Follow Up To Productivity

Good Morning!  A little different post today.  I am sharing a link to a blog that was written by Seth Godin that is a good follow up to my post about productivity.  It is a good reminder that we need to be leading and working up as much as possible.  Keep setting the bar high and raising our standards.  Don’t let under achievers pull down an entire organization!  I hope you enjoy his short post.

No Such Thing As A Bad Location

When we look at busy restaurants, we immediately say to ourselves that they picked a great location.  There most certainly are great sites out there, but I have seen great restaurants succeed in even a poor location.  If you have a great location, your chances of success are higher but your chances to put out a mediocre experience also increases.  A good location can make a mediocre operation look good just as a poor location can make a mediocre operation look bad.  The amazing thing to see is when a great operation can take a poor location and turn it into a huge success.  Last week we discussed how productivity was one leading indicator of a restaurants success.  Today I want to look at a few more factors.

  • One thing that can help make this reality is to have a passion brand.  Restaurants that offer exceptional food and service create loyal, raving fans.  These fans will go to the ends of the earth to tell everyone they can about your business.  In poor locations this type of engagement can lead to incredible success.  At the same time, if you do not go above and beyond to create and appreciate these loyal, raving fans they will stop going out of their way to support your company.  We see this a lot when a new store opens to enormous success, and then they never reach that level of achievement in the future.  I believe that if you are running a tip top operation and building your fan base that by the third year your sales should be able to exceed your first year’s sales.  Ask each manager to fill out a paper with 20 guest names and details, see how many struggle and see how many list 30.
  • Another key ingredient in building your fan base is to be entrenched in the local community.  Spend as much time as you can building long term ROI with as many people in the area as you can.  Take the opportunity to donate whenever possible.  My current goal as an owner is to spend at least 5 hours per month marketing my company in the community.  This can be as simple as wearing your company polo and always having some coupons to hand out to people that you meet.  You would be amazed how times per day I am stopped by someone when they see my Culver’s shirt to talk to me about our store.  Talk about a passion brand!  This should even be a standard practice among your management team. Every manager should spend at least one hour per week working in the dining room.  This is the best way to start to create those long term relationships needed to succeed.
  • Present and engaged.  These are the two words describe a successful restaurant.  You have to have a present and engaged owner and management team to be successful.  The people that spend the most time at the business need to be the face of the company.  They are the ones that will set the standards, when the owner & managers are present and engaged the details matter.  The details are what separate the good from the great.  It was a quote by Jon Taffer, the host of bar rescue that summed it up in one sentence.  “There are no such things as poor locations; there are merely bad owners, operators & managers.”  One comment that I tell every new restaurant team is that we should be able to look back at the end of the year and say that we did everything we possibly could to retain every guest that visited our restaurant.

Optimal Productivity

I wanted to take a moment to touch on an operational theory about productivity.  At Culver’s we measure productivity in terms of how many guest experiences (transactions) we have compared to how many team member hours we have scheduled.  Productivity is an interesting metric that can tell an even deeper story than your actual labor cost.  The term comes the base word productive which means being able to produce.  One of the synonyms of productive is fruitful.

