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How to Activate Your Creativity

creativity

Nobody likes constraints.

We don’t like being told we can’t do something.

We don’t like not being able to afford something that we want to do.

We don’t like being forced out of what is comfortable.

We don’t like finding out that we don’t have the resources we hoped we would have to execute new ideas.

Yet there is a magic to constraints.

There is a blessing to not having all you want.

And there is a power to having limited resources.

The power is creativity.

Creativity is often activated as a byproduct of constraint.

You don’t need to be creative when everything’s going your way, you have unlimited resources, and you can do whatever you want to do.

You have to be creative when there is a need to find a way, solve a problem, and figure out a path for where no obvious one exists yet.

And that is when the magic happens.

Magic happens when you are forced to be creative.

Magic happens when your back is up against the wall and you have no other choice.

Magic happens when everything you’ve known changes and now you need to come up with something new.

And people who survive…

People who thrive…

People who change the world…

Are creative.

And their creativity is very often the birth child of constraints and challenges and difficult circumstance.

So, if you’re experiencing constraint, don’t be frustrated; be thankful.

Don’t be discouraged; be determined.

Don’t be blocked; be creative.

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 Phases to a Powerful Global Rebrand – Episode 196 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

rebrand

Southwestern Consulting started as a few people with a dream of a worldwide brand. Now with over 150 team members that dream is becoming a reality. In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shares the 7 Phases of a powerful global rebrand from personal experience with Southwestern Consulting’s own rebranding journey.

Show Highlights:

Branding improves the customer experience. @rory_vaden

People want to be associated with good brands. @rory_vaden

A minor increase in quality plus a major increase in brand equals a monumental difference in profits. @rory_vaden

“Find your uniqueness and exploit in the service of others.” – @larrywinget

Boil down who you are into a few words. @rory_vaden

Until you get your strategy right, you’ll never get your brand right. @rory_vaden

Your brand needs to be able to expand quickly without being diluted. @rory_vaden

Redoing your website is always a huge project relative to the size of your company. @rory_vaden

A better brand warrants a higher price. @rory_vaden

In order for a team to get to the next level, every member must be willing to have a piece of their ego disappear. @rory_vaden

Your web copy must be extremely and painfully obvious. @rory_vaden

Sell the problem as much as you sell the solution. @rory_vaden

Take the time to develop strategy. @rory_vaden

Invest in outside expertise. @rory_vaden

Focus on conversion, not on vanity. @rory_vaden

Go as fast as you can, but as slow as you have to. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

How to Save Your Company $1.5 Million in 3 Minutes

million

People often say that “time is money.”

They are wrong.

Time is not money.

Time is worth way more than money is.

In fact, via compounding interest, time is the one thing that takes money and effortlessly turns money into more money.

Money that is lost, can be earned back. But time that is lost is gone forever.

Which is why our team at Southwestern Consulting believes that the next generation of cost savings scrutiny in organizations will not be as focused on saving money as it will be on saving time.

Think about this… almost every organization in the world has an entire team of people whose job is solely dedicated to counting the financial costs of a business. This is the accounting department of course.

Yet almost no organizations have even a single person who monitors, tracks, and manages all of the different ways that people throughout the organization lose time every day.

Not even one person whose full effort is dedicated to figuring out detailed ways to save everyone time.

Why is that?

Especially given the fact that one of the most expensive financial costs to any business is human capital and the money we spend on our labor force in wages.

The Money Value of Time (MVOT) from Procrastinate on Purpose teaches us that regardless of how we derive income, we all have a calculable hourly rate of pay. And that we are always either paying someone else at their rate of pay or we are paying ourselves at ours.

Which means that every single task and every single moment costs money. And anything that wastes even a second of your time is a waste of your money.

So that means there is opportunity throughout the organization to save massive amounts of money by saving massive amounts of time.

But where might we find these massive time savings?

Is it in cutting insignificant projects and unnecessary meetings? Sure.

But an overlooked area – with perhaps even more opportunity – is cutting mere minutes or even seconds spent on repetitive tasks that recur on a frequent basis.

For example let’s say you have a task that a team of 50 people each do 10x a day that takes them 180 seconds each time. This could be something like copying and pasting and then sending an email to a prospect or client with an attachment or something.

That’s 1500 minutes total for the team each day x 250 working days in a year for a grand total of 375,000 minutes each year spent on that one recurring 3-minute task.

If the average person on the team makes $50k a year then that person has an MVOT  of $24.04 per hour or $0.40 per minute.

Which means that a recurring task that takes 50 people (who make $50k) just 3 minutes a few times a day could be costing an organization $150,000 a year!

Plus, keep in mind those are hard dollars being paid to real people which means there is a legitimate opportunity cost of using that money.

If a company could save that time, and instead invest that money then (using a simple investment calculator) we know that $150,000 invested one time at an 8% rate of return for 30 years would be worth $1,509,398.53!

Think about that…

A task taking people 3 minutes could be worth over $1.5 million in the long run.

Now think about this…

If you have a team bigger than 50 people…

Or

If you have regular recurring tasks that take longer than 3 minutes…

Or

If you have more than 1 recurring task a day that everyone does…

Or

If you have people in the organization that make more than $50k per year…

Or

If you could do better than an 8% return on your money…

Or

If you invested that money for longer than 30 years…

Or any combination of these factors…

Then losing that time could cost you even much much more than $1.5 million of opportunity cost over the course of time.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that we should place as much value on saving time as we do on making more money.

