Monday, October 16, 2017

Focus on Accomplishing Your Annual Goals this Fourth Quarter

fourth quarterBefore we knew it, we blinked and fourth quarter is upon us. Summer’s in the wind, and autumn is in already heading into full swing.  Calendars are changing. Next year’s plans are being made. And people are paying attention to what it’s going to take to achieve the end of year goals. Did you do what you wanted to do?  Did you achieve your milestones? Or do you still have miles to go?

It’s about that time.  Leaders are in full scale acceleration mode to pull out the stops and screech into the new year with kudos all around.  I’ve got you covered to help make it AH-Mazing – with a side order of fun.

 

First, do yourself and your team a favor:  Watch this (old) interview with the fabulous News at Sunrise Anchor Eve Tannery where we shared fourth quarter strategies on her show. It’s on the money.

 

Second, take a few minutes to watch my video on the 10 ways you can make the most of the remainder of the year.

 

This video will help answer:

  • How do I make my fourth quarter the most productive of the year?
  • How can I reach my annual goals with only a few months left?
  • How do I keep my team focused during fourth quarter?

 

Lastly, implement these steps to ensure absolute focus and attention is paid to those goals and priorities you wish to accomplish throughout the remainder of the year.

 

1. Monday Makeover: Give yourself a 15-minute head start on this week’s activities, so your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and you’re absolutely ready for anything. Meetings?  Totally cool.  Performance reviews? You’ve got this. Appointments?  Locked and focused.  Deadlines and deliverables?  You’re a master.  Next take a glance at the month ahead and prioritize your pipeline.  Might it take more than 15 minutes? Maybe. Once this is a habit?  You’ll breeze through with ease.

 

2. Money talks: Here’s to conquering the Achilles’s heel of many business professionals. Watch those financial targets and keep them in your sites to remind yourself weekly of the last quarter results that are your responsibility. Mine are printed above my desk and on my phone for daily accountability!

 

3. Gaps & Goals: Now’s the perfect time to rock a gap analysis of where you are vs. where your GOALS said you’d be at this time. Deep dive to see and understand what’s necessary to bridge that gap if your revenue, productivity, prospecting or sales aren’t where you want or need them to be.  THAT will become the foundation of your plan of action for the next three months.

 

4. Hustle & Grit. Ever hear that saying, “No grit—no pearl?” Now’s the time to hunker in and fire up your internal urgency to close deals, follow up on proposals, add value to clients and make hit the phones and connect with that client base.  Watch goals daily, weekly and monthly and monitor them like your business depends on it.  Because it does.

 

5. Less is MORE.  Meetings are necessary, check! But time? Is of the absolute essence. So pare down. Make sure they are time-efficient team meetings that are NO longer than 20-40 minutes, tops, with agendas and clear objectives.

 

It’s never too late to focus on this year’s objectives and pay attention to what matters most. Grab the most from this quarter and tap into these power strategies and focus your attention on what really matters to you and your success.

 

The post Focus on Accomplishing Your Annual Goals this Fourth Quarter appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Maximize Productivity with Join Up Dots Podcast Interview

If you seek ways to educate yourself, improve your business, maximize productivity and learn from leading industry experts on ways to enhance your confidence in business, tune into Join Up Dots. In this episode, I help share my secrets for focusing attention on tasks to achieve maximum productivity. Listen in for my secrets, then check out Join Up Dots for more tips from the pros.

Today’s guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast interview, is a lady who can get more done in a day than most people get done in a week.

Actually Neen James can get more done in a hour than others do in a week.

She is a master at productivity and blitzing though piles of work at a rate of knots, and ensuring she gains maximum results from her work too.

But don’t think that this a lady who burns the candle at both ends, and just works harder than most.

Neen James looks amazing, seems to have more energy than most, and can often be seen whizzing around on her Harley Davison, or searching for another pair of shoes for her expanding collection.

She loves her life, she loves her job, and she loves getting out in front of people and presenting her time saving strategies to the world

With a strong background in learning and development and managing large teams at various corporations, Neen is the perfect fit for organizations wanting a presenter and keynote speaker to provide implementable strategies to maximize productivity, save time, increase focus and help their people get more done.

Not the kind of stuff that you might have seen time and time again, when the work management takes as long as doing the job in the first place.

But practical stuff that can make a huge difference.

Neen James is the author of eight business books including “Folding Time, Secrets of Super-Productivity, Strategic Networking and Network or Perish” to name just a few.

So what is about this Australian lady, that has made her see that there is so much wasted time in life, and for the most we are simply doing the wrong things at the wrong time?

And why has she left her home in Australia, which is one these places that so many would die to live in, and now has two homes, the other being in America.

Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Neen James.

 

Show Highlights

During the episode we discussed such weighty topics such as:

How many people told her that she had to get voice training when she first started out, and she ignored them all to remain authentic to herself.

How she watched Forrest Gump on a plane, and still thought “Can I invest enough time in this…or should I be doing something more productive?”

Why it is so important to have a plan going into each job, and why she shares how important the 3,6,9,12 system has been to her success.

How she would interview people in her office over a cup of coffee to ask them what she needs to do to get a certain role, or many times their role!

And lastly…..

Why she feels a huge belief when she goes into anything that she is going to be successful in life, and loves the belief that she has in herself.

The post Maximize Productivity with Join Up Dots Podcast Interview appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Your Attention Please… Who Should You Listen To?

Sometimes it can feel like you are surrounded by people eager to give advice, feedback and input. I think it’s that way for a lot of people, and it can be hard to sort out WHICH source is best to listen to.

 

Today I received a sweet email that surprised me. I attended a program to develop my speaking skills, and this person commented about my investment in myself, given my current speaking business. That really got me thinking.

 

I invest in my speaking skills every year. Whether by attending a program like Red Thread Retreat, by TEDx Cambridge producer and really cool chick Tamsen Webster, or attending conferences and events hosted by the National Speakers Association, or learning from other professionals in the industry. Continuous learning is something I crave.

 

However, I’m VERY selective of who I let speak into my life. And you may want to be as well. Here’s why… Feedback in our world today is constant, but for those thinking that ANYONE can, or should give you feedback? I disagree.

 

When asked, “Can I give you some feedback?”, my response is often, “Not today”. Not because I don’t care, not because I don’t want to improve, but because that person hasn’t earned the right to give me feedback. I know who is and isn’t qualified to speak into my life. I regularly seek them out. They are experts in their field. People who know me. People I trust to have my best interests at heart. Some I hire when requiring specific expertise. Others I listen to on podcasts, read their books and even a few I have on speed dial. I’ll let you wonder as to who is who!

