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We’d like to take the occasion of the holiday season to send you a brief note of heartfelt thanks. We are so very grateful for your continued support.
It’s been an amazing year. We celebrated our third year of business this year, which is very exciting. As we look back, we are amazed at the wonderful practices that we have had the privilege to work with and learn from. We get just as much out of our interaction, if not more, than each of you do.
For us, 2012 has been a year of joy and ease. Less is More. It’s been a year about teamwork, community and growth-based conversations. It’s been about getting folks to understand that, at the end of the day, it’s about the people vs. the paper. We have witnessed teams pushing each other to rethink their firm’s core values, and we see a monumental industry shift moving toward thought provoking vs. the simple head-nodding, and toward intrapreneurs in an entrepreneur’s world.
We are very much looking forward to 2013. Some of the themes we see firms playing with are: a year of active choice, a year of discernment with guiltless boundaries, a year of intentional time and space. All of these are very exciting and we are very much looking forward to helping firms create their themes and keep them “off the shelf.”
Your continued inspiration, with your comments and requests for webinars and writing topics that will impact you and your team’s growth, are truly appreciated and necessary for our growth.
But before 2012 comes to a close, we want to say thank you. You are wonderful community and we are so fortunate. We’ll see you again in 2013!
Wishing you and your family the happiest and healthiest of holidays,
Molly and Laney
“Practice the simple act of saying “good enough!” and “good enough—for now”. ~ Dan Millman
In order to effectively communicate (and train) replacing yourself in your current role, you need to be able to articulate the what, why and how.
The weekly practice of “Replacing yourself” will create a win (boss)/win (you)/win (your replacement), every single time.
1. The Law of System
If you can’t hand over what you are currently doing to someone else and have them follow a step-by-step process and get the same results you get, then you ain’t living the law of system. It is imperative when you are going through your transition phase that every single step, no matter how “no duh” they seem, is written and has a “Step X” in front of it. Break it down into small steps; write them down and make a checklist. See the stepping-stones from where you are to where you want to be. Casual verbal references to “the way we do things” or hoarding onto work so others have to come to you for the secret decoder doesn’t work. The law of System not only allows you to “get rid of it” but sets the stage for the next phase when you find yourself “moving on up”. Remember, every time you replace yourself, there is someone 1 step behind you and someone 1 step ahead of you. Not to mention, it’s great to shine the systems you have created as a vehicle for show and tell when it comes time for annual reviews, pay raise proposals and new position openings.
2. The Law of Growth
The best way to do this is to continually test if you are living in the comfort zone or living in the growth zone. Are you feeling challenged and exhausted while exhilarated at the end of your day? This is the comfort test. This also allows you to demonstrate to the boss they are getting the greatest return on their biggest investment; you. Staying on a growth track will show your employer you’re worth every penny and then some, especially when companies are looking for ways to reduce expenses, collapse roles or justify paying you what you are worth.
3. The Law of Accountability
Life is about accountability. If you don’t share what you are up to with the people you work with, your chances of action and success decrease considerably. Reporting and tracking what you are up to and sharing it with everyone in the office in an organized manner (weekly meetings) will allow you to not only achieve your goals but also creating top of mind awareness on a weekly basis about what you’ve accomplished and what you are up to for the week.
4. The Law of Communication
Sending e-mail, voicemails and texts, because it’s faster than actually talking with people, is not living the law of Communication in today’s automated, hi-tech atmosphere that actually creates more damage and allows us to hide out vs. personally connecting and relating with another. The quality of your relationships is directly tied to the quality of your life.
5. The Law of Revocability
Replacing Yourself and creating your new role is not a forever. Simply “try it on” and if it doesn’t fit like you thought it would, it is completely revocable. There is never punishment for stepping up, systematizing and leading in the workplace. Give yourself permission to take it on, try it on and then redesign it if the current role is not a right fit for you.
6. The Law of Pride
Having a commitment to being right and declaring it all not only will halt your livelihood, as it shows that you’re uninterested in learning ideas and approaches, but will also send red flags to everyone around you that your world is all about you. When it comes to replacing yourself and training the “new you” provide acknowledgement, praise, allow questions, stay current and listen to their suggested new ideas.Take on that you can be a “cause in the matter” but give credit to others contribution; you’ll be seen as a team player, a leader and a driving force to the thriving group. We’re not saying take a back seat. Bragging is one thing, but tracking and sharing success through project management, system creation and successful revenue tracking and other tools is another. There is value of sharing your accomplishments as long as you go about it in the right way with pride, inspiration and a spirit of “Pay it Forward”. It will always come back to you.
