Napoleon Hill Got Me Thinking (Again)

I recently tweeted one of Napoleon Hill’s best quotes “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”  As I was typing, I realized that simply tweeting this quote did not do justice to one its the very important points. During our quarterly planning GrowthCLUB workshop we invest a considerable amount of time discussing the definition of a goal.  Actually we discuss what makes SMARTER goals.
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time Sensitive
  • Extending capabilities
  • Rewarding
We can and do have extended, in depth discussions about this subject, there are many, many layers to it.  Yet, in a simple eight word sentence Napoleon Hill captures the essential message. So I ask you, what are you doing to turn your dreams into goals, into plans, into action?

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.

Global Conference BFO’s Part 3

Here are even more tidbits that you can apply to improve your performance and the success of your business:  
  1. Make everyone you meet feel better about themselves
  2. Brad Sugars said – We put ourselves into a box we create for ourselves. Therefore, we can create a new box.
  3. From Michael Port the day three guest speaker:
    1. There are 7 core self-promotion strategies:
      1. Networking * – Develop deeper relationships with the people you already know
      2. Direct Outreach*
        1. list 20 people you wish to know
        2. set a Google alert for each
        3. reach out to the person at the top of the list, 1per day and then move that person to the bottom of the list
        4. result – you will reach out to each person once per month
      3. Referrals*
      4. Keep In Touch*
      5. Speaking
      6. Writing
      7. Web (Items with * are mandatory)
    2. Always have something to invite people to
  4. Invest in your own growth – Learn to Earn
  I hope you picked up at least one thought, idea or strategy from this, and the two previous blogs in this series, which you can use to increase your success.

Global Conference BFO’s – Part 2

Here are some more things you can apply to improve your performance and the success of your business: 1. There are 4 steps to each of your major goals:

a. Decide – commit to the goal b. Breakdown the goal to specific intermediate goals c. Set a plan – step by step what must be done to accomplish the goal d. Take ACTION – If not now, then when? – Have time pressure to all goals

2. Develop Key Performance Indicators for every step of your processes – sales, goals, operations, or anything else you wish to accomplish 3. From Ivan Misner, the day two guest speaker:

a. “You can’t define yourself by your mistakes, only by your successes.” b. When networking up, don’t ask for anything. c. When networking strive for

i. Visibility – People know you. ii. Credibility – People know you are good at what you do. iii. Profitability – Constant referrals from people you know. iv. But NOT Irritability – Pre-mature solicitation.

d. Be aware of the Networking Disconnect – If, at a networking meeting you ask everyone who is there to sell something to raise their hand, you will see virtually everyone raise their hand. If you then ask everyone who is there to buy something to raise their hand, no one will raise their hand. e. The 12 x 12 x 12 Rule – Be aware of:

i. What you look like from 12 feet away? Look the part. ii. What you look like from 12 inches away? Have a positive attitude and stick to positive topics. iii. What are your first 12 words?

f. When networking you should use at least 3 of the following 4 networking streams:

i. Casual Contact Groups – Chambers, non-profit boards, etc. ii. Knowledge Groups – Professional or industry associations, etc. iii. Strong Contact Networks – BNI, groups with a specific business purpose. iv. Online Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

g. However, nothing beats face to face. h. Work / Life Balance is an illusion, seek Work / Life Harmony.

