Growth vs Culture In A Time of “Full Employment”

I am currently re-reading “Built to Last” the great book by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.  In Chapter 6, entitled “Cult-Like Cultures” the authors discuss their finding of almost religious adherence to a company’s culture within the companies they have labeled as visionary. Following a section describing one person’s experience at Nordstrom, they revealed that contrary to their initial expectation, they found that many of the visionary companies were not great places to work unless team members completely bought the company’s culture. “We learned that you don’t need to create a “soft” or “comfortable” environment to build a visionary company. We found that the visionary companies tend to be more demanding of their people than other companies, both in terms of performance and congruence with the ideology.”  ““VISIONARY,” we learned, does not mean soft and undisciplined. Quite the contrary. Because the visionary companies have such clarity about who they are, what they’re all about, and what they’re trying to achieve, they tend to not have much room for people unwilling or unsuited to their demanding standards.” My coaching clients have taught me that Mission, Vision and Culture (MVC) are extremely important toward consistently delivering long-term value and success, both to the community, the company and the team.  This brings me to a major set of questions:
  • If a demanding MVC reduces the number of people who will be happy working at your company, and if there is virtually full-employment in your area, how will you be able to bring value to a growing number of customers, clients, patients (CCPs) if you cannot recruit team members who will embrace your MVC? GROWTH
  • If due to a lack of viable candidates, you lower the bar and begin to hire team member who are not totally committed your MVC, will your business’ MVC deteriorate? Will you lose your competitive advantage?  CULTURE
  • Finally, does all of this remain completely relevant as the pool of candidates shifts toward millennials?
I admit to not having complete answers to these questions.  However, I do think that businesses that deliver value to the world will be much more attractive to potential team members, regardless of their age group, than companies that exist simply to make money.  What do you think?

2018 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 3

The second day of BEF began with Darren Hardy, former publisher of Success magazine, and founder of Darren Hardy, LLC Success Mentor to CEOs & High-Achievers.  His presentation was entitled Productivity Secrets of SUPERACHEIVERS and was based on what he learned during his many interviews with some of the most successful people in the world. The following are a few of the many BFOs I got from Mr. Hardy’s presentation: img_1637-for-blog
  • YES is easy. NO is the master skill
  • 3 Activities – consider:
    • What should I have said NO to last week?
    • What should I say NO to next week?
    • What should I say NO to on my Idea, Project, Commitment & Communication Lists?
  • “To many choices create paralysis”
  • Warren Buffet’s Method
    • Step 1 – WRITE all your priorities
    • Step 2 Narrow the list down to your TOP 3
    • Throw the rest of the list away
  • Don’t mistake:
    • Movement for Achievement
    • Activity for Productivity
    • Rushing for Results
img_1669-for-blog
  • Create a “Give Up” list
  • Identify your Vital Few Functions
    • Delete / Delegate
    • Find & Focus on and leverage VITAL FUNCTIONS
  • “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
  • To be a SUPERACHIEVER
    • Stop doing
    • Master the Vital FEW
    • Out FOCUS
    • Out LAST (consistency)
    • Out GROW
    • Out FAIL – learn from mistakes
    Our next speaker was Travis Bell, The Bucket List Guy.  Travis was a speaker at the 2017 BEF (see 2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 4 for my BFOs from 2017).  Travis repeated a presentation he delivered to the ActionCOACH coaches only.  This year he presented to the entire audience.  There is a few additional BFOs added to last year’s Travis Bell BFOs:  
  • The ultimate KPI is How Many People Come to Your Funeral
  • Go from Selfish to Selfless
  • Separate bucket list from to do list
Our next presenter was Steve Rogers, CEO of Alchemy Advisors.  Before founding Alchemy Advisors, Mr. Rogers was the President of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.  Here are a few of the many BFOs from Mr. Rogers:
  • There is no perfect
  • The constant question – What will have occurred in the next 12 months to consider it a very successful year?
  • And
img_1744-for-blog Brad Sugars took the stage to wrap up day 2:
  • All of my clients have a Future Organization Chart (3 to 5 years in the future) These need to add a Timeline & Triggers to each new position on the chart
  • “Saving a wage cost me a fortune” – Brad Sugars
  • Hiring is not the same as Recruiting
  • Have at least 1 personal goal in your 90 day plan
  • Success:

