What Would You Do

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

By Mike Myatt, Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

What would you do if you didn’t need to work? Golf, travel, volunteer, spend time with family and friends, teach, go into politics – the list of options are virtually endless. A friend of mine called me today, told me the sale of his business had closed, and then informed me he had enough money to never need to work again. He told me he was calling to ask what I would do if I didn’t have to work again. I was impressed with his logical pursuit of advice and counsel, but wasn’t at all surprised that he was searching for a bit of direction. While many entrepreneurs tirelessly seek their exit by disposition, few have spent a great deal of time planning what life after work looks like. In today’s post I’ll ask a few questions and share a few thoughts with the goal of causing you to think about what defines you.

I want to begin today’s post with an excerpt from my book “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual:“

“By the time you reach the CEO level you should be striving to move beyond success and towards significance. You need to use your network, your wealth, your experience and intellect, as well as your passion to create a legacy that transcends your title. Having the advantage of hindsight, I can say with great certainty that who you are a a person is infinitely more important than the job you hold. There are few things in life as thought provoking as witnessing what by all outward appearances seems to be a successful executive, but as you begin to peel back the layers of their carefully crafted veneer you quickly come to realize they are little more than an empty, bitter, and frustrated person. They work their entire career chasing some illusive form of fulfillment only to fade into the sunset with nothing more than an empty lifetime of regrets as their reward.”

While my friend is the farthest thing from the illustration provided in the aforementioned quote, I have seen far too many people fall into this category. My hope in authoring this piece is to have you adjust your thinking when it comes to the definition of success. My clients usually tend to be successful individuals prior to finding me. My goal is to simply help them leverage their success into significance over the course of our dealings. The sad reality is that far too many people either confuse success with significance, or they are so focused on success that they are actually blind to the meaning of significance.

Just take a look around and you’ll see that most people use their knowledge, resources, and experience to acquire things in an attempt to satisfy their personal desires, which in their minds constitutes success. Contrast this with the people that use their knowledge, resources, and experience to serve and benefit others, which by my standards constitutes significance.

Sure, for those “who get it” success and significance are one in the same, but for most professionals success begins and ends with the achievement of a certain list of personal goals with little regard to the impact on others. These people confuse success with significance, and regardless of their wealth and professional accomplishments, they fail to accomplish the true greatness that only comes through making significant contributions to something other than one’s self. I don’t care how your resume reads, what your net worth is, or what your W-2 shows – what’s important is your underlying motivation as evidenced by what you do with what you have.

I am always impressed by those who choose a life of service over personal glory, or those who understand how to leverage their personal success into significance. While most of my clients have acquired significant material possessions, they just don’t live their lives according to a “he or she who has the most toys wins” philosophy. They don’t give because their accountant told them to, or solely for estate planning purposes, they give to make a difference. They don’t throw trivial contributions to a variety of charities to see their name appear on donor’s lists, they make substantial contributions (usually with little if any self-promotion). It all boils down to motivation – are you only pursuing fun, fame, fortune, and recognition, or are you seeking to serve and benefit others with what you have?

It is my opinion that when you start to define your personal success by the value you add to the lives of others you have arrived as a mature human being who possesses true influence and has become a person of significance. My challenge to you is this – set the chinning bar very high for yourself by reevaluating your goals and objectives to ensure you are on a path towards significance. Don’t allow yourself to become blinded by your success, rather leverage your success in an attempt to make a lasting and significant legacy for which you and your family can be proud.

