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Inspiring Words: Tom Henschel’s Podcast ‘Look and Sound of Leadership’

So far we have brought recommendations for speakers, Ted Talks, and a few great reads. I hope they have been insightful and have helped you improve your outlook and passion for what you do. This week I wanted to shift away from literature and bring in a podcast recommendation for all of you.

I listen to a good number of podcasts. Since my 9-5 requires a large amount of driving, it’s a great way to utilize time otherwise spent thinking about what I want for lunch. With some staples in my playlist including This American Life, NPR Ted Radio Hour, and the Fantasy Footballers (what? It’s important to know if I should bench Kirk Cousins against the Bills!), there is more content to enjoy than I will every be able to consume in a lifetime. Out of all of my subscriptions, one of my favorite leadership and executive development podcasts is Tom Henschel’s The Look and Sound of Leadership.

 

The Look and Sound of Leadership

Tom does a fantastic job with each podcast teaching communication techniques, curiosity, and genuine desire to see others improve. Using previous client experiences, Tom gives the listener direct examples of his techniques. Every story teaches you how to answer some tough questions as a leader.

Overall, I highly recommend this podcast and to take a look at Tom’s company, Essential Communications. To learn more about Tom, click here.

Do you have any favorite Podcasts? Leave a comment with your recommendations!

Why Poor Sleeping Habits Ruin Your Chances For Success

Why Poor Sleeping Habits Ruin Your Chances For Success

Ever since college, I have struggled with sleep. No matter how much time I spent sleeping, I would always wake up more tired than when I went to bed the previous night. It became a battle to crawl out of bed and get to work each morning.

Slowly my mood changed. I became irritable, impatient, and lethargic. What once fed my passion became a nuisance, draining whatever energy I had feebly accumulated through my moments of rest. I felt like Sisyphus; constantly fighting for every inch of productivity, only to slip and start over, exhausted.

Having struggled with symptoms of depression and anxiety, I sought out a therapist.  Personally, I believe each one of us should have a therapist, just as we have primary care physicians and dentists. After a few months, I began to feel more motivated, I rediscovered my passion, and where I wanted to go with it.

And yet, I was still exhausted.

It felt as though there was a haze over my consciousness. I was never really here. I couldn’t think clearly. It was infuriating. I wanted to function like I once did, and I knew there had to be an answer.

Well, I knew that I had family members with sleep apnea. Coupling my knowledge of sleep apnea with the realization that I’ve gained about 55 pounds since college, I completed a sleep test. No surprise, I found that I had sleep apnea and was the proud owner of a CPAP machine. While it’s not fun being diagnosed with any medical issue, it was vindicating and relieving. With nose-hose in hand, I hit the sack.

The change was nearly immediate. I began each day feeling more and more refreshed. At first, I was still tired, but it was remarkably easy to get up. Slowly, with each passing night, the haze lifted, and I was able to say something that I hadn’t been able to say for 6 years.

I felt refreshed.

Processing high amounts of information became possible again. Running complex theories through my head reminded me of the days in college, as I was developing my love for what I do.

My experience taught me the importance of sleeping. And not only sleep but quality sleep.

 

Sleeping Like You Mean It

Being an entrepreneur can be one of the most taxing experiences you will ever have. Long hours working on product design, meeting with investors and implementing marketing strategies can, and will, add up quickly. 

With only 24 hours in a day, the more time you spend on your business the less time you will have to spend on anything else. Sadly the first thing to be rationed in the name of success often is your sleep.

Sleeping essentially breaks up into three parts. REM, light, and deep. Each has a purpose and without any one of them, your body can’t recover from the previous day. Any time you reduce your amount of sleep, you take away the opportunity for your brain to recharge.

In the best case scenario, you will be foggy, experience reduced judgment, and have slower reaction times. In the worst, you will struggle to remain awake and struggle to control your emotions. No matter how you slice it, you’re ruining your chances for success by reducing your sleep.

But don’t take my word for it. Just read Arianna Huffington’s book The Sleep Revolution.

