Breaking out of your business activity trap prison

By: John D. Laslavic, LPBC

Business owners, CEOs and senior executives face a myriad of challenges in today’s business environment. Many of the challenges are related to understanding the ever-evolving business, economic, technology and political environments - not to mention the specific technical business changes presented in the professional field you and your team members embrace.

New and exciting products and services are continually being introduced to the market. These new business tools are available today and can be incorporated to assist your businesses to improve overall performance and profitability. However, the challenge we face is to find the time to invest in learning, adapting systems, and incorporating the new technology, tools and services while adjusting our current processes, maintaining our business efforts and dealing with a hundred other things. We must also keep the company mission in mind and lead our teams to success. This is no small task.

The trap we face is that it takes time, money and focus to step out and properly delegate our responsibilities and hold our associates accountable for results we have agreed upon. Stepping out of these day-to-day activities takes a tremendous amount of energy and effort. We get stuck in the business activity trap prison without a focused plan, resources and support. We do the same operational things that are important, day after day, subjecting our businesses to short term success but future harm. While our businesses earn revenue today, we sacrifice tomorrow. If you, as a leader, are not planning, looking at new innovations and adapting to the anticipated future environment, then who is? The answer is no one.

We know we must be open to change to be relevant in the long-run. We should be developing, introducing improvements, testing new tools and systems to help our associates but also to free ourselves from day-to-day technical and recurring business functions. Our goal must be to create, innovate and deploy better systems that produce more sales revenue and reduce our costs to gain a higher overall profitability. We can continually strengthen and grow our businesses through this process and applying best practices.

ThistleSea coaches have a fourteen-year track record of helping business owners, CEOs and senior executives free themselves from the business activity trap prison. This allows them to benefit from a more profitable business. In addition, ThistleSea clients understand the future, position their companies correctly and create a better life for themselves and their families with more time to pursue the things they value the most.

Give us a call for a complimentary discussion to see if a ThistleSea business coach might help you escape your business activity trap prison by starting the discovery process to build your action plan. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

“Because your business should lead to Abundance.”

Finding the Best Fit

If you don't know what you're looking for, how will you know if you've found it?

The goal of an interview is to determine whether a given candidate matches the position available. If our hiring process doesn’t provide a clear answer to this fundamental question, we will make inappropriate hires and our business will suffer.
 
To fill a position, we need clarity – a lot of it. We’re looking for 4 things to be clear any time we’re ready to hire someone:

1. Is the position clear? That is, has the organization carefully evaluated its needs, evaluated the functions required and designed a position that fits? And does the candidate understand the position that’s available?

2. Is the vision clear for what the new hire will bring?  (HINT: If the position is clear, this vision is also usually clear.) At ThistleSea, we view this through the lens of the “3Cs” – competence, commitment, and chemistry. When we’ve got a vision for the new hire, we should be able to say things like:

Not ideal on the "commitment" scale.

Not ideal on the "commitment" scale.

  • Competence: The new hire needs to: have advanced typing skills and knowledge of MS Office, have supervisory experience of at least 3 people in the past, and be exceptionally good at written and phone communication.

  • Commitment: The new hire needs to: be self-motivated and self-directed, handle stress well and calmly, and have an attitude that views errors as experience. Is the candidate willing to do what it takes to perform at a high level?

  • Chemistry: The new hire needs to: be collaborative and supportive of the team, and be comfortable with goals and goal-setting for her/himself and others. Will the candidate fit well in the current company culture?

3. Is the vision clear for what this candidate can bring? When a real person is sitting in front of us, we need to know if they demonstrate the 3Cs we’re seeking! The interview questions we ask should elicit responses that reveal the competencies, level of commitment and chemistry that would make the candidate a good cultural fit.

4. Does our vision match what the candidate can bring? If they match, this candidate might be a good hire. If they don’t match, we need to be honest about whether our organization can accommodate the mismatches. Following the interview, we should be able to explain clearly the matches and mismatches. If we can’t do this, we may need to change our interview questions.


Too often, we ask supervisors or HR staff members with only cursory knowledge of a position to interview candidates. It’s a bad idea.
 
You’ll only recognize the right person when you know the 3Cs needed to be successful in that role – and you see that the candidate has got them.

If you're looking to upgrade your talent, we can help.

