December 29, 2009


Now that you've opened your presents and overeaten, let's take a moment to re-cap this year. What stood out to you? What would you have done differently? What's in store for 2010? As you digest, try pondering these questions:

1) What left an Impression?
What did you remember? Usually the good and bad stand out, while everything in the middle is forgotten. What were your highlights? Setbacks? What was the most memorable thing that happened to you in 2009?

2) What did you Learn?

Even with the challenges of the past year, we can always look at it as an opportunity to grow. What can you capitalize on to make 2010 that much better? We get better when we make the choice to grow forward, no matter what the circumstances may be.

3) What's Next?
One thing I love about being an entrepreneur is that there is no finish line. Once you get complacent you're dead meat. Take some time to sit down and write out your personal vision for 2010. It's amazing what we can accomplish when we set our minds to it (and put in the hard work!)

2009 was a challenging year for my business, but I continued to work hard, try new things and re-innovate myself. I'm optimistic that 2010 will be better, but there's no guarantees. All I can do is promise to do my best and let God do the rest!

Only 3 days left to give the Gift of Coaching!
Until December 31st, we are offering 50% off of
Skype and Phone Coaching Sessions!

What better way to start the new year than with a personal coach to help you clarify your goals, boost self-confidence and work to your full potential!

Just e-mail Scott and he'll take care of the rest!

Imagine how much more successful you can be with the help of a coach!

Be on the lookout for a NEW SITE next week!

December 15, 2009

Slow Down

During the Christmas season, do you frantically shop for deals, attend numerous parties and create your own wish list in your mind? Amidst this fast pace, we run around like chickens with our heads cut off...for what?! For the next week and half try "slowing down" with these 3 suggestions:

1) Be Thankful. Sometimes our schedules get so busy, we forget about our family and friends in our lives. Christmas doesn't mean much without loved ones to spend it with. Remember to be thankful for all the people who make your life better.

2) Focus on Giving. I love picking out the perfect gift for someone else. It's a way to say, "Thank you. I appreciate you being a part of my life." It's nice to receive gifts, but there's a sense of accomplishment and joy when we can give to others freely without expecting something back in return.

3) Identify the Purpose. Why do you celebrate Christmas? If there's no reason behind the season, don't go through the motions for tradition's sake. Celebrating an event should have meaning; otherwise, there's no point. For me, Christmas is sharing God's love and remembering Jesus' birth long ago.

Make this Christmas different by being thankful, focused on giving to others and understanding why you celebrate it!

If you're still unsure of what to get someone, consider giving the Gift of Coaching! Until December 21st, we are offering 50% off of Skype/Phone Coaching Sessions. What better way to start the new year than with a personal coach to help you clarify your goals, boost self-confidence and work to your full potential! Just e-mail Scott and he'll take care of the rest!

Imagine how much more successful you can be with the help of a coach!

December 8, 2009

Keep Cope Alive

We can't control what happens to us, but we can choose how to respond to our circumstances. Bad things happen to everyone, but successful people cope more effectively. Here's some tips to improve your ability to cope:

1) Don't make emotional-based decisions. When we lose our temper or want instant gratification, we react instead of respond. I'm not saying be a "robot", but it's better to think before you act rather than say what you feel. We need to be more aware about how our decisions affect others.

2) The past doesn't determine the future. Many times we dwell on what we know or have experienced so far. This becomes a destructive cycle. To break the cycle, you must decide to do something new and expect different results.

3) Train your brain. Listen to this equation carefully: Your thoughts trigger your feelings which cause action (or inaction). That means everything starts inside your head. Don't self-sabotage yourself before you begin. Turn your negative thoughts into a positive "I" statement. You'll be amazed what an optimistic attitude can do for you!

Coaching is like having a personal trainer for your mind. What a trainer does for your body, a coach does for your mind. Discover how to make a change for the better by signing up today and experience coaching firsthand!

Imagine how much more successful you can be with the help of a coach!

December 1, 2009

You & Improved

During this recession, you don't have time to hang your head and feel sorry for yourself. How are companies like Amazon, Netflix and Verizon actually increasing their profits? Let's take those same strategies and apply them to your personal brand:
Stay Engaged. Engagement comes from having purpose and passion in life. Stay focused on what you need to do and who you need to connect with. Keep your eyes on the prize, don't let distractions deter you.

Re-Innovate. Improving means getting better. I always say you should be able to look back at yourself six months from now and laugh. Why? Because when you grow, you learn to do things more efficiently. It's up to you to reinvent yourself. People only pay attention when you give them a reason to.

Plan Ahead. Fact: The recession will eventually end. When it does, will you be in a position to capitalize? Most people are in survival mode and living defensively. Successful people are networking, learning and creatively marketing so when the economy turns around, they'll be ready to thrive.

The recession will test your character. When adversity strikes, do you lay down or fight? If a new ideas or perspective is what you need - hire a coach and start going forward with Growing Forward!

November 24, 2009

Grow Up!

Growth rarely happens on accident. It's intentional effort that produces results over time. Not glamorous, but grueling. You have to be willing to experience pain and visit the unknown to get to the next level. Here are 3 ways to approach personal growth:

1) Growth is uncomfortable. In order for most plants to reach their potential, they must be pruned. Similarly, we have to be willing to push ourselves even when we don't feel like it to get where we desire to go.

2) Development is a long-term investment. Instant gratification never produces long- lasting results. For example, individual coaching teaches good habits. Habits take 6 weeks to form, but 6 months to last. If you want permanent change, be willing to work with a coach for at least 6 months to reach your goals.

3) Be Driven. Successful people find ways to stay motivated. Outside sources help, but ultimately it's your responsibility. Do you want it bad? Are you willing to sacrifice? Ready to be great? If you answered "yes" to the following questions, it's your time NOW.

Are you ready to start Growing Forward?

Contact Growing Forward NOW at (310) 295-0046 or

November 17, 2009

What is Maximum Efficiency?

At Growing Forward Coaching, we offer Maximum Efficiency to our clients. Come learn the 3 ways how to Do Less and Gain More:

"Efficiency is doing better what is already being done." - Peter Drucker

Less Distractions, More Focus: Prioritizing is spending time on the most important things. We get distracted when we don't have a defined target. Coaching helps you create S.M.A.R.T. goals, then keeps you accountable for reaching them. That's laser-like focus.

