The Power Of Others https://bulanetwork.com The Power Of Others Fri, 28 Feb 2020 07:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://bulanetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cropped-PLAY-32x32.png The Power Of Others https://bulanetwork.com 32 32 http://bulanetwork.com/feed/podcast/ Randy Cantrell, founder of Bula Network, LLC serves entrepreneurs, executives, and leaders. He serves owners and founders through peer advantage, leveraging connection & collaboration for improved performance. The work focuses on hitting the trifecta of successful business building (the three activities of successful business building): 1) getting new customers, 2) serving existing customers better and 3) not going crazy in the process. He also serves local city governments. Randy Cantrell clean Randy Cantrell randycantrell@gmail.com randycantrell@gmail.com (Randy Cantrell) © 2020 Bula Network, LLC A Podcast About How We Benefit From Who Surrounds Us TV-G Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas Daily True Confessions: A Conversation With Me – Season 2020, Episode 10 https://bulanetwork.com/true-confessions-a-conversation-with-me-season-2020-episode-10/ Fri, 28 Feb 2020 07:00:18 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=21168 https://bulanetwork.com/true-confessions-a-conversation-with-me-season-2020-episode-10/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/true-confessions-a-conversation-with-me-season-2020-episode-10/feed/ 0 Earlier in the week, I had a conversation with somebody and I recorded my side of it because it felt like the conversation was going in a direction where I thought you could benefit. I edited it into some material that I hope encourages and inspires you. Enjoy this special Friday episode of the podcast. …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/true-confessions-a-conversation-with-me-season-2020-episode-10/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">True Confessions: A Conversation With Me – Season 2020, Episode 10</span> Read More »</a></p> Earlier in the week, I had a conversation with somebody and I recorded my side of it because it felt like the conversation was going in a direction where I thought you could benefit. I edited it into some material that I hope encourages and inspires yo... Some points of this conversation:
• Podcasting’s role in my work
• Comparisonitis – it kills many people’s pursuits
• Success and Failure aren’t as binary as most of us think (we think we’re either one or the other)
• The pinnacle of success isn’t the only definition of success
• The positive power of doing what we enjoy
• “Get out of your comfort zone” is horrible advice
• Find your “element” (as defined by Sir Ken Robinson, it’s where your natural aptitude intersects with your passion)
• Podcasting is my element
• For selling, podcasting is a slow burn (it takes time)
• Facing what you’re not good at can help you face what you are good at
• It’s about what you love versus what you hate
• Solving the problem and devising the strategy doesn’t mean we can execute it
• Dallas Cowboy’s new coach Mike McCarthy isn’t in NFL shape, but he can coach. The players need to execute it.
• In our careers, businesses and lives – we have to find solutions that WE can execute
• Fixing other people’s car while our own car sits in disrepair
• Being hypocritical by trying to be something we’re not
• Spend time with yourself coming to terms with what really matters to you
• My personal (and easy) objective (and work/process) is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others
• Figuring out who and what you are so you can decide the business you need to be in
• Wasting time trying to be things we’re not
• The Universe is quick and effective to convince us of UNTRUTHS
• There are way more ways to be successful than most of us think
• Idealism fools us into thinking there’s a limited number of ways to do it
• Spend more time with yourself figuring out how YOU need to do it
• Outliers aren’t a good measuring stick for our success
• Success is personal to you and what you think it is
• My income goals would be considered an abject failure for wealthy folks
• Failure and success are relative to what we want (and what we think)
• Failure isn’t final, but neither is your current success (we aspire to grow and improve)
• The barrier to success is the brick wall that Randy Pausch talked about in The Last Lecture
• Doing what you love is a big part of the equation
• Get in touch with your comfort zone (where your natural aptitude intersects with what you love)
• Stop pushing water up the hill (doing what you hate)
I hope you find this conversation profitable.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!
Randy
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Randy Cantrell 1 37:22
Make It So Easy You Can’t Avoid Doing It – Season 2020, Episode 9 https://bulanetwork.com/make-it-so-easy-you-cant-avoid-doing-it-season-2020-episode-9/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 15:15:02 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=21150 https://bulanetwork.com/make-it-so-easy-you-cant-avoid-doing-it-season-2020-episode-9/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/make-it-so-easy-you-cant-avoid-doing-it-season-2020-episode-9/feed/ 0 As much as I love the anonymous quote — “Everything is hard until it’s easy” — there’s a powerful way to move forward toward an accomplishment. Make it so easy you can’t avoid doing it. There’s lots of ancient wisdom about tackling a task by breaking it down into smaller tasks. Hence the idea expressed …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/make-it-so-easy-you-cant-avoid-doing-it-season-2020-episode-9/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Make It So Easy You Can’t Avoid Doing It – Season 2020, Episode 9</span> Read More »</a></p> As much as I love the anonymous quote — “Everything is hard until it’s easy” — there’s a powerful way to move forward toward an accomplishment. Make it so easy you can’t avoid doing it. There’s lots of ancient wisdom about tackling a task by breaking i... Make it so easy you can’t avoid doing it.
There’s lots of ancient wisdom about tackling a task by breaking it down into smaller tasks. Hence the idea expressed as a question.
Do you know how you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time. 
As simple as it sounds, I started wondering why we don’t do this as well as we could. You’d think such a tactic would prevent feeling overwhelmed. Then why are so many people overwhelmed as they march toward some goal?
There are likely many reasons. Having a cluttered mind. Over-thinking.
Then, there’s not thinking it through enough to break it down into smaller achievements.
It’s easy for us to do one or the other. Or both.
Fixating On The Big Goal, Is That The Way To Go?
People love talking about Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). We’re shamed if we don’t have one. Or a bunch of them.
People want to do something great. Something BIG.
Question: What was the last BIG thing you accomplished?
I would hope that daily you’re able to accomplish some meaningful things. But it’s very likely none of those things fit the bill for being something really BIG.
Except for heroic acts during a crisis, most BIG things aren’t accomplished in a short period of time. Even feats of championship athletics contain thousands of hours or days before the accomplishment. In business (or school or a career) the big accomplishments of our time mostly don’t have some moment that defines the outcome. That is, rarely are we able to point to a specific moment and point to it as THE MOMENT when we accomplished our big, hairy audacious goal. More likely we crept toward it a little bit at a time, even if we didn’t plan it that way. It’s just how things go.
Taking More Time Than Necessary Because We Get In Our Own Way
Pogo was right. We have met the enemy and he is us.
Martin looks back now and realizes it took him years longer than necessary. With the history behind him, he’s able to see things more clearly.
“I could have easily shaved off half the time it took. Probably a lot more. All because I found it daunting. And I hated every minute of it.”
Martin was trying desperately to get a new enterprise off the ground. It was a period of career transition, but it wasn’t like he was going from one area to a completely different area. If you were to examine his resume you’d think, “Yeah, this makes complete sense. No problem.” But it was a problem. A big problem. Martin struggled to get traction. Not because he lacked expertise. Not because he wasn’t smart enough. Not because he wasn’t hard-working. Truth is, Martin didn’t have any really good excuses. In his mind, they were REASONS. Not excuses!
“Every day I woke up dreading the work. I hated every minute of it. No wonder I didn’t succeed,” says Martin.
At some point, Martin got so sick and tired of being sick and tired that he decided to take a close look in the mirror. “I had to figure out why I was struggling,” Martin said.
Martin had heard me – and others – talk about being who you really are. Martin said, “I heard you say, “If you’re not a fish, stop trying to climb trees.” That’s not original.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” That quote isn’t really a quote from anybody even though it’s attributed to Albert Einstein, who never did say or write it. You can go back to the 1800s and find references of animals born with specific skills,]]>
Randy Cantrell 2020 9 Make It So Easy You Can't Avoid Doing It clean 17:37
Make Friends Of People Who Want Your Best (And People For Whom You Want What’s Best) – Season 2020, Episode 8 https://bulanetwork.com/make-friends-of-people-who-want-your-best-and-people-for-whom-you-want-whats-best-season-2020-episode-8/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 07:00:29 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=21047 https://bulanetwork.com/make-friends-of-people-who-want-your-best-and-people-for-whom-you-want-whats-best-season-2020-episode-8/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/make-friends-of-people-who-want-your-best-and-people-for-whom-you-want-whats-best-season-2020-episode-8/feed/ 0 Look around. At your friends. At the people who surround you. The people with whom you interact the most. These people who influence your life. These people with whom you spend much or most of your time. Echoing the law of averages, motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we’re the average of our 5 closest …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/make-friends-of-people-who-want-your-best-and-people-for-whom-you-want-whats-best-season-2020-episode-8/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Make Friends Of People Who Want Your Best (And People For Whom You Want What’s Best) – Season 2020, Episode 8</span> Read More »</a></p> Look around. At your friends. At the people who surround you. The people with whom you interact the most. These people who influence your life. These people with whom you spend much or most of your time. Echoing the law of averages, Echoing the law of averages, motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we’re the average of our 5 closest friends. It’s also been said that if you show somebody your closest friends they’ll be able to show you your future.
Humans are more complex than that. It’s not so cut and dried. It’s not a certainty either.
Associations matter. The compelling proof is found in all of our lives.
We raise our children to make friends with good kids, not troublemakers. When they become teenagers we want them to guard their hearts so they don’t fall in with “the wrong crowd.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”
We’re deceived if we disbelieve it. We can’t be closely associated with people expecting they’ll have no impact or influence on us. Especially the people who don’t want our best.
Jordan B. Peterson noted intellectual, included rule number 3 in his book, 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos —“Make friends with people who want the best for you.”
Writes Peterson, “Friendship is a reciprocal arrangement…you should choose people who want things to be better, not worse.”
Of course, the challenge is knowing what’s better. And what’s worse. That can be our first deception – not knowing the difference.
Peterson continues…
“If you surround yourself with people who support your upward aim, they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness. They will instead encourage you when you do good for yourself and others and punish you carefully when you do not.”
Upward aim. Growth. Improvement.
Destructiveness. Damage. Ruin. Loss.
Good.
Bad.
First, we must decide what we want. It’s unlikely – if not impossible – that anything will be improved until we first make up our minds that THAT is what we want.
Good doesn’t just happen. We have to seek it. Crave it deeply enough that we commit to it.
Bad does just happen. It’s easy requiring only self-centeredness. Selfishness. Disregard for others.
Bad habits occur when we just stop paying attention and do nothing. Not so with good habits. They demand higher intentions and dedicated effort. It’s the difference in building something or in letting entropy happen. Nobody is earning a degree in Entropy, but there are degrees in Architecture.
Have you decided to grow, improve and aim higher?
Good. Then you’re ready to not only help yourself but others. Look for people who want the best for themselves and others, too. People who have made up their minds just as you have. That common bond is where it has to start.
Sounds good, but is it real? Not always. Plenty of folks are able to talk a big game. Actions show you reality.
Gauge people by how they behave and the choices they make. You’ll quickly learn who wants their best and your best, too. Just remember, they’re paying attention to you, too. Judging you with the same judgment. So be sure you’ve made up your mind that you want to aim higher for yourself AND others. Behave accordingly.
After you’ve made up your mind subtraction is likely necessary. You have people in your life who aren’t that interested in your best. They may not even be interested in their own improvement or growth, except financially. You’re looking for people who value other things more highly than money or financial success. Personal and professional growth may include financial success, but friends who want your best and who want the best for themselves (and others) donR...]]>
Randy Cantrell 21:04
Valentine’s Day: Heart Stuff Isn’t Just For Romance – Season 2020, Episode 7 https://bulanetwork.com/valentines-day-heart-stuff-isnt-just-for-romance-season-2020-episode-7/ Fri, 14 Feb 2020 07:00:49 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=21039 https://bulanetwork.com/valentines-day-heart-stuff-isnt-just-for-romance-season-2020-episode-7/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/valentines-day-heart-stuff-isnt-just-for-romance-season-2020-episode-7/feed/ 0 Happy Valentine’s Day. I know. An odd thing for business. But not really. All business is comprised of both head and heart. Well, to be fair and accurate — it’s all head stuff. Brain stuff. That’s where all the heart stuff happens. We tend to think of it in more simplistic terms though. Head is …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/valentines-day-heart-stuff-isnt-just-for-romance-season-2020-episode-7/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Valentine’s Day: Heart Stuff Isn’t Just For Romance – Season 2020, Episode 7</span> Read More »</a></p> Happy Valentine’s Day. I know. An odd thing for business. But not really. All business is comprised of both head and heart. Well, to be fair and accurate — it’s all head stuff. Brain stuff. That’s where all the heart stuff happens. I know. An odd thing for business. But not really.
All business is comprised of both head and heart. Well, to be fair and accurate — it’s all head stuff. Brain stuff. That’s where all the heart stuff happens. We tend to think of it in more simplistic terms though. Head is logic. Heart is emotion. It’s not that simple though. Or that binary.
Leadership gaps are often the result of heart stuff. Human relationship stuff. Feelings. Emotions. They can help us make fast progress. Or they can stymie us like quicksand.
So on Valentine’s Day 2020 it feels right – that’s right, it FEELS right – to focus on heart stuff in our work lives.
CEOs need a big heart. So do all top-level leaders. Because without it service doesn’t exist and value isn’t delivered.
Ego and pride can be the most destructive powers against effective leadership. We can believe we’re more important than we really are. Self-importance kicks in and suddenly we discount others around us. Their opinions aren’t nearly as sharp as ours. Their experiences are less relevant. Their ideas are often foolish. Or so we think. All because we’ve inflated our own value and lessened the value of everybody around us. It’s a heart problem that can kill our career (and our organization) every bit as much as a physical heart attack can kill us.
Insecurity. That’s often the culprit of our heart problems. How else might you explain a CEO or top-level leader diminishing others who provide no threat to their position or authority? The urge to be the smartest person in the room can be extraordinarily high in people who hold high positions. Nevermind that nobody in the room presents any kind of clear and present danger to their authority. Nevermind that by opening themselves up to the opinions, insights and experiences of others their leadership “power” could be dramatically enhanced.
The heart frequently experiences fear. And that’s what’s going on here. Fear. Fear of losing the position. Fear of failing. Fear of not being the smartest person. Fear of looking bad. Fear of not being the person who comes up with the answer. Fear of not knowing the answer before anybody else. Fear run amock.
Fear crushes the heart potential of many would-be-exceptional leaders. They don’t know how to manage their fear in productive ways to prevent them from getting in their own – and everybody else’s – way.
This is why I talk so much about compassion. While others enjoy focusing on empathy, compassion is the traction that makes empathy go. Say you have empathy and I have no way to know until or unless I see your compassion. That’s deeply heart stuff. It’s also the stuff of extremely high performing individuals, groups and teams.
Forty-plus years of business experience has taught me that the victories don’t go to the brightest, most educated, most technically savvy, most talented or even the hardest working. No, the victories go to the groups or teams that can leverage the power of the room. Groups and teams led by a leader intent on making everybody in the room better.
It’s not some ego-less leader, but rather it’s a heart-led leader who understands that the people have roadblocks, speedbumps and other obstacles that only he or she can remove because only they have the authority to help the team go faster! How much faster depends on the leader’s willingness to rely on others. The more dependent they are on others, the faster it can all go. That’s how powerful the heart is in business.
Let me leave you with some questions.
What are you afraid of? Why are you so unwilling to listen – carefully listen – to people in your organization or to customers or to suppliers or anybody else who might be able to provide some...]]>
Randy Cantrell 1 17:05
Compassion: The Missing Link – Season 2020, Episode 6 https://bulanetwork.com/compassion-the-missing-link-season-2020-episode-6/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 07:00:40 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=21024 https://bulanetwork.com/compassion-the-missing-link-season-2020-episode-6/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/compassion-the-missing-link-season-2020-episode-6/feed/ 0 “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  – Aesop The return we get – let’s start out thinking about ourselves because that’s what we tend to do anyway (put ourselves first) – from kindness is immeasurable. Never mind the benefit we can provide to others. Then why is compassion so rare? …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/compassion-the-missing-link-season-2020-episode-6/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Compassion: The Missing Link – Season 2020, Episode 6</span> Read More »</a></p> “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  – Aesop The return we get – let’s start out thinking about ourselves because that’s what we tend to do anyway (put ourselves first) – from kindness is immeasurable. The return we get – let’s start out thinking about ourselves because that’s what we tend to do anyway (put ourselves first) – from kindness is immeasurable. Never mind the benefit we can provide to others.
Then why is compassion so rare?
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”   – Anne Frank
In a word: pride.
Pride gets in our way. It’s the kryptonite for everybody.
Self.
That’s another word you may be better able to relate with. We put too much emphasis on ourselves and not enough on others. Culture fuels it, too.
If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?
I’m even guilty, having been a longtime fan of Jack Welch’s statement, “Control your destiny or somebody else will.” I’m re-thinking that these days, just so you know.
In one context (perhaps others) it’s wise. It means, “be responsible.” Don’t wait for somebody to do it for you. Don’t sit back, doing nothing, hoping others will rescue you. That’s not a good or wise way to go through life.
But on the other hand, it diminishes the value others can bring. It may spark us to isolate ourselves thinking we alone have to do it all. And that makes us critical of others because we’ve now elevated our own view of ourselves. We’re clearly the most important person on the planet – in our minds.
That’s why judgment is easy. We can easily and quickly spot the deficiencies in others while our glaring weaknesses can go unnoticed. Your weaknesses make me feel better about myself, but that better feeling is like an illegal drug. It’s short-term gain with long-term pain.
It doesn’t make me a better human. It does nothing to help you. It won’t improve me. Instead, it stunts my growth and helps me remain stuck in my self-centeredness.
Then, you’re gonna go post terrific pics of your vacation or some other trip. I’m gonna see your Instagram and Facebook posts. Jealousy is going to soar. My life isn’t so grand. I can’t afford to make that trip. My life doesn’t measure up. Bitterness and resentment settle into a comfortable place in my mind.
How am I supposed to exhibit compassion when your life appears so much better than mine?
Again, it boils down to pride and self. I’m looking at your life – and all the other lives around me – through the lens of my own life. The constant state of comparison prevents me from feeling or displaying compassion.
Compassion doesn’t cost. It gives. To everybody.
Pride’s payoff isn’t nearly as great. But pride promises the big payday. Which is why we can so easily lean into it. By putting the attention on ourselves maybe we’re deluded into thinking others will pay us more attention. Self-promotion and all that.
This isn’t about avoiding putting our best foot forward. Or for those comfortable doing so, it’s not about avoiding self-promotion. The issue is whether or not we’ll incorporate compassion into our daily habits.
Humility and compassion provide fuel for so many positive things in our lives – and in the lives of others with whom we interact. Connection and communication are greatly enhanced. Both are hindered when compassion is missing. That alone ought to make us think more soberly about how we can increase compassion in our lives.
Compassion is missing when these qualities are absent:

* Humility
* Curiosity
* Empathy
* Open-mindedness
* Cooperation

Guess what else is missing when these qualities are absent?
Team performance. Group performance. High performing groups and teams tend to always have the same traits that fuel compassion.]]>
Randy Cantrell 1 12:13
Questions: The Key To Improved Group (and individual) Understanding – Season 2020, Episode 5 https://bulanetwork.com/questions-the-key-to-improved-group-and-individual-understanding-season-2020-episode-5/ Tue, 04 Feb 2020 07:00:20 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=21007 https://bulanetwork.com/questions-the-key-to-improved-group-and-individual-understanding-season-2020-episode-5/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/questions-the-key-to-improved-group-and-individual-understanding-season-2020-episode-5/feed/ 0 High-performing groups and teams are fixated on one big thing – understanding! The key to understanding is one simple, but not always easy activity – asking questions. Being high-performing isn’t easy. Ever. It takes hard work, dedication and know-how. It also requires discipline to engage in continuous activities that will foster high-performance. Most teams or …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/questions-the-key-to-improved-group-and-individual-understanding-season-2020-episode-5/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Questions: The Key To Improved Group (and individual) Understanding – Season 2020, Episode 5</span> Read More »</a></p> High-performing groups and teams are fixated on one big thing – understanding! The key to understanding is one simple, but not always easy activity – asking questions. Being high-performing isn’t easy. Ever. It takes hard work, The key to understanding is one simple, but not always easy activity – asking questions.
Being high-performing isn’t easy. Ever. It takes hard work, dedication and know-how. It also requires discipline to engage in continuous activities that will foster high-performance. Most teams or groups lack the ingredients, but it’s not technical prowess, or proper structure or even good intentions that are missing. No, the missing ingredients are the things necessary for improved understanding.
High-performing groups or teams lean into the areas of activity that foster great work. And it’s far less technical than most think. Instead, it’s social. It’s about people.
It’s human interaction and our ability to improve those interactions.
Mostly, it’s about our collective ability to have productive discussions. If we’re unable to do that, then it’s over. Any chance we have to be high-performing is out if we can’t have profitable conversations that foster deeper understanding.
High-performing teams.
High-performing groups.
High-functioning relationships. Including marriages and families.
They all depend on understanding.
The quality of our questions determines the quality of our understanding. And the higher our understanding the more likely we can have high-performing groups or teams made up of high-performing individuals.
What happens when you don’t understand?
You have a few options. You can make something up. Assume meaning. Think you know. Don’t work to find out. This is the option taken by many people (which is, in part, why high-performing groups or teams are so rare). The gaps in our knowledge – those things we don’t know or the things we don’t understand – get filled in with what we think or assume.
You can ask questions. You can seek understanding.
Why is that so hard? A few reasons. For starters, you have to admit you don’t understand. Many people would prefer to feign understanding. But that doesn’t work at any level. Pretending you understand is about as effective as pretending you’re a high-performing person. Imagining it won’t make it so.
It’s also hard because we’re human. We have emotions. We react to things. Including words others say.
We can get defensive and combative. Understanding isn’t the initial instinct for most people. Fighting back is. Or running away. Fight or flight. The space between the two is mindful understanding. That just means it’s intentional. We set our minds to understand ahead of time, knowing that during the conversation we’re going to likely be sparked to feel like fighting or fleeing. Special, high-performing people determine in advance to pursue understanding. They can check themselves in real-time to behave in ways that foster understanding instead of conflict for the sake of disagreement.
It’s hard. Very hard. Which is why it’s so rare.
Your team is meeting. The conversation is perfectly fine while the topics are easy, but suddenly a difficult conversation begins. At some point somebody says something that causes another member of the team to bristle. They blurt out, “I completely disagree.” That can derail the entire discussion…or not.
What’s going to happen next? I many cases it turns into a fight. A he-said, he-said ordeal. No increased understanding. No improvement in the discussion. The productivity falls like a rock. The conversation either ends or quickly moves to safer topics. It’s evident the team isn’t going to be able to discuss this tough subject. It’s the mark of a low-performing team. They just can’t handle hard discussions.
What if instead of blurting out,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 19:37
One Chapter Does Not Tell Your Whole Story – Season 2020, Episode 4 https://bulanetwork.com/one-chapter-does-not-tell-your-whole-story-season-2020-episode-4/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 07:00:08 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20999 https://bulanetwork.com/one-chapter-does-not-tell-your-whole-story-season-2020-episode-4/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/one-chapter-does-not-tell-your-whole-story-season-2020-episode-4/feed/ 0 The power of others is most evident when we get into trouble. The trouble that we create through our own foolishness, negligence or stupidity. I know you don’t want to admit it, but we’ve all experienced it. Nobody is immune. All of us have written awful chapters in our lives. Hopefully, we didn’t make them …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/one-chapter-does-not-tell-your-whole-story-season-2020-episode-4/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">One Chapter Does Not Tell Your Whole Story – Season 2020, Episode 4</span> Read More »</a></p> The power of others is most evident when we get into trouble. The trouble that we create through our own foolishness, negligence or stupidity. I know you don’t want to admit it, but we’ve all experienced it. Nobody is immune. All of us have written awful chapters in our lives. Hopefully, we didn’t make them the longest chapters of our lives. Worse yet, let’s not make them multiple chapters that end up defining our whole story. The most wasted lives in society are lives like that – lives devoted to ongoing, constant foolishness (or worse – evil and wickedness).
Most of us are guilty of youthful indiscretions and idiocy. Sometimes we weren’t so young when we did it, but if we’re surrounded by people who care about us then we can more quickly course correct. That’s why our associations are crucial for our well-being.
The wrong people can influence us to extend our worst chapter. They foster the continual writing of a bad story.
The right people can influence us to shorten our worst chapter by helping us get on with writing a much better story.
We’re responsible for our own story. This isn’t about diverting the blame onto others. It’s our life. Our story. And our decision on how we write it. And our decision on who we’ll surround ourselves with.
Being responsible means it’s up to us. It doesn’t mean it’s solely up to us. It means we can decide to silo ourselves and go it alone. Or we can decide that’s stupid and we need help.
Why struggle alone?
Lots of reasons. None of them very good. But there are reasons why we do it.
We don’t trust anybody enough to be fully candid. Or vulnerable.
We don’t think anybody can help. Or is willing to help. We think people need some special skills or knowledge to help.
We don’t want to impose on anybody.
We don’t think we need help.
But here’s the thing…when we’re struggling we may not be at our optimal self. Remaining in the struggle – going it alone – prolongs the chapter. Not likely our best chapter either.
Read any biography of a successful person and you’ll read about failures. Sometimes lots of them. Sometimes long periods of failure.
Do you feel like a challenge? I’ve tried this numerous times and the results are universally true (so far). Think of the times you’ve struggled. Times when you were failing.
Think of how you escaped it. When you found your way out and began to succeed.
Was there a person involved in your turnaround? One person who showed up at just the right time? A person who gave you a helping hand?
I’m guessing there was such a person. I’ve not yet met a person, who after just moments of sober reflection, could say they dug their way out of the abyss all alone. People tell stories of a friend, some stranger, a relative…somebody helped them get to their feet. Without that assistance, they admit their struggle would have continued. For who knows how long?
In retrospect, people tell me about the bad chapter of their life. Some had a few bad chapters. But everybody happily admits those bad chapters were not their whole story thanks to the people who provided just what they seemed to need.
I’ve never talked with a successful person – measured just about any way you’d like to measure it (financial, accomplishment, achievement) – who claims they were able to do it alone. They were able to write better chapters, to craft a better story by leveraging 3 basic behaviors:

* They figured out what they were good at (which in most cases, wound up being the things they most enjoyed doing). They devoted themselves to doing more of that.
* They were relentless in pursuing their goal. This was made possible because they figured out a goal that...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 14:46
The High Value Of Caring Challenges – Season 2020, Episode 3 https://bulanetwork.com/the-high-value-of-caring-challenges-season-2020-episode-3/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:00:46 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20990 https://bulanetwork.com/the-high-value-of-caring-challenges-season-2020-episode-3/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/the-high-value-of-caring-challenges-season-2020-episode-3/feed/ 0 Last week I read yet another article about the dangers of executive coaching. One of the dangers listed was the morphing of the relationship into a friendship where the coach is no longer pushing or challenging the client. Over time they’ve become friends and now things are different. It prompted me to go back and …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-high-value-of-caring-challenges-season-2020-episode-3/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The High Value Of Caring Challenges – Season 2020, Episode 3</span> Read More »</a></p> Last week I read yet another article about the dangers of executive coaching. One of the dangers listed was the morphing of the relationship into a friendship where the coach is no longer pushing or challenging the client. It prompted me to go back and revisit some earlier articles, especially some appearing in the Harvard Business Review where there’s been a considerable disdain for executive coaching prompted largely by charlatans and poor practices. I read articles I’d never seen before. I revisited other articles I’d seen over the years. Perhaps I was looking for a theme, but in none of the pieces did I see myself and how I’ve worked for the past decade in helping leaders move forward.
Page after page of advice-giving, expertise, and imposing beliefs sounded nothing like how I view the process. And missing in almost every article was the first of the things that are foundational for what I’ve learned to be most effective. Compassion.

