1 Simple Habit To Deepen Your Working Relationships

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the Team Success Podcast on iTunes.
Extraordinary Coach Culture: The Positive Focus®

There are certain underpinnings and values every company operates with that determine the quality of their office culture and the relationships team members share.
A practice that’s ingrained within Strategic Coach—and that I encourage every company to adopt—is what we call The Positive Focus. The Positive Focus is a practice where we take time to appreciate the personal and professional progress we’ve made in our lives, and we share that with one another.
It may sound simple, but it means that we’re always focusing on what is working as opposed to what’s not working.
The difference The Positive Focus makes.
We’re constantly being bombarded with information and “stuff”; there’s so much that gets in the way of being present.
The Positive Focus mitigates this. When used at the beginning of a meeting, whether it’s with clients or team members, it allows people to slow down and focus on the things that represent progress or achievement in their lives. Most importantly, it creates space for people to be in the moment instead of distracted by the million other things going on in their heads.
This boosts confidence and forces us into a positive headspace.
It’s also a more productive mindset from which to address setbacks. How often have you been part of a meeting where you immediately dove into the problem? By instead prefacing the issues at hand with The Positive Focus, you raise morale for everyone involved. When people are confident about what’s working, they have more courage to look for the improvements they can make. They’re playing offense, not defense.
Strengthening your relationships.
Another benefit of The Positive Focus is that it’s a great way to get to know people and to build your working relationships. You can quickly get caught up with team members on projects and also find out what’s going on for them personally.
The majority of our time is spent at work so it’s important to treat people as people, not just as functions. Relationship building is crucial to the ongoing success of your business.
“Get to know your team members as people, not just as functioning, contributing members of your staff.”Click To Tweet
How to have the conversation.
Getting your team into the right mindset to have The Positive Focus conversation may require setting the context. You can say, “We’re going to start this meeting a little differently. Instead of jumping right in, we’re going to first share one area of progress.”
For example, in meetings at Strategic Coach, we often ask, “What’s a personal, professional, or team achievement that’s happened for you over the last week?”
To take this a step further, ask team members to share or think about why it was an achievement for them—this makes it real. It also ensures they’re talking about something personal to them, not something they know would please other people.
You can also add another dimension by asking, “What further progress can you make?” The point of this is to keep the momentum of their achievement going.
There are lots of creative ways you can extract the positive from people’s experiences, but the key is to make the time for it. It’s a way to promote progress. Otherwise, people fall into the “perfection trap,” not realizing it’s really the small wins that lead to bigger wins.
Making The Positive Focus a routine in your organization is a guaranteed way to improve working relationships and transform people’s mindsets to focus on productivity. Train people’s brains to find progress—this is where confidence is bred and resilience built.


Give your team the most fun, fulfilling, and rewarding experience of their working careers!

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3 Books That Will Transform Your Year

If you’re trying to escape the overabundance of self-reflection that comes with a new year, why not try taking a different approach?
Instead of subscribing to resolutions, the pressure of timelines, and what’s not working, try focusing on what is working. What’s going on in your life, either personally or professionally, that you’d like to carry forward into the new year?
The coming year doesn’t need to be about reinventing yourself, but instead about shining a light more fully on who you are at your core. Get closer to the real you with these three books on personal development and self-growth. From the way you approach your relationships to how you set your business goals, they’ll alter your perspective and outlook on the year ahead.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way
Robert Maurer
No one makes major positive changes in their life overnight, nor should this be the expectation. One of the most rewarding rituals of change is being able to look back and appreciate how far you’ve come. Maurer’s book is dedicated to the art of making great and lasting change through small, steady steps. He asks you to appreciate the journey as much as the goal you’re working toward.
Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy, focuses on the gentle but potent ways we can effect change. If you operate with an “all or nothing” mindset, Maurer suggests melting away this mentality.
For more, listen in to this interview with author Robert Maurer.
“Low-key change helps the human mind circumnavigate the fear that blocks success and creativity.” Robert Maurer @Dr_RobertMaurerClick To Tweet

The Power of TED
David Emerald
One of the most restricting qualities that holds us back from making the changes we want to see happen is the victim role. If you reflect over the last year, were there times you allowed yourself to play the victim? What could have been different if you refused to have this attitude?
Emerald’s book offers powerful lessons on empowerment, ownership, and how to be the creator of your own life. This book is a tool that stirs creativity and can be used both in personal and business situations.
For more on escaping victimhood, listen in to this interview with David Emerald.
“The way you talk about yourself and your life—your story—has a great deal to do with what shows up in your day-to-day experience.” David Emerald @poweroftedClick To Tweet

How The World Sees You
Sally Hogshead
Self-awareness and authenticity are key to visionary thinking. Start the year off by introducing yourself to the unfamiliar parts of yourself. This book offers insight into the ways you naturally impress and influence the people around you, and uncovers and explains what makes you most valuable.
In Hogshead’s words, “You already know how you see the world. But do you know how the world sees you?”
For more on this book, listen in to this interview with Sally Hogshead.
“To become more successful, you don’t have to change who you are. You have to become more of who you are.” Sally Hogshead @SallyHogsheadClick To Tweet

Add these books to your library and to your bank of wisdom. As you take on another new year, let them guide you in what’s most important so you can achieve mastery.

