Tips on building and growing your people skills.

business culture

Connecting the What with the Why: How to Create Business Culture and Strategy the Right Way

“Everything rises and falls on leadership” is a phrase often heard in the startup and corporate arenas. As we’ve talked about in the past, leadership can be described by our influence on others. And with that influence automatically comes our business culture.

As creatives, we need to be aware of this culture that we’re building from the very beginning of launching our business.


Why is that?

Well, culture can be defined as a pattern of beliefs, behaviors, and values, encouraged or discouraged by people or processes over time.

So that means, whether we’re actively promoting a certain culture or not, one is being formed around the work we’re already doing.

So let’s talk a little bit about how we can get ahead of that culture as we’re scaling and growing our business.

It Starts with a Mission

Last week I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop called the Mission Roundtable. In this workshop, we focused on helping people in business find out what their personal and corporate missions were and then use that info to determine their values and vision. Once those were clear, we then set out to learn how we can create a unique strategy and culture for our business.

As you probably guessed, I was all about the part where we focused on determining our missions. This is something that I’ve thought about in quite a bit in the last year or so. In fact we recently had a guest on the podcast to discuss it.

Being part of this roundtable was not only clarifying for me, but also validated what I’ve been finding out.

For me, the reason I went into this research was fairly straight forward. As I’ve met more and more people in the entrepreneurial space, I’ve learned that many new entrepreneurs fail to learn how to connect who and what they’re about with the work that they’re doing.

The problem with this is that they’ll start doing one thing, realize they’re not being fulfilled, and then go on to try something else that might fulfill them.

Basically, they’re recreating a job for themselves.

Not only that, but many go hard core into this new role, go crazy with the grind, and come out the other end thinking “I’m more unhappy now than I was when I started!”.

Finding your own mission and being part of a company that reflects those qualities is an important foundation in doing meaningful work.

Vision and Values

Once we have our mission and have aligned it with our business (or the organization we’re a part of), then we can move onto the next step.

Determining what your vision and values are.

Now, I’m sure if you’re reading this post you know what both are. Your vision is simply where you want to be. And your values are the characteristics of yourself and your team as you get there.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably even written them down for yourself sometime in the past.

It’s possible what you haven’t done yet is to think of those values and your vision from the perspective of your personal and company mission. Even more, many of us might not even be fully using the vision or values we currently have in place.

If you’re not utilizing your current vision and values, why is that? Where’s the disconnect? If you’re not sure, it might be time to draw up a new vision and values to get you there. It might be as simple as the fact you might have a mission now, but the vision and values don’t fit that mission.

All of this should be aligned.

Strategy and Culture

Ok, now that we have those fundamental building blocks in place, it’s time to come back to our business culture and strategy.

Without vision, we can’t really develop a strategy. And without values, we’re going to have a heck of time developing a culture.

Now that we have those in place, though, we can now develop both.

Strategy

So first thing is strategy. Of course, when we’re developing a strategy for anything, we need to know what the rules of engagement are. We want to make sure the moves we’re making aren’t leaving anything on the table. We also want to make sure we’re being as efficient as possible. 

To do that, we need guidelines. 

Now that we have thought of our vision, we have these guidelines. 

We should also know 3 things:

  • What our company does.
  • Who the customer is.
  • What our customer values.

Once you know what those are, you can much more easily build your strategy.

  • Of course you want to begin with the end in mind, so what do you want to achieve in 3-5 years?
  • What options do you have to get there?
  • After choosing an option, what are your next steps? Reverse engineer from where you want to be from where you’re at.

Many make the mistake of not being clear with the answers to these questions, so while you might be taking action, you’re not actually getting anywhere because you haven’t clearly planned out what you want.

Culture

When it comes to building culture, for many creatives it’s seen as something that they can put on the back burner. What’s the point of building a culture when it’s perhaps just you and a few VA’s?

While this perspective might seem ok when you’re first starting up, it can cause big issues in the long run.

However, because we’ve already developed our list of values, then getting an idea for what our culture is isn’t really too difficult.