Five C’s are all part of the biggest C of all – challenge. Not adversity. Not an obstacle. Challenge in the sense of pushing, nudging and helping people see things they may not otherwise see. It’s about improved performance. It’s not about keeping a client for life. For me, it’s always been about moving forward to a place where the work is complete (at least this stage of it).
I admit it’s not an ideal business model – at least not the way I approach it. But it’s also why I’ve been compelled over the last 4 years to learn so much about the power of others. It’s the power of US. When we’re surrounded by others – multiple people – then we can better leverage the individual and collective insights, experiences, wisdom, and counsel from people whose value will grow over time. Now that’s a very different value proposition because time forges the compassion so vital for each of us. Instead of “coaching” that should likely have a necessary ending, these groups increase in value year after year where members can do for each other what nobody else can.
I start with compassion because we find it difficult to find value in the challenges of people who don’t care about us. It’s possible, but we have to work very hard to use it for our benefit.
Somebody challenges your idea or thoughts. You know they don’t care about you, or for you. Fact is, you don’t much like them either. How does that challenge work out for you? Not well. Because you both have a bias that prevents you from seeing value in each other’s opinion or feedback. The challenge may be perfectly valid, but the person isn’t valid. Not to you anyway. Nor you to them. The value proposition is extremely low because the negative emotions are in the way. Where no compassion exists there’s little or no value. So it begins with CARING.
Why should we care about others?
Maybe it’s a philosophical or religious question, but permit me to make a statement that I’d like you to consider. We should care because it’s good for US. Yes, there are plenty of arguments for how it’s the right thing to do and how others are benefited, but I know we’re mostly interested in ourselves. It’s good for us to care about others. It comes back toward us in major waves of good as others reciprocate. It eliminates jealousy and bitterness, which never serve to make us achieve more. Or perform better. It deepens relationships with others who will help us when we need it the most. There are plenty of great reasons why we should express compassion and care for others. And why we should put a premium on it when others give it to us. Somebody has to start this. It may as well be YOU.
I agree with the articles that warn how coaches can grow too friendly wh...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 17:52
Leverage Others To Be More Creative In Solving Problems – Season 2020, Episode 2 https://bulanetwork.com/leverage-others-to-be-more-creative-in-solving-problems-season-2020-episode-2/ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 16:33:09 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20981 https://bulanetwork.com/leverage-others-to-be-more-creative-in-solving-problems-season-2020-episode-2/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/leverage-others-to-be-more-creative-in-solving-problems-season-2020-episode-2/feed/ 0 Making decisions. Solving problems. It’s THE job of top-level executives and business owners. The higher up the food chain, the more critical the decisions and solutions. Lower level or mid-level decisions have an impact, but they’re not as high risk as those made in the C-suite. Even so, it’s important for an organization to help …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/leverage-others-to-be-more-creative-in-solving-problems-season-2020-episode-2/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Leverage Others To Be More Creative In Solving Problems – Season 2020, Episode 2</span> Read More »</a></p> Making decisions. Solving problems. It’s THE job of top-level executives and business owners. The higher up the food chain, the more critical the decisions and solutions. Lower level or mid-level decisions have an impact, Solving problems.
It’s THE job of top-level executives and business owners. The higher up the food chain, the more critical the decisions and solutions. Lower level or mid-level decisions have an impact, but they’re not as high risk as those made in the C-suite. Even so, it’s important for an organization to help leaders at every level make wise decisions. Leaders can learn how to do it better. Organizations benefit when leaders advance based on their ability to make great decisions and effectively solve problems quickly.
I often use an index-card illustration with clients.
A car accident happens at an intersection. Four different witnesses, standing at each corner, saw the whole thing. As you investigate to figure out what happened, you have options. You can survey the scene and deduce what happened without talking to anybody. You can speak with the witness standing on corner 1 and draw your conclusions without hearing what witnesses 2, 3 and 4 have to say. You can single out any of the other witnesses to the exclusion of all others, or some of the others. It’s up to you.
The smart investigator will leverage the power of everybody who saw the wreck, including the drivers and passengers of the vehicles involved. There could be lots of people to listen to and understand. The investigator will find great value in anybody who can add credible testimony to help him figure out the truth. We’d consider any investigator who didn’t to be a poor detective.
Unfortunately, some organizations don’t see problem-solving or decision-making inside their operations the same way. Too frequently leaders arrogantly figure they’re the smartest person in the room, fully capable of making the decision without any help or input from others.
The combined insights gained from the four witnesses at the intersection provide the investigator with a more complete picture of what happened. It eliminates potential blind spots that could derail the investigation.
I intentionally titled today’s show using the word “creative” because creativity is a differentiator in high achieving organizations. Yes, they execute better, but they don’t follow the throngs in how they do things. Groupthink doesn’t tend to produce innovative, creative solutions. Of course, groupthink is easier because you simply have to copy cat what others do. Every industry has it and most organizations do things pretty much the same way others in the industry do. Don’t do it. Brace yourself to put in the work to be more insightful and creative. It’s going to require you to learn how to better leverage others.
Step 1 – Commit the time required.
Using my index-card illustration, the investigator could more quickly walk around the scene and decide what happened. He would likely get it completely wrong, but he might get it right. He could save a lot of time.
Taking the time to speak to every witness and carefully surveying the scene will take a lot more time, but the odds of him getting it 100% correct soar.
Realistically, sometimes time isn’t on our side. Sometimes an event or circumstance hits causing us to act now. This is when we have to quickly weigh the consequences – the risks and rewards – of taking more time. In decades of running companies, I’ve almost never been faced with a decision or problem that didn’t allow time to leverage the perspectives of others. I’m a speed freak, but there’s a big difference in being quick to act responsibly and being careless. Don’t be careless. Reckless problem-solving will create more problems than it solves, but I see it happen time and again as executives reach for that box of bandages to temporarily fix some nagging problem…when thoughtful minor surgery might fix the problem once and for all.
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Randy Cantrell clean 16:50
Introducing The Power Of Others Podcast – Season 2020, Episode 1 https://bulanetwork.com/introducing-the-power-of-others-podcast-season-2020-episode-1/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 07:00:18 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20964 https://bulanetwork.com/introducing-the-power-of-others-podcast-season-2020-episode-1/#respond https://bulanetwork.com/introducing-the-power-of-others-podcast-season-2020-episode-1/feed/ 0 2020 is getting a lot of appropriate buzz as a year for clearer vision. It remains to be seen if we can leverage it the way we hope. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-January. Other surveys report that well over 90% of all resolutions fail somewhere …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/introducing-the-power-of-others-podcast-season-2020-episode-1/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Introducing The Power Of Others Podcast – Season 2020, Episode 1</span> Read More »</a></p> 2020 is getting a lot of appropriate buzz as a year for clearer vision. It remains to be seen if we can leverage it the way we hope. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-January. Due to the vast distinctions of resolutions, it’s tough to determine why they fail, but there likely are some general truths we can consider.
For starters, many of us decide to do something that we’ve never done before. Well, never successfully. Or to any degree. Even more so, we likely don’t alter our behavior. Doing the same things. Remaining in the same habits won’t result in a different outcome. And habits are very hard to change.
The old year ended professionally with a focus on disagreement. I had a number of clients who wanted to enter the new year with a focus (for some, a renewed focus) on crafting a culture devoid of blame. “That’s not our department’s responsibility,” isn’t something the leaders at the top want to continue to hear. But the blaming game isn’t limited to that phrase. Disagreement takes on many forms and faces.
I bring this up right here in the initial episode of The Power Of Others podcast because it demonstrates the point of this podcast so well. This is a podcast about how we benefit from who surrounds us. And yes, that can include those who disagree with us.
Benefit. That word is intentional.
I know we could easily focus on the negative side of the power of others. Bad company corrupts good morals according to the Bible. We’ve all seen it. Maybe even in our own lives. There’s positive power in teaching such lessons to our children and to ourselves. Be careful who your friends are. It’s wise advice.
I’m optimistic though. I prefer to lean into the sunlight of what’s possible if we just put our minds into active work. Benefits are possible – far more probable – when we put ourselves in the company of people who can help us grow.
The first disagreement that may serve us well is to disagree with ourselves. To question things we’ve long thought were absolutely true. To seek productive disagreement in our lives. Most of us will do everything in our power to maintain the status quo, even if the status quo isn’t working. We tend to hate change. Growth and improvement are often the most powerful forms of change.
It’s not about conflict. With yourself or others. It’s about learning that not everything is worth fighting. Not because we’re apathetic, but because life is more complicated than we first think. We like neat tidy packages of our assumptions and beliefs. But life is messy.
Culture is steeped in an “I’m right, you’re wrong” way of communication. It stems from the notion that we all feel completely right. We know, with great certainty, that the other person is wrong. Look inside yourself though and you’ll quickly see how complex it all is. You believe what you do for very complicated reasons. Even simple positions are fraught with complex drivers. Why don’t we ever assume it’s the same for the other side? Because we don’t want to make that assumption. It’s easy – and makes us feel better – to simply think they’re idiots who don’t know. They’re just wrong. And we’re right.
So much of our disagreement stems from the craving to feel better about ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s too often at the expense of others. That’s not a positive leveraging of the power of others. That’s leveraging the power of self-delusion, which never works to help us grow or improve.
I’ve long used the scenario of a favorite milkshake flavor. What’s yours?
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Randy Cantrell clean 20:04
Happy Friday The 13th: Good-Bye! (352) https://bulanetwork.com/happy-friday-the-13th-good-bye-352/ Fri, 13 Dec 2019 07:00:24 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20933 Cue Tom Petty’s classic hit song from his fabulous Wildflowers’ album, Time To Move On. ? Tom’s singing about divorce, but if I were singing the song it’d be about my long-last professional shift. Today, I hope you get some value as I rehearse with you the general angst and execution (or lack) of the …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/happy-friday-the-13th-good-bye-352/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Happy Friday The 13th: Good-Bye! (352)</span> Read More »</a></p> Cue Tom Petty’s classic hit song from his fabulous Wildflowers’ album, Time To Move On. ? Tom’s singing about divorce, but if I were singing the song it’d be about my long-last professional shift. Today, I hope you get some value as I rehearse with you... ?
Tom’s singing about divorce, but if I were singing the song it’d be about my long-last professional shift. Today, I hope you get some value as I rehearse with you the general angst and execution (or lack) of the past year. As we near the end of it and stare into the face of 2020 it feels right to craft this final chapter of the Grow Great podcast.
I’m hoping you’ll stay along for the ride because my intent on continuing to provide high value – in fact, I’m making this change because I want to up my game in bringing you HIGHER value.
For over 4 decades I’ve been immersed in business. All my activities have been focused on the business of building and growing business. I’ve spent most of that time leading businesses. And I’ve loved almost every mile along the journey. But it’s time to move on.
No, I’m not leaving business behind, but I am changing direction. More accurately, I’m changing my focus and going singular rather than being as broad as I’ve been over the past decade.
When I entered the professional services arena a decade ago it was real roll-up-your-sleeves-get-your-hands-dirty consulting work. I was intent on helping business owners shore up operationally. Quite often it involved retooling sales processes, too. It was the under-the-hood stuff that every business requires.
Over time it morphed. Quite organically. It ended up becoming coaching, which I found suited me unlike anything else. I’m ideally wired for it, as I had discovered when I was in my early 20’s. I enjoy communication, learning, discovery and my natural curiosity drives me to ask questions seeking understanding. In short, it was right up my ally, suited to my strong suit because it was all about PEOPLE. It was about me doing whatever I could to help people figure it out for themselves. I loved it because everything about it felt right.
There’s a character strength assessment that I’m fond of. A buddy – Joe Bacigalupo of AlliancesHub International put me onto it. I knew something of the folks behind it because I had read (years ago) a book entitled, Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. He’s one of the people behind the VIA Survey, the folks leaning hard into character strengths (which differ from talent or skill strengths).
?
That assessment is meaningful because among my core character strengths are things I’ve long known about myself. Things like forgiveness are big things for me. And easy.
My passion to go deep with people in an effort to serve them has always been strong. It’s been growing stronger and stronger over the past decade. I’m naturally bent toward being a person with whom others can feel safe. Confidentiality isn’t hard for me. Not judging people or telling them what they “should” do it’s either. I’m happy to give people my opinion if they press, but I mostly am geared to asking questions so they can figure out for themselves what is best for them. This is all in the context of business or organizational behavior. So candor is up near the top of things I cherish most.
What I’ve learned the past 4-5 years is that this is woefully lacking in the world. But not really. Let me explain.
Talk with 10 people and I guarantee if you direct the right questions toward them you’ll discover each of the 10 was powerfully impacted by somebody. Likely a number of somebodies. In other words, they leveraged the power of others. We all do it, but most of us don’t do it strategically or even tactically. It just happens organically. Or not.
I began to look more closely at the people at the bottom of the achievemen...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 56:05
Customer Attraction: What’s Your One Big Brand Advantage? (351) https://bulanetwork.com/customer-attraction-whats-your-one-big-brand-advantage-351/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:00:14 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20930 Dig out that SWOT analysis. It’ll come in handy. Part of figuring out your best moves to ratchet up your branding is to figure out what customers really want, what you’re really good at and what weaknesses exist in the competition. There’s no magic to it. It’s a basic formula to help you create the …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/customer-attraction-whats-your-one-big-brand-advantage-351/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Customer Attraction: What’s Your One Big Brand Advantage? (351)</span> Read More »</a></p> Dig out that SWOT analysis. It’ll come in handy. Part of figuring out your best moves to ratchet up your branding is to figure out what customers really want, what you’re really good at and what weaknesses exist in the competition. Part of figuring out your best moves to ratchet up your branding is to figure out what customers really want, what you’re really good at and what weaknesses exist in the competition. There’s no magic to it. It’s a basic formula to help you create the proverbial competitive advantage.
What do your customers want most?
Interview your existing customers. Interview prospective customers. Remember, those conversations need to address your space, the things your company can do for them. It can be tempting to pivot into areas beyond your expertise or know-how if you get feedback that’s outside the scope of your offerings. It’s fine. You can pursue anything you’d like, but I might suggest interviewing existing and prospective customers about what they most want from a supplier or provider in your niche. But plenty of entrepreneurs have unearthed brand new opportunities that caused them to ditch their existing plan. All because clients and prospective clients pointed out something they needed or wanted more. Pay close attention. Listen. Keep your eye open.
Spend some time finding out what the current frustrations or short-comings are. I enjoy asking prospects to describe their worst experience, then following up by asking about their best experience. What they say reveals what they love most and what they hate most. Along with some nice details that give me insights I couldn’t otherwise get.
Sometimes the best path to finding out what customers want is to quantify what they absolutely hate.
What does your company do better than anybody else? 
This is what most folks view as their competitive advantage, but it’s just the start. You want to really leverage this strength so you must be willing to go deeper.
Remember that one-inch drill bit that produces the one-inch hole the customer wants? The customer needs and wants a one-inch hole. He could care less about the one-inch drill bit, but he knows if he’s going to get a one-inch hole he needs a one-inch drill bit. The customer is envisioning the one-inch hole he needs. He’s not picturing a one-inch drill bit.
What’s your one-inch hole? Your company must provide an equivalent value to your customers. That one thing you do better than anybody else is your point of leverage. You need to know what it is and you must be able to articulate it consistently and uniformly throughout your company. The message has to be congruent company-wide. Sometimes we have a litany of marketing materials that all say something different about our company. And we wonder why our marketing is falling flat. Because it’s not working for us at all!
One thing. That’s what’s tough for most of us. We look at Amazon and see they’re into all sorts of businesses, but they made their brand by selling books online. Everything else stemmed from that. The Earth’s retailer made their name for selling one category of products. Their growth stemmed from that.
But we all need to figure out the one thing that we can convey that will tip the scales into our favor with the prospect. For Jeff Bezos it was buying books online cheaper than you buy at Border’s or any other bookstore. It was easy. Cheap. And it worked well.
Your prospects need and want something. Sure, they want many things, but you shouldn’t try to solve their every problem. What’s the one problem you can solve? What’s the one solution you be best provide?
Start conveying that and ONLY that. Stop diluting your message. Stop shouting different messages. Get everybody shouting the same thing and watch how much attention you’ll gain. Your marketing doesn’t work because it’s not unified. It’s not singular enough. Too many messages and none of them being heard.
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Randy Cantrell clean 8:18
Customer Attraction: Building A Brand (350) https://bulanetwork.com/customer-attraction-building-a-brand-350/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:00:13 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20926 What do your sales conversations sound like? What do they look and feel like? You may think that brand building isn’t even a third cousin to sales conversations. Positioning your brand has much to do with the sales conversation. “Everybody knows our brand. We’ve spent millions through the years getting our name out there.” There …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/customer-attraction-building-a-brand-350/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Customer Attraction: Building A Brand (350)</span> Read More »</a></p> What do your sales conversations sound like? What do they look and feel like? You may think that brand building isn’t even a third cousin to sales conversations. Positioning your brand has much to do with the sales conversation. You may think that brand building isn’t even a third cousin to sales conversations. Positioning your brand has much to do with the sales conversation.
“Everybody knows our brand. We’ve spent millions through the years getting our name out there.”
There are at least three levels of a brand we all must consider. First, there’s our name. Literally, our “brand” as used by cattle ranchers who put their insignia on their livestock to differentiate them from the neighboring rancher’s herd.
Then there’s the aspect of our brand in what we promise the customer. It establishes the expectation of the customer. It’s why folks like Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out Burger. Visit any of them and you know exactly what to expect and what you’ll get.
The third aspect of our brand is the linchpin to it all. It’s that one thing that our company owns. It’s that one idea that gives us the edge in the market over everybody else.
That last one is the critical one. And it’s not one that’s necessarily going to be identical to everybody. Ask my wife what soft drink brand comes to her mind and she’ll say, “Coke.” I’ll say, “Dr. Pepper.” They’ve both got the first two down cold yet ask multiple people and you’ll get a different answer because taste and preference (and a host of other things) can enter the equation.
You’ve heard that people buy what the product or service will do for them rather than the product or service itself. An old hat illustration that’s as powerful as any is the purchase of a 1-inch drill bit. We buy that if what we really need or want is a 1-inch hole. That’s indicative of this third aspect of building a brand. We have to paint a picture for the prospect of the outcome they want. That image is what will be planted in their minds if we brand ourselves effectively.
When working with leaders about communication I find myself often engaged in conversations about disengaged or uninspired employees. Eventually, the conversation rolls around to culture and things like the stories people tell themselves. Especially the stories of how they fit and how their work makes a meaningful difference.
If leaders don’t give people a great story – not fiction, but the truth (and the best version of the truth) – then they’ll create their own. And in the context of employees, it won’t be good. Human nature being what it is, we tend to think the worst and see ourselves at risk. Or underappreciated. Because leaders haven’t conveyed to us the importance of our contribution or a sufficient degree of appreciation when we perform well.
Prospects do the same thing. We all write our own story unless somebody tells us a better story. We simply must do a better job of telling our story so the prospect can vividly see the ideal outcome they seek — and they see it happening with our help. Our product. Our service.
Years of operating retail companies taught me how crucial it was to unify the messaging, the branding. Imagine having six sales reps. Each approaching the prospect in their own different way, using different wording, telling different stories. Disjointed. Incongruent. A branding trainwreck.
The prospects for that company may know the name of the company. What else do they know? Probably not much, if anything. If the three aspects of successful brand building form a pyramid, then this company has the first level only. The next two, which form the pinnacle, are missing because there are too many different messages. No engaging vision on the part of the prospects where they can see themselves achieving what they most want with anything those sales rep have to offer.
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Randy Cantrell clean 10:06
Customer Attraction: Be Genuine (349) https://bulanetwork.com/customer-attraction-be-genuine-349/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 07:00:15 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20915 Let’s get something out of the way. If you’re genuinely a jerk, then this won’t work well. 😉 Genuine means you’re real, not hypocritical. It means you’re YOU. Whatever that is. I can explain using myself (as always, it’s easier to pick on myself than to pick on somebody else). Here are a few bullet-point …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/customer-attraction-be-genuine-349/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Customer Attraction: Be Genuine (349)</span> Read More »</a></p> Let’s get something out of the way. If you’re genuinely a jerk, then this won’t work well. 😉 Genuine means you’re real, not hypocritical. It means you’re YOU. Whatever that is. I can explain using myself (as always, Genuine means you’re real, not hypocritical. It means you’re YOU. Whatever that is.
I can explain using myself (as always, it’s easier to pick on myself than to pick on somebody else). Here are a few bullet-point factoids about me:
• I’m an introvert. I’m not socially awkward or even reserved, but I don’t gain energy from being around lots of people. I prefer deeper conversations with fewer folks. Outwardly, I can appear like an extrovert though.
• Communication is key for me. Firstly, I’m drawn to other communicators. People who are wall-huggers and so reserved it requires great effort to draw them out…those are NOT my kind of people. I respect them and I understand them, but I’m not likely going to be a good fit for them because it’s honestly just too distracting for me. That’s on me.
• Candidness is important. People who couch everything they say and appear overly measured in their communication exhaust me. Again, I can appreciate and understand them, but that exhaustion factor is a deal-breaker.
Now I could go into a prospective engagement intent on fooling the prospect. I could feign that the way I really am isn’t so much really the way I am. Here’s the problem: that’s really bad for the prospect, should they become my customer and it’s equally bad for me because I don’t be able to deliver the quality of service I want. The money isn’t worth it. For either of us.
But plenty of people do it. They chase the money, no matter what.
This isn’t about being happy as much as it’s about being true to who you are and your core strengths. My core strengths are closely tied to who I am as a personality and communicator.
If you need a person who is the life of the party at a big gathering, I’m not your man. The mere thought of it makes me want to go back to bed.
If you’re a person needing somebody to quietly listen to you as you peel back your most confidential vulnerabilities, sign me up. Right away.
I keep secrets. Always.
I maintain confidences. Always.
I listen intently. Almost always. 😉
I don’t make judgments and tell people what to do. I don’t even have the urge.
I quickly and easily forgive. It’s my top core character strength. Forgiveness.
By knowing these things about myself I can choose to go all in on these, or I can choose to try to be something I’m not. When it comes to attracting customers you can fool some of the people some of the times. You may even be able to fool a lot of the people a lot of the times. But at what cost? To them and to yourself?
I’m unwilling to pay that price or to ask my customers to pay it. We both deserve better.
I’ve got good friends who are quite the opposite from me. They hate sitting down to have deep conversations. And don’t even think they’ll sit still if you want to discuss how you FEEL. Or what you’re THINKING. They’re uncomfortable. Instead, they’re comfortable having conversations that are 100% safe, where there’s no pain, no emotion, no chance for conflict. Good to know. I’d never suggest that any of them roll the way I roll. Instead, I’d suggest they steer clear from doing what I do because faking it would make them miserable. And how good do you think they’d be at it?
That’s what I mean by being genuine.
The hard part is our need for business. We all need business. New business. Repeat business.
Depending on the nature of your business, being genuine can take on a different context. For me, as a solopreneur in the professional services trade, it’s personal to ME. If you’re selling cars and have a sales staff,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:58
Losing A Who (348) https://bulanetwork.com/losing-a-who-348/ Mon, 02 Dec 2019 07:00:49 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20908 After today I’ll be away the rest of the week because I lost another WHO in my life. Who you surround yourself with matters! I’ve surrounded myself with some important WHOs. Over the weekend I lost one of them, a very close family friend I’ve known all my life. His son, Stanley, was my lifelong …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/losing-a-who-348/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Losing A Who (348)</span> Read More »</a></p> After today I’ll be away the rest of the week because I lost another WHO in my life. Who you surround yourself with matters! I’ve surrounded myself with some important WHOs. Over the weekend I lost one of them, Who you surround yourself with matters!
I’ve surrounded myself with some important WHOs. Over the weekend I lost one of them, a very close family friend I’ve known all my life. His son, Stanley, was my lifelong best friend. I lost Stanley on May 12, 2013 (I mentioned Stanley in another podcast I produce at LeaningTowardWisdom.com). Johnny Elmore was his father, an evangelist and a mentor of mine. That him in the black suit just after he wedded me and Rhonda almost 42 years ago. Johnny had just celebrated his 88th birthday, but he was in poor health. Still, we were all quite surprised by his sudden passing in his sleep.
But I’m not here to talk about me or him so much as to remind you of how important it is to invest in the WHOs in your life. Because when you lose a who you realize what you’ve lost.
The wisdom. The challenging questions. The insights. The support. The love. The concern.
Gone.
As I think of all my time with Johnny and how close I was to his entire family I’m sad for the loss, but thankful to have had the relationship for so long. I may have gone my entire life not knowing Johnny all that well.
The hours invested in conversation with him about the Bible and matters of faith that have served to help me be who I am…would not have happened. The hours spent laughing and enjoying the snarkiness and shared humor…I’d have missed out on those, too.
But I didn’t miss out. I took advantage. And as we begin this new week, and a new month, the last month of 2019 I’d like to encourage you to take advantage of the people who surround you. The people who can provide you with wisdom, challenging questions, insights, support, love and concern.
Lastly, I’d like to urge you to be that WHO for others, too. All around you are people who need your wisdom, challenging questions, insights, support, love and concern. Will you give it to them today? You should. It’s the best way I know to create a legacy…a place of such importance that you’re missed. Not merely because a familiar face is gone, but because of the impact you had on the lives of others.
Be well. Do good. Grow great.
Lord willing, I’ll talk to you again next week.
Randy
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Randy Cantrell clean 3:57
Thanksgiving Is The Enemy Of Discontent And Dissatisfaction (347) https://bulanetwork.com/thanksgiving-is-the-enemy-of-discontent-and-dissatisfaction-347/ Mon, 25 Nov 2019 07:00:54 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20898 “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”         – Harry A. Ironside Harry was a preacher in Chicago. Anybody familiar with the Bible has to have an awareness of gratitude and being thankful. Mostly to God, but also for each other and whatever we’ve …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/thanksgiving-is-the-enemy-of-discontent-and-dissatisfaction-347/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Thanksgiving Is The Enemy Of Discontent And Dissatisfaction (347)</span> Read More »</a></p> “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”         – Harry A. Ironside Harry was a preacher in Chicago. Anybody familiar with the Bible has to have an awareness of gratitude and being thankful... Harry was a preacher in Chicago. Anybody familiar with the Bible has to have an awareness of gratitude and being thankful. Mostly to God, but also for each other and whatever we’ve got stewardship over. That includes our businesses.
As powerful as thanksgiving is you’d think we’d more easily embrace gratitude. We don’t because we’re often too busy comparing ourselves and our circumstances to others. They seem to be better off. Their business seems to be achieving more. They don’t seem to experience the problems we do. Their opportunities seem vast compared to ours. Before you know it we’re jealous, envious and very unhappy.
Before I go dark the rest of the week I decided I wanted to leave you a message of encouragement. It just didn’t feel right to be quiet without first provoking you to consider the truth of what Harry said long ago. Harry died in 1951. But gratitude and being thankful don’t change. If anything they just grow in power over time if we’ll devote ourselves to perfecting the practice of them.
You’re Only So Many No’s Away
I’m starting with this notion because lately, I’ve encountered so many people struggling through a variety of challenges. Each is tempted to think they’ve got it wrong. Or that success will never happen.  Resilience is hard.
About 2% of cold calling results in an appointment. Sixty-four calls a day. That’s a lot of rejection, but it’s not limited to just salespeople making cold calls. Anybody pursuing growth or success is going to endure a lot of rejection. A ton of no’s pile up in our lives.
I was a young man still in my teens when an old man posed what I’ve always thought was a brilliant question – and a terrific viewpoint.
“How many no’s are you willing to endure to achieve success?”
I had no idea how to answer that. Being young and confident I said, “A lot. As much as it takes, I guess.”
“How many do you think it’ll take?” he asked.
“I have no idea. Not many I hope,” I replied.
“How different would it feel if I could tell you precisely how many no’s it would take? If I told you it was going to require you to endure 97 no’s — how would you feel?”
“I’d likely get busy knocking out those no’s,” I told him.
It dawned on me that my approach to the defeat or the no’s was THE thing I could control. I also knew nobody could possibly know how many it might take.
“Just remember, you’re some number of no’s away from achieving whatever you want,” he said. “Whatever that number may be, resolve that you’ll muscle through them until you get what you’re after.”
I’m thankful that we’re all just so many no’s away from figuring it out. That doesn’t mean my current course, or yours, will result in success. We may have to adapt, iterate or completely blow up what we’re currently doing. Even so, we can make those adjustments and dig in to knock out the no’s that stand in our way. I’m thankful for that.
Failure Isn’t Fatal. Or Final.
I’m thankful that our failures don’t have to define us. And that our failures don’t have to knock us completely out of the game. I’m thankful we can live to fight another day because we can always adjust our course. If we get it wrong – as we often do – we can fix it. We can make it right.  It’s one of the tenets of my business philosophy.

Your Success Or Failure Has No Impact On Mine
I care about your success. I want to be a resource to help you avoid failu...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:17
Marketing In The Moment: Multiply Your Marketing (346) https://bulanetwork.com/marketing-in-the-moment-multiply-your-marketing-346/ Fri, 22 Nov 2019 07:00:04 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20873 We wrap up this week’s series on Marketing In The Moment with some thoughts about multiplying our marketing. One obvious way to do that is with money, but writing checks isn’t my point today. If you can write bigger checks and effectively drive business growth, then by all means…write the checks. Most of us don’t …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/marketing-in-the-moment-multiply-your-marketing-346/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Marketing In The Moment: Multiply Your Marketing (346)</span> Read More »</a></p> We wrap up this week’s series on Marketing In The Moment with some thoughts about multiplying our marketing. One obvious way to do that is with money, but writing checks isn’t my point today. If you can write bigger checks and effectively drive busines... The reason Wednesday’s podcast focused on measuring marketing was because we need to know if we’re getting a return. Whether we call it CAC (client acquisition cost) or something else, it’s urgent that we understand what kind of investment is required – in time, money, effort, talent, etc. – to acquire a client. When you’re starting out that’s super hard — and it may even be impossible.
Let’s suppose I knew I could invest $1,000 to get a client. And let’s suppose a typical client resulted in $5,000 worth of business. Well, the math is easy, provided we know the profit margin exceeds 20% ($1,000 is 20% of $5,000 — which would enable me to at least earn back the money I spent to acquire the client). But wait a minute. That’s just break-even at getting the client. What about the time, effort and expense to deliver any value to the client? The margin has to be vastly better than 20% in order to make that $1,000 CAC worthwhile.
If the margins are 80% then a $5,000 client can produce $4,000 of profit. Question: Would you trade $1,000 for $5,000 gross? For $4,000 profit? Duh! Of course, as fast as possible. So you COULD write that $1,000 check all day long if you knew it would result in one typical client. It’s one way to multiply marketing.
Of course, things often look easier and more attractive on paper than in the wild. Client or customer acquisition is hard. Else all we’d need would be enough money to get started. Say, that’s first $1,000 check. We’d profit $4,000, then we could theoretically write four $1,000 checks and end up with $16,000 profit, then write sixteen $1,000 checks and end up $64,000 and sky is the limit.
It doesn’t work that way in real life though. We write the $1,000 check, we hustle, we talk to anybody and everybody we can talk to and all we hear are crickets chirping. There are NO guarantees.
Multiplying marketing is about improving odds. Not much more.
I know you’d like promises, guarantees and solid solutions that work every single time. They just don’t exist. Sorry.
What does exist is a lot of hard work, a lot of fear, even more, rejection and somewhere out there – in the future – a point where you figure something out and it works. But know this. It won’t keep working so you have to keep moving, like a shark constantly prowling for something to eat.
The big idea that leaps to my mind when we talk about multiplying your marketing is attention. We used to call it visibility back in the pre-Internet age, but it really is attention. Whether it was advertising on radio, TV or the newspaper. Whether it was a PR campaign that was traditional or perhaps guerilla marketing where we were willing to be a bit off-the-wall. It all boiled down to our need to be seen or heard. We needed people to notice. Visibility has long been the key to success. At most everything business-related.
I know some “influencers and thought leaders” who quite frankly aren’t any sharper (or as sharp) as some people nobody knows. In fact, I know far more business people who are vastly superior to “influencers and thought leaders” but because of their lack of visibility nobody gives them credit. Out of sight, out of mind.
The majority of influencers and thought leaders I know have one skill over those anonymous brilliant people. They self-promote. Well. They’ve figured out how to get people’s attenti...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 20:59
Marketing In The Moment: Measure Your Marketing (345) https://bulanetwork.com/marketing-in-the-moment-measure-your-marketing-345/ Wed, 20 Nov 2019 07:00:39 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20864 A UK business guy produced a brilliant little video about how 1 in 8 men in the UK have NO FRIENDS. Entrepreneurship is lonely. Extremely so. The Peer Advantage by Bula Network doesn’t promise to provide you lifelong friends, but the value proposition does include removing the loneliness of owning and operating your business. It’s …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/marketing-in-the-moment-measure-your-marketing-345/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Marketing In The Moment: Measure Your Marketing (345)</span> Read More »</a></p> A UK business guy produced a brilliant little video about how 1 in 8 men in the UK have NO FRIENDS. Entrepreneurship is lonely. Extremely so. The Peer Advantage by Bula Network doesn’t promise to provide you lifelong friends, a brilliant little video about how 1 in 8 men in the UK have NO FRIENDS. Entrepreneurship is lonely. Extremely so.
The Peer Advantage by Bula Network doesn’t promise to provide you lifelong friends, but the value proposition does include removing the loneliness of owning and operating your business. It’s about improving the company you keep by surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs who understand the challenges and opportunities of your life. Because they’re much like you. Find all the details at ThePeerAdvantage.com

On Monday we talked about monitoring your marketing. Today we continue our series on “Marketing In The Moment” with a focus on measuring our marketing. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get technical. In fact, I’m going to shockingly simple.
Does it drive business growth?
That’s the only measurement that matters. Short-term. Intermediate-term. Long-term. It all matters.
The only thing that matters is business growth. Is your marketing fueling growth? If not, then it ain’t working.
“But our marketing tells our story…” blah, blah, blah, blah.
We love to convince ourselves that our marketing is having this invisible positive impact that can’t be measured. No it’s not.
The only growth I know of that’s invisible…until it IS visible is cancer.
If you’ve been pumping money into marketing year after year and the needle of business growth isn’t doing anything more than creeping…then it’s not working.
Time to get tough. Probably with yourself. Most of us are prone to think more highly of what we’re doing than we should. We have strong beliefs in what we’re doing. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs. Those beliefs serve us well. Mostly. But not always. Delusion comes easily when we desperately want to believe something will work. Or when we embrace the belief that it IS working even though there’s little to no evidence.
True story. Bob’s business has spent (a’hem, “invested) hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the past decade. Growth has almost never exceeded a 3% increase in gross revenue. Profits have grown some years only because of cost cuts. Bob is convinced the marketing is necessary to maintain the current performance. Each year he’s convinced of it. But he can’t prove it.
Nothing in Bob’s business indicates that the marketing is doing much more than making Bob feel like he’s doing something. Until a struggle to become more profitable provokes Bob’s wrath…now Bob wants to find out. Enter the 80/20 rule. Folks dig into the marketing to see which 20% is playing a vital role. They assume some of the marketing IS working to provide some growth.
In the process, the team takes a hard look at the things they believe are absolutely NOT working. Those things that aren’t doing anything to push the business forward. They identify almost $200,000 worth of costs. That’s right! COSTS. Not investment.
Fearful they begin to chip away at it rather than make one big clean cut. They inch the number down month by month over the course of 9 months. No measurable change. Nobody notices. But the bottom line notices! Bob notices. Suddenly Bob’s business is much more profitable. A 5% bottom line is now 8%. Bob has long dreamed of a 10% bottom line but felt it was unachievable.
My point isn’t to cut your marketing budget so you can make more money. That’s not the recipe. The recipe is to STOP pouring money down the drain. The recipe is to figure out what’s working to grow your business and what isn’t.
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:18
Marketing In The Moment: Monitor Your Marketing (344) https://bulanetwork.com/marketing-in-the-moment-monitor-your-marketing-344/ Mon, 18 Nov 2019 07:00:05 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20859 Marketing In The Moment – A 3-Part Series This week I plan to briefly discuss marketing. Today we start things off with monitoring your marketing. Wednesday we’ll talk about measuring your marketing and on Friday we’ll discuss multiplying your marketing. By monitoring I mean you take a good, hard look at your marketing. So many …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/marketing-in-the-moment-monitor-your-marketing-344/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Marketing In The Moment: Monitor Your Marketing (344)</span> Read More »</a></p> Marketing In The Moment – A 3-Part Series This week I plan to briefly discuss marketing. Today we start things off with monitoring your marketing. Wednesday we’ll talk about measuring your marketing and on Friday we’ll discuss multiplying your marketin... This week I plan to briefly discuss marketing. Today we start things off with monitoring your marketing. Wednesday we’ll talk about measuring your marketing and on Friday we’ll discuss multiplying your marketing.
By monitoring I mean you take a good, hard look at your marketing. So many of us are stuck doing what we’ve always done even though it may have stopped working many years ago. We just keep doing it because it’s all we know to do. And perhaps we think doing something different is beyond us.
One business owner told me years ago – during a conversation about leveraging the power of an online presence – “You might as well try to teach me to fly the space shuttle.” That sentiment is too prevalent, especially among traditional, non-hi-tech business owners.
I can understand how business owners in their 50’s or older may be intimidated, but that’s no excuse – or reason – to avoid marketing in the moment. Romanticizing what once worked is futile. The past isn’t coming back. It’s over. Time to move on and figure out what we need to do today. THAT is precisely why I’m starting this little series on monitoring or taking a closer look at what you’re currently doing.
The hard part of monitoring is seeing things as they really are. Blind spots galore surround marketing efforts. Lots of marketing challenges stymie us: 1) marketing people who have an agenda to do something other than drive business growth, 2) false belief in efforts that haven’t worked in a long time will eventually return to their former glory, 3) failing to realize (or remember) what the marketing efforts are supposed to accomplish, 4) believing that doing what we know to do is better than doing nothing (or better said, believing that there’s no other option – like learning something new), 5) failing to believe that learning and implementing a new strategy will help us and 6) a million other excuses (or reasons).
Step 1 – Forget yesterday. It’s over. Market for today while keeping an eye on tomorrow.
About twice a year I go out my front door and there on the porch is a big fat paperbound book. It’s 2 to 3 inches thick and wrapped in plastic. It’s one of those 3rd party phone books that some marketing outfit convinces poor stupid business owners to advertise in. I pick it up and immediately toss it into our recycle bin. I’d bet 99% of the people who get these throw them away. The other 1% are just keeping it to look at the ad they bought.
Things that once worked – and perhaps worked well – stop working. Things change. Technology has altered our lives forever. And it’s going to keep changing things. Twenty years ago I recall hearing Steve Jobs talk about how voice was going to be the future. I didn’t understand that. Nobody I knew understood that. But with Siri, Alexa and all the other voice-activated tech that now surrounds us — I get it. Voice is faster. While driving my car I can tell Siri to text my wife, then I can dictate the message and say, “Send.” Done. My phone never left the cradle while I kept my hands on the steering wheel.
The things we could do in the past to get people’s attention – those things don’t work any more. Newspaper ads. Billboards. Yellow Pages.
My son started a home inspection business last year. I advised him to do two things, knowing that dazzling the client wasn’t anything I had to teach him (he learned that when he was just a kid). One, use your iPhone and record short videos of some interesting things that can help homeowners, real estate agents, and potential clients. Two, encourage clients to leave you a 5-star social media review. He’s done both and mostly he’s got all the business he can handle.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:28
The Speed Of Small Adjustments (343) https://bulanetwork.com/the-speed-of-small-adjustments-343/ Fri, 15 Nov 2019 07:00:52 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20851 This week the focus has been on details and seemingly small things. Because they can make all the difference. Let’s end this week with a focus on speed. Especially the speed with which we can make small adjustments. I wish I were a guitar player, but I’m not. I’ve just dreamed about it since I …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-speed-of-small-adjustments-343/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Speed Of Small Adjustments (343)</span> Read More »</a></p> This week the focus has been on details and seemingly small things. Because they can make all the difference. Let’s end this week with a focus on speed. Especially the speed with which we can make small adjustments. I wish I were a guitar player, Let’s end this week with a focus on speed. Especially the speed with which we can make small adjustments.
I wish I were a guitar player, but I’m not. I’ve just dreamed about it since I was young, but I’ve never learned to play. What I have learned is more about guitars than any non-guitar player should know. 😉
I’m that guy. I subscribe and watch all kinds of guitarists on YouTube. I’ve even watched countless videos on the little technical adjustments luthiers and experts at setting up guitars make. Some of these are minimal. Seemingly insignificant. But they make big differences in how the instrument performs.
So it goes with our businesses and organizations. We can make a minor tweak and it can completely alter the results we get. Improvements aren’t always measured by the size of the change or adjustment. Guitarists can turn a tone or volume knob ever so slightly and get a different sound. They can alter how they pluck or strike the strings and again…the sound changes. For the better.
Speed is essential to our success because we’re flying the plane that is our business. Liftoff requires speed. Staying aloft requires speed.
Before little digital tuners were invented – either the ones that attach to a guitar headstock or one that’s on a pedalboard at the feet of the guitar player…tuning was more laborious. Slower. Getting a guitar in tune now is easy and fast (mostly). That’s important because any tune played out of tune sounds…well, awful!
Think of the speed to make small adjustments inside your business as your ability to get into tune more quickly. It’ll help you play better. It’ll result in being able to perform better.
Selling you on the virtues of speed isn’t so hard. I doubt I have to give that much attention. So let’s focus on the smallness of the adjustment. I figure that’s the constraint. To give small adjustments the emphasis they deserve.
If you purchase services or products for your enterprise then you’ve likely experienced cost creep. Suppliers deploy a common practice of incremental price increases. It’s their version of small adjustments because it piles up, adding to their bottom line.
We push back because that cost creep drives down our profits. It takes our business in the wrong direction. That’s why we deploy speed at searching for alternatives that may enable us to creep our costs down instead of up. It’s the push-pull nature of how business works.
Think about what happens when you pull your car in to fill up with gas. Today the price may be $2.89 cents a gallon. Last week it was $2.77. Next week it may be $2.99. You don’t likely think much of it because you need gas in your car. No matter the cost, you have to have it. And those price differences don’t likely create much thought. A 4% swing in one direction or another is no big deal. If you spend $50 to fill up…so what if the next week it’s 4% higher and it costs you $52?
You can’t approach running your business with that mindset though. If you do, you’ll find yourself swimming in red ink. That’s why making small adjustments sooner than later is necessary. I rather choose to think of it as ongoing adjustments. Start and don’t ever stop adjusting in small increments.
In business, we’re basically on this constant quest to drive our costs down and drive our revenues up. That makes this speed thing easier to think about. We put pressure on our costs and expenses to drive them down. We work hard to invest our money in areas where we get the highest return. Simultaneously we’re working to increase our revenues. That can happen with price increases to our customers or it come from...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 13:59
Details Make The Difference (And Make Your Business Better) (342) https://bulanetwork.com/details-make-the-difference-and-make-your-business-better-342/ Wed, 13 Nov 2019 07:00:40 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20846 I grew up in retailing, which is closely related to the hospitality business. Little things matter. “The devil is in the details.” This is why small percentages of improvement can garner big differences in performance. It’s the 80/20 rule or maybe better yet the 95/5 rule. There seems to be statistical evidence behind the 80/20 …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/details-make-the-difference-and-make-your-business-better-342/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Details Make The Difference (And Make Your Business Better) (342)</span> Read More »</a></p> I grew up in retailing, which is closely related to the hospitality business. Little things matter. “The devil is in the details.” This is why small percentages of improvement can garner big differences in performance. This is why small percentages of improvement can garner big differences in performance. It’s the 80/20 rule or maybe better yet the 95/5 rule. There seems to be statistical evidence behind the 80/20 rule. Experience bears it out. Eighty percent of our business likely is the result of 20% of our customer base. Eighty percent of our company’s best work is likely the result of 20% of our team members. On and on it goes.
I’m a big believer in 1 to 2%. Seemingly insignificant differences.
Those are little details. Not insignificant though and I can prove it.
Focus on details doesn’t mean we overlook or minimize the big things. Mostly the big things get appropriate attention. They scream to be handled. For instance, we had a new roof installed on our house this year. A storm blew through and did some damage to shingles. The storm also cracked a skylight creating some leaks. Well, that’s not a little detail. That was a major issue. It had to be fixed or we’d risk severe damage.
In your business, there are big issues like that. It could be a lost lease, major equipment failure, important supply chain problems…it could be anything that if left unattended will create much bigger problems. So you stomp down and make that challenge a priority. You must find a remedy. Usually…fast! So you do.
Anybody can spot those kinds of problems. I’m not a roofer. I’m not even handy around the house, but I know that roof leaks in my house won’t go away on their own. They need to be fixed.
That’s why even inexperienced or poor operators can spot big problems. Now they may not be able to handle them as efficiently or effectively, but they can spot them.
The difference is in the details. Because not everybody can or will spot those. And even if they are spotted, not everybody will give them the attention they deserve. Small details are easily overlooked and even more easily minimized. “That doesn’t matter,” is a common sentiment among operators who don’t think the details matter.
There seems to be 2 basic reasons for the failure: 1) some people just don’t see them and 2) people would rather do something grand than something common (but important). That’s why we can all be prone to minimize the importance of something small.
Twice weekly I carry out the trash at our house. That’s hardly equivalent of replacing the roof and a busted skylight, but there are some important details about taking out the trash. For starters, it’s something I can do. No handyman skills required. Two, it has to be done if we want to keep the house clean and smelling decent. Three, it likely contributes to keeping our house “healthy.”
The roofing company took about 3 days to replace our roof and skylight. It takes me about 3 minutes to collect and take the trash to the curb. If you came to my house and saw the new roof you might notice, but probably not. If you came into my house and smelled or saw that the trash hadn’t been taken out…I guarantee you’d notice. I also guarantee you’d judge me. Rightfully so.
So it goes with little things. Details.
I constantly talk about friction and being easy to do business with. It’s fundamental to fortifying your customer base, which I believe is the foundation of any sustainable, profitable business. Without a customer base, you’ve got nothing. Inattention to details erodes a customer base. Customers leave because we don’t get the little things right. Or because we don’t pay attention.
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is a chain restaurant with good food. It’s a casual dining place. My wife and I used to frequent our nearby location beca...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 14:11
Make Being Different Better (341) https://bulanetwork.com/make-being-different-better-341/ Mon, 11 Nov 2019 07:00:19 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20841 Be different. We mean, “Be different in a good way.” One of the very first marketing and advertising lessons I learned was the power of zigging when everybody else was zagging. The point was simple, but not easy. You have to stand out from the crowd. Separating yourself from the competition may be easier in …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/make-being-different-better-341/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Make Being Different Better (341)</span> Read More »</a></p> Be different. We mean, “Be different in a good way.” One of the very first marketing and advertising lessons I learned was the power of zigging when everybody else was zagging. The point was simple, but not easy. You have to stand out from the crowd. We mean, “Be different in a good way.”
One of the very first marketing and advertising lessons I learned was the power of zigging when everybody else was zagging. The point was simple, but not easy. You have to stand out from the crowd.
Separating yourself from the competition may be easier in the execution of your business, but it may be very difficult in attracting customers. I spent decades running retail organizations. Delivering extraordinary customer service has always been my passion. Establishing a culture willing and able to do that is vastly easier than convincing new customers that you’re distinct.
We have to figure out a way. A way to attract new customers. It’s the first leg of the business trifecta.

* Getting new customers
* Serving existing customers better
* Not going crazy in the process

It’s up near the top of the business challenges facing all of us. How can we stand apart and get the attention of the prospect so we can convert them into customers?
There’s no singular answer. “It depends” is the qualifying statement. It depends on the business you’re in. Not every business is solving the seemingly unsolvable problem customers experience. Not every business is leading the way with some technology advantage. Not every business has the clear advantage of being the best product.
The question for today is, “How can we make our company stand apart from the crowd because we’re significantly different…better?”
It’s not CAN we. It’s HOW can we?
Every business owner has to figure out a way to make being different better!
Today I hope to help jog your creative juices so you can huddle with your team and find a way.
One: Get very clear on what you’d like to be most known for
Reputations don’t just happen. Well, good ones don’t. Architect your reputation.
This will be congruent with your culture. There’s no way to have a culture known for something other than what the customers know to be true. I’ll always encourage entrepreneurs to focus first on their reputation with their employees. What do your employees know to be true? How do they feel about you and working inside your company?
Too often business owners don’t think about it. Some even boldly claim they don’t care. A big mistake! Your people are the face of your company with the customers. Their happiness is paramount. Their dedication to serving the customer matters. Ironfisted rule won’t inspire them to perform better. No society ruled by a dictator has ever outperformed a free society run by capitalism. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be the lone exception.
Figure out the key reputation points that you want every employee to know are true. Get busy making those things happen.
The best places to work excel at everything else.
It’s not about being soft and easy. It’s about being competitive and striving to win in the market. We make sports analogies for good reason. There are winners and losers. Society and culture don’t hold being competitive up as much as I think they should. But I grew up in a different era. We wanted to crush our competition. It’s not about being ugly or failing to be nice. It’s about doing what you can while always doing the right thing so you best all the competition.
The best teams are judged by their victories. Do they win? If they win then you dive more deeply under the hood to see their culture. You won’t find a culture where people run willy-nilly doing whatever they please. You won’t find a culture where people have an easy life. Instead, you’ll find people working harder than their opponents. You’ll find people helping each other be accountable for being as good as possible.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:16
Gotta Learn To Hit The Curveball (340) https://bulanetwork.com/gotta-learn-to-hit-the-curveball-340/ Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:56:28 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20806 I watch just enough baseball to be dangerous. When Pudge Rodriguez was catching for the Texas Rangers I remember going to a few games. His arm at throwing out runners attempting to steal a base was spectacular. Much more so in person than on TV. Since I was young I was probably more fascinated at …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/gotta-learn-to-hit-the-curveball-340/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Gotta Learn To Hit The Curveball (340)</span> Read More »</a></p> I watch just enough baseball to be dangerous. When Pudge Rodriguez was catching for the Texas Rangers I remember going to a few games. His arm at throwing out runners attempting to steal a base was spectacular. Much more so in person than on TV. Since I was young I was probably more fascinated at throwing the baseball more than hitting it. I don’t understand the physics of pitching at all. Even a non-super fan like me has to acknowledge the brilliant talent of a pitcher who can make the exact same motion, including where they release the ball — and have a different pitch come out each time. One at 95 miles an hour with the next pitch just breaking 80 miles an hour.
TV deceives us as we look at hitters who sometimes look foolish swinging at a pitch you’d think they could hit. At the major league level, the real-time speed is so fast it’s remarkable that anybody can even make contact with a ball. These guys are world-class talent. The best of the best. And they’ve been doing this for so long they have a recognition the rest of us lack. They see things better – differently – and they have practiced, practiced, practiced. The best hitters have learned how to hit almost every pitch, but they’ve also learned something else. They know which pitch they most prefer, but so do the pitchers. The pitchers don’t want to give them their favorite pitch. This means the hitters have got to learn to hit non-favorite pitches, too.
This week has been filled with curveballs. Not so different from any other week really, huh?
If you’re like me you may not be able to remember a week where you saw only your favorite pitch to hit. Life is the pitcher and rarely tosses us the pitch we can hit out of the park. Instead, life is skilled at throwing us the one pitch that most frustrates us.
As business owners, we’ve got to do 2 things. Neither of them is easy, but we can improve. We can GROW GREAT at it if we put in the work.

* Be patient and look for your ideal pitch.
* Learn to hit as many non-favorite pitches as possible.

The patience thing is hard. For everybody. Playing business means we want to play. Not swinging feels too passive for many of us. In this context, the pitch is an opportunity. Not every opportunity is worth your effort, but boy can that be vexing when everywhere we look we see pitches that appear worth going after.
Sometimes that first skill of being patient for your ideal pitch isn’t practical or possible. That’s what happened to me this week. I got a curveball, but I had to hit it. These pitches are our challenges. They appear and you don’t have the option of standing there staring at it with your bat on your shoulder. These pitches don’t disappear. They don’t go away. They only grow worse. So we have to deal with them.
That doesn’t mean we’ll hit them. We may not even make contact, but we have to try. Most of the time we don’t have to hit a home run. If we can just get on base then it means we survive the problem just fine.
Something magical and true is in place when the curveballs (our least favorite pitches) come our way as challenges. The rules of baseball don’t apply. We get as many swings as we’re willing to take. Which is great for us, bad for the challenge!
So these two skills are vital for us.

* Be patient and look for your ideal pitch.
* Learn to hit as many non-favorite pitches as possible.

