Balancing Care With Candor – From John Maxwell

Over the years I’ve found John Maxwell to be an incredible inspiration to me.  His words of encouragement to me as a leader have a lasting impact.  I don’t usually repost, but I feel like this message needs to be shared anywhere possible.  Here is an excerpt.  You can read more at his blog.

Every person makes mistakes at some time in the workplace. Everyone needs someone to come alongside them to help them improve. If you’re a leader, it is your responsibility and your privilege to be the person who helps them get better. That often begins with a candid conversation. But before you have it, it helps to ask yourself what the nature of the problem might be.

My friend Sam Chand says that when he is having difficulty with a person he asks himself one simple question, “Is this person a can’t or a won’t? Can’t is about abilities. We can help these kinds of people in most cases—not in all cases, but in most. But won’t is about attitude. If the issue is attitude, the time to let that person know there is a problem is now, because here is the deal: we hire people for what they know and fire them for who they are.”

I believe that people can improve their attitudes and their abilities. And because I do, I talk to them about where they’re coming up short. If you’re a leader and you want to help people, you need to be willing to have those tough conversations. So how does a leader handle being relational while still trying to move people forward? By balancing care and candor.

Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships.

Candor without care creates distant relationships.

But care balanced with candor creates developing relationships.

Here is how care and candor work together in leadership:

Caring Values The Person While Candor Values The Person’s Potential

To lead successfully, it is important for you to value people. That is foundational to solid relationships. Caring for others demonstrates that you value them. However, if you want to help them get better, you have to be honest about where they need to improve. That shows that you value the person’s potential, and requires candor.

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Knowing the Difference Between Goals and Objectives

Goals Versus Objectives

Goals Versus ObjectivesEvery year around this time I start to think about my goals.  What do I want to accomplish next year?  Where do I want to go, how much do I want to earn and save, and how do I want my business to grow?  Those are the kind of goals that I think about and begin to write down.

Last week while discussing some of these things with my friend Scott he pointed something out that I believe will be incredibly valuable to you as you move ahead.

There is a Big Difference Between Goals and Objectives

Goals can often be the distant dreams that we want to achieve, but they often lack concrete steps.  Objectives are the steps that we identify and accomplish one after another.  I really like what this image I’ve included illustrates.  The red puzzle piece in the person’s hand is an objective.  It is what will help them reach their goal.

The other thing that really hit home with me was that I believe military forces work off of objectives, not just goals.  When was the last time you heard the commander in a movie or a real live press conference use the word “goals”?  They usually speak about the objectives that they are outlining and accomplishing.  At the end of the battle they have either completed their objectives or failed to complete their objectives.  They are responsible to justify their results to their superiors and explain why they have or haven’t succeeded.  The completion of the war is the goal, while each single battle, and each capture of a strategic point, are the objectives that help them reach the goal.

How Do I Reach My Goals Using Objectives?

First of all, realize that your goals will be unattainable unless you breakdown each step.  Each single piece that helps you reach your goal needs your complete focus.  Break things down into steps that are relevant for your daily life.  Make sure that you have someone to hold you accountable, and schedule your to do list.  If you are careful to line up the right objectives then you’ll successfully reach more of your goals.

What helps you reach your objectives?  Is there something I can do to help you?  Contact me or post in the comments and I’ll do whatever I can do to help you turn goals into real objectives.

Are You Thinking for the Future?

Are you just trying to make it through the day?  Are you thinking about what to do the rest of the weekend or next week?  Are you thinking for the future?

Living in the moment is good advice for some parts of our day but we can’t forget to look ahead to what may be coming in our future.  What is ahead on your path?  Do you have any control of it?  You may have formed an opinion already about how destiny treats you, but I’d like to challenge that today.  There are definitely some parts of our future that we affect.

Actions That Change Our Future For The Better:

  • Planning out the coming week
  • Writing out your goals
  • Breaking down your goals into daily steps
  • Daily choosing a positive attitude
  • Managing your time
  • Managing your finances

Actions That Change Our Future For The Worse:

  • Ignoring the elephant in the room
  • Choosing not look at your goals daily
  • Thinking someone else will handle the problem
  • Spending time or money unwisely
  • Choosing to ignore the value of consistency
  • Choosing not educate yourself consistently

Each day you are either making positive decisions that help your future, or making bad decisions that harm your future.  Don’t underestimate the power of your conscious or conscious decisions.  Think about your future today.

Wrapping Up The 30 Days

Grow Your Business In 30 Days

I finally completed the series “How To Grow Your Business In 30 Days”.  It ended up being a lot more work than I expected, but it was really enjoyable overall.  I learned a lot.  I’ll share some of the lessons I learned during the 30 days in future posts.  Here I’ve summarized the Grow Your Business In 30 Days using the original outline I created so that you have one easy place to review them and find each post.

