Begin with the end in mind
‘The servers down’!!!!!
It seems like it’s the perfect excuse for not working or to take stock of the jobs that can be done when its down, that you may otherwise have decided was best not started.
Begin with the end in mind may not seem an obvious Stephen Covey quote to refer to when the server goes down, yet a recent event in my office led to the discussion about, what should we do when the satellites decide to play up.
One hour or five without the internet seem rarer these days. Our conclusion on the last event though helped us realise that we were distracted enough by our computers to have many of the ‘other jobs’ start to get behind.
One major benefit of this thinking is that it allows you to think of all that is needed for a job or project to be finished. Some of us are not good at following a job all the way through to the end, but some are.
Some of us use computers well and enjoy them. Some of us don’t.
It is helpful to think of a division of jobs that need tenacious computer types and jobs that need a tenacious other type.
A recent storage issue in one of my businesses helped me define a newer approach. Heavily paper based for over 20 years, made a big scanning project a necessity. To be frank the scanning should have been done years ago, but not being as tech based as the modern world requires, I kept putting it off.
Now I’m looking at selling this business, I am forced to face the challenge, that could have been easier had I been brave enough and thought end game more.
I ran the project by my team, and after a few ‘Luddite’ comments, I agreed I should not be the one running this. So, with the end in mind, I set the goal, I gave it to my tenacious computer-based people, and they are now charging through the job faster than I’d thought they would. With more enthusiasm than I could have mustered and with a better insight into how to get the job done than I could have. The end I have in mind seems so much closer.
I love the concept of sharing goals, getting the right people doing the right jobs, getting a deadline agreed and overall, delegating things that are just not my forte.
Waiting until the server is down, to discover what you can do without these amazing things called computers is not the best strategy. The jobs that are needed to be completed to get a project finished are best split between those that can be best at doing them.
Remember the differing versions of style of skills and mindsets you have at your disposal and if “begin with the end in mind” becomes an ingrained habit, you will get there so much quicker.
I look forward to next satellite wobble and its effects.
Letting go of the past and moving on
It is never easy to let go of a secure hand or foothold but to be blunt, how can you possibly climb the wall unless you do?
It takes faith in the new foothold and belief that it will take you to a better position. Until you let go, you’ll never know.
Imagine looking at a climbing wall and seeing climbers stuck in the middle. You shout and encourage them to move on, but they stubbornly say ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t because I’m afraid’.
You can see the goal ahead of them, but their face is pressed against the wall, and they can’t see what you see. They will stay there until they fall off or die.
Sometimes people around them are saying the same thing, and they are stuck too! They keep each other stuck by saying, be careful, don’t let go, you may fall off! It might be worse on the next foothold. So, they feel reassured that it best to stay where they are.
Occasionally, people come from below, and pass them and ask as they pass, ‘why are you staying there?’ They can’t understand why people would play it so safe they would sacrifice the rest of their lives in order not to take a risk. Some do fall off, and it scares the ones rigidly hanging on. Some of those who fell, get back on and still climb past them. Some are never heard of again. From the perspective of the hanger on it is frightening.
The coach has climbed that wall already. The coach is at the bottom or in the middle or at the top, offering advice, encouragement, and being the positive ‘, you can do it’
Some coaches are watching from a distance so that they can see the goal, the hurdles, the best strategies and the dangers. They are like your Sat Nav in life. My Sat Nav in the car sometimes says’ Your route has been altered due to the current traffic situation’. Being stuck on the climbing wall of life is like saying to your sat nav, well I don’t care, I’m just going to carry on doing what I have always done.
It’s strange, but that is how some people live their lives. Whether that’s based on fear, laziness, apathy, contentment or even just plain stupidity, at some point, in order to move on, or climb, you need to let go. Deciding what to let go of is part of the solution. Listening to those that have been there and done it is another.
The story of the spider monkey comes to mind when I think of the amount that we give up, by just not letting go of what is holding us back.
The poor spider monkey is a beautiful creature, that is traded as a pet all over the world. They are hard to catch in the wild, without hurting them. So, us ever ingenious humans came up with a way to catch them that is based on their greed and physique.
