Own Your Day

Own Your Day

1,011 hours?

That’s the amount of time that the average American wastes on watching television each year (BLS American Time Use Survey).

The average American watches more TV than they eat and drink (450 hours), run errands (275 hours), and commute to work (110 hours).  COMBINED (Source: BLS American Time Use Survey and U.S. Census Bureau Mega Commuting in the U.S. Survey).

Henry Ford said it this way: “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”

If you want more money, you can earn it.  If you want more friends, you can win them.  If you want more stuff, you can purchase it. You can have more of almost anything you want, except for time.

Author William Reilly says it well in this quote:

“Everything requires time.  Time is the only permanent and absolute ruler in the universe.  But she is a scrupulously fair ruler.  She treats every living person exactly alike every day. No matter how much of the world’s goods you have managed to accumulate, you cannot successfully plead for a single moment more than the pauper receives without ever asking for it. Time is the one great leveler. Everyone has the same amount to spend everyday.”

Time, in fact, is the great equalizer.  It keeps on rolling no matter what we do or don’t do.  You and I and everyone else on planet earth have the exact same amount of time today – 24 hours.  Why, then, do so many of us spend our time inefficiently instead of investing it intentionally?  Here are six tips to help you do change the trajectory:

  1. Use Scheduling Tools

Our coffee maker has this amazing feature. It has a program option that allows you to set the brew time in advance.  Every day my gorgeous bride sets-up the coffee to brew while we are sleeping so that when I wake-up from my beauty sleep, the caffeine injection is ready to catalyze my system. Social media has a similar option. You can use cost-effective services like Hootsuite to schedule your platform posts ahead of time.

  1. Invest More Time in Quadrant 2

Charles Hummel created this fascinating concept called the Tyranny of the Urgent.  In quadrant one, we have the tasks that are both important and urgent.  In quadrant two, we have the tasks that are important, but not urgent.  One of the best things you can do for yourself and for others is to invest more time in quadrant two.

  1. Prioritize Sleep

Like everyone else in our solar system, I am a huge fan of rest.  My paradigm is to rest during the time that others waste.  Try the 10PM – 5AM routine for six months.  At the end of six months, write a message to maximizevalue.com/connect and let me know how many people interrupted you before 7AM during those 180 days. Can’t wait to hear from you!

  1. Control Your Energy

Do you want to be exceptional in every area of your life? Most people do.  The same people that want to be exceptional all the way around are the same people that are usually unwilling to do all that is necessary to set priorities and control their energy distribution to enhance their outputs.  Controlling your energy means creating success physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  We must be aware of our inputs so our output is the best, most energized version of ourselves.

  1. Review Your Goals & Priorities

This approach is more like an infusion of motivation than anything else.  Reviewing your goals and priorities should provide that daily shot of adrenaline that you need to produce at outrageous levels.  If this doesn’t provide the driven intensity that you need, it is time to set bigger goals. Period.

  1. Try Saying No for Once

It’s time to start noticing how you passively give your time to others.  Time is our greatest resource and we all want to use it to serve others.  It would behoove us as a human race to stop taking on other’s tasks and say NO once in a while.  This is not selfish.  It does not serve others well if you are not giving them the best version of you.

Over time, these best practices will help you become more cognizant of how you invest (or waste) your time.  These minor adjustments will help you create a powerful sense of purpose and a more fulfilling life.  Ultimately, when time is the only thing you can’t have more of, it’s the most valuable resource on the planet.  Invest it wisely!

Beyond the Surface

Beyond the Surface

Building trust requires tact.  It also requires intentionality.

Last night I had the privilege of working with 30 different leaders in the Cincinnati community.  All of these leaders are influencing their sphere in a unique way.

In our time together last night, we agreed that building strong rapport is imperative to demonstrating effective leadership.   Strangely enough, that concept reminded me of icebergs…

Icebergs and Leadership:

Most of you have heard that icebergs only display approximately 10% of their make-up above the surface.  To see the other 90% of the picture, we have to go beyond the surface.

The same is true in leadership.  The numbers may be slightly different, but the idea is similar.  As leaders, it is our responsibility to build trust with our people.  In order to do that, we have to look at the whole picture.  We must go beyond “surface-level” to get a deeper understanding of the person following us.

How To Go Deeper?

