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The Constitution: A Model for Your Organization

constitution Today in the United States, we’re inaugurating Barack Obama as our 44th President today. It’s both a celebration and an orderly transfer of power.

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marylynn
I can hear “Hail to the Chief” being played. I just love that song!

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georgeI got inaugurated once. I was on the speech team in Junior High School. I’m dating myself here, but I played Gerald Ford taking the oath. So I tripped … I mean stepped … up to the microphone, held up my right hand, and said, “I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

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Yes, all Presidents solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution. We hadn’t thought about this for some time, but we started discussing the purpose of a Constitution.

The United States Constitution itself tells us. It begins with the famous line “We the People of the United States” and then goes into the reasons for the document:

“in Order to form a more perfect Union”
At least we know that the Founding Fathers were realists – they didn’t expect a “perfect” union! They just felt the Constitution would help make things better.

“establish Justice”
It was important to establish laws so that every man and woman was treated the same. 

“ensure domestic Tranquility”
The Constitution allows for peaceful disagreement and debate.

“provide for the common defence”
It was important to determine how the safety of the citizenry would be insured.

“promote the general Welfare”
But it goes beyond safety. The Constitution also maps out how to make things better for the people of the country.

“secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”
This document should insure the freedom of its citizens now and in the future.

Now think about that list. These are the reasons why the Founding Fathers felt it was important to have a Constitution.

But this isn’t a civics lesson. Which is good because we sure wouldn’t be qualified to talk about it! But it made us think …

Aren’t those good reasons for us to have a Constitution in our organizations?

A framework for growth

As small business owners, we often run from structure. We are rebels at heart. We like to break the rules. These characteristics are part of what lead to the success of many small business owners. However, this lack of structure is also what keeps many of their businesses really small.

So does your organization need a Constitution? If you want to establish a framework to grow your business and insure that all people in your organization get treated fairly, then YES!

The Constitution as a model

To find out how to establish a framework for your organization, look at the Constitution.

Set down governing principles.
This list of principles expresses the Core Values of the organization. All decisions should be congruent with these principles.

Establish a structure. How is it organized? This helps us see the bigg picture. Think about your Mission.

Define procedures. How is it run? How do we do things around here? It doesn’t set the ceiling for idealistic behavior, but it does establish a floor. What is the minimum acceptable behavior? Think of this as your Operations Manual.

Describe duties. What are the obligations of the people involved? Think Job Descriptions.

Delineates powers.  What are the boundaries within which the people involved must operate? What resources are available to help them do their jobs? Does this sound like an Employee Handbook?

Can you imagine what our lives would be like without our Constitution? While none of us would say everything runs perfectly, they certainly run more smoothly because of our system of government. Using the Constitution as a model for your organization is a great way to form a more perfect union …

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Thanks so much for stopping by today. Join us next as we begin a three-part series on heroes. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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loveFor anyone starting a business, we highly recommend reading Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth. In the book, he tells a story that goes something like this …

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The Master Baker

There’s a young woman who loves to bake cakes. Her friends raved about her cakes; they told her that she should go into business. So she opens a little shop. She mixes each cake with tender, loving care. She is meticulous about her craft. And her customers love it!

So they tell their friends who tell their friends. Before she knows it, she has more orders than she can handle! So she hires her first employee. She shows her employee how to make the cakes. Then she turns her new employee loose.

Freedom! Now she has time to work on more important things. But it doesn’t last. Before long, she’s getting complaints from her customers about the quality of her cakes. That never happened before. She’s hearing from her customers that they’re not getting the same kind of service she gave them.

So she steps in and starts closely supervising her employee. But she still has her own work to do. Now she’s busier than she was when she didn’t have an employee. This just isn’t working out like she planned.

Show and tell doesn’t work

So it goes with many of us when we hire someone for the first time. We hire them because we’re so busy. We often find that we spend more time once we have them.

We’re all familiar with on-the-job training. The new employee watches as someone else performs a task. We expect that they’ll just pick it up, almost by osmosis.

There’s a Chinese proverb that says:

“Show me and I’ll forget; tell me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

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Use this 5-step process

Step 1 – Tell them what they need to do. Explain to them how to do the task, step-by-step.

Step 2 – Show them how to do it. You perform the task step-by-step, talking about it as you progress.

Step 3 – Review and repeat as needed. Keep repeating Steps 1 and 2 until your trainee says he or she completely understands it.

Step 4 – Involve them. This is the part we often forget or pass over. We assume Steps 1 and 2 are sufficient. But they’re not. You want your trainee to actively participate.

So have them tell you how to do it, step-by-step. Then have them do actually do it, step-by-step, explaining the process as they go through it.

Step 5 – Review and repeat as needed. Discuss what went well and what didn’t. Then repeat Step 4 until you’re satisfied that your trainee knows how to do it.

But there’s something you should do before you do any of these steps. We’ll discuss that next Thursday! Come back and see us again!

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Help! I Need Somebody!

