How to Stay on Track and Get Stuff Done | A Confession

shiny objectsI have another confession. Last week I shared my experience dealing with tension and resistance.

This week I confess that I got caught up in the shiny objectives. You know…some idea caught your attention and before you know it you went down a rabbit trail that wasted your time and energy.

Entrepreneur are especially susceptible to this kind of behavior. We are problem solvers. It’s our nature. We are masters at identifying something that’s not working and then we find a solution. We love new ideas, tools, methods, technology and gadgets.

We are unique in this sense. Special. In my opinion, it’s one of the reasons I think business owners are so valuable to our economy and society.

We fix and get stuff done! Yeah! Give me a B – B. Give me a U – U. Okay you get the point.

However, this wonderful gift and talent can be a curse. Some of us get bored too. We need a new adventure.

I experienced this syndrome firsthand this week. I got caught up in a shiny object. I spent enough time going down a rabbit hole that afterward I felt dirty and needed a bath. No it wasn’t anything weird or disgusting.

I just realized that I had gotten off course from my primary mission and goal long enough that I felt guilty and frustrated. Like I just had wasted a whole bunch of time. My wife says, “Nobody got time for that.”

So I felt guilty like I feel after eating that extra piece of pie or cake. (mmm…did I just say pie?)

Here are the lessons I learned from last week.

#1 – Stay focused on my goals. I have found that if I review them daily – even for a minute or two – it helps me stay focused on what matters most. It helps, by the way, to have written goals and perhaps a vision that really matters to you.

#2 – Be disciplined when it comes to engaging in innovation. Let’s face it…that’s what we do when we are chasing the shiny object…we are innovating or looking for a better way of doing things. Innovation is critical. We just need to do it in the right time and right way.

#3 – Give myself permission to chase a shiny object from time to time. I had suggested to a client to spend a couple hours on Fridays to have fun learning new things without any expectation to do anything with it. Just feed the entrepreneurial animal in you.

#4 – Get a hobby. I have one by the way…I just wasn’t engaged in it last week. Business owners are notorious for getting bored and getting off track from their goals. I will tell you that my most successful clients stay focused on their primary businesses.

Okay…so I’ve made my confession. What about you? Have you found yourself chasing a shiny object from time to time? What do you do to stay focused?

This Employee Cost a Company $750,000 per year

bad employeeRob (not his real name), asked me to help him develop his sales systems and train his sales people. He was stuck and simply couldn’t break past his sales ceiling. Revenue had hit a plateau.

I was pretty confident I could help him and the business. But I was concerned.

A business is an interconnected or interdependent organism. I was worried that we would encounter issues unrelated to the sales department, and their current systems, that were impacting the sales.

He assured me that if we encountered a problem, he would resolve it.

Alrighty then…

The company at the time had three sales people. Between the three of them they were generating about 2.1 million in sales per year.

I began to ask some questions to determine how the guys were spending their time.

Lesson #1 – We have to know if we are doing the right work.

As we drilled down to discover the truth, I uncovered that the sales people were spending about 25% of their time doing work totally unrelated to sales.

Specifically, they were driving around delivering printing to their customers. (The company was a commercial printer. That is real).

I inquired, “Don’t you have a delivery driver who does that for you guys?”

“Yup!” They replied.

“I don’t understand. Why are you guys spending your time doing $10.00 per hour work?” I asked.

The room was silent for a moment. They sales reps looked at each other assessing who was going to spill the beans.

Finally, Don (not his real name) spoke up. “Um…he’s terrible. He is rude to the clients. Very unprofessional. He doesn’t even bother making sure the printing gets to the right person or department. He has been know to literally walk in the door and drop the stuff off and just leave.”

Don (still not his real name) continued. “We’ve talked to the Rob (still not his real name either) and he hasn’t really done anything with it.”

At that point I clarified and confirmed that they simply don’t have the time to follow-up on new prospects because they are too busy.

They were too busy doing $10.00 an hour work and wasting 25% of their time doing it.

Do the math. That equates to approximately $750,000 in lost potential annual revenue.

Lesson #2 – One poor performing employee could be costing a company thousands of dollars per year.

Lesson #3 – Our job as business owners and managers is to create an environment where EVERYONE is performing at the highest possible level. Rob obviously didn’t know how to do it. I had to show him (that is true).

