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BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Create Alignment in Your Business with the Four Disciplines of Execution

Not sure how to meet your objectives? Setting up smaller, achievable, and measurable goals can help. Company-wide communication and strategy helps your execution. Always work towards a common goal.

Kevin had a lot of anxiety before he started using the disciplines of execution. It was a totally foreign concept and his business was struggling.

Most of the goals in his company always remained in the ideation stage. He couldn’t figure out how to manage his team efficiently and get everyone to work towards common goals.

By improving communication and the method of execution, Kevin turned things around.

Management coaching taught him the four key disciplines of execution that his company needed. First, he started improving communication. Next, he spent more time on strategizing and setting clear actionable goals.

His business pivoted towards solving one small problem at a time. From there, the domino effect kicked in and everything improved. Kevin understood that it’s possible to influence the focus of an already talented team.

That is, once everyone knew what common goals to work towards.

You can do the same for your business if you use the right strategy. But, do you know what that strategy is? Chances are that, of the two of them, you’re using the wrong approach.

The Two Strategies

Businesses often rely on two strategies. The first one is the stoke-of-pen strategy. It’s a simple concept that doesn’t always yield the best results.

For example, let’s say that you need more customers. At the stroke of a pen, you think you need to spend more on marketing so you have to hire additional salespeople.

Something like this doesn’t take a lot to execute. You need the money and authority to hire new people.

But it doesn’t really solve a lot. Sales involve more than hiring new people. You need to know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.

That’s why the second strategy is superior, and that’s the behavioral change strategy. It’s harder to implement, but it accomplishes more.

This strategy involves changing the behavior of your salespeople. Change their mindset from rapid closers to those who want to solve your customer’s problems. Make them go through a discovery process and adopt strategic thinking.

That way they can better serve the customer.

The behavioral change strategy includes looking at current inefficiencies. It’s about figuring out how you can fix internal issues with the tools that you have. It doesn’t rely on hiring more bodies because that’s not always the way to progress.

To implement the best strategy for your business, you need to understand the four disciplines of execution.

Discipline #1 — Focus on the Wildly Important

You can’t focus on the wildly important unless you know what that is for your company. So ask yourself what happens if everything stays the same.

Assuming everything in your business remains the status quo, what area provides the biggest impact after a change?

The goal here is to identify one key area of your business that you can improve if you work on it. After you make adjustments, you can see an immediate positive impact.

Note that this doesn’t mean that you should drop everything else. You still have to serve customers, and you still pay your employees.

But the idea is to implement a management system that also allows you to work on one problem at a time. All the while, everything else stays the same, at least until you can do two things at once, to speed up the process.

Your wildly important goal (WIG) could be that you want to increase your prices. It’s a common goal for many companies. To get it done, all departments must focus on that particular WIG and nothing else at the same time.

You pick your battles to win the war. It’s also important that you identify the WIG in a collaborative process.

Discipline #2 — Acting on Lead Measures

Lead measures are the high-impact actions that your team must take to reach the WIG.

The nature of lead measures is predictive. You create your lead measures by identifying intentional actions that help you towards moving the WIF.

Let’s look at the previous example of wanting to increase sales. In this case, a lead measure isn’t cutting down on your expenses. This action doesn’t contribute towards the WIG.

It helps with profitability, sure, but that may be a very different goal, not your WIG in that scenario.

For another example, let’s take a landscaping business that wants to reduce its incident reports from 20 down to 15. Creating a lead measure for this situation would include making a safety checklist.

How can you follow through with that? You can assign a field supervisor to check on the crews to see if they’re wearing the right equipment.

It’s an actionable measure with a direct and clear impact on the proposed WIG.

You know what’s going to happen from the moment you design that lead measure.

This is a key discipline for a very simple reason. You don’t want to take action on activities that you’re not sure would help you reach your goal. You don’t want to waste time on anything but the believable actions that contribute with certainty.

Discipline #3 — Creating a Scorecard

Let’s talk about what makes people work harder. People need the motivation to work harder and deliver better results.

Some may do it for extra rewards. But you can also use a different incentive, which is the scorecard.

What do employees do when they’re judged and compared to others based on their performance? They play harder. It doesn’t matter if you judge them individually or based on team performance.

Yet, to create an effective scorecard it’s essential to make it readable. Everyone needs to understand what it says, what it indicates, and where everyone stands.

The scorecards should also clearly show the WIG and the lead measures that need implementing.

The great thing about this discipline is that it’s highly customizable for every business. There’s no one strict model you have to follow that could confuse things.

You can also create digital or physical scorecards and put them up in the office.

It’s vital for those that look at the scorecards to understand all the metrics. They need to know where they stand if they’re winning or not.

Discipline #4 — Cadence of Accountability

Scorecards don’t mean anything if you don’t review them. This is the moment when the cadence of accountability comes in.

You have to hold weekly review meetings for your scorecard. You don’t need to meet in long sessions for that. Up to 30 minutes is more than enough for most companies. What’s important is maintaining consistency and going over the important issues.

