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Scenario: "Dude, I'm doing everything 100% correct. My employees love me. Yay!" Just about-almost-every-single-frickin-manager lives in a bubble thinking s/he's the greatest manager/executive/coworker/yadda in the world:

  1. "Wow, I'm a hot shot. I'm doing everything right!"
  2. "I love how I lead people. I'm so good."
  3. "I'm the most knowledgeable person in the world!"
  4. "Everyone loves my managerial smarts."
  5. "Give me a high-five!"

We call it the "superficially-bias" mindset: That is, we're all blinded by how much we really suck.

Yeah, Most of Us Suffer From It

Think back to: Your average teacher. That dude probably thought he was the world's greatest teacher. Your average manager. That dude probably thought he was the king of the world. Your average grade-school friend. That dude probably thought he was the most loyal friend, ever. An average speaker. That dude probably thought he rivaled MLK. Think back to an average singer. That dude probably said he'd go down in history. Or, take it from the most fabulous people on Earth: John Travolta: "I have fame on the level of a Marilyn Monroe or an Elvis, but part of the reason I didn't go the way they did was because of my beliefs." Kanye West: "I changed the sound of music more than one time... For all those reasons, I'd be a part of the Bible. I'm definitely in the history books already." Justin Timberlake: "Just like the McDonald's deal, whose market share went up 25 per cent when I walked into those offices and changed their image -- when I did the Grammys, the viewing figures went up by 25 percent." @^^%^&*!@^^%^&*!@^^%^&*!@^^%^&*! In our minds, we might think we're the smartest, strongest, coolest, baddest, rock-star on the !@^^-!@^^%^ planet. But to outsiders, we're just cocky peons who have no perspective of how much we really suck.

Why Confront Your Suckiness

You experienced it before: working with "Chucky" -- the 'average' team member. You'd guess Chucky would've been such a much better badass if he had:

  • Talked openly about his problems.
  • Stopped rambling.
  • Defined his role clearer.
  • Gave honest feedback about the team.
  • Stopped using buzzwords.

Oh-how-you-wished.

Guess what?

People who are working with you -- right now -- see you as their "Chucky." To them, you're an 'average' team member -- but oh! -- "someone-who-could-oh-so-!@^^%^-rock if s/he just fixed some things!" To discover where you do suck -- and fly higher than a !@^^%^ bald eagle, ask those badasses who work with you:

"What am I doing wrong?"

 

Posted on April 23

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Scenario: "Dude, it's going to take so much blood, sweat, tears, and a zillion hours of work to build a million-dollar business. Ahh!" You take two people from different socio-economic backgrounds:

  1. Poor kid Pappy who works his butt off feeding his family.
  2. Rich dude Richie rolling with silver-spoons from his rich dad.

Flash-forward 15 years later: They become entrepreneurs. Typically in these scenarios, what would happen?

  1. Pappy would grow up generating a decent $50K/year working 100-hour work weeks.
  2. Richie would grow up making $MM/year working half-as-hard.

You might think:

"Hey! That's unfair! The rich kid fed off his dad!"

But, look closer to their business mindsets/expectations/biases:

  • Pappy: "It's almost-impossibly-hard to make millions. That means since I work 100 hours making $50K, I must work 20x more work."
  • Richie: "It's not-that-hard to make millions. I saw how my dad, his partners, and his peers worked. Now if they can do it..."

In others words -- while Pappy thinks it'll take 998543985925328230985092835039809235 to build a million-dollar business: Richie thinks it'll take 5000 hours to do it. The both act accordingly -- with Richie probably always winning.

How Your Mindset Can Screw You

  • You expect an easy test: you start finding the least path to resistance.
  • You expect a hard test: you start over-complicating yourself.

Your expectations dictate how you'll act.

  • If Pappy thinks creating a million-dollar business takes is super-complex -- like computing complex profitability formulas, enforcing Six Sigma management, conducting comprehensive due diligences for suppliers, doing five-month background checks, attending nationwide networking conferences, reading every Tony Robbin books, yadda, yadda, yadda -- he'll complicate himself unnecessarily.

That leads to: 'I never enough time in a day to do what I have to do in a day,' resulting in a disastrous failure.

  • If Richie thinks it's simple to gear his business for millions, he'll take a much easier route: (1) consistently filling his sales pipeline, then (2) fulfilling those orders. Done.

His chances for success got way sexy.

Building Your Business Should be Simple

  1. Take any typical entrepreneur who's built at least a 25MM business from scratch (not some ebook self-proclaimed wiz-master).
  2. Ask them how you'd start a business that generates over $1 MM from scratch -- in 3 years.

