Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

You Ask – I Answer!

 

subpageIcon4 copyI recently did a podcast interview with John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire (listen to the interview here). It was extremely well received and I got a lot of people that sent me great questions. Here are a few of those questions with my answers, I hope you find this of value…

Q. I currently do a lot of different things. I have a full-time job and run a small business with my spouse, I hold several board volunteer positions, recently directed a non-profit, and am working on other charity projects in my community. These all make sense for me in terms of my “why”, but I worry about being sub-par at a lot of things, versus being excellent in one. Is it possible to be great in a lot of areas, or do you suggest someone narrow their scope? If someone’s attentions are split in a lot of ways, how can they be most successful?

A. To become truly world-class at anything – you must have a great deal of focus. It is an old cliché, because it is true: If you try to be all things to all people you will end up be nothing to anyone. It is possible to do a handful of things well, but if you are too scattered there is no way to do any one thing exceedingly well. The hard part is figuring out what to say “NO” to. To me, the best way to do this is to be very clear about your core values, exactly what you hope your life will look like five years from today, and what you want to accomplish with your life – and then have the courage to remove anything that does not directly add to that goal. You can stay involved in everything you’re doing, but it’s my opinion that you will likely not achieve a high level of success in any one of them.

Q. What do you with your time? With all of the books, presentations, mentees, traveling, etc. you do, it seems like you have more hours in the day than most people. How do you maximize your free time? How do you create balance? How do you work smarter versus harder?

A. First, I don’t have kids. That was a specific career choice because I thought it was unfair to have children and travel as much as I do. Luckily, my wife did not want to have kids either, so it wasn’t a big sacrifice for us. Also, I do not watch TV, movies, go to the mall, cut my lawn, do my own laundry, wash my own car or any other activities that do not directly align with what I’m trying to achieve – or – where I can hire someone else to do them for a few dollars an hour while I either enjoy myself, spend time with my wife, or work on projects that will make me a significant amount of money – which allows me to invest a small amount of it back into getting other people to do my chores. It’s all about the time/value of money. Figure out what an hour of your time is actually worth and then pay other people to do the things that are dramatically below that level. It is hard to do this in the early stages of being an entrepreneur, but once you start reaching a level of financial success this practice allows you to focus only in the areas where you can generate the most value and revenue.

Q3. In some of my ventures, I work a lot with professionals who are in a different generation than me, the “baby boomers”. In your opinion, what actions and attitudes most impress you when working with a “millennial”?

The thing that works the best with all generations is to ask great questions and and be an intense listener – AND – be so incredibly competent at what you do that people can’t ignore you. I took over as CEO of a multinational company when I was 26 years old and most of the people on my board were billionaires and in their late 50s or 60s. I simply worked extra hard to listen to them and be so exceedingly well prepared and well-studied that they had no choice but to trust that I would get my job done superbly. There are definitely generational differences, but being open, flexible and curious will allow you to understand those differences and determine how to work best with people older or younger than you.

Q. Like many entrepreneurs I have tons of ideas about different products and services I’d like to bring to the market. How do you choose which ones to actually pursue?

A. The answer to this is really quite simple, but difficult for some people to implement because they get so attached to their idea and the vision of selling their company for $10 billion to Google next week. For any business to be highly successful it must meet these three criteria:
A. It has to be something you are extremely passionate about and have fun working on, because you will never become truly great at something you don’t enjoy.
B. It has to be in an area where you have an exceedingly high level of competence, or you have surrounded yourself with insanely competent people and you have Uber-strong leadership skills and solid business experience.
C. This is the one that most entrepreneurs miss…

The product or service you want to bring to the market must be unique and compelling – differentiated from your competition in a way that is extremely valuable to your target customer – is difficult if not impossible for your competition to copy – and that you can actually deliver to the market at a reasonable profit.

If it does not meet all of these criteria you might be able to build a good business, but you will never build a sustainably successful enterprise that generates significant revenues and profit.

Those are just a few of the questions I’ve gotten this week, if you have a question you’d like me to answer please send it along and I will give you my very best advice.
I wish you every happiness and success – John

**** By the way, I just developed a Consultative Sales training program to help sales people be much more successful. If you are interested click on the link below and there is a short video that will explain to you exactly what I cover in the series. If it turns out that you want to go through the course, here is a special promotional code that will give you a 45% discount. The code is: 45OFF

I hope you’ll take a minute to watch the video and see if this program might be right for you or some of the people on your sales team. Thanks so much – John

Click HERE to learn more

Consultative Sales Excellence 45

How Do You Want To Feel?

Here is a very brief video on two good books and one awesome question. I hope you will take a few minutes to try to answer this question and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below…

I wish you every possible happiness and success – John

In case you have not watched it, here is a link to my recent video on:

The Five Keys To Business Success in 2016

 

How to get the most out of a workshop, seminar or speech

This is a great video for leaders, managers and employees to watch to help get the very most out of a business training workshop, seminar or keynote speech. I have been a business trainer and keynote speaker for more than two decades and I share with you in this video why it is so critical to pay attention and apply what you learn when your company spends a lot of money to send you to a training workshop, seminar or speech.

