How To Make Pressure Work For You

There is a balance point where pressure changes from positive to negative and there is also a point where pressure becomes ineffective.

Knowing what these points are for you and your sales team in critical in achieving sustained levels of high performance.

 

Business Lessons From Mountain Biking #2 – What is your Sales speed?

The speed at which you approach situations matters. The speed at which you manage others matters.

In this short video, Business Coach Jamie Cunningham shares some mountain biking analogies and shows how your sales speed can affect your outcomes.

 

All About Brain Dump…And Why You Need it in Your Day

I define a successful day as one where I get a lot of stuff done, I don’t feel overwhelmed by it, and I have fun doing it. Simple in theory, very difficult in execution, right?

There is a great way I start my day which helps me clear my head and begin the day with a concrete idea of where I’m going. I’m talking about Brain Dump.

What is brain dump? Well, it’s simply this. Taking 5-10 minutes every morning (wherever is convenient for you) and writing down everything that’s in your head. Get it all out on paper and then have a good look at it. If you look at the list and aren’t overcome with a tightening in your chest, then this list is a good indicator of your to-do list for the day. If you get it all out and panic sets in, then this enables you to see things in a concrete way and allows you to break down your items one-by-one so you can decide which items can be put off, passed on or delegated to achieve success.

Try it for a week. You won’t be disappointed. And – if you need some help with planning in the long-term – check out our free 90-Day Planning tool to help get you started. Make it a great day 🙂

Business Lessons From the Bike Trail #1 – Knowing Where to Focus

There’s a basic object to enjoying a safe ride on a mountain bike: Look where your going.

While the same can be said for business, it’s amazing how many people focus on the obstacles in front of them instead of focusing on the track, but when you fixate on the obstacles which are in your way – they tend to magnify – which makes your changes of hitting one fairly high.

The same goes for them you start riding faster on the trail. The faster you go (ie: the more you grow) the further down the track you need to look. Just don’t look so far down the track that you get blindsided from something you didn’t see just up ahead.

Have a think about your business. How far down the track are you looking? What obstacles do you face that you could find the answer to if you just ventured to look a little beyond them? Are you getting blindsided by other things that are stopping you from making progress?

The Secret to Managing Attitudes at Work

The number one stressors in business are (and may always be) money, and people. In fact, you likely know first hand how much emotional energy and loss of team synergy is wasted on a member of your team that just doesn’t fit the bill.

It turns out – the key to managing attitudes in the workplace is as simple as communication and follow-up. Sounds easy, right? Well it can be more difficult that you expect to implement, but once the expectations are set, it can become remarkably easy to keep momentum in your team.

The tools we need start with creating our core value and culture. You see, if expectations for every member of your organization aren’t clear, and we don’t hold people accountable, you will always have an organizational culture that is driven by the quality of people within it.

A good starting point is to check out “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business“, by Patrick Lencioni it is a fantastic read about the concrete advantage that can be gained by having a healthy organization.

 

The Reality of Open Book Management

Truthfully, this is just one reality .. but a good one at that 🙂

Norm Jefferies of Computer Merchants has been running his company for over 20 yrs and I think it’s fair to say, he’s doing a damn fine job at it.

Norm and his team adopted the philosophy of Open  Book Management (OBM) at an early stage and it has become a key part of their culture.

In this interview, Norm shares how they implemented OBM and what the benefits and challenges have been of sharing the numbers within the team. We dive into the specific of day-to-day tactics, how OBM affects performance and how they make it a living and effective tool to align the team.

If you are thinking of implementing Open Book Management or are on the other side and think it’s crazy, either way you’ll get some direct benefit of learning from Norm’s experience.

Enjoy!


 

Links from the interview:

Computer Merchants website – http://www.computermerchants.com.au/

Norm on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/normjefferies

The Great Game of Business – http://greatgame.com/

Ownership thinking – http://www.ownershipthinking.com/

A Better Alternative to New Years Resolutions

Most people acknowledge that New Year’s resolutions rarely work, so why do we keep making them? Is it a moment of drunken utopia that makes us believe that this year is going to be different?
The truth is, Jan 1st is just another day in the calendar. There is nothing magical about it. I know that sounds a bit deflating. Sure, it comes with the perception that you get a clean slate (and I’m all for taking advantage of that) but that is it. So why do we think a ‘resolution’ is going to work on Jan 1st vs. any other date on the calendar?
The reason most resolutions don’t work is because there is no emotional substance behind them. The plan to go to the gym and workout 4 times a week takes some serious dedication. Most people won’t do it because it requires a massive change in habits and the payoff is not entirely clear. The gym resolution is based more out of pain and fear (“I look like crap in front of a mirror”) vs passion and excitement.
My goal here is to give you a more concrete strategy to make your business and your life better
There are three things that must exist for a plan to be well executed. They are:
  1. Emotional leverage.
  2. Tools and skills.
  3. Visibility / Accountability.
(note: I’m now talking about plans and not resolutions. And the first ingredient to make a plan work is to actually have a plan ????. I’m not going to be talking about how to create your plan here. For more on that topic read my post creating 90-day plans or the importance of planning)
Emotional Leverage – is the ‘why’ behind your plan.
Why do you want it?
What is it going to do for you?
How important is that to you?
Your answers to these questions must add up and offset the level of difficulty in sticking to your plan. In other words if you are not really clear on the payoff, you are likely to quit or fall off the plan as you come up against obstacles. If the pain of not achieving your goal is less than the pleasure from hitting your goal … you’ll quit every time.
The way I do this, is I get my wife and kids involved in setting our family goals. Then together we work to build our vision board (a board with pictures representing the things we want to ‘be’, ‘do’ and ‘have’). These are both individual and family based. One of the ‘have’ items on our vision board right now is a pool in our backyard. And every other night or so, as we are putting the kids to bed, we role play how it would be to have the pool, like it is already there. During this process we get a feeling that builds within us. It’s an excitement and it give me fuel during the day when I’m going about executing my plan. Believe me, having your kids asking daily “how’s the pool coming along Dad?” is potent fuel for action.
Does it work. Hell yes. I’m using it right now. For me, writing like I’m doing here, is one of those tasks that will easily fall on the procrastination pile. So to make it happen I think of my kids playing in the pool. It makes me move!
Tools and skills – when you are awesome at something, it is much more fun to do. Simply because it is easy. So to make executing on your plan easier, get better at the things on your plan. The more you invest in your own education and betterment, the easier life becomes. The question to answer is – “what 2 or 3 skills are going to be critical to this plan succeeding”. Then develop some methods for improving (reading books, practice, attending a course etc). Just think, if you invested in improving 1 or 2 skills every 90-days, how much could you improve over the course of a year? What about 5yrs? Oh yeh … this is where the gold really lies.
Visibility and Accountability – Even if you have strong emotional leverage and you have all the tools and skills you need to be successful, sometimes we just don’t make the best choices with our time. (i.e. we get distracted – it happened to me yesterday as I passed too close to a bike shop and I got sucked right in ???? ) and caught up in things that are not key to our progress.
My suggestion for you here is have your goals and key activities clearly posted where you can see them. I use my 90-day plan format and have it posted on my wall in my office. Our family vision board is where we eat every meal. It is all front and centre so it’s very hard to forget. I also take tasks from my 90-day plan and have them posted right in my calendar so I know exactly what I’m supposed to be working on and when. My last tool is one I call ‘The Sales Game’ and it is a points system based on certain activities I know need to be done to grow my business. It sits on my desk and is very obvious. It serves as a constant reminder as of what I should be working on.
Having someone you are accountable to also helps. You really should have others involved in your plan anyway so it becomes easy for others to see what should be getting done. I’m not a big fan of people checking in on me (I know when I’m behind, having people ask me just pisses me off). What works for me is making commitments to people. I really feel bad when I don’t keep my commitments. Know what form of accountability works for you and use it to your advantage. Want an app solution? Check out www.coachme.com
Some things to remember before you run off – executing on an idea is way harder than coming up with the idea. Sticking with a plan is way more important than having the perfect plan. Use these tools and strategies to truly make this your best year. I’d love to hear your success stories. Email me jamie@jamiecunningham.com

Are you Ignoring a Better Version of Yourself?

The great thing about the world we live in, is that we don’t need to look too far to find out where we need to improve. All around us, the world is giving us feedback which can guide us on the actions and decisions which will generate a better business and a better life.

In the world of business the feedback comes from our customers, suppliers, website, comments on your blog (or lack of – see below), bank account etc. In your personal life, it may be a spouse, your kids, your friends, acquaintances…

Now the trick to this feedback is that it may not be coming to you in an obvious way. In fact it may not be given to you directly at all. More often than not you have to actively look for it. It might be in what someone is not saying or what is not happening as much as what is.

