Habits are Valuable, Until They're Not

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Most would agree a good habit gives individuals, teams, and organizations the power to create successful results. But what happens when the habit becomes "the way we have always done things"? 

A proactive habit creates a routine or process that delivers a desired end result. For many of our desired outcomes, like an improved morning routine, physical health, or lifetime learning, habits help maintain our interest and aid continunity. Personal habits that keep us engaged in the activity are beneficial. 

My life is my life and as long as the results are satisfactory to me, little may change in my habits and behaviour over the years. Though there may be a better end result I am missing, adopting a different habit to achieve that other end result may have little effect on me unless I desire the change. 

Businesses are different because the measure of success is determined outside the business, by the customer. Their satisfaction with the end results can change without notification. For this reason a business must continually ask, “Is this the best way to do this?” to avoid being blindsided by an unseen change in the climate of their customer base. A business must disrupt itself to avoid being disrupted by a competitor. 

Successful entrepreneurs continually disrupt their own business by examining if what they are doing is still relevant to their customers.

Peak Performance

Donald S. Christiansen, University of Washington sports psychology consultant, lists characteristics of "peak performance," sometimes called "the zone."

The athlete is:

  1. physically relaxed
  2. mentally calm
  3. focused
  4. alert
  5. confident
  6. in control
  7. positive
  8. feeling enjoyment
  9. feeling effortless
  10. on "automatic"
  11. focused on the present moment

Resistance: Overcoming the Enemy

warofart Occasionally a book comes along that helps us understand our own behavior in a meaningful way. Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art defines for us the nature of our greatest enemy and how to combat what holds us back from the results we desire. Whether you are an artist, writer, entrepreneur, or professional this short book clearly identifies the source of procrastination and internal obstacles to our success in part one. The cure is clearly defined in part two. Like Robert McKee, who wrote the foreword, I too see in part three the effect of inspiration the same and the cause of inspiration differently.

This is a quick read and can immediately be applied to your current practice. Great books can change your life. This in one of them. For more information on The War of Art.

Simplified GTD

Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen revolutionized productivity, though many find it overly complicated. For those of us less inclined to be engineers or lacking follow through, we need a simpler solution. Thank you Leo Babauta for writing Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System.

ad-ztd1 This short book simplifies the entire GTD system down to very specific actions that are easily implemented into your current routine. No longer are you burdened with maintaining a large organization system. You can apply the concepts at you own pace and decide what is most important for your needs.

Leo writes a great blog at ZenHabits.net which is a valuable resource. Take a moment and read this short book, then apply one habit this week and add another when you master the first.

New Half-Day Workshop Helps Advisors During Difficult Times

The new half-day workshop titled, What To Do Now is helping financial advisors during these difficult times. Many are replacing lost assets in a matter of weeks that were lost in the last quarter. The opportunity to grow your business is outstanding, see what others are saying. Comments from advisors who attended the Toronto workshop back in November:

“Great presentation and upbeat vision of the future. Lloyd covered the right information with good content for the current market turmoil!”

“I have never sat still for 4 hours in my life until this presentation…excellent!”

“Everyone should hear this message!”

“Lloyd has given me a load of ideas to go to clients and prospects with”

“Lloyd’s reasons for being positive are exactly what I needed to hear given the difficult markets”

Here are some comments from advisors who attended Lloyd’s workshops in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto this past January 2009:

“I needed this conference. I have been letting this business and some of my clients get me down. I needed to be reminded to remain positive no matter what. I found the whole seminar worthwhile. The wheels are turning again and I thank him for that. I have not been this enthusiastic in some time”.

“I’ve attended a number of Lloyd’s sessions in the past and always find them valuable”

“Overall it was a valuable exercise where someone will definitely have some positive takeaways, regardless of your style of business”

“I am always reflecting on trying to manage the ‘right thing’ in the book of business. His emphasis on client intimacy and the practical “how to’s” were excellent”

“This seminar was more than I had hoped for. I woke up during the night (after the seminar) thinking of the seminar and ways that I was going to approach my clients & improve my business going forward”

“Very productive and one of the best I have been to”

If you would like to host a workshop for your firm please contact office@lloydwilliamsinc.com for more information.

