Businessman in black shoes standing at the crossroad making decision which way to go - easy or hard

At Decisions – Large and Especially Small – Stop, Think and Choose Better! – Better! Results Tip #15

Example One

Diane set a common New Year’s goal. To lose 10 pounds and get herself in better shape. Two days later, she’s at the food market pushing her cart around the store. Produce came first: a head of lettuce. small bag of broccoli, five bananas, and a ripe tomato. A great start in support of her goal.

Woman standing in front of a row of produce in a grocery store.

Then the moment of trial. Bags of chips, pretzels and cookies lined both sides of the next aisle for the entire length of the store. Then another aisle stocked with nothing but sugary soda and candy – much of it on sale after the long holiday period just finished.

And this is exactly where the Moment of Better! occurs.

If Diane can make it down those aisles without reaching out and placing any of this junk food in her cart, she is setting herself up for Better Results! in the days that follow. Because if this stuff isn’t in her pantry or refrigerator when she hits that inevitable late afternoon moment of hunger for sugar, when she scans her kitchen for something to eat to kill the cravings she simply will not be able to give in to the cravings for junk food.

It’s just not there (but a banana is!).

To review, Diane set herself up for later success – her goal on her terms – when she made Better! Decisions while shopping days earlier.

Example Two

David has an important meeting with the big boss next week. He’s nervous because his improvement suggestions are based in small part on data and in large part on his years of experience and gut feeling.

Let’s face it. David would be crazy to wait until the morning of the meeting to get ready. Instead he makes the Better! Decision of preparing five days in advance. He writes out a one-page agenda with the purpose of the meeting in bold at the top of the document. He prepares his talking points and a tight example of each. And then he does the two things that most of us forget or ignore.

Business planning. Marketing strategy brainstorming. Paperwork and digital in open space.

One, he consciously takes the opposite point of view and prepares to refute his own suggestions. This makes him better prepared to anticipate the soft or weak spots in his recommendations as well as the specific questions he should expect.

Second, he rehearses for the meeting. Not just in his head. Out loud. And he records the dry run rehearsal so that he can both see and listen to himself make the presentation. No fancy studio. He just uses the video and audio recording functions on his mobile phone. Result: outstanding free feedback in a very private setting – allowing David to adjust his delivery and examples for Better! Results with the big boss.

And the goal is always Better! Results.

Example Three

Terry had a crappy day at work. There’s just no better way to describe it. His boss was all over him. His cubicle mate spent the day on the phone arguing with their partner. He started the day with 20 unanswered emails, and 10 hours later ended the day with 35. Then there was the traffic on the way home. Normally a 35-minute drive, tonight it took over an hour.

cars in a tourist traffic jam

So now late for dinner, he sits in his car in the garage about to head into the house where his bride and two children are waiting for dad to make his grand entrance.

How will he choose to feel when he walks through that door? What will he choose to say? Will he take a moment to collect his thoughts, take a breath or two, paste a smile on his face? Or not.

A decision moment for sure.

The Simple Lesson

In our complicated business and personal lives, so much is beyond our immediate control. So when we find that increasingly rare opportunity to control our results on our terms, we should reach out and grab it with passion.

We all have 100% control over our decisions. Every moment of every day in every situation. Whether to get up from our desk or couch and take a five minute walk. Whether to buy the junk food or not. Whether to prepare effectively for meetings and less-formal business conversations or not. Whether to turn off the TV and get to bed a little earlier or not. Whether to be kind to others or not. Whether to volunteer to assist a co-worker or not. Whether to talk on the phone while we drive or not. Whether to smile when we just don’t feel like it, or not.

Better! Results come from Better! Decisions. And opportunities for Better! Decisions are present hundreds of times each day. All we have to do is be present, see them, and Choose Better! in the moment.

Our Challenge Together

Positive change begins with being present and aware. Better! Results come from Better! Decisions at moments of opportunity.

Months and dates shown on a calendar whilst turning the pages

Consciously mark one day on your calendar. On that day, stay present and mindful every time you face even the smallest decision. For one day, pause, give yourself just five seconds to take a deep breath, exhale, and then decide. Consciously. Which option that I have right now will increase the probability of advancing me towards my smallest intentions or larger life goals?

Let me know how you make out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Integrity – Better! Results Tip #14

After 40 years as a business and consulting professional – most spent in the fraud and business ethics arena – it takes quite a bit to stun me. But it happened yesterday.

The radio interviewer asked the guest what was the most significant development in US politics in 2016. Yeah, I know. Trump v. Clinton, Electoral College v. popular vote winners. Supreme Court vacancies deadlocking progress. State initiatives on legalizing or banning substances. Laws restricting personal freedoms. And a long list of other hot button issues.

And my initial reaction was to reach up and shut off the radio. At this point I’ve simply had enough.

But the three-word answer that was the immediate response froze me in disbelief (and almost caused me to drive up on the sidewalk).

