Harvard professor discovers the secret to business achievement

Professor John Kotter of Harvard University wanted to know what makes some CEOs more successful. So he and his team studied the fastest growing U.S companies over a ten-year period, then examined how their chief executives behaved differently.

Was there one thing that separated the great CEOs from the ordinary ones?

There sure was.

Kotter discovered that the CEOs who got the best results in America had a very different mental attitude from the other business leaders.

They had what he calls “A Sense Of Urgency.”

Professor Kotter found that only when you have a spirit of urgency can you push your way through the admin and red tape. Only by acting with urgency can you get others to deliver on time. Only by being truly urgent in your dealings can you achieve significant things in a year.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Urgency is the one thing that drives business projects forward quickly.

If you’re not urgent, people sense it and relax and move slowly. Things take ages to bear fruit. Mediocrity abounds.

The big question you may be asking of course is, are you performing with enough urgency?

Are you demanding enough? Of others, or indeed yourself?

Urgency is not an easy character trait to develop. The world doesn’t particularly like urgent people. They can seem rude. Pushy. Unreasonable. Yet being that way is often the only way to get stuff of consequence done.

As George Bernard Shaw so aptly put it, ” The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

There are several different types of urgency we should focus on if we want to achieve great things.

1. Urgency with strategic planning.

I know so many business owners who frequently procrastinate about choosing a company strategy. As a result of their strategic cowardice and complacency, they often get left behind in their industry. 

(What have you been thinking about for too long? How about making a decision in the next 60 minutes on it?)

2. Urgency with other people.

Who owes you a report, product or idea? Why haven’t they sent it to you already? Do they really need that much time, or are they taking advantage of your leniency?

When you ask for a result with genuine urgency you usually move straight to the front of the other person’s line of important tasks. That’s where you deserve to be, must be, to get things done quickly.

3. Urgency in your own mind.

When I am coaching my business clients, I am always pushing them to cultivate great urgency in the way that they think. We need to see ourselves as highly time-sensitive, fast-achieving people. Only when we view ourselves this way are we likely to muster the energy and drive to make things happen at warp speed.

As the great American psychologist, William James, so often reminded us, we become what we consistently think about. If every day we have a self-image as somebody who has a real spirit of urgency, then soon we are likely to become that type of person.

So in conclusion, if you are not happy with the speed at which you are achieving in business, don’t just look at tactics, like sales, marketing, systems and the like. Spend at least as much time focusing on the one mindset that makes all the other stuff happen.

A real, deep, all-encompassing, powerful sense of urgency.

This method will quickly improve your success.

There’s a wonderful method for quickly increasing the profits of your company.

Invented around 40 years ago, it is still one of the most effective ways to take your company to a higher level.

It’s called the Theory Of Constraints and it was invented by an Israeli management expert named Eli Goldratt. It’s really simple. And really powerful.

Eli believed that every single company in the world has one main thing that is slowing its growth. He called it the ‘bottle neck’ that limits the company.

His way of breaking that bottleneck is as follows:

  1. Locate the Constraint. What’s the one thing that most limits the growth of your company? Work that out and you are halfway there.
  2. Make eliminating that bottleneck the primary role of the company. Focus as many people and resources as you can on this issue until you fix it.
  3. Look for the next Constraint. In Goldratt’s experience, there is always a Constraint. It doesn’t matter if you are one of the fastest growing companies in the world, you are always being limited by something.

Your constant mission is to identify that limitation and then put massive effort into eliminating it.

In my experience as a coach to entrepreneurs and business leaders all over the world, I have found this technique to be a stunningly effective way to improve any company.

We so often get caught up handling the latest emergency or opportunity and forget to look deeper at fundamental elements that are slowing our company’s growth.

When you base your entire company around the Theory Of Constraints, you are always working on what you should be working on, and fast revenue growth is your almost constant companion.

What is your company’s main Constraint at the moment?

Attack it with all the resources you can, and watch how quickly your company’s revenue soars.

The quickest way to increase your revenue.

There are hundreds of tactics that can grow your business.

You could run ads.

Do some cold calling.

Ask for referrals.

The list is endless.

But in my experience owning numerous businesses for 3 decades (and coaching over 1000 business owners) there is one way that’s faster than the rest.

This method doesn’t cost any money.

Doesn’t take up much time.

And can make you many thousands of dollars within a week or two.

So what is this way to quickly generate more revenue?

Just contact all your old leads.

Think about it.

You know they once had an interest in what you’re offering.

You can reach them in seconds- via email, text or phone call.