Their hands are like clubs on the end of a very skinny arm. They love nuts as a natural part of their diet, and this is their unfortunate demise. To capture one, all you need to do is put a thin-necked sturdy bottle in a strong box and put a few nuts in it. The spider monkey can smell them and reaches in to grab some. He loves them so much, he will not let go of them, and his big hand is now too big to pull out of the bottle. He is trapped. His captor then puts a chain on him and he is no longer free. The captor breaks the bottle, because he knows the spider money will not let go.
The monkey has not only given up his freedom for the rest of his life, but it was for only a few nuts which he could have let go and still be free.
What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of?
Who could help you identify what it is and has the wisdom to reason with you, to ally your fears?
A coach offers this and more.
Promise Keepers Rule. It is common for us to have customers that we enjoy working with as well as ones that we loathe or make our hearts sink. Your easiest way to improve this is always to be working towards duplication of the most favoured client.
You need to be focused on the type and preferred client, but also the desirability and need of a future income stream with them.
Repeat and growing business from the best type of client is the heavenly business.
So, let me ask.
What does that client look like to you?
Do you have any already?
Where could you find more of them?
What would you need to have in place to be easily referable to that type of client?
Al this relies on having a relationship. A strong and healthy one. Even if it is on the internet.
You need to ask yourself, how this can be nurtured? Do you know anyone who is doing this already?
One of the main reasons is that if you don’t, someone else will.
It is easier to court the great client and have them come on board, than it is to keep finding ‘ones that will do for now’ clients.
It is more productive, satisfying and meaningful, as well as being the only way to go to have a future business you can rely upon. The future of your relationship with your client will be exposed by your competitors as well as social media. It is the new secret weapon and is easier than you think.
Dinosaurs didn’t see what was coming but we can.
It’s amazing to think that there are many companies out there that have yet to embrace the need for a digital platform as well as a relationship built on trust and reliability.
How often are we caught out by the service providers who promise the earth, then do not deliver? Just by keeping our promises, we can shine.
We can shine by showing we care, showing appreciation and going the extra mile. This alone will keep us above the 90% that do not do it. To be blunt, it is easy to be ahead of the competition than you think.
Amazon, deliver. Fed Ex deliver. Domino’s, deliver.
They promise, and they deliver. Why? It works that’s why. It’s no good thinking, we’ll deliver our promises most of the time, and then just be mediocre at it.
Once you get known for not keeping your deadlines, your integrity becomes questionable.
The preference to refer to you is will be less than it was.
Your option for price increase becomes tougher. Your confidence is tainted, and clients start to feel unloved. It is that simple. It’s not hard to promise something and then do better. What is hard is to be unsure about what you can deliver, and then making it up as you go. It is the hardest way to run a business.
Being great is easier and a lot more fun. If you were to forecast the future of your business based on the clients you deal with now, where would you be? You can choose that destination.
The high road or the low road?
- I felt I could make more money doing (what I do) myself
- I wanted to be in control of my own time
- I did not like the way I was treated at my last company
- I had a great idea that I wanted to put into practice.
This skill of understanding how to run a business well is significantly more important than knowing how the work of the business is done.
Review your company goals – are they set around the high road or the low road?
Muhammad Ali – Inspirational thoughts
Muhammad Ali – I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
I must admit to being very surprised when I first came across this quote. “Hated every minute of training?” and yet he still went on to become what many would regard as the greatest boxer who ever lived? He was certainly an icon who transcended his sport.
Muhammad Ali must have spent thousands of hours training to become the best at what he did. This training is a testament to his basic beliefs. If you want outstanding results in your field of endeavour you have to train long and hard.
Many business owners wonder why their business is not progressing. They believe it should be performing better. And yet they have spent very little time training as opposed to “fighting in their ring.” They seem to believe their business is completely different to all other businesses. They ignore the benefits of a great training and coaching program.
This is a misplaced point of view. Every business may indeed be different. Indeed, every athlete is different. If those athletes want to become great, the same principles of coaching apply to all athletes. In business, the same applies. Coaching will help you to develop as a person and a business owner.