  • One of the most dangerous threats to a company is low productivity.  Low productivity hurts team morale, guest service, and overall profitability.  People often say that a slow restaurant is harder to manage because they have limited resources.  From my personal experience I can say that the real secret to this statement is optimal productivity.  I have seen slow restaurants that are not productive that become a nightmare.  I have seen slow restaurants that are highly productive become a success.  I have also seen busy restaurants with low productivity have more operational issues than slower units.  I think that the busy restaurant may have a greater chance to fall victim to this than a slower unit because it can fly under the radar.  A busier restaurant can over schedule and it doesn’t stand out at quickly as a slower unit.  Below are a few main causes of low productivity.
  • To Many Team Members In The Building.  If you have too many team members and managers in the building people have a tendency to not feel responsible for getting the job done.  Most people believe that it is not their responsibility to get something done. someone else will take care of it.  Having too many team members in the building makes everyone feel that they are not required to work to their fullest potential.  Then when the time comes and they need to work a little harder they either cannot handle it or feel resentful.
  • Poor Training.  This follows the line of having too many team members in the building.  If there are too many workers the training is often sub par.  If you normally have only 3 or 4 people for 4 stations everyone knows that they need to train the new person really well.  If you have 5 or 6 people for 4 stations the tendency is to put less effort and emphasis on training.  The level of urgency is lacking during the entire training process.  When the level of urgency is missing during training, this can spill over to how the team member views the job.
  • Not Holding High Standards.  If there is inadequate training, this often leads to not being able to achieve high standards.  Once our standards are lowered we again lose the sense of urgency need to perform when it gets busy.  Short cuts are the crutch used by improperly trained team members when they cannot keep up.  When there are too many team members it is also for a lot of finger pointing when the standards are not met.  The most common answer is that they were not trained correctly.
  • Poor Communication.  Poor communication by both team members and managers leads to reduced productivity.  You need to be intentional and over communicate so everyone is on the same page.  As mentioned before if there is a void of communication it will be filled with gossip.  Gossip is an absolute productivity killer.  Spending a couple of hours communicating the right things to the right people can multiply 10X when it comes to those people being more productive.
  • Working Down.  As an owner of multiple restaurants the number one things that frustrates me the most is when I see our managers / leaders working down.  There are times during the day when you need to pitch in and help out but so many times our managers end up working down way more than necessary.  Working down is a direct result of low productivity.  You end up doing tasks for others that they should be able to handle.  The result of working down is usually working more hours.  The answer to improve productivity is never to simply work more hours.  The answer is to be intentional and get more of your team to work up.
  • Busy Is Bad.  All of the above causes of poor productivity can lead to the mindset of busy is bad.  Once your team develops this mindset the shift is lost before it even begins.  Your team will start to manage the store down to a lower level of sales thinking that they will not have to work as hard.  The reality is that as the sales fall you need to work even harder than before.  Do whatever you need to do to foster the right mindset that it is great to be busy.  I hope we are super busy tonight.  Are you ready for a busy day? 
  • How To Improve Productivity:
  • 1. Have the right mindset and get everyone excited to be busy.  As you think so shall you be.
  • 2. Schedule the minimum amount of people needed for the shift.  The way to know if you have the right amount is if you feel a slight pinch point at your peak times but feel steady during the slow times.  If you have been overstaffed for a while this transition may be rough at first.
  • 3. Get the most out of your training hours.  It is important to let people fail a little bit during their training.  They need to realize how much work is required out of them when on a station.  Make sure that the trainer acts like a coach, not a fellow player.
  • 4. Communication.  Use your shift goals, jump starts, one on ones, training tools, certification sheets, check lists and any other means needed to communicate the plan to everyone.  Make sure that the plan and expectations are clear.
  • 5.  If you see it say.  As we have talked about in other posts, praise and coach at all times.
  • All of these tips will lead to your team working up more than they are working down.  Working up is the ultimate form of optimal productivity.  The closer the level of productivity in the store is to optimal the more fruitful and less stressed we will be. 

A Culture of Learning

I am always amazed how annoying it is to sit in a wobbly chair.  The cause of a wobbly chair is often that one leg is slightly shorter than the rest.  Following up on last week’s post, we have a few options with how we want to deal with the chair.  The easiest choice is to do nothing, let the chair be wobbly.  When others sit in the chair, you can make an excuse for why the chair is wobbly.  You can say that it is a good chair or you can say that you have had the chair for a long time.  The next easiest choice is to cut the other three legs off to make all of the legs even.  This choice is typically what happens in our education system in America; we teach down so that the one student doesn’t feel left out.  In doing so, we end up bringing everyone else down in the process.  The people that make the tough choice and make things happen realize that they need to do everything they can to build the short leg up so that it reaches its full potential and the chair becomes stable.