Organizational Clarity

First thing? Let’s look at the big picture and get organizational clarity. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • What’s our brand and story say about us? When people think of what we’re doing, what comes to mind? How are we described?
  • What’s the structure of the team? If it isn’t formed yet, what will it be? Will there be a hierarchy? Will it be centralized with you in the center? Or will you be part of a decentralized team?
  • What roles are there and what is each person in charge of? The more defined this is from the get go, the less problems there will be down the line.
  • What’s our communication process?

Leadership Clarity

When it comes to leadership in our organization we need to lead by example. Do that and I think you’re at least halfway to being a great leader.

That said it also helps to make sure that our team can work autonomously. While we might want certain things done a specific way, it’s important that we don’t feel the need to constantly micromanage.

However, many times we aren’t always at the top. And in those instances, we have to be aware of where we fit and interact with those around us. 

John Maxwell addresses this in the 360 Degree Leader. In the book, he shows middle managers how to leverage their unique positions and become 360 degree leaders by exercising influence in all directions–up (to the boss), across (among their peers), and down (to those they lead). 

While he goes into much more detail, the gist is that we need to do a few things as a middle manager:

  • Follow our leaders humbly. (Without being a yes man.)
  • Inspire those around us (by example).
  • Manage our subordinates individually. (Never criticize in public.)
  • Influence Lovingly (Don’t have an ulterior motive.)

Relational Clarity

Finally, when it comes to where the rubber really meets the road, it’s all about relationships. Another book of John Maxwell’s (and a favorite of mine) is called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. And really, the better our relationships with those around us are, the better the system works.

To make sure that we’re connecting with those around us in our work, it’s important to focus on a handful of principles here as well:

  • Define and pursue the same goals (teams with goals win, those that don’t lose)
  • Believe in something bigger than ourselves (believe you’re in it for the greater good!)
  • Collaborate rather than compromise
  • Develop strong relationships (care about others, they’ll care about you)
  • When necessary, engage in constructive conflict resolution.

Action Steps

So as you can see, it’s imperative that we do the work to zero in on what our personal and business missions are. Only when we have them can we build on those to develop our culture. When we have the culture we want, it’s so much easier to build and scale our businesses simply because those folks who don’t fit, normally filter themselves out before they start working with you. 

If they do fit the culture, then it’s so much easier to move forward and actually accomplish goals.

So, again, if you haven’t done so yet, start from the beginning and determine your own personal mission by checking out Uncover Your Personal Mission. From there, work out the other sections until you have an idea for how things are going to be handled differently by your current or future team.

passive income streams

Popular Passive Income Streams in Modern Business

Passive Income is a topic that many still struggle with today in 2019. And, I have to admit, while I understand why people aren’t too familiar with the concept, it still kind of blows my mind. Personally, I think it’s been 18 years since I first read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad and his second book, Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant. Since then I’ve picked up the basics of developing passive income streams and understanding how it all works. In this post, we’re going to explore the top 8 methods of developing passive income.

Yes, it’s really that simple!

I Quadrant Opportunities

If you’re familiar with Robert Kiyosaki’s work, you’ll recognize his company, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Robert himself is a fan of all passive income opportunities, however, when he originally wrote his first book, his experience was via Real Estate Investing (REI) and Traditional Investing through Stocks, Bonds, 401k’s, Mutual Funds, etc.

Real Estate Investing (REI)

REI is probably one of the most well represented options out there. However, when most people think of REI, they believe that they can’t get in the game. In fact, I remember starting to read Robert’s book Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing when I was in college and thinking “When I get a real income when I’m out of college, this will be how I make my fortune!”

While I still haven’t gone that route, it’s definitely something I see myself eventually getting into.

If this is a track you might be interested in, I’ve had several REI success stories on the show:

Chris Prefontaine (AoL 155)

Damion Lupo (AoL 125)

Kevin Bupp (AoL 124)

Whitney Nicely (AoL 123)

Traditional Investing

Outside of REI, when most people think of passive income, they think of making money through stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 401k’s fit in this area as well.


