Tag Archives: personal development

Accuracy Is Everything

A guest blog with Jones Loflin, an internationally recognized speaker, author and trainer.

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Wyatt Earp is remembered as being one of the most prominent figures in the taming of the  American West. Born in 1848 in Illinois, Earp had a frontier spirit at a young age. He tried, unsuccessfully, to run away from home several times in his youth, but was always caught and returned to his family. In 1870 he married, only to lose his wife to typhus a short time later. This tragedy fueled his desire for adventure even more and he began traveling throughout the West. He was known for being deadly accurate with his guns.

His most famous gunfight came in October 1881 at the O.K. Corral. It was there that he, along with Doc Holliday and others, challenged the wild cowboy culture that pervaded the West. Earp was the only one in the fight to sustain no injury. Again, his accuracy was his true weapon of success.

Asked numerous times about his amazing ability to win gunfights, Earp was often quoted as saying, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. You must learn to be slow in a hurry.” Some suggest his actual word was “final” instead of “everything.” Earp mastered the art of moving quickly, but with clear focus and direction. No doubt it saved his life countless times.

“It’s easy, and often commendable to be busy (fast), but working on the right things (accuracy) is what is most important on hitting the target.”

While the days of the Wild West are gone (except for maybe Las Vegas), Earp’s quote profoundly resonates with me about the “execution” of my day. It’s easy, and often commendable to be busy (fast), but working on the right things (accuracy) is what is most important on hitting the target. When the smoke and dust of the day’s battle wanes, accomplishment of our highest priorities is what we should see, not just an accumulation of completed tasks.

Additionally, his quote about being slow in a hurry is intriguing. It emphasizes that in the midst of moving quickly, you MUST have a clear plan of action AND outcome in mind. In Getting to It, Todd Musig and I discuss this need to stop, if only for a second, so you can more clearly identify what your most important next step should be. Just continuing to pick up one task, complete it, and then mindlessly engage in another is not the way to maintain the accuracy between what you say is important, and what you are actually doing.

Lastly, Earp’s quote reinforces comments in my recent blog about the power of routines. It’s a learned routine, or habit, that allows us to be “slow in a hurry” by moving through a systematic process almost mindlessly because it’s become a part of our physical or mental reflexive response. If we have to evaluate, over-analyze, fret, or weigh out a choice of action, our opportunity is gone. And with it our hope of improved productivity.

One quick way to slow down and make a better choice of task to undertake is a quick question like:

  • What task, if completed, would give me the greatest sense of accomplishment tonight?
  • Which of my tasks could best be accomplished with the mental and physical energy I have right now?
  • What task would most benefit the productivity of someone else?
  • What’s my “It” right now? (i.e. Important Thing)

Unless you are in law enforcement or the military you will probably not be engaged in a gun battle today. However, your ability to accurately align your daily actions with your highest priorities will make the difference in whether your goals and dreams move closer to reality…or are wounded by your willingness to just be busy.

Where do you need to slow down to be more accurate in your work today?

To learn more about productivity, enroll in Jones Loflin’s course The Five Keys to Experiencing Extreme Personal Productivity.

Cultivating Winning Relationships – How to network successfully

A guest post with Morag Barrett, founder of Skye Team and author of Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships.

In an article, the Harvard Business Review found that social bonds were the major predictor of team success. The other two were “initiatives to strengthen relationships” and “leaders who invest the time to build strong relationships with their teams.”
If team success (and individual success) is dependent upon social bonds, on being connected, then it would follow that spending time getting to know the team members, and articulating the rules of engagement for the team would be a good investment of time, right?
You’ve heard the phrase “six degrees of separation” I have come to appreciate that in today’s world, it is more like “six degrees of connection”.

Here is a personal story to illustrate how closely we are connected. I was sitting at Anchorage airport having facilitated leadership programs at the North Slope, Alaska. It was my first trip to Alaska, and I knew no one in Anchorage. The royal wedding was being broadcast on the screens in the terminal, and the lady next to me started to chat. It was early, and I wanted to see the dress before boarding, so we talked. Eventually the conversation turned to current things. I shared that I lived in Colorado. She knew someone in Colorado… it turned out that her friend was someone I know well. We immediately went from strangers with nothing in common to acquaintances with someone in common.

Whether you find it easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger or someone who has a hard time meeting and talking to new people, networking and cultivating winning relationships is a necessary skill if you’re looking to get ahead.

With that in mind, here are six tips to help prepare you for your next networking opportunity.

Build Your Network
1. Start before you arrive. Review the agenda and speaker bios, check your social media connections to see who is attending and who you might like to meet. Then contact them via email, LinkedIn or twitter.
2. Practice your “hello”. You need to think about how to say “hello” and introduce who you are and a little context as to why you are at the event. 30-seconds or less, make it genuine and remember the intent is to open up a conversation not simply toot your own horn!
3. Get out of your comfort zone. Talk to “strangers” you may be surprised at just how connected you are. Remember relationships are not just for today… maybe this new contact could be your boss, colleague or new client next month, next year.

Maintain Your Network
4. Connect. I use LinkedIn to keep in touch with my contacts. Send a personal invitation (not the standard wording) to the people you would like to remain in contact with.
5. Stay in touch. There is a new tool on LinkedIn that allows you to set reminders to get in touch with people (open a profile, click on ‘relationships’ and then reminders). Look for opportunities to send a quick congratulations message, or an article and “thinking of you”. Ask for help and input from your network, you may just receive a suggestion you hadn’t considered!
6. Share your network. In Cultivate, The Power of Winning Relationships I talk about the concepts of Generosity and Abundance. The most successful people are the ones who share their network and expertise; they give more than they take. Make introductions, share your wisdom and build a reputation for being the go-to person.