  • As leaders and managers, it is our job to make sure that we create a culture of learning and accountability.  This is how you can help reduce the number of wobbly team members you have on your team.  Sometimes people are merely in the wrong chair, and by placing them in a different position, they no longer wobble.  There is the occasional time when you simply have the wrong chair on the team, and you need to get rid of it as fast as you can so that other good chairs don’t start to wobble in the process.  Keeping the wrong team member around isn’t fair to anyone.  The great team members will start to underperform and may even start to look for a new team.  The wobbly team member that you do not coach along the way will go to their next team and have no clue why they do not fit in.  By creating a culture of learning, it lets everyone know that it is ok to make mistakes and ask questions.  Creating a culture of learning leads to constant feedback.  Regular feedback creates accountability.  Accountability leads to consistency.  Consistency is what transforms good teams into great teams.
  • Five steps to help foster a culture of learning:
  • 1. The first phase of the process as mentioned many times on my blog is to build relationships.  Once you have a stable relationship and people know and feel that you care about them they will buy into the process.  If you want this method to work even when you are not in the building, you have to have the level of trust that is built through relationships.
  • 2.  Set daily shift goals.  Make sure that everyone on the team knows what they should be doing.  Clear, constant communication is paramount.  Gossip is what usually fills the void when there is a lack of communication.
  • 3.  Provide regular feedback.  Both positive and constructive.  Try to give the positive feedback in public and the helpful comments in private.  If you see it, say it!  If you see something, either good or bad, make sure to speak up.  What you quietly allow becomes what becomes the rule of your command.  Remember the 5 to 1 rule when it comes to feedback.  For every one time, you need to coach someone you should try to give them five compliments before coaching them again.
  • 4.  Learn and teach one thing every day.  This goes to having the right mindset as a leader.  As a leader, you should always have a goal to learn one new thing and teach at least one person one new thing every day.  This helps you develop the mindset of learning vs. a simply a mindset of accountability.  The simple phrase “let me show you how ____” goes a long way to help build the relationship and thus create the culture of learning that we are trying to achieve.
  • 5.  Never lose sight of the big picture.  Always remind everyone on the team of the “why” and the ultimate goal or vision of the team.  People don’t get burnt out from doing something; they get burnt out when they forget why they are doing it in the first place.
  • The most important part of these five steps is that every leader on the team must do their part in following all five steps.  It takes the entire management team working as one to create this type of culture. 

Burn The Ships!

Isn’t is funny always to see children jump into a cold pool without thinking twice?  Have you ever stopped to wonder why it takes kids to go in first?  Children do not have the same fear or limiting beliefs that adults have to hold us back.  In contrast, you see the person that walks down one step at a time (about 20 minutes apart) that complains the whole time.  They see others in the deep end and say “there’s no way I could that” or “you’re crazy.”  The funny thing is that everyone in the deep end is enjoying the pool and to them, the temperature is not an issue.  Once people are all the way in, they realize that the temperature is pretty comfortable.  Then you have the people that sit on the edge and put their feet in the water.  These are the people that want you to think that they are in the pool even though they have no intention of going in.  The truly ironic part is that when you get out of the water, you realize that being in the water was warmer.  To close this thought, we need to remember that we can drown in only six inches of water.