These issues include what your lead measures are. Where does everyone stand with respect to them? Is the WIG moving in the desired direction?

The reason you do this is that you may not always choose the best lead measures from the start. Maybe you’re doing something that won’t give you the desired results.

By holding weekly meetings, you don’t have to wait until the end of your quarter to see where you stand. You can tell in two or three weeks if you have effective lead measures or not.

With that information, you can then tweak your approach and come up with a more efficient solution.

You can come up with new tasks and hold your team and yourself accountable for what’s happening.

Another important rule of a WIG session is to keep things to the point. Don’t let other internal issues creep into your discussion. Don’t talk about staffing if that’s not an influencing factor for reaching your set WIG.

The only thing on everyone’s mind should be the WIG and the progression towards it. It may sometimes be harder to implement than you think, what with all the distractions.

Using the landscaping company example, the field supervisor could get distracted by clients. That means that they would need constant reminders to work on the scorecards and only address incident reports in meetings.

Leverage the Disciplines of Execution to Get Everyone on the Same Page

You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t set goals and plan a clear strategy for meeting those goals. At the same time, it isn’t so easy to focus on more than one thing at a time.

Communication and transparency are the building blocks of great leadership and management. Accountability gets people laser-focused on the wildly important goals that help a business scale.

It’s critical to create predictive lead measures that move the WIG in the right direction. It’s important to track everything that influences those actions. More than that, it’s also essential to review everything once a week to make sure you’re on track.

You may not get it right the first time. But, if you catch any mistakes early, there’s time to make adjustments.

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 Four Pillars of Leveraging Your Team with Accountability

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Culinary Creative thrived in an ever-changing business environment. The company overcame issues in process and communication and understood how to plan and execute better. It did it by dissecting each problem at a time and utilized the four pillars of leverage.

Most companies are in the same boat. There’s a lack of communication and clear planning that leads to bottlenecks in the business.

People lack communication skills and clarity in discussions and this happens at all levels of management, including at the leadership level.

But, if you fix the accountability issues in your team, you can overcome these challenges. The four pillars of leverage allow you to leverage your team with accountability. It allows you to reinforce what everyone needs to do for the business to succeed.

It allows you to look objectively at KPIs and make better decisions for your company. That’s in regard to everything from clients, to marketing, to employees, and more.

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Pillar #1 – Structuring Your Data

Before you can structure your data, you have to understand it.

Your data contains quantitative metrics such as financial statements and qualitative metrics. These metrics indicate how you operate your business.

You should know that there are two ways to look at it. Let’s start with the first, which is benchmarking.

When you benchmark your data, you’re essentially doing competitive research. You put your financial statements against online reports and industry reports.

Your main goal is to find out what others spend in regard to a percentage of revenue. You have to figure out where you stand with your spending compared to the industry average.

Do you spend more on marketing? Do you pay more for development or operating costs?

This kind of financial data is critical, and you have to go out there and find it. You need to know the facts in your industry to determine where you stand.

The second way to look at your data is by metrics. You can split these metrics into general business metrics or KPIs and unique metrics to your niche.

Of course, some metrics stand out, such as the average customer retention rate. You also have things such as customer acquisition or lifetime value.

You need to know how much value each customer brings. You need to know how much your company spends to bring in new business or to earn the loyalty of recurring customers.

But what makes all this information even more valuable?

Once you have it, everyone in your company can see it. Every employee then understands what to look for. Everyone is on the same page and knows what goals to work towards.

All of this can boost productivity, performance, and can help you grow your business.

Pillar #2 – Assessing Your Team

Assessing your team is all about the organizational structure of your company. To do that, you have to understand how things work.

Your people operate various processes, which in turn run functions. Those functions are what make your business run. It’s a clear and simplified roadmap of how pretty much any business works.

To assess your team, you must create an accountability chart that looks at the core functions or key roles.

If you break down your organizational structure by function, you get a better understanding of how your company works. It lets you know what you have to improve to boost overall performance.

Here are examples of core functions:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Accounting

When you look at these functions, you also look at the people who perform them. You also look at performance indicators and last, but not least, the outcome.

You need to know what results you can expect from those team members.

For example, salespeople are usually accountable for income. This means that you can assess them based on sales, profit, and loss statements.

The goal here is to take a close look at your core business functions. From there, you identify the people accountable for performing those functions.

You can judge those employees based on a variety of KPIs and metrics relevant to your business.

Another adjustment you might want to make is this – ensure that each core function has one accountable person.

If you have a sales team, you also need a sales manager. If you have more people involved in client acquisition, you need one person who manages them.

This takes a lot off your plate as a business owner as it discourages micromanaging. It also ensures that no one gets overworked performing their duties. Make sure that you don’t have one person in charge of more than one team or overseeing multiple functions.

You don’t want overworked people on your team, because it reduces their performance and efficiency.