1.       Showcase Sincere Interest:  It starts with a sincere connection to others.  We can do that by asking questions and finding points of commonality.

2.       Ask Deeper Questions: How can we understand what drives people?   What are their values?   We can understand these things by simply asking better questions.  Example: Tell me about a person or a situation that had a profound impact on your life.

3.       Seek to Understand: It seems obvious to most of you, but we must listen to the answer after we ask the question.  To help you, you may respond to their answer by summarizing or paraphrasing for clarity.

4.       Live It: Leadership starts with you.  If you are not effectively leading yourself, who would want to follow you?  Who wants to be led by a hypocrite?  Show your followers what top-notch leadership looks like with actions that align with your words.

Return Value:

When you do these 4 things to establish deeper connections with your followers, you will create an environment that elicits willing engagement rather than just compliance.

Ivory Crockett

Ivory Crockett

So it has been said, there have been many unique track meets that the spectators could never forget. This particular meet in 1977 was especially unforgettable.

The 100-yard dash showcased a world-class field with most of the fastest runners since the 1976 Olympics, held the year earlier. On this special day, the sprint event was the 100-yard dash, as opposed to the standard 100-meter format. Among the sprinters was Ivory Crockett. He was a crowd favorite because of his typical energy and enthusiasm. But this day was different, he seemed all business.

Before the race he was reading a small piece of paper. He looked it over several times because he stared at it for what seemed like ten minutes. Then he folded the paper and delicately put it in his shoe. He tied his shoes and finished warming-up for the race like the rest of the athletes.

And then it happened. The 100-yard dash was over in a flash. The eight gazelle-like men came to the line, got set, and looked like bullets shot from the starter’s gun. The fans went crazy as Ivory Crockett finished first in a wind-aided 8.9 seconds. That was the fastest 100-yard dash ever recorded.

He was euphoric! As he ran a victory lap the onlookers applauded with amazement. They just witnessed something that had never been done before. History was being made before their eyes.

When things settled down and the media was able to get close enough to interview him. Ivory Crockett answered several inquiries about how he trained, and what he’s eaten.

Finally, someone asked THE question. “What was on that piece of paper you read before the race?” Ivory bent down and took off his shoe. He still had the paper with him. He delicately unfolded it and read it aloud to those gathered. It simply said: 8.9!

So that’s the story (so we’ve heard). Here’s our simple question in response:

What’s your 8.9?

Reduce Stress & Achieve More

Reduce Stress & Achieve More

At Maximize Value, we firmly believe that small actions added up can tremendously impact your daily production.  One such habit is being “early” for any activity you have planned for the day.  My definition of “early” is 15+ minutes before you need to be at that meeting or at the restaurant to meet a friend for dinner or arrive for a dentist appointment, you get the point.  Being “early” allows you to overcome hurdles with traffic, issues with your transportation, or other unforeseen logistical obstacles.  This tiny decision will also reduce your stress and enhance your overall engagement in the mission critical tasks. Ultimately, being “early” will allow you to become a more influential leader.

When I travel I typically give myself 30 minutes to grab breakfast at my hotel before heading to the office during business trips.  This week was no different, I got up early to head downstairs, grabbed some coffee, and scanned the news to catch up on the current events.   Just as I was taking my first sip of that caffeine goodness a gentleman approached me and asked if I worked for company XXX?  He had read the company logo on my shirt.  I said well yes I do and how may I help you.  He said I am Mr. XXX and I am in town today because I will be leading your team’s executive offsite.  I invited him to have a seat and we shared the next 15 minutes chatting about our backgrounds and personal interests.

If I hadn’t made it a point to be “early” we would have never enjoyed the opportunity to meet that morning.  It also made our executive offsite much more relaxed for me, and for him.  In a way, I had an advantage because I had the “early” opportunity to invest some quality time with this leader.

Execution Item:
Target to arrive 15-30 minutes early before your regularly scheduled meetings, appointments or when picking up a friend at the airport.  It will reduce your stress or prevent future unknown stress.  Along the way you may meet a new business associate or invest extra time reading a thought leadership book so you can add value to those you serve.  Heck, you might even be able to invest the extra time to write your weekly business article like I just did for you this morning while sitting at the gate waiting for my plane ride home.


