Client Success Stories

Do You Suck at Hiring and Firing?

Hiring and evaluating new team members is a challenge for most entrepreneurs – and often an even greater challenge for overcommitted entrepreneurs. We’re often in such a rush to make a decision and get someone – anyone – onboard that we neglect to use some of the best practices.

The focus today, when talking about jobs, is almost always on the jobs numbers and how hard it is to find a job. Left out of this conversation is how challenging it can be for employers to find the right person to hire amidst the deluge of applications. This can easily lead to overwhelm, which is even more stressful when you need to make a decision quickly.

So the question is, are you hiring (and vetting) properly so that you identify the person who is the best fit – the best fit for you, for your business, and for that person?

Most busy and overcommitted entrepreneurs either rush or pay too little attention to the hiring process because they need people quickly or have a hard time prioritizing. Sometimes it’s a simple as not taking the time to get clear on what they really need their new hire to do. This is sometimes called the “Warm Body Syndrome.”

Lately I’ve noticed that a number of my clients are having challenges with employees. In almost every case, the challenges stem from performance issues that could have been identified in the hiring process but weren’t.

Here is a perfect example from one of my clients. (Names have been changed, of course.)

Sam runs a restaurant and was having problems with his chef. When we talked, Sam had set up interviews with 12 candidates for the chef position. 

Let’s face it, 12 interviews for a small business is a tremendous amount of time that can distract the owner from their normal responsibilities.

I asked Sam to cancel these (in-person) interviews and instead, set up a powerful phone screening process that would allow him to identify the top candidates in 5 minutes.

The Power of Questions

When you ask the right questions, you can streamline your effective hiring process by getting the critical information you need about a candidate and his/her experiences and qualifications.

Here are the questions we identified for Sam to ask, after I helped him get very clear about exactly what he needed this new hire to be able to do.

  • Tell me about your experience of running a restaurant this size and turning it around.
  • Tell me the problems you ran into doing that, and how you handled those problems.
  • Tell me what you like about my restaurant and what you think you might want to change about it.

Sam spent 5 minutes on the phone with all 12 people. This saved him 11 hours he would have otherwise spent interviewing…assuming he was able to stick to his timeframe of 1-hour interviews. And out of all 12 candidates, there was only one person who had the experience to do what Sam needed.

That person, on paper, wasn’t Sam’s first choice. But by asking the RIGHT questions to get to the right information, it was obvious who was best for the job.

That’s not to say you don’t also conduct an in-person interview – you definitely do for this type of position. But by asking the right questions to get to the most relevant information, Sam was able to save himself a tremendous amount of time that he could, instead, use to focus on other parts of his business.

So, people aren’t really asking for exactly what they want. Either they are overwhelmed, or they are bootstrapping and can’t pay top dollar, so they think they can’t find the employees they want.

The truth is there are great people who have great qualifications…if you take the time to ask the right powerful questions.

Exercise:

What do you actually need this new person to do when they are successful in their role?

What question(s) can you ask that will evaluate whether they have this experience or not?

What do you really want to know about their experience in this area?
(Sam wanted to make sure the chef he was hiring would respect the reputation, the food, and the setting of his restaurant.)

If you do this exercise and are hesitant to ask these questions, you probably have the belief that either you aren’t worthy of investing in, or that deep down you don’t believe someone could actually do the work, or that what you are paying isn’t in line with your expectations.

Each of these 3 can be addressed if you’re willing to do the work. Good hires are easier to find than most people think. It’s also much easier, more cost effective, and far less stressful to hire the right person (by using these types of questions) than to manage, train or fire unqualified people.

Stamen Design Wins Information Is Beautiful Top Prize

Congratulations to my client Stamen Design who won top prize in the Information is Beautiful Competition with a CNN tribute to fallen soldiers. http://science.kqed.org/quest/2012/10/16/information-is-beautiful-competition-san-francisco-design-company-takes-top-prize/

What Does an Executive Coach Do, Exactly?

And who needs one?

