Posts in Owner

Read This Before Joining a Mastermind Group

February 16th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Mastermind Group, Owner, Peer Group 0 thoughts on “Read This Before Joining a Mastermind Group”

If you’ve ever thought of joining a mastermind group, please read this.

I’m Jon Umstead, author of Business is ART and founder of Plan Canvas. In this week’s post, I’d like to speak with you directly from my heart – then invite you to join me.

Several years ago, I became a believer in the power of mastermind groups. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a mastermind is effectively peer-to-peer mentoring in a facilitated group setting. Everyone comes together to help one another solve their problems.

The concept itself was coined nearly 100 years ago by author Napoleon Hill (The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich).

There are all kinds of mastermind group options, methodologies, and platforms. I was trained in mastermind group facilitation by one of the most prestigious CEO coaching companies around. But while I became a fast and firm believer in the concept, some of the core practices promoted by this particular company were not in harmony with my own beliefs.

How can it be done differently?

So I sat things out for a year, thinking about. If I were to create and run my own version of a mastermind group, what would it look like, how would it function, and what would be some of the core characteristics of candidates to join the group?

I then began the task of recruiting candidates – something I will admit is not fun to me. It can be a hard sell. How do you show someone that it is worth their money and time away from work to sit in a room with a bunch of people from other industries, helping them solve their problems, when you’ve got enough of your own?

“My business is unique. I don’t need to talk to people from other industries. I need to talk to people with businesses just like mine.”

Heard that all the time as well.

But ultimately we assembled a group that ran for 2 years. It represented some of the greatest professional experiences I have ever had.

We met monthly at alternating locations and as I’d pack up food, beverages, laptop, projector, tripod and flip charts, and drive off to our meeting, I’d think to myself, “Is this going to be worth it today? What if no one gets any value out of it?”

After the meeting would adjourn, I’d pack up and start driving home, feeling completely good about the day.

There is no more rewarding professional feeling than knowing you were part of helping someone else get through a really tough issue. Occasionally, it would literally bring a tear to the eye.

The group had a lot of successes – here are a few

One of our group members had to figure out how to make massive personal life changes due to the failing health of a loved one. One wrestled with a decision to run for public office – something she had wanted to do for a long time – but how could she juggle the responsibilities of owning and operating a small business with several employees and clients to consider AND be a public servant?

In both cases, the group was challenged with helping these members determine solutions and a plan forward. In both cases, things worked out.

The following is a direct quote from another one of the former mastermind group members, who has given me permission to share it:

“Since joining Jon’s mastermind group, my revenue has increased 31.25% in 10 months. Employee morale and productivity has increased 50% by implementing new processes and incentive programs recommended through the group. As a direct result, our competitors do not even compare to the service we provide.”

Christina Walters, Founder/Owner Night Dispatch

If I could guarantee results like that for everyone, I’d be an occasional guest Shark on Shark Tank and have a private island next to Tony Robbins’

But I can guarantee this.

If you join a well-run mastermind group and show up – I mean REALLY show up – you will find it well worth your time and money. Most members find they actually save time by investing in a mastermind.

For the last 14 months, I’ve missed our group. We shut it down due to the retirement of members – one member actually ran for and won the election to the office she had considered. It was also time for me to focus on the development of Plan Canvas. In short, it had run its course.

And now, I am very pleased to say, it is time to start a new group

This time, I will be leading one electronically. We will meet online, monthly, in the evenings, beginning this month.

This revised format will make it possible to expand the group well beyond geographical boundaries, in multiple time zones, and at a time that does not encroach on normal business hours.

Start for free and let the experience speak for itself

The best way to experience it and start gaining benefit from it is to just jump in.

And I get it. You’re skeptical. You have enough demands on your hard earned cash. But if you have ever considered joining a mastermind group, give this one a shot.

I am offering a free introduction to it, so there is nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Contact me directly at to discuss it and get you started. There can only be 10 members to a group and some seats are already taken, so, there is no guarantee to fit you in.

This genuinely could be one of the best decisions you have ever made. I am THAT confident in it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Advice for Creating a Shark Tank Worthy Pitch

September 26th, 2016 Posted by Entrepreneur, Owner 0 thoughts on “Advice for Creating a Shark Tank Worthy Pitch”

Pitch your businessIf you can’t articulate the value of your business, it’s very hard for anyone else to see and understand the value of your business. They may just assume that your business holds no value. That’s one reason the savvy business owner likely has a 30-second elevator pitch on hand. This is great for chance encounters, small talk, meeting people at special events, and of course talking to someone in an elevator.

