I had a last minute meeting appear in my diary late last Wednesday titled “Team Announcement.”
Something told me that in a few hours everything was going to change. I was right.
It’s been two years now working in what I would describe as a dream team.
We’re all crazy intrapreneurs in my team and we think outside the box. We challenge each other to go even further. We disrupt the traditional business models because that’s all we know how to do.
To some we are crazy: to all of us, we want to do something meaningful.
Who is my departing mentor and boss?
In one word, “Gandhi.”
He’s a Buddhist guy with a Yoda philosophy on life. Each day he says something out there and it takes me days to figure out what he means. There is no straight answer because everything has a meaning when it comes from him. The meaning often takes a while to figure out though.
Each day, in our team at work, it’s like preparing for the ancient Japanese Battle of Sekigahara. Every day we have strategy sessions to work out how to take down our enemy. When we get dealt a major blow we know it’s only one of the many battles we face. Overall, we’re optimists led by the chief of the army – my boss and mentor.
His departing gift to me
The challenging thing for my former boss is that he loves to give gifts, yet he knows I don’t like material things. Then, one morning on the train, shortly after the announcement, I get a message on LinkedIn from him. The message read:
“…this is my gift to you.”
My foes will become nothing.
My friends will become nothing.
I, too, will become nothing.
Likewise, all will become nothing.
Just like a dream experience,
Whatever things I enjoy
Will become a memory.
Whatever has passed will not be seen again.
With those eight lines of wisdom, my life and career were set to change. He was giving me a message. He knew me better than most and he knew how much this was the best gift he could give. I then saw him at work later and he said:
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
He knew deep down that I was upset he was leaving. He knew that I wanted the dream of our team to continue with him at the reigns of the army. What he figured out I needed was the reassurance that the next chapter of my career would soon begin.
He wanted me to know that the next great leader would appear when I (the student) was ready. Just as he had come into my life when I was ready, so too would the next boss and mentor.
While having a chapter in your life and career come to a close is hard, it’s exciting at the same time. I’ve learned that uncertainty about what’s next is the beginning of the next massive opportunity. Nothing stays the same forever although I sometimes wish secretly that it would.
All you can do in these moments of your career is be grateful. The last two years have been the happiest time of my time in any business.
Here are the lessons my boss and mentor taught me:
1. Inspired people change the world
My boss never tried to tell me how to do anything. He always led every conversation with inspiration to do something great. He didn’t want us to be mediocre and be like everyone else. The fact we were a bunch of misfits and didn’t fit in was what he wanted us to embrace. He wanted us to be proud of our unique identity.
Inspirational leaders don’t focus on the how; they focus on the why. Because our team knew why we existed and what our mission was, we always found a way. When our critics laughed at us, we chose to push on. In front of our critics, we always showed respect and smiled. That smile came from a sense that the good guys would win. That good would prevail evil.
Our team was inspired to change the face of our industry. We went after the big stupid goals that everyone said to run a mile from. We put our careers on the line every day. We took calculated risks that others thought were haphazard.
“Nothing, my boss taught us, should ever be done without a why. Everything should have a purpose”
2. Relationships always trump the price paid
Many of the clients we dealt with as a team came about through relationship not price. Each of our clients have become like friends. Doing business with my boss and the team feels like going to a family BBQ. My boss taught us that doing business should be based on trust, your value proposition and the feeling of partnership. Partnerships are based on win-win scenarios.
Both sides in every business interaction should feel like they have won. That’s how you know you’re on to something. That’s the way business should be.
3. Solve real problems
My boss has a fancy job title and with that comes lots of people who want to pitch a product or service. After some meetings, where we saw something cool, my boss would look very pissed off. I’d ask him what was wrong. He says:
“Tim, what problem are they solving? If you’re not solving a problem then you shouldn’t be asking us to buy from you!”
I thought about that often and realized he was spot on. There’s a lot of clever marketing and companies that have raised money from thin air. These companies only make it when they solve a real problem.
Whatever you do in your career, do your best to try and solve a problem. The bigger the problem, the more money you’ll get for solving it.
4. Critical thinking is a rare trait
The one thing that frustrated my boss: lack of critical thinking. Day-to-day in business, we deal with many different characters. Each character forms part of solving a problem (cause that’s what business is after all).
The ability to solve problems effectively, my boss believes, is to use critical thinking. This means that you commit to the following:
– Thinking clearly before deciding on the appropriate action
– Identifying any rational biases beforehand
– Thinking about the connections between different ideas that could form a potential solution
– Being rational about your approach
It’s surprising how rare the superpower is of critical thinking. My boss taught me that it’s something to constantly aim for and to use in business wherever possible.
