Words of Wisdom from Live2Lead

Now that some time has passed, we can reflect on the mountain of content from the speakers at Live2Lead.  Let’s take a moment and recap the highlights and the lessons from the day.

This list of guiding statements, tidbits and fresh ideas is actually quite helpful when put into the  context of our daily lives.  Gleaned from the speakers’ (John C. Maxwell, Chris Hogan, Rachel Hollis, Angela Ahrendts, and Marcus Buckingham) speeches that day, here are a number of memorable phrases:

  • Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Hope is not a strategy.
  • Use the ACT approach—what will you Apply, Change or Teach—from new things you learn?
  • Connection with others is absolutely vital for success.
  • Old hurt brings new harm to a new day.
  • Trust, loyalty and unity are each a two-way street.
  • Work hard and have fun at the same time.
  • A culture is a living, breathing thing.
  • Mentor someone every day.
  • Turn off your head and turn on your heart.
  • Big isn’t good unless big does good.
  • Give 60, take 40 in everything.
  • Look for yourself last in the photo.
  • A leader doesn’t have two good days in a row.
  • Be authentic.
  • Show up.
  • Give people the tools to change their lives.
  • Focus on your self-awareness.
  • Study failure then invert it.
  • Love is space making.
  • Culture eats strategy for lunch.
  • Satisfaction creates energy.
  • If there is mist in the pulpit, there will be fog in the pews—be clear.
  • Measure what you manage.

This is quite a list to digest.  No worries—over the next few months, New Paradigm Advisors will bring light and substance to many of these homilies and help you put them to good, substantial use.

And please plan on joining us for Live2Lead 2020 on October 20, 2020.

The New Paradigm Advisors’ Team

Why Do I Need a Consultant?

Business can be complicated.  Sure, you know the core offering of your company—you either invented it, bought it or offer services you created.  At any rate, you do know your business.

But not all of it.  Maybe not its value or future. And can you be free from it?

That’s where a consultant comes in.  An outside set of eyes and ears that give you the perspective you need to help shape and sort out your business. And beyond the extra eyes, it’s the extra manpower—the people power with the specialized skills to get something done on time.

A Distinct Advantage

Whatever the reason, hiring a consultant gives you a distinct advantage, I usually tell clients. And that is to be able to work on your business rather than in your business.

“On?” “In?” What are we talking about?

Most business owners are so focused on the day-to-day operation of their enterprises that they forget to step back and see the bigger picture.

Freedom,Value, Future

That’s the principal that we founded New Paradigm Advisors on.  It is about freedom, value and, ultimately, future.  Our company was founded on the simple belief that many business leaders are chained to their business.  We break those chains, increase company value, and help them build a fabulous future.

Break What Chains?

As a business owner, many times you are chained to the business because you ARE the business.  We help free you to work “on” the business by setting up systems, checks and balances and opportunities for growth and expansion of your business.  We use tools like EOS to help you shape your organization and find ways to do things like “you-proofing” you company.  You can then take that next step into the value.

 Why Value?

You need to be able to establish the value of your business.  Knowing the value of your company makes subsequent assessment that much easier.  Whether that is hard assets or intangible assets, every company has a value.  In our case, we use the Value Builders System to assess a company’s value and help you maximize that value.

Whose Future?

Yes, the future. Once you’re set free from unnecessary restraints, have a handle on the value of your company, it comes down to building a future—not just for the company, but you, the founder and primary owner.

That future means continuing to build and grow a company for the next owner or generation and giving you options for your “third act.”

Why New Paradigm Advisors?

So, why hire a consultant?  Just as you would hire a specialist to paint your house or manage your finances, so you should hire professionals that know this pathway.

That’s where we come in. We’ve been through this before we a seasoned team and proven systems, like Value Builders. Why not start there. All that is at stake is the future.

Dave

*photos courtesy of Upsplash contributing photographers Ryoji Iwata and rawpixel

Are You Dressed Appropriately to Go to the Dance?

In a recent post, I talked about asking your favorite managers or leaders about their interest in having ownership in your company.

Have you followed up on that?

Your current management leaders are definitely legitimate future buyers of your company, so don’t leave them out of your planning.

Who else should you be looking at and where are you going to find them?  Are you dressed appropriately to “go to the dance?”

What’s It Worth?

Well let’s back up (again) and let’s start with the question of, “What’s it worth?”

We’re not going to launch into a long treatise about valuations and market analysis. This is going to be far more simple. It’s all based on a simple truth:  your company is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

Well duh!

Overly simplistic, I know, but let’s peel this apart before you discount such a simple basis.

You can do all the research about EBITDA and multiples you want.  However, if you don’t have a qualified buyer with a high interest in your company, nothing matters. It doesn’t matter that your bank loves you. It doesn’t matter that your industry typically sells for 3 or 4 or 10 times multiple. You’ve got to find a buyer who has the money and the interest to stay engaged with you all the way to signing an agreement and giving you a check.

