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Lessons from the Patriots’ 2017 Super Bowl Win

Although I am not a devout NFL fan, I admire my home team, the New England Patriots, deeply. The game they played this past Sunday at the Super Bowl only reinforced my admiration. Here are 5 key lessons the Patriots’ Super Bowl win taught me that can be applied to small business:

  1. Develop Mental Resilience. How many of us would have the mental fortitude to keep pushing hard when we are down 28-3? Resilience can be learned and data says that it’s our resilience more than our intelligence that determines our success. Owning a business is often hard; dig deep.
  2. Focus on One Play at a Time. As Lady Gaga was entertaining us, some Patriots’ fans had fast-forwarded to the end of the game and saw the Patriots losing. While keeping the end in mind is certainly important, it’s equally important to focus on one move at a time – that’s the only one that counts at any moment. In the last quarter of the Super Bowl, the Patriots diligently moved the ball – one play at a time. The same is true for your business; dedicate your energy and attention on one thing at a time.
  3. Have Faith in Yourself and Your Team. The respect and admiration the Patriots’ players seem to have for each other and with Bill Belichick is evident every game and in every interview. Brady relied on his team mates and his coach, the coach trusted his team to accomplish the job, and team members looked to Brady for leadership throughout the game. Hire the best team you can for your business, train them well, and trust in each other.
  4. Know Your Plan (and Have a Plan!). When Brady calls a play, his teammates had better know the details and what is expected from them. It’s not enough to say “we want to win” or “we want to be the best”. The Patriots have individual performance goals as well as team-based specific outcome goals. The same is true with every team member of your business; be sure that they understand the “game” that you are playing, what their role is and what is expected of them.
  5. Continue to Learn, Continue to Train. Three days before what became a record-breaker for Brady and Belichick, the coach had Brady and the team running hills and doing the heaviest squats ever. After the game, I heard Belichick say that the team needed to get going because other teams had a 5-week lead on training for 2017-2018. No matter where you and your company stand, there is always some area you can be better in. Celebrate your wins, and then get back to training.

No matter your team loyalty, take a play from the Patriots’ playbook. Your fan base will thank you and grow.

How to Handle Change? Think Like an Employee

Most days, I’m reminding my clients to step into their leadership shoes, their successful entrepreneur shoes, or sometimes their confident small business owner shoes. But this week, I’ve been reminding several business owners to step into employee shoes. That’s right, when it comes to workplace change I want business owners to step into the shoes of their employees.

change4For the most part, employees and business owners just think differently. Chances are that if you’re reading this you wonder what’s next, how you can improve operations; you’re ready to move on to the next thing before the last new idea is complete. The typical employee prefers work to stay the same and when change is introduced some may dig their heels in. You may be lucky to have some employees who embrace change and some who like to perfect current operations before moving on. Either way, when you are introducing change you need to sit in your employees’ shoes and think through how the changes will affect them. Let me give you some examples:

  • A medical practice is bringing on a new practitioner. Other personnel will be wondering not only how this will affect their schedule and work load, but on a deeper level they will wonder “will my boss still have time for me? Will my boss still ask for my opinions, or will he ask the other doctor instead?” Basically, the question they want answered is “will I still be loved?” Be up front that the relationship may change, but let them know how you will still rely on them, and how they will fit in.
  • Another business is promoting an employee into a new managerial position. Before the change is announced to the whole staff, it’s critical that the effect of the promotion on the rest of the team is sorted out. Will they pick up new tasks? Will some of their tasks be given to the manager? Who will they report to? Office real estate is important even in small businesses, so decide if the promotion means a change in office or desk space. Employees will ask how decisions will be made; what they really want to know is “do I still have a say?”. Be up front about how decisions will be made, how input is to be given, how they can still reach you, the business owner, with their thoughts and concerns.

If change is in the works for your business in 2015, sit in your employees’ shoes before spreading the word. As excited as you may be about rolling out the changes, take some time to think about how the change will affect your team in terms of responsibilities, communication, and personal fulfillment.

Instilling a Culture of Quality

 

checklist_imgHave you built a culture of quality in your business? While “striving for excellence” is part of nearly every business mission statement, what does that look like? A recent study by the Forbes Insights showed that companies that regularly instill quality measures and test them are more likely to meet their goals than companies that do not.

Instilling quality is more than just developing a mission statement and setting goals – it’s leadership in action, and it has to come from the top down, and should be reflective in every aspect of your business. Key questions, like the one in the study, can determine whether your team is on track or whether they should change course. Read on here.

Reference: Forbes’ Insights, November 5, 2014

The Gratitude Game; Small Business Motivation

 

One of my early coaches gave me an exercise to magnify my gratitude and ultimately my results, and it’s a lot of fun: it’s called the YAHOO! Game. It’s “thank you” on steroids. If your GoogleAnalytics show that your numbers are going up, shout “YAHOO!”. If your phone is ringing more and more, give it a “YAHOO!”. Customer checks in the mail? “YAHOO!” It may feel silly at first but trust me, keep going because after a few shout-outs you’ll feel really good. If it feels silly enough to make you laugh, well, laughter is a good thing, too.

It’s the time of year when we think of expressing our thanks more often. Expand your gratitude, make it bigger, declare it loudly; you will be rewarded in so many ways.

Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.