 

Here are some of my favorite people to pay attention to when tuning my skills:

 

For my speaking practice:

  • Michael and Amy Port – founders of Heroic Public Speaking and great performance coaches.
  • Lou Heckler – a great speech coach and friend. An annual visit to Lou is a treat to immerse myself in getting better at my craft and creating new stories for my audiences.
  • Nick Morgan – another great speaking coach and I read his blog Public Words
  • Scott Stratten – great friend whose speaking model I greatly admire. I especially love the passion he has for his wife and family in our sometimes-challenging business.

 

For my fitness:

  • On Air with Ella – her podcast is my most favorite for health and wellness and mental wellbeing. Oh, and she makes me laugh. (What a bonus that is!)
  • Jennifer Jacobs – owner of JMethod Fitness and instructor with Peloton. She’s also my personal trainer. Her kind spirit and her fierce body are an inspiration to me. She’s part drill sergeant and part the glamorous BFF you just want to sip champagne with!
  • Coach Dave – owner of Road2Running who taught me how to run and sends me weekly mileage challenges to keep training. I am currently training for a hilly Half marathon in Napa (#traininghalfcrazy).

 

For style and all things well dressed:

 

I trust these people to give me input. To share their insights. To tell me what I need to hear… not just what I want to hear. I’m hoping you have some crazily amazing people like them in your life too. The kind that can be straight with you and who lift you higher while they’re at it.  Ask yourself, “Who do I listen to? Who are my favorite sources of advice and inspiration?” Make sure whoever has your ear also has your back. When you find those kind of people, keep them close and nurture that relationship with all you have. They are keepers.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Oh, and if your team needs a champion to help give the kind of feedback and tools they need to sharpen their own skills and move to the next level? Give me a call. Let’s see where I can help.

The post Your Attention Please… Who Should You Listen To? appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What a 5-Year Old Can Teach You About Listening and Why You Must Pay Attention

We’re told from a very young age to pay attention. From our parents. Teachers. Then bosses and gurus.  But I don’t think it means what we think it means. At least I don’t after a very smart lesson from my young friend Donovan.

 

I was sitting in the kitchen having coffee with my next-door neighbor Eileen, while her 5-year-old son Donovan, dressed courageously in his Superman costume was engaged in quite a heated debate about why he couldn’t wear his costume to school.

 

He kept inserting himself into our conversation. He was continually asking me questions:

 

“Neen do you like to play outside or in?”  OUTSIDE. “Neen, cats or dogs?” CATS! “Neen, Obi Wan or Yoda?” YODA of course!

 

Then he said, “Neen you’re not listening to me!” I replied, “YES, I AM, HONEY.” He assured me I was not, then jumped in my lap, grabbed my face in his tiny little hands, turned it towards him, and with great Superhero passion and intensity, he said the words I will never forget.

 

‘NEEN, LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES!”

 

He was FIVE. It took a 5-year-old to remind me, that we don’t listen with our ears, we listen with our eyes, our hearts, and our souls — and I think that’s what it truly means to pay attention.

 

It’s a combination of all these things.

 

Too often, we pay attention to the to-do lists in our head.  Or we’re waiting to respond.
Or trying to work out what to say in response to someone, instead of listening intently.

 

To truly pay attention — or as Donovan says, listening with our eyes, — is being intentional. It’s holding our own agenda at bay. It’s looking someone in the eye. It’s being fully and absolutely present.

 

In that precious moment, Donovan helped me realize why it’s so important that we pay attention, and why our parents and our teachers and everyone, kept reminding us of this valuable life lesson. Intentional attention is a gift. One you give the people in your world, and one you give yourself.

 

It’s a game-changer in your relationships. From your friends and family to the people you work with, to the teams you lead, to the customers you support. Make the shift to be more INTENTIONALLY attentive. And watch as your business and life become much more AH-MAZING. Thanks Donovan!

 

Want to learn more about how ATTENTION PAYS? Give us a call today to learn how we can help your team pay attention to what REALLY matters – and how that will help your business skyrocket.

 

The post What a 5-Year Old Can Teach You About Listening and Why You Must Pay Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Achieve Maximum Output – Learn the Best Times of Day to Pay Attention

Maximize OutputNeed to maximize output each day? Start by identifying the times of day it might be easier for your brain to make decisions, maximize output and be more productive by leveraging your undivided attention.

 

 

 

In our book Folding Time™, we share people have premium productivity work times. For morning birds you are most productive between 7 am – 1 pm, for hummingbirds you are 10.30 am – 3 pm and for night owls 2 pm – 8 pm. See there’s a really a time for everyone to focus their attention and maximize output!

 

Strategize in your most productive time – if you have decisions to make choose your most productive time. If you have a big project to do or a presentation to prepare for, choose the time your brain is most engaged.

 

Do routine activities in your least productive time – do you have maintenance type activities i.e. returning email, updating status reports that don’t require as much strategic thought? Leave those for another time of day.

 

Make your big decisions earlier in the day – Michael Breus, author of The Power of When, suggests saving big choices for one to three hours after you wake up. By then, you have shaken off any sleep inertia you might have. A study by Shai Danziger summarizes the results of 1,112 parole decisions heard over a 10 month period resulted in 65% more successfully paroled in the morning hours. Choose your best time to make important decisions.

 

Convert sales calls before the weekend and holidays – if you are working with a buyer to get decisions made on important deals consider Friday afternoons and also before major holidays. I have found the week before Thanksgiving is a great time to finalize outstanding speaking engagements for the following year and people pick up the phone on Friday afternoons. Hustle when others are relaxing.

 

We all get 1,440 minutes in a day. There is no such thing as time-management. It’s not about time management; it’s about attention management and strategizing ways to maximize output.

 

If you are a leader in your organization, provide employees an agile work environment that allows them to maximize output by working during the times of day they are able to focus most. Need ideas on how to create an effective, focused workforce? Watch this video and learn:

  • How to give employees freedom to create their workday structure
  • Allow employees to work in their most productive spaces and places
  • Provide flexibility to employees to work during their most productive hours

 

Know your best time of day to pay attention to what really matters.

The post Achieve Maximum Output – Learn the Best Times of Day to Pay Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maximize Joy in Others Giving Attention When it Counts

maximize joy

 

On Air with Ella is an ah-mazing podcast full of ideas to maximize joy in life by paying attention to what matters most. An inspiration for fitness, happiness and well-being, Ella interviews many professionals and uncovers the secret to success in business and life. Listen in to our interview and subscribe to her podcast. You won’t be disappointed.

Champagne Wishes,

Neen

What’s 4’10”, Australian, fiery in pink heels? My friend Neen James, most days.

We first heard from Neen in episode 008 where she shared work/life productivity strategies from her Folding Time series with us. She’s back in this bonus episode to share more quick, actionable tips to create connections that matter, deepen our relationships, maximize joy and make the most out of the limited time that we have.

