Two challenges face every business owner: the challenge of optimizing our use of time and the challenge of gaining wisdom to sift through the oceans of information to find the pearls of professional excellence. An old concept in a new form can address these needs: develop your team. (more…)
via Blogger Teaching Old Concepts New Tricks: Develop Your Team
How many dimensions do you operate in?
Financial planners, like most of us, live in a two-dimensional world of measurable data—time and money: how much time, money, and cash flow do our clients have to optimize their life dreams? Consider the broader question: how do we create the “muscle” to fully live into the n-dimensional world of the dreams we long to inhabit? (more…)
via Blogger Are You a Flatlander?
This week before Thanksgiving finds each of us in a different place. Some of us are preparing to close up early. Others of us may be facing a pre-holiday, pre-Black Friday rush in our business or in last-minute preparations for family.
And some of you Coloradoans may even be taking a ski day!
But, for all of us who own businesses or provide financial advice to those who do, this week provides a good opportunity for us to slow down enough to discover gratitude for our life and all the blessings we are experiencing. In addition to the intrinsic benefit of giving thanks, there are objective reasons for doing so. According to U of California Davis professor, Robert Emmons1.
People with neuromuscular conditions similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) who kept a gratitude journal report
Based on this and other research, Emmons concluded is that gratitude is a choice and one’s happiness “set-point,” unlike our weight set-point, can be modified through grateful responses to our life experiences.
In another study, Emmons and his colleagues divided participants into three groups who each made weekly entries in a journal. One group recorded five things they were grateful for. Another group described five daily hassles, and a control group listed five events that had affected them in some way.
Last year I experimented with the first exercise I recommend below. I found that intentionally remembering and recording and ruminating on 5 “good, true, and beautiful” happenings or people each day is a powerful elixir for elevating my attitude.
Won’t you join me in doing this exercise? This year I find myself deeply thankful for my new partners in American Business Advisors. So, I encourage you to look for the good in your business and your life in this week leading up to Thanksgiving. Then “go public” on Thanksgiving Day with your gratitude experience!
Here are three simple suggestions to help you start (or re-start) a regular practice of expressing gratitude:
1) Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
This is probably the most effective strategy for increasing your level of gratitude. Set aside time daily to record three to five things that you are grateful for. Schedule in your calendar a regular time at the beginning or the end of the day. According to Emmons, the act of writing "allows you to see the meaning of events going on around you and create meaning in your own life." It is a powerful way to connect with your own Big Why for living.
2) Use Visual Reminders
Two obstacles to being grateful are forgetfulness and lack of awareness. You can counter them by giving yourself visual cues that trigger thoughts of gratitude: set alarms on your phone or tablet or make generous use of sticky notes to remind you to pause and consider your blessings.
3) Live Out a Public Commitment to Gratitude
Find at least one other sojourner and hold each other accountable for growing gratitude in life!
In addition, consider: who can you thank? When and how will you do that? Consider sending up a prayer, mailing a card, making a phone call, or inviting that person to lunch.
1 The research is summarized in Robert Emmons' new book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org/library/counting-your-blessings-how-gratitude-improves-your-health
via Blogger Discover the Gratitude
My wife and I had the privilege of visiting Kennedy Space Center a few weeks ago (see above). Yes, we are absolutely dwarfed by the massive Saturn V that sent three intrepid explorers to walk on the moon July 20, 1969.
This “rocket garden” gives you a hint of the strategic plan to get to building the Saturn V. Every rocket—from the slight Vanguard, which launched America’s first satellite, to the Saturn IB, which was the predecessor to the Saturn V—was part of a strategic plan to learn what was needed to get man to the moon.
These stepping stone rockets remind us that it took a specific plan to achieve the moon landing. When we see the math and engineering it required to test and build all the interconnected systems and processes to get those men to the moon and back, we begin to realize the careful planning and practicing that was required to make sure any contingency could be addressed.
Then it struck me: just as it takes a living, breathing organism of teams to enable a business to fly up through success to significance, it also takes creating a specific kind of plan –a formal strategic plan--to enable the company owner to lead his team to fly his business through success to significance, or as we at American Business Advisors say, Creating Cash Cows® and Improving Quality of Life®.
So how do you know that as an astronaut or a business owner, you have a strategic plan, which is sufficient to achieve your purpose? Let’s explore the essential elements of a formal strategic plan.
