Learning is Required for ___________


In today’s session of business SUCCESS with Doug Barra, I want to talk to you about learning, because learning is directly related to your planning.

“What!?!”, you might be saying to yourself, “what are you talking about? Learning is related to my planning!?! I’m planning. I’m planning on my growth. I’m planning on my sales. I’m planning on what I’m going to do. How is learning related to that?”

Well, learning is related to that, because you want to also plan what is the learning that you need. The learning that you need to understand to be able to do the plan that you’re creating.

Because – let’s look at it this way – if you’re creating a plan that’s just a list of things that you’re going to do over the next 12 months, the next month, the next 90 days, whatever, then is that really a plan? Or, is that just a list of “To Do” items that you’re going to do?

See, I see planning as creating the things that we’re not even sure how we’re going to do. We’re not even sure where we need to go to get that done, but we do know what we need to learn.

We do know what we need to get better at.

We do know all of the things that we don’t know in order to get this plan done.

And that’s where the learning comes in.

So, make sure that when you’re starting your plan for 2018, one of the topics is ‘what am I going to learn,’ so that you can have the best 2018 yet.

Looking forward to seeing you and talking to you soon. Please leave me a comment. What is it that you need to learn in order to really have your 2018 be successful? And, if there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Thank you.


Creating Your Best Year Yet

Welcome! In today’s session of business SUCCESS with Doug Barra, I want to talk to you about Year-End planning.

It’s so often that I talk to business owners that are actually sitting at the beginning of December going “I just want to get through the month. I don’t want to think about anything else. I just want to get through the month. I’ve got holidays coming up. I’ve got vacations coming up. I’ve got sales coming up. I just want to get through the month.”

However, this is the critical time for you to start the planning for next year, if you haven’t already started it. Now sometimes you might have gotten it done in November rather than wait until December.

But, if you have not gotten your planning done for 2018, then now is the time to start thinking about that and start getting yourself organized around what is it that you want to create.

What is it that you were looking to produce for next year so that you can have the most successful year yet.

I would love to hear from you as to when you start your planning or what’s going on for you around your planning.

Please leave me a comment. Let me know what you’re doing. Let me know what you’re thinking.

And, if there’s any way that I can be of assistance to you please let me know.

Looking forward to talking to you soon.


How Can You Integrate A Culture By Design

Today we’re going to discover how can you integrate a culture by design into your company.

So first of all, you’ve got your vision, you’ve got your mission, you’ve got your culture, your core values.

Are you using it in your onboarding process?

Are you using it in your performance reviews?

Is it included in your training and development pathways for your team in your career ladders?

Are you using it in every communication that goes out from your company, to a vendor, to a client, to a prospect?

Every piece of your company, every part of your company, that you can integrate it to, whether it’s business development, operations, customer service, even your I.T., your H.R., and your admin / financial functions.

The more alive you can make this in the fabric of the company. The more the culture of how we do things around here will be real for you and everyone you come in contact with.

If you like this. Please share with others, subscribe to my YouTube channel and like it on Facebook.

A Pathway To Get To Your Creativity

Today you’re going to discover a pathway to get to your creativity.

So, when we’re kids we start off being very curious, and very creative. So we’re exploring things, we’re building forts out of cardboard boxes, I mean we’re just in the world exploring and being curious. Then we go to school, and we’re taught to conform.

And inside of conforming, we’re taught to build and learn how to have a career and we go and we started our career. And, in our career, we’re taught to work really, really, really, really hard. And then, we get comfortable at that, like we’ve arrived. We have enough capacity and talent to be, you know, comfortable.

What happens to successful people often is they become complacent.

And inside of that complacency, they let down their guard. They’re no longer innovating. They’re not being competitive. They’re not out there looking for the Kaizen of constant and never-ending improvement. So then what happens. Crisis. Either the revenues start dipping we lose key employees like something happens and unfolds into complete and total chaos.

From there. How do we get out. We have to go back to being curious. And Curiosity of looking at what was the root cause of this. Being willing to take a look at ourselves our leadership where we started holding back. Being able to confront what’s working and not working in the business. Being able to go out and look in our industry, and go, hey you know there’s a lot of disrupt out here I wasn’t prepared for and become curious about how you can begin to be prepared for this next five years this next decade. And in the curiosity, comes back the creativity.

And I just finished reading a book called Rest. That builds the case for how important it is to take time to actually rest. Rest physically. Rest mentally. The importance of having a hobby, taking a sabbatical, even actually taking a nap. And, how that contributes to our capacity to be creative and to bring together disparate pieces of our lives to form something new.