In This Episode:

  • Click Here to Download the Life Balance Wheel Worksheet
  • Neen’s tips for “systemized thoughtfulness” and how we can associate activities with time blocks
  • Simple but powerful tips for letting people know you care – and that you’re PAYING ATTENTION! including…
    • hand written thank you notes
    • making eye contact
    • using people’s names
    • leaving notes for your loved ones
    • hanging up the phone before you walk into your home
    • “listening with your eyes”
    • weekly round-ups for your boss that promote you and your team
    • finding an accountability partner for any habit you’re trying to develop / improve
  • Neen’s been happily married for 27 years. She shares some of her secrets for making it work amidst a busy lifestyle
  • FREE DOWNLOAD! Get a sneak peek at Neen’s upcoming book content: Attention Pays! by Neen James

Additional Resources

  • I mention (again) Gretchen Rubin‘s fabulous book “Better Than Before” for finding out what style works best for you when you’re trying to form new habits
  • Want to work with Neen? She’s a powerful keynote speaker – you can learn more here
  • Neen has a book coming out in 2018! For now, you can get her best strategies on NeenTV

The post Maximize Joy in Others Giving Attention When it Counts appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Stop and Give Yourself 30 – Maximize Productivity with Early Morning Focused Attention

Maximize ProductivityHow do you set the tone and maximize productivity at the beginning of each day? Do you give yourself space to map things out or are you more of a wing-it kind of person? I believe how you START your day, sets the intention and momentum for how the rest of the day’s will transpire. When you begin with 30-minutes of focused attention to what really matters most –  that time will pay generous dividends by the end of the day.  

 

Here are strategies maximize productivity and ensure a successful day in the first 30 minutes:

  1. Turn OFF your phonesIt’s all right. That magical device that is glued to hands seemingly every waking minute of the day, delivering phone calls, chats, text messages and emails at an often-alarming rate does turn off. So does the desk phone! Take 30 minutes to create space for focus. It will all be there when you turn it back on. It’s just an hour. And there’s voicemail! If it’s important, they’ll leave a message or call back.  If you want to maximize productivity – turn off your phones. 
  2. Close your door. If you’ve got one. This sends a signal to your team (or your family if you are a work-from-home entrepreneur) that you are unavailable unless there is an emergency. If you are new to the practice, educate your team what procedures you want to have in place when your door is closed. Once everyone is on board that this is your time to create, get strategic, work a business plan, and map out your day, they’ll recognize the importance. Especially when they see the RESULTS.  If you are forced to work in an open environment, consider headphones. I used this technique in one organization, and people eventually got the idea that when your headphones are in, it’s the equivalent of a do-not-disturb sign.  
  3. Use smart time-blocking. My recommendations? Book all meetings to start after 9.00 am. If you’ve always had early morning meetings, this might be a tough change, but if needed, can you start your “clock” an hour earlier to ensure that you have a full 30 minutes to complete your planning?  
  4. Start off-site if possible.  Can you complete your 30-minute mindset and strategy session BEFORE you walk through your office doors? That way when you are actually in office – you hit the ground running. Once you’ve mastered this, teach your team. Once they’ve mastered it – your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will go through the roof. A study done by Ctrip shared that remote workers are able to complete 13.5% more than their comparable office workers. How’s that for food for thought. 
  5. Quit the clutter. Seriously. Inboxes. Coffee cups. Paperwork piles. These distractions are stealing brain bandwidth and steering your attention away from streamlining your day. Out with them!  Maximize productivity by decreasing visual distractions.
  6. Check off that early morning workout. If you can muster it, get your exercise out of the way first thing. Start small if you have (15-30-minute increments) but do start. You’ll feel like you’ve already checked one big daily goal off your to-do list! Cheers!  
  7. Nix the gossip in the bud. Honestly, gossip is one of the biggest time, energy, and productivity drains an organization can have. We Aussies call a gossip a “flibbertigibbet”. Studies show that 39% of workers admit that gossip and workplace chat are their biggest productivity killers. Another study conducted by Equisys also shared that the average employee spends 65 hours a year gossiping in the workplace! Cull this invasive “thief” from your company if you truly want to maximize productivity.  

 

Starting your day in planning mode will help you stay focused, on track, and set the right tone for not just your day – but that of those around you. Lead by example. Pay ATTENTION to the INTENTION you set for each day. Your productivity, profitability, and bottom-line results will reflect your efforts!  

 

Want to learn more about doing more in less time? Using time more efficiently? Boosting the productivity of your team? Invite me in to share some game-changing strategies, or take a look at my book Folding Time for more inspiration!

The post Stop and Give Yourself 30 – Maximize Productivity with Early Morning Focused Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Achieve Peak Performance – Pay Attention to YOUR Well-Being

Peak PerformanceSome of the smartest and most successful people I know understand in order to have the ability to work at peak performance levels requires incredible energy and stamina. To have that consistently, one has to schedule recovery time. It’s as important to your bottom line as landing that big client or making the next sale. Let this sink in:  According to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management, 85% of talent managers agree employees who use most (or all) of their vacation time are more productive and focused.  

 

See, part of taking care of yourself is being a champion for your own physical and mental well-being. That’s why you’ll see extraordinary leaders plan and take vacation down time. That means disconnection from responsibility, technology, and even emails! (That last one scared you a little, didn’t it? Studies show that over 50% of employees check work-related emails after hours, on vacation and during holidays. STOP.) While it’s not always possible to completely “unplug”, it should be a goal to use your down time as true time away. To replenish the mind and spirit. To shake out the cobwebs. Find new perspective. Renew energy levels. And make quality time to pay ATTENTION to loved ones the top priority.  

 

I read an article not long ago in Fortune Magazine that shared how Europeans think Americans are crazy because while they take up to six weeks of vacation per year, statistics show that US employees leave 429 million vacation days on the table annually. Interestingly 40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took vacations. Yet among those same senior managers, 72% said if offered unlimited vacation time they wouldn’t take it! What’ THAT about?  

 

If what you REALLY want is to be better at what you do, and have a better life while you’re doing it – try these three strategies for scheduling recovery and downtime:  

 

Plan early: One thing we do as a team, is review calendars at the first part of the year and plan a variety of trips during that year and might include cars, bikes, pool time or trips back to Australia to see family and friends. It’s a practice we have followed for many years to ensure the majority of vacations are scheduled to give us experiences to look forward to. Can you review your calendar and book time to enjoy something that you love to do with people you love being with? 

 

Create varietyLook for ways you can mix it up – with a variety of destinations, adventures and times of year based on your needs and budgets. I’m not a stay-cation kind of gal. My office is in my home (maybe you have one there too.) That means I would just work the whole time, so that doesn’t work for me. For some people, it works. Consider visiting a new spot, driving instead of flying, build in adventure, art galleries visits, or a walking tour of a city. With so many online tools to help plan your visit, you can leverage community events, support local initiatives and experience cities and towns in a completely new way. We often use the site HomeAway.com, as I prefer an apartment or a house than a hotel when traveling for extended stays. We have used this service around the world and have loved it every time. My career allows me the luxury of travel to incredible places staying in lovely hotels and yet some vacations the idea of getting on another plane or staying in another hotel. Can you and your family choose a new adventure in the next twelve months that everyone can help plan to enjoy a trip together? 