What About Your Formation Agreements?

Now before you think this is way too simple and obvious, let me ask you a question: When was the last time you took a look at your formation documents? Your Buy Sell Agreement? Last year? Five years ago? Maybe not even since you formed the company? You might want to pull that out and look at it.

In two cases recently, we’ve observed owners shocked at the glaring hole in their desired transition plan caused by the limits set forth in their formation agreement. In one case with two owners, the retiring owner would receive nothing upon retirement except his pro-rata share of any projects that were invoiced as of the date of his retirement. In the other case, it was assumed that the owner who was remaining in the business would simply either write a personal check for a percentage of a recent official valuation or he would finance it either personally or through the company. Nothing in the formation documents required this. And in both cases, the hard discussion with both groups started with, “No one owes anyone anything.”

Be Sure and Value the Relationship

In both cases, there are long-term, very close and meaningful relationships that would be ruined if this was really the end result. But, it drives home the point, that your expected buyer may not be under any obligation to pay you what you think you deserve. So, what do you do?

Are You Ready to Start the Buyout Process?

First, begin working on your buyout as early as possible. If you’re thinking of retiring or your partner is going to retire in the next five or so years, now is the time to pull out all of your documentation and find out what, if any, legal obligation everyone has. If it’s like the first case above: you’ll have time to write up an exit plan or buyout for everyone that is equitable and doable over the coming years. This also sets up the remaining partner to understand what he or she is going to want to explain and demand of any future owner he brings on board.

Do You Need to Look Outside the Organization?

Second, if you’re looking outside of your organization for a buyer, you’ve got to get a haircut, shave, take a shower, shine your shoes, buy a new suit and really dress yourself up so you will be the best looking person at the dance. The dance called “the acquisition dance.” What do I mean by that? I bet you already know. If you don’t, well, you at least know you can call us and we’ll help you do that. It’s going to take a lot of effort and a good deal of time. But if you want to be the winner at the acquisition dance, you can’t go looking like you have for the last several years. It’s time to make some changes.

Even if you’re more than five or ten years away from transitioning to your third act, by getting ready now, you’ll be making more money in the interim period and you’ll be worth far more in the end.

Call us. Let us help get you dressed up.

Dave

First thing to do to make sure you’re dressed for the dance, take a look in the mirror: Click here to see what you look like.

Being Customer Centric with the Right Customers

In every business, success comes down to understanding and satisfying the customers’ needs and wants. Name me one where this is not true.

Ok, the government.  But I asked for a business.

In today’s business jargon, we call this being customer centric. We hear tag lines like “the customer is always right” and “we put our customers first.” These slogans are just one of the ways we use to try and to get everyone, both inside and outside of our organization, to believe we treat our customer like royalty.

What if you thought differently about who your customer really is?

While this is somewhat counter intuitive, by looking in a different direction, you might win more business and build up an important internal resource.

Your employees. They are really your first customer.

The better you treat your employees, the better they will treat your customers. If you want your customers to love you, then love your employees. Show your employees how you want them to treat your customers by how you treat them.

And, truthfully, it helps your staff understand that if the company is successful, they will be successful.  Make them feel like owners and they will treat the customer that much better.

We recently discovered this unrecognized problem with a client.  It was the primary limiting factor for the company’s growth. Communicating with the customer was a very undeveloped skill. You would think this would be the death knell to the company.  Yet, surprisingly, this was an accepted behavior throughout their industry. This meant the customers really couldn’t get better treatment anywhere else. At this company, the customer could at least expect superior technical performance and results.

By treating their employees better, their business increased through better customer service.  And it was a differentiator for the company in their industry and made them, almost automatically, an industry leader.

We spend a lot of time, money and effort getting better at our technical proficiency, but we spend very little time learning how to treat our customer better.

By taking the time to focus on your internal customer, the end customer will be treated well and you will have wins all the way around.

Dave

*photo courtesy of rawpixel

Smartest Person in the Room

Back in my design construction career, it was always important that you had a really smart and fully engaged team.

I guess that applies to all careers, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s especially important in technical fields where a lot of times the designed or engineered solution doesn’t quite fit the actual field condition. If you’ve ever been involved in any type of construction or remodel, you know what I’m referring to. The main solution to this is to involve really qualified and experienced professionals. And the key element is “experienced.” The more times they’ve been there, done that, and seen that, the better your project is going to be.

One of the key characteristics of the best experienced people is their ability to say, “I don’t know.” Or “I’ve never seen that before.” Or something along those lines. The worst ones try to wing it and go out of their way to not admit their ignorance or appear to be all knowing when in fact, they are just as ignorant of the situation as everyone else. At this point, I’m trusting that you’re already saying, “Dave, this applies to every field and endeavor.”

