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BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Creating a New Culture – Moving from Impulsiveness to Personal Responsibility

Implementing a new culture will only work if everybody is on the same page. Discover how to transform your culture and move it in a positive direction.

Making a big change, like instilling a new culture in your company, can be the greatest decision you’ll ever make. 

Or it can spell disaster of colossal proportions. Especially if you don’t have the proper processes in place.

Let me tell you a story about one of our clients.

Heaven’s Pets is a pet cremation company in New Orleans. They also offer memorialization services for grieving pet owners.

It’s one of two primary companies doing so and serving the metropolitan area. It even acquired 50% of the market share in the New Orleans area between 2008 and 2018.

But it all changed when a national competitor entered the market in 2018.

The competitor, Gateway Inc., acquired the other company Agee’s Pet Crematorium. And that’s when things took a turn for the worst.

The company received the bulk of its business from veterinary clinic referrals. But those clinics stopped sending business their way after Gateway Inc. entered the market.

Faced with strong competition, Heaven’s Pets responded by drastically dropping prices. They also expanded to prepare for the expected volume.

But it didn’t go as well as they planned.

The first half of 2019 saw a drop in revenue and net income compared to the same period of the previous year. The company was hemorrhaging money and couldn’t stem the flow.

This is when David Paul stepped in.

The team at David Paul worked with the board of directors and the CEO of Heaven’s Pets to figure out what they needed and how to get there.

One of the ways to accomplish the company’s initiative was to implement management systems that aligned with the company goals.

First, the company leadership created a scorecard. They checked in weekly to make sure that everything was accountable, and that they all followed processes.

Individual employees also received scorecards to ensure accountability. They attended weekly meetings to ensure that everything moved along towards the company’s initiative.

This was just one piece of the puzzle that steered Heaven’s Pets in the right direction. Maybe it’s what you also need right now.

Find out more about creating new management systems and integrating them into your company.

How the Culture of Your Business Needs to Change

Changing the culture in your business is never easy. Nor is it a simple thing.

There are many risks involved with making such a momentous change. And so many things can go wrong.

Yet, a culture change needs to happen for businesses to thrive.

Gone is the old way of thinking wherein growth and competition were key. Instead, businesses need to look at the broader picture. And that includes creating a culture of collaboration, sustainability, and stability.

It also means focusing on and delivering higher levels of performance than ever before to remain relevant in today’s market.

You may think that your employees are your greatest asset. But, how far are you willing to go to ensure they perform at optimal levels?

It all starts with a cultural transformation.

Let me warn you, these changes aren’t easy. But they are necessary.

The changes begin on a fundamental level. You need to change the way you think about culture as it applies to business and implement those changes in leadership behavior.

But it goes a little deeper than that, too.

To truly transform your culture, you need to prepare for changes in the fundamentals of your organizational structure.

Transforming Your Culture

Are you ready to take the plunge?

Before you do, here are some tips to ensure a smoother transition.

Tip #1 – Put an End to the Blame Game

How often has something gone wrong at work and you immediately looked for someone to blame?

If something goes wrong, it must be somebody’s fault. Someone wasn’t paying attention, lost focus, or simply wasn’t “enough” for the task.

The fact is, blaming someone is counterproductive.

Anybody on the receiving end of blame immediately goes on the defensive. And defensiveness is not conducive to achieving goals.

Playing the blame game is part of company culture. Despite companies saying that it needs to stop, no one really does anything to prevent it.

If you want to move forward into a future built on aspiration and hope, you can’t keep looking back on the past and the fear that it evokes. Which is exactly what playing the blame game does.

Fear of blame inhibits growth.

If you have inefficient systems in place, you won’t know it in a blame culture. It blocks out things like honest recognition and acknowledging things that need to change in a system. And you certainly can’t make any system adjustments if people are too afraid to give accurate feedback.

It seems like an easy thing to do, but you may find that it’s one of the hardest to eradicate from your culture. Ending this cycle of blame requires an intentional focus on positive movement if you want anything to change.

Tip #2 – Focus on Personal Responsibility (Particularly with Yourself)

If you’re a parent, you try to prepare your children for the world. But no matter how much you want to, you can never fully prepare a child for the world they will eventually live in.

It’s unpredictable.

One of the best things that you can do is teach your children personal responsibility for the choices that they make. And it’s a lesson that many adults can embrace as well.

We live in a world of unpredictability. There’s no amount of schooling, work experience, or life experience that can ever fully prepare us for what we may encounter. 

That’s a scary place to be.

While we can’t control the external factors of our lives, we can enact internal changes that will help us prepare for change. Honing our own flexibility and adaptability can help us cope with whatever life throws at us.

Whether it’s a culture change in a business or lifestyle changes in our personal lives, we all need to take personal responsibility. The way we act and react to these changes is the only thing we have control over.

And it’s key to survival in a brand new business culture.

Tip #3 – Understand the Performance Curve (And Where Your Team Operates on It)

One way to understand the level where your team operates is by using the Performance Curve. This useful tool can tell you a variety of things, like the cultural ethos and mindset of a company.

The Performance Curve has four performance measurements:

  • Low
  • Low-Medium
  • Medium-High
  • High

These are directly linked to the four mindset measurements in the curve:

  • Impulsive
  • Dependent
  • Independent (Medium-High)
  • Independent (High)

Each of these levels can tell you the prevailing cultural mindset, as well as the common characteristics at each level.