To bring on investors (or seek a business loan), however, you’ll need something a little meatier than a 30-second pitch.

The hit-show Shark Tank has its name for a reason. Investors devour weak pitches, leaving no remnants behind. While real-life, off-camera investor pitches (hopefully) look nothing like those on Shark Tank, the end-results are similar. Either you sufficiently show the investor there is value in your business or you don’t. To survive these dangerous waters, you’ll need a pretty fantastic pitch. In this post we give you a few tips on how to do that, but no matter what, keep this in mind – brevity is your friend.

Even if You Never Plan on Pitching to Investors, This Can Be a Great Exercise

Not planning on bringing in investments? It is still valuable to look at your business the way an investor would. It will push you to evaluate your true worth and growth potential. You might see weak points. You will be able to sell your services/products/etc. better.

So, how can you see if your business is Shark Tank worthy? Here are some tips:

Break it Down to the Most Basic Level

Many strong-willed entrepreneurs on Shark Tank leave both the Sharks and the viewers scratching their heads by asking for much more than they need or for being unwilling to accept what seemingly everyone else believes is a fair offer. When establishing your business, you need to start with the core concept. The basic idea. The minimum viable product. And you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

Now, once you have that, what’s the next growth point? Where could a shot of additional cash flow take you?

We all think we want explosive growth, but a natural, organic progression is generally much healthier, easier to manage, more attainable and more sustainable.

So press pause on a few of the crazier future ideas. Cut down on features/capabilities you don’t need. Simply put, remove the fat.

Ideas are Not Investable – Executed Plans Are

Want to get investors in on a business? You need an actual business. Everyone has ideas. The majority of those ideas will never become reality. That’s why investors generally only care about the concepts that have already been put into action.

That way, they can see that it works on some level. If something can’t work on a small scale, it can rarely work on a large scale.

Be an Expert About Your Business

You know who should know more about your business than you? No one. You should be the foremost expert about what your business is, what you do, where you’re going, how you react to situations, what you’re ultimately chasing after, and etc.

This means you’ll have to think through a lot of situations. You’ll need a great a business plan and key performance indicators (KPIs) to control and track progress.

It should go without saying that you should also care more about your business than anyone else.

Learn Humility

Though you may be an expert when it comes to your business, you can’t be an expert on everything. There will be people out there who know more about business in general. They may know more about your industry. They’ll be better at some things than you are.

As a business owner, you need to learn humility – especially if you’re seeking investors. If you were the best at everything and smarter than everyone else in any given room, you wouldn’t need to be pitching to investors. They’d just throw money at you.

Focus Less on the Past and More on the Future

It’s great if your business has a nice little story about how it got started, but that’s not going to get anyone to invest in your business. Anytime someone making a pitch gets too caught up in their history, you can see investors getting bored and antsy.

They generally don’t care about how you started. They want to know where you’re going. They want to see that there’s a future. That’s the only way your business holds value to anyone.

Share the Numbers

Most of the time, the Sharks want to know what kind of sales a business is generating before they even consider an offer. They want actual numbers not speculation. However, depending on your situation, you might not have much in the revenue department yet.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely down and out. After all, Facebook got hundreds of millions of dollars before they were making any revenue. Then Facebook would go on to buy Instagram for $1 billion when Instagram was making zero money.

But in both of these cases, the apps had huge, highly engaged user bases.

For your business, you need to find a metric or two that can act as your trump card.

It Starts with Starting Your Business

As we said before, most investors won’t be interested until you have a business going. How do you go about doing that? You can start by reading Business is ART, on sale now. Next, you can watch my video series “Odds Makers”, online training, based on the book, and designed to help you increase your odds by developing plans and identifying KPIs that will impress any investor.

With our guidance, you can create a healthy, investible business.

7 Tips for Entrepreneurs

June 24th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Owner 0 thoughts on “7 Tips for Entrepreneurs”

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This week on the Business is ART podcast #37, our main topic of discussion was SEO. But as the conversation went, we also touched on several other points for business owners and entrepreneurs to think about .

Know Who You Are

My guests on BIA #37 own and operate a web development company in a rural Ohio town – Berry Digital Solutions. The work they do can literally be done from anywhere in the world for any business located any place in the world (where there is commerce and internet). Yet they choose to remain local and do business primarily with local customers.


