Are your team meetings sabotaging your bottom line?

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There used to be a saying as we gathered around the water cooler back when I worked in corporate – We are calling meetings, about meetings!  Those days are long gone and I sure have had my share of meetings that compromised my bottom line, the productivity and sanity of my team, not only in corporate but also as the leader of my businesses.

Have you?

Still do?

You are not alone. A recent survey by Microsoft of roughly 38,000 people around the world found out that 70% of the “meetings” they hold weren’t productive.

And to make matters worse, it is estimated that the cost in lost time and wasted talent is $200 billion annually – yikes!

So, what can you do as the leader of your business to ensure your team meetings don’t end up eating up your time and cash flow?

Here are the 2 ingenuous strategies I use to lead super productive & profitable daily and weekly meetings.  But, most importantly meetings so that you can improve your business performance, foster accountability, develop deeper connections with your team, build a culture of unisome as you scale and put out a lot of fires, even before they happen.

15-Minute Daily “Mini-Calls”

On a daily basis (except Wednesdays) my team and I jump on a fifteen-minute mini-call. We use these daily calls to check-in and talk about what’s on the agenda for the day. But most importantly, these 15-minute calls keep everyone aligned and working exactly on the tasks (Top Priorities) that will ensure we meet our 90 day goals for the company.

How do I keep the daily meetings tight?

Simple. We follow the same structure every day.  Each team member shares wins, roadblocks and a progress update on top priorities they are working on.

We don’t problem solve or get into any kind of deep discussions. The daily calls are quick, straight to the point and a time to ask for clarification on anything that’s keeping someone stuck and not able to meet their goals. A daily mini-call is a great way to keep you & your team focused on your 90 day and overarching goals of the business.

 Weekly Meetings

On a weekly basis my team and I gather for our weekly meeting. We follow the same structure every week. The idea behind having a weekly meeting is to focus more on what’s important, and brainstorm deeper on challenges we’re facing.

How do I ensure these longer meetings are not boring and stay focused?

We follow the same structure and I schedule the meetings right before things like lunch, or end of day. This scheduling trick works wonders as it eliminates 90 percent of the time that’s wasted during a meeting.

For the first 15-20 minutes everyone takes 3-5 minutes and provides a progress update based around the following questions:

  • What went according to plan last week? Each team member shares good news both professional and personal.  Sharing personal wins are a great booster for your team members and more fun too.
  • What didn’t go according to plan last week?
  • What roadblocks are you facing that’s preventing you to complete your tasks?
  • What are the TOP one to three things to work on this week?

The second half of the meeting (about 30 minutes) we focus on our business metrics. We review the key numbers that allows us to manage and measure the business performance to ensure we are getting closer to achieving our goals.  It’s a great accountability strategy for everyone to be aware of the key numbers for the business.

The last part of the meeting (30 minutes) we discuss the roadblocks preventing all of us from achieving our weekly tasks and subsequently our 90 day goals.  As a group we brainstorm and come up with the best ways to help out those that are facing roadblocks.

Bonus Tips

Here are a few other strategies that I’ve learned through the years to keep my meetings highly productive, fun and more profitable:

  • Never end a meeting without everyone knowing their exact deliverables for the following week. Coming up with ideas during a meeting is useless, unless those ideas and suggestions are documented and assigned to someone to execute on. Always make sure everyone has and it’s clear on the next steps.
  • Meetings that go beyond one hour lose steam and focus. As such, try to hold your weekly (or any) meeting to 1-2 hours at the absolute most.
  • If possible, have meetings standing up
  • Unless, absolutely necessary don’t allow your team members to bring gadgets to the meeting
  • Meetings can’t be effective if there’s no system in place to ensure they happen on a regular basis

I’ve attended and facilitated many meetings and often sure meetings did seem like a big waste of time, let’s face it when you put a group of people in a room it can be challenging to maintain control.  I also know improving the quality of meetings takes work, however, the investment in doing so will ensure a better return on your and your team’s time.

