David started his business ten years ago. Today his gross revenue is close to half-million. David and his wife, Carmen, run this plumbing company with no staff. David does the work – plumbing. Carmen manages the office. David is exhausted, does not charge enough and works on jobs on an average of one-hour from their very rural home. Last year David injured himself, and he can not continue to do all the work himself.
David wants a change. His wife, Carmen, wants change, but they have very different and opposing ideas of how to move forward. Carmen wants out of the business. David wants to stop doing the work of the business, hire staff and grow the business so that it serves his life. In EMyth terms, he wants to stop being the technician and become an entrepreneur.
David started coaching because he was unsure how to make such a big leap. He started with great enthusiasm. David was determined to proceed to define the changes needed to grow this business with him as a leader.
We started with finances and soon found that while they were keeping books the information was not entered correctly and was not available to guide them in their business. First change was to contract with a great bookkeeper. Seemed like a simple solution though David found he could not change his involvement in managing the books.
Next step was to create a budget for the changes planned. David was used to keeping his “budget” in his head and resisted writing it down and planning on paper.
David needed to hire a plumber to take his place as the only technician. He worried that no one could do the work the way he did, as good as he did it and with the care he showed his clients. David found it hard to give up being the plumber.
It became clear that as much as David wanted things to be different he was unable to change. He thought the changes would be in his business but discovered that the changes needed were within him, and he just couldn’t do it.
David’s story is a great example of wanting and desiring something different, but not being able to make the needed changes. David was getting in his way. When we want something to change it always starts within us. Getting out of our routines, being willing to be uncomfortable, letting go of what is familiar and, in David’s case, letting go of the need to control.
From an intuitive perspective when we decide we want change, the change will happen one way or another. We can be the leader of change, and it will happen more gracefully or if we resist it will still happen but in a less comfortable and forced way. I imagine David’s desired changes will happen by his knee giving out. There are easier ways to create change.
Notice the changes you desire then find what has to happen within you so that it can.
In a networking meeting this week I heard a woman ask for peer support for firing her assistant. Claire was clearly guilty and in grief over the need to fire her assistant, Sara. Sara has been with Claire and her team for some time. They brought her up through the ranks helping her to develop new skills required to support the brokerage team. Claire also bumped up Sara’s salary significantly so that she could quit her second job. Claire and her team needed someone 100% focused on the work of their clients.
During the past year, the needs of the team changed as they became increasingly successful. They now needed their assistant to do higher level work. Sara would need to become certified to do this. After repeated attempts, Sara has failed to pass the required tests. Other areas of Sara’s work are showing her weaknesses. It has become clear to Claire that Sara’s skill set no longer meets the needs of a growing team and client base.
Claire is confused by her loyalty to Sara, the needs of the team and Sara’s inability to grow with them. Claire worries that they are paying Sara such a high salary relative to her abilities that she will not be able to secure another position in the company or outside at the same level. She also knows that Sara cannot continue to work as their assistant as her limitations are becoming increasingly apparent with growing frustration by the team members.
From an intuitive perspective when an employee is no longer working out it is rarely or ever a one-sided experience. We may be discouraged and disappointed by the performance of the employee, but the employee is equally unhappy with their position whether they voice that or not. An employer/employee relationship is the same as any other relationship. We agree to achieve something together. Once accomplished we create another agreement to create again or realize that the agreement completed and ended.
The mistake comes in trying to continue a relationship that has completed its course, and there is no agreement in present time. Working without an agreement becomes painful for both sides. The need to separate (quit or be fired) is felt by both parties. It becomes a problem when no one takes a step to say that the agreement has ended, that you are in different places, letting the agreement can end. In this way, each of you can move in the direction that suits their differing goals.
My counsel to Claire was to see that Sara is unhappy as well. That it is painful on both sides to continue without an agreement to do so. Taking the step of firing Sara releases both of you to pursue a new course. Sara could also take the step of quitting, but the money she is paid keeps her on the job. She has lost her passion for it as well and is not interested in the position as it is evolving. If the job were right for her, she would have passed the exam. I saw intuitively that Sara does not want new responsibilities and the changes expected of her, but she cannot quit her job because of the amount of her pay.
In the end, both Sara and Claire will be able to move forward to what achieve their goals when they let go of each other. This is both logical and intuitive.
A new culture of business is emerging voicing a new set of values, increased self-awareness and businesses with a new definition of success. I am so relieved by the changes appearing in how businesses run, interact, view their staff, vendors and community. Some of the changes are subtle and others not so subtle. In the end, we are moving to a more moral, value based and healthy way to do business. Not everyone is on board with this, but more and more of us are. “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)
Here are some differences I see between the old business paradigm and the new.
Old: Be on top. Beat out the competition. Be better than everyone else. Take out the competition. Get the largest share of the market.
