Beliefs Matter.

Your success depends on them.

Every one of us runs our business on our beliefs. The problem is most of us don’t write them down. We’re winging it, so that in the most critical decisions, we wander away from what we believe and decide based on the shiny object in front of us. Success requires that we stay true to what we believe – all the time. What do you believe? Write it down, and make every decision based on it. Here’s our beliefs:

We believe in transformation, not education. We are not interested in anyone learning anything, we intend that business owners will change as a result of contact with us. As a result, we lead from our experience, not from our knowledge. Great Crankset Group Stakeholders will have lived what they are asking others to do.

We believe in bringing Clarity, which brings Hope, which allows business owners to take measured Risks to grow. – Clarity, Hope and Risk.

We believe in Conation. Conation is the most important word we train people to use. Even though it is one of the 1,000 most obscure words in the English language, it is far and away the most important word in business. Conation – committed movement in a purposeful direction.

We believe in prisoners. Most business owners are hostages to their businesses for 30 years, then sell their job to someone else who will be a hostage. We intend for Business Owners to build a Mature Business in just 3to5 years, that they can enjoy for decades. They must move from hostage (no business rules) through prisoner (consistent business rules) to freedom.

No Rugged Individualists
We believe the Rugged Individualist is a bad idea. Business owners should live in Committed Community, and those that do make more money in less time and are more successful. We are recovering Rugged Individualists.

Time is the New Money
We believe Time is the New Money. Most business owners only ask their business for money, but our business should give us both Time and Money, which allows us to create Significance.

Speed of Execution
We believe in Speed of Execution. Implement now and perfect as you go. Waiting around for perfection is a bad idea.

Bad Plans
We believe in Bad Plans. “Bad Plans Carried Out Violently Many Times Yield Good Results. Do something.” It’s never how good your plan is that matters, but how committed you are to the Bad Plan you’ve got. Committed people make history. Thinkers write about them later. Stop thinking. Get moving.

Yield Per Hour
We believe in Yield Per Hour – YPH. We expect business owners to always ask two questions “How do I make MORE money in LESS time?”, and “What is the highest and best use of my time?” Make money while you’re on vacation, and do it in 3to5 years.

Trapeze Moments
We believe in Trapeze Moments. We encourage business owners to embrace trapeze moments and take the risk to grow personally and to build a business they can enjoy for decades.

We believe in Advisors, not in experts or gurus. We don’t use the words “coach” or “consultant”. We combine them both to advise business owners, and give them the tools they need for success, so they can grow their businesses to Maturity and get to their Ideal Lifestyle.

Own Your Business, Don’t be Owned by it
We believe in Business Owners. Business owners take the risks that make them the best leaders and the best hope for a better world. Nobody pays attention to business owners with fewer than 10 employees. We do.

Employees are a Bad Idea
We don’t hire employees, which the Industrial Age turned into children. We hire Stakeholders who grow with the company, who make meaning, not just money, who share in the profits and take ownership, and who live and work like adults. We hire people who can’t wait for Monday because they are part of something that will make a difference.

Managers are a Bad Idea – Lead!
We don’t hire people to manage people. Adults manage themselves. We hire leaders who focus on being productive themselves, not on making other people productive.

Committed Community
We believe business owners are the most successful when they live in Committed Community with other business owners and have a safe place to say three magic words, “I don’t know.” Together we get there faster.

The Big Why – Doing What Matters
We believe that every decision we make should support our Big Why – we believe we will change the world, and that every business can play a part in doing so – why come to work if you can’t? Our driving force – “Why do what others can and will do, when there is so much to be done that others can’t or won’t do.

Work and Play
We believe the Industrial Age artificially separated the two – we’re bringing them back together.

Make MeaningWe make decisions based on what we believe. What do you believe? Write it down and then use it to guide you through everything you do in business. Get a compass – a true north – and stick to it. You’ll be a lot more successful if you run your business on your beliefs, on making meaning, not just on making money.

Making money is not an empowering vision. A belief system is.

What do you believe?

How to Get Five and a Half Months Off Every Year

After 15 years of not.

Two partners I’m working with are doing $40 million a year with 35 employees. For years they’ve had 2-4 weeks of distracted annual vacation, filled with Crackberry emails and calls, while the family was having fun. Now they’re both going to get five and a half months every year. How?

They haven’t changed who they are. They aren’t smarter, better educated or more enlightened than they were for the last 15 years. But somehow they’re going from a lousy lifestyle to a great lifestyle in just 15 months.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for.

For years they intended two things and hoped for one. See if you can relate:
Their two intentions for 15 years:
1) To work really hard.
2) To make some money.

Their one big hope for 15 years:
1) …and we hope it all works out.

They got exactly what they intended – hard work and some money, but not what they hoped for – a life. The fatal assumption coming out of the Industrial Age is that if we just have money, we’ll somehow get a life, too. These guys are living proof that money doesn’t equate to a great life.

So how did they make such a life-changing transformation of their business in such a short period of time? Simple. They changed their intentions.

1) They no longer intended to work hard. Why in the world would you make that an intention? But we all do.

2) They intended to get a life, not just hoped for one, then started making all their decisions to accomplish that objective.

3) And they intend grow the business and make more money in less time.

Peter Arnell wrote a book called “Shift” where he described how he went from being a 406lb man to a 150lb man. The first step – “I decided to do it.” The strength of that initial decision determines the outcome. If you are tired enough of the treadmill, you will intend to get a life. The partners in this business made a clear and final decision that things were going to change, and change radically. If you’re not at the end of yourself yet, you won’t make this decision.

The second thing Peter did to go from 406lbs to 150lbs was even more important. He said “from that moment on [after making the clear and final decision], I saw myself as a 150lb man.” He even went out that week and fired some clients who he felt were the clients of a 406lb man. He wasn’t hoping, he had clear intention to get to 150lbs and saw himself already there. And every decision he made going forward was filtered through the question “Is this the decision of a 150lb man or a 406lb man?”

