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Own Your Life

life on your own termsLast time, we talked about the definition of bigg success. We said that bigg success is life on your own terms.

You might wonder if we’re being redundant when we say “your” “own” terms. We can understand why you might think that, but we felt that it was important to convey ownership explicitly.

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We’ve heard about Brand You. It’s useful to think about the brand image we present and how we market ourselves, but we think it doesn’t go far enough. When it comes to creating your dream life, you are an enterprise level manager, not a brand manager.

A new paradigm

A new paradigm about the role we play in our own lives is gaining traction. Our definition of bigg success – life on your own terms – encompasses this new mindset.

You are the entrepreneur of your own life.

We normally think being an entrepreneur means “I own my own business.”  We’re saying that, whether you’re employed or self-employed, you are an entrepreneur.

You own your life.

You run it as you see fit.

You create the life that you want to live. Life on your own terms.

You bring together the resources necessary to build that life. You put the structure that is needed in place to achieve your bigg dream.

That’s what an entrepreneur does.

Your life is your enterprise

It’s not just about the work that you do. Your life is about more than that.

Entrepreneurs don’t just sell a product or a service. They build a business, an entire enterprise.

Your life is your enterprise and you build the life you want. This encompasses both your professional and personal lives.

As the entrepreneur of your own life, it’s crucial to find ways to make all the parts of your life work together. Even more than that, why not find a way to get all parts of your life working synergistically with one part adding to another and vice versa? Now that’s bigg success!

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CBS resisted, but Lucy insisted

Lucille Ball was the star of a popular radio show called My Favorite Husband. We’re not sure how many husbands she had, but this show was about her favorite one!

She played the wife of a bank vice president. With the advent of television, CBS wanted to move her show to the new medium. But Lucy wanted her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, to play her TV husband.

CBS resisted, but Lucy insisted.

The CBS executives eventually gave in and I Love Lucy became a bigg success.

Lucy was an entrepreneur! She lived her life on her own terms.

A unique solution for raising the kids

We know a couple who are divorced. They have young children.

Instead of fighting over custody, they have chosen to add on to their house so they can each go on with their lives and their children can be with both of them every day.

This is a unique solution that is working for them. What else matters? Some people think it’s kind of strange, but why should these two people care?

They are entrepreneurs, living their life on their own terms.

A merger that works

We decided we wanted to work together, to merge our professional lives as well as our personal lives. We created Bigg Success to allow us to do that.

We travel together. We work together. We live together. We see each other all the time.

It wouldn’t work for many couples, but it works for us. We’re living our lives on our own terms.

How about you?

What does life on your own terms mean to you? How are you taking ownership of your life?

Share your story with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

By typing it or saying it, you will learn even more about yourself. Everyone else in the Bigg Success community learns too. The more we share, the more we all learn. Then we can reach bigg success even faster!

Thank you for sharing your time with us today.

Join us next time when we’ll talk about the “terms” of life of your own terms.

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00357-032409.mp3

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What is Bigg Success?

The Power of Defining Your Terms

The 5 Elements of Bigg Success

The Bigg Idea Behind Bigg Success

2 Tips for More Effective Project Status Reports

pm411_logo We visited with Ron Holohan today on The Bigg Success Show. Ron is a Certified Project Management Professional and is currently the Director of Program Management at Shure in Chicago. Ron also hosts a weekly project management internet radio show called The pm411.org Project Management Podcast, which has consistently been one of the top four project management shows on iTunes.

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marylynn We all know that project management can be a stickler. So we asked Ron to share two tips with us to create more effective project status reports.

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ronThe first tip is to focus only on the exceptions. What I mean by that is that you don’t want to throw everything in the kitchen sink into your status reports. No one wants to read all that. They want to be able to look at your status report and pull out just the information they need. So focus on the exceptions – those issues that have changed since your previous report. Your audience only gets the information they need so your status report is short and concise.

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georgeI think that’s a bigg one. It seems that you often see status reports that look like a “mind dump.” You see all the activity that’s happened since the last report. You get bored with it so you’re not able to help them. might call it stubborn.

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ronThat’s right. If someone wants to go back, they can always look at one of your previous reports for more information.

