On Saturday, I hurt my right hand when I was moving some things out of my parent’s home. A pick axe fell on the back of my hand and I think just bruised it. The pain only lasted a short time and I forgot about it. Until Sunday morning. At church, I shook the hand of a friend who is easily 6’7 and has one of the strongest grips I’ve ever felt. Especially on Sunday! Even though I think I hid it well, I thought I was going to start crying. The pain was worse than the original. Then it subsided again. I went that afternoon to a legislative meeting in my role as school board director. A plethora of hands to shake. Of course, I again forgot and OUCH on the first shake. I had to make a quick adjustment to the left-hand shake for the rest of the meeting! I escaped unscathed from any further pain…
Life and business often sneak up and causes you pain, and forces you to make sudden changes. Things go along swimmingly and then you run into an episode that forces you to adjust quickly to avoid further “pain.” Unfortunately, many of us wait too long before shifting because we push back on “change.” What happens is you keep shaking hands and getting “squeezed.” Life and business is all about being nimble; shrewd, creative, and able to make decisions quickly. Sometimes (like with a hurt hand), it’s a simple shift. More often, it’s harder to see and the decisions are tougher. Those that are slow to change miss the boat; those that are decisive and savvy, find other opportunities.
Which one are you?
This week’s quote – “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes; one of his greatest surprises; is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” Henry Ford
Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno passed away over the weekend at the age of 85. Paterno was the head man at Penn State for over 40 years and built a legacy of greatness on and off the football field at Happy Valley over the years.
For many, especially without a lot of football history, they know Paterno as the coach fired abruptly in disgrace last November when it was revealed that a former assistant coach had allegedly abused children. There are still questions on what Paterno knew, when he knew, and what actions he took. On one of his final interviews, he acknowledges he felt he did the right thing, but in retrospect, he should have done more.
There are many ways people will view the life and legend of Paterno. I think I will choose to remember him as a man who had great impact on the lives of countless young men. Yes, I believe he made mistakes in the Jerry Sandusky situation. Yes, he should have done more. But in the end, when you take a look at the entire body of work, the final few pages of the last chapter should be viewed in perspective of the whole book.
How often do we judge people or issues based on a small sample set, rather than the entire body of work? The next time you have to, I hope you consider perspective in your decision.
This week’s quote – “Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” Joe Paterno
I just watched Moneyball last night. I am very familiar with Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. My hometown team, the Seattle Mariners always seemed to have fits playing the A’s during the “Moneyball” years.
I know that “Hollywood” artistic license makes believing all that happened in the move in doubt. What can’t be doubted, however, is the concept of “Moneyball.” The concept is very simple. In order to win games in baseball, the number one key metric is scoring runs. In order to score runs, your players need to get on base. What Beane changed in the old school world of baseball executives and scouts was that he believed that he could find guys who were undervalued by other teams, but had skills to get on base a lot. He knew he could also sign them for virtually no money (in a professional sports definition). Beane was right. He took guys who didn’t exactly seem to fit together in a team, and used several key metrics (especially on-base percentage) to build a team that competed for championships with teams that outspent them by 4-5 times.
How does that apply to you as an insurance agency owner or company executive? You need people who can “get on base.”
You may have a lot of people on your team who pass the “eye test.” They look busy; they move a lot of paper; they work late; they always seem to be the hero. Here’s the problem. Very often, these people create their own inefficiencies. Maybe they spend too much time on social media, at the water cooler, or spending too much time on simple projects. Having too many of these “heroes” ends up meaning you aren’t productive, and you end up overpaying due to extra and overtime hours.
So what do you do? You need to set up metrics for your team. Just like Billy Beane used on-base percentage to evaluate hitters; and you have probably set up metrics for producers; you must do the same for your team. I’m not here to tell you what those metrics should be. You know your organization better. That being said, think outside the box. Maybe one of your metrics should be a different eye-test. Maybe one should be who leaves every night on time with the cleanest desk; with an e-mail Inbox that is caught up; and without a stack of to-dos in their desktop Inbox.
What if everyone on your team could literally walk out the door at 5:00 all caught up every day. How could that change your business?
Note: This is a new blog category for insurance professionals. As part of my 360, you will find a variety of categories on topics in which I work with clients. You may find that topics brought up in these sections apply to everyone.
There will be 4 videos in this free series. I just received my first one today. These are short 4-5 minute presentations that you will find invaluable to your business career and even personally. For instance, today’s is about creating sustainable change.
I encourage you to subscribe. You will get a tremendous ROI for your time.
The only thing that could slow down the Libby & Dan train is snow. And lots of it (or at least the threat).
