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How to Recruit Your Friends for Anything

Recruit

Job #1 of a leader is to A.B.R. – always be recruiting.

After all, how can you be a leader if there is no one to follow you?

And when it comes to recruiting, the best type of recruiting is personal recruiting- recruiting people who you already know and who know you.

We know that statistically, in almost every group, company, organization or cause, that when you recruit friends and family, they typically are successful sooner and they stay longer because there is already a foundation of trust that has been established.

But sometimes it can be awkward to approach family and friends about working with you.

“I don’t want to make things weird.”

“They probably wouldn’t be interested.”

“I’m sure they’re already so successful doing what they’re doing.”

These are just a few of the rationalizations we make that give us the pass from doing the sometimes uncomfortable work of bringing up a job or business opportunity with friends.

Or perhaps you’re trying to recruit them to volunteer for your cause or organization.

Or maybe you’re wanting to recruit them for your softball team or some other recreational gathering.

Or you might be trying to recruit them to give you money to support something you’re doing.

Regardless of what it is, we all end up in a recruiting situation sooner or later and we face fear when it comes to asking people we know to join in on our adventures.

And while I can’t promise you any magic tricks to automatically recruit everyone you ever talk to, I can share with you one powerful secret technique that I learned in my days becoming a recruiting record holder at Southwestern Advantage when I was in college.

The technique they taught us still works to this day and it can be applied to just about any recruiting environment.

All you say is this…

“John, you may not realize this but [insert opportunity] is really very important to me.

And I know that it may not be for you, and if it turns out that it isn’t that is perfectly fine.

However, I want to ask your help with something and make a promise to you…

Because I believe in you and I think you’re awesome, I want you to take a little bit of time to  come and formally learn about [insert opportunity] and how it works.

If you come hear about it and you end up deciding it’s not for you, that is totally fine! As long as you come hear about it, I promise I’ll never bring it up to you again.

However…

If you don’t come hear about it, then I’m going to bug you about it EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE YOU until you do!

And you know I will! But it’s only because I believe in you and I believe in [insert opportunity] so much and I think you might actually be into it.

But if it turns out you’re not that’s ok too.

So when do you think we could carve out some time to talk about it?”

And then all you have to do is simply keep both of your promises.

If they go through the formal process and decide it’s not for them, then leave them alone about it.

Don’t pressure them. Don’t make them feel guilty. Don’t keep bringing it up. Don’t be passive aggressive about it. Just let it go and move on from it until they re-approach you about it some day in the future.

But, if they don’t hear about it, then you freaking bug the crap out of them pleasantly but persistently until they finally do. 🙂

No matter what happens, it will turn out to be a good thing for both of you.

One Devastating Mistake A Leader Should Never Make

mistake

If you’re going to become a great leader there is one thing you must never do.

There is one behavior you must immediately extinguish.

There is one habit that you must permanently eradicate.

You cannot talk negatively about other people in their absence to subordinates.

Ever.

Gossip in general is a very destructive dynamic. But when the leader does it, it can be absolutely devastating.

Why?

Because leadership is about building people.

Leadership is about helping to lift people up.

Leadership is about raising people to be better than they were before.

So it’s the leader who is supposed to be the one who believes in the people.

And if I, as the leader, ever share negative feedback or criticism with anyone who isn’t a superior then I am chipping away at that foundation of trust and the fabric that binds the entire team.

Because I’m perpetuating the possibility that leadership doesn’t believe in the people that are here.

And that hurts everyone.

As the leader I may sometimes need help navigating my way through challenging circumstances with the people in my care.

That is fine. But that support should come me from my colleagues or my superiors.

As the leader I may even need to vent or complain a bit about the difficulty I’m having helping other people perform.

That is even fine. But that support must come from my superiors.

In Southwestern, we refer to this rule as “puking up.”

If you have to, you always “puke up.”

You complain “up.”

You get discouraged “up.”

You get frustrated “up.”

But you never puke down.

And you never puke sideways.

You never pollute the thinking of people who aren’t in a place where they can do anything about it.

You never plant a seed of doubt into other team member’s minds about someone else who is on the team.

You never talk poorly (even suggestively) about anyone in the organization to someone that isn’t your superior.

And you never ever talk poorly about another leader to younger team members.

If you’re a team member you talk to a leader.

If you’re a leader you talk to an executive.

If you’re an executive you talk to the CEO.

If you’re the CEO, I guess you talk to God.

But this isn’t about being fake, or pretending, or not being genuine with people who may technically be your friends.