Late last week I was presented with a challenge – a pitch that isn’t just a non-favorite, but a pitch that I absolutely hate. You’ve got pitches like that. Pitches you love and other pitches you positively HATE.
I got a pitch I hate. Technology challenges. Simultaneously I was in the midst of trying to wrap up a project I’d been working on so the timing of the curve...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:09
Failure Is Always An Option (339) https://bulanetwork.com/failure-is-always-an-option-339/ Wed, 06 Nov 2019 07:00:11 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20830 “Failure is not an option.” Another platitude that sounds good, but is colossally wrong. Failure is possible in everything. And probable, too. That’s just the truth. Fact. Does that mean you should fear it? Not necessarily. More importantly, you should likely prepare for it. Not by bracing for it, but by planning worst-case-scenario. So often …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/failure-is-always-an-option-339/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Failure Is Always An Option (339)</span> Read More »</a></p> “Failure is not an option.” Another platitude that sounds good, but is colossally wrong. Failure is possible in everything. And probable, too. That’s just the truth. Fact. Does that mean you should fear it? Not necessarily. More importantly, Another platitude that sounds good, but is colossally wrong. Failure is possible in everything. And probable, too. That’s just the truth. Fact.
Does that mean you should fear it? Not necessarily.
More importantly, you should likely prepare for it. Not by bracing for it, but by planning worst-case-scenario. So often failure is preventable if we’d just prepare going in.
Business owners can live in their heads, preparing for success. Sure, we can also fret about failing, but our imaginations soar at the thoughts of what might be – in all the best ways! That’s why we create proformas that are nothing but dreams. Figments of our imagination.
We love doing it. Creating a spreadsheet with calculations of what might be. Man, look at that. If we can close just a few more deals every month it’ll add a few million bucks to our top line. And if we add a few million bucks to the top line, lookie there! We’ll add over $300,000 to our bottom line. Awesome.
Of course, experience teaches us – often the hard way – that most of the time that “best-case scenario” never happens. Instead, we hit numbers we never did a spreadsheet on. Turns out we end up closing a few less deals every month and suddenly our gross revenue is down a few million bucks. Now what?
Every savvy business person knows the maxim, “Formulas over feelings.” We’re a pretty intuitive bunch though so I think it’s empty advice to ignore how we feel about something. Many of us have a good gut feel about things. It why we often make decisions that seem ridiculous to our friends. We believe in things. Mostly in ourselves. And our ideas or solutions.
Even so, there’s wisdom in the phrase that we’d be foolish to ignore. The numbers need to make sense. We can help leverage our feelings by looking more realistically at numbers.
It’s a common practice to ask, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”
It’s a far less common practice to actually answer it.
That’s why I’m urging you to do. Take the time to figure out the answer. Figure out those formulas. Get those numbers. Then see how you feel.
Knowing that failure is always an option doesn’t necessarily prevent us from moving forward, but it can help us increase our faith in what we’re doing. Or not.
Let’s illustrate the point with buying merchandise to sell. Suppose I’m able to buy a truckload of some items at a greatly reduced cost. Suppose a truckload consists of about 60 units that currently have a real street price of $300. That’s $18,000 in gross revenue potential. Our profit margin at that price would be 30%, giving us a profit of $5,400. That’s 7% more profit than we’d earn if we purchased the items in small quantity. So far so good. But what’s our rate of sale. If it takes us 120 days to sell 60 units and the terms on our purchase are net 30 days, then it may not be worthwhile. We can fool ourselves into thinking we’ll make the purchase and sell these units at a faster rate than normal. Best case scenario.
The worst-case scenario would be calculating that our current rate of sale won’t hold up. What if it takes us 150 days or more to sell all 60 units? What if the current street price won’t hold up and we end up having to mark down the items? Answering those questions will likely alter how we feel about this opportunity.
Every day we’re making decisions like this. Decisions that make or break our day, our week, our month and our year. Sometimes we calculate things carefully. Sometimes we don’t. We all do it.
Mindfulness is one way we can avoid getting caught in the option of failing. It doesn’t mean we have to slow down. We just need to be aware – sometimes MORE aware &#...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:54
Making Your Systems Employee & Customer Friendly (338) https://bulanetwork.com/making-your-systems-employee-customer-friendly-338/ Mon, 04 Nov 2019 07:00:24 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20815 Oklahoma Sooner’s head football coach Lincoln Riley has a reputation as a quarterback whisperer. His two previous QB’s are Heisman Trophy winners. Part of his claim to fame is the ability to simplify the position. He installs game plans and plays that QB’s can more easily execute. It’s what he should do as a head …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/making-your-systems-employee-customer-friendly-338/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Making Your Systems Employee & Customer Friendly (338)</span> Read More »</a></p> Oklahoma Sooner’s head football coach Lincoln Riley has a reputation as a quarterback whisperer. His two previous QB’s are Heisman Trophy winners. Part of his claim to fame is the ability to simplify the position. What about YOU? Are you making your systems easy for customers and employees?
Simple. Easy. Straightforward.
Those are appealing to customers and employees. It creates an atmosphere where sustainable success can be more easily repeated. Predictable. That’s what customers want, provided that what can be predicted is GREAT.
So many companies get skewered by their customer base for frequent and aggressive price hikes. Or for nickel and diming customers. Or for making the experience awful for customers (and likely employees, too). Lots of businesses are out of touch with how their employees and customers feel. Profits are first. That’s fine. You can operate like that. It’s not the ideal long-term play, but you can do it that way.
Or you can build a culture that will sustain high-performance year after year.  That means you put people ahead of profits. Employees and customers. In that order. For good reason, employees deliver the experience to the customers. Create an atmosphere where employees are miserable and you’ll fail at making the experience for customers much better.
Operations get clogged up with non-sense. It’s not unusual for the clog to be prompted by the owner or top leadership. Nor is it unusual for the clog to be the result of some quirky reaction to a single act of idiocy. For example, a business owner discovers one person has figured out to take unfair advantage of a promotion that is working insanely well otherwise. Armed with this single instance of the violation he cancels the entire promotion. Proving true the phrase, “Cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
Friction in these instances isn’t your friend. Customers hate it. Enough of it and they’ll leave you. Ditto for employees. Put enough friction in front of your employees preventing them from achieving their personal goals and they’ll leave, too.
Here’s the secret. Think like an employee and a customer. Stop thinking like a business owner. It’s counter-intuitive but it works. It’s the only way you’ll get your systems right.
Look at the casual dining landscape as proof. The superstars have good food that is consistently predictable. It’s always good. But they have something more. They’re also predictably fast and clean. They go out of their way to soar above the competition. The atmosphere is inviting. The staff is always helpful. The service is always spot on. So you continue to go back. And they continue to have the best employees. Everybody involved is proud to be part of it – either providing the service/food or providing the purchase to keep the place going.
Have you ever gone to a casual dining establishment and thought (or said out loud), “They do business in spite of themselves?” I sure have. Until I eventually refused to go back.
Find the friction in your business. It’s time for brutally honest candor. I’ll give you just two suggestions.
One, huddle with your employees.
One on one. In groups. Figure out the best way to get the truth. Do it in as many ways as you can.
Question: How can we become the best in class as a place to work?
You’re afraid to ask, aren’t you? Don’t be. The truth will set you free. More importantly, it’ll set your employees free to become world-class. Until you get that right, you’ll never get the customer part of the equation right.
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Randy Cantrell clean 12:44
Amplify Relationships (337) https://bulanetwork.com/amplify-relationships-337/ Fri, 01 Nov 2019 07:00:15 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20799 “The central economic imperative of the network economy is to amplify relationships.” That’s what Kevin Kelly wrote in New Rules For The New Economy. Self-awareness is hard. VERY hard. Schools don’t help. I know better than to do what I did, but I did it anyway. Because sometimes I’m a ninnie. My 12-year-old grandson is …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/amplify-relationships-337/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Amplify Relationships (337)</span> Read More »</a></p> “The central economic imperative of the network economy is to amplify relationships.” That’s what Kevin Kelly wrote in New Rules For The New Economy. Self-awareness is hard. VERY hard. Schools don’t help. I know better than to do what I did, Self-awareness is hard. VERY hard.
Schools don’t help. I know better than to do what I did, but I did it anyway. Because sometimes I’m a ninnie.
My 12-year-old grandson is in 7th grade. That means he’s now in junior high. It’s a big transition from elementary school. In many ways. He’s got 7 classes.
Yesterday I was asking him about his grades. To be fair, I rarely do this. Mostly I ask him about what he’s enjoying (and why). Or I ask what he’s done well. I’m usually more focused on encouraging him to lean into those things he’s really good at. Part of my problem is the same problem other adults have with the kids in their family. A built-in favorable bias where we may think our kids are pretty good at everything.
He told me he had A’s in 4 of the 7 classes, but by the time the report cards hit he expects to have A’s in the remaining 3 classes. “But you don’t have any C’s do you?” I asked. Hello, judgment! 😉
That’s what’s wrong with the state of education in America. Cookie cutter, single standard grade-based performance does not help our kids figure out what they may be best at. Instead, kids are able to quickly tell you what they’re not very good at. We’ve got it backwards. Our kids should be able to quickly tell us where they’re strongest.
This is important for many reasons. Confidence building is chief among them.
A buddy calls me up. He’s telling me about a networking event he attended – we both normal shy away from these affairs. He’s been studying some techniques to improve behavior by elevating your thoughts. So he tries a quick exercise as he walks into the room. Determined to find one suitable client candidate he surveys the room. One person catches his eye. He’s not even sure why, but he approaches the fellow and begins a conversation. This isn’t some full-blown sales mode ordeal. They’re just talking and learning more about each other. As my buddy answers the question, “What do you do?” the other fellow leans in. He’s very interested and asks if they can meet sometime so he can learn more. Well, now you know why my buddy called to tell me this story.
We’re both interested in neuroscience, psychology and why people do what they do. Both of us have studied people for decades. And we’re both pretty self-aware. Like you, we’re very aware of our weaknesses.
“It’s confidence,” I say. “You employed a technique you believe in. So as you enter that room you believed – you REALLY believed – you’d find a potential client.”
My friend’s value system – the way he sees the world and his place in it – coupled with his strong belief in this technique designed to help him – it gave him the best opportunity to enter that room and make a connection. That’s how it works for all of us. But most of us mistake going it alone. Trying to figure these things out for ourselves. The knowledge we have of ourselves is too frequently conceit and pride. Typically it’s because we didn’t incorporate others to help us see things more clearly. We neglect to amplify relationships that can help us soar with our strengths.
What’s more important than your ability to discover and leverage your individual strengths?
When you amplify relationships you dramatically improve that ability. Because you surround yourself with some people willing and able to help you elevate those abilities.
This isn’t a comparison game. It’s an insight game. People who surround you – people with whom you have a close and safe rela...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 15:59
Creating Conditions For Success (336) https://bulanetwork.com/creating-conditions-for-success-336/ Wed, 30 Oct 2019 07:00:39 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20794 No, it’s not a secret. There are no secrets to success. It requires hard work, preparation, skill, talent, timing, serendipity, and good luck. I’m probably leaving something out, but you get the idea. I live in Tornado Alley. Tornado activity is highest in the Spring, but within the last month, we had extensive damage from …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/creating-conditions-for-success-336/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Creating Conditions For Success (336)</span> Read More »</a></p> No, it’s not a secret. There are no secrets to success. It requires hard work, preparation, skill, talent, timing, serendipity, and good luck. I’m probably leaving something out, but you get the idea. I live in Tornado Alley. I live in Tornado Alley. Tornado activity is highest in the Spring, but within the last month, we had extensive damage from tornados here around Dallas. Tornados are largely unpredictable, but certain conditions are necessary. Meteorologists armed with hi-tech devices can spot cloud rotations when conditions are favorable.
Success is like that. Largely unpredictable, but it requires certain conditions.
Many of us are attracted to the outliers, those one-off instances where success “just happened.” People can dissect those and try to figure out how to replicate it, but it’s a waste of time. Sometimes things just happen. You don’t want to devote your life to hoping something good will “just happen” though. It’s better to create conditions favorable for success.
Success. You define it.
Let’s begin with how you define success. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. You have to decide for yourself. It sounds stupid until you pause long enough to think about it more seriously. Lots of people pursue generic “success.” They really don’t know what that means. It just means something better than what they’re currently experiencing. All they know is that THIS ain’t it. Success is THAT.
Well, you need to define that. Put a number on it. Put an accomplishment on it. Measure it somehow.
I’ve known people with high-end careers who had a side project they loved far more than their career. While others would likely see them as successful (because they had a high paying job), they were pursuing their own definition of success to get their side project where it could gross $70,000 a year so they could ditch the job. Exchanging a big 6-figure job for a $70K passion project may not be how you’d define success, but for him…it was THE GOAL.
I’ve known CEOs who felt anything short of a double-digit revenue increase would be a failure. And I’ve known other CEOs who defined success as a 3% increase. To each his own.
Personal success. Company success. 
They’re not the same. Entrepreneurs more than most have their personal success and company success closely tied together. They’re still different. You aren’t your company. You think you are. It often feels that way, but no matter how intertwined your life is with your company – they’re different. Respect them both. Respect them both enough to define success for them separately.
The first element to improve conditions for creating success is optimism. I list it first because of everything that stems from it. Believe the best. Start with thinking the best. You may as well because there’s no downside. We’re not talking about guarantees…we’re talking about improving the conditions for success. Anybody who thinks success is more likely in a pessimistic environment, raise your hand (and go stand in the corner with your dunce cap on). 😉
The next element necessary for creating favorable conditions for success is honesty. You can call it authenticity or integrity, but it boils down to being honest. An environment where the truth is reverred is much more prone to succeed than a culture based on lies or deception. Unless of course, the measure of success is to get away with criminal behavior.
Add safety. A judgment-free zone that fosters people speaking their mind, and being truthful because they know how valuable honesty is for everybody. If there are ramifications for honestly expressing oneself, then the conditions more favorable for failure than success. People must feel safe to contribute. And everybody must feel safe enough to be wrong.
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Randy Cantrell clean 10:17
How To Interview Job Candidates (335) https://bulanetwork.com/how-to-interview-job-candidates-335/ Mon, 28 Oct 2019 13:41:09 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20789 Small business owners often struggle to recruit, hire, train and retain people. For good reason, most don’t have a formal HR department headed with a professional equipped to navigate the modern personnel landscape. There are a few things every small business owner can do to make the interview part of the process more impactful. Many …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/how-to-interview-job-candidates-335/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">How To Interview Job Candidates (335)</span> Read More »</a></p> Small business owners often struggle to recruit, hire, train and retain people. For good reason, most don’t have a formal HR department headed with a professional equipped to navigate the modern personnel landscape. There are a few things every small business owner can do to make the interview part of the process more impactful. Many owners have told me how they struggle during the interview. Very few have any formal or informal training. Most of us just learned on the fly. Sadly, we don’t always learn how to make this very important part of the process benefit us and the candidate.
Let me begin by encouraging you to read 3 books on how to hire people. Go to Amazon and look for these based on whatever criteria you decide. Know this – they’ll likely all be aimed at companies of size. You’ll have to do your own work to make them applicable to your situation, but that’s okay. You can do that.
I’m not going to provide you some step-by-step guide for interviewing because I don’t know your situation or context. What I do know is the goal of the interview – especially the first interview – is to figure out if you want to move forward.
Think back to your dating days. And if you’re dating right now, then this will be easier for you. 😉
You have some sort of criteria for people who may be suitable for dating. To each his own. It’s no different inside your company. Only you know what you’re looking for – what you’re most attracted to.
Get that settled in your mind. Like most dating people, it may change over time. What you thought you’d like…it may turn out that you don’t like that at all. That’s okay.
You’re searching for a candidate worthy of a first interview. People who tick most of the boxes in what you need and what you want. It doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but it means they may be worth pursuing further. You won’t know until you have that first interview.
HINT: Don’t make the first interview do too much. 
Too frequently we put so much pressure on the first interview we think we can figure out if this person is ideal for us in this first meeting. Don’t put that level of pressure on the first interview. It’s bad for you, and the candidate. Plus, it’s a great way to run off a really great candidate.
HINT: The more the candidate talks, the better.
Small business owners tend to use the first interview for things other than seeing if the pursuit should continue. Many tell me they use it to sell themselves to the candidate. And most confess they do that before they really know if the candidate is suitable or not.
Listen, this isn’t like top-level college coaches who have watched hours of game film on players and had staff members go watch the player perform in person. Those coaches set their sites on the players they want to recruit. Much of that meeting is the coach selling their program to lure the athlete to attend their university. That’s not your situation. So don’t waste your time selling yourself or your company. Not yet.
The first interview has one primary function – to figure out if a second interview is worthwhile. At the end of the interview you’ll have one of three choices to make:

* Yes, this candidate seems like a good fit. A second interview should happen.
* No, this candidate is clearly not a good fit. There’s no point in a second interview.
* Maybe this candidate is a good fit. I don’t yet know so a second interview is warranted so we can figure this out.

Two of these outcomes will warrant a second conversation. As you prepare for this initial interview remind yourself of this important hint – the more the candidate talks, the more you’ll learn about them and the closer you’ll come to f...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:19
They Know How To Listen (334) https://bulanetwork.com/they-know-how-to-listen-334/ Mon, 21 Oct 2019 07:00:03 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20749 A few years ago I stumbled onto a group – a non-profit based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It wasn’t because I qualified to join their ranks. But it was because I read some heartbreaking story of a father whose daughter was murdered. His pain was obvious and he mentioned how people disappeared on him in his …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/they-know-how-to-listen-334/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">They Know How To Listen (334)</span> Read More »</a></p> A few years ago I stumbled onto a group – a non-profit based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It wasn’t because I qualified to join their ranks. But it was because I read some heartbreaking story of a father whose daughter was murdered. Well, I went down the rabbit hole of searching more articles about this organization, a non-profit taking on this enormous heart-wrenching challenge. There were a few articles, but it’s not like finding articles about organizations helping cancer victims or heart attack victims. You can find thousands of online pieces about such things. I knew this was a group who likely understand victimization at an even deeper level. A more judgmental level. This was a group serving people with a special kind of stigma – people who continued to suffer blow after blow long after news of the murder of their loved ones.
But over and over again a truth was expressed in each article. A truth about this organization that thankfully I was not qualified to join. They know how to listen. 
They know how to listen.
You’ve heard me repeatedly say that judgment is easy, but understanding is hard. Mostly because we struggle to listen for understanding. It’s just much easier to listen for judgment. I suppose it makes us feel better about ourselves. But it’s not helpful. To us. Or others.
There’s a better way. A much better way. And that’s to lean on each other, especially others with whom we share some context. In this case the context is very specific and tragic – survivors who have lost a family member or friend to murder.
They are the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, Inc. – a 501 (c) (3) non-profit – whose tagline tells you exactly what they do and who they serve…
For The Family And Friends Of Those Who Have Died By Violence
If anybody understands the power of leveraging the power of others, I thought, surely it’s these people. So a few weeks ago I reached out to Bev Warnock, National Executive Director, and we talked on the phone. I asked her to let me record a conversation so you might benefit from hearing about how they have effectively leveraged the power of others through support group chapters around the country.
Joining us was Sherry Nolan, Volunteer Coordinator in the national office working alongside Bev. Unlike Bev, Sherry is herself a survivor. Her daughter was murdered in 2001. You’ll hear her story in our conversation.
What you won’t hear is that her daughter disappeared on Friday, September 7th, 2001. Four days later on Monday, September 10th authorities found her body. She was pregnant. Violently beaten to death while sleeping by her own husband of almost 2 years. The next day was historic. September 11, 2001. Sherry and her family’s tragedy was overshadowed by an international event. That’s worth mentioning because of how it negatively impacted Sherry and her family and their ability to have all those who wanted to mourn the passing of her daughter (and her unborn child). Many were unable to attend simply because of the timing. Murder and violence don’t much care about convenience or timing though.
Who you surround with matters!
Few stories are as compelling and as demonstrative of leveraging the power of others like the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children. I had hoped to record Bev and Sherry using a video conferencing call so we could record both audio and video, but sadly their office – like many non-profits – is operating on a shoestring b...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 38:44
Should You Tell Them, Or Ask Them? (333) https://bulanetwork.com/should-you-tell-them-or-ask-them-333/ Fri, 18 Oct 2019 07:00:57 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20760 Earlier this year I lost a lifelong mentor. He had battled health problems for a number of years, but his death came quite unexpectedly. Last week I was speaking with a buddy about mentors and surrounding yourself with people who can ideally serve you. Mostly we were talking about how rare and important it is …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/should-you-tell-them-or-ask-them-333/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Should You Tell Them, Or Ask Them? (333)</span> Read More »</a></p> Earlier this year I lost a lifelong mentor. He had battled health problems for a number of years, but his death came quite unexpectedly. Last week I was speaking with a buddy about mentors and surrounding yourself with people who can ideally serve you.... Last week I was speaking with a buddy about mentors and surrounding yourself with people who can ideally serve you. Mostly we were talking about how rare and important it is to find people willing to challenge us because they care deeply about us.
I told him that many years ago I had intentionally surrounded myself with older men who shared my faith, but men from various parts of the country who are all wired differently. One of them passed away early this year. I was lamenting the loss of this man who provided something the others couldn’t. And he did it because it was how he was naturally wired.
He’d ask questions. Hard questions. Tough questions.
But I knew his intentions. I knew he cared about me. Unlike most of the others, whose judgment I trust, he never did “should” me. “You should do ____________,” was something I never heard him tell me. He was truly a loving guide who simply wanted my best.
Social media is filled with words of wisdom. Words are largely empty. Not because they’re powerless, but because they’re generic. Without context. Or because they’re sweepingly general. Sometimes, they’re just flatly false.
My son and I were talking about advice-giving and helping others through struggles when I recounted how my now gone mentor always helped me. I was telling my son about our final conversation on the phone, just days before he suddenly died. He was helping me review a specific challenge in my life. I told him one action I was considering. I asked him what he thought. He replied in his usual fashion, “You could do that. (long pause) I’m not sure it’d be right, but you could do that.” I laughed, even though the subject was quite serious, and said, “Well, what do mean?” He went on to offer one question, followed by another (his usual way of talking with me – and teaching me to think it all the way through). I loved him for it. I’ll always love him for it.
Do you want to be challenged in a caring way – by somebody you KNOW who wants only your best?
As a business owner or manager, you can tell people what to do. Orders are easy. If you enjoy barking out orders you likely don’t enjoy it when people disappoint you because they don’t do it precisely enough to suit you. Or when you find yourself having to repeat the same order to the same person over and over again.
Other than the person’s ineptness (which is possible), dictatorship tactics aren’t always ideal. Not if you want to build a high performing team and a high performing culture inside your organization. Orders are like judgment. Easy. Understanding is hard but far more profitable. Hard because it demands you lead with a higher purpose and greater intention.
It means you ask questions to help people figure it out for themselves. It helps them grow. It helps you grow your leadership. And it helps them move forward because they own the outcome. They’re the ones figuring it out thanks to your helpful challenges.
The other day I saw an article about accountability coaches. I was unaware that a person could effectively coach anybody in anything and NOT be an accountability coach. But evidently I was wrong. 😉
The article talked about some women struggling to lose weight and get fit. There are now accountability coaches helping ladies get on track and stay on track. They don’t necessarily provide specific fitness or diet coaching, but they focus on holding the person accountable for the goals they set for themselves. Again, it sounds like coaching to me, but it was interesting all the same.
Asking questions is a form of accountability, but only when the right questions are asked in the right way.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:52
The Answer To “What’s Important?” Is The Name Of Somebody You Love (332) https://bulanetwork.com/the-answer-to-whats-important-is-the-name-of-somebody-you-love-332/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 07:00:59 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20765 “What’s important?” The answer can vary from hour to hour. Sometimes, minute to minute. But that’s business. And while it can consume our life, it’s not our life. Not really. I missed recording a show Monday because life got in the way. It happens. It’s happened to you. It happens to everybody. Matt Kearney is …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-answer-to-whats-important-is-the-name-of-somebody-you-love-332/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Answer To “What’s Important?” Is The Name Of Somebody You Love (332)</span> Read More »</a></p> “What’s important?” The answer can vary from hour to hour. Sometimes, minute to minute. But that’s business. And while it can consume our life, it’s not our life. Not really. I missed recording a show Monday because life got in the way. It happens. The answer can vary from hour to hour. Sometimes, minute to minute.
But that’s business. And while it can consume our life, it’s not our life. Not really.
I missed recording a show Monday because life got in the way. It happens. It’s happened to you. It happens to everybody.
Matt Kearney is a singer/songwriter in Nashville. Some years ago he wrote a song that contains a lyric, “I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees.” If you’ve ever received such a call, you know.
Over the weekend I was watching a documentary about the voicemails and phone calls made from the poor people trapped inside the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. A number of survivors shared their stories and recordings of their family members. It was heart-wrenching to hear these people talk about the value of a 5-second voicemail message left on a machine. These people – each of them with a very important name to their family and friends – gave their families a gift. The gift of being able to remember what they sounded like. As one survivor said, “I was told that after awhile you forget the sound of their voice.” She’s got a recording to remind her.
What’s important?
It’s not what. It’s who!
You do what you do largely for yourself. I know we chase and pursue because we love it. Or we love certain things about it.
But I also know we do it for somebody other than ourselves. At least I suspect most of us do.
In recent years I’ve thought increasingly more and more about inner circles – those people who matter the most. I suspect most of us have a relatively small inner circle. We care about a number of people, but our lives are most impacted by a far fewer number of people.
Look around your life. See if that’s not so.
I lost a lifelong best friend back in 2013. I lost a lifelong mentor earlier this year. My circle is shrinking. It happens as we grow older.
My father turned 96. My mom is 87. Life here won’t last forever.
I’m optimistic that we can enlarge our circle because love isn’t all the same. There are different types of love. Different levels of love.
The Matt Kearney song with that lyric is entitled, Closer To Love. There’s the rub.
What’s important?
The list of names you’re thinking of right now. The people who matter most to you. However long or short that list may be – those are the things that matter to you.
If you had been trapped inside one of those towers on 9/11 you wouldn’t likely call your second in command (no offense to him or her) to review some pressing business concern. Who would you call?
Some of the people appearing in the documentary showed phone company records – the calls made by their deceased loved one. They called more than one person. Some were able to contact family and friends. It was evident that the number one thing on their minds was contacting the people they loved the most.
They wanted to say a few things.
“I love you.”
“Good-bye.”
Many expressed concerns for children. “Tell the kids I love them. Take good care of them.”
“Thank you.”
Most expressed gratitude. They were thankful for these people. Thankful for the love, support, and service these people had provided. Thankful for the mates who said “Yes” to the question, “Will you marry me?” Thankful for the children. Thankful for mom and dad. Thankful for their lives and these important people.
As I watched I thought of who I might call and it’s a very short list of “must call” people. But it’s short for you, too.
That sounds like I’m downplaying the role people serve in our life,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:16
Alone (331) https://bulanetwork.com/alone-331/ Fri, 11 Oct 2019 07:00:36 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20752 Feeling all alone is a serious ailment. It’s not fatal. Not necessarily. But it can be if you don’t get unstuck from it. Leaders too often get stuck in loneliness because the team isn’t a team any more. Maybe they never were. Not as much as they should be. They may have once been but …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/alone-331/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Alone (331)</span> Read More »</a></p> Feeling all alone is a serious ailment. It’s not fatal. Not necessarily. But it can be if you don’t get unstuck from it. Leaders too often get stuck in loneliness because the team isn’t a team any more. Maybe they never were. Leaders too often get stuck in loneliness because the team isn’t a team any more. Maybe they never were. Not as much as they should be. They may have once been but lost their way.
You could be you once had a culture that you thought would last forever. Everybody was high energy. Everybody was an integral part. That was then. This is now. Now, people are going their own way. Most of all. You are.
The alone feeling is crushing. You want to find a way to get it back together. To get everybody in the same boat, rowing in the same direction.
You’re sick of this “everybody makes up their own rules” mentality. There are some great individual performers. Sure, some of them likely need to go, but you’ve lived with them so long you never thought they were as toxic as you now know they were. All along.
This isn’t like herding cats. That’s child’s play.
This is like pushing water uphill. It feels impossible.
And you’re feeling as bad as you’ve ever felt. Sales might be good. Profits, too. But those don’t help you feel better. Because you’re smart enough to know that the numbers won’t always go in a positive direction. Not with things rolling this way. You need to figure this out. You need to fix this.
Tendency One – the wrong one
Command and control. You’re so tired of people doing their own thing you decide to clamp down. With all the panache of a tyrannical dictator, you impose your will on everybody around you. “It’s high time I took control,” is your overriding thought. So you do – take control.
You replace loneliness with something perhaps even worse. Higher stress of thinking you have to touch and handle every single thing. It’s impossible. Logically you know you can’t do this. Worse yet, you don’t even want to do this. Not really. You want to get things on track. Right motivation, wrong strategy.
Stop yourself. Curb your enthusiasm for control. Free yourself and think about the loneliness. Lean into not isolating yourself even more and elevating your paranoia – something every dictator does! It goes with the turf.
Tendency Two – the right one
Review my 5 C’s: Compassion, Connection, Communication, Collaboration, Culture.

First, look at your talent. To right the ship and remedy your own isolation…you need the right people. Be vulnerable enough to realize you may not have the right people.
Circle the wagons with the most talented, trusted team members. If that’s just one or five, huddle with the team you trust most. The objective isn’t to form groupthink where everybody agrees with you – or with each other. The objective is to surround yourself with people for whom you can openly display compassion and with whom you can most easily connect. It’s the only way you’ll have deep enough – clear enough – communication to get out of this mess.
Foster debate among this group. Assign a contrarian in each conversation if you must. You need people able to push back and challenge so you can craft the best strategy.
Second, get really clear on the values. It’s soul searching time. You have to lead the ways with your values. But you also have to be considerate of your trusted team members (those talented ones who can help you move forward) and listen to them. Everybody needs to be able to buy into common values. This has to feel right to everybody! It also has to be natural to everybody. This is going to provide the answer in one simple phrase: “This is how we do things around here.”
Third, all communication is congruent with the values. This isn’t like America where we enjoy freedom...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:35
Surviving Success (330) https://bulanetwork.com/surviving-success-330/ Wed, 09 Oct 2019 07:00:50 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20736 Dog chases car. Dog catches car. Dog has no idea what to do with car. Success can be like that. We spend so much time pursuing it that once we achieve it, we’re not sure what to do next. Yeah, I know – it’s a great problem to have. But it seems that no sooner …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/surviving-success-330/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Surviving Success (330)</span> Read More »</a></p> Dog chases car. Dog catches car. Dog has no idea what to do with car. Success can be like that. We spend so much time pursuing it that once we achieve it, we’re not sure what to do next. Yeah, I know – it’s a great problem to have. Dog catches car.
Dog has no idea what to do with car.
Success can be like that. We spend so much time pursuing it that once we achieve it, we’re not sure what to do next. Yeah, I know – it’s a great problem to have. But it seems that no sooner does momentum swing toward success, then something happens to implode things.
You can scan the political landscape worldwide and see many examples. Look no further than 2016 when America appeared to tire of the career politicians. “Drain the swamp” fever grew. Now the opposition is calling for impeachment. Many revolutions have been won only to fall apart shortly after the victory party ended.
Success is more tenuous than failure. Failure can be easy to sustain. Success? Not so much.
Homeostasis is a real thing. Homeostasis is the ability or tendency to maintain internal stability in an organism to compensate for environmental changes. In short, it’s the power and influence to keep things the same. It’s the enemy of growth, improvement and progress.
Along with apathy, entropy and a host of other combatants, homeostasis works hard to bring you back down. It’s quite effective, too. It explains why it seems the forces against your success double down their efforts at the first sign you’re winning. Mostly we think it’s the power of others who don’t want us to succeed. Or maybe they’re jealous of our success. I rather think it’s just the universe forcing us to prove how badly we want success. Testing that burning desire I talked about in the last episode.
Become The Success You’re Chasing
It all starts with a single step. One goal. One objective.
Some problem to be solved. Some wrong to be righted.
It doesn’t start with some comprehensive, all-encompassing mission. Just one thing prompts the entire ordeal – the start of the revolution. The seeds of success are frequently quite small. But powerful.
Fake it ’til you make it is largely steeped in really solid evidence. It works. Because it’s less about fakery and more about embracing the feelings and emotions of success. Whenever we become the success we’re pursuing before we actually achieve it, then we’re experiencing the same feelings we’ll experience when success happens. That helps us change our behavior because those feelings drive us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. And those new behaviors deliver different outcomes for us. Success.
Do it long enough and you’ll experience transformational change. That is, the change will be deep and broad. So will the success.
Then it gets harder.
Common values. Common mission.
Here’s the heart of today’s lesson for your leadership. The troops need a shared vision if success is going to be sustained.
Did you realize it was 5 years after the British were beaten in the Battle of Yorktown when colonists in America constructed and adopted the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution? The fight for independence from England would have likely failed miserably had the colonists not recognized the need to be on the same page, fighting for the same causes. They needed shared values and these documents provided that, uniting people to muster up the courage and determination to defeat English rule.
From then until now our country has been embarked on this grand experiment at having a democratic republic. There is no finish line in this work. It’s a process and a journey that will just keep going. And it’s always been fraught with ups and downs. Like right now we’re hearing daily about IMPEACHMENT.
We keep on pressing. Struggling. Battling. For what? Greater success. More growth. Bigger improvement.
No sooner do we think we’ve got it figured out, then something changes.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:35
A Definite Plan, A Burning Desire (329) https://bulanetwork.com/a-definite-plan-a-burning-desire-329/ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 07:00:51 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20709 It’s ancient advice for earning wealth. And I use the term “wealth” very loosely. Financial gain. It’s effective advice for accomplishing most things. Just about anything. A definite plan. A burning desire. “Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/a-definite-plan-a-burning-desire-329/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">A Definite Plan, A Burning Desire (329)</span> Read More »</a></p> It’s ancient advice for earning wealth. And I use the term “wealth” very loosely. Financial gain. It’s effective advice for accomplishing most things. Just about anything. A definite plan. A burning desire. “Anybody can wish for riches, It’s effective advice for accomplishing most things. Just about anything.
A definite plan. A burning desire.
“Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.”
Napoleon Hill wrote that in his classic book, Think And Grow Rich. But it wasn’t an original thought. It was a creative wording of an old truth. A definite plan answers the big question, “How?” A burning desire answers the other big question, “Why?”
People can wrangle about which one should come first, but I won’t waste your time with that debate. Instead, let me encourage you to lean into both of these. And I also want to encourage you to help your associates lean into it, too.
I’ve heard the idea that the super successful don’t fret about HOW. They focus on WHO. Rubbish. Everybody focuses on HOW. And for good reason. It helps us move forward. It helps reduce anxiety. It gives us confidence. On and on go the value of having a definite plan.
That doesn’t mean that a definite plan is foolproof because there’s no such thing. Every plan can be fooled. Most will be.
In addition to HOW a definite plan provides DIRECTION. It helps clarify things. And that, kids, builds confidence.
Every successful business leader finds a path toward higher confidence. Not just for themselves, but for the entire team. It’s best accomplished with a definite plan. One the troops can and do believe in. And that usually comes from the conviction or belief of the leader. Enter burning desire.
If you have the strongest desire to achieve something and that desire has provoked you to devise a plan you believe in just as strongly – hence the description, “definite plan” – then you’re building a high-performance culture.
People often talk about not having a plan B. Then there’s that old garage idea of “burning the boats.” it all sounds reasonably wise, but in the real world it fails miserably. The corporate landscape is littered with insanely profitable companies who operate using plan B, or C or K. Far more than those who have a winning plan A.
For good reason. Learning. Improvement. Growth. Smart and wise leaders can devise a plan in which they have strong confidence. That doesn’t mean they’re infallible. Or that the plan is sure to work. It DOES mean the plan is based on evidence. A definite plan isn’t some last-minute trumped-up affair. It’s been thought through. There’s been deliberate conversation and debate employed to help devise the plan. Leadership believes this is the best method of achieving the next level of success.
Now it’s time to unleash burning desire. The plan alone isn’t good enough. Ever. Plans are only as good as the execution. And execution is heavily influenced by preparation. Preparation is fueled by desire. So don’t minimize how hot the desire needs to be. As a leader, how can you heat it up? Busy yourself fueling it hotter and hotter. That’ll drive people to more fully prepare…which will lead to improved odds at great execution.
How can we create a definite plan? I’ve already hinted at it. It’s something you’re not going to do alone. Leveraging the power of others includes the 5 C’s I talk about often: compassion, connection, communication, collaboration and culture. That last one is largely an outgrowth of the prior four. They all play a role.

