10 Habits For 10 Years

10 habitsWhile at a conference the other day, the speaker, CJ McClanahan, was discussing habits. We all have them, some good, some bad and some we don’t even know we have. It was a good talk, so I thought I would share my notes…hope they make sense to you.

1- Begin with the end in mind, the VERY end. Make decisions based on that and that alone. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Are your actions everyday leading up to that?

2 – Prioritize. Have you read “The One Thing” by Keller? If everything is important, then nothing is. There are five levels of commitment..did you know that? Level 1 – NO Level 2 – Want to Level 3 – Try (when you say this, you are saying “no”) Level 4 – I’m totally committed, unless something else comes up and Level 5 – 100% all in.

3. Take 100% responsibility. Don’t blame others…for anything, even if it is their fault. Don’t blame your staff, the economy or your “situation”.

4. Live in the moment. Spend no more than 4% of your time living in the past, 11% of your time living in the future. For you math majors, that leaves 85% of your time living in the NOW.

5. Constantly improve. Remember that nothing stays the same, it either gets better or worse. What are you doing on a daily basis go improve? What are you reading? Who are you meeting with?

6. Behave. If you wait until you feel in the mood, you will never do it. Successful people behave when they don’t feel like doing it. Boom goes the dynamite.

7. Exceed expectations. In business, you should set expectations and not allow your clients to set them. If you don’t set expectations, apologize profusely. Expectations and trust are built a little bit each day, set and exceed them.

8. Measure everything. Simply, you cannot improve what you don’t measure…you just can’t.

9. Re-think your thoughts. The average person has, drum roll, 30,000 thoughts a day. Put a rubber band on your wrist and when you begin to have negative thoughts, based on false beliefs, snap yourself (warning, this could be awkward).

10. Lastly, move on. You are going to make mistakes…maybe even two. Don’t dwell on them, there is NO value in dwelling. When you make a mistake, reflect on why/how it was made, learn from it, then move along…there will be more made.

 

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11 Confessions Of An Entrepreneur

In the mist of another hectic week, I found a little time to do that one thing I believe we all should do more of…read. While surfing my RSS feeds, I came across a short article written by Jeff Haden. Jeff is a ghostwriter for some of the smartest business leaders in the country, and he wrote a great top ten list that expresses the thoughts I have accumulated since opening my first business in 1999. After reading his list, I sat in awe, reflecting that other business owners might have the same thoughts I do…I’m not alone! Below is my personal take on his list…to see Jeff’s article in its entirety, click here – http://bit.ly/zF8rtg

11 Things I Wish My Employees Knew
1. I care about whether you like me. It’s hard for me to be “one of the guys,” but I really want to. I’m sure most people don’t want to “hang out” with their boss after hours, but I would like to…I count you as my friends.

2. I don’t think I know everything. Far from it. As a matter of fact, I love hiring smart people. Not only does it make my job as a business owner easier, I really like to be around people who are “thinkers” and can talk about more than the latest gossip.

3. I think it’s great when you’re having fun. Don’t stop on my account. I love to see people laughing, goofing off and having a fun time at work. It makes me feel like I have employees who are more than robots and feel comfortable being themselves.

4. I want to pay you more. I know you work hard and I want to reward you for it. As the business grows, please understand that I will pay you more….in benefits and salary. My goal isn’t to be uber rich and I want to have all my employees share in the success of the business…I’m not greedy.

5. I want you to work here forever. It’s unrealistic I know, but I do. When people leave, it hurts me. I have tried to create a “family” and when a person leaves I take it personally…even though I might not show it.

6. When you leave, it’s ok. Having said what I did above, you don’t owe me anything. Yes it hurts, but in the hurt kinda way when your daughter gets married or your son leaves for college. You are proud that they are moving on and sad, all at the same time.

7. Selling isn’t easy. When I sell a client, we don’t always know what we are getting into. Sometimes our clients suck….please understand that I know that. Other times we land clients that I know are going to be bad; I don’t say it aloud, but I’m taking them on to make payroll and keep the lights on. Thank you for doing your best with the good and the bad ones.

8. I love it when you take control. I have better things to do than your job and to worry about if you are doing a good job. I hire people to do the job they can do for the company, not to fulfill a job description written on a piece of paper. I want you to own your position and make it better.