How would they respond? Something along the lines of: "Not too difficult. Focus on..." (Yeah, we'll let you in on that 'secret' in a future article.) The point? It shouldn't be overly complex/hard/crazy to build a thriving/lucrative/million-dollar business.

  • If you think it's complex, you'll confuse the freak out of yourself -- leading to a probable disaster.
  • If you think it's easy, your confident booty will scope out the easiest path to get there -- boosting your chances of succeeding like the badass we know you were meant to be.

If you're guilty of the 'it-takes-too-much-work' mindset, start reminding yourself:

"Wow, it shouldn't be so hard after all."

 

Posted on April 20

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Scenario: "We should pay people based on individual performance. That'll motivate them to produce. Yay!" Most companies think:

  1. Money motivates people to rock.
  2. More money = higher performance.

Yet, think back to when you kicked-ass-and-took-names.

What motivated you to do so?

  • a) extrinsic rewards
  • b) intrinsic rewards

Most likely always: (b) intrinsic rewards. Instead of worrying about what you'd "get" for accomplishing: _____, you cared more for those intrinsic rewards -- like:

  • accomplishing something great
  • kicking arse for your team members
  • setting company records
  • serving the world

You couldn't care less about what you "got." Pay-for-performance schemes undermine intrinsic rewards: Instead tapping your people's inner passions to accomplish something super-fab, you distract them with the: "Oh! Here's what YOU can get!" extrinsic carrot awards. That creates short-term views, temporary results, and superficial decisions.

People Perform Worse When Motivated By $$$

Conventionally, you'd think: "Hey, if I motivate them with: __________, they'll achieve: __________." But if you've read Trizoko, you know what sounds "common sense" in business is rarely correct. According to Researcher Alfie Kohn:

At least two dozen studies over the last three decades have conclusively shown that people who expect to receive a reward for completing a task or for doing that task successfully simply do not perform as well as those who expect no reward at all.

Managers who motivate with money forget what taps human's biggest motivator: Their inner-selves. When you wave a carrot in front of Johnny:

  1. Johnny focuses on the carrot.
  2. Johnny forgets his inner-motivations.
  3. Johnny forgets the task-at-hand.

According to Kohn's studies:

The more a manager stresses what an employee can earn for good work, the less interested that employee will be in the work itself.

The Solution? Do a profit-sharing plan.

Studies show profit-sharing produces much greater productivity than compensating individually. Why?

  • It compels individual team members to focus fully on the task.
  • It generates teamwork and cooperation.
  • It taps people intrinsically: "I want to !@^^%^ rock for my team."

"But what if some people start slacking off?"

You'd think so, but most don't. People will pull their own weight because of perceived peer pressure -- according to Stanford's Jeffrey Pfeffer. And if they don't, show them the exits. At Trizzy, here's what we do:

  1. Team members can choose to vote off others who provide no value to the team. Because -- hey -- if you're not providing value, you're dead weight who's consuming "our" resources.
  2. They also choose to divy up the profits according to how they see fit.

That ensures (1) teamwork, (2) no viruses that will destroy the team, and (3) productivity-to-the-max on the task-at-hand.

Profit-sharing = much, much sexier.

 

Posted on April 19

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Scenario: "Dude, just assemble a bunch of superstars. Then, give them a bunch of tasks. Then, see them rock. Yay!"

  1. You put Tomas, Sally, Hendy, Anuj, and Adam in a room.
  2. They're all superstars from their past jobs.

You read business books seeking to "empower" them, so you give them full reign to do whatever they want.

What do you get?

  • 5 different frickin' projects from 5 different frickin' superstars that -- although good -- not built to the super-fab potential you seek.

Instead, if you want to make your superstars/employees/people work fabulously together, follow The Unite-to-Big-Ass Rule: Unite the team with a shared goal -- one that freakishly rocks every one of their juices.

Why You Need 100% Commitment

For the The Unite-to-Big-Ass Rule to work, Tomas, Sally, Hendy, Anuj, and Adam need to be totally-100%-committed to a shared goal. That is:

  • If the goal's a brainchild of Tomas, where everybody else just becomes his "troops" -- the team abandons other members' strengths.
  • If Sally's not totally committed to the team's goals, she'll serve as dead weight to the team -- destroying the team's productivity/resources.
  • If Hendy and Anuj have no input into the "shared" goal, and just go along with whatever's said -- the team abdicates their passions/strengths.

Psychologically, our brains work this way:

  • If we're immersed in a decision, we're super-biased to -- and fall in love with -- that decision.
  • If we're not involved in a decision, most of the time: our hearts couldn't care less.

