Family Business Succession Planning – 5 Keys to a Successful Transition

Family business succession planning

We’re continuing the topic of family business succession planning today. Once you’ve decided who your successor is, it’s time to start planning. Done well, a family business succession plan can let people know who the new leader will be, bring them into their new responsibilities slowly, and allow you to step back from the business over time.

Planning is Key

A succession plan is something that must be set up and executed before you want to leave the business permanently. You don’t want to simply name a successor and then continue as normal until one day you leave. Abrupt transitions are difficult for everyone.

Instead, plan ahead and allow your successor to slowly increase their role in leading the business. This allows them time to get used to their new role, make mistakes while you’re still there to cushion the impact and find out if this is truly a good fit.

If your successor turns out to lack the skills or ability you thought they had, then you still have time to make changes, choose a new successor, and begin the process again. Starting over may be frustrating, but it’s far better than leaving your company in the hands of someone who isn’t ready or able to take over.

5 Keys to Successful Family Business Succession Planning

If the idea of planning for a successor in your business leaves you intimidated, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are best practices that you can use from those who have successfully managed family business succession planning. Here are five important guidelines for being successful.

Make Sure Stakeholders Are Involved

Depending on the size of your family business, there are people who have a lot at stake when it comes to the future of your company. If you have employees, a board of directors, a co-owner, or a slate of executive officers, you have stakeholders that deserve at least a small role in the process.

You can leverage these groups to help you identify the skills required in a successor, to help you choose or vet potential successors, and to help you create the transition process. By including important leaders and staff, you’ll help ensure a smooth transition for your new leader.

Onboard the Successor Over Time

Rather than choosing a single date when you will step away from the company and hand everything over to the new leader, set up a timeline of increasing responsibility. This will help them learn the new skills they need and build deeper relationships. A sink-or-swim approach too often leads to sinking, which is not what you want for the future of your company.

Be Positive About Your Business Prospects

Being in business is hard. However, there are great things about it or you wouldn’t be in business! To set the stage for your successor to succeed, begin immediately with a practice of speaking well about the business. Don’t complain that your competitors are outpacing you and then expect a new leader to be eager to step up. Instead, talk about why you started the business and show your successor how you use a positive attitude to overcome obstacles.

Give the Successor an Option, Not an Obligation

Running a family business is no small task, and no one should feel forced into it. Even if you, your board, your employees, and your executives all think one person is a sure bet as a successor, that person should still have a choice.  Don’t strong-arm someone into taking on a responsibility they don’t want just because you’re afraid you won’t be able to find someone else. No one does well in a job they don’t like, and you don’t want to leave your business in the hands of a reluctant successor.

Encourage the Development of a Variety of Skills

You may choose a successor because they are a master of an important aspect of business, like marketing or sales. However, being the leader of a company requires a skillset that is broader than one department. Encourage your successor to develop skills in operations, finance, sales, and more.

Most of all, don’t look for a successor that is a clone of you. What brought your business where it is today is not what will make your business successful in the future. Focus on bringing in someone who has or can develop the kind of skillset that the future will demand.

Get Support

Having support from an outside third party is critical. Your board, employees, and fellow leaders will all give important insights, but none of them have the impartial view that someone outside the company can bring.

Don’t try to do family business succession planning on your own. You and those in your company see the business and the world in a specific way, and it may not be the most accurate reality. Instead, bring someone in who has experience in family business succession planning and let them help you.

Successful family business succession planning doesn’t happen overnight. If you want your business to thrive for generations to come, give me a call today!

 

Family Business Succession – Family vs. Employee

Family Business Succession

When you’re trying to decide who will take over the family business, there are many factors to take into account. Often, you have choices between various family members and employees, and it’s important to make the right choice for your family business succession.

Family businesses are very important to the American economy, but transitions are difficult. Family businesses generate over 50% of the U.S. Gross National Product (GNP), but less than 33% survive the transition from first generation ownership to the second.

To make sure your company doesn’t become a failure statistic, it’s vital to plan and make the right choices for ownership and leadership in your family business succession.

Family or Employee?

As you create your succession plan, it can be difficult to choose between family or an employee to lead your company into the future, especially when you have an employee with a great business mind who has more experience than your family members. When setting up a plan for family business succession, you need criteria for the successor that reflects the needs your company will have in the future. Resist the temptation to pick a clone of yourself who will do what you did. Instead, choose someone who can take the business to new heights.