 

Learning From Experience

After waking up in a pool of her own blood due to sleep deprivation, she realized the importance of sleeping and that by not putting sleeping first, she was actively working against her best interests and the overall success of her business.

Listen, we are all vibrantly different, and our bodies work in unique ways. For some, 5 hours of sleep may work well enough while other require 9. Don’t look to the countless listicles ranking top habits of success people for the secret to your success. No one has a one-size-fits-all secret to wealth and happiness, especially me. That being said, I do know what will keep you from your success: avoiding the one way your mind can recover from the pursuits of your passion.

So sleep, and sleep well. Your business will thank you.

Never Allow Honesty To Be Stifled By Fear

Some time ago I was having a conversation with one of my supervisors that reminded me how important honesty is to our personal and professional lives.

 

Trying for Honesty

At the time, our agency was experiencing some drastic growth of clientele. It was to the point that even the supervisors were having to manage their own share of clients on top of their other responsibilities.

After a particularly busy month, I found myself quickly caught up with my work and able to lend a helping hand. On my way out of the office one day, I caught the eye of my supervisor on her way out as well.

After some small talk, I asked how the added load was weighing on her and the other supervisors. I offered to lend a hand, mentioning that I had quite a bit of time available.

She looked at me inquisitively, yet interested in the prospect of getting some tasks off of her shoulders. She asked, “You have quite a bit of time on your hands?”

My feet went cold and I quickly fumbled my response, “I, uh, well… a bit.”

Her face went slack and I realized I had the moment all wrong. “oh…only a bit.” she said, resigned.

You see, I let my fear get the better of me. The thought that I may have been seen as slacking at my job overcame my willingness to support my co-workers. I went into survival mode attempting to save face; as if having time to take on side tasks said that I wasn’t fulfilling the rest of my responsibilities.

 

The Outcome of Fear

The outcome of this fumbling attempt to protect my image ended in my supervisor’s disappointment rather than reassurance.

This is a telling trait of the power of fear. It provides us with enhanced attributes to increase the chances of survival. The fight or flight mechanism sets in and for a short period of time, the body is ready to protect itself from outside danger… At least that’s what it was meant for.

We’re not in the stone age anymore.

Survival isn’t something we need to worry about in the business world these days. If you feel that it is, then the job you’re in isn’t healthy. There are no mastodons at our doorstep and the average lifespan is a little better than the 25 years old of early humanity.

Essentially, I had nothing to fear from this situation. But, I went with my body’s response and tried to do damage control.

Think about the number of opportunities that are lost due to our fearful response. Whether we are trying to preserve our reputation or establish ourselves in a positive light, our fear of an immediate, negative outcome too often dictates our behavior toward our colleagues and in our careers. Imagine if we were simply honest, not giving in to our fear of losing face.

Ironically, if I had maintained honesty, my supervisor would have been relieved by shedding some responsibilities while solidifying the fact that I was willing to help however I could.

 

Coaching vs. Mentoring: How to get the best of both worlds

Coaching vs. Mentoring: How to get the best of both worlds

The amount of literature on professional development could easily fill a library at this point. But even with all the voices in the mix, there are misunderstandings as theory meets reality. Determining the purpose and benefits coaching and monitoring is a perfect example of this issue. 

When it comes to the subjects of coaching and mentoring, the majority of the confusion is due to experts approaching them incorrectly. Each practice can be invaluable, but they are often pitted against each other as if they are mutually exclusive.

You’re not choosing to buy a Mac or a PC, here. So let’s stop seeing this discussion as a debate about who’s good and who’s not, and instead focus on how to coordinate both services so that they complement each other to empower the individual.

 

Coaching

When you are looking for structure, intellectual education, and theory, look to a coach. Essentially, coaches exist to empower the unique strengths of their client.

Coaches will work with their client to identify communication styles, leadership strengths, and complimentary behaviors that can then be empowered and amplified to help the client stand out authentically.

Expect probing questions and self-discovery in every session.

Great coaches are trained and certified in evidence-based techniques that help not only pinpoint the strengths of their client but also expedite the process to give the client the more input in less time. That being said, I want to also note that positive changes will only occur if the client is willing to take the input and act upon it.

