My # 1 Recommended Resources After 1 Year In Business

People ask me all the time how I made the transition from corporate to my own coaching and consulting business. It’s a long answer but here are some of the resources that have helped me the most.

Stand Out by Dorie Clark. This book is helpful if you want to learn to use your expertise as a business. Dorie has a simple but wide-reaching framework that you can use to get started and then measure how well you are doing at becoming a recognized expert.

Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. Once you start to gain traction in becoming a recognized expert, you need repeatable tactics to turn your efforts into a sustainable business. Michael covers that. Everything from how to talk about yourself and your business, networking, sales calls, etc.

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. Once you start making money, you will have questions like: How much should I pay myself? Can I really afford to buy that new piece of equipment or hire a full time person? Mike’s book gives you a simple framework to help you solve that optimization problem so your money goes to the right places (including paying taxes).

Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson. If at any point you want to try to leverage the power of the internet to sell to many people and while you’re sleeping then you’ll want to start following RB. His online marketing strategies will help you go from having no idea how to sell something online to having a clear marketing plan, a clear sales plan, and the actual tools to collect money from people who want to buy from you. 

$1.80 Instagram Strategy by Gary Vaynerchuck. If you decide you want to sell online you will need to drive traffic to your materials and that is when having a social media presence will become important. I went from 5000 post impressions a year to 350,000 post impressions just by using Gary’s strategy that he outlines for free in a blogpost. Just replace the word Instagram with LinkedIn and follow his recommendations exactly.

I hope you find these helpful.

What Rockstar Scientists and Engineers Do Differently!

🌟The Hotwash Habit.

A “hotwash” ( or after action review) is a reflection exercise that you do immediately after an activity. It comes from the military and is now used in the crisis management community.

Rockstar scientists and engineers adopt it as a personal habit, and you should too.

Here’s how it works:

🎯After a project, presentation, or other activity you’ve spent some time preparing for, write down:

  1. What was the goal?
  2. What went well (that you want to repeat next time or transfer another activity)?
  3. What do you need to revisit (don’t repeat, improve, change)?

This is a simple but powerful exercise, especially for high achievers like you.

Why?

💡It helps high achievers appropriately judge the impact of their actions.
🔷High achievers typically don’t spend enough time acknowledging wins.
🔷We tend to just brush off accomplishments as luck, or give credit to external factors.
🔷We typically spend too much time focusing on failure.
🔷We often wallow in what went wrong and get into a cycle of beating ourselves up.

📢That is a recipe for Imposter Syndrome: If you don’t acknowledge your accomplishments, you will never feel like you are good enough to do the next new thing.

💎When you build the Hotwash Habit, you’ll objectively look at your actions in real time and realize that almost all of your efforts are a combination of things that went well and things that can be improved.

💡It puts you in a learning and continuous improvement mindset.

🔷When you constantly review your actions and think of ways to improve or transfer learnings you will start to find creative solutions to all sorts of problems.
🔷You will quickly differentiate yourself from the other 99% of people who just walk around in a fog or blame other people for everything.

💡If you are a leader, implement this habit with your team. Teach them that your organization is a learning organization. Be sure to include all stakeholders.

❓ If you’re wondering why it’s called a hotwash, you can get the backstory here:

P.S. Full disclosure, that is my kid’s guitar. He informed me right before I took that picture that I had been holding it wrong!🤣

What Introverts Don’t Get About Bragging!

When introverts like us think about bragging, we immediately conjure up certain individuals in our organization. 

You know who I mean, the one who when you ask how they’re doing they say,

 “ Oh well the Chief Operating Officer stopped by my desk to get my input on their major project and over the weekend I went in Elon Musk’s private jet and then ran a marathon with Bill Gates…”

When we hear that we think the person is annoying and self-serving.

❌That is the wrong way to brag! 

It’s a long-winded exaggeration that isn’t relevant. 

✅The right way to brag is to 

🔷Be concise in your statement of your accomplishments.

🔷Be relevant to the topic at hand.

❓Why is it so important that you do this regularly?

💡You need to understand that most leaders walk around somewhere between mildly anxious or in full on panic over where they are going to find the right resources to accomplish the latest mandate. 

📢It is your obligation to inform us if YOU might be the very resource we are looking for!

The only way we’ll know, is if you tell us if you have the relevant experience. 

💁🏽‍♀️Look, even your strongest champions can’t keep total recall of your resume in their heads. It is your responsibility to keep us informed if you have skills that might be relevant. 

It’s not bragging. It’s helping your organization. 

🎯All you have to do is state your relevant experience and ask if they want to hear more about it.

Here’s an example:

Last year, I was working with a non-profit on their strategy. One of their focus areas was increasing the number of volunteers. In the discussion I said, “I worked with another nonprofit on that very topic and we implemented a volunteer management program that achieved a 1000% increase in the number of volunteers and $60K+ in corporate grants in 12 months. Let me know if you want to talk more about what we did”. 

You will not be surprised to learn that they in fact did want to talk more about it.