If you’re choosing between several people, you can ask your board or directors or other trusted advisors for a recommendation. Their opinions can help you overcome personal biases and get a more objective opinion.

Evaluating Skills and Experience

What skills and experience does your successor need to manage the family business? Some abilities to look for may include:

  • Vision for the company’s future
  • Leadership skills
  • Excellent communication
  • The ability to manage and develop others
  • A clear understanding of finance and accounting
  • Strategic business planning abilities

While a leader can hire people who specialize in things like technology, marketing, and sales, it’s still important that your successor has a general understanding of these areas as well. They should also know what gaps exist in the staff and have a plan to fill those gaps.

Beyond Skills

In order for your family business succession to be successful, your employees must know and respect the new leader. Has your planned successor been in your business for a long time? Have they developed good relationships at every level of the organization?

Your successor must also be professional. Someone who uses power and influence selfishly or for personal gain will not be a good future leader for your organization. Instead, they should have the good of the business and employees at heart.

That doesn’t mean your successor must lead like you do. They may choose a more casual open-door style, and you may have had a more formal approach. Either way, however, professionalism in leadership is important.

Finally, a good successor will know how to delegate. When you have someone in mind who knows how to empower others and delegate responsibility and authority, it’s a great sign that you’re on the right track with succession.

Get Support with Your Family Business Succession Plan

Creating a family business succession plan is a challenge, and you shouldn’t feel the need to do it alone. Trusted advisors can give you great ideas, but sometimes you need an outside viewpoint to help you get an objective understanding of the situation.

I can help you with your family business succession plan. Whether you’re leaning toward choosing a family member or employee to take your business into the future, it’s important to have a third party take a deep dive into the details. Having someone alongside you can bring peace of mind as you make the transition.

In my next article, I’ll discuss the five keys to a successful transition. If you’d rather not wait, schedule your free consultation today. Let’s get your business ready for succession so that it will last for many generations to come.

 

How To Build an A-Team

how-to-build-an-a-team

Building an A-team doesn’t happen by accident. They’re created strategically over time.

If you’re like many organizations, you do your best day-to-day and hope that your A-team will come together on its own. But, relying on that type of strategy is costly and ineffective.

Cultivating A-teams doesn’t require a master’s degree in human resources. Once you know what characteristics you’re looking for in team members, you can begin putting the foundation together.

Characteristics of an A-Team

A-teams have both strong leadership and clearly defined roles.  The leader doesn’t have to be you if you’re removed from day-to-day operations. However, there does need to be a manager or team leader who has great leadership skills.

In addition, each member of your A-team should know exactly what their \strengths and expertise are, why they’re on the team, and what they can contribute. When roles are clearly defined, there will be far less conflict because everyone knows who’s responsible for what.

As a leader, you should also understand what motivates your team. Using Kolbe A and Birkman assessments will understand both a person’s instinctive mode of operation as well as their passions, motivations, behaviors and interests. When you understand these characteristics, you can leverage the natural talents, passions, behaviors and motivators of employees.

Quantifiable Goals and 100% Commitment

Your team can’t achieve at an A level unless they know exactly what the goal is. Great teams have goals that are challenging but achievable. They are also quantifiable and shared with the entire team, so everyone knows how the team is progressing.

Also, team members are consistent in their efforts, willing and able to do what’s needed to help the team reach the desired goal. However, they aren’t obsessive. An A-team has members that have a balanced life outside of work as well.

Excellent Communication and A-team Focus

The need for excellent communication within high-level teams cannot be overstated. When people fail to communicate, there are misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and assumptions about what’s happening that are frequently false.

A-level teams also have A-team focus. They know it isn’t about them individually. While they understand that doing their individual best helps make the team successful, they also realize that they’re more likely to succeed when they work together.

Team Members are Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey’s famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will tell you a lot about what to look for as you are building an A team. As you choose team members, look for these attributes:

  1. Being proactive and focusing on his or her circle of control, while working to build influence over time.
  2. Knowing what he or she wants for the future and being willing to plan and work toward it.
  3. Knowing the difference between things that are important and things that are urgent, and being able to prioritize appropriately.
  4. Focusing on creating win-win situations for everyone involved in a problem.
  5. Seeking to understand others before seeking to be understood by others.
  6. Combining her or his strengths with others’ to create A-team that can achieve goals beyond an individual’s reach.
  7. Being able to balance and renew energy, resources, and health to create a sustainable and effective lifestyle.

