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Author Archives: Luke

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Make your list, check it twice! Keys to effective goal setting.

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As of this writing, there are only 10 days left until the beginning of 2015.  I thought it would be appropriate to write about goal setting and doing it effective!

Back when I was running stores, at the beginning of each year I would write down my goals for my business.  I’m horrible at handwriting so naturally I would type them, print them out, and file them in a place that would force me to look at them very often.  Personally, I would have these goals too.  We call them New Years resolutions.  However New Years resolutions have become something that we almost always abandon within the first two or three months of the new year.  Follow these 5 steps to insure that you don’t abandon your goals and most importantly, that you achieve what you have set out to do!

1.  Must be in writing.

We used to have a saying around the office that if its not in writing is doesn’t exist.  Think about this; each time we are doing something important like buying a house, leasing a building, or signing a contract it is in writing.  We even say things like, “Wow I can believe they agreed to do that, you better get it in writing!”  We have placed a significance in having things in writing for them to be valid.  Goals must be in writing. Remember, if its not in writing is doesn’t exist!

2.  It must be yours.

The goal must be yours.  Your spouse, your parents, your girlfriend all want good things for you too.  However your goals need to be yours, not what someone else wants for you.  Take ownership of your own goals and they will be powerful.  You won’t have passion in achieving someone else’s goal they have set for you.  Don’t be shy, write YOUR goals down!

3.  It must be specific.

Don’t be vague.  Write down specific goals.  This will not only help you achieve your goals it will also keep you from getting overwhelmed by a vague target.  Sometimes we even set bite sized goals that are all part of achieving one big goal.  Its ok, but be very specific when writing down YOUR goals.

4.  Set a time limit.

A self imposed deadline is key to achieving your goals.  Be reasonable, but set a deadline.  Example –  I want to open a new location by June 30th.  Or, I want to have that credit card paid off by July 7th.  If you just simply say you want to payoff your credit card, you might eventually reach your goal, but setting a time limit will put that goal into action, mentally, so that you can charge forward and cross that one off your list within the time frame you have set.

5.  Must be measurable.

Probably the most important, next to having the goal in writing.  Goals have to be specific, in writing, yours, have a time limit and they must be measurable.  I want to increase revenue 20%.  I want to lose weight is not acceptable.  I want to lose 30 pounds is measurable.  Give yourself a measuring stick so you can measure the progress!  You can’t win if you don’t keep score, again be reasonable but also be aggressive with your measurable goal!

 

Back in the cell phone days our management team implemented this 5 step process at the beginning of each month with our front line team members.  This was an interesting approach that deviates from the typical business model of telling your team how much production you need from them, we asked them what they thought they could do in sales for the upcoming month.  Once this process was completed, our team member provided projections were recorded electronically so that the whole company could see what each others goals were.  Interestingly enough, those projections were almost always MORE than what our company projections would have been if the management team was setting the goals without the team members input.  Amazing things started to happen; because these individual goals were in writing, and because they were set by the team member, not by me or management, and because they were specific, measurable, and had a time limit we had team members winning each month!

This is one real life business example of setting goals.  Goal setting works, if done correctly.  My favorite quote of all time derives from goal setting- “You hit what you aim at, and if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time!” – Zig Ziglar


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Time Management sounds like a corporate term!

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Phones going off, email constantly arriving in your boxes and now today we have this idea of wearable technology like smart watches, and even glasses!  Its amazing that we even have time to get anything done with all this distraction that goes one throughout the day.  Not having a plan for your day can be very un-rewarding.  You stress yourself out, you drive your team crazy, you spin your wheels all day long come home, come through the door exhausted and say things like ” I have no idea what I did today.”

Most of us are attracted to things that flash and beep.  We want to know and we want to know now!  I personally have issue with email.  If my email inbox is not cleaned out, I mean with zero email sitting in there, I don’t feel like my work is done.  The problem is that you can easily fall into the trap of letting email suck away all your time because the you wasted too much of it looking at what your Facebook friend just liked, or reading that junk political email that your best friend sent you.

