Four Steps When Troubleshooting…

I feel lucky in business because I’m the one with the birds eye view on my clients’ organizations. It’s easier to see internally issues playing out when you aren’t in the “box” of their world. When you are internal to the organization, troubleshooting is one way to see more clearly and helps in identifying root causes and fixing them. You can think of troubleshooting as a particular mindset in which you ask a series of questions in an attempt to gain a new perspective on a business problem you may be having. It’s extremely helpful to be curious and open-minded, rather than quick to judge or show up in the “know it all” version of yourself.

Sometimes you find out what you thought was problem actually wasn’t at all. 95% of what we worry about isn’t even true. Our perception about an issue is often clouded and inaccurate. Meditation and yoga helps keep a clear mind… just throwing that out there! The troubleshooting mindset can be applied to all sorts of problems.

Four steps when troubleshooting:

  1. Is there an actual problem? Before you start solving a problem, make sure that the thing you are are solving is actually a problem. You can do this by defining and clarifying the problem. Is it simply annoying? Not necessarily a problem. Is there a clear threat to your business future? Definitely a problem.
  2. Isolate all distinct parts. After you’ve determined that you definitely have a problem, it’s time to isolate all distinct parts. Hats off to engineers – they typically are very good at this kind of stuff! In my business world, I often see clients reluctant to do certain things – adhering to an annual plan or budget and networking are often reoccurring issues when working with clients. The isolated parts on networking would be: pressure to be on billable projects, not seeing the benefits of networking, having fears about networking, preferring to spend their time in a different way, expecting other colleagues to do it, etc.
  3. Testing. This is about taking each isolated part and testing it. In my example above, I’d be asking my client to be honest about their resistance in each component. We would narrow down what they are specifically having issues with. From there, we see the root cause – let’s say it boils down to feeling pressure to be on billable projects. We see they could delegate more to their junior staff, and that then frees them to network occasionally.
  4. Course correct. Finally, we continue to course correct on a regular basis to ensure any other issues are properly addressed at the root level.

Rather than make assumptions, it’s good to implement the troubleshooting process in any area of your business or life. You get to the root cause on issues and can then take the right steps to modify. It becomes easier the more often you practice.

What Successful People Do Each Day…

Starting out from meager beginnings and having reached into what our society considers affluent, I suppose I have an opinion about what successful people do to get to where they want to go. I didn’t get to where I am simply by chance. My clients don’t either. Similar to a sports fan watching their teams, it’s fascinating to study the strategy and execution of people, teams, and organizations within professional service organizations. I see a lot just by observing. This article: “14 Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Everyday” by Travis Bradberry sums up many key tactics. The one addition I’d make is to visualize yourself in your new reality. Whether you want to lose twenty pounds or bring in $1M more in revenue, you have to see it before you become it.

Here are the others that resonate most with me:

1.      Focus on minutes, not hours.

2.      Focus on only one thing.

3.      Make it home for dinner.

4.      Process emails only a few times a day.

5.      Avoid meetings at all costs.

6.      Follow the 80/20 rule.

7.      Delegate almost everything.

8.      Touch things only once.

9.      Practice a consistent morning routine.

10.   Energy is everything. (You increase your productivity by increasing your attention, focus – if you struggle with this – try yoga or meditation).

 

 

Mind Stretching…

ENJOY this article and insight by Madyson Taylor:

Having a flexible mind makes navigating life much easier as you are not thrown off course easily.

Flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking, as well as a continual willingness to change or be changed in order to accommodate new circumstances. People with flexible minds are open to shifting their course when necessary or useful; they are not overly attached to things going the way they had planned. This enables them to take advantage of opportunities that a more rigid person would miss out on. It can also make life a lot more fun. When we are flexible, we allow for situations we could not have planned, and so the world continues to surprise and delight us.

Since reality is in a constant state of flux, it doesn’t make sense to be rigid or to cling to any one idea of what is happening or what is going to happen. We are more in tune with reality when we are flexible. Being in tune enables us to adjust to the external environment and other people as they change and grow. When we are rigid or stuck in our ways, instead of adjusting to the world around us we hunker down, clinging to a concept of reality rather than reality itself. When we do this, we cut ourselves off from life, and we miss out on valuable opportunities, as well as a lot of joy.