A strategic plan is more than the end product of a weekend retreat. It is not even an annual plan or even a three-year master plan. Your strategic plan encompasses that and much more. A Formal Strategic Plan builds upon your company purpose and provides the unique engineering and architectural plan for your business. Your strategic plan cannot be a “me-too” plan. Don’t think you can take someone else’s plan off the shelf, tweak a couple things, and have it work for you. In order to create a true plan, it requires thorough analysis and understanding of factors like
Your strategic plan should “work” no matter what changes in or around your business over time.
A properly architected Formal Strategic Plan will also provide guidance for making decisions no matter what befalls your company.
Question: Do you have the right plan?
If you want to examine whether or not your plan is robust enough to be a true strategic plan, here are some questions you can use to interrogate your plan:
via Blogger “The Right Stuff: The Second Key for Your Business”
What is the one essential that you must attend to as a business owner or leader in 2017? [To learn more, check out this Insider, Your Leadership Success One Essential Every Business Needs]
It’s trust. Consider these facts:
To those of you who are feeling uncertain where to begin building trust in your company, we are providing you with the first step. This ancient Asian proverb reminds us that
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
Or as a friend reminded me,
“The best time to plant a shade tree was 50 years ago. The next best time is today.”
Your journey begins with an accurate and honest assessment of the strength of the trust bonds within your company. Here is a free tool from American Business Advisors to help you get started:
Our Company’s Trust Quotient Inventory
Have each of your executive team members individually evaluate your company’s current “Trust Quotient” and then discuss as a team.
Rate each of the following statements on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly agree) and total your results:
_ TOTAL SCORE
50-45 - Congratulations, Rock Stars, on the high trust company you’ve built!
[email-download download_id="17214" contact_form_id="14796"]
Our Company Trust Quotient Inventory Evaluation
At your next team meeting, take a few minutes to complete “Our Company Trust Quotient Inventory” and discuss your findings. Do the same thing at the end of the year as a part of your annual review and planning for the following year.
Tell us what you’re learning. Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The article Your Leadership Success: The Tool Every Business Needs is republished from http://www.abadvisors.com/
via Blogger Your Leadership Success: The Tool Every Business Needs
Last week I shared the concept called The Sawyer Effect: Reward turns play into work.
My friend, Chuck Blakeman, says that Industrial Age thinking about retirement gives The not so subtle message… that work and play do not mix, and that you are really supposed to live two lives – your work life and your meaningful life (shouldn’t work be meaningful, too?).
Imagine if we were able to live out the positive side of the Sawyer Effect: Focusing on mastery makes work play.
How might we reward mastery? There’s an old saw that some people who’ve been in a job for ten years have one year of experience repeated over and over. That’s certainly not mastery!
Mastery is its own reward. Mastery is attained when there’s a match between what a person can do and what that person must do. If the “can” exceeds the “must,” boredom develops. And when the “must” greatly exceeds the “can,” anxiety ensues. Mastery is about tackling “Goldilocks” tasks—neither too hard nor too easy— where one is “’walking the tightrope between accident and discipline.’”1 Practice is like being on stage at Carnegie Hall.
How do we develop mastery in whatever we do? Daniel Pink suggests three keys to developing mastery:
What a great way to finish well!
[caption id="attachment_203" align="alignright" width="150"] Jon Hokama is the Principal and Founder of Jon Hokama and Associates, LLC.[/caption]
Want to be on the path to mastery this week? Which of the three tools will you take with you:
I welcome your thoughts/comments!
1p. 117, Pink, Daniel H., Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.
2Ibid, p. 125
via Blogger Shocking Incentives
Business owners and managers of mid-sized and small businesses have more to juggle than they can handle. One of the maladies that plague us and our teams is the lurking sense that “I’m not enough.”
Let’s continue to examine the one area which you have more control over than you may believe. It’s control over your time. (See previous ABA Insider for the first three tips).
We at ABA help our clients define reality. And if this “ABA Insider” feels a bit too truthful, realize that our intent is to make sure you face the truth about your alleged lack of time. If you feel that you are drowning in a sea of constant tasks and to-do’s, these tips are for you!
Here are three more tips that you, and only you, can choose to adopt:
4. Create your ideal week - track how you actually use your time in a week and then decide what you’re going to do!
Remember that you actually have 100 percent control of your time. (If you don’t believe you do, remember that you are both the cause of your own time-management challenges…and the solution!)
