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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    business

    Doing Nothing – The Biggest Risk

    Marvelously Capable-2

    There’s a well-known parable about a wealthy CEO who took an extended business trip. He left his company in the hands of his three VPs, and gave each of them a portion of the net assets to manage in his absence. Based on what he knew of their capabilities, he gave the first one, we’ll call her Pat, $50 million. The next one, Chris, was given $20 million, and the last, Joe, was given $10 million. When the CEO returned, he asked for a report of their activities and earnings during his absence. Pat proudly showed him how she had doubled the assets entrusted to her, and now she had $100 million. Chris was pleased as well to show that she now had $40 million. Joe by now realized he had fallen far short of his CEO’s expectations. He was afraid to take a risk in losing his leader’s money, after all he couldn’t afford to pay it back, so he did absolutely nothing with it. Nothing. Joe didn’t even try to increase it, or put it in an interest bearing bank account. You can imagine what the CEO did with Joe after that. He likely didn’t have a job.

    Now Pat and Chris could probably tell some interesting stories about their journey to doubling their assets; things they learned along the way both about themselves and their business strategies. They likely had some failures, but they were able to effectively manage through them.

    Rut vs. Risk

    Joe was afraid to take any type of risk with the valuable resources he had. He simply sat on them. Hopefully he had an idea of a business strategy he could try, something he wanted to do, but unfortunately he didn’t know how to do it or was afraid to take the risk. And by doing nothing, he effectively lost ground.

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    Cracked Concrete – Is Your Business Foundation Sound?

    My husband and I recently realized that we would soon have to repair or replace the circular concrete driveway in
    front of our home. We thought it would last a lot longer than this. Instead, after only 14 years, several concrete slabs are sinking; weeds are creeping up in the spaces between them; a large crack is running through one, courtesy of a heavy delivery truck; another slab is scaling; and the snow plows that are a staple of Michigan winters has left scrape marks on other parts.

    We never thought this would happen because they look so strong and thick. We could wait another year or two, but the situation will only get worse.  What we thought was a solid foundation with high structural integrity, wasn’t resilient enough to withstand a variety of above and below ground pressures. What if the quality or thickness of the concrete had been stronger? What if we had ensured that heavy vehicles didn’t pull into the driveway? What if we carefully used a walking snowplow each winter instead of hiring a heavy truck to plow it (not!). In hindsight it was hard to predict we’d be in this spot, but we now need to look at options to repair or replace all or a part of the driveway.

    Fortune 500 Foundation

    As I reflected on this disappointing situation, I happened to look at Fortune Magazine’s recently released list of the top 500 global companies. Their total revenue declined for the first time since 2010 by 11.5% to $31.2 trillion, and profits shrank by 11.2% to $1.48 trillion1. Once strong sectors (such as Oil) and other stalwart corporations have stumbled, and are struggling to find their new footing. Companies that placed in the top 100 in the prior year, have now been displaced from the list.

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    The World’s Most Admired Company Is…

    According to Fortune’s 2016 report of The World’s Most Admired Companies, which surveyed over 4,000 executives, directors, analysts and business insiders; Apple again commands the top spot on their list, for the 9th consecutive year! It’s followed closely by Alphabet (Google), and Amazon. With a track record like that, we’ve got to understand the ingredients to their success.

    First, it’s important to know that the attributes used to determine this ranking include quality of products, quality of management, innovation, long term investment value, talent attraction, financial soundness, corporate asset use, social responsibility, and global business. A well rounded set of criteria that considers all facets of the business.

    Photo from Fortune

    Photo from Fortune

    Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by Adam Lashinsky to get his take on their phenomenal achievement, as well as how they’re handling criticism of recent fiscal first quarter performance, which was strong, but missed investors’ revenue expectations. His response provides several tips as a good reminder for leaders in any organization.

    1. Block out the noise.  

    Analysts, media, shareholders, and others will always have some comment or critique about your products or services, but be selective about who you’re listening to. You can’t react to every question or criticism. You can’t be all things to all people. A prime example is their recent issue with the U.S. government on providing access to encrypted information on an iPhone. Whether you agree with Apple’s position in this situation or not, overall, you must evaluate every option and potential product or service based on the next point.

