How to Remove OVERWHELMED from your Business Vocabulary

HOW TO REMOVE OVERWHELMED FROM YOUR BUSINESS VOCABULARY

The CEO of one of my Business Coaching clients, let’s call him Joe, was very highly strung when I first met him. He was saddled with both working on the business and working in the business. He felt that his management team was inadequate for the job and had to step in and do the job for them constantly. As a result, he was always tired, impatient, and short-fused. His team members frequently walked on eggshells to avoid the fallout of Joe unloading from feeling overwhelmed and over-worked.

That was a year ago. I recently picked up a new executive coaching client, Mike, who was a referral from Joe. After going through some pleasantries in our first call, I asked him why he wanted to work with me. He told me that he has known Joe for years and has noticed a remarkable change in Joe’s behavior. He now found Joe much more relaxed, Mike continued, and it was fun to hang out again. Additionally, he noticed that Joe now appeared to be more focused and took the time to work on his business expansion, as well as made the time take a long overdue vacation with his family. Mike wanted that for himself, as well! He felt that he was facing burnout and needed to reverse that trend.

Many business owners and CEOs find that they, too, can feel overwhelmed and over-worked. Sometimes, they behave like Joe, and other times they just check out and disappear, trying to hide from the demands and the fatigue. These are all symptoms of burnout, just from different ends of the spectrum. It is always a big red flag when the CEO is the busiest person in the Company.

There is no magic formula for the CEO to change this dynamic. It’s about adopting new habits, both for themselves and their management team, to give them the freedom to spend more time working on the business. Here are the things you can implement to help not feel overwhelmed and burned out:

-1-  Create a Culture of Learning – The entire team was assigned a reading list and we did follow-on discussions and exercises. I curate the reading list to focus on gaps in the desired behaviors the team needed.

-2-  Create a Culture of Accountability – If you’ve read my previous blog, you learned that the lack of accountability typically stems from the lack of clarity. After all, it is hard to commit to something if you don’t fully understand it; and, if you’re not committed, you can’t subscribe to the need to see it through.

-3-  Prioritization – Implement a planning process (Strategic and Operational) that identifies the key priorities and aligns the management team’s members. Use a balanced set of metrics to provide both headlights and taillights so that everyone knows how they are performing.

-4-  Talent Scorecard – Implement a talent scorecard to determine if you have the right people filling the right seats. The scorecard is used to evaluate everyone in the Company, including the CEO.

-5-  Communications – Create a strong communication culture by implementing proper meeting rhythms and employs active listening.

-6-  Transparency – Fostered organizational alignment and improved operational velocity and effectiveness through clarity and accountability. Everyone in the Company knows what is going on and how you are doing. Everyone must understand the Company’s purpose and values, its priorities (for the quarter, year and beyond), and how success is measured.

By applying these six key principles, Joe’s Company is growing at a healthy clip and year-over-year profitability has improved by 20%. Also, employee turnover has dropped, and most employees think it’s a great place to work. Joe has developed and made his bench of managers stronger and more capable; and the trust in the leadership team is at an all-time high. He now has the freedom to focus on other higher-value initiatives and activities. Most of all, Joe no longer feels overwhelmed. He is working on growing the business and finds the time to spend with his family and hone his golf game. Joe is a happy man, and his team sees that too. He is still busy, but he is now only pursuing strategic business objectives and lives a balanced personal life.

Want to Learn More about Removing that Feeling of Being OVERWHELMED?

Mo Rousso is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving execution. To learn more about him or the firm, please visit our website at www.activategroupinc.com/contact or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216.

What’s Coming That I Do Not See?

Recently a client sent me an email with a curious question: “What is coming that I do not see?” All leaders have asked this question one time or another. However, most fail to address the real reason they had the concern. Max (not his real name) was concerned because his financial results (while very positive) were a surprise. He was wondering if there was a better way to avoid positive and negative financial shocks. The key to avoidance is a better understanding of your financial results and the metrics that lead up to them.

There are 5 Reasons to Become Better at Understanding Your Key Metrics

 

1- Lack of understanding key metrics leads to poor decisions.

2- Fear causes your organization to slow down.

3- Lack of financial vision causes your organization to squander key financial resources.

4- Forecasting focuses leaders on the core issues and leads to business acceleration.

5- Lack of mastery of metrics leads to poor accountability.

