Most people can relate to being in the zone: Whatever you are doing is flowing easily and you feel like you are beyond space and time — pure magic. Then out of nowhere you are jolted out of the zone. The magic is gone. Your feelings shift from focused spontaneity to annoyance, irritation and possibly anger.
How does this happen? How can you go from being in the zone one moment to being angry the next?
This does not happen on its own. Someone did something that caused the magic-zone you were in to disappear. We call these incidents Anti-Magic, or Anti-Magic Moments.
Here is a short definition:
Anti-Magic Moments are any incidents, upsets or behaviors that are anti-magic (i.e. create an environment that is not safe, harmonious or happy), or actions that are in violation of the company’s stated policies, values, and procedures and interfere with productivity, orderliness and the ability to do your job well.
These Anti-Magic incidents cause a lot disharmony in relationships, especially on teams of people working closely together. You could say that Anti-Magic works directly against synergy and is opposing the team’s stated purpose and direction.
Research has shown that Anti-Magic incidents are not chance occurrences, they are usually deliberate and sometimes unconscious behaviors of people who are working against you.
These people are more common than you think. Driven by competition, resentment and jealousy, Anti-Magic is used as a weapon to “bring you down to earth”, “put you in your place” or outright dominate you.
People who struggle to get in the zone, can (but not always) become jealous, and in order to feel better about themselves, sabotage you from your in-the-zone-moment.
Another example is the friendly colleague who is competing with you for a promotion or “top employee” award. If they feel they can’t beat you in an outright competition, sabotage will do. And if you confront them about this, they will say something like “Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to do it.”
This is very costly to a businesses bottom line and can explain why some companies and teams only achieve a fraction of their true potential and seem to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!”
Now that you are aware of Anti-Magic Moments, and the next time you jolt out of the zone, look for who did what.
What would happen to your overall results if you had a system to identify Anti-Magic and to correct it, thus preventing it from happening repeatedly? More about that in a future article.
This article is for Passionate Revolutionaries who are focused on leading and inspiring others to create innovative products, services, and business models that add meaning and purpose to people’s everyday lives.
If you are not a business owner or executive, please read this with an open mind and ask yourself, “How can I apply that?”
There are 12 Primary Rules that are some of the most important, immutable Rules of Business:
RULE #1: IT’S ALL ABOUT LEADERSHIP
It may sound strange, but if you want a quantum leap in your results — the first place to begin is to take a good look in the mirror. The focus of this article is about YOU and your relationship to your business.
Many people start a business to make money, others want to make a contribution or to express themselves. Whatever your reason is, you will find that the basic, fundamental rules of business have not changed for thousands of years.
The pace of change has increased, new technologies have changed the way we do business and have increased our potential markets as well as our competitors.
How Fast You Learn is Now a Competitive Advantage.
RULE #2: YOUR BUSINESS IS A REFLECTION OF YOU
Your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, values, goals, strengths, weaknesses, management style and philosophy all show up in your business. If you have a belief that you have to work 16-hour days in order to be successful, then you will end up working 16-hour days. And you may or may not be successful.
If your leadership style is disrespectful of team members and customers, the energy of the business will reflect this. Only second-rate team members will be attracted as you will only attract people who are OK being disrespected and not appreciated. Your company will only achieve a fraction of what is possible. The leader’s style will set the tone for the entire organization through the multiplier effect. Everything is reflected back to you multiplied, exaggerated and often dramatized.
RULE #3: FOR THINGS TO CHANGE, FIRST YOU MUST CHANGE
This is one of the most difficult concepts for most people to accept. When our results aren’t what we want or expect the first thing we do is look for who is to blame – then demand that they change. Husbands expect their wives to change and wives their husbands. For a business leader, we expect the team to change and the team wishes their boss would change.
Have you ever tried to change someone else? How did it go? I bet they resisted and unless you applied a lot of pressure refused to change. Even if, under pressure they changed, it ended up being temporary and not lasting!