You don’t have to spend money on an advertising campaign to reach them.

And in one conversation at least some of them will buy from you.

Contact all of your old leads.

Unequivocally the fastest, easiest, most cost-efficient and most effective way of bringing more revenue into your company.

Do it this week and you’ll be richer next week.

Do more of this and you’ll grow your business faster.

Here’s a powerful thought.

All those things you once tried to grow your business that didn’t work?

Maybe some of them do.

Maybe the only reason you didn’t get results from them is you simply didn’t do them enough.

Think cold calling doesn’t work? Perhaps that’s because you only did it a few times and got discouraged.

Have you sent out some direct mail to potential clients and got no response? Maybe that’s because you didn’t send enough of them. Or enough variations.

Tried to create a few joint ventures or partnerships and had no luck? It could be because you only asked 2 or 3 people. When you should have asked 10.

Go back and look at your past marketing attempts.

And ask yourself, “Did I give up too soon?”

Then pick the one that seems to have the most potential. And this time give it a real go.

Dedicate one full month to really making it work.

You will be surprised how often a previously rejected business growth method can actually bring you a fortune.

If you truly, fully commit to doing it well.

The one attitude all great entrepreneurs have.

When I coach entrepreneurs, I give them many tactics to grow their companies fast:

How to bring in a lot more leads.

How to convert more of those leads into clients.

How to maximize the revenue of each of those clients, etc.

These techniques work very well, but I have discovered a remarkable thing.

Some entrepreneurs still grow their companies much faster than others!

Why?

I think there are several reasons, but one that really stands out is that all the really successful business owners have one key difference in how they think.

They have what I call an Attack Mentality.

They don’t just come into work and start on their To-Do List.

They attack in every way.

They are constantly being daring in both their thoughts about their business and their actions.

Firstly they are very proactive. They don’t just wait for revenue to come in.

They ask people for money a lot more-getting more No’s than most business owners, but a lot more Yeses as well.

I am a great believer in the following maxim:

Asking Is Winning.

Just ask more and you’ll get more.

Money. And Opportunities. And adventures.

Secondly, they don’t buy into society’s beliefs about the economy being down. Or their industry not being as good as it used to be. Or their staff is no good, etc.

They just arrive each morning and attack – aggressively solving problems and looking for immediate actions that grow revenue.

Even if the stock market has collapsed. Even if they don’t feel like working that day. Even if their industry’s margins have declined.

Truly, if we all focused daily on developing our Attack Mentality, we would get phenomenal business results.

Give it a try this week.

The Attack Mentality is summed up nicely in one of my favourite quotes, from an 1844 book, ‘The Luck Of Barry Lyndon’, by Willaim Thackeray.

“Let the man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim. Attacking is his only secret. Dare, and the world always yields. Or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb.’

You are halfway through the year….reality check.

Well, believe it or not, we are officially halfway through the year!

That means you should be at least halfway to hitting your annual business goals.

So how are you going?

If you’re crushing it, congratulations.

If you’re feeling frustrated about your progress, I’m going to help you now.

I coach entrepreneurs from all over the world, and I can tell you that the ones that are doing poorly usually have these 3 characteristics:

1. They are not giving their business 100%.

I’m not just talking about working long hours, almost every entrepreneur does that. I’m talking about fully committing to your business.

Truly obsessing about improving every element of your company.

In my view, unless you are totally and utterly committed to making your business great, then usually the financial results will be pretty ordinary.

2. They don’t have an organized marketing system.

Unless your company is literally famous in its area, you need to have a marketing system to consistently bring in customers.

Most companies practice ‘Hope Marketing’… they just open their doors each day and hope potential clients will contact them.

You will get some growth purely based on your reputation or your online search ranking, but stellar profits only come from methodically running a system to generate prospects and convert them into paying customers.

3. They don’t use their time well.

We all have 168 hours every week. The reason one person is a billionaire and another is struggling usually comes down to how they are using their time.

It truly amazes me that most business owners will go through a 40-year career without bothering to learn systems for being super productive.

Many just come to work each day and look around for things to do.

You must, must, must prioritize your time and focus intently on the tiny amount of activities that will gain and keep customers.

We are halfway through the year. If you want 2022 to end well financially, please spend some time thinking about these 3 areas – and score yourself on each one of them.

Then make some changes fast.

The first half of this year was over in a flash. The second half will be gone just as quickly.

A great tip from the Royal Marines

As a business-performance coach, I study any group that is performing at an elite level.

Recently I was studying the Royal Marines, Britain’s elite commando force.

And I was really surprised by something I learned.