Sessions with coaches will also be much more discussion-based. The client should expect probing questions and self-discovery in every session. Some coaches will shadow the client through their daily activities while others focus more on the structured closed-door discussions.

Specific attributes to expect from a coach include:

  • Intellectual approach to professional development

  • Challenging the individual through probing questions and expanding perspectives

  • Encouraging and empowering the unique traits and strengths of each individual rather than diminishing weaknesses

 

Mentoring

Coaches shine in their use of empirical, evidence-based practices, mentors focus on using experience to teach their mentees.

Mentors will use examples from their past to pass on wisdom to those under their mentorship. Lessons learned from successes and failures will act as the curriculum of the mentorship program.

Often the mentor leads their mentee by example, pointing out pitfalls and risks that are not obvious to unweathered. Like privates joining the veterans on the battlefield, the mentor takes the rookie under their wing to teach them the tricks of the trade.

One of the easiest ways they can help increase the likelihood of their mentee’s success is by connecting them to other successful people.

The structure of this experience is much more free-flowing, often occurring in real-time to amplify the lessons learned from each experience. The mentor will rarely set sessions focused on self-discovery.

Instead, a budding executive often uses the mentor as a primary point of reference. The mentor will be able to provide direct market or company knowledge and often explain the subject matter in a way that is more palatable to the mentee, as the verbiage will be directly from their working environment.

Not only is experiential knowledge abundant within a mentorship, another fantastic benefit is taking advantage of the networking opportunities afforded to the mentee. The mentor often becomes attached to their mentee, truly wanting to see them succeed.

One of the easiest ways they can help increase the likelihood of their mentee’s success is by connecting them with other successful people. This is one of the greatest tools in the mentor’s arsenal.

Specific attributes of a mentorship experience include:

  • Experiential knowledge and teaching styles

  • Direct market knowledge

  • A fantastic reference point to improve in-field productivity

  • Providing connections and networking opportunities

 

Last Thought

Mentors will emphasize experiential education while some coaches will approach the client with more structure. However, if you approach coaching and mentorship with clear expectations of each practice, then every positive outcome can be amplified.

Don’t limit yourself to one or the other when both together provide so many additional opportunities.

 

 

Business

It’s Not About The Money: Why giving makes a business grow

The other day my wife and I were in the market for a new piece of equipment for an addition on the house. I knew that the price can vary pretty widely depending on the business. I wanted to make sure that I did some price shopping before making a purchase.

The first step of the process was to determine the right kind of product to meet my need, and that required a professional to take the measurements and make right recommendations.

I started off by doing a quick google search to find a location that sold what we needed. I gave them a call and made sure someone could give me the necessary recommendation. They encouraged us to head on over and look through their showroom.

So far so good.

After a quick drive across town, we arrived at the showroom and approached the front desk. We got our name in to see a consultant and made sure that they understood we were just looking for a measurement recommendation and a price check. We sat down and waited our turn.

Then things went downhill.

After a few minutes, the consultant-led us to their office where we reviewed different options for the house. Quickly it became evident that the consultant was under the impression that we were just there to make a purchase. My wife clarified that we were first and foremost there for guidance regarding which product to purchase, and then we wanted a quote on what they had in stock.

The consultant stopped in her tracks and stared at us for a few seconds, only to let out a slow, “….Oookay.”

“Is something the matter?” I asked, confused by the sudden apprehension.

She stood up and grabbed her measuring equipment and said, “Well, I’ve just never had someone come in just for a recommendation and a quote.”

“You’ve never had a customer collect prices and compare?” My wife asked.

“Nope. Never.” She said, bluntly. “I also don’t think it’s fair that I will do this work and not get the sale.”

For some reason, we began to reassure her that we still may purchase from the business. She just reiterated how offended she felt that we would ask for a quote rather than blindly purchase an expensive item.

After a few more exchanges with the consultant, we decided to leave without either the measurement recommendation or a quote. For the rest of the day, I was frustrated and stunned by the blatant disregard for the purpose of their business’s service. But as insulting as the experience was, it was also insightful.