  • I believe that this is how many people live their life.  They see an opportunity, and they have to choose to step all the way into the opportunity or to put their toe in.  The people that seem to have much more long term frustration are the ones that do not fully step into the challenge.  We need to attack life and create our future.  It is funny when people do not put themselves all the way into a situation, and then they become the ones to complain the loudest.  The sad part is that they have the power to change their outcome if they would only fully step into the challenge.
  • I feel that most people can be broken down into two categories: those that make it happen and those that make excuses.  Those that always want to play it safe and only dip their toe in can give you five reasons why they won’t jump in.  Those that make it happen simply jump in.  If the water is cold, they view it as an inconvenience, not as an excuse to not jump in.  People that make things happen don’t hide in the middle, they move to the front lines and show up ready for battle every day.  People that make things happen would rather say “oh well” than “what if.”  The best time to grow as a person is when we are forced out of our comfort zone; this is how to be truly alive and experience life.
  • One of my favorite leadership stories that relates to this philosophy is the story of how when Cortez landed in Veracruz in 1519 he ordered his men to burn the ships.  Cortez knew that they were facing great odds and that if the men had no chance of turning back, they would jump in with total commitment.  I don’t think there was a single excuse uttered under his command.  We know that the order worked as this legendary act of leadership lives on to this day.  Reflect on how many opportunities we have in our lives to fully immerse ourselves into an activity.  Think about how much more meaningful all of our daily interactions could be if we were fully present and engaged.


Lagniappe is a French Creole term that I learned quite a few years back while living in the Southeast.  It means a small gift given with a purchase.  The original use that I can think of when I was young was when a bank would give away a free toaster for anyone that opened up a new account.  Today, of course, we see all kinds of gifts offered with a purchase in a variety of businesses.  This term also goes hand in hand with the Law of Value that was discussed a couple of weeks back in the Go-Giver blog post.  The restaurant industry is changing, and every restaurant out there has to fight and claw for every sale possible.  The question becomes what can we do as a company to give the “lagniappe” or little something extra to earn that business from our guest?

  • I was listening to a fantastic interview with Jon Taffer the host of Bar Rescue on the Entreleadership podcast a few weeks ago and almost went off the road taking so many notes.  He had discussed the idea of the third visit.  He talked about how the percentage of likely to return by a guest would increase from visit one to visit two and ultimately to visit three.  His key belief is that if you can get the guest to visit number three, you can become part of their routine.  Once you become part of their routine, you have a regular guest.  At each of the first three visits, his company would give a little lagniappe to get that guest to return.  On the first visit, their company would give the guest a red napkin.  This napkin would signal everyone that they all had an opportunity to make a great first impression.  The manager would also personally stop by and greet the guest during the visit.  At the end of the visit, they would offer the guest a bounce back coupon for a specific offer only given for a second visit.  Then when the guest would return with that specific offer they would welcome the guest back and again everyone would know that they could again make a great second impression.  Then at the end of the second visit, the manager would ask how they are enjoying the business and offer the guest another unique bounce back for the third visit.  To me, this idea seemed so simple yet so brilliant that I am planning to work this concept into my upcoming full team meetings.  How can we take all of our first-time guests and turn them into regulars?  What can we offer on each visit as a little lagniappe to keep them choosing us over the competition?
  • I think that this concept ties in nicely with the idea of building relationships with our guests.  Learning their name and remembering their face goes a long way.  One thing that always helps keep Culver’s on top is our hospitality.  Our hospitality is a natural point of lagniappe that we need to use to our advantage even more so than we currently do.  The strength of Culver’s lies in its dedicated owner-operators and great management teams.  I think that we have the ability to connect with our guests, unlike many other brands.  My challenge to all of our teams is that every manager should be spending at least 1 hour per week of scheduled time working either in the dining room or greeting and talking to guests cueing up in the drive thru line.  What a way to make sure that we are connecting with our guests and building that long term relationship.  As an owner/operator that should always be one of my main focuses.  As an owner, I have an opportunity to not only connect in the dining room but in the community as well.  If people in the community can put a local face to a business, it helps build that personal connection.  This idea ties directly into the idea that was mentioned last week about trying to have at least 1,000 loyal, raving fans turned into walking billboards for your business.  Imagine the power of momentum that this can create, especially in the digital age.
  • The last piece of lagniappe I would like to touch on is how we can apply this to our team members.  As the labor market continues to tighten are we doing everything that we can to be the employer of choice?  Does our team feel valued?  Does our team believe that we go above and beyond what is expected to create relationships?  As leaders we often want others to sign the dotted line to follow us, but we forget that we must earn that signature in our blood, sweat, and sacrifice.  As mentioned above, it is our team that sets us apart, and it is our team that has the power to make every visit memorable.  We need to remember to spend as much time and effort in building our relationships with our team as much as our guests.
  • Ask yourself what you are going to do on your next shift to offer that “lagniappe” and make everyone you come into contact with feel valued.

