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.

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!

Perseverance Pays Off for New Editor In Chief

Perseverance Pays Off for New Editor In Chief

Audrey Cooper, the new editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, just broke a few barriers. With her promotion, she became the first woman to hold the position in the newspaper’s 150-year history. And at age 37, she also became the youngest woman in the country to hold an editor-in-chief position at any large newspaper.

Of course, “young age” is relative. Cooper has paid her dues. Although she obviously has a passion and talent for the work she does, it’s her perseverance that stands out to me. For one, she advanced from her first job at the paper as assistant metro editor in 2006 through a series of promotions to her most recent position as managing editor in 2013. Admirable, but not the entire story.

Perseverance Trumps Adversity

In an interview on SFGate, Cooper said that 15 years ago, she applied for an internship at the San Francisco Chronicle three years in a row and was never called back. She worked several other journalism jobs before making her way back to the second-largest newspaper on the West Coast.

When a self-starter has a vision like it appears that Audrey Cooper had, she doesn’t let a setback hold her down. Or in this case, three setbacks early in her career! Cooper also is married with a two-year-old son and leads walking tours in the Bay area.

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?


Retaining Self-Starters in Your Company: Some ideas

Unemployment rates are dropping slowly but steadily nationally. So, whether you’re part of a large conglomerate OR a two-person business, we all need qualified workers.

And, regardless of whether you have trouble finding skilled workers, turnover and recruitment likely cost you more than retention of self-starters, those workers who have the vision, passion, perseverance and other key traits of successful people.

If you can’t pay higher wages across the board or to select self-starters, it might be time to get creative. Remember that for many workers, especially in the younger generations, lifestyle matters. They want time with their families, days off to make it outdoors, some “me” time to unwind. Consider incentive programs that award extra days off. True self-starters won’t take advantage of the time or fall behind on their work; they’ll come back recharged and more positive than ever.

Some companies are offering added retention bonuses, which often give supervisors a little more leeway and don’t hold you to offering even more the next quarter or year like wages do. Technology gifts also work; who doesn’t love a new tablet for work or play?

Across the board, try motivating staff with fitness plans or programs and other perks. And if you haven’t already trained your supervisors on how to reward individuals and teams for success, add that to your priority list. Nothing beats a pat on the back and a celebration of a job well done to remind self-starters that you value their contributions.          




NO Surprise! Self-starters at Nordstrom

In the Northwest, Nordstrom is a beloved company—it started here and thrives here. Their customer service is legendary. When you walk into one of the stores, you expect to receive good service; but exemplary service requires a shout-out to the employee and the company! 

You know by now—and my self-starter interviews support it—that self-starters are alive and well in all kinds of workplaces, contributing to their companies in all kinds of ways.
Meet Andrew in shoes, Nordstrom self-starter! Tall, professionally dressed and approachable. 

I’m always in a hurry and have limited time; I was on the hunt for a pair of boots. Now I’m fashion kind of person, so they needed to be warm, attractive and reasonably priced. Done!

But the part of the experience that was the stand-out was Andrew’s seamless approach to solving problems: They didn’t have my size. I had to fly the next day.

Without skipping a beat, he found the shoes, asked for the hotel’s address and confirmed they would be delivered BEFORE I arrived at the hotel!

Andrew: self-starter. Works with passion and vision, and perseveres to get to the goal.

PS: It’s no wonder — He’s already been recognized by the company several times!

Positive Thinkers Score as Self-Starters

Tough times call for positive thinking and whether it’s the economy or a few bumps in the road for a leader moving up in a company or a self-starter out to make his or her own way, positive thinking is one of the nine success secrets we identified in self-starters.

It looks like a recent survey from the small-business nonprofit helper SCORE  confirms our findings. An infographic of successful entrepreneurs listed positive traits such as being open and agreeable as contributors to success. On the other hand, making excuses, deceiving others or being overly aggressive helped sabotage start-ups.

positive thinkingOur self-starters always kept a positive image in their heads while working toward their goals, even if circumstances warranted their giving in or giving up. Optimism also adds to mental health and emotional stability. In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale delves into more detail on the power of staying positive and displaying positive traits like those verified in the SCORE infographic.

If a few setbacks have you down, hang in there. Need help improving your positive thinking? Check out Peale’s book and try one of our Self-Starter Success sessions.

Writer Uses Rejection to Land Writing Gigs

Writers and other creative entrepreneurs probably receive more rejections than most. It’s a competitive world, requiring a thickskin. A recent story by Bob Greene on CNN tells how one writer, Chuck Ross, once turned rejection in his favor and made a name, and writing career, for himself.

Ross is a classic self-starter. In brief, after realizing that agents and publishers weren’t even reading the mystery manuscript he submitted, Ross sepia.writing    submitted a verbatim top-seller to see if they would bite at it. He submitted the copied top-seller without the real title or author’s name, and sat back to wait for 27 reviews. Not a single agent or publisher bit on the National Book Award winner.

The lesson? First, Ross took the rejection of someone else’s work even less personally than he had viewed rejection of his own writing. Second, he made lemonade out of lemons. Ross submitted a feature article to a local magazine about the best-selling manuscript submission and rejection. Soon, he was landing plenty of writing work and quit his day job.

After all, what Ross really wanted was to be a writer, and now he was making a solid living at it. This self-starter, who dreamed big, but was willing to adjust his vision, took risks and kept his passion alive. As for rejection, he laughed at it in the face and in print. And he won.

How can you take a similar situation and use it to your advantage?

How do you feel about a long engagement?

Long engagements bring to mind forged and lasting relationships, caution and a thoughtful approach to a lasting partnership. Hmmm… what works for couples probably works for your employer-employee relationships.

When you hear about “engaging” employees, do you assign an HR person to come up with an event, or perhaps bring back the lunchroom suggestion box? Those might help improve communication, but engagement is a change

engagement ring

in culture and, dare I say, a long-term commitment.

We’ve learned from self-starters, who can be your organization’s top performers, that they’re self-motivated people who seize opportunities. If you have a culture of top-down communication and heavily hierarchical decision-making and involvement, it will be tough for self-starters to seize many opportunities.

Engaged employees find their work interesting and meaningful. If there is little meaning to the work, they probably find little challenge and eventually seek meaning elsewhere. As an employer, don’t you want to retain the employees who look for meaning in their work, even if it means a long-term revamp of your culture? Start looking at long-term solutions to engage – and retain – your top performers.