All posts in Kraft Your Business

Struggling for Solutions

Overcoming hurtles often requires creative thinking.

Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words, ideas or solutions? If you are like me, this might even be a daily challenge. When you find yourself creatively challenged, struggling to find that next client, or stuck in the same old rut then it’s time to shake it out and get rid of your cobwebs.

Before you begin, absolutely give yourself credit for having the ability to think creatively in the first place. You’re reading this post aren’t you? That shows you have the willingness to get out of your current frame of mind, break free and move forward and this is great news, isn’t it?.

In the past, was there ever a time where you ran into an obstacle and needed to think creatively to find a solution? What did you do that helped you solve the problem? If you think about it you can see you do have the skill to think creatively, all you need to do now is just sharpen this skill. What can you do to refine that imagination muscle and become even more aware of the potential solutions available now; practice being open to possibilities.

Exercises for your mind

  • Take an ordinary household product (aluminum foil, cereal or bottled water for example) and re-brand the product. How else could this product be used? What marketing strategy, advertising or design should you engage in to bring awareness to this new way of using this product?
  • If you were asked to redesign 2 miles of a downtown city area, what would you do differently? How would you change the traffic, buildings, or transit system? What other uses for this area would you incorporate into this design?
  • If walls could hear and speak, what do you think they might say? Pick a room in the house (dining room, kitchen, or den) and over a given day, what stories do you think you would hear?
  • Write a complete story using no more than six word. Think like a poet using just the right word for just the right perspective.

Tap into your curiosity (What if the world was perfect, you had all the resources needed or there were no barrier to your success) and let the ideas simply flow. Record your thoughts or write them down without editing. What would happen if this solution were not found? What would not happen if this solution were not found? What more can you do right now to bring the perfect ending to this problem?

When you practice looking at things differently, you build the confidence you need to enhance your creative thinking skills and find yourself open to being even more aware of possibilities and solutions flow smoothly and effortlessly to you and it’s nice to know that, isn’t it?

Take action right now, you know you are ready to let go and change your life right here and right now. Contact Kraft Bravery and Your Business and get even more out of your life, your career and your business today.

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Blowing Your Training Budget

How often have you sent your team to training only to find, 6 weeks later, nothing has changed? How often have you yourself gone to training, only to find you return to your previous routine and thought processes? Why is it that you want improvement yet seem to miss the mark?

When selecting a training course, business leaders many times are looking to change something in their culture such as improved communication skills, increased sales, or excellence in management execution. The problem here is in the training selection process and then in the follow through.

Your selection process

Exactly what is it that you are trying to achieve? Is what you want truly in alignment with your company’s core values? Are you willing and able to follow through and do what it takes to commit to the successful incorporation of this learning into your processes and into your culture?

There are many stories where an organization spends training dollars on their management team so they learn how to do a better job at hiring and retaining excellent resources. The managers may even have a script or a program to help with the selection process. They check all the boxes and follow the process to the letter and hire the perfect candidate. Why is it then that within 2 years that resource is gone, either leaving the organization or being asked to leave?

Based on the screening process, this candidate thought they were entering into a certain culture with specific values. During the screening process, the hiring manager’s selection process was based on a set of criteria that was placed upon him/her and may not really be in alignment with the company’s true value system.

This is not the fault of the training provided nor is it the fault of the organization’s leadership team. This is the fault of a belief that given the right training an organization’s culture and results can change. The real nugget to success and improvement is getting to the core of what your company’s values really are, openly and honestly; warts and all. Then your search is for the candidate that aligns with those values, a win-win.

Your follow through

You are a leader that understands your company’s core values and you seek training that supports and enhances these values. So why is sustainable and lasting change missing the mark? What is going on when your team, department and company is psyched and ready to go after training and still fizzles out within 2 months?

Practice… we all need to practice change, step into it on our own time and look for support along the way. According to the 2010 Executive Coaching Survey, conducted by the Conference Board, 63% of organizations use some form of internal coaching, and half of the rest plan to.