The answer is quite simple. Because it is part of their mission to buy and support local. It is part of their company culture to meet with clients face-to-face, even in a technologically driven world that enables something else. In short, it is a component of their definition of success.

They know who they are and what they want to be. When you have determined or defined that, it becomes a very easy thing to do to say “no” when faced with business opportunities that just don’t feel as comfortable as you’d like.

Have an Online Presence

During the podcast, I gave an example of the small town baker with a shop on Main Street and asked why this baker needs an online presence. The response from my guests was staggering. At present, 90% of purchases are researched online prior to purchase. Think about that for a minute. 90% of what Americans buy is researched online prior to the purchase.

You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year for an online presence, but when only 10% of purchases are made without any online research whatsoever and you don’t have an online presence, you have severely handicapped your business. Maybe not today, but at some point, it will come back to bite you.

Focus on the Thing You do Best

Diversified services help to keep you from being 100% dependent on one particular source of revenue but, especially for drawing attention to your business through an online presence, trying to feature everything you do only confuses the shopper.

Focus on your primary business or what you are really great at, then more casually mention or list your other services. But draw the bulk of the attention to your primary business. If that baker is known for donuts, the website shouldn’t go on and on about cake.

Keep it simple, “If you think our donuts are great, wait ’til you try our cake!”

Some Final Tips for Entrepreneurs

Listen to the podcast for more details, but here are a few more summary points to take away from it:

  • Pay attention to your website’s analytics (and act accordingly)
  • Go into business knowing it is hard work, not because being your own boss means you get to live on easy street
  • Have a passion for either what you do, or why you do it
  • Embrace the freedom that comes with business ownership

My book, Business is ART, is designed to help you get a firm grasp on who you are, what you want your business to be and how to lay out a plan to get there. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both paperback and ebook form.

After you’ve read it, contact me and let me know what you think. Let’s start a dialogue.

Bootstrapping or Investors: Which is Best for Me?

June 3rd, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur, Owner 1 thought on “Bootstrapping or Investors: Which is Best for Me?”

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If we all had rich relatives who were quick to give their money away, starting a business up would be relatively easy. For most of us, that’s not the case.

But if it takes money to make money, as the old saying goes, where do the funds for your business come from?

The two most common ways to fund a startup business are to A: bootstrap it or B: get investors.

To know what’s best for you, you need to understand the pros and cons of each.

Advantages of Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is really just a fancy word for self-funding. Arguably the biggest advantage is that you retain full control of your business. No shares are sold. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself.

If the business doesn’t work out, sure, you’ll have lost your money, but you won’t lose someone else’s money with it, which is generally a good thing.

Many people who bootstrap also find themselves to be more focused. You don’t have excess capital, so you need to stay as lean as possible. Additionally, you don’t spend any time tracking down and dealing with investors, so you can stay 100% focused on your business.

The Downside of Bootstrapping

While bootstrapping can be easier to get going and comes with less risks, it has its limitations. Specifically, in the realm of cash-flow. If you’re the one funding your business, you’re limited by however much (or little) money you have.

If you take on more work to bring in more money to put towards your new business, that’s time taken away from doing actual work on the new business. Many find the balance of working on the old to fund the new to be a bit tricky.

By bringing on investors, you might be able to gain the funds needed to pursue your business 100%…

Advantages of Investors

Bringing on investors can bring in a much needed surge of finances that can be used to grow your business exponentially faster. Not only does it get you money, but investors can often bring additional connections, personal knowledge and other resources to the table.

Of course, investment money comes with its own price.

Disadvantages of Taking Investment Money

Investment money might appear to be free money at first, but make no mistake, that money comes with strings attached. What those strings are depends on the agreement you make with the investors. It could be shares or voting rights or a certain rate of return.

Regardless, once you take on an investor or two, the business and its success no longer belong to you entirely. And sooner or later, that investment money will run out. You now have a deadline by which you have to achieve success as defined by the investors.

It can be a lot of pressure added to your business, to say the least.

What About Both?

It’s not uncommon for a business to start by bootstrapping and eventually move to bringing on investors. In fact, it’s typically easier to find good investors if you have some semblance of a business started.

It’s also good for you because that generally means you’re bringing in some level of revenue, and the investment money is specifically to grow your business bigger, faster, rather than making it work in the first place.

What’s Best for My Business?

The best option for you depends on a number of factors, ranging from “how much money do you have for bootstrapping” to “what investor opportunities are theoretically available to you”.

Whatever route you go, you’ll need a plan. To learn more about the ART of business, check out my book or contact me directly. I’ve worked hands on with businesses in all different stages.