Compassion drives you to understand differing viewpoints. You’re able to extend enough grace to people to listen for understanding. And you’re going to avoid shutting peopl...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:29
Once You Find It, Follow It (328) https://bulanetwork.com/once-you-find-it-follow-it-328/ Fri, 04 Oct 2019 07:00:56 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20685 No, it’s not passion. No, it’s not some willy-nilly dream. No, it’s not some mythical north star. It’s who and what you are. It’s the essence of YOU. Lately one of the most common conversations I have is about what Donald O. Clifton, the father of the StrengthsFinder movement, called “soaring with your strengths.” Simply …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/once-you-find-it-follow-it-328/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Once You Find It, Follow It (328)</span> Read More »</a></p> No, it’s not passion. No, it’s not some willy-nilly dream. No, it’s not some mythical north star. It’s who and what you are. It’s the essence of YOU. Lately one of the most common conversations I have is about what Donald O. Clifton, No, it’s not some willy-nilly dream.
No, it’s not some mythical north star.
It’s who and what you are. It’s the essence of YOU.
Lately one of the most common conversations I have is about what Donald O. Clifton, the father of the StrengthsFinder movement, called “soaring with your strengths.” Simply put, it’s about leveraging what you’re best at and not obsessing so much about what you’re not very good at.
In their 1992 book, SOAR WITH YOUR STRENGTHS, Donald O. Clifton and Paula Nelson begin with a parable entitled, “Let The Rabbits Run.” It’s the story of a rabbit attending a school where there are lots of classes in everything from running to climbing to swimming. As you can imagine the rabbit isn’t too good at swimming. So he’s instructed that it’d be best if he were to stop running (cause he’s already really good at that) and just take swimming courses (because he’s not very good at that). He vomits at the thought of giving up running. Thankfully, the rabbit encountered the wise old owl after he saw the school’s counselor. The wise old owl told him life didn’t have to be that way. He envisioned a place where the squirrels climbed and jumped through the trees. Where the fish did nothing but swim. And where the rabbits just ran. Just the thought of it made the rabbit happy.
So it goes when you find it – that thing that just comes easily and naturally to you. That thing that you excel at. That thing that defines who you are – in your most natural, comfortable state.
Get out of your comfort zone!
Everybody preaches that, but it’s moronic advice…at least as most people apply it. Should we push ourselves? Should we embrace those who will help push us? ABSOLUTELY. But the question is, “In what direction?”
The rabbit loved to run and he was good at it. His inability to swim as good as the fish wasn’t important. Slight improvements in his swimming skills weren’t going to make a lick of difference in his life, or in what he’d be able to achieve. Yes, he was uncomfortable swimming. It was stupid to think he should devote more time to this weakness in hopes he’d grow more comfortable in the water.
But push the rabbit to get out of his comfort zone in running and that’s an entirely different prospect. If the rabbit had a certain speed that was some mentally self-imposed limitations, don’t you imagine he’d be served with a running coach who pushed him and coached him in ways to run even faster? Of course. He’s be energized at the challenge.
Those are 2 drastically different comfort zones. One is counterproductive. The other? Very productive.
The battle is wanting to be something you’re not, or wishing you were great at something that’s beyond your greatness.
It’s about accepting who and what you are, but that doesn’t mean it’s about complacency. No matter your strong points, they can be improved. There’s still the ideal self that you’ve not reached. That you’ll NEVER reach. But you keep working to improve…like the rabbit could work on getting faster and quicker. Always working to be the best version of himself possible.
Too often we spend our time wishing we were different. When a better use of our time – and our time as leaders who are trying to help others excel – would be spent helping them lean more fully into who and what they are.
I’m a college football fan. Every season it’s interesting to me how some kid coming out of high school where he’s played a certain position for years, ends up in a college program where coaches spot something unique about him. Maybe he was a wide receiver all of his younger days,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:10
Understanding How People Really Buy – Part 2 (327) https://bulanetwork.com/understanding-how-people-really-buy-part-2-327/ Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:00:33 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20699 Curiosity and common ground. Those are two ingredients for helping prospects break their autopilot behavior. How? Storytelling. Help them imagine what your product or service will do for them. You put them into the story and have them experience it. We’re all able to project ourselves into some future circumstance. As we imagine it, we …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/understanding-how-people-really-buy-part-2-327/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Understanding How People Really Buy – Part 2 (327)</span> Read More »</a></p> Curiosity and common ground. Those are two ingredients for helping prospects break their autopilot behavior. How? Storytelling. Help them imagine what your product or service will do for them. You put them into the story and have them experience it. Storytelling.
Help them imagine what your product or service will do for them. You put them into the story and have them experience it. We’re all able to project ourselves into some future circumstance. As we imagine it, we begin to feel it. It becomes our new experience. New thoughts and beliefs can begin to form, too. Consider all that when you’re thinking of connecting with your prospects.
Marketing and sales (yes, I know they’re different, but for our purposes I’m lumping them into one big bucket because this is all about storytelling AND it’s about establishing a relationship of trust with people) – is largely about being able to predict the future experience for your prospects. You want to help them imagine themselves in the story. The more you can make that story come alive, the easier it will be for them to see themselves experiencing your product or service. The experiences generate real feelings and emotions that will drive people to choose your offer. The more valid and real those emotions, the more the prospect (now customer) will believe it.
The process isn’t easy, but it’s fairly simple. We have to get the prospect’s attention. If we’re unable to break the autopilot experience of the prospect, then we’re doomed. But once we do that, we have to tell our story involving the prospect and let them buy.
Stop pushing water up the hill.
Anybody with any sales experience has done it. Tried too hard. Pushed too hard. We’ve also done the opposite. Failed to push at all. Neglected to even ask the person to buy. We’re making it harder than it has to be.
Each of us tells stories. Let’s think about the stories we tell ourselves. In our head. We all do it.
These stories determine how we see the world and our place in it. So as we’re approaching telling a story to our prospects we must keep in mind they’re telling themselves a story before we ever arrive. What story are they telling? You should know. Or at least have some idea.
It’s ideal to get the prospect to share their story. This is where marketing and sales are very different. Marketing is your story being told to people. Usually at some scale. Selling is you listening to the story of your prospect, sharing your story and finding out what really matters most to the prospect so you can dazzle them with a positive experience with your product or service.
Questions. Those are among the most productive tools in selling. How else are you going to learn about the prospect? How else are you going to hear their story?
You can devise your own series of questions, but they can be best summed up with one phrase: tell me more. If you haven’t put in the time to devise great questions for your sales process, then you’re failing to achieve all you should. Don’t leave it to chance. Don’t leave it to an individual team member’s prowess. Craft an effective process that produces predictable results.
Questions like, “Give me a bit of background. How did you get here?” can get the prospect in storytelling mode. It can begin a good dialogue, which is what you’re after. So when you ask, LISTEN. Carefully.
“Tell me more about what you want to accomplish.”
“What are the hurdles you need to clear before you can execute?”
Figure out the best questions that can help get your prospects sharing their stories. Coach and train your employees to listen and effectively engage in sharing your company story by incorporating the prospects’ stories. Your story has to be congruent with the story the prospect tells. If there’s a disconnect, you’re done. And there might be valid reasons for that.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:41
Understanding How People Really Buy – Part 1 (326) https://bulanetwork.com/understanding-how-people-really-buy-part-1-326/ Mon, 30 Sep 2019 07:00:24 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20688 Salespeople tend to think features will make a difference. If only their product or service included something it doesn’t yet have…then their sales success would be possible. “Customers want _________ (they’ll talk about something specific that’s missing from their current offer).” Disruption is the order of the day. It’s not new and it’s here to …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/understanding-how-people-really-buy-part-1-326/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Understanding How People Really Buy – Part 1 (326)</span> Read More »</a></p> Salespeople tend to think features will make a difference. If only their product or service included something it doesn’t yet have…then their sales success would be possible. “Customers want _________ (they’ll talk about something specific that’s missi... Disruption is the order of the day. It’s not new and it’s here to stay because everywhere we look there are problems. Everywhere we look there are entrepreneurs working to figure out a better way. Many of them are attacking problems in industries where they have no prior experience. It’s happened in the taxi/limo business, the mattress business, hotel/motel, retail, computer hardware, music distribution…and just about every other industry you can name. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will. And for good reason – because every industry can be improved.
Any of us with a sales background have to realize we’ve been conditioned over time. The winners are those with the best feature set. That’s what we believe. But it’s not true. And it’s never been the universal truth that we think. Which can explain why achieving success can become more difficult over time. All the preconceived ideas focus us on what we don’t have, convincing us that if only we had what we don’t, then it’d all be different. No, it wouldn’t.
Because we don’t understand how people really buy.
Instead, we’re able to point to the economy, industry challenges and a host of other things that may have nothing to do with our current failures. Society is largely driven by creating fear and hysteria. We’re easily influenced to think things are far worse than they actually are. The minute a child goes missing moms in the area tighten the rein on their kids believing the streets are filled with bad people abducting children. Pessimism is easy. Fear is even easier. But I’m talking about something tangible. I’m not just urging you to be optimistic, although that would help. 😉
Each of us is conditioned by our experiences. All this conditioning affects our consumer behavior, too. We lean toward our conditioning and it can be very difficult to break it. That’s why we commonly find people dug into a position and unable or unwilling to consider alternative viewpoints or opinions.
Our experiences coupled with all the media exposure bombarding us daily deepen that conditioning. That’s why getting attention is so urgent for marketers. It’s also why it’s so difficult. We’re roaming about on autopilot much of the time until something extraordinary grabs our attention.
Beliefs. Prejudices. Experiences. Perceptions. These are the things that create our autopilot behaviors. And choices.
When I was growing up my dad was a General Motors guy. We always had a GM car. Usually either a Pontiac or a Chevy. Sometimes a neighbor would be a Ford person or a Chrysler person. I grew up wondering why some people were devoted to brands over style. As a kid, I would have opted for the best looking car! Here I am an adult and I’ve largely been loyal to 4-cylinder sporty cars. My last three cars have been an Acura Integra Type R, a Subaru WRX STi and a Mazda Mazdaspeed 3. My loyalty doesn’t fall along brand lines as much as it falls along performance and “fun factor” lines. But my buying preferences aren’t much different than my dad’s loyalty to GM.
In our efforts to persuade or sell our goods and services, we’re challenged by all this conditioning. Proof of our autopilot behavior is found anytime you get behind the wheel of your car and drive to a common destination, but you don’t fully remember the entire drive. You weren’t paying close enough attention to remember every turn or landmark along the way.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:05
Don’t Fence Me In (325) https://bulanetwork.com/dont-fence-me-in-325/ Fri, 27 Sep 2019 07:00:10 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20680 In 1945 Gene Autry released a recording of the song that hit #4 on the charts. By then the song was about 10 years old. Through the years it’s been covered by lots of people from Harry Connick, Jr. to The Killers to Willie Nelson. It’s a country and western song that depicts the yearning …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/dont-fence-me-in-325/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Don’t Fence Me In (325)</span> Read More »</a></p> In 1945 Gene Autry released a recording of the song that hit #4 on the charts. By then the song was about 10 years old. Through the years it’s been covered by lots of people from Harry Connick, Jr. to The Killers to Willie Nelson. In 1945 Gene Autry released a recording of the song that hit #4 on the charts. By then the song was about 10 years old. Through the years it’s been covered by lots of people from Harry Connick, Jr. to The Killers to Willie Nelson. It’s a country and western song that depicts the yearning to be free to roam. To be able to explore freely without restriction.
I live in the city. We have literal fences that separate our yards and property. Domestically we’re fenced in. Professionally the fences appear much different. They’re the restrictions of what we think we’re supposed to do. They’re the tactics people tell us are expected if we want to get positive results.
Common knowledge and common wisdom aren’t necessarily things to just cast aside, but they may be worth questioning. This week I heard two musicians talk about how they went their own way. Tristan Prettyman and Mark Knopfler. Both taught themselves to play the guitar and admit that they’re beyond being fixed. And who would want to fix them anyway. I mean, they’re both very talented and providing the world high value through their music. Tristan confesses that songwriting is difficult. Knopfler talks about how he left writing newspaper stories as a journalist because there were songs in his head prying their way out.
I kept thinking about what they said and how neither of them followed some formula. They simply took a step, followed by another, then another and all along the way they figured out what might work for them. Then last night I watched an old interview John Prine did. For 6 years he was a mailman until he got up one night at an open mic event and sang a song he had written. The crowd liked his music and he began playing regularly.
Don’t fence me in means don’t think there’s only one path toward growth, improvement or success. Don’t fence me in means stop looking for the formula or secret. So many people, not just creative types like Prettyman, Knopfler and Prine, find success by not doing what everybody is doing. Conventional wisdom is frequently a fence that may prevent people from figuring out what will work.
This is why I’m so fond of surrounding ourselves with different viewpoints, perspectives and experiences. It breaks down fences and opens us up to possibilities we may have never considered. Knopfler says no guitar teacher would dare teach a person to play the way he plays because technically he breaks all kinds of guitar playing rules. But it works. In fact, it works so well he’s considered among the world’s premier guitarists. Aren’t we glad he refused to be fenced in to do what everybody else did.
What about YOU? What about your business?
Are you just following whatever leader has captured your attention? Or are you making your own way…figuring out what works for you?
I’m a contrarian. I’ve always been a contrarian. I’d love to tell you it always works, but nothing always works. And I’m not a contrarian just for the sake of being a contrarian. I’m a contrarian because I’m curious if it can be made better. I’m curious if some other course might work better. And I admit I do enjoy questioning conventional wisdom, especially when it’s something ingrained in an industry.
In the last show I talked about the power of boldness – the ability to not worry about being embarrassed. That’s part of this don’t fence me in mindset. It deals with how comfortable and confident you can be knowing that you’re not following the crowd. Prine could have thought, “I’m just a mailman. And I’m already 24. I’ve never played live in front of a crowd before. And besides, I don’t know if my songs are very good.” Instead, he got up, guitar in hand, approached the microphone and sang a song.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:30
The Genius Of Being Bold (324) https://bulanetwork.com/the-genius-of-being-bold-324/ Wed, 25 Sep 2019 07:00:46 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20677 Genius gets more freely thrown around than hero. Both are grossly overused. But I’m still going to use genius when it comes to today’s topic of boldness. Bold has some terrific synonyms. Daring Fearlessness Bravery Courage Audacity Confidence Enterprise Grit Guts Moxie I rather like them all. Now you can better understand why I’m going …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-genius-of-being-bold-324/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Genius Of Being Bold (324)</span> Read More »</a></p> Genius gets more freely thrown around than hero. Both are grossly overused. But I’m still going to use genius when it comes to today’s topic of boldness. Bold has some terrific synonyms. Daring Fearlessness Bravery Courage Audacity Confidence Enterpris... Bold has some terrific synonyms.
Daring
Fearlessness
Bravery
Courage
Audacity
Confidence
Enterprise
Grit
Guts
Moxie
I rather like them all. Now you can better understand why I’m going to use the word genius to describe it.
For me, it’s the ability to be enterprising toward a goal without shame. It’s the ability we have to move forward without embarrassment.
In the last episode, I talked about the power of your network and how I often wished I were more extroverted. Well, this is at the heart of it for many people. For me, it’s just an energy thing. It’s not so much a fear thing. I can look extroverted, but it’s exhausting because it drains me. My son is an extrovert and you can see his energy go up when he’s around people. I’ve learned that many people dread being around others because they lack the boldness necessary. Fear and embarrassment stall them.
But what about when it comes to taking action that you know would propel you forward? Or actions that you believe would take your business forward?
The One Common Denominator In Success
Boldness. That’s why without reservation I use the term genius to describe it.
Last weekend I watched the short Netflix series, Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. Like many of you, I’ve read lots of biographies about remarkable people in every area, mostly in business. It seems to me they all have one thing in common. And it’s not brainpower genius, which admittedly Bill Gates may very well possess.
It’s boldness. It’s the ability to chase and pursue their goal without shame or embarrassment. They care more about achieving the goal than anything people may think or say about them. It’s so simple and powerful that it’s got to be considered genius.
For the past 10 years or so I’ve grown increasingly focused on the brain and the human mind’s ability to create new realities. I’m still colossally ignorant, armed with just enough information to know I’m far from self-mastery. And with just enough information to know there’s so much more, I need to learn!
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.
That has to be the most famous quote from Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich. While I don’t think it’s an absolute truth, I’ve grown to appreciate how accurate it is.
For example, people can argue that you can think about being able to fly and no matter what you do we can’t fly because we’re not birds. But we invented machinery capable of helping us fly. So there’s THAT.
I think the real emphasis belongs not on the word “conceive” but the word “believe.” Bill Gates and so many other very accomplished people truly believe in their pursuit AND in their ability to achieve it. We look at them and wonder, “How did they do that?” Perhaps the answer is no more complicated than they conceived something, believed it and then vigorously pursued it with shamelessness. Watch that documentary on Gates and if you knew nothing about him before you came away knowing that he simply doesn’t care what anybody thinks of his pursuits. Equally important is his insistence to surround himself with people who also believe in it. Easier to do when you’re so devoted to something as he’s been.
Much has been written about overcoming fear. It’s still a message we need to constantly hear because for most of us, it just never goes away. We mostly are unable to conquer it once and for all. It’s an ongoing project where some days we handle it better than o...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:42
Metcalfe’s Law: The Value Of A Network (323) https://bulanetwork.com/metcalfes-law-the-value-of-a-network-323/ Mon, 23 Sep 2019 07:00:04 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20673 Metcalfe’s Law was originally about telecommunications networks. The value of a network grows in proportion to the square of the number of users, which means once a network reaches a certain size, it becomes somewhat irresistibly attractive. Tim Sanders in his classic book, LOVE IS THE KILLER APP, wrote this: “Someday this will be true …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/metcalfes-law-the-value-of-a-network-323/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Metcalfe’s Law: The Value Of A Network (323)</span> Read More »</a></p> Metcalfe’s Law was originally about telecommunications networks. The value of a network grows in proportion to the square of the number of users, which means once a network reaches a certain size, it becomes somewhat irresistibly attractive. The value of a network grows in proportion to the square of the number of users, which means once a network reaches a certain size, it becomes somewhat irresistibly attractive.
Tim Sanders in his classic book, LOVE IS THE KILLER APP, wrote this:
“Someday this will be true for all of us: Our network will equal our net worth.”
Tim cited Metcalfe’s Law in the book. And with solid logic and clear understanding. He makes a great point that while not all connections will result in something positive, the cost is virtually nothing, which means you’ve lost nothing. Psychologically you may feel you lost something, but Sander’s advice is spot on, in my opinion. Get over it.
It’s Not Who You Know, But It’s Who Knows You
I’ve mostly been comfortable with who and what I am. Sure, like most, I’m able to daydream of what it’d be like to be more athletic, more musically talented, a gifted cartoonist, a talented novelist and many other endeavors that seem beyond my capacities. And I’m able to daydream of what it’d be like to be more socially extroverted, to be somebody who really enjoys crowds, to be somebody who is more of “life of the party” kind of person. But I’m not that guy and mostly I’m good with it.
But I confess if there was one thing I wish I had done better…one thing I wish my natural wiring would have more easily facilitated…it would be to be comfortable in crowds. To be more extroverted.
It’s not who I’ve ever been. While I can appear extroverted, I’m truly not. And it’s exhausting to me. I used to confuse that personality trait with the ability to effectively network. While it may be true that an extrovert can create a bigger network faster, it doesn’t mean the network is more effective.
Today, I’ve only got one intention – to encourage you to think of your network while thinking of the networks of which you’re a part. More importantly, I want to inspire you to connect for the sake of value. First, the value you can provide. Next, the value you may be able to gain. But…
If neither happen, it’s fine.
If only one happens, then make sure you provide the value. That’s more important than you getting value – although, it’s easy to argue that by providing value you’re automatically getting value. I mean some more qualitative value though.
A few weeks ago I had an Ethernet cable that connected my computer to my modem. The connector going into my computer wasn’t able to make a solid connection. The result? My computer network – a network required for my computer to access the Internet – was broken. A new cable restored the connection.
Think of yourself that way. Do it first inside your company with your team. Do it for your team members. Remember, the value of the network is the number of users. More is better. In human connections, quality matters. That is, the value each human connection can provide matters.
I get Linkedin requests constantly from people who want a connection because they want to extract something from me. People anxious to sell me something. If somebody sent me a connection request telling me upfront, “Hi, Randy. I noticed you work with CEOs, entrepreneurs and executives. I work with other service professionals like you and I’d like to share with you some of the services I provide to help professionals save time and money.” At least it would be an honest connection request. But most don’t do that. They send a bait and switch connection request and if I connect almost immediately I get a long sales pitch message. It’s sleazy and shows me they aren’t interested in any kind of a value proposition.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 13:10
Being A Better You: Be Reflective (322) https://bulanetwork.com/being-a-better-you-be-reflective-322/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 07:00:26 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20659 Some famous people are famously impolite. Coach Bob Knight. Billy Bob Thorton. Justin Bieber. But to be fair these people have a disadvantage. Fame. Fortune. People clamoring to be close to them. What’s your excuse? 😉 Some leaders are miserable human beings. They’re unpleasant, impolite and rude much of the time. I know that’s not …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/being-a-better-you-be-reflective-322/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Being A Better You: Be Reflective (322)</span> Read More »</a></p> Some famous people are famously impolite. Coach Bob Knight. Billy Bob Thorton. Justin Bieber. But to be fair these people have a disadvantage. Fame. Fortune. People clamoring to be close to them. What’s your excuse? What’s your excuse? 😉
Some leaders are miserable human beings. They’re unpleasant, impolite and rude much of the time. I know that’s not you ’cause such a person wouldn’t be caught dead listening to a podcast like this.
Being a better you doesn’t require movement from miserable human being to pleasant human being though. That may be one of the more dramatic transformations that no doubt many need to make, but for most of us, the changes are likely far more subtle, but no less transformational.
Rick Carlisle is the coach of the Dallas Mavericks. He’s got a solid reputation as an unpleasant person. I don’t know him except by reputation and by his public displays with the media. I admit he strikes me as very insufferable. And I wonder if he thinks it benefits him professionally or personally. I don’t get it, but I’m not him so I suppose he can act any way he wants. Maybe he’s uninterested in changing anything. Maybe he thinks being a better version of himself includes that sort of demeanor. But again, he’s in the public light and I’m not.
Reflection. That’s how we learn from past experiences. It helps us figure things out. In short, it’s thinking about things. It’s thinking about ourselves, how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking and how we’re behaving. It’s looking at our past behaviors and experiences.
I wonder how many of us have become proficient at facing our feelings. I suspect most of us don’t do it as deeply or as often as we should because it’s hard. And it’s hard because we’ve moving so fast it feels unproductive. Who has time to stomp down and ponder their feelings?
Abstract thinking and pure logical thinking don’t produce improvements and change. We don’t improve our behavior based on those. We have to be in closer touch with our feelings (our emotions).
You can improve your perspective by involving others in the process. Find out what others think and feel. How do they see things? This doesn’t mean you have to agree. You simply need to take advantage of different perspectives. It can help you see more clearly.
You can improve looking past all the extraneous things and getting to the core of the matter. We’re often tempted to concentrate on the thousand little ancillary things orbiting the main thing – without looking as seriously as we should on THE thing. Look past all the smoke to the source of the fire.
Becoming a better you requires time spent in sober reflection. It’s how we can get in touch with deeper feelings, deeper emotions and deeper drives. Reflection will help you find the truth. But there’s an implied action attached to reflection. Resolution. As we more deeply reflect on things we’re drawn to resolve that we’ll learn some things. Improve some things. The Bible calls it repentance. It’s a turning. It’s going from doing things one way…to doing them in a completely different way. It puts power behind our resolve or resolution to grow and improve.
Sadly, we’re likely more shaped by the bad stuff that happens to us than we are the good stuff. That’s why gratitude is hard. It’s easier to reflect on what we don’t have than to acknowledge how blessed we are. We’d all grow if we’d be more intentional in feeling and expressing our gratitude. But that requires focus, attention and deeper devotion to the effort.
Some talk of it as reframing. It’s looking at things through a different lens. Flipping a negative into a positive. Turning mistakes into lessons.
We have to work past the instantaneous emotions,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:45
The Quickest Way To Improve? Change Your Inner Circle https://bulanetwork.com/the-quickest-way-to-improve-change-your-inner-circle/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 07:00:41 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20664 Today I want to share with you an irresistible offer for entrepreneurs craving to grow their business, their leadership, and their life. The aim is to hit two business building trifectas: Getting new customers Serving existing customers better Not going crazy in the process That’s the first trifecta that we all hope to hit. But …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-quickest-way-to-improve-change-your-inner-circle/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Quickest Way To Improve? Change Your Inner Circle</span> Read More »</a></p> Today I want to share with you an irresistible offer for entrepreneurs craving to grow their business, their leadership, and their life. The aim is to hit two business building trifectas: Getting new customers Serving existing customers better Not goin... The aim is to hit two business building trifectas:

* Getting new customers
* Serving existing customers better
* Not going crazy in the process

That’s the first trifecta that we all hope to hit. But there’s another one.

* Saving time
* Having good health
* Making more money

The Peer Advantage by Bula Network is intentionally designed to help members hit both. I hope you’ll apply so we can learn more about each other. I want to help you grow great!
Randy

]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 17:28
Conversations: They’re About Heart & Meaning (321) https://bulanetwork.com/conversations-theyre-about-heart-meaning-321/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 07:00:22 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20655 Conversations have bound humans since the beginning. Yes, the VERY beginning. Talking with one another. Talking with God. Conversations are about expressions of our heart. Quite literally, conversations answer the question, “What’s on your mind?” Society stopped listening. I’m not sure when it happened, but the Internet isn’t the culprit. Digital technology may have contributed …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/conversations-theyre-about-heart-meaning-321/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Conversations: They’re About Heart & Meaning (321)</span> Read More »</a></p> Conversations have bound humans since the beginning. Yes, the VERY beginning. Talking with one another. Talking with God. Conversations are about expressions of our heart. Quite literally, conversations answer the question, “What’s on your mind? Conversations are about expressions of our heart. Quite literally, conversations answer the question, “What’s on your mind?”
Society stopped listening. I’m not sure when it happened, but the Internet isn’t the culprit. Digital technology may have contributed to the noise increasingly becoming a one-way conduit, but we had stopped listening to each other long before. Social media and all the associated vehicles that enable us to speak to the world have surely fostered in many of us an inflated sense of self-importance where we feel what ‘we’ve got to say is more important than what anybody else may have to say. But those inner feelings existed before the Internet.
I’m not sure if it’s a lack of humility or curiosity or both, but I remember being frustrated as a teenager during casual conversation circles if somebody dominated the storytelling. Even more so, I grew anxious if nobody provoked somebody to say more about something that struck me as quite interesting. Life clearly belonged to the extroverts. I was likely more sensitive to it because, at heart, I’m introverted. People who constantly interrupt others and people who don’t ask the obvious follow-up question drive me crazy. As somewhat of a joke, it’s why some years ago I registered the domain, “WaitAMinuteWhat.com.”
Wait a minute, what?
I catch myself wanting to ask that quite often when I hear somebody make an interesting remark that is almost immediately followed by something else with something far less interesting to contribute.
People rarely listen. Rarer still is listening to understand. Life has taught me why, too. Most of us just aren’t that interested in what you’ve got to say because we’re mostly fixated on what we want to say.
When is the last time somebody who appeared genuinely interested in you asked you about YOU?
I’ve been fascinated with conversation for as long as I can remember. I love it. Mostly I love asking questions and learning. In spite of the fact that I’ve been podcasting for well over 10 years, I mostly enjoy listening to learn about others. Sure, there are times when it’d be nice if somebody would ask about me, but I stopped holding my breath for that opportunity a very long time ago. 😉
Communications experts and psychologists have produced a variety of models aimed at helping us make conversations more productive. I suspect most are a waste of time, not because they don’t work, but because too few adopt them in daily practice. We gravitate to our normal course of speaking and listening. We do what works for us. At least we think it works for us, which means we feel okay about it.
That doesn’t make it effective. Certainly not as leaders.
At work, most of our conversations are directed by the folks in power. Meetings are led by the person in charge. The agendas are driven by authority. It’s high school all over again where the extroverts take the power and railroad the others to come along on their journey.
For decades I’ve watched it happen in social settings, business settings, church settings and everywhere else people engage in some sort of attempt at communication. Sadly, rarely do they quickly get to the heart of the matter and dive deeply enough where people feel safe to truly say anything – much less to say what they’re truly feeling and thinking. Many of us have never figured out how to have a genuine conversation about heart and meaning. Others of us have forgotten how.
It’s not safe out here. Or in there.
Today conference rooms around the world are filled with people wrestling with a variety of challenges.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:21
The Basic Ingredients of Leadership According To Warren Bennis (320) https://bulanetwork.com/the-basic-ingredients-of-leadership-according-to-warren-bennis-320/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 07:00:25 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20648 Back in episode 318 we talked about the first basic ingredient of leadership according to famed leadership expert Warren Bennis – GUIDING VISION. Let’s kick this week off with a brief discussion on the other ingredients Mr. Bennis found foundational to effective leadership. Guiding Vision (see episode 318) Passion – Bennis felt this was next …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-basic-ingredients-of-leadership-according-to-warren-bennis-320/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Basic Ingredients of Leadership According To Warren Bennis (320)</span> Read More »</a></p> Back in episode 318 we talked about the first basic ingredient of leadership according to famed leadership expert Warren Bennis – GUIDING VISION. Let’s kick this week off with a brief discussion on the other ingredients Mr.
* Guiding Vision (see episode 318)
* Passion – Bennis felt this was next because without it a leader may find it tough to get people on his side. All that engagement and empowerment stuff. He defined the areas of passion as passion for the promises of life, coupled with a specific passion for a vocation, a profession and a course of action. In other words, a leader needs to be passionate about those things associated with her leadership. In short, the leader loves what he does and what he’s doing. This passion helps leaders communicate hope and inspiration.
* Integrity – Bennis felt there were 3 essential parts to integrity: self-knowledge, candor and maturity. Self-knowledge (self-awareness) is tough, but we all need to put in the work to truly know ourselves. Get in touch with your strengths and weaknesses, know what you want to do and why you want to do it. Your success hinges on it. Great leaders never lie to themselves. Especially about themselves. Candor is a key to self-knowledge. Candor is honesty in thought and action. It’s uncompromising. Maturity is necessary because leading isn’t merely showing people the way or telling people what to do. It’s the experience we gain as we learn to be dedicated, cooperative and collaborative. Bennis also mentions that integrity is the basis of trust. Trust isn’t an ingredient, according to him, but it’s a product of leadership. It has to be earned.
* Curiosity and Daring – the last two ingredients of leadership according to Bennis fuel the leader. These ingredients help prevent leaders from fearing failure – at least to the point of paralysis. Leaders learn from adversity and going into the unknown. The strong desire to learn as much as possible and the willingness to take risks by experimenting – these are necessary for effective leadership.

Great leaders are built or made. They’re not born. Many of these ingredients aren’t natural, but they can all be acquired. Wrote Bennis:
Leaders invent themselves. They are not, by the way, made in a single weekend seminar, as many of the leadership-theory spokemen claim. I’ve come to think of that one as the microwave theory: pop in Mr. or Ms. Average and out pops McLeader in sixty seconds.
The balance between feeling and thought is important. Both are required if we’re going to improve our understanding.
Bennis thought the difference between leaders and managers were as the differences between those who master the context and those who surrender to it. But he pointed out other differences, too.

* The manager administers while the leader innovates.
* The manager is a copy while the leader is an original.
* The manager maintains while the leader develops.
* The manager focuses on systems and structure while the leader focuses on people.
* The manager relies on control, but the leader inspires trust.
* The manager has a short-range view, but the leader has a long-range perspective.
* The manager asks how and when, while the leader asks what and why.
* The manager has his eye always on the bottom line, but the leader is watching the horizon.
* The manager imitates, but the leader originates.
* The manager accepts the status quo while the leader challenges it.
* The manager is the classic good soldier, but the leader is his own person.
* The manager does things right while the leader does the right thing.

Wrote Bennis:
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Randy Cantrell clean 7:49
You Have To Understand Why You’re Winning And Why You’re Losing (319) https://bulanetwork.com/you-have-to-understand-why-youre-winning-and-why-youre-losing-319/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 07:00:19 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20639 True confession: I’m not a baseball fan. I only watch it when the league championship finals begin. But I recently heard a radio interview with the manager of the Texas Rangers, Chris “Woody” Woodward. While answering a question about what being a first-year major league manager he uttered that quote. You have to understand why …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/you-have-to-understand-why-youre-winning-and-why-youre-losing-319/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">You Have To Understand Why You’re Winning And Why You’re Losing (319)</span> Read More »</a></p> True confession: I’m not a baseball fan. I only watch it when the league championship finals begin. But I recently heard a radio interview with the manager of the Texas Rangers, Chris “Woody” Woodward. While answering a question about what being a firs... You have to understand why you’re winning and why you’re losing.
He went on to reiterate the importance of a major league baseball team to know why what they’re doing is providing whatever result they happen to be experiencing at the moment. Baseball, because of the sheer number of games played,  can throw teams into slumps and winning streaks. Woody wants his team to understand why it’s happening.
The interviewers didn’t do what I had hoped. They neglected to probe further. I was curious to know more. Maybe it’s because I’m not a baseball guy. Perhaps baseball fans just understand things I don’t. But it didn’t make me think about our world of business.
Business, like baseball, is a long season (well, we sure hope it is). We’ve all experienced slumps. Hopefully, we’ve also experienced some winning streaks to offset those. I’m not sure we always understand why. Maybe business is so dramatically different from baseball – I suspect that’s the case.
Take advertising. A company can create an ad campaign that spikes sales. It seems to be working as expected. But in time, it stops working. Why?
Advertising seems to be THE big variable that’s awfully hard to understand. It’s why that old quote from John Wanamaker is so true.
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
I’ve never managed a baseball team, but I’ve managed businesses for decades. Understanding is difficult. Sometimes it’s tough to know why you’re winning. Harder still to know why you’re losing.

There are days when we’re like Nelson. It feels like we’re staring at Makes No Sense, Inc. and have no clues.
What can we do? I can’t promise that you’ll always figure it out and understand, but you ought to try. It’s learning and it’s necessary for growth.
Step 1 – Don’t ignore trying to understand success.
In our quest to understand why we’re winning or why we’re losing it’s easy to focus on the losing, not the winning. That’s why it’s more commonplace for companies to devote time to blaming people, but they neglect celebrations. It’s like the parent who ignores A’s on the kid’s report card but pitches a wild-eyed fit when a C comes home.
Donald O. Clifton is the father of Strengthsfinder. He wrote a book many years ago – the precursor to the Strengthsfinder work – entitled, “Soar With Your Strengths.” I devoured the book when it was first published. It made total sense to me, especially as a parent and a leader. Why try to make yourself or others something they’re not. Instead, lead with your strengths. Improve what you’re already good at. In a similar fashion, don’t ignore dissecting success. Figure out why things are working well so you can do more of it.
Step 2 – Ask others.
I’m still trying to figure out why this is so difficult. Especially when it comes to learning and understanding. People slightly older to much older than me have always been the chief folks I’ve looked to for understanding. I want to know what they may be able to teach me. I’ve never found it difficult to learn from older people – especially men (since I’m a man) with whom I’ve invested time to forge a trusting relationship. A small circle of men has helped me navigate the choppiest waters of my life. I can’t imagine going it alone.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:59
Guiding Vision: The First Basic Ingredient Of Leadership (318) https://bulanetwork.com/guiding-vision-the-first-basic-ingredient-of-leadership-318/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 07:00:37 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20634 Warren Bennis, the brilliant, but reluctant expert on leadership believed a guiding vision was the first ingredient of leadership. Leaders need to have a clear vision of what they want to do. They also have to possess the determination and resolve to persist through setbacks, even failures. Where are you going? Personally and professionally? It …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/guiding-vision-the-first-basic-ingredient-of-leadership-318/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Guiding Vision: The First Basic Ingredient Of Leadership (318)</span> Read More »</a></p> Warren Bennis, the brilliant, but reluctant expert on leadership believed a guiding vision was the first ingredient of leadership. Leaders need to have a clear vision of what they want to do. They also have to possess the determination and resolve to p... Where are you going?
Personally and professionally?
It makes sense that nothing else comes before a guiding vision. Guiding indicates it’s a direction with a plan. It’s not merely wishful thinking. There’s a purpose and intent behind the vision.
Great leaders see the future first.
What do YOU see? How are you helping your organization see what you see?
Let’s break down a few things that may help.
Step 1 – Don’t assume people can read your mind.
It’s far too common for a leader to become frustrated with people because they don’t know what she’s thinking. We’re living with our thoughts 24/7. Surely we’ve expressed all these thoughts – especially thoughts about where we’re heading. Hold on. Check yourself.
People are working hard to read you. At times, they’re mostly getting it wrong.
You don’t realize it, but you’ve got a scowl. It’s nothing more than a dull headache coming on and inside you’re thinking, “I do not need a headache right now.”
People think you’re displeased with them. One employee even thinks you disapprove of what she’s wearing. So it goes with how people can often MIS-read you.
You must communicate without relying on your ESP.
Step 2 – Have a system of communication.
You can leave things to chance, but as you’d imagine — it’s very risky. Don’t leave your communication to pure chance.
This isn’t about managing the narrative or spin. I’m hoping you operate in a no spin fashion where you can be candid with people. Especially when it comes to the guiding vision you’re sharing.
What’s the process for sharing information? What’s your preferred method of communication?
Every organization has a favorite way of distributing communication. Mostly, it stems from YOU, the leader. The entire organization will follow your lead by watching how you prefer to communicate.
If you prefer email, then it’s highly likely you’ve got an email focused culture. I’d bet most information in your company is shared via email because the organization has figured out it’s your preference.
So which is it? What’s your preferred way to communicate inside your company?
Electronic? Small group meetings? Companywide meetings? Formal? Informal?
Figure this out and then figure out if you’d like to change it. It may not be working as well as you’d like. Maybe you’d like to change it. Then do it.
But have a system.
I’ve found guiding vision conversations were best done with my leadership team first, then distributed companywide in an in-person meeting with hard copy communication to back it up. That was my preference. You need to know your preference.
Step 3 – Once is not enough.
Never assume that one communication is enough. Some will get it very quickly. Others won’t. You don’t want to leave anybody in the dark.
It’s up to you to make sure that the message is received and understood. You need to repeat a consistent message about your guiding vision.
We attend worship services and hear preaching each time. The Gospel Story is ancient. The church was established in AD33. The message is preached consistently service after service to make sure it penetrates our minds and lives. To instruct old heads like me and young heads like my grandchildren. Once isn’t enough.
You should be the Chief Evangelist inside your company.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 7:47
Create A Movement: The Best Way To Implement Change (317) https://bulanetwork.com/create-a-movement-the-best-way-to-implement-change-317/ Mon, 09 Sep 2019 07:00:54 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20621 Transformative change. It’s been a popular business phrase for a very long time. Transformative means… causing a marked change in someone or something I guess folks mean something substantial. Something that sticks and has a big impact. One reason this podcast is entitled Grow Great is that I view growth as the goal. Maybe it …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/create-a-movement-the-best-way-to-implement-change-317/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Create A Movement: The Best Way To Implement Change (317)</span> Read More »</a></p> Transformative change. It’s been a popular business phrase for a very long time. Transformative means… causing a marked change in someone or something I guess folks mean something substantial. Something that sticks and has a big impact. causing a marked change in someone or something
I guess folks mean something substantial. Something that sticks and has a big impact.
One reason this podcast is entitled Grow Great is that I view growth as the goal. Maybe it stems from my early career in the consumer electronics business when Japan ruled the day. Constant improvement was the popular business banter. The Japanese call it Kaizen. Pure and simple – it’s figuring it out and growing all along the way. Getting better every day.
People want to be part of something bigger. Something monumental. Something challenging.
We want a cause. Some of us crave it more than others, but I’ve never encountered a high-achiever or an aspiring high-achiever who didn’t fully embrace joining a movement, a cause.
That’s why when I first read of a man from Springfield, Missouri who opened the books of a new company in 1983 resonated with me. A decade later, in 1993, John Case of Inc. magazine was credited with coining the phrase, open-book management. But Jack Stack and SRC Holdings created it. In 1992 Stack wrote the book, The Great Game Of Business.
Jack was running a plant for International Harvester when word came down, “we’re closing your plant.” Stunned, thinking they’d been doing good work, Stack dove into finding out what went wrong. How can our plant close when we’re doing what’s asked of us? He taught himself by asking great questions. He learned about business and along the way, grew a resolve to buy the plant and keep it going. Rejected time and time again for loans he and 13 employees cobbled together about $100,000 and finally got loans in excess of $8M. Along the way, Jack knew the employees needed to understand what they had never understood before – how companies make money and what’s required for businesses to be sustainable. That meant Jack had to open the books and share key numbers with employees. It worked so magnificently that within 5 years (by 1988) the company was worth in excess of $40M and they had saved over 100 jobs. And as they say, “the rest is history.”
Jack Stack created a revolution. He created a movement – a cause. Admittedly, it was a big cause – “let’s save our jobs, let’s save our plant.” Does every movement have to be that dramatic? Or that enormous? No. Movements can be positive and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Many years ago I learned what Jack Stack discovered. Ironically, it was about the same time, too. The early 1980s. Jack’s success eclipsed mine big time, but the lessons learned were similar – people need a game to play.
More specifically, people need to see where they fit and how their work makes a difference. As a teenage employee, I learned very quickly the importance of congruency. I once worked for a boss who said one thing but did something different. His actions were rarely congruent with what he preached. I learned firsthand the negative impact that had on employees and the culture. We struggled because none of us had any clue how we made a difference. We were just working for our paycheck and our commission.
Let’s learn some things together from all this. Let’s create a movement and get people energized by understanding how their work makes a positive impact on the company.
Step 1 – Give People A Story
Storytellers focus in part of the characters. The story is all about the characters and how they behave. Well, your company is filled with characters – employees, team members.
What’s their story? I don’t mean you dive into their personal lives. I mean, what’s their story in the context of why they’re holding their role in your company?]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 14:10
Building Your Ideal Team (316) https://bulanetwork.com/building-your-ideal-team-316/ Fri, 06 Sep 2019 07:00:18 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20615 NFL pundits claim this year’s Dallas Cowboys’ roster is Super Bowl quality. Time will tell. They’ve got to play the games. They’re certainly throwing big dollars around. Time will tell. I can’t remember the last time I passed an entire week without talking with a business owner or CEO about constructing a better team. The …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/building-your-ideal-team-316/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Building Your Ideal Team (316)</span> Read More »</a></p> NFL pundits claim this year’s Dallas Cowboys’ roster is Super Bowl quality. Time will tell. They’ve got to play the games. They’re certainly throwing big dollars around. Time will tell. I can’t remember the last time I passed an entire week without tal... I can’t remember the last time I passed an entire week without talking with a business owner or CEO about constructing a better team. The people problem persists. Recruiting, training and retaining people who can help take the enterprise to new heights has always been a challenge. But too often we make it harder than it needs to be. Mostly because we neglect to give it the attention it deserves.
Over 25 years ago I went to hear Tom Peters. He used to come to the DFW area every few years. I’d go see him every time he came. I’ve always found him thought-provoking and my fondness likely stems from being a young man when In Search Of Excellence was published (1982). He resonated with me.
Well, during this presentation – which wasn’t a speech as much as a presentation because people were seated around tables and Tom would walk amongst us while talking with a comprehensive slide deck serving to illustrate his points – he talked about how much effort the NFL puts into assembling a team. General Managers have teams of scouts and other people dedicated to studying film of college players. Countless man hours are applied to the team every season. Makes sense because that’s their business, a team sport. It requires building the strongest team possible so you can compete. Tom made the analogy that our businesses aren’t much different. People make the difference.
I instantly thought, “Yeah, I agree, but NFL teams have game film to watch, previous coaches to interview about the player, and a lot more data to consider than I ever have with prospective hires.” But I didn’t want to be completely dismissive of Tom’s analogy. I knew I could give it greater effort. And I knew there had to be some strategies I could deploy so I could act with greater efficiency. I needed to be more intentional about it all.
Since then I’ve found almost every CEO or SMB owner suffers the same challenge. And I know why. We too often hire out of desperation. We have a pressing need, then we seek to fill it. That’s the extent of the strategy. Immediate need.
I started to think about being more proactive because there were times early in my career when I’d done that instinctively. But along the way something happened. I didn’t get smarter. I got stupider. I started chasing my tail. By the time I got to the mid-1980’s I was figuring out how to stop chasing my tail so much. Fire fighting is part of the task and I rather enjoyed that part of it. What I hated was feeling forced to act out of desperation. So I began to think more strategic. To give greater effort to being prepared. To think ahead.
What would you do if THE key employee you most rely on suddenly resigned?
I often ask leaders this question and most have no answer other than, “I hope it doesn’t happen.” I’ll press them. “But what if it does?”
Panic! That’s what would happen.
I’m not saying that we’re all prepared for such events, but we’d do well to think about it more. To pre-think it and prepare. To develop a plan.
So how would you build your ideal team?
Let’s start by defining “ideal.” I’m not talking about a perfect team. I’m talking about the team that would be ideally suited to achieve what you want. The team of people capable (and willing) to help you grow your enterprise.
Step 1 – Shore up the weakness that’s killing you.
You likely have chronic weak areas. If you’re like most of us, these areas have been problematic for too long.
Figure out why.
Don’t accept shallow answers.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 13:27
Technology, Future-Proofing & Efficiency (315) https://bulanetwork.com/technology-future-proofing-efficiency-315/ Wed, 04 Sep 2019 07:00:57 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20611 One of my first big technology projects involved custom programming for a point-of-sale (POS – and you thought it stood for something else 😉 ) system. Programmers were on site almost round the clock for months and the cost was out of control. Nightmare doesn’t begin to describe it. Disaster doesn’t either. It was a …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/technology-future-proofing-efficiency-315/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Technology, Future-Proofing & Efficiency (315)</span> Read More »</a></p> One of my first big technology projects involved custom programming for a point-of-sale (POS – and you thought it stood for something else 😉 ) system. Programmers were on site almost round the clock for months and the cost was out of control. But you can’t just stop using technology.
You can’t neglect to put in the work to future-proof your business.
And we all need to find ways to be more efficient.
The question is, “How can we best accomplish these things?”
People. That’s the answer. A goodly number of them. And not just anybody, but people qualified to provide valuable insights. People who may disagree with each other, too.
If I had it to do over, my POS project in the early 1980s would have been handled differently. Back then we had technology folks who claimed to know what they were doing. Things were so new I failed because I trusted they knew more than me. I knew what information I wanted, but I had no idea how to get it. The technology nerds at the time were arrogant in their prowess because at the time, Management Information Systems wasn’t even a thing. As business people we were sort of hostage to the few people around us who claimed to know how to get stuff done. Part of the failure was the early stage of the tech. Part of it was my human failure to incorporate more brains into the room to figure it out.
You SHOULD be giving attention to these activities and areas of your business: technology, future-proofing, and efficiency. Not everything will involve a computer, but much of it will.
Today, I want to spark your imagination and give you some practical tips that may help in your quest to elevate these things inside your business.
Step 1 – Get the right people in the room.
This isn’t always easy because too often I have found people do it too quickly without enough forethought. They think of the obvious players to have in the room, but it’s often the least obvious who can provide the greater value.
Make your list of the usual suspects.
Now, make your list of the most unusual suspects. There are people who have an insight that the most brilliant people in the room may lack. I’ve encountered countless times when a low-level team member recognized something that the brainiacs in the room were overlooked because he was dealing with the problem every day. They weren’t.
Who touches this process? Who does it every single day? Are they in this room providing input? Make sure they’ve got a seat at the table.
Think of anybody who may be able to provide insights to help you figure this out. I’d strongly encourage you to assemble a very small team, including yourself (I like the number 3 because it’s small and odd-numbered) to review WHO is going to be involved in vetting the projects.
Nothing is more important than in assembling the right team to help provide good answers and solutions. This team will provide the discussion and debate necessary to provide the best possible answers to all questions, and perhaps more importantly, they’ll be able to think of all the best questions to ask.
Pick the right people and don’t be afraid to invite outsiders.
Step 2 – Dive deeply inside your operation.
Question everything. “Why do we do it that way?” was among my top questions. Always.
Find out the reason. It can be enlightening.
It’s remanence of the story of the man who’s wife sent him to the store for a ham. After he bought it, she asked him why he didn’t have the butcher cut off the end of the ham. He asked his wife why she wanted the end cut off.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:30
The Three Holiday R’s – Rest, Recovery, Rejuvenation (314) https://bulanetwork.com/the-three-holiday-rs-rest-recovery-rejuvenation-314/ Fri, 30 Aug 2019 07:00:35 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20608 Today in America we’re heading into a holiday weekend, Labor Day. Monday will be a holiday for many folks, providing a 3-day weekend. This is typically considered the last holiday of the summer or the first holiday of autumn. After this weekend we’ll hit a dry spell until THE holiday season with Thanksgiving in late …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-three-holiday-rs-rest-recovery-rejuvenation-314/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Three Holiday R’s – Rest, Recovery, Rejuvenation (314)</span> Read More »</a></p> Today in America we’re heading into a holiday weekend, Labor Day. Monday will be a holiday for many folks, providing a 3-day weekend. This is typically considered the last holiday of the summer or the first holiday of autumn. Labor Day.
Monday will be a holiday for many folks, providing a 3-day weekend. This is typically considered the last holiday of the summer or the first holiday of autumn. After this weekend we’ll hit a dry spell until THE holiday season with Thanksgiving in late November.
But a holiday can be a single day or even part of a day – a time spent away from the daily grind. Usually with family. Or maybe in solitude. Whatever suits you.
Hustle and grind are common battle cries in entrepreneurship and leadership. I’m the son of what Tom Brokaw called, “the greatest generation.” World War II veterans. Old school guys who knew a thing or three about working hard, doing whatever it took and grinding it out. So my generation – baby boomers – largely learned from our parents and grandparents (who were survivors of the Great Depression). Work ethic was a given for my generation.
It wasn’t a badge of honor so much as it was an expectation. It’s just what you did. I know because the first decade of my marriage I stayed in hot water for putting in 80 hour work weeks. I didn’t do it because I loved it. I did it because it’s what had been instilled in me. It’s just what you did if you cared at all about your career, your family and achievement. And I cared deeply about all of those.
Admittedly, I was (and still am, though less so) a stress junkie. I thrived on the chaos and pace of business. Yes, it was addictive. Yes, I loved it. Still do, although now I prefer to control it a bit more.
Personally, I don’t find anything honorable about neglecting yourself or your family. I don’t find anything worthy of glorification in the current hustle and grind evangelism. Those aren’t equal to “work ethic” in my book. But today, it’s less about those things and more about what we do with our time away from work.
Three R’s leap to my mind when I think about stepping away – whether it’s for a full vacation, a 3-day weekend, a day off or half a day off.
Rest. Recovery. Rejuvenation.
This week two superstar NFL players have been in the news. Both are 29 years old. Both have retired from the sport. And both cited pain and a loss of joy in playing the game they loved. Both have mentioned the word “recovery,” too. In short, both Andrew Luck and Rob Gronkowski say they need to take care of themselves now.
You and I aren’t engaged in physical battle like NFL players, but the stress we endure can and will kill us. The pressures to lead and manage an enterprise are real. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Our lives – including our families – pay a price for our ambition and work. Yes, they may derive benefits, too. But there’s always a price to be paid.
My wife will tell you that I’m likely the last person qualified to give advice on this score because I NEVER took my vacation days. For decades I had three to five weeks of vacation and the most I ever took were a few days here and a few days there. I’ve never taken a full week, much less two. I just never felt comfortable doing it, so I didn’t. I wish I could have. I wish I would have, but while I knew I could physically, I was unable to mentally.
Now, as a more mature leader and business guy I know some things I wish I had known when I was younger. But I didn’t. Things come to us when they come to us. Better late than never I guess.
Here’s what I’ve learned that I wish I had learned earlier. Perhaps it can help you if you’re an American businessperson facing the prospect of a 3-day weekend.
One, don’t do it for others. Do it for yourself. Do it for your career. Do it for your business. Do it for others.
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 14:47
Are You In Touch With Your Business’s Touchpoints? (313) https://bulanetwork.com/are-you-in-touch-with-your-businesss-touchpoints-313/ Wed, 28 Aug 2019 11:00:14 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20600 One of the more memorable books in my library was published in the summer of 1987. It was written by the Jan Carlzon, CEO of SAS Group, owner of the airlines Scandinavian Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines Ireland. I had been reading of him in the business press so I was anxious to read the book …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/are-you-in-touch-with-your-businesss-touchpoints-313/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Are You In Touch With Your Business’s Touchpoints? (313)</span> Read More »</a></p> One of the more memorable books in my library was published in the summer of 1987. It was written by the Jan Carlzon, CEO of SAS Group, owner of the airlines Scandinavian Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines Ireland. Mr. Carlzon took over a company losing many millions of dollars each year. Within the first year of his leadership the company was first among European carriers in on-time punctuality. His days in the hospitality industry served him well and I greatly admired his work. I was 30 years-old. He was joining the ranks of others who mentored me through books and stories of his leadership.
The moments of truth Mr. Carlzon talked of were the moments when his airlines had contact with customers — passengers. Every moment was important. Critical to success. He understood that and trained for it.
My 15 years or so of retail experience (at the time I read the book) connected immediately with Mr. Carlzon’s philosophy and strategy. Touchpoints or moments of truth was critical in my industry. I realized it was crucial for any business in any industry.
The book gave language to my philosophy that I had been preaching for a number of years in my own work. Touchpoints needed to be all be magical if possible. Otherwise, they had to be consistently excellent. Predictable and replicated at the highest levels.
It’s hard work, but I learned that happy employees and customer-friendly processes helped. I also learned that things slip when you neglect them. Or when you ease up the focus on them. Entropy occurs. It’s natural. And it impacts everything including the service we render to prospects and customers.
Maintaining the strongest connection possible on the touchpoints of your business is crucial for your success. It’s too easy to think we’ve got them all figured out and assume things are working as they should. Don’t get complacent with it.
Step 1 – Catalog every single touchpoint inside your company.
Make note of every possible way people can interact with your company. Every email, phone, social media or live interaction should be accounted for. This should answer the question, “How can people contact us?” as well as, “How can we contact them?”
Step 2 – What systems are in place to ensure your company is responding promptly and appropriately?
This should be documented and not left to chance. For now, make sure you have what is currently happening — or what is currently supposed to be happening.
Step 3 – Randomly test each touchpoint and measure the results.
Commission help from people to test your people and the systems currently in place. Have people call, email or send social media messages. See how well your people and your systems are currently performing. Do not use people inside your business. Do not alert people that you’re doing this. Tell no one. Just do it.
Gather the information on each touchpoint. Just here you’ll be tempted to jump in the big middle of people when you spot a failure. Resist knee-jerk reactions. In order to figure out the current status you need to finish the exercise of going through every single touchpoint multiple times. You don’t want to let one incident fool you into thinking every incident happens the same way. Test each touchpoint as many times as you practically can. More is better. You’ll see a pattern develop. It may be great. It may be poor. Don’t disrupt things…yet. You must have a sense of reality first.
Step 4 – Time to huddle with your inner circle and make sure everybody is involved to improve the touchpoints.
Present your findings. Curb your emotions if the results were poor. This isn’t the time to vent.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:39
Nights Spent Around The Table (312) https://bulanetwork.com/nights-spent-around-the-table-312/ Mon, 26 Aug 2019 11:00:40 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20596 If you were King Arthur you’d have knights to gather at the roundtable. But you’re not a king. Much less King Arthur. But you spend nights around the table. Likely fretting about decisions. Trying to figure out what to do. Searching for the best answers to your perplexing questions. Leadership is hard. It taxes the …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/nights-spent-around-the-table-312/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Nights Spent Around The Table (312)</span> Read More »</a></p> If you were King Arthur you’d have knights to gather at the roundtable. But you’re not a king. Much less King Arthur. But you spend nights around the table. Likely fretting about decisions. Trying to figure out what to do. But you spend nights around the table. Likely fretting about decisions. Trying to figure out what to do. Searching for the best answers to your perplexing questions.
Leadership is hard. It taxes the mind, the body, and the spirit.  All good leaders pay a price, but most do so happily. I like to think most also do it with compassion and grace (although I know it’s likely rarer than I wish it were).
Early morning starts. Late-night stops. Sleepless nights. These are common to business owners and leaders.
You spend nights around a table. Maybe a kitchen table in your home. Maybe your desk at work. Maybe a desk at home. Maybe a conference table at the office.
Today I don’t want you to focus on lamenting the decisions you face. Instead, I want you to focus on the resources at your disposal. Think of the assets that should be present at the table with you.
Leadership is lonely, but mostly it’s unnecessarily so. Yes, the buck has to stop somewhere. Tag you’re it. But that doesn’t mean you go it alone. It means you alone bear the responsibility of the decision. And it means you ought to be willing, even anxious to own whatever outcomes are produced…especially failures. Best to give credit to others when things go well. Necessary to take the blame when they don’t.
Meanwhile, the table represents the process of decision-making. Nights represent the exhaustive time spent wrestling with the process.
I’ve only one message in today’s show – do not go it alone. And there are compelling reasons for it. Chief among them is, you’re just not that good. Nobody is.
Accept the limitations of any one person, including you.
Every CEO and business owner bears one major responsibility – to make decisions about the deployment of resources. We decide where investments in people, capital and other resources will be made for the forward progress of the organization. That burden alone is enough to create insomnia for a lifetime. But it’s a burden that nobody should feel obligated to accept alone.
Businesses aren’t democracies, but even monarchies have trusted advisors, just as King Arthur had his knights who gathered with him around their table.
It begins with you knowing yourself and your role well. Self-awareness is paramount. History has shown us countless foolish leaders who prized their thoughts, opinions, insights, and experiences above all others. Easily seen in the lives of others. Much more difficult to see in our own lives.
Look deeply in the mirror. Value your opinions, insights, experience, and knowledge, but not at the expense of thinking your business success hinges solely on it. It’s a foolish strategy even for solopreneurs. Recognize your brilliance, but recognize even more fully your limitations.
Multiple viewpoints provide improved perspective.
When you sit alone struggling to find just the right answer you limit yourself to your perspective. Your biases and opinions alone determine the answers you’ll consider. Rare is the person who can embrace thoughts not his own while sitting alone. I’m not even sure it’s possible. Not in a practical sense.
When we’re wrestling with an important decision there’s no danger in having differing viewpoints, opinions, and insights. Don’t be threatened by opposing viewpoints. Instead, relish them. Search them out. Surround yourself with people brave enough to express them freely.
Vigorous debate and passionate viewpoints will result in decisions much more likely to serve the organization. And it will result in an elevated performance-based culture, too.
Better decisions are made with more involvement.
It’s about improved decisions.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:49
13 Weeks To Change Your Life (311) https://bulanetwork.com/13-weeks-to-change-your-life-311/ Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:00:41 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20589 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was first published in 1793. In the 1916 edition editor, Frank Woodworth Pine wrote this in the introduction… Franklin is a good type of our American manhood. Although not the wealthiest or the most powerful, he is undoubtedly, in the versatility of his genius and achievements, the greatest of our …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/13-weeks-to-change-your-life-311/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">13 Weeks To Change Your Life (311)</span> Read More »</a></p> The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was first published in 1793. In the 1916 edition editor, Frank Woodworth Pine wrote this in the introduction… Franklin is a good type of our American manhood. Although not the wealthiest or the most powerful, Franklin is a good type of our American manhood. Although not the wealthiest or the most powerful, he is undoubtedly, in the versatility of his genius and achievements, the greatest of our self-made men. The simple yet graphic story in the Autobiography of his steady rise from humble boyhood in a tallow-chandler shop, by industry, economy, and perseverance in self-improvement, to eminence, is the most remarkable of all the remarkable histories of our self-made men. It is in itself a wonderful illustration of the results possible to be attained in a land of unequaled opportunity by following Franklin’s maxims.
When Franklin was a small printer in Philadelphia and deeply in debt he developed an idea. You may think Franklin considered himself a big thinker, a potentially major figure in the world. But that’s not true. He was a simple man who thought of himself as ordinary. He didn’t feel he lacked the essential ingredients for success though. Franklin felt that he needed to find a method that would work. He was creative and practical so he devised a method he could use.
He focused on 13 topics that he thought were important for his success. Franklin decided to give each subject a full week’s worth of attention. His goal was to work through the 13 topics in 13 weeks. (My 7×7 Fast Start is a rip off of Franklin’s idea to tackle a single thing over the course of a week.)
Franklin figured he could go through the list in 13 weeks, then start over again. With that sort of discipline, he figured he could work his way through the list of 13 subjects four times a year.
Benjamin Franklin was 79 years old and wrote more on this idea than any other – and the man had many great ideas. He attributed his success to the discipline he exercised pursuing these 13 things. He wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”
Well, I’m not a descendant of Franklin and neither are you – it’s not likely. But we can still benefit greatly. Here’s what Franklin wrote about these 13 subjects…and in this order:

* Temperance – eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation
* Silence – speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation
* Order – let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time
* Resolution – resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
* Frugality – make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing
* Industry – lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions
* Sincerity – use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly
* Justice – wrong none by doing injuries or omitting benefits that are your duty
* Moderation – avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
* Cleanliness – tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation
* Tranquility – be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable
* Chastity – rarely use venery (sexual indulgences) but for health and offspring, never to dullness, weakness or injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation
* Humility – Imitate Jesus and Socrates

What would your list of 13 be?
If you wanted to come up with 13 subjects that would propel you forward and help you grow great, what would that list look like? What order would they be in?
Here’s your homework for the weekend. Come up with your list of 13 subjects that you’re willing to commit t...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:20
The Power Of Yet (310) https://bulanetwork.com/the-power-of-yet-310/ Wed, 21 Aug 2019 11:00:57 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20579 “In a minute,” maybe a teenager’s favorite phrase when asked to do something by their parents. As parents, we understand that if we don’t continue to insist, the proverbial minute will never arrive. Our kids will never get around to taking out the trash, or whatever other chores we’re asking them to do. Yet is …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-power-of-yet-310/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Power Of Yet (310)</span> Read More »</a></p> “In a minute,” maybe a teenager’s favorite phrase when asked to do something by their parents. As parents, we understand that if we don’t continue to insist, the proverbial minute will never arrive. Our kids will never get around to taking out the tras... Yet is a different sentiment. It’s not the equivalent of “in a minute.”
“In a minute” is about procrastination.
“Yet” is about the process of achievement.
Yet is powerful. It denotes that achievement and accomplishment just haven’t happened YET. But it also expresses confidence that it will come to pass. We simply have to continue pressing toward the goal.
It can also be a crutch when it’s merely an excuse for failure.
Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this word because I hear it often used in both contexts. As an excuse and as a statement that a person is still working hard toward a target.
The optimistic part of me – the bigger part of me – focuses on the progress made. Or the progress attempting to be made. I’m happy to give folks the benefit of the doubt that when they use the word – YET – they’re putting forth solid effort to reach whatever goal they’ve set.
“Have you reached your sales goals this week?”
“Not yet.”
The power of yet is measured in whatever effort is being put forth to reach the goal. That’s the power of yet. It’s the declaration that in time we’ll reach it.
Only the pompous are able to judge the timing of success and achievement. It happens when it happens, and mostly only after great effort.
The real power of YET is in what follows. A sentiment sometimes expressed. Sometimes just implied.
“…but I will.”
Affirming our commitment. Hearing ourselves reinforce our determination.
Important matters of the mind.
As a business leader, you have a responsibility to your team to make sure that every single member embraces the optimistic idea of YET while refusing to embrace it as an excuse for failure.
How?
Step 1: Review what actions have been taken and measure the results.
Keep in mind that wishes don’t have actions, but hopes do. If members of your team are hoping to achieve something specific, then it necessarily means they’re doing something to move toward that achievement. What things are they doing? How are those things working out?
Step 2: Are they taking enough of the right actions? Help them figure that out.
Be a profitable sounding board so your team members can individually and collectively figure out if they’re taking the appropriate actions. And then figure out if they’re doing enough of them. Sometimes we take action, but we fail to do it enough. A salesperson may make sales calls consistently, but failure results because she’s not making enough calls every single day.
Step 3: Figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
Not all actions are created equally. You owe it to your team to help them figure out what actions work best. Don’t issue commands, but instead help them arrive at the conclusions that will drive higher chances of success.
Step 4: Ask them what commitment they’d like to make in order to adjust to a more effective course of action. 
“What would you like to do to accelerate toward the goal?”
This is where the team member must commit to their own plan. Steps 1, 2 and 3 likely produce multiple answers and give the person a variety of choices they could take. Help them reason through the strengths and weaknesses of each option. Let them decide the option they think will help best reach the goal.
This step answers the question, “Now what will I do?]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:05
You Know What You Need To Do, Then Why Don’t You Do It? (309) https://bulanetwork.com/you-know-what-you-need-to-do-then-why-dont-you-do-it-309/ Tue, 20 Aug 2019 00:43:01 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20551 This is going to help you because I’m going to pull the curtain back and walk you through why I changed the name and strategy of the podcast not that long ago…and why I’m now changing it again. First, let me tell you about my experience in completely changing  – and I mean COMPLETELY CHANGING …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/you-know-what-you-need-to-do-then-why-dont-you-do-it-309/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">You Know What You Need To Do, Then Why Don’t You Do It? (309)</span> Read More »</a></p> This is going to help you because I’m going to pull the curtain back and walk you through why I changed the name and strategy of the podcast not that long ago…and why I’m now changing it again. First, let me tell you about my experience in completely c... Context provides understanding. 
My context goes back to my entry into retailing. Specifically, consumer electronics retail. I walked into a local hi-fi store when I was in high school and asked for a sales job. I had no sales experience, but I loved the stereo gear because I loved music.
With no experience, but a lot of enthusiasm I got a job selling stereo equipment for straight commission. That meant I got no pay unless I sold something (illegal today, but this was the mid-70’s). I loved retailing, stereo gear, music, observing human behavior and performance-based pay (not necessarily in that order). 😉
By the time I was 25 I was leading a multi-million dollar company. By the time I was 50 I had almost 35 years of experience selling, merchandising, advertising, managing, leading and operating. It was time to pass on what experience had taught me. And to lean more into my passions of being a good operator and leader.
As a lifelong learner (and reader), I had been consumed with leadership, management, human behavior, psychology, consumer behavior, marketing and sales for as long as I could remember. I was still in high school when I first read of W. Edwards Deming, the man General Douglas MacArthur brought to Japan in 1951 to help with the census following World War II. Deming was a brilliant engineer and is largely responsible for helping Japan become the world power in manufacturing long before Korea and China came to power.
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.
I was obsessed with improvement. My own and the companies I ran.
Books have always surrounded me. Business books. Self-help (now called Personal Development) books. Psychology or human behavior books. Marketing books. Sales books. Leadership books.
I’ve invested gobs of money in books, but I’ve invested even more time in reading them.
I’ve invested far more than Malcolm Gladwell’s proverbial 10,000 hours to watching human behavior, especially consumer behavior. And I’ve invested 7-8 times that many hours practicing the craft.
Trying things. Experimenting. Working hard to figure things out.
I didn’t always succeed. I failed plenty.
The failures were all me. The successes mostly the result of having good, sometimes great people, around me. But I figured a few things out along the way. Mostly, I figured myself out.
By the time I left the C-suite I was ready to do more significant work. Work that would be legacy work. I found myself using the phrase “passing it on” far too often. And I was slowly, but surely leaning more and more into who I really am – a communicator who thrives in helping people figure things out.
I’d long know I was different in many respects. Growing up I was envious of people who weren’t plagued with what I saw as a big burden. I was a noticer. Small details were inescapable. Subtle human behaviors stood out like a sore thumb for me. Things others didn’t seem to notice leapt out at me, refusing to be ignored. I could sense things with alarming accuracy. Simply by watching people’s facial expressions, body language, and vocal tone. It was ridiculously annoying growing up.
Empathy was a natural gift. Words, too. Compassion was easy and necessary. That simply meant my empathy drove compassion which is the fuel for doing som...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 40:18
Make Something Good Happen (308) https://bulanetwork.com/make-something-good-happen-308/ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 11:00:07 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20543 Everything good is sales.  Everything bad is lack of sales. Go ahead. Argue against it. Push back. But I know what I’m talking about. I’ve experienced dreadful lease negotiations. I’ve participated in tense and uncomfortable vendor negotiations. I’ve experienced fires and break-ins. I know what it is to lose a good key employee. I know …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/make-something-good-happen-308/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Make Something Good Happen (308)</span> Read More »</a></p> Everything good is sales.  Everything bad is lack of sales. Go ahead. Argue against it. Push back. But I know what I’m talking about. I’ve experienced dreadful lease negotiations. I’ve participated in tense and uncomfortable vendor negotiations. Everything bad is lack of sales.
Go ahead. Argue against it. Push back.
But I know what I’m talking about. I’ve experienced dreadful lease negotiations. I’ve participated in tense and uncomfortable vendor negotiations.
I’ve experienced fires and break-ins.
I know what it is to lose a good key employee.
I know what bad looks like and how it feels.
A business consists of daily problems that have to be solved. A business also consists of daily opportunities that have to be spotted and seized.
There’s a good reason why the first leg of my business-building trifecta is “getting new customers.” Nothing comes before that. Not really.
The other night my wife and I were watching the History channel series on “The Food That Made America.” Part of that history involved Milton Hershey, creator of The Hershey Company, a chocolate maker.
Hershey had sold an earlier company for $1M. He poured that money into a remote area of Pennsylvania where he designed a town and a factory. All before he even had a recipe for milk chocolate, an idea he had discovered from European chocolatiers who used powdered condensed milk. He was determined to use fresh milk from the many dairies around the site of his new city and factory.
Construction went on for over 2 years and was almost complete before a Hershey employee finally stumbled on a recipe. And, as they say, the rest of history.
My wife and I were observing how backwards it all seemed. No recipe for milk chocolate…just a die-hard determination that it had to be milk chocolate and it had to use fresh milk. No customers. But he built a city and an enormous factory.
Okay, it can work. Clearly. But that doesn’t mean it’s how you should go about it. It’s not advisable. Unless you’ve got a brilliant idea, a lot of money and a do-or-die spirit. Hershey had all of that. Most of us don’t.
“We didn’t hit our numbers last month.”
“It’s a slow month so far.”
“Things are slow.”
Owners and leaders universally understand the pressures of poor or lackluster sales. “We need to make something happen,” we sometimes say. What we mean is that we need to make something good happen. We need to get more business!
We need to get new customers!
Making something good happen is what drives us. It’s what separates us from others. Confidence and belief that we can affect change. The desire to control our destiny rather than let others impose on us. And if we are going to fail, we’ll do it on our own terms by doing things based on our deep beliefs that they’ll work.
Success stories are those where it worked out.
Stories of failure demonstrate instances where it didn’t work out.
How are you gonna know until or unless you try though? You won’t. You can’t.
Let’s think about what we can do as business owners and leaders to make something good happen. 
Step 1 – You have to believe you can.
This should go without saying, but I’ve learned through the years that nothing really should go without saying because basic, foundational truths are the ones that most often escape us.
A person calls tech support for a manufacturer of a surge protector. You’ve likely seen this social media meme. I chuckle every time I see it…probably because I spent many years in consumer electronics and it resonates with me.

Starting with something as fundamental as, “Is it plugged in?” eliminates the most obvious problems. Well, unless the customer is a complete moron as the meme depicts. 😀
The point? Basics and fundamentals often provide solutions.
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 16:38
Ruts Are Habits With More Polite Labels (307) https://bulanetwork.com/ruts-are-habits-with-more-polite-labels-307/ Mon, 12 Aug 2019 20:27:29 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20529 Getting your vehicle stuck in a rut ain’t fun. And it can be difficult to get yourself out. Which is why sometimes we have to get somebody to pull or tow us out of a rut. In life, our ruts are just our habits. Sometimes we call them what they truly are, but more polite …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/ruts-are-habits-with-more-polite-labels-307/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Ruts Are Habits With More Polite Labels (307)</span> Read More »</a></p> Getting your vehicle stuck in a rut ain’t fun. And it can be difficult to get yourself out. Which is why sometimes we have to get somebody to pull or tow us out of a rut. In life, our ruts are just our habits. In life, our ruts are just our habits. Sometimes we call them what they truly are, but more polite language makes them seem less destructive. They’re the habits that prevent us from moving forward. We get stuck. In a rut. Or in multiple ruts.
It happen when the habits have persisted for so long we’ve worn such a deep groove into our life that we can’t escape it. Not without some help. Maybe a lot of help if we’re really stuck.
Are there ruts in your life that have you stuck?
Need some help being towed out of them?
Or…
Are you just going to sit there and remain stuck?
This is the week to do something about it. Shake it up. Jump out of it and jump into an improved track so you can move forward.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple or easy.
Experience has taught me a few things about ruts. Largely, they’re habits. We sometimes refer to them affectionately because we fool ourselves into thinking they’re serving us…when in fact, they’re restricting us. Holding us back. Digging us in. Sticking us so we can’t move.
There’s a phenomenal impact that happens to us when somebody cares enough about us to ask us challenging questions. Understanding, compassion, and support from people willing to invest in us, and willing to let us invest in them, will either pull us or push us out of our sticky habits. First, by making us aware of them. Until we see our habits for what they are – sometimes they’re excuses, sometimes they’re crutches, sometimes they’re something else – we’re unlikely to change them. That’s where the friendly, safe challenges serve us. But the phenomenon I see is how people react when those habits or assumptions are challenged and they then see things more clearly. Sometimes they see clearly for the first time.
Some get physically ill. No, nothing serious. Nothing worthy of seeing a doctor necessarily, but I’ve seen people quite literally get sick finding it tough to get out of bed for a day or two. The shock to their system is so severe they physically need some time to process the clarity and deal with the truth that THEY have become the problem.
Has that ever happened to you? I know the feeling. As awful as those hours are, the impact is powerful. For me, it was the realization that I had it so terribly wrong. As much as I didn’t see it earlier, once it was pointed out to me…I couldn’t resist seeing it. And glaring at it. It made me sick! But the sickness didn’t last because determination quickly set in.
And that’s the other side of the phenomenon. Making up your mind to face and deal with the habits that have become the ruts of your life.
It’s possible to do this work alone. It’s just highly improbable because comfort is more important to us than challenge. So we stay comfortable with our bad habits. The ones that are holding us back. Sometimes, the habits are more properly assumptions.
It’s why business performance plateaus. And why performance can largely become stagnant. It’s why leaders once thought to be superstars can lose their starlight power over time. It doesn’t feel like complacency. Until it’s too late.
Leaders don’t confess, “I’m comfortable. I’m complacent.” Because it doesn’t feel that way to them. “I’m working as hard as I can,” they’ll say. Or, “I’m working just as hard as I ever did.” But that doesn’t always address the real issue. It doesn’t address their now stale assumptions or bad habits. Facing those is best done with outside help.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:55
How CEOs Can Better Leverage The Power Of Others (306) https://bulanetwork.com/how-ceos-can-better-leverage-the-power-of-others-306/ Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:00:12 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20524 For the past few years, I’ve worked with and alongside Leo Bottary. We do a podcast together – WHAT ANYONE CAN DO PODCAST (the title is taken after Leo’s latest book). On Wednesday we recorded an episode centering around an article Leo wrote for CEO WORLD Magazine entitled, How Great CEOs Maximize Peer Relationships. Today …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/how-ceos-can-better-leverage-the-power-of-others-306/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">How CEOs Can Better Leverage The Power Of Others (306)</span> Read More »</a></p> For the past few years, I’ve worked with and alongside Leo Bottary. We do a podcast together – WHAT ANYONE CAN DO PODCAST (the title is taken after Leo’s latest book). On Wednesday we recorded an episode centering around an article Leo wrote for CEO WO... Leo Bottary. We do a podcast together – WHAT ANYONE CAN DO PODCAST (the title is taken after Leo’s latest book). On Wednesday we recorded an episode centering around an article Leo wrote for CEO WORLD Magazine entitled, How Great CEOs Maximize Peer Relationships. Today I’m going to share that conversation with you here on The Peer Advantage podcast because it speaks to how CEOs and business owners can better leverage the power of others.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!
Randy
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 39:00
The Power Of Friendship On A Career (305) https://bulanetwork.com/the-power-of-friendship-on-a-career-305/ Thu, 08 Aug 2019 12:00:36 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20519 It was one of the first business books I ever read. I can’t be sure, but I think my grandfather (my mother’s father) had a copy. The book was published in 1949. It’s the classic book on selling by Frank Bettger, “How I Raised Myself From A Failure To Success In Selling.”  There’s been a …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-power-of-friendship-on-a-career-305/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Power Of Friendship On A Career (305)</span> Read More »</a></p> It was one of the first business books I ever read. I can’t be sure, but I think my grandfather (my mother’s father) had a copy. The book was published in 1949. It’s the classic book on selling by Frank Bettger,
There’s been a copy of this book in my collection ever since I started reading and collecting books. I picked it up for the umpteenth time the other day. The first page is by Dale Carnegie, followed by the author’s forward. These few pages demonstrate how powerful friends can be, especially friends who are peers with professional experience and know-how. Listen to them and learn.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!
Randy
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:48
Strength To Open Up: The 18th Rare Element (304) https://bulanetwork.com/strength-to-open-up-the-18th-rare-element-304/ Mon, 05 Aug 2019 13:05:02 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20508 I’m an introvert who can often appear like an extrovert. I follow a few social media accounts dealing with introversion. Just because. I chuckled over the weekend when I saw an Instagram post by IntrovertDear. Dentist: Open up, please. Me: Sometimes I get sad. (Oh, you meant my mouth) There seem to be three basic …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/strength-to-open-up-the-18th-rare-element-304/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Strength To Open Up: The 18th Rare Element (304)</span> Read More »</a></p> I’m an introvert who can often appear like an extrovert. I follow a few social media accounts dealing with introversion. Just because. I chuckled over the weekend when I saw an Instagram post by IntrovertDear. Dentist: Open up, please. IntrovertDear.
Dentist: Open up, please.
Me: Sometimes I get sad.
(Oh, you meant my mouth)
There seem to be three basic groups of people when it comes to opening up. There are those who open up to everybody. If you’ll listen, they’ll talk. And talk. And talk. And talk.
Then there are those who won’t talk. Hardly ever. They barely open up about anything to anybody. These are the “cat has your tongue” people.
Then there are those in the middle. Perhaps these make up the largest group, but I don’t know. These people open up sometimes. To some people. They’ll open up, but they’re discriminating.
If my 3 category theory is correct, then it means two-thirds of us have some difficulty opening up. Really opening up. We need the right circumstances and the right people. Without a safe space and safe people, we’re not likely going to open. And only those who exercise no discrimination don’t much care about the conditions for opening up.
I’ll argue that even those non-discriminating folks who talk and talk and talk with anybody and everybody aren’t truly opening up very often. Mostly, they’re just blabbering without reaching any depths that can accomplish something positive.
That likely means 100% of us (okay, we’ll allow a small degree of variance in case I’m not completely correct), find it tough to open up and engage in deep enough conversation to help us unearth the source of our challenges or the reality of our opportunities (and I’m not talking about our pie-in-the-sky-dreams). Depth of discussion required to get to the heart of a matter!
A decade plus of coaching executives, leaders and business owners has given me sufficient evidence to know how rare it is for most of us. People of all ages, all walks of life, all levels of formal education and experience have shown me how infrequently they’ve been able to find a safe place with safe people. I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their voice. It’s both a relief and a challenge.
The relief to finally open up and face something head-on without searching for hiding place is cathartic, but mostly – helpful in finding ways to move forward.
The challenge is in finding another strength – one beyond the strength to open up. It’s the strength to face the truth and deal with it. That process isn’t the same for everybody. Some process it more quickly and easily than others. Others can get ill. Physically. Nausea. Headache. I’ve watched it happen.
But those who make up their mind to lean into the process for the high value they know they’ll get — they put in the mental and emotional work knowing it’s safe and for their best outcome. Once they battle through the fear of false belief that their vulnerability will be used against them (and when they’re in a safe place among safe people that will never happen), then they take off like a rocket. They soar finding new altitudes that were impossible before. The weight of the constraints and challenges prevented them from going higher. Now those weights are lightened or removed. It doesn’t mean there are no problems from now on…it just means now they have a new resource with which to face them. And deal with them.
It’s amazingly rare though. The resource, that is.
There are 17 rare earth elements. No, I don’t know all their names. Or even have a rudimentary understanding of their power. Shoot, I can’t even pronounce their names. That’s how rare they are! 😉
But I know that entrepreneurs (really ANY human...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:03
The Power Of Being Pushed Forward (303) https://bulanetwork.com/the-power-of-being-pushed-forward-303/ Wed, 31 Jul 2019 13:34:54 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20501 Was Magic Johnson pushed by the likes of Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas? Were they benefited by competing against him? Did Phil Mickelson push Tiger Woods? And vice versa? People playing the same sport, but competing. Peers, but competitors. Each likely benefiting from the sheer presence of the other, knowing if they didn’t do their …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-power-of-being-pushed-forward-303/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Power Of Being Pushed Forward (303)</span> Read More »</a></p> Was Magic Johnson pushed by the likes of Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas? Were they benefited by competing against him? Did Phil Mickelson push Tiger Woods? And vice versa? People playing the same sport, but competing. Peers, but competitors. Did Phil Mickelson push Tiger Woods? And vice versa?
People playing the same sport, but competing. Peers, but competitors. Each likely benefiting from the sheer presence of the other, knowing if they didn’t do their best – they’d be defeated.
It just speaks to the power of positive pressure, but in these cases, it’s the competition of the sport. For us, we’re competing in a market battling to hit the trifecta of business building:

* Getting new customers
* Serving existing customers better
* Not going crazy in the process