FOUR NEXT ACTIONS BEFORE DECEMBER 15TH

The window of time left is small, but the opportunity is great. In the next four weeks you can make a significant difference in the lives of others. And as they see in your actions your desire to help them achieve their dreams you can replace the lost assets that the market has temporarily taken away. So instead of just breaking even when the market returns, you can have a significant gain in assets and revenue, while having added outstanding value to the relationship.[display_podcast] Two Mental Paradigm 1. You must have a passion to make a positive difference in the life of other people.

2. Partner up with your clients to calm the fears and concerns of those they value and respect.

Window of Opportunity from now to December 15th 1. Clients are scared. They feel that their dreams are at risk. This is a rare opportunity to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way and help them achieve their dreams.

2. December is family month. They will not want to talk with you after December 15th. Everyone will be busy with the holidays.

3. January Effect A. New popular President B. New Administration C. New Year D. Bad October

4. The opportunity is now.

Stop Putting Band-Aids on Scratches While Other Are Bleeding To Death If you have: 1. Taken your clients through a relationship conversation 2. Identified their Risk Profile 3. Properly allocated their assets 4. Diversified their portfolio 5. Communicated with them throughout this market decline 6. Offered them the opportunity to re-profile their risk 7. Answered their questions THEN YOU HAVE DONE EVERY THING YOU CAN.

Where Is Your Focus? When things are good focus on your clients, because during these times clients are difficult to replace. Everyone is happy with their current relationships. Therefore strengthen your client relationships by helping them fulfill their dreams. This will be easier during the good times.

During Difficult Times First prepare yourself, then settle your clients worries quickly. 1. Remind them that times like these have occurred in the past and will occur in the future. 2. Help them establish a long view of the economy. They have no need to worry. 3. Use the example of trusted experts: Bernanke / Buffett 4. Re-explain to then what controls the market 5. Re-confirm the disciplined process that you have taken them through to determine their needs and the unique solution that they have working for them currently.

Do not try to call or contact each client personally, use mass communication tools like email, broadcast fax, letter, podcast, or conference call. The exception to this would be your Top 25 Clients who you should call after you have sent the mass communication information.

FOUR NEXT ACTIONS 1. Capture All Tax Credits The tax credit is cash captured now guaranteed.

2. Letter to Clients Send a letter to all your clients reminding them of the steps that have been taken to protect them. Offer them the opportunity to reassess their risk profile Most Important: Include a paragraph

3. Contact All Old Prospects Make sure they are not worried. Offer analysis, at no cost, and no obligation. If they say no in this situation, they are either well serviced or not interested in working with you. Either way remove them from your prospect list. They are not prospects.

4. Call Top 25 Partner up with them to make a positive difference in the live of someone they value and respect.

Example script for call Mr. Client over the past several weeks we have talked to many people who are worried and fearful. They had no one to help them understand their situation. If you know someone you respect and value who is worried, there is no need from them to be in that situation. We’ll be happy to take them through the same analysis we use with each of our clients, at no cost or obligation, to make sure that they know where they are today, where they want to be in the future, and have a plan of action to get there. We do not what someone you care about to be afraid.

Introduce us to each other. Send them an email and copy us. Simply same Bill, I want to introduce you to Sally. Sally I want to introduce you to Bill. Here is the contact information for each of you. You should talk together.

The conversation is just that easy.

Call Top 25 1st week, then the next 25 the next week, then back to the Top 25 the following week, and then back to the next 25 the last week.

For more information see: -Sample Letter to Clients -Mastery Habit: Crisis Management -Mastery Habit: In Good Times Focus on Your Clients, In Bad Times Focus on Prospects -Mastery Habit: Never Follow Institutional Managers During the Extremes in the Market -Notes from the last conference call -Link to Fed Chairman Bernanke’s Speech to the Economic Club of NY -Link to Warren Buffett’s letter to the NYT To conduct a conference call with your clients contact: Ed Shea from Audio Podium Email: coachimago@aol.com

If you have found this of value, forward this page to someone you respect and value who is worried.