 

Go offline: This is the toughest ask for many of our clients (and me) but it’s not impossible! Can you create an out of office message that bounces back to manage email providing an alternative person to help while you are away? Can you stay off social media and instead focus all that time and attention on creating memories with those you love? I am a huge fan of a digital detox; your vacation is a great time to do that. 

 

Get outside.There’s something incredibly life-affirming about getting outdoors in beautiful new space. Think mountain hikes, a walk on a nature path, collecting shells on a beach, or catching fish on a lake. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel, how much deeper you sleep and how much healthier you feel on vacation when you invest time to be active while you are relaxing? 

 

Create memories: Truly, isn’t one of the biggest reasons we work so hard is to create a lifestyle for our loved ones? Keep this in mind – recovery time is not always just about your taking a break, it’s about taking the time to create special experiences with family and friends. It’s about connection. It’s also NOT negotiable for any leader who wants to excel. If you want to accelerate your leadership and be a productive contributor on your team? Take time off. You will be more fun to work with, more focused and energized and you will create memories with people you care about, and isn’t that the reason many of us work? 

 

Here’s my challenge to you: Pay attention to what matters. You, your health, and your loved ones all benefit from scheduled recovery, book yours today.  Need more convincing or ideas how you can achieve peak performance through regularly scheduled recovery time? Check out this video and learn how professionals can achieve maximum productivity results, focus and dedicated attention to goals and priorities through recovery time. 

 

Want to learn more about making the most of your time? Take a look at my book Folding Time. It’s a game changer!  

The post Achieve Peak Performance – Pay Attention to YOUR Well-Being appeared first on Neen James.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Multitasking is a Productivity Lie - How to Boost Productivity by Paying Attention


Watch video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/oIBrLdC3Gfs
via CHANNEL TITLE

Multitasking is a Productivity Lie - How to Boost Productivity by Paying Attention


Watch video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/oIBrLdC3Gfs
via CHANNEL TITLE

Book Review: HR on Purpose – 4 Ideas to Implement Immediately for Human Resources

Human ResourcesSHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), a brilliant organization contributing to the training and development of Human Resources, is fortunate to have Steve Browne in their membership. He is one of their most beloved members, generous, knowledgeable, and welcoming to anyone. If you have ever met him, you will agree with me.

 

 

Imagine my delight when I found his book, HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion in the SHRM bookstore while speaking at their annual eventHuman Resources

 

If you are in Human Resources, or manage people, this is a must-read. In it, Steve makes the powerful point that most companies struggle with communication and training. That’s SO true. In my work with media companies, credit unions, hospitals, pharmaceutical organizations and corporations of all sizes, I have seen and heard firsthand how these two elements can create chaos. Steve expertly addresses both and shares ah-mazing strategies for handling them and more.

 

It was a page-turner! Filled with funny stories, great examples, and practical solutions. I promise you will find it an easy read. If you are like me, you will probably dog-ear the pages so you can reference to come back later.

 

He makes so many great points it’s hard to list them all! Here a few of my favorites that are in line with our thinking about paying attention to what REALLY matters. See if you agree.

 

  • Culture is the number one reason employees stay or leave your company. He’s absolutely right.  To attract and keep great talent, you’ve got to get the culture part of the equation right.

 

  • Stop being transactional and start being strategic. This is one of my favorite Human Resources strategies. You have heard me often share that leaders to focus on strategy and help define a road map for their team to implement tactics. Sometimes tactics are more fun. Easier. Quicker to feel like you are crossing something off your list. Leaders need to focus on strategy first.

 

  • Surround yourself with positive people. In our book Folding Time we talk about VIPs (very inspiring people) versus VDPs (very draining people). We all need more VIPs in our life to help inspire and motivate us, especially on those hard days.  Leadership is lonely, having your own cheer squad or people that inspire you can make your days more productive.

 

  • Don’t say you are busy. I hate that phrase, so does Steve. Hate is a strong word (mine, not his). When I ask people how they are and they reply, “So busy”… they often don’t see my massive eyeroll. Everyone is busy. That’s life. That’s adult-ing. When I am asked that question I’d rather say, “Life is very full”. The brilliant Steve Browne agrees, he says, “I’m full”! I love that.

Need more convincing: watch my video to learn how this book can elevate your Human Resources organization or personal interaction with people in your department.

 

Human ResourcesIf you want to be more purposeful in the way you manage people, or if you are in Human Resources in any responsibility in any size company, this is a great resource for you. Buy it. Enjoy it and share it with your team.  Follow Steve and his great advice on Twitter.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share them with me here on the blog, or find me on social media as well.

The post Book Review: HR on Purpose – 4 Ideas to Implement Immediately for Human Resources appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, August 21, 2017

SHRM Annual Conference Paycom Break Room Podcast

SHRM Annual ConferenceEvery year, the Society of Human Resource Management SHRM annual conference is held so that HR professionals from around the world can gather and learn from industry experts, and share their experiences. Paycom attended the 2017 SHRM annual conference in New Orleans to meet with industry thought leaders, SHRM volunteers and conference attendees, and learn more about the latest workforce trends.

In this special SHRM Annual Conference HR Break Room conversation, Caleb talks with keynote speaker and author of Folding Time, Neen James, and the Oklahoma HR State Council Director-Elect, Mike Shaw. In this episode, we break down the SHRM annual conference different sessions and networking opportunities. Also, Neen talks about the premise of her book, and discusses why time management is out and attention management is in.

Paycom 2017 SHRM HR Break Room

In this special HR Break Room talk, the panel will discuss:

  • SHRM’s different sessions
  • the rich networking opportunities the SHRM conference offers attendees
  • the important distinction between managing time and managing attention

The post SHRM Annual Conference Paycom Break Room Podcast appeared first on Neen James.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Who is Your Pete? B Cellars Attention to Customers

B Cellars Extraordinary Customer Experience“Welcome to B Cellars,” she said with a huge smile.

 

It was one of those insanely hot days in Napa, in the middle of summer, and we were greeted with her kindness and a cold drink and informed our guide Pete would be with us shortly.

 

This relatively new vineyard and winery is a little oasis, located in Oakville, it was one of my favorites on our last trip. I love Napa. I love Sonoma. I love champagne… you could see how a weekend here is my perfect getaway.B Cellars Extraordinary Customer Experience

What struck me about the B Cellars vineyard was the level of attention they paid from the moment we arrived until we left with our delicious wines.