The problem still lies in that coaching is just a small part of a manager’s job description, less than 10% of their time is focused on coaching and most of that time is really the old one-to-one management meeting.; giving reviews, holding occasional meetings and offering advice. Effective coaching focuses on behavior shifts, specific actions and exploiting strengths.

Part of the training budget should also include training leadership with outside coaching. Having an outside coach who is focused on your results and detached from internal politics propels results forward as this coach is focused on leadership skills and change management. This coaching is asking rather than telling, is provoking thought rather than giving directions and is holding a person accountable for his or her goals.

So stop blowing your budget on training and seeing no real tangible results. You just need to invest these dollars wisely in programs that fit with your values and take the necessary steps to support the integration of this training with coaching for your leadership team. You know you are ready to bring your business results to levels beyond your wildest dreams. You know you are committed to being seen as an industry leader and innovator. You know you have the desire to invest wisely for lasting results. Just go ahead and make that commitment to you and your team today. Hire a coach to help you focus on your true core values and begin integrating lasting change that reaps true results on your investment.

Kraft Bravery and Your Business, together we identify key core values, set just the right goals and develop an on-going program to propel you towards your success. http://gailkraft.com/contact-us/

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Motivation, How Hard Is It Anyway

Are you struggling with how to motivate your staff, your virtual assistant or yourself? If you are like me you get bombarded every day with tips and tricks on motivational techniques; seven easy steps, three key motivational strategies, or money isn’t the only motivator. You’ve tried the tricks and they just don’t work. Now what?

Motivation is not about trickery, it is about meeting people where they are, knowing where you are coming from and providing the environment others need to be their very best. It is not a cookie cutter solution because it depends on their needs of others at the moment.

I once had an excellent employee who began showing up at work depressed and frustrated. When we chatted about it she told me she was going to need to leave the job she loved because she and her fiance could not make ends meet. She gave me permission to work with them on a budget first to see if we could make a few changes in that area. I kept an employee, she and her fiance learned how to manage their money and we were all very grateful. You will not find this advice in a blog or a text book. This is meeting someone where they are and giving that person what they need at that time.

Meet people where they are

Every moment of every day there are different influences on you and the people you are motivating to get things done on your behalf. Family, society, politics, religion, history and more affect how we all “show up” every day. Your job, in fact your responsibility, is to be aware of how others are reacting to their day. Take a few moments and strive to understand the other person. Ask questions and listen to the answers; both the language and the mood of these responses are key to what is going on in their world right now. What are they reacting to today?

Know where you are coming from

Be aware of what is affecting you at this moment and notice what you are doing. How are you responding, how are you feeling, what are your actions and ask yourself if your behavior is appropriate to the moment. Are you serving the need of those you are trying to motivate or are you serving yourself? Acknowledge what you are doing and ask how you can better serve those looking to you for direction.

Provide the environment they need

Be sure your team has the tools and training to perform their job. After that motivation is about trust, growth and empowerment. People want to feel valued and worthy with what they are doing. A heartfelt thank you or good job moments of celebration are simple acts that keep spirits up, a key factor for motivation. Provide a continuous learning environment at the job where people are able to stretch their brain and face a challenge they are able to meet. Success breeds success and trust builds on trust. Be sure you are providing this environment for your team.

Motivating people is a non-tangible skill that requires you to be aware of yourself, your staff and your environment. We are all total beings and that totality means you are open and aware, trusting and giving, vulnerable and strong, and you are aware of it all while interacting with those needing your support to do their job.

Kraft Bravery and Your Business, together we can get you in motion. Unfocussed, unbalanced, unhappy, contact me today and get unstuck now.

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Seize the Lesson

Have you ever made a decision? Then it’s time for a lesson. You have the opportunity to enhance your skill as a leader every time you make a decision. I recently shared this lesson with a fellow business associate and I would like to extend this to you.