Don’t Focus on the Sale

I realized that the treatment my wife and I experienced at the company’s showroom caused me to have a very specific reaction. Not only did we not want to work with this business, we specifically wanted to not work with them. It was not a pull to another agency, but a repelling away from that experience that now influenced our purchasing decision.

You see, if I organically decided to go with the competition, I would have been making a choice between two observedly good options. I would still feel comfortable referring to both companies for future purchases. However, the spirit of selfishness at the company caused our decision to be made out of principle. Even if they had a cheaper price, I still would have gone with another company.

Selling is not about making one transaction. It is about building a relationship and investing in your customer-base.

This difference in motivation is vitally important for every business owner to be able to understand. It is not just that a customer chose another company over you, it may be that the choice was specifically to not work with you, thus they went with your competitor. Selling is not about making one transaction. It is about building a relationship and investing in your customer-base.

Every experienced businessperson understands that helping and giving incentivizes the customer to want to purchase from you. I mean, come on, if you are willing to give your time, energy, and even products, then what you have for sale must really be of value. Right?

Give To Get

If the consultant approached us with a spirit of giving, truly wanting to see us get the best product for our needs, then we would have wanted to buy from them. Because her motivation was focused on what she can get out of the interaction, she set herself up to fail.

No matter what market you are in, you will work against your best interest if your motivation is money. Instead, focus on improving the lives of your customer-base.

I’ve always heard that giving is receiving. I never realized that lesson was so business-savvy.

 

Psychological Theories to be Competitive in Business

Last week I wrote about the psychological concept of Social Interest. Specifically, how to increase our mindfulness in a business setting.

This week I want to discuss the concepts of Goal-Oriented Behavior and the 3 Universal Goals. We will see how these psychological concepts have been used to manipulate sales. We will also see how a business owner can improve their practices by increasing awareness of how these psychological concepts impact staff.

First and foremost, let’s define our terms.

Goal-Oriented Behavior is a psychological concept which states that every action we take, consciously or subconsciously, is a calculated attempt to obtain or maintain a specific goal which we have set for ourselves. Every action from when we speak, how we speak, what we wear, what we read, IF we read, has a specific psychological purpose behind it.

An example I like to use is the “actually” person.

behaviors are learned and sculpted by the combination of external and internal stimuli.

We all know someone who tries to be a know-it-all. It seems that every conversation you have with them brings a retort, “actually…” as they try to correct something you or someone else said. It’s like they can’t control themselves; that the mere presence of inaccurate information causes them to word-vomit and exorcise the fallacies from the room. This “actually” friend may not even realize why they have to correct you, but still, they do so.

Like a doctor tapping your knee, causing the patient’s foot to kick out. Except, the knee-jerk reaction is not just a physical response; it is behavioral. And behaviors are learned and sculpted by the combination of external and internal stimuli. But how do we set these “goals” for ourselves? Where do they even come from?

Enter Alfred Adler.

Adler believed that each human being is dynamically unique; our personalities as identifiable and unique as our fingerprints. We have vibrant passions, values, and beliefs that have sculpted us into the individuals we are and will become. But as unique as we all are from each other, every one of us is attempting to achieve the same three fundamental goals. These are the psychological goals of Significance, Security, and Belonging.

But as unique as we all are from each other, every one of us is attempting to achieve the same three fundamental goals. These are the goals of Significance, Security, and Belonging.

Titled the Three Universal Goals, Adler explains that every human being, no matter how, is constantly striving to achieve these three goals. Let’s look at each goal individually.

Significance

In our world, whether it be our social circle or professional network, we desire to feel significant to those around us. We want to maintain a sense that, if we were to vanish, the lack of our presence would have an impact on those who knew us. Think back to our example of the “actually” person.

By correcting other people’s statements, are they not attempting to establish a sense of significance in those conversations? The desire for fame is another fantastic example of seeking significance. The hope of getting our 15-minutes of fame and the lengths to which people are willing to go shows how important the concept of significance is to us.