We have competitors who we want to best. Maybe we’re driven to excel because we want to defeat them, but our inner drive to excel needs to be deeper than that. Magic wasn’t just driven to defeat his opponents. He wanted to be world-class. And Tiger is still chasing a record-setting career.
What are you chasing?
Every human endeavor may involve testings, measuring, changing (trying something else) then seeing if that change is working or not. It’s the activity of forward progress.
In the case of professional athletes, the pressure of competition likely provides sufficient inspiration to try different things. A new move here or there. A different shot. Perhaps even a new strategy. To see if it may work against them better. And if it does, then to work harder to master it so you can keep advancing. And keep winning against them.
Business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t in a business that feels quite as personal as the world of a pro athlete. We don’t have an opponent on the schedule. Every day we face opponents. Things that would crush our business. Pressures from the market, regulations, relationships and more.
No sooner do we get one area pretty ironed out then we hit a snag in another area. Opponents are coming from every direction and we can feel overwhelmed to even spot opportunities. It’s the ongoing game of whack a mole that every business owner plays.
Our internal motivation is high. If it weren’t, we’d be doing something different than running our own business. But even our internal motivation can be tested after awhile. Energy to move forward is often tested. Complacency can settle in. And it can be hard to spot, harder still to overcome.
Enter the help others can provide. For us, as business owners, the persona of an individual competitor doesn’t do the job, but peers do. By surrounding ourselves with peers – other business owners, but not competitors – we’re able to experience the push to test, change, measure and move forward. Being part of a professional peer advisory group brings out our very best. It does for us what Bird did for Magic. But it’s very different because it’s not at our expense. Magic wanted to win. That meant Bird had to lose. Sports is a zero-sum game. Business isn’t.
A group of business owners is gathered. They’ve agreed they want to review their financials. A financial/accounting expert is going to help the group. Everything is confidential. This is a safe place.
The members are interested in key numbers and the ratios that indicate company health. Most admit they’re not as comfortable with this stuff. Some are savvier than others because the group is diverse. Not all of them have a financial background (or knowledge). Some admit they wish they were more fluent in financial understanding, but they’re just not as interested in it. That’s the reason they’re doing this.
Most admit they’re feeling a bit uneasy about it all. This isn’t comfortable. It’s like showing folks your underwear. It’s a level of vulnerability that everybody is feeling.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:29
Hypotheticals To Help Us Improve Our Business Realities (302) https://bulanetwork.com/hypotheticals-to-help-us-improve-our-business-realities-302/ Mon, 29 Jul 2019 13:30:06 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20495 A group of business owners is gathered. They’re from different industries and different markets. But they’re all safe with one another because they share a common existence. They’re business owners. Each well acquainted with the strains, struggles, and joys of running their own enterprise. This isn’t some good ‘ol boys network club. Fact is, almost …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/hypotheticals-to-help-us-improve-our-business-realities-302/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Hypotheticals To Help Us Improve Our Business Realities (302)</span> Read More »</a></p> A group of business owners is gathered. They’re from different industries and different markets. But they’re all safe with one another because they share a common existence. They’re business owners. Each well acquainted with the strains, struggles, This isn’t some good ‘ol boys network club. Fact is, almost half of them are women so they’re not boys at all. It doesn’t matter because each of them is respected by every member of the group. Not just for their similarities, but for their differences.
The discussion is almost always focused on the trifecta of business building: getting new customers, serving existing customers better and not going crazy in the process. Today’s discussion is based on a question posed by one member, the owner of a remodeling company. She’s got a hypothetical question to ask the group. Well, it’s hypothetical for her.
After telling the group how she’s feeling bogged down in too many details, unable to give much consideration to a bigger picture – or look a bit more long-term as she’d like – she’s wondering,
“Should I hire a COO, somebody to help lighten the load, able to take the company to a new level of operational efficiencies?”
She tells the group she’s not taking any actions. Yet. She’s just wondering if it’s something she should more seriously consider. She’s never hired a COO before. Her right-hand person is more of a supervisor of the projects, as she describes him. He’s a talented project manager who has proven skillful at overseeing the various projects. She’s feeling the need to create a more formal organization to bridge the gap between some of her duties and the supervisor’s duties. So here she is thinking aloud with the group – a group of her peers – about what her best course of action might be.
For the next 40 minutes, the group leans into the conversation, asking her specific questions. They’re drilling down into areas to help her figure this out. Nobody is telling her what to do. In fact, at this point, nobody is even making suggestions. They’re working hard to understand – and help her better understand – what she may need.
Some of the questions are easy for her to answer. Others are very difficult. Not because they’re confrontational, but because she’s not considered them before. So she has to think carefully about them. In real-time.
Here’s what brings depth to the discussion. She trusts everybody in the room. They all trust her, too. Everybody is there to grow their business, their leadership, and their lives. They are NOT there to hold hands and sing kumbayah. They’re there to serve one another and to make this group the most effective, powerful business-building endeavor possible.
By the time the discussion moves to possible suggestions – the time when her peers can respectfully suggest she consider one course of action – or another…she’s thinking of a number of critical things she hadn’t thought about earlier.
The group has given her three different suggestions. They’ve shared their own experiences inside their companies. More discussion narrows the suggestions down to two. That’s her decision and the group supports her in kicking one of the suggestions to the curb.
What will she do?
She’ll do what she wants to do and the group will support her. They’ll all tell you the same thing. They don’t want anybody telling them what to do. That’s why they’re business owners. Each will declare they’re happily unemployable. 😉
For the final few minutes, there’s discussion to help her figure out the big question. “What next?”
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:33
Safety & The Right Kind Of Emotional Energy (301) https://bulanetwork.com/safety-the-right-kind-of-emotional-energy-301/ Fri, 26 Jul 2019 11:00:59 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20486 Safety and encouragement. They’re vital to our ability to grow, overcome adversity and battle whatever life is tossing our way. Here’s a worthwhile daily admonishment… Help somebody feel safe today. The topic had a genesis over at my hobby podcast, LeaningTowardWisdom.com, which I’ve dubbed #CravingEncouragement. The idea took form out of the professional conversations I …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/safety-the-right-kind-of-emotional-energy-301/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Safety & The Right Kind Of Emotional Energy (301)</span> Read More »</a></p> Safety and encouragement. They’re vital to our ability to grow, overcome adversity and battle whatever life is tossing our way. Here’s a worthwhile daily admonishment… Help somebody feel safe today. The topic had a genesis over at my hobby podcast, Help somebody feel safe today.
The topic had a genesis over at my hobby podcast, LeaningTowardWisdom.com, which I’ve dubbed #CravingEncouragement. The idea took form out of the professional conversations I have with top-level leaders. I started asking CEOs and business owners to share with me a time when they were encouraged in a meaningful way…encouragement that made a positive difference in their life.
The startling result in every single instance was a story that went back years. Most of the stories went back to childhood or teenage years. Nobody ever begins their story with, “Just the other day…”
The question then becomes, “When was the last time you gave encouragement in a meaningful way? I don’t mean an atta-boy pat on the back. I mean a true, genuine expression of belief in somebody.” After all, that’s what real encouragement is.
Almost always the person will struggle to remember the last time they did that. Especially in a professional setting.
Yet we all know what encouragement feels like. We all understand how valuable it is when we’re the recipient. And I added the verb “craving” because it’s what I’ve found we all do. We yearn for it.
Why this, is it so elusive? Why don’t we do it more often?
One answer I’ve found is in this notion of safety and emotional energy. There’s no separating safety and emotional energy. They go hand in hand.
Many of us are far more acquainted with how it feels to live under the threat of judgment and have to wrestle through the emotional drains that accompany it.
But judgment is easy. Compassion is hard. And compassion is required in order to deliver encouragement.
Additionally, emotional energy being elevated is hard. Draining is easy.
So perhaps it’s that whole “path of least resistance” thing happening. We judge. We criticize. We drain energy. Because those are likely experiences we’ve mostly received. Maybe those behaviors have been so modeled in front of it, we’ve become experts at them. Failing to pause long enough to understand there must be a better way.
Emotional energy surrounds you. Personally. Professionally.
Some of it is positive, some negative.
Some emotional energy is achievement-oriented.
Some emotional energy is healthy, fostering growth. Some is unhealthy, stunting growth.
Who drains your energy? Who gives you energy?
What drains your energy? What gives you energy?
It’s high time to come to terms with the security or safety of your life and the energy in your life…with the intention of making sure you’re surrounded by the right people who can deliver both. It’s been my experience that a person who provides safety for you also elevates your energy. Again, I’ve found the two inseparable.
As a business owner, it’s especially urgent for you to be in touch with the truth. And to avoid that whole “emperor has no clothes” problem.
To do that means you need the right people around you. People who may serve different roles for you, but people who – in their diversity share the common qualities of safety and energy giving.
This isn’t’ some self-centered exercise in autocratic tyranny where the world exists simply to serve YOU though. It begins with your leadership. Your courage and vulnerability to challenge yourself.
How can I become a person with whom others feel safe and energized?
While that question is directed at the man in the mirror, appropriately so, it’s really the thrust of a bigger question.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:34
Helping People Find Smarter Rooms: The Power Of Peers (300) https://bulanetwork.com/helping-people-find-smarter-rooms-the-power-of-peers-300/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 19:28:51 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20397 Let’s start with a press release that came out on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. It could be found at Yahoo! Finance, among other places. Since this is a podcast permit me to share it with you. It’s not terribly long. Leo Bottary Announces the Launch of Peernovation July 16, 2019 New company will help business …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/helping-people-find-smarter-rooms-the-power-of-peers-300/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Helping People Find Smarter Rooms: The Power Of Peers (300)</span> Read More »</a></p> Let’s start with a press release that came out on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. It could be found at Yahoo! Finance, among other places. Since this is a podcast permit me to share it with you. It’s not terribly long. Yahoo! Finance, among other places. Since this is a podcast permit me to share it with you. It’s not terribly long.
Leo Bottary Announces the Launch of Peernovation
July 16, 2019
New company will help business leaders learn from one another more effectively and develop higher performing teams in the workplace
After a decade of research, two books, and the successful completion of more than 100 peer group self-assessment workshops for business leaders in North America and Europe, Leo Bottary has announced the launch of Peernovation, LLC. Leveraging Bottary’s work in group dynamics, Peernovation will address two major challenges for companies today: 1) The lack of ROI for employee learning and development programs; and, 2) the problem of alignment and employee engagement when implementing strategic initiatives. Bottary, who will serve as managing partner, will be joined by peer advantage group facilitator and podcaster, Randy Cantrell.  Cantrell will lead online mastermind groups for start-ups and scale-ups, utilizing an exciting purpose-built scalable peer learning platform called Circles.<
“We learn and work better when we do it together,” Bottary said.  “My work with peer groups over the past 10 years has shown time and time again that when great people bring their ‘A games’ to a properly run group, there’s no challenge too big or opportunity too daunting.  This includes receiving real ROI from the *$360 billion organizations spent on learning and development in 2018 and improving on the paltry **10% success rate associated with the successful implementation of organizational strategic initiatives.  Peers and innovation are hand in glove.
“Peernovation will also assist organizations that assemble and facilitate peer groups for business leaders by helping members maximize their collaborative experiences to achieve more impactful outcomes.  Bottary added, “When business leaders participate in high performing peer groups, they tend to be more adept at understanding the power of peers and creating more collaborative environments at their companies.”
Leo Bottary is a sought-after thought leader on peer advantage, an emerging discipline dedicated to strategically engaging peers to realize your business and life goals. A popular author, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, he also serves as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University.  Bottary’s first book, which he coauthored with former Vistage CEO Leon Shapiro, is titled The Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership Growth & Success (2016).  His latest book, What Anyone Can Do: How Surrounding Yourself with the Right People Will Drive Change, Opportunity, and Personal Growth, was released in September, 2018.
Randy Cantrell leverages over two decades of CEO experience into coaching and advising CEOs and entrepreneurs. A longtime podcaster, he is also launching peer advisory groups serving small business owners at ThePeerAdvantage.com.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 29:39
Asking & Answering Tough Questions – Grow Great Daily Brief #241 – July 8, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/asking-answering-tough-questions-grow-great-daily-brief-241-july-8-2019/ Mon, 08 Jul 2019 11:00:53 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20370 When I was about 27 I uttered a statement one afternoon while my team was wrestling with some customer service challenges. “The quality of our questions determines the quality of our business.” The statement was provoked by our company’s inability to consistently deliver the experience I wanted. Dumb problems were frustrating me. Problems I felt …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/asking-answering-tough-questions-grow-great-daily-brief-241-july-8-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Asking & Answering Tough Questions – Grow Great Daily Brief #241 – July 8, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> When I was about 27 I uttered a statement one afternoon while my team was wrestling with some customer service challenges. “The quality of our questions determines the quality of our business.” The statement was provoked by our company’s inability to c... “The quality of our questions determines the quality of our business.”
The statement was provoked by our company’s inability to consistently deliver the experience I wanted. Dumb problems were frustrating me. Problems I felt we should easily avoid, but we weren’t avoiding them because we were failing to ask customers the proper questions.
We grabbed a stack of invoices that had problems attached, then we put them through a rigorous post-mortem. We met with each salesperson to review how the conversations went with the customer. And with teammates whose help might have been needed to complete the transaction.
Immediately it was clear what our problem was. We weren’t asking very good questions. The result? We weren’t getting clear enough answers and it was causing us to fail the customer.
That’s when I first uttered the phrase because it seemed so blindingly obvious to me. And to everybody else, too.
We quickly devised a series of questions – better questions – to improve our ability to give customers a consistently extraordinary experience!
Presto! It worked. Amazingly well. With tremendous consistency.
Our customer experience delivery shot up by quantum leaps and was ridiculously predictable. Very soon the exceptions were when we dropped the ball. We had turned things around by asking and answering tough (and even not-so-tough) questions.
I became a lifelong proponent for figuring out better questions to ask. And for deeper courage (if necessary) to answer them.
A few years earlier in my career, I had figured out that the “what if?” questions people were so fond of had a more practical benefit other than to serve as a brain game. This was especially true when asking worst-case-scenario questions.
“What’s the worst thing that can happen?”
Bravery is needed to answer it. Most people don’t answer it. They just ask it.
Rarely will the answer seem so plausibly likely. Sometimes people say, “It could kill me,” but that’s not the literal case. Worst case scenarios are infrequently the worst case. And even if they are, we can likely recover.
Tough questions aren’t about making people intentionally uncomfortable with some show of force, authority or power. They’re about helping us come face to face with clarity. It’s about digging deep enough to find the truth so we can fix a problem or seize an opportunity.
Some of the highest quality questions are personal. They deal with our lives, professionally and personally. 
Be precise and specific.
For example, our quantum leap innovative idea was largely the result of figuring out how we could ask our customers better questions. We hadn’t been asking good questions. We were asking very non-specific questions that wouldn’t help us serve our customers better. Keep in mind the trifecta of business building: getting new customers, serving existing customers better and not going crazy in the process.
Part of our problem involved delivering items to our customers’ homes. Turns out we were asking customers, “Is there anything unusual about your delivery?”
Guess what their answer was 100% of the time.
“No.”
Of course. Nothing seemed unusual to them. It was their home. Never mind there were 100 steps up a 40-degree incline. They were used to it. It wasn’t unusual to them. Besides, who wants to admit there’s something unusual about their situation?
Then when our delivery team arrived and looked up at those 100 steps up a steep incline they were not happy. Sometimes ill-prepared, too.
Rather than ask a “YES” or “NO” question we modified the que...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:14
Why You Should Join A Peer Advantage Group (But Not Mine) – Grow Great Daily Brief #240 – July 2, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/why-you-should-join-a-peer-advantage-group-but-not-mine-grow-great-daily-brief-240-july-2-2019/ Tue, 02 Jul 2019 11:00:06 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20354 Small business owners. CEOs. Executives. Leaders. Whether you’re a #1 or a #2 or a team leader…surrounding yourself with others who are like you is one of THE most powerful learning, understanding and growing tools you can find. Business people in every role, up and down the authority chain, benefit from being around others who …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/why-you-should-join-a-peer-advantage-group-but-not-mine-grow-great-daily-brief-240-july-2-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Why You Should Join A Peer Advantage Group (But Not Mine) – Grow Great Daily Brief #240 – July 2, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Small business owners. CEOs. Executives. Leaders. Whether you’re a #1 or a #2 or a team leader…surrounding yourself with others who are like you is one of THE most powerful learning, understanding and growing tools you can find. CEOs.
Executives.
Leaders.
Whether you’re a #1 or a #2 or a team leader…surrounding yourself with others who are like you is one of THE most powerful learning, understanding and growing tools you can find.
Business people in every role, up and down the authority chain, benefit from being around others who are like them in the role. Simultaneously, they benefit from being around people who are dramatically different from them.
Peers – The Common Ground
This is where it begins. The peer advantage requires the right peers. Where’s the common ground? Can the culture created by these people fuel you in the best ways possible? And can it challenge you, too where you’ll surrender to how uncomfortable it may be for you – but you hang in there because you know it’s for your best?
Companies like YPO, Vistage, Entrepreneur’s Organization and a host of others operating all over the world provide extraordinary value to members intent on L.U.G. (learning, understanding and growing). They put people in rooms together where all the people share one common thing – the role they serve. CEOs with CEOs. COOs with COOs. CMOs with CMOs. It’s the whole “birds of a feather” deal. This is where it all must begin.
It’s important that everybody in the room – physical or otherwise – relate to what they’re doing in their respective organizations. You may have heard me refer to a group that nobody wants to qualify to join – Parents of Murdered Children. It’s a dramatic illustration though, which is why I use it. If you’re unfortunate to qualify to join that group, is there a more powerful group on the planet where you can go to instantly have everybody else in the room know exactly what you’re doing through? No. That common ground is imperative.
Peers – The Diversity
Every parent of a murdered child has their own unique context. Their stories are insanely personal. They come from every corner of society. They don’t need to share educational backgrounds, financial well-being or anything else. The one commonality is so strong it binds them together. Their diversity – their individual context and experiences – is the value!
Diversity can scare us. Don’t let it. Embrace the truth that you know what you know. It’s what you don’t know that can help you. That’s where others sharing their stories can benefit you like nothing else.
The common ground fosters safety and trust. The diversity fosters the deep conversations and sharing experiences where we find growth. You have to have both or there’s no value.
Vulnerability – It’s A Must
Don’t even think of joining a peer advisory group if you’re not willing to show your underwear. This is not an opportunity for you to always be on, trying to make every moment an Instagram moment. You’ll derive no benefit if you’re busy trying to impress and constantly judging yourself against the others in the room. This isn’t a contest designed for you to win – or lose. Not based on appearances or false / vanity measurements. It’s about growing your business, your leadership and your life.
Can you listen deeply enough to understand?
Can you pay close attention to what others say and be curious enough to seek an understanding of what they really mean?
Can you be thoughtful enough to fully participate with all the others? To help them and perhaps more importantly for some, to be helped? (That’s vulnerability. To stop acting like you know everything you need to know. It’s fine – no, it’s mandatory – if you’re going to grow. And if you’re not intent on growing, then why are even in such a group? Get out. Stop wasting everybody’s time.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 15:35
Happy Birthday, Second Half Of 2019 – Grow Great Daily Brief #239 – July 1, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/happy-birthday-second-half-of-2019-grow-great-daily-brief-239-july-1-2019/ Mon, 01 Jul 2019 11:00:05 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20357 Today I want to provoke you to take a quantum leap forward. It may be uncomfortable. Maybe it’ll be exciting. Let’s just give it our best to make it profitable. Learning. Understanding. Growing. Let’s start with a word. An important word. One that should remain at the forefront for you the rest of this year …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/happy-birthday-second-half-of-2019-grow-great-daily-brief-239-july-1-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Happy Birthday, Second Half Of 2019 – Grow Great Daily Brief #239 – July 1, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Today I want to provoke you to take a quantum leap forward. It may be uncomfortable. Maybe it’ll be exciting. Let’s just give it our best to make it profitable. Learning. Understanding. Growing. Let’s start with a word. An important word. Learning. Understanding. Growing.
Let’s start with a word. An important word. One that should remain at the forefront for you the rest of this year (and beyond).
Curiosity.
Get in touch with your curiosity. Don’t sweat about the object of it. Follow it. Spend some time with it so it becomes an improved habit – the habit of embracing it.
As a leader, you’re going to very quickly find yourself curious about any number of things pertaining to your career, your leadership, and your life.
I’ll throw some fuel on the fire. Think about the trifecta of successful business building:

* Getting new customers
* Serving existing customers better
* Not going crazy in the process

Follow your curiosity down these paths. Give it time. Ponder. Ruminate. Question. Question everything. Deeply.
Let one thing – just one thing – bubble to the top of everything else. You may not think there’s time to pursue everything. Just assume there is. Enough time. Concentrate on the one thing that you know – your gut won’t likely lie to you – will move the needle the most. And perhaps the fastest. It’s likely something that has been nagging you for quite some time. Something you’ve long been fretting about and feeling, “I really should do something about THIS.” For some reason, it has scared you off. So you put it off.
Stop wasting time. Now is the time to get on with it. Own the power to deal with IT today, on your terms. Time to engage this enemy.
Write it down. Your enemy. The object of your curiosity. The big question. It’ll be a question. If it’s not, make it a question.
It may be a “what if?” question.
It may be a “why can’t we?” question.
It may be a “who?” question.
Don’t rush into battle with this foe until you know what you’re up against. Figure out the question because this is the first real enemy you must conquer – clarity. Clarity on the true issue. It’s important that you get this right else you’ll spend time trying to figure out the wrong thing.
Sit still. Figure it out.
Ask yourself if this is really what you want to fix, solve, remedy or improve. Don’t advance until you’re sure. As sure as you can be. You can do this alone or solicit outside help. There’s enormous power in having others help, but don’t let that stop you from moving forward.
Once you’ve fully questioned the issue AND you’re satisfied that you’ve accurately identified the challenge, it’s time to write it down. Rewrite it as many times as you must to get the wording as clear as possible (you’re seeing a theme emerge – clarity). This question should be concise, clear and bluntly to the point. Don’t get caught up in fancy terminology or corporate lingo.
The focal point of the question is highly likely going to begin with one word: HOW.
How? 
For example, many years ago my curiosity led me down a path of “I wonder if we can…?” After wrestling with it for a few days I morphed it into a how question. “How can we…?”
The result was a big, quantum leap innovation to accomplish never done before by our company or anybody in our market. In fact, at the time I didn’t know of anybody anywhere who did it. But my team did it. Rather quickly too. All because we identified the challenge, accepting it and refused to lose to it.
This process is my birthday gift to you for the second half. I hope you’ll try it because there’s no power in thinking about it.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 7:48
Making Failure Temporary – Grow Great Daily Brief #238 – June 28, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/making-failure-temporary-grow-great-daily-brief-238-june-28-2019/ Fri, 28 Jun 2019 11:00:53 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20334 Increasingly I’m convinced there is one factor that is far superior to all others in determining our success. Some of my favorite terms are… Tenacity Resilience Ferocity They speak to a person’s refusal to quit. And I’m not talking about quitting things that aren’t working. Or quitting things that we discover we don’t want to …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/making-failure-temporary-grow-great-daily-brief-238-june-28-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Making Failure Temporary – Grow Great Daily Brief #238 – June 28, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Increasingly I’m convinced there is one factor that is far superior to all others in determining our success. Some of my favorite terms are… Tenacity Resilience Ferocity They speak to a person’s refusal to quit. Some of my favorite terms are…
Tenacity
Resilience
Ferocity
They speak to a person’s refusal to quit. And I’m not talking about quitting things that aren’t working. Or quitting things that we discover we don’t want to accomplish. Quitting and changing one’s mind aren’t the same thing.
And I’m not talking about quitting because you realize you don’t want it badly enough. You thought you did but turns out – you didn’t.
I’m talking about pursuits we want, but when it’s hard, or when failure continues to slap us in the face (or worse)…our resolve weakens. And eventually, we just give up.
World-class athletes often speak of having “short memories.” When they experience defeat – and they all do – they don’t dwell on it. They make that failure temporary. The voice in their head doesn’t defeat them by trying to convince them that this is a permanent condition.
The one factor that trumps all others is OPTIMISM. Pure and simple, it’s belief.
The belief that this too shall pass is a quality we could all more of – optimism. But it’s a deeply personal issue and our head trash can be hard to clear out.
What’s the cause of your failure?
What’s the cause of your difficulties, troubles or issues?
It goes to the heart of how we think, which goes to the heart of how capable we are to view failures as temporary. Or not.
Don’t avoid responsibility. Our accountability is a critical component of how our resolve, strength, and determination are built up or weakened.
When you look at the causes of most of your failures…to what do you ascribe them? We all attribute them to something or somebody.
I’m aiming this at our leadership. Whether you own a business or you’re the CEO or executive or team lead…you’re the leader in whatever situation you’re in. Trouble ensues and you assign blame or responsibility on who or what?
Permit me to make a case for you to own it. Every bit of it. Why not?

There’s just not much – if any – downside to it. You’re the leader. It’s your responsibility. You’re accountable first to yourself, then to your organization or team. It’s the burden of leadership. It’s also the upside of leadership.
You choose to be the leader and accept that responsibility.
Or you choose to be the victim suffering failure because of somebody else or something beyond your control.
Yes, things happen beyond our control, but even those things can’t make us victims if we don’t allow it. Bad things happen to everybody. This isn’t about finding fault or assigning blame. It’s rather about how we choose to think about and what we choose to believe about adversity, obstacles, challenges and failures!
Choose to own it and move on.
That’s only possible if you can truly believe that this isn’t a permanent condition. Realize it happens to every human on the planet. More than you’ll ever know because you know your story best. You’re attracted to see the success – those mountain top moments – of others. You dwell more on your failures and more on the success of others. That doesn’t help. It’s unreasonable because it’s inaccurate.
Don’t sell your mind to failure. Just rent out your mind by the minute to it.
Failure loves to move in a take up permanent residence. That’s when you have to put up your NO VACANCY sign. And mean it.
You have to show the organization the way. If you refuse to keep pushing for innovation, creative problem-solving and overcoming challenges then you...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:32
Small Business Is A Description, Not A Condition – Grow Great Daily Brief #237 – June 27, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/small-business-is-a-description-not-a-condition-grow-great-daily-brief-237-june-27-2019/ Thu, 27 Jun 2019 11:00:43 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20318 Almost 30 years ago I had a conversation with an owner of a small business who was lamenting the smallness of his business (which wasn’t so small really since he was generating multi-millions in annual revenue). “I’m not a neighborhood store, ” he complained. “They want to make me a neighborhood store.” I reminded him …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/small-business-is-a-description-not-a-condition-grow-great-daily-brief-237-june-27-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Small Business Is A Description, Not A Condition – Grow Great Daily Brief #237 – June 27, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Almost 30 years ago I had a conversation with an owner of a small business who was lamenting the smallness of his business (which wasn’t so small really since he was generating multi-millions in annual revenue). “I’m not a neighborhood store, “I’m not a neighborhood store, ” he complained. “They want to make me a neighborhood store.”
I reminded him that he decided to make himself a neighborhood store. Nobody did that to him. He hadn’t ventured beyond the neighborhood ever. His choice.
He was viewing his own condition as a small business as a condition imposed on him by others. Truth was, it was an accurate description of his business resulting from his own choices. He never wanted to expand beyond the neighborhood even though he had casually considered it a time or two. He liked being where he was until he felt others were looking down on him for being who he was.
I urged him to embrace being who he was…and if he wasn’t happy with being who he was, then do something about it. Change it. It’s within your power.
Almost 90% of businesses have fewer than 20 employees. Over 76% of them don’t have any employees. Most American businesses aren’t just small. They’re very small. In size. Either by revenue or headcount. (find some data here)
Small may describe the market impact of a company. Small may describe the employee count, annual sales or annual profits. But that doesn’t mean insignificant. It certainly doesn’t mean unimportant.
I’m very drawn to small business owners. And likely because of how my career started – working as a high school kid for a local stereo shop owner – I’m empathetic to the struggles and the opportunities of these owners. It doesn’t matter if they’re generating a few hundred thousand dollars annually or hundreds of millions. Add a zero. Add a few people. Scope and scale apply to problems and opportunities alike.
Small describes it. And it’s fine.
I like small cars. Small 4-cylinder cars that are quick and zippy. I can get in and out of traffic quickly because I can go fast quickly, I can turn quickly, and I can stop equally fast. The term I’ve used for decades to fuel companies – and to engage people more fully – is “highly maneuverable.” And it’s a quality that is mostly afforded to small business.
Highly Maneuverable
As a small business owner you can move faster. If something isn’t working, you can change it right now. You don’t need to assign a team of people to study it. You likely know the issues intimately because you’re close to the work, to the people doing the work and to the customers. So you’ve got a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. So you can adapt and change.
And if your adaptation or change isn’t spot on, then you can do it again. Speed is your friend.
I often liken it to shooting at a target. The first shot taken quickly establishes how far off dead center you are. So you adjust your aim and take your second shot. It’s closer, but perhaps still not quite dead center. More adjustment and now a third shot. BINGO! Smack dab in the dead center of the target.
While bigger enterprises are researching, assessing, quantifying and whatever other examinations they need to feel confident enough to pull the trigger…you’re setting up your second and third shot. It begs the question, “Will your 3rd shot be more accurate than their 1st?”
OF COURSE.
There’s your advantage as a small business.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Or more powerful. Or more impactful.
You and your business matter. How do you put a measurement on the scope and scale on mattering? Ask your employees. Ask your customers. Ask your suppliers.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:44
I Hate To Lose, But I Hate Not Playing More – Grow Great Daily Brief #236 – June 26, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/i-hate-to-lose-but-i-hate-not-playing-more-grow-great-daily-brief-236-june-26-2019/ Wed, 26 Jun 2019 11:00:06 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20329 Growing up in the era where business was considered a zero-sum game – meaning, I win at your expense or you win at my expense – competition was fostered. Prized. You wanted to dominate and ruin the competition. The object, which never happened in my experience, was to have the market all to yourself. In …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/i-hate-to-lose-but-i-hate-not-playing-more-grow-great-daily-brief-236-june-26-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">I Hate To Lose, But I Hate Not Playing More – Grow Great Daily Brief #236 – June 26, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Growing up in the era where business was considered a zero-sum game – meaning, I win at your expense or you win at my expense – competition was fostered. Prized. You wanted to dominate and ruin the competition. The object, You wanted to dominate and ruin the competition. The object, which never happened in my experience, was to have the market all to yourself.
In time we learned the market was too big for that. But when you grow up reading about US Steel and the cut-throat tactics of the winning industrialists and those are the business heroes of the day…it’s not surprising that fierce competition is considered the way to go.
I hated losing and most business people I know hate to lose. It doesn’t always look the same. Age, experience, background, culture…there are lots of individual nuances to it.
Losing was once not considered something to be proud of…like today. Not long ago I was introduced to somebody – under 40. The spiel included 3 failed companies where he had successfully raised millions of dollars. I understand today’s context, but instantly I thought back to my beginnings of business leadership back in the early 80’s and thought, “My, how far we’ve come!”
Such an introduction would have been considered shameful and embarrassing, but not today. Don’t misunderstand. I’m glad we’ve moved away from the foolishness of the zero-sum game. I’m sad that it fostered the everybody gets a trophy era, but this too may pass. Fact is, everybody doesn’t win. Not in business. Not in life. And the truth is, there are lots of reasons for it. I’m not so naive or narrow-minded to believe it all rests solely on human endeavor. Truth is, you need some good fortune and timing along the way.
But what of losing and playing.
We all lose. Sometimes. Professional coaches will often say to the press that there’s nothing to be learned in losing. I disagree. Adversity and losses teach us quite a lot if we’re open to learn, understand and grow. Not everybody is and that’s an individual choice we can each make. We get it wrong before we figure out how to get it right. The adversity of the losses separate the quitters from the learners. It separates the players from the spectators.
Do you hate to lose? Lean into that. Not in some childish fit pitching if you lose, but in a way where it so scalds you that you determine to figure out some things so you don’t lose again. At least not at that. Or in that way.
It’s the value of dissection.
Dissect what happened. Relive it. Pour over the details of it. Why didn’t it work? Why did it fail?
But here’s the real key — couch it in the proper time frame of TEMPORARY.
This is where winners get it more right than the rest. The winners who lose – and they all do – do not assume it’s a permanent state or condition. They instantly are able to see it for what they believe it to be, temporary.
Why? Why are they able to do this?
Largely because the winners have optimism about themselves and their circumstances. They realize that the permanence of this failure is completely unnecessary. Unless they quit. And they don’t want to quit.
They want to play the game of business.
Losing is dreadful. It feels awful. But not playing? That feels worse. Having to go to the sidelines is the shameful walk winners don’t want to make. Fact is, they refuse to make that walk.
When I’m introduced to Mr. Failed-Three-Times the losses were indeed celebrated in his introduction (and I hate that because I see all the people who lost money betting on this guy and he’s proud of it; I’m old school and that just seems wrong to me that people have no shame in losing the faith and money invested in them)…but he’s still in the game.
For small business owners, on an everyday level,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:35
7X7 Fast Start Small Business Coaching – Grow Great Daily Brief #235 – June 25, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/7x7-fast-start-small-business-coaching-grow-great-daily-brief-235-june-25-2019/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 11:00:16 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20326 “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”              —Viktor Frankl Speed is a crucial component when it comes to making meaningful change. The sooner we begin the …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/7x7-fast-start-small-business-coaching-grow-great-daily-brief-235-june-25-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">7X7 Fast Start Small Business Coaching – Grow Great Daily Brief #235 – June 25, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”              —Viktor Frankl Speed is a crucial component when it comes to making mea... Speed is a crucial component when it comes to making meaningful change. The sooner we begin the quicker we get to where we want to go. Fast progress encourages us, engages us and helps motivate us to keep moving forward.
Think of any change you’ve set about to make. Once you made up your mind – that’s a tough enough chore and can take much longer than is good for us – then you took action. If you didn’t see or feel any positive results very soon you were tempted to quit. Maybe you remain committed to grind it out…so you kept going. If you saw or felt progress soon then it reinforced your commitment to begin the journey. You felt good about it and it spurred you to keep going.
But…
If you went days or weeks without any noticeable growth or improvement, you likely lost energy. Your commitment took a hit. You began to question if you should have ever made this decision to begin with. And eventually, you quit.
CEOs and business owners experience the same things when they’re trying to figure things out. Maybe we’re more prone to these failures if we try to do things by ourselves, but we’re all susceptible because everybody craves encouragement. The kind of encouragement that reinforces our decision.
That’s precisely why this 7×7 fast start is important when coaching small business owners (or anybody else for that matter). Fast starts need to produce fast results and deeper devotions to the process.
It’s not complicated.
For seven straight weeks carve out some solitude – that means no distractions – for a solid hour of reflection on a single challenge, issue or opportunity.
I’d suggest you do it at the same time each week. Whatever you do, calendar it and keep the appointment no matter what. Treat it as an unbreakable commitment.
Use a pad of paper and a pen. The tactile process of you writing down your thoughts or questions is important. It can help you remember and maybe, more importantly, it sorta forces you to be engaged.
Write down your challenge, issue or opportunity at the top of the page in the form of a question. Make it as precise and detailed as possible.
Now spend the next hour writing down whatever comes to your mind, remaining focused only on that one question.
It’s okay if you want to carry over one challenge, issue or opportunity to the next week. Don’t get stuck on just one though. My preference would be to have you focus on 7 different challenges, issues or opportunities. And I’d encourage you to have at least 2 opportunities. Don’t just make them all challenges or difficulties.
One hour each week. No distractions. Handwritten notes.
You can do this all by yourself to help you distill potential actions to take, to gain clarity on what more you need to learn or any other meaningful action that can help you move forward.
Yes, it helps to have coaching entirely focused on the output of your one hour with yourself. It provides a detailed guideline that can help the coaching process. And because it’s a specific time frame – seven weeks – it’s often one of the highest returns a CEO or leader can get from executive coaching. My 7X7 Fast Start coaching consists of one weekly 90-minute call to coach through the results of your one hour with yourself. It typically takes the first 30 minutes to convey the results of your “solitude session,” then a one-hour discussion about it to help you figure out a plan to make your work come alive.
Call or text (214) 682-2467 if you’re interested.
But if you’re not, do this exercise on your own.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 6:45
Who You Surround Yourself With Matters – Grow Great Daily Brief #234 – June 24, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/who-you-surround-yourself-with-matters-grow-great-daily-brief-special-episode-june-22-2019/ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 11:00:43 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20315 The Peer Advantage by Bula Network is now enrolling charter members. Today’s show is a brief outline of why you may want to consider applying today. This is a paid, professional peer advantage group (a mastermind group, if you please) where we collectively work to help each other grow our business, our leadership and our …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/who-you-surround-yourself-with-matters-grow-great-daily-brief-special-episode-june-22-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Who You Surround Yourself With Matters – Grow Great Daily Brief #234 – June 24, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> The Peer Advantage by Bula Network is now enrolling charter members. Today’s show is a brief outline of why you may want to consider applying today. This is a paid, professional peer advantage group (a mastermind group, The Peer Advantage by Bula Network is now enrolling charter members. Today’s show is a brief outline of why you may want to consider applying today.

This is a paid, professional peer advantage group (a mastermind group, if you please) where we collectively work to help each other grow our business, our leadership and our lives.
The objective is to help each member hit the trifecta of successful business building:

* Getting new customers
* Serving existing customers better
* Not going crazy in the process

L.U.G.
It’s all about doing the work to help ourselves Learn, Understand and Grow.
All the details are found at ThePeerAdvantage.com.

 
What provoked your interest to launch a peer advisory group for small business owners?
 
I was not yet 30 when I began to distill building a business into 3 buckets of activities. Gambling isn’t something I do. For decades I attended CES (Consumer Electronic Show) because I was in the business. It’s in Vegas. And I’ve never placed a single wager. But I did know enough about betting to know that a trifecta is a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order. It’s also defined as “a run of three wins or grand events.” By the time I was approaching 40 I knew the 3 buckets were a trifecta of successful business building. More appropriately, these 3 activities represented hitting the trifecta of business building:

* Getting new customers
* Serving existing customers better
* Not going crazy in the process