How To Be A Great Mentor / Mentee


Free eBook Link for Building and Sustaining a Winning Culture by John Spence

The Three Keys to Success in Life and Career

Tom MorrisYears ago I stumbled across a book called True Success by an author named Tom Morris…and it changed my life. I read and re-read it and worked hard to apply the ideas it shared and they made a BIG impact on how I approached my desire to achieve success in my career and life. I then devoured every new book that Tom Morris wrote and continued to learn and grow from his writing. About three years ago I had the great good fortune of being asked to speak at a conference where Tom was also going to deliver a talk. He was amazing…great content, passion, energy, connection – a truly world-class presenter. I approached him after the talk and told him I was a huge fan, we sat down and chatted at length and now I am extremely pleased to call him friend. In this blog I wanted to share a sort of conversation between Tom and I on the three most important elements of creating a successful life. I hope you find this very valuable and share it with your entire network!  Thanks – John

 

John: What do you feel are the three MOST important elements of building a successful life and career?

Tom: Ah! John! You are indeed a master of simplicity. Three things. Let’s see. Ok, here goes: Good values, good people, and good instincts.

Or to put it more fully: Good values within you, good people around you, and good instincts to guide you.

Successful lives and careers are built on the foundation of the right values, perceptive and healthy perspectives on what really matters in this world. Good values to start with will give you a strong sense of purpose, which we all need as a touchstone for decision-making. We can’t just let ourselves unconsciously absorb the values around us, unless we’ve already taken care of the “good people” imperative, and the values that are the most immediately around us are deep and lasting. We need to engage in the age-old process of self-examination that was recommended by Socrates. What are my values? What are my priorities? What means the most to me? Achievement without the right values can be self-destructive. With the right values, it can be deeply satisfying and ultimately fulfilling.

John: Perfect, let me summarize with one of my very favorite quotes, “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” Works well in both business and life.

Tom: It’s also impossible to build a successful life and career without good people around you, people to inspire you, spark you, encourage you, and sometimes question you and correct you. Who counts as good people? Good people are, simply, people with good values, connecting this element back to the first one. Family, friends, great colleagues – these individuals, as life elements, are primary ingredients for personal happiness and also for life and work accomplishment. Rarely does anything worth doing get done absolutely solo. We need other people. And they need us. I’m always saying, “Relationships Rule the World.” And I think that you, my friend John Spence, are a great example of this. You’re a relationship guy. You seek to serve others. And that sets in motion a virtuous cycle where others seek to serve you as well. You don’t do good things for others in order to get them to do good for you, which rarely ever works, in any case. It’s just who you are. You’re a relationship guy. For great perspectives on building a community of such people around us, I’d recommend to your readers the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, and Adam Grant’s new book Give and Take.

John: Thank you for the compliment, I am simply following what I believe is the MOST important thing I have ever learned, “You become what you focus on and like the people you surround yourself with.” A major reason I reached out to you Tom, because of the amazing work you do and the incredible value you and your work has added to my life.  By the way, I would also I would add in Linchpin by Seth Godin, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Tom: Number three: We need good instincts about what’s appropriate, what’s healthy, what’s needed, what’s helpful, and how to get well positioned for attaining our goals. Instincts are taught mainly by being caught. We become like the people we’re around. Great artists, tennis stars, golf sensations, top business builders, and Nobel Prize winning scientists typically get to a point of mastery by hanging out with masters and watching them. I think that intuition or instinct is a natural endowment in us all, but that to be most effective, it has to be cultivated, groomed, and tutored. We become the best by learning from the best, which shows how this element is connected back to the second, good people.  

Good people are individuals with good values, who associate with other good people, and who have good intuitions. And good people with all these qualities tend to be successful in work and life. 

John: This is why I love the idea of building a Mastermind Group – I have about 18 people I deeply respect in my local Mastermind Group that come to my house about every 45 days to discuss BIG ideas, help each other, support each other and push each other. I can say with complete confidence this idea has dramatically improved my life.

Tom: But what about drive, some readers might ask. It’s embedded in good values. How about education? Your instincts can clue you in to what you need to learn in order to pursue the path that you feel is best for you. Or they can connect you with the right people who can advise you in that regard. Of course, many things facilitate success. I’ve spent my career expounding on seven things I’ve learned from all the great thinkers in this regard, in books like True Success, The Art of Achievement, The Stoic Art of Living, and the new ebook, The 7 Cs of Success. But, to specify the three MOST important things? I think that if you have these three, you can discover whatever else you need!

John: I have read (and re-read) each of those books and they have all had a profound impact on how I live my life. I have used True Success and The Art of Achievement with many of my clients and my Mastermind Group is currently reading The Stoic Art of Living. Actually, my new eBook, Strategies for Success is based a great deal on your teachings and I use one of your main ideas: Creating a PLAN for your life. Thanks so much Tom, I look forward to continuing this conversation!!

*** To my blog readers – if you enjoyed this article please share it with all of your contacts – thank you — John

You MUST Learn to Delegate!

DelegateI was recently delivering a speech in Des Moines (great city – incredibly nice people) and one of the attendees approached me after my talk to ask for some advice. It seems that he had an employee that was very, very talented… except she could not (would not) delegate.

