What is your credo? Share to win!

 

Get this book for inspiration on why and how to set a purpose for your company.

I was just reading this awesome book, Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.  It is incredibly well written and researched and it tells me what I have known for a long time but until now had lacked the data to back me up.

Suffice to say that businesses with a purpose, businesses who look beyond profit and businesses with underlying value do better in the long-run than those without.  I can only assume that they are also much nicer places to work.  All of these stellar businesses make profits, huge ones generally but that is not their raison d’etre, something far more compelling and unifying is at their core.

I have  this fundamental conversation with all of my clients.  Some really struggle to nail what their credo (their statement of intention) is.  We work together to build the business as best we can based on their vision but knowing all along that when the penny drops on why they really get out of bed in the morning their results will rocket.  Some still haven’t found it.

It would be poor coaching for me to suggest my own examples for what might be my clients’ credo so I wanted to ask you, my audience of business owners and successful professionals, to reply to me in private with your written statement of purpose or mission so that I may use those as real-life peer-to-peer examples.  These will spark the thought process in my clients both now and in the future.  Your mission may launch many others.  If you would like to state your occupation or sector and have me omit that example when dealing with your potential competition then I will be happy to oblige.

All respondents will receive a copy of Brian Tracy’s e-book Eat that Frog and the winner with the most compelling “I have to work with/for that person/business” statement will win a month’s free coaching from me valued officially by Mastercard as PRICELESS.

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Eat Like a Business Athlete

ImageIn my workshop “The Seven Lessons That Any Business Can Learn From the Vancouver Canucks” I address the little things that they do to help their team perform at the highest level.  One of the many advantages that they give their players is personal chefs to prepare the right food at the right time to nourish the players bodies before and after games and practices, and even during rehabilitation.

But you don’t need to look after your body like that right?  No, you have never slumped in your chair at the end of the day exhausted from a day of tough sales calls, negotiations, management, planning, learning.  That doesn’t happen to you ever.  Right?

Image  Of course there is and if you ever wonder why you feel worse than a penalty killing, shot blocking hockey player it probably has a lot to do with your diet.  I clued into this after engaging the services of a nutritionist, Kristen Bell RRD, last year. Together we have worked on my diet to create easy to make, easy to eat, tasty meal plans that I can look forward to but that also serve my business athlete needs for a (more) consistent energy level throughout a long day.  Since then I have lost 12lbs and have a far better level of productivity due to avoiding that dreaded afternoon energy crisis.

What follows is the summary of our work together and as we move into fall and winter I will be asking her to provide some more recipes for us all to enjoy. Thanks Kris.

Energy Management for Business Athletes!

Do you ever wonder why you get sleepy around mid-afternoon and feel less motivated to get your work done? Studies show that having a higher carb breakfast is related to how tired and hungry you will feel throughout the day.  As a business owner myself, every hour counts to be as productive as possible, and I can’t afford to have these crashes. I have made permanent changes in my diet to keep my blood sugar levels steady throughout the day (spikes in blood sugar causes low energy and cravings), maximize my energy by eating every 3 hours, and combining any carbs I have with a protein or fat source. This not only keeps me full for a longer period of time, but also keeps me alert and productive.  Use these tips below to maximize your energy throughout the day, and prevent those energy crashes.

DON’T leave the house without breakfast –

A complete breakfast should consist of all three: Carbs, fat and protein.  Instead of grabbing a bagel and running out the door.  Cut the bagel in half, spread some all natural peanut butter on it, and grab a hardboiled egg for some protein.  Breakfast should be consumed within 30 minutes of waking up.

Avoid the vending machine after lunch. Your crashes and waistline will only get worse if you give in to your chocolate cravings reaching for the snickers bar at the nearest vending machine. Be proactive, bring your own snack.  Try a handful of trail mix with some beef jerky, a ready to drink protein shake, or maybe some of your left over lunch.

If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. We have all heard this saying before, but couldn’t be truer when it comes to your diet!  Avoid eating out of emotion or convenience. Instead plan to bring healthy food so you will not give in to the pressures of unhealthy food around you, but have healthy choices that are comparable so you still feel satisfied.  Such choices are things like vegie sticks, some nuts (not too many, don’t be greedy or use the salted type which tempt you to a) stuff yourself and b) go to the bar!)

Try this recipe for a healthy, high protein lunch you can take with you to work!