Furthermore, do you have any unfilled roles in your company? Are there key areas that no one oversees? Consider either taking up those tasks yourself or giving them to someone else.

Pillar #3 – Objectives and Key Results

Objectives and key results is a management framework prevalent in the big players in the tech field. Its purpose is to improve execution and to measure execution.

What is execution? It means looking at a plan and taking action. It means following through.

A common problem with many businesses is executing new plans or trying new things. They don’t do it well or as often enough as they should.

The reason for this comes from a traditional management style. How it works is business owners tell managers what they want. But they don’t say how they want things done.

There’s a point and tell mentality to it, if you will. In today’s world, this doesn’t work.

For example, you set a goal for implementing a new market strategy with an emphasis on your online presence and sales system. That’s a great goal in today’s world.

But does this sound to you like a well-outlined plan? It doesn’t. There’s no definition of what that great new market strategy is and how it can help the business.

What you need to focus on are behavioral changes. You need to take care of business differently to achieve better results. It would help if you planned more about what you want and how you can meet your objectives.

It’s always beneficial to have a clear strategy and transparent communication. As a business owner, you have to communicate what you want, and why you want it, to your managers.

It’s also crucial that you take feedback and get everyone involved. Lack of clarity, commitment, and staying complacent is why you probably drop many new initiatives.

Just setting new objectives isn’t enough anymore. You need to transmit why you set those goals. You need to develop a timeline and give a qualitative reason behind your thought process.

Pillar #4 – Cadence of Accountability

Lastly, you have your cadence of accountability. This fourth pillar is nothing short of crucial to your business succeeding.

Let’s say you did everything right so far. You’ve structured your data. You did a great assessment of your team and assigned valuable people in niche roles.

You also set and clearly communicated new objectives and your reasoning behind them. You also discussed how to get those key results. What’s left is to make sure everyone does their job so that you can meet your goals.

You can do that with the cadence of accountability. It refers to a straightforward concept of holding regular meetings to discuss how everyone should do things.

You can hold recurring meetings to remind people in key positions about their roles.

You keep track of results to make sure everyone does their job. You want to make sure that no matter what happens, people stay on track with their assignments.

Infrastructure meetings are also highly important. Those are the meetings where you talk about any improvements you can make to reach your objectives faster.

Maybe it’s about new technologies you can add or tools that would make a process easier.

But here’s the secret to maximizing the efficiency of your meetings. You keep them short and don’t mix different issues.

It’s important to separate client-related meetings from strategy meetings. You don’t want to talk about employee issues when discussing marketing or tactics.

Each predetermined meeting should have a precise topic of discussion. That way there’s no confusion as to what’s the takeaway or what you’re keeping score on.

Also, remember to hold some one-on-one meetings with key employees. Do a performance review more often and talk clearly about what are your expectations.

Give your people a chance to grow and improve themselves at the workplace. Please don’t allow them to lose their efficiency or stagnate. Avoid having to fire people because they’re not up to your standards.

In the long run, this can hurt your business. You can end up having to hire and retrain new people, and business slows down.

It All Starts at the Top Level of Management

If there’s one big takeaway from the four pillars model, it’s this. Avoid bottlenecking your business at the leadership level.

You do make the important decisions, but there are other people that your survival depends on. If you’re not clear on what you want, your managers and low-level workers can’t deliver.

Share your goals, your results, and your core values with your team. Get everyone on the same page and motivate them to work towards reaching those objectives. Use the four pillars of accountability to create a reliable infrastructure and growth strategy in your company.

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

Six Tips for Getting the Most Out of People

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Are you struggling to motivate your people? Do you find it hard to get everyone on the same page? There are six ways to ensure that others pull their weight and deliver the results you expect from them.

A manager’s job goes beyond micromanaging and checking up on everybody. It also includes being able to motivate people that fall behind on their work.

It’s also a manager’s job to understand why people underperform or think about abandoning work altogether.

To give you an example of what I mean, I want to tell you a story about Nicole.

Nicole is a restaurant manager. She ran into some difficulties with getting the most out of her people when the time came to open up the restaurant. It became a challenge because her people weren’t on the same page yet.

One of the things she struggled with was that her people weren’t pulling their weight. One person on her team was still pulling 60-hour weeks. Others, meanwhile, were nowhere near done with their tasks and kept falling behind.

She also noticed discrepancies in commitment and loyalty between the younger and the older employees. In particular, the younger demographic showed more interest in collecting unemployment.

Some people always get things done where others crumble. And you never know who is who until it happens.

But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to get the most out of your people. It doesn’t mean that you can’t figure out what makes them tick and what can motivate them to provide the outcomes that you seek.

Here are six ways to ensure you get the results you want from your people. Some of these strategies apply to any type of business, which is what makes them so great.

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Tip #1 – Create Clarity of the Outcome

As a leader, one of your primary goals is to give people specific tasks. But I’m sure it often happens that not everyone achieves the results that you want.

Is it always because people aren’t pulling their weight?

Or is it because they lack the expertise?