Less Dwelling on Weaknesses, More Developing Strengths: It's human nature to think about what we can improve about ourselves. Stop comparing yourself to others and start developing your natural strengths! Coaching identifies and utilizes your strengths as the "tools" to accomplish your goals!

Less Self-Doubt, More Self-Confidence: Doubt, like fear are both illusions. Confidence is built when your goals set are achieved. Once you start the process, it becomes momentum that keeps rolling down the hill. Coaching builds your confidence over time by showing what you CAN do.

Are you completing tasks with Maximum Efficiency? If not, Contact Growing Forward NOW at (310) 295-0046 or visit

November 10, 2009

Does your Brand POP?

No matter what you do for a living, you are a brand. Sam Horn, author of POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything, asks the question, “Do you stand out?” Let’s look at 3 ways to accurately describe you and leave a positive impression on others:

P – Purpose: Ask yourself these questions, Who am I? What am I offering? Why should people listen to me? When people are clear about your purpose, they can decide to take action.

O – Original
: Write down some core words that distinguish you. What is unique about you? What makes you stand out? “You’ve got to be original. If you’re like everybody else, what do they need you for?” – Bernadette Peters

P – Pithy
: Be concise and precise. Don’t waste words. Sam Horn suggests using 7 or less. Use alliteration, inflection and rhyme to create a memorable sound bite. Your message has to flow musically.

Clarity and brevity is key to effective communication. Working on your slogan is a continual process. For example, “Start going forward with Growing Forward!” It’s a work in progress, but the fun is in the challenge and the journey. Does your Brand POP?!

November 4, 2009

Behind the Scenes

When we think about leadership, we don't naturally envision "behind the scenes." Yet, true leadership doesn't always attract the spotlight or notoriety. It's quietly going about the process and bringing people with you along the way...

1) Focus on Results: Don't seek the credit. If you take a leadership role for the recognition, you're doing it for the wrong reason. Focus on getting the job done; appreciation will usually follow.

2) Empower Others: Don't micromanage. If you recruit people to do a task, give them guidelines and support, then get out of their way. Leaders need followers more than the other way around.

3) Model Hard Work: Don't tell people what to do, do it with them. Showing is more powerful than telling. Actions speak louder than words.

Security comes from knowing you've done your best. Leadership is about getting things done through people. Are you willing to lead behind the scenes?

October 27, 2009

The Generosity Cycle

How do you repay generosity? You can't. Accept it with gratitude and humility, then give the same to others when the opportunity arises.

Recently, I've been on the receiving end of some very generous people. It's made a significant impact on my life. In the past, my ego would say, "You worked hard - you deserve this." Today, I realize I've done nothing to "earn" these acts of kindness and it makes me truly thankful for the people God has put in my life.

A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

~ Proverbs 11:25

As an entrepreneur, I'm learning we can only do so much, then it's up to God and His timing. Since I've made a shift in "trust;" the results have changed. I work hard, but don't put added pressure on myself to make things happen. For example, instead of trying to "sell myself" at networking functions, I wait for the opportunity to talk one-on-one and see what happens. Sure, it might take longer, but it's genuine and who I am.

Receiving generosity has opened my mind and heart. It has motivated me to give to others when I have the chance. Like the verse earlier says, "I can't wait to refresh others!"

October 20, 2009

Last week my wife and I played in her school's golf tournament. One of the worst sounds to hear while playing golf is someone yelling, "FORE!" It means "hit the deck!" During this recession there is a parallel to business - we always have to be ready for the unexpected: 

Focus: Don't dwell on past failures, set your eyes on future solutions. We choose what to fixate on.

ptimize: Winners leverage their strengths. Do what you're great at and delegate the rest.

esilient: Life is going to knock you down, successful people get back up and keep fighting.

ffort: Make sure you are doing everything you can to better your chances of success. Failure is giving up.

I relate this idea to having a sense of urgency. When we get complacent, we are targets for defeat. Stay ready, while being focused on the right things and you'll be there to stand the test of time!

October 13, 2009

Fitness Driving Business

About 5 years ago, I woke up one day and my knee hurt. Instead of analyzing what the cause was, I decided I needed to get in better shape. I remember signing up at the gym and I've never looked back since. Recently, I noticed the parallel between fitness and business:

In fitness, the focus is on improved performance, better health and renewed confidence. It's very similar for business. Setting and accomplish goals turns into momentum which breeds confidence.

It's always hardest to go to the gym after a long layoff, but once you go successive days in a row it becomes part of your routine. Comparably, I've disciplined myself to do this weekly newsletter because it helps improve my writing and shares what I've been learning lately.

At the end of the day, YOU are responsible for motivating yourself. Don't look to someone or something to drive you. Winners don't make excuses. You have to be creative when it comes to staying inspired.

There's a lot to learn from physical fitness that can help us in the business world. Achieving goals, creating good habits and being self-motivated are just three. Start looking at your physical health as a catalyst for your career growth!

October 6, 2009

Control vs. Choice

We spend most of our lives trying to control every aspect of our lives, yet what do we really have control over? Maybe it's not about being in control, but knowing you have choices to make. Let's explore this further:

Time: We can't control what has happened to us in the past, but we can make choices today that impact tomorrow. The past is history and you can't change it, so don't dwell on it. Do something today that will create a better future for yourself.

Focus: Don't blame others for what's going wrong, concentrate on what you can change (about you). You can't control others, but you can better yourself. Directing our energy on others, takes time away from self-improvement.

We can't control what happens to us, but we can choose how to respond. Bad things happen to everyone, yet it's your reaction that reveals your true character. Today, choose to respond in a way that is consistent with your "brand."

It seems illogical to give up control, but we don't have much of it in the first place! Start making personal choices today that will help you to continually grow forward!

September 29, 2009

Strengthen your CORE

In order to condition your body to become more fit and powerful, you have to start with strengthening your core. It is the foundation of your overall strength and flexibility. Today, let's focus on optimizing our "professional core" by working on our A.B.S.:

A - Alignment: Are your values and beliefs in unison with what you are trying to accomplish? Passion and engagement flow at work when it is an extension of who you are.