The point is that we are potentially missing out on millions of dollars in cost savings by looking at things differently.

The point is that we should potentially apply even a higher level of scrutiny to how we spend our time than we do with how we spend our money.

But most companies don’t.

Most companies track every single penny spent on paper clips and pens and completely ignore the question of “what recurring tasks are sucking up our people’s time?”

It’s a massive opportunity for profit growth in the future of business.

We believe that the future of cost savings is going to be more focused on saving time then it will be on saving money.

Which is one reason why we believe that there is going to be a continued boom in the world of workflow automation.

We believe, as mentioned in my Ted talk, that “automation is to your time exactly what compounding interest is to your money.”

Saving salespeople time by training them on the best communication strategies and interpersonal skills has always been a space that Southwestern Consulting has been known to specialize in.

But when it comes to saving salespeople time by coupling it with automating things like lead generation, lead tracking, workflow, pipeline management, customer follow up, CRM and content marketing, that’s also a service we provide for small and medium sized businesses.

If you’re interested in more on that, you can check out our free 1 hour training on turning your business into an Automated Revenue Machine.

But no matter who you are or what type of company you have, what we all need to know and understand is that time is not money.

Time is, and will always be, worth way more than money.

Make sure you’re valuing it accordingly.

The Gift Great Leaders Give

Gift

People don’t need help being realistic.

We’re all already negative enough.

Our typical default is towards why things won’t work and why they’re not possible.

Most of us do just fine on our own coming up with reasons, excuses, and justifications for why our dreams won’t come true.

And we don’t usually need much assistance thinking about the worst case scenario or knowing what the ultimate failure might look like.

No, most of us do that just fine all by ourselves.

What we need help with is believing.

What we need assistance with is dreaming.

What we need affirmation with is what could be possible.

Which is why a part of leadership has to be helping people believe in a bigger future.

We have to help people see what could be possible for their own lives.

We have to show people a plan for how something magnificent could actually come true.

And we have to do the work to take people with us on the path as we embark towards the new.

Because there is no shortage of naysayers in the world who will tell them it can’t be done.

There is no lack of critics who will point out every reason it won’t work.

And there is no absence of realism that will remind us that we’ve never accomplished anything like this before.

But naysayers never advance the world.

Critics don’t create change.

And realism always betrays a person of their chance to reach their full potential.

Which is why we need to lead.

We need to help people believe.

We need to convince them that it’s possible.

And we need to put in the work to show them how.

If you can do that…

If you can show someone a plan for how the impossible can be achieved…

If you can convince someone that their dream can come true…

If you can demonstrate the kind of work it takes to break belief barriers and explode limiting beliefs…

Then you have changed everything for them.

You have led them.

And you have redefined realistic for them.

And that is a great is a great service.

A tremendous gift.

And perhaps a once in a lifetime blessing.

Because people don’t need help being realistic; they need help believing in the bold.

Giftology and Strategic Generosity with John Ruhlin – Episode 173 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

generosity

John Ruhlin is the founder and CEO of the Ruhlin Group, a North Canton, Ohio-based firm that specializes in high-level gifting plans to build relationships and acquire new clients. John is a sought-after speaker on the topics of C-level selling, relationship development and strategic gifting. He is also the co-author of the book Cutting Edge Sales.

Show Highlights:

  • If you take care of the inner circle, everything else takes care of itself. @ruhlin
  • When it comes to gratitude, there is an incongruence between what we say and do. @ruhlin
  •  If relationships are your most important asset, how you show them that you care really matters. @ruhlin
  • When you show gratitude well, you stand head and shoulders of everyone you’re competing against. @ruhlin
  • We teach people to give gifts ‘just because.’ @ruhlin
  • A gift, by its very nature, should be about the recipient not about you. @ruhlin
  • Instead of sending two hundred of something, send twenty to your top clients and personalize it. @ruhlin
  • An unexpected gift at an unexpected time. @ruhlin
  • A lot of times you can spend less money but just doing something differently. @ruhlin
  • If you’re not giving gifts strategically but only as warm fuzzy feelings, you’re wasting money. @ruhlin
  • If you’re not willing to invest even 5% back into someone, your heart is not in the right place. @rory_vaden
  • Most people walk around with a deficit when it comes to gratitude and appreciation. @ruhlin
  • Gift giving with strings attached causes problems. @ruhlin
  • Generosity is a secret weapon of influencers. @rory_vaden
  • There is power in reinvesting in relationships. @rory_vaden
  • Give with the hope they might help you without expectation that they will. @rory_vaden
  • A gift with strings attached is no gift at all. @rory_vaden
  • Abundance isn’t afraid of uncertain terms; scarcity requires tracking payoff. @rory_vaden
  • Abundance allows for a focus on others; scarcity restricts us to focus on ourselves. @rory_vaden
  • The strategy is to care about making people feel cared for. @rory_vaden

You can find more about John Ruhlin at Ruhlingroup.com or grab your copy of Giftology at Giftologybook.com.

Interested in the list of 100 gifts not to give to clients mentioned by John in this interview? Go to Giftologybook.com/Rory to check it out!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!