Are You Making This Mistake With Your Employees?

spa marketingFor visionary leaders, fierce determination and strong feelings about how things should be run often lead to hidden conflict with your employees. They are watching you and working to please you, often by keeping the lowest profile possible, or by dropping everything to fix the “one thing” you were on them about yesterday.

Do these stories sound familiar? Are your employees focused on you…or on what the customer needs?

For one client, the founder of a day spa, tension and arguments came to center on towels: getting them dried right (to be fluffy), folded neatly, distributed to the right places in stacks that were beautiful.

Yes, beauty in a stack of towels.

Sound obsessive? If you’re running a high-end spa in exclusive Buckhead in Atlanta, that is just the beginning of the obsessions. She was frustrated both by having to redo the towels herself and by high staff turnover.

For a well-known architect, it meant that staff signaled each other about the expression on his face when he walked in the door.

Were their designs going to be torn apart today? Or was he going to be super-sweet?

For the owner of an earth-moving company, it meant that employees were texting each other when his car was spotted coming into a job site. If only they would focus that much attention on keeping up their vehicles and safety!

The challenge for high-energy people here is two-fold:

  • Understand how the high energy you carry radiates out to everyone around you and use it purposefully in every interaction.
  • Build a culture that transmits the joy and value of your obsessions.

Many business owners we have worked with had little idea of their outsized impact on the people around them. “They stop talking when I come around. I don’t get what’s really on their minds. They just scramble to do what I say (on a good day) or say they get it and they’ll do it, then don’t”.

But unless you want to micromanage every stack of towels, or every design, or every pile of dirt, you’ve got to have a culture where it’s as if the air itself transmits your values.

“I just want things right! That’s how I built this business.”

“It’s so simple – why is it so hard for [employees] to get it.”

“How could they not see that (messy towel stack, unbalanced design, cost of poor maintenance) when it’s right in front of their face?”…

and finally, “But I’ve told them and told them! We have checklists!”.

One of my mentors used to say…”Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

For the architect, the solution was to take a few minutes before getting out of his car and just breathe. Checking in with how he was feeling helped him focus the strong feelings he had about the blah designs he had seen yesterday. Over time he stopped exploding in an angry lecture at the project’s team. He focused his fierceness to pass on what it takes to dig in and question a design from the perspective of the customers’ customers and to help new designers push aside ego to make the building both practical and elegant – the firm’s trademark.

To build a living, breathing culture that embodies your values takes at least a couple of years, followed by forever maintenance and infusions of enthusiasm where your actions and those of every leader in your company show you stick to those values. There are also four structural needs:

  • Discover and articulate your real and dynamic core values
  • Build those core values into every hire, reward, and yes, every employee separation
  • Breathe life into them on a regular quarterly pulse
  • Support and sustain them with documented processes – and sometimes even checklists!

If you are working for or with a visionary who drives you crazy, help them implement some sort of system to clarify for everyone around them what, exactly, they are trying to bring into being. What talents and skills do you have to evaluate the feasibility of an idea? To move it forward?

It takes patience on both sides; patience that leads to amazing visions becoming a reality in the world of business.

If these steps seem vague, or overwhelming, you will not be surprised that I recommend implementing a great system by hiring an EOS Implementer. Let’s set up 20 minutes on the phone to see if we can help you. Contact us here

 

Posted in: Business Coaching

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Drinking my Own Champagne…

And feeling sparkly!

Drinking ChampagneMy husband says PLAN is a 4-letter word. Many of the entrepreneurs I work with struggle to pause long enough to take this much-needed deep breath.

After a busy season of annual planning sessions for my clients, it was time to take my own medicine. I know, I’m mixing metaphors here, but, honestly, as I started following the annual planning drill for myself it felt like taking medicine…

 

It gave me greater sympathy for the glazed eyes I sometimes see in my clients! It takes a lot of discipline and focus to go through each step of the EOS® Annual Planning session.

