  What are your gifts and strengths?  Are you capitalizing on those strengths?  Is building on those strengths in your law of intentionality?   This truly takes time.  It is difficult to look internally.  It isn’t always a pretty picture and one that many don’t want to face.

What are you running from?

The Law of Consistency is the difference between motivation and discipline.

  • Motivation is easy to generate.
  • Motivation gets you going.

However, what happens when the road gets rough, the rocks get bigger, and fatigue sets in?  That’s where discipline steps in. Without discipline, motivation is useless.

  • Consistency becomes a differentiator between winners and those who don’t reach their goal.
  • Discipline is the bridge that gets you over the hump to where you want to be.

The Law of the Environment is where your growth happens.

  • Growth happens best in conducive surroundings.
  • If your surroundings are holding you back, then change them.

It can be as simple as rearranging the furniture or as complex as moving your office. If you live in confusion and chaos then make the changes necessary.  If lack of organization keeps you from moving forward then get help to get organized.  Learn new skills to make the change.

Personal development cannot be in a small-minded environment.  You need to think big and dream big.  Our society creates more negative than positive messages on a daily basis.  The news, the economy, and often our friends and family, will tell us all the reasons we can’t succeed but not the reasons we can succeed.  It is up to you to find fresh thinking, find new things, and create your new environment.

The seventh law is the Law of Design.  To maximize personal growth you must intentionally develop strategies. Think -

  • I intend to grow and I intend to measure my growth.
  • I will build my strengths.
  • I will not focus on my weaknesses.

A focus on weakness will at best make you average unless you want to make it a strength.  Let me give you an example.  If your weakness is public speaking and you want to grow in that area, then go for it.  Get a speaking coach, read books, learn how
to be a good public speaker.  However if you don’t like detail (like accounting) then don’t try to get good at accounting, hire someone else to do it for you.  At best, you might become a mediocre accountant.

This is a continuation of my series on the 15 Laws of Personal Growth

The 8th Law is the Law of Pain – Without the pain there will be no growth.  Just ask anyone who competes in sports, business, and life.  There is an old saying of “no pain, no gain” and it is true.  Good management of bad situations leads to great growth.  When you manage a bad or painful circumstance well, you gain much.  We actually learn far more from the pain than we do pleasure.  We don’t remember the pleasure for nearly as long as we do the pain.  The reason people don’t sustain success is people believe success sustains itself.  That isn’t true, we can stumble upon success, but it won’t continue if don’t learn how to work through the pain, or what might also be called failure.

What isfailure – but pain?  How we react tofailure, how we (to quote an old song) “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again” will be the true measure of our success.  If we back off because of the pain and never push through it, we will never see the reward, the success, and learn from the pain.

I have found when I am the most frustrated, in the most pain, and at the end of my rope is when I am most able to succeed.  I am more open to learning and more ready for the end goal.  Actually, putting myself in the situation where failure is not an option, no matter what the pain ensures my success.

Many of you know I like to climb 14’rs and we have many of them in Colorado.  On the way up the mountain, there are many times it would be easiest to just turn around and go home.  Yet, turning around isn’t an option (unless health and safety are at issue).

Turning around because I am tired (and trust me I am), or it is hard (yes it is hard) or any other reason is just not on the menu of options.  By pushing through the pain, through the hurt ad making it to the top – I am able to experience the success (and the view) and it is so worth the pain.  Every time I grow, apply, learn, and continue on the journey – how about you?

This is a continuation of my blog series on Personal Leadership

The 9th Law is the Law of the Ladder.  This ties to John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid.  Your organization can only grow to where you are in leadership.  If you have a cap on your leadership then your business growth will reflect that cap.  The same is true personally.  Character growth determines the height of our personal growth.  We all must have a solid foundation.  Just like my house, if the foundation isn’t built on solid rock, level, and firm, then the house will sway with the wind, storms, and weather.  We are the same way.  If your character isn’t firm, we aren’t firm on our character and values.  Each new idea, situation, and opportunity will cause the ladder of our life to sway and sometimes fall.  I often see this in business.  Owners have a firm course of action until something comes along that is a new bright shinny object.  Their focus, thoughts, and activity follow this new shinny object.  Then we wonder why the results desired aren’t what we wanted, we aren’t getting ahead, and the profits we depended on are negative and not positive.

What is your character?  What are your values?  I look at these as nonnegotiable.  These are the items that if you had to compromise, a piece of you would die.  A value to me is my spiritual compass and guide to a fulfilled and meaningful life.