The Royal Marines have a list of 4 qualities they aim to develop in each of their soldiers.

The first 3 are kind of what you’d expect: 
Courage, Determination and Unselfishness.

But the fourth is pretty unusual:
Cheerfulness.

Cheerful commandos???

Are they serious? But the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

When you are doing really difficult, stressful and dangerous things, if you can maintain an attitude of cheerfulness it could make a huge difference.

Firstly to you- having a cheerful attitude makes any adversity easier to handle.

And secondly, to everyone around you- your cheerfulness could really help others feel encouraged and upbeat, and therefore more likely to persist and do a better job.

Soon after I read this about the Royal Marines I happened to be in an Uber with a driver who used to be one.

I asked him about it and he confirmed that the Royal Marines are indeed very serious about cheerfulness.

And it made me think that cheerfulness is something we, as business leaders, should be aiming to be as well.

If we focused on being cheerful, we would not only perform better, we’d also enjoy our working life a lot more as well.

And so would the people around us.

Perform better at work – use the Movie Method

I’ve started using an unusual technique that is really lifting my performance in business and life generally. Maybe it can help you too.

I call it the Movie Method and it consists of a simple psychological game.

All-day long, pretend that a movie crew is following you around filming you.

It may seem like a bizarre thing to do, but I’ve found it quickly improves how well you perform.

When you perceive that a top film crew is filming your every move, you do everything better.

You don’t waste time.
You don’t eat crap.
You don’t go down rabbit holes on the internet.
You don’t get angry or unreasonable with people you’re speaking with.
You feel more uplifted. You feel more professional, more high level and much more motivated.

And you come across to others as more engaged and interesting, even charismatic.

I know it sounds a little weird, but just try it and see for yourself.

I guarantee your performance will improve. Within one hour.

The reality is that almost all of us perform better when we know someone important is watching. We instantly lift our standards.

Well, imagine that you performed at that higher standard every day of the week.

That’s what consistently practicing the Movie Method can do for you.

Keep acting like you’re excellent, and eventually it will become normal for you to perform like that.

As the legendary Hollywood actor Cary Grant once put it, “I acted like Cary Grant for so long that I became him.”

Stressed at work? This will help.

Let’s face it, business is stressful.

There’s always pressure to hit your revenue numbers.

Difficulties with staff and suppliers.

And usually, endless problems with your customers.

But as a coach to many entrepreneurs and CEOs, what I find surprising is how few people have decent strategies to reduce their stress at work.

That’s why I made this short video.

It reveals 3 of my best methods to dramatically reduce your stress levels at work.

A couple of them are a little weird, but all three are proven to make you much more relaxed and happy when you’re working.

You can check out the video here.

I hope you find it useful.

A radical way to increase your revenue

Here’s an idea worth considering.

Few will do it. But everyone in business should.

It’s a business strategy that seems totally naive, but in my experience is extremely lucrative.

It’s not about marketing or sales, or cash flow.

But it positively affects each of those things. Enormously.

The tactic is extremely simple but quite radical:

Be kind to everyone you deal with.

The power of kindness is hugely underestimated in business.

But let me tell you why focusing on being genuinely kind to people can bring in so much revenue.

People way prefer to do business with kind people.

Even if there are millions of dollars at stake, if a potential client can’t decide between two suppliers, they will almost certainly choose the person they like the most.

Who seems like a nice person. Who exudes a feeling of care and kindness towards them.

Why do people so often choose kind people over others, when selecting business partners or suppliers?

Because life is short. And business is only a part of our lives.

We are not just seeking money from our business activities, we are seeking enjoyment as well.

And doing business with decent, kind people is a lot more pleasant than just choosing people based purely on the numbers.

A friend of mine is one of the global heads of one of the most powerful banks in the world. He earns a fortune. His area of expertise is known as Private Wealth, and he and his team manage the wealth of some of the richest individuals and families on the planet.

Now there’s no doubt this guy is super smart, exceedingly hard-working and delivers a great service. But so do a lot of private wealth executives.

But he has a weapon that far outweighs the usual attributes of his competition:

He is really, genuinely kind-hearted.

And as he deals with some of the most powerful, successful people in the world, they, being highly perceptive judges of character, can see that he actually cares.

Not fake cares. Not slick cares. But genuinely cares.

And so very often they choose him to manage their money.

So as you build your company, yes focus on all the usual metrics of commerce that lead to growth.

But don’t forget the importance of just being a decent, kind person.

Because at the end of the day, we are all not just business people.

We are people, who happen to be in business.

And a little kindness goes a long way.