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

·         1 head fresh iceberg lettuce OR prepackaged lettuce for wraps

·         3 cloves garlic, minced

·         1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated

·         1 red chili, minced, OR 1/4 to 1/3 tsp. chili flakes

·         2 shallots, sliced finely

·        1 pound ground turkey – extra lean

·         1 carrot, grated or cut into thin strips

·         5-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced

·         1 egg

·         1/2 cup shredded cabbage (any type will work)

·         3 spring onions, sliced

·         2 Tbsp. lime juice

·         2 Tbsp. soy sauce

·         1 Tbsp. Thai sauce

·         TOPPINGS: optional

·         1/3 cup fresh basil OR mint, chopped if leaves are large

·         1/3 cup fresh dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

·         Fresh bean sprouts

Preparation:

1.       Drizzle oil into a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, chili, and shallots. Stir-fry one minute, or until fragrant. Stir-frying tip: add a little water if the wok/pan gets too dry instead of more oil.

2.       Add turkey, carrot, mushrooms, cabbage, and spring onions. As you stir-fry, add the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce (or vegetarian substitutes). Stir-fry about 1 minute.

3.       Push ingredients to the side of the wok or pan, and crack in the egg. Stir-fry quickly to break the yolk. Mix in with the other ingredients.

4.       Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry briefly to mix (avoid over-looking or it will go limp). Remove from heat and do a taste test for salt, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough.

5.       Cut off the stem part of the iceberg lettuce so it’s easier to separate the leaves. Now place the lettuce, stir-fried filling, and the toppings on your table in separate bowls/plates, allowing family or guests to make their own wraps.

6.       To assemble, take a whole lettuce leaf and place 1-2 heaping tablespoons of filling in the center. Top with a sprinkling of fresh basil and peanuts plus fresh bean sprouts if desired. Then wrap up and eat! (For those who like it extra spicy, fresh-cut chili can be added as another topping.)

ENJOY!

So in summary, treat your body as well as an athlete would.  Let’s face it you expect your career will be longer that theirs and you have to set yourself up to succeed – starting with your diet.

7 Lessons that any business can learn from the Vancouver Canucks – Part 7 & Summary

It’s been a week now since we started to poke at the Canucks and take a look at seven actions that they have taken that have directly resulted in a league leading performance on the ice.  These are not the only seven things that they do well but they are areas that any business would do well to emulate.  

We have covered:

1. Clarity of vision for the outcome (Win the Stanley Cup), 

2. Willingness to engage stakeholders outside of the business in this aim, 

3. Finding little edges that they can give their team (e.g. Sleep doctor),  

4. Getting players to commit more than energy to the cause, 

5. Willingness to delegate effectively to a trusted team outside of Exec management,

6. Succession planning that allows smoother transitions as the team changes.

 

And now we’ll look at something that was key last year when they lost in Game 7 of the Cup Final and this year when they were all but swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Number 7.  Let cooler heads prevail.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater when things don’t go your way. In life, sports and business all you can do is put the odds on your side and do everything that you can to win. Sometimes though life gets in the way and you won’t win.

Does that mean that the plan, the team, the management are all wrong?  Far from it.  It means that they just got stronger and wiser and can come back again next year (or tomorrow in business terms) more determined to win.  Of course there will need to be some adjustments made to accommodate a shift in parameters (playoff officiating for one) and that may mean that some people’s roles on the team change or are eliminated but what you haven’t seen and won’t see until their box of tricks is empty is a sacking of the GM or Coach.  The plan was good, the execution could have been better.  As the owner of the Canucks are you really going to be able to find a GM or coach markedly better able to chart the course to the Cup?  No way.  So they stick with the team that they have and have faith.

The same goes for your business.  Remember that point one stated that you set your own goals, well whether you achieved them in your first season or not, it’s up to you to keep in keeping on and improving daily to get there.  As all the good books will tell you it’s not about the destination.   Enjoying the journey and growing along the way is the bigger goal.  Hitting milestones is vital but success comes disguised in many forms.

So if you did achieve your goals in your “first season” then I have two points to make; Firstly, congratulations that was awesome and you must be very happy, go celebrate; Secondly, set bigger goals next time!

Thanks for reading this mini-series.  I truly hope that you have found my points useful in growing your business.  I have deliberately kept each blog as short as possible so please contact me at 604 339 5369 if you would like any more information on any of these points.

7 Lessons that any business can learn from the Vancouver Canucks – Part 6

If you have been diligently following the last 5 days’ of articles you’ll have a really well functioning team (wow you moved fast to implement it that quickly).  Congratulations.