So I stuck with it. Stepped out of my own day-to-day busyness to get above its tangle. Worked on my own team health, dug into how I was living our core values, revisited in a deeper way the Core Focus™ of my business, my 10-Year Target™, my 3-Year Picture™. Reviewed last year and last quarter. Set goals and rocks, challenged my assumptions, got all the 136 things coming at me into one compartment or another (see how here).

It was excruciating. And then, and then… here comes the champagne part… it was fun! Freeing! I quantified the impact I’m having on the companies I partner with to implement the EOS® processes. I saw how my life is being enriched by the work we’re doing together, and by the depth of relationship with these amazing business leaders. I’m living the EOS® Life! Doing what I love with people I love, making a huge impact, being appropriately compensated, and have time and energy for my extended family and travel. One of my goals this year is to see all of my clients fully experiencing the EOS® life too.

After my experience, the bubbly has gone to my head. I’m so excited about how powerful the annual planning session is, now that I have seen it freshly from the inside. So now, if you see me around town talking to someone and gesturing wildly, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

I hope your year is off to a great start, and I wish you all the joys, along with the necessary agony, of creative planning and implementation!

If not, Contact Me for a complimentary 90 Minute introduction!

 

 

Posted in: Planning

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Leader, Master Your Craft!

Master your craftSometime last year it went quietly cathunk.

Client sessions were flowing, and fascinating. When we hit a danger point, I was deep into not knowing the answers. Sessions left me bone-tired and energized. It took me a few months to notice! I tried to figure out what had happened – who wouldn’t want to be able to replicate that? Then it came to me. I did a bit of back-of-napkin calculating.

Malcolm Gladwell famously said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master a skill. Whether that is the real number, and how to define practice, is hotly debated among expertise scientists (nerd out here) but it gave me a starting point to clarify my experience. Sometime last year I crossed the 10,000-hour mark. 10,000 hours of being in front of leadership teams of SMBs as a consultant, coach, facilitator, teacher, head-banger. I had crossed from journeyman to master of my craft. Like any true master I am deeply aware of how much I still need to learn, hone, refine. I am also aware of how many skills I have, of how they fit together, of the nuances I have at my finger tips and the care and immediacy with which I can apply them. This newfound confidence breeds more confidence, and a sure skill with the scalpel or the balm. It is extraordinarily fun!

My craft is implementing a system that brings members of leadership teams to mastery.

My clients’ craft is leading and managing their teams to bring them to mastery.

Inherent in all this is our ongoing journey to mastery. Pick a leadership skill today to practice, to drill yourself on the way you would run laps to prepare for a game. Notice how well you lead a meeting, then do a post-game analysis. What went well? What could you have done better?

This is the path to mastery, and the path of the master. Have fun with it, and your work will be infused with the joy of learning from experiences that could otherwise be perceived as overwhelming problems.


 

If you need help mastering your craft, Contact me for a complimentary 90 Minute introduction!

Posted in: Leadership

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Great Culture = Unexpected Sale

EOS Culture Brings Success!

“Where are you? We miss you! Does your new firm want our business?” Tom, the COO of Erin’s best client at her former firm had tracked her down.

They needed their large volume of data managed accurately and on time, which Erin does spectacularly well.  Tom and Erin had gotten to know each other during an intense project he had led.  She moved to another provider because she didn’t feel anyone really respected her work, and had been with my client just 5 months.  Now, how would a technician who is not a sales person, handle this conversation?  And how would the promise that had led her to change companies be feeling to her after 5 hard months in the trenches?

One of the things I’m most proud of about my EOS® clients is that the system allows them to easily translate the founder’s enthusiasm throughout the whole organization.  In this case, the leadership team had done a great job of building fanatical execution and fun into what otherwise could be pretty dreary work.  Erin was excited to raise issues in regular Level 10 meetings™ when something interfered with her getting her work done well.  Her response to Tom?   “I LOVE these guys!  You’ll love them too.  Here’s Mitch’s contact info, and I’ll give him yours.”  She even told him what their three unique attributes in the industry were.  Pretty good for someone who’s not in sales!

