Sunday, January 10, 2010

Map Your Way to Success: Use Mapping for fast learning and visual planning

You might want to forget making lists to spur you into action or to learn new material. Map it! That’s right, get out the old pencil and paper and map out a path to achievement. Your goal or what you need to learn is central to the map – write it prominently and perhaps put a shape around the word(s). Next add the related information, contacts, resources, etc that will help you on your journey. I find deadline dates and dollar figures really keep me on task. Then make the connections between the goal or subject matter and the supporting information. Finally, connect your supporting information. Everything on your map should work in unison, nothing can be self existing or it belongs on a separate, perhaps related, map.

My first project while working for Citigroup was challenging. I had no experience recruiting for an operations center, and I was panicked. Luckily, I found a booklet on Mind Mapping, mapped each of the individual job descriptions and learned them in record time. This visual method greatly accelerated learning each of the jobs, and their connections to adjacent departments and management positions. Consequently, Citigroup was so pleased with my recruiting results that they offered me a second project.

If your motive is planning, mapping gives you the fastest way to the end. Without lots of time for intricate planning, mapping is a fast and visual version of an outline. It can be used for a project, job hunt, business plan, or just to get your thoughts out and see how they line up. This visual planning often leads to discovering resource connections and new paths to success that were not formerly obvious.

Mapping allows you to tell the story of the evolution of your project, or detail all the parts you need to memorize. Your visual story serves to keep you focused on achievement. Hang your map in a place where you cannot ignore it, or keep the components in a notebook and carry it with you. With regular review, you will retain the information easily, and stay focused on the destination. I guarantee this type of visual stimulation will inspire you and hasten learning. Remember, a map is a tool that helps you get somewhere; a list simply reminds you of chores. Follow your map and enjoy your trip!

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Studies show that Business Coaching clearly impacts performance, increases ROI.

This is an excerpt from my recent white paper entitled Performance
Excellence: The ROI of Coaching
. If you'd like to receive a free copy,
please send me an email.

In recent years specific research related to measuring benefits and ROI of business coaching has evolved almost as rapidly as the growth as the coaching profession itself. In 2001, The Manchester Review published a landmark study conducted by Manchester Consulting — a professional services firm that specializes in developing customized executive coaching programs. The sentinel study, titled “Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching: Behavioral Change, Organizational Outcomes, and Return on Investment,” is regarded as the first major study to quantify the ROI for coaching.

The study documented the outcomes of 100 executives and senior managers who had completed coaching engagements between 1996 and 2000.[1] The primary focus of the study was to measure business impacts and outcomes. Participants were asked to quantify their goal achievement due to coaching experiences. [See top left figure.] Productivity, quality and organizational strength were among the top three tangible benefits and drivers cited by clients who engaged in coaching. Participants were also asked to conservatively calculate an ROI for their coaching experiences. The estimate: Nearly $100,000 or 5.7 times the initial investment in coaching dollars.[2]

More recently, research conducted in 2007, by MetrixGlobal determined that investing in external coaching resulted in producing four tangible business benefits.[3] [See bottom left figure.] These findings demonstrate a more complete picture of value creation from coaching. The study explored how coaching affects the bottom line and also concluded that coaching also produces intangible benefits as well as monetary benefits to organizations and individuals who engage the services of external business coaches.

For a copy of the full white paper, client testimonials and/or a complimentary initial consultation of how Business Coaching can help you in YOUR business, please call Carroll King Schuller of Organic Blueprints at 804.288.0099 or send email.

[1] McGovern, et al. (2001). Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching: Behavioral Change, Organizational Outcomes, and Return on Investment. The Manchester Review, 6(1), 2.
[2] McGovern, et al. (2001). The Manchester Review, 7.
[3] Anderson, M., Brill, P. & Lynch, J. (2007) The Utilization and Impact of Leadership Coaching in Organizations: Results from the Second Annual Benchmark Study, 10–12.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

What can a small business learn from a corporate anthropologist?

Have to say, I was intriqued as well. Dr. Andrea Simon is a corporate anthropologist with Simon Associates Management Consultants who is currently writing a book entitled "How You Get Stuck." Dr. Simon was recently interviewed by Karen E. Klein, an L.A.-based writer who covers small business issues and is the Smart Answers columnist for Business Week magazine.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs have always been known as risk-takers but even they get stuck and can't move forward to grow their businesses. Dr. Simon says that it always goes back to how the brain works. "The brain naturally fights change, our culture fights change plus most of us are not trained to work within a changing environment," she says.

Dr. Simon says that we have to replace our "no, but" responses with "yes, and," which is often easier said than done. She also says that clients often come to her when the "threesomes" hit -- they've lost a new biz pitch 3 times, or struck out some other way 3 times.

I wasn't able to find much in the way of articles written by Dr. Andrea Simon but I did find this blog post on Karen Klein's blog. The best piece of content is the Business Week blogcast that you MUST listen to if you are in business at all, large or small. Ms. Klein interviews Dr. Simon in about a 10-minute interview in which Dr. Simon suggests "shadowing your own clients as they can help improve your business." She also comments about how "flexibility is key for small businesses, but too often owners are slow to adapt." Simon has entrepreneurs shadow their clients and interview non-clients, in order to help them both face and implement change. "If you want change," she adds, "sometimes you have to create a crisis."

In my FastCoach practice, this is the biggest problem I'm uncovering right now. That while small businesses are set up to be nimble and flexible, business owners are just too slow to adapt. The same goes for freelancers or those people in career transition, spending tons of time looking for projects or jobs because they are resistant to change. It's because of exactly what Dr. Simon points out -- that change can be difficult because of how the brain often works for people due to our belief system that we've programmed into it. It makes us fight change rather than embrace it full on.