New: Be the best you can be. Do the best we can. Build our brand so that people know how we are different. Attract loyal customers who value our brand. Collaborate with other businesses. Share resources.
Old: Get more sales – at any cost. Over promise if necessary. Get the sale. Get more than the next guy.
New: Create customers. Under promise and over deliver. Not everyone is our customer. Don’t sell. Understand our customer and serve them with unbeatable quality.
Old: Money flows to the top. Hierarchy with command and control management.
New: Collaboration. Everyone valued. Share the success. Everyone seen as contributing to the success.
Old: Environmental concerns are ok, but not if it affects the bottom line. The community is important if it is a customer.
New: Prevent impacts on the environment and be profitable. Be part of the community. Give back. Join the sharing economy.
Old: How much money can we make?
New: Create a business that serves everyone’s life, that people enjoy working in, and that has value whether it sells widgets to solar power.
What changes can you add to this list? This is just the beginning. In what new ways do you or your company operate? Join the conversation.
Life happens and we act and react to what comes our way. That is an atheist view. What if every thing that happens manifests through our own thinking about things? This is truer but hard to grasp because it is not logical though it is very intuitive. The proof falls in line when we see ourselves. Let me share a story of one of my clients who learned that her thinking about things matters.
Susan – The Failed Leader
Susan is a new director of a large research laboratory. Under her is an array of doctors each a specialist in their field. Susie called me because she was trying to bring her team of doctors together for monthly department meeting. To date some doctors never came, others came and controlled the meeting with their own banter, etc. She was frustrated, felt disrespected and that her leadership was not recognized in the way that she wanted. When I met with her I could see clearly how she was creating this scenario through her own thinking.
No One To Blame
Typically we look outside ourselves for why something is not going well. In this case, Susan believed the doctors were being arrogant, had their egos in the way, etc. This was what she believed and saw the problem was with them. From an intuitive perspective I had her not focus outside herself but to be aware that she was creating this reality. I saw her thinking was in her way. Susan could not imagine bringing the doctors together under her leadership and to work collaboratively. She feared their egos were stronger than hers that they would run her over and disregard her role so that is exactly what she created and experienced. At first Susan argued that she was not creating this because it was not what she wanted.
Change Others or Go Within
Susan came up with many suggestions on how to make the doctors come to the meetings, follow her agenda, etc. These were possible solutions though intuitively I knew they would not work until she changed her thoughts and pictures about her relationship to her staff. Susan agreed to a guided meditation in which she could become aware of her thinking and vision of the lab.
A New Vision
In meditation Susan began to imagine the research lab operating in a successful, supportive and collaborative way. When she became aware of her thoughts about this person or another being in the way she cleared those thoughts and created a new perspective. Susan meditated on the monthly staff meeting imagining it in a new way. She began to see her team of doctors coming together, seeing value in collaboration, sharing expertise and generally enjoying the time together. As she meditated on this she became aware of how much energy she had in resistance to the monthly meeting herself and released that energy from her space. She was also aware of her fear that the doctors did not value her leadership and cleared those fears. We continued in this fashion until she could see clearly all the doctors being in communication and support of the success of the lab.
Everyone Is Intuitive
A couple of intuitive points helped Susan understand how she was affecting her ability to be a leader. Everyone is intuitive and the doctors simply picked up on Susan’s energy (fear and uncertainty) and reacted in kind. They intuitive read her pictures especially the one about doctors not wanting to follow her leadership and so they did not. From an intuitive perspective be aware that people pick up on the energy and pictures in our space and react more to that than what we say.
A New Reality
Once Susan cleared her thinking and released the energies in her space, I had her begin to see herself as a leader with a clear working relationship with all of her team, leading, setting the tone, being in communication and having fun.
In this meditation Susan changed her perspective and energy about the lab, her staff and specifically the monthly staff meeting. Not surprising Susan reported that everything changed immediately. She found herself approaching her communication with everyone in a new way resulting in a new response from each person. They seemed to sense her clarity and certainty. All the doctors attended the next monthly staff meeting, and she led them in a lively and productive case discussion. It was clear to Susan the change was within her. The staff sensed her clarity as a leader and the change in her perspective.
Clear Your Thinking
What surprised Susan was she did not have to make her staff change though that seemed to happen. Susan understood that she was in her own way. Her thoughts about her staff, her fears about her own abilities and how she saw herself as the leader were manifesting in her reality. That has changed. Susan committed to regularly assessing the thoughts and concepts she has in her space and on her mind and to meditate to find this clarity.
From an intuitive perspective we create our reality through our thoughts, fears and concepts. Change your thinking and watch your reality change. If there is a situation in your life or your work that is not as you would like it to be then stop to see what your thoughts are about it. It is never the other person or the situation. It is always manifesting from within us so meditate because the answer may not always be logical.
