The human mind is very active with some 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts racing across what could be viewed as a multi-level super highway with a plethora of on and off ramps. What is better or worse depending upon your perspective, an estimated 75% to 85% of those thoughts are at a subconscious level.
Our inspiration comes from those thoughts bumping into each other as well as the creation of new thoughts, new memories. We see something and our mind races to connect it with something else. Neurons are flying faster than we can even imagine. This connectivity experience allows us to re-read a book for example and learn something new (have a new thought).
Our challenge is to grab those new thoughts, possibly contemplate them and then integrate them into our daily behaviors (our old thoughts). Of course when we are so busy just doing what we need to do, we may fail to capture those inspirational thoughts.
There are ways to overcome our own busy state such as keeping a notebook near by or a smart device and making a note. Write down that thought when you have it instead of later attempting to remember it. Many smart devices have the ability to record short verbal notes.
Another way to capture those inspiring thoughts is to schedule some quiet time. Reflection time serves many purposes because it reduces stress, allows the mind to re-energize and provides an opportunity to think without additional distractions.
Running or physical activity is another mindful strategy to increase one’s ability to be inspired. And of course there is always reading and intentionally asking yourself:
- What does this mean to me?
- How can I use this to improve my life?
- If I liked or disliked what I just read, why?
These questions work for both non-fiction and fiction.
Yes we as human beings all have the capacity to be inspired, to leave the current status quo and move forward. All we must do is to recognize our inspiration is just a thought away.Share on Facebook
Ah, Saturday a day of relaxation for some or a day of organized chaos for others. However for the forward thinking leaders, Saturday is another day of self improvement.
One of my colleagues, Rick Gosser, has been on a self improvement quest since he lost over 130 pounds. Each day he runs and embraces the new daily opportunities. By changing his mindset of improving himself, he now supports others who wish to improve their own physical health. In the process, he has more energy, a different attitude toward clients and colleagues. Life for him is much better and business has never been better.
Over 2,000 years ago Buddha shared how our lives are like a wheel with six sections and when we are out of balance we fail to be as happy and productive as we could be. Today some are aware of the Life Wheel, but from my experience more are not.
I have developed this eight(8) section Life Wheel:
- Ethics & Beliefs (Spiritual)
When looking at this Life Wheel, Mental is directly across from Physical. I noticed when working with clients as well as in my own life that when I am not well physically my mental acuity suffers. This counter balance happens within other areas of our lives and sometimes we may be intentionally off balance due to the some goals such as taking a new job.
Until we know where we are, it is far more difficult to have sustainable success regarding our own self improvement. Yes as in all aspects of our lives, we have a choice to continue to develop ourselves, improve our lives or to stay where we are. That choices starts with our mindset.
Download this PDF of Personal-Professional-Wheels and determine exactly where you are.
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With the silver Tsunami (retiring of the Baby Boomers) happening right now and the for the next decade plus, many of these Baby Boomers SMB owners have a significant retirement barrier. When they realize the reality of this barrier, they may have two (2) choices:
- Work longer than originally planned
- Have less money for retirement
The barrier I am referring to is the belief that sweat equity is cash in the bank and makes a business more attractive. According to Peter Christman of The Christman Group, he has seen a significant value gap between sweat equity and actual business value.
Selling a small business starts the day the business opens. This is when all policies become documented; all procedures noted; and most importantly strategic planning is integrated into all aspects of the day to day operations. Unfortunately, for 99.9% of those SMB owners this reality never hit their plates.
Exit planning is the tail end of leadership succession planning. By developing the people especially those for the role of CEO, you make your company far more attractive. This people development works in tandem with your overall strategic plan.
However since the majority of SMB lack a comprehensive, written strategic plan and operate more like Captain Wing It than Captain Focus It, no wonder so many small business owners are disappointed when it comes to selling their businesses.
Here are 3 additional realizations if you are considering selling your small business and retiring in the next 3 to 5 years.
- Answering the question of how much is my business worth is a necessary one
- Understanding how to convert your sweat equity into cold hard cash is a process and may require you investing some of your profits to be able to increase the business worth of your SMB
- Recognizing the business worth of your firm and your sweat equity do not correlate is one reality that must be accepted
What you do not what to do is to wait to the last minute and find your retirement may just be extended for 3 to 5 years.Share on Facebook
Modern technology and ongoing medical advancements have us knowing far more about our brains as well as our minds than ever before. This knowledge is critical for those in leadership positions. Not knowing how one’s brain works or the brain of others sets up existing and potential leaders for absolute failure.