Security

The goal of security focuses on our level of safety in our environment. Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for this goal. We strive for an environment of safety so that we are not in a constant state of survival.

By obtaining a sense of security, we are able to let our guard down and focus on living and growing, rather than fighting to survive. For this goal, we focus our energies on finding social circles and professional environments that provide a sense of safety.

Think about it this way: would you rather work at a company that consistently threatens your job in order to balance the books or one that has a no-firing policy?

Belonging

Finally, we have the goal of belonging. This goal is focused on social interactions and how we fit into the world around us. Where significance is a striving to feel influential and security is the desire to feel protected from the world’s dangers, belonging focuses on how we fit into our environments.

This concept is as simple as our desire to find like-minded individuals and surround ourselves with those people. Similarly, if we are attempting to achieve a sense of professional belonging, we may seek out purpose-driven companies.

If we were to have the same beliefs as the company we work for, then wouldn’t we feel a belonging to that company? We are attempting to achieve a sense of belonging when we identify with cultures and sub-cultures. It is within a larger purpose that we find this sense of belonging.

So what does this have to do with business?

If you take a walk through your nearby department store, you will find countless companies marketing directly to these goals, hoping to trigger us to purchase their product. Most companies don’t realize that they are doing it, but their message is all the same. “With our product, you will finally be successful/significant/one of us.”

By using these marketing tactics, businesses are attempting to trigger their target audience into buying their product.

Effective business and marketing strategies focus on connecting the product to the fulfillment of one of these goals. Car commercials focusing on “standing out” from the crowd try to appeal to our desire for significance, insurance companies focusing on taking care of the customer – such as Allstate’s Slogan: “Your In Good Hands” – appeals to our desire for security, and a company making the customer feel that they are part of a movement or culture by buying their product (Apple, I’m looking at you) appeals to our desire for belonging. These practices are effective because they target something deeper than our habits, they target our motivations.

The cornerstone is in making the connection between the existence of a product. How it helps the consumer achieve their goals. 

 

Final Thoughts

As a business owner, you will want to see what need your product meets, and why that is important to the consumer. Companies often make the mistake of just finding an opportunity in the market and attempting to fill it with a product. The product is only a small part of the sales experience.

It’s about making the connection between the existence of a product and how it helps the consumer achieve their goals. Having a company articulate their purpose using the language of goal-oriented behavior will provide consumer loyalty.

This is also vital behavior for within a company. Every employee is a human being striving for significance, security, and belonging. An executive would do a disservice to their employees and their company if decisions were made without the psychological decision-making of a goal-oriented awareness. 

This means a company should focus their team development around providing a sense of significance to their staff. Focusing on an assurance that the staff is secure in their workplace and that they are working for something greater than themselves. Focus on the motivation behind the action. Connect with staff on a visceral level.

Understanding psychological behavior is a vital tool for a business owner. It not only provides marketing insight into people’s motivations, but it also helps us better understand how to support our staff.

 

Inspiring Words: Lencioni on successful team growth

Inspiring Words: Lencioni on successful team growth

This week I wanted to bring you a fantastic resource for team development and improving work culture.

I just had the pleasure of reading Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Expertly written, Lencioni lays out the 5 fundamental behavior patterns of a thriving and successful team, and what those patterns look like when dysfunctional.

About FDT

Written as a novel, FDT tells the fictional story of an executive team fraught with dysfunction at a new company that had everything going for it. With a stunning amount of raised capital and some of the best staff in their respective fields, they were built to succeed. However, with everything going for them, they began to struggle. On the verge of failure, the company decides to hire a new CEO with a knack for producing remarkable results in underwhelming companies. 

The book is an incredibly easy and enjoyable read. It is a must-have with remarkable insights for aspiring and current leaders alike. Few books are able to educate so effectively as FDT. 

Throughout the book, Lencioni lays out his 5 dysfunctions of a team: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

The back of the book provides a recap of the 5 dysfunctions and a breakdown of how to rectify them. Everything you find on the pages is fantastic and well-articulated. Although there is one aspect which I would challenge and redirect.