This week was a look at how easy it is for business owners to get in the way of their success. Here is the story of one business owner getting in his own way. Jake has owned a large heating and air conditioning installation company for 18 yr. and suddenly it is about to go under.
Jake turned over the day-to-day operations of his company two years ago to two of his key staff. In general day-to-day operations is the function of managers and so that was a good strategy. On the other hand, Jake also stepped out, and unknowingly gave them the leadership of his company and this was his mistake.
Setting The Tone
For a business to succeed someone, typically the owner or CEO, sets the vision, values and the tone of the company. Staff, vendors and customers come to know this as the company’s brand which becomes how they feel about the company and what they expect in terms of customer service and product/service quality.
For two years, Jake trusted these employees, thought they were doing a good job and left them to run the business while he found new projects/customers to serve. This year Jake’s intuition told him he better come back as the leader of the company. He felt compelled by his intuition to ask for financial reports. With that both men quit leaving Jake with huge debt and little knowledge of the day-to-day operations, staff, vendors, customers and current operational procedures.
Jake made several mistakes as a business owner but the one that harmed him the most was he gave up leadership of his company.
Jake had not been providing leadership from which all work would be done. One person has to define the vision for the company, the values they hold, the products and services provided and the way everyone will interact with each other, clients, vendors, investors, etc. When Jake gave up leadership, the two lead staff took over setting their own vision, imposing their own values and setting the tone for working with everyone. This change resulted in financial mismanagement, decreased quality and delivery of their products and services as well as relationships altered.
When these two men left Jake had a crisis on his hands. He was in enormous debt, could not service his contracts, did not have qualified staff or systems in place, all the knowledge about the operations was held by the two that left and he had lost the faith of his bankers, staff, vendors and clients.
How did Jake get into this mess? It was simple and could easily happen to any of us. Jake is educated and smart, but like all of us he does not know what he does not know as a business owner. Two years ago he felt like he did not know enough to keep his business going so rather than admit his uncertainty and finding a way to learn how to take his business to the next level he abdicated his business to others. Jake’s greatest weakness as a business owner is his fear of not knowing. His greatest strength is his knowledge of his industry and the high values that he brings to his business. His greatest fear, stated by him, is that he is not a leader. Jake is clearly a leader in his family of 14 children and his local community where he works to inspire youth to get an education and sees his role as helping others to be employed and productive. That sense of leadership is missing in his business.
Jake belongs to a very conservative religion that values humility and allowing others to be senior to them. This affects his ability to set his crown at a leadership vibration. Leadership from the crown chakra is different from the control and command form of leadership which comes from the third Chakra below the sternum.
From an intuitive perspective leadership vibrates in an energy center on the top of the head called the crown Chakra. When you hold your head high and straighten your spine, you experience an energy change. Try it. Suddenly you feel more certain. The crown Chakra sets the energy for our space. We can use this energy center to set the tone in any situation. Notice for yourself. Those who hold their head high show the energy of leadership, seniority and certainty. We notice, listen and pay attention to them. Those who hold their head low, bowed or below others give off the impression of not knowing, not being important, being weaker and certainly not a leader.
Be Willing to Learn and Change
Jake created a successful company for 16 years based on the information he had available to him then he hit his limit. He did not know how to manage or grow his $6 mil. company. In his fear of not knowing, he gave up leadership.
When Jake came back into the company and realized how desperate the situation was he called to discuss business coaching. He was willing to admit that he did not know what it would take to turn things around. After working with Jake for a month I realized it would not work. Jake’s greatest weakness he was his inability to plan and prepare both of which are essential qualities of a business owner and a leader. It is, in fact, the most important ability, to work on the business rather than doing the work of the business. He was simply unwilling to spend the time to create the vision of his company, define the brand he wanted to impart, to develop a financial or organizational plan and all the other foundational components of a successful business. He admitted he hates planning and preparing.
As an intuitive, I see Jake was stuck in an old energy pattern or routine that is familiar and comfortable even if it is not serving him. He was in resistance to changing his space, energy or focus. So if nothing changes within us then nothing changes in our lives or in our creations. In the end we stopped coaching as Jake admitted he could not take the time to plan. He would try to put band aids on his problems for now.
Being willing to lead, admit what we don’t know and to change ourselves first are essential components of success.
As always, your comments and experiences are appreciated.
I met with a new client yesterday. Kathy is the President and CEO of a very successful family owned business with two of her sisters working for her. Kathy finds she is doing a lot of the work and wants to hire but does not know how because she has never done this before.