Sometimes there’s a different reason why this happens. When you communicate with people, you must emphasize clarity.

The clearer you communicate that outcome, the higher the chances that you’ll see the desired result.

Whenever you want someone to do something specific, you have to demand a particular outcome. Miscommunication when asking for results is what leads to people delivering unwanted results.

Using more clarity can empower your people to be action-oriented. They’ll focus more on the actual outcome and this will boost their productivity.

Tip #2 – Think About How You Can Leverage Others

It’s important to identify the areas where you need the most help. I want you to also think about specific tasks where you might not want to use someone on your own team.

For example, one of the things I find laborious is data entry. I don’t want to waste time doing it because it takes away from my emotional juice. I’m sure that this has happened to you too, as it has with many of my clients.

Doing things that don’t help the creative process is not something I feel comfortable with.

So, why not try to leverage others?

For these data entry tasks, I don’t mind looking outside my team to leverage people who have the experience. I’ll often outsource these projects to someone on Upwork.

Data entry doesn’t cost much and it’s not difficult to scan everything and send it to someone to put it all in.

You can also find very skilled people on these freelancing platforms. So why not leverage all the people you can, including those outside your company?

Tip #3 – Help Your People See How They Can Offer Additional Value

Nicole doesn’t have a complete management team yet. So, I asked her if any of her current people can possibly step up into a bigger role. I wondered if someone could pick up a new role and contribute in a larger capacity.

One of the people that could do that had a history of underperforming. That’s despite her love and commitment to the company.

Based on her track record, Nicole doesn’t see her as being up to the task just yet. But she also finds that person salvageable.

So how do you get someone to provide more value without promoting them? How do you get someone that constantly underperforms to provide more value?

One idea is to assign them more tasks slowly. If someone wants to prove themselves to you, give them more responsibility. Just make sure that you start with small things.

For example, delegate some of that data entry stuff. If someone’s eager to please, they’ll do it.

Everyone has to earn their stripes one way or another. And those with a history of not pulling their weight need to start adding more value consistently.

Tip #4 – Create a Plan (And Get Your People on Board)

After you create a plan, it’s critical to get everyone on board. If people don’t understand either the urgency or their roles, it won’t go smoothly.

In Nicole’s case, there’s a plan to open up the restaurant. But many things need to go well first for that to happen. And that includes hiring new people and using a specific training process for the new hires.

That’s why she came up with a three-step plan for a smooth rollout. The program would position the restaurant properly and account for everything – from hiring and on the job training to opening at the right time.

What was very important to her, which I agree, was reiterating the plan.

This brings me back to the clarity of the outcome.

It’s important to use specifics and explain any statistics when rolling out a plan. It can help your people understand and get on board with it.

If everyone’s clear on what they have to do, there’s less chance of people butting heads. Proper preparation helps you get more out of your people and push your agenda forward to meet your goals.

Tip #5 – Outline Your Ideal Outcomes for the Next 90 Days

There are goals and then there are ideal outcomes. Figuring out the difference is critical for your personal growth and to bring more value out of your people.

In Nicole’s case. her ideal outcomes over 90 days were putting together a job description. She also wanted to clarify her expectations.

Now, this may not seem like much right now. But what’s important is that Nicole had a clear idea of what the ideal outcomes were.

She knew exactly what she wanted to achieve in 90 days. And she knew how to position herself and how to leverage those outcomes.

When you know what you want, others will know it, too. It’s essential to be sure of what you want and when you want it. Coming up with ideas, outcomes, and setting deadlines is what helps you motivate those around you, too.

Tip #6 – Fan the Flame of Purpose

Fanning the flame of purpose is a concept that I’m very fond of.

It refers to how you move forward with your agenda and how you prioritize your outcomes.

Every outcome needs a clear purpose. Without one, you can’t prioritize your outcomes. And the risk here is getting undesirable results.

So, why fan the flame of purpose?

With every outcome you expect, there are specific tasks that need doing. Some are easier and some are harder to accomplish.

Most people want to push forward by handling the easier tasks first. It can sometimes work, but not all the time.

When you handle the easier stuff first, you push back the more challenging things. In some situations, they get pushed back more and more… to the point where they don’t get done.

This is where the fan the flame concept helps. It prioritizes the outcome and sets a strong reason for why the result is important.

It’s a strategy that helps increase your focus for achieving the critical outcomes. If you do this, you increase the urgency of certain things. It’s much harder afterwards for people to postpone tasks by saying that they can do them the next day. Or the day after that.

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Clarity and Proper Communication Are Keys to Motivating Others

You can always leverage people, including those outside your business, for what you need to get done. It just takes a bit of navigating the different expectations and figuring out where their loyalties lie.

Good leadership always starts at the top. A leader who knows what he wants is a leader who can get through to those working under him. 

Exercise more clarity in your communication. Set specific goals for you and others and always stress each outcome’s urgency. Don’t assign tasks that don’t have a meaningful purpose. And don’t be afraid to make people earn their stripes and demonstrate that they can pull their weight.

