What is WOW and 5 Steps to Make it Part of Your Business

My wife has an angelic voice (right now she has laryngitis and is confined to a whisper).  She is a beautiful Southern girl.  Before she gave it up to marry me, her dream was to go to Nashville and be a country singer.

WOW!

WOW!

I don’t like country music as a rule.  The main exception to this is I liked the Keith Urban music that she would play.  One year, as a gift to her, I took her to a Keith Urban concert in Memphis.  By this time, I knew his music.

My first observation of that concert was that it was my wife and me and 15,000 17-year-old girls.  I felt completely out-of-place.  Then he started playing.  The songs that I thought were good were suddenly outstanding.  I found myself wondering why the same songs were so much better live.  I was completely blown away.

I think there were a couple of reasons.  First, I play guitar.  I appreciate talented guitar players.  Keith Urban might be the best guitar player I have ever seen live.  I did not expect this to be the case.

Second, the energy in the place was off the charts.  I found myself moved.  I did not expect this either.

Third, the sound and lights coupled with the excellence of the live delivery shocked me.  Urban and his band were awesome musicians.  They played with passion and authenticity.  I could feel the emotion and the connection they had with the music.  Then you add the lights and multi-media experience, and I was loving it.  I completely didn’t expect that.

A couple of months later, I ran a mini-marathon (it didn’t feel mini!).  You know what I listened to for about 2 hours?  Keith Urban.  His concert completely exceeded my expectations.  It gave me goose-bumps.

That is what WOW is – goose-bumps.  I’m still not a country fan, but I will listen to his music anytime.  I’ve had an experience with it.

In his book Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt begins that you must start with WOW.  So how do we know what WOW is?  It is constantly exceeding the expectations of your clients, prospects, customers, volunteers, etc.  It is delivering goose-bumps.

So let’s consider how you can apply the concept of WOW to your business.

How to Apply WOW in Your Business

  1. Be Intentional – you don’t succeed in the WOW category on accident.  How many hours of planning and practice did Keith Urban and his band put into that concert?  Purpose to exceed your clients’ expectations.
  2. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – Have you ever tried to think like your customer?  What is their experience like when they call your office?  Or walk into your waiting room?
  3. Understand their expectations – You can’t be purposeful about exceeding expectations if you don’t understand what they are.  Ask your clients.  Write down what you think.  Involve your team.
  4. Examine every aspect of your business – What I am talking about here is looking at every point where your business touches a client.  Or you can take it a step further and consider how you can exceed the expectations of your employees or team members.  Think about business development, customer service, leadership development, HR, IT, follow-up, etc.
  5. Define the win – You need to be specific about what WOW looks like.  I read a great book called Mr. Schmooze (it is way better than what the title suggests).  In this book, the author uses the term elevate.  Ask yourself constantly how you can elevate the experience of your clients – how can you give them goose-bumps.  Write it down!

These are next practices!

Now ask yourself – do I deliver WOW on a daily basis?  What would your referral business look like if you did?  Share in the comments below how you could do this in your business!

 

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?  You don’t have a clue, do you?

I have a mentor and client who is incredibly successful.  He owns over a dozen businesses. He employs hundreds of people.  He loves Jesus and is one of the most generous men I’ve ever met.  He is an amazing man.  He is someone who we should all want to be like.

iStock_000021836294SmallA couple of years ago, I was meeting with this man.  I asked him what the inflection point was in his career.  He surprised me with his answer. He told me about a conversation that he had with his mentor.  At that time, my mentor had hit his limit.  He was experiencing what John Maxwell calls the Law of the Lid (read the book – affiliate link).

In that conversation, my mentor asked his mentor, “Why can’t I break through?  What is my problem?”

Last week at my company’s national convention, I spoke on becoming a Power Prospector.  Afterwards, one of our top producers wanted to talk with me.  He is tapped out.  He has so much business.  However, he is struggling to keep up with it all. He’s trying to do everything himself.  It isn’t working.

I ask you again.  What are you worth?

This is one of the most important things that you can know when running your business.  Why?  Because you have more to do in any one day than you can accomplish.

Delegation

In both of the stories above, lack of delegation is the problem.  My mentor was trying to control everything.  He wouldn’t delegate.  Thus, he was the bottleneck.  He was the problem.

Our top producer has not put together a team or a system to maximize his efforts.  He is the Lid holding his business and his productivity back.  We are going to remedy this situation, and his business is going to explode.

You have heard that delegation is a good idea, but can you articulate why?  As the CEO of you, there are certain tasks that only you can do.  These are the high-dollar activities or the high value creation activities.  You want to delegate everything else so that you can focus on those activities.  Said another way, anything that anyone else can do, they should do.  This frees you up to do only things that only you can do.

