How To Get Big Rewards?

Most sane people are afraid of problems and tend to avoid them. From evolutionary perspective that is something that helped us to survive. I don’t go further into examples or explaining the reasons why, I’m sure you can do the math by yourself as you have come to read this blog.

But what people don’t often realize is that where there is a problem – there is money waiting to be made.

The bigger problem solved – The bigger reward obtained

In short: if your job is to solve small problems you likely get paid little:

Cashier vs. CEO
Nurse vs. brain surgeon
“I only work here” vs. “I will do what it takes to make this company profitable”

If you manage to solve complex and big problems with good track record, you most likely are rewarded well. It is not a coincidence that intelligence (which often equals to the ability to solve problems) correlates with a good income and financial well being.

Easy to replace = lousy rewards

I urge you to make a status check: would you love to solve bigger problems and get a better reward? Are you willing to rise above mundane? Do you have the brainpower to go to markets where majority of people are afraid to enter and prosper: like sales, marketing, strategic planning, leadership?

If you come up with “yes” – that is your first problem to solve!

  • What kinds of problems you want to solve,
  • who has these problems,
  • and how to connect and convince these people that you are the right person to do that?

There is always a “but”

Inspiration and determination will take you far, but it is not all it takes. Nor is the general intelligence alone a guarantee to prevail. In order to be exceptional you also need tools, experiences, and networks:

  • The tools you can study from blogs like EBL, professional books, courses, schools, mentors and educational videos for example.
  • The experiences and merits you gain only by trying hard, and by trial and error – just go and do stuff you feel passionate about. Passion, mission and vision give you extra strength. Money alone is almost never the best motivator, although it sure makes life easier and more enjoyable.
  • Networks help you reach the people and opportunities that are in need of a problem solver. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people: both online and offline. Face your fear of rejection and never surrender to it. First it hurts like hell, but with time you get used to it.

Think about it: Are you using all of your potential or would you like to win more? If winning is your choice, do what it takes to be Ever Better!

Lets recap and go a bit deeper – in order to solve big problems and get big rewards you must find out:

  1. Who you wanna be
  2. What kinds of problems you want to solve and how you plan to do it
  3. Who has these problems
  4. and how to connect and convince these people that you are the right person to do that?

Step 1. is your vision and mission
Step 2. is your strategy
Step 3. is your target audience
Step 4. is your marketing and sales tactic

You have just created your personal business plan, so now go and execute!

Head there; where problems cause despair!

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Inspirational Image: Get Massive Results!

I recently started Grant Cardone’s great book “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure“. The book is very testosterone filled motivational self-empowerment sales book that is not meant for those who do not aim to dominate the market they operate at.

After listening 80% of it I have encountered several empowering quotes like:

“Massive results require massive actions.”

“Duplicate the actions and mindsets of successful people and you will be successful!”

Or

At this point (80% completed) I dare to recommend “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” for those who fear not to play hard and to set the bar high. But if you feel that being an average is enough for you, I think it is better to focus on reading something else. Do that what makes you happy!

Grant Cardone is rated one of the top most influential 10 CEOs in the world , author of 5 business books, international keynote speaker, and and an active CEO of five privately held companies that do 100m in sales.

 

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Change is inevitable – Growth is optional

The title is a quote from Mr. John C. Maxwell and holds wisdom so great that it is next to impossible to say anything even remotely as wise as that.

But instead of trying to outsmart it, I rather try to explain my view about why changing is often so hard. In short: the main reason boils down to one of our prime drivers in life – the need to save energy.

The change that consumes more energy than the cozy status quo is always more or less painful. Only when there is some level of certainty that the change will pay off (as fast as possible), people are willing to invest time and energy to the process of change. But if the payoff is too far in the future, too abstract, vague, or just requires too much energy, it is quite likely that nothing will happen. This is the reason why it is crucial for the leader/doctor/parent/spouse/friend/… to explain the personal benefits of the change as concrete as possible. In case the journey to the better will be long and hard, it is wise to break down the process to smaller steps which are explained and done one by one.

But how to do the change?