You’re right, it does.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered that the person who always wants to be the smartest one in the room, is not always the wisest or the one I want to look to for the final answer. My rule has always been that old axiom, “if you ever find yourself being the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.” Applying this to everyone in the room makes me appreciative but wary of the person who always feels and acts as if they have all the answers.

Trusting that you’re not this person, but you have to deal with this person, what do you do when they try and dominate every meeting with their expansive knowledge? It’s a standard problem that every leader has to deal with. The best answer is to always be working toward engaging everyone in a meeting. Even the most introverted or quiet ones. Fact is, many times, they are the ones with the answers – or better still the best questions.  But you’re going to have to draw it out of them with engaging questions of your own.

I wish I could tell you the perfect answer to dealing with the smartest person but I still haven’t found the perfect answer (to anything for that matter.) I can tell you what I have used that has at least relieved the situation to a degree:

  1. Always allow the person his or her opportunity to contribute (You’ll not be able to avoid this so dive in and accept the fact.).
  2. Once it appears that they are going to attempt to answer every question or make the first response, say something like, “Thanks for your input, let’s hear from someone else” (And here you might request input from someone specific – maybe even that quiet person that seems to never say anything.).
  3. Continue following this process throughout the meeting. You may never fully quiet the smartest person, but you can sure indicate to the rest of the participants that you are determined to get and value their input.
  4. Finally, if necessary, have a private discussion with the individual and ask them to help you draw out input from everyone else by not being so quick with their responses.

If you’ve discovered another process, I’d like to hear from you. For sure, I’m not the smartest person on this subject.

Blessings!

Dave

They didn’t tell me anything new, but…

Sometimes the answer is right in front of us we just need to talk it through or have it told us in language we understand—and may have heard before.

Sound familiar?

So it was with Michael Smith at MD Engineering.  He had a successful, growing company, but something was missing.  And it was really in front of him all along.

“The New Paradigm Advisors (NPA) team came in and really spent time with us,” Michael recounted. “The things they told us we had heard before just not in that order or with the emphasis they gave it.”

New Paradigm Advisors is a business consulting firm that helps determine a company’s value by helping shape it.  NPA came in to help Michael shape his company at a time when it needed shaping.

“One thing I was missing was an advisory team,” he continued. “As a privately held single partnership, I didn’t necessarily have any collaborators.  The New Paradigm team helped me select and shape an executive team.”

Subsequently, Michael put together a team that help guide decisions important to the company’s present and future.  This team includes:

  • Michael, the CEO
  • The company controller
  • An industry visionary from within the company
  • A next-generation employee

This team is anything but a collection of “yes” people. Quite the contrary, Michael says.

“Anything is open for discussion to allow the smartest and most clear decision to be made. They all are allowed to push back.”

This one innovation has gotten the company excited again.

New Paradigm Advisors is a value-assessment and consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

Just What Do I Want?

Many of us in business are working hard to shape and grow our business.  We’ve built up this thing we call a company and hope to see it through to…to what?

Just what do you want?  Is it “how much?” Or is it a legacy?

These are the questions Bruce Bernbaum asked himself not long ago.  Bruce is a co-founder and partner in Bernbaum-Magadini Architects in Dallas.  At his age and where he is in his career, Bruce has some decisions to make.  But where to start?

“The New Paradigm Advisors team gave me this Value Builder’s ‘quiz’ that allowed me to assess my business,” Bruce recounted. “And it caused me to stop and think long and hard about the value of our company.”

New Paradigm Advisors (NPA) is a business consulting firm that helps determine a company’s value.  Dave Sykes of NPA met with Bruce informally to ask some critical questions.  It was the Value Builder’s Assessment that really got Bruce’s attention, particularly with one question.

“When I got the score back I had a zero on one point,” Bruce recounted. “’That can’t be,’ I thought.  But it was enough to stimulate a discussion with Dave to help me set some goals.

Between the assessment and the ongoing discussion, Bruce has used his time with the New Paradigm team to be better at planning and forecasting.

“The team got me working on my business rather than in it.”

New Paradigm Advisors is a value-assessment and consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

Part of the Company

If you had been part of large companies all of your professional life and then struck out on your own, what would do to start your company?

That’s what Roger Pavlovich asked himself when he started his own construction services company.  Roger had been an officer or project manager at several large construction firms. He had all of the experience and energy to start his own concern.  But something was missing.

“I needed an outsider on the inside,” Roger said. “Actually, the NPA team is my security blanket and the guys I go to when I need to bounce something off a collaborator.”

NPA is New Paradigm Advisors, a business consulting firm that helps determine a company’s value by helping shape it.  New Paradigm Advisors came in to help Roger shape his company from its beginnings.