🎁 If you would like a worksheet to help you organize your experiences so you can easily insert them in conversations like I did, you can grab my Accomplishments Inventory freebie here.

Leadership Presentation Mistakes Scientists and Engineers Make

If you get the impression that managers get impatient with you when you present your work, you are not wrong.

🥱😕Technical people are notorious for giving bad presentations.

Most of our experience is from conferences or in our graduate defenses. Those kinds of presentations are NOTHING LIKE how you should be presenting to an audience of leaders.

💁🏽‍♀️Don’t get discouraged, with some practice and feedback you’ll figure it out.

Here are a few mistakes I see all the time and how you can avoid them:

1️⃣NO EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Make sure you have a 1 slide executive summary at the beginning. This sets the context for your presentation and can serve as a stand alone document in case members of your audience have to leave early or want to circulate your materials.

It should cover the key highlights of your slides including a summary of the current condition and target condition of your activities, your analysis methodology, results to date, next steps, and a call to action (see point no. 2).

(WARNING: see no. 4 for a potential pitfall)

2️⃣NO EARLY AND OBVIOUS CALL TO ACTION.

Please tell me in the first 90 seconds why you are in front of me talking. Do you need more money or more time? Do you have results that are better or worse than expected? I just came from back to back to back meetings and I need some context.

And under NO circumstances should you wait until the last 2 minutes of your presentation to give me what you perceive to be bad news. It makes you look like a coward.

3️⃣COPIOUS USE OF TECHNICAL JARGON

Use plain language and basic units like time, money, weight, temperature, volume, # of people. Using technical jargon doesn’t make you seem smart. It makes you seem tone-deaf to your audience and lacking the savvy to translate your work into something relevant to the business.

Even if your leaders are like me and have Ph.D.’s in a technical field, it doesn’t mean that we have the fundamentals of YOUR specific project in our working memory.

4️⃣”WALL OF WORDS” SLIDES. All words, 12pt font, no breaks. If you have to say “sorry this slide is so busy”, don’t show me the slide. Change it. Try a graph or picture instead.

5️⃣ POOR TIME MANAGEMENT. Plan for me to have a bunch of questions, which I will ask you whenever I want. I’m not waiting till the end. So plan about 1/4 of your allotted time for my questions.

📞If you’d like some input on your upcoming presentation, I invite you schedule a complimentary coaching session.

Leadership Amplifies You

The senior leaders I work with in my executive coaching practice are often shocked and saddened to learn that their junior staff view them as intimidating bullies.

If that is you, there are generally two reasons for the surprise:

1️⃣You don’t have trusted advisors that give you accurate feedback about your actions. I’ll talk in future posts about how to attract and nurture relationships with people who will tell you the truth about your behavior and its impact.

2️⃣You don’t understand that by the very nature of your role, your power amplifies your behavior. Being terse in a meeting seems like you are flying off the handle. Do it a few times and you build a reputation of being terrifying. On the other hand, make a 2-minute phone call to staff on their birthday and you are viewed as extremely generous.

In reality, you are a normal human who has ups and downs and is trying to do your best. Your role power exaggerates everything.

Now that you know your role gives you a megaphone, what do you want your team to hear?

🙄A note to junior staff: You might find it ridiculous that your manager isn’t fully aware of their impact. But there are legitimate challenges to building self awareness.

🙏🏽You can help. If you find that your leader is doing something you like, thank them.

💡Empathy works both ways.

Repeatable Creativity

How Innovators, Entrepreneurs, And Makers Cultivate Their Most Important Asset

In this blog post for the Made for Knoxville Campaign sponsored by Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, I outline three areas to focus on if you or your team need to keep coming up with creative ideas to sustain your business.

🔷 Protect the creative environment
🔷 Record and celebrate wins
🔷 Build a team of mentors

Check out the full post here.

The best way to get EXCLUDED from important meetings [VIDEO]

Questions for you:

  1. Do your peers seem to have more information than you about important topics?
  2. Do you hear about new management decisions late?
  3. Are you frustrated that you aren’t included in the inner circle at work?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, watch this short video RIGHT NOW! 

You’re probably exhibiting at least one of the negative workplace behaviors I discuss in this video.

Discover how to replace them with behaviors that get you in the inner circle.

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5 Quick Tips to Getting Unlimited Mentors [Video]

Whether you are climbing the ladder, running your own business, or launching an entrepreneurial venture, you need mentors. People who have done it already and succeeded, people who can make connections for you, people who can be a sounding board.

Do you know how to get the right mentors to help you?

If the answer is no, check out my short (3 minute) video on how to get mentors. 
With my simple technique you can grow your list of mentors in no time.

Watch the video here.

Reach out to 5 people today!

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How to stand out in a hybrid work environment[VIDEO]

The hybrid work model creates a significant challenge for everyone. While it is tough on all employees who are trying to manage their work schedules and personal schedules, there are new challenges for leaders. 

In this video I talk about 2 leadership challenges and how to overcome them. 

If you are an individual contributor, implement these tips and become a standout employee.

If you are leader, share these tips with your staff and let them help you manage the chaos. 

Watch the video here.

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