Experience taught me that the first one could be insanely hard, and the second one equally so…but that third one seemed the most difficult of all.
Mental health, especially among small business owners, wasn’t discussed much just a few years ago. It’s gaining more traction, but it still doesn’t get nearly enough attention. But that third leg of the trifecta – when I came up with it – wasn’t aimed at proper mental health or illness. It was far more everyday language expressing the daily frustrations that every entrepreneur fully understands.
I’ve always been an “I wonder if we can” kind of a guy. Maybe I bore easily. Maybe I just think there’s got to be a better way (I catch myself saying that often). Improvement – well, the quest for improvement – is a constant pursuit. It seems a far more exciting way to roll than to be complacent.
A decade ago, after over 3 decades of running businesses with lots of employees, inventory, trucks and hard assets I stepped away to begin serving CEOs, business owners, executives and leaders. The trifecta was almost always in play (city government and non-profits being the exceptions). In every “for profit” enterprise, the trifecta was ALWAYS the needed focal point. Everybody I encountered – and still encounter – was woefully challenged by one or more of the three. Mostly, that third one was universally difficult.
That’s what led to an epiphany brought about when a client was invited to check out a professional peer advisory group of CEOs. I was invited to consider running such a group. Up to that point, it was never on my radar.
Sure I had read Napoleon Hill’s book, Think And Grow Rich, when I was a teenager. It was the introduction of a mastermind group for most of us. But I never gave it much more thought.
Enter the Internet and I began to be invited to a few. I gave a few of them a shot, but they were utter failures because I had nothing in common with the people inside. The conversations weren’t deep or meaningful. Mostly,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 21:08
Three Leadership Shortages: Stewardship – Grow Great Daily Brief #233 – June 21, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/three-leadership-shortages-stewardship-grow-great-daily-brief-233-june-21-2019/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 11:00:39 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20303 Stewardship is the last of the 3 leadership shortages I’ve focused on this week. There are so many more, but it can be like grabbing a porcupine. You just don’t know where to start so you may as well start somewhere. Service was the first one. It’s a focus on doing what’s right by your …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/three-leadership-shortages-stewardship-grow-great-daily-brief-233-june-21-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Three Leadership Shortages: Stewardship – Grow Great Daily Brief #233 – June 21, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Stewardship is the last of the 3 leadership shortages I’ve focused on this week. There are so many more, but it can be like grabbing a porcupine. You just don’t know where to start so you may as well start somewhere. Service was the first one. Service was the first one. It’s a focus on doing what’s right by your employees.
Servitude was the second one. It’s a focus on doing what’s right by your customers.
Stewardship is the third one. It’s a focus on doing what’s right by your company.
If you’re paying attention – and I know you are – then you’re seeing how congruent each one is with all three of those focal points: employees, customers, company.
Roll ’em all up and you’ve got your professional career as a boss and leader. We’ve been talking about leadership because it’s not the same as being the boss. Sometime in the future we’ll talk about some things that can help us become better bosses. The world needs better bosses and maybe there’s not nearly enough attention given to that. When I began my career, back in the Stone Age, Peter Drucker and others were writing and spreading the truth of being better bosses. That’s the whole management thing.
You manage the work.
You lead people.
Many things haven’t changed. Many other things have changed. And dramatically. Appropriately leadership is getting all the attention. So today let’s put a bow on this short series.
Stewardship defined…
the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property
Apply this to your situation.
If you’re a small business owner you’ll be tempted to think, “I own this joint. I’m not a steward. I’m an owner.” I get it. But consider another way to view it. Look around at the employees. Look at the customers. Look at the vendors. Look at other “partners” like financial suppliers (banks, credit card processors, etc.). Look at all the people and companies directly associated with your company. Now think about their families. Think about the vast array of people who depend on the success of YOUR company. Still feel like there’s no stewardship component to your ownership?
If you’re a hired gun CEO, executive or team leader, you may relate to stewardship more quickly. It’s a big responsibility. Bold and humbling. All at the same time.
Faithful stewards take care of something. In this case, it’s a company, a division, a team, an organization – whatever it may be where you serve as a leader.
Permit me to illustrate using a Bible story.
Luke 12:42-48 “And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
Faithful stewardship is about being responsible and accountable. It begins with your own actions and behaviors, but it transcends beyond just YOU. It involves something bigger than you.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:46
Three Leadership Shortages: Servitude – Grow Great Daily Brief #232 – June 20, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/three-leadership-shortages-servitude-grow-great-daily-brief-232-june-20-2019/ Thu, 20 Jun 2019 11:00:59 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20292 We continue our conversation about the 3 leadership shortages I see regularly. Today’s topic will seem identical to yesterday’s. SERVITUDE. the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful Yesterday we focused on serving your people. It’s about putting the needs of your people ahead of your own. Today it’s about …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/three-leadership-shortages-servitude-grow-great-daily-brief-232-june-20-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Three Leadership Shortages: Servitude – Grow Great Daily Brief #232 – June 20, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> We continue our conversation about the 3 leadership shortages I see regularly. Today’s topic will seem identical to yesterday’s. SERVITUDE. the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful Yesterday we focused on serving your p... the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful
Yesterday we focused on serving your people. It’s about putting the needs of your people ahead of your own.
Today it’s about customers. Think of service as internal and servitude as external. That’s how I’m using these terms.
I know you’re the boss and you enjoy thinking, “I answer to no one.” But we both know the truth – you answer to everyone! Most especially to the customers you have.
Great leadership has an intense focus on making customers happy. It’s determined by the leader’s commitment to surrender to this group of people who hold greater power, customers.
There’s a key to this leadership gap. It’s not complicated. And it’s completely within your ability and personal power. It can happen instantly.
Here it is…
Make up your mind. Do it right now.
Decide.
Commit in your mind.
Surrender to your customers.
Decide that servitude is how you’ll roll from now on.
A few things stand in your way. I know from years of coaching CEOs and business owners.
Ego. If it’s not number one, it’s number two. Your own pride and self-will stops you from lots of growth and progress. Don’t fret. You’re in grand company. It does the same thing for me and every other entrepreneur. Well, the fact is you don’t even have to be an entrepreneur for it to plague you. It corrupts all of us.
Give it up. Decide that pleasing yourself is far less profitable for your business and career than pleasing customers. Learn the truth of that. Persuade yourself. Spreadsheet it. Data mine it. Google it. Do whatever you have to in order to come to the realization that it’s true. Because it is.
Profit. Think of ego and profit as interchangeable number one obstacles. An awful lot of business owners and CEOs believe being in servitude to customers will cost too much profit. They wrongly think they can’t afford it. It’s just too expensive to make customers happy.
Listen to the ridiculousness of that logic. Making customers happy is too expensive? Well, it’s not nearly as expensive as making them angry, dissatisfied, unhappy or indifferent. Those efforts may have lower up-front costs, but they have extraordinarily high long term costs. Fact is, that kind of behavior on the part of your company will fast track your company to bankruptcy.
Shallow thinking about how to build a business – aiming for today’s transactions instead of a deep, rock-solid customer base and aiming to satisfy your own ego – stop CEOs and entrepreneurs in their tracks. It cripples growth and expansion. It weakens customer bases. Fools us into thinking today’s transactions will be sustainable. All the while customers are growing increasingly dissatisfied. Word is spreading. Worse yet, we’re incorporating apathy throughout our company culture – apathy toward customers. And shoppers. And prospects. Or the absolute worst…we contribute to forming a culture where our shoppers, prospects, and customers are despised.
If your organization openly mocks or makes fun of customers, then look in the mirror. You’ve got a servitude gap in your leadership. It’s your fault. And you can fix it. The organization will follow your lead.
Pay attention to the language and the behavior inside your organization. Look for expressions of disdain. Stamp it out. Don’t tolerate it. But mostly, look in the mirror and gauge your own displays of servitude. If they’re lacking, then get your act together. Push your servitude to the top of the hit parade. Make it meaningful,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 6:07
Three Leadership Shortages: Service – Grow Great Daily Brief #231 – June 19, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/three-leadership-shortages-service-grow-great-daily-brief-231-june-19-2019/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 11:00:26 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20287 Starting today we’re going to get our toes in the water on the three shortages I regularly see in leadership: service, servitude, and stewardship. Honestly, there are MANY leadership shortages. I’m just looking at these 3 over the next three days. You should know my bias. Leadership isn’t about position. It’s about service. Let’s frame …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/three-leadership-shortages-service-grow-great-daily-brief-231-june-19-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Three Leadership Shortages: Service – Grow Great Daily Brief #231 – June 19, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Starting today we’re going to get our toes in the water on the three shortages I regularly see in leadership: service, servitude, and stewardship. Honestly, there are MANY leadership shortages. I’m just looking at these 3 over the next three days. You should know my bias. Leadership isn’t about position. It’s about service. Let’s frame some context around this.
You own a business. Or perhaps you’re a CEO or executive leading a team. You have a title and a position of authority. That’s the boss element of your identity. I’m not diminishing that, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. Being the boss is about the position, but that’s not leadership. So today, separate these two things in your mind. And do that again for the next few episodes this week because I’m not talking about your authority, your power or your capacity to make decisions as a boss.
Great bosses are also great leaders, but not all great leaders are bosses. Since you are a boss it would be ideal for you to excel at both being a boss (having authority) and being a leader (serving with positive influence). It’s a tough chore being both, but it doesn’t need to be impossible.
Service is aimed at helping others. It’s action-oriented. That’s why I picked it first. We can sit around and think of stuff, but it’s infinitely more profitable to do stuff. Doing helps us figure it out.
I heard Joe Rogan talk about starting his stand up comic career. He talked about how there’s only one way he knows to get into that business or to get good at it. Do it. Stink at it. Get better. Stink some more. Improve. He pointed out that there are no books, classes or coursework. You learn from others, but mostly you learn by doing it yourself.
Leadership may work best the same way. Do stuff…for others!
Self-serving leadership isn’t leadership. It’s just selfishness.
The big gap in leadership is the ability and willingness of people to get their mind and attention off of themselves and onto others. It’s a gap in the ability to recognize when people need help, when they need encouragement, when they need recognition, when they need something you could supply to help them. Not because it advances you, but because it advances them.
That’s the service you should provide to everybody who reports to you. If you own the joint or you’re the CEO then it should be service you provide to everybody in the company. If not on an individual level then through whatever hierarchy exists in your organization.
Let’s forego talking about why you should do this. If I need to convince you why you should do this, then you’re that interested in this podcast anyway. I’m not your cup of tea. Instead, let’s talk a bit about HOW. How do you serve?
Rather than dive into specifics which wouldn’t likely serve to help you, let’s pull back and think more globally. Let’s fly to a higher altitude so we can see the bigger picture.
It’s about people. Question: how would you characterize the problems you’ve experienced in life? Can you possibly do that?
Not likely. Because life is complicated and our problems, challenges, and opportunities are all over the board.
“Well, people’s personal problems aren’t my area. I don’t have any business going there.”
Is that true?
Your right-hand person tells you it appears they’re headed toward a divorce. They’re wrecked. What are you going to do? Tell them it’s none of your business? Tell them it doesn’t pertain to the company so you’d prefer to not discuss it?
If you’re an uncaring jerk you may. But you’re not. So you won’t. But what will you do?
You’ll serve this person.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:26
Forgiveness: It’s Good For Business (and your employees) – Grow Great Daily Brief #230 – June 18, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/forgiveness-its-good-for-business-and-your-employees-grow-great-daily-brief-230-june-18-2019/ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:00:33 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20282 Touchy feely fru fru alert! Forgiveness is a quality of the highest character. Something we should all aspire to incorporate into our lives, something we should elevate and increase as much as possible. I know revenge and getting even is deemed more fulfilling, but that’s a lie. They’re not. They damage us more deeply. Forgiveness …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/forgiveness-its-good-for-business-and-your-employees-grow-great-daily-brief-230-june-18-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Forgiveness: It’s Good For Business (and your employees) – Grow Great Daily Brief #230 – June 18, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Touchy feely fru fru alert! Forgiveness is a quality of the highest character. Something we should all aspire to incorporate into our lives, something we should elevate and increase as much as possible. I know revenge and getting even is deemed more fu... Forgiveness is a quality of the highest character. Something we should all aspire to incorporate into our lives, something we should elevate and increase as much as possible.
I know revenge and getting even is deemed more fulfilling, but that’s a lie. They’re not. They damage us more deeply. Forgiveness enhances and improves us. Forget the benefits to the forgiven. WE benefit.
You can research on your own, if you care, the enormous benefits of forgiveness. And there’s empirical evidence that revenge, resentment, and bitterness destroy us. There’s just no upside to neglecting forgiveness. But if you want to lower your character and the quality of your life, then you can do that.
I’m focused on forgiveness because in the next few days I want to provoke you to think increasingly more about service, servitude and stewardship. These are the components of leadership I most often see missing!
The first C focal point of my work is COMPASSION. People ballyhoo empathy today. And I agree. It’s important. But compassion is how empathy’s horsepower is put down on the pavement. Without compassion, empathy is unrealized horsepower. Compassion prompts empathy to take action.
One of the most fundamental actions born from compassion is forgiveness.
Great leadership cannot exist without compassion. It’s impossible. Every great leader cares deeply about people, especially those people willing to follow or be influenced. You can certainly be a boss without compassion. Fact is, there are likely tons of those roaming the wild. Bosses focus on making decisions and telling people what to do. Judgment rules their life. They’re always judging what people do, criticizing it and attempting to correct it. I’ve never found any success in converting bosses into leaders. In my experience, they’re just too committed to being the boss and being in charge. Authority matters more to them than service and influence.
My feelings about forgiveness mirror how I feel about optimism. I just don’t see the downside. People often hear me say, “I know optimism is hard, but pessimism is harder.” Ditto on forgiveness. It’s often crazy hard, but holding a grudge and refusing to forgive is way harder.
Think of a time when you sought somebody’s forgiveness. Do you remember how desperately you wanted it? Did you get it? When you did, how did it make you feel?
Our desire to seek forgiveness can be as strong a desire as anything. And our relief when it’s granted it among the biggest exhale moments of our life. So I don’t have to persuade you how valuable forgiveness is. You know.
Here’s the business aspect we must consider – the lasting impact on us (or whoever does the forgiving) and the lasting impact on the people forgiven.
We’re all capable of insanely improved behavior when others extend enough graciousness to us to forgive us. It enhances our desire and effort to earn it even if it’s beyond our ability to earn it. And that’s AFTER it’s been given to us.
Forgiveness is a singular act that proves our compassion as a leader. It enhances our ability to be trusted unlike anything else. That fosters a level of unparalleled safety for our culture. When people trust more deeply and feel safer, performance is enhanced.
The opposite is true. Don’t foster trust with your team. Don’t make them feel safe. Then expect them to soar and tell me how well that works for you.
Let people make mistakes. Let them mess up. It’s grand permission to let them learn, understand and grow. But only if you’re willing to forgive them.
Be well. Do good. Grow great.
Randy
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 6:40
Rewards & Consequences: Getting The Performance You Need From Employees – Grow Great Daily Brief #229 – June 17, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/rewards-consequences-getting-the-performance-you-need-from-employees-grow-great-daily-brief-229-june-17-2019/ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 11:00:54 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20272 All of us learned the proverbial truth that what you reward gets done. And that what gets measured can be improved. The tougher lesson learned – and one I talked about a bit in the previous show – is that we sometimes get the rewards wrong. Which means we get the wrong outcomes. Who among …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/rewards-consequences-getting-the-performance-you-need-from-employees-grow-great-daily-brief-229-june-17-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Rewards & Consequences: Getting The Performance You Need From Employees – Grow Great Daily Brief #229 – June 17, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> All of us learned the proverbial truth that what you reward gets done. And that what gets measured can be improved. The tougher lesson learned – and one I talked about a bit in the previous show – is that we sometimes get the rewards wrong. The tougher lesson learned – and one I talked about a bit in the previous show – is that we sometimes get the rewards wrong. Which means we get the wrong outcomes. Who among us hasn’t experienced more than our share of, “Oops! I didn’t see that coming?” Or, “Oops! That’s not what I wanted to happen?”
Rewards and consequences matter. They can make or break the outcomes. Especially when you’re taking square aim at customer happiness! And I encourage you to make that THE aim of your business.
But rewards and consequences apply to all human behavior. It’s the whole pleasure versus pain deal. And the whole fear versus safety thing. Sad versus happy. Pick whatever Ying and Yang you prefer.
It reminds me of that scene from The Simpsons where Homer is playing hooky from work and the plant calls his house. Marge relays the message.
“The plant called. They said if you don’t come in tomorrow, don’t worry about showing up on Monday.”
Homer gleefully responds, “Whohoo! Four day weekend.” #DoesNotGetIt
Be careful the message you send…and the rewards or consequences you implement.
Creating a meritocracy is harder than it looks. But it’s worth the effort to get it right.
Thankfully today technology can help us create “what if” scenarios so we can get it closer to right straight out of the gate.
I’ll share a personal story of rewards and consequences to help get your juices going on how you might be able to implement systems that create the results you want.
Operating a luxury retail company that delivers products to customer’s homes is fraught with opportunities to mess up. Damage to customer’s homes. Damage to the products. Damage to the company equipment, including the delivery trucks. There are lots of moving parts.
Fanatism about customers drove me to try to figure out a way to reward and penalize delivery teams so we could be remarkable 100% of the time. Scratch a hardwood floor of a customer’s home a few times and you’ll understand the pain I suffered at the time.
Armed with spreadsheet data and cooperation with our warehouse/delivery manager, we figured we could earmark a percentage of the delivery fees to go toward a bonus pool for all the delivery teams (2 man teams and we had a number of them). We noodled around with it until we got it where we felt like it should be – a program that would get us closer to the ideal we were aiming for. Stellar customer experience!
Every month a portion of the gross revenue amount of the delivery fees collected from customers was put into a pool. That pool represented 100% of what would be evenly divided among the delivery teams. That was the reward.
The consequence? We would deduct any damage to customer’s homes, merchandise or equipment. Additionally, we’d track the delivery teams responsible for the damage and grade them each month. Consistently poor performing teams would likely suffer being removed from a delivery team, or being terminated. But it wasn’t a heavy-handed affair. Just candidly stated so everybody knew the rules of the game.
The potential dollars were significant. Both plus and minus. We went back and calculated what teams would be bonused taking into account the dings they’d suffer due to damages.
Our thought was positive peer pressure would be advantageous to our customers and the company. Each team would put positive pressure on each other to avoid any damages thereby giving the teams the maximum bonus amount.
At some point early on we encountered a situation we didn’t fully prepare for. The program was working like a champ.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:04
Let’s Solve The Problem By Stop Making It Worse (Listening Matters) – Grow Great Daily Brief #228 – June 14, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/lets-solve-the-problem-by-stop-making-it-worse-listening-matters-grow-great-daily-brief-228-june-14-2019/ Fri, 14 Jun 2019 11:00:59 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20245 It’s comically effective. Very much so. “Is there anything you’ve tried that has worked better than anything else you’ve tried?” They answer, “Yes.” I respond with, “Then do more of that and stop doing all that other stuff.” At which point I’ll smile and say, “Good night, everybody!” If it goes well (and it always …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/lets-solve-the-problem-by-stop-making-it-worse-listening-matters-grow-great-daily-brief-228-june-14-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Let’s Solve The Problem By Stop Making It Worse (Listening Matters) – Grow Great Daily Brief #228 – June 14, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> It’s comically effective. Very much so. “Is there anything you’ve tried that has worked better than anything else you’ve tried?” They answer, “Yes.” I respond with, “Then do more of that and stop doing all that other stuff. “Is there anything you’ve tried that has worked better than anything else you’ve tried?”
They answer, “Yes.”
I respond with, “Then do more of that and stop doing all that other stuff.”
At which point I’ll smile and say, “Good night, everybody!”
If it goes well (and it always does), then everybody smiles and chuckles. When the room sobers back up – within mere seconds – everybody realizes the profound simplicity of it all. And how true it really is.
The next conversation is typically focused on why and how we’re making things worse, not better. It’s the antithesis of the Hippocratic Oath.
“The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.”
We’ve mostly heard it incorrectly stated, “First, do no harm.” But that prioritization isn’t really accurate. Rather, it’s more clearly stated to do good and avoid doing any harm. Very binary. Needful in the practice of medicine. Also needful in the operation of your company.
Do good.
Don’t do harm.
It’s empty advice at first blush. Sorta like telling a poor person, “Get rich.”
Unintended consequences abound. Well-intentioned actions do, too. No matter that these things may not always be congruent with our desired outcomes.
Make sure the problem is really THE problem.
Part of the challenge is the accurate identification of the issue. Do we really know what the problem is? We can make things worse because we’re fixing the wrong thing.
This is where listening first kicks in. Don’t assume you already know the problem. Be deeply curious to find out. How? By soliciting the perspective of others. And by listening to them.
It doesn’t mean you have to convert to their point of view. That’s the remarkable thing about listening that people can get wrong. Sometimes I suspect people don’t listen because they don’t want to change their viewpoint or belief. Well, that’s fine. Nobody says you must agree with or be converted to the viewpoint of the people to whom you listen. That’s up to you.
Get over it. The fear of changing your mind. 😀
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s absolutely true. Just look at the political landscape. Or pick any cultural topic. Nastiness rules the day, not listening. Makes me wonder what people are afraid of. All I can figure is it’s the fear of being convinced to change their mind. Or maybe they’re fearful they’ll learn something. Or understand something.
Listening matters. 
But only if understanding does, too. And when you’re trying to identify a problem accurately enough to solve it, then understanding really matters!
Have you ever made a problem worse because it started with you saying something like this, “I know what we need to do…?”
We’ve all done it. Jumped to a conclusion. Too often the wrong conclusion.
It’s easy. Leaping to conclusions. Filling in the gaps in our knowledge with assumptions. Mostly false ones.
Proactivity is ballyhooed. We think we need to jump on a problem straight away. Speed isn’t always the best answer when it comes to identifying and solving a problem. Being thoughtful and mindful is always appropriate.
The quality of our questions determines the quality of our business. And the quality of our decisions. Which includes the quality of our problem-solving.
Leaders – those who would be great (and those who already are) – display enough patience to learn more. To dig deeply enough to make sure the problem is properly identified.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:46
The Value Of People Who Know Something You Don’t – Grow Great Daily Brief #227 – June 13, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/the-value-of-people-who-know-something-you-dont-grow-great-daily-brief-227-june-13-2019/ Thu, 13 Jun 2019 11:00:42 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20243 Listening is learning. Choosing to learn is superior to choosing to be the smartest person in every room you enter. It’s born of our curiosity. How curious are you? To learn and understand things you don’t yet know…or understand? Have you ever stumbled down a rabbit hole to learn something that suddenly jumped onto your …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-value-of-people-who-know-something-you-dont-grow-great-daily-brief-227-june-13-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Value Of People Who Know Something You Don’t – Grow Great Daily Brief #227 – June 13, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Listening is learning. Choosing to learn is superior to choosing to be the smartest person in every room you enter. It’s born of our curiosity. How curious are you? To learn and understand things you don’t yet know…or understand? Choosing to learn is superior to choosing to be the smartest person in every room you enter.
It’s born of our curiosity. How curious are you? To learn and understand things you don’t yet know…or understand?
Have you ever stumbled down a rabbit hole to learn something that suddenly jumped onto your radar and it was as though you entered another dimension, a world you didn’t even know existed?
If you’re super curious it happens to you often. It happens often enough for me to make me realize that my experiences, knowledge, and insights are tremendously narrow. Narrow doesn’t mean useless. It means limited.
When I was a high school kid I got a job selling stereo gear. I had never done it before. I knew plenty about the equipment and about what constituted a good system. But I hadn’t really sold stuff before. And I had never worked in a retail store. But I was brought up to be polite and I knew how to interact with people. Still, there was an awful lot I didn’t know. Imagine teenaged me trying to figure it all out on my own!
Remove the people who showed you the ropes. Remove the people who taught you in school, at home, and on the job.
Talk about living in a matrix. Having to figure everything out without relying on anybody who knows something you don’t. What a royal pain that would be. And think about how long everything would take to figure out. Even basic things.
I can’t even imagine life without YouTube videos showing us how to do all sorts of things. We’re learning home repair, car repair, how to play musical instruments and how to speak a foreign language thanks to complete strangers willing to put videos up on YouTube.
Then why are CEOs, executives, leaders and entrepreneurs sometimes resistant to seek insights and knowledge from others? Especially in areas where they think they’ve got a pretty good grasp of the subject?
I mean, it’s easy to listen to others when we admit we’re outside our lane of expertise. I remember being quite young and negotiating my first lease. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. So I hired an attorney who specialized in commercial real estate. Absolutely worth his weight in gold. When you’re operating retail companies and you’re smart – and I was both at one time 😉 – good real estate attorneys can be among your favorite people. Well, it’s easy to do that when you know how clueless you are.
But what about when you’re not so clueless? Or you don’t think you’re clueless at all?
Regularly I have a curious conversation. It goes something like this:
Me: “What would you most like to protect yourself from?”
CEO: “Blindspots. I’m fearful of what I may not be seeing.”
Me: “What are you currently doing to protect yourself?”
CEO: “I’m not quite sure what to do about it.”
I’ve got grandkids. The youngest will be 4 this summer. The oldest will be 12. Every single one of them knows the answer. I’m working hard to contribute to helping them maintain the quality they naturally have to protect themselves from blind spots.
Questions. These kids ask TONS of questions.
Curiosity. They’re obnoxiously curious.
Fearless. They’re not bashful to ask any question. Their quest to know trumps any fears they may have to appear foolish. Truth is, except for the two older of my grandkids (about 10 and 12 respectively), that doesn’t even cross their mind. Funny how the older kids grow the more intimidated they can be to ask questions that may make them appear foolish. I don’t think that’s a positive thing!
This week the two oldest grandsons have been attending football camp at a nearby high school, conducted by the high school football coaches.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:47
People Who Want What’s Best For You – Grow Great Daily Brief #226 – June 12, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/people-who-want-whats-best-for-you-grow-great-daily-brief-226-june-12-2019/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 11:00:55 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20241 We can be a miserable lot. Humans. History has proven our capacity to treat one another poorly. The first children ever born demonstrate it. Cain killed his brother Abel. According to the FBI, 24.8% of homicides are committed by family members. Just imagine how horrific we can behave toward people we don’t even care about. …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/people-who-want-whats-best-for-you-grow-great-daily-brief-226-june-12-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">People Who Want What’s Best For You – Grow Great Daily Brief #226 – June 12, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> We can be a miserable lot. Humans. History has proven our capacity to treat one another poorly. The first children ever born demonstrate it. Cain killed his brother Abel. According to the FBI, 24.8% of homicides are committed by family members. History has proven our capacity to treat one another poorly. The first children ever born demonstrate it. Cain killed his brother Abel.
According to the FBI, 24.8% of homicides are committed by family members. Just imagine how horrific we can behave toward people we don’t even care about. Or love.
Before you think I’m pessimistic about life and people, tap the brakes. I’m optimistic. Truly. And I’m hopeful.
But I’m realistic and practical. Fact is, people have stuff. Their own stuff. It’s natural for us to say we care about somebody else…until it comes down to them or us. Then, we choose us.
Jeffrey Gitomer has illustrated the point for years in his live presentations by asking the audience, “Who is the most important person in the world?” Universally, people shout out, “The customer!”
Gitomer chuckles, then says, “No, you don’t understand. There are two people on the planet. You and the customer. One of you must die. Who will die?”
The crowd laughs and in unison shout, “The customer!”
Yes, indeed. In the battle between us and death, with the customer being part of the equation – the customer will die before we do. At least if we have our way about it. Says Gitomer, “So we’ve now established that YOU are the most important person in the world.”
Which clearly explains why we’re able to treat each other shabbily.
It also explains why I made YOU the central character in today’s title. But let’s step back and begin with your leadership because that’s all about your willingness to serve others.
Do YOU want what’s best for your people? And I don’t mean in the context of what they can do for you or your business. I mean do you care about what’s best for them, period. No strings attached. No hidden or open agenda. Most importantly, no judgment on your part. Meaning, you don’t try to live their lives for them. You don’t second guess their choices. And no, I’m not talking about supporting people who engage in behavior that is detrimental to what’s best for them. For example, a husband involved in an extra-marital affair needs to look elsewhere to get any support from me. I don’t choose to support immoral, unethical or illegal behavior in spite of the person’s desire to engage in it. But otherwise, my personal conviction is that I have enough trouble living my own life. I have no desire to live yours – or anybody else’s.
Let’s make it real. You have a remarkable employee who tenders their resignation because they’ve accepted an incredible opportunity that you simply can’t best. Are you happy and supportive because it’s what’s ideal for them as they see it? Or, are you angry because they’re leaving and how you’ve got to endure the hassle of replacing them?
Don’t lie. Tell the truth.
Remember the question – who is the most important person here?
In this context, it’s them. Not you.
Work on becoming a superior leader who puts the welfare of your employees ahead of yourself. Yes, the business has needs that employees must meet. Things work well – best – when those needs are mutually met. When the scales tip in either direction, then the balance is lost and something must give. When the company needs are met, but the employee’s needs aren’t – the employee will leave. Rightfully so. When the employee needs are met, but the company needs go wanting – then a compromise must take place or the employee will likely need to find a new home so they can continue to fulfill thei...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 7:48
People Aiming Higher vs. People Aiming Lower – Grow Great Daily Brief #225 – June 11, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/people-aiming-higher-vs-people-aiming-lower-grow-great-daily-brief-225-june-11-2019/ Tue, 11 Jun 2019 11:00:12 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20239 Recently I’ve been leveraging the power of character strengths to help leaders and business owners figure out improved team alignment. It begins with leaders having an enlightened awareness of their own character. This isn’t a talent or skill based strength. Rather, it’s character. It’s much more geared toward the essences of who you are at …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/people-aiming-higher-vs-people-aiming-lower-grow-great-daily-brief-225-june-11-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">People Aiming Higher vs. People Aiming Lower – Grow Great Daily Brief #225 – June 11, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Recently I’ve been leveraging the power of character strengths to help leaders and business owners figure out improved team alignment. It begins with leaders having an enlightened awareness of their own character. When it comes to any conversation about the people who surround us alignment is important. Especially when it’s people who make up our team. But it’s important when it comes to who we allow to influence us.
No man is an island. True enough. Even loners suffer impact from others. Today more than any other time in my lifetime, people are influenced by complete strangers. People we don’t know. People we’ve never met. People we’ll never meet. People we interact with – or listen to via Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. There’s a collective noise that impacts us even though these people are largely people who don’t know us. Certainly not well enough to understand the context of our life. But still we may listen to them.
Today I’m focused on just two groups of people: people aiming higher or people aiming lower.
You may be thinking, “Who aims lower?” Plenty of people. Just look at their behavior and choice. Foolishness knows no bounds. These people aren’t aiming higher. Many aren’t aiming at all. They’re just putting one foot in front of the other pursuing whatever they most want at the time.
If people aren’t aiming higher does that mean they’re naturally aiming lower? Yes. Otherwise, you’d have to argue that being aimless isn’t aiming lower. 😀
Before we get to that though, let’s think about who we listen to. Who influences us. There are 2 groups: a) those we recognize who influence us (the people we intentionally allow) and b) those we may not be aware of (the people we may not consciously give permission, but we really do care what they think).
Think about both groups. Be thoughtful enough to improve your awareness of these people.
Now, armed with that, dig deep and be even more mindful about whether these people are aiming higher or lower. Don’t be wishy-washy. Make your determination quickly. You know the answer.
Let me help you. People either fuel you and help you reach higher, climb higher and perform better. Or they don’t. It’s binary. It’s one or the other. No middle ground.
Go through your list of people and think arrow UP or arrow DOWN. Arrow UP means they elevate you. Arrow DOWN means they sap you diminishing your energy.
Go as deeply into the roster of people who surround you as you’d like. Family. Friends. Business acquaintances. Company teammates. Direct reports. Social media connections. Cultural figures you pay attention to. Anybody. Everybody.
Brace yourself because many people who dare do this exercise find the roster filled with people who don’t help them at all. Rather, many rosters are filled with people who drain energy, deter high performance and squash courage.
Let’s start with the negative influencers – the folks aiming low. You won’t change them. Why spend any energy or time trying to convert them? People who see the storm clouds off in the distance even though the skies above us are clear…what do you suppose you can do to change them? NOTHING. Well, that’s not entirely true. You can waste your time and pump more energy into trying to get them to embrace the clear skies directly overhead. But it’s a losing proposition. Unless you just enjoy evangelizing to unbelievers who will never convert — because they don’t want to.
That’s why being surrounded by victims will rub off on y...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:09
Why You Should Ignore The Power Of Others – Grow Great Daily Brief #224 – June 10, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/why-you-should-ignore-the-power-of-others-grow-great-daily-brief-224-june-10-2019/ Mon, 10 Jun 2019 11:00:09 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20231 Happy Monday! I’m picking on today’s topic because today is my wife’s birthday. And she’s living proof – at least to me – of the power of others. We began dating as teenagers and have been married for over 41 years. To imagine going through this life without her power is beyond what I’m able …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/why-you-should-ignore-the-power-of-others-grow-great-daily-brief-224-june-10-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Why You Should Ignore The Power Of Others – Grow Great Daily Brief #224 – June 10, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Happy Monday! I’m picking on today’s topic because today is my wife’s birthday. And she’s living proof – at least to me – of the power of others. We began dating as teenagers and have been married for over 41 years. If you happen to connect with me at Linkedin – I’d encourage you to do that by visiting ConnectWithRandy.com – then you’ll see the first line of my tagline says…
Helping Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs Leverage The Power Of Others
“The Power Of Others” is a critical phrase because it’s one of the very best points of leverage any of us can have. And we can all have it if we want it.
It’s also critical because of how strongly I believe in it. Belief is a major component in our lives because our beliefs drive our behaviors. This belief in the power of others drives my behavior to serve small business owners by helping them leverage the enormous value they can derive from being inside the smartest room possible. It’s not about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about being in a smarter room.
Why not? 
It’s the question that has driven my entire professional life. It’s the point of Friday’s Daily Brief – pursuing unreasonable and impractical achievements. When others question whether something can be done or not I’m going to ask, “Why not? Why can’t we figure out a way to do it?”
Why not leverage the power of others? That’s a great question, but it’s not today’s question. Today we’re answering the question, “Why should you ignore the power of others?”
Answer 1: Because you don’t believe in it.
Many people who don’t believe in leveraging the power of others think they’re smarter than everybody else. But they don’t realize it’s not about intellect, education, skills or know-how. More often it’s about vantage point. It’s about perspective.
But if you don’t believe in the help you can seize from others – or the help you can provide them – then nothing else matters!
Answer 2: Because you won’t listen to anybody else anyway.
Some folks are know-it-alls. Maybe that’s you. I hope not, but there are many people who still won’t listen to others. You don’t have to be a know-it-all. You just have to be stubborn enough – and arrogant enough – to think nobody’s viewpoint, opinion, insight or experience is comparable in value to your own.
Answer 3: Because you’re more focused on what you know than what you don’t.
People who fixate on their knowledge tend to not be curious enough to desire more deep understanding. Or learning. Nevermind how they came to learn what they already know (somebody likely helped teach them).
We can get snarky and nickname them, “Bliss.” As in, “Ignorance is bliss.”
The gaps in their understanding go ignored, trumped by the vast knowledge they feel they already have.
Answer 4: Because you discount the value of others.
Prejudice and bias corrupt the opportunity many would have to learn, understand and grow based on the insights of others. For example, it’s common for owners of big companies to discount whatever insights might be offered by a business owner operating a company with lower revenues. “Why should I listen to anything he’s got to say? He’s doing half the revenue we’re doing.”
That level of bigotry is a valid reason to ignore the power of others.
Answer 5: Because you’re uninterested in growing your business,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 12:00
Let’s Pursue The Impractical (And Be Unreasonable) – Grow Great Daily Brief #223 – June 7, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/lets-pursue-the-impractical-and-be-unreasonable-grow-great-daily-brief-223-june-7-2019/ Fri, 07 Jun 2019 11:00:25 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20224 I’m a practical person. And rather proud of it. But the strength can be a weakness when it’s deployed too much. Or in the wrong way. For instance, it can prevent me from thinking big enough. But it never prevents me from idealism – so I can be a walking contradiction much of the time. …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/lets-pursue-the-impractical-and-be-unreasonable-grow-great-daily-brief-223-june-7-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Let’s Pursue The Impractical (And Be Unreasonable) – Grow Great Daily Brief #223 – June 7, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> I’m a practical person. And rather proud of it. But the strength can be a weakness when it’s deployed too much. Or in the wrong way. For instance, it can prevent me from thinking big enough. But it never prevents me from idealism – so I can be a walkin... Idealism is the ongoing pursuit of the way things SHOULD be. The dictionary defines idealism this way:
the practice of forming or pursuing ideals, especially unrealistically
An idealist is a person who follows their ideals even to the point of impracticality.
This week we’ve talked a bit about beliefs and perspective, especially how we see things. It’s the Pogo cartoon line circa 1971, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Indeed we often are our worst enemy. Especially when it comes to dreaming big, thinking big, aiming high and pursuing the impractical.
I choose to end this week on a note of innovation, creativity and impossibility thinking. I’m bored with possibility thinking. And with practical. It’s much more fun to consider what’s impractical and what may be impossible.
I’m blessed with five grandkids who range in age from 12 (almost) to 4 (almost). Even the oldest is more ideal than practical. I’m curious when the idealism will give way to the practical. I know it’s coming because it comes for all of us.
The interesting thing is how easy impractical is for kids. They don’t know any better. What kid would have as much fun by being practical? There’s no fun in that.
I’m sure the adults in these kid’s lives will tell them that’s not how the real world works. We’ll send them other signals that will methodically squash their idealism. I’m sad about that, but I don’t know to fully prevent it. I can only hope to instill in them my encouragement to keep dreaming and thinking as big as they want.
It’s the Ying and Yang of being responsible (practical) while embracing a safe margin of dreaming (being impractical).
Cason is my almost 4-year-old grandson. I nicknamed him Road Rash Roy over 2 years ago because he’s adventurous and always had some scrape on his face. Road rash from a fall or something.
Roy was scaringly fearless the first couple of years of his life. He’s still pretty fearless, but he was afraid of water. Even after taking swimming lessons for two summers, he’s still not a big fan of getting in the pool. Such is the nature of fear. It is what it is. Who knows why?
I mention “Roy” because nothing in his life is based on practicality. Well, nothing I can think of. Roy’s whole life is the pursuit of the impractical.
He grabs a PlayStation game controller from an older cousin without any idea what to do. When the older kids try to show him what to do, he’s completely uninterested. He’ll jerk away from them, controller in a death grip, and declare, “I can do it.” Nevermind that he can’t. He doesn’t care what you or anybody thinks. The kid is stubborn and determined. Best to leave him alone and let him figure it out.
Seconds go by and he’s frustrated out of his mind. He’ll carry on unleashing his frustration. But you can’t help him ’cause he won’t let you. He’s completely unreasonable. 😀
We grow up (and out of) being unreasonable. But we tend to do it across all areas of our life. And it stifles our creativity, innovation, and dreams. I don’t want Roy to stop dreaming. Or to stop dreaming big.
In 2007 author Paul Lemberg wrote a book entitled, Be Unreasonable: The Unconventional Way To Extraordinar...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:27
How I See It: The Value Of Outside Perspectives – Grow Great Daily Brief #222 – June 6, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/how-i-see-it-the-value-of-outside-perspectives-grow-great-daily-brief-222-june-6-2019/ Thu, 06 Jun 2019 11:00:13 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20220 “That’s not how I see it.” We’ve all used that sentence. Some more than others. Question: how open are you to understand another perspective? About anything. But let’s keep this business related. In the past few weeks, my work has revolved heavily around helping CEOs deal with roster issues. In some cases, the CEO doesn’t …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/how-i-see-it-the-value-of-outside-perspectives-grow-great-daily-brief-222-june-6-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">How I See It: The Value Of Outside Perspectives – Grow Great Daily Brief #222 – June 6, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> “That’s not how I see it.” We’ve all used that sentence. Some more than others. Question: how open are you to understand another perspective? About anything. But let’s keep this business related. In the past few weeks, We’ve all used that sentence. Some more than others.
Question: how open are you to understand another perspective?
About anything. But let’s keep this business related.
In the past few weeks, my work has revolved heavily around helping CEOs deal with roster issues. In some cases, the CEO doesn’t feel like he’s got the right people in place. In another case, an owner isn’t quite sure if certain people are doing the work they’re most ideally suited to do. Discussions about handling people challenges can be some of the most personal conversations possible. There’s emotion, sentiment and all kinds of stuff that has to be processed.
It’s just one area where “how I see it” impacts our behavior and the actions we take. Or the actions we refuse to take.
Bob sees a team member underperforming. He draws conclusions about why. That gap between what Bob knows and what he doesn’t is filled in with Bob’s opinions. It’s how he sees it.
When he confronts the team member with his assumptions he then – for the first time – realizes he wasn’t looking at accurately. Turns out the employee, married for 8 years, just found out his wife had a boyfriend. He’s wrecked and it’s obviously impacted his ability to work. Bob had no idea. How could he? He thought this employee was loafing, “slacking off.”
As you may imagine, it ended up being a very conversation than the one Bob had planned. So it goes. We see it the way we see it — until we see it differently.
Bob wonders how he may have improved his perspective. Being the candid communicator I am I simply say, “You could have talked with him and asked him what was going on.” Call me Captain Obvious, but Bob knows he could have done that. He also knows he chose instead to make assumptions based on how he saw things. Nevermind that he wasn’t looking at the whole picture. There was a major piece of the puzzle he couldn’t see – infidelity in the employee’s marriage.
Yesterday we talked about how you see things inside your head, something supremely important. Today it’s mostly about how we see the outside world, but let’s leverage both ideas for our benefit because outside perspectives can serve us in both cases.
Lately, I’ve been fixated a bit on the parable Jesus told about the prodigal son in Luke 15. Here’s a young man who wanted his inheritance in advance of his father’s passing and the dad gave it to him. He promptly leaves home, goes to another country and lives it up. He indulges in every sinful behavior he can while he does whatever he wants. It’s all great and wonderful until the money runs out and the friends all leave. Destitute he wanders around until he gets a job feeding pigs. He’s so hungry he’ll eat what the pigs are eating, but nobody is there to help him. There in the pigpen the Bible says, “he came to himself.” He decides to go back home and beg his father to forgive him and take him back – not as a son, but as a servant.
“He came to himself” is a powerful phrase signifying the value of another point of view. This young man left home seeing things very differently. He likely felt stifled in his father’s house. He wanted to do what he wanted to do. He didn’t realize that everything the father had was his, too. He didn’t realize how good he had it at home. Good clothing. Good food. Safety. Love. Care. He took all that for granted when he was there. But today, he has “come to himself.” He doesn’t see it the same way now. Now that he’s broke and broken.
How can we improve our vision without being broken? How we can improve our perspective without suffering what he suffered?
]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:19
The Slaughterhouse Of Failure Is Not My Destiny – Grow Great Daily Brief #221 – June 5, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/the-slaughterhouse-of-failure-is-not-my-destiny-grow-great-daily-brief-221-june-5-2019/ Wed, 05 Jun 2019 11:00:46 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20213 That line is part of the first page of Og Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman In The World. I will persist until I succeed. That’s another line from the same passage. Both lines address something other than a positive affirmation of the desire to achieve something, but they speak to one of our greatest challenges …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-slaughterhouse-of-failure-is-not-my-destiny-grow-great-daily-brief-221-june-5-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Slaughterhouse Of Failure Is Not My Destiny – Grow Great Daily Brief #221 – June 5, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> That line is part of the first page of Og Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman In The World. I will persist until I succeed. That’s another line from the same passage. Both lines address something other than a positive affirmation of the desire to ach... I will persist until I succeed.
That’s another line from the same passage.
Both lines address something other than a positive affirmation of the desire to achieve something, but they speak to one of our greatest challenges – overcoming our self-limiting beliefs.
Back in 2013, an online article was published over at Tiny Buddha entitled,
“Overcome 8 Common Limiting Beliefs That May Keep You Stuck.” 
The author pointed out 8 that were especially vexing to her. They figured out these were the limiting beliefs causing her to be stuck. I suspect it’s an all too common list.

* I lack motivation.
* I procrastinate too much.
* I don’t have time.
* I don’t have enough resources.
* It’s too late to change.
* I have too many responsibilities.
* I have no clue who I am.
* I have no clue where to start.

Your list may look different. But you’ve got a list. We’ve all got a list.
Dr. Bruce Lipton likes to say that the movie – The Matrix – isn’t sci-fi. It’s a documentary. 😀
So many classic books focus on beliefs – particularly on overcoming our limiting beliefs. I don’t know who first put that verbiage to the idea, but we can all relate to it. Nobody is immune.
ChangingMinds.org gives us this insight thanks to a keynote by Alan Stein, Jr.
Limiting beliefs are those which constrain us in some way. Just by believing them, we do not think, do or say the things that they inhibit. And in doing so we impoverish our lives.
We may have beliefs about rights, duties, abilities, permissions and so on. Limiting beliefs are often about our selves and our self-identity. The beliefs may also be about other people and the world in general.
In any case, they sadly limit us.
They go on to say this…
I do/don’t
We may define ourselves by what we do or do not do. I may say ‘I am an accountant’, which means I do not do marketing and should not even think about it, and consequently fail to sell my services well.
Another common limiting belief is around how we judge ourselves. We think ‘I don’t deserve…’ and so do not expect or seek things.
I can’t
We often have limited self-images of what we can and cannot do. If I think ‘I cannot sing’ then I will never try or not go to singing lessons to improve my ability. This is the crux of many ‘I can’t’ statements: we believe our abilities are fixed and that we cannot learn.
I must/mustn’t
We are bound by values, norms, laws and other rules that constrain what we must and must not do. However, not all of these are mandatory and some are distinctly limiting. If I think ‘I must clean the house every day’ then this robs me of time that may be spent in something more productive.
I am/am not
The verb ‘to be’ is quite a pernicious little thing and as we think ‘I am’ we also think ‘I am not’ or ‘I cannot’. For example we may think ‘I am an artist’ and so conclude that we can never be any good at mathematics, or must not soil our hands with manual work.
‘I am’ thinking assumes we cannot change. Whether I think ‘I am intelligent’ or ‘I am not intelligent’, either belief may stop me from seeking to learn. ‘I am’ also leads to generalization, for example where ‘I am stupid’ means ̵...]]> Randy Cantrell clean 8:43 Why Wait For Something Bad To Happen Before We Change? – Grow Great Daily Brief #220 – June 4, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/why-wait-for-something-bad-to-happen-before-we-change-grow-great-daily-brief-220-june-4-2019/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 11:00:57 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20204 It’s true in our lives and in our businesses. We make adjustments – changes and improvements – when something isn’t working very well. Usually, when things aren’t working at all or when something is truly broken. Within an hour of arriving at the office, Jeff has Katherine sitting across from him. She’s been his executive …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/why-wait-for-something-bad-to-happen-before-we-change-grow-great-daily-brief-220-june-4-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Why Wait For Something Bad To Happen Before We Change? – Grow Great Daily Brief #220 – June 4, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> It’s true in our lives and in our businesses. We make adjustments – changes and improvements – when something isn’t working very well. Usually, when things aren’t working at all or when something is truly broken. Within an hour of arriving at the office, Jeff has Katherine sitting across from him. She’s been his executive assistant for three years. And she completely changed his life when she arrived. Her efficiency and organization helped him perform at levels he used to dream about. Everybody knows how valued she is to his operation.
Right now, he’s a nanosecond away from panic mode. Katherine has handed him her resignation and two-week notice. She’s moving to accept a new challenge. Jeff never imagined this would happen. He’s pleading with her and asking, “Is there anything I can do to change your mind?”
She’s sheepish, but mostly just wanting this day to be over. That and the next 2 weeks. Her excitement to begin the new journey of her life trumps whatever dread she’s now enduring.
Jeff gets angry. First at Katherine. Then at himself.
“I’ve taken her for granted for so long,” says Jeff. “I just assumed everything was great because it was great for me.”
A year earlier Katherine asked Jeff about an opening in his company. It was in marketing – something Katherine had told Jeff during her first interview was an area of interest. He forgot. And when the opening appeared he dismissed it as not being a good opportunity for her. “You’re learning much more with me,” Jeff told her.
But that wasn’t the point. Her happiness was the point. Jeff’s happiness blinded him to Katherine’s happiness. And now it’s too late. Well, it’s too late for Jeff to hang onto a key employee whose absence will dramatically alter his life. But it’s not too late for Jeff to learn – and change.
We all experience moments and events that seemingly force us to change or do something different (hopefully, something better). A long-term landlord raises the rent drastically on a new lease proposal. A supplier hits us with a 15% price hike. A key employee resigns. A major customer leaves us for a competitor. These events impose on us. So we face them.
Why wait until these things happen?
Why not deploy our creativity and improvement when things are going well?
Mostly because we don’t think about them until we have to. That’s our mistake. It’s human nature I suppose, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
What if today we decided to change our intentions? Jeff wishes he had been more intentional in helping Katherine achieve her goals – and simultaneously avoiding the disruption his life is now experiencing.
Scenario planning doesn’t require the scenario to be current. Or real.
What if Jeff decided it would be to his advantage to think about Katherine’s career goals and happiness? How can Jeff behave more intentionally with not just his executive assistant, but with all employees to see that they’re engaged in work that means something to them? Work that might keep them on the team longer because it works for them – and the company?
What if you thought about your next lease renewal months in advance? What if the landlord hits you with a substantial rate increase? Plan for it now in advance of it happening.
What if you lost one of your biggest customers? Don’t wait until they walk out the door before you figure out what went wrong. Why not dive into their account (and their happiness) now? In fact, why not do that with all your top customers — the ones who compose the bulk of your revenues?
Psychologists have long known that humans typically need to be metaphorically grabbed by the lapels before we make a change.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:39
You Need Something Better – Grow Great Daily Brief #219 – June 3, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/you-need-something-better-grow-great-daily-brief-219-june-3-2019/ Mon, 03 Jun 2019 11:00:36 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20201 Last week I watched an interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson. The conversation turned toward alcohol. Particularly, getting off of it – breaking the addiction to it. Said Peterson, “Alcohol is a really good drug. It’s effective. But you need something better.” He went on to extol the virtues of finding things more productive, valuable and …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/you-need-something-better-grow-great-daily-brief-219-june-3-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">You Need Something Better – Grow Great Daily Brief #219 – June 3, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Last week I watched an interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson. The conversation turned toward alcohol. Particularly, getting off of it – breaking the addiction to it. Said Peterson, “Alcohol is a really good drug. It’s effective. Said Peterson, “Alcohol is a really good drug. It’s effective. But you need something better.” He went on to extol the virtues of finding things more productive, valuable and worthwhile – things constructive, not destructive.
I kept thinking about that statement, “You need something better.”
And I thought about you, me and every other leader devoted to growing great. It’s what we all need – something better!
Let’s think about the things in our lives that may be working at some level, but they’re destructive. We need something better. Something more valuable so we can ditch the destructive behaviors, processes, and philosophies.
Maybe drugs and alcohol are destructive habits for you. You likely already know you need something better. Perhaps you’ve not yet found it or figured it out. Let me encourage you to get busy getting it figured out. The downside of leaning on substances to mask our pain and fears, or to increase perceived bravery is too high. Losing family and friends. Wrecking our health. Risking our lives. No matter how effective drugs and alcohol are, they don’t make us better humans.
But when I was listening to Dr. Peterson I wasn’t so much thinking about drugs and alcohol, which were clearly the topical context for Peterson’s comment. Instead, I was thinking about business owners and other clients who have destructive habits that impact their businesses and their lives.
For example, Gary operates a successful website design firm. He launched the business as a solo-freelancer 12 years ago, building websites for local small businesses. Clients were happy and his business grew. Technology changed and Gary found himself needing to incorporate other technologies into client’s websites. Integration became increasingly important to his clients – integration with other software so their businesses could run more smoothly.
Gary confesses that life has been a constant, ongoing struggle since hiring his first employee. Now he has 9. And Gary laments, “I’m never satisfied with the work. Fact is, I’m not even satisfied with the effort.”
Gary complains how he has to step in to make anything and everything happen. If he doesn’t step in, then projects fail. If he doesn’t step in, sales don’t get made. “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
Within a few meetings, I learn what Gary already knew. He just couldn’t yet bring himself to face it so squarely. He’s the problem.
He doesn’t know how to find the people he most needs. He’s unable to effectively interview and vet candidates. He’s addicted to chasing employees based on his desperation to “get help.” The result is he’s surrounded by the wrong people who lack the skills he most needs to please his clients. As a result, the culture is not conducive for achieving what Gary wants. Gary needs something better.
Marilyn launched a skincare line 8 years ago. The products grew in popularity with high-end spas, but now sales aren’t so good. Marilyn is stuck and unsure of how to remedy the current trends. High-end spas want their own private label products. Marilyn doesn’t want to produce products that don’t bear her brand. And she’s uninterested in broadening her market. She enjoys the prestige of the high-end spa market. You can see the dilemma. So can she, but she’s addicted (to beg a word) to the strategy that got her where she is. She’s living in the past and lamenting that market conditions have changed. She wished things would go back to how they once were.
Like Gary,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 6:08
Freedom To Decide Who Impacts Us – Grow Great Daily Brief #218 – May 31, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-decide-who-impacts-us-grow-great-daily-brief-218-may-31-2019/ Fri, 31 May 2019 11:00:25 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20195 We’ll wrap up this week’s freedom theme with some thoughts about the freedom to decide the people who we’ll allow to impact our lives. It’s the idea Leo Bottary and I concentrate on in our podcast, WHAT ANYONE CAN DO. Who you surround yourself with matters! YourLifeCounts.org is the website for a suicide prevention organization. …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-decide-who-impacts-us-grow-great-daily-brief-218-may-31-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Freedom To Decide Who Impacts Us – Grow Great Daily Brief #218 – May 31, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> We’ll wrap up this week’s freedom theme with some thoughts about the freedom to decide the people who we’ll allow to impact our lives. It’s the idea Leo Bottary and I concentrate on in our podcast, WHAT ANYONE CAN DO. WHAT ANYONE CAN DO.
Who you surround yourself with matters!
YourLifeCounts.org is the website for a suicide prevention organization. They’ve got a page about what some young people have said about their peer group – the impact of the people surrounding them.
Mike (aged 16) says:
“I smoked my first cigarette when I was 11. I didn’t want to but all my friends were smoking and I didn’t want to be out of the group. Once I’d started I couldn’t stop. I was addicted… I wish I hadn’t started. I knew it was wrong and I didn’t want to.”
Liz (aged 15) says:
“I went to a party with my friends from school. My mom always told me not to allow any guys to take advantage of me and to stick together with my friends when I’m at parties. All my friends said they wanted to have some fun with a guy and most of them said they had been with a guy. I had never been with a guy and didn’t want to. But at this party all my friends danced with guys and I went into the garden with a guy who said he wanted to go somewhere quiet. I don’t know why I did that. He raped me in the garden while everyone was having fun at the party. The music was so loud no one could hear me. The cops came and it was horrible. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”
Ryan (aged 15) says:
“I like cars a lot. Me and my friends started stealing cars over a year ago. I didn’t want to do it but we all felt we could have some fun and get away with it… I’ve been caught twice by the cops and they say if I do this again I will go to jail. I don’t like what this has done to my mom and dad. They don’t want me to hang with these guys anymore but they’re my friends… I wouldn’t do this on my own but when I’m with the guys it makes me feel good and I can do stuff.”
Here’s the last statement on that page…
Remember that you are important. Your life counts, and you can make a difference in this world. If you ever need to talk about this or anything else, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re here for you.
I don’t have to convince you that mental health is supremely important. Your mental health.
Do I? Please don’t say you’re not convinced that your mental health is of paramount importance! Just do a Google search on it and you’ll find compelling evidence that would convince the biggest of skeptics. But just to make the point let me mention some numbers cited by the American Psychological Association.
As of January 2019 these are just suicide numbers. Depression, anxiety, chronic loneliness and a host of other issues can plague any of us.
30%
The increase in the rate of death by suicide in the United States between 2000 and 2016, from 10.4 to 13.5 per 100,000 people, according to a National Center for Health Statistics analysis of data from the National Vital Statistics System. The rate increased by about 1 percent per year from 2000 through 2006 and by about 2 percent per year from 2006 through 2016.
50%
The increase in suicides among girls and women between 2000 and 2016, from 4 to 6 per 100,000.
21%
The increase in suicides among boys and men between 2000 and 2016, from 17.7 to 21.4 per 100,000.
10
Suicide was the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. It was the second-leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34 and the fourth-leading cause among people ages 35 to 54.
As business owners, executives and leaders we know all too well how lonely it is professionall...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 15:25
Freedom To Grow – Grow Great Daily Brief #217 – May 30, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-grow-grow-great-daily-brief-217-may-30-2019/ Thu, 30 May 2019 11:00:01 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20191 Let’s put the G on the end of LUG – learn, understand, grow. Today we continue this series on freedom since Monday was Memorial Day here in the United States. The freedom to grow! Growth has pains. But that doesn’t make it bad. When I was young I had leg aches. My dad would come …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-grow-grow-great-daily-brief-217-may-30-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Freedom To Grow – Grow Great Daily Brief #217 – May 30, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Let’s put the G on the end of LUG – learn, understand, grow. Today we continue this series on freedom since Monday was Memorial Day here in the United States. The freedom to grow! Growth has pains. But that doesn’t make it bad. Growth has pains. But that doesn’t make it bad.
When I was young I had leg aches. My dad would come into my room at night and rub alcohol on my legs so I could sleep. I remember the leg aches, which were growing pains. It didn’t last long, but it was the price my body paid for my physical growth. I’m sure my parents would have been very concerned if I didn’t grow as they expected. Thankfully, I did grow. In spite of those pains.
Growth is such a big topic that no single episode could possibly do it justice. That’s why this podcast is devoted to the subject of growth and not just any growth — but the work we need to put in if we want to grow great. And great isn’t for me to determine for you, or for you to determine for me. It’s individual to each of us. I simply want to be a voice to encourage all of us to do our best to reach whatever potential we have. Nothing wrong with chasing an ideal – specifically the ideal version of ourselves.
Today’s topic is exercising the freedom we all have to grow. The thing that jumps out at me when I consider this notion is belief. So many people don’t believe they have the freedom to grow. They think they’re restricted or limited in some way. Their circumstances, their situation and whatever else they can point to prevent them from growing – prevent them from improving. And that’s what we mean we talk about growing. Improvement. Change for the better.
Do you ever wonder why a person with every visible advantage falters and can’t seem to find their way while another person with no apparent advantage figures out a way to soar? Puzzling, right?
I can overly simply it to one thing – belief. One person believes they have the freedom (and therefore, the ability) to improve. The other doesn’t believe it, or they have doubts. It’s the power of freedom and realizing it’s REAL.
Yesterday I mentioned the parable of the elephants with the ropes around their legs. It’s such a simple, but a powerful lesson for us in these issues of freedom to learn, understand and grow.
Popeye was the first I heard say of himself, “I am what I am.” Well, you’re not Popeye and neither am I. It’s a flimsy excuse for failing to change – improve and grow.
Do you know the enemy of this and other freedoms we’ve talked about this week?
Acceptance.
Put another way, complacency. Apathy. Indifference.
We tend to accept things about ourselves as truth – our reality. But the worst part is we accept these things as permanent when they’re only temporary…if that’s what we decide.
Let’s have some fun and engage in some mind games – some thinking games!
Think of a person you really admire. I don’t care what you admire about them, or why. Aim as high as you want. Go for a famous person if you’d like. I don’t care. Got somebody in mind?
Focus on what you most admire about them now. Again, it doesn’t matter what it is. Or why you admire it. But think of the trait or characteristic they have that you most admire.
Now for the fun part. Imagine that you’ve got that trait, but you’ve got it to such a degree that they’re doing this exercise thinking of YOU. As good as you think they are in that thing, imagine that you’re even better! So good in fact, they’d love to be as good as you.
Imagine what life would be like. How would you feel? How would you behave? How would your daily actions be different? Keep doing this. Give this some serious thought and really engage your imagination!
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Randy Cantrell clean 8:09
Freedom To Understand – Grow Great Daily Brief #216 – May 29, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-understand-grow-great-daily-brief-216-may-29-2019/ Wed, 29 May 2019 11:00:17 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20183 LUG = learning, understanding, growing Today’s let think about appreciating and taking advantage of our freedom to understand. Life is about leadership if only in the sense that every one of us is responsible for leading our own lives. As business owners, executives and entrepreneurs we’re also responsible for leading our organizations. The spectacular thing …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-understand-grow-great-daily-brief-216-may-29-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Freedom To Understand – Grow Great Daily Brief #216 – May 29, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> LUG = learning, understanding, growing Today’s let think about appreciating and taking advantage of our freedom to understand. Life is about leadership if only in the sense that every one of us is responsible for leading our own lives. Today’s let think about appreciating and taking advantage of our freedom to understand. Life is about leadership if only in the sense that every one of us is responsible for leading our own lives. As business owners, executives and entrepreneurs we’re also responsible for leading our organizations.
The spectacular thing about the freedom to understand is that too frequently we’re uninterested in taking advantage of it. Look around at the cultural debates. Pick the topic. Any topic. Politics. Morality. Anything. Everything. Disagreement abounds.
Joe thinks real estate investments will be safe for the next decade.
Betsy thinks the real estate market is due a correction or worse within the next 3 years.
Forget why they believe what they do. They just do. And both are dug into their position. It’s what closed minds do – dig in and shut off any outside influences or information.
Neither is interested in understanding the viewpoint of the other. As a result, both lose. They lose the freedom to understand even though it’s readily available to them. They confuse understanding with agreement. Maybe they’re even fearful of being converted to a different opinion, but not likely. Mostly, they’re too lazy to put in the effort required for understanding. But let’s think about what each of them loses.
There are benefits and values in having our ideas challenged. Nevermind that we’re not required to give up our ideas, beliefs or viewpoints – but if we’re so scared ours won’t hold up, then it makes sense to avoid having them challenged. Even if it’s done respectfully. What kind of value do they have if they won’t withstand the slightest challenge?
There’s value in defending them. Or even in trying to defend them. It forces us to verbalize what we think and feel. That helps us and those who may be seeking to better understand us. Challenges sharpen us and our thinking.
Some years ago I began to need reading glasses. At first the slippage in my eyesight was so subtle it was hardly noticeable. But over time I found it difficult to read the watch on my wrist. I knew I wasn’t seeing clearly.
But I didn’t know how unclear my vision was until I decided to try on some reading glasses one day while I was in the store. I slipped on a pair and BAM! Crystal clear. Sure, I hated having to wear them, but it was better than not being able to see. And I realized reading – which I love to do – was so much easier with the glasses.
The problem with blind spots and our failure to understand is it’s not nearly as clear. If you know what good vision looks like, it’s easier to realize this ain’t it. But when you hold a viewpoint that’s the only one you’ve ever held, it’s super hard to realize there may be differing views – with valid reasons behind them. It doesn’t mean they’re right, or more right than yours, but why not take advantage of understanding them? At worst, it’ll expand your thinking. At best, it may provide you ample evidence to realize you were wrong. Presto! Now you can be right. Or more right. Where’s the loss in that?
I know people who can speak, write and understand multiple languages. I envy their abilities. Their ability provides them with a level of understanding beyond what I’m capable of. So it goes with our dedication to understanding others. It also helps us better understand ourselves. It rounds us out and helps us relate better to others. Who among us doesn’t need to improve that?
Freedom to understand reminds me of the parable of the elephants.
As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 9:37
Freedom To Learn – Grow Great Daily Brief #215 – May 28, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-learn-grow-great-daily-brief-215-may-28-2019/ Tue, 28 May 2019 11:00:05 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20178 Yesterday was Memorial Day here in America. That makes it a fitting week to focus on freedom. Today let’s consider our freedom to learn.  As entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and leaders we should be on the frontline of learning. Daily in our organizations, we’re challenging people to improve so it only makes sense that we …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/freedom-to-learn-grow-great-daily-brief-215-may-28-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Freedom To Learn – Grow Great Daily Brief #215 – May 28, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Yesterday was Memorial Day here in America. That makes it a fitting week to focus on freedom. Today let’s consider our freedom to learn.  As entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and leaders we should be on the frontline of learning. As entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and leaders we should be on the frontline of learning. Daily in our organizations, we’re challenging people to improve so it only makes sense that we step up as leaders and show folks the way.
You hear me speak often about LUG – learning, understanding, and growth. Like most quips, it’s an oversimplification perhaps, but I hope it helps you remember. Simply put, leaders – the very best ones – are learners.
And I’m not talking about formal education. I don’t care about that. The best schools on the planet don’t produce leaders. Leaders emerge from every dark corner and every bright mountain top around the planet.
Jack Welch observed 5 traits of leadership, 3 of which, he asserts, a person either has to doesn’t. So Jack believes 2 of the 5 traits can be learned. The others are innate, according to him.

