3 Life-Changing Habits of High Performers

High performers

When it comes to being successful, high achievers have a number of habits in common. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be right up there with them.

Here are three qualities all successful people share and how you can make them your own:

1. Say ‘no’ to distraction. Every. Single. Time. Successful people make better use of their time because they are disciplined goal-setters. I’m referring to those high performers who experience no down-time. Sure, there are vacations and time spent with the family, but that comes after success has been achieved.

Successful people have that same list of tasks to accomplish as anyone else, but the difference is they make time to get them all done with no excuses. They may not enjoy it, but that is irrelevant. What matters is that it gets done. They are disciplined in planning their work and sticking to their plan.

Even when you’ve achieved that level of success, the work doesn’t stop. I am always on the lookout for a great, profitable investment. I might be out with my family, but my brain is always aware of business opportunities around me. I don’t just shut it off when I’m not at work.

2. Read something new everyday. Successful people read constantly, find mentors who can teach them and value new information that can help push them forward. Whatever field you are in, you have to learn before you earn. Learn your product, customers and competition. And then: keep learning.

3. Flaunt your failures like a champ. Fail as many times as you can. Everyone fails. It’s part of life. Too many people take failure as a sign it’s time for them to give up. Those people don’t get very far. What sets successful people apart is the ability to get up and give it another go with a better plan for how to be successful the next time around.

If you want to embrace the habits of successful people, you’ve got to make the change within yourself first.

BY 

6 Secrets to Hiring and Retaining Great Employees

1 GiraffesDrupal Connect’s founder John Florez drives the fast growth of his company by stacking his team with top tier talent. Here’s what he looks for when hiring for his Drupal development company and how he keeps them excited about coming in each day.

peacock
Hire Awesome Personalities

Hire people who are not only awesome talents, but awesome to be around as well! You’re building a team; each member has to be able to work well within a collaborative environment. Hiring someone who is talented but a “lone wolf” is a risky and potentially costly endeavor.

2 Monkey
Positive People Are Contagious

Hire cool people who have a positive outlook on life. The employee you want to take on is someone you can share a beer with at the end of the day. Positive attitudes spread, and ultimately come to define your company as a whole.

3 Dog and Frisbee
Keep People Excited About Work

Be a leader who is welcoming and positive, and sees the best in each of their employees. This attitude will trickle down and make for a more positive work experience overall. People want to wake up each morning excited about coming to work. It’s important for a leader to create an environment and culture that people are proud and excited about.

4 Chipmunk
Don’t Nickel-and-Dime Your Employees

Be mindful of the bottom line – but not at the expense of nickel-and-diming! These are tough times for a lot of people out there. But let’s face it: no one wants to work for a cheap boss.

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Coach Your Leaders

Coach your leaders, but don’t manage them. If you find yourself managing your top people, you’re doing something wrong. You’re not inspiring, and you’re therefore not bringing out the best in your lead employees. If you properly coach your leaders by bringing out their best qualities, they will in turn coach those reporting to them.

6 Hippo
Avoid Stagnation

Make constant growth a priority, and encourage your team to contribute to this evolution. Your company is a living, breathing organism that needs to be fed and nurtured, and employees need to be able to contribute to this growth process. For example, six months ago, a team member suggested we create a support and maintenance program to offer to our clients. Today, this program is a thriving and growing part of our company, accounting for 20% of our overall business!

This Dog Don’t Hunt

dog, executive ideas, chief executive officer, CEO, consulting ideas, Sharon Jenks, Ed Jenks, Jenks Group Blog