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marylynn Cut the fat … get to the meat. What’s another tip?

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ronAnother tip is to make your report as easy as possible to read. This is the same kind of ideas as Tip #1. You want to allow your audience to easily scan for details that interest them the most. One way to do that is by using something called “Stoplight Reporting” – you communicate progress by using different colors. A bullet point in green may mean this item is going according to plan. Yellow means that particular item needs to be watched. Red means action is required because that item is starting to go off track. You can actually use blue as well to indicate that particular item has been resolved or completed.

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marylynn Can you put a “Don’t Walk” in there?

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ronThat would be nice! Use short bullet points. You don’t want to write a paragraph; this isn’t going to win you a Pulitzer Prize. You’re just trying to convey simple facts to your audience. Also, use tables where you can. They’re great for listing things like milestones, budget information, or product material cost.

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georgeWhat’s interesting about this to me is that some people are good with words or numbers, but other people are very visual. So you’re giving your report in a way that allows your audience to consume it the way they prefer.

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marylynn I prefer stick figures!

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georgeIt’s a great system that you’ve outlined with the different colors. You instantly can see what’s going on. Now I assume what you talk about are the “yellows” and the “reds”.

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ronThat’s right. So if I was reading the report, my eyes would naturally look for those yellow and red bullets that need my attention the most.

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Ron’s freebie!
Ron has a free status report template available for you, complete with a Stoplight along with other great templates.

Thanks Ron for sharing your fantastic tips with us!

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I May Have to Fire an Employee. Any Suggestions?

Bigg Challenge
Rick has been a manager now for about six months. He has an employee who is under-performing. Rick thinks he may need to fire this employee, but he’s never done that before. He says he would welcome any suggestions we can provide.

Bigg Advice
Do you remember the Cheers episode where Norm Peterson became the executive’s executioner – his job was to fire people. So he took them out for drinks and, by the time it was done, the employee who was being fired felt sorry for Norm. Because as Norm once said,

“It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

So there’s one option, but not one that we necessarily recommend for the real world!

Company procedures
Look to your company’s policy manual for guidance on how to proceed.  Also, discuss this with your boss so you fully understand company protocol and precedents.

No surprises

Except for the most egregious situations, you’ve done something wrong if it’s a surprise. To make sure they’re not surprised, you should follow a process. For example, issue a series of warnings with repercussions for not correcting the performance deficiencies

Round and round we go

Sit down with your employee and explain the problem. Discuss what needs to be done to correct it, tell him or her when you’ll review performance again, and outline the consequences if it’s not corrected (e.g. a 3-day suspension without pay).

At the scheduled time, repeat this process. This time the ramifications have to be greater. (e.g. termination of employment). So if you reach this review and the situation hasn’t improved significantly, the result should be obvious to your employee.

You’re giving them a chance to improve their performance and also covering your liability because you’ll document this entire process and have them sign off each step of the way.

An example

George said that in his early days in business, he was managing his field staff. They worked without direct supervision because they performed work at the customer’s home or office. George had hired a young man who just couldn’t work without ongoing oversight.

George went through the rounds outlined above with little improvement. Finally, he let the employee go. He recommended that this young man get a job in a place where someone could watch over him.

He encouraged the young man come back and reapply for employment once he got used to working in a supervised environment. That never happened because the young man found that he liked working with supervision better.

Firing someone doesn’t have to be negative. Offer any help you can provide. Make suggestions. And realize that sometimes it’s just not a good fit – it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, or that they couldn’t be helpful to any employer. It just means it’s not working out for both of you here.

Thanks, Rick, for sharing your bigg challenge. We’re sure you’ll handle it just fine.

Related posts

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(Image by w00kie, CC 2.0)

Interviewing Tips For The First-Time Manager

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Bigg Challenge
Adam just got promoted into his first management position. He has a position that needs to be filled. He would like some tips on interviewing so he makes a good hiring decision.

Bigg Advice – 4 Tips For Interviewers

#1 – Set the tone upfront.
Create an environment that will put your candidate at ease. Start off the interview by saying something like …

“I just want to chat with you today so we get to know each other better. I have some questions for you. But I also want to answer all your questions, so you know if this is the right job for you.”

