When Children Plan Like Their Parents

How many parents do you know that would tell their high school age, son or daughter, that they didn’t need to plan for college or not to worry about what they are going to do after high school?

How many people wish they had started their retirement planning sooner or their children’s college fund sooner? You might say, “Well we were younger back then and didn’t realize how important it was.” And yet, are you really making actionable plans today for your future?

What if our children planned their futures like we plan our businesses? Do you have specific goals for next month, quarter or even next year? Do you have any idea of what you need to be doing now in preparation for reaching whatever goals you have? Are you organized, and prepared? Do you have a plan, a real plan, a plan with dates and calculated resources attached so that you can effectively and realistically implement the plan?

We believe in planning when it comes to other people. We have told others, you need to plan what you want to do, the career you want to reach, while all along your own goals and plans are not clear, not specific, not realistic because there is no way to know if you are reaching or achieving what you say you want to do.

We have a perpetual “Someday I’ll!” Someday, I’ll have this or that, go here or there, buy, become, do… blah, blah, blah! But someday never seems to arrive. It just keeps moving ahead of us with the empty promise.

This year, take the advice that you give or gave to others, to your teenage children. Set some real goals not just add-ons of some percentage and steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat. Evaluate your potential and seek out excellence no matter what your age or circumstance. Determine that this year will be different.  And that difference…

Start NOW! Don’t play and don’t delay! If you need help find someone who can help you and work with them, listen to them and then do it!

Stan Broesder, MBA — Crossroads Consultants — “Because All Business is Personal!”

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Two Natural Laws That Will Make or Break Your Business and Life

Do you want to solve some tough problems or make some serious changes but don’t know how? Consider how you relate to these two laws of nature.

There are natural laws that if you violate them the consequences can be deadly. But, you can overcome some natural laws, by applying other laws, such as the aerodynamics of an airplane or a parachute that allows you to land safely on the ground countering the effects of deadly gravity.

But what about business and life, what natural laws can you apply or overcome that will enable you to be successful?  Last week I did a Tele-seminar Preview on ten “Principles of Achievement” and applying those principles with the “Plan Your MAP” program. You can listen to the Tele-seminar here.

There are two laws that go hand in hand and you can use them to give you tremendous leverage on reaching your goals. If you neglect these two laws, you will find that life will be much more challenging. The better you are at utilizing these two laws, the more successful you will be.

First is the law of “Focus of Control.” Think of this like a continuum where you have complete 100% control on the right end of the line and absolutely no control is on the left end of the line. Now think with me about what you definitely can NOT control in your life or business. Usually such things like the weather and time are mentioned. While on the other end is what you can 100% control? Think about it, the only thing that you can really control is yourself, your decisions and actions.

In between these two points is the area of influence. Some things we will have more influence over than other things. While we cannot control people, we have more influence over our own children than we do over a stranger in public.

How this affects you and your business is that you need to continually and effectively evaluate how much control do you have in any given situation, project, client account, or goal. With that knowledge you then have to think about how you can influence those things that you cannot control.

The problem comes in life and business is when we try to control or strongly influence things beyond what is realistic and we get frustrated and upset. Or, we look at the situation and say “there is nothing that I can do…” and fail to try to overcome the particular situation, when in fact there are things we can do.

Many times we allow our attitudes and beliefs about what we can and cannot do to affect our efforts. That is why the saying “Whether you believe that you can or you can’t, you’re right,” comes from.

The second natural law is “The Law of Cause and Effect.” Quite simply this is the law reflected in the saying, “you reap what you sow.” If you plant corn, don’t expect wheat, and it is as simple as that.

What is the result or “effect” that you want? The Effect in this case is a dependent. It is the result of something, namely the cause. So first think about what affect that you want, and then think about what could cause that effect to take place.

This is a great way to think about planning. Decide where you want to go and then what will cause you to get there. Almost everyone that I talk to agrees with the concept, at least IN PRINCIPLE, but not in practice. If you really believe in cause and effect, and they want more sales, than what is the cause that drives more sales?