Set in Their Ways
As we spoke it became clear the problem is more complex than simply hiring. Because this is a family business that has been around for over 30 years many of the staff have been on board for 20+ years. Loyalty is a great asset but it only works when the long-term staff is willing to develop new skills, allow change and grow professionally. Kathy feels her staff are “stuck in their ways”, not interested in learning new technologies, changing systems or changing their roles. They have gotten into routines and habits that keep the company from growing. Kathy cannot fire them because they are loyal employees. They are LIKE family. Then there are her two sisters who are not about to have Kathy tell them what to do. She can’t fire them. They ARE family.
New Vision of Success
Kathy wants to take the business to a new level. She is creative and has a new vision for their success. She is the CEO but finds no one else wants to change. She even finds herself doing a lot of the day-to-day work assigned to staff and her sisters that somehow bounces back to her.
New Organizational Design
I took an intuitive perspective on this with Kathy. Her father made all of agreements with staff when he ran the business. They are not her agreements (spiritual or other wise). It was time for Kathy to develop her own vision for the staffing of her business. For Kathy it begins with letting go of the energy and pictures that say there is no hope, that she is saddled with her dad’s agreements and sisters who don’t share her vision to grow the business.
As an intuitive I know the power of a clear vision so Kathy’s first step is to meditate on the kind of staffing she knows she needs to manifest her vision. This is not about specific people but rather the ideal structure, positions and functions – an org chart.
When Kathy is clear in her mind’s eye of how she sees staffing the business to achieve her vision then we agreed that she would it down – not to be shared. This is just for her work as the visionary/CEO of the company. She would also write down her vision of the business in three years. This she would share with her sisters first seeking their input then the staff inviting everyone to work toward this vision.
Who Fits In?
Once she has a clear vision of the business and the staffing then she must take her attention off and stop resisting her current staffing and her frustrations with everyone. It is my experience that when an owner begins in this way everything starts to change. Kathy will start to assign work to her current staff in a way that fits her vision, slowing creating change. As she does this she will see a change in the staff.
Don’t Resist What Is
By creating a vision of what she wants it begins to manifest. This is different than resisting what is. (Resistance perpetuates what you don’t want.) Intuitively staff will feel the change. Staff who is in agreement with her vision will begin to fit into one of the positions on her org chart. Staff who are not in agreement will suddenly find a new job, decide to retire or force themselves to be fired. This is not a coincidence. That is just how a vision manifests.
Steps To Create Change
This is a story about a family owned business but the intuitive principles apply to every business. If you are a business owner take the time to meditate on your business. First see clearly the vision you have for the next three years. Write it down. Be clear in present time. Now meditate on the ideal staffing to get you there. Write this down. Finally begin to act in ways that support your vision. Read and meditate on this everyday then watch this vision manifest.
Karen owns an interior design company and when I first met her she was working out of a large one-room office in Berkeley with another designer in a one-room office in Concord. She had an office manager and two part-time designers. She rented space to another designer to help pay the bills.
Karen’s work was well respected and her clients liked working with her but she was not making enough money to create the kind of company she wanted. We worked on her vision. She was able to dream big and was not afraid to face her demons, the pictures and energy that were in her way.
The first step was to use meditation as a tool to clear her thinking, to clarify her vision and to get out of fear. Karen wanted to approach her business from an intuitive perspective so meditation was an easy fit for her.
One of Karen’s big obstacles was her staff. They did not share her vision. Something had to change so the next step was to bring staff into alignment with her vision or let them go. It was a rocky time as Karen is a healer meaning she wants to help people. This hurt her business. Her rates were low and she gave more to her staff than they gave to her business. Her Berkeley staff decided to leave and subsequent hires did not go well as Karen hired people she felt compassion for. They call came and went.
In meditation Karen released her need to heal the people that she hired. Finally she was able to find enough neutrality to hire highly qualified staff that supported her vision and who she did not have to heal. This changed everything.
With this new staff Karen felt comfortable changing her rates to the level that supported her value and the value of her company. To make this work Karen had her lead staff receive coaching as well with the goal that each of them would own their department, set goals, clear their thinking and have a strong vision of success in their area of responsibility.
Did I mention “departments”? Yes, her company in its new design has departments, home design, office design and sales. Her staff is in agreement with her vision; see their role in creating success and use meditation as a way to stay clear and focused.
This year Karen opened her third office in Marin and expanded her offices in Berkeley and Concord. She was able to do this because she was willing to get out of her own way, to see where she was stuck, release energy and create a clear vision. Inviting her staff to share in her vision and her practice of using intuition and meditation strengthened this. Karen’s greatest challenge is to not let fear stop her and to watch when she is healing everyone. She is eager to be self-aware and how she is creating her success. This year with strong staff in place her focus is on her personal life so that her business serves her life.
Having a vision is powerful. Having your staff share your vision is more powerful.