I attended a business networking group as a last minute substitute. The issue was that I had already committed to cover another member later in the month. This group’s rule is that you can substitute only once in a given month. The circumstances were:

I sent a text the previous evening to the president asking permission to cover as an exception. I had a previous commitment to another member that I intended to honor. The chapter member I was writing about had been trying to find a substitute for this day and was in a bind. I offered to help out if we got the okay from the president. When I did not hear back from my text the following morning I went to the meeting, explained the situation to the president and asked “What do you want to do?”

The decision; I was asked to leave and he would have someone coming as a guest cover as a substitute for the member. Stop the stories in your head; there are no right or wrong solutions, just options.

The most important thing you can do to develop your leadership skill is to hone your ability to tune into the infinite choices around you each and every moment so you make the best decision you can at the moment. As a person who makes choices you must learn to quickly analyze the impact of each opportunity and make the best loving and caring decision you can make that supports your goals.

Given the decision that was made what are your thoughts on the potential impact on:

  • Who does this decision serve
  • What impact does this have on leadership
  • What impact does this have on the team
  • What additional steps do you need to take, if any

Whenever you make a decision sit down and ask yourself these questions. Then identify three additional steps you could have taken, answering these questions for each one of them.

Hold on, the rest of you are not off the hook. When you are not in a position of leadership, but on the receiving end, you also should go through this process. What did my decision to show up impact? What other choices might I have had and what impact might those choices have had?

You are always in a position to make decisions, as a leader or otherwise. Be sure you hone your decision making skill, practice, practice and more practice will exercise your ability to quickly assess each situation and make a choice that serves everyone that is affected.

Become a self-educating machine and recognize your opportunity to grow. Kraft Bravery and Your Business can coach you along your path to becoming the best you there is. Start now, contact me today.

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Dreamed Big? Big Deal

Inspiration without action is a dream and action without inspiration is a nightmare. I am a huge proponent of building your vision, of daily affirmations and of digging deep so you know why you are inspired to succeed. You have taken this journey and you are all revved up and ready to go! Now what? Get ready to work and Kraft your future!

Take your vision and articulate your goal as succinctly as possible. What is your desired end state? What does success look like to you? Be clear, be specific and be inspired.

Put a stake in a timeline as to when this will be real. Be Brave and pick an actual month, day and year. Write this down.

What are the small goals you need to take on the path to this outcome? Let’s say your goal is writing a book. Some small goals, milestones, might be; complete the outline, identify graphics, complete research, build communication strategy, half way through and ready for copyrights, forward completed, cover and so on. See what I mean? Kraft your plan. You now have milestones along the way. Put them in chronological order and give them dates to be completed.

CONGRATULATIONS, you are doing so well! You have Krafted the plan and it is time to work the plan and stay on track.

  • Each activity to achieve the first milestone should be noted on your calendar that you reference each day
  • Each morning think of your vision, visualize your success, believe you are on the right track
  • Each morning review your action items, and determine how you will achieve them that day
  • Each evening check off what you accomplished and celebrate your work well done
  • Each activity that slips gets moved forward, adjust your plan and approach, determine what got in the way and how you will react next time this happens
  • Each evening think of your vision, visualize your success, believe you are on the right track

Working the plan is where your bravery will be challenged. Review each day why this is important to be done. The inspiration that kicked this off is the motivation to keep you moving forward. Take one step at a time, it’s the small steps forward that will bring you success.

Kraft Bravery and Your Business, stay focused, stay motivated, and take one step at a time.

 

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Are you a Stellar Leader?

Signs you have the qualities of a great leader

Alright, you’ve been in business for a while now and have had some level of success. People come to you for your perspective, your mentorship and your expertise. You believe you are doing the right thing and are ready to take the next step in your career. So how do you know you are on the right track? Signs of a great leader include:

  • You are not right, you are clear
  • You do not seek having the last word
  • You empower people to own their own ideas
  • You take responsibility for yourself and your team
  • You manage rather than manipulate
  • You walk the walk

A strong leader has confidence, has humility, and has a strong sense of who they truly are. Leadership is a choice you can make and a skill you can acquire. Be brave and Kraft your career with confidence. 