For example, an Impulsive mindset in a Low-performance team may carry the attitude that “whatever happens, happens.”

On the other hand, teams with an Independent mindset and High-performance levels operate at higher levels. They may show high awareness and responsibility for others and exhibit the same awareness about themselves.

Using the tool, you can home in on your team’s mindset and also see the direct link between it and performance. When you’re aware of this current mindset, you can choose to change it.

Tip #4 – Check Your Own Behavior

As the leader of your organization, you can influence cultural changes positively, as well as negatively. Everybody watches what you do and that effect trickles down throughout your employees.

Let’s look at the Performance Curve again to see this in action.

If you have an Impulsive mindset, you may leave your employees with frustration, confusion, and stress. They don’t know what you’re going to do next and that leaves them in an endless state of uncertainty.

But if you have an Independent mindset, you may see more individuals accomplishing goals. You’ll also see that your employees are more likely to utilize teamwork to accomplish those goals. And that every individual employee is accountable.

Every decision that you make lends to the atmospheric culture of your company. And your employees, in turn, follow your lead.

So, it’s within your power to transform company culture. But you need to watch your own behavior, too.

Get Ready for a Transformation

Taking strategic action is not enough for you to keep up in today’s competitive market. You also need to invest in the individual performance of each team member. 

And to do that, you need to create a new culture in your company.

Yes, that may mean starting at the foundations of your company. But these changes can help move your business in a positive direction and keep your team performing at optimal levels.

Like Heaven’s Pets, you can’t enact change unless you have the right system in place. And you can’t implement a system until you can make an honest assessment of the one you have now.

Cultivating cultures of fear and blame are the mindsets of the past. 

If you want to push towards a better future for your company, you need to get ready for a transformation.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Emotional Fitness – Becoming Conscious of Your Pain and Your Pleasure

You work towards achieving your outcomes, but something keeps hindering your success. And that something maybe you. Find out how focus can affect success.

Have you ever had big dreams for your business?

Everybody does.

After all, that’s why we start our own company. Right?

Shamim is in the same situation. He has dreams he wants to accomplish. And working in week two of our program, he has already narrowed down to four the outcomes he wants to achieve.

The first is to get clear on what he can offer as a service to his future clients. And he’s looking at the tools and skill sets he already has that can promote his business and move it forward.

Shamim got to narrow down his possible service focuses – breathwork, lifestyle modification, and general health and fitness. But to offer these services, he needs a solid platform.

He knew a website is key to this. So, he started working on it to get it up and running soon. But, it’s been slow.

As he put it:

I’m going page by page, module by module. And it’s always under revision. Sometimes there is no content. Sometimes there is more content.

Shamim understands that writing and promoting free content to the world can help showcase his expertise and value. But he isn’t consistently producing it.

Add the fact that he also wants to get a certification in breathwork. Shamim feels that adding that certification can add value and authority to the service he wants to offer.

But he admits that he’s not very proactive about achieving his desired outcomes. He said:

I’ll start to work on it for a few hours and then I’d stop and move on, move on to a different outcome or something else.

What Shamim may not realize is how his own emotional fitness may be playing a role here.

Find out about how you may be sabotaging your own outcomes from the inside out.

The Core Component of Performance

Most people nowadays know who Tony Robbins is and how he is one of the godfathers of personal development and performance.

He presides over a million-dollar empire and fills stadiums. Everybody that goes to see him leaves on fire because his message is really that good.

Tony is also the one who developed the idea of emotional fitness. As he puts it:

One of the core components of performance is the idea of focus.

What you receive is what you focus on, right?

This brings me back to the story at the beginning.

Shamim has a vision and he knows what he wants for his outcomes. The problem lies in his lack of emotional fitness and focus. He can’t focus on finishing one outcoming, so he flits from one project to the next. He doesn’t really complete anything as a result.

Focus is what helps people like you and me perform our utmost for the best outcome. And when there’s no focus, there’s no outcome.

Tony also speaks a lot about the status quo, or what we’re doing when we’re not focused on specific outcomes.

You’ve probably been guilty of distractions – it’s a part of life. But what Tony says about it is that when we aren’t focused on our outcomes, we get stuck on the status quo.

And that’s not a path to seeing the outcomes that you want to achieve.

The Two Key Emotions

Humans have two emotions that propel them into action: pain or pleasure. Whether the action is to steer a person towards their outcome or away from it, we’re ruled by these emotions.

For example, when I wake up in the morning and I hear the alarm, I can feel one of two things: either “I don’t want to get up” or “I’m going to crush it today.”

These are pleasure and pain responses, and it’s also possible to feel both from waking up early.

Those are the days when your first response upon hearing the alarm is, “Oh I really don’t want to get up. I’m comfortable and warm right now.” But as you slowly wake up, you think, “There are so many things I have to do today. I need to get to the office before everybody else. I’m going to crush it!”

Having either or both responses is perfectly normal. But if you want to achieve your outcomes, you need to start focusing on them. 

And sometimes, that means pushing through that pain response from the alarm and turning it into pleasure.

My Challenge to You

I have a challenge for you:

Be conscious and aware of where your brain and focus go when you try to accomplish your tasks.

Does it go to pain?

