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Quick picks: What are your favorite top 10 Business Books?

Are you like me? Making crazy lists all the time of your favorite books, websites and resources for business?

If you are, have you got a list of your all-time favorite business books?? If not, maybe, just maybe I can convince you that my list should be your list. And if not, maybe I can at least convince you to make it a point to ensure you’ve at least read or will plan to read at least 2 of these incredible books this year. Yes, by January 1!

As they say, Christmas is coming! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s a great time now, coming up to the end of the year, to get a few of these on your wish list and to get reading. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So what are mine? Drum roll, please….counting down from #10 (but in no particular order– it’s hard to rank these. I love them each so much for different reasons)…

Happy Reading!

10) Think and Grow Rich– by Napoleon Hill

9) 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class– by Steve Siebold

8) Man’s Search for Meaning– by Viktor Frankl

7) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion– by Robert Cialdini

6) Evolved Enterprise– by Yanik Silver

5) A Whole New Mind– by Daniel Pink

4) The E-Myth– by Michael Gerber

3) Art of the Enterprise– Gary Hoover

2) Good to Great– by Jim Collins

1) Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think– by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

 

So? What about you?

Are any of these new to you? Do you disagree with any of my picks? (I know the Frankl book is not a business book but it’s mind blowing and staggering in its implications for how to build resilience in life and business, and that’s why it’s on the list).

Write me back and let me know if you have a favorite either that we share or that you think I should read next?

Here’s to getting a little more reading time in this year for us all. Enjoy! 😉
Geraldine

Get your Team to top performance when under pressure through a Code of Honor

There are thousands of books out there on team building and performance, but very few cover a key element that can be a lifesaver when companies or teams are under major pressure or going through a crisis or intense shift- having a Company ‘Code of Honor’.

Because it seems that dealing with major pressure is now becoming more of a norm for most firms having a Code of Honor can make all the difference between surviving, sinking, and even thriving.

Why is creating a Company Code of Honor useful?

A Code of Honor is simply writing a few steadfast rules your team agrees to ALWAYS abide by, and especially when differences of opinion arise, often in the heat of the battle. When everyone is stressed and under the gun, and without a Code of Honor, team members tend to make up their own rules or assumptions about to handle crises, which can be detrimental to the team and the company.

One caveat: It’s not enough to have a clear set of agreements or a code. Team members have to fully understand the code and commit themselves to it and respect the code when times get tough. It’s easy to sing when you win, but when things seem to be falling apart having a clear set of values in place to allow your company to bounce back fast is essential to staying ahead of the game.

When created in the right spirit, a Company Code of Honor becomes the heart and soul of the team or company. It should underpin your company core values and helps foster the positive experience your team, customers, and other stakeholders will want to have in dealing with the company. In fact, creating a solid Code of Honor is a fundamental, perhaps these days even essential part of creating a healthy culture for an organization to succeed.

Having a clear Code of Honor is an excellent way to create accountability and is a powerful statement of who you are and what your organization stands for because it brings out the best in people.

Simple Strategy, Powerful Difference

I came across this simple, yet powerful business strategy from a mentor, Blair Singer. Blair is a good friend and advisor to Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the best seller book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Using Blair’s strategy, I have helped CEOs in my coaching programs develop and implement simple Codes of Honor to help them clarify and systemize their business processes to bring out the best in their team members. This has always led to reinvigorating these CEOs personally with the bonus of energizing their teams to reach further to achieve their collective mission and goals.

Familiar Enough?

At Energized CEOs we often compare what we do to what great sports coaches do for their world-class teams. For example, it’s commonplace for Codes of Honor to be in place and used by a lot of professional sports teams. Large corporate teams also have enjoyed the benefits of designing and following their own unique Codes of Honor to grow into the impactful businesses they have, likely inspired by the US Marines approach to living and operating at the highest of standards for greatly effective team work.

How to Start the Process of Creating your Own Code of Honor

A Code of Honor has to be created by all team members through open dialogue and respect for one another. It can’t be something you just list out and push onto the team. I have worked for companies who just force their corporate values on employees. The end result is that most employees pay lip service to the values, but don’t really believe them and certainly don’t follow them when a crisis comes up. Instead, an excellent and functioning Code of Honor has to involve every team member plus any new members coming into the team or company so that everyone is aware that a Code exists and what it means to follow it.

Stay tuned for my next article on how to start the process of creating a properly working Code of Honor. One article on this theme is not enough to do this important topic justice.

