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Chris LoCurto

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July 14, 2014

Wantrepreneur – What’s holding you back?

July 14, 2014 | By | 9 Comments">9 Comments

Wantrepreneurs are all talk and no action. Fear is usually the culprit.

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This is a shout out to all the wantrepreneurs:
What the heck is holding you back?

In case you don’t know what a wantrepreneur is, here’s the definition.

A couple months ago I was coaching a guy who is a high I and S personality style, and is a non-stop idea generator. I mean this guy was even pulling content and product ideas out of my head.

It was a pretty fun coaching session.

Towards the end of the session I asked him, “Dude, what’s holding you back? I mean, why haven’t you followed through with any of these ideas?” He took a few seconds to think about the question and replied, “Truthfully, I’m afraid of failing”.

This demanded a little “coaching call overtime”.

We spent the next hour diving into his fear of failure and how best to overcome it. It was awesomeness! I could see the difference in his countenance almost immediately.

As you’ve heard me say – when you freak you freeze! Fear was freezing him from taking action.

It was zapping his creativity and keeping him in a kind of limbo state.

On a recent follow up meeting I could tell I had created a monster. This guy had turned into a beast of action.

His typical scenario in the past would be to churn out idea after idea, but then fizzle out and lose momentum.

Now he has crazy focus and knew what he wanted. He has goals!

It was cool to see the transformation.

So…how does this apply to you?

What’s holding you back? (Really, I’m curious. Chances are your excuses look a lot like this guy’s.)

Are you afraid to fail?

Why?

“I may not make it.”
“I will lose respect.”
“I will be a failure.”

What do the voices in your head start shouting when you try to take action?

Fear will say,  “Worry about what others will think of you”.

Fear will say, “You are not good enough”.

Fear will say, “You are a failure”.

Fear will say, “You don’t deserve to win”.

Fear will say,  “You will fail, and you will be ashamed for trying”.

Fear keeps you wondering what other people are going to think about you, instead of what you have to offer that will change lives.

If you’re focused on what other people think…you’re worrying about the wrong person.

This week spend a little time getting past the why.

Chris LoCurto

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July 8, 2014

Steve Jobs’ Stick and Carrot Approach [Podcast]

Steve Jobs’ famous and highly criticized “stick and carrot” approach was created to incentivize and lead people. Believe it or not, this approach works according to personality style. When you’re leading people and trying to incentivize them you have to know what their motivators are. How do you find out what motivates them? By understanding the personality styles and values of your team.

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Stick and Carrot Approach by Personality Style

If you’ve got a High S or High C personality style, you’ll never motivate them by dangling a carrot in front of their nose. Their personality style doesn’t care about that incentive style. Instead they’d rather you tell them what an incredible job they’re doing, not in front of others, over extra money any day.

If you’ve got a High D or High I personality style, you’ll probably be able to lead them with a carrot and a stick. Especially High D’s. They’re all about competition, incentive and accomplishment. High I’s are also like that but love to know that you think they’re amazing and enjoy that praise in front of their peers.

If you’re going to dangle a carrot in front of someone, choose the right vegetable.

Stick and Carrot Approach by Values

There are seven essential values: economic, individualistic, political, regulatory, aesthetic, altruistic, and theoretical. If you’ve got someone that’s not a high economic, dangling a dollar in front of them isn’t going to make a big difference. If someone is a high altruistic, they’re motivated by doing something that’s helping others. If another person is highly theoretical, they want new information and constant change from learning. Learn more about the values and motivators and get the test in the store.

When you understand personality styles and values, you’ll certainly understand what to utilize and how to incentivize your team.

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Question: How has the stick and carrot approach worked for you?

Chris LoCurto

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July 1, 2014

Knowing When and Who to Hire [Podcast]

Today’s podcast is all about hiring – when to hire, who to hire and how to bring on team members that aren’t directly generating revenue.