Just as we create flexibility in our bodies by stretching physically, we can create limberness in our minds by stretching mentally. Every day we have the opportunity to exercise our flexibility. We can do this in small ways such as taking a different route home from work or changing our exercise routine. On a larger scale, we can rearrange the furniture or redo a room in our house. If these are things we already do regularly, we can stretch our minds by imagining several different possibilities for how the next year will unfold. As we do this, our minds become more supple and open, and when changes come our way, we are able to accommodate and flow with the new reality.

Madisyn is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the popular inspirational website and daily email, DailyOM and is responsible for all of its content. A recognized leader in self-help and new thought spirituality, Madisyn has more than 25 years experience in personal development and alternative healing methodologies. She has contributed to national publications and is a popular guest on many radio shows. Hay House published her international bestselling books, DailyOM: Inspirational Thoughts For A Happy, Healthy & Fulfilling Day, and DailyOM: Learning To Live.

Your Perspective Is Just That…

Often, we get so wrapped up in our own world, we forget that our thoughts, our feelings, and our perspective is just that – it’s a sliver perspective – not necessarily shared by anyone else.

In business and sales, be mindful of this. Don’t be too strong with your ideas and come across as if your perspective is THE RIGHT and ONLY way. Share your perspective as simply that. Share your observation as that. Clarify communication to gain better understanding. Ask good questions. Try to step into other people’s shoes to see their perspective. Collaborate. Exchange open and flexible dialogue to arrive at an optimal place for the organization you are working with or trying to sell to, etc. Go Grow!

Longer Term Business Development…

Professional service firms often emphasize creating leads now.  Short-term leads aren’t always the best leads. These short-terms prospects have typically been working with another firm for many months, and are ready to buy their services. If you call these prospects, you may be brought into the process, and you may get lucky…but the other firm has dedicated the time and effort to position themselves to win the work. You may appear opportunistic-centric rather than relationship-centric. You may end up simply being a price check.

Most professional services are not bought on impulse. Place a higher priority on generating and nurturing long-term leads. Long-term lead generation takes a “long” time – often 2-4 years. Create a strong list of prospective clients, and use a variety of marketing and business development tactics to progressively show your genuine interest in these people and their business. Simultaneously, build trust and rapport so that your prospects begin to understand your skills, capabilities, and experience.

Incorporate long-term lead generation and nurturing into your business development process, and realize, albeit over a period of time, dramatic growth within your company.

Presentation Skills – 10 Points To Consider…

I recently heard these percentages about what’s important during presentations:

55% – how you look

38% – how you speak (delivery style)

7% – your content (what’s on your slides)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether these are accurate, we all can attest to remembering the presenter and not necessarily their slide deck! Here are ten points to consider prior to your next presentation:

  1. Set the stage. How do you enter the room? Are you positive, grounded, confident, engaged, and attentive to your audience?
  2. Body Language. Stand firm, grounded, but not like a statue. Don’t be small – don’t fold into yourself. Offer a big presence with minimal ego. Don’t intimidate. Open up your body/language. Gesture and hold the gesture. Don’t be frenetic/fast. Have purposeful movement – move, then stand and maintain balance.
  3. Facial Expression. Your face is prime real estate. Use it! Don’t be expressionless. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions show! And if you get nervous, breathe and fake it until you become it.
  4. Voice. Find YOUR voice. How do you say what you say? Project your voice for authority. Lower your pitch (especially some women). Be careful not to up-speak, where you sound like you are asking a question at the end of your comment.
  5. Eye Contact. Make connections with your eyes. Connect with each person in your audience if you can. Don’t allow your eyes to graze the room. Don’t read from your power point. Be natural. Don’t lock eyes, but do pause and connect. Remember – eye contact = point of trust!
  6. Energy. (I’m a yoga instructor too – of course I’m going to slide in something on energy…!) Find your natural energy – attune to your authentic energy. Show off your own personality and human-ness. Find the best version of yourself. Confident. Positive. Excited to win the project/etc. Don’t be too serious because you’ll end of being robotic. Remember being serious doesn’t mean that you’ll be taken seriously.
  7. Power of the Pause. Nothing commands the listener like the appropriately planned pause! Pauses are highly respectful towards your audience, allowing them time to absorb content. Pauses give you the opportunity to gather your thoughts.
  8. Content. Less is more. Spoken communication has a weight limit – like a bridge between you and your audience. Don’t overweight your message. Tell stories – and tell them in a way where everyone can visualize the meaning and depth of the point you are trying to convey. People remember stories because they relate to stories.
  9. Q & A is where selling really happens. This is where you become very credible. Embrace the questions! Prepare for the questions – as yourself what questions you do not want to be asked and be prepared to answer those! Your answer should address “why hire me/us?” Offer tight, concise answers and send any supplemental information as a follow up after your presentation. Tight answers show you know your stuff.
  10. Last but not least… Breathe! Be Yourself! and Have Fun!