While this isn’t necessarily a bad topic to think about, I will say that if you do the math, it takes about $1.25M to be invested in various assets to yield a comfortable $50k+ per year income.

Thing is, most people won’t ever smell that kind of lump sum amount in their career working a day job. However, there are tactics you can use to save a little bit here and there to eventually make that work out. Fortunately, you can read material by folks like Dave Ramsey to make this more of a reality than a dream.

Also, if this is an arena you’d want to play in, I’d also recommend checking out Tony Robbins’ book Money: Master the Game

B Quadrant Opportunities

If you’re already in the S Quadrant, you should definitely look at the B Quadrant!

In the I Quadrant, we’re mainly focused on making our money work for us to make more money. However, again, not everyone has access to that seed money to get up and running. So what’s one to do if they want to get in the passive income game?

They should totally look at the B Quadrant. The B standing for Big Business or Business Systems. These terms can be used interchangeably because you can’t have a big business without harnessing the power of business systems.

What’s great about the B Quadrant is that it’s the scaled up version of the S Quadrant. The main difference being that while in the S Quadrant you’re capped by the activity you can put in yourself, in the B Quadrant you can grow your business through fractal patterns or fractals. If you’re unfamiliar with fractals, a basic example is a tree in a forest. A tree has a trunk, limbs, branches, and twigs. They all are formed using a pattern of nodes and branches. Depending on the type of tree, however, the pattern might keep going. 

Most trees have a tap root that counterbalances the tree and keeps it in the ground. When the tree is growing, a lot of energy is put into creating that tap root.

However, Giant Sequoia trees have a network of roots that support the entire forest like a mesh. Sure, a tree can grow by itself and support itself, but Sequoias, being the largest trees in existence have evolved to support each other in this network. The trees themselves act as the nodes, while the roots act as the branches. 

So simply saying when it comes to fractals, the larger the network, the more potential for growth.

Traditional “Tried and True” Opportunities

The B Quadrant isn’t anything new. In fact, you probably already know of examples of people who are successful in this quadrant.

Insurance

As long as there’s been insurance, there’s been agencies. And insurance has been around a pretty long time.

When someone takes the leap from being an agent and starting their own insurance agency, then they’re taking a step into the world of the B Quadrant. Those agencies can continue to grow to a point where they train other agents and agencies. At this point they become a Field Marketing Organization (FMO). Their most basic role is to offer insurance products, services and possibly training to insurance agents or agencies.

An example of one here in Indiana is Gordon Marketing.

Franchising

Using the same idea as an insurance FMO, a business can eventually grow to the point where they franchise the model of their business.

Like insurance, the idea of franchising goes way back to the Middle Ages. However, the franchising that we’re aware of today didn’t really start until after World War II.

Of course, one of the most well known franchises is McDonald’s. And luckily for us, a movie was released about the man who built the franchise. The Founder is the story of Ray Kroc and his journey to create the business that we know today.

It’s easy to see that this method of creating passive income works. There’s more franchises today than ever! In fact, there’s so many suburbs of one city resemble those of another city.

Personal Franchising

When it comes to franchising, you can do it one of two ways. The first is the more familiar route we just talked about. However, one issue with this method is that it can take quite a bit of startup capital.

Most people don’t have a spare $10k+ just sitting around.

So they participate in the age old tradition of direct sales. Direct sales is defined as “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.” With that kind of definition, you could say that just about any kind of sales outside of a traditional store or place of business is a form of direct sales.

Many direct sales companies today allow their sales associates or Independent Business Owners to sponsor other people to do what they do. One of the oldest companies that is set up to do specifically this is Amway. In fact, the reason  Amway was created, was so that anyone could have the capability to start their own business. At the same time, they’d also have the support from those who sponsored them as well as the company itself. 

If you’d want to know more about this form of direct sales, often referred to as multi-level marketing, you can check out our friend Robert Kiyosaki has to say on the subject. Interestingly, it’s how he met his wife Kim!