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Business

March 5th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Owner, Strategy 0 thoughts on “4 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Business”

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Achieving business success is not only about what you do, it’s what mistakes you avoid. Mistakes can be made by anyone, no matter how prepared you are to get started in your industry. These mistakes aren’t always so easy to identify, and some of them can actually be misconstrued as doing something positive. But therein lies the problem: sometimes you can do too much.

It’s not always what you put into your business that matters, but what you leave out. A complete list would be far too lengthy for a blog, so here are just 4 mistakes to avoid when starting your business.

Moving Forward Without a Plan

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners can make is pressing forward without any type of plan for the future. It’s good to have a sense of your industry, the market, the consumers and what you want your business goals to be.

Without a proper business plan, you put yourself at risk of being one of the many businesses that fail within the first five years. The Business is ART book explicitly lays out how you can form a plan. You can also find a template for a “One Page Strategic Plan” as well as a business plan template in the “Freebies” section of the website.

While it’s always a good idea to have a business plan, start with the strategic plan. It sets the stage for your business plan.

Over Planning

You have probably heard the term “analysis paralysis.” Simply put, it’s what happens when we over think things. This can easily happen when putting plans together. You start to think of all of the additional things you can put in to your plans, or talk about in great depth in your plans. Pretty soon, months or years go by without taking any real actions toward implementing your plans. You’ve been so busy planning that you forgot the “doing” part.

Another danger is what I call “exception handling.” That’s when instead of defining the forward path, you start worrying about and defining all of the detours and delays that may take you off of the defined path and down unmarked dirt roads.

To be sure, you should do some of this planning. It’s called risk mitigation planning. But do it AFTER you have defined the preferred, ideal path that you plan to take. If you try to define them simultaneously, you are likely to never completely define the path.

Being Inflexible

You should never become so set in your ways that you refute any and all criticism about your business or plan. Part of being a business leader is learning to listen to your stakeholders as well as others who have no “skin-in-the-game.” Most importantly, you should be listening to your customers.

By refusing to revise your business plan and strategy, you will find that your business will become either obsolete or forgotten about pretty quickly. Every market is constantly evolving; the trick is to evolve along with it.

Neglecting Your Marketing Budget

Developing a product or perfecting a service is integral to any business, but if you don’t spend any money on marketing your business, how will people know that it even exists? Don’t fall back on the saying: “if you build it, they will come.” You have to set aside some money for marketing in order to get your business off the ground.

What are some other mistakes to avoid?

Why Choreography in Business Can Hold You Back

February 29th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Leadership, Owner 0 thoughts on “Why Choreography in Business Can Hold You Back”
What's holding you back

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Is your business constrained by choreography? What’s holding you back?

The following is an edited excerpt from the book Business is ART. It was originally posted on 12/13/2014 at the former Business is ART blog site and has since been modified.

Business is ART – Chapter 2 Excerpt

I hate line dancing. I hate when those two or three songs inevitably start at wedding receptions, parties, or when the band or karaoke DJ decides to take a break, and people get up, line up, and begin doing whatever it is that they do to those songs all in unison. I hate it.

So when people ask why I’m not joining them in a good, old-fashioned line dance, I like to say, “Because I refuse to be constrained by the shackles of choreography,” followed by, “That means I can’t dance.”

The reality is, I actually can dance. If I was famous, you would never see me on “Dancing with the Stars,” but if you did, I would likely get through a few rounds before being sent home. I would not win nor make it to the final round, but I can dance passably when I want to. I just really don’t like line dancing.

It is probably more accurate to say that this phrase means that I don’t like playing within certain boundaries. I like to be creative and play outside the boundaries. ‘Refusing to be constrained by the shackles of choreography’ means staying relevant. How?  Here are a few thoughts.

Don’t Get Comfortable

Rockstar Jon Bon Jovi said “Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time – you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.”

There’s nothing like a nice bed or a comfy couch to stretch out on and snuggle in for a while to watch a movie or your favorite team.  But don’t let life be that couch.  If you do, you’ll fall asleep while everyone and everything changes around you.  When you wake up, you may even find someone took the remote.

Things Change – So Should You

Pay attention!  Things are constantly changing.  Particularly in business, if you aren’t paying attention, you will become irrelevant in relatively short order.

Think past current demand.

Andy Warhol said, “An artist is somebody who produces things that you don’t need to have.”

If you find yourself saying “The customers aren’t asking for it and they don’t need it,” you probably need to rethink your strategy. More likely, you don’t have one.

