Managing Change: 3-ring Binders are History!

I have a shelf of 3-ring binders full of printed information. I need them…just in case. The contents are my resource materials I use in my executive coaching practice. It’s pretty important stuff, and I probably should scan the contents to pdf so I can access the information anywhere.

So if I do scan the contents to pdf, why do I need the 3-ring binders? In a word, I don’t. And that’s the way resources and information are flowing these days: Away from the 3-ring binders and into the cloud.

Which brings me to the theme for this blog post: managing change. The world we live in is constantly changing. It’s difficult to keep up. Now that I’ve said it out loud (figuratively speaking), you can agree. Now you know that you are not the only one who feels like the world is constantly changing.

Why do the constant changes cause such turmoil in our lives? Because we don’t have the knowledge we need to adjust to the change. Or perhaps we think we don’t because we react emotionally at first. At the core of the change, what is required of us?

Learning is at the core of change. When you get right down to it, you need to learn something different than what you already know. That’s where the stress comes in.

  • When are you going to find the time?
  • How can you afford to pay for it?
  • What are you going to do about family demands?
  • If you learn this new thing, how will you change as a person?

Your cumulative life experiences provide you with a springboard for managing change. Emotion aside, you know more than you realize or accept, especially in times when you are feeling stressed by situations that appear to be out of your control. Step back, get your emotions under control, and devote some time to understanding what you can do to respond.

And above all, don’t stop learning.

Business Growth: Make the Domino Effect Work for You

As kids, we used to set up our grandmother’s dominoes in what we thought were intricate designs and then set off the chain reaction and enjoy watching those dominoes all fall down.

A couple of thoughts come to mind as I think about this:
♦ There is no one set pattern that must be followed in order to get the dominoes to fall down. The business world is much the same. We all bring our unique talents and experiences to our business tactics. The very fact that we are different from our competitors is a huge advantage to us as individuals and to the people who choose to work with us.
♦ If we don’t get the curve quite right and the domino string stops falling, we remedy the situation by resetting the dominoes so they continue to move in the direction we want the string to flow. How do we flow this concept to our business? Metrics. Measurements. Analysis. And ultimately adjustments to our business tactics so business growth occurs.

This is true: Your dominoes are falling in the exact direction you’ve set them up to fall. If you’ve hit a point where the dominoes stop falling or you don’t like the direction your dominoes are heading, make the adjustments you need to get the dominoes headed in the right direction.

How can you change the direction your dominoes are falling? Change your beliefs. One of my clients told me that she suddenly realized all the opportunities surrounding her when she started working with me. Her business is now stronger and better positioned to grow because she is seeing and taking advantage of those opportunities that were standing in front of her all the time. In effect, her dominoes had stopped falling and she reset and restarted them in the direction she wants them to go. Her business tactics support the flow of her dominoes.

Your business tactics likewise direct the flow of your string of dominoes. If your domino effect is not headed where you want it to go, the reason is your beliefs. Do an inventory of your beliefs and admit which ones are stopping the flow of your dominoes. Then change those that are stopping you and adopt new ones in order to make the domino effect work for you.

 

Business Growth: Ready or not, here comes 2013

I don’t know where November went, or October or September or the rest of 2012 for that matter, but 2012 is close to being in the history books.

We’ve seen upheaval, tumult and turmoil on a local, national, and global level. While we might think there’s more happening now than ever, that may not be accurate. We now find ourselves inundated with what is referred to as “news” 24/7/365 whether we want it or not. The words chosen by the reporters and their editors may have more to do with building viewer numbers or selling newspapers with success measured by shares and retweets rather than with the truth or the accuracy of the reporting. Chances are a lot of what’s being reported will not help you grow your business nor will it harm your business. It will just distract you.

So what can we do to manage all the noise and take control of our situation? At the core of everything we do every day, our attitude has the most to do with how we view our success. If you’re tired of the status quo, start with these steps today.

