How To Make Your Business Run Like Clockwork

Power of PracticeHave you ever noticed that sometimes your firm just doesn’t feel right to you? Instead of having things move smoothly it just seems to take too much time and effort for things to get done. Even worse, when mistakes happen no one steps up to take responsibility. Do you have a hard time letting go and calling it quits on a project that’s never going to amount to anything?

Have you ever asked yourself why these things exist in your company? If you did you would likely find the answer is really simple. You’re probably not talking to others in your organization in a meaningful way.

But I talk with everyone all of the time.

The vast majority of businesses have less than twenty-five people. And I’m sure that you’re talking with your staff on a regular basis. I bet you even believe that everything that’s important gets talked about already.

The sad truth is that most of the conversation you have with others in your company doesn’t lead to effective communications. And it doesn’t lead to getting projects getting done quickly or effectively.

If talking with others doesn’t work, what should I do?

You should start by having a daily huddle. This is a daily fifteen-minute meeting held at the same time every day where you do the following four things:

  • You talk about open projects your team has.
  • You talk about any impediments or roadblocks that have popped up over the past day.
  • You talk about what the plan is for the day.
  • You allow people to ask for help.

It’s really pretty simple and fast. When fifteen minutes comes, you stop whether you’re done or not. As you practice doing a daily huddle you’ll find that meetings really do only last fifteen minutes.

Make sure you stand up.

You might be thinking that there is no way this type of meeting can last only fifteen minutes. If you let your staff sit down, then you would be right. When we sit we settle in for the long run.   If instead you stand you’ll get a completely different result.

When you do a standing meeting there is urgency in getting things done. No one is going to settle in. It’s just not comfortable for that to happen. Instead you’re going to find everyone will be anxious to be brief and then get back to their own projects.

Don’t have the meeting last for more than fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes needs to be a hard stop. If you allow the meeting to drag on, it will. When you only allow fifteen minutes or less you’re making sure everyone is moving forward and you’re not going to waste time dealing with issues that aren’t important.

As time goes on, you’ll get better at this. Remember everything when it’s new feels awkward. Having a daily huddle is no different. It’s going to take you a little time to get used to it.

Make sure those who need help ask for it.

The real purpose of the daily huddle is to report on any project that has hit a roadblock. The second reason for the meeting is for those who need help to ask for it.

Before either of these things will happen you’re going to need to realize they require trust. No one is going to ask for help or let anyone know there’s a problem on a project unless there is a general feeling in your company that we’re all working together.

This feeling starts with you. If you’re not allowing mistakes and rapidly changing priorities it’s just not going to happen. Great organizations all are flexible in how they handle challenges. And all great organizations do this well because of general trust that exists in their firms.

Are you willing to give this idea a try?

I bet you’re thinking that having a short meeting every day is going to be too much. I bet you might even be thinking that there’s no way you can have a daily meeting that will last only fifteen minutes.

At first you might have a hard time staying to fifteen minutes. With practice you’ll find that your daily meeting might only take five or ten minutes. The more you practice and the more you focus on only what’s important the quicker your meeting will go.

I’m going to challenge you to try this for three weeks. If at the end of this time it’s not working, give me a call. I’m willing to bet that you aren’t going to need to call me and you’ll be glad you tried the daily huddle.

Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below and we can even start a conversation.

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Are Profits Really Everything?

Advisor just miss the boat too muchBiz retirement

I’ve been studying the world of private business for over 35 years. Both as an advisor to business owners and as the owner of several small businesses.

I can tell you one thing, if you’re main focus is around helping your business owner clients more money, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. It’s not that money is important, it’s just that it’s not the most important thing for most small business owners. [Read more…]

Why You Stink At Hiring Advisors

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What, you say, “You don’t stink at hiring advisors.” If that’s really true you’re in the distinct minority.

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Do you feel you don’t always get a great return working with your advisors?
  • Do you feel your advisors really listen to what you want?
  • Do you feel that sometimes your advisors think “you don’t get it?”
  • Are you sometimes intimidated by your advisors?
  • Do you sometimes feel that you wish you never had started working with an advisor in the first place?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, you aren’t getting all that you could from your advisors. Let’s take a look at some reasons why.

You might think your advisors are smarter than you.

Your outside advisors have definitely had lots of technical training. And in the areas that they’ve been trained they probably have more technical knowledge than you.

That doesn’t mean they’re any smarter than you. In your area of expertise I can promise you that there will be very few advisors who are going to have more knowledge than you.

