BAG Screen shot 051314What are you doing?!

No matter what we do, whether starting a business, keeping a job, volunteering, running the local marathon or for public office, people will judge our motivations. Here’s the good news: their opinions don’t mean squat. Some things we do out of love … other things, to sustain a lifestyle. When we live with intentionality, we get the chance to change the world and earn a comfortable living while doing it. What matters is being honest with ourselves about our motivations, because eventually they’ll be obvious to everyone else, too. Why not start being truthful about them right here, right now? Do you measure your impact in dollars, accomplishments, or testimonials from others? Are you driven by ego, revenge and cash, or legacy and changed lives? Why do you do what you do?



Are You Ready For Great Leadership?

Great leaders inspire people to act. They possess a fierce resolve and dogged determination to do what needs to be done to build remarkable organizations, and have a disproportionate affect on the success of their organization. Great leaders have a profound impact on company culture and the morale of every team member. They give team members a sense of hope, purpose & belonging.

Great leaders create a following of people who act, not because they are manipulated or have to, but because they are inspired and want to.

How to Handle Team Migration and Morale Before it Explodes!

Don’t feel so bad; the most seasoned executives struggle with productivity and time management challenges. Here’s a reminder of some of the most powerful and useful tools for managing your time:

  1. Make sure there isn’t a bigger underlying problem.  When morale starts to flag, many business owners try the quick fix of throwing raises at people to improve morale.  However, declining morale and departure to key staff may point to larger underlying problems in the company around stagnating market share and losing your competitive edge.  It may be time to open up the hood and do a full engine overhaul!
  2. Examine how you are motivating your team.  Recent studies have shown that many people today (especially young people) are less motivated by money than by having a sense of mission, a great work environment, inspiration and a sense of camaraderie.  Check out the book Getting Employees to Fall in Love with Your Company by Jim Harris, Ph.D. for more ideas (it’s an older book, but it’s full of great ideas: http://tinyurl.com/lovemycompany).
  3. Conduct a “work climate survey.” Don’t make assumptions or operate in a vacuum.  Get information on how your team REALLY feels about working at your company.  Use an outside firm to create and conduct the survey and make sure it’s anonymous so the hard questions can be asked and answered.
  4. Get more balance.  Most team members actually need help getting more balance in their work and family life, so having a fun, dynamic and flexible work environment will often be more inspirational than raises and fancy titles.
  5. Conduct an externally facilitated strategic retreat.  Smart business owners conduct strategic planning retreats at least once a year.  Using outside facilitation provides critical objectivity and separation from the day-to-day operations of the business that help you identify key strategic and/or operational steps that need to be made.
  6. Re-evaluate your team.  If some top performers or key staff members have left, you probably need to re-evaluate your team to ensure you have the right people on the right seats in the bus moving forward.


A strong team has a proactive leader versus a reactive leader. Which one are you?

Flashpoints: How Did You Communicate Today?

The biggest problem with email is the illusion that it’s communication.

Emailing has certainly sped up decision making in the workplace, but is it really the most effective way to communicate with your team?  I can think of hundreds of scenarios where emailing has made life easier for leaders & achievers—saving time and resources.  There are, however, times when email causes more problems than it solves.  For example, you can’t easily communicate genuine excitement or passions with it.  Emotions and feelings don’t always translate accurately; and this can become a barrier for motivating & inspiring your team.  That barely coherent email you sent your assistant late last night could have been communicated better in person, by phone, or video chat this morning, couldn’t it?  Before you hit send, ask yourself, “Is there a better way to communicate this more effectively?”

FLASHPOINTS: What is YOUR greater good?

Many small people, in many small places, do many small things, that can alter the face of the world. ~Anonymous

Beyond creating wealth for shareholders, and jobs & security for those in our sphere of influence, what are we really meant to do with our life as a leader or entrepreneur? The most inspirational & influential people I know use their resources, platform and professional acumen to do great works beyond the business arena. Some provide for clean water wells in developing regions; others clothe the destitute; while others mentor future leaders. Whatever it is that motivates or inspires you, I urge you to think about the greater good that can be served by your business, your position, & your platform. We may face many challenges in business, but there are greater challenges to be fought, that will always be bigger than business. How will you make a difference?


Are You Getting Paid What You’re Worth?

As a business owner or entrepreneur, we often undervalue our services. There comes a time when you need to raise your rates to equal what you are worth.