“Churning out the same old solutions to the same old problems will not move humankind forward. We can all change that”
5. Political capital
Throughout the last two years, it felt like we were facing into a different crisis weekly – such is life. The temptation, my boss taught me, is to try and solve every single one. The challenge with that way of thinking is best summed up through a phrase he drilled into my head like a jackhammer: “Political Capital.”
A lot of business encompasses what you would see day-to-day in politics. Each senior leader is a politician, and every politician only has a certain amount of political capital that they can spend on these weekly crises. My boss taught all of us to spend our political capital wisely.
This political capital over the last two years has been the currency we have used to buy our way into a vision for the future that some may say looked “laughable.” Massive change and seeing things before they happen often involves a lot of critics. The key I’ve learned is to turn these critics into supporters, rather than enemies. As I said before, business is very much like a strategic battle.
6. Customer focus
So many organizations have this concept of customer centricity at the forefront of what they do. It’s not always a reality though. My boss made sure that I understood the importance of making sure the customer was top of mind with every action I took.
I shouldn’t be trying to build anything without having the customer’s input every step of the way. It’s easy to say, but very hard advice to follow. I learned from my boss to do this, or face problems down the road when it’s too late to change.
7. Storytelling futurists matter
Many of our competitors over the last few years were able to win in markets where we were unable to. My boss taught me that the reason our competitors could achieve this goal was because they told better stories than us and spoke about the future.
These competitors spoke about the future and tried to play a part in it. They released products that were way ahead of their time even if they didn’t get the immediate revenue uplift.
Telling stories about the future and releasing products ahead of time gives you a reputation for being a market leader in innovation.
All of us are biased to spend our money with companies who appear to be creating the future we have always dreamt of, even if in reality they are not executing the way it’s perceived they are.
Steve Jobs saw the future of consumer electronics; all of us have the ability to see the future of our industry and play a part in that story.
Stories hold immense power to those who know how to tell them.
Stories make us take action.
Stories inspire us.
8. Your boss can be your best friend
The last two years of my life have been a rollercoaster. Multiple romantic disasters. Huge career wins like going viral all over the Internet. I’ve seen colleagues have major illnesses and even seen crowds of people die right in front of the office I work in.
Through each event, my boss has been there. Like Yoda, he’s always had some words of wisdom that don’t give me the answer but help me find it deep within myself. He’s never given up on me. He’s always inspired me. He’s believed in me and the simple idea that I – just like you – can change the world.
He’s made me see that this life is so short and so is my career.
He’s shown me that everything becomes nothing at some point.
So if everything becomes nothing, then all we have is right now.
I don’t know what the next chapter of my career looks like. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a boss, teacher, or friend like this great man ever again. All each of us has is right now. Enjoy it because change is certain.
So is the way you think about change and the awesome opportunities that come with it. It’s time for me to take a break and have a holiday.
I hope you learned a thing or two about leadership from my boss. I know I certainly did.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Be a Selfless Leader in Your Business
Leaders are required to make decisions daily that impact the success of the business and its bottom line. Understanding leadership training key terms can offer insight into core values and principles associated with leading people. Leadership training prepares leaders to recognize a variety of leadership styles prevalent in many organizations, the significance of communication, team building, and establishing a vision.
The following 6 key terms are important to building foundational skills in leadership:
1. Leadership style
Leadership style is the process of exploring the methods leaders use to approach guiding human capital in the workplace or on organized projects. It can encompass persuasive presentation skills that inspires trust, integrity, character, positive role modeling and other behaviors useful when working towards a goal.
2. Vision planning
According to leadership experts, a vision is an idealized picture or snapshot of the future, and vision planning is the ability to communicate core values and articulate a sense of direction by implementing a plan as it pertains to this vision. Organizational vision encompasses a strategic plan that generates motivational impact and leads employees to a specific outcome or shared desired goal.
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell
3. Team building
Team building is the method a leader chooses to empower a group of people using motivational strategies and guidance to accomplish a specific task. Effective team building must encompass an understanding of organizational culture and the dynamics of teamwork in order to exceed shared goals and objectives.
Communication is the ability to impart and exchange information through the process of listening, writing and speaking. Successful leaders understand that enhancing communication skills not only makes them more effective as leaders, but boosts the company’s success as well.
