The Dead Zone!

Posted by johngies

When you and I turn our thermostat up or down the equipment kicks in and the temperature adjusts to a nice comfortable temperature. You and I call this our comfort zone. HVAC professionals call this the Dead Zone!

As I graduated from college, I completed my first Five-year plan. Then life happened. I got promoted and if I wanted the job, I was going to have to move to St. Louis MO. (This was not in my plan). I was 24 years old and had been out of college about eighteen (18). I had a core group of friends, and I was comfortable. However, I wanted the experience, And I wanted to be an executive, so I moved 700 miles away to St. Louis, Missouri.

I got there, went to work the next day and …said OH MY Cuss WORDS WHAT HAVE I DONE. You see, I wasn’t very good at my first job in selling, I was lonely, I was uncomfortable and well just miserable…Then I remembered that I liked Tae Kwon DO when I was in school, so I found a club and began to experience some success. I changed jobs into a new industry. I was just starting to get comfortable in the new role when my new company said… “John, we’d like you to move to Denver,” This was in my Plan. I moved to Denver and 5 years and two (2) months after I wrote out that five-year plan, I achieved it. I was living in Denver as a professional, earning more than I had even planned on and I had earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  If I had been unwilling to step out of my comfort zone this would not have happened.

What is this Comfort Zone that everyone talks about? Wikipedia the online Encyclopedia says it is an artificial set of mental boundaries we’ve set up. While we operate within those boundaries, we are comfortable and secure. The result can be that we become rigid, and rule bound by these boundaries. Then, there will come a day when we know we need to change but we will be afraid to leave the comfort of our Comfort Zone and it will become our Dead Zone.

The law of Entropy that says it is the natural order of things to degenerate into chaos or disorder. That’s what happens when we fall into our comfort zones and become satisfied with life. When we don’t continuously push our limits and stretch, we start to move towards disorder.

Here are some thoughts on how you can avoid the Dead zone while enjoying the comfort zone:

1.    Recognize it when you are in the comfort zone. When there are things you will do and others you will not and then only in a certain way…it might be the dead zone.
2.    Continuously review your progress and decide what area of growth will enhance your life. Right now, for me it is building relationships with business owners in a variety of industries that I have not worked in to help them grow their business. The imposter shows up. And yet I have helped Auto Shops, CPA’s, Attorney’s, Tech Companies and more, significantly enhance their business. And it is still Very Uncomfortable. Studies at the University of Chicago concluded that the highest achievers are those who consistently push themselves out of their comfort zones.
3.    When you get comfortable in your new level of performance savor it.  Then Start all over again.

When you make the commitment grow and move from one achievement to the next from one comfort zone to the next, you never have time to enter the Dead Zone.

Check out the resources

Communication the Number One Soft Skill with Hard Results

Posted by johngies
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Last year LinkedIn recently released a report on the top ten job skills employers wanted in new hires. Communication was number One! I could have told you that. Unless you are a hermit or you are truly working alone, your ability to communicate is crucial to your success. Everything you do involves communicating to other people.

Some studies say we lose anywhere from $15,000 per employee per annum to $26,000 per employee per annum due to poor communication. Think about it:

  • Email ping pong because people are not clear in their emails
  • Misunderstandings
  • Policies that are not clear
  • Conflict
  • Quality errors

I am curious. We all communicate, and we have all been communicating since before we were born. Why are so many people so bad at it.

I suspect the following four things:

  • Lack of Emotional Awareness

It is interesting to me how many people are not aware of the impact their communication is having on others. They leave an emotional wake behind them as they move through the day, spewing whatever they think of. Or the impact of demanding a result without building the context for their team; The Why?

  • Self – Centeredness

This was a lesson I had to learn early in my career. It cost me a promotion and a raise. The principles in Dale Carnegies book saved my career. I learned how to connect with people, how to understand their needs and how to create alignment.

There is an agenda to every communication. The challenge we all face is that because we see the world through our own eyes, we assume everybody else sees the same thing we do. They don’t. When we slow down and as Stephen Covey said, “Seek First to Understand before you seek to be understood,” we get remarkable responses to our communication.

  • Not understanding the Chemistry of Communication

The way we communicate has an electro chemical reaction in your body which then produces a response, positive or negative. Just seeing the word “NO” on a screen will release cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals in our body. And as those chemicals reach our nervous system it shuts down and goes into Fight Flight or Freeze.  It limits our capacity to think clearly. It reduces our willingness to collaborate.

I don’t think any leader wants their team or customer in this state.

The opposite is also true. When we communicate with the behaviors and language of trust, the body responds with Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin. These chemicals hit the system and open us up to collaboration, creativity, and trust. And it is not hard to do.

Behaviors like a smile and eye contact work remarkably well. Words like, “I trust your judgement, I believe in you,” can do wonders.