Post-Truth Politics

Wow! I had to listen for more.

Forgive me if I didn’t interpret the message properly or remember it with precision, but my recollection 24 hours later is that Post-Truth Politics assumes that the facts simply don’t matter any more. There’s no need to ‘spin’ or ‘slant’ the truth to make your point. Just ignore the truth and facts completely – and say whatever you want. As often and as loudly as possible.

Political rally

Before your write me a nasty-gram, take a second and listen carefully. My comments here are not politically motivated one way or the other. When asked, I always state that my politics are ‘fact-based’ – a statement that more often than not leaves the questioner puzzled.

So here’s the question for all of us. Has this concept of Post-Truth Politics actually become reality? If so, what about Post-Truth Management? Or Post-Truth Parenting?

Would any of you want to be formally aligned with any anything in life that simply pushed truth to the side and said, “Let’s ignore reality, commitments, agreements, responsibility and accountability and just do and say whatever we want? Is this what we want for ourselves and our children? Or in our business lives?

It’s a simple question: yes or no?

I didn’t think so.

So it’s up to all of us to begin to bring clarity and precision to what we will tolerate in our lives. From our leaders, our organizations, and especially from ourselves.

Truth is an absolute requirement if Better! results are our goal. We must know that what we hear, read and see is based on facts. Do we want others to lie to us or not? Do we want to believe in our organizations or not? Do we want to follow or spend precious family and leisure time with those who will shamelessly lie to us, or not?

It’s all pretty simple.

So here’s my grass-roots challenge.

Truth and lies written on compass

Let’s all try to speak nothing but the truth for one full day. Just one day.

From when we wake up in the morning until we put our heads back on the pillow at night. Every word we say – in meetings, conversations with friends or co-workers, to our partners, children and neighbors – we pledge to be true. In our emails, our phone messages, our business reports, our documents, 100% truth for one day.

Not really a challenge for most of you, I know. But possibly with raised awareness in our own actions, we’ll also raise our awareness level of what we find acceptable in the actions and words of others. And react accordingly.

Let me know how you make out. I would love to hear back from you on this one.

For a great read on this subject, try the book Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud

 

 

 

Changing Habits

Changing Habits Is A Campaign, Not An Event – Better! Results Tip #13

Several years ago, my speaking coach asked me to bring what he called ‘game tape’ to our next meeting. So I looked through the video recordings in my files from recent keynote presentations, and picked the one I thought was best. Two cameras, full lights, great stage in Las Vegas, and about 600 in the high-energy audience.

At our next coaching session, he loaded the disk into the DVD player, adjusted the sound, and we sat back to watch.

Six minutes in, he stopped the video and gave me the feedback I wasn’t expecting. “I can’t take it any more!”

After remembering that I was paying my results coach for no frills advice, I swallowed my pride and asked him what was wrong.

He smiled and pointed out three specific distracting habits I didn’t even know I had. Yet he saw them right away (and now I did, too).

The good news: they were only subconscious behavior habits. Things I could control 100% and could adjust immediately when I present. And I told him so.

His reply, “No you can’t. You’ve built these habits over 25 years, and thousands of live presentations and practice sessions. It will take at least a year of concentrated effort to un-do and replace them. You’re going to need a system of reminders and you’ll be leaning on these reminders every day until new Better! Habits overlay the old.” In short:

Fixing flawed and broken habits

is a campaign, not an event.

And he was right. It took a year, and I still fall back into those old distracting behaviors if I don’t pay active attention when I present.

Better! Habits Action Suggestion

  • Give yourself the gift of one minute of focused thought right now.
  • Pick one habit you KNOW you bring to your work that’s holding you back.
  • State that habit specifically – with precision and clarity.
  • Now think of one cheat-sheet idea that you can use to remind you every day about the habit you’re working to replace. A laminated card in your pocket. Wear your watch on the opposite wrist so that it feels funny and you remember why it’s there. Post-It Notes in strategic places where you work – so that you see them every few minutes and are reminded dozens of times each day.

Work on that one habit you’re trying to replace. Not two or three. One. And work that change like the campaign it is. Every day for as long as it takes to become your new muscle memory and normal way of doing things.

 


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

eat the frog

Eat the Frog – Better! Results Tip #12

American author and populist philosopher Mark Twain is given credit for a simple quote that changed how I start my day.

If it’s your job to eat a frog,

it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.

A quick Internet search of this quote will show you the many writers, speakers, bloggers and others who have embraced it and spun it into the context of their own work. That’s not my purpose here. I just want to share it with those of you who have never heard it before (like me until recently), or remind those of you who already know this quote of what a powerful, simple, actionable instruction it is.Eat the Frog

Here’s how I use it to get Better! Results.