Leading by example or with a firm hand can only get you so far. Getting more value out of your people is almost an art form, especially when there are generational differences to consider.

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

Changing Your Outcomes – Six Things You Can Do to Create New Outcomes in Your Life

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Are you working towards goals that don’t bring you any pleasure? Do you not have the motivation to get anything done? You can fix this. Start by finding out what you really want.

If your outcome doesn’t have a vital purpose behind it, it’s probably not a very good outcome. Why? Because without a strong reason to do something, you might lack the motivation to do it.

Your outcomes should also have an end date. And you need to hold yourself accountable to it.

You may like the outcome. And you may be able to deliver the expected results. But what if in your head the end goal doesn’t justify the hard work? What if you end up making excuses to not do it?

Let me share with you Auggie’s story to put things into context and explain why outcomes aren’t always set in stone.

Auggie had a clear outcome of setting five new appointments in one week. Although he had enough energy, he didn’t grind enough. He set only one out of five because he wasn’t focused enough on growing his business.

According to him, he didn’t even give himself an excuse or permission to not pursue his outcomes. Distractions and loss of focus got the better of him.

At first, he got overwhelmed. And then he went into shutdown mode.

Perhaps his outcome for that week wasn’t giving him the motivation he needed. Going into shutdown mode like he did can’t help you reach your goals.

Sometimes, you need a different approach in how you define your outcomes and pursue them. Here are six tips to help you out.

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Tip #1 – Find Something to Get Excited About

Auggie got some negative feedback based on his performance. He took it and rolled with it because he understood why he deserved it.

But he faced another underlying issue. 

I talked to Auggie and I couldn’t pinpoint anything that got him excited. As he put it, he was in a rut. Nothing piqued his interest enough to get things done. Due to the quarantine, being stuck in the house, and everything else – nothing pushed him enough.

So I asked him what usually got his juices flowing. What gave them the energy to reach his goals?

His answer was straightforward.

Auggie found pleasure in connecting with clients and helping them overcome their insecurities. He’s not excited about talking to new clients or people he doesn’t know yet.

That said, the takeaway here is to find something to get excited about. Once you find that, you can focus your attention on meeting your goals.

Even in Auggie’s case, some things give him pleasure about finding referrals and connecting with clients.

Like him, if you focus on the parts that do get you excited, eventually you’ll find the strength to carry on and get your desired outcome.

Tip #2 – Focus on the Things That Aren’t There Right Now

Another area that I see people struggle in has to do with distractions. Even Auggie admits that work and home-related distractions keep him from meeting his goals.

But perhaps like him, you also focus too much on identifying those distractions.

What happens after you do that is what really interests me.

Do you attempt to overcome those distractions? Do you put in the effort to fix the issues that prevent you from reaching your outcomes?

Say, for example, you don’t like picking up the phone and cold calling other people. Do you stop calling?

No. Because that doesn’t help you achieve anything.

I want to suggest a different approach. Instead of calling people yourself, devise a system where people have to contact you instead. Maybe that can shift your focus to the things that matter.

I find it much easier to try to fix things first instead of powering through things that you don’t like to do.

Tip #3 – Work on Your Emotions to Access a Higher State

To change your outcomes, it’s important to find a higher state. A state in which your emotions don’t overwhelm you.

Take Auggie as an example. His demeanor indicates a certain apathy about picking up the phone and calling specific clients. But that lack of interest hides a sea of emotions, beyond pain and pleasure.

Dealing with those emotions is one of the most essential steps to getting back your motivation.

If you understand your emotions and fix them, you can get back into a higher state. You can get back your drive to work, meet your goals, and come up with your desired outcome.

Switching from pain to pleasure is not like flipping a switch. It’s crucial to identify those emotions and deal with them one at a time.

Tip #4 – Show Yourself that You Can Provide Value

When you offer something of value, it’s effortless to sell it to those in your niche. One of the best ways to reach your outcome is to provide something of value. That often seals the deal with clients.

But first, you must believe in yourself, your services, and your product. Because if you don’t believe that you offer enough value, your clients won’t, either.

It all starts with you.

And there’s another reason to show yourself that you can provide value – it can boost your self-confidence. It enables you to work harder towards your desired outcome because you know that you can get there.

Tip #5 – Commit to Something

Having a purpose behind your outcomes is critical. But I found that it’s not always enough to work towards your goals.

Sometimes you have to commit to something else, too.

I suggest a morning routine.

It’s important to have something that you can commit to every day. It will help prioritize other goals and keep you grounded.

It proves to you that you can do something once you set your mind to it. It should make it easier for you to balance your emotions and deal with other issues.

Once you can commit to something for the long haul, you might find it easier to commit to reaching your outcomes, too.

Tip # 6 – Write Down a Plan

Growing a business requires planning. It requires an in-depth analysis of the metrics and a drive to want more. But how can you do that? How can you set a new outcome and make sure you can meet it?