First, figure out what really affects or impacts you and your business. There’s a lot of junk being reported. Does it really mean anything to you? Probably not. And if not, why should you pay any attention to it?

Second, what do you need to know at this point in order to make 2013 turn out the way you want it to? I’m talking about business intelligence or data or education or whatever it is that you need to know. Where can you get this? When will you begin?

Third, what do your customers need that you can provide in 2013? If you don’t know, why don’t you ask them? Things wear out. Situations change. Your customers have friends and relatives who need your product or service.

Once you figure out your responses to these questions, then you can begin to move forward and grow your business towards a profitable 2013. You will probably find that these are not the only questions that will be important to you. What I’m suggesting is that you plant your feet firmly on the ground, take a look around you at what people need and you can provide, and then you get busy working with direction and purpose so that a year from now in December 2013, you can look back and truthfully say out loud that you’ve had a darn good year.

The Barr Associates Groups: How will it work?

Value through group synergy

You’ve joined one of The Barr Associates’ groups. Congratulations on taking a positive step towards your future! Now you want to have some idea of how the group sessions will work and what you can expect. Good questions! And I’m glad you’re asking. Your time is valuable, your investment in your group is important to you, and it’s important to me that you receive high value for your investment in The Barr Associates’ group you’ve joined. At the end of the day, odds are you selected a group in order to grow your business. As an adult learner, professional development through groups offers you new avenues  to explore your options and get a grip on the best steps for business growth.

You can have confidence in the materials you will be using. As an affiliate of Resource Associates Corporation, any of the materials I use in any of my groups or individual sessions are constantly used by thousands of people around the US and continuously updated to be current and relevant to the current business real world.

There are two sources for information and reinforcement for you in your group. The first is through the listening or reading that you will do outside of our group meetings and the written exercises you will complete in between sessions. The second is through the synergy you will find in the group meetings. These two sources combine to give you optimal results for the growth of your business you desire. Whenever you are considering a learning environment, you owe it to yourself to be sure you have quality written steps to follow along with the synergy of people to serve as neutral sounding boards.

Can you make the changes you desire without assistance? No. If you could, you would have done so by now.

Can you make the changes you want? Absolutely. As humans, we are versatile learners with the capacity to change and grow as individuals.

Whatever your reason for joining The Barr Associates group, welcome!

Growth in Business Starts with You

  • Begin with the outcome in mind. Where do you want to be? What does that look like? If you want more money, how much more? If you want more customers, how many more – and in what target markets? If you know you need to change employers, what kind of a position is an ideal fit for you?
  • Make this outcome relevant to you. You need to understand how your efforts to make and sustain a change will pay off. What’s in it for you? For example, if you invest in professional development or business coaching to get the support you need, your investment is worth it because it will increase your business or your income or your free time or make your work easier. Bring it right down to the present and how it will help you today. Most important, assign some numbers to this to make it worth your time and effort.
  • Stay the course and keep your eye on your outcome. Your personal accountability in the outcome you’ve identified is significant to you – and to those who depend on you. You cannot afford to allow yourself to slack off, rationalizing any roadblocks that present themselves as reasons to stop or delay.  This is another area where a business coach can support you and keep you focused on your outcome.
  • Invest in learning to move forward. Your willingness to learn will help you maximize your results as you move toward the outcome you are working towards. Often suggested is to learn about someone who has already achieved what you want and model the steps they followed to get to their success. Investing in professional development will give you the foundation for bringing your thought process from a good idea (maybe) to the activation of your steps to make the change and realize the outcome you desire.

No matter what your role is, you need manageable steps through your process of self-discovery to realize your desired outcome. If you find yourself putting off the growth in business you are striving to achieve, start with a conversation with a trusted adviser or a business coach to get the change you are planning to make broken down into manageable pieces.  Once you do this, you can design a series of steps you will follow and your chances for success are much greater.

