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Superstar corporate executives need to act like professional athletes by strengthening their muscles. Why? Increasing physical strength gets you more energy to be more of the badass that you are, daily. According to Jim Loehr, physical energy is the fundamental source of your energy:
The most fundamental energy is physical energy. Most people fail to understand that energy comes in only through the physical dimension of nutrition and without nutrition we cannot continue to work in the world.
Sure, you might think you're strong enough. But when you stop stressing your muscles, they atrophy. That kills you from getting the energy you need to perform your work fully. As a rule of thumb: The more you increase your physical strength, the more fundamental energy you'll have, the more productive you'll be.

So how do you do increase your physical energy?

A Harvard Medical School article recommends lifting weights in repetitions, where you're stressing the last rep:
A strength program usually involves lifting a weight eight to 15 times (or repetitions), taking about six seconds per repetition. You can use free weights (barbells or dumbbells) or weight machines. The weight should be heavy enough to make the final repetition fairly difficult.
If that last weight is not getting difficult for you, start increasing the weight load. Try to work as many muscles as you can. You'll be a strength-training badass in no time. The template:

"To be a complete badass at what I do, I need physical training too."


Posted on September 16

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Scenario: "Dude, people will revolve their lives around our amazing Web 2.0 invention when we build it. We'll segment customers, plan product pricing strategies, have market plans, write comprehensive business plans, and do whatever else we need to do to make our billions. Yay!"

It's the "How can we cheat people into buying our products?" approach.

Instead of trying to seek solutions to help people, the innovators seek ways to "cheat" the mutha flucka out of customers -- so they can earn their billions. (Okay, we call it "cheating". The so-called business experts call it "strategic planning".)

Oh no, they didn't!

So trying to seek their billions, the "innovators" start "thinking" what customers will buy. Then, they build products they "think" will make them their billions. As a result of the one-dimensional mindset, those so-called "innovative" inventions force users to change their lifestyles, instead of -- drum-roll -- actually helping them.

Super bad approach.

The reality: You can't change habits people have formed their entire lives; you can only improve their already splendid lives. Says Harvard's Clayton Christensen:
A business plan predicated upon asking customers to adopt new priorities and behave differently from how they have in the past is an uphill death march through knee-deep mud. Instead of designing products and services that dictate consumers' behavior, let the tasks people are trying to get done inform your design.
What then is the secret to kick-ass innovation?

Just help people.


Posted on September 15

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Scenario: "Dude, I just delegated. But the work sucked, so I had to intervene. Then, it turned out great. Yay!" Yesterday, we talked about delegating your tasks to your employees. Delegating saves you time, gets your better results, and increases company productivity. We forgot to mention:

Yet, if you've ever delegated, you probably felt a sense of "suckyness".

That is, you thought your employee's work kind of sucked, so instead of fully delegating that work and accepting the results as is, you continued your hand-holding as before:

  • "You did a good job, but that's not how I want it done. You need to do this, this, that, and this," you say.

Then when you fixed whatever your employee did, you felt the work went super well. And, that wouldn't have been possible without your intervention. It's the whole "My-baby-is-cuter-than-yours" mindset -- though the other baby may actually be cuter.

We call it the uh-oh mindset.

Because you intervened in your employee's work, that rarely means you produced better results. As humans, we overestimate our abilities:

  • I run a better business than you.
  • I play basketball better than you.
  • I cook better than you.
  • I sing better than you.
  • I learn quicker than you.
  • I have more dedication than you.
  • I communicate better than you.

Unless it's indisputably distinguishable, you'll always say you kick more ass. Why? It's rooted in our psychological minds, according to gurus Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Cialdini:

One of the most widely documented effects in social psychology is the preference of most people to see themselves in a self-enhancing fashion. As a consequence, they regard themselves as more intelligent, skilled, ethical, honest, persistent, original, friendly, reliable, attractive, and fair-minded than their peers or the average person. On the job, approximately 90% of managers and workers rate their performances as superior to their peers.

So when you're intervening into your employee's work thinking you're producing better results, you probably aren't.

The famous "delegation" process:

  1. John studies design his entire life.
  2. He goes to a renowned art school.
  3. You have him design your brochure.
  4. He designs a kick-ass one.
  5. You think it can be improved, so you tell him what to change.
  6. You practically redo the entire thing.
  7. John does what you say.
  8. John now thinks the brochure looks like crap.
  9. You think you just produced the sexiest brochure in the world.
  10. The world laughs at your fugly brochure.

It's in the study: People overestimate their abilities like a mutha flucka.

Says gurus Porras and Cialdini in a joint study on delegation:

One reason that it may be difficult for managers to delegate responsibility is that they may perceive work produced without their direct intervention as inferior to comparable work produced under their direction. In the present study, participants viewed the same print advertisement as superior when they apparently had more individualized supervisory involvement in the process that produced it. Similarly, they evaluated their supervisee's abilities and their own managerial effectiveness more highly as well.