Profit and Exit: Keys to Running the Best Company

Many books, seminars and speeches have been written about business. Many encourage business owners to jump through hoops but miss the two fundamental reasons for starting and running a business. The fundamental reasons are:

  • Earn a profit as a result of all the actions your business takes.
  • Be open to exit if the offer and timing is right.

All business owners should continually work to make a profit and prepare their companies for the ultimate success in an exit strategy. According to statistics, only 3 percent of businesses exist for 3 generations. Even size and reputation are no guarantee for business survival as many of the Fortune 500 vanish from the list each decade. With that backdrop, preparation, focus and always being open to an exit are critically important to maximize your investment in time, energy and money.

I have been asked many times by business owners, CPAs, attorneys, and consultants if I can help them or their clients achieve higher valuations. Obviously, if there is an engaged ownership / executive team and a market for the company’s products and services, the answer is yes. But where do you start?

While owners have many reasons for starting a business, they soon realize it is not easy and takes a lot of effort, money, smarts and consistent action. They learn, hopefully sooner than later, the only reason that a business exists is to earn money that results in a profit. Everything else may be important but is secondary.  Only delusional souls think the business' primary reason to exist is to keep families together, preserve a legacy, develop people, serve a community, etc. These are all good reasons but are secondary. If your business makes a profit first, you can “make the happy business cake,” and benefit those you serve it to. But without profit, you have no prosperity, just broken dreams, wasted energy and disheartened souls.

Typically, if there is some time before the actual exit events and sales closing, there are a number of things that can be done to evaluate, consider and take actions that will increase profits and the company’s valuation.

The first recommendation is to conduct an overall assessment of the business. It should include all areas of the business and technical operations. This assessment should help you discover the strengths and weaknesses to build an action plan for improving those areas found deficient and targeted for specific improvement. This is an area where an outside objective observer may be required to help you eliminate your company’s blind spots. They may also help you build your action plan and steps required for the improved value and results.

Here are some areas typically needing improvement:

Leadership

Is your vision for the company’s future clear and have you communicated this vision to all your stakeholders?

Most companies we meet need some work with the leadership team on refining the future vision, so they can clearly communicate what success will look like. This may include, for example, working on the strategic plan, communication strategy, upgrading organizational talent and preparing high potential emerging leaders, etc.

Marketing

Is the organization able to continually generate new qualified leads for its products and services?

How your customer service and reputation management integrate with your sales and customer service processes should be an important concern and typically are areas where great gains in value can be made.

Human Resources

Is your human resources function mitigating the risks for the business?

Typically, there is an opportunity to improve your agreements and employee understanding of the work required. If all functions are smoothly accomplished and properly executed, typically, it enhances the overall company’s profitability. In addition, buyers or those involved in operating the company after the transition are typically looking for a turn-key operation with well documented organization processes and procedures. They place a higher value during their due diligence process on a well-organized company human resources program.

Financial

Three areas to look in the finance area when preparing to exit include the following:

  • A clean set of books that are understandable. This is especially important to place the proper value on the company prior to the sale, during buyer due diligence and at closing.
  • A financial dashboard that demonstrates the financial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track your progress in improving company performance and overall value.
  • A budget and cash-flow plan to demonstrate how much cash the business can generate over time and how much cash the business will need.

Sales

Is your sales organization able to convert qualified leads to customers?

Do you have a sales model that works? Can your sales model be replicated and taught to others in order to repeat the results and company sales growth?

Technical

While many start businesses because of their founder’s expertise in some technical, product or service area they are knowledgeable and excel in, that alone doesn’t make the business sustainable and grow. Building a technical operating manual to include your policies, procedures and training programs will enhance the company’s value. In addition, you will need to demonstrate the company’s expertise, along with many other business competencies to entice an interested buyer to complete the purchase of your company.

Expense Control

Do you have a purchasing system in place that helps you to increase your gross margin and control overhead?
 

Are there areas where you can eliminate or reduce without hurting your quality and performance?

In summary, your ongoing and number one goal should be focusing on and achieving the highest profit and the highest valuation with your exit strategy in mind. This is the best way to run a company that will deliver for your family, employees, customers and the community.

If you are interested in learning more about how ACT Capital Advisors can assist you in improving your profits, valuation and selling your company, contact me at (724) 935-1930 or email me at jlaslavic(at)actcapitaladvisors.com.

Learn more about the author at http://actcapitaladvisors.com/pittsburgh-office/

Leading yourself first

relationship with yourself.jpg

It's not an accident that "leadership" is our Abundance newsletter topic more often than any other. But we don't often discuss that "leading yourself first" can make the difference between a life of abundance... and not. In fact, we estimate that 95% of our clients list personal goals - ways they'd like to lead themselves better - when they're considering the futures of their businesses.