Sample Letter to Clients

The following is a sample letter you can change to you own words and email to your clients. Include the full hyperlinks to the articles if you do not email. Add your clients first name for Client and your name for Advisor.

We are lucky today to have two great resources from knowledgeable experts to help us focus during these turbulent times. The Fed Chairman Bernanke Spoke to the Economic Club of New York, NY on October 15. Read it here: He made four important points:

1. This is not 1929-32 - we learned from our mistakes. Hover waited three years to respond and then tightened money. Fed acted immediately and loosened. 2. Fed Reserve has doubled in size, giving it a greater ability to impact the economy positively. 3. Everything hinges on the banks lending money again. 4. Therefore the Fed’s money will be used to stimulate the economy, if a bank does not lend money they will not be given money. They will learn quickly to start lending.

What controls the market? What makes the Market go up? Cash flow. What makes the market go down? Lack of cash flow. Cash flow into the economy is cash into the market. The infusion of $800 billion into the US economy by the Federal Reserve will be a stimulus.

The press continues to encourage investors to watch what the institutional and hedge fund managers are doing as an indicator for what they should do. And because they are selling, so should the investor. This is foolish advice, because institutional managers, during the extremes of the market, are never doing what they personally want to do. Because of redemptions during crashes and infusions of new money during rallies they are forced to liquidate or invest against their own best judgment. Investing is counter intuitive. One of the great counter intuitive investors is Warren Buffett. Read his letter to the New York Times here.

If you feel your risk profile has changed and would like to redo your risk profile analysis, we will be happy to help you.

Over the past several weeks we have talked to many people who are worried and fearful. They had no one to help them understand their situation. If you know someone you respect and value who is worried, there is no need from them to be in that situation. We’ll be happy to take them through the same analysis we use with each of our clients, at no cost or obligation, to make sure that they know where they are today, where they want to be in the future, and have a plan of action to get there. We do not what someone you care about to be afraid. Send them an email and say, Client I want to introduce you to Advisor, Advisor I want to introduce you to Client. Here is your contact information, you two should talk.

Follow this letter with a call to the Top 25 repeating the last paragraph.

What To Do NOW in Your Practice - Notes from Conference Call

The following notes from the conference call today is an expansion of what I have been discussing with my coaching clients over the past several months. Be positive. Clients do not need you to parrot the negativity of CNBC or the local paper. They need hope in a times of crisis, not someone to shout “the ship is sinking.” If the market is going down stating the obvious is of no value. Your job is to be a valued added strategic partner. You help them achieve their dreams. In difficult times clients are distracted from their dreams and you must first deal with the distraction before you can refocus them on their dreams.

Two Great Resources We are lucky today to have two great resources from knowledgeable experts to help in refocusing our clients.

Fed Chairman Bernanke’s Speech to the Economic Club of New York, NY on October 15

Click here for the speech.

  1. The speech is good, but the important information is in the answers he gave during the Q&A.
  2. This is not 1929-32 - we learned from our mistakes. Hover waited three years to respond and then tightened money. Fed acted immediately and loosened.
  3. Fed Reserve has doubled in size, giving it a greater ability to impact the economy positively.
  4. Everything hinges on the banks lending money again.
  5. Therefore the Fed’s money will be used to stimulate the economy, if a bank does not lend money they will not be given money. They will learn quickly to start lending.

What controls the market? What makes the Market go up? Cash flow. What makes the market go down? Lack of cash flow. Cash flow into the economy is cash into the market. The infusion of $800 billion into the economy will be a stimulus

See Mastery Habit - Never Follow Institutional Managers During Extremes in the Stock Market

SO WHAT DO YOU DO NOW IN YOUR PRACTICE? First, realize what is happening - you are surrounded by a crisis situation. People are panicking and need your help. Second, respond properly to the crisis - with a calm, clear head. Third, act quickly - great leaders do not delay. Rarely does delay improve a situation, it just postpones the problem. Be decisive.