See Your Goal Understand The Obstacles Create a Positive Mental Picture Clear Your Mind of Self-Doubt Embrace The Challenge Stay On Track Show The World You Can Do It

  Day 3 – A few BFOs from the coach’s session From ActionCOACH Kevin Simpson, a coach in Canada.  A few insights from his clients:
  • His bike shop client reduced the number of bikes on the sales floor, resulting in selling more units at higher prices
  • Conversation around what is possible. In the 19th century during the construction of a railroad, 32 spikers hammered in 63,000 spikes, each averaging 600 blows per hour for 14 hours.  They constructed 6.3 miles of track that day, which at the time was a record.  So the question is – Do we limit ourselves by our perception of what is possible?
  • To eliminate Bottle Necks – Communicate Priorities
  img_1774-for-blogimg_1785-for-blog
    • be in Area 4
    • Area 1 – Intention & Attention / no money – EXCUSE (below point of power)
    • Area 2 – Money & Intention / no attention – BLAME
    • Area 3 – Money & Attention / not aligned – DENIAL
    • Area 4 – Congruency (above the point of power)
  And finally, from a couple of conversations during breaks:
  • A business is finished (Step 6 of 6 Steps to Massive Results) when it achieves the ActionCOACH definition of a successful business
  • Content is GREAT / Context is IT!
  • “Where there is SHIT, there is FERTILIZER
  I hope you have formed your own BFOs from this blog series. The 2019 Business Excellence Forum will be in Charlotte, SC from February 17th to the 19th.  If you wish to join me and about 1,000 other business owners, CEOs, leaders, executives and business coaches, or if you would like to accelerate your success, please contact me or any of my ActionCOACH colleagues.  Our mission is to create

World Abundance Through Business Re-Education

2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of The Obvious Part 4

Paul Dunn continued with his presentation by switching gears to speak about the concept of price anchoring. He presented a case study based upon the fact that most people remember the last thing they see or hear.  The case study involved adding eight words at the end of a price quotation for a product or service img_9693-small img_9696-small Result: 30% conversion rate for price alone, 90% conversion rate with the addition of those 8 words! Paul finished up by returning to his original concept by saying “The shortcut to more is to MATTER more.” img_9713-small img_9714-smallimg_9716-small And a quote by Richard Branson img_9720-small   A very impactful speaker who spoke briefly the afternoon of the first day and then returned to speak to the coach’s conference (day 3) was Trav Bell, the Bucket List Guy (http://www.thebucketlistguy.com/).
  • After saying that a bucket list is about what you learn about yourself during the journey, he had the entire audience participate in two hands-on exercises:
  1. We were given 10 minutes to begin writing our “reverse” bucket list – a list of things, adventures, accomplishments, and people we had already met or achieved that we were proud about. We then shared items from our list with a partner.  This was a great exercise, one which I completed on my return flight to NY.
  2. After presenting his acronym MYBUCKETLIST as a framework for our bucket lists:

Meet a personal hero Your proud achievements Buy that special something Ultimate challenges Conquer a fear Kind acts for others Express yourself Take lessons Leave a legacy Idiotic stuff Satisfy a curiosity Travel adventures

Trav gave us 15 minutes to select a letter, add an item to our list and then act on that item.  Many in the audience signed up for guitar lessons or made pledges to their favorite charity.

Both exercises were empowering and great examples of coaching.  I highly recommend you seek out a partner, or coach to create both bucket lists.

Trav concluded by saying “People are dying at 40, being buried at 80.”  Don’t be one of them.   Another presenter to the coach’s portion of BEF was Traci Diaz of Break Free Consulting.  Traci gave us many ideas, one of which stood out:

The Central Question to ask yourself several times each day is: “What choice can I make, and action can I take, in this moment, to create the greatest value?”

  The BEF was concluded by Brad Sugars.  Brad stretched everyone’s vision by challenging everyone to create their 100-year vision!  He reiterated an Owner’s/CEO’s/ Leader’s responsibility to enroll and inspire their team:
  • Vision – 100 years in the future, if the mission is accomplished
  • Mission – the value your company brings to the world
  • Culture – the rules of the game
He reminded us of the ActionCOACH formula for success Dreams X Goals X Learning X Plans X Actions = Success It is useless to lead a team that is not confident and productive Productivity comes from passion and focus Realize that the better you get at _____ the easier it becomes – tackle the difficult to make it easy. After drawing the following flipchart, Brad added that you MUST be congruent with your identity, or create MORE identity img_9728-small A case study example of expanded identity:

A doctor raised his identity from doctor to entrepreneur who happens to be in the medical business.  Result – went from one office with him as the only provider to nine offices with more than 400 providers.