My values are:

Relationships:  With God, Family and Friends and clients

Freedom:  One reason I own my own business, desire to have control, ability to travel

Congruent:  Being true to my word

Mental Growth:  Desire to learn

Health:  Desire to not be dependent on others as I age

Financial Independence:  Desire to not be in debt, not rely on others for financial matters

Structure:  Desire to have things in their place and be clean

Challenging:  Never wanting to be bored, always ready to step out of my comfort zone, ready to do new things

So what are yours?

Rubber Bands and Leadership

Law 10 is the Law of the Rubber Band – The only time a rubber band is worth anything is when it has tension. The value is the stretch. Yet if we lose the tension of growth, we lose. No great discovery of life was found by a satisfied person. Be grateful for the tension in your life, it shows you are alive. Where do you want to be? What tension are you creating to help you be there? Then what is the next level you strive for.

I lived in Massachusetts for 30 years. The last few years were all about determining where we would get to live. See we were making a choice to move, making a choice to get out of our comfort zone. We spent time researching, learning, visiting and making a decision. It was fun, it was challenging, it was scary. We were leaving where we had lived for a long time, going to a place where we knew no one, we had never lived, and jobs were unknown. We did it, survived, loved it and have always been thankful we made the change. Yet, the challenge really came after the move, there was a time of restlessness – especially for me. What was the new challenge, what was next on the horizon? I needed a new tension. My rubber band was all out of tension. I wasn’t growing, stretching and pursing a new goal. That had to change – which it did – it was called opening my own business.

What I learned was – never complete the stretch without choosing the new stretch, the new place to go and grow. When there is no tension you are under the ground – and I am not ready for that!

Last week we highlighted the challenges of marketing.  Marketing without sales is a waste of time and money.  Yet, as a business coach, that is what I see continually in businesses I meet.  The marketing team (even if it is a team of 1) does the marketing activities: advertising, networking, strategic alliances etc.   Yet, when the phone rings does the sales team know how to close the sale?  Statistic indicate that almost 70% of sales are not closed due to the sales person never asking for the sale.  If you don’t ask for the sale, you probably won’t get it.  The sales team needs training.  I have joked that the sales team needs WEEKLY training, only to have sales people agree with me.  It isn’t a joke, train your sales team, train them well and train them often!

Who is your sales team?  My answer – every employee in the company?  Who needs sales training – every employee.  Who is the core sales team?  The team of people who regularly talk, meet with customers and prospects.  That includes receptionists, customer service, Presidents, management etc.  All it takes is one word to make the difference in a sale.

What do you train the sales team on?

  1. Conversion rate – The phone rings – a prospect – everyone is excited (or at least they should be).  How do you talk to them?  What questions do you ask PRIOR to your answering their question?  As prospects very few of us really know what we want to purchase.  We just think we know.  If you don’t help to educate us – we will then buy on price.
  2. Products – You know your products (or do you).  How do you describe them?  Do you create emotion as you share the value of your product to me?  Do you know how to create emotion for your product?  Does everyone really understand the value of the product?  For 98% of companies I believe the answers to the above questions are no.  Changing those answers will make a difference.
  3. Customer – Do you know what the customer wants?  Not what YOU think they want, but what they truly want?
  4. Competition – Who are your competitors and how are you different?  Why should they buy from you and not them?  If you are more expensive then why, if you are less expensive – then why.  Know your competition – they probably know you.

What is an executive coach and why would I want one?

Advance a career.
Transform a company.
Achieve incredible results.

With Executive Coaching all this is possible. Plus more.

For executives who want to take their career to the next level – certified practicing executive coaching can get you there.

So why executive coaching for your organization?

In business, the only thing that really counts is results. Executive coaching promises to deliver results within a relatively short span of time.

High achievers continually deliver results and they do it by performing at their best each and every day.

In today’s dynamic business world, these high achievers also need the guidance, support and motivation of an executive coach to accomplish this.

Peak performance is based on a few key factors, and no matter what business you may be in, the fact is:

• High performing executives achieve more
• High performing teams deliver more
• High performing companies make more profits and enjoy more market share.

All this is made possible through executive coaching.

How can you leverage your current skills, experience and resources in today’s fast-paced economy? How can you stay competitive in an increasingly competitive business world? How can you remain a top performer in a top performing company?

The answer is simple –by using the services of an executive coach.

So how do I pick one?  How do I know they can really help?

Here are 4 tips for choosing an executive coach:

  1. What is their track record? Who have they helped and what measurable results have occurred due to the coaching.  If there are no measurable results, then find a coach that can provide them.
  2. Do they have a system that will help you get the result YOU want? This about you and your results, not the results the coach wants.  A good coach will coach you to achieving clarity on where you want to go.  They will provide you the education you need, help you implement what you learned and hold you accountable to the results
  3. Do you fit you? Not every coach can results with every person.  Every person has a personality and becomes motivated by different styles.  A good coach will alter their style to fit the individual, yet not all coaches have that gift.  Make sure it is a good fit to what will ensure the right results are achieved.
  4. Do they practice what they preach? Is their business growing? What do their goals look like – are they willing to share them with you? Do they have a coach (if they believe in coaching, yet don’t have a coach how good are they)?  What have they learned in the last month?  What are they reading?  Make sure the answers to these questions and others fit with where you want to go and what you want to accomplish.

If you have any questions – give me a call – I will help you find the right coach for you.

The critical impact of attitude is seen every day in the business world.  What one business owner sees as a disaster, another sees as opportunity, and capitalizes on that opportunity.  Those who have spent their lives in below the line thinking don’t even realize the impact it has not only on them personally, but their families, businesses, customers and potential.  If their team is below the line, where did they learn it from?  Most likely they learned it from the business owner.  An owner who is below the line will hire staff who also first turn to blame, excuses and denial. It is someone else’s fault that the project is delivered late, someone else’s fault that the customer is upset.  To change they will need someone to hold them accountable to point out where they are below the line.

As I work with clients on this concept, the tendency is to swing to a point where issues in the business are not discussed with the excuse (notice the tendency again) that the issue is below the line.  This doesn’t give permission for a business to white wash issues in the business.  What is does change is the ownership and responsibility for changing the issue at hand.  If projects are late, that is a fact.  The question is what must change in the business to ensure projects are not delivered late, that your customers have the experience stated in all the promotional material.

Businesses have lived for years in below the line thinking and attitude.   They stay in business, they grow, they pay the bills and serve customers.    What impact would the business make with an above the line attitude?  Profits would increase.  Less time would be spent on blame and poor productivity.  Productivity would increase with energy due to the positive atmosphere in the business. The examples abound.

Yet, you must be ready to make the change.  Your dissatisfaction with the results, profitability, long work hours, people avoiding you since they dislike being around negative, blaming people, etc., must be at a point where it is higher than your resistance to making the change.  It is easy to live below the line. It may not be fun, but it is easy and there is a great deal of company.  When I ask my clients do they want to be average, the resounding answer is NO.  They want to be above average.  To make that happen, your mindset must change to one of excellence—above the line thinking— and you will be amazed at the results.

Entrepreneurs and setting goals is a popular topic. Dan Sullivan had a perspective worth sharing in the May issue of Success Magazine. The concept is rather than trying to double or 2 times where you are– go for 10 times where you are. “WHAT?” I hear you all scream. “It is hard enough to achieve 2 times where I am, how on earth can I even consider a 10 X goal?” That is exactly the point.

A 2 X goal is really just pushing what you are already planning into the future (assuming you are planning). The ability to achieve the 2 X goal is a probable anyway. There really isn’t rocket science, you know the basics—hard work and you will achieve the 2X goal.

Now for the 10 X goal that starts pushing you out of your comfort zone. I can already feel the squirming. A 10X goal forces you to look at what is really going on in your business. It forces you to look at inefficiencies. It challenges you to think out of the box, to put systems in place to handle 10X, to understand your business, structure your business, and PLAN. You must now think differently, observe differently, plan differently and execute differently. Once you start thinking 10X you will notice opportunities, changes, and perspectives. Then you can start making the changes that are required.

Here are my perspectives and 4 ¾ downsides to this type of thinking:

1. Shooting for 10 X – you might not make it, you might only reach 5X.

2. 10 X thinking creates perspectives on your business and forces planning.

3. You don’t know how to think 10X? What better way to start looking at everything from a different perspective? Read, ask, get advice, reach out to others, be humble. Even if 10X is achieved, I guarantee your 3, 4 and 5X will be more profitable.

4. For 10X I need to look outside the box, and that creates FEAR. False Expectations Appearing Real – so what are your real fears? Figure them out, since they will probably keep you from achieving 2 X. There is no better time than the present.

4 ¾ Reality is I don’t see any downside to 10X type of thinking. The danger really lies in 2X thinking. Thinking too small limits your potential, who you can be, and can lead to my favorite quote: “Hell on earth is seeing the person I could have been!”

Embrace Conflict – it is good for you.

Conflict is part of everyday life. If you have a business, marriage, relationship without conflict then you essentially are an ostrich with your head in the sand, which is the equivalent to being a yes man – which means you agree to things even if you don’t agree to avoid conflict – which is in and of itself conflict. One class I would recommend every business owner take is a mediation or conflict resolution class. There are books on the subject. One is “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” by Roger Fisher. For me it was a hard book to read – but I really enjoyed it on audio. The sooner you learn how to deal with conflict the better off life will be.

One of my clients was engaged at the time. Life was sweet for both of them. They enjoyed being together, they were obviously in love with each other, yet trouble was brewing. Every time he wanted something and she disagreed, she caved in. This was very evident in the business environment. It had been his business; she was new to his business, yet was very accomplished on her own and actually has better business sense than he did. Yet, what happened every time she suggested something and he disagreed, she would back down, both in business and personal. He even stated that he wondered when she was going to stop becoming so agreeable. It will happen and for both of them it will be a time of rude awakening as neither had really learned how to negotiate. They hadn’t learned the art of give and take and how to move both their ideas forward without squelching the spirit of the other person.

Couple of points on conflict resolution:

1. It isn’t always about getting what you want – learn the art of compromise.

2. If it is all about you – then the “we” part of any relationship won’t be long term.

3. Make sure you get the complete picture – stop assuming – remember what assume means. If you don’t know – then break out the word assume into 3 syllables – you get the picture.

4. Life is about negotiating – learn how to do it well, then apply the same art within your business and within your family.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and use the power of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. In essence, it is the ability to effectively manage emotions.

Effectively manage emotions ?!?!?!? For many employees, employers, business owners, families the business is run by emotions. Emotions are a God given gift, yet when those same emotions are used as stick the emotional climate of the workplace deteriorates. For many this essentially becomes workplace bullying. Unfortunately many school yard bullies grow up to be workplace bullies. They have not figured out how to utilize the power of emotions in a positive way. Nor have they learned to walk away from situations which create negative consequences.

The resulting affect to the bottom line profitability is absolutely huge – to a level of billions of dollars wasted each year addressing these issues.

Most of the emotions that cause employee performance and then also business performance is anger and fear. These feelings are intense and impact their ability to think rationally. Here are some impacts to the business from the lack of emotional intelligence in the business:

• Creativity shrinks as panic is the enemy of creativity and learning

• Employee turnover goes up due to unhappy employees

• Business growth potential plummets as people lose the courage to speak up

• Cost of recruiting goes up due to training and retraining of staff

• And the list goes on.

What is your emotional intelligence?

Part 2: Building a high emotional intelligent business is well worth the time and effort.

For a starter Being effective  means:

• Understand when and what to say in certain situations.

• Knowing when to stay quiet (yes this is different than the above item.)

• Having empathy for the situation and/or individuals with whom you are dealing. That also means knowing the definition of empathy – so you can have empathy.

• Knowing and having a plan for WIIFM – what is in it for (me/them)

• Using diplomacy. There is a difference between being direct, diplomatic and being candid. Each of them has their place and time. My perspective:

o Being direct is telling it like it is without beating around the bush. There is no roundabout way it is straight through

o Being diplomatic gets the same point across, but there is a ramp up time, setting the stage, understanding where the other party is coming from BEFORE you deliver your message. Diplomacy is critical, yet sometimes the message gets lost in the process.

o Candid includes a level of openness, sincerity, not rehearsed. The message can be direct, yet it also takes into consideration the message and how it will be received.

Here are some practical tips:

• Ensure your leaders have the right emotional behavior

• Always be training on how to improve. You can’t improve your IQ, but you can improve your Emotional Quotient or EQ – so create a plan.

• Have a culture of continuous improvement and get buy in from everyone – or buy out (i.e., a path for them to leave the organization).

• Celebrate success which is the same for all aspects of the business. Too little is done to celebrate and too much focus is on what wasn’t accomplished. This will affect your EQ.

How does this affect profitability? According to John Maxwell, people leave people not companies. A company full of people with no EQ will be a revolving door. There will be a continual hiring process with no one staying long enough to be really good. Therefore profitability suffers due to lack of continuous improvement. One of my clients has had this issue and we continue to work on the impact the lack of EQ has on the organization. Staff is tired, demoralized and looking for opportunities that value them for their work, value them for what they offer and help them enjoy doing their job. If correcting that issues doesn’t improve profitability then give me a call, that is just the tip of the ice berg.

How well does your business understand EQ?

Being thankful for struggles???

There are so many articles, comments, posts on Thanksgiving that the thought of adding to the list almost stopped me from writing this. Then I stopped and realized all the things I am thankful for. The one you probably don’t expect is at the bottom of the page. Here is my short list:

• My relationship with God. He is the source of my strength, the peace which passes all understanding (especially mine) and my guiding light so I am never in darkness.

• My husband who is patient (you have to be when living with me!!) He teaches me patience and how to serve with a continual good attitude

• My son who is turning out to be a wonderful young man. Full of deep thoughts, challenging the thought processes of others (in a good way). He is articulate and more mature than many adults I know.

• My friends. Where would I be without them? The older I get the more I appreciate the value of true friendship and the loneliness that comes when they aren’t around.

• My family. We don’t choose them, but love them for who they are and what they teach us. Some good, some bad, but they are still family and we are entwined with each other

• My clients. They motivate me, encourage me, and challenge me. I love seeing their growth and I am thankful for the trust they put in me to coach them toward the growth they desire.

• My country. There has been much frustration lately through the election. I am saddened by the division I see and there is much I don’t understand. Yet, we can’t lose sight of what we have in this country. We must fight to preserve what we have and understand how to grow in a new world. I am thankful to be able to live in Colorado Springs.

• My struggles. Bet you didn’t expect that one. Without struggles I would not grow. Without struggles I would not appreciate the good days. I would be uprooted by the smallest issue without the daily challenges that life brings. Struggles/challenges what ever word you want to use become the core of what makes us strong. At each moment I may not appreciate the struggle, yet the refection allows me to learn, apply, grow and become who I am meant to be. Failure isn’t an event it is a process. When we were children and learning to walk we fell countless times, but had the perseverance to try again. We also learned how to fall which built up the strength in our legs and arms so walking would come more naturally. Embrace your struggles, be thankful for them – I am.

I have much to be thankful for and I am thankful. Every day is Thanksgiving Day – let’s start that habit right now.

Control freak is often an apt description of business owners. We like the ability to control our destiny, make our own decisions and see the impact of what we accomplish. The challenge comes with:

• understanding how little control we actually have – just a perceived control,

• learning how to relinquish control i.e. delegate, for the business to grow and

• how to leverage our controlling nature into something successful.

An employee kept watching how the business was being run, the waste that was taking place within the business, how customers were being treated and the lack of profit being generated by the business. These frustrations led to his determination to start his own business. His premise was he would treat employees much better than his current employer, eliminate the waste taking place, treat his customers better and generate more profit. In essence, he wanted control over the areas his current employer struggled. He accomplished those goals. He learned a number of lessons in the process. These were his and others primary drivers for family business ownership (and possibly entrepreneurship in general). The business owner is tired of:

• Following someone else’s lead/orders

• Believes they can serve the customer better

• Has different ideas on how to implement the product or service

• Desires flexibility in their day to day lives and a stronger balance between work and home and

• Can make more money, i.e., profit

The lessons learned are:

• Their new boss (themselves) is not the wonderful bosses they thought they would be and they have a great deal to learn. Looking in the mirror at the new boss isn’t always a pretty sight. It is the age old statement of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

• They can serve the customer better, but it is much harder than they thought and they start to understand their old company better. Customers can and often are demanding. Their interpretation of quality is different than yours. You may see value in something that the customer doesn’t care about.

• They do have different ideas on implementation – some of those ideas work and some don’t

• Flexibility is fantastic – you can work any part of the 24 hours per day that you want. Yes, you do have flexibility to take kids to school, pick them up, go to games etc., but there is a cost and that cost is often working evenings and weekends and other times that you didn’t previously work.

Reality:

What makes great entrepreneurs is the desire for control, but understanding less is more. To have the utmost control, we need to leverage our skills and have others in place to do the work – therefore we stop being the bottleneck to success.

The more we want and think we have control, the less we have. There is always someone else who truly has more control. It might be customers, government, laws, acts of God. It is that desire for control that if not managed well drains the business. Lack of an ability to delegate is the result of the business owners desire to have control. They can do it better than anyone else. We serve the clients better, they know the product better, therefore they don’t delegate. We truly want the control and the ego lift that comes with it. Stop it NOW. Learn to delegate and delegate wisely. More on that topic next week.

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Janna Hoiberg
Telephone : 719-358-6936

620 N. Tejon Street, Suite 202,
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
or
48 Avon Shores,
Moultonborough, NH 03254

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