From eating more healthily to spending quality time with loved ones, it seems that leading yourself first isn't part of business school curricula or a requirement of funding pitches. It's multi-faceted, and some things are likely to come more easily to you than others. We divide it into a few arenas, and for the sake of brevity, we'll list just a few items under each:

Oh, man. Go to sleep.

Oh, man. Go to sleep.

Your bedrock tools

  1. Define your values
  2. Recognize and reduce your negative self-talk
  3. Prepare a personal mission statement

Your physical self

  1. Get plenty of rest
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Get regular check-ups

Your personal finances

  1. Put insurance policies in place
  2. Complete estate planning
  3. Create plan for retirement (financial and otherwise)

Your mind

  1. Prioritize your activities to maximize your time
  2. Spend quality time with loved ones
  3. Spend time on a hobby

As with any changes, it's best not to do too much at once. If you've been working hard to lead yourself and you're not gaining traction, try to do a little less. And contact us for assistance.

"To tie my foot problems directly to employee hiring was funny."

Or "How my bunions led me to hire a business coach."

I decided to write this post after reflecting on my time as a client at ThistleSea (I'm the only one in our office who can do this). This may give you an idea of why someone might hire a business coach.

I came to business coaching when the business was almost exactly 18 months old. I spent the first 13 months working between 70 and 80 hours weekly, and my 34-year-old body had begun to inform my brain that this was not a sustainable plan. What were my clues?

There are no pictures that accurately represent how unpleasant marriage was at the time.

There are no pictures that accurately represent how unpleasant marriage was at the time.

  • I was missing important family events regularly.
  • I had very few relationships outside of the business.
  • My feet had developed problems that weren't healing. (This after many years of tap dancing and running without issue.)
  • My marriage was pretty unpleasant.
  • I arrived each day at work prepared to fight fires.
  • If I wasn't putting out my own business fires, I was covering so that employees could put out their fires.

Looking back now, it's not hard to categorize my challenges. But under pressure, I couldn't see them:

  • Work/life balance was poor
  • Systems were not in place (in my case, HR systems were weak)

 (I don't know if ThistleSea's Wexford office was literally at a cooler temperature than my business, but when I would arrive at a coaching session, there was a clear feeling of "Ahhhh...." I could breathe. I could think and plan, ask questions, propose solutions, write, be still... I had no fires to fight.) Getting to the root cause of anything is difficult under pressure, so it was important that pressure could be relieved.

Let's use one of my examples.

PROBLEM: "My feet had developed problems that weren't healing."

WHY? (1)
I was on my feet for 8-10 hours, 6 days per week.

WHY? (2) 
I had to help the staff get the work done.

WHY? (3) 
There wasn't enough staff capable of meeting the company's requirements for the amount/quality of the work.

WHY? (4)
Staff didn't stay very long.

WHY? (5) 
We didn't clearly explain what was required when we hired new people. So we hired some people who didn't understand the work or weren't capable of doing it.

Yeah, I wore this. Yeah, it was as ridiculous as it looks.

Yeah, I wore this. Yeah, it was as ridiculous as it looks.

To tie my foot problems directly to employee hiring (1) was funny, (2) did not happen overnight and (3) did require making intermediate adjustments. That is, I didn't go straight to having an amazing system for hiring and then magically experience foot healing.

I'll talk a bit more about what happened in my next post. 

TAKEAWAY: When you're having a problem in your business, write it down. Ask "why" 5 times. You'll get very close to the root cause, and that's where you need to be.

The CEO Genome Project findings

By: John D. Laslavic, LPBC

Our team at ThistleSea Business Development, LLC works with clients to apply best business practices and personal effectiveness strategies. The results help them run more profitable and successful businesses and have careers that deliver more fulfilling lives.

An article in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart,” reviews a behavioral study called the CEO Genome project. The University of Chicago and the Copenhagen Business School collaborated to identify the common traits of the most successful CEOs. They used data and interviews from over 17,000 C-suite executives (including 2,000 CEOs) covering career history, business results and behavioral patterns. Distinguishing behaviors were identified in four areas taken from those who were hired as CEOs (and those who weren’t) and those who excelled in the CEO role (and those who underperformed).