However, here is a good starting point for now. Think about your Code as a list of Agreements. It need not be more than 10 agreed rules.

Here is an example of an effective Code of Honor. Can your team relate to many of the points?

1. Never abandon a team mate in need
2. Celebrate all wins
3. Show up on time for meetings
4. Never let personal stuff get in the way of the company mission
5. Be loyal to the team
6. Be willing to “Call Out” a team mate gently but firmly and “be called out” if any part of the code is broken
7. Don’t make excuses when things don’t go to plan
8. Everyone is part of the sales team!
9. Be resourceful – find solutions before dumping on others
10. Be Responsible – refrain from blaming and complaining

Honoring your Code of Honor

So what’s vital to your team? You and your team have to work that out over time. Ideally have someone from the outside of the firm, who knows about this strategy facilitate the team member discussions to manifesting a successful outcome.

One key part to this Code is the ability to call someone out if they are not playing to your Code. This can be a tough one as none of us likes to feel humiliated. However, the Code is not effective unless team members can be part of the solution to keeping the quality of work up to the expected standards. If a rule in your Code of Honor gets breached it takes the team down a notch if it is NOT called out because not doing so implies you don’t mean what you say. All ‘Honor’ therefore goes out the window.

Working in this way has the tendency to raise the energy and empower your team and company. And after all, at any given time the CEO is the leader and determines whether there is either high energy or low energy to get things done in your business.

To thrive and enjoy your business’ journey requires ways to raise the energy of the team and having a solid Code of Honor goes a long way towards fulfilling this desire.

So what about you? Have you already got a Code of Honor? Want help creating one? Drop us a note and let us know as we’d love to support you.

Getting the Right People on the Bus

Have you ever made a ‘Bad’ hire?

I know I have! It’s not that any one person is bad. After all, every single person of the over 500 I have hired over time have ALL been earnest in their desire to be a part of a team aiming at reaching the same admirable and important business goals. Whether that’s been to serve our young students optimally in the 2 private education companies I founded, or to make a great film in our media company. But sometimes it was too easy for our seemingly romantic missions to too easily attract the ‘wrong’ person for the job.

Several times I wound up with someone whose work ethic or even personality proved to be too disruptive to the good flow of the rest of our team. There were a handful of people that wound up being the cause of more problems for us than they actually helped us solve. Not good. And it was my responsibility to actually ensure I addressed THAT problem quickly, because as CEO it was ultimately my call who to let get on or off our business ‘bus’. Luckily, once I did take the difficult steps to reverse course on my hiring mistakes, my core team was strong enough that they had the patience and understanding to allow me to grow my way to becoming a better leader, and a better employer, as a result over time.

Good to Great– by Jim Collins (A top 10 book for CEOs and Business Leaders)

All of us who have the entrepreneurship bug dream of building not just a good company but a GREAT company. Maybe even one that will endure well past our own expiration date and live on as our legacy, impacting 1000s or more lives in the process. For every CEO who has this desire, I can’t recommend Jim Collins’ Good to Great book enough.

The concept of  ‘Getting the Right People on the Bus’ is such a simple one, yet in this age of incredible technology and connectedness, it’s actually people skills that still reign supreme. They are all too often completely overlooked by startups to traditional businesses. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer good enough. PEOPLE ARE OUR BUSINESS. So much like your kindergarten teacher taught you so many years back, the Golden Rule is more important than ever: Treat people as you wish to be treated in order to have a good life (or great business). And having a team of people you WANT to see everyday and naturally find easy to work with because you’re a good fit– as opposed to people you think ‘tick a box’ to get a series of siloed tasks done– sets the stage for you to drive your business to becoming your greatest legacy.

It’s NOT about the right person for the right job- it’s about the right person for your team!

If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, I challenge you to pick up a copy and schedule time to do it starting on Monday. If you drive to work, buy the audio version to listen to. Guaranteed this book will help transform you. It will inspire you to ask better questions of yourself each evening when you look at your list of important items to tackle the next day to move your business forward.

Here is a short excerpt on the concept Jim shares about ‘Getting the Right People on the Bus’.

“The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. They said, in essence, “Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”

This notion and many, many others proved invaluable to me in being able to create not just a good business team, but the best franchise team in our international system for three years in a row and a top 4 business for 6 years running, before we sold it at the top of its game.