My clients have done the same thing. Once they decided to both take five and a half months a year off, they started making all their decisions in light of what they needed to do to begin to take five and a half months off per year, while still growing their revenue. Their intention changed from working really hard to working really effectively, distributing the workload, finding geniuses already in their business to take over things, and a long list of other actions designed to get them off the treadmill.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for. The biggest reason this is working for them is because they changed their intentions, and decided they could make more money in less time.

They got what they intended.

You Only Need One
By the way, they’re not special or unique, and neither are you. Every business owner can do this – every single one. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Intention. There may be 1,000 ways to keep you from doing this and only five ways that it might work for you. How many do you need? Just one, and the sold-out intention to make it happen.

What are your primary intentions? Are you intending to work hard and make money, or are you intending to get a life as a result of owning a business?

What’s the one way off the treadmill that will work for you? Stop focusing on the 1,000 ways to keep you from doing it and focus on the one way off.

Intend to get a life, then make every decision intending to make more money in less time. You’ll get what you intend, not what you hope for.

Then go public here and declare your intentions. I look forward to hearing how you’re doing it.

Why shelf-help books only help your shelf

Expert-itis & Other Diseases

“That book was great! You should read it.”

Beware the pursuit of knowledge.

The great majority of business books (and other non-fiction) are really just “shelf-help” books. They help your shelf look better. But they don’t change anything. Why?

I get a lot of business book recommendations from people. When I do, I usually ask them how they have used the book to push their business and/or their own life forward. What I’m really asking is, “Did this book transform something, anything, or was it just intellectually stimulating without changing anything?”

Head vs. Heart
We’re addicted to intellectual knowledge, which is only one of the two kinds of knowledge we find in most dictionary definitions of knowledge:
1) Intellectual knowledge – knowledge of the head.
2) Life/experience knowledge – knowledge of the heart.

The ancient Greeks had two words for knowledge:
1) Gnosis knowledge of the head – the pursuit of information
2) Epignosis – knowledge of the heart – the pursuit of transformation

Too many books are based in gnosis, which, by itself, does nothing to make us successful. The reason we’re addicted to gnosis, is that head knowledge makes me “feel” more equipped to deal with my business, without having to actually do or change anything. It’s cost-free.

Consumers flock to the 3-easy step diets, the magical-millionaire website promises and the business book that claims it will get you a 4-hour work week. Educational institutions are the worst perpetrators of this lie – you’ll be richer tomorrow because you know more (gnosis).

Most seminar leaders know you will pay more for a seminar with a 3″ binder and 6 CDs than a simpler one that will change your life.

The Trenches of Transformation
The best business books aren’t informational, but transformational. Very few come from the trenches of transformation, where someone took big risks, put themselves out there, worked hard, sweated through it, and lived to write about it. I pay a lot more attention to people who have done what they are asking me to do, who are sharing from their experience, not from their head knowledge.

When I was in my early 20’s people told me I should be writing books. As I was formulating my first book of knowledge created in the ivory tower of my mind, I met a guy who had written a successful book when he was in his late-20s. He told me he had learned so much through experience that he realized his book was a load of hooey. But since it was in print, he would live with that mistake the rest of his life.

After that meeting I vowed to not write until I had experienced transformation and knew with my life (epignosis) that it could transform others, too. As a result, I didn’t publish my first book until I was 56. The most gratisfying thing about that book – it was named #1 Business Book of the Year not for volume of sales, but “for impact”. And people who read it don’t say, “that was interesting”, but “that changed the way I do business.”

Stay Away from Gurus and Experts
Research shows most people don’t get past page 18 of every book they buy. That makes perfect sense to me because we are not naturally cognitive, we are naturally intuitive, and we know in our hearts that the “3-easy steps” book we bought won’t give us the success it promised.

Are you reading shelf-help books or transformational books? Please recommend your transformational books to others here – thanks!

Thought leaders, aren’t.

Thinking isn’t results.

Why would anyone want to be known as a “thought leader” – for thinking? Thinkers are rarely leaders, so why do we use that term to identify people we believe are leading? There is a better term.

I’m not against thinking, I’m against elevating it to the highest status and the object of our affection. It’s not the lead actor – it has a supporting role in getting results.

Thinking is really important in the process of doing. As I’m moving forward, if I’m not thinking about all the feedback I’m getting I will just run into brick wall after brick wall. But the objective of thinking should be to create a result – to transform something.

So it makes no sense to me to call people “thought leaders” as if they are actually creating change. To call someone a “thought leader” is to focus on the process instead of the result.

Why do we celebrate thinking over results? I believe it’s because cognition, or thinking, has gained an inappropriately high status in our culture. The academics have taught us to assume that thinking is the result, not just one step in the process of getting a result.

Is this just semantics? No – there is a significant difference.

A thought leader is someone who has an idea. A results leader is someone who has changed something.

Thought leaders are educational. Results leaders are transformational.

Results leaders make history. Thought leaders write about them later.

We don’t think our way to a new way of acting. We act our way to a new way of thinking.

It is the act of acting that changes us, not the act of thinking. Nobody learns to ride a bike by reading books.

Einstein also believed we have given cognition too much credit. He said “rational thought” is the “servant of intuition”, but that we have “created a society that worships the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Cognition is simply one of the servants of getting results, and as such we should be focused on the higher value of results, not on thinking.

Many people we identify as “thought leaders” are really “results leaders”. We need to give them their just recognition and relegate thinking back to it’s appropriate role as a SERVANT of the result, not the object of our affection.

Let’s celebrate and promote “results leaders”. Thinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What do you “think”?