Building an A-team Through Collaboration

There’s a philosophy in sports that it’s better to have your best team on the field than a group of your best players. The root of that idea is that collaboration is more important than individual superstars. The same idea applies in business. You want to focus on building an A-team that can collaborate well, not just a group of people who are outstanding in their individual skill sets.

Collaboration means that everyone is on the same page, working together to build or create something. Working as A-team can help build everyone’s emotional quotient and help the group learn to draw on each other’s strengths and experiences.

There are many ways to get your team to start collaborating, and it’s an essential step in building an A-team that you can be proud of.  If you’re ready to starting building an A-team but you need help deciding how to start, we’re here to help. Contact me for a free consultation today!

13 Habits to Build a Strong Mindset

strong mindset

Building a strong mindset isn’t something you can do overnight. It’s the result of multiple choices made over time – mindset habits that you work on consistently. It’s easy to understand that habits are essential to developing a strong mindset, but which habits should you pursue? Which actions should you create that can eventually happen on autopilot?

The 13 Habits of a Strong Mindset

There are 13 simple habits that will help you strengthen your mindset over time. In each case, as you focus on implementing the change, remember to complete the proper habit loop and reward yourself for your success!

Habit 1: Take Responsibility for Your Actions 

Life is hard, and it’s hard for everyone in different ways. To create a strong mindset, realize that feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t create change. Instead, make a habit of taking responsibility for the things you can change – starting with you.

Habit 2: Control Your Emotions 

Too many people allow others to make them feel bad, sad, angry, and more. Developing the habit of controlling your emotions and choosing how you respond to situations helps you develop a strong mindset. Don’t let other’s project their feelings upon you. You always have a choice.

Habit 3: Embrace Change 

Hiding from change is not only counterproductive, but it’s also impossible. The world is variable. Things always change in one way or another. Instead of resisting change, make a habit of seeing it as an opportunity to make life better.

Habit 4: Focus On Your Circle of Control 

It’s easy to get upset about the things that you have no control over. Whether it’s a traffic jam, a late flight, or the actions of national politicians, there’s no use getting upset when it’s out of your circle of control. Instead, make a habit of controlling your response and attitude, and seek to make a difference in the things you have direct control over.

Habit 5: Speak Your Mind 

Are you someone who shies away from sharing your opinion because you don’t want to upset others? It’s not possible to keep everyone happy all the time. Instead, make a habit of speaking up for yourself and making your perspectives known – respectfully, of course.

Habit 6: Take Calculated Risks 

Nothing great is accomplished by those who always play it safe. Making a habit of taking calculated risks helps you succeed and reach your goals. You’ll discover opportunities you never knew existed, and you’ll build your confidence along the way.

Habit 7: Stay in the Present 

People who struggle with a strong mindset are those that live either in the past or the future. If you’re always focused on regrets from the past or worries about what might happen in the future, you’ll miss the opportunities of today. Let the past stay in the past. Plan for the future, but don’t live in it, yet. You have plenty to do today. Make a habit of focusing on exactly what you’re doing at this moment.

Habit 8: Learn From Your Mistakes 

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut from making the same mistakes over and over? You’re not alone. If you want to build a strong mindset, you need to make a habit of learning from your mistakes so you can make better decisions in the future. It’s also wise to learn from other’s mistakes as well.

Habit 9: Celebrate Others’ Successes 

It’s easy to feel jealous when others succeed, but don’t fall into that trap. Instead, make a habit of celebrating others’ successes and learning from what they did. You’ll discover new ways of doing things, and you’ll be much stronger mentally.

Habit 10: Keep Trying After Failure 

When you have a strong mindset, failure is a single event that can be overcome. Too many people give up after a single failure, feeling they aren’t cut out for the task. Instead, make a habit of learning from your mistakes and trying again and again until you succeed.

Habit 11: Be OK Being Alone 

It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself and your life when you take a little time alone, away from everyone else’s opinions and activity. Those who have a strong mindset can tolerate being alone and often enjoy the solidarity of the practice.

Habit 12: Work for What You Get 

An important aspect of a strong mind is that you don’t feel entitled. Those who think the world owes them – owes them a job, a house, or a certain income – will never be happy. Instead, make a habit of working hard and celebrating your success.