The one person you can change is yourself. When you change an amazing, incredible and almost magical thing happens. Everyone around you responds differently and mysteriously changes too.
The leader of the company is the key person whose vision is the vital element, the Lifeforce or driving force behind the company and everything it does.
RULE #4: ALIGN THE TEAM TO THE VISION
The vision sets the tone and the agenda. The vision provides the team with a focus, a purpose, a guiding star to follow.
The number one function of the leader is to catalyze a clear and shared vision for the company and to secure the commitment of the team to the vigorous pursuit of the vision. A clear sense of purpose comes directly from a clear vision of what it is supposed to look like in the end.
When a leader is not clear on the vision, and this vision isn’t clearly communicated to the team members, associates, suppliers and customers, then the company languishes and is mediocre. The company struggles and the team work harder and harder.
RULE #5: WORKING HARDER ISN’T THE ANSWER
If you are like most people, you grew up with the “work hard” ethic. From the time we were young children, we were told by people that we loved, trusted and respected, “If you want to get ahead in life, you have got to work hard,” or “If you want to make lots of money, you have got to work hard.” And this is simply not true.
The gardener works harder than the company executive, he toils all day in the hot sun, he gets his hands dirty… However, the executive works no more hours but makes many, many times more than the gardener.
According to the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Inc. Magazine, Markus Frind, the founder of the website Plenty of Fish, based in Vancouver, Canada works one hour a day and pays himself an annual income of $5 million. Clearly, he is not working hard! The question I ask myself is; “If he is working 1 hour a day and making $5 million, how much could he make working 8 hours a day?”
I am sure you will agree that hard work alone is not going to solve anything (although it is a start). The key is to undo the training, programming, and conditioning that tells us to work hard; and to replace it with a different philosophy of life and work that takes into account what you work hard at doing.
RULE #6: MY RESULTS ARE MY GURU (Teacher)
This means that we are responsible for our results. No one else is. If the economy is bad and your customers aren’t spending as much as they used to, then you have got to do something different. Simply blaming your lower results on the economy won’t do anything other than keep you stuck. Forget excuses, justifications or blaming anyone else.
Your results tell you how you are doing.
The key is to get more done in less time. To be ever more efficient and effective. To produce a better quality product for less cost to you, which you then pass on to your customers. What many companies do is lower their cost and instead of passing these savings onto their customers, keep it for themselves. This may work in the short term, however, it increases the risk of your competition gaining an edge on you.
RULE #7: INNOVATION & ADDING VALUE
Because its purpose is to acquire and satisfy customers, your business has one and only one function: to add value through innovative products and services. If your product and service are the same as your competitors, how are you going to add value in a way that your customers will continue to buy from you?
To innovate means to make changes, to bring in new methods, ideas, and ways of doing things that benefit your customer — saving them time or money. This requires leadership and the constant pursuit of creative and imaginative solutions to both new and old problems.
RULE #8: MARKETING IS THE ENGINE OF EVERY BUSINESS
Marketing is all about attracting people to buy your product or service, getting them to come back again and again, and getting them to purchase more when they do come back.
It includes sales, advertising, product design, public relations, and many other ingredients that are less obvious. Without marketing, you lose customers. Marketing can make the difference between the life and death of your business, and yet it is one of the least understood and most under-utilized facets of the business.
Most businesses have been reduced to a commodity. No one can buy their materials for that much less than anyone else. Advertising costs about the same. Even a second or third shift doesn’t give your business that much advantage.
However, if you make your salespeople out-produce your competition’s salespeople by two or three times; if you can make every advertisement you run produce ten times more than your competitors do; if you can get a customer to buy 50% to 200% more “on average” from you than they do from your competitors…
Plus, if you can successfully figure out how to resell each customer numerous “additional” times a year and sell them multiple products or services with higher profit margins each time — your business will grow exponentially — even in a down economy.