How much time do you spend in the training zone?
How much time do you spend in the performance zone?
The training zone gives you help and feedback to improve your skills. In the performance zone, you have to achieve excellent results.
Nobody wants to have an operation done by a surgeon who is in training.
You want him to have trained to an excellent standard beforehand and then produce outstanding performance in your operation.
Allow yourself time to train to be the best you can be. This investment in yourself is the best investment you can make.
The results of such a change will have a huge positive impact on your life and business profitability.
If every great athlete like Muhammad Ali in the world has a coach why don’t you?
Do you know your clients? Yes, but do you really know?
We often think we know our businesses, and its true most us have a handle on the numbers and the history. However, Sir Clive Woodward, at a recent conference talked about ‘The Data’, and the story behind the data is not often a true explanation of the facts.
Get the Facts. Truly, deep down can’t get any more data Facts.
You can look at your ROFE, yet behind that could be just a handful of great profitable customers that are masking the truth behind the vacuum of profit customer. Averages help get an overview but break them down and the character of the good bad and the ugly, start to show.
Ask your team, who is a pain to deal with, and why is that so. A client may serve you better by being referred to a nearby competitor. That client may have come from them in the first place.
I remember letting a client go once, and he was horrified. He got quite angry too. So, I explained to him that my average customer spent 20 hours a month of my time and gave me £300,000 turnover a year. I explained that my profit from my average customer was £100,000. On the other hand, he gave me 30 hours work a month and only contributed to £80,000 to my turnover.
Once I had explained the ‘Facts’ to him he calmed down and realised why I was making the decision and that had he known more, he would have looked at what I offered differently.
The result with this client was that I offered to charge him an hourly rate. He declined as he knew he could go and take advantage of a competitor, without paying the fees for his time. So, we agreed to no longer work together.
Unless I had got to the bottom of his way of dealing with us and backed it up with enough comparable facts, I may have continued to be bossed around by this client. It turns out the staff loved that I had ‘let him go’ because he was the proverbial heart sinker. A double win.
Working with clients you like is always a bonus. Ones that are profitable as well make a great business.
The sweet spot of what you offer is one number crunching exercise. Looking at clients who could be ten times more profitable than your average is another.
Which of your clients have the capacity to do so much more? Fewer clients to deal with could be a new option. The numbers will reveal them.
It could be that your top clients are not top clients. It could be that your low turnover/profit clients are capable of so much more, or, would refer you to others that can. Getting to know your clients in depth is important.
By getting ALL the numbers, the decisions are so much easier.
Yes, it felt good to remove Mr Pain. It was easier than I thought because I had got the facts. Numbers never lie if you dig deep enough.
So do you know your clients well enough?
Celebrate being a procrastinator
We all do it. We don’t like to admit it. We consider it a failing and would hate to have a reputation of being a prolific procrastinator. I heard someone say, ‘ I used to procrastinate, but I keep putting it off now ‘. That’s a much better view.
However, it is ok to stand up and admit that you are. We all are to some extent. So, what is it that this seemingly poor habit creates in us and how is it best to deal with it?
When you analyse what procrastination is you start to uncover that your decision to avoid doing something, is pointing out the following three things;
- That you need more information
- That you may need to learn a new skill
- That you may need help from others to be able to move forward.
Your cautious self is struggling to decide for fear of making a bad decision. That’s natural!
You don’t know what you don’t know and the importance of the decision or action could be very far-reaching. So, first, let’s look at the need for more information.
If you can’t decide which of the two candidates for a job to make the offer to, it maybe that you need to dig a bit deeper into their character or their abilities to help you sway your decision. If you put off finding out more, you procrastinate more and the postponement of choice, could mean you lose both candidates because they get snapped up by someone else.
If you made some more enquiries or another phone call and sought more information, you can help break through the procrastination. Find out all you can.
You may need to learn some new skill or read more about the subject.