Like Robert, I highly recommend checking out this path if you’re stuck in the E Quadrant and want to quickly move to the B. Or even if you’re in the S Quadrant and don’t have enough to pursue the other options we’ve talked about so far.

Here’s a couple of folks I’ve had on the show who are experts in Direct Sales:

Mark Nathan (AoL 23)

Jeff Gamble (AoL 156)

Cyndi Walter (AoL 163)

Licensing

I’d be admiss if I didn’t cover the topic of licensing and what that means. Basically, it’s the sharing of Intellectual Property (IP) from one company (company A) to another (company B) in agreement that if the company B uses the company A’s IP, company A gets a commission. While it is similar to franchising, franchises differ in that they are in charge of how company B is actually ran. In licensing, while company A might have recommendations and regulations set, it’s pretty much left to company B to work out their own systems of operation.

As an owner of America Multi-Sport, I’ve had first hand experience to see how this can work out. While on the surface it might seem like a great idea since you’re skipping over some pretty hefty fees to actually make a franchise, there’s a good chance you’re going to fall behind. Since your licensees don’t have to operate to a certain standard, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Just with us, we’ve had a handful of licensees come and go in the last couple of years simply because they couldn’t do what we recommended to them.

However, just because it hasn’t been overly successful with us doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. The NFL got started the same way. Even though it’s had its ups and downs,  it’s celebrating 100 seasons!

Internet Powered Opportunities

Now that we’ve covered forms of opportunities that have been around 100 years or more, let’s look at a few things that have popped up in the last 20 due to the advent of the internet.

Scaled S Quadrant Work

If you’re more familiar with the podcast, you know that a number of the guests are simply people who have taken their service to the next level. They’ve found their Ikigai and have used technology to build a lifestyle that they’re proud of. Of the numerous hats I wear as an entrepreneur, one is helping people take their solopreneur business and scaling it through technology if they haven’t done so themselves. 

Of course, there’s different ways to capitalize on technology. You can become a digital nomad where the only work you do is through your laptop as you travel the world. Or you can start a brick and mortar agency that offers a service which can be executed online. Or perhaps you already have an agency and you’re up to your eyeballs in work and need help with all the work that’s coming your way.

There’s ways to do all of this. It really depends on what you want to do. Of course if you’d like help with this, shoot me an email. I’d love to help you get to the next level.

Affiliate Marketing

The internet has brought on another form of direct sales called e-Commerce or internet marketing. Today, most of us no longer go to places of business and buy something on the spot. We opt to do our shopping from the comfort of our own home.

Lots of online business owners get their start in internet marketing by pedaling other company’s products or services. Most of the reviews that you see on YouTube, have an affiliate link in their description that you can buy the product through them and they get a commission. 

In fact, Pat Flynn did pretty much this for years. However, as his platform grew, so did his need to create his own online products.

Influencer Marketing

When I first learned of Pat, I also learned of Brendon Burchard and his course called Expert’s Academy. Today I think he’s called it the Influencer Academy because more people are familiar with that term on Instagram.

The idea of Influencer Marketing is pretty straight forward. If you have an engaged audience, you have a list of potential buyers. The bigger the audience, the more potential buyers.

You make a product specifically designed for that audience, and there’s a good chance they’re going to buy from you. Why? Because of your influence on them through that engagement!

Typically speaking, those products take the form of digital products like courses and eBooks. That said, it’s not uncommon to see books, audios, and videos released by people in this arena.

Anyway, here’s the catch. It’s important that we never confuse three things. 

  • Don’t confuse your platform with your income. 
  • Don’t confuse your income with your career.

When people are getting started in the online entrepreneur space, many times they believe that they need to become an influencer way before they’re successful in making income. Problem is, you can’t really be an influencer unless you have some form of success in your career. They’re putting their platform ahead of their income.

To correct this, we need to learn how to separate the idea of these two. Sure your income will be multiplied as you become an influencer, but if you don’t have any income, you’re essentially multiplying by 0. 