Habit 13: Take Your Time 

Nothing short-circuits success like expecting immediate results. To develop a strong mindset, understand that you need to work on your skills over time. Develop a habit of being grateful for every positive step, and don’t expect immediate success.

Build a Strong Mindset One Step at a Time

Developing habits to build a strong mind isn’t something you do overnight. In fact, to be successful at implementing them, you’ll only work on one or two habits at a time. It takes a long time to build a habit – often more than 21 days. You need to be patient and persistent.

When you consistently apply these 13 habits over time, you’ll  see major strides toward building a strong mindset. When your mind is strong, you’ll find that you can accomplish more than you ever imagined!

If you’re interested in building a strong mindset, I’m here to help. I can help you change your life and your business. Contact me today.

Do You Have a Paid Time Off Policy?

paid time off policy

Taking time off is important to employees and business owners alike. Employees desire a life that works for them, and a paid time off policy is an essential part of that. At the same time, business owners want their company to run smoothly, and that requires having engaged, motivated employees. Allowing time off is vital to making sure that you keep the best staff and have the highest productivity.

Paid time off is a challenge for business owners, especially around holidays and during summer months. While employees tend to want and need additional time off, you may also be seeing a spike in your sales and business activity that requires additional work hours. How can you balance the two?

How Paid Time Off Policies Have Changed

Paid time off usually includes holidays, specific religious, national, or cultural observances, and a few extra days away from work. Between 1992 and 2012, paid holidays remained steady. However, paid time off as increased since 1992.

In addition, paid sick leave, personal leave, and family leave has increased between 1992-2012, although it isn’t available to all workers. In 2012, paid family leave was only available to 15% of workers in medium and large establishments, and 8% of employees in small establishments.

As a result of increases in leave policies over the last 20+ years, you’ll find that top talent seeks paid leave plans as part of a standard compensation plan. If you don’t offer it, you may be at a disadvantage. Consider tying paid time off to results or tenure to make it work more effectively for your company.

The Purpose of a Paid Time Off Policy

As was mentioned earlier, paid time off is an increasingly normal expectation on the part of full-time employees. The type of leave has several significant benefits for both employees and business owners.

Because the employment market is highly competitive, attracting and keeping top talent requires generous benefits. Paid time off, in some form, is an important part of that to most employees. Employees benefit from taking time off in many ways:

  • Time off allows staff to mentally reset and come back to work with new, creative ideas.
  • Productivity increases after employees have had time off.
  • Employees feel more satisfied when they have an appropriate work/life balance.
  • Time off often gives employees increased focus and improved perspective when they return.

Employees aren’t the only ones that benefit. Employers benefit as well:

  • Employees who have the benefits listed above will be better and more loyal workers.
  • While having paid time off helps attract and keep key talent, top employees rarely use all of their vacation days.
  • Employees who take time off are less likely to burn out, are more productive, and bring more creativity to the job.
  • Employees with paid vacation time are more likely to have high energy and a positive attitude, which benefits the company.

How to Implement a Paid Time Off or Vacation Policy

Setting a paid time off or vacation policy requires many considerations. It’s important to plan the rollout of your policy if you haven’t had one in the past, or to communicate more clearly about it if there’s been confusion.

The first factor is to consider the legal requirements of the area you operate in. While employers are not legally required to provide paid time off, employers are legally obligated to provide certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year under the Family Medical Leave Act.

The next aspect to consider is what your goals are in implementing a paid time off policy. This will guide how much time off you offer, what tenure is required, and more. You’ll need to balance being fair to employees with your company’s needs.

Finally, it’s vital to communicate the policy clearly. You’ll need to send out clear instructions about how to request time off, how much time off is allowed, and any special exclusions that apply. Having a clear process established is important to making the vacation policy accessible and fair for everyone.

Creating paid time off policies aren’t hard, but they do take effort and a focus on strategy. I can help you or members of your team develop and execute processes that balance the needs of your business with those of your employees. Contact me today for a free consultation.

How to Prepare for Prop 206 in Arizona

prop 206

As all business leaders know, election outcomes can drastically change the direction of the wind, recently evidenced by voters’ November 8th approval of Prop 206. If you are one of the many Arizona employers now scrambling to adjust their sails, you’re not alone. Change can certainly be daunting, but well-informed and well-equipped employers can seamlessly transition to meet the demands of new legislation.

What is Prop 206?