This is just about preserving the integrity and structure of the whole organization for the benefit of everyone.

It’s about permanently cementing the binding force that holds everything and everyone together: belief.

People need to believe.

Subordinates need to believe.

Colleagues need to believe.

The leaders need to believe.

You need to believe.

Every person on the team needs to believe if it’s going to ever be possible for the group to become a championship team.

And that starts by supporting one another by having their back when they’re not around.

It starts with making sure the leaders are building people up and not tearing them down.

Sometimes it starts with what we just need to immediately stop doing.

7 Critical Components of a Powerful Morning Routine 

morning

One of the most important habits of developing consistent high performance in your life is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your production.

The reason is because we want our confidence tied to things that we can control rather than things we can’t.

Production often fluctuates up and down but our effort, work ethic, and intensity needs to always be consistent.

The decision to embrace this philosophy can be something that you demonstrate in the first few moments of every day.

I first learned the power of a morning routine from my time in college working in The Southwestern Advantage summer program.

They taught us to have and focus on a “mini-victories list” every single morning.

To this day, I follow a regimented routine every single morning that includes many of those original habits I developed selling door to door in the summer:

 

Gratitude – The very first thing I do when the alarm goes off is immediately start saying “thank you”. I thank God for as many specific blessings as I can possibly come up with in those first few moments. In addition to being a powerful way to start the day, it also keeps my mind from being occupied with negative thoughts about how tired I might be or what I have to do that day.

 

Scripture – For me it is a very intentional choice that the first input into my brain each day be scripture. Not email. Not Twitter. Not news. Scripture. Not only does it help charge my soul for the day, it is also an external representation of an internal decision to prioritize my spiritual walk and relationship with God above all else. After reading scripture I pray. It’s an important discipline. (Tip: Timothy Keller’s book Prayer taught me to focus on reading each individual word slowly and one at a time instead of speeding through sentences.)

 

Affirmations – Over the years I have amassed several lists of different affirmations. Some speak to the person I want to be, some speak to the company we want Southwestern Consulting to be, and some are very specific to reprogramming my brain about certain fears, current limiting beliefs that I have or new habits I’m focused on developing. I read those next.

Goals – I’ve always then spent a few minutes reviewing my short and long term goals. What has been very powerful for me in the last couple years is that I read my wife’s goals first. And when I know of them, I read specific goals of my business partners as well before I read mine. This is another discipline that I practice to try and cultivate more selflessness in my life. It’s important because I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit that absent an intentional decision to think about other people, I unfortunately naturally default to thinking mostly of just myself.

Schedule – I spend a few moments reviewing my schedule and making sure I’m consciously aware of everything that is supposed to happen that day. A great piece of advice that I’ve been trying to practice that I learned from profiling a Multiplier for the Procrastinate on Purpose book is to “throw everything off my calendar and make it fight to earn its way back on.”

Exercise – This is another habit I learned directly from Southwestern, which is to do something physical first thing in the morning every single day! Even if it’s only a few push-ups, sit-ups, or weightless squats, it’s a major victory to do even some small physical activity. And you should never underestimate the power of consistency in your life; literally a few minutes of exercise every day does wonders for helping you maintain your physical state.

Vitamins – Taking vitamins and veggies is not something I particularly enjoy; but I do it every single day. Because staying healthy requires discipline and it’s a choice I want to consistently make first thing in the morning. My body is something I choose to protect and preserve and supplements are an important part of the routine. As mama always said “enjoying it isn’t a requirement of doing it.”

Making it through this entire list (including a 20 min workout routine) takes me about 45 minutes.

(In full disclosure, there is one other step to this routine that I’ve been doing the last couple years that I left out since it’s not ubiquitous to everyone: I also write 1 little inspirational social media post each day on Instagram that I also share to Facebook and Twitter. It takes about 7 minutes a day but I find that writing a little each day adds up tremendously over time. Those little thoughts often later get expanded into blog posts, which then many blog posts get put together to become a book, which is then made into keynotes, virtual trainings , and coaching modules.

Part of the power of this routine is programming your brain for success each day.

Another part of the power of this routine is preparing yourself to have a positive attitude each day.

But perhaps the most powerful part of this routine is that it helps you start “winning” right away.

Because all of these things are things that you can control.

And all of these things are mini-victories.

They are demonstrations of discipline that happen every morning.

They are resolutions that I will not let my life happen by accident but by design.

I will not be confused about where I’m going; I will be clear.