#2 – Remain neutral throughout the interview.
Novice interviewers often make the mistake of making leading questions or statements. For example, let’s say you’re interviewing someone who tells you that he left his previous job because he couldn’t make it to work by 8 AM every day.

You should NOT respond, “That’s not a very good reason for leaving a job, is it?”

Because if you do, your candidate will edit his answers from that point on. You won’t uncover the real person.

Another thing you don’t want to do is sell the candidate on the job UNTIL you know you want to offer it to them. You want to explain, not sell, throughout most of the interview.

#3 – Find out what the candidate DID do rather than what the candidate WOULD do.
It’s easy to give hypothetical answers. But you’re not learning about the candidate’s ACTIONS; you’re learning about his or her INTENTIONS. It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions. It’s much harder to keep them.

#4 – Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
Ask a question. Listen attentively. Then follow-up. Keep drilling down to learn all you can about the real person underneath the candidate.

A sample portion of an interview
On the show, George played the role of an interviewer and Mary-Lynn played the part of the interviewee to illustrate some of these concepts.

George: Why are you thinking about leaving your current job?

Mary-Lynn: I’m looking for a more positive environment.

George: A more positive environment?

Mary-Lynn: Yeah, where people want to work together and help each other be more productive.

George: And that doesn’t happen where you work now?

Mary-Lynn: No, there’s a lot of office politicking there.

George: Could you give me an example of that?

Mary-Lynn: My boss has a few favorite people. They get all the cushy assignments. All the rest of us get the leftovers.

George:
So what have you done to try to resolve that?

At this point, Mary-Lynn may describe exactly what she did. Or maybe she didn’t do anything – leaving is her answer. Isn’t it good to know she solves problems by running from them?

She may say something more about her supervisor. As you inquire about other supervisors, you may find that she has never had a supervisor she liked. If you hire her, you’ll be the next supervisor she can’t work for!

Notice that George never commented, positively or negatively, about anything. And he kept following up to learn exactly what Mary-Lynn meant.

He asked four follow-up questions – that’s what it took to learn something significant about Mary-Lynn in this role playing exercise. That’s the way it works – you have to keep following up until you’re satisfied.

Thanks, Adam for sharing your bigg challenge with us. We wish you bigg success!

Are you facing a bigg challenge? E-mail it to us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs.”

So take the time to hire right so you don’t waste time on the wrong hire.

Next time, we’ll discuss some simple tips to get rid of clutter and save an hour a day. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

(Image by My Boy Dodger, CC 2.0)

CYA: Does It Pay?

You’ve probably encountered people who never take responsibility for ANYTHING. That’s what sparked today’s blog –

Does it pay to shift the blame?

On the show, Mary-Lynn said that she believes it DOES pay.

She said she is not a blame-shifter herself, but she has worked with them. In her experience, they often get away with it. Sometimes they even get rewarded with promotions or a better job!

George retorted that it may work short-term, but it DOES NOT pay in the long run. He talked about a manager he had who never accepted responsibility. He knew that meant one of two things – either she wasn’t doing anything, or she was passing the buck. So he fired her.

It hurts morale when employees see people getting away with not accepting responsibility. George said he learned this lesson the hard way – after firing an employee, another employee asked why it took him so long!

As an employee, you don’t have many options when you’re working with a blame-shifter. However, there is one thing you can do – document, document, document. You don’t want to get blamed for THEIR mistakes.

However, as a leader, you can create a culture where it’s okay to accept blame. That’s important because your employees are often afraid of the consequences of owning up to their mistakes.

So focus on fixing the problem, not the blame.

To rephrase an old saying, “It’s amazing how much gets accomplished when no one cares who gets the blame.”

In our society today, we seem to do the opposite – we rush to find SOMEBODY to blame, rather than fixing the problem. Mary-Lynn said that’s why it pays to be a blame-shifter.

George said he remembered an employee who always blamed something or someone. George told him that he had a lot of potential. He wouldn’t get fired for making a mistake, but he was going to get fired if he didn’t start taking responsibility.

He became one of George’s top managers. That won’t work with all employees, but it will work with the ones you want to keep.

Admit your mistakes
Lead by example – when your employees see you admitting mistakes, they’ll feel safe doing the same.

