2016 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 3

The second day of the Business Excellence Forum was kicked off by Shawn Moon Senior VP of Franklin Covey.  Shawn opened with a rapid fire bit of jokes and funny quotes, one of the best was:

“The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine.”

– Abraham Lincoln

After that he played the famous video of classical violinist Josh Bell playing his Stradivarius in the entrance to a Washington, DC subway station. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw) Virtually no one stopped to listen.  Shawn asked how often do we see excellence right in front of us?  How often do we engage it? Other BFOs from Shawn Moon:
  • Interdependence – a draft horse that can pull 1000 pounds alone, two can pull 4000 pounds together / to accomplish more get leverage.
  • “If you want to change your results change your habits, if you want to have massive change, change your paradigm” – Steven Covey.
  • The value of time is the value of life.
  • Clarity is simple, getting to clarity is complex!
Next he spoke about Edward Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect.  He told how:

Norman Borlaug – a Nobel Prize winner, saved more than one billion people by expanding the yield of corn, wheat and rice in arid conditions.  Borlaug was one of the first scientists to join experimental agriculture stations created in Mexico by Henry Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture and then Vice President of the United States. But …

Henry Wallace – was influenced as a young boy growing up at Iowa State by George Washington Carver, so much so that he developed some of the first hybrid varieties of corn, doubling and tripling per acre yields. But …

George Washington Carver – who became a brilliant biologist was encouraged to study plants, rather than paint them by his art teacher, Etta May Budd.  The question Shawn Moon asked was “how far back can we go?”  And …

“How far will our (your) influence go?”

Next, while on the subject of personal mission statements he flashed this slide   While his presentation was about personal mission statements, it does not take a lot of work to apply this to your business’s mission statement. IMG_7962 cropped Shawn moon wrapped up with the following by Portia NelsonPortia Nelson Poem The balance of the morning of the second day was breakout sessions.  Here are some insightful BFOs from the breakouts:
  • Have a scorecard and KPIs for each box on your organization charts, both current and three or five years forward.
  • Another speaker expanded this by encouraging a look at every role within your organization, determine the biggest issue for each role and develop a KPI to measure the solution.
  • No matter the size of your business, it is essential to have a well documented on boarding or orientation process and checklist.
  • Disney gives six weeks of training to the people who take tickets at the entrances to their parks. How much training do you employ at your business?
  • One of my colleagues, a former senior HR executive with a major national retailer, said that they had two counter-balancing KPIs:
    • Average time to fill open positions
    • Six and twelve month retention of new hires.
More day two BFOs to come, stay tuned.

What Can We Learn About Business From PGA Tour Winner Jimmy Walker?

Jimmy Walker has not had an easy road to success on the PGA Tour.  He won his first tour event at 34 years of age, after going 0 for 187 during his first seven seasons on tour.  During the last two PGA Tour seasons he has won five times.  That is quite a turnaround.  So what does his success playing golf at the highest level over the last two seasons have to do with your business Mr. Business Owner? Like you, Jimmy Walker opened his business, he opened by turning pro, you opened by asking customers to pay you for your product or service.  He had some initial success, making his way onto the PGA Tour via the Tour’s Q-School, making some tournament cuts and earning some prize money.  Your business has provided you with some income and perhaps some personal stability and quality of life. Jimmy has had some OK seasons and some not so OK seasons.  At one point his wife considered going back to work because Jimmy’s business was running at a loss and they were close to running out of money.  The low point of his tour career was in the 2009 season when he sunk to 125th on the money list.  You may have had some ups and downs in your business.  You may have had some losing years.  And you too may have been close to running out of cash.  After all, very few businesses take off like a rocket, earning consistent growth and profit year after year.  In addition, many businesses initially grow and then level off, seemingly stall. So what did Jimmy do to achieve the success he has had during the last two seasons?

“About four years ago I made a shift in the way I do things.  I was tired of finishing 125th in money.  I was working hard but working on the wrong things and I wanted to figure out what to change, how to put different people in place to help me get better.” – Jimmy Walker in an interview in the November 2015 edition of Golf Magazine.

Jimmy knows he has the talent to succeed.  He also realizes that to maximize his talent he needs to have the right team in place.  If you have been in business for more than a few months and are making a profit in addition to paying yourself a salary, then it is safe to assume that you have the talent succeed.  Or maybe your business is just bumping along, barely profitable or merely breaking even.  In either situation, the questions you should ask yourself are:
  • Am I working hard on the wrong things?
  • Do I have the right extended team helping me maximize my talents?
If you answered YES to the first question or NO to the second question, you owe it to yourself to contact me or any of my ActionCOACH colleagues.  We will be happy to assist you in reversing those answers and maximizing your results.

Remember the definition of insanity – Doing the same thing and expecting different results Don’t Be Insane!