I have written an article earlier this year about doing the change. You can find it here: http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/03/01/credit-how-to-make-the-change/

And for those who have already read the article, here is the “C.R.E.D.I.T.” process in short:

 

To utilize C.R.E.D.I.T. make sure you use roadmaps. To make your own roadmap please check my earlier post at http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/03/12/how-to-build-a-roadmap-for-success/

Short list advice’s:

  1. Plan your message is advance before announcing it publicly.
  2. Also if possible, rehearse it few times – at least if the stakes are high and you really need to make the change happen.
  3. If communicating the message via email or some other written format, try to get someone trustworthy to read and comment it.
  4. Is there a possibility that people don’t get the benefits, or the reasons to change?
  5. Am I being concrete enough, and sure that all know why the change is needed, how it is done and what is expected during and after the process.

My Personal Change On April 2017

For me the change has been quite easy through my life. Speaking of which, I am now at the brink of change. After working for over 2.5 years in the current company I’ve signed a new contract and will be soon starting as an account director in a very cool and creative marketing agency. This will be a new chapter in my career and I am super excited about it. I hope to be able to help new colleagues and clients to thrive even better. Often change is the thing that can boost personal growth, and that is something I am looking forward very much with this step. Wish me luck!

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How To Build A Roadmap for Success

Roadmaps are great. They can help us to implement long and difficult strategies to the ground level operations, make our team’s goals more achievable, and also are a fun way to get to know yourself. I personally recommend doing a roadmap for any goal that feels even a bit challenging to reach. It can be done for yourself, for your team, or why not even for the family?

How a roadmap should look like?

Don’t worry that much about the form or look of the roadmap. Most of all it is a way to communicate what to do and when. For sure it can be a piece of visually stunning art, but a list written in a napkin can also do the job. In short, the best roadmap is the one you are able to carry either in your mind or in your pocket.

The article will continue after the image.

How to fill the roadmap?

  1. First make sure that you know where we are now. Which are your strengths, aspirations and ambitions?
  2. Get a clear vision of your goal. Where do you want to go? Why do you want to go there? What happens when you get there? How does it feel when you reach your destination? Images can help you visualize your goal. Let’s say you want to get a raise in order to buy a new car. So google the image and use it to get a good grip of what you are working for.
  3. What skills, elements, investments you need to make to get started. These are most likely the first steps on your trip.
  4. Now you have done the beginning and the end. Draw a path between them and start building the steps one by one.
  5. For some people it can be a tremendous help if you think about it as playing a board game and building the path from a to b, c to d and so on.
    The article will continue after the image.
  6. Prefer using as concrete tasks as possible.
  7. Avoid placing goals that are not achievable. It is important to have big plans, but it is as important to know your limits in order to not get too badly hurt. Being successful is a delicate mix of being ambitious as well as rational and realistic.
  8. Remember to update your roadmap as you are working your way on it. Sometimes in life things happen overnight, and sometimes there can be obstacles that require you to take a detour.
  9. Also remember to reward yourself when reaching mid-goals and goals. That will help you to reach your goals better in the future. Find out how the positive reinforcement works – even for yourself. 😉
  10. Make sure you make your goals and roadmaps public, it will increase the possibility of completing them. At least if you want your organization to know where they should be heading to. But you can also consider communicating your own growth plan, as by doing so you might find friends who share the same goal, and you can help each other. Good leaders also want to help their employees to grow, so it can be that by sharing your roadmap, you are able to help your boss to do their job better.

Here is the example I made for the 2017

It is good to know, that as this is an upper level roadmap, each box will require its own roadmap. But alas; this will help me to remember the big picture I am building for the 2017, and I wish that it would help you to build your own roadmap to be an ever better leader!

 

 

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Protip: 2 Super Easy Ways To Be More Productive

On average it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus after an interruption. Most often we are interrupted by ourselves (40% of times) and by an email or other external message (23%). *

“we have become social media junkies.”

My interpretation is that the interruption we do by ourselves, is mostly because we have become social media junkies. The reason is explained in the infograph below. For the full infograph please visit this link.

So to get more things done do the following:

  1. Make a deal with yourself that no social media fixes during the hours you really want to make things happen.
  2. Turn of the email/application notifications, and check your email only few times a day. People will call you if in a desperate need of your assistance.
  3. Get several hours of productive time per day.
  4. Profit!

For a few more tips and tricks to boost your effectiveness make sure you check my older post: http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2016/12/27/top-5-tips-to-boost-and-increase-effectiveness/

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To Excel Now And In The Future

In my opinion

If we are truly interested in the organizational growth and excellence, it is crucial to tap into collective wisdom and to the brainpower of many. Modern leadership is not about forcing people to execute one’s vision. The more there are brains working to solve problem, the more likely it is that the best solution is found in a shorter time. This is pretty simple math.