Create your ideal time template using this downloadable spreadsheet:
1. Utilize block scheduling -- batch similar tasks together beginning with your highest payoff activities. For example, you may set up an ideal week to look something like this:
2. Set limits! For example, if your quitting time is the end of your day, don’t do email at night.
Create your actual time template to see how you are actually using your time currently:
1. Print out this simple Excel spreadsheet, carry it around and start filling it out for the next week. Even if it isn’t Monday, START NOW!
Now, you get to exercise 100% control over what you do next.
1. Start aiming to reshape your time use to reflect your ideal template.
5. Get support from the people around you. You cannot make these changes alone. Let your family, friends and co-workers know about the changes you are trying to make. Maybe even get someone who will be tougher than you are to manage your schedule. You will not only gain more traction from the encouragement you receive from them, but they might join you and improve their time management also.
6. “Just do it.”
If you are serious, some new rules you might employ are:
If you are committed to your template, then you and others around you should see a happier, less stressed you.
Let us know if you are bold enough to try this experiment! Tell us how it went. And contact us at email@example.com if you would like additional ideas on how to help get you or your team to that ideal time template.
When You Are Not Enough: 3 More Simple (But Not Easy) Tips was originally published to American Business Advisors
via Blogger When You Are Not Enough: 3 More Simple (But Not Easy) Tips
If you are a baby boomer or have boomer parents, you’ve probably come across this ad:
The Crankset Group has dubbed these Blinding Flashes of the Obvious. BFOs are epiphanic moments of “seeing” something essential for the first time or perhaps recalling something foundational that we’ve neglected or forgotten.
Why is it so important to highlight BFO’s? Consider:
Wooden began practice every year by teaching his players how to put on their shoes and socks.
Our clients do not pore over every jot and tittle of currency arbitraging, optimal withdrawal rates in retirement, or the latest hybrid LTC products. (more…)
via Blogger What’s Your V8 Moment?
Last week, I began to explore five beacons to guide us in the Present while Planning for 2014 and aligning to our Finish Line. Although I first learned of these as five regrets, I have reframed them as five powerful beacons lighting our way into our legacy. If we are clear about where we are and where we want to end up, 2014 planning, important as it is, becomes a mere waypoint toward our Finish Line, whether a day, a year or a lifetime away.
Let’s continue exploring the final three of the five beacons drawing us into the future. (more…)
via Blogger Living Your Trilemma, Part 2
In This Edition...
Business Owners: Are you Stuck in the Bermuda Triangle?
By Jon Hokama, Senior Vice President
Building a top 25% quartile company is not for the weak of heart. As a business owner, you’re like the captain of a ship: It’s up to you to get your ship--your business--safely and effectively to the next port. You need to know the navigational charts, the waypoints, the itinerary, the hazards and the final destination.
One hazard you face is what I would call the managerial “Bermuda Triangle.” The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is a loosely defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships have allegedly disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Like its nautical namesake, a managerial Bermuda Triangle is the place where a captain and his crew “disappear” when he unknowingly loses his way. They may not know they’ve been caught in its trap until they find they are not advancing the business the way they’d like to.
While there are many versions of the managerial Bermuda Triangle, let’s define the three sides of this triangle by the traps that can afflict the captain, the officers, and the crew.
The Captain’s Dilemma
Consider first the captain’s dilemma. Whether he acknowledges it or not, every captain has a final destination at which he has to give up command of his ship—either by choice or by force. At a gathering a couple of weeks ago, former Inc. Magazine editor Bo Burlingham related an experience he had when he addressed an audience of business owners. He asked how many had exit plans. Only half of the audience raised their hands. To the rest he said, “So it looks like the rest of you have discovered the secret to eternal life.”
Captains believe–or at least project—that they have the right navigational charts and can guide the ship safely “forever.” But most believe leaving their business is merely an Event—either by sale or by death. Few realize their charts are misleading them. That event actually has four specific necessary waypoints:
Even if he charts his course well, many a captain loses his way in The Transition Out. It’s a far longer and more uncertain and treacherous passage than he anticipates. When Bo Burlingham surveyed owners’ satisfaction with the sale of a company, only half reported being happy with the result. So unless you, too, have the secret to eternal life, unless you carefully chart your course to encompass these four phases and navigate all of them successfully, you will leave behind a shipwreck for those you care about most—family and employees—that will need salvaging. So it’s important to squarely face the captain’s dilemma and set the waypoints for life beyond your business.