These findings are important because business leaders can significantly increase their odds of becoming high performing CEOs and top performing business executives if they deliberately develop the following behaviors. For this article, we will call them leaders.

1. Decide with Speed and Conviction
Leaders found as high performers move forward and make decisions. They understand that slow decision-making causes bottlenecks, frustrated teams, and over cautious staff. It stalls progress within their company.

Bad decisions are better than a lack of clear direction because they can be fixed. Mistakes are viewed as learning experiences by top performing leaders.

Having a wide view from a variety of data and information resources is required but must not be overdone. To make a call, 65% of the information is enough for these high performers. Perfection slows progress. They cannot wait for a perfect answer.

2. Engage for Impact
Top performing leaders lean into the discomfort. They set a clear course by understanding their stakeholders’ needs and motives. They have an unrelenting focus on creating value and driving performance and results.

Leaders are also principled in their communication. They stand out by making decisions fast with great conviction. The studies showed leaders who are more decisive are 12x more likely to be a CEO. A wrong decision is better than no decision. According to the findings, leaders were given low marks on decisiveness 94% of the time for deciding too little, too late and given low marks only 6% for deciding too quickly. Only 1/3 of the leaders are terminated for bad calls while 2/3 are terminated for indecisiveness. Results-oriented, engaged leaders who consistently understood their stakeholders were 75% more successful in their role.

3. Adapt Proactively
When you’re watching a close sporting event, you’ll see that sometimes the coach must throw the playbook out the window to win. Business leaders are, at times, required to quickly adapt. Those who can master adaptation are 7x more likely to succeed in their role. To successfully adapt, these leaders are consistently scanning wide networks and diverse sources of data and information. They have a great sense of change and can make strategic moves to their advantage. They also spend 50% of their time on long-term thinking.

Leaders use coaches and recognize the value of having diverse advisors who are objective and whose judgement they trust. As one colleague of mine would say, “Never drink your own bathwater!”

These successful leaders recognize setbacks as a part of their job. Setbacks are part of learning and offer opportunities to modify and improve.

4. Deliver Reliably
Leaders who had the ability to deliver reliably were twice as likely to be selected for the CEO role and 15x more likely to succeed. Board members, investors and employees love a leader with a steady hand they can trust.

The keys to delivering reliably? Set realistic expectations, plan, budget, assess the business to develop an independent point of view, build a strong team, align and execute. Establish meeting cadence, dashboards, clear accountability, monitor performance systems and make rapid course corrections.

If you want to see how you rank in these 4 traits, take the 5-minute online assessment at http://CEOGenome.com.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we assist business owners, executives and other leaders improve their performance through understanding their impact and adopting successful behaviors and best practices. We might be a good fit to assist you and your team. ThistleSea is confident in our ability to positively impact your continued success and growth.

The Cure for a Business Filled with Assumptions

One of the most important concepts I discovered as a business coaching client was just two words long: “Never assume.” What kinds of things did I assume as a business owner?

  • Every stakeholder knows and shares my vision for success.
  • Employees will follow the company’s policies and procedures. (In retrospect, "HAHAHAHAHA!")
  • Staff members will share their discontent with me if it occurs.
  • Employees will share my values.
  • Vendor relationships are adversarial in nature.
Turns out there's a reason EVERYBODY knows this saying.

Turns out there's a reason EVERYBODY knows this saying.

Were my assumptions wrong? Well, yes and no.
 
Some stakeholders knew my vision for success. Some employees followed company policies and procedures. Some staff shared discontent with me when it occurred. Some shared my values. Some vendors tried to take advantage of the company. The problem was not that my assumptions were all wrong; it was that by assuming, I could never be sure.

Business coaching helped me to understand the dangers of assuming, and then to make changes in my behavior to stop doing it.

BEFORE (Assumptions) AFTER THISTLESEA COACHING
Every stakeholder knows and shares my vision for
success.
I need to know the vision. I need to communicate it often. We
need to discuss it, ask questions about it, and lead people to
share and adopt it.
Employees will follow the company’s policies and
procedures.
"These are our company’s policies and procedures. Here’s
where they’re written down, and these are the people who can answer questions.
You’re expected to understand and follow them. If you choose not to do so, here
are the consequences you can expect."
Staff will share their discontent with me if it
occurs.
"We’ll check in as a group daily and with each other
periodically. Your supervisor will meet with you individually on a regular
schedule, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, speak openly,
receive performance feedback, etc. If you’d like to speak directly or you’re
experiencing a problem that isn’t being resolved, here’s the best way to
schedule time together."
Employees will share my values. "The values that drive our company are _____, ____, and
_____. We honor our values among ourselves, with our customers, vendors and
competitors. On Wednesday, Amanda demonstrated our value of ______ when she
________."
Vendor relationships are
adversarial in nature.
"Here’s what we need and expect now, as outlined in our
written agreement. Let’s schedule a 6-month review so we can correct any
issues, learn about new services, etc. If we have immediate needs, what’s the
best way to get a fast response?"