It is also good to note that by committing employees to the company – by letting them co-create the vision – the leader is not deemed to take all of the pressure of the progress by him- or herself.

To excel now and in the future

  1. The organization must get better in the things it is good at
  2. The organization must be willing to try learning, creating, and innovating something new that has demand I.e. someone is willing to pay for.
“Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”
Steve Jobs

What if the organization focuses just on the another one?

If the organization focuses on just getting better in where it is good at, there will be a time when our product/service will be obsolete. Think for a second about Kodak, Blockbuster, Reader’s Digest…

“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
Bill Gates

If the organization uses too much time just on innovating and never releases a product or service, there is a risk that someone will go out and steal the business opportunity. It is also possible that in reality there is no market available or the world just is not ready yet for the product/service. The latter two scenarios usually happen only if the strategic market research has been done poorly.

Timing

“Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.”
Hesiod

It is absolutely crucial to understand that the timing is the most important factor in business and growth: because customer demand is the key factor. Even if we had the perfect team with the perfect idea, business-model, and execution, there is no value without demand.

The role of an ever better leader

  1. The great modern leader is a servant of employees,
  2. who creates an atmosphere of trust and fellowship,
  3. where passionate people are able to reach their potential,
  4. with proper incentives to make miracles happen
  5. while making sure that the company is profitable.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Henry Ford

* : Co-creating the vision can get awesome results, but only if the organization is a high performing one. If people are not passionate and fully committed, the leader’s vision is crucial for the organization to survive. In an organization that is reactive and lacks motivation, the leader should first uproot possible organizational primal fears and increase motivation and happiness as I have written earlier. Then it is time to communicate the personal vision until the organization is ready to be co-creative.

This posting was inspired by my experiences and by the following TED Talks:

And as a curious reader bonus here is a checklist you can share, print and check all that apply:

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How to keep people HAPPY and MOTIVATED

Any organization can and will thrive if the people are happy, motivated, capable of independent work, and have a strong passion and belief of importance. But even a formerly great organization can kick the bucket if the motivation dies or is destroyed by bad leadership.

The most important tool to build a high performing organization is leadership which focuses on removing obstacles which would prevent growth and good atmosphere. The single biggest obstacle is fear, which I wrote about earlier. And that fear should be uprooted from the organizational soil first thing. Nothing grows in a land of fear.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Yoda

In the following  I have listed the other noxious elements that prevent organizations to thrive. After each problem there is a solution offered.

  1. Lack of communication and transparency
    “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
    George Bernard Shaw

    Solution: Communicate! What is the direction? Where are we, what is happening, what has been decided, who has decided, who can decide and what?
    Transparency should pass through everything in a modern up-to-date organization. Information that is not free creates rumors and destroys trust.

  2. Feeling of separation

    Solution: As mentioned in my earlier post, we humans are tribal mammals, and that is why it is very important for us that we feel being part of the tribe. When we feel fellowship we are more willing to help. Wise leaders tear down silos, glass roofs and help people feel being part of one big family. Easy tricks are to have lunches, parties, sports evenings and personal discussions.

  3. Lack of respect
    “Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything – for better or for worse.”
    Simon Sinek


    Solution:
    Every normal human needs approval. The need varies from individual to individual, but only those who are emotionally twisted (I.e. psychopaths and narcissists) do not crave for acceptance. The bigger the status of person who gives feedback the bigger the emotional reward. Simple words to increase the feeling of respect is to say publicly “thank you, you did an awesome job with that project/thing X. It really made a difference to have you in the team!” If you want to be an ever better leader, consider also hugging* the person you just praised. That will release oxytocin which is so called “love hormone” and bonds people together.

    * be aware of the cultural rules, sometimes shaking hands does the job.

  4. No rewards from high performance
    “Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.”
    Barack Obama


    Solution:
    Every organization that aims for high performance has a reward system. This is essential, because the best players want to see in their bank account how their efforts are rewarded. This rewarding mechanism should be as transparent as possible and allow everyone to join. If there is no financial rewarding mechanism or it is unfair, trust me, high performers will leave when given possibility. If they are not leaving, they are not high performers and the organization never had one to recognize such.

  5. Unclear goals and job descriptions

    Solution: Most people value highly the situation where they know why they are hired and what they were hired to do. So it is the leader’s responsibility to communicate what is expected, set the KPI (key performance indicators for job) and agree about it with the employee. This can drastically improve the output as well as job satisfaction.

