Tag Archives: Coaching

Do You Want to Become a Servant Leader?

Servant Leadership is one of the top three qualities I admire in leaders. I first became aware of this concept when I read the book The Servant, by James C. Hunter. This book greatly influenced my last five years as a corporate leader, as I noticed common elements between my personal philosophy and the principles of servant leadership. It led me to commit to integrate them in the way I think and behave, inside and outside the business world.\r\n\r\nLet me outline the top three concepts from this book that represent the most effective leadership lessons:\r\n\r\n• “Leaders identify and meet the legitimate demands of their people, removing barriers, so they can serve the customer.” This is the best definition of servant leadership. It connects the internal role of the leader (removing barriers) with its external one (serving the customer). I not only see both roles connected, but interdependent. Both have to happen in unison, or employees will not perform at their best and the customers won’t buy.\r\n\r\n• Power vs. authority: The author defined power as “the ability to force or coerce someone to do your will because of your position.” He then defined authority as “the skill of getting people to willingly do your will because of your personal influence.” Which leadership trait are you most used to seeing around you? And which would you like to see being practiced more often by others and by you?\r\n\r\n• The author writes about how leaders have a personal mission statement of what they are about and what they stand for. Have you defined, in writing, what you want to be about and what you want to stand for? It’s never too early to develop this life-changing definition. And it’s never too late.\r\n\r\nLet me close with this Chinese proverb: “If you do not change your direction, you will end up exactly where you are headed.” Count on my help if you want to embark on this journey.\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Consultant, Facilitator & Coach\r\nwww.cannon.consulting

Own Your Professional Career Decisions

Have you ever lost your job? Do you have a wide enough professional network? Do you feel disconnected from the latest technology and overall economic trends?\r\n\r\nIf you have been following my newsletters, you will know that I have covered several situations around the three steps outlined in my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve Your Mission in Life:\r\n\r\nStep1: Become 100 percent accountable for the decisions you make (and not make) in your life.\r\nStep 2: Develop and record in writing your personal mission statement.\r\nStep 3: Live your mission 24/7.\r\n\r\nThis month, I want to cover a topic related to Step 1: How to become 100 percent accountable for the professional career decisions we make and do not make. I am going to leverage the insights I gathered from a book I recently read: The Start-Up of You, by Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder) and Ben Casnocha. I found the book highly relevant to today’s business and job environment, where lifelong employment with a single company is no longer the norm, and where you need to assume a much higher level of ownership of the professional career you wish to have.\r\n\r\nHere are my top three insights from the book:\r\n

    \r\n

  • Treat your career like a start-up company. Be in permanent “beta mode,” constantly searching for ways to improve your value proposition in the job market.
  • \r\n

  • Invest in yourself. Related to insight number one, keep a close watch on the market trends and skills required to succeed in your field. Invest not only in the skills you need for your current job, but try to anticipate which skills you will need for future careers. Avoid the “Detroit Syndrome,” where the U.S. car industry failed to anticipate market and economic trends and was overtaken by foreign competition.
  • \r\n

  • Network. In the chapter titled “Who You Know Is What You Know,” we learn that having a broad and heterogeneous network is not only important to spot career opportunities, but is also a source of market intelligence. It is important, however, to build and nurture your network by giving something of value to them. Build the relationship first, with no strings attached.
  • \r\n

\r\nReading this book gave me some fresh ways to assess how well I am living up to my professional role within my personal mission statement. I have started to build the three insights shared above into my professional priorities. They may also be relevant to your own professional career.\r\n\r\nI want to close this newsletter with a quote from the American motivational speaker and author Les Brown: “Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