This is not a complicated science. You don’t need a degree to be able to translate and decipher it. But you do need to be aware and in tune with the people and events around you.

Take for instance your spouse. Are they smiling at you, giving you non-verbal cues that they feel loved, or are they distant and detached? Are your customers giving you referrals, written testimonials? Are they haggling about price or are they willing to pay a little more based on the value they perceive?

It is common to see this kind of feedback as one-off events or something that’s beyond our control. In fact, the reverse is true. Every event around us is a reflection of us. It’s a reflection on how we think, on the quality of our actions, and it’s a reflection on the value we are creating.

One of my favorite feedback mechanisms is the bank account. Now money is not the only measure, I realise that, but in the world of business it is a critical measure and one that does not lie. It is hard to say you are doing well if your account is empty. And if the account is healthy, it may be an indicator you are on the right track

Another favourite mechanism it to look at your team. Do you have long term employees or is there constant turnover? Have you investigated the reasons for turnover? Is there as much smiling in your workplace as you’d like to see. This feedback is more subte but equally meaningful.

The lesson (and I’m writing this as much for myself as for you) is to conduct life and business with our eyes open. Receive the information and feedback that we are getting from even the non-obvious sources. And use it to create positive change within ourselves that will inevitably bring positive change in our businesses and lives.

Feature Image Source: Flikr/Peter

Are You Feeling Dangerous or Defeated?

When you experienced your most recent success—think back to how you were feeling leading up to that event.

Were you feeling skeptical, afraid, or tentative? Or were the feelings more like ‘confident, excited, anticipation’?

It might sound like a silly question. You might be thinking “well of course I was feeling good”.

Well, the next question is “How important were those feelings in creating those successes?”

This second question might be harder to answer, but in my experience, most people acknowledge that when you feel good and are thinking positive, good and positive things happen. Think to a time recently when you met with someone who was trying to influence you in some way (you shouldn’t need to think too hard, we are always trying to influence each other in same way), how did their energy (an outward projection of how they are feeling internally) affect how you felt about them and what they were communicating? Did it affect you? Of course it did. It always does. You tend to get a ‘feeling’ about someone or a concept. How much you tune into that feeling will vary from person to person, but there is always a level of subconscious intuition going on.

The same goes for you. How you feel and think affects how others feel about you and how they are influenced by what you are communicating. Whether you are working on developing a team member, or trying to put a deal together, how you feel in the moment has a massive impact.

One of the philosophies I train my clients on is this:

Your Results = (Your Skillset x Your Mindset x Your Activity Level) x Your Current State.

This overriding variable in results is how you are feeling in the moment. So here’s my question to you: How do you need to be feeling to maximise the chance for success? And how do you check on this and manage it to work for you?

Here’s how I do it:

Each morning and throughout the day, I ask myself the simple question ‘Am I feeling Dangerous or Defeated?’ These are obviously words that resonate with me, but you get the idea. If the answer to that question is not “Dangerous” (meaning I’m ready to blast through brick walls) then I’ve got a few rituals I use to get into that state. I’m not always looking for a 10/10 on Dangerous scale but I definitely want to be at an 8 or higher.

If I come back with a 7 or below, here are my go-to actions to boost me up a few notches:

  • Revisit my vision and why I’m doing what I’m doing. This is by far the most powerful and sustaining of all the strategies. Keep in mind, this will only work for you if you are extremely clear on your vision (what you are working to create) and why you are doing it. See Simon Sinek’s TED talk ‘Start with WHY’ to learn more about this.
  • Review my plan. Similar to the point above, but my plan is a shorter timeframe (3-12 months) vs. my vision, which is years out.
  • Think about how I want to be remembered by my kids. This is another plan that is similar to the first point. It is a real motivator for me.
  • Exercise. This can vary between a full workout or a 5 minute walk. Usually the secret is to get the blood moving and get out from in front of the computer screen.
  • Listen to something inspiring or educational. I love listening to interviews with successful people. I also have some go-to audio books and books that lift me up a couple of notches. If you’d like some recommendations, comment below or email me jamie@jamiecunningham.com
  • Coffee. Notice this one’s down on the list. For me, if I’m in a low mental state and I have coffee, sometimes it can just make the negative thoughts happen faster (not good), so this one is used more if my energy feels sluggish. Again, not one I aim to be dependent on.

If you’ve got some strategies to add here, I’d love to hear them. Comment below and share your own successes and strategies.

Make it a great day!