Well in the keynote that I wrote on humanity transcending the digital age I talk a lot about the different ages that we’ve gone through from the Agrarian all the way up to what’s now being referred to as the imagination age and how rest is so critical.

You cannot create, not you, not anyone, not me. No, none of us can actually be as creative as we possibly can when we’re exhausted either physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually bankrupt. So the importance of bringing rest. And recognizing this pattern that I learned from Sharon Lechter, last week at Global Conference, of what stage am I at, and what do I need to do next in order for me to stay in that curious, creative space.

That will make all the difference not just for my business, but also for the quality of my life, and your life.

So I invite you to the see where are you, and then share that with me. If you’re confronted by something, or you are actually involved in the curious, creative stage, what are you doing that’s actually allowing for that. And if you’re in any of the other stages and I can support you, that would be my pleasure. So like it, subscribe to it, and share it. Thank you.

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Tips for Effective Employee Performance Reviews

Performance evaluations or performance management…

Completely, totally and utterly ineffective.

When the owner or the manager goes to give feedback, most the time, they dread it. And, of course, the employees dread it, or they’re hoping that they’re going to get a good one and get a raise.

But the world of performance evaluations is painful for most businesses. And there are some good reasons for that.

If they don’t have a job description with clear indicators of how they’re going to be evaluated, in terms of their effectiveness, it’s totally subjective.

So: unclear expectations; unclear duties for their role; they typically get infrequent and ineffective feedback; and, there’s a lack of accountability because most people are uncomfortable holding other people to account. And, so they step over it until they’re disappointed and then they give lousy performance reviews.

An article that I was reading, from the Gallup organization, talks about maybe the shift needs to be more towards performance development.

And, especially in today’s day and age where it’s an employee marketplace, getting rid of an employee because you’re dissatisfied with them, rather than actually looking at how do I develop this person.

Are they cast in the proper role, or are they clear about what I expect from them? Are they clear about how I’m going to be measuring them, or are they clear about what’s expected from their team members?

Am I giving them ongoing feedback about what they’re doing right as well it’s what they do wrong? Because, most of the time people focus on what they are not happy about.

It’s actually designing performance development based on skill sets, based on natural talents and strengths, based on being properly cast.

And, so the world of performance can improve dramatically if the owners and managers take a little bit of time and make sure that they set that person and themselves and their business up to win, at the on set, and then provide that ongoing training, coaching and clear expectations, we can turn this around.

Many of you may be going, OK, Jody, that’s great, but where do I get started with that? I don’t know how to do it.

We have a position description writing guide I’m happy to share with you, and a checklist of things to cover in the performance development. So, click this link and you can have those resources and if you’d like to speak with me then give me a call.

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The Importance of Culture and Making a Difference

In episode #3 of the business SUCCESS with Doug Barra series, Doug talks about the importance of Culture and making an Impact

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a blog and it’s been a really crazy couple of weeks with lots and lots of stuff going on lots of stuff to tell you guys about. I’m going to try to keep it short so that it’s not crazy but I do want to get you caught up.

The main thing that I want to talk to you about today is the B1G1 conference that I’ve just come back from and it was amazing.

Now what is B1G1 business for good?

Well it is an amazing organization that gives you the opportunity to be part of something that is making a major difference around the world. And you can be part of that in your everyday giving, everything that you do can be part of making a difference through B1G1.

You can see in the background all kinds of different projects and things that they do. This was the Cambodia tour that they had where they went and actually visited different projects.

One of the things I love about B1G1 is that the way B1G1 works is there is a membership to be a member of B1G1. That is the only part of B1G1 that is used for admin. So all of the money that goes in as a member goes to admin and then everything that you donate to any project 100 percent of that from B1G1 goes to that project.

And, they have a very very rigorous vetting process, so that they make sure that the projects that they’re funding typically 100 percent goes to the people that it’s benefiting. But even if it doesn’t they’re looking for 70 to 90 percent of that funding going straight to the people that they’re helping.

And they become partners with those people, as you can see. It’s really amazing the partnership that they’ve created with these local organizations that are doing so much good around the world. And in that I get to be part of it.

I get to actually have my giving make a difference and I want to give you that opportunity as well.

So, part of today’s blog is about: if you would like to be a member of B1G1 then go to actioncoachteamsage.com/b1g1 and learn more.

You could become a member, too, and have your everyday activities be part of making a difference in someone’s life, so that they actually get all that benefit.

So, you can see another video started behind me. This is actually their Kenya tour where they were going around actually visiting people in Kenya that they were making a difference for.

Again, I would love for you to be a part of this movement that actually makes a difference in the world.