RULE #9: YOU ARE NOT THE BUSINESS
A corporation is a legal entity that was incorporated to fulfill a specific purpose. As a legal entity, a corporation has the same rights as any other citizen of the country within which it is incorporated. A corporation can own property, buy and sell, manufacture products, and bring lawsuits as if its members were one person.
Ownership in the corporation is divided into a certain number of shares, and the corporation issues stockholders one or more stock certificates to show how many shares they hold. The stockholders own the company and elect a board of directors to manage it for them.
The board of directors determines basic company policies and appoints the executive officers. These officers include a chairman of the board, chief executive officer, a president, and a number of vice presidents. They are responsible for carrying out the decisions of the board of directors and the stockholders. The executive officers also select the managers of the various departments of the corporation.
Stockholders may sell their stock whenever they want to unless the corporation has some special rule to prevent it. The price of the company’s stock changes according to general business conditions and the earnings and future prospects of the company. If the business is doing well, stockholders may be able to sell their stock for a profit. If it is not, they may have to take a loss in order to exit.
When the corporation has made a profit, the directors may divide the profit among the stockholders as dividends, or they may decide to use it to expand the business. Dividends may be paid only out of the corporation’s profits. When profits are used to expand the business, the directors and stockholders may decide to issue more stock to show that there is more money invested in the business. This new stock will be divided among the stockholders as a stock dividend.
Stockholders in a corporation have limited liability. If the corporation fails, they can lose no more than their investment, because the corporation’s debts are not their debts.
The founder of a corporation may be a stockholder and a director — but this is not necessary. Any corporation may raise funds to establish the company or to increase the available capital for investment, growth or ongoing operations.
Funds may be raised by selling stock (these investors become stockholders), acquiring debt or through revenue participation, etc.
The challenge for most founders who are also stockholders and directors is that they can “over identify” with the corporation. They end up living vicariously through the success and failure of the corporation. In many cases, the founder does not pay themselves a salary during the startup phase on the basis that they are the owner and are building an asset. This is a mistake as it undervalues the founder’s contribution and makes it more difficult to replace the founder by hiring an employee.
The key here is to understand that you are not the business, and if you have an employee role within the corporation, that you pay yourself a fair market salary. To do this requires that you have enough capital to operate the business, cover all the expenses with some excess for unforeseeable circumstances — especially during start up or high-growth phases.
Nothing is more difficult to do than to grow a company on a limited capital base — using cash flow for a source of funds. And then if your personal success or failure is connected to how the company performs, you may be seduced into making personal guarantees, or to invest more of your personal money that you would like to in order to keep the company going.
While this may sound admirable, it is a recipe for a downward spiral, reduction in your personal wealth and an emotional roller coaster. You are not the business, so keep your personal finances separate from the business and respect it as an investment that MUST pay for itself.
RULE #10: PAY YOURSELF FIRST
This is a very controversial topic. Most founders operate from the opposite — pay yourself last. And this is exactly what happens, once all the expenses are covered there often isn’t anything left over. So you end up working for free and justifying it by saying that you are building a business.
“Pay yourself first” means to include yourself along with all the other salaries and to follow the advice of the “Richest Man in Babylon”: a part of all I earn is mine to keep. No matter how much money you are making, it is important to maintain regular investing habits. The amount isn’t important, but the habit is.
And when you make yourself important and commit to paying yourself no matter what, a mysterious thing happens — you end up creating enough cash flow to pay yourself.
If you are willing to work for free — you will end up working for free.
RULE #11: WHO IS ON YOUR TEAM?
The difference between the leader who struggles all the time has no free time, is surrounded by drama solving crises after crises and the leader who appears to have lots of free time, makes more money each year and seems to have the golden touch… is the team that they are a part of.
You are only as good as your team!
And your team isn’t limited to your employees. Who is on your board of directors? Do you have a formal board of advisors? Do you have a personal mentor or coach? These are people who will tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear.
Unless you are willing to be surrounded by people who expect more of you than you do, you will have people telling you what you want to hear and confirming that you are right — when you may be wrong.