Also, when you run effective meetings that allows your team to have a clear vision, direction and strategy of how things are going to get done. Therefore, reducing confusion, waste of talent and money.

Now its your turn, I want to hear from you.

In the comments below, tell me this:

How do you keep control of your meetings? What struggles have you had when it comes to running meetings?

 

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4 Stress Free Ways To Attract Your Dream Team

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For your business to continue to prosper you must figure out how to build a team that works well together. No easy feat. After all, you’re bringing together people with different backgrounds, skillsets and personalities to work towards a common goal—making your big bodacious vision a reality.

So, most likely the big question that looms around your head when it comes to hiring is –

How do you attract the right team members to your business?

The answer to this question may surprise you, but, the way you attract the best talent into your organization is by being a great leader.

What do I mean?

That it all starts with you. If your business has a meh culture, it’s your own dang fault. See, as the leader you’re the one that decides what kind of business culture you want to create. It’s your character and your values that will set the tone for every single little aspect of your business. Including what type of talent you want to bring onboard and attract.

The talented people you’re after want to work with the best people, in the best environment and on the most exciting tasks they can find. Thus the way to attract the best talent is to be a good leader. Set a great example with your way of being and doing.

And what is being a “good leader”?

Simple, just like with your clients, it’s not about you it’s about them. In other words, it is all about the people you bring onboard to help you turn your vision into reality.

A good leader when interviewing takes an interest in learning what’s important to the potential new team member, their goals, aspirations, dreams and desires. Once you know these crucial pieces of information then you enable the possibility of connecting your big bold vision to their goals. This way both parties win. Instead of doing what the majority of companies do – hire to fill a spot.

Taking a proactive approach to building a working environment that fosters creativity, enables people to perform at their best doing what they are good at, and treating them with respect and consideration at all times is what allows you to attract A-Level talent.

I’ve had the task of hiring and leading teams for multi-million dollar projects and for my own business and in the process I’ve learned a ton about hiring the right people and creating a cohesive team.

Let me tell you building an awesome team is hard work. You will kiss many frogs before you find your prince or princess. There are no tricks or magic wands to make it painless, but thankfully you’ve met me and I’ve done some of the hard work for you and I’m willing to share.

After a couple of snafus and kissing some frogs of my own I became aware that there are a few specific ways to attract the crème de la crème, here are four of them:

Keep’em In The Loop

As the leader of your business you have totally committed to your “Big Bodacious Vision,” right? But, that is not all there is to it. You also need to be able to communicate it to your team effectively so they not only see the bigger picture, but also see how they are going to be able to help you achieve your big hairy bodacious vision. Once you articulate your big vision in an attractive way, you’ll attract people that will eagerly get on board to help you build an amazing & profitable company.

Offer Opportunities for Growth

One of the best ways to attract and retain superstars is to ensure they are always learning and developing skillsets that will continue to enhance their careers. Remember how I mentioned that you should know what their desires are. This is where you can really retain top talent when you are open (whether or not they stay working with you) and allow them to improve their skills.

Send them to training, assign them tasks that challenge them (when appropriate), and/or tasks and projects that they feel they are continually learning, so they become a more valuable asset to your business over time.

A-Level talent loves new and stimulating challenges. They are more interested in figuring out what works best than doing what you’ve always done. Give them chances to shine in new and interesting ways.

Foster Ownership

I’m a big proponent of bringing people onboard and give them ownership of a role or a project as opposed to just hiring someone to take care of a task.

When you hire someone to just handle tasks for you they usually require tons of hand holding, direction and the expectation is that you will manage their priorities and tell them exactly what and when they need to complete each task.

Whereas when you hire someone and give them ownership of a task or a project they completely own their work and the results their assigned tasks will produce. In essence you allow them to call the shots. Within limits, of course, the buck still stops with you.

