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Past COREageous Entrepreneur Blog Posts

My Team is Not Motivated!

  Let’s get to the core of problems with motivation. There are lots of reasons to explore. Before you go and waste money on free lunches and bungee-jumping retreats, take a few minutes to see what lies behind your team’s sluggish behavior. There may be reasons...

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A Shocking Discovery

Do not assume everyone gets your vision. The team nods, smiles and appears enthusiastic, right? At your next staff meeting, do a check. Ask each team member to write down, in their own words, how they understand your vision for the company or a strategy that you are...

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Access Your Personal Resources

If there’s a fire, you grab a fire extinguisher. If the sun is too bright, you put on sunglasses. If you’re out of sugar, you use honey. But, when you wake up in a bad mood, experience a loss or get discouraged, how do you get back on track and not waste the day? If...

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Screen-Staring and Eye Strain Solutions

Upon a recent visit to my eye doctor, I gained some helpful insights regarding a common  complaint: eye strain. According to my ophthalmologist, the effects of eye strain – headaches, dryness and blurred vision, neck and shoulder aches – are increasingly common among...

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Manage Expectations, Not People

As you assemble or reassemble your team, avoid a common mistake – not clarifying the expectations of the job from the start. Founders tell me, “The job requirements are in the job description,” or “I told them what I expect of them every month.”  And sadly, just...

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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 to contemplate your  company’s culture. Not so. Research shows that companies that establish a healthy and positive culture from the start are more successful and sustaining. It is also a well-known fact that fixing a broken culture is a productivity-consuming and expensive overhaul.

As a leader, your team will look to your example as a way to bring mission and value statements to life. So, take a few minutes to envision the ideal culture for your new enterprise:

  • How would you want to be treated if you were a customer or an employee?
  • How do you want employees and customers to feel about your product and service?
  • How can your brand communicate the same intent?
  • When recruiting team players how will you identify those that align with your cultural vision?

Put your answers on paper and abide by them as you build your startup. Be the culture you want to create.

Need more help in defining and building a successful and sustaining company culture? Contact me at [email protected]       

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 check, Lencioni suggests you look for three virtues:

Humility, not to be confused with  insecurity or lacking confidence in one’s skills or ability to contribute, is the virtue of putting the team’s interest ahead of their own. Humble players support and encourage their peers. They may go beyond their job description to help another team member in a pinch as it benefits the organization.

Hunger is the desire to work hard and get things done and done well for the good of the enterprise.

Smarts, as Lencioni describes, is less about IQ and more about EI − a team player’s emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication skills.

For more on becoming an ideal team player, go to: www.ted.com/talks/patrick_lencioni_are_you_an_ideal_team_player

Do you have a team or a member of your team lacking in these virtues? CoreCoaching can help. Contact me at [email protected]    

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 “worry time,” a notion favored by many psychologists. Making a date to freak out with worry seems bizarre to me. Worry is not like a faucet you can turn on and off. When the alarm says to stop pacing and fretting, are you instantly serene and able to take action until your next rendezvous with worry? I don’t think so.

Instead, I suggest using “worry time” in a healthier and productive way. Differentiate your worries by accepting what you can control and what you cannot. Identify the high priority “can control” worries by establishing a prioritization criteria – the factors that make a task or a decision you have to make stand out. This step eliminates all but the most crucial tasks to come forward. Having too many worries in your face all at once is overwhelming.

A good night’s sleep and exercise rally the thinking brain over the emotional brain. This set up allows you to step back 30,000 feet and constructively problem solve one priority item at a time. This mental distancing feels distinctly different from the entrenched, undifferentiated worry state. Speak to yourself aloud as if you were advising a friend with this problem. Draw it out. Write out the pros and cons. Discuss options and make a decision.

Being able to transform “worry” into “constructive problem-solving” is a COREageous skill for surviving and thriving as an entrepreneur.

Need help upgrading your ”worry time?” I’m here for you at   [email protected]

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 document, signing off on a purchase order etc.

COREageous Entrepreneur subscriber, Terese from Boston, complained, “They (the pesky little tasks) are like gnats whizzing around my head throughout the day. I have to stop what I’m doing and swat at them. Today, I counted nine gnats that took a huge bite out of my productivity. How can I control the gnats?”

Terese makes a good point – research shows that when you shift your attention from one task to another, thoughts about the first task persist and intrude while performing the second task. It’s called “attention residue.” It can take several minutes to regain focus on the first task after the switch and, because it is not a clean transition of focus, mistakes can result. If gnats bug you intermittently throughout the day, the attention residue they leave behind can gobble up a couple hours of your prime time.

A COREageous solution:  You’ve heard of “nap time,” so how about “gnat time?” Just as you would carve out a block of time for a nap, carve out a time to swat gnats in one fell swoop. Here are four ways to do so:

  • Reduce the swarm of gnats by delegating or saying “no” to as many gnats as possible.
  • Corral your gnats, list them, and set aside a block of time a day (or once a week if they are not time-sensitive) to swat at them one at a time.
  • Schedule your gnat times at low energy times of day. Preserve your prime time mental energy slots for deep work.
  • Share your calendar with your staff so they know when not to send gnats your way.

Accounting for your time may “gnat” be your thing. Yet it is a COREageous skill for getting things done, done well and on time. I can help. Contact me at [email protected]

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 preparing for tax season, but deeply entrenched in the political scene. Focus and concentration was never an issue for Jake; but now, he feels he is losing control. Sleep deprived and irritable, Jake spoke in a frantic hush, “It ( the news) is just more insanity. I can’t believe what’s happening. It makes my blood boil! I need to stop.”  We concluded that an addiction to politics is just  as menacing as drugs, gaming and gambling,

As a caring citizen with concerns about our personal freedoms, I can relate to Jake. For the last year, I peered into the maelstrom of political junkie-hood, probed the legalities, and grasped for the facts. When the state of affairs began to keep me awake at night, it was time to take a step back. So, I looked to the Stoics.

According to Stoic philosophy, it is important to know what is inside your circle or sphere of control and what is not. That sphere of control is your MIND. You decide how to keep politics and anything else from hijacking your mind, your sphere of control.

This is an opportunity for us, the COREageous, in these trying times to reinforce our sphere of control and to reMIND ourselves that we have the willpower to make the choice to free ourselves from these intrusions and the ills it brings. Instead of reaching for your phone for the latest headlines, choose nature over news, music over mayhem, cooking over chaos. Explore and preserve your sphere of control and the healthy choices within.

Having troubles focusing and getting things done amidst the craziness? Get your control back with coaching. Contact me at [email protected]


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