When you flip this around to solving a problem, it can be more challenging. You have an effect that you don’t want now you need to find out what is the cause of the problem (the result or effect of a cause). A systemic problem is one of the hardest to solve because the cause is many times separated by time and space.

Understanding the cause, whether it is for what you want or don’t want is the biggest challenge. But we make it worse when we attack the symptom (which is the effect, like a fever) that appears to be the problem. Unfortunately when we do this the real problem is not resolved and we are constantly working to change the effect of the problem.

So now put these two laws together and you get a life of taking control of those areas that you can control with a cause and effect mindset. Or you get a person who doesn’t accept that they have control or at the least strong influence in many areas of life and decides that the cause and effect law doesn’t work and therefore they literally will take their chances. They live by chance, luck and if anything good happens, it often appears by accident.

So, if you believe in Focus of Control, and the Law of Cause and Effect…. What does your planning look like? Does it look like you believe in controlling your destiny or are winging it and hoping for the best? Do you have solid goals, and a strategic plan or goals in your head and a hope-so-strategy for life and business?



Crossroads Consultants specializes in helping business professionals and owners to create the life that they want through developing skills in management (including planning, organizing, executing and controlling) applied to the core elements like strategy and systems development. I support my clients on their journey and not on an event. I walk along with my clients because like everyone else I too am on the journey and so excited to be able to share my knowledge, experiences and skills that I have, and enjoy learning from each client and project along the way.

Why Planning Won’t Work!

Planning is one part of the management puzzle but it requires another piece of the puzzle. You can have the perfect plan or blueprint, but if you can’t organize the resources to accomplish the plan, it will cost you dearly.

No one plans like you, thinks like you or works like you! Be yourself, but strive to be better! Your personality and individuality are very important to your planning, how you organize and how effective or efficient you will be.

The second piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have your ‘ducks in a row’– that you are organized. Being organized is not the same thing as being neat. It doesn’t mean that you have to live your life like a drill Sargent. Being organized means that you know your priorities and where the information and resources are to meet those priorities when needed.

Find a way that works for you. Don’t kid yourself and say that you are organized when you spend 20 minutes looking for the phone number you wrote down, or a copy of that proposal you sent two weeks ago. Constantly work on creating better plans, better systems and being better organized. Strive to be a better you!

You must create systems or have someone help you to create systems that work for you. Then your plans will have a better chance of being accomplished and the changes that you want to see happen.

Take five minutes to make a list of what are the top five priority goals in your life and the critical information and resources that you need to reach those priorities. Then ask yourself, “how organized am I really in these critical areas?”

As a person who has worked with business professionals for over 25 years, I have helped to create the systems and strategies that fit your individual needs and to bring about the changes that you want in your life or business. When will you take the time to start getting organized?

Make your planning work for you!

Solve your number one problem — Start today!

Solving this one problem makes solving all of the other problems easier. In his book, “Six Disciplines Execution Revolution” Gary Harpst explains that there are really only two things that you have to master to have the life and business that you want.

Have you ever struggled and wished for some help in getting everything done? Have you wanted to have more control in your life? Are you searching for the secret to success, or just how to get through the end of the month?

There are two things to Master. Once you have mastered these two things you can accomplish just about anything. It isn’t real complicated but it does take some motivation. Once you master these things, you will realize that there is almost always someone, or now somewhere to get the knowledge you want or need to succeed. You will also realize there is almost always someone who has the skills that you need to succeed.

So what are these two things? Before that, ask yourself if you want to live a life of chance or intention. Do you believe that luck; chance or fate is the way to live your life or is choice, intention and determination a better way to go? Now don’t just casually give a flippant answer, think about it. Decide right now which way do you believe to be the best for your future? Of course no one wants to put their future in the hands of chance, luck or fate, but what is the alternative?

