key to success

Fast Track the Success of Your Employees

Fast Track Employees to Engagement and Success
Engaged employees are positive, energetic and passionate members of your team who help you grow your business. When employees are engaged, they tend to perform up to or above their skill levels and support your organization’s vision. How do you make sure that you’re growing your people so you can grow your business?
Answer, the Fast Track Success Program!                                       
Find out where your employees stand relative to the nine Success Factors by taking this reliable assessment. That’s the first step in our Fast Track program. Our carefully developed assessment tool has been shown as effective, consistent and reliable. You’ll get useful results to make informed decisions.
Success factors 
What good is an assessment if you do nothing with the findings? Our Fast Track program includes a three-day, intensive workshop that helps employees learn which success factors are their strengths, and which might need more development. Our program is tailored to your organization’s vision and assessment findings.
We’ll coach participants
Follow-up is crucial after a workshop or training. In the Fast Track program, we don’t stop after we walk out the door following the workshop. We’ll coach participants for 12 weeks, based on all nine success factors. And, we’ll help them successfully complete an actual hand-on workplace Success project.
A culture of engagement
To create and maintain a culture of engagement, leaders need to nurture relationships, communicate openly, and demonstrate their commitment to engaging and growing their employees. What better way to demonstrate commitment than by investing in a thorough, professional approach to unleashing your employees’ capabilities?
Give us a call today!
Call us at 425-485-3221 to schedule your Success Factors, Inc. Fast Track program and learn more about Fast Tracking your employees and business to success on our web site.
Welcome to the Self-Starter Zone!

Perseverance Pays Off


Marie Curie, famous for her discovery of radium and polonium and recipient of a 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics, did not stumble upon success. Far from it. The Curies had to work to make ends meet and performed their research under difficult laboratory conditions.

Quiet and dignified, Mme. Curie has been quoted as saying, “Life is not easy for any of us… We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

The Curies had a vision and the perseverance to reach it. Perseverance is an essential success factor for business owners. Owners also should value and retain employees and managers who possess this kind of “stick-to-it-ness.” You can spot people with the trait by noticing their focus on tasks, their ability to endure despite obstacles. These successful people are tenacious; they don’t give up or run for help when faced with a problem, and they’re invested and engaged in their work.

To identify people who persevere when interviewing new hires, ask questions such as, “Can you tell me about a time when you had to overcome obstacles or solve a complex problem?” or “Have you ever tackled a long-term project that took many steps and weeks of attention to complete?”

Perseverance is more than enduring obstacles; it’s the ability to see into the future at what an organization/department/product or service can be. Once you recognize perseverance in yourself or others, do all you can to reward it. If you or an otherwise awesome employee have vision and passion, but give up a little more easily than you should, tweak your skills, patience, and characteristics that help you persevere. Learn more about how to measure this success factor in yourself and in colleagues or employees, and how to fast track people who can grow your business at Success Factors Inc.


Four Principles to Make Intra-preneurs Out of Your Stars

Take your star employees to the next level–make them intrapreneurs! It’s those folks in the organization who are embued with an entreprenerial spirit–we call them Self-Starters. Ignite their talent so that they can take their vision and passion for your company and its products to new heights! Perhaps a better way to do something in your company? A more efficient process? A way to make money with a new product or service?

To create that intrapreneurial culture within the organization, take them back to the basics, then unleash them with the resources and support to go for it!

Perseverance Trumps Adversity

Follow these steps, identified as Success Factors of successful intrapreneurs:

  1. Start Now. Share your vision with these talented folks–a vision of what you want the company to achieve. I am stunned by the number of individual contributors that I meet in my work who do NOT have a clue what the oganization’s vision is! The vision doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
  2. Then task them to integrate the company’s vision into their personal vision of the work they want to do.
  3. Paint your passion in vivid colors for them. Why is passion important here? How does it show up on a regular basis? Could you point to it, if you saw passion being demonstrated?
  4. Create a support system so that if things get tough and obstacles appear, you have a system to tackle those challenges to move forward. Perseverance is one of the keys to success.

At Self-Starter Zone, we’re here to help you take that talented bench to success. We can help them reach them full potential, and turn them into high performers. Find out more at Self-Starter Zone ( Seriously, start now.

Self-Starters Believe in Themselves and Control Negative Thoughts

Researchers say that the average person has 50,000 thoughts a day. Think what we could achieve if we made most of these thoughts positive ones that help us reach our vision!