Maybe you think of all the things you’d rather, do instead of working towards your outcomes. Or maybe doing these tasks requires a lot of preparation and you don’t feel you have the energy for it.

Or does your brain go to pleasure when you think of those tasks?

Remember that you’re not failing if your brain goes to pain – you’re human.

But this is where focus comes in.

You need to make a deliberate action to change your brain track. Instead of going down the pain connection, you need to replace it with a pleasure connection.

Imagine doing an activity you find pleasurable – like going out or talking to friends. When you think about it, you get a pleasure response, right? It’s the exact opposite of how you feel when you have to work on your website or whatever task you set for your desired outcome.

Maybe thinking about sitting down and doing some work stresses you out, so you procrastinate. You associate work with pain responses and may think things like:

“What if I fail?”

“What if I give this website to the world and people think I’m an idiot?”

So, what can you do to change that pain response to one of pleasure?

I’ll tell you one thing: 

Make an effort to do it. 

It is possible.

Start with looking back on your life and thinking about that task. It probably wasn’t always associated with a pain response. 

Using the website as an example again, think back to when you sat down and created something that was a pleasurable experience.

Maybe you don’t have a specific experience related directly to that task that gives you pain. If that’s the case, you may have to make a conscious decision to change your state of mind.

For example, you can put a rubber band on your wrist and just snap it when you realize you’re drifting into pain response territory. That snap can be a reminder that you’re trying to achieve an outcome and intentionally change your state.

Here’s another example for you…

I have a problem with cuddling with my wife. 

In particular, I zone out and don’t like touches after 7 pm. But that kind of thing doesn’t fly with marriage, right? She wants me to cuddle, but I do that only until 7 pm. Afterward, I tense up and make a grimacing face. And she gets her feelings hurt.

So, I intentionally changed my state.

When she came over to cuddle with me, I shook my foot. Of course, she didn’t notice – and that was the point. I didn’t need her to see me doing it, but I needed a reminder to intentionally change my focus and associate her touches with pleasure instead of pain.

Doing small acts like this can help you start changing your focus. It helps your brain to associate normal painful experiences with pleasurable ones.

Eventually, it turns into a habit and you won’t need these little tricks to help change your state.

Shift Your Focus

Your state of mind is everything if you want to achieve your outcomes.

As Tony Robbins once said, focus is one of the core components of success. And what you choose to focus on can help or hinder your outcome.

As humans, we’re all ruled by two emotions: pain and pleasure.

It’s those two responses that can dictate how we feel doing tasks and activities. Those responses can also influence the actions we take during those activities.

We can take action and consciously shift our focus towards one response or the other.

If you’re tempted to procrastinate when you sit down to work on your outcomes, it may be time for a shift. Purposeful and mindful shifts of focus from pain to pleasure can help reprogram your responses. And it will keep you on track towards the outcomes you want to achieve.

Remember, without focus, there is no outcome.

So, make sure that your focus is exactly where it needs to be to get the outcome you want.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

The Hard Conversation That I Had with a CEO (And the Seven Tips That Will Help You Deal with Difficult Conversations)

Communication is one of the keys to operating a successful business. Occasionally, you’ll need to have a difficult conversation with an employee. Discover how to handle those tough moments.

Nobody likes to have difficult conversations at work.

A Harvard Business Review article does a great job of highlighting the reason why:

“Perhaps your boss lashed out at you during a heated discussion; or your direct report started to cry during a performance review; maybe your client hung up the phone on you. As a result, we tend to avoid them. But that’s not the right answer.”

Difficult conversations are both one of the least desirable things in business and one of the most important. If you don’t have these conversations, you can never implement change in a business.

More importantly, you can never confront the behaviors that prevent a business, or a person, from reaching full potential.

And I know this from first-hand experience.

Recently, I worked with the board of a business who wanted to improve the performance of their CEO. We did a lot of work together to identify interferences and figure out what the board itself could do to improve.

But, I knew I needed to have a difficult conversation with the CEO.

I had to work with him to confront the damaging behaviors that held the business back.

It was an emotional situation, and it’s one that didn’t get resolved easily. We had arguments and there were moments where I didn’t handle the conversation as well as I could.

But we eventually managed to get through it.

That experience taught me some invaluable lessons about dealing with difficult conversations. Take these lessons and apply them the next time you need to have a tough talk – be it in life or business.

Tip #1 – Talk to Somebody About the Conversation Beforehand

Start with the personal responsibility aspect of the conversation.

What are you going to bring into this encounter? Are the criticisms you’re about to levy justified? And have you structured the intended conversation in a way that will lead to a positive outcome?

These are all important questions. But they’re also difficult to answer by yourself.

To help with this, consider talking to somebody outside of the business. 

Explain the situation from your perspective and what you hope to achieve with the conversation. This person can provide an outside perspective that offers insight into the points you intend to make. Perhaps they can tell you if you’re being a little harsh, or if you’re attacking a person instead of their behavior.

This outside perspective may help you create clarity ahead of the conversation. And having that clarity means you can approach the discussion with more confidence.

Tip #2 – Know What You’re Walking Into

Let’s come back to the conversation I needed to have with my client’s CEO.

I’d already talked to both the board and CEO about the board’s feelings regarding his performance. That meant I knew that the CEO already had a bit of a bruised ego. He’d already taken a shot to his pride and likely felt unsafe going into the conversation.

