Tag: values

Finding and Channeling the “Force” Within Our Business

November 7th, 2013   •   no comments   

In the Star Wars saga created by George Lucas, there is reference to the “Force.”  Lucas defined this “force” as, “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds and permeates us. It can be good or evil.”

peoplepulling together_Nov_7__2013There is an “energy” that surrounds and permeates every corner of our business. It has a crucial impact all aspects of our business, affecting our morale, motivation, finances,  quality,  service and long term viability. As with any force, there needs to be positive discipline, direction and focus across all levels of the organization so that  the energy moves us in the right direction.  Therefore,  finding and channeling this  “force” within our business now becomes a major imperative to determine to what degree our business is driving towards success or towards failure.”

This business imperative requires, what we  720thinkers like to call, a key business strategy called Mining Your Business.   This process is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it a quick fix. Instead, this is a dynamic process that requires an extensive commitment of analysis, critical thinking, objectivity and ultimately positive focused action.

Although there are many layers to this process,  I would like to share with you two things that will help you to find and channel “positive” forces within your business.

1.  An external organizational 360 degree audit. This audit needs to include customers, vendors, stakeholders and strategic partners.  The purpose of this evaluation is to help your company take a step back and determine the issues that can serve as threats to your brand while simultaneously identifying those opportunities can help you stabilize and grow future business.  To follow are some sample questions that can help in your audit process.

  • What is one word or phrase that you would use to describe our business?
  • On a scale of 1 (the lowest score) to 10 (the highest score), how easy is our company to do business with?
  • What do you think  is the biggest value we bring to doing business or working with our company?
  • What do you think is the biggest obstacle that you have when doing business with our company?
  • How often would you be willing to refer our company to others?
  • Who would you define as our greatest competitor?
  • What might you say about our company, if asked to give a testimonial?

2. An internal organizational 360 degree audit. This audit needs to include a comprehensive cross section of your organization.  If you are the owner or CEO, use the board or investors, to serve as your boss, ask peers or colleagues, ask direct reports and other levels deeper and further away in the organization to give you honest and as often as possible, anonymous feedback.  The purpose of this internal diagnostic is to take the organization’s internal “temperature” to determine how hot (fully engaged, passionate team players) or cold (disengage, indifferent hostages) is your culture. To follow are some sample questions that can help in your internal evaluation process.

  • What is a word or phrase that you can use to describe your organization?
  • On a scale of 1 (the lowest score) to 10 (the highest score), how valued do you believe you are as an employee ?
  • What do you think is the biggest asset that your company possesses?
  • What do you think is your company’s biggest challenge?
  • What is a word or phrase that you can use to describe the leadership in your organization?
  • On a scale of 1% (the lowest score) to 100 (the highest score), how often are you willing to offer positive endorsements to the family, friends and the community at large ?

businessdownthedrain_Nov_7_2013As you probably have guessed, these are just two small step in doing some serious evaluation of the “force” within your business.  The truly successful organizations make this an annual process. We are almost at the midpoint of the final quarter for this calendar year. If you don’t want to see money, talent, customers and resources go down the drain, consider investing some quality time and energy in determining if the energy that “permeates and surrounds” your organization is the positive force you want and need to drive your company to success in 2014.

And, “May the force be with you!”  

Fear of Success

September 19th, 2013   •   no comments   

fishinabowl_Sept_17_2013 In business, as in life, there is a tremendous amount of pressure and fear.  We all know that some of those greatest fears are fear of failure, fear of public speaking, fear of….  Obviously, that list can go on and on. Interestingly enough, one of the greatest fears that people possess is the fear of success.

Abraham Maslow, a renowned psychologist, once wrote, “So often we run away from the responsibilities dictated (or rather suggested) by nature, by fate, even sometimes by accident, just as Jonah tried—in vain—to run away from his fate.”

In the Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale, Jonah tries to evade his destiny, is swallowed by a whale and successfully lives after spending three days and nights in its belly. Jonah eventually fulfills his destiny.  With the story in mind, the Jonah Complex was created. Although the complex has been attributed to Dr. Maslow, the Jonah Complex was originally suggested by his friend, Professor Frank Manuel.   The complex   is defined by Maslow as the fear of success which prevents self-actualization or the realization of one’s potential. It is the fear of one’s own greatness, the evasion of one’s destiny, or the avoidance of exercising one’s talents. 

Being fearful of success can seem counter-intuitive, it does explain how even the most apparently confident person can sabotage their success.  So, what are five of the signs that demonstrate that we might be experiencing the Jonah Complex?

1.      Procrastination – We keep putting off the “must dos” on our list and focus on the “comfortable-to-dos.”  For example, investors request a business plan and we can’t seem to get it done. We need to make cold calls and we send emails or call after business hours only to reach voice mail. A procrastination technique that hits close to home is to “rescue’ someone else because their business or problem is more important than mine.

2.      Not fully aware of capabilities – All too often, as leaders, we don’t know our individual or our company’s collective capabilities. We fail to succeed because we fail to evaluate our own skills, gifts and talents.  All too often, we can easily identify our weaknesses. As a result, we spend our time trying to “fix” those attributes or issues that can and won’t lead us to success anyway.

