June 30, 2011

How Powerful is Group Accountability?

Very powerful. Like Barry Bonds on steroids powerful...

Group accountability provides the added incentive to do what you say. It's easy to let yourself down, but it's much harder to let a group down. (Picture LeBron James here) Use positive tension to push you to be your best. Accountability is extra motivation to finish what you started.

Where else will you receive objective feedback? Tough love is not what you want to hear, it's what you need to hear. Sure, you may think your idea is great, but ask others what they think. Collaboration is also key to refining your ideas and revealing your "blind spot(s)." Listen to different perspectives and be open to critiques. Think, a group of peer mentors.

Results are what matters. Group accountability helps you accomplish your goals faster and more consistently. You are not short of ideas, but it's challenging to implement them. Sure, you need time to imagine, analyze and ponder, but don't let opportunity slip through the cracks by waiting too long. Those who procrastinate...(you can finish the sentence yourself). I'm just saying... 

So how do you find group accountability? Well, you can gather a bunch of friends together or you can join a Synergy Group (a form of a mastermind group). Group accountability is about commitment. Commitment is found with like-minded individuals. Don't wait! Your window of opportunity is closing...

Find out more information by attending Career Synergy or contacting Scott.

June 24, 2011

When Goals Shouldn't Be The Goal

Having goals are a good thing. So when are goals not the best thing?

As a coach, I'm focused on helping my clients set and achieve their goals, but part of what I love about coaching is the process. Development takes time and if you rush it, no long-term success can result out of it. 

Several years ago I groomed an intern to be my successor in a position I would be leaving. Over the 13 months we worked together, I took him everywhere I went and had him shadow me with everyone I talked to. In the end, someone else was chosen for the job. Sure, I was disappointed (even a little pissed) yet if the intern process was only about him getting the job, I would have looked at my time spent as a waste. Instead, I look back on the time very favorably because I wouldn't have done it any other way. We had great conversations, I took interest in him as a person and we got the opportunity to develop a lot of people along the way. If you focus only on the end goal, you miss the beauty of growth.

Goals keep us focused, but you can learn so much through the journey. It will be rocky at times and there will be points when you want to quit, but stick it out. Most of the time what our initial goal is and what actually happens are two completely different outcomes.

Imagine yourself on a road trip. Your goal is the destination, but don't forget to enjoy the ride. Our learning curve is at its highest during the process. Don't forget to pause, look around and enjoy the view.

June 20, 2011

Why Potential is Overrated

Why are we so enamored with potential? It's exciting to imagine the possibilities, yet rarely does potential live up to our expectations. With great potential usually comes great disappointment. The goal isn't to depress you, rather ask yourself, "What am I doing to fulfill my potential?"
Talk is cheap. Show me results.

Potential can mean you're talented in a particular area, but I'll take the hard worker over the more talented any day. Sports are a great example. The NBA champion wins because of their chemistry and execution, NOT because of their potential. 

Look at the tortoise and the hare. We're drawn towards the flashy rabbit (potential), but the perseverance and commitment of the turtle (results) wins the race. Potential isn't a bad thing, but with great potential comes great responsibility (to fulfill it!)

Apply this to your career. Develop your areas of competence. Don't settle or become complacent. Near the end of 2008, I "rested" because I had a great contract with a good company, then BOOM, the recession hit and I didn't have a back up plan. That incident is a painful reminder that no matter how great I believe my business can be, I always need to look for ways to grow. The moment I stop working hard is the moment I fall behind. 

Today is the time to start. Don't wait. How can you develop your potential? Challenge yourself to grow. If you're not Growing Forward, you're going backwards. There is no middle ground. Remember that. 

June 13, 2011

Yelp: The Food Superhero

Whenever I am searching for a new place to eat, I always turn to Yelp. I prefer Yelp over sites like CitySearch, Zagat's, etc. because it resonates with me. I'm not interested in what a food critic thinks because we have different values.

Yelp has a lot of applications that transfer over well to business (as well as the ability to rate businesses). 

Real customer feedback. How can you get better if you don't know what's wrong? Feedback can uncover blind spots. Your customers determine whether you thrive or shut down. Listen to what is being said, even if you don't agree. Serve your customers well and they will repay you with loyalty.

The ability to respond to negative feedback. It's great to receive compliments, but your response (or lack there of) to complaints can make or break you. I've left a negative comment on Yelp about a restaurant before and on a few occasions the owner has gotten back to me. I may have had a bad experience, but the owners willingness to make things better made me want to give them a second chance. In my experience it's not about perfection. Sometimes initial skeptics can become your biggest fans.

Brand awareness. It's not what you think, but what your customers think your brand is that's important. That means when sifting through customer comments, look for patterns. If you're focusing on a particular aspect of your business, see if it is reflected in the feedback. We can be deliberate about strategy, but we only know if it works based on customer sales. Make your biggest fans your marketing department. Even with technology, word of mouth referrals are king.

Customer feedback shouldn't be taken lightly. How you respond influences the customer experience. Yelp is a great example of the power of reviews. Listen to your customers. They are giving you the answers to your problems...

June 5, 2011

Freelancer 2.0

The economy has a funny way of testing your career agility. Once you create a plan for yourself, some uncontrollable circumstances nudge you to change, but ultimately it's your choice. Being flexible is responding to your environment, not succumbing to the pressure.

Recently, I've encountered some of those changes in my career and want to share my insight to give you a new perspective on moving forward.

The model has shifted. It's difficult to be a sole proprietor and be financially thriving. Most entrepreneurs start their own business with the intention to make more money on their own, rather than under someone else. The flexibility of being your own boss is great, but the inconsistent cash flow is rough. I believe the new model consists of juggling a stable position, while learning to scale your business in your spare time.

Scaling comes in different forms:


Instead of spending time explaining each of them, think how you can take yourself out of your business. That's right. What changes can you make so your business isn't dependent on you?

This isn't an overnight process, but more of a shift from thinking like a "technician" to a "franchisee." If you want to grow your business, you can't be involved in every move. It's not for everyone, but the tension of having limited time forces you to become more limber and innovative

Personally I'm enjoying facing this challenge right now. I hope to experience new lessons and growth that can help me succeed in the future. Personal and business growth only happen when you're willing to be uncomfortable and change what is comfortable for the greater good. Freelancer 2.0 is a new model that juggles a full-time job and a business efficiently and effectively.

Are you ready to be a Freelancer 2.0?