I had encountered a similar problem with a senior executive I was coaching at a Fortune 100 financial firm, he was a superstar, but was also doing everyone else’s job and working 100-hour weeks. Not only had it completely destroyed his personal life, but I was brought in because, in the words of his manager, “If he cannot learn to delegate this is the end-of-the-line for his career, he is totally maxed-out and I cannot give him any more work – or promotions.” I told the attendee in Iowa that I would be happy to put together a brief video that focused on: Superstar Who Cannot Delegate = End of Career. I hope you find this of value and share it with your network!

A Great Leadership Competency Model

10_examples_of_kick-ass_personal_brands

Ideal Leader?

I was recently serving as a lead instructor for the Florida Recreation and Park Association (my longest standing client at 17 years!!!) Joe Abrahams Academy for Leadership Excellence, an elite school for their emerging leaders. During the program I challenged the group to develop an “Ideal Leader” competency model and this is what the came up with…

Honest: authentic, humble, character, integrity to values, show and gain respect.

Communication: transparency, honesty, clear goals, collaboration, listener, storyteller, stakeholder input, open door policy, curious.

Compassion: community of caring, recognition and praise, shared credit.

Inspirational: positive attitude, accountable, passionate, lead by example, authentic.

Talent: empowerment, accountability, competency, training, lifelong learning, investment, get the right people.

Risk Taking: be decisive, have a shared vision, highly competent, innovative, embrace change, be connected, pursue the big idea.

That is a SIMPLE but very powerful list. Easy to talk about – challenging to live. Welcome to leadership! 24/7/365

I think they did a spectacular job of capturing some of the most fundamental and essential elements of being a truly successful leader. What do you think?  Did them miss something critical? I would LOVE your ideas and insights.

The Secret to Success

I was extremely honored to be one of 12 speakers asked to present at the recent Fresh SparkreThink: Success” event. It was an entire day dedicated to the topic of how to achieve success in business and life. My good friend Kristen Hadeed and her entire team were awesome, and were kind enough to ask me to do the opening speech of the day to kick things off. I hope you will take the time to watch this video, it’s about 22 minutes long, but I honestly believe there’s some really good information here that I hope you will want to pass along to many of your friends, family and colleagues.

A Powerful Success Habit

A guest blog from my very good friend, Matt Tenney…

Typically, when considering approaches to improve business outcomes, we compartmentalize.  We look at ways to improve overall strategy, the skills of our leaders, sales, customer service, etc. 

What if there were something very simple that we could do personally, moment-to-moment, that has a significant impact on nearly every area of our professional or business success – a sort of “success habit”? 

The simple practice of mindfulness is just such a habit.  This is why many leading companies like Google, Intel, Raytheon, General Mills, and Genentech offer mindfulness training for leaders and employees in all positions.

Mindfulness training is just a simple shift in perspective that allows us to create and maintain some space between ourselves and our thoughts/emotions.  As simple as this sounds, making mindfulness a habit has numerous links directly to the bottom line.  Below are three examples:

 

 

1.       Increased Stress Resilience – Perhaps the most well-researched benefit of the practice of mindfulness is helping people to face stressful situations with a reduced adverse stress response.  Reducing the adverse effects of stress has a direct impact on profit because it helps people to be more creative, make better decisions, be more productive while at work, miss less days due to illness, and reduce health care costs. 

2.       People Skills / Emotional Intelligence – There is now a tremendous amount of research demonstrating what thought leaders like Dale Carnegie had said for decades: The single most important ingredient for high levels of performance, especially as leaders, is emotional intelligence, commonly referred to simply as “people skills.”  Mindfulness is arguably the most effective method there is for increasing emotional intelligence, which is why one of the most popular training programs at Google is a mindfulness-based, emotional intelligence program called Search Inside Yourself (there is a great book by the same name, written by Google exec Chade-Meng Tan, which I highly recommend). 

3.       Mental Agility – Mental agility allows us to quickly adapt to a rapidly-changing business environment: an invaluable skill.  Also, in cutting edge research in behavioral finance, mental agility has been identified as one of the two most important predictors of whether or not a person will be profitable over the long term.   Mindfulness was designed to increase mental agility and has been shown in research to do so.

Although not easy, mindfulness training is very simple.  We can create the aforementioned shift in perspective simply by mentally noting what we’re doing now.  If we’re sitting and waiting, we just silently say in the mind, “Sitting and waiting.”  If we’ve done that, we’ve just created space between ourselves and our thoughts/emotions.  The trick is maintaining that perspective!  To do that while still, we can simply maintain awareness of our breathing.  To maintain mindfulness during activity, we can simply be curious about what our present moment experience is like, keeping our awareness open to what’s happing now.  When we get pulled into our thoughts again, we just mentally note, “Distracted,” and open our awareness once again.  Repeat as necessary.

In service,

matt tenney

Matt Tenney is a professional speaker and trainer, a mindfulness teacher, and author of the book From the Brig to the Boardroom: Why Mindfulness Is the Ultimate Shortcut to Success.  To contact Matt, visit www.MattTenney.com.