We coach for break-throughs, not just learning.   After the conference, I observed a great example of communicating a Unique Value Proposition in the parking lot of my hotel: img_9772-small img_9771-small I hope you have formed your own BFOs from this blog series. The 2018 Business Excellence Forum will be in San Diego from February 18th to the 20th.  If you wish to join me and about 700 other business owners, CEOs, leaders, executives and business coaches, or if you would like to accelerate your success, please contact me or any of my ActionCOACH colleagues.  Our mission is to create

World Abundance Through Business Re-Education

2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of The Obvious Part 3

Day two was kicked off (no pun intended) by Tim Brown, 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Hall of Fame member, and very inspirational speaker.  Here are some of my Tim Brown BFOs:
  • Be the coach
    • Be sure of yourself & your approach
    • Emphasize team
    • Look for & guide team members to see their abilities & potential
  • Talent is not enough – you need mental strength to succeed
  • Realize that sometimes a mindset change may be required to move forward
  • img_9612-small
  • Seek mentors …
    • Who can show you something about yourself
    • See what you cannot see within you
    • Say what you need to hear, not what you want to hear
  • Don’t be adverse to using a proven system from elsewhere
  • Little things lead to big results
The next speaker was Richard Maloney, President of Engage and Grow, a strategic partner of ActionCOACH.  In the course of presenting the benefits and outline of the Engage & Grow 12-week program, Rich enlightened us about the current poor state of employee engagement, strategies to raise the level of engagement and the benefits thereof:
  • img_9637-small
across the USA only 24% of employees are highly engaged.  Another way of looking at that is img_9638-small on average two out of every ten of your team are so highly disengaged that they would sabotage your company, or jump ship.  If you think your team would score as more engaged, think again.  A survey of their clients found a 30% gap between senior management’s guess and the team’s actual level of engagement. img_9640-small The Engage & Grow program taps into the science of motivation.
  • A Deloitte survey found that companies with highly engaged teams were eight times more successful over a ten year period than industry peers with lower team engagement.
  • Our job is to change the lives in front of us.
Next up was Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1, a global business giving initiative on a mission to create a world full of giving.  Paul’s presentation was in keeping with this year’s BEF theme of Serve More to Earn More. Paul opened with the following quote from Sir Issacs Newton: img_9666-small Using www.internetlivestats.com in order to show that time is increasingly compressed, he displayed some live global stats for that moment: (2/21/2017):
  • 7,519 tweets / sec.
  • 2,472 Skype calls / sec.
  • 58,875 Google searches / sec.
  • 68,234 YouTube video uploads / sec.
  • 2,566,295 email / sec.
  • 42,125 gbytes / sec.
And img_9670-small He quoted Peter Diamandis: img_9674-small He urged us to EARN more to GIVE more, and vis-a-versa: img_9676-small to address these global issues There are two choices we can make: img_9678-small or img_9679-small “The challenge is not to be successful, the challenge is to matter more. – Seth Godin From Simon Sinek’s “Start With WHY” img_9684-small img_9686-small This wraps up part three of my 2017 BEFA BFOs.  There will be more Paul Dunn and Brad Sugars in part four.

