“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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems.” Ralph Waldo EmersonRemember, 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.
- 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 EmersonThese are just a few of the ideas I gleaned during my vacation reading, I hope you will find them useful.
GCE -> HNPS -> NewCustomers -> Revenue -> ProfitMany successful ActionCOACH clients have achieved completely referral based businesses, with the ability to add as many new loyal customers as they can serve. An added bonus to a referral based business is lower customer acquisition cost and higher lifetime customer value. How to Develop Your Net Promoter Score At its core, NPS is derived from a single question customer survey. The question is
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend, family member or colleague?”Those who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are called Promoters, and are considered likely to exhibit value-creating behaviors, such as buying more, remaining customers for longer, and making more positive referrals to other potential customers. Those who respond with a score of 0 to 6 are labeled Detractors, and they are believed to be less likely to exhibit the value-creating behaviors. Responses of 7 and 8 are labeled Passives, and their behavior falls in the middle of Promoters and Detractors. The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. For purposes of calculating a Net Promoter Score, Passives count towards the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score towards zero. There are a variety of thoughts within the NPS consulting industry as to:
- When to survey, and how often?
- Types of surveys – relationship vs. transactional
- Additional questions (if any), how many, what should they be?
- How many people should be surveyed?
- Format of the survey
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
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: 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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- After a short break, Keith Cunningham continued with many insights born out of a major bankruptcy that occurred in 2001: And then … Of course, he was speaking about ENRON
- To repeat a BFO from part 1 – Profit is a THEORY / Cash is a FACT
- 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 …
- 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!
- An Owner/CEO/Leader has four jobs that CANNOT be delegated:
- 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: Powerful Growth Questions:
- To identify the underlying reasons:
- Prioritization – Allocation of resources Another great question:
- Getting clarity about the obstacles
- Organizational Chart – Structure and Who
- 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.
- And remember perception is reality Be aware of how you are perceived.
- 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.
- 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
- To make more money, get better at business
- 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?
- We have too many goals, we need more standards (non-negotiable goals).
- 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.
- 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?
- What is the service level you routinely offer to your customers? Do you WOW them on a regular basis?
- 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?