B - Brand: What is unique about you? What makes you stand out?
Focus on what differentiates you from the crowd. Start developing those strengths on a daily basis.

S - Strategy: What is your game plan?
Once you've figured out what you believe in and what makes you different, draw up a plan to achieve your goals. Effort and perseverance are the difference between success and failure.

Strengthening your A.B.S. will make you a more valuable asset in the professional world. Take some time today to evaluate where you are and what direction you are headed in. A strong "core" is vital to optimal performance!

September 22, 2009

Accidentally on Purpose

Last night this Gen Y focused sitcom debuted on TV asking the question, "How should we handle our mistakes?"

1) Take Responsibility. In this day and age, we see public figures lie and avoid the truth by hiring lawyers and pleading the 5th. By denying something never happened, it usually means you are hiding the facts. We're all prone to making mistakes so the next time you make one, ADMIT it!

2) Apologize
. Is it that hard to say sorry? Push your pride aside and be humble. Whether you intended to hurt someone or not, ask for forgiveness. Regardless of their response, at least you did the right thing.

3) Learn & Move On.
Time heals. If you've done steps 1 and 2, learn from your mistakes and get on with your life. Don't bury yourself. Shame and guilt are self-inflicted feelings. Only you can release yourself from them. Don't dwell on your shortcomings because you can't change the past. If you don't make the same mistake twice, you've learned and become a better person!

It's not a matter of IF, but WHEN we make our next mistake. It's how you handle your mistakes that shows your true character. Take responsibility, apologize, learn and move on! Sometimes a huge mistake can turn into a tremendous learning opportunity! Learn from it and continue to grow forward!

September 15, 2009

Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore was full of raw talent, but he needed help from several coaches throughout the movie in order to succeed.

Virginia helped him be more professional. Happy used foul language and inappropriate behavior on the golf course. She helped control his temper and think about what type of impression he wanted to leave on his audience.

Chubs provided training and skill development. Happy had a lot of power, but no touch. One part of his game was strong, but Chubs helped him with the other parts of his game that were lacking.

Grandma provided the motivation. Grandma's house was evicted and the only way to get it back was to play golf. Whenever he got down on himself, he remembered his goal of playing: to save grandma's house.

Happy Gilmore is a great illustration of the coaches we need in life. They give us perspective, knowledge and guidance. If you want to develop and grow forward, turn to a coach!

September 8, 2009

Broken Windows

Chief of Police William Bratton has produced extraordinary results in New York and Los Angeles. One of his successful strategies is the "Broken Windows" program. Here is a summary of the theory:

"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows.
Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."

The theory thus makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior will be deterred, and that major crime will, as a result, be prevented.

What if we applied this theory to being professional?
This is what it would look like:

1) Pay Attention to the Little Details.

* Proofread your e-mails before sending

* Be punctual to meetings

* Dress to impress

2) Little Changes Produce Big Results.

* Communication is clear and concise

* People feel respected

* Great first impressions are made

Minor fixes cultivate major advances. People observe what we do more than they listen to what we say. Start today by paying special attention to the small things that make a big impression! Being professional means taking pride in the small things that make a big difference!

September 1, 2009

Don't Take it Personal!

Hearing criticism is challenging to deal with. Regardless where it comes from, our natural reaction is to get defensive. On the other hand, without feedback, you cannot measure your performance. How would you benefit if you changed your perspective on feedback?

Listen Objectively. Feedback is tough to take because we filter it subjectively. We take it as someone judging us and we miss the message. Some feedback can be painful, but if you can hear the objective message, you can go forward from there.

Learn From It. "Whatever doesn't hurt me, makes me stronger." This statement is both true and false. Feedback can hurt, but there is much to prosper from. Get past your ego, improve and move on. If you don't repeat the same mistake again, you've probably learned from it.

Sense of Urgency. Past successes easily produce complacency. We react negatively to feedback because we think too highly of ourselves. I'm not saying to have low self-esteem, but don't think you're above reproach. Everyone can get better, including you! Don't bask in your past glories. Act with a sense of urgency by focusing on the critical issues and be driven to win now!

Feedback gets easier to take, when you welcome it. Think about it. You learn more from your past failures than successes. What worked before, won't necessarily work now. Make this attitude adjustment and personal growth is just around the corner!

August 25, 2009

Flashy Lights

Last week I was in Vegas with my wife celebrating our anniversary. Once we got settled, I suggested we walk the entire strip. 4 hours and 7 miles later, I realized the hotels are so massive that even though they look close, they are actually quite far apart. A thought ran through my head...

"That's just like BIG GOALS!"

We should all DREAM BIG. Don't sell yourself short by setting goals that can be easily obtained. Where's the FUN in that?

Along the way, there were times I wanted to quit, but my will wouldn't let me. I kept my eyes on the prize. Sure, it took longer than I thought, but we PERSEVERED and eventually reached our destination.

I remember looking at our map at different hotels to get a sense of how much PROGRESS we were making. This helped us realize we were moving forward towards our goal.

After we got back to our hotel, we were tired. Was it smart to walk? No. Was the journey worth it? Yes. How else would we have known how long it was?

This journey is similar to our lives:
1) We all have BIG DREAMS

2) It takes TIME and PERSEVERANCE to accomplish them

3) It helps to chart our PROGRESS along the way

4) The FUN is in the journey

Just so you know we drove to every location after that, because we LEARNED from our mistakes!

August 19, 2009

REAL Leadership

We read about great leaders, but rarely do we get the chance to work alongside of them. Recently, I've had the pleasure of being able to experience two leaders up close whom I admire and respect.

Today I'd like to spotlight: John Dunn & Teresa Roberson.

John Dunn is the owner of Coast Produce.

Teresa Roberson is the Head of School at Calvary Christian School.

Here are just 3 traits that make them "great" at what they do:

Character: John and Teresa let their core values shine through them. They are more interested in developing their character, before their leadership abilities. They live what they say. When they speak, people believe them.