On the wall behind my work desk, I have a large orange Post-It Note with “Eat the Frog” written in a wide marker. When I open my laptop to start my day, I see this note right behind the screen. I can’t miss it. And reacting to this instruction immediately every single day has changed my morning work routine so that I’m now:

  • More efficient – I don’t start with low priority busy work. I search around my work area for the single most important task that must be done that day. And I do it right away. Whether that takes two minutes or two hours.
  • More effective – My best time of day for creativity and productivity is early morning. I’m confident that’s due in part to my love of coffee! But I’ve been a morning person throughout my career. So it’s simple self-awareness and common sense that directs me to follow Twain’s advice and eat that critical-task frog first thing.
  • More relaxed – Once that important chore that would otherwise hang over my day is done, I can take a deep breath and move on to the dozens of other less-critical tasks. Emails, proposals, new training materials for my clients, returning phone calls, and pushing a never ending stream of paper around my desk to its final resting place in files or the recycle bin. The critical task stress is gone leaving me with the energy and focus to tackle the many other important but less urgent items on my ‘To-Do’ list.

If you’re one of the large number of business professionals who struggle to find the time to finish important tasks, or if like me you have a tendency to procrastinate, then get out a large bright Post-It Note and marker right now. Write “Eat the Frog” in large letters, and stick it directly in front of where you’ll sit when you start you day tomorrow. Then eat that frog before doing anything else.

Try it for just one day. If you like the result, try it again for a week. If you get Better! Results, repeat every day until it’s your new morning routine. It’s simple; it’s free, and it works.

 


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

Help Your Boss Be A Hero

Help Your Boss Be A Hero – Better! Results Tip #11

Cheryl threw her hands above her head and let out a sigh of frustration. All I had asked was how things were going with her new boss. Clearly, they weren’t going well.

Sound familiar?

Let’s step back a minute and consider Cheryl’s point of view and career objectives. Like most, she wanted to opportunity to perform meaningful creative work. Like you, she prefers to do so in an environment of cooperation and trust where efforts are appropriately recognized. And like you, Cheryl wants to look forward to coming to work and enjoying the many hours spent with associates and supervisors.

And those supervisors come in all styles and personalities. Some are easy to work with. They challenge us, guide us, coach us and bring out our best.

Others – not so much.

Our career goals are important, and our ability to pursue those goals is heavily dependent on our ability to get our immediate supervisor to support us. But with so much diversity in styles and relationships between supervisors and their teams, can there really be a ‘one size fits all’ approach that can work in every situation?

Well, the answer is a resounding – probably. As in, there are some things you can do that increase the ‘probability’ of creating a truly supportive relationship with your boss. And they all start with studying and understanding your boss’s perspective.

Allow me to explain.

make your boss look like a hero

Achieving better results starts with a vision. Through John Hall’s guidance, you will be able to not only envision yourself accomplishing your goals, but also develop clear steps and an attainable plan to help navigate you toward success. Break free from the daily grind and bring clarity to your goals. John helps you develop perspective and context, and then delivers a clear-cut and action-oriented guide of how-to instructions that steer you toward measurably Better! results – however you define them. Let us know how we can help you achieve better results – however you define them. Click here to contact us for more information on our One-on-One and Group Results Coaching Services. Or start getting better results today through the Six-Step System by clicking right here to purchase John’s book “Do what You Can! Simple Steps – Extraordinary Results.”

Like you, your boss has valid points of view and career objectives. She or he likely wants employees who can embrace and support these objectives. Not brown-nosing goody two shoes human robots. Employees who see themselves as professionals regardless of their organizational level or responsibilities. Every supervisor wants team members who bring their best every day, come prepared and energized to take on the daily challenges of business, and will support the group’s objectives as well as their own career goals.

So regardless of the current condition of your relationship with your own boss, here’s a suggestion. Do something today to make your boss look like a hero.

For example:

  • If you know that your boss is struggling with a business challenge – budget, deliverables, performance improvement, customer satisfaction, or anything else that’s important to them – brainstorm something specific you could do in your own work that would help your boss solve that challenge. Then just do it. No fanfare or glory-seeking. Your boss will see and appreciate your efforts. The halo created by your results will reflect back on you without a word being said.
  • When day-to-day problems pop-up, seek solutions without being asked. Highly valued employees are those who see a problem, analyze it quickly, and then dive in to find workable solutions. The unhappy customer, the end of day deadline, and the crisis phone call that just came in all create opportunities for you to take on the role of fixer. I’m a big believer in devoting 20% of our efforts to problem identification and analysis, and 80% to finding and implementing solutions. Show your boss that you can always be relied upon to solve their headache even before they know they have one.
  • Make them look good. Offer to draft documents for them. Volunteer to cover the meeting they don’t have time to attend. Reach out to the vendor or contractor who is causing your boss nothing but frustration and worry. And always – ALWAYS – speak favorably about your boss.

I’m fond of the belief that if you help a lot of people then a lot of people will help you. Start with your boss. Find some way today and every day to help them out and make them look good. Be the great employee they need you to be – the one who makes them look like a hero to their boss!

John J. Hall, CPA


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

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