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4 posts from April 2011

April 19, 2011

Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation

Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation


So, what do you make of this?  How should this information change the way your company approaches things?

April 18, 2011

Keep the Score, Know the Score, and the Score Will Improve

ScoreboardImage via Wikipedia

Keep the score, know the score, and the score will improve!

This is what my first mentor, Ray Johnson, used to say to me all the time.  It was about this time back in the mid-90's that I was put through a full week of training on "metrics."  Can you imagine, a full week with a consultant and a dozen other mid-level managers from around the country stuck in a hotel conference room doing simulations to learn management by numbers?  (Fortunately for me, Denver was the host city and I could at least go home at night.)

Now we use terms like "scorecard" and "dashboard."  No matter what you call it, if you are in business to make money, you need to have one.

Ask yourself this question.  If you went on a year long vacation from your business and planned to return early only if you had to, would you be comfortable relying on the subjective verbal reports of those left behind?  Or would you prefer to see a weekly report of five to fifteen measurements from which you could objectively determine whether or not things were running well?

Of course we prefer the hard data!

So... why do so many businesses operate without it?  You tell me.  What "scorecard" experiences (or lack thereof) have you had?  Do they make a difference?

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April 11, 2011

The Importance of Shared Meaningful Vision

Tragically, Brian Klemmer of Klemmer & Associates passed away last week.  He created an organization with an audacious mission.  It was to "produce bold, ethical, compassionate leaders who will take action to create a world that works for everyone with no one left out."  These were not just words on a page stuck in a three ring binder collecting dust on a shelf.  On the contrary, these words were the foundation for SHARED behavioral expectations and are something to which people are held accountable.


C.W.A. ScottImage via Wikipedia

One of the foundations of Brian's teaching is that if business owners and leadership teams share a compelling vision, they will figure out the "how to's" necessary to achieve their aim.


Creating a vision that is clear enough to guide your business takes some real effort.  You can get started by making sure some basic questions are answered.

  1. What are the core values of the business?
  2. What is the core purpose?
  3. What is the core focus/niche?
  4. What will the business look like down the road (perhaps in 5-10 years)?
  5. Who makes up your target market?
  6. Why should those in your target market do business with you as opposed to your competitors?

Of course this is just a start, but the return on the investment of time required to create and share the vision can be extraordinary.  I have seen it re-energize and refocus businesses such that they get unstuck.  A business owner, leadership team, or a sales professional can become massively proactive while at the same time gaining the confidence to stop second-guessing and flip-flopping on strategy.

I have had clients find new purpose and clarity after forming a clear vision, which is exciting.  Ironically (and just as exciting), one of my clients, a partnership with offices in Chicago and Des Moines, decided after spending some time trying to create a shared vision that they did not want to be on the same page.  They could have struggled for years trying to reconcile two separate answers to the above questions, thus the way for them to get unstuck was to form separate companies.

Does your business feel stuck?  Do your sales results feel flat?  How might clarifying your vision clear the way for improvement?


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April 06, 2011

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