Now real life strikes.  Someone goes off sick at a critical time, someone is headhunted away, someone else falls pregnant.  That throws your perfectly balanced team into disarray.  Or does it?

For most companies (and hockey teams) the answer is yes. To use hockey talk you are well and truly pucked!  The chemistry is lost and, more importantly, roles shift dramatically to fill in the gap.  No-one is happy anymore. Ever!

But not so for every business or team.  What was noticeable about the Canucks over the last 2-3 years was how relatively seamlessly they have been able to promote players from their farm team.  That team, despite play half a continent away are structured and coached to play the same way as the Big Boys.  Therefore when the Canucks need a specific role filling they can pick a player that knows the system and for whom the leap to the NHL is as small a step as it was possible to make it.  It’s not a perfect science but they have done, and continue to do, what can be done to make that leap small.  

They also welcome the new guys with open arms and work to make them feel welcome.  Having an outsider on the inside helps no-one so old hazing and rookie treatment practices are gone.

So as a business owner what is your farm-team policy?  Who are you grooming for a step up well before that is required?  How well are you systematizing the work so that it is easy for someone to backfill or step in?  

Succession plans not only provide security for business operations, they provide hope and prospects to your staff, they provide clarity and accountability and they provide learning opportunities for everyone.  

Once again I highly recommend that all business owners invest in the services of a quality HR professional to help them create and maintain a meaningful succession plan for every role in the business.  Start with the key roles and work from there.

Good luck getting that plan in place.  As ever if you would like to discuss how to implement any of these lessons in your business contact me on 604 339 5369 or leave a comment in this blog.

Tomorrow is the last in the series and we’ll cover “keeping a calm head.”

7 Lessons that any business can learn from the Vancouver Canucks – Part 3

So far we have covered the clear aim that the organization have for what it means to be successful and how that is compellingly communicated to the stakeholders inside and outside the core team.  Nw we turn our attention to doing what it takes to be successful.

In hockey every team knows that good on-ice drills and systems help to improve offence and reduce goals conceded but if everyone is focussed there why not add some focus elsewhere?

The Canacks have looked outside of hockey to seek advantages and found them in such (soon to be widely adopted practices) as personal chefs for players, a round changing room, a players-only area in the arena and a sleep doctor.  The sleep doctor has had perhaps the most profound effect by dictating the flying schedule of the team on road trips so that the team is more rested than they were in years gone by.  In the past the team struggled on their long eastern trips and dropped points.  In the last 3-4 years since the sleep doctor’s input has been use they have gathered more than half of the available points on those trips and won the President’s Trophy for the last two years, this year by a single point.  So you could argue that the small things like a sleep doctor bought them home-ice advantage in the playoffs.  Of course this year that didn’t turn into a long cup run but tat’s not the point.  By doing the things that others don’t do you can give yourself an advantage and that is all that you can ask for.

So what is your business’ sleep doctor (I’d actually suggest that you look hard at the issue of sleep within your business anyway but what is your equivalent other than that?).  What can you do that others in your industry don’t do?  What small advantages can you glean from a seemingly insignificant change that will give you the best chance to win your version of the Stanley Cup?  It could be hiring a business coach, it could be changing your eating or exercise habits.  It could be turning all the money that you spend on trade shows into individual lunches with clients.

Remember, to flip the common adage on its head; “If everyone else is doing it why should you?”

Next time we will cover the issue of gaining commitment vs just gaining involvement.

7 Lessons that any business can learn from the Vancouver Canucks – Part 1

Image

Despite a first round playoff exit this year the Vancouver Canucks are without question a world-leading organization.  If their stock traded on the basis of wins and expectations then they would be a stock market darling.  They have won back-to-back President’s Trophy’s, they were within one game of a Stanley Cup win last year and are already among the favourites to win it next year.  Their successes on the ice are undeniable but that wasn’t always the way.  So what changed and what can businesses learn from them?  As per a recent post, this is not “How to be the Canucks in seven easy steps” but there are seven important lessons to be learned by all businesses.

In this seven part blog I’ll introduce you to actions that the Canucks have taken that have transformed them from persistent under achievers to league leaders and none of them are on-ice tactics, they are all off-ice business decisions that directly apply to your business too.