So the next time you hear the phrase “become the next influencer” and think it’s a great idea, make sure that you already have a proven business based on the material that you want to help the masses with.

SaaS Platform

Finally, the last option I’ll mention because it’s the last category I’m personally familiar with is building a Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform. Now, doing this is just like building any other kind of business. You have to start small and in a well defined niche.

What I learned from Dane Maxwell (AoL 56) and his program called the Foundation is that if you’re creating something from scratch, you really need to do your homework up front. Find out what the people really want.

However, because it’s a product and not a service, you’re going to have to learn how to do a little bit of pre-selling the concept. Especially if you’re creating it without using your own funds. Why? Because hopefully, you’re going to hire someone to do the programming for you! 

Once you have the online tool built with the help and funding of your “champions” and early users, then you can market it and build your influencer platform like any other online business.

Action Steps

So, lots of information here! 

Hope that it provides some value and gives you a bit of clarity.

Again, if you haven’t, I really recommend getting started with reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the Cashflow Quadrant. Everyone should be financially literate and these are great starting manuals on passive income. 

From there, feel free to connect with me. We can do a strategy session based on where you’re at and what your needs are.

personal effectiveness

Interpersonal Effectiveness – One of Four Important Topics Not Taught in School

When I first started New Inceptions, I had a ton of ideas of what I could help people with. At the time, I had learned so much during my time in LTD that I thought that it would benefit others that didn’t have the opportunity. One of the biggest things that I started learning about at the time, was how to increase my interpersonal effectiveness. 

All the way up through grad school, I always struggled to convey my ideas and build emotional connections with my peers. Many times, I felt like the odd guy out. Of course, a large part of that was that I grew up an only child. And as any only child can tell you, we learn to amuse ourselves in our own time.

So while I had friends in school who were a lot like me, I felt it hard to connect with people who weren’t. In fact, in high school, I remember getting incredibly anxious as I tried to engage with popular people.

I simply didn’t realize that there were all these self development books out there that could have helped me understand how to connect with others better.

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the things that we can get better at when it comes to Interpersonal Effectiveness.

What is Interpersonal Effectiveness?

There’s a lot of topics that aren’t taught in school these days. Even more so today than when I was going through junior high through high school. For example, I remember taking both home economics and shop classes. Heck, I actually got credit to learn how to drive a car.

Today, those types of classes simply aren’t available to your typical high schooler. Instead, most high schools are focused on teaching for their state’s standards test. And while this might be a metric to measure a students hard skills, their soft skills are left behind.

Interpersonal effectiveness refers to the skills which help us to:

  • Attend to relationships
  • Balance priorities versus demands
  • Balance the ‘wants’ and ‘shoulds’
  • Build a sense of mastery and self-respect

And wow, I have to admit there are a ton of skills that fit this description.

Skills to Help You Be More Effective with Others

So let’s take a look of this grocery list of skills. Here’s a list that comes to mind in no particular order:

  • General Communication and Conversation
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Civic Awareness (Government, Religion, Law, Volunteerism, Philanthropy, etc.)
  • Negotiation
  • Intimate Relationship Building
  • Digital Etiquette (including Social Media Safety)
  • Manners
  • Sales
  • Finding a Job
  • Marriage / Family Dynamics
  • Leadership
  • Networking
  • Entrepreneurship

Wow – just wow. Right? I mean, if you’ve been out of academia for any period of time, you probably realize how important many of these skills are. 

Personally, the two that have made the biggest impact in my life up to this point are emotional intelligence and entrepreneurship. 

As I mentioned, growing up I had no idea that others had different personalities and motivators. I didn’t even really understand what I should do when someone gave me a compliment. I was sooo totally awkward!

As I’ve learned more and more about entrepreneurship, I’ve realized a couple of things. First, and foremost, is that it’s what makes the US amazing. When done right, nothing beats the free market system. Another thing I’ve realized is that most of these skills actually play a role in some way or another. For example, if you’re a better leader, you’re a better business owner. Or, as another example, if you’re good at negotiation, you might be able to get more for less.