* Positive Energy
* The Ability To Energize Others
* Edge
* The Talent To Execute
* Passion

Welch argues that positive energy and the ability to energize others is largely hardwired. It’s personality driven. Likewise, passion. People seem to have an intensity and curiosity or they don’t. These traits are part of a person, or they’re not.
Welch believes that leaders don’t exhibit a lack of energy or negative energy. They have positive energy built in and it influences others.
Positive energy is infectious. Contagious. It attracts team members and helps energize people to accomplish the tasks.
Edge is how Welch describes a leader capable of making tough decisions. Leaders don’t waffle, but rather give distinct, decisive answers. Leaders are intent on learning what they can in order to make the right decision more often than not.
Leaders get things done. They learn how to implement. It’s not enough to decide. It demands follow through. Otherwise, it’s all just talk.
Leaders care about themselves, their people, their goals, their organizations and their markets. Great leaders care about their customer base. This passion drives them to excel.
I don’t take issue with Jack. Mostly, I remain a big fan of his work. But don’t let this list get in your way of pursuing learning. You’re free to learn. Embrace that. Believe it.
Can we change who we are?
Sure. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t believe growth and improvement are possible. The degree to which we can change is largely very individual and personal. Some may be able to change dramatically. Others not so much. But I might argue that it likely has little to do with ability as it does willingness.
The catalyst for our change plays a part.
Yesterday, I binge watched Vietnam in HD on the History Channel. I’ve seen it before, but since I was a child of the 1970s I’ve been fascinated with that war. I grew up watching Walter Cronkite on the news report the body count and show various war correspondents submit reports.
As I watched these stories of life-changing experiences I once again realized how people’s lives are forever altered. Young men who escaped physically whole from that war – not unlike young men from any war I suppose – altered their lives. Some dramatically.
Sunday night clean 7:15
I’m Thankful To Live In A Free Country – Grow Great Daily Brief #214 – May 27, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/im-thankful-to-live-in-a-free-country-grow-great-daily-brief-214-may-27-2019/ Mon, 27 May 2019 11:00:56 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20172 Today is a national holiday here in the States. It’s Memorial Day. It’s a day for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the military. I’m not thankful for wars or the politics and emotions that foster them. But I am thankful to have been born in a free country. American citizenship …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/im-thankful-to-live-in-a-free-country-grow-great-daily-brief-214-may-27-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">I’m Thankful To Live In A Free Country – Grow Great Daily Brief #214 – May 27, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Today is a national holiday here in the States. It’s Memorial Day. It’s a day for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the military. I’m not thankful for wars or the politics and emotions that foster them. I’m not thankful for wars or the politics and emotions that foster them. But I am thankful to have been born in a free country. American citizenship is a blessing. To be able to travel about freely – something not possible in other parts of the world – and to do so safely, it’s something we mostly take for granted.
I read that 40% of our population support socialism, but I’m not sure I buy it. I hope it’s not true. And that’s not a political stance, but rather a stance born from what prompted the birth of our nation. The quest for freedom. Freedom to earn. Freedom to experience fairness. Freedom to pursue. In a word, freedom.
Today, and every day, I’m thankful to be a human living in America. When I was in high school there was a movement, “America, Love It or Leave It.” I never understood that movement because it presumes nothing can be improved. And it assumes any quest for improvement may lack gratitude.
So many things are wrong. But so many things are right. Our nation is not so unlike our individual lives. Or our businesses. There’s much to love. There’s much to be dissatisfied with. There’s much to improve. There’s much to honor as being great already.
Wherever you live. Whatever the political climate, or culture. I suspect the fact that we’re alive and that you’re able to listen to this podcast – and able to pursue your personal growth as a business owner, as an executive, as a leader – puts you in the company of the blessed.
I’ve never known what it is to live in houses with dirt floors, like the millions of people who will never know anything different.
I’ve never known what it is to have to travel some distance for somewhat clean water to drink…like the millions who struggle daily to find such a basic element of life.
I’ve never known what it is to not have books readily available, unlike the millions who wish they could learn if only somebody would teach them.
Today, it’s not about business. The Grow Great podcast has a business focus, but at the heart of it all – it’s about us. People. Humans. It’s about our frailties, weaknesses, and struggles. It’s about our victories, triumphs, and achievements. It’s all the stuff that defines us as a community – and as individuals.
I’m thankful for those who made it – and continue to make it all possible. My ability and your ability to pursue improving our lives and the lives of those who surround us.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!
RC
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Randy Cantrell clean 3:20
Creating A Culture Intent On Delivering Customer Happiness – Grow Great Daily Brief #213 – May 24, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/creating-a-culture-intent-on-delivering-customer-happiness-grow-great-daily-brief-213-may-24-2019/ Fri, 24 May 2019 11:00:24 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20164 Let’s wrap up this week’s theme on customer happiness with some discussion on creating a culture that is intent on delivering it. It’s not overly complicated, but making the decision can be. I’ll jump right in and tell you why a fanatical customer happiness culture is hard. Math. That’s right. Math gets in the way. …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/creating-a-culture-intent-on-delivering-customer-happiness-grow-great-daily-brief-213-may-24-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Creating A Culture Intent On Delivering Customer Happiness – Grow Great Daily Brief #213 – May 24, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Let’s wrap up this week’s theme on customer happiness with some discussion on creating a culture that is intent on delivering it. It’s not overly complicated, but making the decision can be. I’ll jump right in and tell you why a fanatical customer happ... I’ll jump right in and tell you why a fanatical customer happiness culture is hard. Math. That’s right. Math gets in the way.
More specifically, it’s about how business owners and top leaders view money.
This week I had two different encounters that robbed me of about 4 hours total. Companies that open their doors daily without any regard to customer happiness. Every day it happens. They start another day running uphill in the battle for customer satisfaction. Forget happiness. They’re not yet on square one toward satisfaction. Happiness is many solar systems away.
After running into a brick wall on a technical issue that I attempted to solve myself (something I usually am able to do rather quickly), I contact support. I’m quickly informed that what I want to do isn’t possible. Hum. Okay. I don’t think that’s right so I push back ever so slightly. Nope. Not possible.
On a lark I bail out then contact support again, this time getting a different person. I don’t know. Let me check, she says. Okay.
Nothing. She goes dark and never returns. Perhaps the Bermuda Triangle Of Sucky Customer Service snagged her.
This goes on for a bit while I’m Googling like a fiend. Somewhere along the way, I find a page produced by this same company. That’s right. It was on their website. Addressing my issue and confirming that my technical issue could be solved. Four support people had no knowledge of the issue or their own company’s website content about it. I was brand new to them (fooling with them on behalf of a friend) and I found it. But I was the customer (kinda sorta) so I had a much bigger interest in solving my problem.
And there it was. The problem staring at me once again. The same problem with pathetic customer service we all experience. Leadership sucks. Top level leaders, including their CEO and founder do not have a customer happiness focus. If they did, my experience would have been vastly different.
Here’s why it’s a math problem. A money problem.
Making customers happy costs money. Sometimes lots of money. That means reduced profits. It means lower sales. Or…does it?
Some leaders aren’t good with customer happiness math. Instead they practice the hard math school taught them. Or numbers the VC community knows by heart. But math is alive in the real world and behind the math are human beings. When you’re trying to create the next startup unicorn (a company that hits the billion dollar mark), you don’t always focus on Randy, the customer. It just doesn’t seem to scale. Or…does it?
Last year Skybell Video Doorbell founder Andrew Thomas wrote an article at Inc. entitled,
“The Secret Ratio That Proves Why Customer Reviews Are So Important.”
Here’s the ratio: It takes roughly 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review.
Mr. Thomas writes:

A customer who has a negative experience is highly likely to share that experience by leaving a bad review. A customer who has a positive experience, on the other hand, is unlikely to leave a good review.

The bar is high, but every CEO and business owner must clear it IF they want to build a company with a reputation for customer happiness. That’s the rub. Many, perhaps most, don’t. They’d rather pursue a financially successful company and they lack the vision to see and understand that those goals aren’t contradictory.
A culture intent on delivering customer happiness understands...]]> Randy Cantrell clean 17:54 Do For One What You’d Like To Do For The Many – Grow Great Daily Brief #212 – May 23, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/do-for-one-what-youd-like-to-do-for-the-many-grow-great-daily-brief-212-may-23-2019/ Thu, 23 May 2019 11:00:19 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20160 I’m a big fan of this customer happiness strategy. My wiring is such that I look for opportunities to do it. But I love terms like dazzle and remarkable. Better yet I love to deliver those kinds of experiences. Let me illustrate what it looks like. I once had a customer of a retailing company …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/do-for-one-what-youd-like-to-do-for-the-many-grow-great-daily-brief-212-may-23-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Do For One What You’d Like To Do For The Many – Grow Great Daily Brief #212 – May 23, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> I’m a big fan of this customer happiness strategy. My wiring is such that I look for opportunities to do it. But I love terms like dazzle and remarkable. Better yet I love to deliver those kinds of experiences. Let me illustrate what it looks like. Let me illustrate what it looks like.
I once had a customer of a retailing company I was leading who was not happy. He had made an extensive investment with our company, a luxury retail company. The details don’t matter, but the product hadn’t provided him with the spectacular experience it should have. The person in our company handling this client did a proper job of trying to resolve the issue by working with the manufacturer and the client. But it was going far too slowly. And the customer continued to escalate his concerns.
For context, you should know the customer was a great customer based on the investment he made with our company. That spoke of the trust he put in us. Additionally, he was our ideal client. He lived in one of the richest zip codes in Texas (and the country). He was a surgeon. His home was often used to entertain and the people he entertained were also our clients or prospective clients.
One day his frustrations boiled over and he wound up getting me on the phone where I patiently listened. After explaining his situation – which he did without interruption from me – I paused and asked him, “Dr. ___________, I’m only interested in one thing, making you happy. What would make you happy?” He was completely taken off guard so I continued, “It’s not a loaded question. I’m being completely honest and truthful. I’m going to resolve this for you right now before we hang up, but since you’re the person who has been inconvenienced and you’re the one we’ve disappointed, I don’t think it’s fair of me to tell you what we’ll do to make you happy. I’d rather you decide.”
The doctor said, “I don’t know what to say. This is why we do business with your company because we know this is how you guys are going to work, but I don’t know how to answer that.”
I asked if he’d permit me to put him on hold for about 30 seconds while I pulled up all the necessary details on his transaction. He happily agreed. In about 15 seconds I was back on the phone.
“Let’s talk this through,” I suggested.
One item was at the heart of the problems. One of many. It was an item that was over $1,000. Closer to $1,500. We had gone back and forth with the vendor to resolve the issue, but a defective part was back ordered making the doctor’s brand new purchase – already installed in his home (that was the catch) – unusable.
It was evident the doctor knew we’d take care of him, but he didn’t have any suggestions. Mostly because the product was already installed and it wasn’t some simple installation (or de-installation and re-installation). There were a few hours of labor and a few hundred dollars of costs associated with it.
So as not to prolong the problem I offered the doctor a suggestion.
“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Based on what I know you love that item and it’s the one you most want, is that right?”
“Yes, absolutely. I just want it to work as it should,” he said.
“Would you be happy if today – or at your earliest convenience – we uninstalled that one and replaced it with a brand new one…”I began. He interrupted, “Oh, absolutely. I’d be thrilled.”
“Let me finish…” I continued. “And…I’m going to refund you the entire purchase price of the item and the installation charge, too.”
“Would that make you happy?” I asked.
The phone went silent for a bit. “Doctor? Are you still there?]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 7:01
Flush The Systems: It’s Time To Make Things Simpler – Grow Great Daily Brief #211 – May 22, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/flush-the-systems-its-time-to-make-things-simpler-grow-great-daily-brief-211-may-22-2019/ Wed, 22 May 2019 11:00:05 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20141 How old is your business? It’s only relative to how bloated your systems may be. But maybe not. I’ve seen start-ups with bloated systems, too. Over time things tend to get more complex, not simpler. We have to be very intentional to keep things simple, clean and straight-forward. I once took leadership of a company …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/flush-the-systems-its-time-to-make-things-simpler-grow-great-daily-brief-211-may-22-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Flush The Systems: It’s Time To Make Things Simpler – Grow Great Daily Brief #211 – May 22, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> How old is your business? It’s only relative to how bloated your systems may be. But maybe not. I’ve seen start-ups with bloated systems, too. Over time things tend to get more complex, not simpler. We have to be very intentional to keep things simple,... Over time things tend to get more complex, not simpler. We have to be very intentional to keep things simple, clean and straight-forward.
I once took leadership of a company to get it to the next level. Shortly after I arrived it was apparent there were lots of procedures and systems that had been implemented to fix a problem. The problem is you could tell the company was doing something to fix one problem, but unwittingly the company had created multiple other problems. It’s that whole law of unintended consequences thing. Fix one thing and create about three new problems. Then, some system or process is put in place to try to fix those.
One day I began to gather all the forms used by the company. Forms that involved customer interaction. Forms that directly impacted the customer interface.
At first there were 6, then 9, then 16, then 27. The number kept growing. Everywhere I looked there were systems on top of systems. Processes for other processes. The business was bloated with systems.
It frustrated me because I have an obsession with being nimble. Moving quickly and efficiently is just how I prefer to roll. All this hoop jumping was anything but nimble.
I ditched them. All of them. We burned them to the ground and started from scratch. Turns out about 3 systems took care of it all. Three.
Because we’re focused on the customer experience it’s time to take a look at the systems that may be getting in the way. Some companies put things in the way intentionally. These are the worst companies on the planet when it comes to customer happiness.
Some companies bet on breakage. That is, they make things difficult because they know a big percentage of people will just accept the status quo. Take cable or satellite TV providers, notorious companies for inching up the monthly expense for their customers. By implementing invoice creep these companies make millions in extra profit. You’ve experienced this.
Your invoice goes up. You don’t notice. Until you do. And when you do notice you’re faced with, “What can I do about this?” Only one thing you can do…enter the system designed by the company to make it as difficult as possible for you. They want this to be so difficult you give up and just accept the escalated rate.
If you are brave enough (and determined enough) to make the call, then you have to endure a long-winded wait, followed by a long-winded ordeal to get the bill down. But you’ll likely be offered a new lower rate only by agreeing to a 2-year extension to your contract, where you’re agreeing they can change their pricing at will.
It’s a pathetic business model that in time will lose because customers won’t tolerate it as better options are offered. Streaming TV services are disrupting the cable and satellite TV industry. The customers are going to win because they’ve got the power.
The companies that cater to the customers are also going to win. And big.
Wal-Mart began the trend in modern business by giving the customer what he wanted at a price he could afford. By making things straight-forward and easy Wal-Mart exploded in the ’80s and ’90s. With world-class logistic and buying power, they changed the landscape of retailing. Along the way, they made customer returns easy. Before Wal-Mart, very few retailers had a liberal return policy, but the folks in Bentonville led the way with “bring it back for any reason.” Today, it’s just how things are with nearly every retailer.
Amazon took things to a whole new level by having a focus on the shopper unrivaled in the history of retail. Nobody – NOBODY – does it better. Amazon is world-class because of it.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:54
The Peer Advantage: Intentionally Leveraging The Power Of Others (Special May 21, 2019 Episode) https://bulanetwork.com/the-peer-advantage-intentionally-leveraging-the-power-of-others-special-may-21-2019-episode/ Tue, 21 May 2019 11:10:41 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20147 New information is invigorating. Especially if you’re curious. You ARE curious, aren’t you? Curious enough to figure out what you may not know? Or to figure out something a bit better that you thought you may have already figured out? The other day I was discussing books with a friend. We were challenging each other …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/the-peer-advantage-intentionally-leveraging-the-power-of-others-special-may-21-2019-episode/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">The Peer Advantage: Intentionally Leveraging The Power Of Others (Special May 21, 2019 Episode)</span> Read More »</a></p> New information is invigorating. Especially if you’re curious. You ARE curious, aren’t you? Curious enough to figure out what you may not know? Or to figure out something a bit better that you thought you may have already figured out? The other day I was discussing books with a friend. We were challenging each other to remember a book that really made a lasting impact. During the conversation, we both concluded that we benefited from many books with snippets of new information here and there. It’s the value of reading – the quest to learn something you may not have known before.
Reading is great for those of us who love to do it. Podcasts are pretty terrific, too. 😉 But these are quite passive. We consume them. It’s the author or the podcaster communicating to us. Highly valuable, but still very lacking.
A New Relationship With Somebody Who Has Different Experiences, Skills, And Viewpoints
Some years ago I formed a relationship with somebody new. I was attending a small conference. I didn’t know anybody else attending. But I met someone. Someone who felt like a kindred spirit, but somebody very different from me.
That was close to ten years ago.
Since that time we’ve pushed each other, challenged each other, supported each other and shared common beliefs as well as differing ones. The meeting was organic – kinda sorta – but we both leaned into it and made it intentional. We’ve been purposeful in leveraging the power we can each have on one another. It’s a one-on-one peer advantage. Just like reading, it’s highly valuable and more so because it has dynamic interaction. But it’s still very lacking.
Self-improvement is at the heart of growing great.
It’s about YOUR self-improvement, but not just yours. It’s about mine, too. And that guy over there. And that woman over there. Yes, and her, too. And him.

When you intentionally leverage the power of others you’re both giving and receiving. When you give more, you get more. Way more. And I’m not just talking about some intrinsic feeling knowing you did well. I’m talking about a real, substantial life-changing benefit.
It’s The High Energy Of Community – The RIGHT Community
Do me a favor. Think of a time when you were in a conversation where your energy was elevated. I mean a time when your energy soared and you felt the impact of instantly. If your life had an energy meter it would have hit a much higher number than normal because this conversation was different. Special.
Research has shown the positive power of community. Support groups prove the point. Alcoholics Anonymous. Weight Watcher. There are plenty of examples. But don’t restrict your thinking of community to traditional support groups. It’s much broader – and often deeper than that.

The true peer advantage is about more than taking advantage. It’s also about giving an advantage to others.
There are a few things I hear more often than anything else. Among them are business owners concerned about what they don’t know. They’re worried about the things they can’t see. Or the things they can’t see clearly enough.
Blind spots. I hear leaders fretful about theirs. And trying to figure out how to eliminate them or at least reduce them.
It’s tough to be truthful with yourself. And that may be among our biggest blind spot of all. How we see ourselves.
Where do we go to improve that?
To whom do we turn for assistance with that?
It’s The Power Of A Room. The Right Room.
“The smartest man in the room” syndrome is real. You know people like that. The opposite isn’t the dumbest-man-in-the-room, but the man (or woman) who realizes the power isn’t completely within themselves but in the room itself.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 8:58
Stop Looking At The Competition – Grow Great Daily Brief #210 – May 21, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/stop-looking-at-the-competition-grow-great-daily-brief-210-may-21-2019/ Tue, 21 May 2019 11:00:06 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20136 How do you measure up as a business owner? How do you measure up as a leader? How does your business stack up? People mostly gauge such things by looking externally, not internally. We look around at other people and other businesses. Then we mentally (mostly emotionally) compare ourselves and our business. We don’t feel …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/stop-looking-at-the-competition-grow-great-daily-brief-210-may-21-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Stop Looking At The Competition – Grow Great Daily Brief #210 – May 21, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> How do you measure up as a business owner? How do you measure up as a leader? How does your business stack up? People mostly gauge such things by looking externally, not internally. We look around at other people and other businesses. How do you measure up as a leader?
How does your business stack up?
People mostly gauge such things by looking externally, not internally. We look around at other people and other businesses. Then we mentally (mostly emotionally) compare ourselves and our business. We don’t feel so good afterward.
This is especially personal when we look at direct competitors. And some of us view everybody and everything as a competitor. Years ago I learned that the zero-sum game I was taught when I was young…is wrong. It’s a major distraction to becoming our best.
But today’s title isn’t quite 100% accurate. There’s often much to learn from the competition, but it’s not what you think. It’s the innovation in looking at industries and companies with a dedication to figure out how to best fix their problems. But when we do that, are we really looking at the competition or are we looking at how an industry or company can better serve customers?
It’s a powerful distraction – fixating on the competition. It leads to excuse-making, copy-cat execution and becoming average. It robs businesses of bravery and leadership.
Unless you’re looking at the competition to architect how you’re going to beat their brains in. But as you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of Jack Welch and his strategic planning.
“Our strategic plan is to ask, ‘What can the competition do in the next 18 months to nail us to the wall?’ Then we ask, ‘What can we do in the next 18 months to nail them to the wall?'”
I’m a kid from the 70’s so I was taught to be competitive and have a strong desire to bury the competition. Working in retail as a teenager though quickly taught me there was a much better way and I admit I’m a product of my experience. I learned that trying to figure out how to best the competition was a waste of time with shoppers. They didn’t care about the competition. They only cared about what they most wanted. Very quickly I realized the futility of thinking about the other stereo shops in town. Instead, I learned to pay close attention to the shoppers. I made sure to listen carefully, watch their body language and pay attention to shopper behavior. My goal was to dazzle every shopper so they’d become a customer. Then I wanted to make the customer so happy they’d become a client (a repeat customer).
By the time I was operating a multi-million dollar retail company it was well ingrained in my business DNA…
Don’t take your eyes or ears off the customer!
There’s one simple reason why it works. It’s not limiting.
Fixate on the competition and you’re instantly limiting your operation. You’ll get stuck in industry standards and traditional thinking.
Fixate on the customer and you’re free to think beyond anything ever done in your industry. All the rules get tossed out when you concentrate on the customer.
There’s another big reason worth mentioning though. Your competition isn’t paying your bills. Customers are. By thinking and looking at the competition you surrender yourself to become their servant. They’re not who you’re serving! So why look at them?
Lastly, let me encourage you to embrace quantum-leap thinking. When you look at the competition you avoid quantum-leap thinking. Instead, you tend to dwell on incremental thinking. Being just a little bit better than the competition is comforting when you’re focused on them. That’s boring. For you and for all your employees. I’ve never found a 3% improvement a very effective battle cry for the troops. But most everybody can get behind doing something nobody else may be doing or doing something most others think impossible.
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Randy Cantrell clean 5:50
How’s The User Interface Of Your Business? – Grow Great Daily Brief #209 – May 20, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/hows-the-user-interface-of-your-business-grow-great-daily-brief-209-may-20-2019/ Mon, 20 May 2019 11:00:53 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20131 This week’s theme is the customer experience. Namely, customer happiness! Today let’s focus on the user interface of your business. The easy way to think of this is touchpoints. Sit down and make a note of every touchpoint your business has with a prospect or customer. Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard me talk …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/hows-the-user-interface-of-your-business-grow-great-daily-brief-209-may-20-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">How’s The User Interface Of Your Business? – Grow Great Daily Brief #209 – May 20, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> This week’s theme is the customer experience. Namely, customer happiness! Today let’s focus on the user interface of your business. The easy way to think of this is touchpoints. Sit down and make a note of every touchpoint your business has with a pros... Today let’s focus on the user interface of your business. The easy way to think of this is touchpoints. Sit down and make a note of every touchpoint your business has with a prospect or customer.
Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard me talk a lot about becoming a better human being. I did that because it’s how I see the world and our place in it. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to be better people. Kindness. Compassion. And all the other things that go with being a good person are critical to our business ownership and leadership. I believe that.
Yes, I know miserable people who are financially successful. They win at the expense of most people they interact with and they do it without shame. I know others who are poor humans because they have a wife and children, along with a handful of mistresses around the country. I know money is agnostic about how good or bad a person is. That’s why drug dealers are wildly financially successful. Money doesn’t care.
But people do. God does. The world does. And you do, too. Because you’ve got to live with yourself.  So does your family. Those are all compelling reasons to work harder to become better.
Now, back to touchpoints with prospects and customers. Let me define the term for you – it’s every point of contact you make with them and every point of contact they can make with you.
For most of us it starts with marketing and sales. Examine the first touchpoint, which is likely going to be advertising of some sort. That’s you reaching out to touch prospects so you can convert some of them into customers.
I realize that’s a full-blown discussion – advertising – but look at it through the prospect’s eyes and feelings, not your own. What’s the goal of your advertising? You have to know. Otherwise, you won’t know if it’s working or not.
Turn of the century merchant John Wanamaker is credited with saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That was likely very true in John’s day. He died in 1922. But today most of us can structure advertising in such a way that we can measure the effectiveness.
Are we looking for leads? Sales? Sign-ups? What are we hoping to gain from the advertising? I’m looking for the specific thing you want the ad to accomplish.
This touchpoint is critical because it’s how you present yourself to the market and it costs you money. You have to get this more right than not. Be critical about this touchpoint. Ask every question you can think of. Scrutinize it 8 ways to Sunday and be relentless to get it more right all the time. The bottom line is that this touchpoint should deliver big returns that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
Your list of touchpoints might include things like:

* How the phone is answered
* How the website looks (and how users navigate, including on mobile devices)
* How the emails look
* How problems are handled
* How “thank you” is delivered after a sale
* How follow-up happens
* How invoices look
* How billing challenges are executed
* How marketing makes people feel

We’re talking about every single contact you make and every single contact your prospects and customers make. What does it look like? Is it presenting your business the way you want? Is it ideally serving the people it intends to serve? Or is it ridiculously cumbersome?
“May I have your phone number please?” You give it. Five questions later you have to give it to them again. “But I just gave it to you,” you blurt out. You know why that happens. The person on the other end of the phone is going through a series of screens,]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 7:42
Figuring Out Where You Want To Go – Grow Great Daily Brief #208 – May 17, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/figuring-out-where-you-want-to-go-grow-great-daily-brief-208-may-17-2019/ Fri, 17 May 2019 11:00:45 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20110 Yesterday we talked about figuring out what you want to change about yourself. Today let’s focus on where you want to go. I’m not assuming that where you are currently isn’t where you want to be, but I will assume it’s not where you want to stay. I’m not advocating feeling dissatisfied, discontented or unhappy …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/figuring-out-where-you-want-to-go-grow-great-daily-brief-208-may-17-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Figuring Out Where You Want To Go – Grow Great Daily Brief #208 – May 17, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Yesterday we talked about figuring out what you want to change about yourself. Today let’s focus on where you want to go. I’m not assuming that where you are currently isn’t where you want to be, but I will assume it’s not where you want to stay. I’m not assuming that where you are currently isn’t where you want to be, but I will assume it’s not where you want to stay. I’m not advocating feeling dissatisfied, discontented or unhappy with your current position. You may be those things – and that’s okay if you’re not close to your ideal, but it’s not going to be profitable to dwell on it without taking action. So the bottom line for today is the goal of figuring this out so you can do something about it.
What do you want to be known for?
That’s the deal. It’s the culmination of figuring out where you want to go.
When people think of you, what do you most want them to think? 
These get to the heart of what’s important to you.
A person who wants to be known for something behaves in ways congruent with BEING that. And it doesn’t matter what IT is.
When I was in college I remember reading quite a lot about writing and writers. Somewhere along the way I read something profoundly simple, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it spoke to any activity. It was a two-word sentence (and I’d happily give attribution to whoever wrote it, but it was far too long ago to remember)…
Writers write.
I thought about that for a long, long time. I still think about it because it’s ridiculously accurate.
Writers write. It’s what they do. It’s what they’re known for. It’s what people think of when they think of them.
I’m not saying it’s all-encompassing and that people don’t think of anything else about them, but it’s likely the primary thing.
Now apply that sentence structure to where you most want to go – the thing you most want to accomplish. Start by going macro, big picture. Drill down to the micro and go as deep as you’d like, the details.
Leaders lead.
Bosses boss.
Painters paint.
Musicians play.
What do you do? Mostly?
You’ll quickly discover that this is largely about your identity. It begins with how you see yourself. From there, it morphs into how others see you. That’s a big part of figuring out where you want to go…coming to terms with how you most want to see yourself.
All week there’s been this underlying focus on a very important element of self-awareness and your personal growth. It’s your self-respect. Being comfortable in your skin because you like who you’ve become. You agree and approve of what you’re trying to become. Sure, you know it’s a journey but so far, so good. You’re pleased with the direction and the progress. Mostly.
Or you’re not.
In either case, you can do better. We all can.
It’s about feeling good about the effort. Last week I talked about why happiness may not the very best goal because it’s a moment we’re chasing. Joy may be a better representation of what we want because that’s long-lasting.
Let’s focus on the effort of figuring out where we want to go because it’s active, not passive. We have to do something other than merely thinking about it.
Writers write.
So once again, what do you DO?
What do you most want to do?
If those are different, why? Are you sure you know where you want to go? Are you sure it’s where YOU want to go and not where somebody else wants you to go?
When I was a kid there was a TV show on called, “This Is Your Life.” Here’s an episode featuring Betty White, the actress.
?
The host of the TV show would surprise the celebrity and walk them into the studio where the show was produced. Along the way, he’d tell their story and surprise them with pe...]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 11:06
Figuring Out How To Own Your Stuff – Grow Great Daily Brief #207 – May 16, 2019 https://bulanetwork.com/figuring-out-how-to-own-your-stuff-grow-great-daily-brief-207-may-16-2019/ Thu, 16 May 2019 11:00:27 +0000 https://bulanetwork.com/?p=20116 Today’s show is brought to you by The Peer Advantage by Bula Network, a professional paid peer advisory group – a mastermind group – for small business owners from around the United States. Find out all the details at ThePeerAdvantage.com. Today we’re continuing our series on self-awareness by focusing on accepting responsibility for ourselves. All …<p class="read-more"> <a class="" href="https://bulanetwork.com/figuring-out-how-to-own-your-stuff-grow-great-daily-brief-207-may-16-2019/"> <span class="screen-reader-text">Figuring Out How To Own Your Stuff – Grow Great Daily Brief #207 – May 16, 2019</span> Read More »</a></p> Today’s show is brought to you by The Peer Advantage by Bula Network, a professional paid peer advisory group – a mastermind group – for small business owners from around the United States. Find out all the details at ThePeerAdvantage.com. ThePeerAdvantage.com.
Today we’re continuing our series on self-awareness by focusing on accepting responsibility for ourselves. All of ourselves. Every bit of it.
Isn’t it ironic that most of us want more control over our lives, but when we’re faced with accepting control we sometimes would rather defer to something else, or somebody else? Right now we’re going to do our best to change that. We can at least get started and if we keep it up, we can make this a permanent change.

That doesn’t mean we’re isolated, alone or solely responsible for everything. It’s not the minimization of others. Truth is, it’s doing right by others because it helps us stop blaming others for things we can (and should) control.
Years ago a guy here in Dallas, William Oncken, wrote a book entitled, “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” It’s really a book about delegation and getting things done, but there’s an underlying subtext of ownership. Taking ownership of the work can kill our ability to delegate. On the flipside, when it comes to our own lives, we must take ownership. In this case, delegation is tantamount to believing we’re the victim so we give ownership or our problem to somebody else. The problem? That means we surrender ownership of changing our situation to somebody else, too.
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”  – Theodore Roosevelt
“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
– Anne Frank
Step 1  You Must Be Done With Excuses
This is an enormous variable in our lives. Some of us hit a point quickly when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Others of us delay and embrace being sick and tired.
Seems to me one of the distinctions between the two – and something that can contribute to how long we stay comfortable with our excuses – is the value or benefit derived from living with excuses. The notable value I see is attention. Some people garner more attention (because they seek it) for suffering. They enjoy the sympathy others express toward them. If that sympathy stops, they forge ahead into some new problem that can stir up new sympathy. They’re hooked on the attention so they fall in love with their excuses. Without those, the sympathy river dries up.
Ask yourself, “Do I want to be seen as a victim or as a person in control of their life?”
Victims even answer it as you’d expect. We all want to be seen as people in control and command of our lives. But…
With victims it’s conditional. When things go well, they want credit. When they don’t, they need an excuse.
This is hard because logic and reason don’t often enter into it. Emotions take over. Feelings, which we’ve likely had for a long time, are hard to change. That’s why I’ve urged us all to change what we’re doing in order to help change how we feel – and what we believe.
Question: What value do YOU provide others by embracing your excuses? How do your excuses make you bring higher value to the people who surround you?
Finish it. For once, be brave and answer it as fully as you can. Here’s what you’ll discover. Your excuses serve somebody, but they don’t serve everybody.]]>
Randy Cantrell clean 10:46