Distribute the credit liberally and focus the blame conservatively. Give more credit to your team; accept more blame yourself. You’ll win the hearts and minds of your team when you do this.

How to get away with shifting the blame
George said that there was one way you might get away with always shifting the blame.

Be a moving target.

If you’re constantly moving from job to job, company to company, place to place, you might get away with it in the long run. But do you really want to live that life – always looking over your shoulder, always worrying that you’ll be found out?

Mary-Lynn responded that blame-shifters do move – and it’s usually UP – to a better job!

What do you think? Does CYA pay?

Our bigg quote today is by the great writer, Oscar Wilde.

“It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you place the blame.”

 
In the game of life, great teams experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat together, not as individuals.

Next time, we’ll discuss what you can learn from jugglers. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Related posts

Getting The Credit You Deserve 

 

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A Great Way to Track Your Goals

By Bigg Success Staff
05-30-08 

Leading-Edge Application

goals 

There’s a great online application to track your goals simply and easily over at Joe’s Goals. They’re still in limited testing. Right now, you can test it out for FREE, although they have a suggested donation of $12.

With Joe’s Goals, you can add as many goals as you want. You can create and manage a to-do list. They also allow you to develop a scoring system for each goal so you know how you’re doing. You can get reports on your progress. You can even share your goals with other people.

Joe’s Goals is a great tool to help you visually see how you’re progressing toward your goals. Check it out!

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

More Leading-Edge Applications

Prepare for Your Next Job Interview with This Great Tool

Write an E-mail Letter Now, Send It Later

Save and Organize Your Text Messages

Read a Business Book Every Week

Kindle 

Mothers Possess the Single Most Important Leadership Ability

By Bigg Success Staff
05-07-08

Leadership Skills

The single most important leadership skill is the ability to determine what’s most important. Managers focus on doing things right; they are into efficiency. Great leaders focus on doing the right things; they concern themselves with effectiveness.

Because of all the demands on them, mothers learn to prioritize. They quickly separate what’s most important from what’s not important. Then they put all of their energy into what they have determined is essential.

They constantly process new information and responding accordingly. Along the way, they realize that priorities may change. So they adjust – tending to a sick child is more important than cleaning house, demands at work may take precedence over a home-made dinner.

They realize that sometimes some things have to give. So carry-out will allow the family to still be together at dinner without requiring preparation time. That special dinner she was going to make can wait until tomorrow. Being together matters; what’s for dinner tonight doesn’t.

So mothers, like great leaders, set priorities knowing full well they’re priorities will change as they receive new information. When that happens, they’re ready to adjust as necessary to keep working on what’s most important.

By constantly focusing on what’s most pressing and spending all their valuable time working on just those things, moms provide an essential lesson for anyone wanting to be a great leader.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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(Image by veralu)

How To Make $3 Billion A Year

By Bigg Success Staff
01-23-08

Success Story

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Unless you’re the Wall Street-type, you’ve probably never heard of John Paulson. You may be familiar with Henry Paulson, the United States Secretary of the Treasury. Well, they’re not related.

We’ll bet that you are familiar with the subprime mortgage mess. John knows it well. He manages his own hedge fund, which made huge bets in the subprime market last year.

In 2007, he made over $3 billion! Yes, we wrote that right. BILLION!

Gregory Zuckerman wrote an excellent article for The Wall Street Journal Online called Wall Street Trader Paulson Made Billions on Subprime. He does a fantastic job describing the details of how John made his billions. It’s definitely worth the read, particularly if you’re a serious investor.

Going against the grain
John bucked the herd mentality with his subprime bet. Most people in the business were still very upbeat about the market. John believed that he had a lot of upside potential with very little downside risk. It turns out he was right.

The biggest winners are often “contrarians”. But be careful – find ways to minimize your risk without sacrificing your reward too much.

The outsider’s perspective
John wasn’t an expert in the subprime market. They were all still highly optimistic. Because John was an outsider, he was able to see an opportunity that the insiders missed.

Usually it pays to have special insight into your market. However, sometimes insiders know too much. That’s when outsiders find opportunities because they’re looking at things with a fresh set of eyes.

