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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?

Chris LoCurto

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June 17, 2014

Key Results Areas and Your Questions Answered [Podcast]

June 17, 2014 | By | 5 Comments">5 Comments

We’ve received several questions related to Key Results Areas – KRA. Today we’re digging into the topic on the Chris LoCurto Show and answering your specific questions!

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

A KRA is a job descriptions on steroids. They’re created to show the person performing the job what winning looks like. The KRA should outline three to six major areas, with four to five bullets under each area drilling down on specific tasks. To review sample KRA’s, check out this post: How to Create a Key Results Area In this episode I’ll be answering your key results area specific questions, like:

  • How to incorporate company vales into KRA’s
  • How to use a KRA during a performance review
  • How to adapt a KRA for coaches and athletes

The major goal of a key results area is to improve communication. When a new hire is made and the job description is under communicated, both the leader and the employee are frustrated. Neither party understand what the other is supposed to be doing. Neither party understand what winning looks like. If you don’t have KRA’s in your business, start today! KRA, Key Results Area, Sample KRA, I’ll also answer your questions on tithing, where to find new hires, and how to find a balance between patience and career growth in the podcast.

If you’ve got a question for a future podcast, click on the voicemail app to the right or leave your comment below!

Chris LoCurto

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June 16, 2014

8 Negative People You Should Avoid!

In LifePlan I share with people that we are the sum of our influencers and our past. Good or bad, how we’ve been influenced and how our past has impacted us, shapes our decisions to be who we are today.

Fire your friends and family, ChrisLoCurto.com

Who are we influenced by? Our Family, friends, teachers, leaders, and co-workers.

For most people, their family makes up the majority of those two areas. We would all love for our family to have an incredible, positive, and loving impact on us. Unfortunately for a lot of folks, their family has had a lasting negative impact.

Keep in mind I said for a lot of folks. Not everyone’s family has had that effect. In fact, I just had a gentleman go through LifePlan who had the greatest loving parents I’ve seen. So yes, there are wonderful loving families out there.

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 If you haven’t received your free copy of my new guide, Avoiding Conflict, then be sure to click here now to get it! It shows you how each of the different personality styles contribute to conflict.

I share with every LifePlan attendee who has had the negative impacts, we don’t make any monsters or any victims, we focus on discovering WHY. Understanding why you are where you are, and why you make the decisions you do, is the most powerful part of becoming your strongest self ever.

Until you go through LifePlan and discover for yourself how to best deal with any situation, you need set up healthy boundaries between you and those who are constantly bringing you down.

Do you have any of these people in your life:

  • The naysayer – This is the person who constantly says what ever you propose to do will not work. They have every reason and excuse in the book why you will fail at pretty much everything you try.
  • The know-it-all – No matter how much you know from experience, learning, or God-given wisdom, the know-it-all always makes you feel like you’re an idiot, and none of your thoughts or ideas have merit.
  • The drama queen – I do believe the old saying that misery loves company. Some will go out of their way to stir up as much drama as possible and suck others in. They tend to focus on folks whose heart cares for others, and tends to be too big to consciously protect themselves.
  • The taker – This person is always interested in what you can do for them. They are quite often a victim, and always turning the focus back on to them and what they are dealing with. If you are struggling with something, they will tend to tell you that it’s not that big of a deal, and you she see what they are having to deal with.
  • The impossible to please – Some people refuse to give a kind word to anything you do. If you have something that you are proud of, they will find 700 reasons why it’s not good enough. In turn, you hear every time that it is YOU who are not good enough.
  • The Manipulator – “I really need you to help me with…” is a common sentence used by the manipulator. They do a great job discovering who around them they can get to do things for them. If you push back, they will push harder to make you feel guilty.
  • The Judge – It is vitally important to The Judge to look good. So much so, they will do what they can to make you look less-than or insignificant. No matter what you’ve done, they’ve done it better.
  • The Self Critic – This is probably the worst negative person of all! This is the person inside of you who believes the lies that you are told, and has a tendency to tell quite a few lies to you as well. This negative person must be avoided at all costs!

The truth is we see these people in what we call friends, co-workers, leaders, etc.

Understand this – ALL people need a LifePlan! Everyone on the list above most likely doesn’t understand why they do what they do. Even if they have an idea, they don’t know how to deal with it. If you didn’t listen to Understanding Your Root System on the podcast, it will help to explain more.

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I’m not asking you to kick people out of your life, (although some people you might need to) I’m asking you to set healthy Boundaries and remove the authority the negative people have in your life.

Question: What advice do you have to keep negative people away?

Chris LoCurto

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June 10, 2014

How to Avoid Conflict [Podcast]

June 10, 2014 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

Almost all conflict is a direct result of poor communication. I’m constantly teaching the importance of understanding personality styles in preventing poor communication, which in turn reduces conflict and misunderstandings. When you understand your personality style, and the style of the person you’re communicating with, you know how you’re contributing to conflict and how to avoid it.

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Most conflict is due to people being immature in their personality style(s). Maturity has nothing to do with age. You can be a 70 year-old immature high D, I, S, or C. It has everything to do with how much you understand your strengths and weaknesses.