That lack of safety could lead to a fight-or-flight situation. It can create an open hostility that makes it difficult to achieve the conversation’s intended outcomes.

In short, it was a pretty turbulent situation to walk into.

But the important thing is that I already knew this going in. I knew how the CEO felt beforehand, which allowed me to create a strategy for the conversation. And although things didn’t go quite according to my plan, the lesson still rings true.

If you know what you’re walking into, you can preempt your own reactions. 

For example, knowing there may be some hostility at the other end of the table allows you to anticipate and plan. This means you get to be proactive, instead of relying on your reactions to steer you through the encounter.

Tip #3 – Allow the Other Party to Engage When They’re Ready (But Don’t Let Them Stall You Out)

My plan for my conversation with the CEO was to meet up for breakfast and have a chat. So, I sent a text to see if he wanted to join me for a little bite.

“No.”

A short and sharp response that told me that this guy didn’t trust me. 

So, we met up at the office instead. And for 15 minutes, he refused to engage with me. I told him I was ready to engage when he was and he told me that it would probably be a while.

That’s okay.

Sometimes, the other party needs a little time until they can start feeling comfortable with the impending situation.

But in this case, a few hours went by without the CEO trying to engage with me. I eventually realized that he wanted to stall me out, so I had to initiate the conversation.

The lesson here is that it’s okay to give somebody a little time if it will help them when the conversation starts. However, you can’t allow them to control the conversation to the point where they prevent it from happening.

Tip #4 – Don’t Escalate Things If the Other Person Gets Angry

Once I felt that we’re finally going to have the conversation, I knew I was coming into an openly hostile environment.

Things started with the CEO talking about all the things he’d done on behalf of the board. I gave him the time to talk because it gave me some insight into his viewpoint. But eventually, I turned the focus on the behaviors that I felt needed to change.

I really wanted to come at this from a position of love and empathy.

Unfortunately, the situation escalated pretty quickly and we both became angry and irrational. We started shouting at each other, which derailed the conversation.

The simple lesson here is that you can’t allow that to happen.

If the other person gets angry, keep your cool and stay focused on your desired outcome. If things do escalate to a bad point, don’t be afraid to take a break from the conversation. Give both parties the chance to cool down before coming back to it.

Tip #5 – Apologize If You Lose Your Cool

After we’d both lost our cool, we both took a break from each other. He’d accused me of some hurtful things and I’d responded with attacks on his performance.

Both of us had bruised egos, and we needed the break.

I’d made a mistake in allowing the conversation to escalate into an argument. However, I fixed that mistake when I swallowed my pride and apologized. After we’d both cooled off, I held my hands up and said that I was sorry.

The CEO did the same.

And that was the turning point for us. 

We both recognized that things got heated because we’d acted inappropriately. By confronting and resolving that argument, we created a better platform for our next crack at the conversation.

Tip #6 – Work Together to Resolve the Issue

We’d had a blow-up and made our apologies. Now, we were finally at a place where we could start working together.

The CEO showed me a past presentation he made to the board that covered what he was going to do. By working together, we figured out what he’d done and what still needed doing. 

And through that process, I discovered that many of the examples the board gave of poor performance were actually legacy issues. In many cases, he was in the process of correcting issues we’d already raised.

The CEO felt so attacked because he felt like his work in these areas wasn’t recognized.

But by working together, we established this new frame of reference. We gave context to the real grievances that the board had focused on more recent issues.

The lesson here is that you may not always have all of the facts. 

You certainly may not have the correct context for the conversation if you’re relying on information from somebody else. But if you work together with the person you’re talking to, you can understand their perspective. 

From there, you can build a base of trust and confront the issues that do need addressing.

Tip #7 – Give Credit for Momentum

Thanks to our conversation, I got a clearer picture of what the CEO needed to improve on and where he was already taking action.

We stopped focusing on legacy issues and started working on the stuff that really mattered.

And as for the stuff he was already fixing…

I gave him credit for the momentum he’d created in those areas. I recognized that he’d already started acting on some of the stuff we talked about. And that simple act of recognition created even deeper trust between us.

It meant that he’d listen to me when I pointed out interruptions that still needed confronting.

This is an important lesson because you can’t just attack somebody’s performance. In many cases, there are positive things to talk about, too. By giving credit where it is due, hostility tends to dissipate.

Can You Handle the Tough Talks?

I learned some valuable lessons from this difficult conversation. And I’ll take all of that forward into the tough talks that I’m sure I’ll have in the future.

Hopefully, you will too.

The hard lessons I learned can help you to avoid making the same mistakes I made during this conversation. Use them to give yourself more confidence in terms of dealing with such conversations.  

And remember…

As much as the tough conversations aren’t enjoyable, they’re still vital to your success. You can’t avoid them if you want to build a business that’s capable of growing sustainably.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

The Business Owner Complacency Dilemma (And the Five Lessons You Can Learn from One of My Clients)

Complacency is a killer in any business. Here’s what you need to know to prevent it from striking you down.

Let me tell you a story about an experience I had with a client a little while ago.

This company hired me because they wanted me to help their CEO. The board identified that he didn’t take enough proactive measures. As a result, the company hemorrhaged money and had no sense of innovation.

There was a lack of innovation in the business and the board laid the blame on the CEO.