Relational: I watch the way John and Teresa treat and interact with others. They put people before tasks. They care about their workers and value each person's well-being before their performance. They treat everyone with respect.

Humble: John and Teresa see the bigger picture. They do not think of themselves bigger than the organizations that they lead. They have their ego's in check. They are grateful for the positions they are in and serve others accordingly.

Witnessing great leaders in person is rare. I am blessed to have worked under these two. Don't try to emulate other leaders, instead learn from their example. Great examples of leadership inspire us to get better. Leadership is a process and we can gain much from observing those who are more experienced than we are. Who are you watching?

August 11, 2009

Culture Clash

Is it possible to produce change in a strong company culture?
The answer is "Yes", but you have to be strategic and patient about your approach. Remember most organizations are still "vertical", so here is a plan of attack that proactively influences from the bottom to the top:

1) Research & Learn
Start by identifying the root of the problem you are trying to solve. You can't attack the problem until you know exactly what it is. Research case studies on your topic (every problem has existed before). Observe the company culture through the behaviors of veteran workers. Once you have brainstormed some possible solutions proceed to step two.

2) Ask for Feedback
Next, approach co-workers and share your ideas. See what their responses are. Use their praise and criticism to sharpen your formula. Think of this as a refining stage. Different perspectives provide new angles to construct a solution. When your concept is improved and ready to execute, move to the buy-in stage.

3) Build Alliances
Now that you've solidified a strategy, you've got to recruit people to share your perspective. For example, if you are going to a meeting and know the participants beforehand, meet with each person individually prior to gauge their interest level. This way you can predict how people will respond during the meeting and adjust your proposition accordingly. Once you have built a strong backing, it's time for the final frontier.

4) Pitch Solutions
I always tell my clients, anyone can walk into their boss' office and complain, but what leaders want to hear is solutions. Most likely they're aware the problem exists, they just prefer to ignore it. They have enough on their plate, they want to hear what YOU will do about it. If you approach leadership with solutions and are willing to take initiative to implement your plans, leaders listen.

Change is hard. We are creatures of habit. Traditional culture is tough to break. Know this before you go into battle. Prepare your mind. Even with all your rehearsal, you cannot control the outcome. If you want to move up the corporate ladder, be warned there is much work ahead. Do your homework, learn from your community and solve people's problems! That is being a catalyst for change.

August 5, 2009

Grow Forward, not Backwards

Do you believe the media reports that the economy is improving? Regardless what you think, let's talk about what YOU can do about it. Picture yourself as a sprinter at the starting blocks...

What is your personal vision? How innovative is it?
You can't be successful if you have no destination in mind. Start brainstorming a 1-year vision for yourself NOW and be specific! Think ambitious. Go for what you want. Remember, "without a vision, people perish."

In order to reach your vision you must set goals.
Not just any goals, but measurable ones. That means your goals must be quantifiable and attached to a timeframe. Think of your vision as the second floor of a house. In order to make it to the next level, you have to climb the steps. Those steps are the goals you set. Goals help break your vision into achievable steps (it also helps you chart progress made).

Most plans fail at the implementation stage
, not the vision stage. That means you can have lofty dreams, but if you don't put in the hard work - you go nowhere. At this stage, accountability is a must. We accomplish greater feats when more people are involved. Stop complaining and start doing!

Ready, Set, Go is about being proactive. We cannot control the economy, but we can do something about it. Winners have a tenacious will to succeed and a plan to achieve. Your biggest obstacle to success is YOU. Stop observing on the sidelines and start playing the game!

July 28, 2009

I Hate Public Speaking

Until recently, I used to believe “speaking is just not my thing.” Being an effective communicator is arguably the most important quality a worker can possess. Anyone can improve his or her oral presentation skills. You just have to work at it.

In Tim Koegel’s book, The Exception Presenter, he states, "Delivering an exceptional presentation does not guarantee a win every time. But you should never lose because your presentation was less than exceptional."

Today, I’d like to share the insights I’ve learned with you.


Organizing your presentation

1) Tell them what you’re going to tell them
2) Tell them
3) Tell them what you just told them

Arrive 1 hour early

1) 40 minutes to prepare yourself (PowerPoint, notes, last minute details, etc.)
2) 20 minutes to mingle with the audience (learn as many names as you can)
3) Drink tea or warm water before you speak to loosen up your throat

Here’s a 60 second introduction to get you started

1) If you remember just one thing as you leave here today, remember this…
2) State your objective
3) Tell them your position
4) What the end result will be
5) Transition with the next step

The Presentation

1) Focus on the message and audience, not yourself
2) Imagine the audience with a remote control (15 - 30 second attention span)
3) Engage the audience by trying to make eye-contact with everyone
4) Smile and move around
5) Speak, pause, breathe and speak again

Anyone can become an Exceptional Presenter. It’s about having the right focus, preparation and execution. Take advantage of these tips and remember, every time you speak, it’s a free commercial about you!

July 21, 2009

Is Entitlement a Bad Thing?

In his book "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell defines entitlement as asserting yourself with people in authority. His statement forces us to take a deeper look into the stereotype of Gen Y Workers feeling entitled at work. Let's look at the positive side of entitlement:

Being entitled means you have self-respect.
If you don't respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you? When you have self-respect, others can sense it. Being treated with respect starts with how you treat yourself.

Being entitled means you view yourself as special.
Gen Y is motivated to make a difference in the world. The United States is also the most individualistic-driven country. Each person has unique talents that are waiting to be maximized. The key to increasing productivity is finding where each worker "fits" within the organization. Think: the right strength in the right place at the right time.

Being entitled means you are worthy of attention/interest from others.
Part of succeeding in the corporate world is being "noticed" for the right reasons. If you don't do something "extraordinary" to stand out from the crowd, don't expect to ever be promoted. As an employee, give management a reason to look. It you believe you are deserving of your supervisor's favor, back it up with results and you will position yourself to be an irreplaceable asset to the company.

Entitlement at work can be a good thing.
Gen Y Workers: Expect great things and perform accordingly!

Managers: Challenge your workers to higher levels of performance!