And, I want to take a few moments and talk about what is it that I covered when I presented at the B1G1 conference.

Remember, I said it was their tenth anniversary conference and I got the opportunity to actually present there and make a difference for the people that were at the conference. What I presented on was on culture, because we believe that culture is one of the most important things in your business. It’s one of the keystones of the foundation for your business. Those keystones are Vision, Mission and Culture.

Being someone who has all three of those in place for your business will help you to have a business that truly stands the test of time and gives you the opportunity to really make a difference with your business.

Every business has a culture.

The only question is, is that culture the water cooler culture? The one that kind of naturally evolves, where people stand around the water cooler and gossip and talk about each other and talk about how bad the business is and all that kind of stuff that is completely without any merit in the business.

Or, is it a culture that you created as the business owner? A culture of customer service. A culture of accountability. A culture of giving. A culture that actually supports the business thriving and that your customers get everything that they want, so they’re thrilled about being customers of yours.

Imagine what that would be like!

Imagine what it would be like to have a team who is as committed to making a difference for your customers as you are. That is as committed to making your business a success as you are, maybe even more.

This is one of the reasons why I think B1G1 is such an amazing opportunity because B1G1 gives that opportunity to be able to make that kind of an impact! To make it happen and give back, give something. For your team to be able to say, “I made a difference. I’m caring. I work for a company that cares and I know how it happens.”

This is Doug Barra. I hope you loved what I’ve said. I would love to hear what you think about it. I’d also love to hear what you think about this structure of me talking to different cameras.

I’ll see you next week.

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Freedom! What does that mean anyway…

With the national celebration of the fourth of July, having just past, I decided to write on what that means to me, and to all business owners…

Fourth of July, Independence Day, the celebration of freedom.

What is freedom? What does Freedom really mean?

Is it the possibility to do anything I want? No, not really, not if I what I want is not inside of the law…

So, does law mean no Freedom?

In one sense, yes. However, without law there is no order and the possibility then occurs for no freedom if someone decides to limit another’s freedom.

This can be a tricky thing to look at. How much freedom should, and needs to, be allowed inside of the law, and how does one decide in what areas should freedom be allowed, or not, so that everyone can experience being free? I can see that this would have been a difficult issue for our founding fathers to debate and I am glad that they were able to come to an agreement that allowed for this nation to be created, where we enjoy a number of freedoms that are not allowed in many societies.

And then, of course, there are many things that are limited by law and are they all really for the good?

Sometimes I think that many of the laws that are passed, that limit our freedoms, are self-serving for one interest, or another. However, I think that overall freedom of our country still exists.

And, what is that freedom?

The freedom to be whatever you want to be! There is no limit to what you can be. You are not limited to what is allowed by your lineage, your cast, your skin color, your sexual orientation, or anything else.

Now, many will say that there are limitations that are disguised. For example, if you want to be an engineer, you have to go to a university to earn a degree in engineering and that costs a lot of money. And, if your parents are poor, you can’t afford the tuition to go to a university, therefore you are not free to be that.

In one sense, this is correct. However, if you were in this situation and you really wanted to go to a university and become an engineer, there are ways that you could get the funding, or even get into the university without funding! It is not impossible!

It may not be easy, but what in life, that is really worth it, ever is?

Mostly, I say that the odds are only stacked against those that believe they are!

If you are willing to be committed to your goals and go the extra mile – even when it seems impossible, even when everyone else says you can’t do it, even when you have failed again and again – then you can achieve anything.

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Insufficient Structures

I want to talk to you today about one of the three pitfalls all small business owners face.

Today’s pitfall is about structures; insufficient structures.

There is a trend today of having a free and open work environment, flexible hours, The Four Hour Work Week, work life balance…

Does this sound familiar?

Have you seen this happening?

Where all of this is great, it can only be effectively achieved inside of a great structure. So, what do I mean by a structure.

I’m not talking about a physical structure like a building. Although, the physical structures can be important.

What I’m talking about, is having the structures that support the business succeeding.

These are the structures of accountability, procedures, workflows and, dare I say it, policies.

When the business is small, with only a couple of people on the team, the need for these structures isn’t as apparent. However, as soon as the business starts to grow, the structures quickly become the things that can make or break the company.

One company that I worked with was nearing disaster when we met. As a matter of fact, they were considering bankruptcy.

They were a small store run by two brothers. They had taken over the business from their parents.

Their parents had always kept the store as a small local store but the brothers had loftier goals. They started to grow the staff, grow the revenues, but they couldn’t figure out why the more they grew, the more burned out they became.

Have you ever known anyone like that?  Maybe you’ve met them in the mirror.