To sufficiently prepare for Prop 206, it’s first necessary to understand its provisions. The two-pronged Prop 206 includes the following key components:

(1) a minimum wage increase from the current rate of $8.05 hourly to $12.00 hourly by 2020, with a notable jump of almost $2.00 to $10.00 hourly effective January 1, and subsequently marked by $0.50 annual increases.

2) a requirement for all employers to furnish paid sick time (PST) to employees beginning July 1, 2017, with PST being defined as time for which employees are paid at the same rate as they would earn during regular work hours, including all existing benefits.

Who is Affected?

One common misconception about Prop 206 is that only large and private businesses are covered. On the contrary, Prop 206 covers almost all employers, including small businesses, school districts, and municipalities. When it comes to employee criteria, state and federal employees are classified as exempt, in addition to babysitters and anyone who works for a sibling or parent, as the latter cohort do not meet the definition of ‘employee’ under the newly amended Arizona Minimum Mage Act. Part-time workers, however, do in fact meet the definition and are covered under Prop 206.

Implementing A Sick Leave Policy

Modifying existing policies to meet Prop 206’s new requirements can prove to be a challenging endeavor for many employers. Some already have a policy in place that is in accordance with Prop 206’s PST regulation. Other employers may not. Unfortunately, there is no categorical, one-size-fits-all approach to developing a viable sick leave policy. Instead, employer size, culture, and values play an integral role in shaping a company’s PST policy.

Before a framework can be established, it’s first necessary to discern the new requirements under Prop 206 from previous mandates. In a nutshell, under Prop 206, covered employers are obligated by law to allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours of completed work based on mitigating factors including company size and a reason for PST. For example, companies with more than 15 employees on their roster must honor a maximum accrual of PST of 40 hours per year. For employers with less than 15 members in their workforce, the maximum is 24 hours of accrued PST.

In response to these requirements, many employers pose the common question, “What constitutes sick time?” Employees can apply their PST to a host of situations including:

  • Employee’s mental or physical ailment(s)
  • When an employee needs to provide medical care for a family member
  • During an instance of public health emergency
  •  Domestic violence incident

When formulating a PST policy, it’s crucial for employers of all sizes to review the detailed specifications of the nuanced Prop 206 to ensure that all factors are considered when implementing a PST policy aligned with their company needs and employee population.

Compliance, Record Keeping, and Penalties

Despite the potential cost and time associated with adopting Prop 206, it’s paramount that all covered employers comply with Prop 206 provisions to avoid harsh penalties and legal sanctions. Maintaining copious and accurate records is essential to complying with Prop 206.

While employers were previously required to furnish detailed and itemized employee payroll records for four years, Prop 206 now requires employers to also record all used and accrued PST, and make that information readily accessible to their employees via formal notice. Failure to comply with this stipulation presumes that the employer simply did not pay the PST earned and may be subject to civil penalties and fines in addition to possibly having to pay out PST that is unaccounted for in the official record.

Beyond electronic and paper record-keeping, employers must uphold Prop 206’s provisions regarding PST notice, verification, discrimination, and confidentiality or risk substantial penalties. Fines can range from $250 to over $1000 depending on the nature and frequency of the infraction. Additionally, violations can lead to employers being monitored and investigated to ensure appropriate standards are being upheld.

Be Proactive and Seek Guidance

As an employer, this new legislation can drastically impact you and your workforce, and amend existing company policies to ensure compliance can be a complex and overwhelming task. Don’t tackle the process alone. With a wealth of experience and robust network of clients, I am equipped to provide the guidance and resources that your company needs to effectively transition to Prop 206. My consultative approach to business health can help you comply with new Arizona laws and drive the results you dream of. Contact me today to discuss how I can help.

Double Your Sales with a Solid Annual Strategy

Double Your Sales With a Solid Annual Strategy

If you’re determined to be more productive and successful this year, you’re not alone. A new year is the most popular time for goal-setting for both individuals and companies. However, only 8% of people who set New Year’s resolutions achieve them, and companies similarly struggle to meet sales and revenue goals during the year. The good news is, with a solid annual strategy, you can buck the trend, double your sales, and meet your other business goals.

Articulate Your Purpose and Mission for the Year

Every year, your annual strategy starts with your company’s purpose and mission. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind and forget why you went into business in the first place. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, take some time to review your purpose and mission and set some goals for the current year. Set aside a few hours at least, or a day or more if possible. This quiet time is essential if you want to set goals that matter.