If you haven’t taken a DISC personality test, DO IT NOW! Afterward check out the free guide I’ve written on avoiding conflict. I go in-depth on 16 different points divided out by personality style. Here are just the points:

People with a High D contribute to conflict by:

  • Intimidating others, especially with competition
  • Hurting feelings
  • Leaving out details when communicating
  • Bucking the system

People with a High I contribute to conflict by:

  • Hogging the limelight and talking too much
  • Not following through with what they say
  • Not taking things seriously
  • Overlooking details and loosing sight of the task

People with a High S contribute to conflict by:

  • Resisting change, even when it’s needed
  • Dragging their feet when making decisions
  • Allowing themselves to be walked over and becoming resentful
  • Being hard to motivate

People with a High C contribute to conflict by:

  • Challenging others by over questioning them
  • Primarily pointing out the negative with a critical eye
  • Assuming or insisting they are right
  • Being nit-picky or obsessive compulsive about details

In the free guide, I go through every single one of those points and help you discover the “why.” This allows you as a team member, leader, parent, child to understand how the people in your life are going to handle situations. Once you know how to handle and address conflict, your communication improves drastically!

Understand how each personality style contributes to conflict

Conflict pdf, how to avoid conflict, conflict guide, personality style guide, free

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Question: What do you want to know about conflict or personality styles? Leave a voice message (icon to the right) if you want a chance to be featured on a future episode.

Chris LoCurto

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June 9, 2014

Life Hack to Make Money and Gain Time

I have the blessing of coaching people pretty much every week of my life. And yet, coaching is not what I would have said I’d being doing when I was younger. After years of coaching people, I can say it never gets old!

Life Hack for Time and Money, Chris LoCurto.com

This past week in one of my sessions I worked with a company who’s owner was struggling with time due to death by a thousand slashes. He has so many disruptions in his day he finds himself at times working until 4AM to solve problems.

As you can imagine, he’s considerably frustrated with time lost both in his business and his personal life. And just like all of us, he has incredibly legit reasons why it’s like this.

Here are just 7 things I shared with him to gain control of his time, which in turn will make the company more money. They’ll do the same for you. 

  • Close your day out – I’m starting with this because it will help make better sense of the other steps. If at all possible, block the last 30 minutes of your day so you can “wrap-up” your day. This gives you time to go through any emails, calls, or whatever needs to be addressed before you leave. This doesn’t mean that all emails and calls are attended to, it just means you tackle the ones that have to be. Reserve at least 5 minutes for the next step.
  • Tomorrow’s to-do list – Yes, I want you doing a brain dump and list the most important things that must be done tomorrow, and then prioritize it. So much time loss comes from bouncing from one thing to another and not having serious momentum. When you have it listed out, you attack and don’t stop until it’s done.
  • Schedule your to-do list – My buddy Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com shared with me that she schedules her to-do list by time slots. And here’s the best part. She reschedules it up to 3-times a day. When something disrupts the flow of her day, which happens to all of us, she goes through her list by adjusting priority and rescheduling. Genius!
  • Block off “you” time – It is also vitally important for you to block off time for you to do whatever it is that makes you money! If part of your job is to produce, not just lead, then you have to make sure that you have as much uninterrupted time as possible in your day to produce. Otherwise, you end up working incredibly long hours because you spent your day being a firefighter instead of following these steps.
  • Team meetings – Quite often the reason a leader dies a death of a thousand slashes is because the team doesn’t have enough direction from that leader. Weekly team meetings are usually necessary, but you might even have to have daily ones as well. Summarize the previous day, any changes the team might not know about, and give direction for the day ahead. This should keep a lot of interruptions from happening.
  • Set healthy boundaries – It is not uncommon for a leader, entrepreneur, or team member to allow others to unnecessarily suck up their time. If a client, which might also be an internal client, has a habit of dropping in on you whenever they want to discuss the job you’re doing for them, then you need to let them know that scheduling time with you would be more productive. Think of it this way. An 8-hour road trip becomes a 10-hour road trip when you add a bunch of stops to it.
  • Teach your team to solve problems – In the first 90 days of a team member’s time with me, I will answer almost any question they have. After that, I start asking them questions and telling them to bring solutions to their problem as well. In other words, when a team member needs an answer on something, I ask how they would handle it. This causes them to start force-of-habit thinking to always come up with an answer first. You’ll be surprised at how many times they will actually solve the issue on their own.

After discussing these 7 things and more, my client made a comment that the time saved will actually gain him $50,000.00 in billable hours. That, my friends, is something I like to hear!

Question: What tips do you have to save time and make money?

Chris LoCurto

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June 3, 2014

Personal Accountability with John Miller [Podcast]

John G. Miller, the best-selling author of QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, Outstanding! and Flipping the Switch, joins me on the podcast to talk about personal accountability and responsible parenting. QBQ has been a huge part everything I’ve done and I firmly believe in the message of personal accountability in business and in life.