5. Performance evaluation
An important aspect of leadership training is determining whether the steps taken towards a goal are working. One of the many roles of a successful leader is to appraise or assess the effectiveness of both individual and collective workplace skills and strategies to achieve stated goals.
“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn
6. Decision making
The term decision making is the process of choosing from several ideas or choices. It’s the practice of targeted determinations that can offer creative problem solving solutions. This is a vital skill in developing potential leaders because it strengthens the use of critical thinking and resourcefulness to make choices on behalf of the company.
How to be a selfless leader in your business organization
Many leaders try to play it safe when leading their business. In other words, they don’t really lead. They are afraid of taking risks and possibly making some people unhappy. It’s important to note that when you own a business, you may make decisions that won’t make everyone happy. Ideally, your culture will be set up so that what you do is transparent and enables people to speak up and share their concerns.
At the same time, people in an organization want their leaders to lead and part of that involves the leader making a passionate commitment to the direction the business needs to go in. When there isn’t clear leadership in a business, then the business is like a ship that is moving in a circle. It’s going nowhere.
A leader must always make it clear that what they are doing is actually serving the best interests of the business as opposed to their own best interests. If people in the organization think that a leader is abusing their position, it can create a toxic situation in the business bringing it down as people leave or sabotage the business.
A leader must be selfless, focused on what will truly benefit the business and the people in it. They must be willing to share the spotlight, instead of taking all the credit and must recognize the value of trusting the talents of the people they work with.
Recently, I was talking with a client of mine. He was having some personnel issues, and I suggested he carefully evaluate the talents of each person involved. After doing that, he made some changes in roles, and the people involved were much happier because they were doing the work that capitalized on their talents.
Throughout this process he was transparent and he made it clear that the changes he was making were for the benefit of the company. Each person involved saw that because the leader was honest and focused on the success of the business. He wasn’t making changes to make it easier for him, but rather making changes that would really help the business succeed. That’s the kind of leadership that is needed when a business undergoes changes or needs to focus on a specific direction.
What does being a selfless leader mean to you? How do you focus on the welfare of your business and show that to the people involved in the business? Share with us below!
Things You Need to Know to Succeed as a Life Coach
Becoming a life coach is one of the biggest choices you will ever make. Your choice in this field will change how you treat your spouse, how you empathize with others, and how you manage your business.
When I decided to make life coaching my goal, I had many steps to take before I reached the finish line and I wasn’t quite sure how to motivate myself to get there. I know that I am not the only one who struggles with staying motivated. That’s why I’m sharing with you the secrets that helped me make my dreams a reality.
Dan Sullivan is the founder of The Strategic Coach, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Dan is often considered to be the number one entrepreneurship coach on the planet. If there is anyone who can motivate you to make your dreams a reality and go for gold – it’s him.
Here are the 2 life-changing ideas I learned about becoming a life coach:
1. Keep Selling Yourself
Don’t sell yourself short – but keep selling yourself on your future. Dan Sullivan suggests that the reason why we, as entrepreneurs, can’t focus on achieving our goals is that we haven’t actually sold ourselves on our project or endeavor. I believe this wholeheartedly. We may have listed our pros and cons, we have an ideal outcome, and we may even have a backup plan – but we haven’t truly committed to our goal.
In order to properly take advantage of an opportunity, we must be focused. There is no doubt that we live in a new age of multi-tasking. We watch videos while we respond to e-mails, we’re glued to our phones when we’re out on dates with our spouses – we even have the option to have two multi-tasking windows open on our smart devices so that we can do different things at the same time.
But studies show multitasking accomplishes less in the long-run. Multitasking reduces both our performance and efficiency. Dan suggests instead of trying to do everything at once, sell yourself on three tasks a day. The next day, sell yourself on three more. This will help you to have more focus and drive on what you are doing. You will accomplish more and feel better about fulfilling your goals.
2. The 3 Wins are Everything
Dan suggests that positive focus is everything when it comes to succeeding in business. That’s why he developed “The 3 Wins” mindset. After the day is done and you’re getting ready for bed, focus on three wins you had. By focusing on the three things you did right, you practice gratitude in your personal life. You set goals, reach them, and then celebrate them – no matter how small! This can help you have a more positive mindset going forward.
Dan Sullivan explains, “I would look at tomorrow… and I’d say, ‘Well these are gonna be my three biggest wins for tomorrow’. So, I would go to bed feeling good about the day, excited about the next day, and I would get up the next morning excited. So, then I would go out that day and try to have to three wins, but often times what happened is that I had wins that were bigger than the three I imagined the night before.”
