Business Coaching Tip

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” ~John Wooden

If you are not working everyday to give a little more, be a little bit better, put in a little extra effort, and learn a little bit more, you will always be average. Think of your competition, the only way to get ahead of them is to stay on the field just a little bit longer in practice, show up just a little bit earlier, or put that extra special touch in all that you do. A small bit of extra effort today grows, compounds and mulitplies over the weeks, months and years. You only have to be just a little bit better than your competition everyday to be successful. As 5:00pm on Friday rolls around, what can you do to be a little bit better than your competition and rise above average?

Are You Taking The Path of Least Resistance?

The Downward Rush of the Stream…

Some things in life are inevitable. Every year the seasons rotate through Winter, Summer, Spring, and Fall. Nature is full of examples of the inevitable. Water always tends to flow downstream, taking the path of least resistance until it reaches the sea. It is easy to forget that every thought and action has natural consequences that are also inevitable.
Many actions in life become habits that tend to follow the path of least resistance. I read an interesting statistic by Steve Shapiro on New Year Resolutions that stated “Less than 15% of those over 50 achieve their resolutions every year or every other year, while 39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year.”
As a parent and “responsible adult” sometimes the path of least resistance becomes a place of comfort. Being in the comfort zone can provide stability, but it can also keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. 
If you think, “I can’t do what a 20-year old can do because I have kids, a job, and too many responsibilities” Think again! 
My wife has some friends who, a few years ago, packed up everything and travelled around the world for an entire year (21 countries in all). At the time, their children were in 5th and 6th grade! It was a risk, but ultimately they chose to achieve one of their life goals sooner rather than later. It paid off in many different levels. Not only did they enjoy an incredible life experience, but they created a stunning book along the way and donated all the profits to charitable children’s causes. 
While some things in life are inevitable, ask yourself, “Am I going to go with the flow or do something to experience all life has to offer?”  

Is Your Message Not Getting Through?


Effective communication is one of the most challenging issues for anyone working in a team such as a business or organization.  With so many different personality types working together, trying to tailor your communication strategy to each one can be daunting.

The Compliment Sandwich method is a classic and effective tool that we often forget to use.  It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to communicate anything to any personality style.  The conversation will feel genuine and flow smoothly provided that the positive feedback/compliments are genuine and related to your concern(s), and that you do not overuse that technique so that your words don’t seem contrived.

The idea is to start with some positive feedback (the bread), followed by the issue you need to address (the meat of your message), and finish with another compliment or positive feedback (the second piece of bread).  The part that is most overlooked however is the verbiage you use in between the compliments and the main message itself.  Stay away from words like “but”, “although”, or “however”.  The immediate response to those words is defensiveness.  They directly void any positive feedback —however sincere— you started with.

Let’s say that you are having an issue with a team member spending an increasing amount of time at work on personal matters.  You might approach the person this way: 

“John,  We love having you as a part of this team.  Your idea at yesterday’s sales meeting was right on point! AND in fact it’s clear that you have a real impact on our corporate culture in the office; a lot of the junior associates take their cues from you.

So it’s crucial that you limit the time you spend on personal matters whether it be on the phone or online to the times when you are officially on break.  

I know how committed you have been to this organization and I appreciate all your work especially for this last project.  It made a difference.”

Now, let’s add one more concept into the process. There are three different types of postures you can adopt when communicating with someone: authoritative, participative, or subordinate. An authoritative posture is always direct and to the point: “it’s crucial that you do xyz”.  Your main message —the meat of the sandwich— is ALWAYS authoritative so the corrective action is clear and concise. The positive feedbacks or compliments —the bread— are  ALWAYS participative: “We love you being part of the team”.  You are not posturing down or up, you are simply delivering a genuine compliment as one person to another.

We always have a choice on how we

To your continued success,
James