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The QBQ message and how it applies to your business, team and life.
  • How to have personality accountability and the questions we must ask ourselves.
  • How “why” questions take us to victim thinking, “when” questions take us to procrastination, “who” questions take us to blame and how to turn them into questions behind the question.
  • How to hire people with the QBQ mindset and bring the concept to your team.
  • Understanding entitlement and how to overcome the entitled mindset.
  • Parenting the QBQ way and why our children are a product of our parenting.
  • Strong parenting vs. weak parenting and how bullying starts at home.
  • The different between parenting children and relating to adult children.

The biggest takeaway of the QBQ message can be answered by asking yourself this question: “Who have I been trying to fix?” Every single one of us has someone in our lives that’s disappointed or frustrated us. When we can let it go and “work on me,” our entire perspective changes.

Would you like to win a free book? If so, go on to iTunes and review the podcast. Be sure to comment on this post with a link to the review so we know how to contact you! Also, check out qbq.com for more great information from John!

Question:  How has the QBQ message changed your business and life?

Comment below or use the voicemail app on the right to be featured on an upcoming podcast! 

Chris LoCurto

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June 2, 2014

5 Ways You Are Holding You Back

This weekend I did something I haven’t done in a long time – played golf. It was so nice to get out on a beautiful course with one of my best friends on the planet, Keith Cook.

The comments on Instagram are quite funny about our shirts and one of our beards…guess whose. 

While I love playing golf, I’ve never been great at the sport. If I shoot under 100 I’m pretty darn happy. Keith, on the other hand, is a boss! He played in school and has continued for years. As we started the round, I already had the feelings of eminent failure. I had plenty of reasons as to why I would soon be frustrated.

  • It’s been a long time since I’ve played.
  • I’ve never been great at the game.
  • I’ve never had proper coaching in the sport.

All things that would almost insure I was not going to be under 100 that day. Before we teed off,

Keith made a suggestion. He looked at the hole and said, “You know, I think I’m going to hit my 5 iron twice for position instead of trying to reach it with my driver and putting myself in trouble. Besides, two great shots with a 5 iron is the same as a great driver shot and a chip in. You might want to try that as well.”

It totally made sense, but that meant that I couldn’t do it my way. And my way was to rip the driver in hopes that I don’t duff it short of the ladies tee (some of you know what happens then), or crank it into the river right next to us.

As someone who coaches a ton, I knew it was time to be coached! I decided to go with the advice and it worked. I kept with his advice and left my driver in the bag for a while. At one point, he made another suggestion that I only take a very slow 3/4 backswing and see what happens.

Not only did I crush the ball, but I picked up an extra 30 yards with that club, AND it was straight as an arrow! Step after step Keith coached me to have a phenomenal game compared to my usual frustrating one. It also prompted me to post some of the ways we hold ourselves back in business and in life.

5 Ways You Hold You Back

  • Keeping with the status quo – So many times we know we need help, but we’re not sure who to ask or where to look. Every time I step foot on a golf course I know I should take lessons from a coach. Instead, I utilize my time making mistakes, taking unnecessary detours, and taking considerably longer than I should to get mediocre results.
  • Confusing instincts with desire – I absolutely believe there is a paper-thin line between instinct and desire. If you’re anything like me, you have trouble from time to time knowing which one it is. My golf coach’s instinct for me to hit my 5 iron instead of my desire to hit my driver panned out. We need to know when to ask for help from someone who has the answers that we don’t have.
  • Thinking you don’t have the capacity – Often I see people who have convinced themselves they are currently at their capacity and don’t have room to grow. This is a ridiculous idea. What you don’t know is absolutely holding you back! Just one of Keith’s ideas would have been plenty to change my game for good. Praise God he didn’t stop there.
  • Not making the right choice – Again, as someone who coaches a lot, I have a lot of different coaches for the areas I need help with. I’ve known for years that when I want to be great at something, I need someone who already is great to coach me through it. But for some reason, I hadn’t with golf until the other day. Therefore, Keith is my new golf coach. With only a few insights he changed my game considerably for the better!
  • Stopping at better – While Keith coached me to be better in just one game, I don’t want to just be better. My goal is to be my best. The only way I can accomplish this is to put my newfound information into place, and then continue tapping into the wisdom of my coach for more new ways to grow.

The excitement I now have for golf is one that I want in every aspect of my life, especially my business. And it starts with knowing when to get help. Coaching-Banner If you are ready to take your business, leadership, or your life to the next level, then don’t be the thing holding you back! Click here and get started!

Question: How has coaching helped you?

Chris LoCurto

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May 27, 2014

How to Handle Rude Customers [Podcast]

Rude customers are a breed of their own. Today I’m answering a question from Vanessa about how to handle rude customers while backing your team members up.

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I just recently had a situation with one of my customers and a representative that was assisting the customer. The rep took the call and felt the customer was being rude and was upset and possibly yelling at the rep. As soon as I heard that, I told the rep to place the customer on hold and I would handle the call. The rep was able to transfer her to me and when I spoke with the customer she was okay – nothing I couldn’t handle and I was able to assist the customer. The rep expressed his frustration that he had never been talked to like that from a customer before. I told him that I needed to fix the issue in which I did. He felt as if I wasn’t backing him up because the customer was out of line.