3.      Not emotionalizing our vision – There is no hope for success without passion. We fail to generate enough energy and emotion to propel us forward.  We would rather sleep, eat, party or any other of those “feel good” actions that give us short term happiness, not long term satisfaction.

4.      Letting others talk us out of the idea –We will talk about the dream, the idea or objective, rather than planning the approach. When we share our aspirations with others, we receive “advice.” Yes, the advice may be well meaning and have some merit for caution and consideration. But nothing, and I mean nothing, should cause us to cloister our dream on a shelf, gathering dust.

5.      Negative Self-talk – This last sign may actually occur because we have experienced the previous four.  Even though leaders and entrepreneurs know that we are capable of being successful, we don’t believe in it or more importantly in ourselves. Subsequently, our failure to believe in ourselves causes us to “talk” ourselves out of the idea even before it can get off the ground. The record that runs in our head can go like this: “Some else has done this already.” “I don’t have the right connections.” “We don’t have enough money.”

Now our dream is stalled and stymied.  Is that what we really want to have happen?

So, what can we do? And, more importantly, what will we do?

fishjumpingoutofbowl_Sept_17_2013We tackle these five signs that we use to sabotage our success. We confront our fears by being:

  1. Pro-active – The surest way to overcome procrastination is for leaders to commit and focus on what is important to the success of our endeavor. We set aside time to strategize, plan, set objectives, goals and action plans and we let NOTHING interrupt that time or process.
  2. Ongoing evaluators of our capabilities – As leaders, we become life-long self and organizational evaluators. In self and organizational evaluation process, we take a long hard look at what are our greatest strengths, our successes and the challenges we had to overcome. This is much more difficult than we often realize, research shows that 80 to 85% of our evaluations will be directed at our failures, limitations and weaknesses.
  3. Put PASSION behind our vision – Now is not the time to be humble. In order to build momentum towards success, we need to think amazing thoughts, feel tremendous excitement and share our idea and ideals in an exhilarated manner that captures, at the very least, our heart, our head and our soul.
  4. Thoughtfully consider input – No one can be successful in a bubble. We cannot go it alone. However, be very, very discerning with how and whom you share your ideas. Life-long friends, colleagues and even trusted advisors may have, consciously or not, have their own agendas and interests.  Even the most well-meaning input doesn’t necessarily have full understanding or appreciation of what we are trying to accomplish. Instead of spending time trying to convince and explain our ideas, we need to be careful not slip into that time-wasting trap. Instead, we keep moving forward towards success.
  5. Positive Self-talk – We need to change the recording playing in our head. We need to use positive self-talk to propel us forward, saying it over and over again, in our head and aloud. Even writing on post-it notes, what we are and what we capable of doing is one of the most valuable tools to lead us to success. I have even left myself a voice message to myself stating a positive affirmation (aka – positive self-talk). This can be a lifeline when we hit a wall.

In summary, if we take the premise of the Jonah Complex, that we are destined for success and we must overcome all the obstacles that prevent us from being fully actualized, then we will not ever need to fear success again.

Turn Around Negativity – Use the “As If” Principle

August 24th, 2013   •   no comments   

Business thinking  today is all too often about worry and fear.  If and when the focus is on negativity, too little of our mind power and  our talent go to actually achieving our dreams and goals.  What if we could turn that negativity around, make positive, proactive progress and sustainable change?

Obviously, this is not a new problem.  Dr. William James, the man considered the Father of American Psychology, addressed this very issue by promoting a   concept that he called the “As If” principle. Dr. James’ approach was really simple…


“If you act like a certain person, yolionInMirror_Aug_23_2013u become that person.”


Acting as if the world is falling apart, there is no hope and the company cannot survive will pretty much guarantee that your world, your community or your company will fail.  When individuals and teams are asked, “how many of you are hired to solve problems” most people will raise their hands.  Their energy immediately goes up, ideas  start to flow and there is immediate action towards solving then problem.  A problem acted upon, is a problem 90% solved.

When an obstacle stands in the way, turn that barrier into a stepping stone.  If people are asked, “how many of you like adventure” there is usually a loud, resounding yes. Once again, the shift in energy is amazing and positive.  People, sit taller, eyes sparkle, anticipation rises and new options open up.  Exploring looks and feels a lot better than hitting a wall.

When someone puts down your ideas or dreams and says you are going to fail, let them know that YOU intend to make it happen and MOVE on. There’s a saying – “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.”  Staying in the conversation with someone that is trying to beat you down will only cause you to lose momentum.  Now is the time to “act as if” nothing, and I do mean, nothing can dissuade your from your purpose and passion.  This is a very healthy way to keep on going towards success.

When you have creativity blocks “act as if” you are really innovative. Pull out crayons, blank sheets of paper. Drawing is not one of my talents, but when I am stuck, I become the Picasso of stick figures (at least in my mind).  It’s amazing how imaginative we can become when we simply DO something creative.


road to success August_Aug23_2013Another of my favorite quotes is from William Shakespeare, “The choices we make, dictate the life that we lead.



When we act “as if” we are happy, inspired, leaders, invaluable, value centered and the list can obviously go on and on in a positive direction, we are so much more likely to be successful. Why not give it a try?



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