Predictable Cash Flow is Achievable

The challenge Max and many other leaders face is to overcome their lack of expertise, commitment, and discipline when it comes to gaining a complete understanding of their financial statements and the underlying metrics that drive them. Unlike factors such as a COVID-type event, most financial outcomes can be predicted with a reasonable degree of accuracy. In fact, it’s likely that most of you who are reading this are not comfortable with metrics and finance in general. That discomfort should not prevent you from requiring the same high standards and rigor you demand in the other areas of your business. The good news is that every business leader can address this problem. Committing to better forecasting will make your business stronger, and you don’t have to empty your bank account to do so.

Lack of Understanding Key Metrics Leads to Poor Decisions

After working with hundreds of companies, I have noticed one difference between top industry performers and the rest. In top-performing companies, everyone knows their numbers. I recently witnessed this in action with Company X (not their real name). Company X has great products and services yet failed to make a profit. We were working with several companies in the same industry. All those other companies had accurate and timely financial statements and the right metrics to evaluate how to improve their financial results. Company X never had accurate or timely financial statements for their management meetings. Worse, management had lost trust in the numbers they did have.

Because they lacked reliable and timely information, they made decisions based on hunches. They made all the logical moves to improve a business in their industry. Unfortunately, they were not seeing or addressing the right issues and challenges. Convinced their whole problem was selling, general, and administrative expenses (commonly known as fixed overhead), the leadership team focused on cutting these expenses. While minimizing overhead is a good business practice, it did not get to the root of the problem. In some cases, cutting the expenses caused the company to be less profitable. They were cutting through the bone.

Company X’s main problems had nothing to do with fixed overhead. In actuality, their fixed costs were lower than that of competitors of similar size. After pushing for better information and competitive benchmarking, they realized their gross margin (revenue minus direct variable costs) was awful. Their gross margin was operating 50% below the better players in the market. It meant that the leaders running their operating departments were failing to perform, and these leaders were hiding in plain sight. In the end, it was determined that they had a pricing problem and direct labor costs required to deliver their services could and should be much lower. Before having this knowledge, they failed to focus on addressing those two issues.

These challenges are predictable and solvable.

Fear Causes Your Organization to Slow Down.

It seems obvious that fear can cause your organization to slow down, but what are you doing about it? Imagine you are in a long dark cavern with many possible turns, no flashlight, and no directions. How fast will you move through that cavern to get to the other side? Most people would slow down and be more cautious. Those who want to try to move quickly are likely to trip, hit their heads, get lost, and possibly injure themselves in the process. Some people may reverse course because they find it too dangerous to move forward or don’t want to go through the trouble.

Now imagine facing the same cavern, except now you have a high-powered flashlight, night vision goggles, and a map showing you the quickest way to the other side. Most of you run your businesses more like the first scenario than the second. And it costs you significantly.

Using the right metrics allows everyone in the organization to contribute to your success. Learning and using your company’s metrics will enable you to show each employee the way to peak performance. The more people that have this flashlight, the better and more predictable your financial results become.

This challenge is predictable and solvable!

Lack of Financial Vision Causes Your Organization to Squander Key Financial Resources.

Getting ahead of oneself is something I wish I could tell you I have never done. I am guilty of bringing on too many people too quickly. Also, I am guilty of investing too heavily in a new endeavor without testing it. We have all done it. I can tell you in almost every single circumstance I should have known better. I was making decisions that defied reality.

A great example is a business services company. They had national growth aspirations, great products and service, a strong reputation in their local market, and the CEO was highly driven. The company was highly profitable, but its growth had stalled in its local market. Rather than addressing the fact that their existing sales team was failing to perform, they doubled the number of sales team members and tripled the number of markets. The result was predictable. Almost all the new salespeople failed. The company got little traction in the new markets, and the old salespeople continued to perform poorly.

You might be thinking, this is an easy problem to solve: Hire the right sales manager, fire the team, and build a new one. That is what most companies would do. However, this company’s data was telling them a story that they did not want to recognize. They had the highest customer churn in years; the owner, who had been a star salesperson in the industry for over 30 years, was no longer producing; and getting meetings with new prospects seemed to take an act of God. After challenging their performance, we learned that their pricing was no longer competitive for the value delivered. Additionally, the market had shifted, and the leaders failed to recognize and address the current market’s needs. Before adding salespeople and a new sales manager, this company needed to address its strategy issues.