Here’s a list of top times or ways to consider for upping the ante in your small business or entrepreneurial start-up:


1. When you’re too busy to handle all the business coming in, it’s time!

When you have so many clients coming in the door that you’re having trouble handling them, it’s time to raise your rates. Think of it this way, if you doubled your rates and lost 50% of your clients, you would still be making the same amount of money in half the time!

2. Do a “Competitive Set Analysis” to figure out what you should really be charging.

This requires “intel” gathering and is vital for long-term business growth. Key elements of a “Competitive Set Analysis” include:

  • Find out what clients are paying for services similar to yours (what’s the competition charging).
  • Determine what value you are bringing and remember, never compete on price alone…compete on bringing real value instead.
  • Ask satisfied clients how much they would be willing to pay for the value you delivered after you complete the engagement.
  • When your calendar is full, repeat the process.

3. Make sure you are selling 1-to-Many in addition to 1-to-1.

One of the best ways to increase income is to include 1-to-Many programs, such as hosting group events and interactive group sessions. This allows you to set a reasonable price point that’s a low barrier to entry for new clients and let you make more due to higher volume.

4. Strengthen your brand.

Always look for ways to strengthen your brand and be seen as an expert. Here are some great ways to strengthen your brand:

  • Publish a book. Once you publish a book, you are seen as an expert by the media, your clients and prospects.
  • Publish other content, such as topical action guides, audio programs, video programs and infographics.
  • Write articles for trade publications and the consumer press.
  • Speak at every venue you can get into (even if you have to speak for free at first). This exposes your message to larger and larger audience and builds confidence.
  • Purse radio and TV interviews, especially in your local area.
  • Remember, the more your profile grows, the more quickly you will be able to raise your rates and charge what you’re really worth!

7 Tips for Building Elite Teams

To build a gaggle of people into an elite team takes time, dedication and some tough decisions…and here are some tips to get you on the right path:

  • Be friendly to everyone.  Be sure to dish out plenty of dignity and respect, and you’ll find others will follow your lead.
  • Tell them everything. And expect them to tell you the same. Shared knowledge builds loyalty and trust.
  • Practice Pulitzer Prize plagiarism: Steal ideas only from the best, and surround yourself with people who are bolder and brighter than you.
  • Invest heavily in loyalty. If team members know that you’re always loyal to them, they’ll give you the same in return.
  • Realize that fairness– not cleanliness – is next to godliness.
  • Never be too busy to laugh. Nothing gets people through a crisis like a good laugh – and a leader that’s willing to enjoy it with them.
  • Know thyself—and build your team based on goals and objectives to be accomplished, as well as on individual strengths, motivation, integrity and capacity.



Barry Griswell: The Adversity Paradox

Barry Griswell (Former Chairman & CEO, Principal Financial Group; Co-Author of The Adversity Paradox; Horatio Alger Association’s Distinguished American Award Recipient) speaks with us on the 3 Common Characteristics in Overcoming Adversity: including: (1) Personal Accountability, (2) Optimism, and (3) an Attitude of “And The Some.”  Larry asks if leaders and business owners can ever expect a life free of adversity.  Watch the video below to hear Barry’s answer.

How has adversity molded your life?  Let us know by sharing your thoughts and comments below.

Triple A’s of Goal Setting for 2012

Now that the end of 2011 is in sight, most of us start to contemplate our goals and desires for 2012. There’s been plenty written on setting and achieving goals—some of it’s great, and some of it’s downright bogus. So, I’m not going to kid you, nor share some Law of Attraction bullsh** hocus pocus. Sure, a positive attitude is needed to accomplish anything in life—but let’s actually take action on our goals this year!

Here is my simplified Triple-A’s of Goal-Setting: ACCESS your situation. Take AIM & focus your thoughts towards your ideal life and write down your goals. Take rapid ACTION on completing your goals!

Here are some encouraging words of wisdom from folks, much brighter than me, on achieving goals:

What you get by achieving your goals is as important as what you become by achieving your goals. ~Zig Ziglar

A goal properly set is halfway reached. ~Abraham Lincoln

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes. ~Andrew Carnegie

You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures. ~Charles C. Noble

When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible. ~Nido Qubein

The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move. ~Brian Tracy

No matter how carefully you plan your goals they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto. ~W. Clement Stone