Assumptions can be hard to identify, particularly if you’re assuming things correctly.
 
Communicating clearly elevates the importance of top performance in your company. It gives all parties the opportunity to decide, “Now that I understand this, am I on board? Or not?” It leaves no room for drama, ambiguity, excuses or blame.
 
The next time you’re surprised at something that happens in your business, ask yourself why. It’s likely that you assumed incorrectly… just like I did. Let us know if we can help. Reviewing your assumptions may be your key to success.

A Path to Growth or Destruction?

Using peer review as a strategic competitive advantage

By John D. Laslavic, LPBC

Many company leaders are strong-willed individuals. While this can be a strength, it can also reveal itself as a dangerous strand of stubbornness that can negatively impact a business. Some may struggle with obtaining and integrating advice from peer groups.  

Common feelings CEOs and presidents express about having peer review (i.e. board of directors, advisory board, outside committees, a business or executive coach, etc.) include:

  • “What if people find out I don’t have a strong vision and action plan for my company?”
  • “I’m not that comfortable communicating internally… or externally.”
  • “Will I lose authority by involving others in my thinking?”
  • “Will a board (committee, coach, etc.) interfere with my decision making?”
  • “It costs too much and takes too long.”
  • “I know what I’m doing, and people should focus on my getting it done.”
  • “What happens if I try something (based on peer review) and it fails?”
  • “I don’t really understand what the board (committee, etc.) was trying to say.”
  • “It’s a pain.”

Just because a company uses peer review of some kind doesn’t mean it’s effective, however. Organizations already using peer review may be on the wrong path if they see the following happening:

  • Peer review group agendas not focused on vision, future direction, policy, strategy, KPIs and financial results.
  • SMART goals not established.
  • Peer review participants unwilling to voice their opinions. 
  • Company making adjustments for individual people’s needs without consideration for the company’s mission.
  • Minimal communication from the owner, president or CEO.
  • Decline or stagnation in company growth.
  • Key employees leaving the company.

If you observe these situations in your organization (or you’re observing these situations as a trusted advisor), you might consider recommending or improving the process by inviting people to serve in a peer advisory capacity who:

  • Are financially independent from the company.
  • Are not afraid to voice their opinions.
  • Know things you don’t.
  • Agree with the company’s mission, vision and values.
  • Agree to be open to suggestions, listen to and work closely with peers who desire to bring new life to the company.

If used properly, peer review is an excellent way to provide your organization perspective to improve governance, business operations and product/service growth. 

Our ThistleSea team advises that 2017 business planning and budgeting should begin now. Evaluate your current peer review efforts to gain additional expertise and ideas. Adding an advisor, business coach or a peer review group to assist you might give you the advice and guidance you need to excel. Just be open enough to take their good advice and put it into action.

Contact a ThistleSea team member if we can help you and your company create a peer review process. Doing so should help your company grow revenue, expand operations and help you to personally prosper.

It's not too early...

The summer of 2016 is winding down and a new fall season is fast approaching. Soon the children will be back in school, and fall sports will once again dominate the airways, competing with the madness of this year’s presidential election. 

In speaking and working with business owners, we’re finding that many are preparing for more volatility, uncertainty, and complexity in 2017. As this is both the perception and a possibility, having business clarity when planning for 2017 is more important than ever. Clarity requires inner strength, discipline, self-understanding, external engagement, a clear vision of success, and an inspiring call-to-action with flexibility. 

It’s not too early to begin your business planning for 2017.

You may be thinking, “Yeah right, are you crazy? It’s way too early!”

Well, consider that the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving, are just about 13 weeks away. (We’ve all experienced the fun, excitement and pressure of that time of year when we’re a bit distracted from our business and work.) So I’ll make the case to begin your planning now, complete your planning in September, budget in October and finalize your plan and budget by Thanksgiving.