Almost everyone hates being micro-managed. I wanted to say no one, but when it comes to people there is always an exception to every rule. The A-Level people you want won’t like being micro-managed so give them the power and responsibility to make important decisions and take action.

 Craft a results–oriented job description

If you’ve done your homework then you’re intimately familiar with your business KPI’S (key performance indicators) and as such have a pretty good idea of the end results you expect your team members to achieve.

So, a very effective way to attract the crème of the crop to your company is rather than simply creating the same ole job description you want to craft a results-oriented job descriptions that outlines the position as well as the end results you want. In other words the measurable for the position that you’re hiring for.

When you do this exercise it will force you to get crystal clear on the key skills set and fit you’ll need for your superstar meet your expectations.

There you have it four stress-free ways to attract the crème de la crème to your business. Using these four proactive tactics for hiring will help you attract the best talent for your business and build your dream team, word will spread and people will want to work with you which in turn will accelerate your ability to build a more profitable business without driving yourself into the ground.

Do you have any stress-free ways to hire A-talent? Tell me all about it in the comments section below!

 

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Are you losing profits by trying to always be in control?

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So, to help ease the fear of letting go, and thinking that to be in charge you also have to be in complete control of every task here’s a very important distinction I want to make. Many moons ago when I started delegating I made every mistake in the book and it took me a while to realize a key difference between being in control vs. being in charge.

Today I want to share this difference with you in the hopes it helps you overcome the fear of handing the reins over to others. Instead I want you to build a support team you can trust and helps you run your company so you can scale your business with ease.

I learned that being “in control” meant being responsible for running a project, a meeting, a workshop, doing the legwork, admin work, etc… Or when I sometimes had to brainstorm how a particular business could be expanded or refine an existing procedure or system already in place. Or having to step in to do a task because I simply didn’t trust the person I had hired.

Being “in charge” meant that’ll I guide, direct and/or engage my team about the projects bigger vision. It meant thinking, innovating, strategizing and making sure the project’s vision stayed relevant to the needs of the company I was consulting. It meant staying abreast and anticipating (via a crystal ball powered by Elven Magic that I keep under my desk) what I needed to do next to ensure I was meeting my client’s needs and goals.

So, how does this apply to you?

When you’re “in control” of your business, you’re being a micro-manager. You are in the day-to-day trenches. The weeds or tactics rather.

When you’re “in charge”, you’re being the leader. You’re providing direction. You are above the forest where you can see the best path forward.

Both of these roles are absolutely key for the success of your business, however, being and staying in the manager’s role (down in the brush) is not the most valuable use of your time.

Can you see the difference?

Almost all of us wear the manager’s hat when we start our businesses and I believe in the beginning its essential you wear this hat. It allows you to get very good at seeing how all the moving parts of your business fit together. How your company creates value, how the work gets done, how your clients need to be supported. Knowing all the processes that allow your business to run smoother is essential so you can confidently assess where things need to be streamlined and optimized.

However, once you begin hiring for example – a business manager or a project manager you need to let go of the manager’s hat and trust that you’ve built the proper foundation upon which you can build a profitable business.

And even if you don’t have all the pieces in place (frankly, who does?) you need to give ownership to the person you hire, trust them, so they can do their job, after all that is why you hired them. Your new role is then to guide and provide strategic direction. In this scenario the buck stops with you, you are still in charge, but not in control of the minutia.

Sure, for a while you might need to switch back-n-forth between the manager & leader hat, but, the more confidence and trust you gain in your team (and you can only achieve this by letting go), the more you can ease your grip and the less you’ll have to wear the manager’s hat.

Ultimately, the main goal is to focus on being in charge and hang up the manager’s hat for good. The best way I know you can begin transitioning into this role is by providing your team with crystal clear instructions of what you want them to do so you can get the results you want. By them knowing what’s going on they’ll be able to see how they can use their time, talents and resources (as well as you) to reach the end result.