Mitch and his team now have the delightful challenge of integrating a new customer that will add 10% to their revenue – just like that!

His take on it? He, who prides himself on his great sales ability?  “We do all the sales and marketing in the world trying to reach customers like this, and then they come in through a technician because our culture is so good!  Humbling!  Awesome!”

Would you like to build your marketing strategy so that every level of your organization helps you grow clients?  Let me show you how! Contact me for a complimentary 90 Minute introduction.

Posted in: Culture, Marketing, Sales

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It’s So Hard To Breathe In

Get back in the saddle!And not just because I’m walking through Atlanta’s rich, muggy August air.

This is a time of schedule transition for many of my clients as we all shift from the pace of summer to school and autumn sports schedules. Projects are facing fewer vacation delays, end-of-year sales and revenue goals are coming into focus. Now is the time to gear up, push hard, race to the finish line.

But…

Before you do…

May I suggest a deep breath in? Regularly! I know you’re busy, and your mind is clicking off a wide circle of “Must-Do’s”. Mine is too. Being productive all the time is like breathing out all the time. Sooner rather than later, your brain and muscles will be oxygen-starved.

It was so hard to pause and take a walk this morning and just breathe. No podcasts. No music. No sorting of priorities. Just breathe. Check out the engine. How’s it going, me? This week’s schedule didn’t flow well; it’s Friday and I’m still working on Tuesday’s priority. The weekend doesn’t have a lot of expansion time in the family schedule to catch up on work. I’m panicky around the edges here.

In EOS®, we talk about the frustration a leadership team feels when they hit a ceiling. It’s true for individuals too. My first response is always to work harder, push, prioritize, dig in! (Sound familiar?) Counter-intuitively, the busier you are the more important it is to take a Clarity Break™. It’s best to have a regular time on your schedule where you meet with yourself and get still. What I learned this morning is that it is also important to listen to that quiet internal voice that is saying “Whoa!! Slow down here horsey. You’re going a million miles an hour in five directions; you’re so confused you don’t even know which path to take.” (Yes, sometimes my still, small voice has to talk to me like it would to a 5-year old.)

So I walked. I breathed in. I reconnected with myself. It took all of 20 minutes. I’m clear about what really is important today, and what can, actually, wait. Less panicky, more productive.

Want to learn more about Clarity Breaks™ and a whole system of simple, practical tools to make running your company more sane, more productive and more fun? Let’s set up a time to talk. If our discussion helps you, then perhaps the EOS® Process could be a good fit for you.

Here to Help!

Lynda

Posted in: Planning, Time Management

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Heart and Soul Part IV: Practice Oxygen Mask Leadership!

“My favorite flight instructions are those concerning the need for an oxygen mask. Passengers are told ‘If you are flying with a small child or with someone who made need assistance, put your oxygen mask on first, then assist them with theirs.”

shutterstock_172220423-smallThe first time I heard this, I wondered if I would be able to do it – you know, put my mask on first, and THEN help my child with hers.

What kind of mother do you think I am?!

Then I realized that if I did not get the oxygen I needed, neither of us would and we’d end up passed out in the seat, helpless.

That happens in the day to day. We sometimes get lost in the demands, the requests, trying to do our best and keep everyone happy.

And before you know it, we feel like we need some oxygen! With needs always calling our names, it’s very easy to get caught up in the rapids of the river of responsibility.”  Robin Lewis

When was the last time you took a Clarity Break™???

(Don’t know what a “Clarity Break™” is? Click on the link above to find out!)

 

Continue reading…

Heart and Soul Part I: The Real Engine of Business

Heart and Soul Part II: Ineffective Sacrifice

Heart and Soul Part III: Case Study – Return to Joy

Posted in: Business Coaching

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Heart and Soul Part III: Case Study – Return to Joy

shutterstock_101027878Susan burst into tears as she closed the door to her car. In its shelter she could let go for a moment because she was away from everyone she was trying to keep as a client, or on track, or motivated, or just plain not upset. After a day of running from meeting to meeting, she was hungry and hurting – so much sitting had aggravated her back issues and it had been months since she did her regular physical therapy exercises. She briefly put her head on the steering wheel, wondering if she had any reserves lefteo to face the traffic and get home to the string of emails waiting for her. She could handle the phone calls from her marketing VP and field manager on the drive. Hopefully. And hopefully Ted would have the kids bathed and fed. Hopefully. Otherwise, well, another deep breath. Turn the key. Get moving. Again.