Slight Edge Theory in Action

Slight Edge Theory in Action

The Slight Edge Theory in Action

The Slight Edge Theory states that small changes, sustained over a long period of time, will have a major impact on the results you achieve. A sustained effort over time will create differentiators that will separate our organization from our competitors. In essence, we must prioritize consistently doing the little things with excellence to gain a competitive edge.

Let’s look at Disney and Chick-Fil-A as two standard setting companies when it comes to providing world-class customer service. What do they consistently do that allows us to justify separating from our money to invest in their products/services? Is it purely their product/service or how you are treated that keeps you as a customer? Or both?

We recently saw the slight edge theory in action within a call center team. Call Center associates are often the backbone of a successful business and the “face” of the organization. They are the first and sometimes the only contact an organization has with its customers. That said, it’s critical that we engage our call center teams and have them reach their maximum potential to provide excellent service.

We experienced an example recently when doing one very small action started a wave of engagement within a local call center family. The leaders within this team developed a small “Focused Recognition” card that is being used to recognize associates demonstrating positive behaviors within the team. Nothing really that time consuming or insanely detailed, just a simple handwritten post-card distributed based on outstanding performance.

Some of the key areas that may be identified are: Customer Focused Service, Delighting the Customer, Winning As a Team, Owning a Problem/Solution and Growing Oneself. The leadership team will deliver this “Focused Recognition” card to the associate in a public format, often with a small group of leaders applauding in the background. The associates proudly hang or post the notecard at their workstation as a reminder of the great work they have performed for their customer or within their team. The leadership team expected the associates who received the “Focused Recognition” cards to feel proud of their accomplishments and reinforce a job well done. In fact, this worked very well and associates were clearly appreciative.

To our surprise, this “Focused Recognition” stretched far beyond the individual associates. It was amazing to see that those who did not directly receive the postcards were just as appreciative and excited about the recognition communications. The leaders started to receive emails and verbal “Thank You’s” for taking the time to recognize their peers. As the month passed, a noticeable culture shift occurred where the work environment was much more positive at all levels. The associates started to challenge each other to perform at higher levels, and ultimately we experienced enhanced Quality Scores and Net Promoter Scores over the subsequent weeks.

What does this all mean for you? At the end of the day, one small change has the power to profoundly impact your team’s performance and ultimately your bottom line. It’s really as simple as adding a “It’s My Pleasure” to your process that creates engagement and directly improves the profitability of our organizations.

So, what small change will you make today that will significantly impact your team and your brand? Don’t overcomplicate this. Make it simple, stay committed, and remain consistent with your execution.

Let’s get to work!

5 Ways to Improve Your EQ

5 Ways to Improve Your EQ

The concept of emotional intelligence has become a hot-button topic on a global level. In fact, we have delivered this particular topic to more than 500 business leaders over the last year. As we know, EQ can be an extremely important factor in determining an individual’s success in the marketplace. We also know that leaders with a high EQ consistently outperform those with a low EQ. Unfortunately, most leaders don’t know how to improve these skills on a practical level. Here are five approaches that will help you start to see some positive changes:

Journal – Daily reflection is a key habit that the super-producers often form, and capturing the day’s events on paper can be a valuable tool for self-analysis. This process allows us to engage those emotions we have been neglecting during the day. Being more cognizant of how we are feeling and processing these feelings will help improve your EQ.

Improve Your Question-to-Comment Ratio – We know that effective listening is important in enhancing your EQ. We also know that the best listeners are also the best questioners. They consistently ask the most engaging and thought-provoking questions to express interest in others. See if you can get your question-to-comment ratio to 10/1.

Seeking Feedback – The way one views oneself can differ from reality and how others perceive us. Feedback from others helps us become more aware of areas that we can improve. Start asking for honest feedback on how others experience you in various situations.

Serving or Volunteering – Individuals with a high EQ have a high sense of social responsibility. Generously giving our time and skills to support those that are in need, increases our own sense of gratitude and appreciation for what we already have.

Training – Targeted development that focuses on EQ best-practices, can measurably impact your Emotional Intelligence. EQ training has even been shown to lower depression.

John Hancock said “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.”

When we combine your commitment with our transformational development experience, we will not only improve your EQ, but your influence will help enhance the emotional intelligence of those around you.

We at Maximize Value exist to serve you in not only comprehending these important leadership concepts, but executing them in your business. Connect with us for more insight on how we can support you in the execution phase.