Did I handle the situation correctly? What limits should I have on customers yelling at our representatives? I want them to know I get the frustration of the customer yelling at them but also our goal is to fix the issue. Any feedback would help.

Thanks for the question Vanessa. Obviously I don’t know what the customer said to your representative or if and why they were yelling but your first step should always be to get that information.

Here’s what you’ve got to understand about your team – they must know that you are there to protect them. I don’t mean to protect them in stupidity or being a bad representative or an entitled employee. If a customer is treating your representative rudely, you need to show them that you’re willing to stand in the gap and battle against bad junk to protect them. Show your team that you care more about them.

That being said, I want you to solve every customer problem you possibly can unless the customer is being a jerk. Yes, maybe they’re frustrated and understandably so if the company messed up but there’s a line. That line starts when they’re literally yelling. What happens when they cross that line? You give them a warning, “Here’s my extension, when you decide not to yell at me, call me back.” If they keep yelling, hang up.

My team will always know that they have that right. Even more, when a customer is using profanity they have full power to fire them. Yes. Fire the customer. It doesn’t matter how much money they’ve spent with the company. If a customer is cussing out one of my team members, they’re gone.

Now, if there wasn’t yelling or profanity, I’m going to have a discussion with the representative. It’s possible they need to have tougher skin in a customer service role or maybe they’re on the wrong seat on the bus. If they’re acting with entitlement, they’re probably in the wrong seat. If they’re not ready to have tough skin and handle customers in a customer service role, they probably don’t need to be there.

 Dillanos CoffeeWe tasted Chania Roast from Dillanos Coffee Roasters today. Get 15% off your coffee order by using the code “CLOTRIBE”

Be sure to click the voicemail app button on the right side of the page to leave your question for a future Q&A podcast! Please include your name, what you do and where you’re from and we’ll try to include your question in the show.

Question: How would you handle the situation?

Chris LoCurto

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May 20, 2014

The LifePlan Episode [Podcast]

Recently I asked who you would like to hear on the podcast and so many of you asked to hear from past LifePlan attendees, so today is the day! Stephen Scoggins and April Browning are joining me on the podcast to talk about their LifePlan experiences.

They unpack what it means to go through a LifePlan, and give you the ins and outs of this phenomenal 2-day process.

“LifePlan for me was putting things in proper perspective. Putting things in a perspective to take your past, your present, your future – blend them together, have a clear path…” – Stephen Scoggins

 

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

In this episode, Stephen and April will talk about:

  • What made them decide to go through LifePlan
  • The most powerful part of the process
  • Who LifePlan is for and who they’d recommend going through the process
  • How it’s impacted their relationships with family, friends and team members
  • Why Stephen is sending his team through LifePlan
  • How understanding personality styles factors into the LifePlan
  • The toughest, best and worst part of LifePlan
  • Life post LifePlan – weeks and months after the event

“If you have any questions within yourself, any doubts, if you’re not 100% certain on the direction your life is headed, I think LifePlan is for you.” – April Browning

If you’re interested in learning more about the process or to schedule a LifePlan, fill out the contact form and we will be in touch with you shortly!

Question: What else do you want to know about LifePlan?

Chris LoCurto

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May 19, 2014

4 Ways To Foster Creativity

Leadership requires creativity, and not just from the leader, but more importantly, from your team. If you’re going to grow your business, it’s vital to understand that when you are the only one being creative, you’re wasting what your team has to offer. Foster Creativity, ChrisLoCurto.com Quite often I work with leaders and entrepreneurs to answer this question:

“Why won’t my team be more creative?”

Unfortunately, more than not, the answer is simple. It’s not the team’s fault. Time and time again I see leaders stifle their team’s creativity. Why would they do that?

Most of them don’t have the slightest clue that they are.

It happens when you expect people to just be creative. I know it sounds silly, but think about it – most leaders assume anyone they hire has the ability to be creative.

It’s that very expectation that’s the problem. You can’t just will someone to use their creativity. Instead, you have to guide them according to their personality style. If you haven’t had your team discover their personality profiles, get it done TODAY! Click here for personality profiles.

While you need creativity in most aspects of your business, I’m going to use examples that focus mainly on task or project ideas.

Here are a few quick ways to foster creativity on your team by personality style:

High D personalities – High Ds process with lightning speed. Therefore, they feel like the first idea they have is the best one. They won’t spend a lot of time being creative because they would rather shoot from the hip. To get them to be creative, ask for three in-depth ways to handle a task or project at hand. Let them know it’s important for them to not just come up with a short answer, but one that if they explained it to five other people, those people would understand it completely.

High I Personalities –  High Is usually have no problem being creative. Their issue usually lies in focusing their creativity. They can come up with a dozen ideas, and half of them might not be about what you asked. Like the high D, let them know you would like to know how they would handle a specific task or project. Be sure to give them parameters and a set time limit, and ask them to “white board” their ideas first before presenting their top three ideas to you.