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we welcomed Denise Griffitts. Denise is the founder and CEO of Your Virtual Assistant, a company that provides highly trained administrative professionals for support, technical and creative services for small businesses, start-up businesses, individuals, and online entrepreneurs.


Virtual assistants are in bigg demand

Denise talked about the growing demand for virtual assistants, who work for you from their home. They work within your processes and system. If you don’t have processes set up, they’ll even help you do that.

A virtual assistant can help you with just about anything that doesn’t require them to be on site. Denise’s niche is serving online entrepreneurs. She lets you take care of the front end of the business by partnering with you and handling the back end.

“A virtual assistant takes away all the minutiae from your day.”
Denise Griffitts

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Think about what you really need help doing. What’s causing your time seepage? By thinking about the minutiae that’s sapping your creativity and letting a virtual assistant take care of it, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and be able to move forward more quickly.

How affordable is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a contract employee. You don’t have to pay their taxes and Social Security. You also don’t have to pay for their office space or equipment.

Denise has a Rate Calculator on her blog. It allows you to calculate the difference between hiring someone in your office and hiring a virtual assistant. Denise says the savings are considerable.

Could you benefit from a virtual assistant?
Denise talked about her biggest client, who had a project she needed done within three weeks. This client had a concept and an announced date for completion. That was it!

In three weeks, Denise and her team helped her client produce a product. They created a CD, did the art for the CD, created audio, print work and art work. It was in her customer’s hands by the deadline!

As Denise says, “Most everybody these days could use a virtual assistant.”

Would you like to be a virtual assistant?
Denise is looking for people all of the time. If you have online experience and would like to earn some extra money, send Denise your resume to resumes@virtualassistantindustry.com.

Denise will review your resume. If that looks good, she’ll interview you. After that, she’ll assign you a project. If you perform well on that project, then she brings you on as a full virtual assistant.

So if you want to hire a virtual assistant or be a virtual assistant, check out Your Virtual Assistant!

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Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

Let’s start with some definitions of what we’re talking about when we say freedom and security.

When we talk about security here, we’re talking about things like your personal financial security or job security. Freedom means financial freedom and career freedom.

Many experts say that it’s a trade-off – you have to choose one or the other. We want to examine that today.

So here are a few questions –
Given the definitions above, when we say “security”, what do you think?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking things like “a regular paycheck”, “an annual salary increase”, and “no fear of losing my job.”

What do you think when we say “freedom?”
You might say “creative control”, “no money worries”, “set my own schedule”, and “be my own boss.”

Which one is more fun to think about?
Freedom, of course! In fact, most people tend to smile when thinking about freedom. Thinking about security doesn’t yield the same emotions.

If that’s the case, why do we spend so much time worrying about security and so little time planning for freedom?
That’s a good question, isn’t it? Of course, you might say it’s because you have bills to pay and a family to take care of.

What if you could have both freedom and security?
Isn’t that ideal? Before we offer some suggestions on how to make that happen, we want you to think about how secure that job truly is.

Think about two scenarios –
Scenario 1: You’re an employee with an employer.
Think of your employer as your customer. Think of the services you provide to your employer as your business. Now, look carefully at that … isn’t that what a job really is?

How many customers do you have?               One.
What happens if you lose that customer?      You lose all your income.
How secure is that?                                            It’s not.

Scenario 2: You’re self-employed.
Now picture yourself in your own business with five customers. To keep it simple, assume that each of these customers gives you exactly the same amount of business.

What happens if you lose one?                        You only lose 20% of your income.

So which one is more secure?

Ah, but you protest – with your job comes unemployment insurance and/or a contract with severance pay!

That’s true. However it doesn’t change how you will feel when you realize that your job is being eliminated or you’re being let go for any number of reasons. Wouldn’t you rather live a life free from that concern? To do that, you need more than one source of income … you need multiple “customers.”

2 ways to get started having both freedom and security:

#1: Start a business part-time.
Your part-time business may be related to what you already do, or it may not. If it’s related, make sure you’re not violating any company policies.

How do you get started in business? Get a customer! Now, you’ve diversified your income. Then get another … now you’re even better off!

Hopefully, the income from your part-time business grows to exceed your full-time salary. Now you’re free and secure!

#2: Invest aggressively.
You don’t have to start your own business to have the freedom we’re talking about. Start setting aside money each month into your “freedom fund.” Invest it wisely and over time, you’ll see your passive income start to grow.

When your passive income equals your salary from your full-time job, you’re free and secure. If this strategy interests you, check out Getting Aggressively Passive.

Considering a career change?
Subscribe to the FREE Bigg Success Weekly newsletter to help you plan it and inspire you to go for it. Sign up now and get the Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s FREE, too!

Our Bigg Quote today is by Alan Cohen, the great author.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

Don’t let a false sense of security hold you back. Ultimately, true security comes from the freedom you find when you pursue your dreams with passion.

Next time, we’ll answer a question from one of our listeners. She’s doing most of the work, but getting little of the credit. We’ll discuss how to get the credit you deserve.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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