See Mastery Habit - In Good Times Focus on Clients, In Bad Times Focus on Prospects

To review:

  1. Prepare yourself
  2. Settle clients' worries through a rational argument using mass communication
  3. Ask if they feel a need to reassess there risk and comfort level
  4. Offer an opportunity to help others they know who are not being communicated with properly
  5. Focus on prospects

How to Focus on Prospects

  1. Add paragraph mentioned earlier to the bottom of your mass communication.
  2. Contact every existing prospect, even those who told you to call them later. Offer them a “no cost, no obligation” analysis.
  3. Call your Top 25 and ask for an introduction to other they know are worried. This is the only time you can do this without risk.

Conference Call Scheduled for Monday, Oct 27

Lloyd Williams' Conference Call Subject: What To Do NOW in Your Practice...

Date: October 27, 2008

Time: 2:00 PM Eastern

Call in number: 646-519-5883 (note please mute your phone)

PIN: 1027#

Bridge Instructions: The bridge will open up 5 minutes prior to the start time.

Functions for Callers: To place oneself in mute, enter *6 To remove oneself from mute, enter *6

NOTE: The bridgeline is limited to 500 callers. If you call in after the max is reached you will recieve a busy signal. Branches please use conference room with speaker phone on mute.

Please read Lloyd's Mastery Habit post titled In Good Times Focus on Clients, In Bad Times Focus on Prospects (click on the link)

Mastery Level Habits: In Good Time Focus on Clients, In Bad Times Focus on Prospects

The economy will always go up and down. The important habit to master is knowing what to do during the bad times. When things are good focus on your clients because during these times clients are difficult to replace. Everyone is happy with their current relationships. Therefore strengthen your client relationships by helping them fulfill their dreams. This will be easier during the good times. During difficult times, first prepare yourself, see earlier Mastery Habit: Crisis Management. Then settle your clients worries quickly. Remind them that times like these have occurred in the past and will occur in the future. Help them establish a long view of the economy. They have no need to worry. Reconfirm the disciplined process that you have taken them through to determine their needs and the unique solution that they have working for them currently. Do not try to call or contact each client personally, use mass communication tools like email, broadcast fax, letter, podcast, or conference call. The exception to this would be your Top 20 Clients who you should call after you have sent the mass communication information.

Your mass communication email or letter should include the following:

1. A clear, positive, reasonable response to what is happening currently 2. A statement to calm their worries about the future 3. An opportunity to reassess their risk or comfort level 4. An offer to others they know who are scared or worried and do not have someone like you in their life to help them assess their situation. This offer should be a “no cost, no obligation” offer to assess where they are today, where they want to be in the future, and an action plan to get there.

The last part of your mass communication is most important. This is one of the rare opportunities when you can ask your clients to introduce you to others without any risk. Your clients know others who are scared in times like these and they may not have someone who is returning their calls. You will be surprised at the number of introductions that are only available during difficult times.

Your last action is to renew contact with every prospect you have. They are more open to change during difficult times than any other time.

One important point. This opportunity to focus on prospects is for a limited time only. Once the economy strengthens and the good times return prospects are difficult to move because they are once again happy with their current relationship. Do not miss this opportunity when it comes around. The greatest new growth for a business occurs in difficult times and is exponentially leveraged when things improve.

To review: 1. Prepare yourself 2. Settle clients' worries through a rational argument using mass communication 3. Ask if they feel a need to reassess there risk and comfort level 4. Offer an opportunity to help others they know who are not being communicated with properly 5. Focus on prospects

Mastery Level Habits: Establish a Cruise Speed

Extraordinary teams know their capacity for work. They respect team members’ energy levels and avoid burnout by establishing a cruise speed for the team. When necessary, they increase capacity during crisis, then quickly return to cruise speed. Most businesses run at 100 percent of capacity all the time and have no ability to deal with crisis. The team shuts down as everyone becomes exhausted and demotivated. The best practices value all members of the team and understand that the ability to deliver a consistent solution to clients depends upon the team’s energy and motivation.