Worse yet, a competitor came into play who undercut all of my client’s prices. They got caught with their pants down because they weren’t offering anything that would stop people from going to the competition.

So, I started working with the CEO.

And in a pretty short period, we got the company’s prices back up. It started making money again.

It sounds like the board got everything that it wanted.

However, that isn’t the end of the story.

Complacency Strikes

After a nice little period of back-patting, I left the CEO to carry on with the lessons I taught him.

But that didn’t happen.

Not long after I left the company, the results started dropping back down again. The old behaviors of procrastination returned and my client lost the momentum they’d just built.

The client called me back in.

Only this time, I could sense this underlying note of resentment and aggression from the board. I had the feeling that they blamed me for the company losing its direction again.

So, I confronted the board. I asked them what they really thought about the CEO they had in place and they had to answer me.

They told me about how he seemed to have become complacent. They talked about a lack of urgency and their frustration about not getting a return on their investment into this CEO.

And they’d felt that way for years.

The reason they’d never said anything before was that the business still made money and had happy customers. On the surface, everything looked pretty good. But underneath it all, there was this overriding sense of complacency that they traced back to the CEO.

That’s a dangerous thing to have in a business.

Complacency leads to you sticking with the status quo as your marketplace changes around you. It’s complacency that stopped Blockbuster from adapting to the streaming model. And it stopped Kodak from becoming the frontrunners in digital photography when they had the chance.

It could stop your business from achieving success in the future, even if you’re successful now.

This experience taught me some valuable lessons about how complacency creeps into a business. In this article, I share some of those lessons to help you avoid creating a stagnant and complacent culture.

Lesson #1 – Improving Performance Is Not a “One and Done” Thing

I got the impression from this client that they expected everything to get solved after just a few short sessions with me. They’d seen an improvement in results and they assumed they’d maintain the momentum without me.

But that’s not how it works.

The CEO made a few short-term improvements with my guidance. However, I didn’t work with him long enough to confront the underlying behavioral issues that led to the previous poor performance.

And it’s those behaviors that are crucial.

Improving performance is not a “one and done” thing. It’s something that you have to focus on constantly so that you maintain positive momentum. There’s no magic wand that you can wave to eliminate complacency from your business.

When you’re not focused on constant improvement, you acquire the attitude that the status quo is good enough. And that may be the case…for a while. But as you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re missing how the market shifts around you.

Customer needs change over time.

Competitors come onto the scene to challenge your position.

These are all things that you need to adapt to if your business is to thrive in the long term. A single change that you made months ago isn’t enough to adapt when new challenges arise.

Lesson #2 – Identify Your Interference

The fact is, it wasn’t just the CEO who’d become complacent.

The board admitted to me that they’d become complacent in how they dealt with him. And at that moment, they identified the interference that held the business back. They became aware that they weren’t doing enough to push the CEO to greater heights.

That awareness is so important when it comes to tackling complacency in any business.

If you’re not aware of what’s going on, you can’t do anything to fix your interferences. They’ll just keep getting stronger until they get to the point where they have a serious impact.

And by that point, it may be too late for your company.

Lesson #3 – Stop Pointing Fingers (Unless You’re Willing to Point at Yourself)

If I’ve given you the impression that the board blamed its CEO for all of the issues in the business, you’re right. 

Before working with me, they assumed they’d given him all of the tools he needed. So when things didn’t work as they should, it was easy to point the finger of blame at him. But as I took them through the process of identifying interference, the board came to a realization.

Ultimately, the responsibility lay with them. 

It was on them to supervise the CEO and they hadn’t done everything they could to create an environment in which he could succeed. The complacency that he had was a reflection of the complacency present at the boardroom level.

The message here is that you can’t point the finger of blame unless you’re willing to point to yourself. 

As a leader, you have to be able to open up your kimono and show your belly. In other words, you’ve got to state where you’ve gone wrong and show that you’re aware of how you can improve.

That makes it much easier to transmit your message.

If you can see where you went wrong, your people will listen to you when you tell them what they need to improve on.

Lesson #4 – Confront Behaviors (Not the Person)

Eventually, the time came when we needed to have a conversation with the CEO.

What’s important to note here is that the board didn’t want to fire him. They wanted to see him improve, grow into the role, and reach the potential that they saw in him when they hired him.

But when it came time for a confrontation, they needed to beware of confronting the person.

It’s not the person who’s the problem. Rather, it’s the behaviors that they exhibit.

It’s a subtle difference, but it’s one you need to understand if you want to avoid a powder keg situation. 

When you confront a person, they naturally raise their defenses. When that happens, the conversation becomes less about resolving an issue and more about somebody trying to prove that they’re right.

That will get you nowhere.

When the board confronted their CEO, they focused on disarming him. They talked about how happy they were that he afforded them meaty distribution checks. But they also zeroed in on how they felt there was a lack of initiative in his work.

They identified the behaviors that needed to change and discussed what needed to happen for them to change.

Lesson #5 – Personal Responsibility Is Key

Ultimately, it comes down to overcoming the obstacles and interference that exist in your own head.

That’s what the brilliant Timothy Gallwey points out in his book The Inner Game of Tennis. A Harvard educator and performance expert, he says:

“The opponent within one’s own head is more formidable than the one on the other side of the net.”

This ties into my point about identifying your interference. You can get all of the help in the world from a coach or, in the case of your CEO, your board. But it’s up to you to make the changes that you need to make. It’s up to you to win the battle with the opponent inside your own head.