Lessons Learned From an Entrepreneur Taxi Driver

I want to share the business principles I saw being practiced by a taxi driver on a recent trip to Peru. Although the principles were not new to me, the way this entrepreneur put them in practice caught my attention. Hopefully, they will catch yours as well.\n\nUpon finishing a presentation to a group of general managers and business owners on work and life balance, I struck an enlightening conversation with a taxi driver. The 20-mile ride from the event site started with the driver telling me that he enjoyed learning and wanted to listen to my presentation, but he had prudently decided not to “break” into an event where he had not been invited.\n\nHe told me that he saw himself as an entrepreneur, a provider of safe transportation from point A to point B. His customers were mainly women who did not want to use “a taxi from the street,” but rather one where the driver was somebody they could trust. He charged a premium for his services, but this did not seem to present an issue to his customers. To the contrary, he mentioned that the demand for his services was larger than he alone could fulfill. I noticed he received two to three customer calls during the ride, which he politely handled by indicating he was with a customer and would return the call as soon as he was free. He had plans to finance the purchase of a second car and had already found a driver for that unit, another retired police officer.\n\nHe said he also owned a beauty salon, managed by and co-owned with his wife. He was proud of his rather large customer base, which had also become the main source of prospects for his transportation business. In fact, the lady who managed the logistics of the session I had just performed was one of his customers.\n\nHe was a retired police officer. He positioned such experience as a key credibility factor for secure taxi rides. He left the police force due to what he called “political differences” with his superiors. It seemed that these differences had been escalating over the years, until they got to the point where he could no longer endure them.\n\nAs we reached our final destination, I thanked the driver-entrepreneur for the great lessons he had shared with me from his life and his businesses. I congratulated him for the clarity of his thinking and his growing businesses. I gave him my business card and a sample of the Spanish version of my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life. He gave me his business card and committed to share his reactions to my book upon reading it.\n\n In summary, here are the top three business principles I saw being practiced by this driver-entrepreneur:\n

    \n

  1. You can charge a premium for your products and services, as long as you offer an added benefit versus other competitors.
  2. \n

  3. There is a large cross-selling value in a group of satisfied customers.
  4. \n

  5. He understood the value of integrity and saw it as a key element of productive networking and successful entrepreneurship.
  6. \n

\nI want to close this newsletter with a quote from the American writer Richard Bach: “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.\n\n \n\nPercy M. Cannon\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\nwww.cannonbalance.com\n\n \n\nPS1: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code MU5Z7NLM.\nPS2: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\nPS3: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.

How Did You Do In 2014?

How Did You Do In 2014?

\n

Did you have a good year? Unlike most companies that usually have a structured way to assess their performance during the past 12 months, individuals tend not to follow such a process for their yearly evaluation. If that also describes you, give me a chance to convince you of the importance of performing such a process, as well as a few tips on how to do it.

\n

Why is it important to know how you did in 2014? If you value the impact you can make on your life and the lives of those around you, you owe it to yourself to determine if you are moving in the right direction. Year-end holidays are an excellent opportunity to analyze your performance and to then set improvement goals for the following year. In this newsletter, I will suggest tips to perform your analysis. Setting improvement goals will be covered in the next newsletter.

\n

I suggest you ask yourself the following three sets of questions:

\n\n

    \n

  1. \n

    Do you feel 100 percent accountable for the decisions you made (and did not make) during 2014? Don’t feel bad if your top-of-mind answer is not 100 percent, as long as you commit to understanding why. Are your work responsibilities defining what your overall life priorities should be? Is someone else defining what is important in your life? And if you take inventory of the values and principles that drove your decisions during 2014, are you pleased with the choices you made?

    \n

  2. \n

\n

    \n

  1. \n

    Have you defined in writing what success looks like in your life? What were your top priorities in both your professional and personal roles? Did you define these priorities at the beginning of the year? Or is it all driven by the professional goals that your company defined for you?

    \n

  2. \n

\n

    \n

  1. \n

    What type of life did you end up living during 2014? Was it what matters to you the most? Or did you spend most of your time solving urgent matters versus important ones? Did you create any good life habits or turn around any bad ones? Did you track your life progress regularly, or is this the first time you are doing so in 2014?

    \n

  2. \n

\n

The outcome of these simple but powerful questions should be to place you in the right frame of mind to plan for a much better 2015. In the next newsletter, I will share suggestions for planning a great 2015. Stay tuned!

\n

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015. If you desire to give my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life, as a present to relatives, friends, co-workers, or customers, you can take advantage of the 2014-15 holiday season 25 percent discount, available to newsletter readers. Just click here and enter code 8SCBLYTF.