If you’d like help creating your BEST business version for you and your team and customers to enjoy everyday you work, get in contact. Leave a comment below or email me through our contact page and let me know what one change you think could be the difference to keeping your company good, and making it truly great.

 

 

 

 

What’s your One Thing today that will get you Results?

If you want to have even more energy and laser like focus when building your business, a book that we highly recommend is The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

Usually in any given week, month or year there is an overarching One Thing that needs to be kept as a top priority. The One Thing I do today may be different from the One Thing I have to do in a month, and that may be different to the One Thing I can do right now.

When I read the book, I liked how the approach is so simple and cuts through the multi-tasking mindset we have been trained to believe is productive. Many times we feel obliged to act on other people’s agendas –  to react, rather than respond. The multi-tasking mind becomes a ‘monkey mind’, over stimulated and hectic, and it’s too easy for us to end up as victims of such an overly busy mind and life – counterproductive if we want to make real strides forward.

A better way of thinking to make great progress

You may be aware of the Pareto Principle that states 20% of your activities produce 80% of your results. The One Thing pares that down even further.

Ask yourself:

‘Of the 20% of my highly leveraged activities what is the One Thing that I can do that will make the biggest difference to my business? To my personal life outside of work?’

This book talks about scaling down your ‘ToDo’ list and instead creating a “Success list”, usually just 20% of the To Do List and then filtering out that One Thing you need to focus on today or this week or this month. So the ‘ToDo’ List could be 20 actions. The Success List will focus you on about 4 of those highly leveraged actions, and The One Thing is the Key action that will make the biggest difference to your day.

The book states “Thinking informs actions and actions determine outcomes” so it is important to think in the right way by asking resourceful questions.

Ask Big questions and you will get Big answers or ideas.“Dont fear Big, fear Mediocrity”. The book mentions how we over-plan and over-analyze when success is based on just a handful of things we need to do well.

The key question in the book goes something like this: “What’s the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” If you read the sentence it relates to what you “can do” and not relying or depending on someone else.

The One Question You Should Be Asking Yourself Daily

There are many variations of this same question but the authors propose asking yourself a version of this one question every day if you truly want success.

  • “Whats the One Thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
  • “What’s the One Thing I can do this week around my business goal such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
  • “Whats the One Thing I can do this month such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

I hope you can see the power in asking such an excellent question of yourself.

A powerful reminder to stay focused could also be useful “Until my One Thing is done, everything else is a distraction”. This is a great reminder because for most of us we are distracted and go into reaction mode so quickly. The question helps to keep you on track on the important project or activity.

By asking your One Thing question, to add more power to the process, visualize the end result and simulate the steps along the way. Its a kind of mental flow charting of the process, which helps to get your thinking more focused and clear.

Time Blocking to Protect Time for your One Thing

A very important consideration mentioned in the book is the importance of time blocking. In fact the authors suggest you “time block with a vengeance”. Meaning: do all you can to protect your time, no matter what.

And here at EnergizedCEOs.com we actively encourage you to not just time block your work time, but time block your time to re-charge. This is one of the number one ways CEOs and Leaders burn out and get ill by NOT doing so.

Check out our other article about time blocking time in the morning to take care of your body and mind using an acronym called the 4Fs. It’s a proven approach to gaining back more of your valuable energy.

And don’t stop there! Make it a daily practice (and eventually a habit!).

Time block your one important thing. Time block your thinking or planning time. Remember “until the One Thing is done everything else is a distraction”.

A good time block question is “What’s the One Thing I can do to protect my time blocks every day such that by doing so everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Like all things, this type of thinking and approach requires mastery and practice. Doing this once a week may help you improve at work, however, to think and act this way on a daily basis by asking that One Thing question each day will lock into your nervous system a new way of being effective and more energized as a CEO.

As a coach to business owners I hold my clients accountable to the One Key Thing they commit to agree to do between sessions. Having accountability like this helps to boost this level of focus and productivity.

YOUR TURN!

So I’d love to know, what is the ONE THING you need to get done: Today, This Week, This Month, This Quarter in order to do the ONE THING you really want to accomplish this year? Please tell us in the comments! Consider it your Day One for Accomplishing your One Thing!

How CEOs can raise energy levels fast

One of the key challenges and frustrations for a business owner is how to maintain high energy levels and the strength that is needed when the business is going through a major change.

A sure way to bring your energy down- ignore your physical or mental health.

Unfortunately, many CEOs do not make this a priority in their lives, because taking care of your personal health and well being can easily get lost in the shuffle of a busy day. The thing is, we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it!

