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[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]99% of the time when I ask people why they aren’t taking steps to follow their dreams, they say they are afraid to fail.

Wait.

If you just said, “that’s not me, though” I’m going to kindly reel you back in.

FEAR AFFECTS EVERY SINGLE PERSON…

ALL OF US.

Fear of failure is one of the biggest reasons so many people don’t do what they were made to do. They’re so concerned about failing that they don’t think about what could happen if they succeed. If you start with your biggest excuse and work backward, you will almost always find that your reasoning is based in fear. Fear of what others will think. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of starting over.

Feeling fear means you’re about to do something big. It means whatever is about to happen is going to determine how your journey continues. When you’re scared, you know that if you do what it is that you’re scared to do, you will be different on the other side. Things will be different, relationships will be different, circumstances will be different. If it weren’t a big deal, you wouldn’t be afraid. But your fear is a physical indicator that you are alive and present and that you’re about to do something big.

If we treat failure as a reset button, it can be a lot less scary. Failure is life’s way of telling us that our idea didn’t work and we need more time. Or more training. Or more patience. Or more grit. If we avoid trying new things because we are afraid to fail, we aren’t allowing ourselves to succeed.

When we talk about facing our fears, we often speak about being brave. But having courage is not the same as being fearless. Being courageous is being afraid and doing it anyway. Everyone can let fear stop them, but the brave ones feel the fear and do it anyway.

This month, let’s feel the fear and do it anyway. Let’s stop worrying about what could happen if we fail, and start getting excited about what will happen when we succeed.

My challenge for you this week: Decide that October is the month where you feel the fear and do it anyway. Identify a major fear you have, write it on a sticky note, and put it on a bathroom mirror. When you identify it and give it a name, it begins to lose it’s power.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column]
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Far too often, we think we have to come up with the new big idea to be successful. We feel the need to do things differently, to try new experimental methods, and to reinvent the wheel. We can spend so much time trying to be different and innovative that we lose sight of the basics. We spend so much time focusing on new ways to do the things that have been working for business leaders and entrepreneurs for decades. 

We all know that if we are trying to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we consume. That is the foundation behind weight loss. And instead of doing this, we turn to trendy products and programs. We spend a week drinking spinach juice and being miserable instead of going back to the basics: healthy food and exercise. I’m guilty of this. 

Business is the same way. We know there are a few things that are foundational for a successful business, but we believe the myth that these things are outdated and need to be improved. Well, let me tell you this: communication, accountability, teamwork, and mentorship never go out of style. When you can focus on the basics, you create a business built on a strong foundation. 

This week, this is my challenge for you:

Identify one or two areas where you could go back to basics. What are you putting an extraordinary amount of time or money into that you could scale back and still be productive? 

My friend could have sent me an email. He could have sent a singing clown to my house with balloons. He could have Facetimed me. Instead, he went old school and wrote me a letter, and it dramatically shifted my mood for the entire week. Imagine what going back to the basics could do for your company, your employees, your family, and your life.

As I observed the careful precision of that car wash team, I could identify six things that made them work so well together, and that resulted in an impressive final product:

  1. Communication- the team expertly communicated what they were doing, when they were finished, where they noticed a problem, and when they needed help
  2. Chemistry- the whole time they worked, the team smiled and joked around. They were clearly focused on their job, but it was evident they had a strong personal connection and were happy doing what they were doing.
  3. Common Goals- the way the team worked meticulously on their specific part of the car made it clear that everyone was working for the same purpose: to make my car look its best. And it showed. They shared a common goal.
  4. Trust- very little had to be said as they washed, scrubbed and dried my car. Each member of the team trusted that the others were doing their job, and doing their job right. If one needed help, they called out and knew someone would be there to help them.
  5. Accountability- it would have taken me an hour to get my entire car as clean as these guys did in 20 minutes. Each person was accountable for their specific role and executed it with careful precision. Because of their accountability, each area of the car sparkled in the Florida sun.
  6. Commitment- there was a line of cars after mine, but the team didn’t seem rushed. They were efficient and committed to providing top-notch service. They didn’t cut corners or do anything halfway. Their commitment to their service truly impressed me.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you are running; if your team doesn’t possess these six traits, they’re not as productive or successful as they could be. This little south Florida carwash killed it when it came to teamwork, and inspired me to make sure I’m bringing these six traits to the teams I’m on.

Your challenge for this week:

Do a careful analysis of your team and pinpoint the traits your team does exceptionally well and the one your team could work on. If your team can master these six traits, they’ll be unstoppable!

Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realize it was leaning against the wrong building! -Dave Ramsey

Welcome to Monday!