About five years ago, and definitely against my better judgment, I agreed with my wife’s idea to adopt a fourth dog into our household. Stella came to us when she was seven. Beat up, malnourished, broken leg and on top of the physical trauma, she absolutely hated men moving me right to the top of her watch list. A purebred American Foxhound, she was a beautiful dog and clearly of value to someone. As we searched her past we found she had been part of one of the few remaining hunt groups in the United States. As a hunt dog, she was part of a pack of hounds that chased foxes, mountain lions and coyotes accompanied by a Hunt Club of Riders and their mounts bounding over jumps along the way.
I was finally able to contact one of the handlers of the pack kennel where Stella had been born and raised and offered them the story of how she had been found in the woods alone, broken up, and near dead. The response was very simple; Stella had decided to stop hunting left the pack and therefore had been abandoned by the club on the spot. We were free to keep her or put her down and that was the end of the conversation.
Recently I attended a summit of Venture Capital folks and it was a really good day. It featured success stories of great partnerships, numerous presentations by eager entrepreneurs seeking financing for ideas or concepts, and a host of short topic speakers full of sage advice for an eager audience. There were presentations outlining the new funds, found money, the state of the VC industry, and even a few economic statistics for us to interpret as if we really understood them. There was however, one thing missing…
We have all attended our share of these functions and they are critical to the success of our industry; bringing us together and opening dialogue between otherwise almost sequestered independent operators competing for the same consumption community. We all inherently have something in common however that is typically not discussed; we don’t share our “This Dog Don’t Hunt” stories. My rule of thumb, after being in and around this business for the past 25 years, is that if you have more than one company in your portfolio, you have at least a 50/50 chance of owning something that is not producing at the level of your entry assumptions. We tend to bury those dogs quietly while showcasing the one or two that really hit it out of the park. I have often thought that it would be interesting to have a forum for companies to attend that could openly discuss those “dogs that don’t hunt”.
Checking ego’s at the door, wouldn’t it be interesting to have a dozen of your contemporaries review your “dog” and your entry assumptions for validation? Wouldn’t it be great to have an influx of new ideas from your community who all have the same expectations for returns that you do? The wealth of support and creativity that would be available to you certainly has the potential to turn that “dog” into a champion. No one benefits from an underperforming portfolio company; it certainly doesn’t help you attract new money, it takes valuable time away from your team, and most of all, it doesn’t allow you to fulfill the promises you made to your investors making future rounds more difficult to attain. This is also just from the fund side; it’s not much fun to be an executive on the other side either creating a lose/lose relationship.
I’ve spent my career with the dogs and I’m always amazed at what I find once we get them vet checked, the right nutritional program, some caring attention, and a firm hand on the lead that knows when to change direction, when to listen, and when to run. After having Stella for 7 years, I can’t say that she trusts me; we’re still working on that. But I will tell you that I have a hell of a dog whose head is up, she now runs in the same direction I do, she’s comfortable with the words I offer her, and she recently learned to shake hands after offering mine to her every single morning for five years. As a turn-around guy, that’s about as good as it gets.
Ed Jenks is a 25 year C-Suite Executive, a CEO turn-around specialist, Executive Coach and currently Sr Business Strategist at TJGI Consulting. Jenks resides in Solana Beach CA with his wife and business Partner of fifteen years Sharon who is one of the Nation’s leading Executive Behaviorists as well as a professional canine trainer.

 

Which of These 4 Types of Managers Are You?

which-these-4-types-managers-are-you

When it comes to management style, many think they can spot an introverted or extroverted manager a mile away. However, within those broad categories are more nuanced interaction styles that can have a direct impact on how an individual manages employees, says Kimberly Gerber, founder of Irvine, Calif. leadership coaching and communication firm Excelerate. Four common types include:

In Charge: This typically extroverted manager has a direct language preference. He or she is comfortable telling people what to do. Those around this manager tend to be responsive to that take-charge style. This person naturally gravitates toward the head of the table and is a little more formal in his or her relationships. Heavily focused on numbers and processes, these managers tend to want to set achievable goals — those that can clearly be accomplished.

Chart the Course: More likely to be introverted and less comfortable being put on the spot, this leader doesn’t like surprises, says Gerber. Unlike the In Charge type who is concerned with the big-picture of “where we’re going” vision, this type of manager is more concerned with how to get there. Chart the Course managers are planners and want to make sure that everyone is on-board and moving in the same direction.

They tend to be very friendly with a direct style and inclusive in gathering input and feedback. However, don’t mistake the Chart the Course manager as soft — he or she has little tolerance for those who are off-plan or not up to snuff performance-wise. Chart the Course managers set an achievable result with careful planning and anything less is failure.

Behind the Scenes: Another typically introverted type, the Behind the Scenes manager shuns the spotlight in favor of data. This type of manager makes consultative decisions and needs a great deal of input from different sources to be comfortable with those choices. Interaction is often small-scale and this manager motivates more individually than his or her more outspoken counterparts, eschewing confrontation. The downside of this collaborative approach is that it takes longer to make decisions and get things done. This manager wants the best possible result based on all of the information available.

Get Things Going: Another extrovert, this manager is the life of the party, Gerber says. Gregarious and well-liked, the Get Things Going manager wants everyone to be as enthusiastic about the plan and outcome as he or she is. This manager intuitively understands that work gets done through people and that harmony facilitates productivity. But don’t mistake them for emotion-ruled — they understand what needs to be done, even if they’re not the most goal-oriented managers. They look for a result that is embraced by the team.

Understanding these types can help you both recognize these qualities in yourself and better understand the managers you have working for you, Gerber says.

Seven Ways to Make Your Strategic Planning Relevant

strategy, planning, leadership, budgeting

One of the most important shifts in many companies today is the move toward a capabilities-driven strategy. Companies that define a “way to play,” lined up with a handful of key differentiating capabilities that deliver on that value proposition, have a definite competitive advantage. Your own company may have redesigned your strategy accordingly. Now it’s time to execute.