Do you really know how to do create an environment where your people are performing at exceptional levels?

The One Reason You Might Not Be Achieving Your Goals

resistanceI’ve had something on my mind lately. Actually walking through some of my own personal growth challenges and I have come face to face with something I haven’t paid much attention to in the past. Not that the problem or challenge didn’t exist, I guess I just wasn’t conscious of it.

Oh…but I am now.

I believe for some, you might be able to relate and learn from my own challenges and what I am going through.

I’ve made some important decisions regarding my business lately. Expansion and growth kind of stuff. You know…the kind of stuff you probably think about all the time as a business owner. (By the way, some of the things I am doing WILL be of interest to some of my wonderful followers. Perhaps YOU! So be on the lookout. If you can’t wait to hear about it, shoot me an email or give me a call).

The trouble all started when I stopped thinking about moving forward and started taking action.

The fact is I was experiencing the problem before I took action but it went to a whole new level once I started moving.

The problem was tension. Now I know you know what tension is.

It’s the feeling you get when you are standing still but KNOW you should be moving. It’s that uncomfortable feeling of knowing where you are is not where you would like to be.

It’s also the feeling you get when you start moving and you are experiencing uncharted waters. You know. Pressing beyond what feels comfortable. Taking chances.

So I had tension before I started moving. Then I experienced a whole new level of tension once I started moving.

Reality #1 – Unless you’ve achieved a level of complacency or ambivalence to your business and life, you are going to experience some tension when you aren’t taking action. Something inside will be prompting you. Always! Accepting and acknowledging this truth is the first step in managing it.

Now once I started moving, in addition to the tension, I encountered a whole new problem.

Resistance.

It was almost as if the forces of the universe, an enemy, had decided to come against me and my pursuits and oppose me.

I was clearly being challenged. Every time I took a step forward, I was getting knocked back two steps.

I was suddenly faced with a choice. Retreat or advance.

I knew if I retreated, I wouldn’t be feeling the resistance anymore. Just the tension and knowing that I didn’t want to go back to where I was.

If I continue to advance, I knew I was going to have to do something different. I was going to have to apply a level of effort, intelligence or approach things in a new way.

Choice made. Advance!

Doing things differently; adopting a new approach includes one or more of these three points.

1- Get you mind right and in the game.

It really comes down to commitment. A choice. A resolve.

Successful people – business owners – set a goal, establish a vision and decide that they won’t quit or give up.

Over the years of working with business owners, quite frankly, this is the primary reason why I see so many fail to accomplish the things they set out to accomplish. They run into resistance and their personal resolve and commitment isn’t strong enough to deal with the resistance.

They will blame outside circumstances and others. But the problem is between their ears.

Lesson 1: Learn to stick with “it” no matter what. But you have to know what “it” is first. Set a goal you are firmly committed to achieving. Then decide there are no other options other than to make it happen.

It also helps to rally people around you who will encourage, support and fight with you…even when you encounter extreme resistance.

2 – Engage in the right work.

In order to accomplish your goal you have to know what the right work and actions to take. I’ve discovered that in order to break through barriers, I can’t do the same things the same way.

In business, the right work is strategic work. It means asking the right questions. Asking and answering the questions IS THE WORK.

The book Art of War by Sun Tsu, which according to some people is the greatest military strategy book of all time, offers great examples of the responses that come from asking the right questions first.

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril” – Sun Tzu

In business it’s like saying, study yourself and your competition before engaging in advertising activities. The appropriate strategic questions might be:

What strengths do we have over our competition? What can we do better than anyone else? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can we position ourselves to capture the market we can serve best.

Asking and answering these things IS strategic work.

If you are not engaging in asking the right question, you might not be doing the right work in the business.

Here are some other pretty cool business related strategies from Art of War. Click here to read them.

Lesson 2: Have the guts to do the right work, to change your approach, to stop doing the same things you have done every day. You might lose a battle or two along the way but you will win the war in the end.

3- Do work the right way.

This is tricky because there are so many different approaches that could achieve the results you want. One of the ways to maximize your odds to find the best approach is to understand this very important philosophy:

The key to success of any business is dependent on the quality of its systems. Improve your systems improve your business.