Want to know more about Krafting your focus? Contact me now for more information today and Kraft Bravery and Your Business.

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Kraft Your Strategy, When Does Money Motivate

Is money really a motivator?

Are you confused about the effectiveness of using money as a motivator? Research tells us that when money is used as an incentive, motivation actual decreases by @ 25%. Meanwhile, studies also tell us that money increases motivation when the job being performed is uninteresting or tedious. So, as a leader relying on others to perform and deliver, what are you to do?

Using money as a motivator exclusively loses its effectiveness over time. The key is for you to use money in a strategic and targeted manner to get the desired result. A gift certificate to a local restaurant is a great monetary reward or a small bonus check for a job well done at the completion of a project. Remember, motivation is a strategy and money is just one of the tools in your toolbox. Here are few things to keep in mind when creating your monetary strategy.

  1. Money as a reward at the time of the “event” has immediate results
  2. Knowing who you are influencing is important. Your sales team is very motivated by money in the form of commission
  3. Scheduled timely bonuses as a reward for achieving targets provides employee focus on what you think is important
  4. A small gift certificate as a thank you for referrals immediately upon receiving them is a great way to say thank you for thinking of my business

Be sure money is timely, distributed in an open and honest fashion and the amount is relevant to the work that has been done. Be consistent and fair with the delivery.

As a motivational tool, money has short term affects when used alone. Use it strategically and in conjunction with other motivators and watch your results improve.

Want to know more about motivation to grow your business and your career? Contact me today for more information today and Kraft success for your future.

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IBM and Apple Kraft a Partnership

The partnership of the Apple and the IBM giants is an alliance that will bring IBM back to the forefront of the business world as well as create a serious entry point for Apple apps. These organizations are planning to develop business apps that will leverage the big data capabilities of IBM to Apple’s user-friendly iPads and iPhones. Ingenious on both parts! As technology matures at the speed of light the ability to keep up and stay abreast placed in the users hands will allow IBM to stay in pace with growing technology and users growing demands.

 

Today’s business needs data accurately quickly in order to understand shifts in the consumer market. Having this data in your hand will mean you are truly no longer tied to your desk for information. How will big business adjust? How will small business cope? How will entrepreneurs use this capability to bring their imagination and flexibility to the next level?  Does this mean big data is no longer available to only big business? This will be interesting to see how technology is krafted and how decision making changes.

 

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HELP, I Have Run Out of time…

Kraft your Time and Get it done

What is time management

 

Be Brave, give up control and get massive results! That’s right, if you are doing it all then you are not focused on your most important goals. Pareto’s principle, or the 80/20 rule, states that 20 percent of your effort is responsible for 80 percent of your results. So where are you spending your time?

I can answer that for you. There are three ways you could be spending your time:

  • Thoughts
  • Conversations
  • Actions

Simple, right? Well as an entrepreneur or business executive, you will find yourself dealing with interruptions. The key here is to control the amount of time you spend on disruptions vs. the amount of time you spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that lead to success. Are you brave enough to make a change? Here are a few habits that will bring you MASSIVE results.

 

  1. For one week, on a daily basis record all your thoughts, conversations and activities. This will help you understand how much you get done during the  day and where you spend your time
  2. Notice what you could have avoided or delegated to someone else
  3. Now assign time for any activity or conversation that is important to your success. Anything else needs to be cancelled or delegated.
  4. Schedule appointments with yourself for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Block time on your calendar as you would for any important meeting and stick to it
  5. Develop the discipline to keep these appointments
  6. Schedule ad-hoc meeting time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing
  7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done
  8. End each week reviewing your activities, what worked what didn’t work. Plan for the following week. (Give yourself 2 – 3 hours for this activity)

 

As you review your daily activities identify distractions that can be scheduled such as reviewing email, Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s impossible to get everything done but Pareto’s principle is always at work, The 80/20 rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial. Kraft your actions to focus on the vital.

 

Kraft Bravery and Your Business with focus and drive. Contact me today for more information today and Kraft success for your future

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