Use Our Tip

Our not-yet-famous 3 points to help your delegation skills:

  1. Know that your employee probably does a better job than what you can do.

    If have the right person in the right spot, they likely have more training, more knowledge, more background, and more passion than you. 99% -- or some freakishly high percentage -- they'll produce better results than you ever, ever will.
  2. Get out the way.

    The minute you start altering their work, you start demotivating them -- and then you transition the work from "John's work" to "my work". People love stuff they "own", so if you're removing ownership from them, expect mediocre results. Instead, empower the living ^@!$ out of them. Sit back, and see their magic.
  3. Accept the results.

    According to those "business academics" and self-described "business experts," here's a seemingly "whacked position" on our part: Even if you think the results are crummy, just accept the results. Move on. Why? First, the results are supremely better than you think. Second, don't get into the perfectionist mode -- that totally kills precious time and energy; if the results will do for now, you can always improve it later. Third, keep moving forward like the badass adventurer that you are. One of the best lessons we've learned in the business world is to keep moving forward.

But What if the Results Sucked?

If you're absolutely, totally, without-a-doubt sure the results sucked, you'll have two options:

  • Move the employee somewhere else.

    Either that's to another position, or to another company completely. You want people who you won't need to hand-hold. That increases the quality of the results, and more important your company and personal productivity.
  • Find somebody else to improve the situation.

    You want somebody who can see a destination point, and find the best way to get there themselves. Like one of our favorite guru once said, the moment you feel like managing them, they're probably in the wrong position.

Delegate as fully as you can. The moral in six words:

Delegate. Trust. Like a $^@^.

Posted on September 14

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Scenario: I'm working day and night like a mad person. Deep down, I want work less, but freakishly boost performance at the same time. That's impossible, I know. Not if you're a badass businessperson.

Peep this scenario:

You're running your monthly biz magazine that's raking in good cash. You're writing 10 articles in each issue, and you're feeling some pressure to continue your pace. Now, you have two options:

  • Option 1: Continue writing the 30 articles.
  • Option 2: Hire writers to take the load off you.

Option 1 lets you keep all the money you make, whereas you'll have to pay your writers if you choose Option 2. Most business owners continue with the Option 1 mindset. That is, they get in the "I-have-to-keep-all-the-money-I-make" attitude. But the consequences with this mindset:

  • It leads to burnout.

    Incessantly working without resting depletes your energy reserves, according to Jim Loehr. Without delegation, you have to continue working to achieve the results you've built. It's as if you're a mouse trapped running on an exercise wheel that never stops. (You probably know what will eventually happen.)
  • It gets bad results.

    Ever felt the entrepreneurial burnout? What happened? If you were like us, you probably experienced disastrous outcomes. You tried to please everybody by doing everything, but ended up pleasing nobody. An over-worked, burnt out brain produces horrible results.
  • It kills potential profits.

    It's the 80/20 rule we were talking about earlier. If you're confronted with a $5 task or a $500 (both taking the same amount of time to do), you take the $500 task. But without delegation, you're forced to do the $5 task, instead of pursuing more $500 tasks.

So whenever you're confronted with the above situation, we urge you to choose Option 2. Option 2 maintains your entrepreneurial energy, your ridiculously cool results, and fattens your profits.

That is, delegate your work.

So how do you delegate?

  1. Hire passionate people who are super good at what they do.

    ...and who are super better than you at doing whatever your company needs done. When people love their work, their productivity goes off the roof. Here's an illustration: Right now, think of something you do that you absolutely love. Now, picture your best friend's brother doing the same thing. Chances are, you do it 20x better, quicker, and sexier than your he ever have or ever will.
  2. Provide a destination -- but not a car, a map, or a GPS system.

    That is, provide an end point and the necessary resources to get there, then get the $^@%^ out of the way.

    If you have passionate people working on things they excel at, they'll find a better way to the destination than you ever will.

    That not only increases kick-ass performance, but also increases your time to work on something else. Says Stephen Covey:
    Find out what each of your direct reports does best and loves doing most, then marry their unique talents and passion to the job's needs. With passion, people don't need supervision: They'll generate creative solutions to problems on their own.
  3. Then, start empowering and designating your employees as badass leaders -- not subordinates.

    To paraphrase The Change Agent's Patti Hathaway, denoting someone as a leader drives that person to do whatever's necessary to achieve kick-ass results. Empowerment drives people to seek the best solutions, the best books, the best people to solve their problems. They won't come to you incessantly with the incessant "Is this what you want?" So when an employee asks you: "Is this okay?" -- in most cases, don't decide; instead, let the person judge work him/herself. That gets the person into thinking like a badass leader who produces ridiculously sexy results.