Pay the price
John worked long and late, pouring over data to confirm his suspicions. He had a hunch – but he didn’t just play it. He continued looking at the evidence.

You have to pay the price if you want to make millions … or billions! Learn about the market. Look for inconsistencies. But then you have to … 

Go!
John had a bigg idea. It turns out that it was a $3 billion idea! But it’s not the idea that made him the money. He had the courage of his convictions. He took action!

This is one of the hardest parts of success. You have to put yourself out there. You have to take risk. You’ll never get anywhere until you take a step.  

Persist
John placed his bet … and he lost money! His advisors discouraged him from pressing on. They reminded him that experienced traders were still very enthusiastic about the market. John didn’t listen – he invested more!

You will face obstacles on your path to success, just like John did. If you’re confident in your idea, you have to find a way to push on. It won’t always work out …. but, you never know, you might just make $3 billion!

The rest of the story
At times during this ride, John faced so much stress that he just had to get away from it all. He went on long runs. Find a way to relieve your stress so you can keep going. Get away from it all somehow.

John started his firm with $2 million under management. Now, from his success last year, new money has poured into his firm. He is now managing $28 billion, becoming one of the world’s largest fund firms. Everybody loves a winner!

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

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(Image by mokra, CC 2.0)

Jibber Jobber

By Bigg Success Staff
01-18-08

Leading-Edge Application

jibberjobber

If you are a job seeker, how easy is it to manage all of the information in your job search? It can be a time-consuming and stressful process. We have found a fantastic free tool that will make things a little bit easier for you.

The service is created by Jason Alba, author of I’m LinkedIn – Now What??? The inspiration for this organizational system came from his struggles with information management during his own job search.

It's called Jibber Jobber, and here's what it can help you keep track of:

  • Company research
  • Elevator pitches
  • Resumes submitted
  • Thankyou letters sent
  • Important contact information

Keep all of your compiled information in one convenient place!

In addition, you'll find links to websites, books, resources and guidance to help you with your job search.

Sign up for a free account and start organizing your Jibber Jobber today! 

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

3 Things Every Employee Wants

By Bigg Success Staff
01-11-08

Leadership Skills

duck_family

News on the job front is that employees are increasingly unhappy with their jobs. There’s an old saying:

People join companies. They leave bosses.

So if you’re the boss, you bear the brunt of the responsibility for making your employees’ work experience satisfying. Of course, some people are only happy if they’re unhappy. Hopefully, you weed those people out BEFORE you hire them!

So, we’ll assume that your employees are generally happy people, which means they have the potential to be happy employees. This may surprise you –

You are the single most important factor
in your employees’ level of job satisfaction!

That’s particularly important if your employees deal directly with customers. As you might know from The Service – Profit Chain:

Employee satisfaction⇒Customer satisfaction⇒Revenue growth⇒Profit growth

What can you do to make your employees happier? Many unseasoned managers think that people only want more money or more benefits. Give me … give me … give me!

That’s not the case, though. Check out what your good employees want from you:

    • They want to feel valued.

Your employees want to know that they aren’t just a “number” to you. That they matter! That you are genuinely interested in them. In helping them do their jobs better. Helping them build their skills. Helping them make their lives work. Show a genuine interest in your employees and you’ll be surprised what happens! Good people perform for good bosses.

    • They want to feel important.

Your employees want to understand how they make an impact. Help them understand the big picture and their role in it. Businesses and organizations serve people. Help them understand how they improve people’s lives. Share information about your business and industry. Discuss your goals and progress toward them. Make them a part of something bigger than just a job.

    • They want feedback, delivered properly.

Good employees want regular input on their job performance. You’re the person they expect to get it from. Make time for this incredibly important part of your job. When one of your employees does something exceptionally well, make a bigg deal out of it. Praise him or her as publicly as you possibly can. When they fall short of your expectations, offer constructive advice privately – one-on-one.

Don’t get so busy doing your job that you neglect your most important duty – to serve your people. Make this your top priority and you’ll find bigg success as a leader!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Related posts:

Leadership Lessons From Fallen Leaders

Finding Balance At Work

Relationship Building Blocks

Happy People Make Happy Employees

(Image of duck family by pedrosimoes7, CC 2.0)