By not addressing the real issue, you may be following the plot of the movie 300. The story revolves around King Leonidas, who leads 300 Spartans into battle against the Persian “God-King” Xerxes and his invading army of more than 300,000 soldiers. Despite having 300 of the most formable soldiers globally, there was no way for them to win the battle. I see this same plot playing out in many companies.

This is another problem that is predictable and solvable!

Forecasting Focuses Leaders on the Core issues and Leads to Business Acceleration

Let’s get back to Max. Max leads a company that has lots of good data. They needed more discipline and focus on understanding their metrics, what issues they should be addressing, and how to recognize the leading indicators causing the surprises in their financial results.

After reviewing actual results and comparing them to the forecast, we learned many things. They had identified and used the right metrics but needed to get better and to set realistically high assumptions. In Max’s case, they beat their sales goal but how they originally derived the sales goal had no bearing on reality:

1- They had 40% fewer leads than expected. This happened because they had not done enough analysis to understand how many leads would come from each marketing channel in each market. Had they looked at the past performance, they would have known there was no basis for their targets. And, they had no new action plans that would drive different results.

2- The company exceeded its sales goal by 25%. There was no correlation between the assumptions used to develop the costs. They got the following wrong:

  1. They forecasted having all positions filled in their sales department despite knowing that they were beginning the month with nine open sales positions.
  2. They had several new salespeople who normally do not derive any sales for at least 45 days (their sales cycle).
  3. Their target appointments, appointment conversion rate, and sales closing ratios did not resemble anything close to reality.

Max can now work with the department leaders to improve future forecasts reflecting what they learned. Based on new assumptions, they are going to destroy their sales goals for the year.

This was predictable.

Lack of Mastery of Metrics Leads to Poor Accountability

To establish a proper accountability system, you need a clear understanding of your metrics, the same metrics required to build your forecast. Invariably, forecasts and budgets are wrong because they are built the wrong way. In most cases, leaders look at last year’s numbers and decide at a high level what they want the new numbers to be. However, the devil is in the details, and not the details most budget creators think about.

Leaders need to spend significant time understanding the leading metrics (e.g., number of units sold, number of people required to sell that number of units, number of new customers, number of returning customers, etc.). It would be best if you looked back to understand the trends and underlying causes of those trends and project forward what will happen to these leading metrics in the future based on your business plans. A good example is Max’s company. The number of performing salespeople is a crucial component to the company’s success. Fewer performers will ensure lower results. Thus, key considerations are what percentage of salespeople meet quotas and whether those quotas are reasonably high enough to justify the employee’s tenure.

You might be wondering how understanding metrics ties to accountability. Max’s sales manager believes she performed well because she beat the budget. However, the budget was a farce in that none of the company’s performance standards were met in her department. Despite exceeding the revenue budget, the number should have been higher. This conclusion arose by looking at a complete set of metrics rather than the final revenue number. A primary driver was the number of open sales positions.  The lack of people caused them to fall well short of potential.

Moreover, once we started evaluating the critical success metrics (e.g., number of meetings, meeting conversions, etc.), it was clear that there was a lack of integrity in how they were derived.  Not even management was confident about what they should expect. You can’t hold a person accountable without valid expectations.

The results could have been predictable, and this problem is solvable.

Now What?

Practice, practice, and more practice. You can only get better at forecasting with commitment, discipline, and continuous improvement. And the Finance department is not solely accountable for forecasting. Instead, it is a process that requires input from everyone. All leaders need to help develop the metric targets related to their departments. It is also helpful to run the standards by the employees that must deliver on them. The feedback is where the gold lies.

With practice, I believe every leadership team can produce highly predictable results. Each time you go through the evolution of a new forecast, you will learn new ways to improve performance and strengthen accountability in your organization.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm, please visit his website at www.activategroupinc.com/contact or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216.

Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

5 dysfunctions of a team

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, Pat Lencioni identified team behaviors that reduce positive results in an organization. In my opinion, this book is a must-read for all managers and C-level leaders.

As the company leader, you are the core of your team. Your primary responsibility is to motivate and use the team to create customer loyalty; deliver products and services; execute the company strategy and anything else required to achieve goals. Some teams are big, and some employees may have to play on more than one team. This is where problems could arise.

Lencioni identified the most common problems that arise in teams and how to overcome them. I’m summarizing here, but seriously recommend reading the whole book. It’s a great read and worth every penny.