This is the only way to position yourself to free up your time to provide guidance to your team and to create the kind of company you want. The end result will be you getting to enjoy the lifestyle you went into business to achieve in the first place.

Bottom line: You need to be willing to let go, hand the reins over to others, so that you have the time to think strategically and scale your business without driving yourself into the ground. You want to be in charge without having to be in control of everything that goes on in your business.

So, which hat have you been wearing the most lately– the manager’s beanie or the badass leader’s horned battle helmet?

 

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Email Overload? 4 Ways To Conquer Your Inbox (REALLY)

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A few months ago, I had more emails in my inbox than I cared for.

Okay, I confess my inbox was out of control. Even though I had a few systems in place to handle emails, clearly my systems weren’t working.

One night I glanced over to my husband’s screen and I noticed he barely had emails in his inbox.

I asked him, honey, how do you keep your inbox so clean?

He said, I practice a variation of the inbox zero method. “The whozawhatsit method?” I curiously replied.

He proceeded to tell me how he had mentioned this system and had sent me an email explaining the process, but due to my ”email system” I never saw the dang email – d’oh.

To make a long story short, I decided to do a search and voila I found his email. I watched the video he sent me about a method Merlin Mann, creator of the 43 Folders productivity blog, created called – Inbox Zero.

Mann’s basic idea is to go into your inbox fewer times per day and once in there, to touch each message as few times as possible. That is easier said than done.

As a matter of fact, according to a recent research the average person spends 2.5 hours a day sifting through an average of 147 messages. That’s over 15 hours a week reading and processing email! Can you say – time wasted?

In another study, Barley, Meyerson & Grodal (2011) measured perceived e-mail usage in relation to exhaustion and burnout. They found that e-mail is perceived as a source of stress – yikes!

Well, I decided to take matters into my hands and guess what, a few months later, I found the holy grail of my digital lifestyle – a clean inbox!

How did I do it?

First, I should warn you taking control of your inbox means changing your habits, you must be willing to make the initial investment, but it’s well worth the effort.

After watching and playing with Mann’s suggested system I tweaked his method and condensed it down to what I call the 4D’s of Graceful Email Management – Delete, Delegate, Do, and Drag.

Once I perfected this method, I shared it with my clients when they complained about being buried in email. I showed them how easily I keep my inbox under control.

This week as I whizzed by my emails I thought that perhaps you would like to know my secret to conquering the email monster.

Now, there are tons of systems out there, so if you have an email process you love, and it’s working then by all means stick with it!

But if you don’t, and email is getting the best of you and draining your productivity here’s how you can get a handle on email once and for all:

When an email arrives in your inbox you…

Oh wait, before I get to that here are some questions I sort of keep in the back of my head as I go through my emails:

Will this email help me make more money?
Can I use it if I need it again?
Does this email contain any new information?
Is this email part of a project for a client?

Okay, back to the system…

With those questions in the back of your head, when an email arrives in your inbox:

You will do the following…

Delete It (get rid of it) – before you do anything to the email – very quickly ask yourself the questions from above.

If you immediately answer “NO” to all of these questions then you will delete the email. Done. That should take you about a minute or so. Simple, eh?

Delegate – (give it to someone else to handle it. The ideal Scenario.)

If the email in question needs to be dealt with, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take care of it – right?

So, delegate it to someone else, internally, your assistant or another appropriate team member. The idea is to kick the habit of dealing with all the emails yourself.

Do – Act on it (then file it or delete it)

If you must take care of the email do so. However, follow the two-minute rule – If you can do what is being requested in less than two minutes, then deal with the email immediately.

Whip out the answer, and hit send – then file it or delete the email from your InBox.

Drag

If the email will take more than five minutes, and you don’t have time to deal with it right away then drag it to a folder.

Yes. I suggest you create the following folders to handle this step: End of Work Day, End of Week, Follow Up, Online Courses and Pleasure Reading.