 

Not only were we greeted with the phrase, “Are you Mr. and Mrs. James?”… wait was I wearing a nametag? No. They were just that good.

 

Our tour guide Pete, came out to greet us and share the overview of the afternoon ‘experience’ as he called it. We were waiting for one other couple to join us, but let’s enjoy a nice Rosé while we wait! Yes, let’s.

 

When we entered this gorgeous glass and brick modern building it was complete with an open kitchen, elegantly placed merchandise, white linens, and multiple sparkling glasses on each table. While we were standing sipping our Rosé, the chef whipped up us a little morsel of fabulousness for each of us to try, I was sold!

 

 

B Cellars Extraordinary Customer Experience

Next, quick introductions, a refill of the Rosé, and then off to the gardens we went. Pete was enthusiastic as he explained the vines (all lovingly dedicated to different family members marked by plaques at the end of each row) and surrounded by olive trees for a little shade, it really is a pretty vineyard. Then he lovingly showed us their garden, so proud of growing a wide variety of herbs and vegetables used by the Chef to delight the taste buds of their guests.

 

As we walked towards the caves I was a little apprehensive (you may not know I am claustrophobic) but as the doors opened to the dark room filled with wine barrels, I felt totally at ease and even more adventurous. Wandering through the elegant space, it’s easy to be captivated. They had created special entertaining rooms for parties and events and Pete even opened a barrel for us to taste (clearly this is smart marketing–but I didn’t care, I loved it). We later purchased some of that same wine for when it is to be released later this year.

 

B Cellars Extraordinary Customer ExperienceWhen we returned to the main building we were seated to find menus customized with our names, and a series of great wine selections each accompanied by a handmade treat from the chef in the open kitchen. I was in heaven. I even commented that the crispy chicken leg might have been the best thing I tasted all day. Note: Not even a week later a thoughtful note was received from Pete that also included the recipe, he was definitely paying attention.

 

I love to travel. You could even say I travel like a brat. I love nice things. The thoughtfulness of the plating, the decision of which wine would best accompany what flavors, and then to have it all listed out for us to remember were just some of the thoughtful touches of this winery, B Cellars.

 

Did we join their wine club? Of course. I would put it up there in my top five places in the Napa area. If you are planning a trip, connect with Pete, book the wine and food pairing… you can thank me later.

 

It’s the little things that make a big impact. Knowing someone’s name (and using it throughout our visit), printing our name on a menu (no cost but big touch), creating an environment that felt relaxing and elegant all at the same time, having a passion for not only the wine, but also the story, the family, the grounds and the food. Pete created this experience. It only takes one person to make an impression.

 

In your business, who is your Pete? Who is your ambassador that makes your customers, clients, members feel like they are the most important person who has visited today.

 

Remember, attention pays.

 

If you’ve ever had a similar extraordinary experience as I did at B Cellars, I’d love to hear about it. Share it with me on social media or here on the blog!  If you’re eager to transform your own team into powerful ambassadors that create the conditions for customers to not only do repeat business with you – but leave glowing reviews such as this one, call me. Giving organizations the tools they need to make ATTENTION pay is exactly what I do.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

7 ATTENTION Saving Strategies to Manage Email Distractions

manage email distractionsCould you accelerate daily productivity with tips to manage email distractions? According to a report by McKinsey, 28% of a person’s workday is spent checking email.  Sound familiar? That’s over one quarter of your entire business day is allocated just to manage emails. It’s a wonder any of us get anything done. Studies show that 26% of employees admit email is their number one distraction, and I believe that.

 

Here’s what I’d like you to remember – emails are requests from other people who want YOUR time and ATTENTION to accomplish THEIR objectives. While it is, of course, a necessary form of communication – YOU get to set the terms of how it is used, putting YOU in control of your time. Your time is far too valuable to let others determine how you spend it. So, what’s a person to do?

 

Here are seven of my favorite strategies to manage email distraction:

  1. Invest 15 minutes. This is something I’m passionate about. I love breaking things down into manageable bits. Manage email in 15-minute increments. Set the timer on your iPhone, play a game and answer as many as you can. Then move onto a more strategic activity.
  2. Put a limit on it. According to a University of British Columbia study, to manage email distractions means limiting your reading of email to three times per day reduces stress and distractions by 47%, boosting productivity and focus. That’s huge!
  3. Unplug from the unwanted. Millions of people use me, which is a fabulous tool that allows you to unsubscribe from email subscriptions that are filling up your inbox. If you’re not reading them, skip that distraction, save yourself valuable time and just unsubscribe.
  4. Block it out. Freedom is a cool distraction management tool that I use on my Mac and iPhone to block social media sites and email. It’s kind of the internet version of a do not disturb sign and it’s ideal for creating focused, uninterrupted time when you’re looking to increase productivity. More than 450,000 people use this app across multiple electronics.
  5. Create short cuts. Text Expander is one of my fave apps on my Mac. It is so simple. By allowing you to load short cuts for regularly used responses, words, and templates, it can save an ah-mazing amount of time. If you find that you respond to emails with similar information on a regular basis, this app might be one of your new faves as well!
  6. Bounce them back. If you use Gmail, this one might be the answer you’ve looked for. Boomerang for Gmail is a great service to manage emails by allowing you to bounce emails back to you when you want to answer them and write emails and schedule delivery for another time. Helps to keep that inbox overwhelm at bay.
  7. To-Do list it. I haven’t tried it yet, but for fans of to-do lists, the Taskforce app sounds like a solution. It lets you transform your emails into tasks and comes with an automatic filtering feature.

 

Being a leader in today’s world means challenging the way you work, communicate, interact, and manage your time and talent. When you recognize how very valuable your hours are, you start to get protective of them. Fortunately, there are brilliant people out there creating new dynamic tools every day that can help us effectively streamline our workdays, so that we reclaim that mismanaged time and invest it making memorable moments by paying ATTENTION to the important people in our lives.  When you do? You will have more impact and influence at work, at home, and in your community. That’s a win-win-win for everyone!

 

If your emails have merely become a means in which to communicate to others, it’s time to make them a way you can genuinely connect. When your emails are elevated to be more personal, personable, connected and sincere, others will not only want to read them, they’ll enjoy doing so.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts or learn what tools YOU use to keep email distraction to a minimum. Share them with me on social media or here on the blog. If you would like to learn more strategies for helping YOUR team become more productive, profitable, and collaborative, check out my book Folding Time, or contact me today to bring my much-requested Folding Time keynote to your organization and learn how to achieve twice as much in half the time!

 

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Sunday, August 06, 2017

Creating a ‘Library Hotel Experience’ – The Difference is the ATTENTION to DETAILS

I love to travel. That’s not a secret. I also like to travel like a brat. Also, not a secret.

