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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there are a few things that are foundational for a successful business, but we believe the myth that these things are outdated and need to be improved.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.

They say that when the haters start popping up out of the darkness, you know you are on the right track. But the assumptions and opinions of others can still create doubt and uncertainty in even the most confident business leaders. Here are 4 things they’ll probably say and a few ways to handle it.

You’re Tired

An off season is not a result of being overworked and depleted. It is actually a proactive step to make sure you don’t get that way. Of course, there is no shame in being tired; it happens to the most successful and hardworking industry leaders. But an off season is not a sign that you can’t keep up or that you’re unfit for the amount of work it takes to be successful.

People often deflect their own insecurities onto others, so when the haters assume that your off season means you easily get burnt out, it could be a reflection of their own fear of not being able to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of business.  

You’re Overwhelmed

An off season is not a result of being overwhelmed or in over your head. It does not mean you are incapable of the job you have set out to do, or that you bit off more than you can chew. An off season is an intentional time to look at where you’ve been and where you are going. It gives you time to plan, reorganize, re-work and rethink how you are running your business so you can work smarter, not harder. An off season allows you to let go of the things that aren’t working and strengthen the things that can send your business to the next level.

The people close to you might give you a hard time for taking an off season and assume it is because you’re overwhelmed and overworked. If this happens, remind them, and yourself, that your off season is to prevent professional fatigue. It’s a planning session, brainstorming session, a way to realign your business so that you can stay in control and focused on what you need to do next.

The haters who tell you an off season must be a sign that you’re overwhelmed may be seeing your momentum and your progress as a threat. They may be hoping that this is a sign that you aren’t doing as well as you look. They’re wrong.

You’re Stuck

An off season is not a result of being stuck, confused or lost. It is not throwing your hands up and giving up when things are hard. Your off season is a way to get a fresh look at what you’ve built and see new pathways that will launch you to the next level. Your off season is your time to look at your business and your relationships in a new light that allows you to keep moving forward.

A lot of the time, your haters won’t look like haters at all. They will be well-meaning family members who don’t understand your passion or your dreams and feel intimidated or uncomfortable with your courage to step out of the box. Don’t let their fears become your fears. You’re taking an off season because you’re not okay with being stuck in a rut or settling for mediocre. Your off season is what separates your future from theirs.

You’re Failing

Your off season does not mean you’re failing. It does not mean you’re not good at this, that it’s too much or too hard. You deciding to take an off season gives you time to look at the times when you didn’t make the right decisions, to look at the setbacks and mistakes that you’ve learned along the way, and learn from them. You have failed before and you will 100% fail again. But you get back up and you keep going, which is why you are next level bound.

Your success is a threat to other people. If it wasn’t, they’d be cheering you on instead of finding ways to knock at your confidence. They may not say it, and they may not even know it, but your failure would help them feel better about their own. So they assume, or hope, that you taking an off season means you’re down for the count. That this big dream that makes them feel insecure and small is a no-go. Prove them wrong.

There are a million things small minds will say to discredit or discourage you from doing big things. And it can be hard not to take what they have to say as truth, especially if they are close to you. But when you know the reason and purpose for your off season, you can walk into this strategy session with confidence. You will know it doesn’t mean you’re tired, overwhelmed, stuck or failing. It means you are making a smart business decision that is going to set you apart from the rest.

Hater’s gonna hate. It means you’re doing something right.

“Successful people know a lot of people” -Walter Bond

It’s Meet Someone New Monday! Today is a great day to work on your networking skills and meet someone who could help you reach your goals. Or maybe by meeting someone new this week, you’ll be the person someone else needs to achieve their goals! Either way, by meeting new people this week, networks are being strengthened, goals are being reached, and relationships are being built. Networking is a critical skill set that we all must develop to enhance our purpose and make progression.

Everything you need to get to the next level will go through someone else’s hands to get to you. Ask any “self-made” millionaire their secret, and they’ll tell you they had a strong team of people behind them and were committed to effective networking. Meeting new people is critical in growing as a person and as a business. You can master programs and processes and create formulas that will improve your numbers, but if you can’t master the relationship building part of your business, you’re doing yourself, and your company, a disservice.

Networking is paramount to your success in 5 major ways:

  • Shared Knowledge. Successful people surround themselves with people who are more successful than they are. By networking with other like-minded people, you can share ideas, knowledge, strategies, and tricks to help you reach the next level. This is one reason our Next Level: Mastermind Group has been such a success, successful people love connecting with other successful people.
  • Increased opportunities. Networking helps you get connected with the people who have what you need to grow. Meeting new people increases your chances of finding new opportunities that will help launch you towards personal and business development.
  • It’s about secondary connections. Businessman Bob may not be the person you need to reach the next level at this moment, but building a long-term relationship with him means that he has connections that could be crucial in your success. Maybe Businessman Bob gives your name to his friend Professional Paula and viola! You’re connected and significantly moving forward.
  • Get Noticed. The more people you know, the more people know you. This helps to increase your profile and reputation in the industry. By making yourself a regular at networking events and business development sessions, you’re letting everyone know that you’re serious about getting to the next level. This will attract other serious business leaders and entrepreneurs into your professional circle.

This week, your challenge is to work on a short pitch/speech that will cover the basics of who you are and what you do in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator. This is commonly referred to as an elevator speech. Once you’ve crafted your elevator speech, use it on one person that you don’t know. If you’re not doing it, your competition will. Being prepared will help you move past the few seconds of nervousness and start a chain reaction of connections that will get you to the next level.