    1. Focus on your mission and vision.

    Cook talked about staying focused on “making the best products that really help people enrich their lives in some way.” So do your mission and vision inspire and excite employees and customers? Does your product or service continue to align with your purpose and the areas where you’ve been successful? Or does your company get distracted by what I like to call shiny objects alongside the road. You know, getting caught up in the latest trend, trying to do what other companies are doing, or letting financial goals be the primary driver to all decisions. Which leads to point three.

    1. Identify balanced metrics

    Cook says he’s driven by the data that shows his customers are happy.  And while recent sales didn’t meet analysts’ expectations, they still sold 74 million iPhones at a profit of $18 billion. The temptation to chase profits is HUGE, but most businesses need to take the long view and invest in their future, build a strong internal and external brand, and be known for the quality of their products and services; along with maximizing performance in the immediate term.  What metrics best reflect your organization’s goals, market positioning, customer and employee needs?

    1. Explore the possibilities

    Apple has a primary focus on innovation and is widely rumored to be working on a car project. While Cook would neither confirm nor deny that, he did admit that the DNA of the company includes curiosity around a variety of product options that align with their mission, and deliberately selecting a few to pursue. Their cash position makes this easy of course. But they approach it from a perspective of exploring technologies and different ways to use them to align with the focus on making great products that help people.

    How Can You Become Most Admired?

    So your company or team may not be quite as big as the 1,500 that were considered for this top 50 list. But you can still be greatly admired by colleagues in your industry, geography, or organization. Consider the following questions.

    • What are you doing to ensure you are a great place to work, and have the best talent for an organization of your size, geography and industry?
    • Do you have the right management team to lead you to the next level, or are you prioritizing loyalty, mediocrity, or family members above talent?
    • How are you ensuring high quality products and services?
    • How does your organization leverage its head, hands, and heart to support social causes?
    • What is the global impact of your products and services?
    • How are you innovating? What are you exploring that will make a substantial difference in your business or its operations?
    • Are you making decisions that will ensure the financial stability of your organization?
    • How are you managing and maximizing your corporate assets?
    • What are you doing that would make others want to invest in you and your organization?

    Addressing the items on this list may be a challenge for some organizations, but doing so is a reflection of implementing a level of organizational discipline necessary for success. And success is what is most admired.

    ***

    Korn Ferry was Fortune’s survey partner for this project.

    To read the interview of Tim Cook, go to http://fortune.com/tim-cook-apple-q-and-a/

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    Let It Go: Making Room For New Opportunities

    Google Images

    Google Images

    Technology changes and times change, but sometimes it’s hard to let go of what was once a good thing.

    I recently decided (in a fury of “decluttering”) to remove the perfectly good CD/cassette tape stereo from my office bookshelf and give it to charity. Truthfully, I hadn’t even used it in years. It was just taking up space that can be better occupied by something more relevant. Then, in another burst of energy and insight, I gathered up all the old cassette tapes stored away (for what?), the CD/DVD teaching packages that were regularly dusted but otherwise ignored, and gave it all away in boxes to The Salvation Army. I’ll admit that I had a moment of sentimentality. The information and music shared via these mediums was still good, but the method and technology no longer met my needs. I listen to music on my smart phone now, and watch videos on my laptop or iPad. Continue reading

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    Your Dream or Your Nightmare: Keys to Successful Small Business Development

    Google Images

    Google Images

    This is supposed to be your dream come true. Finally, your business is up and running. You’re breathing life into your big idea. You no longer have to answer to the boss because you are the boss. You’re working your business plan.  You’re finding your path to financial freedom. You know your target market and you’re finding new clients. You have positive feedback on your products and services. You’re developing new technology. You’re finding additional funding. You’ve finally found the right team to work with. You have the right workspace. You can feel the exciting energy when you walk into your business each morning. Continue reading

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