One of the biggest key factors at Davis Cellular, is that we coached our managers, and admin staff how to manage time.  Managing time is very important in business.  You’ve heard the saying, time is money!  Our admin team at Davis Cellular was awesome.  We had “processes” in place and they were being executed brilliantly.  The issue though was that my admin team wanted to do all the work every day they came to work.  For example, we paid bills on Friday.  The urge was to pay a bill as soon as it was opened and approved.  However, that was not the best way to manage our time for that task.  It really didn’t make sense to go through the process each day of paying bills when it could simply be done during a 2 or 3 hour time slot 1 day each week.  With online banking and bill pay, along with the ability to ACH and wire money all over the world, paying bills was an easy task (if you have the money!) that we could knock it in just a few hours a week instead of spending a half hour to an hour doing this each day.

Here are a few tips to follow to leverage more out of your valuable time:

1.  Make a list.

Making a list may seem cliche.  However this list can be very simple and very easy and at the same time have the biggest impact of what you get done in a day.  Dave Ramsey has a great method on making lists.  He calls it steak sauce, the A-1 list.  It goes like this – write down the things that you want to get done today.  Beside each item, write an A by the most important items, a B by the next most important items and a C by the items that if you get to today that would be good, but not the end of your company if you do not.  Then, next to the A items list them in order.  What is the number one thing that you must get done today, and if you can only get this one item done today, this is the one thing that must get done.  Do the same with the B’s, and then the C’s.  Now, reorder your list starting with the A-1, then the B’s, then the C’s.  Now you have A-1, the most important thing for you to do today, at the top of your list!  I still do this each and every day.  It is unbelievable to me how much time business owners and mangers spend working on things that are not even important in their role.  We used to have a saying that, “Work on something that only you can do”.  In other words, do work that only you can do, don’t do meaningless tasks or other things that waste your time!

2.  Set Meeting Agendas

Do you dread going into meetings?  The reality is that most companies that have employees need to, and should have meetings, frequent meetings.  A meeting done correctly is the most effective way to communicate to your team what is happening in your company.  Most mangers walk into a meeting unprepared and it becomes more like a bunch of people sitting around talking and or complaining about what is going on.  Have an agenda for your meeting.  Put items on the agenda that are only pertain to those attending the meeting, and only the items on the agenda can be discussed at the meeting.  Also, allow the attendees to add to the agenda if they would like.  At Davis Cellular we had managers meetings every Monday morning at the corp office.  Any manager that wanted to talk about a specific item would place that item on the agenda before the meeting starts.  You would be amazed how short those meetings became once we had a dedicated purpose for meeting, and had an agenda of exactly what we were talking about.

3.  Leverage Technology

So we talked about list making and meetings, lets tie some of that together with some Tech!  I’m not a paper person and my handwriting is terrible.  Some prefer paper and that is ok too.  But with apps like Evernote, Workflowy, and a countless amount of note taking apps that will allow you to hand-write your notes, making an A-1 list doesn’t have to be time consuming.  If you utilize some these apps you also have the ability to see each daily list in a flash, just in case you ever need to see a previous day.  And the best part, its always with you most of these apps will work cross platform – Windows, iOS, Mac and Android.

There are also some great video chatting apps that many businesses are now using to meet face to face across long distances.  Skype, Google Hangouts, Fuze are a few apps that work well for this.  I recommend a personal gathering at a minimum of 2 times per year for your whole company no matter what the distance and size are.  I know it may be tough and somewhat expensive to get everyone together but it will pay off.  Communication is key, remember that communication is the grease in the gears of your company.

4.  The Urgent and Important

The time management grid, by Stephen Covey.  Check it out here.  This is a staple for any organization when it comes to determining exactly what activities are important during your day.  Using this grid along with your A-1 list will really start to help resonate the importance of time management for you and your organization.   Basically there are 4 quadrants: Q1, Urgent and Important, Q2 Not Urgent and Important, Q3 Urgent and Not Important, Q4 Not Urgent and Not Important.  Mr Covey says that we divide up all our time into 1 of these four quadrants.  Take a look at the attachment here and print if off.  It will be very eye opening if you follow it!