Many people ask me what my work is like. Because everything I do is confidential, it is often difficult for people to grasp the type of work I do. Here’s a typical day this week:

1. I helped a real estate agent who’s burned out and really uninterested in his job discover his life’s purpose

2. I helped a multi-billion-dollar heiress evaluate the soundness of one of her investments, identify challenges with her investing knowledge and created a plan for how to communicate with and hold her investment managers accountable

3. I helped CEO of a billion-dollar real estate marketing firm set personal and professional goals for the next 10 years

4. I coached two business partners who are fighting and pointing fingers at each other on how to resolve their differences and focus on growing their company. (They still have some work to do to forgive each other! There’s only so much healing that can happen in an hour!)

5. I helped a Creative Director evaluate his employees’ performance and create individual development plans to improve the quality of their projects

6. I helped a massage therapist develop a high-level business model so that he can work toward his goals

Seems pretty varied on the surface, doesn’t it? The truth is, every single one of these coaching engagements was helping each of these individuals tap into their own wisdom, explore where they weren’t trusting themselves and combine that with my intuition and knowledge across hundreds of companies, dozens of industries and over 15 years of experience coaching people to create a plan and path forward that they can trust.

Simple. Quick. Effective. What do you need help figuring out? Set up a 30-minute  complementary exploratory coaching session with me.

Why I Created BrillianceQuest

Accelerating personal growth isn’t easy. Over the past 18 months, while I have been developing and testing BrillianceQuest, many people have asked me, why did you do it? Why did you create this program? The short answer is: because I needed it myself!

I was probably just like you. On the outside, I was successful. I had a great business that I owned, it was doing well financially, I had great clients who referred their friends and family to work with me. Externally, it all looked great! I even had people tell me that they envied my life. What  they couldn’t see on the inside is that I was miserable. Yes, miserable.

To be clear, the definition of misery that I use is “distress or suffering caused by need.” So, while everything on the outside looked good, it felt like something major was missing for me. I NEEDED something that I could not figure out for years!

I had been teaching people for ten years how the hard-wiring in their brains motivated them, which fears built into their brains drove them, what their stress responses were and how they manifested, how they made decisions, what irritated them and which environments were best for their brain types. I discovered a small study that was mostly unknown about neuro-transmitters and how they were biochemically required for joy and happiness – and the light bulb went off! Of course, I knew all this about my brain and how it worked but I wasn’t using my brain the right way so that I could be happy! I immediately changed the way I worked and I felt better. I wasn’t nearly as drained or exhausted after a hard day’s work. With this new knowledge, my life improved, but I still felt like something was missing.

One day, I was reading a blog post by my friend Andrea Lee, who wrote about meaning and money. I started thinking about meaning and decided to look up what it meant, exactly. Meaning is the significance of something. While I enjoyed my work and it was making a difference in businesses all over the world, it was still not significant enough for me. Sure, I was helping executives and managers reduce their stress, use their brains more effectively, communicate more effectively for their audiences and direct reports, but I wasn’t making a significant difference in their lives. I was helping them and they were thankful, but I knew I could do more.

A few months later, my friend Jeffrey Van Dyk called me to offer an amazing experience. He was learning how to teach people to access their purpose and was looking for a guinea pig. I immediately jumped at the opportunity and within a few weeks, I knew my purpose – to illuminate the world because the way we are working and living is unsustainable and goes against the natural order! Wow! I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but I knew it was “real” and “accurate” because I felt it. I also felt the significance of it. A little too much. It started to feel like a burden to me. Then I freaked out – I decided to ignore my purpose because it was too overwhelming for me and I didn’t think I could be successful at it (this is common for people who discover their purpose, by the way).

Be sure to check out my post on What Happens When You Ignore Your Life’s Purpose?

Things got worse. When I ignored my purpose, I got nervous, anxious and couldn’t focus. The next few months were a nightmare. Not only did my business suffer, my relationships, my health, my self-confidence all took a beating. Then I decided that I couldn’t ignore my purpose any longer, so I set off to figure out what it meant, how to be successful at it and what else did I need to know and do so that I could enjoy it, have meaning, be happy and fulfilled.

I used myself as a laboratory. I tried several things that didn’t work. I hired coaches and teachers and took courses and programs. I learned something from all of them, but not the “holy grail” for how to make it all work. Then one night I couldn’t sleep. During the wee hours of the morning, I heard a voice say “you’ve got everything you need.” I blinked and asked, “what?” And the voice inside my head said, “You’ve got everything you need. You have the skills, knowledge, strength, wisdom, passion and know-how to follow your purpose, be successful, find meaning and fulfillment and be happy. All you need to do is put it together the right way.”  I sat up in bed, stunned and shaking a little. It felt right. I did know it, but it didn’t exist yet.