If you’re not pumped up and excited about Mondays yet, we’ve got some work to do. The possibilities and opportunities in Mondays should make you excited to walk into the new week with confidence. If you’re not there, take a moment to reflect on your mission statement. Think carefully about the statement you designed that embodies your business and what you’re doing to push that mission forward. If you’re feeling stuck and stagnant, it might be because you’re not focusing on your mission statement. Or worse, your mission statement isn’t strong enough to push and motivate you towards excellence.

Crafting a mission statement is not done overnight. It is a result of careful consideration into the goals of your business. If you don’t have a mission statement, or you feel the one you have is not a clear representation of the impact your company has on the world, rewrite it. Work with your leadership team, your family and your friends to build a mission statement that makes you excited; that inspires you to go into each day with a purpose.

When picking apart your mission statement, run it through this test. Does it answer these four questions?:

  • What do we do?
  • How do we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

If people can’t answer these questions after reading your mission statement, it’s lacking. If YOU can’t answer these questions clearly and with confidence, you REALLY need a new mission statement.

Regardless of your industry, your department, or your position, a clear and concise mission statement will redirect you and remind you of who you are, what you do and why you’re doing it. This fresh perspective could be the wake-up call your business needs to get back on track.

Your mission statement is a statement of purpose. If you’re not here on purpose, for a purpose, why are you here? The first step in developing a winner’s mindset, both in business and in life, is creating a powerful mission statement that motivates and inspires you to embrace Mondays. And every other day of the week for that matter.

Review your mission statement. Edit your mission statement. Completely obliterate your mission statement and start again if you have to. Do whatever it takes to reignite that fire in you to be relentless in your pursuit of reaching the next level.

Want to learn more about creating a powerful mission statement? Check out this week’s blog.

During my 10 years in the NBA — eight as a player in Dallas, Utah and Detroit and two as a broadcaster in Minnesota — I noticed a clear correlation between accountability and team performance.

Every team had a distinct culture, whether it was on the court, in the locker room, at practice, or even on team flights.

After defeat, players for winning teams could be heard saying “my fault” and “my bad.” They acted as if they lost the game all by themselves. There was this strong sense of accountability. Even though it was a team effort, each player understood how his play directly contributed to the team’s results. You could hear a chorus of players consoling each other and taking ownership in a mistake or lack of production that contributed to the loss.

And when that same team won (which was the norm), the players complimented each other and never bragged about their own play: “Hey! No big deal. I am just doing my job as a team member.” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that locker room culture?

When I played on losing teams, or visited locker rooms for post-game interviews of losing teams, I noticed a vast difference. Players were self-serving, and narcissistic observations filled the air. There were comments like: “I’m the best player in this league!” “I’m glad my teammates got me the ball.” “I need the ball!”

It wasn’t the smell of sweaty uniforms, BenGay or basketball sneakers that made it hard to breathe. It was the self-aggrandizing commentary that sucked the oxygen out of the room. A whole lot of “I” and “me” filled the room.

Thirteen years after leaving my broadcasting job with the Minnesota Timberwolves, I see the same issues in corporate America. Winning organizations have a culture of accountability, just like winning NBA teams. Organizations that struggle to survive or continue to underperform have similar characteristics to those found in losing NBA locker rooms.

The lack of accountability within the business community is at an all-time high and is degrading revenues.

Only 44 percent of employees feel that people in their organizations take full responsibility for their actions, according to a recent poll by Modern Survey. Other surveys suggest that up to 80 percent of business leaders struggle with holding others accountable. This is significant because accountability has to start at the top.

I am always concerned when I consult with organizations and hear their strategic plans to grow sales and increase revenue, yet there is no attention given to their culture. Many business leaders just don’t understand how important it is to build the right culture. They have dissention, unhealthy factions, bitter employees, and high turnover, but want to improve the bottom line and are running on a treadmill going nowhere fast.

Accountability improves results by improving culture, naturally improving employee engagement, leading to performance improvement.

Here are 10 benefits of establishing a culture of accountability:

  1. Attracts and retains high performers.
  2. Rids you of poor performers. They will leave on their own.
  3. Defines how you make commitments to one another on projects that require team effort.
  4. Greatly increases job satisfaction and corporate alignment.
  5. Employees are more likely to take on responsibilities that match their strengths.
  6. Improves how employees interact when things go right or when things go wrong.
  7.  Employees take more ownership in their jobs.
  8. Employees are more highly engaged, ultimately resulting in increased productivity.
  9. Goals are more easily reached and maintained.
  10. Less time and energy is wasted on covering tracks or destructive behavior.

Are your employees owners or renters?

Studies have shown that employees who take an ownership in their jobs are more accountable for their performance, helping lead the company to greater success.