One closing thought. You can’t do this on your own. You need support in order to make the business growth happen. The longer you do not accept your need for support, the longer it will take you to achieve the outcome you want. Make the call today to a business coach to get started.

Steps to Grow Your Business

It doesn’t matter what business you are in or how long you’ve been in business. You are under pressure to perform and to be profitable. What used to work doesn’t work any more because the world has changed, your business has grown, and you have changed.

The good news is that there are steps you can follow to gain an understanding of what your business needs to do in order for you to regain control and move it forward. Here are 3 steps you can take to grow your business.

1. Define and measure your success. I often work with business people who started a business based on passion and a good idea who have either accomplished what they set out to do or become over involved in the business. The rule of thumb is that you should spend 80% of your time working ON the business and 20% of your time working IN the business. If you’re stuck on a treadmill like a hamster in a cage, take a look at how you are spending your time. Is this what you wanted when you started your business? What’s next for you?

2. Identify and prioritize your next steps. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you need to change something to take your business to the next level, you’ve got to know what it is you need to change and the steps you need to take. No one else can do this for you. It’s your business. You should, however, have help to make these steps happen in the right order. Your helpers can range from your team of advisers to your employees. No matterh the size your your business, you have stakeholders who want to see you succeed.

3. Plan to move your business to the next level. What do you need? Who do you need on your team? In what order or sequence to your steps need to happen? These are fundamental questions you need to address in order to wrap your arms around your unique situation. There are more questions than these. You must understand that if you fail to plan or believe you don’t need to plan, your situation may not change for the positive like you want it to.

It’s up to you to move your business forward, and if you need assistance to get your thoughts together, that’s where I can be of assistance. If you are waiting for your business to “turn around,” you are going to miss the turn around and continue to be behind. I want you to be at the head of the pack. I invite you to check into the groups I’m offering and take positive steps to grow your business.

Hiring an Employee Who Fits Your Company

Finding the game day mix of employees that your business needs can be a challenge. A few of the questions you might ask yourself are:

  • How can I tell if the applicant sitting across the table from me will work out?
  • What will I do if I hire the wrong person?
  • How will my other employees and my customers respond?

Here’s information you can use to not only understand what the job requires but also what the individual you are interviewing brings to the job. Even better, once you understand this, you will probably find other situations where you can use this information to help you understand the style of the person you are interacting with.

How can you tell if the applicant sitting across the table from you will work out?

First of all, see my blog post How People Buy to see the different styles we deal with every day. These are common around the world, regardless of the culture or language. The difference with a hiring or promotion situation is that you need to match the person’s style with the requirements of the position.

There are 2 hiring outcomes I often see that you can avoid if you pay attention to the syle.

  • On the one hand, I often remind employers that an applicant can pretend to be anything you need for 20 minutes (the average length of an interview). This means you have to ask questions that dig deep and you must pay close attention to their body language, especially their eyes.
  • On the other hand, if you only hire people you are comfortable with in an interview, you are only going to hire people just like you and that may not be what you need in the position. This means you need to take a look at the styles to identify the best characteristics for your position and then screen accordingly.

Quite frankly, both of these situations can lead to a failure that can be avoided if you pay attention to styles.

What will you do if you hire the wrong person?

It’s not the end of the world. By the time you reach the end of your rope, you have a significant investment of time and money in an employee. When the employee doesn’t match up with your expectations or fails to hit the benchmarks you’ve established, if it’s not due to changes in your business, then the chances are good that the employee can be coached to change attitudes and behaviors in order to generate the return on investment you have in them. It will take a matter of weeks, and the results will become visible to you shortly after we start working together because of the materials my coaching uses. It’s up to you as the manager or business owner to respond quickly to the situation.

How will your employees and your customers respond to your new hire?