High S personalities –  High Ss focus their processing heavily on decisions will impact others. Also, they would rather you, the leader, be creative and they support you in the matter. To motivate them, start by asking them to come up with as many ideas as they can within a timeline. Let them know there is NO bad idea, and you just want them to come up with as many ideas as possible.

High C personalities –  High Cs need two things to be creative; time and a lot of details. Make sure you explain exactly what you want them to do and when you need it done. Then ask a series of questions like these. Does this make sense? Do you have any questions? What do you need to complete this? Once you’ve done this, give them time to go and process.

Again, these are just a few quick tips you can implement today, but to be successful with them, you must know your team’s personality styles. Most importantly, this will take practice, so start today!

The sooner you begin to implement this, the sooner your team will be more productive, creative, and they’ll understand you care about them being a part of decision-making.

Question: What tips do you have for fostering creativity?

Joel Fortner

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May 16, 2014

3 Stages To A Product Launch

Today’s post is by our marketing expert Joel Fortner.

Have you ever launched a new product or service and been disappointed with sales?

Product Launch, ChrisLoCurto.com

Oftentimes, businesses work feverishly to develop something new, or revamp something old, and never say a word about it until it’s ready for launch.

This is a big mistake and a key reason why sales fall flat. The good news is, this is easy to fix.

Here are the 3 stages to a product or service launch.

1. Build desire

Make people want what you’re selling before you sell it. Regularly communicate top features and benefits of the product or service and when they can expect to get it.

2. Announce it’s for sale

Some customers will gobble up your offering immediately, but most won’t so don’t quit there. Instead, convert people who are silently considering it by continuing to communicate what they need to know, as well as testimonials.

3. Limit the offer and close the deal

If you intend to only allow people to buy at certain times, this is a critical step. People need to know and will be moved to act if they know it’s a limited offer.

On the other hand, if you launch something that will be available indefinitely, consider offering a launch deal people can only get for a limited time and make sure it’s communicated well.

Examples of businesses doing it right

A couple of months ago a new grocery store, The Fresh Market, opened in the shopping center by our home.

Months before they opened the doors, they placed a big sign along the roadway that read, “The Fresh Market Coming Soon! January 2014.”

As opening day approached, they hung a banner on the store that read “Opening Day 1/29.”

How to launch a product, how to launch a business, how to sale a new product

The Fresh Market built anticipation before opening this new store, a key part of launching a new product, service or business.

They effectively built anticipation and local buzz that lead a big opening day. Every business can do this but the “how” will vary.

Take FoxyCart for instance.

FoxyCart (client) is an ecommerce company that will soon release their 2.0 product and they’re currently building anticipation with their target market.

They’re doing this by regularly communicating updates, 2.0 features, and more via their blog, email list and social media.

Don’t forget this tiny (okay, it’s huge) detail:

Since most businesses rely so heavily on online marketing, building a quality email list is HUGE. Don’t rely solely on social media and other websites you don’t own or control.

They’re important but you’re slave to their changes.

Product and service launches are busy times. I get it. You’re in the trenches creating and fine-tuning details and working your butt off.

But if no one knows your product or service exists, your effort was for nothing and you’ve helped no one.

Good marketing must be a priority. It’s not an expense. It’s an investment into your businesses’ success and customer’s happiness when you help solve their problems.

Question: How have your launches gone? 

Chris LoCurto

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May 13, 2014

Is Bitterness Holding You Back? [Podcast]

This is a topic that’s been heavy on my mind lately. I see so much of it in every aspect of our world. Many people have a lot of hurt and reasons to be bitter but if you’re spending time being bitter, you’re holding on to poison. You’re destroying yourself from the inside out.

Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

Ask yourself, is being bitter helping you or making your life better?

If there is somebody who has hurt you or something you’re struggling with, let it go. You’ve got to work to get over it. One way to do this is to gain perspective on your past. I covered this topic in the Understanding Your Root System podcast and spend a lot of time in our LifePlan events gaining perspective with the attendee so we can build a better future.

For those of you that are leaders, entrepreneurs or owners, be aware that you’ve probably hurt people. You’re so focused on the business or what you’ve got going on that sometimes you forget people are involved. Feelings are involved. If you’re somebody that’s hurt somebody else, you can’t just say “Pull up your bootstraps and move on.” Take responsibility. Responsibility is, “Lets talk about how I’ve hurt you” and “Help me to understand how much I hurt you.” From there, you need to do everything you can to help heal that person and move forward.

If you’re a leader who knows you’re going to hurt somebody, by letting them go or making changes, please do yourself a favor and realize they’re a person with feelings and emotions. Whatever you’re about to do is probably going to impact them considerably more than it’s going to impact you. Think through the process. If you’re going to let somebody go (read this post first The 5 W’s of Firing and Expert Advice from Fellow Entrepreneurs), understand there’s a chance they will be hurt or bitter. Spend time thinking through it so you can be as thoughtful and pragmatic as possible. How you would want to be treated in that situation?