So if you find one/two/three/yadda team members who doesn't share that common goal with the rest of the team, you've got some options:

  1. Move them to other teams -- so they won't corrupt the rest of the team.
  2. Remove them completely. If they can't possibly align their goals with anyone on your team, you probably made hiring mistakes.

Why You Want Big-Ass Goals

Ask your badass: What team goal would your rather choose?

  • a) Increase orders by 5% by 2008.
  • b) Increase orders by 200% by 2008.

For you inherent ass-kickers: (b) gets your juices moving, and compels you to tap 1000% of your brainpower/mind/body/soul/sexiness to viciously beat that goal into submission. Excitement breeds super productivity, which breeds spectacular results. Importantly, a big-ass goal serves as the secret glue that binds a team together: With higher stakes, a team becomes more dependent on optimizing everyone's strengths/capabilities/experience.

How to Create Those Big-Ass Goals

It takes collaboration from every team member to derive a common goal that gets them ticking. Those goals should be:

  1. Concrete.
  2. Time-sensitive.
  3. Simple.

Examples include:

  1. "Boost customer satisfaction 300% by next month."
  2. "Increase sales 100% by December 1st."
  3. "Boost daily customer sales to 100 by September."
  4. "Cut sales cycle time by 10 days by next week."

Once you get 100% total commitment from every team member, you've built the foundation to creating one freakishly powerful team. And then the magic starts happening: You'll watch those team members pooling their resources to beat that big-ass goal into submission -- like a harmonious opera performance happening in front of your eyes. It's a beautiful thing.

Unite a team with one shared big-ass goal.

 

Posted on April 18

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Only 76-year old engineering professor Liviu Librescu's quiet instructions disrupted the silence. As the shooter approached, Professor Librescu -- a Holocaust survivor -- held the door to block his students from the shooter. That gave his students just enough time to escape. He was shot dead seconds later. To the lives lost on April 16th, 2007, to the friends and family of those affected, and to our VT readers, the Trizzy community has you in our thoughts and in our prayers.
Posted on April 17

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Scenario: "Dude, only upper management can fire managers. Yay! High-five!" Think of this 'oh-what-in-the-mutha' radical idea:

  • What if basketball players could fire their coach?
  • What if rap dancers could fire their choreographers?
  • What if actors could fire their employees?
  • What if employees could fire their managers?

What would happen?

  1. Stronger teams.
  2. Fattened accountability.
  3. Retention of kick-ass leaders.
  4. Kur-razzy financial results.

Most companies run pyramid hierarchies, giving the typical 'manager' freakish power over employees they manage; that destroys much incentive for that manager to serve employees efficiently. Instead, start enacting our beloved upside-down pyramid -- giving more power to those that actually affect the bottom line most.

Where Companies Go Wrong

In a typical company's manager-employee relationship:

  • Manager: "You're not fattening the pipeline. Do it, or that's your butt."
  • Employee -- saving face: "Okay, I will try my hardest again."
  • Employee really thinks: "You're not providing sufficient resources, yo!"

When the manager sucks, the employee gets fired. And, that's a shame because most managers freakishly suck at their jobs -- leaving their potential superstar employees left to dry. (Just count how many ridiculously sucky managers you've had in the past.)

The Manager's Job

Manager Mikey's job isn't to serve upper-management; it's to serve his team's players. So, if the team players think he's leading them insufficiently, they can fire him -- and get another leader (within or outside the organization). The crazy effect that has on Mikey:

  • "Oh !@^^! I better lead them efficiently, or it's my @ss!"
  • "I can't slack off! Or, they'll get me!"
  • "I better be sure I'm the best person for the job or else!"

Instead of resting on his laurels, Mikey starts diligently providing sufficient resources for his players to succeed. Yay for him.

"But wait! Is that all?!"

Nope; the hierarchy chain follows that sweet upside-down pyramid. Peep this:

  1. Manager Mikey's team players can fire him as their leader.
  2. Manager Mikey can fire his Superior Susie as his leader.
  3. Superior Susie can fire her higher-up as her leader.
  4. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

That ensures the right leaders are efficiently serving each and everyone of your people.

"Wait; but, wait! And who fires the employees?"

Build processes such that awesome employees thrive, and sucky employees drive themselves out the door -- quickly. We mentioned a method last week. Even better: have team players manage their peers -- such that if the team feels Billy is dead weight, they'll kick his booty out to conserve resources. (And even ten times better: let customers manage those front-line workers -- deciding who's staying, and who needs to go. That's the beauty of the upside-down pyramid.) That ensures every-freakin-body is serving everybody else. Yay your organization: Your workforce soon becomes super-optimized. When do you know you're your building a high-flying workforce? When a team of employees can tell their managers/leaders and peers:

'You fired, you lazy !@^^%-!@^. !@^^!'