2016 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 1

I must say, the Business Excellence Forum (BEF) gets better each year.  There were more than 500 business owners, executives, team members and business coaches in attendance.  With that many attendees, there were plenty of formal and informal exchanges of ideas and best practices. This year’s forum had some amazing keynote speakers whose presentations yielded many Blinding Flashes of the Obvious (BFOs).  The following are some of the BFOs that struck a chord with me.  I am sure that some of these will have a similar affect on you. Our first speaker was world-class branding expert Sally Hogshead www.howtofascinate.com (yes, that is her real name “With a name like mine, I had to be successful.”) discovered a new way to measure how people perceive your communication, through the Fascination Advantage® system. Sally is the author of two books “How The World Sees YOU” and “Fascinate – How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist” Before researching the science of fascination, Sally rose to the top of the advertising profession in her early 20s, writing ads that fascinated millions of consumers. The title of her presentation was “How to FASCINATE: From First Impression to Lasting Value”
  • Over deliver in One area – Stop trying to be all things to all people
  • You do not have to fix anything – you do have to accentuate your most valuable areas
  • Avoid your competitive disadvantages
  • Every time you communicate, you are either adding value, or taking up space!
  • IMG_7875 small
  • Sally told of going to an theme park where she saw a ticket booth that sold tickets to two rides.  The orange ticket was for a ride with multiple safety warnings.  There was a long line at the entrance to the orange ride.  The other ticket was green, there were no safety warnings posted about that ride.  Also, the was no line for the green ride.  She went on the orange ride, it was great.  Later, she got curious and went on the green ride.  She found the rides were IDENTICAL.  The business point is the theme park understood their target customer’s value proposition and desire for a little danger.  Do you completely understand what your target customer values?
Our next speaker was serial entrepreneur Troy Hazard, www..troyhazard.com author of several books including “Future Proofing Your Business” and “The Naked Entrepreneur”.  The title of Troy’s presentation was “Purpose, Passion, People & Profits”
  • Always respect the business corrections and cycles
  • There are 4 cycles
    1. Your Revenue
    2. The Economy
    3. Your Industry
    4. The emotional cycle – market sentiment
      • Opportunity occurs where these cycles converge
  • In addition to understanding the value your business brings to your market, you as a business owner, must know what you want your business to do for you
  • Every day Troy asks himself and his team the following two questions:
    1. “What is your greatest success and what can I learn from it?”
    2. “What is your challenge and how can I help you?”
  • The five keys to leadership he learned from being a father (E I E I O)
    1. Engage energetically
    2. Inspire greatness (strive to have tomorrow be better than today)
    3. Evoke conscious thought (give everyone a voice)
    4. Involve everyone (don’t under estimate before you understand)
    5. Organize Yourself first
  • Use your ideal (3 – 5 years from now) organizational chart to challenge your team to become who they need to be to fill the positions above them
This is just my BFOs from about 60% of the first day of BEF.  The best Troy Hazard BFOs are yet to come.  To be continued …

How Complex Is Your Business?

While working with one of my clients whose medical practice has been growing very rapidly, the subject of maintaining organizational focus and culture came up.  As our discussion progressed I was reminded of a few flip charts Brad Sugars, the founder and chairman of ActionCOACH, presented at one of our conferences.  Brad first drew a two person company with one direct connection between the people. That flip chart looked something like this:Two Connections The next flip chart showed a three person company that had three direct connections between the people, looking something like this:Three Connections His third flip chart was a four person company with six direct connections: Four Connections Brad’s final flip chart was of an eight person organization showing twenty eight direct connections. Eight Connections My client, with a stunned look on her face, saw this and said “No wonder I’ve had so many problems controlling the growth of my business.” Just to recap: connections table The simple formula for this is:

Direct Connections = ((Number of People * (Number of People – 1) / 2)

Using this formula it is easy to see that the level of complexity in a company grows at a much greater rate than the company’s growth rate. Is your business starting to look a little bit more complex than perhaps you realized? So how are we to grow our businesses, maintaining organizational focus and effectiveness?  There are four key things you must accomplish in order to grow in control:
  1. Have a clear company Mission, Vision and Culture (MVC) – A strong and clear MVC that is aligned and congruent with your company’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is the cornerstone of healthy consistent growth.
  2. Communicate and Educate – You must constantly communicate your MVC and UVP to your team, both internal and external, and to your customers, both existing and potential. You must educate new team members and potential customers about your MVC and UVP and the Why behind them (Read Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why” for further insight).  And most importantly it is absolutely essential that you eat, sleep and breathe your MVC and UVP.
  3. Plan your organization – Although many like to promote flat organizational models, completely flat organizations quickly lose their effectiveness as they scale up. Thus it is vitally important to plan the organizational structure of your company.  At one end of the scale, completely flat will not allow for effective growth, at the other end of the scale, old fashion command and control will compromise creativity and nimbleness.
  4. Be Proactive – Most companies grow organically, without very much forethought or advanced planning. Too often companies reach the point of no return structurally and fail.  All of my clients have a vision of how their companies will be structured working backward from three to five years in the future.  You should do the same.
My ActionCOACH colleagues and I will be happy to assist you to develop your MVC, UVP and Organizational Structure, all of which will prepare your business for exceptional growth.