So, what would you do if you never had to work again? What defines you? C ‘mon you know you’ve thought about it – share your thoughts in the comments below…

The Problem With Coaching

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer,N2growth

The Problem with CoachingToday’s rant has been building inside me for a while now. The text that follows is not going to sit well with a number of those in my profession, but hey, that’s never stopped me before. During a recent interview I was asked how I felt about the coaching profession – I jokingly referred to myself as a coaching heretic, and went on to say that I really don’t like the word “coach” as a descriptor for what I do. The truth is that while I absolutely love what I do for a living, I’m not overly enamored with the industry norms and status quo. With that said, I decided to devote today’s post to providing a bit of context to the soundbites noted above. In the text that follows I’m going to share my perspective on why I believe the we need to rethink the definition of coaching…

I think it’s a healthy thing for all of us to take stock of our profession from time-to-time.  Each and every one of us needs to do a gut check on whether the industry we choose to be a part of is moving in the right or wrong direction, whether our personal efforts are contributing to the advance or decline of our profession, and in the case of coaching, the advance of decline of our clients. So I have a question for you, and I want you to be brutally honest with your answer – when you hear the word “coach” used outside the world of sports, what’s your gut reaction? Probably the same as mine – not so good.

Coaching is one of the fastest growing professions on the planet. I did a quick Google search for the term business coach and received 116 million returned results – if that doesn’t scare you it should. There is literally no barrier to entry into the coaching profession and it shows. While you need no credentialing to be a coach, you will find no shortage of organizations willing to sell you their certifications. Any number of franchised coaching offerings can be purchased at affordable prices, numerous affliliations with the hot coaching brand du jour are available for the asking, or if all else fails, coaches can just go it alone as a solo practitioner – the more the merrier right?

One of my major pet peeves with coaching is all the trifling and hair-splitting that goes on with defining what a coach is or is not. There is a real elitist attitude that pervades the industry which tends to be process oriented rather than client oriented. In my opinion this is a huge mistake. A coach is a professional who better be capable of meeting client needs and expectations by using any number of different methodologies based upon the specifics of the situation at hand. Let me be as blunt as I can – coaching is not about the coach, it’s about the client. It’s not about the process, it’s about results. It’s not about definitions, it’s about people.

Coaching is about delivering what the client needs  – it is not about a cute set of questions you picked-up during a certification class.  The problem with the coaching profession is that as a general rule it is a widely held belief (at least by coaches) that a good business coach need not have specific business expertise and experience in the same field as the person receiving the coaching in order to provide quality business coaching services. Hmmm…Furthermore, it is also generally accepted that coaching rests on the professional use of a specific range of linguistic skills such as targeted restatements and the judicious use of powerful questions with the aim to help clients shift their perspectives on an issue or ambition, and thereby “discover” different solutions and options, in order to achieve their goals.

Okay, let me see if I understand this…a good coach doesn’t necessarily need any experience, but if they’re a really good listener, can restate what their client tells them, and ask a few good questions, then they can miraculously lead a client to the ah-ha moment that transforms their life and their career. I could go on, but my guess is that you’re starting to get a sense for my frustration.

Maybe I’m old school, but attempting to provide advice and counsel to a client without having the experience of walking in their shoes is a recipe for disaster. I have had more than a few engagements that have come about as a result of the need to repair the carnage and devastation that occurred from the implementation of advice put forth, or the ideas generated by a well intentioned yet unqualified “coach”.

From my perspective a coach needs to possess the experience and track record to be whatever the client needs them to be, and to play whatever role will add the most value to the client. Coaching isn’t about esoteric definitions, scripted questions or canned processes. Rather it’s about having the time tested experience to make a difference. If as a coach, you don’t have the experience to guide someone through the varied contextual nuances and situational complexities that exist in any business environment, then you have no business pretending that you do.

As I mentioned earlier, I really don’t like the terms coach and mentor as descriptors for what I do as those labels tend to give a very limited impression of what it takes to deliver results for clients. Sure, in some cases I coach and mentor, but most of my clients simply view me as their closest personal advisor. The best coaches I know are capable of delivering a blend of personal and professional advice. They are able to play the role of ambassador, emissary, influencer, coach, facilitator, expediter, lobbyist, buffer/shield, crisis manager, negotiator, publicist, strategist, tactician, mentor, consultant, counselor, collaborative thinker and in some cases partner, based upon what the client needs.