Greater productivity = greater success.

Learn how the top coach to entrepreneurs achieves his most productive workday.

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5 Ways To Show Appreciation And Boost Company Morale

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the Team Success Podcast on iTunes.
Five Ways To Show Appreciation To Your Team

It’s so easy to take our teams for granted—especially when we’re pushing toward big goals and driving for results.
But I always remind entrepreneurs, regardless of how busy or absorbed you are, take the time to make appreciation a habit. Showing gratitude is not only important in keeping up the confidence and momentum of your team, it also correlates to the future success of your company.
Team members have choices. They have choices over how effectively they spend their time in the office, over the quality of work they put into projects, over their levels of engagement—so it only makes sense to be extremely appreciative that they spend their time contributing to our visions, ideas, and goals.
I make a point of reminding myself every day that it’s people—not machines—creating our bottom line.
“Be conscious of the fact that it’s people—not machines—creating your results.”Click To Tweet
As leaders, part of our skillset needs to be the ability to shift gears from a task-focused mindset to one where we’re recognizing and appreciating all the capabilities team members bring to the table.
It’s so important that we let people know the many different ways we appreciate them so they feel whole when they come into work. Here are a few sure-fire ways you can show appreciation to your team:

Know your audience.
Everyone’s preferences when it comes to appreciation are different. Don’t assume that just because you like to be recognized in a certain way, others will as well. Get to know your team members. Some people like to be celebrated in front of a crowd while others find a handwritten card much more meaningful. Be thoughtful and make the distinction about the most effective and sincere way you can show gratitude to someone.
Say hello and greet team members by name.
This idea may seem simple but saying “hello” to team members and addressing them by their names is a great way to recognize people. It’s also a genuine way to strengthen your relationships and connections. It feels great to be seen and known, and this is a really simple way of doing that that makes a big difference.
Have a unique way your company celebrates wins.
If you don’t yet have a process in place for celebrating accomplishments, create one now and involve your team. Get them together to brainstorm exciting ways you can celebrate growth. When people have a reason to celebrate themselves and one another, it does incredible things for morale, relationships, and your company culture as a whole.
At Strategic Coach, we have monthly Monkey Awards—we’re fans of sock monkeys—and yearly Bubble Awards for any achievements that get us faster, easier, cheaper, and bigger results. We like to celebrate being a “bubbling company.”
Whatever it is, be specific.
Generalities like “great job” and “good work” are empty feedback because they’re not attached to anything concrete. Giving good praise requires specifics. It’s much more powerful to explain why you liked what someone did and then to connect that to what you’d like to see them do more of. This provides people with great incentive and a boost in confidence.
Listen to the podcast:Why “Great Job” Isn’t Always Great Acknowledgment

Little things go a long way.
There are also so many small ways you can show appreciation to your team that aren’t costly. For example, give them time off. If someone’s been working really hard, it goes a long way to acknowledge them for that and to let them take the afternoon off. People want to work for people who care about their well being. I’m also a fan of surprising people with gift cards or organizing informal team-building events outside of the office. Small acts of kindness make a world of difference.

How we treat our team members speaks multitudes about our effectiveness as leaders. Appreciation is a major part of the puzzle when it comes to team members’ engagement, and it separates the good leaders from great leaders.
Try implementing these appreciation strategies and see what impact it has. By really recognizing other people’s time, effort, and creative abilities, we set up a standard of caring and respect in our company culture that inspires a new level of commitment and dedication from team members.


Give your team the most fun, fulfilling, and rewarding experience of their working careers!

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3 Productivity Hacks For You And Your Team To Prevent Burnout

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the Team Success Podcast on iTunes.
How To Prevent Burnout And Sustain Growth

Have you experienced burnout or seen it drag down your team? As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, burnout is a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.
I compare burnout to the experience of someone rubbing sandpaper on your skin for a long period of time. It won’t take you out of commission, but it’s harmful and stressful to a pretty serious degree.
The danger here is that in a fast-growing company, without the proper preventative measures in place, entrepreneurs and team members are at risk of wearing themselves too thin and burning out. The result is a lack of motivation and engagement, and feelings of frustration.
So how do you avoid falling victim to this workplace killer?
Understanding the root causes of burnout.
In order to prevent burnout, it’s important to appreciate where it stems from. Working with entrepreneurs and their teams, I’ve found that the triggers that most commonly result in fatigue are:

Running yourself down.
Low morale and company engagement.
Lack of personal fulfillment.