Taking personal responsibility for what isn’t working means you take a huge step towards solving the complacency issue. You’ve identified the interference, which means you’re now in a place to do something about it.

Are You Getting Complacent?

My collaboration with this client is still a work in progress. Both the CEO and the board need to take more steps to overcome the complacency that exists in their business.

But they’re making great progress.

They’ve identified interferences and understand each other’s roles in creating a complacent business. With all of that laid bare, they’re in the perfect position to make consistent and sustainable changes that will benefit the business.

Take the lessons I’ve shared here to heart.

Each one will give you a greater perspective on your business, your people, and yourself. And with them, you can tackle complacency before it takes root in your business.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

How an Anxious Business Owner Achieved Amazing Results with a New Business System (And How to Create One For Your Business)

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/ASytsKGtfdGy42ZYJnYW3tODYjoS0DQuIdUFDs6LmhIlZr-xw87POddNwbdehMFMgXmYs8GKeGzfQfEXXbeO6lgN2ZybQemWniYMNtvGtBAJ5S6u6JKxv-6bjyqTbYLqGAPou6Tp

The marketplace is a battlefield and to win, you’ve got to get your troops in line by having a good system in place. Discover the four disciplines you need to master to make that happen.

Anxiety is a killer for business owners, and it’s something that affected Kevin Burke on a daily basis. He says that he generally felt it over things that he couldn’t escape from, and it weighed him down in every aspect of his life.

But what caused that anxiety?

It’s due to a lack of certainty, as he had very few systems built into his business. 

But that all changed when he started working with me. And Kevin said he felt the impact of that work straight away:

“I felt like David’s services were working almost immediately. Company-wide, we saw a lot of improvement in our communication and our ability to thoroughly vet out strategy and work on some long term goals that we had all had as a group.”

Before working with me, he had a lot of ideas but he didn’t know how to build systems around them. But with my help, he turned those ideas into tangible goals. That’s how he could create the systems he needed to make his ideas a reality inside his business.

Maybe Kevin’s story resonates with you. Perhaps you also feel that overbearing weight of anxiety that affects every aspect of your life. 

If you do, your first step is to create a management system that helps you to overcome it.

Know that implementing key systems is crucial to the success of any business. This is especially the case for a management system, which is what this article will cover.

Why Is This So Important?

What’s the biggest source of the uncertainty that causes your anxiety right now?

It’s this situation that we find ourselves in as an entire nation, right? 

The pandemic has shown us that our marketplaces are like battlefields. They constantly change and are often due to situations that are outside of our control.

Right now, you’re dealing with new needs from your buyers and you have no idea what your competition’s doing. There are also currently a lot of unknowns in your business and it’s weighing heavily on your shoulders.

This is why having a great management system in place is so important. It’s what will help you create clarity in a situation that has so many people running scared. 

But, there’s no room for sloppiness here. 

You have to get this system right if you’re going to relieve the anxiety that you and your clients feel right now. Everything needs to be measurable and carefully thought through before you implement it.

In this article, I’m going to share the four disciplines that you must master to create your management system. But before we get to that, there’s something you need to understand about strategy…

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/vw39vlPy2hwLI6oSOljZMrEfvYUswbiAUwlEAlOH8hpSjq6F2IWeM03DH3ZGvYHzHQwDkHjcDrpCs8AIGsCROahm7164YdM4HYcs3E6Dv7-ISnSVbiSkX-ofv1rIBNneHxS6rV1C

The Two Strategies That Business Owners Operate On

Businesses generally have two types of strategy:

  1. The Stroke of Pen Strategy
  2. The Behavioral Change Strategy

The Stroke of Pen Strategy is a reactive one. 

For example, you see that you need more customers. So, you spend more money on marketing. Or, you hire more salespeople to land those sales.

The problem here is that those who implement this strategy don’t get to the root of their issues. They just throw money at the problem and hope that it will resolve itself. But by doing that, they’re not creating alignment between all of the buckets in their business.

The Behavioral Change Strategy is the one that you ought to follow.

Under this strategy, you’re not trying to turn your salespeople into rapid closers, for example. Instead, you focus on helping them become people who thoughtfully solve problems for your customers. 

This strategy is all about stepping back and thinking strategically about how your business needs to operate. And if you follow it, you have a business that aligns with the people inside it and the people that you serve.

So, how do you create that type of strategy?

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/n2vASjHRJTQd3Y_omm5MUxRCWwWcYX44L1gAnVMD-BSAB4zlmXgyNGCsX8Rj6-tDz377MUEKAYpCImG0FiE1_yicVsnyaAhL5kp7w7Z8QvK6Xlsx2v2qLIYkWVccKEDyOQOn3gui

The Four Disciplines

To master the Behavioral Change Strategy, there are four disciplines that you need to master:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important 
  2. Act on Lead Measures
  3. Create a Scorecard
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability

These are the pillars of what will become your management strategy. And here’s what you need to know about each of them.

Discipline #1 – Focus on the Wildly Important Goal

Most business owners have a few areas of their companies that they want to improve. The big mistake they make is that they try to tackle them all at once. This leads to the change getting mismanaged because it’s unfocused. The business owner feels overwhelmed and their people also become frustrated.