 

Recently I surprised one of my dearest friends Lesley with a trip to New York City. She’s a professor at Elon University and previously taught students to read. Her love of books made it easy for me to choose the hotel, the stunning Library Hotel.

 

If you haven’t ever heard of it, click here.  Located in midtown New York, The Library Hotel is in a prime spot! Just a 10-minute walk from Times Square and Broadway, and one block from Grand Central Station. With more than 6,000 books in their collection and each of the 10 floors themed after one of the designations of the Dewey Decimal System – it’s a book lover’s dream.  We stayed in 1206, the mythology room with a gorgeous view of the NYC Public Library. The second-floor guests are provided with snacks all day and a lovely breakfast each morning which was a treat. The rooftop bar was the perfect way to end a day with cocktails and a fabulous fun and funky buzz.

 

From the moment we made the reservation online until we checked out, this hotel did an exceptional job of paying attention online and in person.

 

Their online registration is easy and allows guests to share special occasions or add-ons they’d like in the room on arrival. So, of course, I added a few nice touches to our stay.

 

When you arrive (even if the room isn’t ready), they instantly make you feel at home, using names, opening doors, and offering guests an opportunity to get ‘refreshed’ in their special area on the second floor. This was absolutely one of my favorite spaces in the hotel with constant snacks, great coffee, delish breakfast, and afternoon cocktails.

 

As we arrived early, we took advantage of refreshments, a quick outfit change, stored our luggage, and then off for some fabulous shopping in SoHo, and lunch at my favorite NYC restaurant, Balthazar.

 

When we got back to check in and head up to our room, I was SUPER impressed… they had birthday card and gift for Lesley, a bottle of my favorite champagne (they must have been on my Instagram account) and then, wait for it… a note and a BOOK from Balthazar! The note and gift blew me away. I am hard to impress. Just so you know. But that was fantastic! 

 

This simple act of seeing my social media post, writing a note, sharing a book from a local place is the level of detail that has guests returning over and over again! Did I tweet about it? You bet I did! Did I post on Instagram? Of course! Would I highly recommend them? To everyone? Absolutely!

 

As a keynote speaker who specializing on helping people pay ATTENTION – and the value that attention can bring – to their businesses and lives — I travel the world sharing stories of how to be more intentional with our attention. I truly believe we need to give attention to get attention.

 

What can you do in your business to make your clients, customers, members, or patients feel like we did during our Library Hotel experience?

 

Use names – whenever possible, use people’s names. Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is the sweetest sound”. This attention-grabbing technique costs nothing, but the return is incredible!

 

Leverage social media – invest a few minutes and notice what your clients are saying and doing online. Can you do something to personalize their experience that will allow them to KNOW you paid attention? That doesn’t have to cost you anything except a few minutes to write a note.

 

Handwritten notes – I am a huge fan of this old-fashioned technique. In a digital world, it is analogue systems that get attention. Can you write a note to thank someone for their business? Write a thank you note to a team member for a job well done? Write a note to a patient and wish them a speedy recover?

 

Make it special – it was Lesley’s birthday. They knew it when I checked in and made sure to make it a memorable. What systems can you create to systemize thoughtfulness? Notes in your system? Post-it notes on a file? Fields in a database?

 

Here’s what I know… Because of the remarkable and thoughtful way the staff at the Library Hotel paid ATTENTION to me and my dear friend, I will most definitely return for another stay. I will share this story in my new book Attention Pays™. I will speak of this experience in keynotes around the world and I will be forever delighted by this fantastic experience.

 

What can you do to create a Library Hotel experience within your organization today? Attention pays. It really does. Want to learn more about getting YOUR team to deliver in memorable ways just as the staff at the Library Hotel does? Contact me today. I’ve got the answers you need!

 

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Impactful Sales with Exactly What to Say

impactful sales exactly what to sayWhen it’s your job to create impactful sales moments, serve customers and lead the teams that do, you’ll want to invest less than 60 minutes to read this book and gain thousands of hours of more influential conversations, Read Exactly What to Say by Phil Jones.  I promise it will take you less than an hour and yet you will refer to his examples and ideas constantly.

 

If you want people to pay attention to your conversations, close more sales, accelerate your customer experiences and achieve results that matter, this is the book to add to your reading list. Don’t’ just read it, buy a copy for your team and help them create more impactful sales moments and accelerate their leadership skills too. If you are in sales or leadership I highly recommend you invest in this book, full of wisdom and ideas.

 

Phil has distilled the most important concepts and phrases and made it easy for you so you can focus concentrated time and get the most benefit from the concepts presented. Exactly what to say is a brilliantly written, easy to read, easy to implement book that I will be recommending to all my clients.

 

Pay attention to your words because they can change the lives of the people you serve.

 

 

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Pay Attention to What’s Killing Productivity

killing productivity

Distractions. They’re everywhere. And for a lot of employers – they are killing productivity. A study done recently by CareerBuilder shared the top productivity roadblocks in the workplace.

 

 

 

  1. Cellphones/texting
  2. The Internet
  3. Gossip
  4. Social media
  5. Email
  6. Co-workers dropping by
  7. Meetings
  8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks
  9. Noisy co-workers
  10. Sitting in a cubicle

 

If you’re ready to increase your value in your workplace, reduce your stress level and knock your numbers out of the park production wise? Pay attention to these five strategies to stop killing productivity:

 

  1. Own it. That is, take a look at this list and determine where you fall in terms of what’s keeping you from accomplishing your daily goals. If you think your phone might be a contender, try the Moment app. It tracks just how much you are on your device and allows you to set limits for yourself so that you start to step away from the 24/7 phone attachment and step into a lot more being present and productivity.
  2. Be hyper-conscious to what is on your task list this week and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. What five things absolutely have to get done first? What can you delegate? What is just a time-waster and not vital to your vision? Knock those first things out first.
  3. Nix the Internet. Not for work-related productivity, but take a look at the Freedom app which blocks certain websites (including time-draining social media) and allows you to set controls so you can stay on task.
  4. Time-Block. The top producers are careful time managers. They purposely create space for tasks such as email review, for meetings, for social media, and even personal time. They set time (or as I like to say, fold time, so that they can work at their highest potential. Learn more about folding time here.
  5. Be clear. In some of the most productive workspaces I know of, team members get creative about sharing when they are in focus mode. Clearly communicating (without being rude, of course) when you are in “do not disturb” mode is vital. Some have signs up when they are on prospecting calls for example. Others use headsets to buffer the noise around them and signal they are “in the zone”. What are some ways you can communicate that you’re paying total attention to the task in front of you?
  6. Be mindful. Getting caught in a trap of office politics or gossip is bad for productivity, bad for business, and bad for your mindset. Make your workspace a no drama zone. Know that even if you’re not spreading the gossip, just participating makes you part of the unhealthy problem.

