What is Your Legacy?

What is Your Legacy?

 

I am often asked how to deal with the rapid rate of change, how to get more discipline and become more focused? If this is something you are interested in please read on but it is one of my more lengthy articles.

 

These questions seem to come from people being pulled in many different directions by sometime conflicting obligations: family, business, and customers, to name a few. I am experiencing these questions more and more and I want to share them because they seem to be a concern to so many people.

 

My answer is always the same.  I always ask the same questions. What do you do? Inevitability I always get the same respond. I am a stock broker, or an accountant, or a business coach or (fill in the blank). My response is always the same: that is not what you do, that is how you do it!

 

I then see a look of confusion set in. Sometimes the arms will fold indicating some defensiveness. Other times, they remain open but the confusion remains. What they are really saying is “What in the heck is this guy talking about?”

 

When they ask me that question I ask them another question, a specific, purposeful question. What legacy do you want to leave? How do you want your significant other, your children, your coworkers, and friends to think of you after your leave this world? What do you want your life to stand for? How do you want to be remembered? I ask these questions because this is what you do, your profession is how you answer these questions.

 

Some will say I want my family to remember me for always doing the right thing. Other will say I want to know I impacted many lives in a positive way. After further discussion I ask some clarifying questions such as “what does impact mean?” or “can you define positive?”

 

Maybe an example will help.

 

I recently met with someone who is a financial planner who was doing well and struggling to work less and work with higher net worth investors?

 

“What do you do?”

“I am a financial planner.”

“What outcomes do people experience in working with you?”

After a pause he said “we many products and services to handle most of your financial needs.”

“If I were to hire you, what would you tell me that differentiate you from the thousands of planner who want my business?

Short Pause

“I have these tools, and we do this, and etc”

I said “those are tools, tricks of the trade you use, what is the outcome I can expect in working with you?”

Longer pause

He finally said somewhat tentatively “we do not want to be greedy. We want you to make money. We put a plan in place that works for you, a plan you do not have to worry about. This allows you to sleep better at night knowing that that your finances are safe in these turbulent times?”

 

My comment back was “you help me get a good night sleep because we do not have to worry about risky investments, timing the market or any of that other stuff?

 

“Yes”

 

“Why do you do that?”

 

“Because it is the right thing to do!”

 

I said “so the legacy you want to leave is one of honesty, integrity and doing the right thing in dealing with others and they way you do that is through financial planning?”

 

“Yes”

 

“We can work with that!”

 

The financial planner was not just managing his clients’ money. He is saying that his legacy is teaching his children to do the right things. He is saying to his client’s I will take care of you because it is the right thing to do.

 

My next question to him was simply.

 

“If you want to manage money of people making millions and tens of millions of dollars, what behaviors do people who manage those kinds of portfolios do that you need to implement that allows you to be consistent with the legacy you want to leave?”

 

Let’s go back to the beginning of the article. How does this apply to be more disciplined in my business?

 

Simple. 

 

When you are faced with a decision you must test this decision against what you want to achieve in your legacy (or purpose). If what you are asked to do does not match up with your legacy/purpose then do not do it. It is that simple. The problem is getting clear on your purpose. The problem is thinking about your legacy. The problem is making a decision.

 

Many people are afraid of a making a decision because they do not know what they want or they are unclear how to achieve it.

 

Think about this for a moment: what kind of person must you become to achieve your purpose, to leave your desired legacy?

 

The purpose of this discussion is to help you become the type of person you want to be become and attract to you the type of person others want to work with and be with.

  

The purpose of this discussion is to help you make decisions based on something more important to you than what is convenient.

 

The purpose of this discussion is to simplify the decision making process so you focus on what is important.

 

In my case it is very simple. I want relationships that meet these criteria: I want to work with people who are honest, I want to work with people who have integrity, I want to work with people who believe in common sense.

 

Honest means they will tell what they believe to be right and fair and not lie to me.

 

Integrity means they will do what they say.

 

Common sense is defined as creating a win/win approach for both parties.

 

My life is simple. Every decision is based on those three criteria.

 

I have the same approach to my business. If I am approached with an opportunity, possible client, etc, I evaluate them the same way I do my other activities and I ask myself how doing a specific action will take me closer to my purpose. If it doesn’t I don’t, it is that simple for me.

 

As Stephen Covey says in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Start with the end in mind! The end in this case is your legacy.

 

Your business Coach

 

Ron Finklestein

330-990-0788

ron@akris.net   

 

 

       

Denying Problems Exist

Denying Problems Exist 

Every business has problems. How you respond to those problems determine the success or failure of your business. 

 

Another reason business fail is because they deny problems existing in the business. 

 

I cannot tell you how many times I spoke to a business owner and heard “it will take care of itself” or “I do not want to hurt their feelings” or “but they have a family” or “I know, it has been that way a while” or “who cares” or “no one told me.” Want more? I heard them all. 

 

I had a client where the employees did not do as he asked. This went on for years. The problem: they were no consequences if they did not perform and they knew it. It cost this man his business. In this case we got the business ready for sale and he sold the business. 

 

I can’t tell you how often I heard “I knew this was going on but I did not know it could be different.” They did not know it was a problem and more importantly, they did not know they were supposed to do something about it. 

 

RULE #1: If it does get the results you want, it is a problem.

RULE #2: Do something about it! 