Action Steps

Anyway, I just wanted to point out some of these skills out as we continue going down this journey of life.

Personally for me, I feel I need to master sales and negotiation a bit more. Luckily, there’s all kinds of resources out there.

What are some skills you’ve already been developing? What are the ones that make you think “Oh, I should probably work on that a bit more…”? Do a bit of an inventory for yourself and list what you would like to know more about.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Other topics that aren’t discussed in school include Mindset (how you talk to yourself), Financial Literacy, and what I call “Ikigai Maximization”. We’ll be sure to go over some of these topics in the future as well!

starting a consulting business

Michael Zipursky – Make Real Income with Your Expertise: Key Concepts in Starting a Consulting Business (AoL 158)

For many people, starting a consulting business is something they’ve thought about doing at one or another. But just like most entrepreneurial endeavours, many don’t get started because they don’t know the way to find real success. And many times, they don’t know anyone who is a “successful” consultant to learn from.

In my experience, there are a few well known names out there that come to mind when you’re talking about becoming a decent consultant.

Today’s guest is one of those names.

Michael has been a consultant since the age of 19 and since then, he’s been honing his craft and helping others along the way.

Since 2007, he and his cousin Sam have empowered 34,000 people from over 80 countries with their company Consulting Success.

To Michael and Sam, success is not about numbers or material gains. Instead, it’s about being in a place where money isn’t a concern anymore. It’s the ability to go out to enjoy a meal or a trip with family. It’s having the certainty you need – in an increasingly uncertain world – to take charge of your future. It’s the freedom to live life on your own terms.

If consulting is something you’ve thought about getting started with, I’d highly suggest getting to know Michael in this chat with Veronica and me.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How has his family and traveling across the world played a role in Michael’s career? 8:54
  • What was the trigger for Michael and his business partner to take their consulting work online with Consulting Success? 14:05
  • How can consulting set entrepreneurs free? 18:31
  • What models are available for consultants to use with their business? 20:34
  • What are the 6 principles of running a successful consulting business? 24:56
  • What does making better decisions within a consultancy mean? 27:46
  • How does someone know what to offer and how much it should cost when they’re selling their expertise to others? 36:50
  • What is Michael excited about in the rest of 2019 and beyond? 42:41
  • What is one book, film, and song he’d add to the national curriculum? 44:38
  • Is there anyone he could interview that would cause him to be starstruck? 48:06
  • What message is out in the public that is actually a disservice to youth? 49:06
  • In the last 5 years, what new habit or behavior has most improved his life? 50:26
  • What’s it mean to live a life of abundance? 52:44

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Avoid Information Overload by Using the ACTION Approach

The Unprofessional Professional – Your Thoughts?

Veteran Consultant Testimonial

From Corporate World to Consulting


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

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A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

business ownership

Jeff Gamble – Gaining Perspective through Business Ownership: How One Entrepreneur Survived the Ride of His Life (AoL 156)

Business ownership comes in many forms. The goal of this show has always been to expose the listener to as many ways to start earning 6 or 7 figures a year. In the last session, our guest, Chris Prefontaine, built his income generating machine through real estate investing. Then, in session 150, we had Corbett Barr on who told us about how he managed to make Fizzle from the knowledge he knew about monetizing traffic online.

In this session, I had the chance to speak with an influencer here in the Indianapolis area about his background in various businesses including multi-level marketing (MLM).

As you guys probably know, I’ve been a fan of properly ran MLM groups for years. For instance, way back in session 23 of the show, Laila and I had the opportunity to interview soon to be Amway Diamond Mark Nathan.

What he and today’s guest, Jeff Gamble, can tell you is that a large part of being successful in the network marketing arena is affiliating yourself with great people.

Pair this experience of his with traditional business and the result is someone that knows a lot about what it takes to be successful entrepreneur and leader.

But don’t think that this journey of his has been easy. He’s had more major setbacks than anyone I know.