To avoid that situation, you need to focus on the one wildly important thing in your business that needs to change.

Here’s what I have my clients do.

Think of how your business as it is now as your status quo. Then, think about the one thing that you can change that will have the biggest impact, assuming everything else stays the same. That means you can make this change while your customers are still getting served and your people are still getting paid.

That’s the wildly important goal (WIG) for your business.

Focus on that single area of the business and get it up to the standard that it needs to be at.

But this doesn’t mean that you won’t work on the other areas of your business that need improving. The point here is that you’re taking it one leg at a time. You fix the thing that really needs fixing and create a new status quo.

After that, you repeat the exercise.

Now you have this new thing in place, what’s the next wildly important thing that you’ve got to change?

It’s like stacking dominoes. One by one, you put the pieces in place so that you can create something amazing.

Discipline #2 – Act on Lead Measures

A lead measure must always be predictive.

This means you have to believe, without a reasonable doubt, that the lead measures you use will contribute to your business. In other words, you’re not going to do anything that isn’t going to move your business forward.

For example, cutting costs isn’t a lead measure because it’s not going to increase sales.

Also, that lead measure also needs to be something that you can influence. This means that you’re not relying on some external group to make the measure work.

For example, you might think that cutting wait times is a good lead measure if you run a restaurant. Naturally, that task falls onto your waiters. The problem is that they don’t have full influence over that measure. If the kitchen gets backed up, wait times go up through no fault of the waiters.

A good lead measure is one that’s predictable and directly influenced by whoever the measure applies to.

Discipline #3 – Create a Scorecard

People always play hard when somebody’s keeping score. That’s as true in your business as it is in any sport that you care to watch.

And it’s why you need to create scorecards for your entire team.

These scorecards show your lead measures and the targets that you want your people to reach. You then use the card to track each person’s progress. And most importantly, you can use the scorecard to work together on creating improvements within your business.

This doesn’t need to be complicated.

You can create solid scorecards using Excel or Google Drive. Or, it could be as simple as a giant Post-It note that you draw out. The point is that the scorecard allows you and your people to measure your progress. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you need to improve on before you can achieve your WIG.

Discipline #4 – Create the Cadence of Accountability

Once you have your WIG in place, everybody in the business needs to work towards it. This means you need to create a cadence of accountability inside the business. Everybody has their own role to play and you need to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.

That’s why you need to hold a weekly WIG session.

This should last no more than 30 minutes and its purpose is to go through your scorecard. You’ll do it at the same time every single week and each session will help you to see how much progress you’ve made. It also holds your people accountable.

If there’s no movement towards your WIG from one week to the next, there’s clearly an issue. 

It may be that the lead measures you’ve put in place aren’t working. Or, it may be that some of your people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.

What’s Your Wildly Important Goal?

That’s the key question you need to answer before you can put this system into place. Figure out your WIG and then build this system around it. Create accountability and measure your people’s progress towards the WIG.

And once you achieve that WIG, you move onto the next one.

That’s what Kevin did within his business. 

And as he achieved each if his WIGs, he built a more stable business that no longer gave him anxiety.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

How This Restaurant Owner Traded Pain for Pleasure (And How Focus and Responsibility Enhance Your Business)

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/1UzRm8uHzQFQvXj3wdn4OkYXx12LrMEWfoDxz0ESv1pjOCw4zf_rQyOrLZxm_guTDurfHaVLOrSeC1NVMnWpc0BD4-sXW7b1gG6htMHMo1072XhINM-LFq2-zN1jSPzXSgd38HpV

You’ve worked hard to create a growing business, but you’re still in so much pain. Find out how to turn that pain into pleasure so you can have a thriving business.

As the President of Tap & Burger Concepts, Kevin Eddy had a thriving business on his hands. His restaurant group underwent amazing growth.

…But it was perhaps a little too amazing even for him.

That’s because he soon struggled to keep up with the fast pace of the growth. 

And as an executive group, he had too many people delegating various tasks to others. It was evidently a “too many chefs spoil the broth” situation, and it created immense frustration for his employees. They lacked focus because they never knew where the next instructions would come from.

He came to me to help him develop a greater sense of focus in his thriving business. And I’ll let Kevin share the results:

“I felt the impact of David’s services immediately. It offered me an opportunity to take a step back and regroup to gather my thoughts, and I was a better coach after his services commenced.

I have more time for those close to me, and this is something I haven’t had in years. And I’m truly confident in the future of these companies.”

With a little help, Kevin created the systems that he needed to manage his growth. He went from experiencing massive pain to enjoying the pleasure of seeing his business grow sustainably.

And the turning point was when he built focus and responsibility into the business.

Interference and Pain

The pain that you experience in your business is the biggest driver of interference. This interference represents anything that stops you from achieving the goals you’ve set for your business.

The good news is that you can turn that interference into awareness. And once you’re aware of what you need to change, you can transform the pain you feel into pleasure. Because only by becoming aware of the issues in your business can you understand its true potential.

Your goal is to get rid of the interference in your business.

In Kevin’s case, that interference related to the muddied message that his executives sent to his employees. There was just too much delegating going on, which destroyed the focus inside the business.

Your source of interference may be something different. But to overcome it, homing in on developing focus and responsibility is a key step. 