When I met Susan, her reserves were spent. She wanted to get the high-end home remodeling business in good enough shape to get out. When her Dad was alive, she had envisioned this time of her life with such joy – to have been so successful in taking over from him, to have expanded their footprint to three of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Atlanta, to have weathered the Great Recession and to be profitable was a dream come true. If only she had the energy to smile about it. Her attention to detail was what made her company sought after by very particular (OK, let’s just say it – high maintenance) clients. It was also why she couldn’t seem to let go or hire the right people or keep the good ones.

Fast forward a year after implementing EOS®:
Business is booming (Atlanta’s a crazy home market right now) and Susan is smiling.

“At first it was really hard to take the time, the thought of taking my whole leadership team away from the business for a whole day was terrifying. But on that first day, the Focus Day™, Lynda taught us tools that immediately began to take the chaos out of my days. A month later, at our second meeting, I was confronted with how my strong self-reliance made it impossible for people to know what I really needed, or where we were going as a company (it wasn’t that clear then, but now I see what we accomplished in that meeting!).

Now, things are still really busy and I still have some really hard days, but I don’t want to sell. I can let go to other people better now, and be sure they’ll take care of things. It was a little embarrassing to realize how off-balance I had gotten. I’m still on the journey back to myself – working out, eating better, seeing the kids and my husband more, but it’s been a long time since I put my head on the steering wheel and cried!”

Try it yourself! Contact me for a free 90-minute consultation.

 

Catch up on this blog series:

Heart and Soul Part I: The Real Engine of Business

Heart and Soul Part II: Ineffective Sacrifice

Posted in: Case Studies

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Heart and Soul Part II: Ineffective Sacrifice

Ineffective Sacrifice: A common mistake – not feeding yourself

shutterstock_377257303-300We in the USA are inordinately proud of how hard we work, and in business especially we have perfected the humble brag about our long days. Then comes the moment when we realize we’ve worked ourselves into a trap. Whether a sudden health crisis or dawning realization that we’re regularly missing daily life’s important rhythms with our family, that moment is a gift. If we sacrifice our health on any level to “success” we will find success has slipped through our fingers. Everyone reading this knows someone, if not themselves, who has had that experience.

But what to do??? There isn’t enough time in the day.

137 things demand immediate attention. And, having been batting at those incoming 137 things for a year or more, we’re just too tired to think straight.

AHA! That is exactly the key to getting out of the trap. Too tired to think straight means:
• poor prioritizing
• costly bad decisions
• missed opportunities

In that clouded state of mind, the first thing to go is ourselves. We cut corners on sleep, don’t drink enough water, eat poorly and forget we ever had a workout routine or a real social life. Just until the crisis is over, we tell ourselves. A then a year goes by…and another…

So, here’s the way out – pick something small to start with. Just one little thing to feed yourself well today. Do it again tomorrow. And the next day. As you begin to recover yourself, it will get easier to:
• Set clear priorities that make better use of your time and energy
• Make good decisions that give you wind in your sails
• See opportunities that were lost in the fog of your frantic busyness

Simple, right? But not easy. Try it, stick to it. Let me know how it goes. It could not only save your life, your marriage and your business but restore your joy.

You need to simultaneously build a system for your business so that you can delegate and truly, safely let go. Get some help – and since you are the heart and soul of your business, it will unleash good growth! I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Want to experience that?

Here’s an introduction to the simplest, best system I know of for making your dreams reality.

Download a free chapter of Traction and start now!