Your team can even include your suppliers and customers.
If you aren’t part of a winning team — then you are working too hard.
RULE #12: LABOR IS CAPITAL
Investing in the ongoing development and training of your team is one of the best investments you can make. If someone makes $50,000 a year and can generate $500,000 in value for you, why not take this person and increase their skill, ability, talent, attitude, and education, so that they can add a million dollars in value?
A $50,000 investment that brings a $1 million return is a very, very valuable asset.
There is no better investment that companies can make than in the education and development of their own people.
If you are looking for help along the way, are committed to change and are ready for the most fun you can have as an adult in a crafted learning environment… check out the 3-Day GOLDZONE Accelerator. It will change your mind about learning, engage all your senses and most of all make you a better, more flowing and lucky leader!
The most common reason why most corporations only achieve a fraction of the possible potential available to them is the lack of a worthwhile, meaningful, inspiring and compelling vision that magnetizes and motivates the entire organization. Many of the vision statements hanging in the boardrooms are old, out of date, not well communicated and uninspiring.
This is especially true in times of economic recession.
Corporate Reinvention is about refocusing, reorganizing, reframing and redirecting your organization. And the most important component of any organization is the VISION. Next is aligning the people, marketing, systems, policies and procedures behind the vision.
How do you do that if your organization is in a crisis that is threatening its survival? Do you really have a choice?
Reasons to consider engaging in a Corporate Reinvention process:
You are not achieving your goals
The industry has changed, margins are down, competition is fierce
Economic crisis, sales are down, financing is scarce
Acquisition/merger with another organization requiring complete restructuring
Dramatic changes in your product or service due to technological developments
Downsizing of the organization
Reorganization, sale or IPO
New CEO, board or senior management
An inspiring vision should infuse passion, engage the hearts, minds, bodies and souls of the people working within your organization, your clients, your suppliers and your shareholders. Every person should know what the vision is and how their daily activities contribute to the vision.
In today’s competitive and fast paced world, our most precious assets are our people, our relationships and our time. Most executives and professionals are familiar with W. Edwards Deming’s concept of optimization and fine tuning a system to achieve the optimum output and results.
Few people apply the concept of optimization to their lives, people strategies, systems, policies, procedures, marketing and management practices.
Leading a team of people in today’s highly competitive, technologically sophisticated and connected world is very different from the command and control style prevalent in the preceding centuries.
Intangible assets such as people, know-how, systems and intellectual property are valued at many times more than tangible assets. Traditional management training and methods are severely lacking in “people knowledge” and an understanding of a world that is more and more intangible.
A new style of leadership is required for the new paradigm economy of today and the future.
Have you ever had a positive experience that you couldn’t forget? One that made a lasting impression on you? We call these “WOW Experiences.”
Over the c0ming years, we will be writing more about WOW Experiences and how you can create these in your everyday life, relationships and business.
The below article is from 2002 however, it is as relevant today as ever!
From Service Economy to Experience Economy
For years now, the world’s developed nations have seen a steady migration from producing goods to providing services. Based on current figures available, on average the service sectors represent 65% to 80% of total GDP, with Industry around 30% and Agriculture ranging from a 1% for the United Kingdom, 1.7% for the United States and 7.4% for New Zealand.
Much of the manufacturing has moved to the lower cost emerging economies, which have seen a migration from the Agriculture sectors to Industry. As the emerging economies have competed with each other for manufacturing business, their competency and capacity to add value through services have increased and become a strategic competitive advantage.
In the United States, 65 of the top 100 companies are from the service sector and the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for the decade ending in 2010, predicts that goods-producing industries (like mining, construction, and manufacturing) will create 1.3 million new jobs, compared to 20 million for the service sector.
So the service sector continues to provide the majority of new jobs and fuels economic growth for most of the world’s economies.
The most significant trend in the service economy is the move towards experiences. It is no longer enough to provide an adequate service that meets or even exceeds expectations. In order to build a long-term relationship that compels clients to return over and over, it is necessary to provide a WOW Experience that is unforgettable and has them telling all their friends and associates.