When we do the same activities over and over again or solve the same type of problem repeatedly, without new challenges or opportunities, the future doesn’t look like much fun.
Prevent burnout with three easy-to-implement techniques.
While some forms of stress can be positive and with the right perspective can challenge us to grow and become stronger, it’s important to minimize the anxiety that has major impacts on our physical and psychological well being.
Use these productivity hacks to help both you and your team stay energized, enthusiastic, and innovative in order to prevent burnout:

Encourage and respect vacation time. One of the most motivating things you can do for yourself and your team is advocate for time spent not working.
It’s crucial for creativity, perspective, and productivity that both entrepreneurs and team members have an appropriate amount of time they’re expected to use to disconnect from the workplace. This is necessary to staying healthy and maintaining the energy we need to perform at our highest levels.
Make it a habit to plan vacation days in advance and spend this time doing things that are most important to you. Develop hobbies, spend quality time with family and friends, and take time for self-care. If you do just one thing to prevent burnout, this is most effective. It’s a guaranteed way to recharge and refocus.

Acknowledge and celebrate progress. Another important strategy to preventing burnout is to dedicate time to acknowledge and celebrate progress.
The morale in any workplace is significantly higher when people are aware that their contribution is appreciated, not just expected.
Rid yourself and your team of the feeling of being on a hamster wheel by making a point to stop and track milestones. Praise can make all the difference in connecting team members to the bigger picture. This is a powerful shift in any organization.
“To prevent burnout, dedicate time to acknowledge and celebrate progress.”Click To Tweet

Put the right people in the right places. When we’re working according to our natural strengths and talents, burnout is near impossible.
It’s extremely energizing to spend the majority of our time working in the areas we’re most passionate about and skilled at. It’s when we’re working against our grain that we risk burnout. Listen to your gut when it comes to the strengths of your team. Make necessary adjustments to leverage team members and free people up to work in the areas they most excel at. When you’re open to how people can grow, it allows for major expansion to happen.

Get on the path to bigger and better achievements, and decrease burnout and breakdowns by setting up supportive workplace initiatives. When both you and your team are operating at your most productive levels, you’re able to confront issues head on and with the utmost creativity. Encourage and support people in taking time off, celebrate progress, and be open to the growth of your team!


Give your team the most fun, fulfilling, and rewarding experience of their working careers!

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How We Grow Entrepreneurial Team Members

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the Team Success Podcast on iTunes.
How People Grow

“What’s my growth path?” is a common refrain I hear from team members. It’s also a question most business owners struggle to answer.
There’s often misalignment and a mismatch in expectations in how fast people will grow and where they can grow to on an entrepreneurial team, which is why this is such an important thing for leaders to have total transparency about.
I remember, many years ago, when I was working as a unionized cashier for a major grocery chain, increased pay and the choice of shifts were a result of seniority. That meant, as a 19-year-old, I was paid minimum wage to work the 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift on Friday nights—despite the fact that I was fast and accurate.
And although many of my co-workers were not as efficient, they had the prime pick of shifts and were paid the most in scale. At that point in my life, it was my only experience of how growth happened in businesses.
The corporate growth ladder.
In the corporate world, the path to growth is well defined and clearly structured.
You start out in a particular role, and if you’re put on the fast track, you could be promoted as quickly as within three to six months. Once you’ve moved into this new capability, depending on how you perform there, you’ll likely move on again. It’s the nature of this world to move quickly through the ranks—you know the hoops you have to jump through in order to be successful.
In many ways, this is great because the expectations are so clear. And yet if you don’t conform to these standards, you may not get very far. The opportunity for individuality and unique contributions is often limited.
Finding yourself in the entrepreneurial world.
On an entrepreneurial team, on the other hand, growth happens according to a different premise. It’s a journey and requires self-determination.
For example, my co-writer, Jayne, started out in a completely different role when she joined Strategic Coach. As a member of the accounting team, she was responsible for accounts payable and various other administrative and logistical tasks.
However, her real passion was in writing, so she started volunteering herself to write blogs for the marketing team in addition to her daily responsibilities. The writing team took notice, and over a one-year period, she was able to navigate herself into a role as a full-time writer.
So how do you coach your team to grow in an entrepreneurial company?
It starts with getting them clear and confident about what we call their Unique Ability®—what they love to do, are best at, and contributes to the overall growth of the company. Once they’re clear on that, it’s about expanding their value creation through their Unique Ability. It’s a very organic process, and it’s your and your team leaders’ job to stay alert to talent and encourage your team to take initiative.
“All growth in an entrepreneurial environment is the result of self-determination.”Click To Tweet
Align expectations with reality.
As an entrepreneur running a successful business, make it top of mind to ensure your team is always on the same page as you.
Be clear with them that in an entrepreneurial organization, no one’s going to lay out their path, and growth has no timelines or ladders to climb. Let people know that additional rewards, compensation, and status come from increasing their value creation and innovating in ways that produce faster, cheaper, easier, and better results.
The largest amount of personal and professional growth is rewarded to team members for the increased contribution their Unique Ability makes. Be open and clear and give your team the opportunity to get innovative with how they create value.


Give your team the most fun, fulfilling, and rewarding experience of their working careers!

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