Rich Rose had an interesting experience with planning.

Although his business was doing well, he noticed a tendency to become complacent. He thought, “Why be happy with just good and why not aim for great?”

So, he started planning. He looked at all his clients to figure out who’s a good fit and who isn’t.

He started thinking about hiring more people and how he could do that in a way that would speed up his company’s growth.

Having an analytical mind, Rich did a lot of the math for his plan in his head. He knew the outcome that he wanted and how to get there.

But, here’s the problem – Rich didn’t put pen to paper. He’s only at the point where he had ideas on how to proceed but not any real plan laid out.

So he didn’t start the growth process yet.

Ideas are great. Having ideas, creativity, and motivation is what pushes you to press forward and reach your goals.

But it’s easy to get sidetracked if you don’t have your plan right in front of you.

If you keep all that information in your head, it’s easy to change a few ideas along the way. Or even to get overwhelmed by new ideas.

What’s important is to outline your plan. Have a physical representation of that plan so that you can follow all the steps accordingly. It helps with your focus because you can always see what you want to get and what you need to do to get there.

You can’t always go from point A to B in an instant. There are stops along the way.

So you must understand the progression between wanting something and getting it. This is where proper planning comes into play.

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Overcome Your Pain and Change Outcomes That Don’t Bring You Pleasure

Not all outcomes bring pleasure or positive results. That’s because the journey to meeting your goals matters as much as the end result itself.

To reach more consistency in your life, you must learn to identify what you want. Have a well-defined purpose for why you want something. It’s a strategy that helps you understand if something is worth doing and why you should do it.

Finding motivation isn’t always easy – and there’s nothing wrong about that. It’s just how people are.

But it doesn’t mean that you should give up meeting your goals or setting new goals.

Remember, the results don’t come to you. You have to go after them. And the best results come from purpose and a pleasurable journey to get that thing that you want the most.

You can achieve the best results when you combine an analytical approach with a state of emotional balance. Or even a higher state that helps you to reach a laser focus on the things you want. That’s a lot better than focusing on common distractions, making excuses, and not delivering with consistency.

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 Inner Game Equation (And How Identifying Interferences Makes You a Better Business Owner)

You want your business to GROW! With the Inner Game Equation, that’s exactly what you’re going to achieve.

Have you heard of Timothy Gallwey?

A lot of people, myself included, call him the Godfather of Coaching. And his magnum opus in the coaching arena is a book called Inner Game. It’s in that book that he shared something that I find super valuable:

The Inner Game Equation. 

It goes like this:

Performance = Potential – Interference.

Now, Gallwey worked with tennis players. In applying this equation, he split a group of tennis players into two smaller groups. The first group worked on the fundamentals of the game, like their forehand, backhand, and footwork. The second group focused on what Gallwey calls the Inner Game. This group focused on the interferences that they had in their minds.

For example, you might have a tennis player who feels like they have a footwork problem. But instead of forcing them to do drills, Gallwey focused on the mental blocks in play. 

That player may have a coach who’s told them that they have lead feet. This creates nervous anxiety surrounding footwork in the player that makes them almost scared to do the drills. And when they’re playing, it could lead to stage fright and with the player messing up in this area.

But it’s not because they can’t move around the court as they need to.

It’s because they have this interference in their head that’s stopping them from doing something they can actually do.

You might have the same issue in your business.

A lot of the people I work with have some form of interference related to their Inner Game. And it’s this interference that often stops them from achieving their full potential.

In this article, I’m going to dig into some of those concepts a little more before introducing you to another amazing framework.

Awareness and Accountability

The Inner Game Equation comes down to identifying what somebody wants to do and what they’re capable of doing.

For example, I’m not going to tell anybody that I have the potential to be a doctor. And that’s not because I’m unable to learn what a doctor needs to know. Rather, it’s because I have no desire to be a doctor at all – that’s not where I want to go.

But let’s assume that you’re doing what you want to do. 

Identifying your interferences is what allows you to work on the inner ones that stop you from getting there. That’s because you’re able to work on the two elements of coaching once you discover your interferences:

  1. Awareness
  2. Accountability

You become aware of what’s going on in your head when you know your interferences. You can see the blockages that prevent you from achieving your potential. And once you’re aware of those things, you become accountable.

You know what you need to change.

You know what’s stopping you from achieving the level of performance that you’re capable of.

And now, it’s up to you to change how you think and how you do things to get rid of the interference.

Where Are Your Interferences and Potential?

How do you figure out what your interferences are?

Here’s an exercise that I recently did with a client that will help you figure it out. 

Start by creating a list of whatever potential you believe you have. In my client’s case, he has the potential to be an expert in recruiting for the technology niche. He also has the potential to become a thought leader in that niche through the publishing of great content.

So… What’s stopping him?

This is where you create a list of your interferences. 

My client spent a few years out of the recruiting niche. As a result, his interferences related to his fear that his skills weren’t relevant anymore. He worried about not having the appropriate level of competence, and the thought that he might seem unoriginal.