Absence of Trust

Absence of trust is the hardest dysfunction to overcome and it can be a killer. In some teams, too much time, energy and good ideas are wasted trying to protect reputation. Employees are reluctant to ask for help and to offer assistance to others, causing lower morale and unwanted turnover. As a leader, you can prevent this dysfunction by encouraging open dialogue in meetings. Then, work with your managers to identify situations where employees demonstrate lack of trust and bring it out in the open through discussions that focus on the strength of each team member, and address behaviors that lead to mistrust.

Fear of Conflict

If you’ve overcome the absence of trust dysfunction, your team is now mentally prepared to engage in passionate discussion without the fear of judgment. They know that while their idea may not be accepted, at least it will be heard. What is important here is to focus on discussion and resolving issues quickly without resorting to personal attacks. That being said, healthy conflict saves time and results in better decisions. Practice restraint and allow conflicts to resolve naturally. But as the company leader you must set the expectation that personal attacks will not be tolerated. Wipe out this dysfunction by looking for passive-aggressive behavior behind the scenes or back-channel attacks and calling it out.

Lack of Commitment

Is commitment lacking in your organization? It may have resulted from a lack of healthy debate in meetings, which led to false consensus and no buy-in. Productive conflict taps into everyone’s perspectives, which allows everyone to confidently buy in and commit to decisions. Build commitment in your company by demonstrating decisiveness, and communicating awareness and acceptance of the fact that some decisions may turn out wrong. Then, cascade messaging to key people in your organization to support follow-through on decisions and ensure that everyone is aligned.

Avoidance of Accountability

Accountability is a team effort. Team members need to hold each other accountable when behaviors and actions do not support team goals. Peer pressure is the most effective means of producing performance. Foster accountability by creating clear standards with defined indicators that enable each team member to know that they are doing their part. The more detailed the action plans and the more specific the performance metrics are, the easier it will be to hold people accountable. However, there should be an external fail-safe measure in place so that the team cannot run too far off course.

Inattention to Results

Sometimes ego and self-preservation get in the way of company goals, and that results in inattention to results. If teammates are not being held accountable for their contributions to the collective results, they will likely look to their own personal interests. You can avoid this trap by having good measures in place that align an individual’s incentives with that of their team. Set the tone to focus on results and make sure your conversations with individuals are consistent with focusing on organizational results and not encouraging selfish behaviors.

You can significantly increase your team results by improving their performance by nipping these dysfunctions in the bud.

What other dysfunctions would you add to Lencioni’s list?

Howard Shore is a business growth expert and business coach who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

5 Steps to Make Mondays Fun Again – Step 1

Do you remember when you used to wake-up early on Monday mornings and were excited to go to work? Probably not! But surely you remember the last time you said “Thank God it is Friday.” If you are like many people, you no longer look forward to going to work and dread Mondays. After all, the weekly routine will absorb your time and give little, if any, space to be creative and have fun.

The following are five steps to make Mondays fun again. Think about it as a ladder where you should take one step at a time. Make sure you have one foot firmly in place before proceeding to the next step. Missing one step could cause you to fall to the bottom of the ladder. However, unlike other ladders, the reward of having fun at the top step is enough motivation to stand up and try again.

Each of the following steps will be discussed in separate newsletter articles:

  1. Define your purpose
  2. Explore your potential
  3. Create a solid plan
  4. Develop the right attitude
  5. Have fun

Now buckle up, and let’s start the journey to your future Mondays that are filled with motivation, fun, and achievement.

Step 1: Define your Purpose

Purpose is the core of all actions. Living without a pre-defined purpose is like traveling 10,000 miles without a roadmap. You will advance without knowing where you are going. As Yogi Berra, the famous ballplayer, said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

Just for a few seconds close your eyes and imagine how your life will be 40 years from now. Imagine your achievements and feel the moment. Think about your achievements and disappointments. Think about the actions that you undertook that made you feel happy and those that you shouldn’t have done. Now, open your eyes and take out a piece of paper. Make a list of what was important and not so important in your life. This list will help you to identify which are the key values that generate those actions. You can only develop a strong purpose in life once you have a firm grasp of vision and values to provide the inspiration.

A defined purpose will allow you to perform in the face of danger, move firmly towards your goals, and give you the necessary motivation to overcome the obstacles you will encounter in your journey to success and happiness.

Action Steps:

  1. Write a list of your five most important values (e.g. balance, family, fitness, integrity, money, power, stability, wealth, wisdom, accountability, etc).
  2. Write a vision of your life using at least three of your most important values developed in step one.