The first thing that you must master is being able to pull together all the relevant information and to create a blueprint or plan to specifically map out or layout what your future is going to look like and how exactly you are going to get there. It is that simple, just not that easy.

I recognize that real architects didn’t just pick up a pencil and start designing a home and overnight create the world’s best residence. But most of them started somewhere back when Crayons were being used, and not today’s computers. It may take a little work creating a plan and then making it better, and learning, and then making it even better. But if you don’t start planning by doing, you will never create the plan that you want. No one else is going to create the plan for you that you want. Jack Welch is credited with saying, and a book is titled: “Control your own destiny or someone else will”

Let’s revisit your decision to put your future in the hands of fate, luck or chance or to put your future in the hands of decision, choice, and intention. If you are not planning you’re taking a chance. I wish you luck, because that is all you have to go on. Or you can plan to succeed; ultimately it is your choice.

Assuming that you have created a plan, “any” plan, what is the second ingredient? Well as difficult as creating a life changing plan is, this second part can be much more difficult. But if your plan is a good one, then this second element is taken into account. Besides having a good plan, The second ingredient that you need is to be able to execute that plan efficiently. That’s right; the world’s best plans will not build a house or accomplish anything for that matter. Someone has to do the work of implementing or executing the plan to see accomplishments.

If the plan is a good one it will take into account the skills and abilities of the person who must execute it. It may include that you take a course in learning a skill or figuring out the best way to hire someone else to do some of the work in the plan. But the work must get done.

So the next time you have a problem ask yourself, “do I have a plan that I can execute to solve this problem?” If not, remember that you are taking a chance. Start with the information that you know. Think about what information you need to know to make the best decisions, and then plan out a way to learn what you need to know. It may only be a step to solving a problem but it is a step in the right direction.

The purpose of this article is to get you to really think and be hones to yourself about planning. Do you think about things or do you really plan? Make it a practice and you will continue to get better at it. We will continue this discussion, you can plan on it, I know I am.

Stan Broesder is a Business Consultant with Crossroads Consultants. He can be reached at 980-241-0189, or you can visit his website: www.MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

Does Success Breed Failure?

Success in and of itself can create a climate for failure. The saying, “What got you here, won’t get you there” (book title, Marshall Goldsmith) is appropriate for this thought. As difficult as it is to get to a certain level in business it maybe even more difficult to stay there.

Success, however you define it, puts you in a position of new opportunities and threats. Many stumble because they are not ready for the new policies, systems and habits that are demanded of them to be at that level and default back to old habits and safer waters. This is where some talk about the fear of success comes in. It may not be a fear of success (the outcome), but the change that it requires. Although the environmental change that comes with success can be disruptive, there are also internal changes that have to be considered as well.

When you are very busy you can create a routine or rhythm to your work that is very productive, but it can be very susceptible to change. If you push just a little too hard on your production you can make a mistake and send production into a tailspin. Or as the pressure for production decreases, you can become inefficient. You can lose focus on the new and most important tasks at hand believing you will have time to get to them later. But before you know it you are busy again and the important things didn’t get done.

Your ability to adjust to the pressures and demands on your time, energy and other assets is critical to continuing the progress of success that one experiences within their life. Without that ability to be flexible and focus on the important things, little errors creep in without detection and can become a major disaster without warning.

So how do you develop the ability to make the constant adjustment between super busy and bust? What does it take to smooth those ups and downs at least so they don’t cause serious crashes? There are two things you have to have.

You have to be able to keep perspective while still focusing on what is priority. You need to be ability to look at the big picture while also keeping a focus on key and critical details. In order to have perspective you need to be able to step back and grasp the big picture of your business. You need to be able to make accurate choices about what is important and what is not. Then you need to be able to focus your resources on getting the most critical, the key objectives accomplished.

In success your perspective is constantly changing because the world is changing by the minute or faster. Being able to focus energy and resources in the midst of change, on the most critical objectives is vital. So the reality is that you need to balance two totally different mindsets, big picture and laser focus. The right tools can help you to accomplish that juggling act. [that will have to be a different post]

What do you do when your business is out of control?