July 13, 2009

Turning Japanese

Last week I returned from a trip to Japan with my family. Little did I know that I would be inspired by the Japanese culture. Observing their values made me think hard about my own business and professionalism. Here are some questions that I asked myself and the insights I took away from the trip:

Japan's transportation system is extremely efficient.
Their subway and train setup is unmatched. Amidst the crowded, hurried travelers there is a calming sense of order maintained. All the transportation is punctual, therefore dependable. Instead of worrying about "traffic," you can literally calculate your journey to the minute. People on escalators stand to the left, so those in a rush can walk fast on the right side. There is an effective way to get from Point A to Point B quickly.

Key Question: How efficient are you?

Every time I walked in or out of a store I was greeted.
It actually got annoying after a while because all of the employees would do it relentlessly. Whether eating at a restaurant or window shopping at a store, workers would wait on my every move (regardless if I would purchase anything). They treat each person with respect and I was humbled by their superior level of customer service.

Key Question: How would you rate your "customer service"?

One thing that stood out to me was Japan's cleanliness. Their restrooms are cleaner than most restaurants in the US. Their subways are immaculate. Even though there aren't many trash cans visible, people do not litter. There are workers that sweep the sidewalks, parks and bathrooms persistently. They tend to the little details and present their product with pristine care.

Key Question: What "brand" are you communicating?

No matter where you are in your career, there are great lessons to learn by observing "cultural" success. In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, he defined success as "a function of persistence, doggedness and the willingness to work hard." Yes, we need opportunities handed down to us, but the part we can control is how much effort we put forth to accomplish the goal. The more effort you put into bettering yourself, the greater the reward will be in the end.

July 8, 2009

10 Quick Ways to Motivate

by David Javitch - Employee Management
  1. Praise the employee for a job well done--or even partially well done.
  2. If an employee is bored, involve that individual in a discussion about ways to create a more satisfying career path, including promotions based on concrete outcomes.
  3. State your clear expectations for task accomplishment.
  4. Ensure that the job description involves a variety of tasks.
  5. Ensure that the employee sees that what she’s doing impacts the whole process or task that others will also be part of.
  6. Make sure that the employee feels that what he/she is doing is meaningful.
  7. Provide feedback along the way, pointing out both positive and negative aspects.
  8. Allow for an appropriate amount of autonomy for the employee based on previous and anticipated accomplishment.
  9. Increase the depth and breadth of what the employee is currently doing.
  10. Provide the employee with adequate opportunity to succeed.

July 7, 2009

Movin' On Up!

Skills of an Effective Leader
Climbing the corporate ladder takes time, but what gets overlooked are the skill sets that need to change with advancement. You cannot take current skills to a new position and expect to be successful. Here is what it takes to succeed at the next level:

Technical Skills
Frontline Management

Frontline Managers have excellent technical skills. They model how to complete tasks. Others look to them as "experts" in their field. Their main responsibility is to do their job at the highest level. They teach workers how to execute assignments efficiently.

Leadership Skills

Middle Management

Middle Management gets results through others. Instead of being the "expert", their responsibility is to lead teams and individuals. The focus switches to managing, empowering and coaching employees. Middle Managers delegate tasks to others based on their strengths. They observe employee performance, then give constructive feedback. Middle Managers lead workers by modeling integrity and taking initiative.

Strategic Skills
Senior Management

Senior Management are the visionaries of the company. They track past data, analyze current trends and optimize future plans. Senior Managers collaborate with, but assign leading employees to Middle Management. Scheduling meetings become an effective way to gather information and evaluate the direction of the business. Senior managers focus on growing the business.

Tenure and experience is not enough to take you to the next level. Learning the necessary skill sets help you become more effective in your role. Transitioning up means delegating old tasks and acquiring new skills for the betterment of the company. When being promoted, be ready to step up to a new challenge. New positions demand that we continually grow forward!

June 30, 2009

How to Spot a Young Professional

What to look for...
There are countless stereotypes about the Gen Y/Millennial Worker, but let's focus on three qualities that you should look for to recruit and retain the best Young Professionals for your company!

1) Appearance.
Don't dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.

A rule of thumb is determine what the dress code is, then present yourself a step above. Your appearance is the first impression you give people get when they see you. The next time you meet someone for the first time, observe their eyes as they scan what you are wearing. Their initial read forms a perception of you. It's not a fair assessment, but reality. If you want to leave a good impression, dress to impress!

2) Communication.

Effective communication is becoming a lost art.

This includes interpersonal skills, writing e-mails, face-to-face communication, phone conversations, body language and oral presentation. How you interact with people tells a lot about you. If you are an effective communicator, people remember you. Think about the last great speaker you heard. He/she clarifies concepts and delivers information in a way that the audience understands. Effective communication carries over to the interview process. Anyone can exaggerate on a job application or resume. The real test is how you handle yourself in an interview (especially past behavior-based questions). The only way to improve your communication skills is to practice.

3) Performance.
Performing is about getting results.

High achievers separate themselves from the rest because of their productivity. Performance is an objective measurement. Performance also includes the ability to adapt to change and learning from your mistakes. Plan A rarely goes as planned, so learn to be resilient and flexible when it comes to implementing Plan B. After all the subjective criteria is examined, we look at the numbers...they don't lie.

Excellence is about standing above the crowd. The cream rises to the top and separates itself from the rest. If you don't give people a reason to look, they won't. Be a valuable contributor to society. If you commit to work hard, results will eventually follow. Dress for success, communicate effectively and perform at a high level. If you do those things well, people will notice. In this economy you have to differentiate yourself in order to thrive. Stand up, stand out and choose a better future for yourself NOW!

June 23, 2009


Last week the NBA Finals concluded and a new champion was crowned. In sports, each team has a MVP. This player gets the most out of his teammates and leads by example. In the business world, we all have the ability to be MVP's. Here are three ways to help you become your team's MVP:

1) Motivation.
Nowadays we look to "outside forces" to keep us motivated, yet to be a MVP you need to be self-motivated. You can't depend on others to keep you driven; that's your responsibility. You have a choice: to be a catalyst or an antagonist. Being motivated means developing a sense of urgency. It says, "there's no time to waste, we must start now!" MVP's don't wait to get motivated, they inspire others to move with their passion. MVP's have an internal fire within them burning with excitement.