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If you subscribe to the blog, be on the look out for tomorrows email! We’ve got a special offer just for you!

Question: What advice do you have to help people get over bitterness?

 

Chris LoCurto

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May 12, 2014

The Worst Kind Of Leadership

Leadership by it’s very definition means to LEAD people! A title, office, desk, business card, or name plate does NOT make you a leader!

If you think otherwise, you’re a dork. Yep, I wrote it. Why am I so passionate about that? Well… there’s a reason I help leaders, entrepreneurs, and team members succeed: years of experiencing bad leadership.

Growing up in Lake Tahoe, I played two main sports – ski racing and football.

Football, Pop Warner, Worst Leader, ChrisLoCurto.com, Chris LoCurto, Tahoe, California football,

A 12 year-old me in Lake Tahoe, California

I started football as little guy in Pop Warner and played up into high school. Over the years I was a wide receiver, tight end, punter, kicker, corner back, and free safety. When I got to high school football, I mainly played cornerback.

During a play, I tackled a player in a way that slightly jacked up my ankle. Trying to be a tough guy, I didn’t say anything about it, and attempted to take care of it myself at home.

The next day, which happened to be game day, I could barely walk. I went to the game that day but didn’t suit up. When I saw my coach, I told him what I did and that I couldn’t play. He didn’t say anything to me, he just walked away.

A couple days later my ankle was healed, and I was ready to hit the field. I practiced well every day, but on game day I sat on the bench. Up to that point, I’d never been in a game that I didn’t play unless I was injured. It didn’t make sense to me.

For the next three games, I found myself not playing. Each game I would go to my coach and tell him I was ready to go in, and he would always say, “Okay.” Finally, toward the end of the fourth game of being benched, I asked the coach if something was wrong.

He looked at me and said, “Don’t ever TELL me when you can’t play! You ASK me!”

I was absolutely shocked and frankly, speechless. I couldn’t believe he benched me for four games without ever saying a word, without ever telling me why, and for such an incredibly lame reason.

I was the kind of kid who always gave his all. I missed all of 2 games from injuries in years and had played through all kinds of injuries. I never would have thought that I had to ask if I could sit out a game, when I could barely walk.

As a teenager I realized this was horrible leadership. Unfortunately, it was not the only time I would see a “leader” treat their team member this same way. For decades I’ve watched and experienced leaders who are more about control than they are about making people successful.

Punishing a team member, and possibly the team, is the worst kind of leadership in my book. It’s selfish. It’s disrespectful. It’s childish! I lost any respect and loyalty I had for that coach. At the very least, he had a teachable moment and he blew it.

If ever as a leader you decide to punish a team member, get out of leadership. If not to save yourself from your own misery, at least do it for those you want to make miserable!

Question: Have you ever worked for a punishing “leader”?

Chris LoCurto

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May 6, 2014

Overcoming the Fear of Failure, Rejection, and “No” [Podcast]

On this episode I’m joined by Andrea Waltz, author of Go for No!: Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There, to talk about fear, rejection and overcoming the word “no.” Andrea has made it her mission to liberate people from the fear of failure and share an entirely new mindset about the word “no.”

The book starts out with a saying:

If you’re not succeeding fast enough, you’re probably not failing fast enough and you can’t have one without the other. So, if you’re going to avoid one, you’re going to avoid both.

Authors Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton launched their company in 1996 speaking and training retail organizations. The Go for No message was a small part of those seminars but quickly became the main focus of their teaching. The book has been a top seller on Amazon for the past three years.

In the Skype interview, we talk about:

  • Failure and it’s relationship to success
  • The 5 failure levels – the ability to fail, willingness to fail, wanting to fail, failing bigger and failing faster, and failing exponentially
  • Not caring about what people think about you failing
  • Feeling free to fail and embracing our past failures
  • Setting “no” goals
  • Persistance statistics and the odds of “no” and not giving up
  • Why getting a “no” gives you a chance to respond
  • Why we should reward people for failure

We’re giving away several copies of this fantastic book! For your chance to win, go to iTunes and give a review of our podcast. We’ll go through and pick a few winners randomly – be sure to link to your review in the comments section of this post so we know how to contact you!

Question: What’s keeping you from going for “no?”

 

Chris LoCurto

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May 5, 2014

From Dysfunctional To Thriving

Here’s a great post by Lily Kreitinger. Lily specializes in helping leadership effectively train team members. Follow Lily at LilyKreitinger.com

I was born and raised in a dysfunctional family.

From Dysfunction to Function, ChrisLoCurto.com

I knew this had greatly impacted my life in more ways than I even realized, and trying to better understand myself, I read the book “Living the Life You Were Meant to Live”.

While it was helpful, something was missing. I was still stuck. I needed more and realized I couldn’t get what I needed on my own.

On April 14, 2014, I took the plunge and started the LifePlan process with my friend and coach Chris LoCurto. To say it has been life-changing is a complete understatement. The two biggest learning outcomes of this experience have been:

1) I was born an raised in a dysfunctional family. I learned this from looking at my root system. (Learn about it here – Understanding Your Root System) One of my biggest discoveries was that my dad was an alcoholic. We never saw it like that and never talked about it in those terms.