 

As the business owner you are responsible for the actions of your employees. If they are not performing, train them. If they are trained and still not performing, make sure they roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. If they still do not perform, fire them. Your business is your livelihood and you are not required to keep dead weight. 

 

Provide a way for your customers to tell you what is on their mind and listen to them. One client heard over and over again that he was losing sales to a competitor. This was a problem because his customers we defecting. Finally he asked one customer why they were leaving and they told him. It was his pricing. He assumed his customer would always pay his price for his product. By the way, this new competitor was able to sell his product to the customer for less than my client could make it. Talk about a wakeup call. 

 

He is things you can do to identify problems:

1.     Make sure roles and responsibilities are defined. If everyone knows what they are supposed to do nothing will far between the cracks. If it does then it is a process problem and not a people problem.

2.     If it is a personal problem address it immediately. The morale of a company can be destroyed by a few bad apples.

3.     Make sure the process is clearly defined. For example if a customer complaint is handled the same way each time, it is easier to train others, build in redundancy and implement management by exception policies.

4.     Implement an “ownership” policy. Everyone takes ownership for a problem. Do not assume someone else will take care of it. As a business owner this means you must allow your employees to do their jobs.

5.     Listen, Listen, Listen. Listen to your customers. Make sure you have lunch with your key customers quarterly. Listen to your employees.  They are doing the job and they know what kinds of problems they are having. Listen to your peers. They will help you see and understand trends that you cannot see by yourself. 

 

When in doubt, ask for help.

 

Call me if you have questions or need help.

 

Ron Finklestein

303-990-0788

ron@akris.net     

      


Learning from Failure

I coach many small business owners and they know what they need to do but they just are not doing the necessary action. 

 

The reason for not doing the work is simply: “I do not know how.” 

 

I find this to be a lazy reason from not doing something. When I ask them to commit they say I will try. LISTEN UP LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! There is no trying. There is only doing. In this economy we need action that leads to purposeful results, not action that leads to trying.

 

The client I am speaking of needs a clearly defined, measurable, repeatable and predictable sales process. She knows that, I know that, her advisory board knows that. After three months she has not even started.

 

She talks about quality of her product and the value her company provides but she cannot define either in a way that allows the customer to understand, in a way she can understand. If you cannot define it you cannot do it or achieve it – it is that simple. 

 

She does not have to know how to do it, all she as to do is start doing something. Building the kinds of processes I am talking about requires documenting what you do now. If you do not know what you are doing, make something up and start doing it. 

 

After you try it a few times, you begin to see what works and the types of questions you are being asked. Document them. When new objections are raised, document me the objection and the correct response. 

 

Begin learning from your mistakes. 

 

Success is nothing more the learning to fail forward. If you run your sales call one way and do not get the desired results, change it and try it again. Find out what works and document it so you can teach others. Being a success is not rocket science but it does require you to stop shooting from the hip. Plan your shot, take aim, become aware of the wind conditions, take a deep breath to get steady and pull the trigger. 

 

Ron Finklestein

www.akris.net

ron@akris.net

330-990-0788

Nine Behaviors That Lead to Success

As a reuslt of my research, I was able to isolate nine specific behaviors that successful people implement in their business. Let’s discuss the nine behaviors.

1.     Selfishness … Selfishness is defined as intelligent self-interest. Intelligent self-interest means to understanding what is important. What is important is helping business owners be success. It is this intelligent selfish-interest that allows business owners to protect their time, energy, money and take action that leads to successful results.  

2.     Results … Successful people measure everything. Their actions are driven by the results they want. It is important to measure everything to ensure the actions being performed led to the correct results. This step can only happen when you take ownership.

3.     Ownership … Ownership states that I am responsible for what is happening in my business and my life. When a person takes ownership of his/her situation, change can be effected. Our job is to help you be successful but it is your business and you need to take responsibility for the outcomes you experience.

4.     People … Our success is largely dependent on how well we lead, communicate, manage, influence, and sell our ideas to others. Successful people understand this and they are consistently looking to surround themselves with other likeminded individuals to test ideas, receive feedback, improve their skills and be held accountable for doing what is important. These concepts are discussed in my book The Platinum Rule for Small Business Mastery.

5.     Persistence … The best laid plans rarely work out as planned. You know the old saying: “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” Successful people are flexible in implementing their plans; changing as the facts dictate while remaining true to their intelligent self-interest. 

6.     Discipline … When you measure your results a powerful thing starts to happen: you find out what works. Discipline means created measurable, repeatable and predictable processes that allow business owners to create corporate and business habits that anyone can learn. This makes it easier to pass along the corporate knowledge that leads to business success.

7.     Focus … Focus means asking two questions: Is what I am doing leading me to my goal? If not, then why am I doing it? When you are focused, you determined what is really important to implementing your goals as defined by your intelligent self-interest.

8.     Ideas … Many business owners suffer from a glut of ideas. Instead, they need to focus those ideas that specifically drive their goals and support their intelligent self-interest. Finklestein and his team create a third book called 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales. The primary focus of this book is to generate marketing ideas that are used to help business owners grow sales. 

9.     Action … The original definition of the success is to take action. When business owners get clear on their intelligent self-interest, it become much easier to take action… and it is all about taking action. That is what the Business Mastery Advisory Board is all about, holding business owners accountable to take the correct action to achieve their goals.

How many of these behaviors have you implemented in your business?