“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”, Helen Keller

Once you have crystallized your focus, you are ready for the next step on the ladder to having fun on Mondays again. Stay tuned for our next Activate newsletter when you will learn how to “Explore Your Potential” and find more tips and suggestions on how to accelerate the performance of your business and your career faster and with less effort.

As an Executive Coach, I help individuals and organizations develop better business plans more rapidly and produce more satisfying results. I work with my clients in all areas, including business, career, finances, time management, productivity, and relationships. As a result of coaching, clients set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and more fully use their natural strengths.

If you wish to explore deeper into the subjects contained in this article, please call Activate Group at [phone link=”true”] or send an e-mail to pjperez@activategroupinc.com.

5 Steps to Make Mondays Fun Again – Step 2

The first step, covered in our last newsletter, referred to having a defined purpose.This allows you to perform in the face of danger, and to move firmly towards your goals. It gives you the necessary motivation to overcome the obstacles you may encounter in your journey to success and happiness. Now you are ready to jump to the next step on the ladder to fun and enjoyment: Explore your potential.

Step 2 – Explore your potential

There is a power inside you; an energy that makes you wake up every morning; that triggers the starter of your internal engine and executes whatever you plan for the day. Are you using this power? Are you living your life to your maximum level of energy?

You should be wondering, “How can I tell if my power or energy is high or low? How can I be aware if I have room for improvement?”

The answer is simple; you gauge your life. You will feel when this power is high or low and will create the necessary awareness to take action. Look at your life in the family, mental, social, financial, physical, and ethical areas. Whenever you have a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment as a consequence of your actions, your power level is high, and you are using a good level of your potential. On the contrary, if you have a feeling of dissatisfaction, sadness, or frustration in one of the areas mentioned, your level of power is low.

Imagine for a moment that you can do anything you want in any aspect of your life without the fear of failing, with the assurance that you will succeed. It feels good,doesn’t it? In this situation, you are full of power and energy and you are using 100% of your potential. You are taking action without fear of failing, and your thoughts are aligned with your purpose. You might be thinking, “Yeah, right! I am not in the Twilight Zone!”  However, if your mind can conceive it, and your heart can accept it, you can do it.

Action Steps:

  1. List your achievements in the different areas of your life: family, mental, social, financial, physical, and ethical.
  2. Ask yourself the following questions for each area: “Am I happy? Do I want to achieve more? If I pass away today, what would be my eulogy?”
  3. Using your imagination, draw a picture of the “future you.” Show it to a friend or your spouse and ask them what you should change in order be the person in the picture.

Once you have identified the areas of your life that need a bigger dose of your power and energy, you are ready for the next step on the ladder to having fun on Mondays again. Stay tuned for our next edition of “Room For Improvement” when you will learn how to “Create a Solid Plan” and find more tips and suggestions on how to accelerate the performance of your business and your career with less effort and faster.

As an Executive Coach, I help individuals and organizations develop better attitudes more rapidly and produce more satisfying results. I work with my clients in all areas, including business, career, finances, time management, productivity, employee motivation, and relationships. As a result of coaching, clients set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and more fully use their natural strengths.

If you wish to explore deeper into the subjects contained in this article, please call Activate Group at [phone link=”true”], or send an e-mail to pjperez@activategroupinc.com.

5 Steps to Make Mondays Fun Again – Step 3

It’s Monday morning again, but it feels different from other Mondays. While she was brushing her teeth, she looked deep into the mirror and saw a familiar face, but this time with a big smile and shining eyes. Even though the rest of the family was sleeping, she filled her lungs with air and screamed out loud YES! I CAN HAVE FUN ON MONDAYS AGAIN!

Did she win the lottery? Did she reach her life goals? The answer is no, but she found a treasure in her interior backyard. She found the reason to wake up every day with a smile, full of energy and power to conquer the world. She defined a purpose for her life.

Now that she knows her destination, where all her desires and wants should land, the next step is to create a solid plan to build the dashboard to control the journey.

Step 3 – Create a Solid Plan

Yogi Berra, the famous baseball player and the most quoted figure in the sports world said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you will end up somewhere else.”

Would you drive from Miami to California without a roadmap? Would you go to the supermarket to buy groceries without a pre-defined list of what you need? Would you take two weeks vacation without any previous planning? Of course not. You don’t want to lose a second of your precious time. You want to get to California as soon as possible, taking the shortest way and the best roads. You want to buy just what you need from the supermarket, and you want to enjoy every single moment of your vacation with your family and friends. The question is: do you have a solid plan for the rest of your life?