In the book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School, should be required reading for all leaders and wanna be leaders. This is a simple read with powerful research examples.
Several of these rules appeared to be directed more towards the business world.
Rule #12 is exploration and the author, John Medina, shared the example of Google’s 20% time for exploration (think creativity) and how that time has generated 50% of all new products. The questions to ask yourself are:
- How much time do you devote to creativity, to just exploring for the sake of exploration?
- Is your mind open to pure wonderment?
- Can you see the same landscape but with different eyes?
Rule #10 is great for businesses because so much of what takes place in the workplace is visual.Yet the desire to over communicate with words potentially negatively impacts effective communication. This is why we have coined the phrase “death by PowerPoint.”
Rule #3 addresses how all brains are wired differently. Those in leadership roles who understand the basics of brain wiring can become more effective leaders. One exceptional takeaway from rule #3 of wiring can be applied to sales training and leadership development programs. Give much of the sales training and leadership development is based on past K-16 experiences, these experiences ignore how the brains actually functions and its unique wiring. By understand all brains are different should be reflected in all learning engagements. One size does not fit all.
Rule #1 is probably the best one for everyone. “Exercise is like candy to the brain. When we are active, the direct results is a boost in brain power (think critical thinking). Additionally keeping people active reduces dementia and Alzheimer.
Reading books about leadership, about sales, about best small business practices are necessary. Yet sometimes it makes sense to learn about human nature specific to our brains and how we can improve our results by that knowledge.Share on Facebook
One key difference between am average to even good salesperson and a great one centers around having an open mind. In sales, it is that open mind that allows top sales performers to see abundance where others only see scarcity and end up with their heads in their hands.
A colleague who is selling is upper end priced home had a relator come in for an open house. Upon looking at the kitchen counters, she immediately exclaimed “You don’t have granite. Granite is expected in homes in this price range.” He responded:
”You are right and that is why they call it sales.”
The realtor had a very perplex look on her face. He continued:
“”When I built this home almost 20 years ago, I had two choices, granite or Corian, both selections were priced equally. Given I do a lot of food preparation, I wanted a sanitary surface. Unless granite is consistently maintained with sealing and polishing, food particles can become embedded in the surface creating the possibility of contamination to actual food poisoning such as salmonella. Corian is a non-porous material and ideal for safe food preparation. So for me the choice was obvious unless you prefer food poisoning?”
The realtor sat in stunned silence because she was not aware of the advantages of Corian over granite. Her mind became immediately closed when she did not see granite counter tops.
The question to ask yourself right now if you are in salesis:
How many times have I had a closed mind and
missed sales opportunities?Share on Facebook
If selling is an art, then being a virtuoso would potentially reflect the highest sales leadership mindset. This external temperament reflect a neutral bias in all three dimensions of thought:
This last external temperament of virtuoso suggests these individuals have achieved what is considered to be a “dynamic balance in all dimensions of thought.” (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index)
Consider for a moment someone in a sales leadership role who has exceptional focus by being able to be:
- “Free of bias”
Better yet, those with this temperament are open to new things, new ideas. In other words, they see with new eyes and do not necessarily seek new landscapes.
Would you like one of these individuals to be in your sales team if not one of your top sales performers?
By having a neutrality in all three dimensions of thought, these individuals have a “heightened sense” of self awareness (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index).
As one might imagine, this sales leadership temperament of virtuoso is rare because human beings have biases. Learning how to unlearn those biases is possible and does happen over time. Of course one never knows one’s temperament until having it assessed through this talent assessment by Innermetrix.
P.S. For the next 20 weeks, each Tuesday beginning 7/30/2014 will examine one of the internal leadership temperaments.Share on Facebook
“They tend to be misers when it comes to marketing.” Thus began an email from an executive coaching client who has been on a new job for less than 30 days. The marketing manager told her “we have enough Twitter followers,” “the website is just fine” and “we don’t need a blog.”
My executive coaching client was hired to jump start sales and she has already secured several meetings. However, the marketing manger, aka the miser or Uncle Scrooge, is making her job even more difficult.
The perspective held by this miser is one I have heard frequently by many small business owners to entrepreneurs to even SMB executives. Being cheap with marketing is a consistent behavior held by many executives. Yet the truth is unless people know about you and your firm, your SMB will remain pocket poor.
Marketing is the first step in any sales process. If any business cannot attract attention and begin to build relationships, how will that business arrive to that next step of selling? Yet what is the first action that executives take when things are slow, “cut” or “we cannot afford” marketing.