Review Last Year’s Annual Strategy

Every great annual plan begins with a review of the previous year. As George Santayana said, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” By reviewing what went right and what went wrong with last year’s annual strategy, you can start this year with your best foot forward.

When you look at last year’s results, be sure to include both external and internal influences. The following process is a helpful way to evaluate your previous goals:

  • What was the goal?
  • Did we meet it?
  • What internal, organizational factors helped or hindered the process?
  • What external, environmental factors helped or hindered the process?

Don’t fall into the trap of blaming one event or person and moving on. Every goal, whether achieved or not, was influenced by a variety of factors. If you focus on one over everything else, you’ll miss valuable lessons.

Once you’ve reviewed the data from last year, identify any gaps in execution that you can fix or mitigate this time around.

Generate Innovative Ideas

Innovation is an important part of successful, ongoing growth. There are three primary types of innovation:

  • Core. Core innovations are efforts focused on making small changes to existing products or making gradual inroads into new markets.
  • Adjacent. Adjacent innovations involve leveraging something the company does well in a new space. Proctor & Gamble’s Swiffer product took the idea of a long-handled mop and used a novel technology to change it for a new customer base.
  • Transformational. These types of innovations get all the press. They involve creating entirely new offers or new businesses that shake up an entire industry. For instance, Uber and Air B&B are transformational innovations.

Transformational innovations are the most impactful, and they have the biggest chance of helping you double your sales. Work on testing and implementing new and out of the box ideas this year.

Find Champions & Budget for New Ideas

If you plan to innovate, you need to make sure you can implement the new ideas that you find over the long term. Too many companies create a budget for an innovation project without ever setting aside funds to implement the new idea permanently.

To avoid this common mistake, assign someone to be the champion of innovation for the coming year. In addition, make sure that your key leaders and department heads align with the idea of innovation and willing to help with the budgeting of money and personnel to make it happen.

Measure Results

Obviously, an idea isn’t good simply because it’s different. New Coke was a terrible mistake that cost Coca-Cola millions of dollars. After you’ve implemented a new idea, you have to measure results to ensure that you’re getting the success you were shooting for.

Depending on the goal of the particular new process, you’ll have different key indicators that are important to you. Some common ones are new customers, reduced customer complaints, efficiency, increased revenue, and increased profit.

Your champion should report regularly on the results of new ideas so that you can know if your ideas have been successful or not. These reports then become part of next year’s look-back review process. Consider setting up a dashboard that everyone can easily reference.

Review Goals Regularly

Once you’ve set your goals in the annual strategy, you’ll need to revisit them regularly to make sure you’re on track to meet your objectives. Depending on your company and leadership, this could be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.

The key is to get into a rhythm that works for you and your organization. When you’re regularly reviewing your objectives, you can catch problems before you drift too far off course. You may also find that internal or external changes require you to adjust or even completely rework some of your goals.

Using regular reviews and tweaking your goals as needed will help you recognize and overcome challenges before they derail your entire year. You’ll also be holding yourself and your team accountable to the objectives you set, which significantly increases your chance of success.

You need a winning environment to execute to your annual sales strategy. Don’t settle for slow, incremental gains in this economy. To double your sales with a solid annual strategy, you need a coach to come alongside you. After years of growing a multi-million dollar company, I have what it takes to help you move the needle in your business.

If you’re ready to make 2017 your best year so far, contact me today for a free consultation!

Is it Finally the Year to Change Your Life?

Is it Finally the Year to Change Your Life?

A new year is upon us, and that means a new opportunity to embrace change. This year you may aspire to become a better person, take your business to the next level, and finally live the life you deserve. You’ve made a list of resolutions and you’re ready and motivated to begin.

According to research by the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8% of them are successful at keeping their resolutions. That’s because, simply put, change is difficult. We resist change because we’re comfortable with the current way of doing things; it’s easier. Change is hard. There is a subconscious preference for things that have been around longer, including old habits. If you want to make real change that lasts, you need more than good intentions. You need a plan.

Choose What to Change

The University of Scranton study found that the most common New Year’s resolutions in 2015 were losing weight, getting organized, and saving money. While those sound amazing, they are all very difficult. Adding to the complication is that many people make more than one resolution, because they want to improve multiple areas of their life.

While it’s important to see the need to change, you must focus. Instead of choosing three things to change this year, focus on one. Remember, it’s about actually implementing the change and not being derailed by your good intentions.