Unfortunately, it’s much easier for the subconscious mind to wander toward negative self-talk. If you need to pass a certification exam for the next step in your career, but your subconscious mind constantly tells you things like: “I am a terrible test-taker;” “I always freeze when it comes to timed tests of any kind;” or “I will never pass the exam,” you just set yourself up as a victim on the road to failure. The good news is that you can control negative self-talk and turn it around to align it with your vision. Start by developing a list of 10 to 20 statements, called positive affirmations, that you can repeat to yourself every day to crowd out the negative talk.

Can or Can't Toggle Switch Committed to Solution Attitude

Here are a few examples:

  • “I have studied hard for this exam.”
  • “I know the material.”
  • “I have the skills to move on to the next level in my field.”
  • “I am smart and make good choices.”
  • “I am ready to take on this challenge.”

If it helps, enlist your spouse or a close friend or colleague to help you come up with your list and stick to positive self-talk and attitude. They can’t hear what’s going on in your head, but they probably can tell whether you’re keeping up with your plan to crowd out limiting beliefs with positive ones. And once you develop positive self-talk as a habit, you’ll find you can become more successful in many aspects of your life!

Does Your Vision Align with Your Company’s?

In my e-newsletter this week—please feel free to sign up by clicking this link –I wrote about how employers can show appreciation for their employees.

Now, I want to talk about your obligation to your employer. And, that is to become crystal clear about your vision for your future, for your life, for your career. Where do you want to go in your life? What is the future you want to enjoy? Does it involve the current company you work for? What does that mental picture look like? Could you draw it out or explain it in detail?Spending Too Much Time Planning

Once you have written it out, talked it through, ask yourself: How does my vision align with the company’s vision? Am I in alignment with what my employers, the company wants to accomplish? If that is yes, you’re golden.

If that is a “no,” reexamine your priorities, fine-tune your skill sets and go forth. Ignite the self-starter within!


Leaders and Self-Starters

We know that self-starters are initiators; they don’t wait to have everything mapped out for them. They see a problem, they solve it. They see a decision to be made; they make it.

Those are also qualities necessary to be a leader. That’s why we can confidently say that all leaders are self-starters. I had the immense privilege to be interviewed by Convergence Coaching about my views about leadership. Here is the interview:

We met Julie Miller, founder and president of Business Writing That Counts! at a Washington Society of CPAs Women’s Conference. We were so impressed with her message that we invited her to participate in our Leadership Spotlight series.

Dr. Julie has founded two businesses: Business Writing That Counts! where she and her team help clients achieve their professional goals by reducing writing time while increasing productivity. Her mission is to increase her clients’ bottom line by eliminating bad writing. The company specializes in working with corporations, organizations, and educational institutions to improve the quality of written communication.

The second business is Self-Starter Enterprises, LLC. Her goal is to show professionals and the companies that employ them, how to take their high potential and turn into high performance. She does this work through keynote speeches, Success Sessions, assessments and coaching. The result? Engaged employees who will positively impact the bottom line.

We are excited to share Julie’s insights on effective leadership in the business world.

ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why? WomanLifeCoach

JM: Hewlett-Packard CEO, Meg Whitman. She is collaborative, supportive and relationship-centric; all good qualities that women bring to the workplace. She is also a good listener and actively participates in the running of the business. Whitman is a firm believer in influencing relationships with her employees and not controlling them. There are three leadership strands that Whitman used at her job as CEO of EBay.

First, she realizes she cannot control the buyers. Second, she believes people are basically good. And, third, she often says, “I don’t know everything.” Listening to your employees and getting their input is invaluable.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?

JM: Vision. Without a crystal clear vision expressed by its leader, an organization quickly becomes rudderless. Strong passionate visions can sustain the company through tough times, can keep everyone focused on what’s important, and can create deeper loyalty and engagement.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?

JM: Passion and the ability to execute. Strong work ethic, empathy and agile thinking are also at the top of my list.

ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?

JM: By giving employees opportunities to explore leadership roles; through being a role model; presenting opportunities for personal and professional development; through mentoring.

ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?

JM: Discover your passion—what is it that you truly love to do at your job? What task/skill set energizes you? Where have you been rewarded, recognized or awarded? The answers to these questions help future leaders to utilize their strengths, and allow them to take on an initiative or project that would positively impact the company AND make them shine.

ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?

JM: Nurturing, goal-oriented, continuous learner. I believe that when employees’ talents are discovered and directed, you have engaged people who work at honoring their potential. I strongly believe in creating team and individual goals and attaining them. And, lastly, to paraphrase Peter Block, author and consultant, if you are not learning every day in your business—get out. I take that statement to heart.

At ConvergenceCoaching, LLC we believe that true leaders never really “arrive” and we couldn’t agree more with Julie about the importance of finding your passion and then continuously learning and improving in that area. What are you passionate about? What are you doing to expand your knowledge and sharpen your skills in that area?