As a rule of thumb, remember: the more you delegate, the more you boost your productivity. At Trizzy, we constantly find ways to increase our delegation time. Here's a rockin' template to get you started:

"_______ is freakishly more passionate and freakishly better than me at: _______ . I will delegate the work to this person to increase company productivity, as well as my productivity by also letting me focus on what I do best: _________."

Posted on September 13

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9/11 taught us what a great, resilient America we have. On this day five years ago, America showed the world how resilient it can be. Great organizations don't falter in the face of turmoil. Instead, they use it as fuel to empower themselves and their world.

In your business and your life...

You'll experience failures and tragedies. You can emerge utterly devastated. Or, you can emerge with an empowered mindset to change your world.
Posted on September 12

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Scenario: Dude, if we're going to build a great business from scratch, we gotta work 120 hour weeks. If we don't do it, we're screwed out of our Porsches. Yay!" For most entrepreneurs, a work day consists of:

  1. checking email: 2 hours
  2. reading the latest news on Drudge Report: 2 hours
  3. having a cross-town "business lunch meeting": 2 hours
  4. talking to "potential" customers: 2 hours
  5. slacking off -- a.k.a. "procrastination time": 6 hours
  6. doing work that contributes to the bottom line: priceless (okay, we're corny. 4 hours.)

In a typical day, entrepreneurs spend 20% of it directly contributing to their business' bottom lines. That is, a smart 20-hour work week would probably net them the same results as a 120-hour work week. So we're just going to say it:

Most self-described "120-hour workaholics" are just gigantic procrastinators.

The next time somebody tells you they're working 120-hour work weeks (and by "working", we mean working), you know one of two things:

  • They're the biggest procrastinators you know, or
  • They're freakishly nonhuman.

More likely, they're the former. Since you don't want to be part of the group that wastes 100 hours a week (time you could be spending enjoying non-work stuff like salsa dancing your hearts out), what do you do?

Use the 80/20 rule to decide how you'll spend your day.

Notice that 20% of your work day contributes to 80% of your bottom line. And, vice-versa. (We'll affectionately distinguish the two: "rock-star-time" and "sucky-time-wasters".) The key, then: increase the mutha flucka out of your "rock star time", and decrease your sucky-time-wasters. If going on sales appointments affects a chunk of your bottom line, increase time getting and attending those meetings. If checking email produces minimal sucky results, decrease time doing it.

Remember:

If you can find ways to reduce as much time with sucky-time-wasters, you'll dramatically see a boost in your productivity -- and your bottom line. The moral:

Seek more rock star time.

Posted on September 11

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Entrepreneurs have crazy sleeping schedules. One day, you're sleeping at 10 p.m. The next, it's 2:30 a.m. One complaint we hear from entrepreneurs: not getting a good night's rest.

Why Sleep Well

Sleep serves as the most important source for your energy -- and if you're not getting a proper amount, you're slowly but surely hurting your kick-ass business: When you lack sleep, your brainpower diminishes. According to the Harvard Medical School, try this to get a good night's rest:
  1. Stay on schedule.

    Go to bed and get up around the same time every day. The body's natural sleep-wake patterns, called circadian rhythms, can be disrupted by abrupt schedule swings. Maintaining a regular bedtime schedule helps train the body to sleep at the desired time.
  2. Make your bed a resting place, not a media center.

    Go to bed when you're tired, but if you find you can't sleep, get out of bed. Go into another room and watch television or read a book. When you're truly sleepy, go back to bed.
  3. Say "No" to Naps.

    If you nap during the day, you will require less sleep at night. This can cause insomnia, and your sleep times may become too brief to include high quality deep sleep.
And yes, follow those three points even on your crazy weekends. Once you can get in the rhythm of sleeping well (i.e. 8 hours!...you'll more than make up for the time, anyway.), you'll see your business kicking ass quicker, smarter, and more efficiently. Remember: Good sleep = Great business.
Posted on September 10

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We believe the most successful entrepreneurs are the most resilient. The ability to bounce back, to get up after you're knocked down, and to improve yourself after a tragic incident is the vital trait of somebody in charge of his/her own destiny.

Real-world examples.

The most successful companies and people propelled themselves off of failures.
  • Apple did it with its Lisa computer.
  • Colonel Sanders did it with 1000 rejections to his secret sauce.
  • USC's Pete Carroll did it with his past coaching failures.
And the list goes on, and on.

It's an awesome trait.

Resiliency is one of the traits we admire most in people. Because entrepreneurs will fail much more than they'll succeed, developing resiliency is a must. So how do you do it? According to psychologist Hara Estroff Marano, always think your cup is "half full":
Reframing is at the heart of resilience, a way of shifting focus from the cup half empty to the cup half full. You can reexamine your life story to see how heroic your acts had been as a child. You go back to an incident, find the strengths, and build self-esteem on the achievement.
Use our cheesy template:

"The more failures I have, the more successes I'll find."