Lessons Learned

Lencioni states that financial incentive is necessary to get a team to improve their attention to results. While he does admit that this is a finite method of improving results, he fails to provide any alternative action that may provide lasting results-oriented behavior. For that, I want to add for your consideration a common theme of my articles: purpose.

If the leader is able to provide a direct connection between why the company exists and why the results matter to accomplishing that purpose, attention to results will occur. As Lencioni makes clear through FDT, the team must unify under one purpose. Those who do not believe in the single purpose are not meant for that company. Thus, they are better off seeking out alternative employment. Lencioni sets the scene to focus solely on purpose. However, he fails to connect articulation of purpose and a desire to fulfill that purpose.

Overall, this book is remarkable and a fantastic reference for all executives and aspiring leaders.

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

You can find the book for sale here.

Why It's Important to be Socially Connected in Business

Why It’s Important to be Socially Connected in Business

So I have a personal belief that a foundational knowledge of mental health, along with therapeutic techniques, is vital for an effective executive coaching practice. Currently, the vast majority of self-made executive and entrepreneurial coaches, such as many retired athletes and previous business moguls, have had no formal psychological or mental health training nor obtained any certifications in coaching.

The vast majority of self-made executive and entrepreneurial coaches have had no formal psychological or mental health training 

Personally, I feel this is a risky practice, as these individuals focus on providing coaching based upon their worldview; forcing their mantras as gospel upon their clients.

In order to push the field of executive and entrepreneurial coaching in the direction of evidence-based, client-centered, practices, I want to take the time to talk about how entrepreneurs and executives can benefit from the theories found in psychology.

To begin this process, let’s focus on the concept of Social Interest.

Social Interest

Coined by Alfred Adler, Social Interest, or “Gemeinschaftsgefuhl” in German (directly translating to community feeling) refers to the level to which an individual focuses their energy on the world around them. Adler believed that one’s mental well-being and their level of Social Interest was positively correlated. That is, the more socially interested an individual is, the healthier their mental state would be.

This theory is not without its evidence. Numerous studies have found that the strength of an individual’s social connections impacted not only their mental health but also their physical health.

The concept of an individual’s mental health being directly connected to their level of social interest is also pretty logical.

The less time we spend inwardly focused, the more time we are able to spend bettering the world around us.

If someone is struggling with, say, depressive symptoms. They can spend a large amount of their day just focused on the inward struggles they are experiencing. This is the same for any mental health condition, and not even limited to those struggling at a diagnosable level.

So, if mental health conditions cause individuals to focus inwardly, then the more an individual is able to focus on events outside of themselves, the less their mental health symptoms are impacting their life. The less time we spend inwardly focused, the more time we are able to spend bettering the world around us.

But what does this have to do with business?

Why should any of this matter to an entrepreneur or executive?

Well, considering that 1 in 5 individuals lives with a mental health condition, anyone in a leadership position should not only understand how pervasive mental health issues are among their employees, they would benefit from realizing that this can also mean themselves. Which leads to three points.

First, spend time and money on the mental health of your staff. If they are struggling, then your business will be too. Provide services such as EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) and mental health sick days – because, let’s face it, some days we just need to recharge without having to also have the flu. Your employees will thank you, your customers will thank you, your shareholders will thank you.

Second, shine a light on your own actions and perspectives. How are you approaching your work? Are your actions based out of an inward focus; attempting to prove something to yourself and the world? Or are your actions motivated by Social Interest as you try to better the world around you?

Finally, this concept of Social Interest and the importance of our social connectedness is primarily held in mental health professions. Even though the evidence proves this is true, the benefits of spreading this knowledge are slow. This is why it is so very important that coaches also develop their understanding of mental health theories and concepts. Not only to increase an executive’s level of expertise but to provide them with insight that is based on more than a personal mantra.

Final Thoughts

A passion to help people improve is a rare and noble trait, but intentions alone can’t produce long-term success. It’s important that when looking for a coach, you find one that has the training to help achieve your desired results. If they are not trained to provide what you need, then move on. Take the time to make the best choice for yourself and your company.