2) Vision.

What are you motivated towards? Every MVP has a goal they are chasing. Having a vision means you have chosen a direction. MVP's are focused because they know where they are headed. They set their sights on the prize and become relentless in their pursuit. Every great vision has tremendous obstacles along the way, yet overcoming those barriers builds character and resilience. Every great leader starts his/her day with their vision in mind. Vision provides us the motivation to keep fighting.

3) Progress.
Being motivated and having a vision is essential, but results are achieved through making progress. It's helpful to start at the end and work you way backwards. Start with your vision in mind, then create markers to measure your forward progress. Breaking your larger goal into smaller steps creates attainable momentum. Along the way, make sure you enroll others to join you on your journey. Nothing great has ever been accomplished alone. MVP's need other strong contributors to fill in their "gaps."

Being a MVP starts today. Get motivated and act with urgency. Picture your vision being accomplished. Achieve your desired results through daily progress. Focus on being the best of who you are. A MVP creates their own momentum, then is smart enough to surround him/herself with others to cheer them on along the way. Start applying these principles to your life and listen to the chants: MVP! MVP! MVP!

June 16, 2009

When 2nd's BEST!

When is being second better than coming in first? Try business - it's hard to be first and successful. Pioneers have no one to learn from and everything is based on trial and error. Nike, Apple and Starbucks were not the first in their industries, but they capitalized on their predecessors' mistakes to win big. Look at these three steps that prove sometimes second really is best!

1) Study your Competition. Don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to. Look at an established industry leader and follow what they are doing. Most likely they are catering to the same target market as you are. Notice their trends in marketing, customer service and profits. In today's market, we put value on transparency. Take advantage of this by visiting your competitor's website, blog and location (if they have one). Know what you are up against and plan accordingly.

2) Learn from their Mistakes.
All the information you gathered from above is only valuable if you apply it. See what's working for them and try it. Simultaneously, assess what isn't working and create a solution for it. Most success stories are not original ideas, but improvements on existing products/services. Use the data that you've collected from your competitor to differentiate what you offer. Learning does not happen in a vacuum, so get out there and attempt various ways to solve a need!

3) Do it Better. Many people have great vision, but poor implementation. We can analyze a situation thoroughly, but action is what creates results! This is where feedback and test marketing works well. Share your ideas with others and see what they think. Don't hide your invention, offer it in return for personal opinions. Collaboration ignites innovation. Nothing great is accomplished alone. You are only as great as the team that surrounds you. There's nothing fool-proof, but the more open you are towards taking constructive feedback, the greater chance to avoid complacency and succeed. When you do something at a level of excellence you get recognized. Who cares what "place" you started in?

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be the best, but be smart and learn from those who came before you. The best have a great appreciation and knowledge about their industry leaders. They study what their competitors do, then make improvements. The next time you make a significant leap, look back at those who came first and realize sometimes second really is best!

June 9, 2009

What are you scared of?

Fear is...Perception, not reality. We live in a fear-driven society that scares us into purchasing products we can't use and services we don't need. The media constantly highlights negative stories that prevent us from feeling safe. What if we took an above reproach towards fear? How would that change our outlook and behaviors? Here are three proactive ways to be victorious over fear:

1) Look at it Objectively. If the perception of fear is bigger than reality, then there is minimal danger. Our minds exaggerate negative thoughts to where they can almost be paralyzing. If we look at our fears objectively, we realize it's completely mental. We are the most susceptible when we analyze our fears alone. Ask a trusted friend to shed a new perspective on your fears. Don't let something "fake," trick you into being real when it's not.

2) Take Ownership.
Now that you've identified your fear, what can you do about it? What steps can be taken to overcome it? Fear is something you have to prioritize and work on. Don't let your fear be an excuse for moving forward. Once you strategize a game plan, implement it! Objectively identify it, own it, then get past it!

3) Have Faith. Believe you can get past your fear. It starts in your mind. Once you transform your thoughts concerning fear, your feelings and actions will follow. What would your life look like if you eliminated your fear(s)? How much more successful would you be? I'm not saying you won't face new fears, but when you do, apply these same principles. Our imaginations are powerful enough to believe things are true when they actually aren't. Remember if you believe, you can achieve!

Fear won't disappear on it's own. You have to work on it to make it go away. For example, if public speaking is a fear of yours, the only way to overcome it is by speaking in front of people! Fear can be a huge roadblock if you let it be. Fear can become failure when you don't try. Practice getting over your fears. Start removing the obstacles in your way and experience more success and fulfillment today!

June 2, 2009

Be a Lifelong Learner

I've never let my fear of academic settings be an excuse to halt my progress as a learner. Try thinking of yourself as a business. What would be the result of ceasing to grow as a company? Bankruptcy or extinction. Learning works the same way. The reality is if you're not growing forward, you're going backwards! Try these 3 steps towards becoming a lifelong learner:

1) Read.
Readers are leaders. Books are packed with rich information. Industry magazines stay up to date on the latest news. Internet articles and blogs are full of insight and trends. Whenever I have "down time" I try to read so I can learn more and get inspired with new ideas. No one is too "busy" to read. You just have to put a priority on it and stay disciplined. Take advantage of this age of information and fill your brain with new knowledge!

2) Research.
Let's focus on online research. The power of the internet is at your fingertips. With all the search engines available, it makes looking for statistics, expert interviews and data on your industry competitors simple. Leaders of every industry do research to stay ahead of the trends. All you need to do is turn on your computer, punch in your desired keywords and read!

3) Reach Out.
There's only so much you can learn on your own. To be the best, stay connected to others. Learning does not happen in a vacuum. Set time aside for networking and meeting with people. As a sole proprietor, I reach out to multiple contacts per week. Don't focus on trying to "sell" yourself, instead offer your help and collaborate with others. Eventually opportunities will arise. You can learn so much from others who have a different perspective and experience than you do. With an open mind, you can always learn from others.

Being a lifelong learner is journey. There is no "finish line." Self-motivation, discipline and focus are necessary to succeed. If you have a hard time staying consistent, hire a coach to create a strategy and keep you accountable. At times you won't feel driven to learn because it's hard. Just remember the most successful people don't depend on "feeling" motivated to learn, they just do it. Start your journey of being a lifelong learner today!