I Feel Good

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou.

  • As we have been talking about influence vs. authority and being “people smart” over the past couple of weeks, I felt that this one statement summarizes the heart of the message.  When people make decisions based on emotions, they are not always even rational choices.  If I could give any manager only one piece of advice it would be that statement.  How do you make others feel when you have an interaction? 
  • Let’s look at this from a customer’s point of view.  At Culver’s our mission statement is that every guest that chooses Culver’s leaves happy.  Our mission statement is based on emotion.  In the Go-Giver mastermind, one of the rules is that our worth is determined by if we provide more value than the price paid.  Value is determined by the customer and is driven by the what emotion they feel when they leave.  Whether or not a customer returns is based on how they felt from their last visit.  If a customer comes in and says last time they were here they were disappointed, they are giving us a chance to save them as a regular customer.  They are most likely one of our raving fans that didn’t leave happy last time.  What can we do to make sure that they leave happy today?  We need to filter every interaction we have with a customer through this filter.  How did they feel when they left?  If we can add emotional value, we will always have a leg up in the value equation.
  • Our goal is to create loyal, raving fans of our business.  Our raving fans will go to the ends of the earth to tell others how great we are.  Here in lies the rub, we couldn’t pay people to talk this good about our company if we tried, and these raving fans will do it for free.  All we need to do is make them feel valued every time they are in our business.  Seth Godin argues that if your business has 1,000 raving fans then your business would be unstoppable.  Here is the challenge for the next few months, start to build and identify your 1,000 loyal, raving fans.  If you have 50 team members, challenge each of them to connect with 20 customers to get you 1,000 fans.
  • Let’s look at this from a team member’s perspective.  Think about how we treat our team members and how we make them feel.  If we want to influence our team members, it does not come from authority; it comes from how they feel about us.  If we want better team engagement, our team needs to feel good about coming into work.  This thought goes directly back to our idea of the “director of happiness” title.  If our managers are happy, then our team members are happy.  If our team members are happy, then our guests are happy.  We can say or do a lot for our team members, but if they do not feel that we value them as people, they will never fully buy in.  This is why some team members work better for individual managers.  Some managers value team members more than others do and the team member can feel it.  It is often said that most team members don’t leave their job, they leave their boss.
  • On a personal note, this statement holds the key to our personal relationships as well.  As a parent, this is particularly the case when it comes to our relationship with our children.  We can say and do a lot with our children but how do they feel when we are around?  If we can build the feeling of love and trust with our children, we will gain influence.  How we make our loved ones feel determines if we have a rewarding relationship or a toxic relationship.
  • It would be interesting if we would filter all of our interactions with others through this lens.  Would we say or act differently if we wanted the other person to leave the interaction happy every time?

The Go-Giver

I recently had an opportunity to attend an incredible mastermind that focused on the book called “The Go-Giver” written by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  It is a great book that goes over five straightforward yet effective laws of success.  These rules of success can be applied to a business or even at a personal level in your daily life.  The real key, once you learn about the laws, is to practice and live each core value every day.