9. I notice when others aren’t  pulling their weight. I’m not blind; I can see when members of the team are not doing their jobs. And it’s not that I am not doing anything about it…I’m just not broadcasting it to everyone. I believe in giving everyone many chances to do their best…Someday you may need that same empathy.

10. There are some things I just can’t tell you. I hate the old fatherly adage, “because I said so,” but sometimes I either can’t or don’t have time to explain all my actions. When that happens, don’t think it is because I don’t trust you, just know that I believe I am doing what I think is best for you and the company.

11. I worry all the time. I love the fact that my employees can leave work and forget about it…but I can’t and don’t. I want everyone on staff outside of work time to forget about deadlines, meetings and their to do list….use non work time to recharge your battery and have a life…and leave the worrying to me.

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Why Having Employees Sucks…And What I Intend To Do About It

“Pick yourself. Don’t wait for someone to pick you. The shift is that it doesn’t matter if you own a company. You can make an impact if you want to.” Seth Godin , from his book Linchpin

Hey, business owner, yah you. Got a second? I just need to talk…just between us; doesn’t having employees suck? Babysitting a bunch of teenagers is was it feels like. They sit, staring at the clock, waiting for 5pm to come. Needing to take yet another personal day…for what? Annual raises and employee reviews, I could go on and on…what a pain in the ass. Ya see, that’s why I wanted to talk to you. I’m done. That’s right, done. I am going to let you in on a little secret. At a company meeting in the not to distant future, I am going to fire all my employees. Yep, I’m going to stand up and let them all go at the same time…going to rip the band-aid off with one pull. Goodbye, so long, go riddance.

You say I can’t have a business without them? You ask how will all the work get done? Great questions. After I fire all my employees, I’m going to hire any back who want to come to work with me as a stakeholder. Yes, I said stakeholder. You may say it is all semantics, but I say it isn’t. I have decided I want to only work with stakeholders from now on. What is a stakeholder you ask? Let me tell you:

First stakeholders are adults. They don’t need someone to babysit them and instruct them each step of their workday. They ask questions like “Why?” Most importantly, they don’t expect the company or other adults to take care of them.

Secondly they are owners. While they are not the same as stockholders, as they don’t physically own any of the company, they do at a minimum, own their work and the results it creates. They will own profit sharing, and may even go on to own stock or a piece of the company someday. They own their tasks, process and jobs, and they own how they work within the system.

Thirdly, stakeholders require leadership, not adult supervision. Stakeholders don’t need management. They need someone to give them a vision, the tools and training they need and then point them in the right direction.

There are many more characteristics of what a stakeholder is, but you get the picture, right? Did I come up with all this? No, I wish I was that smart. But it has been at my core as a business owner, and the culture we created has attracted mostly stakeholders to Fat Atom. Want to get excited about firing your employees and hiring stakeholders? Read, “Why Employees Are Always A Bad Idea” by Blakeman. If you let it, this book will change your business for the better.

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Why I Left Facebook

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 10.54.04 AMWe all have 525,600 minutes. It is what levels the playing field for all in life. Everyone, no matter your social/economical status, has the same number of minutes to spend each year. It’s how we use them that is vastly different.

What was a typical day? I get up in the morning and reach for my cell phone. Email, news, Facebook and weather. Get to work, I check email, Facebook and work. A tab on my iMac interrupts me when there is a comment, update or friend request. At lunch, my notifications are stacking up…check it again. Finally home, settling in for a nice evening, check it again, and of course, once before bed. That was a typical day in the life of Todd Muffley. Not only was there a waste of time, but of energy. Liberal propaganda that cannot go unchecked, takes it’s toll on my energy. Thinking is an underrated resource, and often I spent many minutes on thoughtful responses. Lastly, the amount of sponsored or advertising that came across my screens each day was driving me crazy. Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, time….slips….away.

Was my response appropriate? Many would say I could turn off notifications, not check it at work and be more disciplined. These same people are probably the ones that have that extra plate at the holidays, don’t go to the gym but know they need to or have a desk/office that is unorganized. It is always easier to attack than understand.

Something that is good for one, is not good for all and I am not abdicating that everyone should leave Facebook. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but I made it. I made the decision to control how I use my time. So going into 2014, I look forward to updating my blog more, focusing on my photography website and working more productively. How will it all work? Only time will tell.

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