May 26, 2009

SUCCESS-ion Planning

Organizations always talk about succession planning, yet few implement effective mentoring programs. The heart of leadership development is desiring your successor to be more successful than yourself. True succession planning is taking your ego out of the agenda. Here's three steps for effective succession planning.

1) Invest. Choose someone. There is no "perfect" candidate. Most people think leadership development is finding someone who is just like you. Leadership is about results, not style. The first step is about pouring your heart and mind into someone else's life. Teach them what you've learned. Share your experiences with them. Prevent them from making the same mistakes you did.

2) Develop their Style.
It's not about you. Identify what your potential successor's strengths are and give them opportunities to maximize them. Part of knowing your strengths is realizing what your weaknesses are too. Learn to delegate tasks that others do better. Help your successor stay focused on the big picture (mission, vision, etc.) How they decide to reach those goals is their business. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want someone telling you how to do your job?

3) Let them Go. After proper training, it's time for you to move on. The current leader needs to step out of the way in order for the future leader to step into their new role. This can be the most difficult phase because it's realizing that the current era is over and a new era is beginning. Reject the idea to micromanage. Part of learning is trial and error. The best thing you can do as a leader is just be supportive. Your season is up. Their season is starting. Measure how successful of a leader you are based on who you develop.

Leadership development is a long and challenging process. It takes humility to know when your time is up. Focus your attention on the legacy you want to leave. A litmus test is seeing how your successor functions when you're not around. A leader is never bigger than the process. Start today by investing, developing and releasing your future leaders!

May 19, 2009

Failing Forward

One mother asked Dr. Henry Cloud, "If you could teach my son one thing in life, what would it be?" After pondering that thought for a moment he replied, "To learn how to fail!" "Why would you teach him THAT?!" she exclaimed. "Because he will..." Failure is an inevitable part of life, impossible to avoid. Here are 3 steps to Fail Forward...

1) Try. Failure is not trying. One of the worst feelings in life you can experience is regret. Through media we hear success stories all the time, but what they don't mention is the failure they encountered along the way. I'd say the more successful a person is, the better he/she deals with failure. Successful people aren't scared of failing, they embrace it.

2) Learn. Failure is a better teacher than is success. Don't look at failure as an end in itself, see it as an opportunity to learn from. People learn by trail and error. In certain situations, you can prepare to the best of your ability, but there are always unforeseen circumstances that just happen. Remember, failure produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. Learn to become more adaptable to adversity. It can become your best friend during times of crisis.

3) Move on. In coaching, we tell our clients that the past has no power over the present or future. For some reason, most people like to dwell on the past, but that gets us nowhere. Next time you fail, grieve a little, then pick yourself up and move on! Your biggest obstacle to success is getting past your doubts. History has taken place in the past, so leave it where it belongs. Focus your thoughts on the future, then set goals in the present to make it happen!

The most successful people deal with failure the best. Instead of getting "stuck," they see failure as necessary to succeed. In life we experience "teachable moments" all the time. The problem is most of us forget to learn from them. Everything happens for a reason, therefore don't be afraid to fail. Try, learn and move forward!

May 12, 2009


by John P. Kotter
Success easily produces complacency. In business or in life, our biggest detractor to acting with urgency is reminiscing about past successes. Complacency whispers, "Nothing is wrong. Everything is great!" In John P. Kotter's book, A Sense of Urgency, he believes a true sense of urgency focuses on the critical issues and is driven to win now! Here are some practical ways to apply his principles:

1) Behave with Urgency Every Day. Learn to purge and delegate: eliminate activity that no longer adds high value. Next, move with speed: respond fast, move now. Thirdly, speak with passion: attitudes, feelings and actions are contagious. Try creating a strategy aimed at the hearts and minds of others. Past success tells us nothing about the future. Be "urgently patient": act each day with a sense of urgency, but have a realistic view of time.

2) Find Opportunities in Crisis. Crisis isn't always bad, it may actually be required to succeed under certain conditions. The next time you encounter a dilemma, try using the crisis to develop the urgency needed to create a better organization. Create a carefully considered strategy, then get buy-in from others. Create goals that will "stretch" others and seek to find more powerful partners. Overall, be proactive in assessing how people will react to change then do your best to turn disaster into triumph.

3) The Future Begins Today. Try something new. If an action doesn't help, abandon it. If it works well, consider doing it more. Ask, "Is the way we do things around here a barrier to success?" Acting urgently is the tactic that creates results quickly. Action is the true test. You need to activate alertness, movement and leadership NOW!

Acting with a sense of urgency decreases complacency in your organization. It takes discipline to see the external world clearly. Don't be a "victim" of "what's worked in the past, will work in the future." Start today by identifying new opportunities, avoiding hazards and finding ways to win!

May 11, 2009

Helping Young Professionals Be Professional ( by Renee Oricchio)

We're heading into that time of year when businesses may pick up a college intern for the summer or, better yet, hire a new graduate on staff.

If they've had any coaching, they assume you're going to check them out online making sure no unflattering spring break photos pop up on Google images.

It raises a lot of questions:

1. What off time, but online image, is too unprofessional for your organization?

2. Do you have a criteria for assessing what you find?

3. Is it so strict that you're going to have a hard time finding young talent?

The fact is that if you're ruling out every young professional with a MySpace of Facebook page, you're going to have a very thin pool of candidates.

Here's a modest proposal:

Instead of quietly blackballing a young candidate, coach them to clean up their online prescence. Assuming everything else about them is attractive to you, guide them in what you expect from them.

- Advise them to tighten the permissions on their social networking pages.

- Give them some guidelines of what pictures and other forms of self-expression are acceptable and what is not. Give them an amnesty period to clean up their profiles.

- Warn them that the company reserves the right to periodically check them out in the search engines.

- For the twenty-something just starting out in the professional world; the Internet to them has always been a playground. Introduce them to the Internet that is also the business world. Show them sites and blogs relevant to your business. Train them to use online business tools like and Highrise.