Mastery Level Habit: Time Blocks

An outstanding business knows the value of being prepared and defining where to focus its time and effort. It also knows which meetings are most important. A typical business drops everything when the biggest client calls. But this client controls only 5, 10, maybe 20 percent of the business. A great business knows when it meets as a team, or when the business leader thinks alone about the business, it is in control of 100 percent of the business. Team members know that a meeting with themselves is the most important meeting of the week because without the team prepared and focused, everyone loses. The best make team meetings free of interruptions and distractions. They also understand the need for the team leader to have time alone to think, rest, and prepare. These times are blocked on the calendar and protected. The best teams use the calendar to guarantee distraction-free time to plan, think, and prepare. Blocking time allows teams to use the rest of the time to execute and deliver.

Mastery Level Habits: Scheduling Time with Your Most Important Client

If your biggest client called and asked you to meet with them every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM for fifteen minutes. And they promised, if you did they would double their investment in your business every two years for as long as they lived. Would you hold the meeting? Yes, everyone would. But this is not your biggest client. They control maybe 5-10% of your total revenue.

So who is your biggest client? You are. When you have a meeting with yourself you control 100% of your revenue. Yet how often are your scheduling meeting on your calendar with yourself.

Mastery Level Practices have more meetings with themselves than they do with all clients combined. Because every client meeting requires a meeting to prepare and they schedule additional meetings with themselves to accomplish the other tasks they need to do during the week.

The habit of scheduling time with yourself and keeping it sacred and not rescheduling, is a Mastery Level Habit that will keep you prepared and focused.

The more you manage others the more time you need to spend by yourself reviewing, planning, and organizing the efforts of others and yourself. Because your ideas are leveraged through the efforts of others, if you do not take the time to think them through clearly, they can result in wasted time and costly rabbit trails when delegated to others.

The Habit: Allocate time on your calendar everyday to prepare for the day. Both you and your team will experience the resulting focus.

Mastery Level Skills: Crisis Management

Every business must deal with crisis situations. For some businesses those situations are debilitating, but for others they are an opportunity to shine. Too often the inexperienced run into the crisis and flounder amidst all the problems and decisions. The Mastery Level Team attacks the crisis like a Fire Chief does a fire. 1. Stop - The first response is no response. Before attacking the fire, stop and stand back for a moment to observe what is happening. This is the most critical step and is often overlooked. Rushing into a blazing building will only get people killed. The Fire Chief must first see what they are dealing with, before moving.

2. Focus - Look at all the details of the crisis. Here the Fire Chief will look for entry and exit points. Hot spots and danger zones. Without this information lives may be lost. We do not deal with life and death situations but time and effort can be wasted, and wrong decisions at this stage can be costly.

3. Analyze - Assess the situation and determine the best manner of attack. The Fire Chief will analyze options, alternatives, and the best allocation of resources.

4. Perspective - See the crisis with new eyes. The information gathered from the steps above give the observer a new educated perspective. This leads to decisions about how to deal with the crisis.

5. Delegate - Leveraging your strengths. The Fire Chief does not run into the building. They issue orders to the team of skilled firemen to attack the fire in a systematic manner. You can leverage yourself through the actions of your team members. Many times the best person to do the job is not you. While the other person is working on one thing you can focus on another.

6. Act - Everyone now goes into action.

The first four steps only take a few moments to perform, though they are often overlooked. The value they add to your response is immeasurable. When the next crisis arises, stop first.

Mastery Level Habits: Five Streams of Income

The best businesses master all five streams of income:

1. Client Contributions - Your clients already work with you and as you exceed there expectations they continue to purchase more of your products and services to meet there needs.

2. Client Referrals - Over time your clients become advocates and introduce you to new clients.

3. Referrals from Centers of Influence - The outside professionals and resources you use also become advocates and introduce you to their clients.