  • 1. The Law of value.  The law of value states that real worth comes from what you give in value versus what you receive in payment.  Is the service or item that you have to offer people worth more than what they pay?  Do your customers leave feeling like they got a great deal or do they feel ripped off?  In your job, do you provide more value than what you are paid?  What makes people about buying your product or using your service?  If you consistently give more value than what you charge you will have an endless supply of customers that will happily pay you for product or service.  Value comes first, the money that follows is a bi-product.  In your job, the value comes first, the promotion and raise that follows is a bi-product.  One question I like to challenge our team with is if we had to double our prices tomorrow what would we do differently to make it worth the price.  Then the challenge is how do we start doing those things without raising our prices.
  • 2. Law of Compensation.  The law of compensation states that your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.  This idea is very true in a setting like a restaurant or a service provider.  In our restaurant, we can serve up to 1000 people per day.  Each guest that comes into our restaurant can have up to 20 interactions with our team.  We have the opportunity to create 20,000 moments per day.  The key is to create positive moments and work on building the relationship with each guest.  People want to do business with those that they know, like and trust.  The more we can remove the friction or pain points from the guest experience, the more they will want to return.  We also need to remember that we also must serve our team members as well.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a line of people just waiting for a chance to work at our company due to our reputation!
  • 3. Law of Influence.  The law of influence states that we can only gain influence by placing the need or interests of others first.  How well do we serve others?  We need to figure out what others want and help them solve their problems.  Take a drive thru transaction for example.  People want the correct order, and they want it to come out fast.  If we can execute on these two priorities, our influence grows as a choice for their business when they are in a hurry.  We need to go out of our way to put their needs above ours.  One of my favorite parts in the book talks about a 50 / 50 result is a loss every time.  So many times in life and business we try to win or if we compromise we try to get a to a 50 / 50 result.  When we end up here, we have already lost.  We want the other person to leave feeling as though they won.  If they feel as though they have won, they will be back!
  • 4. Law of Authenticity.  The law of authenticity states that we need to be genuine and be true to who we are.  This goes as both an individual as well as a company.  As a business owner, I always try to be true to who I am both inside and outside of my business.  I want people that come into contact with me to be treated the same way no matter what.  We all have a unique gift to share with others, and we can achieve this by being ourselves.  I challenge myself every week in my journal by looking at myself as a personal brand.  Did I live up to my brand standards during the week?  Does my personal brand match my business?  I also write down one thing I want to do to work on improving my brand for the following week.
  • 5. Law of Receptivity.  The law of receptivity states that we need to be open to receiving the things in life that we want.  There are two sides of the coin on this law.  The first side is that of what we think about comes true.  We need to remember that as humans we tend to live up to (or down to) our expectations.  I once heard that the best way to predict the future is to create it.  I love that idea.  The other side of the coin almost can be classified as karma.  The laws of the universe always seem to come back to us.  We reap what we sow.  The more give, the more you can receive.  The more you receive, the more you can give.  The most common mistake we make is that we reverse that two statements.  We say that we will give more once we receive more but then we never end up receiving more so we never end up giving more.
  • If you ever have the chance to attend a Go-Giver mastermind, I would highly recommend it.  At a minimum, this book should be on every leader’s “must read” list.

You Will Respect My Authority!

I thought it would be interesting to start a blog post off with a quote from South Park.  I can still picture Eric Cartman yelling at people and hitting them with a club.  It is worth a quick youtube hit if you are unfamiliar.  He would expect people to simply do what he would say because he was in charge.  He would continually say “you will respect my authority” if people would question him.