 

 

If this article interested you, be sure to read the second installment, here.

 

How To Make An Ambitious Goal Achievable

How To Make An Ambitious Goal Achievable

 

Ambition can often overflow when we have a vision of what goal we want to achieve. We think about all of the ways our life, and the lives of others may be better by having our ideas realized.

But many people stop with just the vision. Their dreams build expectation without any follow through for one simple reason.

They don’t know how to make an idea a reality.

Because this lack of follow-through is so pervasive, I want to share one of the greatest ways to create productive movement and set yourself up for success. The technique is powerful for multiple reasons. It’s easy to remember, the concept is simple (making it easy to teach), and most of all it works.

The technique is called S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, this acronym can help with nearly every goal you wish to achieve. Whether you use it once to complete an entire plan, or break a larger goal down and utilize this technique repeatedly, S.M.A.R.T. goals direct your efforts efficiently towards productive outcomes so as to avoid action that may be counter-intuitive to what you are trying to achieve.

So how do you use S.M.A.R.T. goals?

The process is linear, starting with:

 

Specific (S)

This step is about nailing down exactly what your goal is. Be as specific as possible here; what are you specifically wanting to achieve? Let’s say that you run a sporting goods store and the current plan is to increase sales of men’s sportswear in-store rather than online.

Now that the goal has been specified, let’s move on.

 

Measurable (M)

This step is where you determine how you will measure your goal. What is the tool of measurement which will help you know that you are attaining the set goal? Decide at what level of measurement you have achieved your goal. Don’t leave it at “more.” This is an arbitrary amount. How much more? For our example of men’s sportswear, would you be measuring the number of sales made? The amount of product sold? Give yourself a precise number or rate you which to achieve so that you can see exactly where you are in comparison to where you want to be. Let’s say that the measurement is a number of items sold daily. Now you have a reference for measuring your achievement.

For our example of men’s sportswear, would you be measuring the number of sales made? The amount of product sold? Give yourself a precise number or rate you which to achieve so that you can see exactly where you are in comparison to where you want to be. Let’s say that the measurement is a number of items sold daily. Now you have a reference for measuring your achievement.

 

Achievable (A)

This step is to make sure that your goal, and how you measure that goal, is something that you can realistically achieve. Don’t breeze over this step. If you have set the bar higher than you can reach, then you will set yourself up for failure.

If you are trying to increase your sales of Men’s sportswear (S) and are selling items at a rate of 10 per day (M), it may not be achievable to set the goal at 150 items daily. Give yourself a realistic, achievable goal. You can always set a new goal later. For now,  you determine that increasing current sales from 10 items daily to 50 items daily is your desired result.

If you are trying to increase your sales of Men’s sportswear (S) and are selling items at a rate of 10 per day (M), it may not be achievable to set the goal at 150 items daily. Give yourself a realistic, achievable goal. You can always set a new goal later. For now,  you determine that increasing current sales from 10 items daily to 50 items daily is your desired result.

For now,  you determine that increasing current sales from 10 items daily to 50 items daily is your desired result. 

 

Relevant (R)

This step is more of a gut-check and an increase of your mindfulness with regard to the goals you set for yourself or your business. Here you ask yourself, is this goal relevant to my overarching purpose? Is this goal going to achieve the fundamental objective of my goal?

If you are trying to increase your sales of men’s sportswear, but you run a gas station, then the goal may not be worthwhile at this time to pursue. Just because you feel that it is important right now, does not mean that it is worth your effort in the long run.

 

Timely (T)

This is as simple as determining a due date for the goal. By when do you want to see this goal achieved? Remember to be realistic. You won’t be able to increase sales overnight, so don’t put that kind of unnecessary pressure on yourself.

When do you feel you can realistically achieve your goal? Use this timeframe as a motivator. For our sportswear example, this measurement of 50 items sold daily may be realistically achievable in the next year.

 

Last Thoughts

So the final result of this process spits out a goal that is manageable and productive. For our example, we created a goal to increase men’s sportswear from 10 items daily to 50 items daily within the next year.