I had this experience some years ago, just as I was really succeeding. I was going from one big contract on to the next, selling high-ticket IT services, and taking on more and more responsibility. Then, through experiencing a loss in my family, my mental state and health spiraled down at an alarming rate. It took many more months to recover from that set back both personally, and as a result, professionally.

During that time my business was definitely compromised. I lost my motivation and had to take time away from an over-committed daily agenda because I was not well and I struggled to function effectively in the business. Had I known then what I know now, I would have ensured I took care of my body and mind first thing in the morning. That would have given me the extra capacity to handle my work and life during this rough time. But, instead, I was reacting rather than responding. I was closed to taking on new opportunities and I had to overcome these set backs, as a result.

We all have lessons to learn in life, and this was a major life lesson for me: Take care of my health as it’s the foundation for my success.

A better way to start your morning to win the day

As your business grows it is essential to give yourself the gift of time and reflection just for you in the morning. One of my CEO clients made a commitment to rise at 4am and spend one hour on reading and inner reflection. It has made a massive difference to his business and he reports he can now think more clearly. All of this has opened his mind to generate better ideas for new opportunities.

An acronym I share on group calls with clients when it comes to taking care of health and energy is remembering the 4 Fs:

  • Focus 
  • Fortitude 
  • Flexibility 
  • Food

How would the 4Fs add value to your life when it comes to taking care of your health and well being?

Let’s go through what the 4 Fs are and how you can use them for increased energy and well-being.

Focus –

This is about taking time to reflect, meditate, or pray for 5 to 10 minutes each morning. You can do this for longer if you have the time. If you are not into meditation, you could read something that will inspire or motivate you. I call this “training for the mind”. Create a workout for your mind to install positive, uplifting thoughts and feelings first thing each morning, or as often as possible. You’ll be building your focus and training your brain to zone in on making your day the kind you want everyday. (Bonus points for writing your positive thoughts down to reinforce them longer!)

Flexibility –

A flexible body means a flexible mind. I ensure I do some kind of stretching each morning for a few minutes. Basic Yoga stretches is a great way to start an exercise routine and to warm up the body. Or simply create your own stretching routine for a few minutes. There are a number of great resources on YouTube such as Yoga With Adriene, that are free to access. If you prefer, go for a morning walk around your neighborhood upon waking, and just take a few minutes to get the blood flowing and your eyes looking out to the horizon. It will get your energy going and is ideal to get your circadian rhythm aligned for a great day.

Fortitude –

Fortitude means building your strength. Ideally you want to use some weights to push and create resistance for the body. This really helps to release positive chemicals in the body, which is great for dealing with stress. When the heart is pumping, positive chemicals are released to handle the stress responses later in the day. If you don’t like weight training then try some basic push ups, squats, or doing a yoga plank position for core body strength. You can always google ‘Month Long Plank Challenge’ and discover some excellent 30-day challenges to build core strength, which will help your entire body and mind grow stronger. And of course, there’s always that new gym membership if you just need a bit more motivation and company to get back into building yourself up.

Food –

Doing exercise is great.  However, there is a saying “You are what you eat”. The body needs certain nutrients and supplements to help it perform properly throughout the day. And, if you are exercising, you need the right kind of food to recover quickly and maintain higher energy levels. The body requires alkaline foods, such as vegetables and fruits, though most of us eat more acid-based diets. Drinking alcohol or coffee, or eating too many breads, cakes, pastas, or refined or sugary foods will mean you’re eating many more acidic forms of food than the body needs.

If there is too much acid in the system then we get tired often, we struggle to stay focused, and, if acid builds up in our systems, this causes diseases and illnesses in our body. Our physical and mental health relies on alkaline-based foods, such as all the green foods that grow out of the ground. Examples of great alkaline choices are broccoli, kale, cucumber, avocado and various fruits.

What I do personally after a morning work out is make a green shake with some vegetables and fruits and then drink that down. The body feels replenished and my energy is set for the day.