Bottom line…good advisors make things happen and get things done at the behest of their clients for the purpose of enabling the accomplishment of anything ranging from a single task to a lifelong goal. They do what the client requires of them where qualified, and if they don’t possess the needed skill sets, competencies and experience they should not take the assignment. It’s just that simple. I don’t really care whether the client is aided by mentoring, teaching, development, training, counseling, coaching, consulting or a mix of all the above – I just care that they receive real results.

Now that I’ve stated my case, it’s time for you to weigh-in…what say you?

Related Post: The Leadership Vacuum

What would you do?

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

What would you do?What would you do if you didn’t need to work? Golf, travel, volunteer, spend time with family and friends, teach, go into politics, and the list could go on…A friend of mine called me today, told me that the sale of his business had closed, and that he had enough money to never need to work again. He informed me that he had put together a list of people he respected and was calling to ask what I would do if I didn’t have to work again. I was pleased to have made his list, was impressed with his logical pursuit of advice and counsel, but wasn’t at all surprised that he was searching for a bit of direction. While many entrepreneurs tirelessly seek their exit by disposition, few have spent a great deal of time planning what life after work looks like. In today’s post I’ll share a few thoughts on planning for the future…

I want to begin today’s post with an excerpt from my book “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual“:

“By the time you reach the CEO level you should be striving to move beyond success and towards significance. You need to use your network, your wealth, your experience and intellect, as well as your passion to create a legacy that transcends your title…Having the advantage of hindsight, I can say with great certainty that who you are a a person is infinitely more important than the job you hold. There are few things in life as thought provoking as witnessing what by all outward appearances seems to be a successful executive, but as you begin to peel back the layers of their carefully crafted veneer you quickly come to realize that they are little more than an empty, bitter, and frustrated person. They work their entire career chasing some illusive form of fulfillment only to fade into the sunset with nothing more than an empty lifetime of regrets as their reward.” 

While my friend is the farthest thing from the illustration provided in the aforementioned quote, I have seen far too many people fall into this category. My hope in authoring this post is to have you adjust your thinking when it comes to the definition of success. My clients usually tend to be successful individuals prior to finding me. My goal is to simply help them leverage their success into significance over the course of our dealings. The sad reality is that far too many people either confuse success with significance, or they are so focused on success that they are actually blind to the meaning of significance.

Just take a look around and you’ll see that most people use their knowledge, resources, and experience to acquire things in an attempt to satisfy their personal desires, which in their minds constitutes success. Contrast this with the people that use their knowledge, resources, and experience to serve and benefit others, which by my standards constitutes significance.

Sure, for those “who get it” success and significance are one in the same, but for most professionals success begins and ends with the achievement of a certain list of personal goals with little regard to the impact on others. These people confuse success with significance, and regardless of their wealth and professional accomplishments, they won’t accomplish the true greatness that only comes through making significant contributions to something other than one’s self. I don’t care how your resume reads, what your net worth is, or what your W-2 shows…what I care about is your motivation, and what you do with what you have.

I am always impressed by those who choose a life of service over personal glory, or those who understand how to leverage their personal success into significance. Most of my clients have acquired significant material possessions…they just don’t live their lives according to a “he or she who has the most toys wins” philosophy. They don’t give because their accountant told them to, or for estate planning purposes, they give to make a difference. They don’t throw trivial contributions to a variety of charities to see their name appear on donor’s lists, they make substantial contributions (usually with little if any self-promotion). It all boils down to motivation…are you solely seeking to have fun, fame, fortune, and recognition, or are you seeking to serve and benefit others with what you have?

It is my opinion that when you start to define your personal success by the value you add to the lives of others you have arrived as a mature human being who possesses true influence and has become a person of significance. My challenge to you is this…set the chinning bar very high for yourself by reevaluating your goals and objectives to insure that you are on a path towards significance. Don’t allow yourself to become blinded by your success, rather leverage your success in an attempt to make a lasting and significant legacy for which you and your family can be proud.

So, what would you do if you never had to work again?