This goal was also determined to be relevant to the purpose of your business because men’s sportswear is a large part of your business.

As you see here, this is a moderate goal. Moderate being that it is a part of a larger system (the entire sporting goods store), but can be broken down into smaller goals, such as determining how you will increase the daily sold items.

If you feel that the plan needs to be broken down in order to determine how it will be achieved, then break it down until the individual tasks are manageable and can be effectively delegated to the responsible parties.

I love using S.M.A.R.T. Goals. This technique is fantastic for professional success and personal achievement. It is quick to complete and easy to remember. Try using the skill and let me know how it goes.

 

 

Why You Need To Get Yourself A Startup Coach

Why You Need To Get Yourself A Startup Coach

Starting a business is a challenging task under the best of conditions. Constant selling and meetings with investors to get the money needed, working on your product to perfect the prototype. You may have great ideas and you see where the market needs those ideas to become a reality. But without someone to coach you on your budding business, the statistics of success are not on your side.

Enter the start-up coach.

Start-up coaches are executive coaches whose purpose is to give your nugget of a company the best chance to succeed. A start-up coach is an asset that very few entrepreneurs recognize exist, and even fewer are willing to utilize. Below I have listed five of the top reasons why having a start-up coach as one of your first hires in any venture is the best decision you could make for your business.

 

1. Stay focused on why

When an entrepreneur sets out on a new venture, it’s to either meet an unmet need or improve how it’s met. The struggle each entrepreneur must overcome is the desire to simply make a buck. Realizing that there is an opening in the market may put dollar signs in your eyes, but don’t let the excitement of a possible business venture overshadow the true purpose of your business. 

Successful businesses focus on meeting the needs of the consumer in order to build loyalty rather than attempting to find the easiest way to make a sale. This is where start-up coaches become invaluable. They help to keep the focus on what good the product can do rather than how much money can be made.

 

2. Goal accountability

Having a goal is one thing, making that goal into a reality takes determination, patience, and hard work. Start-up coaches can help determine what goals you are truly looking to accomplish. They are highly skilled at helping you determine the best method of completion.

Techniques such as S.M.A.R.T. goals help develop productive means of accomplishment. Once the goals have been identified and a strategy has been put into place, the coach will be able to keep you accountable and focused.

 

3.Build a winning team

One of the most important lessons veteran entrepreneurs learn is that you are only as successful as the company you keep. Yes, some great business ideas may find their genesis at the nearby happy hour. However, that doesn’t mean that your drinking buddies are the best business partners.

Instead, utilize the skills of a start-up coach by working with them to identify your strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, you will be equipped to identify partners that will complement your strengths and fill in the gaps. Entrepreneurs often don’t realize that complementary skills are vital to the longevity and success of a start-up.

A start-up coach will reduce the risk of duplications of strengths and help you better identify innovative business partners.

 

4.Decision-making support

No matter what business you are starting, you will have to make difficult decisions — frequently.  At times, there may be no clear options. While at other times, there may be so many options that it is overwhelming. No matter the circumstance, a start-up coach is able to work with you to identify and execute the decisions that will be best for your business.

Through their unbiased insight, a coach will be able to teach effective techniques for making healthy decisions to keep you accountable making timely decisions.

 

5. Remain realistic

What makes entrepreneurs so remarkable, yet is their greatest vice, is their passion for magnificence. An idea is rarely just an idea to an entrepreneur; an idea is a way to leave a mark on the world. As an entrepreneur, you may be very familiar with this mindset. While this characteristic is one that defines your entrepreneurial spirit, it can get you into trouble if not properly managed.

Having a start-up coach available will help keep your vision realistic so that you don’t move too quickly, spend too liberally, or become too impatient while the world buys into your vision of the future. Start-up coaches are able to provide that accountability while maintaining encouragement and reframing your expectations to meet reality.

 

Whatever you’re trying to sell, whatever business you’re trying to start, be sure to find a start-up coach. Having a source of encouragement, objective reasoning, and realistic expectations to keep you in check makes start-up coaches one of the best decisions for building your professional portfolio.