  6. Undersized resources

    Solution: Even the best possible expert can get frustrated and unmotivated if the tools or the time for the work are undersized. There are no shortcuts here: if the organization want’s best possible results, it needs to give enough time and the best tools available. If that is not possible, it is best to scale expectations down and prepare to watch when competitors take over the market.

  7. No possibility to improve in expertise or to develop in career path

    “If you look really closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”
    Steve Jobs

    Solution: High performing organizations make sure they have the best people around and that those people stay the best and motivated. That is why for example Google has allowed people to use 20% of their time to make their own projects and learn new skills. That sure is one of the reasons why Google is one of the most, if not the most, innovative corporation in the world.

  8. No feedback
    “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
    Bill Gates


    Solution:
    Give feedback and learn to know how the individual is capable to digest it without turning it as a negative issue. In short there are three kinds of people:

    – People who only want to hear good news. Occasionally upper level executives under too much pressure, people who have low self esteem or those few who suffer from rare personality disorders.

    – People who can handle also constructive feedback if that is served appropriately and accompanied with something nice. Most people belong to this group.

    – People who seem to not give a shit about positive feedback but lust for educational feedback to ensure fast growth. These kinds of people are very rare, almost non-existent, there is no big ego to prevent growth.

  9. No possibility TO give feedback

    Solution: Arrange regular (monthly) one-to-one sessions and work environment surveys with option to suggest how things could be done smarter.
    It is as important to give a chance to give feedback as it is to get one. Great places to work allow possibility and a forum for honest feedback without being afraid of punishment. Never try to bury possible issues that come to your attention.

  10. Too many and STRICT processes

    “Everything that is not forbidden, should be regulated.”
    Anonymous Finnish government official

    Solution: Processes might make things easy, but what they also do is that they drain the creativity from the work. Sure some guidelines are OK, but they should support the work rather than restrict it. The more people are given freedom to be independent the more they are willing to give for the work. Study also say that 91% of people consider themselves to be more productive when given more freedom to decide when and where to work from. To allow remote working is one of the best ways to increase happiness in an individual.

  11. Lack of trust

    “It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.” Confucius

    Solution: No human relationship can excel without trust. It is extremely important to know that there is a place to come tomorrow despite of the possible challenges. Never ever should an employee or even a leader get punished for making an unintentional mistake. That will kill creativity. Not only for the person punished, but for the entire team or even organization. Such organization will pretty soon experience motivation deprivation as well as talented people starting to look for better places to work.

In my following posts I will go into more detail on how to create trust and fellowship. These two key elements are the foundation of any great place to work.

To be sure you get the latest insights, tips and tricks to be an ever better leader subscribe here:

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Primal Fears – Why Some Organizations Never Manage To Thrive

I want to share you something I bumped into as I was listening the awesome book “The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever”. A great abbreviation “TERA” was mentioned, which contains the source of our primal fears that guide all of our actions.

 

“run, fight or die” mode prevents higher level of thinking

To try to put it in short: in fMRI scans scientists have found that our brain asks 5 times per second if there is something to be afraid. And IF there is, we enter into “run, fight or die” mode that prevents higher level of thinking and tapping into the collective wisdom the situation might hold. In the state of primal fear, our world is black and white and filled with adrenaline. That is something we might be able to use as advantage in certain situations, like public speaking or a bar fight, but not in a daily life of a high efficiency expert organization.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
Mark Twain

The abbreviation TERA comes from the words Tribe, Expectation, Rank and Autonomy. The following summaries are my own interpretations and the official explanations may vary. But these I find simple enough to remember and easy enough to understand.

TRIBE

Do you feel yourself as a member of the group or do you feel as an outsider? Being an outsider is usually not an enjoyable state of mind, because from evolutionary perspective an outsider presented threat. *

EXPECTATION

Do you know what is coming next, or are you afraid of surprises? In the past surprises could mean danger and that is the reason why we subconsciously are terrified of possible unexpected events. That is why routines, plans, to-do lists, agendas, road-maps and written strategies make us feel more secure.