And I will not lose to the natural voices of fatigue, negativity, and distraction in my head; I will silence them.

This process helps remind me of how much I’ve been given, why my life counts, and who I am focused on serving.

You don’t have to follow this exact process, but I would highly recommend that you and your coach create some process – and that you follow it relentlessly.

Because success is never owned; it’s only rented – and the rent is due every day.

One Way to Not Lose Friends – But Why We Often Do

friends

Its unfortunate that we often judge other people by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions.

When other people mess up it’s easy and natural for us to point out their mistakes, highlight them, and use them as evidence for why they aren’t capable or worthy of our praise.

Yet when we mess up, it’s easy and natural for us to defend ourselves by trying to explain and articulate to other people what we really meant to say or what we were really trying to do.

The reason we do that is not because we’re bad people. We do it because we simply have access to the information of knowing what our intentions are and we often don’t know the explicit intentions of others.

We know that the way it came out was not what we really meant to say and that it sounded much worse than we actually think or feel.

We know  that the way other people interpreted our behavior isn’t an accurate reflection of what we were really trying to do.

We  know that because it is us.

But a lot of times we don’t know what another person’s intentions were.

And so all we have to go on is our immediate interpretation of their actions.

Many times though, that is a shame. Because it causes us to assume the worst about people when there is perhaps another viable and reasonable explanation.

It’s a shame when we allow ourselves to get angry at others, misinterpret others, or distrust others without exploring what was really going on.

Too often it causes us to lose friends that we never should’ve lost.

Perhaps that is why there is so much wisdom to the phase, “’tis better to seek to understand than to be understood.”

Seek to understand..

It gives us a chance for reasonable explanation.

It gives us a chance for clear representation.

It gives us a chance for possible reconciliation.

Because we spend time exploring what someone’s actual intentions were.

The valuable technique here is to learn to generously give people “the benefit of the doubt.”

To assume the best in people and not the worst.

To believe there is some explanation and not an intention to do evil.

Especially with the vast majority of the people we know and are around every day, they generally have good intentions.

There are relatively few people who are ruthlessly evil, completely self-serving or deliberately sabotaging.

But there is a lot of room for misinterpretation and miscommunication.

That is just because there are so many unique ways to look at a topic, event, or idea from a different point of view.

But just because someone has a different point of view doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

If anything, it’s cause to embrace and explore what their view point is so that we can learn from it.

With ourselves though, we can be more strict and demanding. We can push ourselves to be more considerate of how other people might interpret what we do or say.

We can look beyond just our intentions and challenge ourselves to make sure that there is less room for misinterpretation of our actions.

We already know that we have the best of intentions and so we can strive to make sure that we take action in a way that it is most likely to be viewed as positive.

We can help try to save people from having to question our intentions.

So, if anything, perhaps we should flip things around from the natural way we sometimes live.

Instead of judging others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions…

Maybe we should generally give other people the benefit of the doubt by assuming they have good intentions, yet push ourselves to deliberately consider how we will affect others through our actions.

7 Steps to Recruit Amazing New Team Members with Lightning Speed

recruit-amazing-team

“What’s the fastest, cheapest way to recruit amazing people?”

That question was recently posed to me verbatim by one of our clients.

Before I share with you the answer, think first about this question:

“What’s the fastest, cheapest way to sell new clients?”

Because the answer is the same for both questions:

Referrals from your current customers!

And when it comes to recruiting, who are your “current customers?”

Obviously it’s your current team members!

So that is the answer to the question.

The fastest, cheapest way to recruit amazing people is to get referrals from your existing team members.

This is something that Southwestern refers to as “The Team Member Approach”.

And it’s super simple…

1. Schedule a Meeting – 1 on 1 with each of your current team members.

2. Access their “Rolodex” – There are a variety of ways to view a list of who your team member knows (cell phone contacts, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn are some of the best). More training on exactly how to do this is available here or here.

3. Explain your situation – Share with them that you are looking to expand the team and that you prefer to bring on people who you already know, like, and trust. And explain that your goal is to build a team of people who are “cool” and who like them, are fun to be around.

4. Offer the Incentives – Tell your team members that one of the best ways to ensure they do well in the business is to do the business with their friends. Because it creates more buy-in for everyone and gives you powerful built in accountability [true story]. And if you do offer some financial incentive for hiring referrals remind them of that here. You can even start off the meeting with this information if your company does have a plan in place. Say for example you offer a $500 referral for a team member that gets hired, say something like: “Mike today I’m going to show you how to make an extra $5000! How’s that sound?!” (Proceed to ask him for enough referrals to help you hire 10 people)

5. Gather Contact Info – Simply go through the list of their (modern day) “Rolodex” and ask them to tell you about each person. Use the questions: “Do you think this person would be fun to work with? Could you see them enjoying this job?”