They couldn’t keep team members. They had a problem with quality control when they weren’t there. They actually started to ignore areas of the store to focus on what they preferred because they just couldn’t manage at all…

And the team watched it happen, did as little as they could get away with, and either got fired for not doing their job, or left because they were bored.

All because there were in sufficient structures!

So you can start to see how important the structures are in a business.

Please download the ebook on the three dangerous pitfalls that all small business owners face that keep them overwhelmed, putting out fires and chained to their business.

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Business Growth Requires Working On Your Business

How much time do you spend working in your business? How much time do you spend working on your business?

Be careful. Those questions are NOT the same. There is a difference between working IN your business and working ON your business. That difference is at the heart of the best and worse business growth plans.

Working In the Business

When someone starts up a business, that person spends the majority of his or her time working in the business. That means working on the day-to-day activities that keep the business going. A typical day might include:

  • Serving customers and clients.
  • Fulfilling orders.
  • Managing the team
  • Doing marketing
  • Handling the billing
  • Putting in purchase orders
  • Keeping the bookkeeping straight.

Now all of those activities are important when it comes to keeping the business going. But, it is not necessarily what is going to give the company a stable foundation for growth.

Working On The Business

Working on the business is what makes the foundation strong and allows the company to grow in the right direction. When you are working on the business, you are strengthening your foundations and creating the basis for future business growth. What activities are included?

  • Defining and revising your business model. Many companies have an ever-changing business model that does not have much thought behind it. Spending time defining and refining that model can make the business more efficient and even more profitable. It may also show opportunities for growing the business in new directions.
  • Defining business goals and planning how to make them happen. Your company needs clear goals to strive towards and meet. You need to spend time thinking on where you want the business to go. Once you know the direction, you need concrete plans on how you will make each goal a reality. This planning is what keeps your company on track and moving forward.
  • Developing and establishing written systems. This is one of those business growth plans that most company owners don’t adopt. Developing systems to handle most of the functions and processes in your business is sound business practice. You make your business more efficient with systems that produce quality results every time. It reduces training time and makes it easy for one team member to help another.
  • Managing the company’s budget and finances. Your numbers are what tell you if your company is growing, if you are meeting your goals, and if you are having troubles. You need to spend time each day looking at daily numbers, each week with the weekly numbers, and so on. You also need solid financial planning to handle catastrophic or unforeseen events.
  • Editing your company. One of the most important things you can do for your company is to get rid of the things that are not doing the business any good. You may have products that were never popular. You might offer services which few customers want. You may have a team member that is not performing at the level you need. Releasing what is not working will allow the things that are working to grow and thrive.

Among business growth plans, working on your business is at the top of the list. If you fail to spend time in the endeavors which strengthen your business, your company will not survive. Take the time, make the time, to do the work needed to keep your company strong and moving forward.

How much time are you going to spend today working on your business?

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Contact Management Systems

I’m laughing because I said I want to talk in this episode today about CRMs, contact relationship management and got quite an odd response.

However, contact management systems are one of the most important systems that you can have in your business.

So let me share with you why that is. It houses all of the data about your prospects and your clients. And, if you have a good one, it can actually upload documents, it can keep track of emails, it can send e-mails, it has a calendar in it, it can do workflows…

I mean, there are contact management systems out there that are spectacular. And some of them are free all the way up through however much… They can be a couple hundred dollars, it depends on what you want and need them to do.

However. One of the ones that I like, we use Infusionsoft, one of the ones that I like is Zoho CRM. And I like it because it’s inexpensive and it has a lot of different modules that you can add onto it could do many things so you can kind of build your own so to speak.

And, when people do quotes, for certain businesses that have long sales cycles, you can lose track of them.

Sometimes people keep them in Excel or they just keep them in email or they try to Calendarize it in outlook or something like that. But, actually, if it’s done in a contact management system, a report can be run, and then you can go back and you can actually look at what stage is this quote in in my sales process, and then take the next appropriate action.

You can put templates in there so that you’re not inventing what you’re going to write in response to something, from nothing, but this can be the bones, or the bullet points, of something that you then customize.

So the time saver that it is, the tracking ability that it has, the housing that it is for your clients and prospects, and the ability to run reports is priceless information for business owners.

So, yeah, I really push people to have a contact management system. One that they utilize and that they continually build out so that they can automate more and more things, get the information they need, so that the time that they have available can be directed at the specific thing they want to say to that person.

I’m not talking about mass automation of email marketing or any of that kind of thing. I’m talking about, if you have that automated, you can actually invest your time in being very personable with the person that you’re speaking with and interacting with and have the information you need to take appropriate next steps.

CRMs, they are your friend!

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