With that in mind, doing the work the right way means that you are always looking to create and innovate the best system.

There are four elements that will help you develop great systems.

1- Define the goal of the system. You must know the purpose of the system and how it is performing. If I place an ad in a publication, my goal might be to maximize the number of qualified prospects that call my company to set an appointment.

2- Then create the system itself. In the example above, create a great ad. If you don’t have a system to create an ad that will produce the result, find someone that has a track record for creating ads that convert.

3- Engage the system and track. You have to make sure the system is working. In the case of the advertisement, I would then need to track how many calls I get from the ad I placed.

4- Innovate as needed. Based on the performance of the system, you may need to make a strategic decision to improve the system. Sometimes the best decision is to leave it alone and work on a system or area of the business that isn’t performing as well.

I started this whole conversation around the subject of tension and resistance.

I’ve concluded that we are going to experience tension and resistance when we advance towards any goal or endeavor. I also know that we can minimize the tension and resistance by managing our mindset, engaging in the right work and developing the best systems.

The key, like most things, is to do it.

Here I go.

How about you?

Do you need a hard lesson in leadership? This guy got one. Wow!

If you are a business owner, whether you like it or not, you have the role and responsibility of leadership. Some are gifted…other’s need support, guidance, tools and encouragement to be their best.

Like the guy in this video.

Do you need a push? Are you capable of more and know it but just can’t seem to get to where you want to be.

Maybe I can help. I rarely do this but I am currently accepting a few motivated business owners who are ready to transform their business and their life – get more free time, reduce stress and build a scalable, consistent and predictable business that grows well.

If you would like to explore what working together might look like, cost, the outcome and benefit, without any pressure or obligation – (seriously I only work with people who really want it), then click the button below, fill out the quick form and let’s start a conversation.

callout_default2

Reasons You Might Have Trust Issues

Business owners have trust issues. It’s true! If you feel trapped in someway by your business or don’t believe your business can work without you – you have trust issues.

What exactly do we need to trust in order to establish freedom? What do we need to trust so we can feel confident in our business and our people?

In a typical people dependent business model, answering those questions can be quite difficult. Most of the time a business owner in that environment has to trust their people on many different levels. They have to trust their knowledge and ability to perform specific tasks and functions in the business.

They have to trust their people’s judgment and decision making ability. They have to be able to count on their people. They have to trust in their own ability to innovate and create a model for business that will work. Just to name a few.

In a Level 7 Business, the business owner only has to trust 2 things.

  • They have to trust that they have systems, procedures and processes for doing business that will produce the optimal or desired results. In The Level 7 System we call this The Principle of Creating Replication.
  • They also have to trust their people to follow the systems. In The Level 7 System we call this The Principle of Facilitating Compliance.

You can’t have one without the other.

Want to get over your trust issues, build an amazing business and establish freedom? Focus on building a business based on creating the best possible systems that produce results and establishing an environment of accountability with your people.

It’s really that simple.

This Guys Says You Have No Idea What You Are Doing!

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
W. Edwards Deming

Herein lies the foundational problem when it comes to running a business. Most business owners, leaders, key executives can’t definitively describe the process for building a business.

Granted they have great ideas, work hard, persevere and even get lucky, but in the end, they are just wingin’ it. Don’t take it personal. I know you are doing the very best you can. We all are!

You understand that building a business is something we do, it’s a process. And, as Deming states, if we can’t describe the process, we simply don’t know what we are doing.

I have worked very hard over the last 10+ years developing a system for building a great (your define what great means to you) business. Once you understand this process called the Level 7 System, you can clearly describe what you are doing when it comes to building your organization.

The Level 7 System is a process focused on building and implementing these 7 core elements. (Stay with me folks…this is really good stuff. You could say I’m sort of giving away the farm.)

  • Setting clearly defined goals and expectations throughout the organization.
  • Establishing the highest level of accountability and trust so you can absolutely count on people to do what they agree to in the organization.
  • Ensure optimal performance through the development and continual improvement of systems and procedures throughout the business.
  • Thread a culture and set of values that will permeate everything you do in the business and will stand the test of time.
  • Make sure the business has the best possible communication in and out of the business.
  • Knowing your numbers, truth and establish objectivity within our decision making processes. No guessing.
  • Engage the talents and creativity of everyone in your business to support in the ongoing and systematic improvement of the business and it’s systems.