RANK

Humans are very hierarchical mammals and have highly developed sense of estimating who is the leader and so to be respected. Luckily these days the leader does not usually attack you physically – at least in the western business world – but weak leaders might do it verbally when feeling threatened. That leads us to the autonomy…

AUTONOMY

Due to the hierarchical nature of our species we are super cautious when there is someone ranked above us in a situation. Especially if he or she has a reputation of having a big ego and a tendency to punish those who do not agree with him/her. We ponder our words carefully and speak only if there is no imminent threat. Some brave souls are so self-confident that they might have guts to open their mouth even if there is a possibility of humiliation or confrontation. That happens usually in one of the following cases:

  • The individual feels that the leader is weaker than him or herself.
  • The individual is equipped with shitloads of testosterone (boosts self confidence I.e. why young males are often those who are not afraid of positional leaders).
  • The individual is facing a situation where their values are threatened and they are willing to die because of them – even though metaphorically.
To sum this post
  • Fear is something that should not be present in any organization.
  • Learn to know people your work with, that generates the feeling of being in the same tribe.
  • Make agendas for meetings and road-maps and strategies for organizations.
  • Egoistic people – and especially leaders – are always bottlenecks in organizational growth and big-time success and should be either educated or let go if they fail to see their bad behavior.
  • By subscribing to Ever Better Leadership Blog you will gain the necessary information on how to make your organization thrive by removing primal fears to the degree it is possible:

THE ONE EXCEPTION WORTH MENTIONING

There is one special type of people who do not follow the normal rules: narcissists. They are beyond the help of mortal men and should be left to be dealt by HR-department or mental health care professionals. In these rare cases I strongly recommend to relocate as far away as possible. Luckily only around 1% of population have narcissists personality disorder. Although there are some recent articles that indicate that narcissistic behavior has risen during the birth of social media.

* For more information about neuromarketing you can read the awesome Brainfluence. It is filled with great neuromarketing insights.

Disclaimer: this article is a mixture of content from The Coaching Habit as well as my own research and reasoning. The text should not be considered as a psychological playbook of any kind, but rather as a simplified tool to understand how human brain is working in situations where primal fears are involved.

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My TOP 5 tips to boost and increase effectiveness

Whether you want to get to your goal faster, to have free time for something important or just to be more productive, there are several great ways to boost effectiveness. I have read pretty much about the topic and also done some testing with myself and at the time of writing this blog, I think these five are the best boosters suitable for me. Maybe also for you? So try them out and feel free to share your experiences or your personal suggestions for increasing effectiveness / productivity.

  1. Get enough of sleep

    This is by far the most important single factor. Being tired feels like shit, makes people more prone to accidents, reduces motivation and lessens cognitive skills. I am super aware that it can be really hard to get the usually required 7.5-8 hours of sleep, but it really is worth a try if you want to be the best you.

  2. Do the hardest/shittiest task first thing in the morning.

    Studies have shown that we have limited amount of willpower to be used daily. And EVERY decision drains it, meaning: if you use your willpower to solve petty problems first thing in the morning, it is not getting any easier during the afternoon or evening… Unless you get some rest. Pro tip: Arrange all the important meetings late afternoon, but make sure you get an hour of rest before that meeting to fill up your willpower.

  3. Do NOT open e-mail/social media first thing in the morning.

    Do the step two instead. This might sound stupid as “surely little Facebooking can do no harm while drinking morning coffee?” WRONG! You are using your best time to learn and study for utter crap. Stop it. Read something important or listen to an audiobook. If you’re not spending your mornings in a smart way, in a week you’ll have spent easily few hours just idling around reading pointless status updates.

  4. Do a list of things that matter today…

    This week. This month. This year. In five years. During your life. Start to build it backwards. I.e. think what really matters to you. What you want from your life. Then think how you can advance that in the next five years. And in the next following year. In a month. In a week. In this day. During the next hour. Focus on your list of things that matter. And start it now.

  5. Turn off e-mail notifications and check mail only once in 2-3 hours – the longer interval the better for the quality of work.

    E-mail is a great servant but a terrible master. If you let it pace your day, there is a big risk that you’ll just end up running around stressed and losing the focus on the things that really matter. Respect the list you made in step four.

As a bonus tip I would recommend trying out meditation. Tim Ferris says in his book “4 hour work week” that approx. 80% of the top leaders he has met do some sort of meditation or mindfulness practice. There are also huge amount of evidence and studies that show how meditation improves cognitive skills and helps to reduce anxiety. This can really make a difference to your well-being. But be prepared: regular meditation can cause big things to happen in your life. Luckily they usually are positive after the dust has settled down.

Ever better wishes,
Jukka

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