Even if you’re not interested in getting involved with an MLM company, let his story be one of inspiration to you in whatever you’re pursuing.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How was Jeff initially exposed to the multi-level marketing industry? 9:14
  • What life event made him change his perspective and look at other ways of making income? 16:02
  • When it comes to network marketing, what kind of benefits does Jeff believe associates get? 44:14
  • What are some things that people should consider when getting started with a MLM company? 53:21
  • What’s Jeff looking forward to in the not too distant future? 58:57
  • Who are three influential people who have help get him to where he’s at today? 1:01:39
  • What job or business would Jeff like to try out for a day? 1:01:49
  • What’s the smallest decision he’s made that’s had the most impact in his life? 1:02:05
  • Is there something that every high school student should know? 1:02:25
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 1:02:45

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

How to Fix Your Credit:

John Maxwell’s Law of Leadership #20 – Explosive Growth

Going Executive Director Show Episode 78

Jeff Working Out and Getting Max Gainz!


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

team culture

5 Ingredients in Developing a Strong Team Culture

This morning I had the opportunity to go to the Next Level Indiana Fund Summit. It was an event where members of the capital venture arena addressed what the scene looks like here in Indiana. These members included government officials, representatives from the various funds, and entrepreneurs who had successfully built their businesses through funding. As I listened to these talks, a particular concept came up to me again and again. Each organization had a strong team culture.

What’s a Strong Team Culture Look Like?

When you think of a team culture, you might think of a particular sports team. I’ve written about various examples of sports teams with great cultures in the past. Duke Basketball, Duke Football, and the Colts are recent examples.

From these examples, we can see that culture is made up of certain parts. A culture has values, beliefs, attitudes and the certain behaviors that are important to the team. We can also see that if culture isn’t intentionally defined from the start, it will likely be defined by the weakest link.

If we let it get this far, then that’s when we feel we have to implement all kinds of precise rules, processes, and systems.  When this happens, members of the team feel like their personal perspective doesn’t matter. It demotivates your A-Team members. That becomes a much bigger problem REAL quick!

Essentially this is what we saw with the Colts when Ryan Grigson was General Manager. While he might have been a great talent scout and brought in a few good assets to the team, unfortunately, he didn’t set the right culture. Therefore, when then coach Chuck Pagano had to do his job, he practically had to babysit the players for every play. Unfortunately, he wasn’t too great at being a micro-manager and we ended up with plays like this. As a result, over time there was an overall feeling of distrust between the players, coaching staff, and the front office.

When Chris Ballard came in to take the reigns, he knew this had to change. So, from the very get-go, he started to define the new culture of the team. Add in Frank Reich last season, and you have a team of high trust, where the effective players believe in each other, the organization, and where it’s going.

Building a Strong Culture

So now that we have a bit of an idea of what a bad culture can yield vs a good culture, how do we build a strong one?

A good example of building a strong culture can, again, be seen in this recent post about the Duke football team.

But if I was to summarize that particular post, there’s a few takeaways that we need to have.

1. Single Team Vision

The first thing we need to realize is that while a team might have many voices, it has one mission and one vision. This means that the vision is a team effort – including the leadership. When they act and do things a particular way, the team will take notice and start to do what they see leadership doing.

Meaning, if the leadership wants the team to put in the hard work, they’ll have to put in work first.

Remember there’s no such thing as leading from behind.

2. Abundant Belief

The next thing we should notice is that a winning team believes that it is a winning team. This means that the leaders believe in the team, the team believes in each other and the leadership, and even more so, each individual on the team believes in themselves.

3. Appreciation of Ourselves and the Team

Many times, we leaders have a hard time appreciating our own little wins. Reason often is that we’re so focused on accomplishing the vision that the little wins we have along the way, don’t really count. They’re what’s supposed to happen. We might feel a little bit of satisfaction, but that’s about it.

However, when something doesn’t go quite the way we want it, that’s when we usually get somewhat emotional. And it’s because of this tendency that many of us tend to get sucked up into a downward emotional spiral.