Go Grow!

 

Ten Major Causes of Failure – How Many of These Are Holding You Back…

Inspired from: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Life’s greatest tragedy consists of men and women who earnestly try, and fail! The tragedy lies in the overwhelmingly large majority of people who fail, as compared to the few who succeed….and even more tragic are the scores of individuals who don’t, after a failure, pick themselves back up, dust themselves off, and try again!

As you review this list, check yourself by it, point by point, for the purpose of discovering how many of these causes-of-failure stand between you and success.

  1. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life.
  2. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity.
  3. Insufficient education.
  4. Lack of self-discipline.
  5. Ill health.
  6. Unfavorable environmental influences.
  7. Procrastination.
  8. Lack of persistence.
  9. Negative personality.
  10. Lack of making decisions promptly.

We are entering a new year – 2017. Look at these causes of failure. YOU have the power to control, direct, and navigate yourself away from these pitfalls and towards your success. None of these are in anyone else’s hands except your own. Take responsibility for your happiness and success in 2017 and beyond. Go Grow!

Adaptive Innovation…

Adaptive innovation increases growth – sales growth, operating income growth, market growth, profit growth – etc. Adaptive innovation is about doing things differently and requires a relationship-centric culture with the courage to fail and learn from those failures. It’s often fueled by those at the edge of the business, often closest to the voice of the customer – sales, client-relationship management. It is not about imitating the strategies of others or through traditional value add….but shaping your organization’s own destiny. Innovation is a process with multiple enablers, contributors, and positive components. For example, a single ad never works. Advertising (especially in B2B) just contributes to the noise. When you innovate, the market seeks you out.

Adaptively innovate…go grow!

Don’t Make Assumptions…Ask Questions….Get Clarification…

Inspired by “The Four Agreements”

We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. I hear this in business all the time – “we lost because our fee was too high, too low, politics, they didn’t like us” … yada yada yada. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking – we take it personally – then we blame them and react – almost always negatively. That is why when we make assumptions, we are asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.

Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.

We only see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. We don’t perceive things the way they are. Our minds want answers. Our mind will not rest until we put the puzzle together and have an answer – even if the answer is false.

If others tell us something, we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate.

The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. It is always better to ask questions than make an assumption. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear as you can be, and even then do not assume you know all there is to know about a given situation.

With clear communication, all of your relationships will change.

Rekindling A Former Business Relationship…

It’s hard to keep all relationships active and alive and relevant. Often years will go by before we realize how many relationships  we have allowed to go dormant. Here are five points to consider when rejuvenating a relationship:

  1. Is it worth it?: Sometimes it is best to keep the door closed. Before you do anything, make sure it’s worth the TME….Time Money Energy.
  2. What’s in it for them?: Think about how this reconnection is beneficial to the other person. Are you offering a new service that you think could help them? Has your team grown or changed in a way that could benefit your former business partner? Be creative and always be of service to THEM, not you.
  3. What was then is not necessarily now: Don’t assume that everything has stayed the same. Business and life has likely changed for both of you. Do an assessment of where they are now. Explore new opportunities to help them. Be open to new possibilities.
  4. Provide incredible value: Find ways to be of service and provide amazing value to them. Solve problems they have. Create new opportunities for them to grow their top and/or bottom lines. Become a partner to help them and you’ll have a much greater chance to rejuvenate relationships.
  5. Be a connector and collaborator: How can you connect various members of your team and network with each other to develop new opportunities? I love connecting remarkable people who end up assisting each other. They both win, and they remember who brought them together.

Rejuvenating a dormant relationship can produce incredible results. Take the time to come up with creative reasons to rejuvenate the relationship that will benefit them.

Once you’ve rejuvenated the relationship, do your best to keep it strong this time! Go Grow!

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