What’s Holding You Back?

Here are 4 simple questions to ask yourself:

  1. What shackles do you wear (what is holding you back)?
  2. Can you think of a time when you threw off the shackles?
  3. If so, what motivated you to do so?
  4. What would you do if the shackles were removed today (what’s your plan)?

If line dancing is your thing, more power to you.  But, in business, don’t be constrained by the shackles of choreography.  Throw off those chains and do a little free styling.  Make up a new, smooth move of your own.

With a little luck, pretty soon all the cool kids will be doing it.

4 Tools to Make Your Business a Success

February 25th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, CEO, Entrepreneur, Goal, Leadership, Owner, Social Media, Strategy, Vision 0 thoughts on “4 Tools to Make Your Business a Success”

Business is ARTToo many young business leaders charge headstrong into the foray of their industry only to realize that they bit off more than they can chew. When it comes to starting a business and making it a success, you have to be prepared to take on anything that the business world will throw at you.

And that can often be a lot.

Between the competition, the costs and the unexpected bumps you are going to hit along the way, getting your company off the ground is never a straight shot from point A to point B. Instead, it is a winding road that will lead you all over the place. There will be days when you surge forward, days when you are left at a standstill and days that set you back more than you’d like to admit.

Nevertheless, you need to keep pushing forward with your business vision.

Tools that Build Success

Sounds easy, right? You’ve got your vision, you’ve got your business plan and you’ve even got a team in place to help you build it.

For some, this is all that is necessary. They have a lot of luck and their business just seems to take flight out of nowhere But these lucky first-timers are few and far between. Most people have to work very hard at building their business, and they often need a lot of help along the way.

You need more than a business plan to reach your definition of success. You also need tools to help you with everything from planning to your day-to-day operations. Even if you know exactly where you are going, you still need a means by which to get there.

Free Resources to Help You Out

There are quite a few free business tools out there that can help your business out. Some of the best that you can use are:

  • Google Apps: It’s like having Microsoft Word and Excel for free on your work computer. Plus, it is easy to share documents with your co-workers and clients.
  • Dropbox: A must have for businesses that need free cloud storage space. You can get 2GB of space for free, with paid plans upping your storage capacity.
  • LinkedIn: If you want your business to be taken seriously, you have to have a customer-facing image that is impressive and professional.
  • A Strategic Plan: What is your company’s vision and goals? It is essential for business owners to know where they want to go, but it is even more important to know how to get there. We have a free “One Page Strategic Plan” in our “Freebies” section that you can download to help get you there.

Learn as Much as You Can

The Business is ART book talks about not only having a plan, but always being prepared to revise that plan as the circumstances around you change. To do this, you have to learn all that goes into business planning, execution and more. The book, and our software subscription that is set to release soon, are two great tools that you can use to help you achieve success.

5 Ways to Deal With Doubt

February 11th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Delegate, Entrepreneur, Goal, Leadership, Objective, Owner 0 thoughts on “5 Ways to Deal With Doubt”
dealing with doubt

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The Serial (Entrepreneur) Killer

You don’t have to own a business to act with an entrepreneur’s spirit. You can take ownership in whatever role you play, no matter how big or how small the company or organization.

In this week’s podcast – The Serial (Entrepreneur) Killer – my guest, Pat Thackery, and I discussed some things that are sure-fire ways to kill an entrepreneur’s dreams. Some of the primary killers we discussed included:

  • Not surrounding yourself with smart people (hopefully smarter than you)
  • Freaking out over the daily numbers
  • Micromanagement (the “I gotta do it myself” syndrome)
  • Assuming that being the owner makes you better than the employees
  • Not setting a clear vision for your business
  • Not having and being flexible enough to adjust your plan

Doubt – 1 of the Biggest Killers

But there are several other things that can kill the entrepreneur’s dream. One of the biggest is doubt. Unless you’re a narcissist, you probably have at least some doubts. That’s only natural. How you handle them is what is important.

There are many schools of thought out there but here are a few things you might try to keep your doubts in check.