Best Regards, Michelle Baca

Perseverace: The top success factor

manclickingheels“Tenacity/perseverance is No. 1,” says Mike Colwell, who runs Plains Angels, an Iowa angel investor forum, and the accelerator Business Innovation Zone for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “So much of entrepreneurship is dealing with repeated failure. It happens many times each week.” When failure happens, you have to start all over again.

This example truly personifies perseverance: Jett McCandless was a partner in a fast-growing freight logistics operation. But the rapid expansion triggered mistakes, including an invoicing glitch that left the company without enough cash reserves. The business had to be sold for a fraction of its value. McCandless didn’t agree to the terms and was fired. He lost the company house and car and wound up moving into his girlfriend’s apartment. “It was a very tough time,” he recalls. “I came very close to going bankrupt.”

He went on 25 job interviews and got offers for logistics positions paying $200,000 and up. But McCandless, who grew up in Section 8 public housing, wondered, Should I take a comfortable, secure job, or could I build something better? “I was afraid that failure could define the rest of my life, and I wasn’t going to let that happen,” he says.

So rather than accept one of those big offers, he started over, founding a new company, CarrierDirect, in Chicago. Hamstrung by the noncompete contract with his previous firm, he created a wholly new space in the logistics field. Instead of matching shippers with truckers, he switched to consulting, providing marketing and sales for logistics companies. In two years CarrierDirect grew to $35 million in revenue. “I’m glad I didn’t take one of those corporate jobs,” he says now.

Now how’s that for success?


Is Simon Sinek copying me?

Positive Attitude MonthSimon Sinek, thought leader and author, sent out an inspirational statement today: Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.  I think he’s either copying me or maybe, he is even reading my blog? In any event, you know that self-starters possess three fundamental success factors: Passion, Vision, and Perseverance. These three need to be clearly aligned with the company’s vision and passion. That’s when miracles happen, goals are achieved, accomplishments realized. That’s when you have employees that love their work and their company.

Check out my blog about the car rental company to see what happens when these success factors are NOT in play.



Transistions Require the Big Three

Can or Can't Toggle Switch Committed to Solution AttitudeLife does not go in a straight line. What we plan for doesn’t happen; what we didn’t plan for does! Be it divorce, parents’ death, kids leaving the nest, a firing, a promotion, leaving the military, turning another decade—life just keeps coming at us.

These life events usually involve reflection—whether it’s “What now?” or “Oh, boy!” –about what these occurrences mean to your life, your career, your business, your future.

We firmly believe at that going back to the basics, focusing on the Big Three—Passion, Vision, and Perseverance—will hold you in good stead. It means thinking through:

1. What does your new vision look like, feel like, sound like? Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Where are you sitting, living, working?

2.  In the past, what talents or strengths have been awarded or rewarded? Those talents and strengths are what will give you energy and enthusiasm. If you’ve lost your way, reach out to family and friends and ask them: When you think of me, what words/strengths/talents comes to mind? In those answers, you will find or renew your passion.

3. If you have passion and vision firmly aligned, adversity and obstacles that step in your way will be easier to confront. Put a group of advisors together, hire a coach, find a mentor who can help you over, through and around the rough patches.


Savvy Sales Advice for Self-Starters

Savvy Sales Advice for Self-Starters

Self-starters get it: To make it in highly competitive markets, you have to persevere. Many self-starters have been knocked down before, only to get up and try again, so they know how to take a licking. But all of this passion and moxie can’t turn into a chip on the shoulder or downright pushiness. The trick to good sales and service comes from personal connections and attention, not to overbearing tactics.

I recently came across an article on that gives new business owners and their sales staff great advice on how to pitch their businesses without coming across as jerks.

baby salespersonHere are a few tips from the article by Gavin Llewellyn:

Focus on the situation, not your business. You’re proud of your start-up and the success you’ve had so far, but your potential customer wants to know what you can do for him or her – what value you have to offer. Tailor your pitch to the customer’s needs and situation; save the company history and bio for a special page on your website or your future write-up as a success story!

Stop talking and listen. There’s no way to really know what your customer needs and wants unless you listen and truly hear what the customer is saying. Ask follow-up questions that show you were tuned in. And use the information you gather to meet and exceed customer needs, and maybe even make adjustments to your product and service. Your results will do most of the talking with great customer satisfaction once you get the sale.

Llewellyn gives these and other tips for talking with potential investors as well. And that’s often a critical component to new businesses or those wishing to expand. Remember that everyone is not as personally invested in your business as you are, but that you can make them believe in its value and your ability as a self-starter with the right approach.