Don’t simply attend events, participate, get involved, speak to those around you and cultivate a strong and powerful network that helps ensure your success, and theirs.

How do you cultivate and maintain your network?

You can learn more about cultivating relationships through our SoundviewPro course with Morag titled Business Relationships – Moving from “Me” to “We”.

Obstacles to Overcome in Business Succession Planning

A guest blog by Paul White, Ph.D., a psychologist, speaker, author and consultant.

As a psychologist who assists business leaders and their families in developing wealth transfer and business succession plans, it has become evident that the primary challenges are clearly nonfinancial in nature. Sure, there can be some financial hurdles to overcome, but due to the expertise of the wealth transfer professional community, the fiscal issues almost always can be addressed. What is left to be resolved are the myriad of relational, family dynamics and personal meaning issues.

Three challenges stand out that cause business owners to delay putting together even a minimal plan:

1. You are busy
Until you become disabled or die, you will almost certainly always be busy (and planning needs to occur before this happens.) As Stephen Covey brilliantly communicated in his quadrant of activities, planning falls into the “important but not urgent” quadrant. The process needs to occur. But, planning usually is not urgent, so it keeps being put off until some life event thrusts it into the realm of urgency.

2. It takes mental and emotional energy over a period of time
Facts need to be gathered. You need to sit down and become clear about your goals for the business, for your spouse, for your employees and for your family. This doesn’t happen in 10-minute snippets or even a three-hour session. So, for the planning to get done, it takes a commitment of time, energy and actions over time.

3. It involves other people
I’m not talking about your broker-dealer or insurance carrier. What you decide about the future of your business will affect your employees, along with your spouse and your family (whether or not they are actively involved in your professional practice.) As a result, it is critical to involve them and get their input.

Uncertainties cause fear

Business succession planning is difficult because there are uncertainties. You don’t know how long your health will be good or whether your adult child will be able to manage the business. Most astute business leaders learn how to assess and manage the risk associated with the unknown. But when it is your business and your family involved, the decisions to be made take on far more personal relevance. As a result, they often get delayed.

Finally, business succession planning is sometimes avoided because you have no idea what you would do if you didn’t work. For many of us, our work becomes our identity. We love it. But we have no clue what life after work looks like. So we don’t want to think about not working. The problem is — this really puts your business, your family and your employees at risk should something unfortunate happen to you.

Action steps

The worst thing you can do regarding your business succession plan is to think about it but not take any action. Why? Because by thinking about it, you can deceive yourself into believing you’ve actually done something. Following are potential action steps I would encourage you to take:

1. Talk with your spouse, major employees, and involved family members. Start by telling them you understand you need to do some business succession planning.

2. Identify an expert to coach you through the process, which includes
● Thinking through the issues that need to be considered
● Helping you design a process that includes all relevant individuals
● Keeping you on task over time
● Assisting you, your staff and your advisors get the needed tasks completed.

3. Begin to talk to the others involved. Start by finding out what they want (it may not be what you want), and hear their perspectives. They may not be honest if they hear what you want first and their thoughts differ from yours.

4. Use your coach to help you work the plan, step by step. Get some aspect completed. Don’t get bogged down by the apparent complexities. Take it a piece at a time.

You have completed several large, complicated projects over your career. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be as successful as you are. Don’t let your future, your family, and your employees suffer as a result of not taking care of your succession planning.

Learn more from Paul White in his SoundviewPro course Leading Successfully Through Challenges and Obstacles.

Turn Your Mobile Device into a Classroom

 

It’s been five months since we launched SoundviewPro, to provide free video business courses for people looking for efficient ways to improve their business skills.

During the past several months, we’ve added many courses on leadership, management, personal development, professional development, computer skills and more. Courses are being added weekly as we continue to build a strong base of content to match the needs of our business customers.

Every course is free of charge and consists of a group of classes broken up into short video segments. The short videos allow for easy display on mobile devices and tablets. Each trainer is an expert in their field and Soundview brings that expertise to bear in these concise skills courses.

When a customer signs up to take a course, an account will be established for them which includes their personal information and also tracks their courses and stage of completion. They can view a course one class at a time, viewing videos as they progress. While customers can view courses for free, supplemental learning materials including tests, additional readings and a certificate of completion are available for purchase.

Here is just a sampling from the subjects now available at SoundviewPro.

Leadership:

Leading Successfully Through Challenges and Obstacles with Paul White

Helping Successful Leaders Get Even Better with Marshall Goldsmith

Management:

Solving Today’s Employee Engagement Challenges with Les Landes

Installing an Accountability-Based Culture for Success with Julie Miller & Brian Bedford

Communication:

Becoming a Powerful Business Presenter with Stanley Ridgley

REAL Talk – Creating Real Conversations for Results with John Stoker

Personal Development:

Building Brand [You] with Cyndee Woolley

The Five Keys to Experiencing Extreme Personal Productivity with Jones Joflin

Technology Skills:

Microsoft Excel 2010: Introduction with Robert Devine

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010: Fundamentals with Donna Zarbatany

Please check out the courses and let your colleagues know about this free resource. Our goal is to transform the way business people learn the skills they need to move forward in their business and career.