WOW Experiences, are the strategic differentiator that will have one service provider stand out from another.
Here are some examples of WOW Experiences in action.
On a business trip, we checked into one of our favorite Hotels – the Ritz-Carlton. We stay with them frequently so they have gotten to know us, and our preferences. On this occasion, we not only paid the lowest rate possible for a standard room but were automatically upgraded to a $750 a night Club Suite. One of the best features of this property is their Ritz-Carlton Club. They serve complimentary drinks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. We proceeded to have back to back meetings and not only had our meetings in the Club meeting room, but our guests also helped themselves to meals, drinks, and cappuccinos all day.
We were fully expecting to be billed for the extra guests and at the end of our stay the Club Manager winked and said don’t worry about it! WOW!
On another occasion, we were at the Ritz-Carlton Resort & Spa in Bali. This has got to be one of the best resorts on the planet! The Hotel made a small mistake around our allocated room – and before we could say anything asked “how can we make it up to you? Would you like a free meal, or perhaps a massage for you both?”
We both spoke in unison “the massage would be nice!” Upon returning to our room, we noticed that there was an incense burner in the bathroom. It was filled with the most beautiful smelling oils. So we called the Butler in the Club and asked if they had any in the shop that we could buy to take home with us. They called right back and said, “I am sorry the shop is out of stock, so is the spa and housekeeping had run out also.
We were disappointed but quickly let it go. A half hour later the doorbell rang and a Balinese Maid was standing at the door with a huge beaming smile “here you go” and handed us a huge unmarked bottle. WOW, they had searched high and low around the resort to locate the only bottle on the property – in order to make us happy. “How much do we owe you?” we asked. “Nothing” she replied. WOW.
At the end of our stay, we asked for a car to deliver us to the airport. No problem. “How much do we owe you,” we asked. “Well, the usual charge is US$25 to the airport, but for you no charge.”
WOW, thank you!
We take the concept of WOW Experiences very seriously and are constantly looking for ways to provide these to our clients. On one occasion a client was flying in to meet us from Hong Kong. At the time, we had rented a beachfront Villa at the Le Meridien Resort & Spa, which was over an hours drive from the airport. As this client had never flown in a helicopter, we arranged to have them met at the airport and secretly whisked to the helipad. You can image the delight and surprise of their first flight in a helicopter! A definite WOW Experience!
Contrast these experiences with a recent stay at the Five Star Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand. In this case, we paid for an upgrade to an Executive Club Room. The first thing that went wrong was our first room service order, and then our second order and then the third was wrong too.
Then on the second day, as we were in the Club Lounge surfing the Internet, a carpenter began to dismantle the room around us! Huh, “what is going on?” we asked the carpenter. he said, “We are renovating the Lounge and the Business Center”. Oh, “how come no one mentioned this to us, and why are we paying for an upgrade when we can’t even use the Lounge?” we asked the Hotel Staff. “Not to worry”, they said, “it will be finished by the end of next week, sorry for the inconvenience.”
What? We called the front office and asked for the upgrade to be refunded. To give you the short version we had to argue with the Hotel to get what we wanted, and in the end, they never made any attempt to make amends for the problems and only did the minimum necessary.
This is what you would describe as a “negative wow experience” where we will advise our friends, and associates to not stay with this Hotel.
More than any other time in history it is no longer adequate to do the minimum necessary. In order to make it in the hyper-competitive economy of the future, it is necessary to provide WOW experiences.
“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?’ “
The cleanliness and organization of your office reflects how well the business is managed. If you have piles of paper on the floor, boxes stacked everywhere, piles of files on your desk and in a tray that is bulging… then consider what would happen if you cleaned up and got organized? The results may surprise you!
The level of organization and cleanliness reflects the level of drama and chaos present in the operation. So, does the drama create the disorganization – or does the disorganization create the drama?