6. Call the Referrals- Get on the phone and call the referrals! Introduce yourself. Explain the shared connection. Tell them “Mike had the nicest things to say about you and thought it’d be worth me reaching out to you about this. You may like it and you may not, and either way is fine in fact I’m not even sure if you qualify but would you be open minded to hearing about it for 30 minutes?”

7. Follow the Process – After that just stick with your normal recruiting process. The only difference is that you can involve your referring team member in some of the interviews and selection. Which is a two-fer because not only are you getting a new potential team member, you’re training your current team member how to recruit! Fabulous!

Remember a great leader is a great recruiter and recruiting is a sales job.

What gathering referrals from clients is to salespeople, is exactly the same as what gathering referrals from team members is to leaders.

So learn to live, love, and become a master at recruiting!

Using Visualizations to Propel Achievement

Visualizations

The amount of our endurance is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision. 

When we have a crystal clear picture of what we want in life, and we spend a lot of time thinking about it, then there is naturally a strong connection to how doing the short term sacrifices we’re asking ourselves to make today forward us toward that future. 

It thereby creates a context for action to take place and our discipline engages almost automatically. That then inspires and empowers us to do the hard work necessary that it will take to achieve that vision. It gives us a “reason” to set specific targets and goals, layout a plan, and then execute the actions that will make the vision a reality.

However, if we have a cloudy picture of what we want for our life or future, then there is at best a convoluted connection to how the sacrifices we’re asking ourselves (or others) to make forwards us towards that future.

There is no context for action and so it becomes almost impossible to “motivate” ourselves. In that scenario we don’t have sight of the long term payoff and so we typically procrastinate or get distracted from doing the hard work it takes to be successful. When we don’t do the necessary work, then we ultimately don’t achieve our long term goals.
On the surface we might then think that the reason we didn’t hit our targets was because we didn’t take the right actions – which would be true. But a part of the underlying reason why is because we never had the compelling vision to inspire us to take the necessary actions.

What we have learned at Southwestern is that most people then struggle not just from a lack of discipline; but also a lack of vision. 

We either don’t have a clear enough picture of what we want in our life or we don’t spend enough time thinking about it. 

If you can see the vision, then you have a reason to do the work to earn it.  

If you can craft the vision, then you’ll develop the confidence to work a plan that makes it come true. 

If you can clarify the vision, then you will catalyze your own action. Which is why one of the first orders of business when we coach a client is that we take them through a series of different questions and exercises to clarify their life vision. 

And when we talk about vision, one element of a great life vision is being able to see actual pictures of what you want your future to look like. It’s a “visualization” if you will. We often encourage our clients to put together vision boards. 

Another simple but powerful exercise you can do is to add a visualization or two to your overall life vision by writing out a future scene of exactly what you want to accomplish in your life. 

The more clearly you can see it, the more likely it is to come true. And if it’s ever going to become true in real life, you first need to be able to see it in your mind. 

One technique to help you create stronger visualizations is to write in a way that is V.A.S.T.  

That is that when you write out a visualization, you write a future picture or scene you want to live into that describes the following elements:

V. Visual – Something that you can see. What is around you? What does it look like? Describe the setting. Describe the colors. Who is there with you? What can you see?

A. Audio – What can you hear? What sounds are happening around you? Is there a noise in the background? Is there music playing? Is there a specific set of words you will be hearing from a specific person in your life?

S. Smell – What can you smell? Are you outdoors or indoors? Is there food? Is it a certain season of the year? Smell is one of the most powerful triggers we have so if you can associate a specific scent with achieving your goals then it will have a very visceral effect on you. 

T. Touch – What can you touch? What are you physically feeling with your hands? Most importantly is how are you feeling inside? What emotions are you experiencing? 
The VAST technique is a modified version of something I learned from one of my speaking coaches, Craig Valentine the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking about how to improve your storytelling. 

It serves not only as a good strategy for telling stories though; but also for creating them. 

Your vision is the purpose of your life.
Your visualizations are part of the future story of your life. 

Your ability to write that story often precedes your ability to live it. 

The more clearly you can see it in your head; the more likely it will come true in your life because the more willing you are to do the work it will take to get there. 

In that way, our endurance is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision.