2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of The Obvious Part 2

  • After a short break, Keith Cunningham continued with many insights born out of a major bankruptcy that occurred in 2001: img_9520-small And then … img_9524-small Of course, he was speaking about ENRON
  • To repeat a BFO from part 1 – Profit is a THEORY / Cash is a FACT img_9529-small
  • If the Wall Street analysts had looked at ENRON’s Cashflow Statements, they would have easily discovered that ENRON was in an unsustainable cash situation. So … img_9530-small
  • Another great Keith quote “The key to getting rich (generating cash) is to make fewer stupid decisions.” Generate, digest and understand your timely financial statements, and scoreboards.  Your financials and scoreboards MUST be relevant, based on a granular chart of accounts and metrics that are reflective of your goals.  If you do this, you will make better decisions.
  • Get the BUSINESS into business!
Next Mr. Cunningham concluded with what I consider to be the most important message of his presentation:
  • An Owner/CEO/Leader has four jobs that CANNOT be delegated:
    1. Getting clarity about the obstacles
      • Identify and understand the obstacles to success, develop a strategy to overcome the obstacles and then build a machine to carry out the strategy / OSM – Obstacle + Strategy + Machine
      • The Machine is A Plan, the People and Execution
      • Be careful to determine the REAL problem
      • Continually ask yourself what can I do today to improve my situation?
      • Often, we don’t have clarity because we don’t ask the RIGHT Questions
        • “Smart people have really good answers, geniuses have really good questions.”
      • Powerful questions: img_9544-small Powerful Growth Questions: img_9546-small
      • To identify the underlying reasons: img_9547-small
    2. Prioritization – Allocation of resources img_9549-small Another great question: img_9550-small
  1. Organizational Chart – Structure and Who
    • Keith said “opportunity without structure is chaos and drama!”
    • One of my coaches says “Abundance cannot exist where there is complexity and/or drama.”
    • Who? img_9552-small and solve problems
  2. Culture
    • Culture, Not Perks
    • Employees are number 1, not customers
    • The source of all value is your Team (your Who) and your Culture img_9555-small img_9557-small img_9557-bottom-small img_9558-small
  • To Summarize – As a CEO/OWNER/LEADER you cannot Delegate: img_9553-small 
The next presenter was Dr. Ivan Misner, founder and Chairman of Business Network International (BNI).  Dr. Misner has been called the “Father of Modern Networking” and is a well-known speaker and author on the subject of business networking.  You will not be surprised that the subject of his presentation was networking.  Here are a few BFOs from his presentation:
  • When at a business networking function, it doesn’t hurt to ask for business – RIGHT? WRONG!  Networking is all about making and building relationships.
  • Many people, when introduced to a person of certain professions will cut the conversation short – thinking they can’t help me. That is a mistake because you never know who they know.
  • Networking is like farming – you must plant the seeds of a relationship with everyone you meet.
  • Diversify your networks – join industry exclusive, non-exclusive, industry specific, locally based (chamber of commerce, for example), regional and on-line networks.
  • Be aware of the relationship of the time it will take to build confidence with someone you meet based on your profession. img_9573-small
  • And remember perception is reality img_9574-small Be aware of how you are perceived.
This wraps up my BFOs from the first day of the 2017 BEFA.  Stay tuned for Part 3.

2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of The Obvious Part 1

I said it last year, and I must say it again, the Business Excellence Forum (BEF) gets better each year.  There were more than 500 business owners, executives, team members and business coaches in attendance in Houston, Texas.  With that many attendees, there was an abundance of formal and informal exchanges of ideas, strategies, success stories and best practices. This year’s forum had an extensive list of keynote speakers whose presentations yielded many Blinding Flashes of the Obvious (BFOs) and new ways of looking at things.  The following are some of the BFOs that struck a chord with me, most of which will enhance the value I bring to my clients.  I am sure that some of these will have a similar effect on you. During the opening session, Brad Sugars, founder and Chairman of ActionCOACH shared the following:
  • We often present the concept of Learn More to Earn More. Brad added Serve More to Earn More.  Serve More to Earn more became one of the major themes of this year’s Forum.
  • To serve more, you must set an expanded vision (more about that later) and then you must grow into it.
  • Brad highlighted the difference between a Leader and a Coordinator. Leadership is all about the Vision.
  • During a discussion of referral strategies, Brad challenged everyone to develop a pre-gifting strategy. For example, give a book relevant to your product or service to ten of your top customers and encourage them to pass the books along to people who would benefit from your offering.
Our first keynote speaker was Keith Cunningham, author of “The Ultimate Blueprint for an Insanely Successful Business” and creator of the CFO Scoreboard.  (keystothevault.com) Mr. Cunningham, while explaining financial reports in very plain, simple language, slips in many gems about business.  Following are some of the most important:
  • For most in business, the universal answer to business problems or issues is growth – most of the time, that is a fallacy. It is often more effective to consolidate your business and address the problems directly before resuming your growth.  After all, your problems may grow bigger as your business grows.
  • “To play the game of business you’ve got to speak the language.” The language is knowing how to read and understand your financial statements and KPIs.
  • You need two things; Language and Scoreboard:
    • Language (Report Card) = Financials
    • Scoreboard (Dashboard) = Optics which leads to strategy
  • img_9490-small
  • To make more money, get better at business
  • img_9492-small
  • M+D+A=N – Management -> Decisions -> Activities -> Numbers.  The numbers on your Report Card (Financials) influence your Activities and your activities determine your Report Card.
  • What activities need to change to change your numbers? When you stand on the bathroom scale and are unhappy with the number you see, what are you going to change to eventually see a happier number?
  • img_9494-small
  • We have too many goals, we need more standards (non-negotiable goals).
  • img_9498-small
  • Running your business with un-read or improperly formatted financial reports is like playing pin the tail on the donkey.
  • You give what you tolerate – every management failure is caused by a lack of courage.
  • PROFIT is a Theory – Cash is a FACT
  • “It is not about getting big, it’s about getting rich (generating cash).” Too many businesses lately are focused on getting very big.  Many of them are burning cash along the way.
  • The only reason to spend money is to get or keep customers.
All the BFOs above were from before the morning break!  There is much more to come from Keith and other speakers in the next blog post.

Going That Extra Mile

I recently used eBay to sell a file cabinet that I no longer need.  Oh, the benefits of more and more of my business being conducted online.  Because of its size and weight, the file cabinet was listed as local pickup only.  When the auction was completed, the buyer paid immediately and contacted me to arrange a time to pick the cabinet up.  When I met Leo, the buyer, at my storage facility I was surprised to be introduced to a Chinese man in full business attire, three-piece suit, beautiful silk foulard tie, the works.  The buyer was accompanied by another Chinese gentleman, John, who was dressed in business very casual attire, khakis, polo shirt, sneakers, you get the picture. While John maneuvered the van into one of the loading bays, Leo and I took a dolly up to my storage unit to retrieve the file cabinet.  By now you are thinking what does this have to do with business? While in the elevator Leo explained that he was on his lunch break from Bank of America, and John is his client.  John, he told me, is in the process of opening a daycare center and mentioned that he needed a file cabinet.  When he asked Leo for advice on where to purchase a used file cabinet, Leo suggested eBay.  John had never used eBay so Leo went the extra mile, logged into his eBay account, placed the winning bid, completed the transaction, and accompanied John to pick up the cabinet and to translate.  For me, that was a WOW moment, I was quite impressed by Leo’s dedication to his clients. So, here are three business related questions I want you to consider:
  1. When was the last time a banker, especially from one of the giants, demonstrated that level client focused service? Or for that matter, what is the service level of many of the large businesses you regularly business do with?
  2. What is the service level you routinely offer to your customers? Do you WOW them on a regular basis?
  3. What would be the resulting increase to your bottom line if you separated your business from your competitors by raising your level of service to WOW?
As Brad Sugars, the Founder and Chairman of ActionCOACH said at our 2017 Business Excellence Forum last month, “Serve more to Earn more.”  Leo is certainly doing just that.  If you would like to make more by serving more, my colleagues and I at ActionCOACH will be happy to assist you.