  • I remember as a child playing king of the hill.  To be the king of the hill you needed to push others off that were already at the top of the hill.  It is sad, but some people view this as their leadership journey.  They think that they need to knock others down to reach the top.  Great leaders are those that get to the top and stay on top by helping bring others along the journey with them, like a Sherpa on Mt. Everest who has reached the summit hundreds of times.
  • I wanted to expand on the thought of authority vs. influence.  So many times people feel that they cannot lead others until they are in charge.  This is the same excuse given thousands of times per day in companies all around the world.  People say that they would act different or make better decisions if they were the one in charge.  Most people sit around and wait for authority to be handed to them.  The reality is that we are all in charge of something.  Even if your job is to answer a phone, you are in charge of answering that phone.  You can make that entire experience great or mediocre based on how you act.  By embracing that role and becoming the best at what you do have control over, you can then gain influence.  One way you can gain influence is by getting more responsibility because someone above you in the company sees how responsible you are for answering the phone.  When people look to promote others or give others more responsibilities, they often look for those that are doing the best job for which they are currently responsible.  The other side of influence is that others that work with you will start to count on you, look up to you, ask you for help and ultimately see you as a leader in that area.
  • Authority begins with you.  We all are in charge of our own lives and the decisions we make every day.  How do you lead yourself?  This is the best starting point to learn and grow as a leader.  The founder of IBM, Tom Watson, once said: “nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.”  The problem is that it is also easiest to deceive ourselves.  We believe the lies and excuses we give ourselves every day for not making better choices.  What one thing are you going to do today to be better than you were yesterday?
  • The number one way to start building your influence with others is to bring a positive attitude and a high level of energy to every interaction that you have on a daily basis.  The more you can be positive and have a higher energy level, the more natural it becomes.  Take every opportunity you can to be the thermostat in the room and set the temperature instead of being the thermometer and simply reacting to the temperature set by others.  Attitude and energy are very contagious, make sure that yours is worth catching.  I will close with one question that we should all be asking ourselves every day.
  • How SHOULD I lead with the authority that I do have?

Do You Have a Dream?

Follow your dreams.  If you only had a dollar for every time someone told you that when you were younger.  I have put together a few steps below to help others hopefully begin the process of realizing and following their dreams.  I am a person that believes that you can achieve almost anything you want if you have the right plan and a good mix of the hungry, humble and smart qualities discussed over the past couple of weeks. 

  • Step #1.  Believe that you have a purpose.  Everyone is put on this earth for a reason.  I like to think that if we are still alive we still have the potential to become a better version of ourselves.  We are all unique, and no one has the same life experience as we do.  We all need to tap into our unique potential and past to help us succeed in the future.
  • Step # 2.  Get over yourself.  Pride is one of the biggest dream killers that we all have to deal with every day.  Pride can blind you from both your talents as well as your weaknesses.  On most successful journeys people need help from others.  Don’t let your pride hold you back from asking for help.  It is amazing how many people want to help others succeed, all you need to do is ask.
  • Step # 3.  Embrace the suck.  Discontent and pain are one of the key driving forces in change.  Most people do not change until the pain gets to point where they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  The journey is not quick and easy.  The number one cause of failure is that people tend to give up too soon.  The messy middle as it called is what separates success from failure.  If you get knocked down, figure out why then get up and try again.  If you don’t realize what knocked you down and make a change, you will most likely get knocked down again.
  • Step # 4.  Get away from the norm.  It sounds a little odd, but it is amazing how much success comes when we step out of our comfort zone.  Doing what you always did will usually get you what you always get.    Steps 3 and 4 can help you have an “ah ha” moment where clarity hits you square in the face.
  • Step # 5.  Get rid of the noise, do what matters.  It is amazing how much just one choice we make can change our future.  We all need to be aware of our choices and ask if they are moving us towards our dream or moving the dream a little further out of reach.  One practice I do each day is called “OTED,” one thing every day.  Each day when I write in my journal I write down one thing I need to do to move my business goals forward and I write down one thing I need to do to move my personal goals forward.
  • Step # 6.  Focus.  Follow one course until success.  Go only one inch wide, but go one mile deep.  So many times we stretch ourselves out and either try to achieve too many goals, or we make our goals too broad.  We need small wins to create momentum to get us moving forward.  As mentioned in previous posts, momentum can be either our best friend or our worst enemy.
  • Step # 7.  Understand that you do not deserve it.  When you are free from entitlement, success is closer.  So many times we tell ourselves that we deserve something and all that does is hold us back and let us think that we do not have to earn it.  Entitlement is not a millennial problem; it seems to be an American problem.
  • In summary, I feel that it takes vision and passion to help define your dream, discipline to make the correct choices to achieve your dream and then good personal character to make the dream endure the test of time.