Part 1 – Clarity of purpose

Of the 30+ teams in the NHL only maybe 4-5 have the luxury of setting out to prepare for a season where winning the Cup is the only focus.  Other franchises labour under different ownership priorities such as not-losing-too-much-money (Phoenix Coyotes who are under the ownership of the NHL and are currently looking for a new owner) or to make-as-much-money-as-possible (the Toronto Maple Leafs were largely owned by a Pension Funds whose first and only mandate was to raise money for its members.  On-ice performance was a secondary concern in a market that was Leaf-mad and sold out regardless of results – consequently they have failed to make the playoffs for years).  This does not preclude any team from making a deep run and maybe even winning the Cup as the Coyotes are showing this year but I can assure you that the Coyotes did not assemble in the pre-season of 2011 thinking “this is our year”.  They wondered where they would be playing this time next year and many would have been wondering if they would even have jobs come May 2012.

When the Aquilini family bought the Canucks in 2007 they were 100% clear on their purpose. Anything except a Cup was failure and they knew that it wasn’t something that would happen overnight.  They were prepared to build for it.  With that as a fact they have recruited employees (notably GM, Mike Gillis who we will cover later), partners and players for whom this is also a non-negotiable goal.  Anything and everything that needs to be done to win the Cup will be done within the laws of the game and the boundaries set by the league (salary caps, trade deadlines etc).

Now you can argue that the Canucks have it easy, there is a governing body called the NHL who set the parameters for how you win the Cup and those parameters are understood by the opposition.  The ‘only’ question is how well you plan your attack and how well you execute on your plan.  Being clear on the aim doesn’t make it necessarily easier to achieve but it does allow you to course correct more quickly.

What governing body exists for your business that makes the rules so clear?  Probably nothing.  And that’s a problem, right?

Wrong.  That’s your opportunity.  It is your opportunity to write your own rules and set your own goals.  You can have 12 people on your team if you decide to – you just need a plan to pay them.  So the question that I ask attendees at my workshops on this topic is “What is your Stanley Cup?”  Define it, refine it, hold it up, look at it, study it and dream about it.  Only then can you aim at it with any accuracy.  And the best thing is that unlike the Canucks you won’t be competing against 30+ other teams.  You won’t even be competing against 4 or 5.  The only business with your specific goal is yours.  No-one is stopping you getting it.   You even get to set the rules for how you win.  For some this is liberating and for others and unbearable responsibility.  It’s no longer a question of whether you can win or not.

The only question is will you win or won’t you?

Getting clear on your goals doesn’t assure you of winning them (The Canucks) and not being clear doesn’t mean that you can’t catch lightening in a bottle (Coyotes) but if you run a business there is no question that the chances of success were higher in Vancouver than they were in Phoenix at the start of the season and even the playoffs and stacking the odds in your favour is all you can do sometimes.  Remember, there’s always next season.

Good luck defining with absolute clarity what it is that you are aiming for.

Next time we’ll discuss bringing stakeholders into the loop.

The Six Things You Need To Do To Ensure Business Success!

Oh Come on people!  I said this blog was about cutting through the crap in what people write about business not adding to it.  There aren’t just six or ten Top Tips to anything.  We’re all just lazy and wish that there were just a few simple things that we could do to ensure success.  

Well, please don’t shoot the messenger but the people who you see as successful have become that way through an infinite number of routes, through innumerable failures, through indecipherable nuances of established principles and there is no way for you to replicate it.  You can get to where they are at (or at least where you perceive them to be at) but you can’t get there in the same way that they got there.  The world has moved on and doors they were open to them are shut to you.  Look for your own open doors.  Stop looking for that well trodden path.  If it ever existed it’s either full of people already or it no longer leads to where you want it to go.  

Make your own way it’s as good as any other and commit to never looking at “top tip” articles, they are a waste of time.  Study if you must but you won’t top tip yourself to the top.

Business Plans and why you need one. Even a basic one.

If you are a business owner who doesn’t have a business plan then you’re in good company.  Well company anyway.  I am really surprised by how many businesses survive, profit and go from year to year without such basic business planning tools as P&L and cashflow forecasts.  As one author, probably Brian Tracy, put it, it is like trying to drive a car with a blanket over the windshield, looking only in the rear view mirror for guidance.  Sure you may not stray too far off the road but you have no way of avoiding potholes or even forks in the road.  All that you’ll know about an approaching obstacle is when you hit it.

If you can do one new thing this easter time to resurrect your business it should be to spend some decent, quality time planning and forecasting.  Then use that as your roadmap forwards.  

You can’t run a business without proper planning.  If you try the business runs you.  We all see owners everyday who suffer that fate, “trying to live with a tiger” as one colleague of mine puts it.  Is that company you want to keep on keeping?