\n

I want to close this newsletter with a quote from Winston Churchill: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

\n

Percy M. Cannon

\n

Author, Business Consultant and Professional Coach

\n

www.cannonbalance.com

\n

PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.

\n

PS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.

What Can You Learn From the Pivotal Points in Your Life? Part 3

What Can You Learn From the Pivotal Points in Your Life? Part 3

\n

In previous newsletters I shared two pivotal points in my life, asking you to stop to analyze those instances where you faced a fork in the road and had to make an important choice that transcended the rest of your life.

\n

In this newsletter, I will cover a third one, which also provided me with important lessons, some of which could be applicable to your life as well. I am sharing them with you so they can motivate you to identify pivotal points in your professional or personal life and draw insights and lessons that can help you enrich the rest of your life.

\n

This third pivotal point happened within the first five years of my corporate life. I was invited by my employer (P&G at the time) to participate in a four-day workshop on personal and professional development. What elevated this training into a life-changing event (at least for me) was the exercise in which we were asked to draft our personal mission statement. One of the suggestions was to transport ourselves into our funeral and define what kind of a eulogy we would like to hear about ourselves. Being 31 at the time, it seemed a bit far-fetched to visualize an event I expected to happen a few decades in the future. I nevertheless followed the methodology and, after several minutes of introspection and meditation on what I wanted my legacy to my wife, kids, and society to be, I started writing what became the first version of my personal mission statement.

\n

I left the workshop energized. For the first time I had recorded in writing what success looked like in my life as a whole, and in the specific personal and professional roles I had defined for myself. Though it was clearly an imperfect first draft, knowing where I was headed translated into making life decisions consistent with my personal mission statement.

\n

Through this experience, I learned several lifelong lessons:

\n\n

    \n

  1. \n

    There is more to life than just work. Although I had always viewed my family as the most important priority in my life, I hadn’t been disciplined enough to “walk the talk.” I learned to allocate weekly blocks of time (and energy) to my wife and kids. I also started to be more committed and disciplined on my personal development (body, mind, and spirit) in order to be capable of achieving my personal and professional goals.

    \n

  2. \n

  3. \n

    It is important to invest time and energy to become a more effective and efficient professional. Perhaps the most valuable concept I learned and started to apply immediately was to differentiate between “important” and “urgent’ activities. Life in general, and work in particular, tends to push us into allocating our time and energy to those urgent activities which need to be addressed right away, independent of how important they really are. I learned to allocate the majority of my time to important activities, those that would impact business (and my life) the most, and were consistent with my professional and personal goals. Good planning translates into working on those important tasks before they become urgent.

    \n

  4. \n

  5. \n

    Identify and eliminate time-wasters, to make room for the important activities in our lives. The first time-waster I significantly decreased was watching TV. Though entertaining, it stole time from important activities such as communicating with my wife, interacting with my kids, and reading a good book. Fast-forwarding to today’s internet era, are we allocating too much time to social media and general web browsing? Would part of that time be better spent on more important activities, such as our professional and personal development?

    \n

  6. \n

\n

Don’t wait for a life-changing event to define what’s truly important in your life. Whether you are in the early stages of your adulthood, in midlife, or approaching retirement, it is never too late to define or adjust what you want your legacy to be.

\n

You can follow some of the available online resources in my website or those found in my book, The Business Apostolate: Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life, which, for the 2014-15 holiday season, is available to newsletter readers at a 25 percent discount. Just click here and enter code 8SCBLYTF. It also makes a nice present to relatives, friends, co-workers, or customers.

\n

I want to close this newsletter with a quote from Nobel-prize winner Marie Curie: “We must believe we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

\n

In the next newsletter, I will share tips on how to assess your life performance in 2014 and plan for a great 2015. Stay tuned!

\n

Percy M. Cannon

\n

Author, Business Consultant and Professional Coach

\n

www.cannonbalance.com

\n

PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.

\n

PS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.

How Relevant to You Is “Service to Others”?

How Relevant to You Is “Service to Others”?

\n

It has been over three years since I decided to quit the corporate world as an employee and start a second career on my own, helping businesses grow and employees succeed at work and in their personal lives.