Your employees and customers are crucial to your understanding of the performance of your new hire. They have expectations. They understand what they need your new employee to do for them, what the job requires from their perspectives. As the leader, you need to make sure these important people are heard from and understood and that this critical information gets to the new hire. Companies accomplish this through a process known as on-boarding. When we on-board a new employee or recent promotion, we listen to the stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations, then we bring the new hire together with the stakeholders for an open dialogue. Devoting a few hours to this process can save you months and significant dollars of training and re-training, reduce the stress among your stakeholders and the new hire, and get your new hire started on the right foot for your business. The best news? Your return on investment in your new hire begins sooner when you pay attention to your hiring practices.

For more information on how I can help you with this, I invite you to call me at 910-215-0077 or email me at sbarr@thebarrassociates.com. If you’ve got an employee that’s not working out, I can help.

 

R&D for Executive Business Coaching

If you will allow me to stand on my soap box for just a minute, I want to share with you my philosophy on an aspect of executive business coaching that you should be concerned with.

The materials your coach uses are important to your results.

When I expanded my business coaching practice in 2007, I knew I did not want to write my own materials. How could I possibly know enough about the topics people are dealing with? R & D (Research and Development) in business coaching needs ongoing, dynamic input from many people in order to offer you, my client, the results you want to get from business coaching with me.

To give you the materials that would give you the best possible opportunity to achieve the results you desire, I affiliated with Resource Associates Corporation (RAC) for the materials I use. As a part of a network of over 600 affiliates, we are providing constant input to RAC on the materials we are using and the business conditions we are experiencing. As a result, RAC updates the materials you use so you can be assured that the materials you use support the positive results you desire.

In  my opinion, this is hugely important to you. It concerns me when I hear of someone relying on a book they read or wrote as a basis for business coaching. The world is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Relying on one book makes no sense to me and seems to me to limit your potential to truly find the right action for you. Your success is what’s important to me, not selling books.

Speaking of my affiliate network, there is an additional benefit to your company. While we each bring our own unique personalities to business coaching, our membership in the RAC network makes your results similar no matter how large your company or in how many locations our coaching is needed. If you need multiple business coaches in one or more locations, I can make that happen thanks to our affiliate network. Since we are using materials that are used by literally thousands of people each year, each of your people participating in the business coaching program will have access to the same quality materials. Because of our own ongoing professional development, the methods we use when we work with our clients are similar.

Enough from my soap box. Now it’s up to you. Call me or email me today so we can discuss executive business coaching further.

Coaching and business: Who, what, when, and why?

I am often asked for information about the assistance I offer to businesses and people, and those questions most often center around the cost to do business with me. It seems there are many people asking about coaching now. Here’s an article in the New York Times about executive business coaching.

The cost or your investment in coaching is not the place to start the conversation. The Return on Investment (ROI) for a coaching program with me far exceeds the amount of money you will pay me to assist you. In addition to financial rewards, you may be interested in reducing conflict, managing stress, or finding peace of mind. All of these and more are possible through an executive business coach like me.

Here is some basic information you should have in mind when you and I sit down to discuss your coaching program.

Who needs coaching?
Executive business coaching is recommended for people who want to move ahead, are frustrated with their current results, are considering making a change, or are considering starting or selling a business. If you are content where you are right now and you have absolutely no interest in moving ahead or changing your circumstances, then you don’t need a coach.

What is coaching like?
Typical coaching arrangements are 30-minute phone conversations either bi-weekly or once a month over a period of time we will establish. My approach is to help you find the right action for you – I am not a counselor or therapist and I’m not going to tell you what to do. I firmly believe that you know what you need to do, you just need my assistance helping you design your plan to get it. During our coaching contract, I will ask you lots of questions – tough questions as well as easy – to help you develop your right action. Additional planning or goal development on your part may assist you in finding your right action, and I have materials available if needed.

When should you use an executive business coach?
We all have points in time when we know it’s time to move ahead or develop ourselves so we can be better at what we do. Call it self-improvement or professional development. Or we have times when we are frustrated with our results and we want to talk to someone impartial so we can figure out what we need to do. That’s when you should call or email me so we can discuss some coaching for you.