This process will help you to have fewer distractions and maximum clarity and avoid the many end-of-year disruptions as 2016 comes to a close. Your vision and leadership require intense focus if you are anything like the awesome business owners and executives we work with every day. 

At ThistleSea, our team knows that stable times require a planning and financial forecasting process to obtain the business, personal and financial successes you envision. During these times, the ability to stay flexible and prepare in advance for the unexpected is even more important. 

Best of luck with your 2017 planning. ThistleSea is here to help if you want to evaluate your situation or would like assistance with your 2017 plans. Just contact one of our team members. 

John

Volunteer Leadership and Governance

Serving on a not-for-profit board

A note from John

Many busy business owners and executives devote time to serving on not-for-profit boards of directors. They give back to their communities, professions and special causes by providing their business expertise. This type of volunteer leadership improves communities and enhances the lives of those served by these outstanding men and women.

Taking on a role as part of a volunteer board, however, cannot be taken lightly.

There are certain legal responsibilities that each board member should be fully aware of before taking on the role. The board acts as trustee of the organization's assets and ensures that the not-for-profit is well managed and remains fiscally sound. In doing so, the board member must exercise proper oversight of the organization's operations and maintain the legal and ethical accountability of its staff and volunteers. The main legal responsibilities of a not-for-profit board are often summarized in "the three Ds."

  1. Duty of Care: Board members are expected to actively participate in organizational planning and decision-making and to make sound and informed judgments.
     
  2. Duty of Loyalty: When acting on behalf of the organization, board members must put the interests of the not-for-profit before any personal or professional concerns and avoid potential conflicts of interest.
     
  3. Duty of Obedience: Board members must ensure that the organization complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and that it remains committed to its established mission.

In addition to its legal responsibilities, the board acts in a fiduciary role by maintaing oversight of the not-for-profit's finances. Board members must evaluate financial policies, approve annual budgets, and review periodic financial reports to ensure that the organization has the necessary resources to carry out its mission - and remains accountable to its donors and the general public.

It is important that your organization has up-to-date bylaws to ensure liability protection based on state law. Your not-for-profit should also have a risk management strategy, and each board member should be clear on their duties and responsibilities therein. When these elements exist, board members can focus their energy on accomplishing the mission through working together.

Adapted from grantspace.org

Advice from a Trail

Photo by Wendy Lydon

Photo by Wendy Lydon

In September, 2015 Wendy had an exciting vacation with family in Yellowstone National Park. She picked up several “Advice from . . ." writings authored by Ilan Shamir and is sharing them with you to expand the thinking and apply to your business.

Walk into beauty

Being a leader is a beautiful opportunity to change your lives and the lives of others. Take time to enjoy the business and life you have created for yourself, your team and your family.  

Stay on your path

Start with the end in mind and work towards achieving your dream. Outline your goals and stay on track to reach those goals.

Find inspiration around every turn

You just never know what may be around the next turn.  Leadership and ownership requires some flexibility and agility. You will always be faced with something new around each bend. Take the time to be inspired by others – and to be the inspiration for others.  

Tread lightly

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be vulnerable and allow others to truly see you. Your business needs your care and attention, so take the time to analyze opportunities before making decisions.

Pack life with good memories

Being a leader and business owner is an exciting opportunity for you to live the life that you want. Be sure to have fun and provide an environment where your team enjoys coming to work every day!  

Every day has its ups and downs

The life of a business owner and leader is not always an easy one! Stay focused on the great work you are doing and how you are providing opportunities for others to achieve their goals. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  

Watch your step!

Don’t move too fast. Be sure to build the plan and work the plan! And closely evaluate anything that may appear as an obstacle. Have an optimistic view that anything in your way is a checkpoint to regroup, reinvent and recharge!

Wendy Lydon featured in "Common Threads: Inspiration"

Common Threads Inspiration: The Global Sisterhood of Empowering Women's Success Secrets by Dr. Shellie Hipsky profiles 33 women with inspirational stories of overcoming obstacles, living their dreams and helping others achieve success. 

Wendy describes what happens when she first meets with clients. "Usually the first thing is, we're sitting here in my office. I have a big whiteboard behind us... on one side, I always draw a sun. I ask, 'So what is the sun for you?'"

"We have to know where we're going, so we can determine how to get there."

This and other books in the Common Threads series are available from Amazon.

What is the sun for YOU? To learn more about business coaching at ThistleSea, click here to contact Wendy directly.