\n

From the several lessons and experiences gathered throughout my 27 years in the corporate world, the one that I am leveraging the most in my new career is to think more and more about “what’s in it for others” instead of “what’s in it for me.” I will focus this newsletter on that topic, as I consider service crucial for every person in the workforce. I will share with you several of the insights that have worked for me over the years. Some of them may work for you as well.

\n\n

    \n

  1. I constantly search for wisdom on service. Here are a few sources: \n
      \n

    1. The Bible: There are numerous examples of servant leadership in both the old and new testaments, from Abraham to Moses to Jesus. Don’t underestimate the lessons that can be learned from these and other proven servant leaders in the Bible.
    2. \n

    3. Books: Three that I want to highlight are:\n
        \n

      1. The Fred Factor, by Mark Sanborn, the true story of Fred, a mail carrier who passionately loves his job and who constantly goes the extra mile handling the mail.
      2. \n

      3. The Servant, by James Hunter, where service stands out as one of the key foundations for leadership.
      4. \n

      5. Give and Take, by Adam Grant, where the author shares several successful examples of businesspeople who act more as “givers” versus “matchers” or “takers.”
      6. \n

      \n

    4. \n

    5. My Dad: Although he passed away more than four years ago, he continues to inspire me with the memories I have of how he served people from all walks of life, and did so without expecting anything in return.\n
    6. \n

    \n

  2. \n

  3. Service is a key element of my personal mission statement. If you share my belief of the importance of service and haven’t yet included it in your mission statement, consider adding it now. In particular, I have increased the importance of service in the following two roles:I remind myself every day of service. I recently read a piece of advice from the writer and speaker Robin Sharma that called my attention. It went like this: “There is food on the table thanks to the customers I am privileged to serve.” I read this line every day, to remind me of the importance of service. In fact, if you haven’t yet developed the habit of reading your personal mission statement first thing in the morning, consider doing so. It takes only a minute or two, and it can energize you to work toward your life priorities. \n
      \n

    1. Professional: Consider applying the marketing 101 principle of first identifying the unmet needs of the customer, and then sell a product or service that fulfills it better than your competitors.
    2. \n

    3. Community/Social/Relationships: Do more listening (with our ears and our hearts) versus talking.\n
    4. \n

    \n

  4. \n

  5. I want to close this newsletter with a quote from the great inspirational author Og Mandino: “Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.
  6. \n

\n

In the next newsletter, I will share suggestions on how to assess our life performance through the first semester of 2014. Stay tuned!

\n

Percy M. Cannon\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\n www.cannonbalance.com

\n

PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\nPS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.\n PS3: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code UN2WS547.

How Can You Improve Your Physical Health In 2014?

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

How Can You Improve Your Physical Health In 2014?

\n

Have you defined the actions you will take during 2014 to improve your physical health?

\n

In this and future newsletters, I will provide insights and tips on how you can improve in several elements of your life. If you haven’t done so, read my previous newsletters, in which I provided insights to strengthen your family relationships and accelerate your career progress this year.

\n

This month, I will continue with your physical health, an area that often ranks high on our priority list but which tends to be neglected in our hectic day-to-day lives. Time tends not to be on our side, so not doing anything usually translates into going backward in our health.

\n

Here are a few suggestions on how you can improve your health in 2014:

\n

1. Assume 100 percent accountability. As in every aspect of our lives, we have a choice to make: Maintain the status quo, or do something about it. The challenge most of us face is that maintaining the status quo can easily translate into gradually diminishing our physical capabilities. Even if we are doing several good things today, as we age, it gets harder to exercise and easier to overindulge in our eating. Likewise, our sleeping routines may also be affected as the years go by. My invitation to you is to take a contrarian view to your physical health: Why not aim for being healthier as we age? Why not commit to a continuous learning mode to educate ourselves on what will move our health in the right direction?

\n

2. Define specific areas for improvement. One approach is to look for the most recent set of data on your health: When was the last physical you took? How were your lab test results? What was your doctor’s advice? Regardless of the data sources, I suggest for 2014 you choose to improve in at least one of the three broad areas typically associated with physical health: food, exercise and sleep. Here is a summary of what has worked for me and can work for you. Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, so please do not take this as professional health advice.