End of Work Day

This folder is where you put emails that you’ll deal with on or after 2pm. Don’t worry about these emails too much, because you know they aren’t urgent and you’ll get to them later on that day.

End of Week

This folder is where you’ll drag emails that you’ll handle either on Thursday or Friday mornings. Again, you aren’t going to think about these emails or allow them to get you distracted by going into this folder throughout the day.

Get into the habit that if you drag an email to this folder you will not touch the email until the end of the week. You know you’ll take care of them by the end of the week since they aren’t urgent.

Follow Up

Oh yes, the good old follow-up emails. These emails are gold and most of the time they are the ones that will make you money. These emails are important, but not urgent. Drag the email into your follow-up folder if you don’t need to follow up the same day.

Once, again, get into the habit of touching this folder at a specific time each day. Once you build this habit, you know whatever you have in that folder will get a good following-up later on.

I tell you there is really no real action to these emails other than following up on the action item that is needed for that person or project at a later time.

Pleasure Reading

This folder is for the FYI stuff – you might or might not read it – and every few months you will delete anything that is older than 3 months – let’s be honest if you haven’t had time to look at them by then, most likely you never will.

Online Courses

This is an optional folder.

I’m a voracious learner and do take online course from time to time. So, I created a folder and subfolders specifically for when I take an online course. All emails related to the course will immediately be filtered into this folder.

There you have it four easy steps to regain control of your inbox.

The ultimate goal, of course, is for your assistant to handle all of your emails and send you what you absolutely need to take care of.

However, while you work yourself up to that level, try my simple system – it works a LOT better than keeping everything in your InBox, you’ll save a boatload of time. And here’s another perk, you’ll feel uber-organized too.

Top-Secret, Not-So-Secret, Secret Bonus: if you’ve subscribed to more lists than you can shake a stick at (who ever came up with that saying?,) there are a few software applications that allow you to easily remove yourself from lists you no longer want to be part of.

I’ve been playing with a service called UnRoll.Me to manage the lists I want and to remove me from lists I don’t want. After you get your email under control, check that tool out, it’s another time saver.

How are you doing with your inbox? If you’ve nailed down a system for keeping email under control, I’d love to hear about it. Post you comment below.

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8 Myths Costing You Time & Money Series: Part 4 of 4

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Being at the helm of your business there is no shortage of demands on your time. And even more so when you’re in growth mode, where you could be doing anything from closing the books to sweeping the floors. Most of us in the beginning stages of our businesses wear many hats to keep things afloat.

But, as your business really starts to scale and starts feeling as if it’s slipping through your fingers you can’t do everything by your pretty little lonesome and still grow your company (let alone have a life outside of it).

At this point you want to run your business more strategically and remove yourself from the day-to-day operations so you can focus on the bigger picture and growth strategy of your empire.

For you to make more money – you need more time to focus on what actually brings in more clients and income.  How do you get more time in your solo business?  LEVERAGE.  In this case, leveraging other peoples skills (whether it’s on a part-time basis of a virtual team member or a full-time person) to support you in the creation of your legacy.

For the past three weeks I’ve been focusing on debunking some of the myths surrounding delegation.  These myths are the top excuses I hear over and over on why you have not started hiring and delegating to create a business that supports you.

If you missed episode one, two or three you can get to them here: episode one, episode two, episode three!

We talked about how “The Lament of the Too Busy” , “A Damnable Financial Disposition,”  “Financial Fallout Fallacy,”  “Nobody Does It Better,” “The Fallacious State of Unknowing” and “A Mysterious Fear of Freedom” as reasons why you are not leveraging other people’s talents to grow your business.

But, the real truth is that many of you still have an internal battle of trusting someone, for some anyone, with your business.

I totally get that you are little bit of a control freak and that is good in moderation, we need to have control.  I, too wonder at times if or where things are getting done.

However, we all know that if you don’t let go, it will be pretty hard for you to break away from the daily grind and focus on building your empire.