Procrastinating about going to the gym, maybe because you do not have a routine that benefits your needs and goals. Going to the gym is too easy to postpone. If you had a plan that had been taught you by a great trainer, you would be more motivated to act. Knowing that the benefits would be far greater than just muddling along with what you already know, you start to avoid procrastination because you have learnt a new skill that helps your performance.
In other words, learn about what can be improved to enhance how efficient you can become. Learn a new skill or technique that will help you avoid the procrastination.
You may need other people’s help, opinion or ideas.
Their point of view will be different to yours. They may be able to offer help, to take you forward or give you an idea you previously had not considered. Some people are so inspiring that your natural hesitation gets diminished and you become spurred on.
Others may even know other people that would be useful for guidance, counsel or just a kick up the backside. Read a book, talk to those that have faced your hesitation before too.
Procrastination is a positive thing, if you use it to develop a new skill, seek help, destroy a fear, gain a new insight or even decide not to go any further. It is a sign that you can progress if you just recognise why you are doing it.
Ask yourself why you are procrastinating. It is a great question that changes your habits and your ability to eliminate too much procrastination.
Using a very strong system of accountability built into our Giant Leap program will help you avoid procrastination and eventually build a habit that will reduce it significantly in your life helping you to achieve your goals and dreams.
After a tiring day what do you do?
You know that sometimes the first thing to do after a tiring day is to get a meal, possibly a glass of wine, slump in a sofa and perhaps sit in the quiet or watch some favourite TV.
You know that the day has been a challenge and that you have earned some downtime and with a fair chance you can nod off and get an early night. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.
As we get older, that becomes an easier decision too. The next instalment of your latest chosen box set is on Netflix and is begging to be watched. The meal will be easy to devour because you put in such an effort today, there is no guilt about it and relaxation follows a meal quickly too. Bring it on!
Are we suggesting anything different? Is all the above what makes you happy? So why not? Well surprisingly most of us will either do this if we can or hope to and focus very hard on making it happen, so, not so much a change.
However, can we suggest a review?
If you find that a day has been challenging, the best you can get from that day is to review it. If you spend ten minutes asking the following questions of yourself, it can be a fabulous day.
Three questions then:
- What did I learn from today that can serve me going forward?
- What progress did I make that allows me to feel better about the challenges I had?
- How can I use this to make tomorrow a better day, with fewer challenges?
Ok, we know, it is enough that the day was challenging anyway. However, everything that tests us makes us stronger. Especially when we use it to improve going forward.
To make the same mistakes every day and then just keep repeating them, is improving our resilience, but not the outcomes. Our ability to reflect and review is incredibly powerful. Each progress step made is a motivator, and the plan to make life better makes us amazing.
Looking back to enable us to look forward and plan sets us apart from the reactionary world. Ask the three questions above and then a short to do list for tomorrow. You will enjoy the food, the TV, the wine and the company you share so much more then. The advantage it gives us is release from the day and a buzz about the seed of growth potential.
We get the start on the next day faster because we have already given ourselves a track to start on. No more wasting thinking time to decide what to do today as it is already done.
The immediate to-do list after the event of the day is the best time to be able to focus on it fast and be accurate. Trying to remember what to do the day after, is much less efficient.
Learn to be good to yourself and pat yourself on the back. Tough day, learned quite a bit and tomorrow I will do………….
The question then is not what do you do; it is what you will decide to do?
Your life, your choices, your time and of course your outcomes.
How to determine what action to take or habits to build
We live our lives in the ever changing moment. There is nothing we can do about what has passed, and we have little control over the future. We all seek to improve either our life situation or our experience of life by our daily actions and the habits we build.
How should we keep ourselves on track to at least plan to take the right actions? It helps to determine firstly what you are currently doing and classify the experience.
There are essentially 4 classes of experience:
Class 1: You do something that feels good to you, is good for you, is good for others and is good for the greater good of the world. – doing charitable work or helping somebody.
Class 2: You do something that does not feel good to you, is good for you, is good for others and is good for the greater good of the world. – Exercise and eating healthy food
Class 3: You do something that feels good to you, is not good for you, is not good for others and is not good for the greater good of the world.- Drinking a lot or eating a lot of ice cream
Class 4: You do something that does not feel good to you, is not good for you, is not good for others and is not good for the greater good of the world. – Complaining or doing work you hate.