The feeling of accomplishment is addictive. Not only does it feel great to get work done and accomplish our goals, but it encourages us to keep working hard in life. We work hard to grow our business, to maintain a healthy marriage, and to give our clients our best. By focusing on The 3 Wins, we view each day as a new opportunity to stay motivated and achieve something great.
Along with these life-changing ideas, here are some other great tips for anyone who is thinking of becoming a life coach.
1. Rapport is Essential
When you are becoming a life coach, you learn that your ability to have a rapport with your clients is just as important as the chemistry you felt with your spouse when you first started dating. Are you good at striking up a conversation? Do you have a knack for getting people to trust you or open up about their problems? If so, then you will be a natural at building your entrepreneurial business because your ability to connect with your clients is important.
2. Ask the Important Questions
As a life coach, it’s your job to ask the hard questions. This means that you must be intuitive about your client and really get to know and understand their thoughts and intentions. Only then can you help them reach their life goals.
3. Get Comfortable with Silence
Silence between two people can be the most uncomfortable, awkward, cringe-worthy experience, but as a life coach, it’s your job to let it happen anyway. When there is silence, your client will be eager to fill the void, which often leads them to show vulnerability and really work through their issues.
4. Don’t Take Things Personally
Your clients are not always going to gel with you. This may cause them to leave your services. Don’t take it personally. Alternatively, you may have a great rapport with your client, but that doesn’t always mean that they will take your advice. This can be frustrating for you, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to continue building trust between you and your client.
You can make becoming a life coach a reality. Stay motivated by selling yourself on new ideas and strategies every day. It’s also beneficial to remind yourself of your three wins and always strive to keep growing and getting better. By becoming a life coach, you show people that you care, have an excellent rapport, and aren’t afraid of the hard questions – or the silence!
Consistency Is the Hidden Power to Your Success
It’s often difficult to start a new habit or change an old behavior. There are enough books and courses online that will teach you about planning your day, planning your night, organizing your home, filtering through paperwork, and on and on it goes.
In the midst of a lot of busywork, though, there lies what I believe is a hidden secret to anyone’s success. Getting into detail about this secret, though, calls for a little reflection on your part. Look at the people you admire, whether alive or dead. Reading about their successes and failures teaches powerful lessons for life.
People will talk about “getting into a groove” and how it feels good. Writing, for me, comes a lot better when I am in a groove or in the flow. Words and phrases come quite easily because I’m sitting down to have a written conversation with you. By the way, it also helps to have a lot of experience as a writer in the back pocket too.
The Answer Lies Within The Question
“What’s the secret?” you keep asking. Look at what you are doing in your life today. In business, are you moving forward or stagnant? Connecting with new leads or looking to keep the wolves at bay by taking anything offered? Are you making time to actually do the work while also having some fun?
When you look at the values and practices of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, the one thing that is obvious is that they have developed a level of consistency in their actions. Did it happen overnight after having an awakening experience? Probably not. It was a lot of little things, done over a period of time, and it produced success.
Consistency in business, relationships, friendships, health, wellness, spirituality…you name it. Staying consistent with your actions will lead to results. Here’s a quick caveat: Make sure these consistent habits and behaviors are healthy and nurturing. It does matter in business that you develop a pattern of consistency which reflects a deep level of appreciation for people in your business or on your team.
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne The Rock Johnson
Time and time again, studies have shown how actually being consistent in showing employees appreciation and gratitude can raise the level of work much higher. If you consistently show up as a little tyrant and liar, then you’re going to get burned. If you consistently show up as someone who reflects humility, gratitude and thankfulness for what is going on in your business and life, then you’ll get more of it.
Like attracts like. It’s just that simple. Consistency is one of the most powerful practices and forces that you can add into your business and life.
Here are three specific suggestions that can help you develop a strong core of consistency today:
1. Start out small
Let’s use a restaurant analogy real quick. You walk into a place and you’re hungry. You look at the menu and see a full-course meal that has everything you love in it. Therefore, you order it. The platter comes and you go, “Oh man, that’s a lot of food.” Eat the whole platter in one sitting and you might have a bellyache later on.
If you looked at the platter, took a little bit and ate that, then you’d have some leftovers. You start out small on the meal, not stuff your face with all the food at once. Same concept with consistency. Start out small on what you want to achieve. Just make a little beginning and follow that path.