Ultimately, his interference came down to a fear of criticism from those already in the niche.

I want you to run the same exercise on yourself. 

What do you have the potential to be and what interferences stop you from realizing that potential?

Now, I’m going to introduce you to another equation that will help you reach your potential…

The G.R.O.W. Equation

In coaching, we use the G.R.O.W. equation to help with the above exercise. You may have several things that you could potentially be after all. But with G.R.O.W., you select one thing and then run it through the following four steps:

  1. Goal
  2. Reality
  3. Options
  4. Willingness

Let’s dig into each of these individually.

Step #1 – Goal

This is where you set the goal for the coaching that you’ll undertake to achieve your potential. This includes setting goals for both the long and short-term. Think of your short-term goals as the milestones that will help you reach the long-term goal.

Every goal that you set needs to follow the SMART formula:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Acceptable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

How do you set your goals?

There are several questions to ask yourself during this step that will help. Identify what’s most important to you and what achieving that thing will mean for your business. Also, ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you’ll know that you’ve reached your goal.

Step #2 – Reality

Once you have your goal, head back to your starting point. 

What does your current reality look like?

It’s here where you’ll identify the interferences that can stop you from reaching your potential. You’re essentially evaluating yourself to identify your obstacles.

This is an important phase because you can’t progress without knowing your starting point. 

Ask yourself what’s happening now and what effects these patterns have on you and your results. Have you already taken steps to start overcoming your interferences? If so, what were they and how well did they work?

The key here is to not get too wrapped up in your own story. You may end up spending weeks analyzing your interferences and negative patterns. Aim to get to the heart of the matter so you can summarize your current reality.

Step #3 – Options

You’ve figured out what you want and where you currently stand.

It’s at this point that you start working out your options. You’re looking at what’s possible for you in terms of actions you can take to achieve your potential.

Let’s take my client as an example. One of his options may be to start publishing regular content related to technology recruitment. This sets him up as a thought leader on the subject, which opens the door to other opportunities.

I recommend holding a brainstorming session here. Come up with every option you can think of and then weigh their pros and cons. Figure out what constraints you face and how each option could move you closer to your goals.

There are no bad ideas.

Step #4 – Willingness

This is where you commit yourself to the actions that you need to take. Essentially, you use this step to figure out if you have the will to do what you need to do to reach your potential.

Why is this so important?

If you don’t have the willingness, you’re working towards the wrong goals. You’ll end up losing your passion for the work sooner or later. And when that happens, you will become frustrated and struggle to motivate yourself.

You may even start to resent the work you’re doing and lose sight of the goals you want to achieve.

So here, you’re creating a concrete plan of action that you’re going to commit to.

Figure out what you’ll start doing now and what you need to do in the future. Lay it all out so you create a roadmap towards the long-term goal that you set in the first step. Identify any obstacles or interferences that could slow you down. 

You also need to build a way to motivate yourself into the plan. For example, you could create a reward system for achieving each of your short-term goals.

Create a Plan and Overcome Your Interferences

What do you have the potential to be in life and business?

Are you on your way to achieving that potential? 

Or do you have interferences in your Inner Game that hold you back?

These are all such important questions to ask because the answers reveal what you need to do to move forward. And when you have those answers, you move onto applying the G.R.O.W. equation so you can reach your potential.

What I want you to understand here is that where you are right now isn’t necessarily the limit of your capabilities. So many of my clients can achieve more once they recognize what’s stopping them.

You can do the same if you apply the ideas I’ve shared in this article.

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

Getting Your Hands on Data – The Six Techniques to Acquire Data to Measure the Growth of Your Business

Did you know that you could lose a lot of money if you don’t have the right data? Find out how to get your hands on it so you can set benchmarks for your business.

I’m a bit of a numbers geek. In fact, digging into data and numbers is the first thing I do when I start working with a new client.

That’s because I know it’s tough for a lot of small business owners to do it. 

So many of them struggle to analyze what they’re doing and why. And I know how it feels because I struggled, too. 

When you started your business, you just wanted to get out there and make a difference. You fell in love with your industry and wanted to do whatever you did for yourself. So, you shot first and asked questions later.

I respect that approach! 

It shows that you’ve got passion and you want to go out there and make a difference. However, it’s also this approach that leads to a lot of business owners leaving dollars on the table.

I was a victim of that.

I’ve lost out on a lot of money in my career because I wanted to execute before planning. And it wasn’t until I realized how important the numbers and data are that I turned things around.

You need good data to run your business. 

It’s the data that you’ll use to benchmark and figure out where your business stands versus others in the industry. And, ultimately, it’s the data that shows you what you need to change to create a stronger business.

Let’s look at how to find and use it.

Technique #1 – Google’s Great for Finding Key Data

As I said, I jump straight into the numbers when I start working with a new client. I check profit-loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow. And then, I ask myself a question…

How are they doing compared to the rest of the market?