The following 5 steps will help you create a solid plan, but first you have to be sure you have defined your ultimate goal, your purpose in life and have explored your full potential. (Refer to Step 1 and Step 2 of “5 Steps to Make Mondays Fun Again.”)

Action Steps:

1.  Analyze and develop goals in the main areas of your life.

Setting goals in the main areas of life will ensure a more balanced life, creating a high energy environment where your thoughts and desires are in alignment with your purpose.

The areas to be analyzed are:

  • Family and Home
  • Finance and Career
  • Spiritual and Ethical Growth
  • Health Matters
  • Social and Cultural Expansion
  • Mental and Educational Improvement

2. Make sure the goals you are setting are important to YOU, not just to the world around you.

Motivation comes from within. In order to take real and strong action toward each goal, there should be a strong benefit to YOU if you achieve it and strong consequences if you don’t.

When setting goals, it is very important to remember that your goals must be consistent with your values.

3. Be a YES person with your goals.

Thinking positively in everyday life will also help in your growth as a human being. Don’t limit it to goal-setting. Your positive thinking about achieving your goals will create the feeling you already have what you want. If we leave it to your subconscious mind, probably your past behaviors will take charge and will create obstacles such as fear or doubts.

4. Your goal should be low enough to be reached and high enough to be a challenge.

You can’t buy a $1,000,000 house if your income goal is only $50,000 per year. This type of thinking will create frustration and imbalance in your life. Goals should be realistic and attainable, but on the other hand, should be high enough to be a challenge.

5. Believe in the power of writing (typing sometimes is also acceptable).

“You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

When you write your goal, be as specific as possible. Create the details of what you want, include dates, time of the day, where you will be. Visualize your written testimonial, and feel it as if you were already there. If you can feel it, you will keep it in your subconscious mind until you get it.

Remember, the more focused you are on your goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them.

Once you have created a solid and balanced plan for your life, you are ready for the next rung of the ladder toward having fun on Mondays again. Stay tuned for our next edition of “Room For Improvement” when you will learn how to “Develop the Right Attitude” and find more tips and suggestions on how to accelerate the performance of your business and your career faster and with less effort.

As an Executive Coach, I help individuals and organizations develop better attitudes more rapidly and produce more satisfying results. I work with my clients in all areas, including business, career, finances, time management, productivity, employee motivation, and relationships. As a result of coaching, clients set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and more fully use their natural strengths.

If you wish to explore deeper into the subjects contained in this article, please call Activate Group at [phone link=”true”], or send an e-mail to pjperez@activategroupinc.com.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Abraham Lincoln

5 Steps to Make Mondays Fun Again – Step 4

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, stating that “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.” This is an indisputable affirmation. However, why are some people successful while others aren’t? Why have some people achieved a high degree of success without a formal education? Why do successful people do things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do?

ATTITUDE is the answer:  And if you develop the right one, you will open the door to a better quality of life and a world full of personal and professional achievement. Most importantly, you will make “Mondays fun again.”

Step 4 – Develop the Right Attitude

Become your future, not your past

One of the first words we teach our children is NO. That’s not very positive, is it? They are the raw material ready to be conditioned by an already negatively conditioned adult. For example, during our elementary school years, we are told not to talk in class. Then we get to college, where we are told to give a presentation in an auditorium in front of 100 people, leaving us with the strong desire to disappear from the face of the Earth. If you have experienced this situation, don’t worry, 70% of presenters experience butterflies and pre-speech jitters.

A positive attitude will attract positive things to your life and will help you create rapport and solid relationships for your business and personal life. Remember, when someone tells you, “I like you,” what they are really saying is “I am like you.”

“The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
William James, father of American psychology

Action Steps:

How can I change my inner attitudes?

Dream a lot

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”
James Dean, Actor.

Have a passion

“All the passions are nothing other than different degrees of heat and cold of the blood.”
Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Gain the courage to take action

“All your dreams come true, if you have the courage to pursue them.”
Walt Disney

Smile

“People do not smile because they’re happy, they are happy because they smile.”
Unknown

Keep life simple

“If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
Albert Einstein

Always expect the best

“We usually get what we anticipate.”
Claude M. Bristol

Love

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

As an Executive Coach, I help individuals and organizations develop better attitudes more rapidly and produce more satisfying results. I work with my clients in all areas, including business, career, finances, time management, productivity, and relationships. As a result of coaching, clients set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and more fully use their natural strengths.