Sales leads do not fall from the sky. Fortunately for my client and through our year old executive coaching relationship, she has learned how to market (aka prospecting) through LinkedIn and this has been instrumental in securing new appointments.
The use of social media and having s SEO website are critical in today’s marketplace and even more so for B2B. However, this does take time and an investment of some dollars. Yet this is time and money well invested because social media has the capacity to be the gift that keeps on giving especially when it comes to content marketing (blogs).
When analyzing the research, potential customers are seeking new content and gravitate towards those who provide fresh, relevant content. This new behavior has become part of the buying decision according to Nielsen. Hence, to believe a blog is not necessary is definitely old school and will harm the bottom line.
If your SMB wants to increase sales leads, strengthen customer loyalty and become even more productive for all the efforts being expended especially by your sales team, then determine if you are being a marketing miser. Invest some time to identify where you need to focus your attracting efforts. And if you do not believe me, then maybe noted social media expert, Chris Brogan, may have you thinking differently:
“No matter what, the very first piece of social media real estate I’d start with is a blog.”
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In the movie, Along Came a Spider, Morgan Freeman shared this statement “You do what you are.”
By understanding the profoundness of these five words, results in this simple question of:
“What inspires you to do what you are?”
To be able to answer this question does suggest you know your talents or gifts. It also implies your focus is not just on you, but on others.
Over a year ago I updated my core foundational statement of purpose, vision, mission and values along with my company’s core foundational statements. I realized these three words were essential to me and to my executive coaching and talent management practice:
Just Be Valuable
These three words continue to inspire me while simultaneously keeping me grounded in my faith. Whether it is holding the door open for someone, to sending off an article to a colleague or to just sharing some time with a family member or colleague, all of these small actions allow me to stay true to my talents and positive core values.
What I have discovered is talents, in many cases, are also positive core values. By living my values, I am using consistently using my talents.
So what inspires you to do what you are?
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How many times do people “suddenly make it” in the business world and then forget those who helped them? I see this more often than not.
These individuals who have made it now are viewed as leaders, as business experts or gurus by the general public. Yet, are they really real leaders or just taking advantage of the generosity of those along the way? Common sense tells us very few people suddenly make it.
No one reaches the role of a recognized leader by himself or herself. Somewhere along the way these individuals received direct or even indirect assistance from others. The failure to stay in touch, to support those who supported them is a testimony to their real core value of “It is all about ME.” (ME = Massive Ego)
Real leaders stay in touch with those who have helped them. Granted time being a finite resource possibly not as much as before. However time does not become an excuse to compromise their positive core values and business ethics.
Yet as these leaders have expanded their influence and wealth, they can afford to hire people to take care of some of their day to day activities. This delegation allows these “new” real leaders to reconnect with those along with way through phone calls, personal handwritten notes to even some social media support.
If you have not reached out and reconnected with someone who helped you along the way, then maybe you may wish to consider taking that action. Eventually, your leadership behaviors will be noticed by others and remember being busy is just an excuse that reveals your true self.Share on Facebook
How many times have you heard small business owners discussing the cost verb?
- “I cannot do this because it costs way too much”
- “Money doesn’t grow on trees, this will cost me a fortune”
This cost verb implies there is no return on the money being exchanged. These dollars are being washed down the profit drain, day after day to the angst of the small business owner.
What would happen if that cost verb was flipped to the invest verb? For example, “Let’s invest in our people so they can do their jobs better and hence increase profits.” Or, “If we invest in the right marketing solutions for our small business, we will continue to receive strong sales leads.”
The cost verb is a mindset of scarcity while the invest verb reflects a mindset of abundance.
When the small business mindset is flipped from cost to one of abundance, what has happened is the small business owner is seeing with new eyes and not seeking new landscapes. The landscape (the marketplace) has not changed. This flipping of the mindset is not easy because old habits, conditioned behaviors can quickly reappear and once again this small business mindset of cost is driving the all business decisions and therefore all behaviors.
Additionally, this scarcity mentality creates starvation in the small business because the small business owners are seeking quick fix solutions which result in more costs instead of seeking long term investments. These quick fix solutions suck the oxygen as well as the profits out of small businesses. In many instances, because there is no long term strategic plan, the future is the next 24 hours not the next three to five years.
If you are a small business owner ask yourself “Do I think in terms of cost or in terms of investment?” Be honest with yourself because not being honest may indeed cost you far more than you realize.Share on Facebook