Systems create our success

Successful people and successful businesses understand that having a system is what leads to repeatable and growing success and achievements. There are systems for studying, making money, building businesses, and clearly also systems to build or maintain higher energy and health levels.  Applying a simple system, such as the 4Fs my CEO clients enjoy incorporating into their day, can make all the difference to your success, too. Consider some of the benefits of following this 4Fs approach:

  • Quality time set aside just for you 
  • Higher energy means higher capacity to deal with challenges 
  • You will be tuned into opportunities you otherwise may have missed if your energy was low 
  • Feeling better about yourself has a knock on effect with employees, clients, and your family 
  • People are attracted to higher energy people and companies

Why not reflect on the 4Fs approach and see how you can integrate some, if not all 4 approaches above to help raise your personal energy? Chances are excellent doing so will mean you will witness further growth in your business due to being able to embrace more and better opportunities.

If you want more tips or ideas on how to raise or maintain higher energy levels to become the Energized CEO you want to be, please go to the contact page and get in touch with us. We offer a variety of training opportunities that have helped 100s of others.

And if you have a tip for how you like to stay on top of your physical or mental health so you can perform your best every day, please share your tip in the comments section below. We know your comment will be able to assist another to keep going strong! 

CEOs wanting to get to that next level

As technology develops at an accelerating pace today, CEOs and business leaders run the risk of being left behind. It seems there is ever more pressure to make strategy and system changes, just to keep up with the lightening speed of their markets.

To transition or transform, that is the question

We find that business leaders are either in heavy “transition” or “transformation” mode, as a result. They report to us it’s nearly impossible to keep up with today’s innovative trends, brought about by the innovations of  artificial intelligence and robotics into business systems. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon are introducing leveraged technologies with conversation bots, augmented reality, AI systems, network sensors, and so much more. And, our clients are looking for their edge more than ever.

Business owners are being forced to make very important changes to stay relevant. In many cases there are no clear frameworks for leaders to make the deliberate jump to the next level for their organisations. At the same time, while dealing with all this external change, many CEOs and business leaders are striving to become the next better version of themselves as leaders and people, but often they don’t know how or where to start to make all these important changes.

Are you making a lasting transformation?

Reading about or talking about transforming is one thing, but actually embodying and feeling the transformation to ensure it sticks is a totally different ball game.

To make lasting transformations in life and business requires rigorous inner game changing. This means lots of mental awareness and practice. Once the inner game changes, the outer-world game is impacted in a more positive and sustainable way. The key to transformation is working on changing one’s inner consciousness to clear up any inner sabotage that stops or slows you down as a leader.

We have coached a number of CEOs, and the feedback that we receive is that at times it’s too easy to lose perspective of the bigger vision. It’s a challenge to fully separate thoughts from feelings.

A key area for CEOs is to focus on the highest leverage opportunities and have the cognitive awareness to be open to opportunity, while someone can keep them accountable throughout the process. It’s important to monitor and manage the shifts along the way so that optimal choices are made at each point in the journey, to be able to learn quickly from setbacks or failures.

Coaching and supporting a CEO not only helps the CEO stay motivated to take action. Taking lots of actions is one thing, but also cultivating awareness to know how to navigate the roadblocks and emotional pains is another. It requires the skills of awareness and mental re-framing so that the business leader has cleared the path to make their desired transition or transformation.

Are you aware of the subtle differences between a transition and a transformation?

A transition could be to raise the profit levels of the business by 40%. A transformation would be bigger such as taking a few transition steps to systemize the business so as to raise the profit levels with the ultimate purpose of selling the business within 2 years. This is a more radical but powerful growth cycle for a CEO and all who are part of the business. Therefore, coaching and support is significantly different between a transition to raise profits versus a transformation to systemizing and selling the business.

Support in a transition tends to require less time compared to a transformation. A transformation is like building the next floor of a high rise. The transition part is ensuring the concrete posts and simple framework is in place before the full implementation of the floor is initiated like with the windows, office partitions, design, furniture, technology etc. I use the metaphor to better illustrate the differences between a transition and transformation when it comes to how we address the inner and outer world work we do with our CEO clients.

Are you trying to transition or transform your business?

If you are ready for that next level it’s important to know if it is a transition or transformation you are after. Also it’s important to have the tools, mindset approach, and a sense of the right kind of framework in order to step up to that next level.

Wanting and hoping for a transformation is one thing but doing the work, handling the mental and emotional changes when going through a transformational dilemma, and getting acclimatized to the new levels of progress requires commitment and courage. It also requires both inner work AND outer work, whether you’re seekingor a successful and sustainable transition or transformation.

So, what’s your Next Step?

We’d love to hear your feedback. Please comment on the post below or head to the contacts page, leave your name and email and let us know how we can get your the resources and support to get ready for and start your next-level shift.