I knew my purpose, but I didn’t exactly know how to make it successful. So, I added the Holistic Life Plan and I used the brain function information that I had been teaching so that I would have the right balance of neurotransmitters to biochemically set myself up for happiness. It all started to come together.

Necessity was the mother of invention. And now I’m proud to be able to share the entire BrillianceQuest process with you – if you’re ready for it!

 

Congratulations to Stamen Design for Weather Travel Maps

I’ve coached and advised Stamen Design for over ten years now and I am always impressed with their thinking and their amazing work. Today I’d like to commend them on their work: Weather Channel Road Trip Planner. Check it out!

Procrastination Required for Filmmaker Success?

Andy is a burgeoning, talented independent filmmaker who has investors for his first two movies. He honed his craft and learned the business working for other companies. He came to me concerned that he was spending too much time procrastinating and wanted to find out what was going on in his subconscious to create the issue.

Before starting the MindMafia session, we explored why he thought he was procrastinating. At first, he thought it was because his father often procrastinated on big projects or because his uncle had modeled it for him. Then he mentioned that it might be fear of success. I could tell he was concerned and grasping at straws to determine why he was unfocused and not making the progress he thought he should be. When we entered the MindMafia session, I asked which part of Andy’s subconscious or psyche was contributing to the procrastination. Immediately, a subpersonality called “success” identified itself. When asked why it was causing Andy to put off working on his films, it responded with, “It is a pacing mechanism.” Then it continued, “He worked himself out of a job at his last company. I want to make sure that he uses his time wisely and doesn’t get ahead of himself. He only has funding for two films, one is completed and the second is almost complete. He needs to work toward the official release date and wait for funds from the sale of the first film before he starts his next.” Indeed, Andy had been let go of his previous position because he created several films for his bosses – enough for a year’s worth of releases and they had a backlog of work to edit, package and distribute.

After the session, we debriefed by exploring what this information meant for Andy and how he could use it to his advantage. Armed with the knowledge that procrastination was helping him to stay on target with a fixed deadline and that it officially is caused by the part of his subconscious most concerned with his success, he can relax and enjoy the time his psyche urges him to procrastinate.

A few weeks later, I spoke with Andy and he said, “Now I don’t feel so bad for ‘pacing’ myself and can use that wasted energy from “worrying” all of the time into channeling more creativity when I’m focusing on work and have more worry-free fun when I’m procrastinating!”

Is Your MindMafia Running Your Business?

Some people call it the “committee in their heads” while others call it the “boardroom” in their heads or simply the voices in their heads or on their shoulders. The reality is that there are an entire group of people – a family – residing in your psyche and they are controlling everything you do, including the way you think, feel, and often act.

I call them the MindMafia because they are an underground group of “people” or voices sharing an organizational structure and code of conduct within you. There is the ego, the protector, the pusher, the child, the mother and father and a whole host of other subpersonalities that control you. And each is an important part of your make up.

If you’re procrastinating, it’s likely because there’s a voice in your head causing it. I worked with a filmmaker recently who kept procrastinating (see Procrastination Required for Filmmaker Success?) and he was beating himself up and his business was suffering because of it. We work with this part and it immediately identified itself as being responsible for his success. That was a surprise to him because it felt like it was doing the opposite – it felt like it was sabotaging him.

As we progressed, we learned that it was teaching this client to pace himself so that he wouldn’t burn himself out or burn through the money he had in his account. Profound shift in understanding why this part of him MindMafia was slowing him down – he was only interpreting it as procrastination.

In pyschological circles, these subpersonalities have been known for years and there are various methods to attempt to identify, understand and work with these entities. Inspired by a particular method called Voice Dialogue that has been around for over 40 years, I developed the MindMafia Mapping Method as a system for identifying, understanding the roles each of these subpersonalities play, how much control they exert over you and, more importantly, a method for negotiating with each of these “people” to change their roles, if they are willing.

This is extremely powerful work that can change your life in an instant, much like hypnosis. But unlike most hypnotic methods, you are completely awake and aware during the entire process.

My MindMafia includes my ego, vulnerable child, magical child, baron (pusher), guardian, cynic and critic to just name a few. Who comprises your MindMafia and how are they running your business?