The process of implementing the Level 7 System walks businesses through a series of steps and processes to develop each of the above areas listed above.

What does this all really mean for you in the end? It means you have some choices and control over the design and destiny of your business. It means you can create something that has real meaning and value to you. It means you can be far more effective in the work you do as the owner or leader of your business.

Here is where the rubber meets the road.

I genuinely care about helping those that wish to be helped navigate their journey to establish and build the business of their dreams. (I know that sounds a little hokey but we all have a vision for our business that genuinely excites us.) That is why I created the Level 7 System. I firmly believe and have experienced business owners transforming their business in such a way that resulted in a life transformation. I’ve seen businesses go from survival mode to a place where they can be free to serve and benefit others in a more powerful way.

Now you can read all you like about Level 7 by going to our website at www.levelsevensystems.com You can even download the Level 7 Manifesto and get the inside scoop as well.

In my experience the process that results in the best opportunity for YOU to determine if Level 7 is a good fit for you and your business is to have a personal conversation about Level 7 with me. We will talk about your business, I’ll tell you about Level 7 and then at least you will know. No pressure. Yeah…it takes a little guts to call and say, “I’m not sure if this is for me and my business but I would like to find out.”

I promise I will make it painless and productive for you. Be a little gutsy today. (I Just had to say it)

By the way, we have several options for you to engage in Level 7 depending on the size of your business and your budget.

  • The Level 7 i2 Program is a self paced, comprehensive implementation program. Designed for the do it yourselfers. You can check it out here. It’s on sale through the rest of the day. Price goes up tomorrow. No it’s not hype. The fact is the program is priced too low right now for what you get. I assure you. The amount of content and the format will blow you away.
  • The Level 7 G12 Program is launching this month in Phoenix, Arizona. The G12 Program is a group oriented implementation process that offers the high caliber, actionable content coupled with implementation support and accountability.
  • The Level 7 Premier is our exclusive One on One Implementation Program designed specifically to meets the needs of your company. The program is by invitation only. Call for more information on this process.

Regardless, if you even have an inkling of interest or curiosity, I encourage you to call or shoot me an e-mail. Here is my direct line. 623 551 5469. I hope to hear from you today.

The Battlefield of Our Mind

I am convinced that everyday we are at war. The battle is in our mind and the territory is our focus and attention. The world wants to capture and steal our attention and divert us from passionately and consistency pursuing our dreams and life purpose. Wake up warriors! Focus and resist the schemes of the enemy.

Can You Walk On Water?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many people are familiar with the story about Jesus walking on water. But did you know Peter, one of His disciples, walked on water too? The bible recounts how Peter saw Jesus walking on the water. Peter, on a boat, called out to Jesus as He walking by. He said, “Lord if it’s really you, call me to you.”

Jesus told Peter to come to Him. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water. It wasn’t until Peter took his eyes off Jesus that he began to sink.

Peter noticed and was distracted by the wind and the waves around him. He lost focus.

Regardless of your beliefs, one point of this story that can be applied to us all is this…

When we stay focused on our goals and vision, we will accomplish extraordinary things. However, the world around us is filled with distractions, wind and waves if you will, that want to take your eyes off your target. The wind and waves of life will always be there. Let’s accept that fact.

The solution is simple. Identify your target. Acknowledge that distractions are going to be all around you. However, never take your focus off your target.

Do you know what your target is? Is it so clear to you in your mind (and on paper) that when you focus you can see exactly what you are going for?

If you don’t have a clear target, coupled with laser focus, chances are you won’t be walking on water.

How’s Your Vision Viral Lift? Um…What the Heck is That?

I have had many conversations with my clients about the effectiveness of their leadership over the years. I’ve written some really good stuff about what leadership REALLY is and how to get good at it. Check it out if you want. Click here =>

In a nutshell, a leaders job is to create and articulate vision, goals and objectives. In doing so, they should create an enthusiastic collective focus. In other words, good leaders get people engaged and inspired to follow and support the vision of the organization.

