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Past COREageous Entrepreneur Blog Posts

Entrepreneurship Out of Necessity?

The Kauffman Foundation’s "National Report on Early-Stage Entrepreneurship in the United States" in 2020, indicated a spike in the number of new founders with few other income options, compared to those who transitioned from existing jobs to entrepreneurship as an...

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Creating Your Company’s Culture: A Philosophy to Ponder

A company culture is the vibe of a company. It sets the tone for how you do business internally and externally. It is a philosophy for how you communicate your brand and how you treat people. As a solopreneur or a founder with a small team, you may think it too early...

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The Ideal Team Player Triad

Your team plays an integral role in your success. Research shows that a weak or dysfunctional team can deflate a startup. Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group, is one of my favorite leadership gurus. When building a team or keeping your team in...

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Worry Time 2.0

As an entrepreneur, worries and concerns come with the territory. Undifferentiated worry often leads to over-thinking and then to anxiety and depression. It’s mentally and physically bad for you and your relationships. I never understood the value of scheduling a...

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Scheduling “Gnat Time” For Those Pesky, Little Tasks

You know what I mean. It’s that cluster of annoying little tasks that take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes each. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you encounter a swarm of pesky little tasks each week that need attention: accepting a Zoom invite, scanning a...

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Get Back in the Groove

Returning from vacation and getting back into a work routine can be challenging. Here are some tried and true ideas that help you get back in the groove faster:

  1. Re-start your morning rituals –the familiar, seamless routines that set the tone for a productive work day; those that include exercise, meditation and making your bed, for example.
  2. Gradually get back into your sleep regimen. 15 minutes earlier to bed every couple days until you’re back to your normal bedtime.
  3. Sync up with people you see on a regular basis, at the gym, at the local coffee shop or at the office.
  4. Resume a healthy diet and reduce the use of alcohol, etc.
  5. When you sit down to plan your day, recall those revelations you had flying 30,000 feet over mountain and plain. Perhaps you resolved a vexing problem, re-aligned your priorities or made a decision on a relationship that was well overdue. Now back on earth, can you apply those revelations and make your life easier?
  6. Overwhelmed with the 200+ emails, the to-do lists, bills, and the work you planned to finish before vacation? Break it into smaller tasks. Crank up some tunes or a podcast, get some snacks and take a small, but consistent bite out of each task every day until you get back in your groove.

Having more trouble than usual getting back in the swing of things, getting started and following through? Contact me at [email protected] 

Root Out Perfectionism First @ the Day Job

Len wants to leave his job to start his own design studio. As Len smartly assesses his entrepreneurial readiness, he wants to rid himself of one habit that could doom his startup — perfectionism.

Mark Cuban of the TV series Shark Tank said, “Perfectionism is the enemy of an entrepreneur.” It cannot be cured over night, but can be broken down gradually through coaching.

Frustrated with the indecisiveness and stress that come with perfectionism, Len agreed to apply a strategy to a current problem: Len owes HR five staff performance reviews (perfs) by the end of the week. They are six months overdue.

In light of other tasks that beg for Len’s attention, I asked him to describe what an “adequate” perf would look like. Would it sufficiently meet the expectations of the employee and HR? How much time would it take to do each one? Len could not identify any downsides to an adequate perf.

A “perfect” perf would include more flowery language and several links to training videos that would likely be ignored. Compared to an adequate perf, Len admitted that a perfect perf was excessive and a poor use of time with no upsides.

Contrasting the two versions in terms of time and benefit was a practical step towards tempering Len’s perfectionism. It eased the ability to get started and complete the task in time.

Perfectionism may require more than coaching, however. It is essential to manage this behavior efficiently before starting your own business. Contact me at [email protected]  

Motivate Your Employees to Their Full Potential

Once you’ve hired your “A” team members, how can you keep them engaged and working to their full potential? Even if benefits and raises were available, they can’t be the solution.

As one VC told me, “There are many factors that contribute to an employee’s desire to work to their potential…the mindset they bring to the startup is one thing. The rest is up to the founder.”

According to an industry-wide SHRM survey of 14,500 workers in 2017, only 15% of workers claimed to be working to their potential on a regular basis. The survey found that employees work to their full potential when:

  • they are clear about expectations.
  • they feel safe asking questions.
  • they are not overwhelmed with rules and unproductive meetings.
  • their suggestions are taken seriously
  • there are rewards and recognition for jobs well done.
  • supervisors demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence.
  • they see purpose and meaning in their work.

At your next meeting, get some feedback from your team on each point. See how you can ignite greater motivation and commitment by doing your part.

Notice how all those factors are related to communication? Need help? Contact me at [email protected]

 

  

Hiring Mission-Driven Employees

You believe in your mission wholeheartedly.  As a founder, you are fired up to work hard every day. And when funds are tight and resources are limited, or when a crisis like COVID erupts, you need employees to do their best work.

Based on the numerous requests I receive for coaching up unmotivated and underproductive team players, it makes sense to identify a candidate’s motivation and commitment at the hiring phase. Here are some interview questions that may give you a window into a candidate’s motivation to work hard and buy in to the mission:

  • How do you relate to our company’s mission?
  • What is the first thing you do when you are assigned a task with little or no direction?
  • Tell me about a time when almost failed to meet a deadline. What happened? What steps did you take?
  • We may have situations where I need ‘all hands on deck.’ What sacrifices are you willing to make in those situations?
  • Have you ever proposed changes or innovations to the betterment of the company? Were they implemented? Give me an example.
  • What motivates you to meet expectations?

Are you still being fooled by candidates who misrepresent their motivation and commitment to hard work? Perhaps we need to probe further. Contact me at [email protected]

Self-help, Coaching or Therapy?

Emotional self-regulation is an essential core skill for a founder. When challenges mount up, vulnerabilities are unveiled that could sabotage your ability to make good decisions, listen mindfully and get back on track.

For the sake of your startup, know the options for  managing your emotions. Here are three routes to consider:

Feeling stressed, tired and aggravated a lot more lately? Is this is a problem you can solve yourself?  Are you taking time to relax and re-center yourself? Are you getting good quality sleep and exercise? Can you identify the root of your distress and make the needed adjustments?

Perhaps your anxiety and low mood are due to weaknesses in your executive functioning, communication or leadership skills?  Coaching can help. However, a good coach knows when a client needs more than coaching and will direct you to more appropriate services.

Emotional problems stemming from chronic depression, mood swings, insomnia, trauma and dysfunctional relationships are best treated with therapy with or without medication. If you neglect self-care or are drawn to addictive behaviors, these are also good reasons to seek a psychologist or mental health professional as soon as possible.

For more information on CoreCoaching, contact me at [email protected]. For a qualified psychotherapist, check out the therapy directory at www.PsychologyToday.com.

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