The first step is to make a record of the things and actions you have taken during the day and then place them as best you can into one of the 4 categories.
If the activity falls into Class 1 – Great, carry on doing it or even better do more of it.
If the activity falls into class 4 – Just stop. If you struggle to stop seek help to stop – for instance asking someone to ensure you pay a fine or donate to a cause you hate every time you do whatever it is.
If the activity is classified as Class 3 this is going to be more difficult to stop as you like doing it. Use the same habit breaking strategies as for Class 4 experiences but be more careful to get help as it will be easy to slip back into a habit.
The great movement forward in life is seeking to convert Class 2 activities into Class 1 by adjusting them slightly to make them enjoyable.
This will often require creative thinking on your part but is worthwhile if you want to build great habits into your life.
Building great habits is a core component of our “Giant leap” program. Using powerful strategies like experience classification will help you move forward rapidly in both your business and personal life.
Call us to book a place on our program today.
Hire slow fire fast
When we employ enough staff, we start to realise that employees are transitional. They come and go based on their agendas, lifestyle, circumstances, competence or even just boredom.
Hiring people is an art form. Get it wrong and you will be going through a tough time. Hire well and it can be extremely rewarding and fruitful. Good staff and stability is a great measure of how you run your business.
If you consider staff to be friends then lines can get blurred. Complacency, familiarity and lack of progress are tell-tale signs that the job isn’t the job hoped for and must be guarded against.
Building a team of people that complement each other or generate a powerhouse of work completed takes time, awareness and attention.
The question is, who does that for you and what systems do you use to ensure great productivity? How much do you develop a relationship with staff or them with each other for optimal performance?
It could be considered formulaic. However, people are people and by that, I mean, we are all different. We may have skills that are needed to compliment others or complete a team. Overall though we need to feel human, fulfilled, valued, cared for, respected, listened to and appreciated.
Even if you are all the above, turnover of staff will occur. Loyalty cannot be bought. Life changes outside work and life impacts.
When trust breaks down, fire fast. No employee should be allowed to continue in their job if the trust has gone. It is better to pay them all they are entitled to and change the locks and passwords. If you find yourself compromised, shut up shop. Get rid and move on.
The opposite is true. Hire slow. Take your time to find the right person. Do not react by getting in the first person you can. Take your time. You could be with them for years to come. Valuable people are out there. People who have skills that are rich and useful and underutilised do exist. People who are looking for a breath of fresh air and want to be part of a company that is fertile ground that enhances their natural abilities and captures their great ideas are keen to be with you.
Where would you like to work and under what conditions? Create the type of environment that people will want to come to. They will want to work hard and feel appreciated. That must be better than trying to fill the bank account with enough money each month, just to get by. That style of thinking will never serve your businesses, the employee or others who work there.
We can stifle great people. We can micromanage them to the point of strangulation. I could not think of a worse job.
When selecting someone to take on board, they need to be self-starters. Batteries included. Your role in making that happen is important and worthy of investment.
Ask the candidate, how do you see yourself in three years’ time. You already know what you want to hear, and they will already know what you want to hear too. However, those that can easily answer and are excited about the prospect of growth and learning as well as being able to articulate that in a way that you know isn’t contrived should be sought after, cared for, protected, nurtured, cherished and included in your vision for the future.
- Begin with the end in mind
- Letting go of the past
- Promise Keepers Rule Ok!
- The high road or the low road?
- Should I put a hammer through my TV? – The power of rituals
- Muhammad Ali – Inspirational thoughts
- Do you know your clients?
- Celebrate being a procrastinator
- After a tiring day what do you do?
- How to determine what action to take or habits to build
- Hire slow fire fast
- Keeping your promises
- A Strategic Alliance
- Are you generating mistrust?
- How are you playing the game of life?
- Why I love the number 8
- Why I try to prove myself wrong
- Beginning with the end in mind
- Generating focus on the job until completion
- What is your story?