  1. Find someone to hold you accountable: Day One
    1. Business coach
    2. Spouse
    3. Friend/mentor
  2. Get control of your finances – expenses: Day Two
    1. Do you know what you cost each minute, hour, day, week, month, year?
    2. Cut out the fat
    3. Do more with less
  3. Get control of your finances – Accounts Receivable
    1. It’s OK to lose 20% to get 80%
    2. Build a system that improves speed of payments
    3. Automate monthly fees
  4. Get back on track – pickup the phone and call vendors
    1. Thank your vendors
    2. Tell them what you are up to
    3. Ask them what they need from you
  5. Get back on track – pickup the phone and call old customers
    1. Keep your name fresh in their mind
    2. Ask them how you can help
    3. Be willing to face old problems
  6. Find a new lead source
    1. Start somewhere fresh
    2. Measure the quality and cost of the leads
  7. Adjust the lead source to meet YOUR needs
    1. Is it your exact market?
    2. Does it apply to the product or service you sell?
    3. How can you swing the bat more often?
  8. Fine tune your prospecting approach
    1. Write a thesis statement that explains your approach
    2. Draw out each step sequentially and study it
    3. Ask your peers and mentors how the think you should do it
  9. Review your successes – magnify them
    1. What worked?
    2. Why did it work?
    3. How can you replicate that?
  10. Review your failures – minimize them
    1. Where did it fall apart?
    2. How can you prevent this from happening again?
    3. What did you learn from your mistake?
  11. Improve your sales process – what works?
    1. Do you understand your open, middle, and closing steps?
    2. Study good sales behaviors
    3. Persistence is the key factor
  12. Improve your sales process – automate it and refine it.
    1. Write it once, and re-use it
    2. Get a direct line
    3. Get in the solutions business
  13. Practice honesty
    1. With yourself
    2. With your customers
    3. With your team
  14. Build a strong team
    1. Outsource effectively
    2. Hire in temp to full time
    3. Learn to give consistent effective feedback
  15. Build strong partners
    1. Groom your vendors
    2. Set expectations
    3. Prepare plan B and C and D
  16. Put killer marketing in place
    1. Email marketing
    2. Person to person marketing
    3. The I need you, Do you need me? Approach
  17. Be available
    1. Open your schedule for your customers
    2. Expect an appointment
    3. Explain the use of your communication channels
  18. Write an FAQ
    1. Save yourself time and read through the FAQ’s you receive
    2. Write an FAQ and provide it automatically
    3. Ask your customers to provide input
  19. Provide a support portal
    1. Queue and handle requests
    2. Automate responses and include your FAQ and tools to download
    3. Remember that every time you reach a customer it’s an opportunity to build value
  20. Don’t focus on today’s dollars – look long term
    1. Monthly services are relationship builders
    2. Learn to provide solutions to problems
    3. Help others succeed and the money will follow
  21. Schedule your way to success
    1. Build your to do into your calendar
    2. Make sure you are meeting someone to accomplish the to do list
    3. Never leave a meeting without scheduling the next
  22. Put A Project Management System in Place
    1. Tag and prioritize products
    2. Mark the date the project entered your system
    3. Daily choose to update and manage the system
  23. Take time to relax and think
    1. Lay on your back and wonder
    2. Don’t be afraid to consider change
    3. Stop doing things you don’t enjoy
  24. Ask for feedback
    1. From your Team
    2. From your Customers
    3. From your Vendors
  25. Have Fun
    1. Enjoy the challenges
    2. Express your excitement
    3. Don’t take it too seriously
  26. Examine your model
    1. What is your model?
    2. Does it work well?
    3. How soon will you have to adjust your model?
  27. Invest in good technology
    1. What really improves work-flow?
    2. What can save you time?
    3. What can save you money?
  28. Learn faster than everyone else
    1. Read constantly
    2. Listen to pod-casts
    3. Ask the right questions
  29. Serve those around you
    1. Do what is right for your team
    2. Lead from your heart
    3. Communicate that you care
  30. Consider vertical and horizontal growth
    1. How can you grow your business larger? (vertical)
    2. How can you expand into new sectors (horizontal)
    3. How fast should you grow?

Now with everything in one place here in this post you can simply review the general thought process I had behind the 30 days or you can read each post at your convenience.  I’m sure that this doesn’t cover everything that you’ll encounter over the years in business, but I have tried to give you some tools that will make a difference in the short term.

How can I help you?  Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or by contacting me.  Here’s to your increased growth and success in 2011!

Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States. ~ Ronald Reagan