“We got the NPA team involved on a weekly basis, though I do talk with several of them almost daily,” Roger continued.  “The team sits down with us at least once a week.”

Some of the things New Paradigm has done for Pavlovich:

  • Helped produce a 3-year look-ahead plan and an associated monthly review process.
  • Offered daily collaboration.
  • Defined processes and systems for the young company.

Pavlovich Construction is a design-build construction consulting firm specializing in light industrial projects in the food processing and distribution segments.

“Because Roger and I knew each other from more than business, we had a mutual trust,” Dave Sykes of New Paradigm added.  “That gives us a bond that really ensures success for both of us.”

New Paradigm Advisors is a value-assessment and consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

Do You Need It “Fixed” or Do You Want It “Changed”?

Are you at that inflection point that you need to break out of your current business doldrums? Then our challenge to you is:

Are you ready to accomplish real change, or do you simply want to keep fixing things?

Let’s say you have a leak in your kitchen sink and you want it fixed quickly because it could be causing damage. What if, on the other hand, you wanted to improve its usability and functionality, you chose to completely remodel your kitchen?

Fixing the sink merely puts things back where they were so you can continue doing what you’ve always done.

Remodeling your kitchen improves the comfort of your house, its value, and your enjoyment of it.

That’s the big difference between fixing and changing.

The first issue requires a qualified individual, like a plumber. A plumber is going to come out with his trusty tools, spend a couple of hours fixing the problem using his “best trade practices” and then hand you a bill. Voila, you’ve got a fixed sink. Everything’s back to the way it was. Quick and relatively pain free.

Remodeling the kitchen, though, is a whole different ball game. It will not be done with one phone call. Again, you start with a specialist, like an architect or designer, to determine what you want to achieve. They help define the look, the work flow, the appliances, colors, textures, the lighting.  And, oh, what’s the new sink like? Then, after all that planning, your next call is to another specialist, like a general contractor, who brings in all of the trades (and all of their tools) and transforms your tired old kitchen into a completely new and exciting environment, ready to meet your dreams for the future. That transformation took a team.

So, when we ask you: do you want it fixed or changed – we are pushing you on this significant issue.

Do you want just the quick fix, then carry on as you always have? Or are you ready to change your company into what you’ve been dreaming about?

Do you want a business fixer? Or do you want a whole team that’s going to take your company blazing into the future with change?

It’s going to take some changes. You ready?

Dave

Singles or Home Runs?

We’re coming up on Major League Baseball Opening Day. Spring time in America! You just can’t beat it!

There’s probably nothing more exciting in all of sports than to see a grand slam home run. The bases are loaded and the batter knocks it into the second level of the left field bleachers. There’s just something about that event that makes the rest of the game almost fade away. You’ll remember that play probably long after you’ve even forgotten the final score of the game.

So what?

Way back in an earlier life, I had the privilege and challenge of working with a company as the vice president and general manager of their computer distribution division. This was early in the computer business and all of us in the market were pushing and shoving and trying to differentiate ourselves. I was fortunate enough to work with a well-funded parent company, so we had the wherewithal to do some creative things–so, we did. Of course, we  were also competing many times with equally well-funded companies and that meant they were doing some of their own creative campaigns.

After trying several different programs, succeeding at some and failing at others, the president of the company challenged me with a baseball analogy (lesson?) that I’ve been applying ever since.

After a particularly costly marketing plan that did not achieve much, he said: “Dave, you’re really good at swinging for the fences with some of your campaigns, but I’d be much more pleased if you’d just give me consistent singles and doubles.”

He went on to say: “If you do that, we’ll make consistent progress and get more growth while the other guys waste their time and effort on their home run attempts.”

It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten, even though it’s still in me to want to swing for the outfield bleachers.

As we work with clients, we challenge them to define their ideal client and that then leads to developing a more defined “go-to-market” strategy to best reach those ideal clients. While we’re not marketing experts, we are “go-to-market” experts. Meaning, that we take the “singles and doubles” approach to getting new business and keeping it. No fancy “home run” efforts. Just good old fashioned approach to improving batting averages by doing the right things consistently and repeatedly. This has proven over and over again to result in healthy growth without major investment in unproven marketing or sales efforts. Just the basics of getting a hit most of the time you step in the batter’s box. Which, by the way, happens every day.

So, when you go into work tomorrow, hit consistent singles and doubles. Forget expecting your team to hit home runs. Make sure everyone is doing the basics.

  • Call your prospects
  • Return phone calls
  • Be honest
  • Be consistent
  • Be dependable
  • Be reliable
  • Be responsible

Be the best batter – that’s the one who consistently gets a hit – not the one who occasionally hits a home run. That will grow your reputation and your business more than any other strategy.

Be blessed out there!

Dave