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Past COREageous Entrepreneur Blog Posts

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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Your Sphere of Control

Are you angry, frustrated, or aghast at what’s happening in our country? It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, politics has become an addiction. This weekend I heard from an accountant friend, Jake, a typically calm and happy fellow, who owns his own practice. He’s...

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A Founder Ready to Listen

When a startup is hanging on by its fingernails, when the reasons aren’t obvious or when the path to change is unclear, an employee survey or interviews by a neutral third party can provide helpful insight. Chris, a founder and CEO of a troubled startup, was shocked...

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Go Micro 2

Wow! My previous post about the Go Micro approach hit a nerve! I received many kudos about keeping expectations low and consistency high by dedicating a very small chunk of time to the same task every day. When you are trying to accomplish a big task or create a new...

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Get Work Done in 2021: Go Micro

Let’s say that you need to finish a business plan in 6 weeks. Just the thought of it may be overwhelming, but it’s a necessary task within a reasonable amount of time. Unless you are highly pressured and super motivated to crank it out within days, I suggest you Go...

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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.

Curb Your Pitch

A few years ago, I participated in a short course for entrepreneurs on pitching an idea. My job was to help these founders speak their pitch in a confident and leader-like fashion. However, it took the majority of the session to get these very technically savvy and driven founders to clarify their concept into words that the average customer or investor could understand.

Can you clearly explain your startup or business idea to someone not in your industry in about 30 seconds?   This means you have to boil down your concept to bare bones, no jargon or complex technical terms. This length of time is in step with the average person’s attention span.  This equates to about 4 medium length sentences spoken at a modest pace to allow for any listener to process.

Test your ability to convey your idea as intended.  Ask five people who know nothing of your idea to participate in this exercise. Write up a 30 second explanation of what your startup does and read it aloud to 5 people. Ask them to tell you back how they understand it. Compare their answers to what you think you said.

Need help condensing your message into one in which stakeholders can understand? Reach out to me at [email protected]

Basics for Recruiting Your Team

It takes time to build a great team; some say it is an art. If and when you decide to seek funding for your startup, the quality and synergy of your team will be paramount to investors.

Jonah, the CEO of an off-shore textile startup, considered himself “a good judge of people.”  Jonah based his decisions on resumes, first impressions and less so on the basics.  So certain of his intuition and short on time, Jonah acted quickly often neglecting to check references until after an offer was accepted.

Jonah lamented that about half of his choices of candidates resulted in a wide range of problems including customer complaints, insubordination and theft— time, money and reputation busters for a startup.

Intuition plays a role, but consider a few basics to round out the decision-making process:

  • Qualifications – do they have the right skills and experience? How have they demonstrated competence? Have they previously worked for startups and, if not, are they aware of the unique demands of startups in terms of compensation, flexible work hours, travel, etc.?
  • Check references early in the interview process.( See the mini-chapter called ”The Art of Reference Checking” in The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki)
  • Do they understand and believe in your mission? Get them to elaborate on that one.
  • Have they good people skills? Are they likeable, collaborative and communicative? What is their track record with customer service?

Have you a valuable new hire who needs coaching in the people skills department? I can help. Contact me at [email protected]  

5 Ways to Assess Your Top Soft Skill

Now that summer is upon us and living is a little easier, this is a good time to invest in your personal growth as a leader/founder. Where to start?

According to the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation only 25 % of long term job success depends on technical skills, where a whopping 75% depends on soft skill mastery. Soft skills include critical thinking, leadership and communication skills, with the latter topping the list. (Actually, all the soft skills have language at their core!)

If you haven’t already discovered – in business, communication is everything.

To identify where your communication skills need a boost, ask yourself and a trusted other :

  1. What comments about my communication skills have I received? In what ways am I most effective in communicating with customers or as leader of a team? How am I least effective?
  2. In what situations (sales, negotiation, conflicts, public speaking, etc) do I find my communication competency challenged?
  3. How would I rate my emotional intelligence (the ability to manage my emotions appropriately and influence the emotions of others) in regards to communication?
  4. Would my team and those I interact with on a regular basis call me a “good listener?”
  5. Does my co-founder (if I have one) complement or conflict with my communication style?

Want to be a more mindful communicator at home and at work? Coaching works! Contact me at [email protected]

Add a Morpheus to Your Mix

A COREageous CEO listens to the good, bad and the ugly.

When passion takes hold and our vision becomes invincible, our mirror gets cloudy and we’re apt to act on murky and idealistic perceptions. It is comfortable to surround ourselves with people who share the same mirror, instead of those that come from a more realistic perspective.

Include people in your organization who will expose the weaknesses you may have denied or overlooked. As in the movie, The Matrix, the character Morpheus delivered the truth. Consider forming a small team of Morpheus’s that will help you see clearly. And will you listen?

In the highly recommended book, “The Art of the Start 2.0” the author, Guy Kawasaki, suggested having a Morpheus for each aspect of your business:

  • Research and development
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Ethics

Kawasaki claims that a Morpheus is the yang to the CEO’s yin. The CEO decides “what” while the Morpheus identifies “what could go wrong?”

Could having a Morpheus on your team safeguard your venture?

Have trouble listening to the hard stuff that could save your startup? Listening is “my thing.” Contact me at [email protected]

 

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