Review Last Year’s Resolutions and Results

Many people prefer not to look back at last year’s resolutions because they are embarrassed about having failed. However, understanding what happened the last time you made resolutions is essential to succeeding this time. What is different about this year? What difficulties did you have last year that you can plan for and avoid this time? After you’ve reviewed the data, you may see that you stumble over the same issues over and over again.

While sometimes the stumbling blocks are personal issues, like family conflict or work stress, they may also be the result of not setting goals correctly or trying to do too much at once. Consider focusing on an easy change so that you can gain momentum.

Identify Weaknesses and Plan to Overcome Roadblocks

There are many individual issues that can cause someone to fall short of their goals; there are also many challenges that are common to everyone. You may find that what you thought was a personal weakness is actually a common roadblock!

Some of the reasons that people struggle to meet their goals include:

  • Being unrealistic. It’s common to want to change a lot at one time. It’s also common to want to change significantly, even in just one area. Unfortunately, both set you up for failure. Instead, plan to overcome this challenge by setting small, incremental goals in a single area.
  • Ignoring the process. Some people are so focused on the outcome of their goal that they aren’t able to stick through the ups and downs of the process. If you plan to run a marathon, you may get so focused on 26.2 miles that you struggle sticking with your jogging in the first few weeks because your body isn’t ready for the effort that you require of it. Instead, break down your big goal into small steps that you can focus on one at a time.
  • Stress. Being stressed has a tendency to push people into old, well-worn behaviors, including bad habits they hope to overcome. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stress in daily life, including work, family, and personal struggles. To overcome this, create a plan to keep new habits going even in stressful times. Write out tactics that you can implement when stress overwhelms you so that you can refer to this list when you need it.

Create a Plan That Incorporates Your Strengths

Overcoming your weaknesses is vital, but don’t forget that you have strengths as well. When you create a plan to achieve your goals, be sure that you incorporate your existing strengths. Here are some ideas for a plan that incorporates strengths:

  • Tiny Habits. Often, repetition is the key to creating a new behavior, and keeping momentum can be more important than the actual action. Consider creating tiny habits that you can perform even on bad days, so that your momentum keeps going.
  • Vision. Your personal vision and goals are the most powerful motivation you have access to. Be sure that you develop your personal vision so that you can use it to create positive change in your life.
  • Passion. Choose goals that align with your natural strengths in areas like career, fitness, and relationships. Do you love swimming, but hate running? Focus your fitness goals on swimming. Similarly, your passion in your work can help you set goals for development and progress that make the most sense for you.
  • SMART Goals. You are more likely to achieve goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. After you create your goals, remember to track your progress. You may even want to create a dashboard.

 Get Support for Your Goals

One of the biggest obstacles people struggle with is that they try to accomplish goals alone. Accountability is an essential part of being successful with goal setting.

Having support as you pursue your goals has several benefits. You have someone who can give you an impartial view of whether your goals are realistic, SMART, and achievable. You also have someone who believes in you and pushes you when you’re about to give up. Finally, someone who supports you can remind you of how your goals fit your overall vision, making you much more likely to succeed.

You must find the right person to support you.

If you’re ready to stop settling and do the work to get the results you desire, you’ll need the right coach to support you on your journey. Contact me and we’ll get started today!

Phoenix Business Coach – How to Find the Right One

Phoenix Business Coach - How to Find the Right One

Whether you’ve reached an impasse on the road to success, or you’re simply ready to elevate your business, the guidance of a seasoned Phoenix Business Coach is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.  A basic internet search will likely yield an overwhelming number of choices, with each promising to deliver optimum results.

Find the Right Phoenix Business Coach

With over 30 years of business leadership and mentoring experience to draw upon, I can’t stress enough that when it comes to finding the right Phoenix business coach, one size does not fit all. So how do you vet the seemingly endless list of options and identify a coach best suited to your needs? Here are some qualifications that every credible business coach should be able to furnish.

Experience

Experience is always the best teacher. A business coach should not rely strictly on theoretical approaches and strategies to guide you. Instead, they should be able to walk the talk. As a CEO of Expo Chemical Co., Inc., a multi-million-dollar company specializing in value driven materials, custom formulation, and global sourcing, I relied on strong business acumen and strategic planning.  This allowed me to create a niche business that provided superior technical support to the oil and gas industry. Under my direction, Expo’s revenue grew over 1,000% in only a six-year period.