 

Read More:

Heart and Soul Part I: The Real Engine of Business

Heart and Soul Part III: Case Study – Return to Joy

Posted in: Planning

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Heart and Soul Part I: The Real Engine of Business

shutterstock_274660976School’s out and graduations are over. The flow of daily life has changed for my clients with school-aged children. Empty-nesters face bigger changes. It seems everyone begins to ask questions about what is commonly called “work-life balance.”

I prefer to see this as a question posed by our busy lives:

“Which strands and colors do you weave into your tapestry today – and is the composition one that you love?”

The real engine of small business is the heart and soul of its leaders, and its employees. In EOS®, we teach everyone to take regular Clarity Breaks™ to allow downtime that slows the busyness long enough for clear thinking to break through! A rhythm of regular breaks – whether daily, weekly or monthly – will renew your energy, clarify your focus, and help you remember what’s really important.

This time of year is when I do an annual Clarity Break™. As many of my clients are responding to changing family needs, they are asking important questions about how they allocate their own time and energy. Since it’s my birthday month, I flow right along and take a personal inventory with the intent of using what I learn to live my best life in the year to come.

This year I’ve learned, more deeply than ever on multiple fronts, that the condition of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health has everything to do with how well my business runs, and with how well I serve my clients. I encourage you to use the natural rhythms of slowing down for the heat of summer to take stock and do what you need to feed the heart and soul, the engine, of your business – you!

If you want to talk about how to build the EOS® life – doing what you love with people you love, having an impact, earning good compensation, and having time and energy for other passions – call (404-697-5212) or write to me at lmartin@goodwingrowth.com. I’d love to help!

Posted in: Planning

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SoapBox: Atlanta Growth, Next Gen and Income Disparity

soap boxImpressive growth agenda from Hala Moddelmog, CEO and President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber in her recent Buckhead Club appearance. It’s exciting to think about what we can accomplish as a business community, and that these three things are high on the radar of many leaders here.

Fair warning though – her Atlanta boosterism (a centuries old tradition here) and soapbox stands have activated mine!

There are five hot areas of world growth for jobs and GDP; Atlanta is carving a big swath in all of them.

 
• Fintech – 70% of the world’s credit transactions have ATL back-office handlers
• Cyber Security – 25% of the world’s is here, and we’re partnering with the best in Israel
• Mobility – it is not too much to say our fair city is North America’s capital
• Health IT – again, the capital, with 225 start ups trying solutions for this highly disrupted sector
• Film and TV – #3 in the country, #5 in the world. Crazy number of studios being built and at capacity before they open their doors!

Our job as business leaders is to encourage businesses at all stages of growth that are in or supporting these sectors.

Next Gen (they don’t like to be called millennials) are already 50% of our workforce, and will be 75% soon.

For those of you who have been kvetching about them, I’d like to say, with all due love and respect – get over it! We want them!

There is a general drive among this age group (roughly 19-35 years old) to want to fix problems. Aren’t there plenty of those? Don’t we want to do everything we can to unleash the talent and energy of our next generation?

Atlanta’s leadership wants them to move here and feed our tech industries, buy their homes, raise their children. The Metro Chamber put on a great effort at South by Southwest this year to raise awareness of all we have to offer and get this upcoming generation of leaders to Choose ATL.

Finally – and here’s the real soapbox…

Atlanta is recognized all over the world for its social justice history, and is the headquarters of many world famous institutions working to better the lot of humankind. We are also a leader in income disparity. A person born in poverty here has a 3-4% chance of moving up. Here, in the city that’s consistently recognized as one of the best to do business in. We know that low pay can generate higher profit, but, as Hala pointed out, that’s short-sighted. We need skilled, healthy workers who can focus on their work, not worry about a roof over their heads. Ultimately, for our businesses to thrive, they need a thriving economy. And a thriving economy needs a well-functioning society.

The owners I work with want to be contributors to both their communities and their bottom lines. It can be a supportive circle that truly lifts all boats. I am thrilled to see the Metro Chamber speaking out and working to address the costs of great income disparity to us all.

Posted in: Multi Generation Workforce, SoapBox

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