My mom was abused emotionally, physically and mentally as a child. They were both adults physically but not emotionally or spiritually throughout their 36 years of marriage, which ended with my dad’s death from cancer at the age of 59.

They taught me to love God, but never taught us how much God loves me. They couldn’t because they didn’t know either. I never had a real relationship with the living God until now.

2) It’s incredible what 20 hours can do! Over the course of two days, I was able to find the answer to this question: “Why do I exist?” The answer moved me to tears (the whole process did). I, Lily Kreitinger, exist to “Live in relationship with God, love, lead and witness to His people and change lives.”

While I’m not yet at a place of understanding about my parents, I do have a very different perspective of who they really were: God’s beloved children, deeply hurt by others, broken and alone. No one taught them how to be great parents.

No one taught them how loved they were. Now I can honor my dad’s memory and begin to heal the relationship with my mom. My mom is like a broken little girl in an adult body. I have learned that I will honor my parents as they follow Christ and that boundaries are necessary and not disrespectful.

I can now start to heal and grow in my marriage. For ten years, my husband tried to help me see how toxic the relationship with my parents was and until I understood the impact of the root system, I was unable to listen.

If you have read about LifePlan and are considering it, be prepared for a 180-degree turn in your life. You and the ones you love the most are worth it. Your Father is waiting for you in the Upper Room, with open arms.

If you would like to learn more about my experience with Chris, please feel free to contact me on Twitter @lilykreitinger.

Question: What are your takeaways? 

Chris LoCurto

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April 29, 2014

How Pride Holds You Back [Podcast]

April 29, 2014 | By | 18 Comments">18 Comments

Today’s podcast is all about asking for help and getting past our pride to do so.

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

People are afraid to ask for help. They get to a place where asking for help makes them think:

  • They’ll look stupid
  • They cant do what they’re trying to accomplish
  • They’ll look foolish in the eyes of their team, boss, family, etc.

Oftentimes, when we ask for help, we feel indebted. Where does this come from? Our past. I dove into the topic of Understanding Your Root System on the last podcast and if you haven’t listened, check it out.

So much of this pride comes from lessons taught to us by caregivers like parents, family, teachers, etc. When we rely on someone and they’re not dependable, we stop asking for help. We don’t want to be let down. We don’t want to be a burden. We don’t want to let somebody else down either.

When that happens, we’re holding ourselves back from growing.

When you need help but don’t reach out, you stop growing. As a leader, you’re not only holding yourself back but you’re holding the whole team back when you don’t ask for help. Tap the collective intelligence of your team! It will only grow your team – you’re not the only one with great ideas. You’ll get buy in, respect and loyalty. When you don’t ask, they know it. When somethings not working well and your team sees that you’re not able to pull it off, they know it!

Start asking for help. It’ll change your team, your family and YOU!

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Question: Where do you need help?

 

Chris LoCurto

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April 28, 2014

5 Ways You’re Deceiving Yourself As A Leader

April 28, 2014 | By | 16 Comments">16 Comments

Coaching leaders and entrepreneurs to become better at leading, decision making, and growing their businesses is an incredible blessing to me!

5 Ways You’re Deceiving Yourself As A Leader, ChrisLoCurto.com, belief system business, leader belief system, bad leaders, small business coaching, business coach, leading not about you, hire up, hire smarter, smart leader, can't hide faults, hide leadership faults, DISC test, conflict at work, conflict co-worker, conflict with boss, leadership conflict, personal life at work, personal life, work life, strong leadership, know weakness, deceive yourself at work

While people ask me to coach them on a wide variety of topics, there are usually two main reasons:

Help them fix ______________

or

Give them experienced advice on questions they struggle to answer.

Quite often, I find many leaders were trained by…well…bad leaders. Therefore, they have bad belief systems in their own leadership.

With bad belief systems usually comes self-deception. The kind of deception that seems to make sense at the time, but when removed and inspected reveals the depth at which it holds one back from self or team progress and growth.

Here are five common ways leaders deceive themselves:

  • It’s not about you – The most common deception I see, especially with entrepreneurs, is the belief that leadership is about them. Nothing could be further from the truth. By it’s very definition, leadership is getting people to follow you. That doesn’t happen when you’re a dictator. Sure, you can force them into doing what you want, but you’ll get half their productivity and absolutely zero loyalty.
  • You’re not the only smart one – Being the one with all the ideas is not only tiring, but it’s also defeating the purpose. A great leader hires people who are smarter than they are. A scared leader doesn’t. You should be taxing the collective intelligence for two reasons – God didn’t give you all the great ideas, and when you foster your teams input, you gain respect, buy-in, loyalty, and ownership.
  • You can’t hide your faults – You have faults, embrace that understanding. So many leaders that I’ve met through the years believe they can hide their faults from their team. The funny/sad thing is they already know your faults. They see them because they spend more time working with you than anything else they do. Thinking you can hide your faults everyone is not only ridiculous, but it’s unnecessary. Lose any pride or ego, be aware of your weaknesses, and don’t hide them. Instead, hire people who are strong where you are weak.
  • Conflict will work itself out – Whooooamagosh no it won’t! Let’s be honest, no great leader likes drama. But you have these emotional things in your business called people. And most of them don’t truly understand how to communicate with each other, which is why we have little conflicts that turn into really big ones if a leader doesn’t fix them. Get on it! And while you’re at it, have your people take their DISC already! Geez! It’ll change your whole company.
  • I don’t bring my personal life to work – Bah! Probably the biggest self-deception of all. While you think you’re leaving your personal stuff at home, you’re actually bringing most, if not all, of it to work with you. You see, we make decisions based on our past and our influencers. Recently, I did a podcast called Understanding Your Root System where I explain how we bring so much of our parents, teachers, leaders, etc. into our business because we have NO CLUE how much they’ve influenced us. That means the good and the bad. If you’ve heard anything about the LifePlan events that we do, then you’ve heard how powerful understanding this is.

The most important part of being a strong leader is knowing your weaknesses. You can’t do that if you’re not getting the truth, especially if it’s not coming from you.

Question: How have you deceived yourself?

Chris LoCurto

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April 22, 2014

Understanding Your Root System [Podcast]

April 22, 2014 | By | 12 Comments">12 Comments

On the last Chris LoCurto Show episode, What You Have In Common With Wine, one of the things I discussed was the root system of grapes and how a strong root system makes a great wine.

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

Your life equals your root system.

Your life and your decision-making process comes from your root system. In LifePlan, I spend time tying what’s happened in a person’s life to their root system – family, influences, leadership, friends, etc. Whatever has happened in your past shapes the decisions you make today.

You are the sum of your past & your influences.

The way your parents treated you links back to the way their parents treated them and cycles into how you treat your children or family or team. If abuse, either emotional or physical is in your past, a pattern forms. Chances are, if you were abused, you’ll pendulum swing to your children and won’t discipline or will allow your children to control you. This only perpetuates a cycle. Healthy boundaries and healthy control are the key. Finding that center is one of the most important things we can discover.

Even the best parents (with the best intentions) might do something that came from their parents that causes a bad belief system. They might say one specific thing over and over to their child, expecting and hoping that it helps their kid to grow up well or understand, but they way they said it creates a bad belief system in the child. How crazy is that?

When we carry over the bad processes or belief systems, we perpetuate the same exact root system.

Will you ever be perfect? No. The perspective of understanding why you do what you do is vital to going forward. Some of you have to put serious boundaries in your life. Boundaries is a great book (one that I talk about all the time) that goes very in-depth on this issue.

All of these things make up who you are and how you make your decisions. When you understand where they come from, then you can make better decisions.

Question: How does your root system affect your business?

Chris LoCurto

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April 21, 2014

What Jesus Didn’t Say

April 21, 2014 | By | 41 Comments">41 Comments

Easter is a time when we celebrate the fact that we have a risen savior. One who took on the world’s sin, received the world’s worst beating, died and rose again, all so we could have life everlasting if we so choose.

Listen, What Jesus Didn't Say, ChrisLoCurto.com

I’m not telling you anything that you don’t know, but sometimes the reminder causes us to reflect on how jacked up we are, while giving us just a glimpse of the unfathomable Love of God.

And while we have so many stories of God’s Love throughout the Bible, there’s one that helps us to understand that sometimes, God doesn’t tell us everything.

After Jesus rose from the grave, there was a time that He was with the disciples when He gave them this instruction (in CLo speak), I want you guys to hang out in Jerusalem and I’ll send a guy who’s going to tell you some things. (all things)

When they encounter the Holy Spirit, it was some kind of party. So here’s my question: Why didn’t Jesus just tell them all the things the Holy Spirit would later tell them?

Let’s be honest here, Jesus is all God, right? Which means He already knows what the Holy Spirit is going to teach them, so why didn’t He just go ahead and teach them?

Well, I believe it’s because they weren’t ready to hear it. I don’t think they could digest at the time what they were about to learn.

In fact, I believe that had Jesus shared the info, that some of them might not have stuck around.
So why didn’t the Holy Spirit come that day? Again, I think it’s because the disciples themselves weren’t ready. But what do I know?

I think there are many times in our lives that we are frustrated because we just don’t have the answers. We know there’s vital information that can help/grow/bless us, but for some reason, God isn’t revealing it to us.

I know there are MANY times in my own life that I’ve felt this exact way. Only to later learn that I wasn’t ready for God to drop His Wisdom on me.

I did learn this though, be diligent in the pause. When I don’t feel like I have the answers I need, then I have to keep moving forward until I do. I have to trust that God is going to reveal His direction to me in His time, not necessarily my time.

This is incredibly tough to do! We are human, and we really want to know the answers now. That’s when I have to think, if He tells me now, perhaps I won’t stick around to receive the Blessing. Instead, I might run like scared little…disciple.

Question: Can you share a time that you had to wait for God’s direction?