 

Pay attention to what’s pulling at you. What’s taking you away from bringing your best and brightest self to the workplace – and at home as well. Don’t let the deal-breakers get the better of you. Which of these strategies can you put in place today to change how you deal with distractions? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Want to teach your team how to effectively fold time and avoid distractions? Call me today to see how I can help!

 

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Fun Out of the Office = Focused Attention in the Office

summer funDo you want to get more focused in the summer?

Is your family outside playing and your friends are having fabulous summer fun while you’re stuck in the office?

Here’s a tip. If you really want to increase your productivity in the summer, consider booking in time — just for you and for play. That means, not working sometimes on a weekend. It means leaving your smartphone turned off over a weekend. Use the time for those you care about for true recovery time. That way when you are at the office you work really hard.

 

Often when I work with clients in the summer, they would rather be outside than inside. Can you consider closing the office earlier on a Friday or establish a flexible summer schedule? Maybe leaving a little earlier if you work in an office with others. Do this throughout the summer and encourage others to do the same. Everyone’s productivity will increase as a result of the extra time off to pay attention to fun, friends and family. You’d be ah-mazed to see how morale increases and focus skyrockets.

 

When you are home, on vacation or simply away from the office enjoying summer weather, don’t contaminate your relaxation. Put away distractions and encourage your team to do the same. Discourage leaders, peers and employees from emailing, or messaging after hours, allowing everyone to step away, both physically and mentally from work.

 

Lastly, when you’re out of the office, reduce the anticipatory anxiety that comes with returning to too much email. So often my my clients complain that they have way too much email and it discourages them from unplugging and truly stepping away from work. The reality is, email is part of doing the job. It’s not the job. So during the summer, if you want to increase the productivity of your email, use your ‘Out of Office’ function. If you are going to be out of your office for summer hours or if you are going to a conference or if you have long meetings for the day,  I encourage you to put an ‘Out of Office’ message on. This will increase your productivity is it will manage the expectations of people who get a bounce back from you.

 

Need ideas for how you can enjoy summer fun while maximizing productivity and focus in your office? Give me a call! I’d be happy to help.

 

Happy Summer!

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Put a STOP Sign on Speakers Going Overtime – (FAIR WARNING: Rant Ahead)

allotted speaking timeRecently I sat in the audience of professional speakers in Orlando to watch a talented speaker (and friend) deliver a fantastic speech called ‘Be Re-memorable’.

He’d worked on this speech for nine months. How do I know that? Because I was there the day he got the call and he’s been working on that material ever since. And he absolutely blew the audience away! He owned the stage because of his creative and carefully crafted content and the customized songs that he wrote for the occasion. He made us laugh and he made us cry.

 

He was the fifth speaker that morning (way too many—right?) after a Presidential handover. Then there were three speakers all with a fifteen-minute window to speak. So, what happened to my friend? He didn’t start… until he was supposed to finish.  That’s crazy. What frustrated me most was that as professional speakers — we KNOW better, but our audience doesn’t know how much time each person is allocated.

 

Here’s the thing: As a professional speaker I know how important the allotted speaking time is. I have offered MANY meeting planners in my career the option of shortening my presentation to offer to bring their agenda back on time. Everyone appreciates that and some have asked me to take the full time.

 

This poor audience were tired, biology reminding them they needed a break, and their attention spans were potentially fried. Little did they know he wasn’t the speaker who was going late, but he was the last speaker of the day, it would be easy to blame him for blowing past his allotted speaking time. No one told them.

 

It’s easy to blame the speaker. It’s easy to blame the meeting planner. It’s easy to blame the lack of emcee. The blame is with all of us.

 

Hosting events is a partnership. It’s an agreement between meeting professionals, main-stage speakers, AV crew, audience members, emcees, break out speakers, and hotel staff. EVERYONE needs to be in it together to create a memorable experience that keeps audiences coming back year after year.

  • The emcee’s major responsibility is to keep the event flowing (and warn your speakers what you will do to them if they go over).
  • The event organizer needs contingency plans communicated if your event runs late.
  • The speaker needs to know it is NEVER OK to go overtime. Period. End of story. It’s unprofessional, selfish, and arrogant.
  • If the meeting planner tells their speaker to take the original allocated time it is their responsibility to tell the audience.
  • The audience needs to complete surveys to share feedback with meeting planners about their experiences.

 

We are all in this together.

What can you do if your speakers go overtime? I asked a group of other professional speakers and they had great solutions.

If you aren’t allowed to use a big hook (I am in favor of this) then the following are worth considering:

  1. Use a professional emcee that is responsible for meeting flow and timing.
  2. Ask the emcee to brief every speaker and let them know what will happen if they go overtime.
  3. Brief the AV crew to silence the microphones if someone goes over their allocated time.
  4. Ask the AV crew to start playing music… hey it works at the Oscars!
  5. Use a timer the speaker can see.
  6. Use a timer the audience can see. (This is controversial and powerful for short talks.)
  7. Meeting professionals – walk on stage and ask your audience to give them a round of applause … yes even if they aren’t finished.

 

I implore meeting professionals to reconsider scheduling so many speakers in a row and to better understand that audiences need that biology break. Their attention spans and desire to get up and move makes a less is more approach a better event plan.

 

An idea to put into play: Before you finalize your next speaker contract, can you add a clause about sticking to time?  Can you empower your emcee to remove someone if necessary? Can you help create a partnership that ultimately benefits your audience in a better way? Can you brief your AV crew of what you want them to do if instructed by you or the emcee when a speaker goes overtime? Let’s keep all our events on time and stop stealing minutes from each other.

 

Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have. When we pay ATTENTION to that importance and honor it at the highest level? Everyone wins.

 

All right. Rant over.

If you’d like to learn more about how paying ATTENTION to time, the details – both big and small, and what audiences today need and want, contact me. I’m happy to share how to make your next even AH-mazing!

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Intentional Attention: Tips for Today’s Leaders

intentional attentionAs leaders, it’s important to not just listen to the words people say, but to really pay attention to the intent behind them as well. When we do, we can get a more in-depth perception of what our team members are really trying to communicate.

 

People, your team members, want to be seen and heard, but sometimes what we SEE doesn’t quite line up with what we HEAR. Other times, we’re not SEEING at all, or really hearing. And that’s what has to change if you want to be the best possible leader you can be.

 

Truly paying attention is being intentional. It’s holding our own agenda at bay. It’s quieting the noise. It’s looking someone in the eye. It’s leaning in, and showing them that you are fully and absolutely present.

 

As a leader, has anyone ever walked into your office, and wanted (or needed) your attention, but you stayed engaged in something ELSE (email, laptop, phone, etc.) while they were talking?

 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and you know they couldn’t wait for you to finish so they can add their two cents? Or finish your sentence for you? Have you ever been in a meeting and looked around and can absolutely tell that some team members are mentally a million miles away?