 

Posted on April 16

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Scenario: "Dude, we gotta keep our shop under super high-surveillance! They'll steal! High-five!" You're building your business. Then, it hits you:

  1. "What if my employees are trying to sabotage me?!"
  2. "What if they take off with my ideas?!"
  3. "What if they lend my trade secrets?!"
  4. "My business will end because of my employees! Ahh!"

So, instead of dispensing information, you withhold as many of your ideas as possible. That trust factor keeps a large number of entrepreneurs from hiring/training/managing effectively -- destructing their potential to actually building something lucrative. Looking to gain employee trust quickly? The solution:

Give them something.

That's it. That could be:

  1. a book
  2. concert tickets
  3. a Frappuccino
  4. articles that interest them
  5. your time
  6. your knowledge
  7. [go wild with your imagination here]

Call it the Karma Effect

When you give Sally something sincerely, Sally wants to return that favor -- exponentially. You give her two things, and she'll return that favor 2x exponentially. (Yadda, yadda.) Sure, it's not a bullet-proof idea, but it'll boost the employee trust factor by x986496089098694 times. Super psychologist Robert Cialdini calls it the reciprocity effect: ' You give me something, I'll give you something even better.'

Think Back Time

Think back to an unexpected Christmas present; how do you feel about the person now? Probably like one of the coolest !@^^-!@^^%^ in the world. It's a super sexy psychological phenomenon that makes the world go round.

Give something.

 

Posted on April 13

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Scenario: "Dude, we'll motivate them with money. We'll keep all of them! High-five!" Think back to something you did spectacularly well.

  1. You entirely enjoyed the process.
  2. You felt inherently motivated.
  3. Money played barely any role.

Yet, you see managers/execs thinking: "Hey, I can drive performance if I motivate people with $. Yay!" Bull-oney. If you keep your superstars financially happy, they'll kick ass -- regardless of how much you pay them.

The Purpose of Compensation

The purpose of compensation is not to motivate people with money. As a Jim Collins study goes, superstars are inherently motivated to excellence regardless of pay. Instead according to the study, compensation's purpose is to:

  • keep the best
  • reject the worst -- immediately

When you have a compensation system that keeps the best people, and drives out those who suck quickly -- you start building a superstar team that feeds off of each other. Result: You get one kick-ass mutha-!@^^% team that's about to rock the world like it ain't no thang.

Sidebar: The Rock Star Paying Guide

  • A. You pay them too low: They'll bolt.
  • B. You pay them enough: They'll kick-ass
  • C. You pay them more than enough: You'll see no performance change from B.

An Example!

Say you're building a compensation system for your sales team. Ultimately, you want a team fully packed with super-all-stars who can generate tons of sales. So, you build your compensation program this way:

  • Base pay among lowest in industry.
  • The rest of compensation is determined by ^ sales they close -- where those who thrive earn substantially more than industry averages.

That helps you (1) keep those who'll rock, and (2) quickly eject those who suck.

  • If someone rocks: They'll be super happy knowing they're compensated among the best in the industry.
  • If someone sucks: They'll leave quickly to a suckier company, knowing they can make more with less effort.

Ta-da: You've just automated your system to retain only all-stars for today/tomorrow/next-year/yadda/yadda. Yay for yo badass.

Divide, then conquer.

 

Posted on April 12

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Scenario: "Dude, I set a goal, then I never achieve it. Then I set another, then still no success. Mutha-ahh!" Like most people, Andy Bobby chooses super-ambitious goals -- then wonders why he never achieves 'em:

  1. "Make the NBA."
  2. Goal scratched.
  3. "Win American Idol."
  4. Goal scratched.
  5. "Build a billion dollar business."
  6. Goal scratched.
  7. "Be a $20 million Hollywood actor."
  8. Goal scratched.

It's awesome Bobby's going for super-crazy goals -- as he should. But, here's the problem:

  • He's trying to climb Everest with one step.
  • He's trying to throw a Hail Mary on every pass.
  • >He's trying to win the Nobel Prize with a grade school education.
  • He's trying to marry a hot stranger off the bat.
  • He's trying to build Rome in a day.

(We'll get to the solution soon.)