7. The Law of Enrollment
The key ingredient to replacing yourself is enrolling others. If you choose to “do it all” you WILL (notice we did not say may, could or possibly) fail. Your boss doesn’t have time to keep a running tab on each employee, so how else will your boss know how valuable you are to the company unless you tell him? Bragging is one thing, but letting colleagues in your industry know of your success through case studies, promotional bulletins or other such tools is another. It’s important to recognize the value of letting others know about your accomplishments as long as you go about it in the right way.
8. The Law of Perspective
Despite our best attempts to do everything right, they may sometimes approach roadblocks and need to seek the advice and perspective of a respected friend, colleague or even a business coach. Acknowledging that you aren’t perfect will earn you respect in the office.
The Law of Replacing yourself allows you to feel good about letting go “how i used to do it”, allows you to create a bigger further for another who was comfortable with “a good enough employee”. Together, we are transforming the employee role; we are creating intrapreneuers in an entrepreneur’s world. For the first time we are able to live one for all and all for one in a way that everyone wins. It is no longer about climbing the proverbial ladder, alone. Imagine your daily life if you started your career with a goal to replace myself within one year, two years or maybe five years?
The fundamental rule for replacing yourself with a qualified replacement is to make sure it is in a way that allows you to create a bigger future for yourself within the business. It’s critical that you do it properly; that takes the 8 Laws of Replacing Yourself into consideration. Give yourself permission to give up the act of perfection. Conventionally, nothing and no one is perfect, except flow, change and fun”.
If you want to start your team on the path to becoming empowered and stepping into leadership roles, Don’t Be a Yes Chick tele-series is a step by step guide to move them from “employee” to “leader”.
Are you ready to let go of “how we used to do it”? Now accepting registrations for our program beginning April 10th. Email email@example.com to register.
Employees that feel appreciated are more willing to work together, support you and stick out the tough times versus slipping into resentment and irritation.
It’s 5:05pm and you’ve been rushing to get a document done for a very important client that is overdue and the client has already called 3 times looking for the ETA. You finally finish, after laboring for hours, and rush down the hall to your assistant’s office to ask her to print it off and overnight it.
The office is dark…the computer is off…she has left for the day. You didn’t realize it was past 5pm. Not to be deterred you venture into the supply closet to find an overnight envelope and can’t find either. You have no idea what your online log in is and end up driving to an overnight drop off location that is still open which results in your being late to your daughter’s dance recital…frustrated and stressed you are rehearsing the “talk” you are going to have with your assistant about leaving without checking in to make sure you don’t need anything else at the end of the day. You aren’t asking her to stay late. But if she just would have let you know she was leaving you could have asked her for the information to overnight the document and saved yourself all the pain.
In the morning, you walk in; shoulders set to let your assistant know what happened. You walk in to her office and start with “we need to talk…” She bursts into tears and says she can’t believe you could think she isn’t supportive of you after all the lunches she has worked through and times she has stayed late and that you never point out anything she does well…and only point out the mistakes.
You feel unappreciated…she feels unappreciated…what now?
We read a fascinating book a few years ago, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. When sharing this blog with a colleague, she informed us Gary released another book titled “The 5 Love Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” which is now on the top of our must read list. Without reading Gary’s take on this topic, we believe that there are also 5 OFFICE love languages and the importance of understanding each others. Love, in this context means each person shows up at work most days with an authentic sense of empowerment, appreciation, connection and could honestly say “I truly love this place and the people I work with!”
The premise of “The 5 Love Languages” is that there are 5 ways that people communicate love. And that most ‘relationship problems’ are simply because the people involved are speaking two different love languages and not recognizing the language of the other. So, both are trying so hard to show love and both are feeling unappreciated and unheard. The book outlines when you speak to someone IN their love language, they become happy, secure and fulfilled in their relationship with you and a lot of frustrations and resentments go away. They are willing to face problems head on without wrapping them in sheets of drama and emotion which allows them to support you because they are confident in their relationship with you.
The 5 languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Gift Giver
3. Acts of Service
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch **Note, for the office we’d replace this with eye contact, not checking your iPHone and email while they are speaking and actually put whatever you are working on aside and lean in forward with general interest and presence.
We believe that the 5 Love Languages can solve many office ‘relationship’ problems such as the often too real example shared above. In this example, I’d venture to say the assistant’s language is Words of Affirmation and the boss is Acts of Service. If the boss routinely verbally affirms his assistant when she does good work she will feel confident in their relationship and that he values her as part of the team. If the assistant routinely supports the boss with the things he asks, like checking in before she leaves, so he isn’t left to blunder through an unfamiliar task alone, he will feel appreciated by his team for how hard he works too.
