Are Things Going Well?

Earlier this week I attended a breakfast event, part of the Hofstra University Scott Skodnek Business Development Center’s Distinguished Lecture Series.  The event was a Keynote Conversation with Brett Yormark, the CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.  Mr. Yormark was interviewed by Kevin Law, the President & CEO of the Long Island Association. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) owns and operates the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Nets NBA team and redeveloped and manages the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Nassau County, Long Island.  Since Hofstra University is basically across the street from the Coliseum, many of the interview questions revolved around its redevelopment.  After answering some questions about improvements to the venue, the construction process and its cost verses the budget, Mr. Yormark moved onto the performance of the Coliseum since it reopened in April of this year.  The venue reopened with a Billy Joel concert.  In the seven months since the Coliseum reopened, they have had more than 100 events, including concerts by Barbara Streisand, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars and other performers. Other events including G-League professional and college basketball games also occurred there.  So far, the Coliseum is ahead of BSEs projections. So, when Kevin Law asked Brett Yormark if he is happy with Coliseum results so far, Yormark replied:

“I am happy, but not satisfied.”

He used that exact wording to answer several additional questions as the interview progressed.  I was struck by how simple and yet very powerful this phrase is.  The concept represented by these six words is extremely important.  How many businesses have stopped growing or failed because management or owners became “satisfied?”  When I had my consulting practice before joining the ActionCOACH team, I met many business owners who were earning more than $500,000 per year who became satisfied with their businesses.  “Why should I continue to push hard, I’m making more than I need?”  “I am working too hard and have no time to enjoy my wealth.”  Many wanted to start enjoying the fruits of their success, reducing the attention and time they devoted to their businesses.  Many of those businesses no longer exist, failed due to over-satisfaction and the resulting lack of attention. Two things need to be highlighted here:
  1. I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t celebrate when a major goal or milestone is achieved. There is nothing wrong with a brief pause to celebrate and “smell the roses.”  Celebration is very important, for you and your team.
  2. One of the motivating factors that drove my decision to join ActionCOACH (and many of my colleagues) is our definition of a successful business:

A commercial, profitable enterprise that works without YOU (the owner)

I work with my clients to design, plan, structure and build their businesses so they will earn more and work less.  I enable them to achieve the state of happy life, but continuing dis-satisfaction with the value their business brings to their team, customers, community, and themselves.

At lunch, that same day, I continued my rereading of John C. Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership ((10th Anniversary Edition). I came to Law 18-The Law of Sacrifice.  The following from Law 18 makes the point.

“…today’s success is the greatest threat to tomorrow’s success. And what gets a team (or company) to the top isn’t what keeps it there.”

I couldn’t have said it better. My ActionCOACH colleagues or I will be happy to assist you to build your business, so you can earn more and work less.

More on Time Management

Reading a John C. Maxwell article in the September 2017 edition of Success about time management, entitled “4 Tips to Set Yourself Up for a Better Tomorrow Today” got me thinking.  On a hunch, I went back and reviewed several other articles, publications and the ActionCOACH TimeRICH seminar on the subject of time management and was able to confirm my conclusion that

Time Management is really Self Management!

This is not exactly a new idea, I’ve said this during numerous presentations.  So why highlight it now in this blog?  It seems to me that many of us brush off the importance of time-self management.  Taking an “I am what I am” attitude rather than seeking to improve our use of our time.  Thus, I am going to reiterate a few of our top self-time management tips:
  • Set personally motivating goals – if your goals are truly important to you, you must strive to connect every activity to them. In the article, Maxwell encourages creating a Priority Inventory, another way of looking at the connection of your goals to your activities.
  • Don’t finish today until you plan tomorrow – Maxwell explains two concepts in his article; be deliberate in your use of time, and hone your decision-making skills. Once you increase your awareness of your goals and their relationship to your activities, you will become more deliberate in your investment of time.  The decision as to what to address and what not to address will become easier, enhancing your self management.  Remember, every time you say “YES” to something, you are saying “NO” to many other activities.
  • Create a Default Diary – a schedule of how you intend to invest your time on “normal” days. Your Default Diary (Ideal Week or Default Calendar, we use these terms interchangeably at ActionCOACH) accomplishes many things; it sets your time expectations, and communicates them.  You will feel uneasy when your activities conflict with your internal clock once it has been set via your Default Diary.  Many of my clients use their Default Calendar as a communication tool with their teams, using the tool to create “deep thinking” time slots.
  • Delegate – Effective delegation is the key to successful time and self management. None of us are expert or skilled in all aspects necessary for the success of our businesses or lives.  We are faced with the choice to do it all, abdicate or delegate numerous times every day.  Should I change the oil in my car myself?  Should I abdicate the oil change by simply dropping off the car at my local service station? Or, should I effectively delegate the oil change by carefully selecting the service station or dealer, asking them about the oil and filter they are going to use, and all the other details related to the oil change?  I used this example to exemplify the fact that we can all delegate to our extended team even if we have no direct employees.  When delegating, John Maxwell makes the point the we should not mistake activity for advancement.  This applies to those we delegate to, as well as ourselves.
John C. Maxwell included the following quote in the article:

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember, you cannot replenish your time, once a moment is gone, it is gone.  As Steadman Graham said at one of our ActionCOACH conferences,

“Time is the great equalizer.  We all have 24 hours in a day.”

His message continued to say that the very wealthy use their time more effectively.  How are you investing your precious time?  My colleagues and I at ActionCOACH are uniquely qualified to assist you toward effective delegation and successful self and time management.

Highlights from My Vacation Reading

I took the first two weeks of August for a trip to Europe with my wife, Tammy.  Tammy joined one of Berkshire Choral International’s groups which rehearsed and sang in Budapest, Hungary.  While she was in rehearsals I toured Budapest and caught up on my reading, both business and pleasure.  Following are comments about and links to a few of the articles that struck a chord.
  • Jason Fried in the July/August 2017 issue of INC Magazine in an article headlined Starbucks Wasn’t Built in a Day, subtitled “Entrepreneurs are told to go big or go home. Stop obsessing over scale, and perfect the basics.”   In the article Jason talks about John who wishes to open a tea shop, but often drifted to talking about his next shop, and his next shop, etc.  He advises John to slow down and get the basics right before focusing on rapid growth.  I have long agreed with this philosophy.  While there is nothing wrong with having big long range goals, we emphasize long term planning at ActionCOACH, one needs not to get ahead of one’s self.  One of the major points of the ActionCOACH 5-Way Formula is that a business must be built in balance.  Before I joined ActionCOACH, I had several turn-around clients.  One in particular, a consumer goods company, had great marketing and product, but couldn’t reliably deliver their products to their customers, the retail stores.  Ultimately their customers abandoned them in favor of suppliers that had great product, marketed well and consistently delivered.  My client had grown their business out of balance, and could not cover the basics.
  • In the July 2017 issue of Golf Digest an article about confidence by Sam Weinman titled What If Everything You’ve Been Told To Think Is Wrong? caught my eye. Within the article are several concepts that apply equally to business as well as golf.  One very important concept was highlighted by a quote from Dr. Fran Pirozzolo, a sports psychologist and mental-skills coach “Confidence is a garbage term in that it induces illusions of competence.”  If in business, we confuse confidence with competence, our mind will be closed to our limitations and that will limit our ability to construct plans to overcome them.  It is the difference between an “I Know” attitude which cuts off learning and an “Isn’t that interesting” attitude which encourages learning.

Another concept applicable to business revolves around Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck’s division of our mind-sets into two categories:

– Fixed mind-set – people who seek validation of their abilities – Growth mind-set – people who believe their skills can be cultivated through effort

The final concept that jumped off the page also came from Dr. Pirozzolo – “Don’t believe the hype.”  During my career in the fashion industry, I was aware of countless fashion designers who crashed and burned because they believed the hype and were unable to adjust to changing market and business realities.

  • From the September 2017 issue of Success Magazine John C. Maxwell has an article about time management 4 Tips to Set Yourself Up for a Better Tomorrow Today.” The title of the article says it all.  In our TimeRICH seminar, we encourage the audience to be militant about their time.  Along the militant line, Maxwell’s article contains a great quote I intend to add to the TimeRICH presentation:

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are just a few of the ideas I gleaned during my vacation reading, I hope you will find them useful.

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.