5.  Email

Email has become on the greatest forms of communication on the planet.  With a few clicks of the mouse, you can fire out an email to your entire company.  Most companies overuse email, in my opinion.  Email has its place, but be very careful not to get consumed by it.  I challenge you to do this:  Schedule times throughout the day to check your email.  Most of you reading this will come up with 10 excuses why you “can’t” do that.  I was one of them.  However, once you break away from your inbox your really seem to realize how much time you now have that you never thought you had!  Here is what I recommend.  When you get to the office, clean out your inbox.  Respond to email, forward, reply send new whatever.  Then, close your email.  After lunch, do the same thing again, and then 15 minutes before you leave for home do it again.  Now, some of you are already saying “But what if I miss a really important email?”  Most of the time email is not so important that it cannot wait 3 or 4 hours for a response.  Anything that important should be a phone call not an email!  I can’t think of one business deal I ever lost because I didn’t return an email within 15 seconds.

Give it a try – I challenge you.  Oh, what about your smartphone you say?  It depends, if you are somewhat disciplined I would suggest a wearable.  A sleek looking smart watch is great to monitor the message traffic coming into your digital life.  However, don’t break the rules.  Reply, send, and all that only during a scheduled time.  I leave my phone on silent all the time.  Yes Heather, I really do.  However, I wear a smart watch so that I can monitor my digital aura during the day so that if I need to respond to a text message or take a phone call, I don’t miss them.  I also have upwards of 5 email inbox’s that is getting mail all day long so if I let it, I will be consumed by email all day and get absolutely nothing done!  I would recommend shutting of the email notification on your phone at the least.  Your device will still get them and you will still be able to reply, forward etc you just won’t get a notification every time one arrives.

 

So there you have it.  Look, you spend more time at work than  you do anywhere else in your life.  So two things, love what you do, and be good at it!  Budget your time like you would budget your money.  You will be happier, get more done and have a much better feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day!

 


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Less than 75 days till Christmas! How’s your budget?

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I love Christmas, it my favorite time of year!  The holidays in general, great time spent together with friends and family.  Also great weather!  I am naturally a cold weather person so the winter is my favorite time of year.  Don’t get me wrong by March I’m looking forward to those hot summer days but like I always say, you can also put more clothes on but  you can only take so many off!

Every year my family decides that we are going to draw names to determine who buys who a Christmas gift.  However by the time the big day arrives, usually one or many of us have purchased gifts for all the kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews and anyone else I’ve left out.  The December budget seems to be the hardest budget to do at the Davis household.  If you are doing a budget and doing one correctly,  you need to be doing one each month.  That means in December you must budget for gifts.  Not that I don’t want or enjoy giving gifts what enjoy the least is going over budget!  Also for us, and maybe you too, our utilities seems to be the highest in December!  Here are a few tips to help you stay within your budget during the Christmas season:

1.  Shop the deals.

Looking for deals in the local paper and online is key this time of year.  I come from retail and love it.  The most fun retail months are November (Black Friday) and December.  Retailers are forced to be competitive this time of year so take advantage of that!  Also, don’t forget the online stores who are chomping at the bit to get your business.

2.  Make a list.  (check it twice)

When holiday shopping make a list.  Have the discipline to get only what is on your list.  Guys are really good at this!  Most guys, myself included, have zero interest in “shopping” at the mall.  If you have a list, you know exactly what you are going in the store after and somewhat of an idea of what it cost.  That way its easy to budget!  Remember, the goal here is stay within your budget and not have regret about buying things that you really can’t afford.  If you overspend it kind of takes the joy out of the season.

3.  Stay away from plastic.

I have several friends who use plastic for the “points” or “rewards”.  Using a credit card can be very dangerous especially at Christmas time.  I don’t need to put all my expenses on a credit card so that I  can spend $100,000 to get a free airline ticket.  I don’t really care if I earn “cashback” on purchases that I “would be buying anyway”.  What’s in your wallet?  CASH!!  Budget what you are going to spend and withdrawal that as cash and leave the cards at home.  Frankly, the only plastic you should have is a debit card, but leave that at home too!  I was at a retail store the other day and my purchase was $4.64.  I immediately reached for my debit card not even thinking about the $20 bill that I had in my other pocket.  We have become a plastic society and cash is almost obsolete for some of us.  I remember when I was a kid and just got my license.  I also remember paying $.99 for fuel!!  Ok, I’m not that old but still, we didn’t really have debit cards.  We had cash.  And if you had no cash, you didn’t buy anything!  This works for staying on a budget.  My wife still pulls out enough cash to cover our food budget each month.  Once the cash is gone, we have hit our budget!

Following these points will help keep you in the Christmas spirit.  It will also keep you from having regret in the new year!


Resources: 48 Days!



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