Libby and I needed to make a decision based on what we saw in our weather crystal ball regarding Thursday’s Libby & Dan workshop. With nearly 40 people registered and a venue that was worried about a lot of its events and operations, we needed to be sensitive to all of you. So, at 4 pm, we decided to postpone our event until February 15th.
Here are the main details you need to know…
1. If you already registered, you are automatically registered for the February 15th event that will still be held at the Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle.
2. If you can’t make it, we have a credit for a couple of different options. First, we will be holding another Libby & Dan event sometime in May or June. You can attend that. Or, we will credit you the $99 towards any of our services.
I coach freshman boys basketball. One of the tendencies of 14-year old boys is when they make a mistake, they drop their shoulders, throw a pity party, and stop playing. Unfortunately for them, the game goes on. It’s one thing to make a mental mistake and throw away the ball, or miss a lay-up. It only exacerbates the problem if you allow that mistake to continue on for multiple plays.
The key to sports is that you have a short memory. You make a mistake, but then you go to the next play. Doing this keeps you focused, positive, and successful.
This “tendency” isn’t unique to 14-year old boys. Many of us in business can on occasion fall victim to pouting and pity parties. In the business game (just like in a basketball game), momentum an good fortune ebbs and flows. You have to be able to take a “punch in the mouth” and move on to the next play. Otherwise, that bad play becomes toxic to success. Make sure you have a short memory, keep fighting through adversity, and keep your eyes focused on the next play!
This week’s quote:
“Fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me.” Michael Jordan
Aaron Rodgers now has time to practice his discount double-check for Dancing with the Stars…
The New York Giants came in hot to frigid Green Bay and bounced the defending champion Packers with a smothering defense and methodical offense. As with the year the Giants won it all, momentum played a huge part in their win.
The Giants started their roll with a strong outing against the Jets in Week 16; and followed it up with a thumping of Dallas to win the NFC East and get to the playoffs. Last week in Wild Card weekend, they stymied the Atlanta Falcons by giving up only a safety. Today, they took their great momentum into Lambeau Field.
Green Bay started petering out in a loss to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs to break their unbeaten streak. They just kind of staggered to the end by sitting Rodgers in the final game. Then they got a week off. Any momentum they had was trending the wrong way.
Momentum is powerful in sports. It’s also powerful in business and life. Be careful. You need to be aware of when you are losing momentum and get it back. As a basketball coach, I drilled for momentum. You have to, too. Understand what it looks and feels like to have momentum and be vigilant in keeping the trend upwards.
There are always lulls in life. Make sure you keep them short. Learn a lesson from this weekend’s NFL playoff games. Momentum determines wins and losses…
Early last year, I purchased one of those Nike monitors that you stick in your running shoe and teams up with your iPhone to track your miles run and calories burned while listening to your favorite music. I’ve never been a consistent runner and figured this would be my “accountability partner.” It was and the proof is in the fact that I stuck with it for the entire year.
Last week, Nike sent me my 2011 report card. You see, the iPhone downloads your stats after every run into Nike and they keep track for you. Turns out I ran 236 miles; burned 31,812 calories; and listened to a gazillion songs (give or take a few). I was stunned. Basically, I run 2-3 times a week at a distance of between 3-5 miles. Not much, but I worked hard at being consistent and persistent. In the end, I exceeded my expectations.
Most of business is about being consistent and persistent. Doing the small things every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes, will accumulate in your favor. Examples include marketing, calling on clients and prospects, returning e-mails and phone calls, cleaning out your Inbox, and completing projects. It also helps to keep metrics to know that you’re on track. Too many of us procrastinate because we are waiting for the “right time” to do whatever it is we need to do. Understand that small steps taken daily will not only help you reach your goal, but exceed your expectations by the end of the year!
This week’s quote – “Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
This week has been a blur. I spoke to two groups of consultants on topics related to marketing, branding, and strategy. I interviewed 13 people over two days for a new client where I’m facilitating a sales meeting to kick off the new year. I added another new client to lead a similar exercise at the end of the month. I wrote new articles and blogs and distributed new newsletters. Next week is even busier. Who said January is a “dead” month.
You may think I’m going to say all this activity is breeding results. While this is true, my real message is that all this activity was actually bred by last quarter’s work. In the consulting business, as in most, you sow what you reap..usually a quarter later. What you are doing this week will ultimately bring you money in several months. Certainly, you will occasionally find new clietns that come about because of an event. However, that event may have been three months in the making.
Keep this in mind. Sales cycles aren’t that fast any more. You need to constantly be thinking and strategizing for the future. Don’t get so caught up in today that you forget that you are fighting for tomorrow’s income.
Activity breeds activity which breeds results. How does your April revenue look today?