Let’s not over complicate your role and responsibilities as a leader. If your people are not bought into the direction of the business you are not leading. Oh yes, they show up everyday to work. They may even offer some lip service to suggest they want to see the company succeed. But the reality is they are there for the paycheck. And that my friend is not leadership. You are just paying people off. Sorry for being so direct.

Now you might be okay with that; paying people off that is. And I’m not going to deny the fact that getting a paycheck is a key motivator to get people to show up and work. However, there are literally hundreds of 1,000’s of non-profit organizations, churches and religious organizations that rely entirely on volunteers who are passionate about the cause and will freely give of their time and money to be involved.

Can you imagine if you could actually get people excited, motivated and compelled to be at work. Do you think you might have a more fulfilling and successful business environment? What if you could create an environment where people wanted to work for your business. Not because you pay or offer better benefits than everyone else but because people wanted to be a part of what your business is doing.

Leadership is hard work. Leadership requires listening and understanding what motivates people. Leadership requires communicating in a way that creates understanding and buy-in. Leadership requires diligence, focus and consistency in order to get your people engaged.

The question I often get asked is how do you know your people are engaged? How do you know your leadership message is inspiring people? How do you know they really care?

One of the ways to evaluate your leadership effectiveness is to observe the quality and quantity of your Vision Viral Lift. I made the term up so you won’t find it on Wikipedia, yet.

Vision Viral Lift is like a popular video on Youtube, a big story in the news or a public relations message. The message is spread through word of mouth and communication from individual to individual. When a Youtube video is good, interesting, absurd or whatever, people talk about it and share it with others.

I never once saw an advertisement for Google Earth. A friend introduced me to it. If you haven’t seen it it’s awesome. You can see satellite imagery of any location in the world. Check it out =>. This is an example of viral lift.

One of the indicators that will help you assess how well you are leading is by observing if there is a positive Vision Viral Lift in your business. You will hear people talking about your goals, vision and direction, independently and enthusiastically.

Here are a couple to tips to get you started to create some Vision Viral Lift.

1- Study your people. Think about what really matters to them. Consider what will motivate them to want to get engaged in the growth of your organization other than more money or a paycheck. Be creative and consider what will emotionally drive people.

Call me if you want some ideas to spark your thinking. 623 551 5469.

2- Write down your vision as it relates to your employees primary motivators. Create a compelling written story. I didn’t say it would be easy.

3- Come up with some creative and some direct methods of sharing your vision with your people. Don’t stop with one or two times. Keep telling the story until they either understand it fully and embrace it or understand it fully and reject it. The fact it there is no in-between. You have the responsibility of helping them understand until they can make a decision if they want to follow you.

Here is my number again. 623 551 5469. If you would like to talk more about this topic or need help creating your Vision Viral Lift, give me a call. I’d love to help you.

Transform Your Business Fast

 

Going Fast I've concluded that the single most important thing a business can do to improve itself is to become a systems driven organization. This simply means that the key to successful execution of every activity, and subsequent result, is a system, process or procedure.
 
It doesn't matter what a business is or what it does. It doesn't even matter what the activity is. Every action has an underlying system or procedure behind it. The better the system, the better the result. If you don't believe me than either you haven't tried it in your business or you tried it but didn't execute correctly or effectively.
 
 
Within the Level 7 System we have a principle called Creating Replication. The Principle of Creating Replication suggests that a business must have a system or process in place to get their systems, processes and procedures developed and installed into the business. In other words, we have a system for successfully developing systems.
 
Well, Jennifer Maggoire and Heather Long and the team at MCM took me up on a challenge the other day to see how fast they could get all the systems in their business documented, tested and implemented. "The faster, the better," I suggested. (They are using the Level 7 System for Creating Replication as their system for getting the job done, fast.)
 
"Not only will it be good for employee morale to get a project like this completed as fast as possible but the improvements you will see in your business will blow your mind," I told them. "Your revenues will increase, profits should soar, customer's will be happier and you will have a lot less frustrations and challenges in the business. Just watch what happens!"
 
They took me up on the challenge and agreed they would get this phase of the Level 7 Implementation Process completed in 90 days. I believe that Jenn offered then team a night out on the town including margaritas once they complete the process. So for fun, we will call this 'The Great MCM Margarita Race'. I will be giving you regular updates on their progress and their results along the way too.
 
OK MCM. Ready…on your marks, get set, go…!