It is real tough when you come in on Monday morning and a few key people are out sick, you get a call from a major customer who wants to postpone that big order that they gave you last week and your vendor tells you that the big order that you gave them last week will arrive earlier than expected, in fact it will be here this morning, the #4 machine needs to be shut down  and will need a swing arm replaced which will take at least ten days to fix if we can find the part and have it shipped overnight.  You already have meetings scheduled and emails to go out, phone calls to make and now this.

You can sometimes quickly feel out of control. This can happen when you feel like all you do is fight fires all day long and can’t seem to get to your own “To Do” list. Your plans can fall apart even before you’ve had any chance to get them started.  But you still have all those “To Do’s” to do.

So how do you move forward? There are three things to remember:

First, there is only so much time every day and there is no more. And time is constant, it doesn’t slow down or speed up even though it might seem that way. You can only do what you can do. Don’t allow the size and number of fires you “have” zap your energy.

Second, there are techniques for making your life more efficient. If you have a “To Do” list that is one of them. There are many more and you can read about them or just by really thinking about your life you can create your own. Sometimes getting ideas from other books, magazines or people can help. Efficiency is not enough, and it will not prevent the problems and challenges.

Third, a great efficient system is not enough. An economy car may be advertised as efficient, but it has very little use for a soccer mom with lots of kids, or hauling some lumber for that project you are working on. Efficiency at the expense of effectiveness is a waste of energy and ultimately is not efficient. You have to be effective in what you do as well as being efficient in the doing of it.

To gain control there are three basic things that you need:

  1. Information. Having timely and accurate information is critical if you are going to be making decisions that will affect the energy, resources and your future.
  2. Priorities. Deciding a head of time what are your priorities is critical to being able to gain control. It is better to work on this before the fires in your life come along. Most people are quick to understand that family and the lives of others would be priority in say a house fire. Pictures and even the pets come in a distant second.
  3. Resources. You must know the capabilities of your resources. What realistically can you, your personnel, and your business do to resolve the problem without creating a worse problem. Knowing what you can accomplish with what you have will help you to delegate (if possible) and tackle the most appropriate fires first.

Information, priorities and resources are key ingredients to being able to get back in control. For more information on how to get control of your business go to http://www.MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

 

How Can I think About My Future When I Am So Busy Now?

Right now I am so busy that I don’t have time to really think about my future. I work long hard hours now and I don’t see how I can do anything different.

Maybe you are finding yourself with this attitude about your business or career. There are so many things to do now, how do you add more to it? Brian Tracey once said, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
Here are five things that can change your future.

1. Decide. What it is that you want? Call it a purpose, objective or goal, but write down what you really want to accomplish either in your business or life.
2. Take Stock. Figure out where you are right now. Describe your life and business. This includes your resources, the environment that you are in, the friends and contacts that you have. Everything that has value or might have value is important to recognize.
3. Anticipate. What are the obstacles that are currently standing in your way for reaching your purpose or goals? What is very likely to stand in your way in the future? Keep the future obstacles in mind as well so that you can prepare for them and not allow them to sabotage your plans.
4. Plan. Put together a plan that is flexible and yet realistic in being able to achieve the goals or purpose that you have set out to accomplish. Most people stumble right here. They think that a list of goals is a plan. But there is more to it than that. You must include time frames, costs (financial, energy, skills, etc.) support from others, etc. if you are going to put a realistic plan together.
5. Execute. Flight plans and road trip plans don’t do any good if you don’t get the car started or go to the airport. You must ACT if you are going to reach your goals. If you procrastinate in any area, understand that it is an obstacle that you must find a way to overcome or you will be stuck right where you are. Action focused on the plan is the key. Change plans carefully and if necessary. But keep moving forward.

You can achieve so much more than you ever thought possible when you put a plan together and develop the skills and systems to effectively utilize the resources that you have and will have in the future.