The disengagement in Office Love Languages is often the very reason certain incentive programs or perks do not seem to get the response the entrepreneur anticipates. If you have a team member who feels you never listen, never make time for his or her questions and never stop to train them how you would like certain things done and their language is Quality Time – they need these things to feel appreciated and confident (which we will be so bold to say is 95% of your support team’s Office Love Language). If you are bonusing a team member with money but their love language is Words of Affirmation, they may not be that responsive to the bonus set out. And if they are, it will have a short shelf life because their “Love Language” is not being fulfilled.
The more you speak your team’s Office Love Language and let them know what makes you feel appreciated, the more willing you all are to work together, support each other and stick together versus slipping into resentment and irritation.
A team member who feels appreciated and “loves” their job and the people they work with is the team member that will stick with you in good times and tough times.
To help identify your Office Love Language, have each person on your team list out 5 things you did for them that really made them feel appreciated and respected. And you do the same! Your Office Love Language needs to be met too. From that, you can see the things that resonates with each person and which Office Love Language speaks to them!
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Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
It’s amazing how the crux of so many decisions is integrity. Hiring, firing, growing, training…you name it – integrity is the ultimate and essential key – 100% of the time. (Read: The Absolute Biggest Mistake in Hiring)
Integrity, however, is a term used broadly and interpreted in many ways. One of those words we use all the time, but have a hard time really defining.
This week, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with a dear friend of mine, and one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Dave Zumpano. He shared with me the most simple and most powerful story of integrity I’ve ever heard…
“When I was little, I stole a piece of Bazooka bubble gum from the store. Back then it cost a penny. I was bragging to my friends about taking the gum and my father overheard me. He asked me if I stole the gum. I said ‘yeah, but Dad c’mon it costs a penny’. My father replied, ‘you are going to go to the store, apologize and pay them. Your integrity costs more than a penny.’”
That’s integrity…and it costs you more than a penny when you sacrifice it. It costs you relationships, team, clients, and more importantly your joy and peace of mind. Anchor to your integrity as a compass to help you navigate every decision. And make integrity an absolute must for those you surround yourself with.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
We can officially check the box called Christmas as “completed”. It is behind us and many of us had an ambitious goal of taking the last week of the year off and instead are sitting in the office starting to get that annual, panicky feeling. You can’t really explain it other than you’re feverishly trying to recover from the “Christmas hangover” - the credit card bills will be coming soon, the out of town family is heading back home and the house is feeling empty, your assistant is out this week and you don’t have a packed calendar with revenue generating activities. And in the midst of it all the glimmer of “the New Year” that is on the horizon… where things are going to be (have to be) better…right?
We get it. We’ve been there too. However, this is our 2nd year of taking a very different approach to the year-end wrap up and New Year resolutions. It has made a tremendous difference and we’d like to share it with you.
We like to end the year with “Year End Statements” that include a declaration of the Top 3 things we learned over the past 12 months. These will launch us into 2011 with intentional determination and discipline that is filled with passion, purpose and growth.
The Top 3 Things We Learned in 2010
1. We Created Pain. We each individually stepped out of our comfort zones (traps) and fully embraced “feel the fear and do it anyways”. We became much more focused and committed to the business. We made a conscious commitment to focus on staring that which fears each of us straight in the face. We each declared that if something challenged us, we would feel the fear and do it anyways. For Molly it was public speaking and sharing what she was “up to” with the world. She jumped in with both feet and joined Toastmasters, Speaking Circle programs, a weekend retreat at The Omega Institute, Journeywork processes, put her voice in print as a contributing author in “Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women”, and participated in a Winter Solstice Firewalk, just to name a few! For Laney it was learning to accept and receive relationships, personal and professional, where she is appreciated and celebrated, not merely needed, which can leave you tremendously vulnerable. Being “needed” is safe. We learned and will walk into 2011 with the ability to know that fear is just an emotion. The faster we take action, the less scary and stressful it is. The longer we wait and worry, the more we needlessly suffer. We only rob our own confidence. In 2011, we will continue to look fear in the face and move faster to take action.
2. We Quit. We quit subscribing the school of WSC – “woulda, shoulda and coulda”. In the past we’d receive a criticical email and be totally shut down and paralyzed with doubt about ourselves and the value we provide. In 2010, we stopped beating ourselves up. We stopped trying to retain clients who were not a good fit for us and focused on those who were. We know what our soulful client looks (and acts) like and we will not accept anything but that – it is a disservice to them and to ourselves. And… it feels GREAT because it allows us to lock arms with like-minded people and support them every fearful step of the way into the unknown void towards success. We learned and will walk into 2011 with confidence that we provide tremendous value to people who are in a place to receive our services. And for those who don’t, that’s ok – there are many paths to success. In 2011, we will learn from mistakes but not allow other people’s decisions to shake our confidence.