  • Not having a clear outcome in mind

Lack of clarity is a major stumbling block in communication, especially the important communication. Again, it goes back to our self-centeredness.  Often we will have an outcome in mind. And, because the brain is lazy, we will shortcut the communication. A simple example from my workshops is as follows:

John: My wife and I are considering a dog. What would you recommend?

Audience: A Dachshund, Schnauzer, Poodle, Border Collie, A Golden.

John: I forgot to say I am allergic to most dog’s and my wife wants one under 20 lbs.

Audience: A Havanese, a Poodle, A Maltese

As I clarified my desires, I got better results. Think about the projects you assign to your team. Are you clear about the outcome you are looking for?

Why Start with Why? Nobody Cares

Posted by johngies
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Start with Why is the now world-famous Ted Talk and book by Simon Sinek. In it, he makes the bold claim is that when your clients know your why they will buy from you.

I have read the book several times and I am here to call BS on the whole notion. (Belief System).

This is an entertaining talk. It’s just entertaining. It is important for you to know why you do what you do but you clients, don’t give a hoot. They care about what you are going to do for them.

Consider the contractor that goes into the hardware store looking for a drill bit.  And the sales rep starts talking about “Why” he chose this hardware store to work at. Then “why” this store was founded. And then why” this drill bit is the best!!!

The contractor doesn’t care, he wants the hole that the drill bit makes.

Now some hardware stores may differentiate on price (this will attract customers that want a lower price).

Another may choose to differentiate on education for the DIY market (This will bring in the DIY crowd).

Or a third may choose to differentiate by giving back. (This will attract customers for whom that is important).

The only reason your “why” matters to anyone besides you is in how it impacts them and their goals. When thinking about your businesses existential “why”, make sure your client cares.

And, to do that you have to understand who your ideal client is. Then determine their goals, aspirations and wants. If you why lines up, share it. If not, ask how you are going to connect with your clients.

If you would like help connecting with your ideal clients check out the resources at

Are You Overwhelmed? Quit Wasting Your Time and Buy it Back

Posted by johngies
Lots of Clocks
Image of clocks courtesy of Pixabay

Business is challenging and those challenges are all the worse if you don’t have revenue, time, or energy to deal with them.

People often let their egos determine that they want to outsource or hire in order to “Scale”. Is there a more overused word today? The reason for you to spend money on staffing and or outsourcing is simple. It is to buy time. That is to buy time for YOU!

Whether it is time to work on higher-value activities or to spend on vacation and lifestyle.  I doubt very much that you started your business so you could commit 50 – 60 hours a week to your job (I meant your business).

So, how do you create the time you want? First, own the fact that you want more time. If you get sucked into “I am busy and I love it…You will be busy!

Conduct a time audit. What tasks are you performing and what is the value of those tasks? Are they helping you serve clients or grow your business? If not, should you do them or should someone else?  You have probably heard about the difference between $15 tasks and $1,000 tasks. Where do you want to focus?

Once you decide to outsource or hire, it is not as simple as just pulling the trigger. I have watched clients burn through employees that were not a good fit.  So, start with a “job description”. That is what tasks do you want them to perform, how often, and to what level of proficiency. How will you measure proficiency? What skills should they have and what will you “train” them on.

One of the most important things you will do for your  business after creating profits is selecting the right teammates and being very clear on roles and expectations. I actually like the word agreement over expectation. It demonstrates that both parties have agreed to the work. If you do this right, you can delegate with confidence. If you fail to do it because you don’t like writing things down, resign yourself to working 50 – 60 hours a week. You will have to work that much because your team has to rely on you. This means more work.

This will also be one of the key factors should you ever decide to sell your business. Do you have the policies and procedures in place that run your business even when you are not there?

These are three simple (not necessarily easy steps for you to take to buy back your time. And let’s face it isn’t, that part of why you started your business in the first place? If you would like help in creating the time and the resources to create a business you can own, over the job that owns you, let’s schedule a call.

Stop losing clients – Stop saying “I am too busy”.

Posted by johngies
image courtesy of pixabay

Busy has become a common phrase; along with I am so busy, and I am too busy. STOP SAYING THAT!

When you say you are too busy you are saying you are out of control. You are saying you haven’t mastered your priorities; it means you don’t have control over the details of your work and that you probably can’t handle your clients priorities, time or work.

This can be challenging in today’s age of social media where there is a little chemical hit when we are able to one up somebody with our posts.

“You’re busy… Let me tell you how busy I am”.

If you are going to be in business and you are going to serve others you must be able to:

  1. Master the details, no detail is too small
  2. Control your time. This means controlling your attention and your calendar
  3. Determine and manage priorities…First things first.
  4. Manage and control your communication…to the market , your team and to yourself.

If you are too busy to do this that is to trust yourself to do this why would a client trust you to do this for them?

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