To effectively accomplish this, you must do 3 things:

  1. Catalogue your activities – Before you can delegate, you must know with clarity all the activities that take up your time.  The best way to do this is to catalogue everything that you spend time on for a week.  Write it all down.  Some of you just rolled your eyes.  Don’t skip this step.  Write it all down.
  2. Triage – The triage step involves deciding which are the high dollar activities and which need to be delegated.  Ask yourself, “If I could only do 3 of these activities, which ones would they be?”  Some you will simply want to delete and stop doing entirely.  This step gives you clarity of purpose.  It also gives you the job description for the team member or virtual assistant that you may add.  If you already have an assistant or team in place, this list is now their playbook.
  3. Know what you are worth! – Many of you will be tempted to simply read this and move on with your life.  I challenge you not to.  Go through this with me.  You will thank me.

I’m going to use round numbers.  Let’s assume that you work 50 weeks a year and 40 hours a week.  Now write down what your income goal for the year is.  Great.  The math looks like this.

50 weeks x 40 hours/week = 2,000 hours worked in a year

Income Goal  / 2,000 hours = your value per hour

If you want to make $100,000 this year, then $100,000 / 2,000 hours = $50/hr.  If you want to make $400,000 this year, then your are worth $200/hr.

Rod Santomassimo, the president and founder of the coaching firm the Massimo-Group, knows his number.  He has a note on his desk that reads, “Is what you are doing right now worth $___/hr?  If not, stop doing it!”  This is why you must know your worth.  It allows you to effectively focus on the activities that maximize your effectiveness and earning potential.  Otherwise, you are leaving money on the table.

So what are you worth?  How will knowing this number effect how you lead and work?  Let me know in the comments below!

5 Podcasts that Will Make You Smarter

Recently, I was able to connect with one of my closest friends while driving home from a trip to Chicago.  This guy is the kind of friend that everyone needs.  He was in my wedding.  I was in his.  We were fraternity brothers at Murray State University.  He was the quarterback.  I was the receiver.  We even dated the same beautiful Southern girl (not at the same time) who I now get to call my wife.

iStockPhoto via jodijacobson

iStockPhoto via jodijacobson

He is the kind of friend when you haven’t spoken for a year, it is like it was yesterday.  Everyone needs at least one friend like this.  I am blessed to have a couple.

My friend was sharing with me an opportunity he has to leave the corporate world and start a business.  He has created something special that could be incredibly valuable to his customers and himself.  However, he told me that he doesn’t think he’ll do anything because he doesn’t have a clue about starting or running a business.

Fifteen minutes later I had brain-dumped all this information on him.  Now, I have started a business (that failed), and I have owned a business that I sold.  But the stuff that I was telling him surprised me.  How did I know this stuff?

Then it occurred to me that I was repeating a lot of great information that I had learned through listening to some incredible podcasts from businesses leaders across the United States (actually, most of them are in Nashville).

If you are not familiar with a Podcast, it is literally someone recording themselves speaking about some subject.  It is much like a radio show.  However, you can download these podcasts on your iPod, iPhone, or other smart-phone or mp3 player.  You simply subscribe through iTunes – for free – and they automatically download whenever a new episode is published.

Before I share with you which ones I love and recommend, let me share with you how I consume this information:

  • While working out - I can kill two birds with one stone when I engage my mind and my body at the same time.
  • While driving – great content is so much more effective than coffee at keeping me alert.  Not only that, but I can transform my car into a classroom and make the most of every moment.
  • On a plane – I’m actually on a plane as I write this somewhere between Nashville and Atlanta.  Were I not writing, I guarantee that I would be listening to one of the following podcasts.