My time with Expo has helped me to provide individualized guidance to each of my clients. I understand their unique challenges, I can relate to their journey, and most importantly, I am equipped to help cultivate effective solutions to meet their short and long-term goals. Simply put, when it comes to business coaching, no amount of formal training can replace the value of real world experience.

Knowledge

In addition to industry experience, a qualified coach should harbor the tools and knowledge necessary to analyze the core competencies, values, and work habits of each client. A successful coach should be adept in administering behavioral and occupational assessments that capture data and provide insight into individual and organizational motivators, strengths, and decision-making processes.

As a certified consultant who routinely employs The Birkman Method® and The Kolbe System™, I understand the importance of using these scientifically validated tools to unlock clients’ potential and preferences and develop customized action plans aligned with their unique personal and professional development needs.

Solid References

Another mark of a credible business coach are references in the form of testimonials that highlight leadership skills, deliverables, and coaching methodologies. References also provide insight into what types of individuals and organizations the coach has worked with, what industries they represent, and most importantly, what outcomes clients have experienced under the guidance of the business coach.

With over 30 years of leadership and mentoring experience, I have had the pleasure of garnering testimonials from clients representing a broad spectrum of industries including transportation, human resources, health and wellness, renewable energy, insurance, and law. My extensive background and wide breadth of clientele has allowed me to develop expertise in a host of specialized fields, making it easy to produce targeted, industry-specific solutions and blueprints for every individual or organization with whom I work.

Flexible Programs

Finally, an experienced coach should offer both accessibility and flexibility. Because business coaching needs are so different, a reputable coach often makes available a variety of programs and services designed to reach a broad range of clients. By offering individualized group and executive coaching, along with consultation and speaking services, I can accommodate clients of all backgrounds and work with them in a manner best suited to their needs and preferences. Through tailored and flexible coaching sessions, my clients have enjoyed marked growth, greater input, increased profitability, and most importantly, fulfillment.

It’s time to find the right Phoenix business coach to help take your business to the next level. Contact me today to get started on the path to success.

Being a Workaholic Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Being a Workaholic Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be

The holidays are approaching, and that means long hours trying to complete tasks and make those final sales before you wrap up the year. If you’re like many other Americans, you work longer than the rest of the world. But maybe the rest of the world knows something you don’t. If you’re a workaholic, consider taking some time for yourself.

How Do You Know You’re a Workaholic?

According to Norwegian researchers from the Department of Psychosocial Science at the University of Bergen, there are seven key criteria for determining if you might be a workaholic.

  1. Do you think of ways to free up more time to work?
  2. Do you spend more time working than you originally intended?
  3. Do you work to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression, or helplessness?
  4. Have others told you to cut back on work, only to find yourself ignoring the advice?
  5. Do you become stressed if you are prohibited from working?
  6. Do you put a lower priority on hobbies, leisure activities, or exercise because of your work?
  7. Do you work so much that it has negatively influenced your health?

If you said yes to any of these questions, it’s possible that you may be a workaholic.

The Consequences of a Workaholic Lifestyle

According to an article on Huffington Post, numerous studies have shown the harmful effects that work stress can take on your health, particularly if you’re a workaholic. From anxiety and depression, weight gain, and poor sleep quality to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack and diabetes. Studies have also shown that workaholics are more likely to have unhappy marriages and higher divorce rates. Thanks to technology, so many people now have the capability to work from anywhere at any time, making it easier than ever to become a workaholic.

Benefits of Having “Me Time”

A sabbatical is traditionally a break that a college professor takes every seven years. In this age of workaholism, the sabbatical has spread far beyond academics, and many people are taking breaks from their jobs to rest and recover from burnout. It’s a great way for recovering workaholics to improve their health, develop new skills, or even to determine a new direction for their careers. There may not be paid or benefits, but a sabbatical can give you a life-changing chance to refocus and refresh.

If you think that you may be a workaholic, take steps now to combat the issue. Define boundaries between your work and personal lives. Consider delegating tasks so you can focus on the things that need your attention. Turn on the out-of-office autoresponder, and take some time to rest and recharge each week. It can give you a boost not just on your well-being, but also on your productivity and creativity. Use your vacation days, and get away from the office for some time with family and friends.

I’d be happy to discuss how we can work together to create the life and career you dreamed of. Contact me today.