Posted on September 09

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Scenario: A year ago, John started his business with a super gung-ho let's-change-the-freakin-world attitude. One year later, he's averaging grueling 80 hour work weeks, taking zero vacations. He's now become a robotic working drone, he's bored, he sees his job as a chore, and he's getting irritated with everybody. He suffers from the classic entrepreneur's burnout.

How do you really know if you're suffering from burnout?

Harvard Medical's Harry Levinson says a burnouts show:

  1. chronic fatigue
  2. anger at those making demands
  3. self-criticism for putting up with the demands
  4. cynicism, negativity, and irritability
  5. a sense of being besieged
  6. hair-trigger display of emotions

The Entrepreneurial Cycle

Most entrepreneurs start with bright, shining, super-dope ideas to change the world. Yet, after a year, they shatter their dreams with an exhaustive work life. If you've had your business for at least a year, you probably know the burnout we're talking about. We've experienced it numerous times, and we always had to remove ourselves from our jobs to deal with our burnouts. Here's what helped us:

  • Give Yourself Frequent "Mini" Vacations

    A study by Tel Aviv's Mina Westman showed that vacations lose their beneficial effects after three days of returning to work (yes, 3 days!). Instead, she recommends: "Since respite from work decreases burnout, the more respites you get, the greater the benefits." At Trizzy, we take frequent "mini" vacations every three weeks to clear our cluttered, stressed, out-of-whack minds -- and restore our minds, bodies, and energies. It's a rinse-and-repeat process.
  • Get a Support Group

    Whether it's a group of college buddies, older business mentors, a significant other, your parents, your church, or even your dog, get a sweet support system that guides you in your rocky entrepreneurial world. If Henry Ford, Martin Luther King Jr., Sam Walton, Bill Gates, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and Albert Einstein needed kick-ass support groups to build their organizations, you probably do too. A support group lets you vent your personal frustrations, offers super sexy advice, and acts as your totally crazy cheerleaders. It builds your morale, your self-esteem, and gives you the confidence to kick-ass today, and everyday like a badass that you are.
  • Talk to Your People and Your Clients

    Yeah, dealing with burnouts mostly involves getting away from work. But, the best way to attack a problem is confronting it head-on. As the Harvard dude said above, people who experience burnouts believe everyone is out there to get them. Normally, the problem lies in miscommunication. To remove that barrier, freely air your feelings to your people and your clients. Tell them why you're stressed with work, with life, with them. (But do it in the nicest way, imaginable.) They'll pleasantly surprise you by un-stressing your world.

And don't forget our secret to it all:

Smile like a mutha $^@!.

Posted on September 08

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Scenario: Manager Joanne tells Employee Sammy that he needs to improve here _______, here _______, and here _______. Next month, she does the same thing. Next year, she does the same thing. And it won't stop, ever. Yes, it's awesome Joanne's trying to improve her organization by recognizing her employee's weaknesses. Doing it is necessary if you're evaluating an employee in a certain position. But, it doesn't go far enough.

Why Most Employee Evaluations Suck

What Joanne doesn't know is that she probably needs an evaluation herself. As the typical manager, she sucks. Most employee evaluations focus on repairing a person's weaknesses. With good hearts, managers make fruitless attempts to transform weaknesses into all-world strengths. Converting a weakness into a strength rarely -- if ever -- happens, and therefore, managers produce mediocre results from their employees. What do you do instead?
  • Recognize weaknesses. But, focus on their strengths.

    20-year old Michael Jordan is sucking at baseball. You're his father, personal manager and decision-maker. You tell him he sucks at baseball, but you don't tell him how to improve. Instead, you know his world-class talents lie in basketball -- so you steer him toward that path.

My Employees = Michael Jordans?

Everybody has inner-Michael-Jordan-talents hidden inside of them. Your job as a manager is to not only recognize weaknesses, but steer employees away from those weaknesses, and tap those strengths that will benefit your company -- and the employee. We'll leave you with the following point:
  • Recognize that everything is your fault if something goes wrong.

    If an employee is under-performing at a position, know that it's your fault. You either:
    1. didn't provide the necessary resources
    2. didn't provide enough training and guidance,
    3. probably placed the employee in the wrong position, or
    4. incorrectly hired/kept-on somebody who can't benefit the company.
As a manager, you're in control of everything. Once you become accountable to everything that affects you and the company, you'll be that much closer to becoming a kick-ass manager who makes freakishly wise decisions. Here's a template to get your started:

"Sammy, you really suck at your assembly job, dawg. So, I won't let you suffer doing that. Since I know you're a ridiculously fabulous communicator, I'll put you on the front lines as a customer rep. I have a good feeling you'll kick ass."


Posted on September 07

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