2015 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious – Part 2

Here are some more BFO’s from February’s 2015 North American Business Excellence Forum (#BEF2015) and Awards.  On the second day of the conference, we were privileged to be entertained, motivated and advised by Jeffrey Gitomer (@gitomer facebook.com/jeffreygitomer linkedin.com/in/jeffreygitomer) a well known speaker, blogger, author and trainer focused on sales.  His style is rapid fire; I could barely keep up with him with my notes.  Nevertheless, here are some of my top Gitomer BFO’s :
  • Gitomer Rule #1 – Make the prospect laugh and think within the first minute, or you’ll spend the rest of your time trying to recover
  • People don’t like to be sold, they like to buy – One of his core lessons
  • Tell stories that make you believable, facts and figures are forgotten, stories are TOLD and RETOLD
  • Control and engage a conversation by asking questions
  • Service after the sale leads to both Reputation and Referrals
  • Service response for non-salespeople is more powerful than sales – Everyone is in SALES
  • You MUST be perceived to be EASY to do business with 7.365
  • The biggest barrier to sales is fear of consequences
  • Become known as a person and business of value.
And many, many more. I strongly suggest that you subscribe to Gitomer’s Sales Caffeine newsletter (www.salescaffeine.com) for further insight into sales and selling. Brad Sugars, Founder and Chairman of ActionCOACH returned to the stage and spoke about some of the basic concepts that are the foundation of ActionCOACH.  Here are some of my BFO’s from Brad, in no particular order:
  • The ActionCOACH Formula for Change – (D x V) + F > R
    • Dissatisfaction (with the current situation)
    • Vision (what will be after the change)
    • First Steps (make them easy)
    • Resistance (to the change)
  • BE x DO = HAVE – Ever wonder why most multi-million dollar lottery winners become worse off financially than they were before they won the millions within a shockingly short time? The answer is they didn’t have the BEing of a millionaire and therefore didn’t DO what millionaires do and therefore didn’t truly HAVE the millions. You must BE whatever you need to be in order to truly and continually achieve your goals.
  • Living your life above the line of choice
    • Above the line is Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility – have an OAR to steer your life
    • Below the line is Blame, Excuses and Denial – you might as well stay in bed
  • Watch of for the Taps on your Shoulder – Because problems that are unaddressed just get bigger as time passes, you need to tune into the early warnings, the “taps on your shoulder” before you get smacked with a a 2×4, or worse hit by a Mack truck further down the road of life
  • If you build a business to be replicable (even if you have no plans to replicate) it will be stronger and more valuable – Propels you toward the ActionCOACH definition of a successful business A Commercial Profitable Enterprise That Works Without You
  • If it is being done, it can be done, and therefore You/I Can Do It! – A great attitude to have in life
  • Determine what is the highest and best use of your time, and adhere to it
Two more very important BFO’s from Brad Sugars:
  • When you believe in your mission, you have a moral and ethical obligation to follow it
  • Knowledge is not the problem, it is lack of ACTION
Finally, every speaker who presented at the BEF said the following in one way or another: Schedule Time To Think – Those who think govern those who labor

Would I Fire My Client If I Owned His Company?

During a coaching session the other day, one of my clients asked me a very interesting question.  To paraphrase his question –> given his shortcoming number one, and shortcoming number two, and etc., “if you (meaning me) owned my (meaning his) company and I was your employee, would you fire me?”  At first I was, I must admit, speechless.  After gathering my composure I realized a couple of things:
  • All of the shortcomings he mentioned represented areas that are outside of the ownership zone. They all focused on working IN the business rather than working ON the business. They revolved around tasks that he could, and should delegate.  My client owns a mid-sized manufacturing company with a front office team that has the theoretical capacity to accomplish most, if not all, of the items he mentioned.  On the other hand, his front office team may not be the right team to accomplish the items.  Which led me to my second realization …
  • Being an owner is very different from being an employee. An owner has several prime responsibilities, among them are:
    • To create and maintain a success environment for his team
    • To create, communicate and live the company’s Mission, Vision and Culture (M/V/C)
    • To design, build and lead the company and its team to ensure consistent delivery of the company’s M/V/C
So my answer to his question was that as an employee I might fire him.  As an owner however, he, as is the case for all of us, could improve.  I told him that it is time to build the kind of team to whom he could confidently delegate, not abdicate, those items that he shouldn’t be doing, is not good at or simply doesn’t like doing.  Effective and successful delegation will enable him to concentrate on working toward growing the business and fulfilling the company’s M/V/C, in other words, to grow as an owner.