4. Energy in motion = Emotion More to follow.

ActionCOACH Global Conference BFO’s – Part 1

Here are a few things you can apply to improve your performance and the success of your business:
  1. Have the one primary goal you are working on up on your wall (and your coach’s wall), in front of you until it is accomplished.
  2. Many of us think about the new things we should start doing, few of us invest any time at all on identifying the things we need to stop doing.
  3. From Stedman Graham, the day one guest conference speaker:
    1. a.“Your business is only as good as you.” – If you want business to get better, you need to improve.
    2. “We all have 24 hours in each day … therefore we are all equal.” – How do you invest your 24 hours?
    3. Whenever you let someone define you, they will always define you as less than them. Take care with your reputation, first impressions and the promises you make.
  4. What do the 1% of the population who are extremely successful do that we can learn from:
    1. They have a strong WHY
    2. They operate Present-Future not Past-Present
    3. They are results driven
    4. They operate above the line – They take ownership, they are accountable and they take responsibility for their results
    5. They think and plan
    6. They have a belief in success
    7. They value their worth
    8. They have clarity of purpose
    9. They are congruent between their intention and their attention
    10. They continually grow and learn
  5. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it – have clarity of vision.
  Stay tuned, more to follow.

Are You Connecting The Dots?

While on my way back to New York, from the ActionCOACH 2011 North American Conference I was thinking about the speakers who presented and had an insight I wish to share with you. It was a great conference with a massive amount of learning, insights, BFOs (Blinding Flashes of the Obvious), collaboration and fun. I will share some new strategies and BFOs in subsequent blog posts. There were many top-notch people on stage at the conference, most of whom, including Brad Sugars himself, I noticed, repeated their key points more than once. That repetition started me wondering why these very polished, engaging speakers, and many other speakers I’ve seen, some very well known, used this technique. Do they think we are slow learners? Not listening? That we can’t discern major points from minor points? Don’t get me wrong, the speakers did not repeat themselves word for word. They rephrased, one, two and sometimes as many as four or five times. They kept making their point over and over again with sometimes subtly different language, sometimes very different language. So while sitting here on my flight I had what I think is a very useful BFO, namely that these speakers were making sure to connect the dots for us. Now you may be thinking, so what, I don’t speak in public. I don’t make speeches to large groups of people, or even small intimate groups. So why is this important to me and my business? I want you to think back to sales meetings you have been in. How many times were you surprised by the seemingly off-the-mark questions or reactions that followed your well prepared presentation and handouts? Was your audience not paying attention? Were they asleep? On the other hand, how many times were you the recipient of a presentation that you misinterpreted, causing the presenter no small amount of frustration? Both of these situations, as presenter or presentee, are the result of a failure by the presenter to connect the dots. So what is the point? If you don’t connect the dots, your audience will connect them for you, and will very often miss or mangle your message. It is well known that different people absorb information in different ways. That is why these very effective speakers repeat the main points of their message several times using different languaging. This applies to every communication mode you use, your spoken presentations, your brochures, your white papers, your sales materials, your blog posts, your YouTube videos, everything. Repeat yourself, or in the appropriate situation, raise questions that will help you verify that your message arrived as you intended. It is all about reducing the chance that your key points will be missed and your goals harder to achieve. Remember, Communication is the response you get!

Creating Raving Fans – Define Customer Value

Recently I was at a presentation about creating raving fan customers. After mentioning that he is a raving fan of a rather unsuccessful local major league baseball team, the speaker asked the audience – who wanted customers that identified with their business the same way that raving fans dedicate themselves to their favorite teams? That question got me thinking about how a sports team with a multi-season losing record can earn and keep their extremely loyal fans. My conclusion is that, just like all businesses, the definition of the product of a sports team goes way beyond the obvious. In addition to win/lose record, their product includes: · Their history · Their records · Their players · Their managers and coaches · Their venue · Their customer service department (ticketing) · Their uniforms · The food and other amenities available at their venue · The overall atmosphere at their venue · And much, much more. The point is – are you on top of the complete definition of your product? Here is a hint; the definition of your product includes a lot of intangibles that reflect what your customers (clients, patients, team, vendors, etc.) value about their experience with your business, not simply the physical product or service you deliver. If you don’t know what your audiences value about your products or services, one way to find out is to ask them.  Many of their replies will surprise you.

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.

Become a subject expert on LinkedIn

When you answer specific questions under the Answers tab in LinkedIn, other users vote on your answers.  Given enough positive votes/comments, you can become an expert in the subject. Be careful to be subject selective and focused.

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.