2. Take your time
What’s the hurry here? Consistency doesn’t pick up right away if you do a total deep dive into it. You have to take your time and go at your own pace. Look, peeking at what Mr. X or Mrs. L is doing will not help you one bit. Patience and persistence are two little powerful motors to help consistency become a part of your life. Even then, though, you have to take your time. Your time, not someone else’s.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins
3. Appreciate the journey
While you are on the road to consistency, there are going to be bumps along the way. Just know that going forward. There are two ways to look at this: get frustrated and angry and simply say “nope, this consistency thing isn’t worth it”; or, just continue on the path and appreciate all the stops along the way. Developing a practice of appreciation and gratitude can also play roles in you trusting that level of consistency to appear in your life.
Consistency does equal success. How you define success might be as simple as getting up in the morning and feeling grateful you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. It might be closing the biggest business deal in your life. It might be looking at your children and knowing they are healthy, well, and happy. It also might be that you survived going through hell in life and made it through just fine.
All it takes is a few consistent actions to change the way you show up in this world. We all need people and examples that remind us about the little secret of consistency. Take your mind off of your phone and out of your laptop sometimes. Look around. You can find these types of success stories all around. They reflect their own results of the power of consistency. Tap into this power today and change your world, along with others too.
4 Ways You Can Develop Indispensable People as a Business Owner
In a world where more artificial intelligence, robots and automation are taking over, good employees are beginning to feel less and less indispensable. However, they don’t need to be because robots and AI cannot replace human common sense and authentic, heartfelt engagement. That being said, more and more employers are looking for good employees who want to become great leaders within the organization and are willing to make the investment.
Here are 4 ways organizations can develop indispensable employees:
1. Invest in training & personal development
Personal development is definitely the responsibility of an employee and their own willingness to improve themselves overall. But when you combine that with an employer who is looking to keep quality talent and who sees the tremendous value in assisting their employees growth, the results are incredible.
Statistics show as one of the top three non-financial motivators, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth. They also show that corporate training has grown to over $70 billion in the United States alone. Companies that do make the investment in their employee’s learning and development tend to lead the way and sustain longevity.
They also become the most sought after places to work for. When you help grow your employees, your employees will help grow your business.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson
2. Empower them with decision-making abilities
You will find that many companies try to create a “think like an owner” mentality throughout their organizations. While this is a great strategy to implement, it cannot be fully accomplished when an employee does not have the appropriate decision making capabilities.
Companies that empower their employees to make the proper decisions (within reason and to a certain extent), become more effective and efficient as a whole. They are able to provide support to both their internal and external customers without having to wait for longer than needed timeframes to get responses.
Empowering employees through training and mentoring is one of the best practices a company can make. The more power an employee has to make certain decisions, the more sense of ownership is displayed and taken, making it a win-win for everyone.
3. Keep them informed and up to date
A wise man once said, “knowledge is power” so if you want your organization to be a powerful force in your industry, your employees need to be informed. Companies that have an effective system in place to keep employees informed and up to date usually have a higher rate of productivity and success.
Most communication within organizations is only shared within their respective departments where the information is pertinent. But imagine how much more would be able to get done if everyone was aware of what was going on company wide (again to a certain extent). That’s why interdepartmental communication is vital and in order for that to happen, employees need to be kept abreast.
For example, have you ever spoken to different people at a company and have gotten different information? That’ because they are not on the same page or haven’t been informed properly.
If an employee knew “generally speaking” about the happenings in other departments, they may be able to assist the customer base more effectively and avoid unnecessary transfers.
A good way to start this practice of being informed would be to share the company’s wins and losses, successes and failures, and any other significant changes the company may have made. When this happens, everyone is made aware and everyone is on the same page.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
4. Develop a true culture of open communication
Honest and open communication is important in the workplace because it affects the ability of everyone being able to work together (as a team). Many employees don’t engage more frequently when asked to because of fear of being ridiculed and even losing their jobs. Why is it that most employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves during normal team meetings but are more reserved in meetings where upper leaders are present?
Could it be that clear lines of open communication have not been established? Studies show that companies who operate in an open forum style atmosphere have higher levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organization and in return you have less turnovers.
Creating a culture of true and honest communication also develops confidence in the upper leadership team amongst employees. When the leaders of an organization displays proper and safe two-way communication, it also helps the employees feel like their making a difference and their opinions matter.
Implementing these tips will not only help you to develop indispensable employees but will also increase engagement and sustainability. It will also help you to develop an indispensable team to help take your organization to the next level.
How does your boss encourage you to become better? If you’re the boss, how do you encourage your employees to be more productive? Share your thoughts below!
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