Great Advice from Crain’s New York Business Hall of Fame Inductees

While reading the September 14, 2015 edition of Crain’s New York Business” I was energized by some of the advice given by almost all of the 2015 inductees to the Crain’s Hall of Fame.  Following are a few of the best quotes along with commentary relating the quotes to my philosophy of business. First up are a couple of quotes from Larry Fink, the founder of Blackrock, the world’s largest investment firm.  Blackrock has more than $4.7 trillion under management.  He said “I’m a student of the markets.  If you stop being a student, you will fail.”  This takes our often mentioned phrase “you’ve got to learn to earn” to a whole other level by stating the consequence of stopping your learning … failure.  He goes on to say “I tell my leaders – my leaders are going to be teachers – if you’re a teacher who stopped being a student, you can’t be a good teacher.”  I’ve always said the one of the best ways to learn a subject is to teach it. From Shelly Lazarus, former CEO and Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather we get several great pointers.  “You need to have a team that believes in you and people who believe in each other and people who can work together.  Without the people around you, you are never going to be successful.”  This speaks to the idea that true success in bound up with accomplishing a broader impactful mission, a mission that you can’t accomplish alone.  She goes on to say “It surprises me over and over how people don’t realize that you have to treat the people on your team respectfully; you have to let them share in the problem and the solution. You’re only going to be as good as the people who want to work with you.” (Emphasis added)  “Who want to work with you” … that’s the operative phrase.  Not easy, but essential to lasting success. Pamela Brier, current President and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center, said something simple but very, very profound “It takes more than medical care to make healthy people.”  This speaks to the point of my previous blog “What is Your Product or Service?” where I discuss the total definition of a product or service.  Later in her interview she highlights the concept of inclusive management “…includes the notion that people close to the work not only have a stake in making a place work better, they also know a lot.  Tell me that who mops the floor in a patient’s room doesn’t know a lot about what’s going on with that patient and the family.”  Finally, she says “There is nothing inherently politically incorrect about being a tough-minded manager who does what you have to do to give an institution the financial wherewithal to do good work.”  You must continually achieve your mission to have impact.  In order to do that long term, the financial foundation has to be strong. Emily Rafferty, the retired president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art talks about timing and personal being.  “Timing is everything, and if we make a mistake, often it is about not getting the timing right.  When you get it right, it lets us soar.  That’s what makes the difference, I think.  Our timing has to be right within ourselves and within our personal growth before it can work in the workplace or anywhere else.”  A prerequisite to success is preparing for success, BE + DO = HAVE.  Acquire the being of success in order to do what you need to do to achieve success to have success. One of the primary purposes of coaching, whether business coaching or other forms of coaching, is to increasing the clients being.  My colleagues at ActionCOACH and I can work with you to increase your being.

What Can We Learn About Business From Luke Donald?

While catching up on my non-business reading the other day, I read an article in the May 2012 edition of Golf Digest by Jaime Diaz about Luke Donald (Golf Digest Article).  The article triggered a few ideas about business that will assist you in achieving greater success as a businessperson:
  1. If You Want To Manage It, You’ve Got To Measure It (An oldie but a goodie) – Shot-Link has provided professional golfers many additional pieces of data they can use to improve their game.  Luke Donald, not the longest hitter in the game, looked at the stats, selected several to focus upon, and took action to build on his strengths.  Result? Luke attained number 1 position on the World Golf Ranking for 40 consecutive weeks.  The lesson, carefully develop and select your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators),  measure them consistently and develop an action plan to improve your results.
  2. Build On Your Strengths – Many times we are tempted to improve those things we are not good at instead of building on our strengths.  In business, we can, and should, improve on our strengths and, without totally ignoring, effectively delegate those things we are not good at, hate to do, or shouldn’t be doing.  Luke did not ignore his driving accuracy while he became “a colossus astride the vital real estate from 100 yards and in.”  Turn defense into offense.
  3. Cover The Fundamentals – In order to achieve consistency Luke Donald went to work on his fundamentals.  Consistency is perhaps the key ingredient in your recipe for long-term success.
Working with an ActionCOACH business coach is mostly about all of the above.  To learn how I, or my colleagues will assist you being ranked number 1 in your field, please contact me.

A Great Business Quote From Ralph Nader

The Quote:

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Which, of course leads to the question you should be asking yourself; Am I, and the systems in my business, division or area of responsibility focused on developing leaders?  If not, why not? Great, effective and admired leaders will tell you that one of the most gratifying aspects of leadership is developing and mentoring leaders.  Don’t know how to begin? Two good places to start are The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell, and Instant Systems by Bradley Sugars, the founder of ActionCOACH.  After you read, talk with your mentor, advisor or coach to map out and follow your path to true leadership.

Great Quote From Jack Nicklaus

I was reading GolfWorld magazine the other day and saw the following quote from The Greatest Game of All: My Life In Golf by Jack Nicklaus and Herbert Warren Wind:
“How do slumps begin?  They begin from neglect, and neglect finally leads to a loss of confidence.  You can practice a lot but still be neglectful – neglectful of the fundamentals.  During a long stretch of poor golf I suffered through in the winter and spring of 1967, I tried to rouse my game by attempting to bring off increasingly complicated shots.  What I should have done was to back up, return to the fundamentals, and get one thing at a time under control.”
You might ask what this quote about golf has to do with business, but to me this speaks volumes about business.  When working on turnarounds before I joined ActionCOACH, I saw first-hand how much trouble a business can get into by ignoring the fundamentals and how troubles were magnified when those businesses tried to hit home runs to get out of trouble. Heroic measures rarely work.  Returning to fundamentals, returning to Action’s 5 Ways and 6 Steps will provide a solid foundation for any business to build (or rebuild) upon. If you are facing or are in a slump, return to business fundamentals.  Actually, even if your business is currently booming, never lose sight of the basics if you want to achieve long term success.