Check Yo-Self Before You Wreck Yo-Self

Put-into-practice-time:

  1. Count back to your last 5 ambitious goals.
  2. Count how many times you achieved those goals.

What'd you get? For most of us, it's a big-fat ZERO. We couldn't achieve our super-ambitious goals because:

  • a) we sucked
  • b) we were unmotivated
  • c) we tried to climb Everest with one step

Answer (c)? Yup, yup: it's not that we suck or that we feel unmotivated -- it's that: Staring at "Super Ambitious Goal A" is like staring at Everest from ground-level -- while thinking we need that one special step to get there. So what do we do?

  1. We wait until it's the "perfect" time to take that one "perfect" step to climb atop Everest.
  2. But, that "perfect" time never comes.
  3. So, we drop the super-ambitious goal -- and shoot for a new one.

And, that vicious cycle horrendously continues, until we give up altogether -- thinking: "Hey, I just suck at accomplishing goals!" But Badass, you're not. You just haven't found how to accomplish your super-ambitious goals.

What's The Solution?

Instead of seeing your ultimate goal as just one individual goal, break the sucka down. See that ultimate goal as a series of mini goals -- goals that you can achieve by tomorrow (or today/next-hour/next-minute -- something super soon). That way, you tell yourself: "Hey, the goal ain't so impossible after all! I can achieve that sucka by tomorrow! Yay!" And if you find yourself failing Goal XYZ by [goal date here], break the sucka down again -- and again -- and again, until that [mini-goal] is "oh-so-certainly achievable" by the following day. Sexy rule of thumb: The more mini-goals you incorporate into your ultimate goal, the likelier you'll achieve that ultimate goal.

Consider Billy's $100K Goal

Billy wants to build a $100,000 business in a year. Instead of setting his goals like most peeps:

  • January: I can start on that goal next month.
  • February to August: I can start next month.
  • September: Now it's too late! Better choose a goal for $20K.
  • October: I can start next month.
  • November: Whoops, too late! Better choose a goal for $5K.
  • December: Uh-oh.

He incorporates sweet-compact-mini-milestones achievable through a step-by-step fashion:

  1. Billy: "To build a $100K biz, I'll break it into $10K increments."
  2. Billy: "To build a $10K biz, I'll break it into $1K increments."
  3. Billy: "To build a $1K biz, I need to find 5 customers."
  4. Billy: "To find 5 customers, I need to find at least 20 leads."
  5. Billy: "To find 20 leads, I need to hire a solid lead generation firm. I can do that by tomorrow!"

Ta-da! And if Billy for some reason can't find solid lead generation firm, he'll break down that goal even further:

  • Billy: "To hire a solid lead generation firm, I need a list of several firms."
  • Billy: "To get that list, I'll need a local business directory. I can get that by tomorrow!"

The second sexy rule of thumb: You know that you're setting fabulous mini-goals if you can achieve them by tomorrow.

And When You Don't Achieve Those Goals...

If you find yourself not achieving your goals, take that as vital clues: Your goals are too-ambitious-too-soon, and should be broken down into more bite-sized chunks -- such that you're positively answering: "I achieve this by tomorrow!"

Take a bite out of your ambitious goals. Win.

 

Posted on April 11

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Scenario: "We gotta read more business books to find new ideas! Yay!"

  1. Gordy wants to improve his business.
  2. Gordy wonders what else he needs to improve his business.
  3. Gordy searches for the greatest business books in the world.
  4. Gordy learns about disruptive marketing.
  5. Gordy incorporates the initiative into his business.

We get so caught up in looking for the "next-quick-fix" for our broken businesses -- that we forget what would help it most: Focus on the frickin' basics of running a business.

What are The Basics?

It's what Henry Ford, Walt Disney, David Packard, Charles Walgreen, and Sam Walton focused on decades ago:

  • Consistent cash flow.
  • Fattened profit margins.
  • Increased monthly profits.
  • Improved employee morale.
  • Quicker customer response times.
  • Better customer service scores.
  • Increased referral numbers.
  • Keeping customer promises.
  • Yadda.

In other words, instead of looking outside for quick-fixes, start looking inside to improve your business.

How to Improve those Basics

Your accounting statements are your best friends. Account your shizzle, then freakishly improve those basic financial variables over time (e.g. year/month/week/day/etc.):

  • Net Profit
  • Cash Flow
  • Expenses
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Inventory
  • Assets
  • Liabilities

Basics, basics, basics -- not too sexy, but they'll ridiculously empower your business.

The Rule of Thumb

If Henry Ford didn't employ some business practice, it's probably not too useful. Running a fabulous business is nothing new -- although you wouldn't know it by the plethora of business ebooks floating around; so, don't be tempted by the next business bestseller/article/solution that promises those quick-fixes.

Rock the basics. Focus inside.

 

Posted on April 10

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