Undoubtedly, you already have a planning and performance management system—otherwise known as a strategic plan and corporate budget. This is a group of deeply ingrained methods for allocating costs and tracking. Even as the top executive team embraces a capabilities-driven strategy, the planning and performance management system tends to remain unchanged. That’s because traditional budgeting planning practices were designed with other priorities in mind. They tend to foster silo-based thinking and to spread investments across all activities. That makes them irrelevant to your strategy—at best. At worst, they will undermine the development of key capabilities. Yet they tend to be so entrenched, combining so many of the formal and informal drivers of behavior in a company, that you may find it difficult to change them.

A truly relevant planning and performance management system will help you instill the discipline and accountability to make hard choices. It will make it easier, not harder, to assign the lion’s share of investment to your differentiating capabilities. And it will keep things on track with clearly articulated objectives and performance metrics. Here are seven guiding principles that will help you put such a system into place:

1. Emphasize key capabilities in your strategic plan. Look beyond short-term marketplace opportunities and challenges. Articulate what you need to do, different from what any other company can do, to deliver on the company’s unique value proposition. Tie strategic objectives to those capabilities. For example, one bank recognized a major opportunity to build its business by selling across product lines. Developing a robust client analytics capability was a requirement. By naming this capability in their strategic plan, the bank’s leaders forced themselves to lay out the steps needed to achieve their long-term goal.

2. Spell out capability-building initiatives in the plan. Design roadmaps for developing and steadily upgrading specific capabilities over time. Then, in each annual plan thereafter, spell out how you can further advance these capability-building initiatives. The leaders of a mining conglomerate, for instance, realized that they could increase production output by rolling out new standards across their portfolio of subsidiaries. That required a series of initiatives: one each for measurement, reporting, IT, best-practice methodologies, and training. Developing the initiative roadmap provided an actionable plan for the management team to build the capability over time.

3. Manage discretionary and non-discretionary spending separately. A successful strategy concentrates investment dollars where they are needed most: the company’s distinctive capabilities. Traditional budgeting can undermine this goal by allowing individual units to spend discretionary dollars as they see fit—often favoring pet projects, even if they have no strategic relevance. To prevent this, use zero-based budgeting to determine the amount of non-discretionary expenditures needed to “keep the lights on” throughout the company. The rest of your spending should go through a management process, connected directly to the strategic plan.

4. Use cross-functional governance to balance company priorities against the priorities of individual business areas. Governance forums should use a set of clearly defined decision rights on a regular basis to steer the business. A transportation company relied on a common information technology infrastructure across all of its business units. Every year, each business unit submitted IT investment requests to an investment committee panel composed of business unit and support function leaders. Its cross-functional organizational design enabled the panel to best decide how to allocate scarce resources for initiatives that would generate the best return for the enterprise. Some of the enterprise opportunities would not have been captured if business unit leaders were the only decision makers on IT.

5. Create guidelines for evaluating investment demands. Your company is subject to a range of investment demands with varying degrees of relevance to strategic priorities. Detailed investment guidelines will help assess these requests, especially when you’re balancing “apples and oranges” demands (such as regulatory compliance expenditures versus capital spending proposals). Each year, for example, the managers of a moderate-sized but much-used airport have to choose just a few of many investment requests—balancing safety, strategy, operations, and regulatory arguments. Establishing a clear set of communicated guidelines allows the airport leaders to focus on higher-return projects. Knowing the reasons for the choices encourages everyone, including those whose proposals didn’t get funded, to engage and execute with more focus on the winning initiatives.

6. Give leaders cross-functional authority to build capabilities and hold them accountable. Capability-building efforts fail when nobody has the authority to carry them out. Help individual leaders build capability systems across functional lines by making sure others can see that they have the requisite decision rights and position. For example, remember the bank building out its analytics capability. This required coordinating resources to develop a solution across product lines and IT. An empowered leader was authorized to manage resources, initiate investments, and manage delivery across the organization matrix to build the capability.

7. Measure and reward progress. Building a strategic capability can often take months or years. Explain clearly how each initiative bolsters a critical capability. Establish objectives and milestones for each initiative. Use these benchmarks to measure and reward progress toward the ultimate goal: a market-leading capability.

A more relevant planning and performance management system yields significant long-term benefits, because it continuously evaluates your company’s performance against strategic goals. The performance benchmarks tell you where and how external changes are affecting your progress. This provides a real-time snapshot of your capabilities at work in the marketplace. Strengths and weaknesses become clear, informing your investment decisions for the next strategic planning cycle. After a few years, this virtuous feedback loop can become second nature, paving the way for real collective mastery of the capabilities that distinguish your company.  – Matthew Siegel  s+b