Stay tuned for our next edition of “Room For Improvement” when you will learn the last step to Make Mondays Fun Again and find more tips and suggestions on how to accelerate the performance of your business and your career faster and with less effort.

If you wish to explore deeper into the subjects contained in this article, please call Activate Group at [phone link=”true”], or send an e-mail to pjperez@activategroupinc.com.

5 Steps to Make Mondays Fun Again – Step 5

When I started this series of articles about the steps to make Mondays fun again, my purpose was to send a positive message about enjoying life and getting the best from every single day of our lives. It doesn’t matter if it is Monday, Friday, or Sunday. Two weeks ago, watching a rental movie with my family, a powerful message came to my attention. The story was about a high school football team with a long losing streak and the efforts of its coach to break that streak and turn these boys into winners. One day, a wise man came to talk to the coach and told him the following story: there were two farmers who prayed every day with all their hearts for rain. One of them spent most of his time going to a house of worship to pray, while the other farmer decided to pray early in the morning and work the rest of day preparing the land for the rain to come. God sent rain to only one of them. You guessed right! The farmer who prepared the land received the rain. The question is: which of the two farmers are you?

The football coach understood the message, defined the purpose of the team (which by the way, was not winning games), aligned all players with that purpose, and as a result, the team became State Champion for the first time in its history.

Our job is to prepare the land and be ready for the rain. Probably the farmer who did not receive the rain, thought he had bad luck. His rain will come, but he has to take action.

Remember: luck is the point in time where preparation and opportunity meet.

This is the final step to make Mondays fun again! GO FOR IT AND HAVE FUN!

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”. – Walt Disney

Having the courage to take action on the things we consider important for our lives is a consequence of the previous four steps in the process of making Mondays fun again. As a refresher, those steps are:

  1. Define your purpose
  2. Explore your potential
  3. Create a solid plan
  4. Develop the right attitude

To jump to the final step of the ladder, you have to believe, esteem, and love yourself first; create a self-leadership environment which will provide you with the power of acting now, instead of procrastinating with your dreams.

Be happy and enjoy the journey. Wake up every Monday morning with the positive assurance that the week to come will be the best week of your life. Take action on your dreams; prepare your land for the rain to come.

Life is good!

As an Executive and Corporate Team Coach, I help individuals and organizations develop better attitudes more rapidly and produce more satisfying results. I work with my clients in all areas, including business, career, finances, time management, productivity and relationships. As a result of coaching, clients set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and more fully use their natural strengths.

If you wish to explore deeper into the subjects contained in this article, please call Activate Group at [phone link=”true”] or send an e-mail to pjperez@activategroupinc.com.

7 Time Management Secrets that Can Make You Wealthy

Do you want to increase your earnings by 50% or more? Who wouldn’t? The challenge is how to do that and work less at the same time. Many of the ultra-wealthy in our country have figured out how to do just that. After all, the person now earning $20 million a year probably earned $200,000 or less at an earlier point in his/her career. That same person is not working a 100 times harder today. That person has learned to maximize their own productivity and to help others in their teams do the same.

There are 7 secrets to time management that can make you wealthy:

  1. Top 5 Organizational Priorities – The management team needs to agree on the top 5 most important things that must be done in the next 12 months and the next 90 days in order to achieve its goals. These goals need to be put in rank order and communicated regularly to everyone.
  2. Top 5 Personal Priorities – Each individual needs to identify their top 5 priorities as they relate to the organization’s top 5 priorities for the next 90 days and put them in rank order. The status of the priorities should be reported back on a weekly basis.
  3. Daily Task List – Each individual should have a daily task list that should be prioritized into to 2 categories: “must do” and “should do.”  The “must do” category should have no more than 5 items. To make sure the “must do” items can be realistically done that day, a person should estimate the time it will take to complete each task. Add up the time for all the “must do” tasks and all the time scheduled on the calendar. If that time exceeds 80% of the available day then it is unlikely that all of the task will be accomplished, since e-mail, phone calls and unscheduled interruptions must be taken into account in the schedule. The task list should also be compared to the individual’s “Top 5” personal priorities list to make sure that they are making steady progress and not wasting energy and time on the wrong activities.
  4. Create Weekly Goals – At the beginning of the week, decide what it is you want to accomplish by the end of the week. Determine what tasks will be necessary to complete these steps and delegate as necessary. Put an estimated time next to each task you will need to complete and block out time on your calendar to complete each task.
  5. Control Interruptions – While open door policies and responsiveness to customers are good qualities, they can backfire on you. Research tells us that every time you get interrupted, it takes 20 minutes to get back to full concentration. Allowing people to come in at any time, constantly looking at e-mail and BlackBerry, answering the phone whenever it rings, and other common habits cause executives to use 3 to 5 times more time to re-create their original levels of activity. You should create time windows where you are going to accept interruptions. Look at your schedule and identify good break points in your day in which to answer e-mail, return phone calls, and have unscheduled meetings. By getting into the habit of having discipline in these areas. you will create discipline in others. Now they will have to consolidate their questions and condense them into 5 minutes. If they need longer ask them to schedule a regular meeting.
  6. Touch it Once – Whether it is a hard copy document or e-mail, people are touching things 3 and 4 times before they do something about them. This is tremendously inefficient. The rule should be “do it”, “dump it,” “delegate it.” or “file it.” The goal at the end of the day should be to have no piles on your desk and nothing in your in box. If you accomplish this you will save a lot of time in the long run.
  7. Closed Time Management System – Whatever time management system you use, it must be closed. In other words, the same system must take into account your goals, time, tasks, and notes. If your keep these items in different systems you will likely have alignment problems, and important items will slip through the cracks.

Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Are You Playing To Win or Not To Lose?

Emotions were running high in the last quarter of 2008, with the banking debacle, stock market meltdown, the soaring foreclosure rate, jobs losses, poor earnings reports. and dismal projections. Finally, the admission by the government, which had long denied the obvious, that we were in an economic recession. Nobody wants to use the word “depression,” but that’s the word that best describes the mood of the country. The result was that businesses and consumers put on the brakes. Most everyone started operating in a “playing not to lose” mindset.  This mindset can be costly for your career and/or your business.

The mind does funny things when negative events occur. We have to look no further than what has transpired in our government over the last several years. I thought Leonard Pitts’ article in the Miami Herald entitled “Mindless Zeal not Conducive to Thoughtful Reasoning” really captured the essence of what has gone wrong in peoples thought processes. He gave the example of a reader whose letter to the editor attacked him for writing negative articles about President George W. Bush over the last 4 years. Without rehashing the article, the real issue at stake was Rush Limbaugh’s making the comment, “I hope he [Obama] fails,” as the prime example of what happens when people get so loyal to their own ideology that they lose sight of the bigger picture. They can create a lot of harm to themselves and those around them without meaning to, out of mindless zeal. I get e-mails from friends and family all the time promoting agendas that clearly have very narrow benefit (usually their personal short-term bank accounts). Once I have read the fine print and dig deeper, it is clear to me they have either not done their homework on the broader consequences of the issues at stake or they are too selfish to care.

Negative events are really causing people to fail to look at their businesses and careers in the right way. When you are playing with a mindset of preserving the status quo, it is not unusual for decision-making to draw some conclusions that many times look like this:

  • Decide not to replace “B” and “C” players with “A” players, using cost as an excuse. This is a silly decision because one “A” player can do the work of 3 average players. If you hire the best team, your overall wage costs actually lower as a percentage of revenue as fewer people will accomplish more.
  • Stop advertising. This decision results in a threefold increase in the acquisition cost per customer in the long run and dramatically reduces the amount of leads that come to the sales force. In other words, you increase your costs and reduce your sales.
  • Do not do the things that create a positive environment for your sales people and cut off training. Salespeople thrive on positive energy; when they lack it, they do not do enough prospecting and are not at the top of their game. In the end your sales suffer.
  • Management accepts the sluggish economy as an excuse for not meeting targets and stops holding people accountable. Fact: In South Florida most companies own less than 1% market share within their target market. Therefore, there is no reason not to grow and achieve targets. All that is needed is execution of a good strategy.
  • Rather than being aggressive, executives become very conservative and adverse to any risk in their decisions. This usually means doing what they have always done. Well if you had a bad year last year, you know what you can expect this year. In addition, you miss challenging your people to see the opportunities that are right in front of them.

My challenge to everyone reading this article is to determine how you are allowing negative people and news to cloud your judgment. If everyone was “playing to win” within your value system every minute of every day, what would or should they be doing differently? What are the top 1 or 2 things you should doing right now to make a difference for your company? Are you spending the majority of your time focusing on that? If not, can you really say you “are playing to win?”

Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.