Why should you work with me?
I am really, really good at aligning your natural talents with your business tactics. I take my commitment to being the best executive business coach for you very seriously, and I am certified by the Resource Associates Coaching Academy so you can have peace of mind that I am going to do a professional job of coaching you based on quality and integrity standards followed by hundreds of coaches throughout the US. You can learn more about my affiliation with Resource Associates in my bio.

You need to call me right now at 215-0077 or email me at sbarr@thebarrassociates.com so we can begin the conversation that will move you forward. Remember: you get what you accept. As soon as you choose to not accept the status quo, your change and your future can begin.

How People Buy

This information comes primarily from a blog post by my friend Jay Niblick, founder of Innermetrix (http://www.innermetrix.com/index.html), the company that provides the DISC Index, Values Index, and Attribute Index tools I use. Thank you, Jay, for this great assistance!

The topic is sales. I don’t think it matters what you do, you are selling in some way even if your title does not include the word “sales” in it. Whether you are leading a team of people or trying to get someone to do something, you are trying to persuade the person to take action.

Many times we encounter people who seem reluctant to buy or who make decisions quickly. What’s up with that? The answer might be that their buying style is governed by their type of personality. Read these descriptions below to understand the different buying styles. When you recognize these styles, you will also know how to respond to people to move them through your sales process.

Buying Style #1 – The Decisive
The first buying style is called the Decisive. These buyers have a clear picture in their mind of what results they want. They are often seen as “Type-A” people, preferring to make buying decisions very quickly. They are more often interested in “winning” or “promoting their own agenda” so they like to buy when they feel they have “gotten their way,” so to speak. They are attentive to actions or communication that will speed up those results. Discussions about details and minutiae are distracting to these individuals. They prefer to discuss top-line, big-picture concepts when considering the value of any offering.

Buying Style #2 – The Interactive
The second buying style is called the Interactive. These buyers want to shape and mold events and enjoy “getting their way” when it comes to negotiations or buying something. Unlike the High D, however, High I’s tend to go about this by working with or through people – much more collaboratively. They are interested in people and like to interact with others, understand others and to be understood by others. They are most receptive to making a buying decision when they feel a sense of connection with the person, are in a more social environment and have had the opportunity to express their emotions, thoughts, fears or excitement about the offering first. Like the High D, this person is also particularly inattentive to details, preferring to stick to the big-picture and emotional benefits of the solution.

Buying Style #3 – The Stabilizer
The third buying style is called the Stabilizer. These buyers are more passive and introverted and interested in the how and why of a solution (i.e., the details and minutiae that the I and D couldn’t care less about). Their primary interests are in maintaining stability within themselves and whatever situation they find themselves in. Messages that don’t address the specifics, or that champion radical change, are likely to alienate rather than resonate. They prefer to buy things that will increase the stability in their lives, provide more security, and are well known and well proven. They prefer to “take their time” more than any other dimension so any offering should give them plenty of time to decide.

Buying Style #4 – The Conscientious
The fourth and final buying style is called the Conscientious. These buyers are also more passive and introverted. Like the High S, they too take a much more detailed (the most) and accuracy-based approach to their buying habits. Their buying decisions are very much driven by questions of accuracy, detail, reliability, level of proof, etc. Without sufficient data to prove any statements made to a High C, you will fail to achieve their buy in. Why is a favorite question for a high C buyer. Prove it is the second most common one. They are very concerned with doing things accurately. They are receptive to offerings that provide proof that the solution works, proposals that are meticulously detailed and absent of ANY grammatical mistakes or typos.

In my practice, understanding this type of information about the people I work with is invaluable to me. Approaching people in their style makes me more effective and makes their results better for them. I think this is a key to being a good business coach.

For more information or clarification on this, drop me an email at sbarr@thebarrassociates.com.