Let me give you an example of a company that I worked with a while back. It was a landscaping company that looked pretty successful from the outside looking in. But internally, the business had cultural, communication, and organizational issues.

The owner asked me this question:

What do you think about my business?

I told him I needed to do a little due diligence on his industry to find out how he compares to others. So, I got his numbers and opened up a certain tool that we all have access to – Google.

I searched for the keyword “Landscaping Benchmark Report” and checked everything I could. My goal here was to collect as much data as I can so I could set out some key metrics for the landscaping industry.

That’s the first tip.

Google is your friend and there’s a ton of useful stuff that you can find with the right keywords. 

Keep in mind that you may end up downloading a few lead magnets along the way just to get the data. But any source of industry data can help you figure out where your business stands right now.

Technique #2 – Consider Customer Retention vs. Growth

There’s one really interesting metric that I found for my landscaping client:

Their industry has a customer attrition rate of between 25% and 28%.

What does that mean?

If the company’s revenue is to stay flat, they need to grow their business by between 25% and 28%. In other words, they need to get that number of new customers to replace the ones that they’re losing. They’ll only start raising their profits if they can get about 28% in growth. Alternatively, if they can cut their attrition rates below the industry standard, they can profit that way.

Now we had something we could work on!

I think this is a key piece of data for you to have in your own business, too. You may see yourself making a lot of sales without your revenue numbers really going anywhere. If that’s happening, your attrition rates may be what’s causing your issues. If you can drop that attrition rate while maintaining your rate of growth, you will generate more revenue.

Technique #3 – Benchmark Yourself Against Your Competition

I know what you’re thinking about collecting this data…

It takes time and it’s probably going to cost you money. So, you start telling yourself that it’s probably not worth it. You could put that money towards building your business instead, rather than spending it on data.

But there is an ROI here.

I recommend that you benchmark yourself against your competitors as accurately as you can. 

If you don’t, you’re never going to know how your business stacks up. You won’t know what they’re spending on, how well they retain customers, and so much more. And if you don’t know those numbers, you don’t know if you’re doing better or worse than them.

What if all of your competitors have lower attrition rates? 

If that’s the case, there’s a problem with how you deal with clients. But you won’t know about it unless you’re benchmarking against others, which means you end up losing money.

There are so many great questions you can ask here.

How do your peers manage their equipment expenses?

How quickly do they collect accounts receivable?

How profitable are the larger companies in your industry? 

What are their expense ratios?

All of this data gives you a picture of the standard that you need to meet and hopefully exceed in your business. It’s absolutely worth spending the time, and sometimes the money, to get your hands on it.

Technique #4 – Look for Data from Industry Associations

Let’s say that you can’t find any useful data with a Google search for the benchmarks in your industry.

You can still use Google to find that data. All you need to do is to change how you search.

Let’s assume that a search for “landscaping benchmarks” came up with nothing for my client. In that case, my next search will look like this:

“National Landscaping Associations”.

That’s going to pull up the pages of all of the industry-centric organizations that I need to know about. And these associations constantly generate reports and data about the industries they focus on.

It pays to know who they are and what they have to offer. If you can, aim to become a member of as many of these associations as possible. Doing so raises your authority in your industry and, at the same time, gives you access to some amazing data.

Again, you may have to spend a fair amount of money to get your hands on the best data from these organizations. But you will also see an ROI from that investment, as I explained earlier.

Technique #5 – Examine Your Percentage of Revenue

This is one of the most important pieces of data you can find about your industry.

The goal here is to figure out what your department cost is as a percentage of revenue. For our landscaping company, we saw that wages represented 31% to 53% of costs. Purchases came between 13% and 22%, with all other costs landing between 20% and 32%.

That told us that the average net profit for the industry stood between 6.1% and 8.5%.

Again, these are all useful numbers to have as benchmarks. If you can bring your costs to the lower ends of the spectrum, you can bring your net profit up. Ultimately, these numbers help you to see where your revenue goes.

Technique #6 – Contact a Competitor

I know what you’re thinking. Your competitors aren’t going to give you any useful data about your industry. That’s information that they’re going to use to get ahead of you.

The key here is to speak to competitors who operate outside of your geography.

These guys aren’t in direct competition with you, so they’re more likely to listen and share. Show them who you are and prove that you’re not a direct competitor to them. Then, ask them about the numbers that you need to know about.

What do they pay for certain types of services?

What margins do that achieve on those services?

Of course, you need to share with them to make this work. I’ve found that most people actually want to help, especially if they’re getting something in return. And if they do blow you off, just move onto the next one.

Eventually, you’ll find somebody who’s willing to share.

Data Is the Key

Hopefully, you now understand just how important data is for your business. And these techniques will help you get your hands on that data.

Use it to figure out where you stand in your industry compared to everybody else. The data gives you some insight into what you need to change and how you can do things differently. And that means you’ll no longer leave money on the table.

You’ll have what you need to create sustainable and effective change inside 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

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!

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