Today, I’m debunking the last two myths I believe will ease your trust fears and allow you to delegate with more confidence, purpose, and profitably so you can stop drowning in the daily details of running your business.

And I want to add that while in corporate, many moons ago, I had to recruit plenty of employees for the projects I managed.  In more recent years, I’ve had to recruit people for my own business. So, what I’m sharing with you today are recruiting strategies that I’ve used and continue to use with great success.

What I realized while I was working for someone else over the years was that the success of my projects was heavily dependent on the people I hired. The same goes for our businesses. Your success in business is only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Tweet That!

Ready for the final two myths?

Here we go:

Myth 7:

“No One Cares Like I Do, So No One Will Work Like I Do”

How will I know if the person I hire cares about the interests of my business?

Fact:

Technically, just by having a casual conversation with a potential candidate you can’t.  So, the trick to hire the right person is to be strategic about it, do your due diligence, conduct an in-depth interview process (aka some digging & grilling) and trust your gut. When your gut says, ‘no’ don’t let yourself keep trying to make it say ‘yes.’

What do I mean by all that?

For starters, it is important to describe in detail the ideal person you want to work with. Write down the skill sets you desire her or him to have – her personality, work style, and how you imagine she or he will be able to help you. Basically, begin with the end in mind!  You want to have a crystal clear picture in mind of exactly what you are looking for. It is this pre-planning what makes it easier to hire the right person for you.

Thinking this through will help you narrow your choices when you start interviewing.  You’ll know when you happen to come across the ideal candidate because she’ll fit nicely into the position you’ve outlined.

And, if you have taken the time to identify your own weaknesses (where you spend/waste your time), you’ll be able to find the person most able to strengthen your company and hire her for the right skills set.

The second step should be clearly stating your business objectives because you want to hire for the business you want and not for where your business is currently at right now.

It’s really important that your prospective candidate understands your goals and how she or he would fit into the bigger picture.

Share with them the bigger vision of what you’re working on and observe their reaction.  And most importantly,  when you are interviewing, make sure you hire someone who shares your core values, is flexible and has the ability to grow and change as your business and the job assigned to her or him grows.

You want to look for people who I call the “Crème of the Crop” players. The go-getters, A-players like yourself, but that don’t have the same strengths you do.  It does take a bit longer, but that is how you will find the gems to come work for you.

Following these strategies is what is going to allow you to feel more comfortable letting go.

Myth 8:

“The One Person Show Death Trap”

Our final myth is taking to heart the word “solo” in solo-entrepreneurship.

Fact:

The worst number in business is the number 1.

Have you ever noticed that the most successful people you so admire didn’t get there by doing it all themselves?

Recently, I was reading one of my fav magazines Women’s Health and they had a section about women who are building meaningful business.  One of those business babes was Gabrielle Bernstein. When asked if she had known then what she knew now in terms of growing her business she answered I quote  –

“ I would have delegated more. I spent years trying to do it all and such got me into funky situations I wish I had known how to honor my strengths and hire those who were experts in areas where I’m definitely not.”

Taking to heart the word solo and trying to do it all on your own is the primary growth inhibitor of most businesses and when you do so, you leave a lot of cash on the table.

So, lets make a pact that you will stop trying to learn how to do activities you weren’t meant to do… things you’re not good at… don’t like doing… but have fooled yourself to feel are necessary evils for your success… because they aren’t.

Remember, every time you hand off a task to someone else you get to focus more on your dream. You will have more energy to work on your unique special sauce, but most importantly, you will have more time to help more people transform their lives.

Your Turn

There you have it, eight myths keeping you from doing what you went into business for and getting handsomely paid for it!

Now I want to hear from you! Tell me…

What are you going to let go this month so you can grow?

Or if you already have help, why aren’t you delegating more?

Can’t wait to hear all the things you are going to get off your plate young lady!

If you liked this article please like it + share it. :-)

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