  1. Identify your strengths. What makes you good at the things you do and how can you play to those strengths in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
  2. Identify your blind spots. Ask people who know you well, and don’t get defensive or angry with them when they are honest with you. Thank them for their input, then start thinking about how to “cover” the blind spot. Is it something you can turn in to a strength, or is it something that will save you a whole lot of time, energy, focus and heartache if you “outsource” it to someone else?
  3. Change your perspective. Don’t get caught up in a mode of saying “I can’t do this” in a whiney, defeatist kind of way.  Start practicing the “I can’t do this, and therefore I am going to get someone to do it for me – because my talents are better spent on other tasks” kind of way.
  4. Set small, achievable objectives that lead to bigger goals. If you set huge objectives right out of the gate, you will begin to lose faith when it appears to be taking too long to reach them. Set smaller milestones and objectives along the way. Celebrate when you hit them, double down and make adjustments when you don’t…but keep moving.
  5. Practice saying “I’ve got this. I can do this.” In my recent article at, I discuss the topic of luck. In it I ask and answer the question “Does luck exist?” Studies show that to a great extent we create luck and that a major key to it is simply believing.

You’ve got this.

Leadership Legacy

January 10th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, CEO, Engagement, Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Leadership, Owner, Relationships, Significance 0 thoughts on “Leadership Legacy”
Leadership Legacy

Leaders Have Vision

This week in my personal blog – #Significance – I discuss three local men who did very well in life, but still made it a priority to give back to their community, each one leaving a legacy for generations to come.

EMBA Assignment

It reminds me of a passage from Business is ART in which I discuss an assignment we received as part of our Executive MBA course curriculum. This particular assignment was for each of the 50 members of our cohort to stand up in front of the others and give a 5-minute presentation entitled “My Leadership Legacy.”

The presentations ran from very funny to deeply moving, but in every case, we came to understand each other on a much greater level than we had the rest of the entire time we were in the program together.

Applying What We Learned

It was such a powerful experience that I brought the exercise back to my business and asked each of the approximately 40 leaders that reported to me to complete the same assignment.

When all was said and done, the same results experienced in the EMBA program occurred – each leader left feeling more connected to one another than before.

But this time, as each leader stood up and presented the leadership legacy statement to the rest of us, I took notes. Later, I went back through the notes and noticed distinct trends, so consolidated them into a series of 11 leadership legacy statements. These statements were subsequently presented back to the team. We then printed and farmed the statements and hung them on the office walls to remind ourselves that this is who we are.

Here are the 11 statements we developed from our exercise, but I highly recommend you come up with your own, whether it’s just you or your collective team that does it. You’ll get to know yourself and others like you never have before.

Be open. Be honest. Have fun! 

Our Leadership Legacy Statements

  1. As a leader, it is my responsibility to own and communicate a vision
  2. As a leader, my actions speak louder than my words
  3. As a leader, I am empathetic to others
  4. As a leader, I instill trust
  5. As a leader, I teach others
  6. As a leader, I am flexible
  7. As a leader, I never stop learning
  8. As a leader, I contribute to the growth of others
  9. As a leader, I recognize the strengths of others
  10. As a leader, I create and promote teamwork
  11. As a leader, I celebrate our success

Incentive Doesn’t Equal Paycheck

January 5th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, CEO, Employment, Engagement, Inspiration, Leadership, Owner, Relationships 0 thoughts on “Incentive Doesn’t Equal Paycheck”

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Incentive Doesn’t Equal Paycheck originally appeared on an earlier version of the Business is ART web site, January 25, 2015. I was reminded of it last night sitting in as a guest on Dr. Jessica Cortez’ new show at – In Sickness and Health. Click here to listen on Soundcloud and scroll down to the show segment entitled “This isn’t Our First Rodeo.”

How many times have you asked why you should incentivize people to do their job when a paycheck should be incentive enough? Taking this attitude is a huge mistake, and here is why.

Most people desire to do a good job. Doing good, quality work produces an emotional response of feeling good, feeling valued, and feeling happy. It’s pride. People want to do good work. The employer, however, wants exceptional work, and often assumes everyone knows what that means.

The Incentive Chasm

From the start, this may create a huge chasm in expectations. What one might, legitimately, see as good work, may be seen by the employer as not good enough. So it is very important to formally set expectations in order to eliminate the chasm.

Define “good enough” in your organization and then stretch it a bit to say “but this is exceptional.” Then go on to say, “And this is what I expect of you.”

You are paying people a base wage or salary for the “good enough,” however that is defined.  The intent of the incentive is to get them go beyond “good enough” and achieve “exceptional.”

Define Expectations and Incentives

However you approach it, it is important that you formally define “good enough” and “exceptional”, and critical that you communicate what that means in terms of expectations and reward. Formally define the incentive and when it is earned, give it with pleasure.

Your risk of not doing so is losing employees who truly are exceptional or have the potential to be.

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