John D. Laslavic, LPBC, Receives 2013 PBCA’S Founders / Legend Award

john-laslavic
john-laslavic

ThistleSea’s President Honored By North America’s Premier Professional  Business Coaches. The Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA) recognized John D. Laslavic, LPBC, President, ThistleSea Business Development, Wexford, PA,  for his dedicated work and efforts in developing and improving the business coaching profession and his leadership in the growth of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance.

At its 2013 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, Mr. Laslavic was presented with the First Founders/ Legend Award by PBCA’s founder Mr. John Deagan, LPBC, of Canton, OH and Mr. Jon Denny, LPBC, PBCA’s Owner & President, of Syracuse, NY.

This distinguished award recognized Mr. Laslavic for his support and significant contributions to the PBCA.  Mr. Laslavic has been associated with the PBCA organization since its early inception in 2005.  He has served multiple years on the Executive Leadership Team, has served as the organization’s first Director of Strategic Alliances, worked as a JumpStart Coach who mentored business coaches whom desired training and those developing their business coaching practices after receiving their PBCA organization Business Coaching designations.

He was instrumental in developing and earning the PBCA Black Belt designation, which is the highest designation recognized by his peers,  demonstrating superior business coaching, knowledge and service to his community and the over 100 Professional Business Coaches in the United States and Canada.

Mr. Laslavic also founded ThistleSea Business Development in 2005.  Currently, this growing firm has 3 Licensed Professional Business coaches.  He is actively involved and serves the membership of The Chamber of Commerce, Inc, Wexford, PA, as the Vice Chair, Board of Directors and the Chairman, Personnel Committee and volunteers his time assisting men and women in their job transitions through Priority Two.

Are you delivering great customer experiences time and time again?

Business Coaching at ThistleSea Business Development, LLC can help you retain repeat customers and gain referrals through implementing systems that provide consistent customer service but more important great customer experiences.

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Great Client Testimonial For ThistleSea Business Development, LLC

Ultimate Defensive Driving School LLC.

www.ultimatedefensivedriving.us

25 February 2011

Mr. John Laslavic Thistle Sea Business Development 7500 Brooktree Rd Wexford, PA 15090

Dear John:

I just wanted to take a moment and express my sincere gratitude for your service.  We have come a long way in a short period of time in putting systems in place.  My business has evolved into a premiere driver safety training company.  We have expanded our business solely on our discussions and implementation of solid rules and sticking with them.  You have a good product and service and are easily accessible. Our discussions at 10pm on several occasions have paid dividends many times. Furthermore, you also continue to expand and provide top shelf service as well.  Recently, you added an information technology person to help with state of the art web design.  Alex Lau has brought a whole new facet to your company.  I now have a state of the art website.

As for Ultimate Defensive Driving we have had explosive growth in the safe driver training arena.  We have grown over 30 percent for the past 2 years, added 5 employees and instructed well over 300 young drivers and 250 drivers of companies in our region.  You can rest assured that our growth can be attributed to your diligence in keeping us on track.  Thanks again and continued success with your company!

Respectfully, James A. Clair President/ Founder

720 Hartland Drive Cranberry Twp., PA 16066 724.321.5655 jclair@ultimatedefensivedriving.us

GETTU or GOTTU

By:  Wendy Lydon, LPBC As we proceed during  the year, we sometimes focus on all of the stuff we need to do to be successful.  We establish goals and sometimes do stuff and sometimes don’t do the stuff we planned to for a whole variety of reasons.  But we sometimes forget to look at our attitude to make sure we put ourselves in a position to succeed.  Let me tell you a story that might help.

At a recent networking group, the speaker asked each of the members of the audience after he had passed out stickers for each of them to wear, “So what are you?”  We all were wearing a sticker and one said Gottu and the other said Gettu.  No one knew what the heck he was talking about and that’s what made his presentation even better. Of course, he had prepped the group with some ringers to make his point and that’s OK since he went on to make his point with incredible effectiveness.

He proceeded and asked a second series of questions.  “What are you expecting to get out of today’s session? Who would like to go first?”  Then he pointed to someone (a shill) and said, “Come on Joe, why don’t we start with you?”  The expected response was, “Oh, man do I gotta go first.”  The speaker stopped him and said “No, that’s OK Joe, not to worry,” turning to another, he asked, “How about Mary, why you don’t start?”  Mary (the second shill), leaped to her feet and said with great enthusiasm, “Great, now, I gettu go first.”  Can you see the difference, and allowing for the grammatical assault, his point was made.