 

Here’s the deal We all need attention. To get work done. To succeed. To feel like, even if we don’t want to be the center of everybody’s attention, that we’re the center of SOMEBODY’S attention. At least some of the time.

 

Your team members need that too. As do your customers. Because we, especially in business, need attention to pay. When it comes to making attention pay, you have to make choices and be intentional with your time, your attention and your energy.

 

My challenge to you?  Can you look people in the eye and give them your undivided attention more? Can you be more deliberate, personally and professionally to who you want and what you need to pay attention to?

 

Just with those two things settled, you are going to figure out what to say NO to, so you can YES to what really matters. It’s when you say NO to something that allows you to say YES to others – that’s when you know you’re really succeeding and investing in intentional attention.

 

Intentional attention is the BIG secret to being a successful leader. If you’d like to learn more about creating new ways for attention to PAY you big dividends in your business and life, share your thoughts here, or contact me today to learn how I can share this message with your team.

 

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Slowdown: 12 Ways to Pay Attention this Season

summer slowdownWhy is it every year many of us experience a summer slowdown? Business slows down, networks stop meeting, work attendance decreases, business development activities grind to a halt and yet… we still have budgets, goals and targets to achieve?  How do you handle the ‘unproductive’ attitude summer brings for you and your team?

How can you juggle vacation schedules, kids home from school, warm weather and the overwhelming desire to go on cruise control? Historically summer may have been a time for you where you took it easy did minimum activity and were more focussed on what you could achieve when fall comes around… not this year.

Decide to make this your most productive summer ever with 12 strategies that set the roadwork for continual business growth… all year round.

 

Summer Slowdown

Take advantage of the weather. Use the longer hours of daylight to conduct meetings later in the day, take advantage of warmer conditions and meet people at outdoor venues, and meet clients for lunch to enjoy lighter food and warm sunshine.

Review your business plan. Make a 2 hour appointment with yourself to review all the actions in your business plan, cash flows, targets and spend time determining what you need to achieve your goals for this financial year. Your business plan should not be hiding in your bottom draw or collecting dust on a shelf, it is a living document that can be reviewed regularly – make summer your time to help you determine your next steps.

Revisit your marketing plan. What plan you ask? If you don’t have one, now is the time to sit and write one. If you need help there are an abundance of talented consultants who will assist you build a customised plan for your business that will incorporate your business plan. If you already have one, review your progress, determine what actions need to be taken and schedule time during the summer to complete those tasks.

Conduct a 6-month business review. Spend 2 hours reviewing your business achievements for the past 6 months. Ask yourself a series of 11 questions:

  • How would I rate my previous 6 months business performance (1-10 with 10 being the highest)?
  • Did I achieve my financial goals each month?
  • If not, why not?
  • If not, what do I need to do differently in the next 6 months to meet my annual budget or plan?
  • If I did meet these targets (congratulations to you), were they big enough?
  • Have I conducted staff reviews with my team? If not, why not? And when?
  • If so, have I rewarded my team adequately?
  • Do I need to invest more in my team or personal development?
  • Is my marketing plan on track? If not, why not?
  • If not, what activities do I need to conduct to implement more marketing strategies?
  • Have I done sufficient networking to grow my business or my connections? If not, why not?

When you have completed these questions, create a series of tasks, actions or projects to implement some of your strategies to help you really achieve all your targets for the next 6 months.

summer slowdownInvest in your personal development. Have you been meaning to read the latest business book? Is there a summit you could attend? Is there an online program you have wanted to complete? Is there a web seminar you wanted to register for? This is a great time of year to invest in yourself, refresh your memory and learn a new skill. Summer is conducive to learning.

Conduct a summer clean. Just like a spring clean, but during the summer months. A newly organized space that is clean and tidy can help bring focus and pull you from your summer slowdown. This summer clean could include:

  • Clear, delete or file those read emails in your inbox
  • Unsubscribe from all those newsletters that you don’t read
  • Allocate 1 hour to get your paper filing up to date (if you have more than 1 hour’s worth, do 1 hour per week until it is all complete)
  • Throw unwanted, unread journals that you have been ‘meaning’ to read, but haven’t and won’t
  • Review your ‘tasks’ on your to-do list or in your Outlook file and remove those tasks that simply won’t be completed
  • Spend 15 minutes cleaning the top of your desk, remove unnecessary stationery, put away files, clean the dust of your family photo, throw away empty water bottles and wipe down your computer keyboard and screen. A clean and clear desk will help you be more productive any time of year!
  • Enter the details into your contact management system of the business card pile that is gathering dust on your desk.

Hold a team development activity.

summer slowdown

If you manage a team of people, you can bet they are feeling a summer slowdown as well. Allocate some time to meet for lunch at an outdoor café, take 3 hours and visit the local zoo as a team (work out which animal best represents each member of your team… only joking), meet early for a game of golf or tennis after work, bring food to share for lunch and conduct a meeting in your local park. Spend time listening to your team, their challenges, their achievements and plan your next 6 months and how you will achieve the targets for the whole team. Use the warmer weather to conduct outdoor versions of activities you normally conduct indoors.

Volunteer. Allow each of your team members to choose a local organization or charity they want to support and give them a day of service. Share the results with your clients and the local media of the great work you are doing. Share with board members information about you and your company.

Call 15 existing clients every week. Set yourself a target of reaching out to 3 existing clients every day and thank them for their business. Don’t leave the office until you have completed your calls.

Book a ‘tele-coffee’ with your clients. What is a ‘tele-coffee’? It is where you make a coffee and they make a coffee and the two of you meet by teleconference. It is a more productive way of meeting (and avoids wasted time in travel). 

Visit a new networking group. Many networking groups don’t meet in the summer, but those serious about building their business are still networking, still growing their business and still making valuable connections. Find out which groups are meeting and plan to attend at least 2 new groups in the summer. This is the perfect time to develop new relationships and valuable connections. 

summer slowdown business development

Create a list of new business development targets.

Once you have made your list book appointments to include lunch, breakfast or even a tele-coffee. Create a plan within your schedule to contact them regularly. Contact could include a phone call, email, sending them an interesting article, inviting them to a networking event with you, sending a parcel of products or a face to face meeting.

To continually grow your business and avoid the summer slowdown, you need to pay attention to the seasons and take advantage of their timing without suffering a summer slowdown. Instead, get more productive. Use this time to get a head start on all those fall meetings you can conduct when people return from vacation, ensure all plans are in place to achieve your annual results, tidy your work environment so you are not distracted by clutter and experiment with new products, and new networking opportunities. Embrace the warmer weather for outdoor meetings and events and enjoy all that summer brings for your business growth.

Feel like your team is suffering a summer slowdown, putting off today what could be done tomorrow? Watch this short video for tips – from me to you – on how to beat summer procrastination. Enjoy!

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