4. Merger and Acquisition - The fastest way to build a business is to buy it from someone else.

5. Outside Income - This includes all other income. Examples: consulting income, royalties, or income from outside interests.

The first step is realizing that all five of these exist and can grow with attention and care. Begin by documenting the strength of each of these currently in your business. Then assess the opportunity that exist in each area. Finally allocate time to pursue and enhance these income streams. Create a strategy to implement over the next 90-days to improve the area with the greatest potential and each quarter add a new strategy for an additional area.

Multiple income streams smooth out the volatility of your business. This Mastery Level Skill improves your sustainability and allows you to concentrate your efforts where the biggest opportunities exist.

Mastery Level Habits: The Art of Dissection

Your ability to handle stress inducing circumstances is directly proportional to your preparation. Those who master the art of business know the art of dissection. They follow a few simple steps to avoid repeating the same stress in the future.

1. Examine the root cause. We normally are dealing with the end result of a situation. Example: the tax crunch of April. What is the cause? The stress of incoming calls and rushing around is the effect. The cause is a transaction that occurred the previous year.

2. Identify a strategy that can change our response and be proactive. Back to our example. Instead of waiting for the crush of work during April we could collect the needed data when the transaction occurs and log it in the client file. Then at the first of the year we could proactively send the client the tax information.

3. Make a habit, procedure, or process so your response is different in the future. From our example: create a logging sheet and post as the transactions occur throughout the year, rather than compiling a years worth of transactions in a few weeks.

The right decision is made before the crisis. It is in the clear light of day that we make a decision and then we execute in the midst of the crisis.

Mastery Level Habits: 15-Minute Feedback Meeting

Your business is your baby and like any parent you want and need feedback from the team about how the baby is doing. Too often the advisor delegates to team members and then worries about whether or not the actions have been executed. This lack of communication is a major cause of team dysfunction.

To increase team productivity meet with each team member weekly for 15-minutes with the following agenda:

1. Feedback - 5-minutes the team member gives feedback on previous delegations
2. Delegation - 5-minutes the boss delegates any new tasks or projects
3. Acceptance - 5-minutes both agree and reprioitize the team member's tasks

This simple 15-minutes weekly meeting will eliminate the excessive workload many team members face and will also remove the anxiety of many managers concerning delegations.

15-minutes a week can transform your team.

Mastery Level Habits: Life Planning

Set aside a day to do Life Planning, not just business planning. Look at your entire life-to-date. By answering the following four quesitons you will have a better idea about what is most valuable to you going forward.

Four Questions to Ask and Answer

1. What have I accomplished in my life? List all the accomplishments in your life that make you proud. these are the raw material for your knowledge and experience and will be the foundation upon which you will meet and exceed your future dreams.
2. What have I not accomplished, but intended to? List now the dreams that were important in the past and have not yet been accomplished. Some of these will still be valid and desireable.
3. What are the challenges and problems I face today? Looking at your life now, what challenges do you face today? Because of your past experiences you are more capable in some areas of your life and less capable in others. I am wiser than I was when I was 20, but I can not physically do the same things I once could.
4. What are the opportunities that are available to me right now? List the opportunities, both personal and business, that are available to you.

You can now look at your Roadmap for Change and jump start your new year. For a blank Roadmap for Change form go to the Downloads page.

Why the Best Are More Successful Than the Rest - Part 18 of 18

Run on Auto Pilot The best businesses have the right people doing the right things in consistent manners that exceed clients’ expectations, and this leads to immediate introductions. They have no competition, so they need no proactive solicitation, and they reap the benefits of a practice that is running on auto pilot. They have systems that guarantee consistency and continuity. They have a team motivated by a compelling vision that benefits each team member. They have a focus on the client and take time to know the client completely before making recommendations. They build innovative solutions that create a script for the client’s future. Most importantly, they turn an intangible solution into a tangible experience. The best are more successful because they deliver what the rest deem as unimportant or unnecessary and have systematically focused on the details of the client relationship.