If you didn’t get in on the Mastermind Group in October, there a few spots left for November. We’ll be discussing networking tips that have helped successful business leaders and entrepreneurs reach the big time!

Now go meet someone new!

-Walter

We all have positions, but what you do as a professional is much more important. When I left sports and began to impact the business world, I instantly saw a huge void in business and how leaders built their teams. So I began to develop content and intelligence that can be transposed to the business world and empowers leaders to have teambuilding strategy. Teamwork is simple, but only because of my sports background and advanced experience in teamwork. As a long-time athlete, I was an expert on teamwork without even trying to be. However, it has taken me years to formulate, articulate, and teach what I know about teamwork to others. It was frustrating to know and understand teamwork while organizations were losing millions of dollars and struggling to thrive or even survive.

When I explain my teamwork strategies to other athletes, they light up because they understand it well. A professional sports scout has the complex task of finding talent, finding the right position for the talent, and projecting what that talent can do. The position an athlete should play is the easy part—diagnosing and predicting what an athlete can do is another ball game all together. That is where a great scout makes their money.

I’ve played on a variety of sports teams between the ages of 7 and 30. I was on horrible teams like the 1992 Dallas Mavericks (we only won 13 games the entire season, a very painful experience). I can go back farther than that if you want to talk about pain. My very first team at seven years old was a baseball team called the Eagles, and we didn’t win a game the entire season. To make matters worse, we had yellow uniforms and were teased by our peers. The good news is that I was a part of a very successful college basketball program at the University of Minnesota where we made it all the way to the Sweet 16 in 1989 and Elite 8 in 1990. We were really bad when I arrived on campus, but I saw a winning program transformed right before my eyes. The transition from a horrible team to a successful one may have been the most gratifying experience of my career. In my NBA experience, the good news is that after my Mavericks experience, I joined the winning Utah Jazz in 1993-1994. We made it all the way to the western conference finals and lost to the eventual winner, Houston Rockets. I had a chance to play for the legendary coach Jerry Sloan and Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone. It was the best team I ever played with.

In business, everyone subscribes to positions that are mutually accepted and used as designations. Companies call their employees everything from CEO, President, VP of Sales, all the way down to associates—a fancy name for hourly employees. Every company throws out titles like peanuts to elephants, but I saw something missing: titles everywhere but no language or understanding of what each professional actually does. I know you are an executive, but what do you do? How do you impact the game of business? There is a void in business regarding what professionals actually do—until our workshop on team building. Now, you can build a team because you understand that you can’t build on titles alone—chemistry and teamwork are based on what professionals actually do.

Based on our teamwork model, what do you do? Are you an innovator? Are you an implementer? Are you a professional instigator? Are you an improver or an executor? The bottom line is that you need to know what you do before you can build a team around you. We love seeing the lights turn on as we teach our teamwork concepts to business leaders. I recently had a professional come to me in tears after a half-day workshop. She said that she had hated her job for 10 years and it almost ruined her life. She never knew why she hated her job, but the workshop taught her that she was an implementer who wasn’t able to implement at work. Our workshop showed her to be enjoy work and become more successful.


Click the button below to receive a complimentary iTeam Audio Download where I teach you how to:

  • Build trust and respect between team members.
  • Collaborate and best use of each team member’s talents.
  • Ignite mutual understanding and respect.
  • Delegate tasks in a way that magnifies strength.
  • Build micro-teams and how to fix dysfunctional teams.
  • Boost employee engagement and job satisfaction.

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I did a fundraiser with Bill Clinton when I was president of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA). This association is for washed-up NBA players like me, looking forward to the next phase of life.

The former president was as smooth and graceful as ever, and he made a statement that I will never forget.

He said that intelligence is evenly distributed throughout the earth without discretion. The only thing that separates us all is opportunity.

Wow! We in America just have a better opportunity based on where we were born and the environment we were blessed to placed. Double wow!

You know what, he is right. I never thought of it that way.

Opportunity is something we can’t take for granted

So this is how my mind works: I scoured my brain and wanted to think of another resource that is evenly distributed around the world without discrimination.

Time! Time, just like opportunity, is evenly distributed. Everyone of us gets 24 hours a day to operate. We all get the same exact time every day.

From a homeless person holding his sign at the exit ramp with his pregnant girlfriend and dog to the richest man on earth, we all get the same 24.

So, the question is what are you doing with your business opportunity and your 24? Simply put, 24 hours is a long time to get things done. Even if you sleep eight hours, you still have 16 hours left. If managed properly there is nothing you can’t accomplish in this world. We should never waste an opportunity and we should never waste time because in all actuality it’s all we have to work with.

Here are a few keys to make sure you manage your time wisely so you don’t waste your wonderful opportunities.

1.  Invest your time like you would money — only in activities that will give you a good return on your investment
2  Right time, right activity. Make sure a 15-minute task only takes 15 minutes.
3.  Always use a to-do list. It will save you two hours a day in productivity.
4.  Always prioritize your activities. All work is not created equal. High-value tasks should trump menial tasks.
5.  Get a good night sleep. Being fresh is the best way to be productive and not just busy.
6.  Beware of time thieves like unfocused people
7.  Social media that is not business-related brand building is a time thief.

If you can manage your time wisely, it is the only way you can maximize your wonderful opportunity you have right now. Time does not discriminate. We all get 24 hours a day to make our dreams come true. What are you going to do with yours?