3. We Fired. We made the decision that we were going to invest in people ONLY if they showed an obscene amount of passion and integrity in everything they touched. Life is too short to not be passionate about what you do, the world you live in and the people in it with you. And we work too darn hard to not care tremendously about what we are doing. This started out in our personal worlds, first and foremost, and then carried into our professional worlds. We learned and will walk into 2011 with an absolute conviction to make a difference in this world. We are and will remain passionately committed to our purpose, despite the letdowns, disappointments and failures that get in the way. In 2011, we commit to continue the search for others who are passionately committed to their purpose, for together we can create tremendous momentum and change.
If you still feel like you need a “jump start” to moving forward in 2011, we recommend a book that we read together back in January 2010. “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways” by Susan Jeffers. The concept of the book is “we’re all afraid of something: beginnings, endings, changing, getting stuck. But fear doesn’t have to hold you back from happiness or success. You can change your relationship with fear — and in this dynamic, inspirational program, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., teaches compassionate concepts and highly effective exercises that help you unravel the complexities and reverse the effects of fear.” Most of our stress, worry, indecision and hesitation comes from some form of fear. Don’t let fear rob you of what’s waiting for you in 2011.
In our Seasonal Slowdown Strategies Series, we talked about how every marketplace and virtually every industry experiences a seasonal slowdown at the exact same time, each and every year. We’ve been sharing ten strategies to not only have an awareness of when that is for you (this would require being able to track revenues from past years) but also to proactively prepare for it so you can have a plan in place and come out on top when this traditionally depressing, energy-sucking phase ends.
Here the third strategy of the 10 Seasonal Slowdown Strategies you can implement with minimal time, money and trauma.
The Ultimate Seasonal Slowdown Plan
3. Moderate Makeover. Schedule 2 full Growth Days (typically Fridays) to spend on reviewing all your marketing collateral such as your welcome letters, flyers, website, etc. So many times when we open up our own websites we see “little” things that we want to refine or make simple edits too but we can’t get too because it seems like such a massive, overwhelming project. If you schedule 1 day at the start of the month and 1 at the end of the month, you can hammer out a tremendous amount of small things that will make a dramatic impact and also put some gas back into everyone’s tank about your message and the marketplace. Note, you can also do a review of brochures but we like to start with things that don’t cost you money to reprint or hire a graphic designer for. You can make a tremendous impact by improving on the “little things”.
Stay tuned for Strategy #4! If you missed previous strategies, The Coffee Clutch and Dialing for a Difference, click here .
Share! What have you done to proactively plan for your traditional slowdown? We very much welcome what has worked for you!
To your continued success,
Molly and Laney
This blog will be dedicated to getting the most out of the twelve days of Christmas. Each day we will post a suggestion or idea for marketing, planning or otherwise preparing to end 2009 with a bang and start 2010 powerfully. Some ideas are ours. Some are being shared (with permission) by attorneys or teams we work with.
The remaining 11 ideas will ONLY be posted to our blog, Facebook Fan page and Twitter – so use the links below to connect with us so you don’t miss out!
The Twelfth Day of Christmas:
Often what steals most of our energy and focus in January are the lingering “messes” from the previous year. Today, pick the 12 messes that are driving you nuts and tackle one each day so you end the year with some mental space for new projects, instead of wasting your thoughts on old messes.
They don’t have to be major projects. Here are a few examples:
1. Get all team’s phone numbers programmed in my cell phone for easy access.
2. Get extension list on phone updated with current, accurate extensions for team.
3. Take home extra books on bookshelf that I no longer have room for and look messy.
4. Get all software put on one shelf with an inventory list so we stop buying new stuff because we can’t find anything.
5. Research cell phone plans for a better rate and upgrade my phone.
6. Have paint on doors touched up – the scuff marks are driving me crazy. (Close office at 3pm, order pizza and have the team paint from 3-5pm.)
1. Don’t be overly ambitious with your list. Even if you have 27 messes to clean up its far better to complete 12 than to spend an hour listing them all out and lose your momentum before you even finish your list!
2. Divide the twelve and split between you and your team. Even if your involvement is required in all 12, you can spread out the responsiblity of helping and reminding you.
3. Make it fun – treat yourself, or your team if they help, to something fun when they are complete. Nothing big – a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha…cake…some small but celebratory.
4. If business is a bit slow for you right now, schedule out half a day for you and your team to tackle the twelve messes and be done with it. Use the lull in business to clean up old messes.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog, Facebook fan page or twitter (links below) to receive the remaining 11 Days of Christmas.
To your continued success,
Molly and Laney