\n\n

    \n

  • Food: After reading and practicing several “diets’ over the years, I switched gears to learn more about the most important nutritional groups. I developed some basic, directional goals: less saturated fats, more unsaturated fats, more proteins from vegetables, more fiber, less sugar. This translated into less meat, more fruit and vegetables, and more whole grains, all within reasonable quantities.
  • \n

  • Exercise: It’s been over a decade since I have made running part of my life. It has helped me maintain a reasonable weight and has translated into higher energy levels to execute my different life priorities. I have developed the habit of running before breakfast, since I recognize that any other time of the day greatly increases the chances of skipping exercise.
  • \n

  • Sleeping: This tends to be an underrated element of health. Look into both the quantity and quality of your sleep. I had not paid enough attention to the latter, until I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea. I was prescribed breathing strips that have significantly reduced my snoring (my wife is much happier now) and improved the quality of my sleep.
  • \n

\n

3. Commit to a plan. What is the one thing you will do differently during 2014 to improve your physical health? Don’t rush things, but make sure you identify at least one action that will get you moving in the right direction. It could be eating more vegetables, walking for 10 minutes every other day, or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Whatever you choose, start now. If you are tempted to wait until later, go back and reread item number one above. As suggested in previous newsletters, start with baby steps versus making drastic life adjustments.

\n

In the next newsletter, I will share suggestions to enhance your mental capabilities in 2014. Stay tuned!

\n

I want to close this newsletter with a quote from Thomas Edison: “The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

\n

Percy M. Cannon\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\nwww.cannonbalance.com

\n

PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\nPS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.\nPS3: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code UN2WS547.

\n\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

\n

How to Define Your Mission in Life (Part 1 of 3) (#9)

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

How to Define Your Mission in Life (Part 1 of 3)

\r\n

Is achieving professional success taking too high a toll on your personal life? Is there something in your personal life that is not allowing you to do your best at work? Do you feel like you’re living your life based on someone else’s priorities? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the solution lies in defining your mission in life.

\r\n

Defining your mission in life starts with defining your values. Do you know what your values are? The definition of values from Dictionary.com is “relative worth, merit, or importance.” If somebody close to you was asked, based on the way you behave in life, what your values are, what would that person say? What are your behaviors communicating to those around you? Get ready for a potential “Aha” moment. For example, it is not unusual to claim that family represents our No. 1 value in life, but our behaviors may say otherwise, if you are placing work or other relationships before family. I suggest you ask a close friend or family member what she/he believes your top 5 to 10 values in life are.

\r\n

The second step in defining your mission in life is deciding what are the top 5 to 10 values you want to live your life by? Think in future terms. Think about the kind of values that you want a person close to you to mention after you have died. How will you be remembered? What values would you like to be included in your epitaph? One way to create this list is by looking at those people who have touched your life in a meaningful way and pinpointing which values they stood by. These people could be your spouse, parents, relatives, teachers, co-workers, or any public or historical person. If you would rather pick from a larger list, you can leverage the several online resources on this topic. One which I found particularly useful is www.stevepavlina.com/articles/list-of-values.htm. It provides a long list of value terms from which you can prioritize and eventually come up with your short list.

\r\n

The third step is to analyze and compare the two previous lists: Any major surprises? Any adjustments you want to make to your list of “desired values”? You should feel fairly comfortable with the resulting list, as it represents the set of “non-negotiable” behaviors you will commit to live your life by. It represents the essence of your mission statement.

\r\n

This leads us to the final step I want to cover in this newsletter: Write a first draft of your mission statement that is based on the refined list of values from the previous paragraph. Don’t feel compelled to look for examples from other people. Just write down what feels like a good description of the kind of person you want to be thought of by the end your life. Review this first draft as often as needed until you feel comfortable with it.

\r\n

I want to close this newsletter with a quote from the American writer Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born. . . and the day you find out why.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

\r\n

In the next newsletter, I will share further tips and insights on how to expand your mission statement to include your key roles and goals in life. Stay tuned!

\r\n

Percy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\r\nwww.cannonbalance.com\r\nwww.thebusinessapostolate.com

\r\n

PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\r\nPS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.\r\nPS3: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code UN2WS547.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n