I can promise you that you have much more expertise on what’s important in your life. You need to own that expertise and not give it away to an advisor.

You don’t want to argue with your advisors.

After all you’re paying your advisors a lot of money. You’re hoping they can help you with a problem or opportunity. If you argue with them you might be afraid you’re not going to get value.

I can almost promise you the opposite will happen if you don’t disagree when it’s appropriate. You need to let your advisors know when they’re off track. If you don’t, how will they ever know that you’re not happy with the results you’re getting?

You’ve never had a great advisor experience.

I would bet there are more business owners in the world that this is true than the opposite. There are some advisors I know that you’ve gotten value from. I also bet there are lots of advisors who you just felt were a waste of time and money.

If you think about the world of advice it’s only logical that 50% will be better than average and 50% less than average. There are also only about 10% in any field who will blow you away.

You need to have a system to find the 10% and let the other 90% service someone else.

You don’t want to look dumb in front of your advisors.

Advisors love to use jargon their industry is comfortable with. If you’re working with a tax attorney they’ll likely quote IRS code sections. If you’re working with a lean manufacturing consultant they’re going to use all sorts of terms that will mean nothing to you.

Instead of stopping your advisor and asking them what they mean, you just nod your head and your advisor thinks you know exactly what they’re talking about.

Don’t do that. Make sure that you stop your advisor and ask them to explain what they mean when they start to wander off into the world of advisor jargon.

You’re not really sure what you want to accomplish.

Before you hire an advisor you need to really think about what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

If you hire an advisor with the thought that something good is going to come from the engagement, you’re probably wrong. The real key here is to be absolutely clear on what you want to get done and more importantly why this is something that’s useful to do.

When you answer this question you can make sure your advisor stays on track. If your advisor doesn’t have a clear idea about what you’re trying to accomplish there’s a very good chance they’ll make up what you want.

Do you really want an advisor telling you what you want?

At the end of the day you need a system

Hiring an advisor is no different than hiring an employee. I think you should develop a system for hiring advisors that looks a lot like the same system that you use to hire great employees.

Take time to interview your advisors. Make sure they fit in with what you believe. Make sure your advisors are willing to do the activities that you want them to do. Have a system in place to test for technical competence.

One of the roles that I play is I help business owners put together systems for hiring advisors. I find that when we use a system with clear expectations our outcomes are always better.

Are you ready to take the next step and use a system for hiring your advisors? You’ll be glad you did.

How to think like a buyer

yourcorevalue

How To Think Like A Buyer

You’ve decided to sell your practice. You think you’re fully prepared for your sale. You’ve gotten a valuation and “know” what your practice is worth. You have a great staff and a very loyal client base.

You think that selling your business is going to be a piece of cake. You’re sure that it’s not going to take anymore than a few months before you’ve sold your practice and can move on.

[Read more…]

What are your core values

yourcorevalue

A Secret You Need To Learn About Your Core Values

I’m a big fan of the importance of having a clear mission and vision for your firm. I find that firm’s who create a clear vision have an advantage over the rest of the industry.

There’s a secret I want to share with you. It’s really a pretty simple one and one that you might just hit your head and say, “Duh, I knew that.”

[Read more…]

6 Reasons you need to be a nicheaholic

aholic

Are You A Niche-Aholic?

I admit it, I’m a niche-aholic and by the time you finish reading this post I hope you are  too.  When I think about any business I’m involved with, I think about developing a  niche or finding away to shrink the market segment I serve.  I’ve learned that when a business stays within a niche they outperform businesses that try to be all things to all people.  Here are some things that will help you decide if being a niche-aholic is for you.

[Read more…]

How To Develop An Authentic Reputation

Trust

The First Step In Reputation Management – Be Trustworthy

It really comes down to trust.  If you’re authentic and you develop a great reputation it’s because you’ve worked hard on developing a high level of trust between you and the stakeholders you serve.

At the same time developing a great reputation is something that takes a lot of hard work, planning and thinking about the message you want to deliver.  I’m hoping that you want to be authentic in who your firm is.  If you do, you’ll be seen as unique as well.

Here are some things I’ve learned about this subject:

[Read more…]

7 Ways For You To Know If Your Employees Love Their Work

changeI spend a lot of time wondering why more employers don’t think about their employees’ happiness at work.  We expect our employees to treat our clients with the utmost respect and always provide great service.  At the same time almost no employer I know gives a second thought to how happy their employees are.

I have a question for you:  If your employees aren’t happy, why would they ever treat your clients well?  If you are wondering about the answer to this question read on.

[Read more…]