A leader’s first step in building accountability in a company’s culture is making sure everyone owns something. Everyone needs to be an OWNER.

You can’t expect accountability out of your employees if you don’t allow them to own what they do. If they don’t own their jobs, then they are merely RENTERS — renting a job.

What does a company full of renters look like?

  • Turnover is high and consistent
  • There is low employee engagement
  • There are poor working relationships and little to no socialization outside of work.

I remember how exciting it was to move out of my college dorm for the first time. Moving into the dorm was one thing, but that first apartment in college was another level of excitement. I still remember my first shower curtain, which had a spread of aces from a deck of cards. It was so cheesy, but it was mine — in my apartment.

However, before we could move in there and hang that curtain, there was a minor business transaction that had to be executed. We signed a one-year lease and was informed that after a year it goes month to month. We lived in that apartment for exactly one year and moved out. We moved into another apartment for a year and then moved out.

Renting for most is a short-term relationship. It NEVER crossed our minds to upgrade or improve the apartment. After the initial excitement wore off, we just lived there. We actually left the apartment in worse shape than when we moved in. It was a miracle we actually got our security deposit back.

But we all know what happens when we buy our first home. We get crazed and have a totally different attitude and approach. I don’t care if you build it from the ground up or bought an existing home. Our attitude and engagement are totally different as OWNERS versus RENTERS. We care! And we care a lot! Our hearts are in it from Day 1.

It’s the same in the business world. Some companies have a culture where employees are merely renting a job. No wonder they have high turnover and poor employee engagement. The building is full of RENTERS.

And those companies lose top performers too easily. Top performers are OWNERS, and need to be surrounded by OWNERS.

Here are three tips for creating a company full of owners:

1.  Clearly lay out the expectation of ownership when you hire new employees.

2.  When you become an owner, you take the credit and blame. So you want to hire people that love to perform under pressure.

3.  Always show your employees you have confidence in them and trust them publicly and privately. The confidence you give them will encourage them in their ownership efforts.

 

Great CEOs understand that investing in human capital is paramount to growing their companies. The concept is employee engagement diagram hand drawing on chalkboardsimple: Helping your employees perform at an optimal level will help your profits perform, too.

Every organization has its high-performers — if you buy into the “80-20 rule,” they typically make up 20 percent of your workforce — who consistently produce at a high level. You love them. You wish you could clone an army of them. They’re the star quarterbacks on your bowl-bound team.

But not everyone can be an MVP. The majority of your professionals, the other 80 percent, fall into the “average” category. They aren’t good enough to call “high performers,” but not bad enough to get rid of, either. They are just average.

What if you could get the 80 percent to perform more like the 20 percent? Here’s how I’ve helped companies strengthen average employees through personal accountability.

1. Know how your employees will react

As we’ve established, not all employees are created equal. This is especially evident in their reaction to criticism.

High-performers are accountable by nature, constantly thinking of ways they can improve themselves with or without your well-thought-out performance review. They probably think more about performance improvement than you do.

Average performers, on the other hand, spend less time reflecting on their work and might wrestle with your feedback. They aren’t as accountable as your high-performers, so your well-meaning performance review creates hardship, negative emotions, and contempt. Knowing this changes how we approach the 80 percent.

2. Help employees own their work

If you want to inspire the average segment to get moving, try some type of accountability training prior to your performance reviews. This will condition your employees to own what they do and want more out of it as a result.

If you can convince even half of your average employees to focus on improvement, the entire workforce benefits tremendously. You may even get some of your poor performers to become average.

3. Focus on how “we” can improve

Make sure you communicate that you appreciate each employee’s efforts, but always articulate how can “we” do more. Never focus on “you,” because average performers can become defensive if they feel like it’s a personal attack.

Emphasizing the “we” in your conversation will make improvement feel like more of a team effort.

4. Maintain a coaching culture

Create an atmosphere where coaching is a part of the job when you onboard new employees. By introducing them to the company culture early on — specifically to your high-performers — employees can keep each other accountable.

5. Set ambitious goals

Set high benchmarks that will push your average producers without discouraging them. This will create scenarios and expectations for more production. Always dangle the carrot!

6. Celebrate great performance

Always celebrate your top performers publicly as a motivator for them to keep producing. This will motivate some of your average performers to produce more. Rewards could be things like choice seats at your awards banquet or an invitation-only high-performer’s breakfast with a guest speaker.

7. Nourish potential

There are many great ways to motivate your best average performers to continue climbing. For example, try spending one-on-one time with your average performers who have the most potential to elevate their performance.

You could also budget professional coaching for your up-and-comers, or facilitate team brainstorming sessions. Employees work harder when they feel that their ideas are being heard.

Please share in the comments which of these 7 you will apply in your business and why.