The good news is that I have a few tips that will help you to do just that.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/to3TxvJLNkcCsiwJpg4uokKUP9cFY-D96HVLJdr3Zkw3XZIvrp0zvwM-mRjifR7niXXswwOqTNI7R0_cK9KSxAEw7IuVGq1p9c5dVkrZAtEpsFXjrr_bdgbLyM48tPCdINGi0KRh

Tip #1 – Find Someone to Hold You on Your S***

I’m a solopreneur.

That means that I don’t have a ton of people that I collaborate with, which can make it hard to stay focused. It’s because your collaborators are often the people who push you back on course when you start veering off.

They’re basically the people who hold you on your s***.

In my personal life, I have my wife do it for me. She’s there to tell me about If I’m starting to screw up on a personal level. That’s how I can correct my course.

It’s a little harder to find that person in my professional life. Still, I need one. I need that person who knows what I’m trying to achieve and can see when I’m straying away from that focus.

That’s what you need, too.

I call these guys your “battle buddies”, and they’re fellow professionals who hold you accountable. Find somebody who understands what you want, and you can rely on them to hold you on your s*** when you start to lose it.

Tip #2 – Focus Is Like a Muscle

Let’s imagine that you want to learn how to drive a racecar.

When you start learning, you’ll have an instructor sitting next to you. You do a few laps of the circuit and your instructor then says…

“I’m going to press this button. When I press this button, one of the wheels is going to lift up from the racecar and the car is gonna start spinning. And you’re gonna have to learn how to control the car.”

Now, the key to succeeding in this scenario is to turn your head to where you want to go, i.e. the road. The other option is to turn it towards the wall that you’re going to crash into if you don’t get this right.

You know this and you keep telling yourself what you’re going to do when the instructor hits the button. But as soon as they do it, you lose all focus and end up smashing into the wall.

If you don’t believe that’s possible, ask yourself how people manage to crash their cars on empty stretches of road. It happens all the time, and it’s because they lost focus.

What’s the point I’m making here?

Focus is like a muscle. It’s something that you need to train to get right. In my racecar scenario, you’re going to get back into the car with the instructor and do it all over again. And you’ll keep doing it until you get it right and it becomes muscle memory for you.

The same thing happens with pain and pleasure. 

You know that you need to focus on the pleasure, but you all too often focus on the pain. That’s why you have to train yourself to keep your eyes on the pleasure so that the pain doesn’t distract you from your goals.

It’s a fact that you’re occasionally going to get it wrong and smash into the wall, and that’s okay! Just brush yourself off, get the pleasure back in your sights, and do it all over again.

Tip #3 – Create Your Catalyst of Responsibility

When you can keep yourself focused on the pleasure, you create what I call the catalyst of responsibility. At this stage, you are aware of your potential. You have your eyes on the goal and the pain isn’t distracting you anymore.

Now, there’s no excuse.

You’re aware of what pleasure looks like and it’s up to you to drive towards it. To stick with the racecar analogy, you’re now responsible for steering the car towards that pleasure.

This awareness is your catalyst.

It’s the little wake-up call that prompts you into taking more positive actions for yourself and your business. So, create that catalyst and keep steering towards it no matter what.

Tip #4 – Nail Down Your Agenda for Every Task

Let’s say you have an important meeting coming up with a client. In your head, you know the outcome that you want to achieve from this meeting. You know that you want to get that client to whatever point it is.

But when you sit down and start talking, your brain goes in a different direction. The conversation takes you away from the outcome that you wanted to achieve. 

That means you’ve taken your eyes off the road again. If you’re not careful, that conversation’s going to lead you right into the wall.

The solution to this is to get your truth down on paper.

Nail down what you want to achieve from the meeting and create an agenda that will move you towards that outcome. And of course, that outcome is the pleasure that you want to achieve from the meeting.

This keeps you concentrated on the task at hand. Because once you’re focused on what you want to achieve, you’re not tempted to wander off in a different direction.

You can use this same process for any task that you do. Write down the intended outcome and the steps you need to take to get there. Refer back to that document regularly to ensure you’re not straying off course.

Tip #5 – Find Something That Excites You

Ultimately, you’re going to feel pain if what you’re doing doesn’t excite you anymore. You won’t find your pleasure because you have no passion for the work.

One of my clients, Ron, felt that way towards his business while he was in lockdown. He was working from home and says his biggest pleasure came from looking out of the window.

That’s not where you want to be.

Eventually, we established that Ron’s real pleasure came from connecting with his clients. When he’s able to walk them down the path of creating security out of whatever insecurity they have, he feels pleasure. We also discovered that he found pain in picking up the phone and talking to people he doesn’t know.

In one fell swoop, we’ve discovered the interference that holds him back and created awareness around his pleasure. Now, he’s going to focus on what excites him and delegate the stuff that causes him pain to somebody else.

You need to do the same in your business.

Find the things that excite you and turn them into your key points of focus.

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Find Your Pleasure and Focus on It

Your biggest problem right now may be that you’re focused on your pain. As a result, you’re like the racecar driver who looks at the wall when they’re spinning out of control. 

That means you’re looking at the wrong thing and you’re eventually going to crash because of it.

By following these tips, you’ll build awareness of what your pleasure is and learn how to focus on it. Once you have that focus, build responsibility around it so that you don’t take your eyes away from it.

If you keep doing that, you’ll create the pleasure that you’re looking for out of your business.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

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