My Top 5 Recommended Podcasts

  1. This is Your Life, A Podcast by Michael Hyatt – If you aren’t familiar with Michael Hyatt, you should be.  He has a top 100 (in the world!) blog on intentional leadership.  He has recently written a New York Times Bestseller called Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World.  His is by far my favorite blog and his content is amazing.  His podcast is awesome too.  He is authentic.  You end up just liking him.  I get to meet him next month at our company’s National Conference where he is giving the keynote address.  I am also going to his Platform Conference the following week in Nashville.  Can’t wait!
  2. 48Days Online Radio Show by Dan MillerDan Miller rocks.  A mentor of mine suggested that I connect with him last year.  I ended up hiring him as a career coach.  He is also a bestselling author of 48 Days to the Work You Love and other books.  His podcast centers around careers, business plans, business models, and other career related info.  You can’t listen to him and not get fired up about what is possible.
  3. Ray Edwards Podcast - Ray probably has my favorite podcast.  He is very transparent and genuine, and he basically let’s you in on his life.  He is a productivity freak (I mean that in a good way).  His podcast is broken up into segments which I love.  He has a main message of each podcast, but also has a tech tip of the week, a spiritual foundations segment, and a segment with Stu McLaren who is great.  Ray is also a marketing genius.
  4. Entreleadership Podcast – I can’t believe that this is 4th on my list, but the others are just that good.  This is the podcast from Dave Ramsey and his main man Chris LoCurto.  Every show has a short message from Dave that sets the theme, but then they move to a guest interview.  The guests are amazing and are a who’s who when it comes to business.  You can’t get this kind of access to this kind of wisdom and experience anywhere else I’m aware.
  5. Podcast Answer Man with Cliff Ravenscraft - This podcast is obviously a little more technical.  I include it because at least the first three podcasts listed above are a result of Cliff’s expertise.  He is the expert when it comes to podcasting.  I hope to introduce my own podcast this year so I have been studying up.  Cliff is also a Kentucky boy like myself!

In one sentence, these podcasts are like being able to sit at the feet of these guys and learn from their wisdom.  And it’s free!

So who do you listen to that I don’t?  Who would crack your top 5?  Let us know in the comment section below!

Why the Biggest Problem with Your Business is You

I hope that you have a mentor.  I have been blessed to have a number of men in my life that have fulfilled this role for me.  You can learn so much from mistakes and experience.  You can also learn from the mistakes and experiences of others.  I prefer the latter.

Having problem concept

A couple of years ago I was having lunch with one of my mentors.  This guy has been wildly successful.  He owns numerous businesses.  He has a great marriage – great family.  Like my dad, he is someone I want to emulate.  I was peppering him with questions.  He told me a story that surprised me.

Years ago, he had somewhat plateaued in his businesses.  He was working too much.  Progress was not being made.  He felt like he had hit a brick wall that he couldn’t break through.  He had a conversation with a mentor of his and asked him what he was doing wrong.  The mentor replied, “The problem with your businesses is you.”

Sobering statement.  My mentor was initially angry.  How could he be the problem?  No one worked harder than him!  He was the leader of these businesses.

I think that every entrepreneur reaches this point.  Characteristics like passion, vision, integrity, hard work, and others are what lead to initial success.  After a while though, the entrepreneur or leader of a business becomes the log-jam.  Nothing gets done with his/her touch. John Maxwell calls this the Law of the Lid.  The business cannot grow past the leadership ability of the leader.  The entrepreneur ends up being his own biggest problem.

At this point, two options exist:  enjoy the plateau or learn to replicate yourself in your business.  In other words, learn to delegate.

I am going to assume that you chose the second option.  The best organization at delegation and reproduction is the Marine Corps.  The Marines regularly take 18-year-old kids and turn them into the best fighting force on the planet.  While you might think that the Marine Corps has a very traditional hierarchical system, it is actually very decentralized.  Twenty year old corporals on the front lines have the training and ability to make decisions on the fly.  Here is how they do it.

Commander’s Intent

I want to acknowledge up front that the Military in general is not good at communicating the “why.”  I rarely knew the big picture.  I suggest that you run your business with the “why” constantly out in front of your team members.

That said, the commander’s intent is the “what.”  This is the directive that comes from on high that says take that hill.  The Commander does not come and tell anyone how to do.  He simply gives the directive.

We recently built a database of all the Dollar Stores in Kentucky.  I gave the directive to my executive assistant to find me the location, physical data, owner, and contact information on every store.  She had the training and tools to accomplish this.  She did not need me hawking and micro-managing.

Rules of Engagement

Remember in the movie Top Gun when Maverick and Goose were in the dog fight with the fictitious MIG-28 at the beginning of the movie?  Their Commander kept telling them “Do not fire unless fired upon!”  (You can see the cigar in his hand, can’t you?)

Rules of engagement tell you what you can and can’t do.  This is where delegation really works.  The best kinds of rules for a team member are the ones that explain what is not acceptable.  In other words, if you can define the boundaries of what is not OK, then everything in that box is OK.

Now your team members have the “Commander’s Intent” or the task to accomplish, and they understand the boundaries.  Within those boundaries, they are free to accomplish the task with great creativity and resourcefulness – and without you staring over their shoulder all the time.

How would these principles of delegation impact the team that you lead?  Are you the lid on your business?  I invite you to share with us in the comments how you could implement these principles in your business.