It's not that the brain is slow to think -- just the opposite. Most often entrepreneurs and small business owners are very fast thinkers, are highly successful and accomplish a great deal. But they can miss reaching a few rungs up the ladder of success when it is right in front of them! Because I possess both natural talent and experience in uncovering those things that get people stuck (and unstuck), my clients reach much higher levels faster than they would if they tried to move forward on their own.

When Dr. Simon's book is released, we'll post again but you really owe it to yourself to stop whatever you're doing right now and listen to the podcast. You are encouraged to take some notes while you listen and ponder what she said, and post a comment below or email me with your thoughts. If you've struck out 3 times or more, I'll be glad to start a dialogue with you on how we can together move your small business forward. Fast.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Scientific American MIND: Rapid thinking makes people happy.

"Accelerated thoughts may trigger the brain's novelty-loving reward system"

Intriguing article in the February 2009 issue of Scientific American MIND magazine about how rapid thinking and brainstorming can increase one's happiness, something that I've known all along from my studies about how the brain works. In addition to fast thinking, my experience from my coaching practice is that listening fast is also integral to one's optimism. If there is no one around for you to brainstorm or quickly problem solve with, you might actually speed up your iPod! (LOL, they go a little slow for me).

The important thing about fast thinking is that those around you generally understand and exchange with the fast person. On the flip side, the fast person has often slowed themselves in an effort to become methodical with their communication. That is necessary sometimes, but often times people have surrounded themselves with a cadre of others who think like they do but then feel challenged to be respectful, knowledgeable, consistant and thorough with their communication. And they often don't need to "slow" as it often drains and frustrates them when they do.

The optimism of fast thinking and its associated speed makes others wonder what the hidden messages are about the real conversation. But THIS type of brainstorming and fast thinking and learning has less in the way of hidden messages, than the slowed-down approach that our society often heralds. For me, it's exciting to keep pace with others and to create as many opportunities for fast exchanges and learning as possible. The ability to create these opportunities for my clients is what gives them their wings yet keeps them coming back. The connection I have with my clients is not only priceless but it's what gives them such new-found freedom. "Finally...!" I always hear them say, as if 100lbs was lifted from their mind.

If you're a fast thinker or enjoy period times of fast brainstorming, and you want to know how best to incorporate it into your business and life for sanity sake as well as your own personal happiness, call the person who is not only a fast thinker but a fast listener as well. There's a reason why I'm the "Business & Life Coach for Fast Thinking Adults." You'll be happy you made the call.

To your success,
Carroll King Schuller
Confidential FastCoach line: 804.288.0099
@fastcoach on Twitter
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Is your small business thriving?

The Little-Guy Economy: Small, nimble firms are thriving in the downturn. The Big Money

Many people think that hatching a small business is just about finding a way to earn money, especially in an economic downturn. But because of my business coaching practice, I find that launching a small business provides the business owner with much more than that. It gives the small business owner a way to create opportunity, maintain or increase his or her agility and promotes his or her strengths and true abilities. Especially in a service industry because you might take large business models break them down to the most important parts, look at needs and solutions and find an opportunity to grow a small business very quickly.

Owning a small business is the income of the future and, frankly, can be a lot more fun for many people compared to what they've experienced working in the big business segment lately. Not so long ago, there was a lot of talk about centralizing companies for operational, HR and financial consistency or keeping the segments small and adaptable. You know what system won and we all know what it is going to be like in the future. There are great possibilities for success in the current economy.

Starting a small business can be fun and opportunistic (financial and otherwise) but it also can be quite an undertaking that one should not plan alone. If you're in a career transition and tired of looking for a job, then perhaps starting a small business is right for you. As a business coach, I've helped numerous small businesses quickly work through many issues related to start-up, expansion, hiring, achieving goals, etc.

If you'd like to find out more about how coaching can help you either start a business from scratch or grow your existing business, please email me to set up an appointment for your initial complimentary consultation.

~ Carroll King Schuller, Business & Life Coach for Fast Thinking Adults
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Client testimonials are such an important part of any business.

While this was touched on in my last post, one of my strongest beliefs for promoting my coaching practice is the utilization of client testimonials. They are not only listed on my website but can be easily found in the website's main navigation. The list is updated with recent clients. About once a quarter I make it a point to request a few more and ensure they are posted.

In addition to listing them on my website, my testimonials or recommendations are incorporated in my LinkedIn account. I seem to get recommendations freely there (it's easy for people to post them) and I also give many recommendations to others. In fact, I have a couple more that I've drafted and will post over the next week or so.

So what are you doing in your business?
  • Are you asking for client testimonials?
  • Are you making sure that this is part of your ongoing marketing efforts?
  • Are you set up on LinkedIn to make it easy for others to say wonderful things about you?
  • Are you getting permission from your clients to post their stories and results on your website?

This may be a small piece of advice that I give to my business coaching clients, but the power of testimonials can't be underestimated. If your customers or clients can't tell others that you provide a valuable product or service to them, then there's something wrong with the way you're conducting business and you may benefit from working with an experienced and reputable Business Coach. If you just haven't made asking for and utilizing testimonials a key part of your marketing efforts, then that can be relatively easily solved.

In either case, feel free to call me so that I can quickly help you achieve your business and marketing goals. My Fast Coach confidential office line is 804.288.0099.

~ Carroll King Schuller, Business & Life Coach for Fast Thinking Adults

P.S. When I check my Google Analytics account, my website's testimonial page is always the most visited.

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