Quite simply put, some of us are Gottu people and some of us are Gettu.  Many of us are frequently thinking, “Oh boy, I’ve got to do this or I have to do that,” and it really colors the way we go about doing things and it makes us in almost all cases that much less effective.  Others cannot wait to sink their teeth into new or even every day projects and frequently and conversely exclaim, “YES, I gettu start working with this client, or I gettu finish up this project.”  Ask yourself, who would you want to spend any time with if given the choice?  That’s right, the gettu people every time. Do you think anyone chooses to work with those Debbie Downers of the world?  No way!!!   This relates to our personal life also.  I recently thought that I get to help my daughter clean her room (haha) and I get to drive my parents to the doctors.  I shutter to think – what if I didn’t get to do these things?!!

As you can imagine when I write this, I can’t wait to get to it!  Hopefully you’ll think about this the next time you need to do something because, here’s the beauty of all this, you GETTU choose who you are going to be each and every day in 2011. Why not make it the most effective choice you can make?

Wendy Lydon is a Licensed Professional Business Coach and Vice President of ThistleSea Business Development, LLC, located in Wexford, PA.  You can contact her at 724.935.1930 or by email at wendyo@thistlesea.biz.

Wendy Lydon Receives Licensed Professional Business Coach Designation

Wendy Lydon, LPBC

Wendy Lydon, LPBC

Pittsburgh Area Woman Receives Licensed Professional Business Coach Designation

Wendy Lydon, LPBC Wexford, PA – January 6, 2011 -- Local business woman and business coach Wendy Lydon, LPBC, has completed advanced business coaching training with the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA), Canton, OH (www.pbca.com). She is vice president of ThistleSea Business Development, LLC, (www.thistlesea.com) a Pittsburgh, PA area business coaching firm where she has been assisting the firm’s clients since 2009.

The Licensed Professional Business Coaching designation requires over 50 hours of intensive classroom training covering all aspects of coaching and mentoring successful business owners in addition to nearly 100 hours of continuing education annually.

The PBCA is an alliance of the most highly trained professional business coaches across North America. Its members have helped hundreds of business owners to become more successful.

Ms. Lydon is no stranger to business. She has formal education and degrees in Business Management and Information Systems. Ms. Lydon has over twenty years of extensive background and expertise in business development, sales leadership and customer care in healthcare, group purchasing, association management, retail and distribution. She is a member of the Women’s Business Network and Pittsburgh Professional Women organizations.

“Joining forces with a group of successful and committed business coaches gives my clients not only the insights of my solid career experience, but also the expertise and talents of over 100 Licensed Professional Business Coaches across North America,” said Ms. Lydon. “In addition, I now have a range of tools and best business practices my clients can use to really enhance their business performance to move to the next level much more quickly.”

John D. Laslavic, LPBC , president of ThistleSea Business Development, commented, “We are extremely pleased to add the talents of Ms. Lydon to our ThistleSea Business Development team of licensed professional business coaches. She has a tremendous business background and the skills to help business owners reach their professional and business goals.”

Ms. Lydon’s offices are located at 7500 Brooktree Road in Wexford. She offers both one-on-one coaching and group coaching for business owners and a variety of training and business assessments. She and her family reside in Cranberry Township, PA.

About ThistleSea Business Development, LLC.

Established in 2006, ThistleSea Business Development, LLC is a business coaching, strategy development and training company based in the Pittsburgh area. It is the only service organization in the area comprised of a team of three Licensed Professional Business Coaches and also a certified Guerrilla Marketing Firm. ThistleSea Business Development also includes the divisions of CNICUS Buying Group, providing services that help businesses increase revenue, reduce expenses and improve their performance and Ketchfire, which focuses on the design and implementation of internet, web development and social media tools and strategies.

“Because your business should lead to Abundance.”

For additional contact information:

Wendy O. Lydon, LPBC, Vice President ThistleSea Business Development Phone: (724) 935-1930 Cell: (724) 316-7027 Email: wendyo@thistlesea.com Business Development Office 7500 Brooktree Rd., Suite 117 Wexford, PA 15090 Phone: 724.935.1930 Fax: 925.848.3266 thistlesea.com

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: John D. Laslavic, LPBC, President ThistleSea Business Development, LLC Phone: (724) 935-1930 Cell: (412) 559-3503 Email: jdl@thistlesea.com Web Site: thistlesea.com