Remember: you were once twenty one, too, and someone took you under wing. Someone told you how to dress, the importance of showing up on time for work, keeping your cool and losing the quadruple pierced ear.

Now, its your turn to do the 2009 version of the same thing.

May 5, 2009

Your Most Important Resource

The 3 P's of Time Management
No matter what you do, your ability to manage your time determines how "successful" you will be. We are all given the same amount of time to work with in a day, so being efficient is essential. Through trial and error these are the strategies I've used to help me get the most out of my day...

1) Purpose. What is your goal? Start by filling in your weekly schedule based on what you want to accomplish. Eliminate activities that serve no purpose. Being busy is not the same as being productive. Spend your time with a goal in mind. That's focused efficiency.

2) Prioritize. Having a to-do list is good. Labeling your to-do list based on importance is better. Completing items on your list makes you feel accomplished, but it doesn't necessarily mean you've made progress. For example, make list, but give each item letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) based on priority. Work on the A's first, B's second and so on. This ensures the most important items get done first and the ones that can wait are saved for later.

3) Performance. Ever heard of the 80/20 principle? In order to manage your time effectively, spend 80% of your time doing the things that you are good at. Think about it. We all have 1 or 2 things that we would consider strengths. How much more efficient would we be if we spent 80% of our time doing those things? I'm not saying ignore the 20%, but do that when the 80% is complete.

Since we all have the same amount of hours in the day, we need to spend our time wisely. For everything you do, make sure you have a purpose, prioritize your time and perform at a high level. How you spend your time each day is a choice. Choose to manage your time wisely!

May 2, 2009

Company Life Coach

Forward Thinking...
Last issue I talked about people being your greatest asset. Recently, I found a company who is living this value out. is a Nevada based online shoe company. They have an on-site Company Life Coach, Dr. Vik, who is available to assist employees. Their basis for hiring a Life Coach is "How can an upset worker be productive?"

What can a Life Coach do for my Company?
Meet Life Coach, Dr. Vik

1) Blurred Boundaries. Today there is no separation between work and life. Problems outside of work are brought into work. A Company Life Coach will benefit you by sitting down with troubled or upset employees and help them overcome their problems. Did you know that managers spend 50% of their time dealing with staff interpersonal issues? How much more time would you save by hiring a Company Life Coach to deal with their problems?

2) How are you doing? A question we are asked on a daily basis, but who really cares? A Company Life Coach cares what you are thinking about and how you are feeling. Thoughts and feelings directly determine how you will perform. I am amazed at how many workers walk into a session with me feeling very frustrated, then leave feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the world! Your thoughts and feelings "trigger" your actions. Sometimes, we as workers just need someone to validate how we are feeling. Once we are understood, we're ready to perform at a high level.

3) Motivation. One of my favorite aspects of being a Life Coach is understanding different personalities. No two people are alike. Each person is unique. A Company Life Coach identifies what motivates each worker, then empowers them to take action. Ever watch an inspiring story on TV and feel motivated to make a difference? That's how you feel at the conclusion of each Life Coaching session. We choose to change.

If you are in the Customer Service Industry (who isn't), the Customer-Employee transaction is crucial to increasing profits. A Company Life Coach keeps your workers engaged so they can perform at their best!

During this recession, Growing Forward wants to be sensitive to your situation. If you do not have the funds to hire a full-time Company Life Coach, that's OK! We are willing to partner with you once a week or on a part-time basis depending on what serves your current needs.

April 28, 2009

3 Myths of Networking

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True or False?
My perception of networking used to be attending group functions to pass out and collect as many business cards as possible. I carried this assumption with me until just a month ago. Just recently, I learned the following lessons...

1) I Have to be Extroverted. False. Those who are extroverted probably do thrive at large group functions because they are energized by meeting new people and sharing stories. For those who are more introverted, think of ways to connect on a smaller scale. Try scheduling meetings one-on-one. Build the depth of your connections over time.

2) A Bigger Network is Better. False. You may have a large number of acquaintances, but very few "friends." True, a bigger pool of connections helps, BUT still doesn't guarantee anything. Think Quality over Quantity. I'd rather have 5 connections that I can depend on, than 100 whom I barely know.

3) The More Events I attend, the Faster Results will happen. False. Networking takes time. Success doesn't happen overnight. Just because you are "busy" with many groups, doesn't mean you are being "productive." Managing your time is an essential skill in today's world. Joining a group isn't a bad thing, just make sure it serves a long-term goal. Get focused and prioritize your time. Knowing what NOT to spend your time on is just as important as what to spend your time on.

No one formula works for everyone. You have to know your personality, strengths and weaknesses, then go with what strategy "fits" you best. Networking is about building, not just making connections. Don't "sell" to people, try to help them. Be genuine and have normal conversations. You'll be amazed at what opportunities will pop up when you're just being yourself...

April 27, 2009

Your Company's Greatest Asset

The Answer is YOU!
During the FEAR of this economy, companies are laying off employees left and right. The objective is to cut costs, but the problem is NOW your business has no chance to succeed. Let me explain...

People are Your Greatest Asset

1) Productivity. When you cut workers, you cut production. For each person you layoff, someone else has to carry an additional worker's job responsibilities. I understand that diminishing profits means cuts somewhere, but why not cut energy usage, hours of service or overhead costs? When the economy picks back up you will be in no position to thrive without enough help.

2) Customer Service. No matter what industry you are in, the employee-customer transaction is essential to success. How many times are there problems with a product or service that calls for personal assistance? Great Customer Service is given by Great Customer Servants. If you want to create customer loyalty, hold on to your high performing workers. Great customer service turns a normal customer into a raving fan!

3) Solutions. When sales are down, look to your employees for answers. Try forming groups comprised from different departments to brainstorm potential solutions. Innovation is bred through management who is willing to be transparent about their current situation and humble enough to share the troubling data with their workers. As a worker, if your job was at stake in this economy wouldn't you offer to help turn things around?

Remember, the only way businesses will survive this current economy is by empowering their workers to try harder, work harder and think harder. People are the only solution to turning this economy around. Make sure you value them as Your Greatest Asset!

Growing Forward creates customized programs for businesses with 5 - 500+ employees. We'll meet with you and set up a program that meets your current needs.