That being the case, as leaders, we need to so gratitude towards our own accomplishments as well as those of our team members. If you need help with this, there’s a few resources I’d recommend. The first is the Five Minute Journal. If you’re not familiar with this journal, it’s an actual daily journal that helps you appreciate the things that went right during the day. That way you can get in the habit of appreciating what’s going right for you personally. If a hands on version isn’t your style, there’s an app for both iOS and Android.

Then, there’s the 5 Love Languages. And while many think this is for romantic relationships, there’s actually an edition for the workplace. This book is useful when you’re trying to learn how to show your appreciation of those in your immediate circle.

And last but not least is the John Maxwell book called the 25 Ways to Win with People. If you’re familiar with his book called Winning with People, then you’ll want to grab this whenever you need a refresher.

4. Active Participation in Team Discussions

One of the things I’ve noticed with winning teams is that all members of the team have a chance to input their thoughts on what’s going on. As a leader, it’s your job to help the members of your team feel that they’re welcome to offer their input. Of course the best way to get them to do this is to ask more questions. And when they respond, actually pay attention and get clarity on what they’re saying.


When we pay attention to the members of our team, we can bring out the best in them.

5. Live with Intention

As with all things, we need to keep focus on the fundamentals. So, it’s important that we keep our vision in front of us. If you work with your team in person, put the vision somewhere where people are constantly reminded of it. For example, the Colts have done this by issuing a shirt that reads 1-0 – meaning do what you can do now to put yourself in a position to win the next game.

With this focus on fundamentals, it’s easier for leadership to develop and uphold a particular standard of work ethic.

Action Steps

Ideally, the best time to start working on a team culture is when you’re new to a position. It was always so much easier for me to set the expectations of a classroom on the first day as opposed to week 5 or later.

However, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to develop a culture for a team you’ve been leading for awhile, then there’s no better time than now to get started.

Of course, you’ll have to use a little bit of change management to successfully move the team from where they are to where they need to be.

So, a possible suggestion of this is to give them the new vision and let members of the team help you figure out the details in how that’s going to be accomplished. Then once you have the details in place, work on the expectations. How are you going to do things and how will they do what they need to get done? And then after that is determined, work with them on figuring out a process of accountability. What happens when they don’t get a certain task done a certain way and on time?

Using this type of communication will certainly help your team form and develop a new culture.

personal motivation

Andy Dix – Be the Best Version of You: The Importance of Understanding Our Own Personal Motivation (AoL 154)

Having the knowledge about different personalities is a bit of a super power. When you know someone’s personality and personal motivation, you can understand what makes them tick. However, a lot of people simply don’t have this knowledge. They get frustrated when other people don’t act the way they do or don’t set an importance on various things like they do.

Today’s guest, Andy Dix, helps individuals and teams figure out what motivates them through the Reiss Motivation Profile.

As a leader, it’s important that not only do we know the makeup of any one person, but we also understand how others are going to engage with them.

If you don’t have much knowledge about how personalities and motivations work, this is a great conversation to start at!

So, join Harrison and I as we learn why Andy chose to work in this field, what he’s learned, and why he started his The Hopeful Hoosier Podcast.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How’d Andy get into what he’s doing today? 8:40
  • What’s the Reiss Motivational Profile and how does he incorporate in his work? 13:01
  • Has he been surprised by the profile results of any one person or people? 16:13
  • Does the Motivational Profile prove the truth of “natural born” leaders and entrepreneurs? 25:12
  • What motivated Andy to start his podcast “Hopeful Hoosier”? 27:12
  • What kind of things is he looking forward to the rest of this year? 36:43
  • Who are Andy’s top three people he’s been influenced by? 38:13
  • One thing under $100 that has changed his life? 40:08
  • Is there advice out that he hears adults giving kids that he’d call BS on? 40:43
  • What does Andy do when he becomes overwhelmed or unfocused? 41:39
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 42:35

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Andy Interviewed by Engel Jones:

Steven Reiss on his book The 16 Strivings for God

Andy’s Webinar on Using the Science of Motivation Within an Organization

NPR’s Talk of the Nation: The Art and Science of Motivation


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!