Subscribe to the podcast:          iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

As a solopreneur, when you’re trying to build a business, you’re wearing a lot of hats. In the early phases, when you’re just starting to create revenue, subcontractors are a great way to get tasks done without investing in a salaried position. Always focus on creating revenue before hiring.

Once you’re moving in the direction of bringing on a full-time team member, for me, it comes down to looking at either a sales person or an assistant. A sales person will cost justify immediately. If they sell something, you pay them. If they don’t sell something, you don’t pay them. It’s not a fixed expense. Now, here’s the flip side, what if you are the great sales person and don’t have enough time to do everything else? That’s when you bring on a administrative person. When the administrative stuff is off of your plate, you’re freed up to bring in more revenue. Make sure you’re just not covering their salary with the extra revenue, ideally the extra time will allow you to generate two to three times what you’re paying in salary.

From there, when it comes to hiring an accountant or graphic designer or marketing person it all comes back to cost justifying the position.

Accounting: I’m of the philosophy that in the beginning you do all of your own accounting so you understand the P&L process. As you grow and have a lot of receipts or invoices, utilize a small business book keeper that specialized in accounting and tax  services. Later on, when you’ve got team members generating outside expenses and using debit cards, etc. then it might be time to bring on a salaried accountant. Make sure that person doesn’t just understand the books but understands the P&L process. When it’s time to hire a CFO, this absolutely has to be someone that’s experienced and can show your team how to win and take the business to an entirely different level by guiding and leading. At this time, you’d have around 40 people on your team and would be generating at least a million dollars in net profit.

Human Resources: You’re not going to hire an HR person early on. I want you doing all of those interviews and as you hire leaders, they can do the interviews and get with you towards the end of the process. A big piece of HR is creating culture. How do you establish your companies culture? How do you make sure you’re bring on someone with the right culture? Force the culture that you want or your new hires will bring the culture from their last organization and force it on you. When you’re generating half a million dollars in net profit, that’s when it’s time to start looking for a salaried HR person. If you’ve got plenty of revenue, bring on a rockstar. This is someone who has plenty of experience and can show you how they’ve brought success people into businesses and helped grow leadership.

Here’s a recap of the whole process, from start to growth:

  • Start with subcontractors so you’re not bringing on full-time hires.
  • When it’s time to bring on a team member ask yourself, “What is the most important role I can bring on that’s going to create more revenue and cost justify itself?”
  • If it’s a sales person, they must cost justify themselves. If it’s an admin person, you’re freed up time will cost justify their fixed expense.
  • Make sure you’re adding people according to your needs.
  • Non-revenue generating positions must always cost justify. You need to have plenty of revenue so you can watch and make sure you’re doing the right thing for the business.
  • Later on, start bringing on heavy hitters that will explode your growth.

Question: What are your hiring questions?

 

Chris LoCurto

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June 24, 2014

Are Your Assumptions Making You Unhappy? [Podcast]

June 24, 2014 | By | 7 Comments">7 Comments

Today we’re talking about the assumptions we all have and make. Sometimes our assumptions lead to certain expectations in business or life that can cause us a lot of pain. We assume our employees or team members are performing a certain way, we assume our leader is giving us all the information we need to be successful, and so on. 

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How do you stop assuming? Start by discovering what your expectations are for your team and ask yourself,

“Who taught them?”

Did you teach them to do it the right way? Is it possible you’re just assuming they know how to do a task because it’s in their job description or it was on their resume? If you’re expecting your team members to be exceptional at what they’re doing but you’ve never shown them what you’re expecting, you’ll always be unhappy.

When it comes to your team, children or yourself, reset your expectations by asking that simple question. When you don’t take personal responsibility and ask yourself what your role was in the situation, it’s easy to be upset.

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Question: What’s a time when your assumptions threw you off?

Chris LoCurto

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June 23, 2014

Definition of Leadership

What is the definition of leadership? Technically, it’s “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” If you want to know whether or not you’re a leader, turn around. If nobody is following you than you’re not leading.

Definition of Leadership, Leadership Definition, ChrisLoCurto.com

While that does suffice for an official definition, I can truly say I’ve encountered many people confused by that definition. There are many misconceptions about what it means to be a leader. In an attempt to clear some of those misconceptions up, here’s what leadership is not:

  • Leadership Is Not a Title - Titles don’t lead! So many people believe that if you have a title, you’re a leader. Having a title does not make you a leader. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is to take their greatest salesperson and make them the sales team leader. Who ever said they could lead? I see this fail all the time.
  • Leadership Is Not a Dictatorship – Telling people what to do doesn’t make you a leader, it makes you a dictator. People don’t follow dictators, they do what they say with only the required amount of energy to make it happen. No loyalty, no respect, and no buy-in.
  • Leadership Is Not Selfish - Contrary to popular belief, leadership is not about the leader. It’s not about one person’s ideas, desires, focus, drive, etc. It’s not about someone’s ego and pride.
  • Leadership Is Not the Blame Game - Leadership isn’t playing the blame game in an attempt to shrug off the responsibility of being an effective leader.
  • Leadership Is Not Angry - Ripping someones head off is in no manner leadership. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched, heard of, or been the recipient of a supposed leader losing their mind and yelling. All the while, the screamer usually never takes the time to find out all the correct information, thus losing all credibility, and any respect or loyalty.

Those are just a few examples of what leadership is not. Let’s take a look at what leadership is:

  • Leadership Is Selfless - A true leader first understands that leadership is not about them. It’s about the people they are trying to lead in a specific direction.
  • Leadership Is Successful - It is your job as a leader to make your team successful, not the other way around. You have to make sure that you are there for whatever your team needs to be successful. What does the team need? Do they understand their KRA‘s? Do they have questions about their processes? Do they have the tools necessary to be successful?
  • Leadership Is Visionary – “Without a vision, the people perish.” People have to have a vision to follow. Without it they are dying. Great leaders keep their team focused on where they are going, not just where they are.
  • Leadership Is Accountable - In my eBook, Why Your Meetings Suck, I talk about the most powerful meeting I have where I don’t play the blame game when things go wrong. Instead, I teach people to take responsibility and solve the problem. And when the reason the team member(s) failed is leadership, I take responsibility instead of trying to blame shift.
  • Leadership Is Rewarding - People repeat what they are rewarded for. Entrepreneurs and leaders are great at finding people doing things wrong, but not so much on finding people doing things right. If you want high quality team members, let them know when they’re being high quality team members.
  • Leadership Is Inspirational – It’s not enough to come to work everyday just for a paycheck. A person can do that anywhere. As a leader it is vital to inspire your team to something greater than themselves.
  • Leadership Is Mentoring - A great leader understand that their team needs instruction on their job, and life as well. Sometimes as a leader you have to be willing to spend time mentoring each team member. Believe it or not, most of your team members would love that interaction.
  • Leadership Is Protecting - People need to know that their leader “has their back”. There’s plenty of junk going on in everyone’s life, they don’t need it at work as well. Great leadership protects their team from gossip, back stabbing, lying, manipulation, etc.
  • Leadership Is Uncomfortable - You’re dealing with people and things can get messy. Sometimes it’s your responsibility to push others out of their comfort zone and stretch them past their own belief in themselves.
  • Leadership Is Personal - Great leaders understand that their business wouldn’t run without the people who have decided to invest their time and efforts in that business. You must care! Spending time getting to know each team member, their families, their hobbies, their strengths, their weaknesses, etc. will result in loyalty and respect. Hurt when they hurt, and celebrate when they celebrate!
  • Leadership Is Socratic - Understanding that you as a leader are not the only one with great ideas is vital to winning at leadership. You should be taxing the collective intelligence of your team when you need input, and believe it or not, even when you don’t need input. Be intentional about helping your team to use their creativity. Fostering this will cause them to think for themselves, which is a fantastic duplication process.

The goal of a team is to allow a business to do more than they can with just one person. Bad leaders get half the effort of their team. Great leaders need half the team of bad leaders!

Question: What’s your definition of leadership?